Category Archives: Living on a Dime

The Gro Bill

Recently a friend of mine posted this on Facebook…..

Lets just ponder this thought for a moment…I was at the grocery store and as I’m deciding what I’m going to buy I’m comparing products. You can buy regular cookies for $2 vs fat free cookies for $3. Candy for $3 vs grapes for $6. Regular white bread $1 vs whole grain wheat bread with essential vitamins an nutrients for $3.26. And the government wonders why people are unhealthy and obese!!! HELLO WHITE HOUSE IF YOU WILL DROP PRICES OF HEALTHY FOOD JUST A LITTLE MAYBE IT WILL BE EASIER AND MORE ECONOMICAL FOR PEOPLE TO CHOOSE TO BE HEALTHIER. Just my gripe for the day.

I have to say…. I have said the same thing millions of times.  It kills me the amount of cola you can purchase for the same amount in low fat milk.

My wallet has definitely felt the strain of purchasing the healthier choices.  And last week I successfully got my cost down to our budget number.  It has taken me a while to figure it out, but nevertheless, I did it.  And we are not starving!!

Change Your Thinking

My daughter has complained for a few days now that she wants “real food” again.  She said this as she forked her salad and roasted veggies.  I almost choked.  Real Food??  There isn’t more real than what was on her plate.  But I know what she meant.  She misses the chicken nuggets, french fries, etc.  Oh, and of course, the junk….. the sugary sweets she loves.

The sales ad, the posters, the HDTV ads along the aisle of the grocery store, and even the commercials scream….. “You need this!”  Ever notice in the sales ad that the “processed foods” take up the majority of the pages??  The raw fruits and veggies may be lucky to have a corner of the page.  The reason is that the manufacturers pay to run those “specials.”  The give a good deal for the stores to sell those particular items that week.

So before you even hit the market, you need to change your way of thinking.  We have been conditioned to think less is best.  The cheaper something is, the more affordable I feel it is, and therefore, must purchase not just one but a truck load because it is on sale right???

But what I have found in this endeavor, less is best.  I know what you may be thinking…. she’s lost her mind.  I have noticed that the raw foods I am eating fill me up faster and therefore I am not eating as much.  Same for the family….  I don’t have to purchase tons of cheap food to satisfy our needs.  Just a less amount of the good things.  So, purchase the fiber rich foods.  Here’s a list of high fiber foods from the Mayo Clinic.

So yes, less is best!

Plan, Plan, Plan

So now, I must continue to preach meal planning!  I have always been an advocate for meal planning.  It helps you to stay on track and to save money.  I have my meal planner hung on the dining room wall.  It helps the family know what to expect for dinner and it helps me to remember!!

Okay, now open your sales ad to the corner where the fresh foods are located.  Plan a meal(s) around those foods.  There is nothing wrong in saving a little change on this week’s fresh bargains!!

Stock up on cookbooks or create a bookmark with all your favorite online recipes.  Make them handy.  And use them.  If you notice on my menu board I add page numbers and an abbreviation of the cookbook title.  That way, when making my grocery list I can quickly get back to the recipe for the list of ingredients.

menu

menu close up

 

Meal planning goes hand in hand with a grocery list.  Make a detailed list, only after you have checked your pantry and frig for any of the ingredients listed.  No need to spend money on extras!!

Become a Grocery Store Spelunker and Gymnast  

Okay, so you have your list and you have your thinking in check.  Now it is time to visit the store.  Skills like a spelunker and gymnast is now coming to play.

When I started on this adventure at the beginning of the year, I thought I had to only shop at Whole Foods.  Now, they are wonderful for some things but they are on the expensive side.  But since I have skills, I made my way into my local grocery store for the same foods.

Explore.  You must explore.  Take the time to really go through the aisles and find where the healthy foods are located.  For example, you can find soy milk in the dairy section or on the shelf (mine is located next to the snack foods).  Compare the prices and figure out which is more economical.  Mayo alternatives are down by the pickles.  You get the picture.

Read labels.  You must read those labels.  The other day, I needed to buy syrup for my guys.  I reached for the cheap syrup but then I turned over to the ingredients.  The only thing I recognized was “High Fructose Corn Syrup.”  Everything else was chemical Greek to me.  So I searched for a healthier option.  I found it. On the top shelf in the corner hiding beside Corn Syrup.  Real Maple Syrup.  I didn’t like the price but thought it would be a good way to teach smaller portions to the family.

