Double Grocery Week and Freezer Meals

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So imagine my surprise last week when I was updating the total I’d spent from the grocery budget, thinking I was pretty slick and going to come in way under for the month, only to realize that since the last trip of last month came AFTER we did March’s bills and the last trip of April will come BEFORE we do the bills, meaning I had 5 trips to divide the $550 budget into instead of the usual 4.

Awesome.

So right away I started trying to come up with ways to stretch my $134 balance to the ultimate limit and feed 5 people for 2 weeks, including diapers and school lunches and house stuff etc.

Luckily, I remembered we had $200 in gift cards to Walmart that my husband received as his quarterly (or whatever) recognition points. He receives points whenever he gets a perfect review from a coworker eps helped, and then you cash them in every so often and can get gift cards. We always picked Walmart because we know we’d use it. And good thing because its totally saved us this time.

So to be totally honest and transparent (because its pointless documenting what I spend on everything else, and saying that I want to show how we pay off debt and survive on a tight budget without showing real numbers), I spent $90.66 on everything in my Aldi Haul picture that I posted on Instagram, and thats for this week, leaving me with $46 in the grocery budget for me month of April.
And then (for next week and beyond) I also spent $122.61 at Walmart on some things unpictured in that post, which include stuff to make freezer meals for next week, and then some things I chose to stock up on because we never get this golden “free money” opportunity and I wanted to be a good steward of it. This leaves about $77 on the gift cards that I can use to pick up a few things for next week that I forgot, like French vanilla coffee for me and toilet paper.

My “stock up” purchases were a big case of diapers, the big coffee canister that will last IMG_8413Jeff weeks to 2 months of more, trash bags that we didn’t need yet but we will, a 5lb bag of rice, macaroni and cheese boxes for easy lunches, and one of those big cereal bags that I filled my canister with and have enough to fill it entirely at least one more time. I also got a bottle of sesame sauce for when I make Bang Bang chicken and lo mean, and a small bottle of white cooking wine; two things I wanted to use before but always filed under “can do without.” I also ran out of makeup, so I got myself a bottle of foundation and a new sponge.

So with the $90.66 and everything I got at Aldi that I showed in my post, these are the meals I’m making this week:

Veggie Loaded Avocado Quesadillas– Keeping some days meatless is a good way I like to save money and add some healthy meals with lots of veggies to fill us up.
Shake and Bake- baked breaded chicken since I have bread crumbs left over, to be served with frozen vegetables that I also have.
Bang-Bang Chicken- A new family favorite with lots of veggies. This will use half of the chicken tenders I got for the baked chicken, and also LEAVES me a half a box of spaghetti to use for something else.
Veggie Lo Mein This is a new meatless meal Im trying out for the first time this week. Im going to make a double portion and use the second half as a freezer meal for next week also.
Broccoli and Cheddar Baked Potatoes– I got an instant pot for my birthday and Im a little intimidated to use it, so I think baked potatoes is a nice safe feeling place to start.
Pizza- Every week, something easy for when I get home from work.
Leftovers- Also every week, clean out the cupboards. Waste not, want not.

Freezer meals are another good way to cut grocery costs, and will save you time later when you can just pop a home cooked meal in the oven and heat it. I’ve done this before when I was pregnant and knew I wasn’t going to want to shop and cook after a baby is born. So for next week, after a marathon cooking session this afternoon, I have:

Garlic Chicken Cheddar Bake- Made right in the disposable pan.
Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
Meatball Subs- 
I made the meatballs and froze them uncooked (lay out on a lined sheet pan for 2 hours to freeze and then put in a gallon zip top bag). I also got a 6-pack of day old bakery rolls for $.84 that I froze as well.
Veggie Lo Mein- Half of what Im making for this week Ill freeze for next week because Im so tired from cooking right now.
Breakfasts- I also have some donuts frozen from last week, and after buying cinnamon today I have ingredients to make more. I also bought pancake mix and am making waffles in my waffle iron to bag up and freeze. Ive done this before and it works great.

So you see there are a few things Ill need to go get since I only have 4 suppers here. Saturday is my birthday so I think we’ll go out as by brother is the gift card king and usually gets me a restaurant card, and then theres leftover day so that takes care of two nights, but Ill need at least 1 more night.
Also, looking over it this isn’t the healthiest meal plan Ive ever created, which is kind of bumming me out because Ive really been working on making healthier meals lately. So I think Ill serve them with steamed veggies, especially the cheddar chicken bake and the mac and cheese, and keep the rest of the meals those days light with fresh fruits and veggies.

I also freeze PB&J sandwiches for lunches and school lunch (that I’ve talked about before in Instagram). Already in my freezer is frozen salmon that Ill probably make for myself but no one else eats.

