Tag Archives: cheap living

Crazy Week Pitfalls

Oh My Goodness!!!  Last week was definitely one of those crazy weeks.  I was so busy that my weekly shopping was being pushed out-of-the-way for more important obligations that needed my attention.  We were still doing fine with meals for dinner.  Thank God for Angel Food Ministries keeping my freezer affordably stocked!!  However, our lunch and breakfast items were running extremely low or completely out.

Drastic measures were being taken.  I began stopping at the little corner convenient store near our home  for bread, milk, and other foods to tie us over until I could manage a grocery trip.  I spent $5 for a gallon of milk.  $3 for a loaf of bread.  Each purchase was dipping into my weekly budget of $120.  We even had to make a fast food drive by while getting from one event to another only because we didn’t have bread or peanut butter to make sandwiches.   I am ashamed to say that I completely fell for the “crazy week pitfall!”  And it was quite pitiful I might add.

So yesterday I had a window of opportunity to sit down to make out my grocery list.  We had just picked up our Angel Food so we were good to go with dinners for the next four weeks.  I sat there and planned out the meals like I always do.  I checked my pantry and refrigerator for items that needed replenishing or for items I had to make the delicious meals I was planning.  I was on top of everything.

After the planning was done, I did my regular estimating of the cost.  $129 was the total.  OUCH!  Nine dollars over my budget.  But then remembering the stops throughout the week, I pulled out my receipts and started adding up what was already spent for the weekly Angel Food cost and those items purchased here and there all week.  Oh dear…..I only had $65 left of my weekly allowance.  A far cry from the $129 I just estimated.

At this point, I had a choice.  I could have just gone with the $129 menu or start over.  I chose to start over.  I reevaluated my list.  Cutting out things that we could wait another week for…..that elminated $30.  So then I looked at my menu of wonderful yummy meals and redesigned it.  Now, I was at a grand total of $85.  I worked and reworked that menu and couldn’t get it under $85.  That is $20 over my weekly allowance.

So, anyway, I was off to the ATM to get cash.  I could only get out $80 or $100.  Missing the old days of increments of $5, I selected $80 knowing that something was going to have to be sacrificed.  Armed with my list and $80, I set out to shop.

One trick I have learned while shopping is to use a calculator.  I have it in my hand the whole time I am putting things in my cart.  Adding a running total of the purchases in the buggy helps me keep within my alloted cash I have on me.  Plus this keeps me from having to guess how much I am spending and from the embarrassing, “oh dear, I don’t have enough money….let’s put back….”  Been there??

Another trick is I round up to the nearest dollar to compensate for the taxes.  I punch in $2 for a product that is priced $1.02.  This trick really helps out a lot. I would rather be way off on the calculator than way too short of cash at the register.

Well, as I was shopping and tallying up my expenditures, I was making decisions as well.  Like, for example, peanut butter….Mark loves crunchy, Justin doesn’t and Joellen can’t because of braces….well, instead of buying both I just got creamy.  Mark will live for a week without crunchy.  Instead of toothpaste that costs $2 I chose the $1 smaller one.  I know that the $2 bigger one will eventually cost me less because it will go further but I didn’t have the wiggle room this week.  Clean healthy teeth was my goal.  Those little last minute decisions paid off.

I spent $70 on the nose. I had $10 to spare.  I was only $5 over my budget. Needless to say that the smile across my face at the register was worth the hard work.  So a lesson was learned, when you get in a crunch for time and think that it is worth stopping at the convenient store for necessities, the price paid will only end up costing you in the long run.

An Englishman Once Said…

There are days around here when I get pretty lonely.  The kids have gone back to school and I am left to do the housework alone.  Sometimes I just have to have noise in the house for company.   I had the TV on for background noise.  It was on our local PBS station.  (Remember, we do not have cable or satellite at our house.) I don’t even know what the program was but it caught my attention.

The gentleman on the set was explaining the difference between Americans and the English.  He brought out a tea table as an example.  He explained to the American culture this old table was junk.  Pointing out the glass rings, scuffs and discolorment on the little table, he commented that the English would place  a piece of fabric over the top and enjoy tea.  We, Americans, however would either repaint or replace.  He stated so matter-a-factly that since we live in a disposable culture we would simple toss the table out and find a new one.  Then pointing to the floor he drew the viewers attention to the rugs.  There were rugs on top of rugs.  Peeling back the edges of each rug, he exposed the wear and tear from years of use.  Again, he said that the English has created a very stylish look by covering up the shabby.

