Monday, January 23, 2012

Tightening Our Bootstraps

I have tried to not hide the fact that we have fallen on hard times financially. Nick has been out of full-time permanent work since last May. (I blogged about it here) After over a month of just helping his dad remodel the home they are moving into he's back out on Base working temporarily. (I'll blog more about that whole situation later.)

We have given up a lot lately as far as extras. In doing my part to help us save money I have tried to be very intentional about how much I spend on groceries and make things that are not only inexpensive, but also make leftovers for lunches.

My way of being intentional means planning 2 (or so) weeks of grocery shopping at a time. Now I usually have to go back to pick up more fresh ingredients once or twice, but over all I do the majority of my grocery shopping twice a month. I've found that not only does this help cut down on gas driving to and from the grocery store, but it helps me utilize all of the things I buy. For example if I buy a bag of tortilla chips I try to use them for at least 2 meals so that I can actually use the whole bag verses throwing half of it away because we never finished it.

I also have a buffer in my grocery budget so that I can buy extra of certain things when I see them on sale. One of the things I do this often with is cheese. I refuse to buy it full price unless I absolutely have to. So that means when I see it cheap I stock up on the kinds we use the most. You have to make sure you are buy things that last quite awhile when you do this or be planning to freeze things. I haven't started freezing cheese yet, but it's suppose to work pretty well if you shred it first.

This being intentional has also meant I have to be intentional about getting dinner ready. Because we all know that if dinner gets left to the last minute running to McDonald's is so much easier then cooking anything. So this has meant that I have started to use Evelyn's napping to not only get the house cleaned up, but I try to have everything at least prepped for dinner before Nick ever gets home. For example tonight we are having Crockpot Taco Soup. I have the soup cooking away already and I also have all the toppings chopped up, shredded and waiting in the fridge for dinner time. Now all I have to do is pop some biscuits (from a tub, ha!) into the oven just before we want to eat. Not only does this make dinner easy, but it also leaves me with lots of time to spend with Nick when he gets home. (Since we go to bed when the baby does I try to make the most of my time with him.)

All of this has taken some getting used to. Honestly I'm probably not all that used to it. Some days I still forget about dinner entirely and it's a rush to get something on the table before 6. I'm trying though and it is getting easier. I'm hoping I can just start making this a habit!

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