As usual the recipes I used for all of this are pined in my Baileys on a Budget Pinterest account.

 

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My Best Grocery Budgeting Tips

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I’ve written before about how I Survive the Grocery Stores, but I’m always tweaking my method because our food budget is one of our top priorities AND the thing that I have the most control over within the monthly budget.

So here is a current run down of all my best ideas when I do my grocery shopping. Hope its helpful!

  1. Meal Plan- If you fail to plan then plan to fail. In the years I did the absolute WORST with spending food, I never had a meal plan. Now I’ve been making a meal plan every week for over a year and the difference is night and day. Read my post about Meal Planning, Even When You Hate It for more details.
  2. Make a List- I never had a list in the bad years either. I always thought “I know what we need!” Well, I might have, but I’m pretty sure stores are designed to completely wipe your memory the second you walk in the door.
    I recommend doing an inventory in your kitchen, seeing what you need to have in the house every week, and making that into a list that you put into an editable word document. I have mine in the Surviving the Grocery Stores post. I actually stole this idea from the med dispensing machines at work. The pharmacy knows what to bring because theres a big master list of everything we need in the box at all times. Its incredibly efficient, and I’m all for using other people’s good ideas to my own benefit.
    I print mine out 10 at a time and have one always hanging on the side of my fridge in the “Family Command Center,” so if we run out of something, I can just high light it on the list and not have forgotten come shopping day.
  3. Shop Your Pantry- Even if I feel like I’m totally out of food, theres always something. Even if its just bread crumbs or some left over produce. Eat up your leftovers or transform them into something new (like making left over chicken breast and odd vegetables into a soup). I actually make my meal plan AFTER I’ve taken a quick inventory of what I have in my fridge and pantry. Have some frozen meat you didn’t get to? Search for a new way to prepare it and get inspired.
  4. Shop Your List- I always shop my shopping list to squeeze every penny out that I can. For example, this week I was making Bang-Bang Chicken, so I had a package of chicken tenders on my list. I only ever use a half a package of the tenders in anything I make, leaving a half package left over for another meal. So shopping my list, I knew I needed another chicken meal for the week. Then I remembered I saw a jar of sun ripened dried tomatoes when I was shopping the pantry, and picked Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken. I also was buying a bag of onions for the Bang-Bang, so I picked another recipe that called for onions for another day.
    Its basically like a game where the object is to use up everything you possibly can, so that you can buy the least amount of things at the store and still make great meals for your family. It takes some time, but personally I think its kinda fun.
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  5. Tally it Up!- Its helpful to keep track of what you’re spending as you go. It prevents any surprises at the register and wards off little off budget items that jump into the cart as you’re going along. I used to try to keep track in my head or in the calculator app in my phone, but its kind of a pain when you’re also juggling 2-3 kids, a list, a pen, etc.
    So a few months ago I saw someone on IG using a golf tally as they were shopping and it looked like a great idea. So far Ive shaved $10-30 MORE off my shopping trips on average.
    This is the one I use (*its an affiliate link*). Not that I’m ever wanting to tempt someone into spending money on things they 1. wont use or 2. haven’t budgeted for. I’m just saying this little gadget certainly has helped me.
  6. Shop the Circulars- The first time I read “shop the circulars” I had it backwards. I thought it meant to make my list and then flip though the circulars to find the best price on what I needed. Instead, I look through the circulars and see what the good deals are and then build my meal plan and list from that. My favorite deal lately was buy one get two free ravioli from Price Chopper. This technique helps inspire the meal plan too. Sometimes I feel like Im making the same things over and over. Its hard to think up new meals, and if you eat at home every night, you need some variety. Basing one meal off of what a store puts on sale vs falling back on your usual go-to’s might broaden your horizons a little bit.
  7. Bonus Tip! This one might be a little hardcore, and certainly not for everyone. My kids drink milk and water, but they also like this specific juice thats basically like Aldi’s version of V8 Splash. But I feel like I buy it every week, and two days later its gone! So I’ve come up with a way to stretch my juice buck:
    I kept two empty juice bottles, and now when I bring home new juice, I pour half in the empty bottle and fill them all the rest of the way up with water from our filter. Thus making two juices into four.
    Don’t think I’m awful, juice isn’t a necessity and water is good for you. And now none of us even know the difference. So it works for us?

So theres my list of best tips when I’m trying to keep my grocery budget in check. Im sure I’ll be writing about this again since my methods are ever evolving.

More Meal Plan Ideas

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More meal plan ideas!

I love these types of posts. Well, these and grocery hauls. Love writing’ em, love readin’ em.

Years ago one of the first things I tried (and failed and tried again) to wrestle into submission was our food budget. We ate out a lot, had a ton of food waste, and spent way too much at the store with no plan.