This got me to thinking…Have we forgotten how to be satisfied with what we own?  Has our disposable attitude towards things gone so far that an Englishman is bashing our  lifestyle on PBS??  Have we forgotten the old saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned?”

Oh my, have we forgotten what that means?  Not spending money is as good as earning it….. And by the way, a famous Englishman, Charles Dickens quoted that in the 19th Century.  I know people who will just cringe at my suggestion…. not to replace anything broken, tarnished, or scratched????  Could I be suggesting to hold off on major redecorating because we have grown tired of the color?  Are we going to live up to the Englishman’s accusations???

“NOT ME!”  I shouted at the TV set.  Then as I looked around my horribly stained carpet and thought, “Hope I can find nice rugs at yard sales cause this carpet needs to be covered.”

Wal-Mart and Ice Cream

Oh…..my…. goodness!!  Have you seen the Wal-Mart commercial about saving money and eating ice cream at home????  For $3 a family can have ice cream sundaes at home and save hundreds of dollars by not going out for ice cream.   Once again, I agree that eating ice cream out is more expensive than eating at home.

Occasionally, we go out for ice cream.  We will go to McDonald’s and have a $1 sundae.  But this is a rare occasion.  But we do enjoy our own homemade Frosties!!   And it is sooooo cheap to make…. Take a look!!

Homemade Frosties

2 cups milk


4 Tbsp Nesquick

1 Tbsp Peanut Butter

Blend in blender until smooth….

Simple enough right???  Let’s see how much this costs:

2 cups milk= $.34

4 Tbsp Nesquick powder= $.18

Ice= Free

1 Tbsp Peanut Butter= $.004

Grand Total:  $.52 for 4 servings!!  Now if you add a little vanilla your cost might go up $.005….But it is definitely your decision whether or not you want to drive up your cost!!


Wal-Mart's Commericals

Hey, have you caught Wal-Mart’s new “pack your lunch” commerical???? Save your money and skip the fast food chain….. I agree with Wal-Mart with that statement…..  And I have noticed they have said “under $3.”  So, I decided to take a look at how much my kids lunches cost me to make……

Menu:  Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Applesauce, Kool-aid, cookies…….

Peanut Butter Sandwiches:

2 slices of bread:  $.08

1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter:  $.004

Applesauce: 1/2 cup serving=$.18  (We purchase the jar… want to be green ya know)

Kool-aide (made at home)= 1 cup= $.01

Homemade Cookies= 2 cookies=$.015

So let’s see our total shall we…….

29 Cents!!!!!

Can’t beat that now can we????? So let’s say you eat that for lunch everyday for a month at work and school….. You would have spent only $6 for 5 lunches a week for an entire month!! Can’t even get one combo meal for that price at McDonald’s!!  Yippie!!

Isn’t it fun to add up how much things cost????  It is amazing how eye-opening it really is!!

Motivation That Makes Cents

I am going to be honest……There are days I just don’t want to get into the kitchen and cook.  Sometimes, it is hard for me to find the motivation to cook at least three times a day.  I can just not be in the mood…. or am just too tired from a long day of housework.  Nevertheless, I am tempted to call Mark and say, “Let’s go out to eat.”

When I begin thinking like throwing in the towel, my wallet becomes my motivator.  There are people in this world who eat out at least twice a week if not every night.  Now, if we go out to eat once a week… say to a fast food restaurant…that would cost us roughtly $22.  That would be $88 a month and that would be $1056 a year.   Whoa!! Now if we went to a sit down restaurant, we would spend approximately $36.  That would be $144 a month and $1728 a year. Now let’s just put pen to paper for going out twice a week (one fast food and sit down meal)…..$58 a week, $232 a month, and $2784 a year!!!

Sometimes, I just have to remind myself what that money coul be used for….that is enough motivation to keep me from getting away from home cooked meals……

Here’s your challenge…. put pen and paper to work for you…..see how much you spend in a year’s time on going out to eat…. you might be surprised!!