Friday, September 18, 2009

The Art of Being Cheap

I have done something that I previously thought impossible. I have learned how to feed my family of five for next to nothing! Now, I don't mean cheap "I'm still hungry Mom" meals, these are hearty meals. I knew that coming into a new mortgage was going to leave us strapped for a little while. The power deposit alone was almost $600! So two weeks ago I began to research meal planning and frugal homemaking and found a host of information on the subject. Using the tips I found, one of them being only shopping the loss leaders at the grocery store, I successfully managed to make a 28 day meal plan and only spent $110. Poppycock you say? I beg to differ! Now just to disclose everything, my meal plan does include one "leftover" day a week and we always have simple breakfasts & lunches. I bought all the meat, veggies, and dry goods I will need for the month leaving me only perishables to purchase each week. I met one of those hurdles yesterday though when I successfully MADE BREAD! Ladies & Gentlemen your applause is greatly appreciated. I went back to the store and spent another $40 on extra produce to blanch and freeze and extra lunch meat to freeze as well. So total this month I have spent $150 and I should not have to spend more than another $100 for the next 2-3 weeks. Even if I did spend that much it would bring me to the grand total of $250 for an entire months worth of food (3 meals a day) for 2 adults and 3 kids. Admittedly, this plan is cooking heavy and is a make-your-own-snacks kind of plan, but I like to cook and my family prefers homemade food to storebought. The reality is that no one may care about this, other than my husband who is in awe of me at this point, but I'm telling you that I have never felt more awesome as a wife or mother than right now. Not only have I been financially responsible but we are eating more whole foods and by proxy living greener since we are using less packaging, but I am teaching all these things to my boys by example. I have found that there have been some unexpected, but happy side effects as well. One of the best things I didn't see coming was the structure that my meal plan has added to our house. No one has asked me the dreaded "What's for Dinner?" question for two weeks now. Another glad change is that I no longer have that "Ugh! What am I going to cook for dinner?" feeling every day at about 2pm. I actually find myself looking forward to dinner time now! I didn't plan for these things but I don't ever want to go without them again. I know that there are plenty of women who do this all the time and don't know any other way. My hats off to these wonderful ladies. Since this is my first foray into the frugal homemaking world I am utterly grateful to them and astounded that I ever did it another way. I'll never revert to my former wasteful and irresponsible ways...pinky swear.


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