The processed foods are always in front and center.  To find the No Sugar/Sugar Free/Sweetener Free products you have to bend and stretch a little more than usual.  They are well hidden.  Trust me.  I know.  But they are there.

And remember this is the “get what you need” attitude.  Stocking up may be good at times but it shouldn’t be the norm.

Less is best!!  Time is money well spent on healthy options.  If you make a quick run to the store you will have the grab it and run attitude which will probably lead you to the cheaper processed foods.

Canned? Frozen? Fresh?

Okay, here’s the thing.  We are busy.  I get that.  Not everyone has the time to make things from scratch.  You can make short cuts by using canned veggies or frozen veggies.  But again, read your labels.  You may find things added….. ahem….. like sugar.

Be mindful of portions.  One potato is one serving.  So if you cut one potato into fries you have yourself one serving of fresh and healthy.  So, if you put the cost per serving to the test, you don’t really spend that much more.  Plus, you can do so much more with a sack of potatoes versus a bag of french fries.

Breads.  Here’s where it kinda gets nerve wrecking.  There are so many options and prices that your head will literally spin.  But, here is an idea.  Go over to the bakery section and purchase bread.  There won’t be as many preservatives added and well at least you can recognize most of the ingredients listed.  And they tend to be cheaper than the high dollar healthy breads.

Cookies.  My friend talked about the price difference.  Here’s my advice.  If you are going to eat cookies make them at home.  You control the ingredients and you can add healthier alternatives.  But if you insist on purchasing cookies  like for example Oreo.  Turn the package over and read the label.  Calorie per calorie often enough the number is close to or exactly the same when it comes to fat-free/sugar free vs. regular.  In this case it is portion control that needs to be the driving factor.

Community Gardens and Neighborhood Fruit

Here’s an idea.  Visit a community garden and get yourself a little plot…… especially if you are like me and can’t grow a thing in my yard (soil is too sandy).  Grow your own veggies!  Then learn how to can or freeze your bounty.

This spring, our church is planting a community garden and guess who will be there learning from the green thumb experts??  Can’t wait.

Then there are websites like Neighborhood Fruit that list fruit trees in your area that you can visit and pick from.  For example, if I had an apple tree in my yard, I could list it and people are welcome to come and pick for themselves.  Neat idea.  Think I will be asking neighbors around here to add theirs.  I hate seeing all that fruit going to waste when I can serve it up or make jelly!

Will

Hey, I am an advocate with the philosophy of “If there is a WILL, there is a WAY!”  Don’t give up good health for processed cheap food.  Get crafty and creative with fresh foods.  You will be surprised!

Like I said, last week, I succeeded in getting my grocery bill down to our budget number.  It required work though.  I know you can do it!!

Genesis 1:29

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

 

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Ahem…. it doesn’t.

Tried a garden plot, spot and pot…..  never seems to grow.

I’ve read books, magazines and asked the old timers in my community.

Once was told I couldn’t kill mint….. ahem, it never grew!  So, I added a little fertilizer and killed it.

Dead.

Deader than dead.

I gave up for a few years.  But now I am determined.  I just want a salad.  Nothing big.  Nothing real special.  Just a salad.

I saw on Pinterest a few months ago, a picture of dresser drawers turned into shelves.  That was right up my alley insanity.  A friend was moving and had thrown out an old dresser.  I begged her for her drawers….. that’s DRESSER drawers!!!  Geez!!

Anyway, I obtained these drawers and well…… they were too heavy for my walls.  I didn’t want to waste them nor my friend’s generosity.  So, I did the next best thing…..

Garden Drawers!!

Crazy I know.  But, why not!  Just maybe I will actually have a fresh salad that I ACTUALLY grew!

Enjoy your weekend!  God bless…..

Stockpiling or Hoarding?

Okay, I have heard about the “Extreme Couponing” show on TLC.  Sadly, I don’t pay for TV so I have never actually watched an episode.  It sounds exciting and very interesting.  I hope it will some day be online to watch.  But here’s what I have seen on the YouTube…. stockpiling.

