So, if you've spent any length of time here at Eagle's Nest, you've picked up on the fact that I'm (a little bit) obsessed with Pinterest. It's really a very useful tool (for more than just wasting time and feeling falsely creative!). For example...Father's Day brought to you by...Pinterest....
Educational games for my pre-schooler (GULP! we are out of the toddler years, I think)... a day at home today and we were able to actually complete some of those cute things I pinned ages ago...we had fun making them and more fun playing with them afterwards.
And, my latest "holiday" project that is not yet complete, but very close....
All of this while we were a little preoccupied with our latest hobby...for which we also received some Pinspiration....
And this....pretty much sums up my lack of blogging lately....but I'm not going to tell you where I found it. ;-)
Hear ye, hear ye – the results are in! Once again, I have posed a potentially taboo
question on facebook, only to be pleasantly surprised at the feedback I
received. After several shopping trips
of going over my grocery budget, I started wondering if it was time to increase
my allotted amount. I have not been a
faithful couponer as of late, and we have depleted most of our stockpile
(except for body wash….my husband will be clean for years. YEARS.).
A “lazy” shopping trip for me (meaning one where I’m not using coupons)
involves going to Walmart for the things Aldi doesn’t carry, Costco for the
things that are cheaper there than at Aldi, and Aldi for the bulk of my
shopping. A “mega-shopping trip”
involves all 3 of the stores mentioned, in addition to any or ALL of the
following: Bi-Lo, Publix, Target, CVS (using coupons at each store). So, it is not uncommon for us to make 5-7
stops and YES, it takes ALL day, and my (almost) 3 year old is a trooper on
these days! Lately, I’ve been going the
lazy route…and I think that’s what was going on with my budget…that and the
fact that the afore mentioned 3 year old is eating a lot more (and loves
healthy, fresh food) than she was 3 years ago when the current amount was
decided upon. Ahem.
So, naturally, I posted on facebook to see if any of my
friends were interested in sharing their budgets with me. This was potentially risky, because
discussing this sort of thing tends to breed discontentment and dissatisfaction
and comparisons, and just generally ugly
reactions, but I’m thankful that immediately after posting the question, I
turned over my daily calendar page to read this verse:
“Do not set your heart
on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after such things,
and your Father knows that you need them.
But seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12: 29-31
Okay, God….thank you for the reminder. But…it has been continual – everytime I have
been tempted to be discontent, He has been faithful to remind me of what His
Word says about His faithful provision for me and my family. This has come in a multitude of ways –
through conversations with other friends who are struggling to feed their
families well for little money, friends who are just struggling to feed their
families, my husband…who has been diligent to remind me that we all have
different priorities and that is OK. God
has placed all of us in different situations, and each of our unique situations
has SO. MANY. VARIABLES, that it is almost silly for me to list out what each
of us spends for our comparison. (I said almost.)
What I have taken away from this research is that I need to
work harder at stretching the money that God entrusts to me, that I need to
be realistic about the fact that we have a LOT of company and in heavy company
months my normal amount is probably not going to be stretch-able, and that
ultimately it is not even MY money, and I am reminded that I need to be careful
to be a good steward. Each family has to
decide what is best for them and what they feel like God is calling them to do,
and then trust Him and watch His faithful mercies unfold.
So – here are the numbers that I received…I have tried to
keep it as anonymous as possible, and I really appreciate everyone’s willingness
A = Adult(s)
C = Child(ren)
T = Teenager(s)
E2W = every 2 weeks
2A (South) -- $50 E2W food (coupon master + relying on
stockpile + saving for adoption)
2A, 2C (East Coast) -- $250 E2W, food (local produce,
heritage meat, no proc food, no GMOs)
2A, 2C (Midwest) -- $300 E2W, food + extras (diapers for 2,
formula = $60/month)
2A, 3C (Midwest) -- $200 E2W, food only (?)
Like I said – there are LOTS of variables that play into
these figures – dining out, types of food purchased, location, priorities,
company/hospitality/meal ministry, what this figure actually covers, age of
children included, etc, etc. So – don’t
go feeling bad about your number and how it compares to everyone else’s…chances
are none of us are starving, right?
In my conversations surrounding this topic, a number of
tips/hints have come up and I want to list those here…in random order. I feel like these are well known, but I
realize that sometimes we just don’t think about something or are hesitant to
try it, so these are things that real people (my friends and me!) are doing
they are working.
*plan menus to include an item multiple times (i/e….a recipe
calls for ½ container of sour cream…fix another recipe later in the week to use
the remaining sour cream.) Oh...and menu-planning...a MUST.
*swim diapers can be washed/dried….WHO KNEW?!?!
*eat meatless….there are a LOT of ways to get protein other
than meat (think beans, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
Even substituting 1-2 meatless dinners a week helps cut costs. And, when not forgoing meat completely, meat
stretches further if used in casseroles, or just fixing less. So, instead of fixing 1 piece of meat for
each person, maybe try 1/3 to ½…or if a recipe calls for 1 pound, try using ½ pound.
*If you live near an Aldi – SHOP THERE.
*Check local produce stands – often in-season produce is
cheapest there….but make sure to ask where it was grown…sometimes they just buy
it at a wholesale place and resell.
*Plant a garden and grow your own.
*Eggs are an inexpensive and excellent protein source. There are SO many ways to enjoy them!
*Shop wholesale (Costco, Sam’s) when cost efficient. See my other post on that HERE.
*Buy store brands when possible.
*Use coupons if you possibly can! Sites like Southern Savers and Time 2 Save
take a LOT of the work out of it for you.
If you have kids – put them to work cutting!
*Be creative….have a leftover night in which you clean out
the fridge/pantry. We often do this the
night or two before shopping so there’s room for the new stuff. Just because you’ve never ACTUALLY eaten
something together, that doesn’t mean that it might not taste good…give it a
try….you might discover something amazing!
*Check out discount bread stores in your area….often they
are MUCH cheaper and bread freezes well.
*When you find a good sale, or seasonal produce is particularly
cheap, buy a LOT and can/freeze. A chest
freezer (even a small one) is a worthwhile investment. And cans/jars can be stored under beds.
*Research making things from scratch – this will require
more time, but as a SAHM, I prefer to be spending that time with my daughter in
the kitchen letting her help me than not being with her. Some things that I’ve stopped buying pre-made
(unless a REALLY good sale or REALLY busy week) are: bread, rolls, tortillas,
granola, granola bars, sweet breads/muffins, frozen pancakes/waffles, salsa,
taco seasoning, wheat thins, popsicles, etc.
Pinterest is an amazing resource for this sort of thing….just go to the
search bar and type in: Homemade (insert item here) and you will be amazed at
Okay…it’s after midnight and I don’t want to be the grouchy
mommy tomorrow, so I really need to get to bed.
But, thank you all for your patience and again for your
participation. I hope this is helpful
for you – it has been good for me to be reminded of a lot of things and also to
know that I am not alone in my quest for stretching my pennies to care for my
family. God is faithful to provide and
He always does….He promises daily bread….not necessarily weekly or monthly, and
we have to trust Him in that. I can
testify to His amazing provision and “refilled oil jar” type experiences in my
own life and I know He will continue to amaze me with His Fatherly love and
protection. Cling to His promises,
ladies, and He will bless your efforts.