I just don’t understand this concept.  Now, I ain’t stupid… I know that having a few extras helps save money and all… and I do have a full freezer and a well stocked pantry but what concerns me is the 60 boxes of cereal and the extra rooms being used as a storage facility.  It doesn’t seem very wise to purchase so much that you won’t be able to consume it before the expiration date.  It seems so wasteful and time consuming.

I understand the concept of worrying about the possibility of a major disaster but really…. we shouldn’t over extend ourselves with worry about tomorrow…being prepared in case of an emergency is one thing but living near the hoarder extreme borderline is another thing.

Please take a look at two clips that I have found.. and let me know what you think about the stockpiling.  Perhaps, it only bothers me.. but I would be interested to know your opinion.

This first clip has all the cereal.  It is short and kinda makes me wonder.  The expense in the nice tubs to store everything made my heart stop!

 

This next clip is around 7 minutes long.  But notice the amount of gravy!  And here’s something I want to ask.. Why the lock on the door???

 

So what do you think?  Is this a healthy stockpile or is it borderline hoarding?

http://www.arkansite.com/Now remember I am at Arkansite.com today.  Hop on over and take a gander.  I am discussing a unique form of weight loss.

Be safe and keep your eye to the sky today.  Severe weather here in my neck of the woods.  God bless…

Granny's Helpful Hints

April 18, 2005 was the day my Granny Aline passed away.   There were times she would call me and say, “Gina, you’re on my mind.  Everything okay?”  She always said she had a special bond with me.  It was amazing that 99% of the time when she asked, I had a bad day and needed to talk to someone.  She was a good listener!

Anyway, today, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what to blog about.  Granny popped in my head.  I decided to go through some of her recipe boxes for a good recipe to share.  But I ran across an index card ring with some helpful hints instead.

So, here is just a few helpful hints she wrote…

Flea Prevention

1.  Rosemary and water- boil for 1 hour and cool.  Strain.  Pour water in spray bottle and add a little more water.  Spray on cat or dog.

2.  Put pine needles under the pet’s bed-will keep fleas out of the house.

3.  Add garlic and Brewer’s yeast to food-will keep fleas off pets.

yeast

Slow Drains

Use Plumb Clean-it is the best!

plumb clean

Repairing Wallpaper

When seam pops up-raise and apply clear nail polish to seam, press, hold for a few seconds-seams will be sealed.

Dingy Whites

Try whitening formula of 1 cup automatic dishwasher detergent and 1/3 cup household bleach added to one gallon hot water.  Be sure to mix in a plastic or stainless steel bucket.  Soak your whites in solution for 30 minutes.  Remove and wash as usual.

Prevent Color Running

Soak colored clothes in water with a little vinegar, then wash normally.

Fluffy Rice

Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to cooking water to make rice fluffy.

Paint Smell

To remove paint smells when painting add two tablespoons vanilla flavoring to each gallon of paint.

Sticky Price Tag Glue

To remove sticky glue left when removing price stickers on merchandise, use small amount of peanut butter worked well into surface, wet a small amount of terry towel and rub gently til all is removed.

Ice Cubes

Put ice cubes in brown paper bag-they won’t stick together in freezer.

Lighting Candles or Fireplace

Lit a stick of uncooked spaghetti for lighting a fireplace or candles on a cake.

Well, folks, there you have it.. Granny’s helpful hints.  If I run across some more I will be sure to let you know!  Enjoy this glorious day!

God bless..

Bread and Rainbow Colors

 

Okay, now you know that I am a savvy shopper.  I am always looking for the best buys and how to stretch my dollar.  Now I can not take the credit for this little discovery.  Mark was the one who told me this tip and I can’t wait to share it with you!!

Did you know??????

The twist ties on the loaf of bread you purchased can tell you when it was baked?  I didn’t know this!!  Each baking day is assigned a colored twist tie.  This can help you choose the freshest bread.

Monday:  Blue

Tuesday:  Green

Thursday:  Red

Friday:  White

Saturday:  Yellow

Apparently, Wednesdays and Sundays are not baking days.  So next time you are in the store be sure to check out the twist tie!  You would hate to purchase bread on Friday with a blue twist!!

Enjoy your Monday!!  God bless..