Fast forward to now, I’ve been meal planning every week for about 2 years and we eat at home every night except special occasions like our anniversary. As opposed to every time we celebrate Wednesday, or “not feeling like cooking.” All this home cooking still needs to be inspired though, and Pinterest gets most of the credit. Here are some dinner ideas I’ve found and tried!

IMG_7379 Ranch Chicken Roll-Ups- I found this one on the Pillsbury website and we really like it. I serve it with steamed veggies to balance out the ranch and crescent roll parts.

Insider tips: It says to buy and shred a rotisserie chicken. Those things are like $10. So I just throw a half a package of tenders in the crockpot all day and then shred that. Way cheaper.

Also, leave the crescents in the fridge until the last second. If they warm up they get mushy and harder to cut into rolls. Also, go with a sawing motion vs a press down when you’re cutting.

IMG_7663 One Pot Greek Chicken and Rice– I’m not sure this is actually Greek, I think its more like in the spirit of Greek food, using some traditionally Greek spices. But either way, I’m a sucker for one pot meals and I made this one entirely in my big cast iron skillet.

The next time I make it though I’m going to get some feta or goat cheese crumbles to sprinkle over the top.

 

IMG_7600 Baked Spaghetti Casserole– I found this one while looking for Weight Watchers dinner recipes. I’m not exactly sure how this qualifies, since it has cream cheese, pasta and ground beef, but the kids love it.

This week though, the grocery budget was a little tight so I didn’t get any ground beef to put in it, so we’ll see how it does with some extra veggies.

 

 

Hope these meal plan ideas perk up your menu this week! I’ll keep posting more as I discover them.

How to Make Any Boxed Cake Mix Amazing

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I feel like I’m always making cakes or cupcakes of some type between birthdays, class parties, holidays, even National Firefighter Appreciation Day.  I’ve really taken a liking to it, and baking my own always is less expensive than buying from a bakery.

So in light of Ben’s birthday party this Saturday, I thought I’d collect all my favorite baking tips, tricks, and easy switcheroos on how to take any $.83 boxed mix and make it taste like its from a bakery.

Ben’s 1st Birthday; and How to Save on Kids’ Parties

Egg Whites– Remove the yolks from the eggs recommended on the back and use just the IMG_6927whites. Then replace each yolk removed with 1 tbs of melted butter. This makes the cake lighter and fluffier and also lightens the color of white cake mix.

Extra Eggs– For a richer denser cake, add one or two extra eggs.

Trade Oil for Butter– Butter obviously makes everything better, but its even more obvious with cake, and it improves the texture.

Instant Pudding– Add a package of instant pudding to the cake mix. This is where I sometimes get creative too. Have a white cake mix? Add a package of strawberry pudding mix. Play around with flavors a little bit and you might discover something you really like.

Switch Out Water for Whole Milk- This makes the cake taste denser like you would get from a bakery.

Switch Out Water for Brewed Coffee- To bring out the flavor in chocolate cake. Ive actually never tried this one before but I’m going to this weekend when I make Ben’s chocolate construction site cake. If you’re not into brewing coffee…

Use Hot Water- For chocolate cakes in the same amount recommended in the box directions. This will bring out the flavor.

Sour Cream- Adding 1/2c of sour cream adds richness.

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People also rave about home made frosting, but personally I’ve never done it. Here’s a quick one from good old Betty Crocker.

For more boxed cake mix tips, here are some links:

All Things Mama

Rachel Ray

Happy Baking!

Meal Planning Ideas

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Keeping the grocery shopping and out to eat budgets under control is such a huge part of keeping our whole budget.

Meal Planning, Even When You Hate It

Ive really gotten into the swing and habit of meal planning lately and thats really helped, but sometimes its a challenge to keep it fresh.

I really want to do more posts like this, so here’s the first meal planning post of 2018! These are a few meals I’ve tried lately that we really like and aren’t outrageously expensive.

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Personal Pot Pies or “pot pie guts.” This one is super easy. I put half a package of chicken tenderloins in the crock put with salt and pepper, about 1c. chicken broth and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and leave it there for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Then I drain the broth out, and stir in a jar of chicken or turkey gravy and let it sit on warm for like a half an hour.

Put into bowls and top with a biscuit! Done.

 

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Bang Bang Chicken This one is new to the meal plan and is SOOO good.

I found it on Pinterest here.

I might have cheated out a little bit and not gotten the sweet chili sauce or the fresh chopped parsley, but it was still good with just using things I already had or could find easily.

It also stores well and makes for great leftovers.

 

IMG_7329Garlic Cheddar Chicken Bake This one I found on the Pillsbury website when I was randomly searching for “easy family dinners.”

It only has a couple of ingredients, five of them are probably in your pantry right now.

Everyone loves it and I make it weekly (for now) with mashed potatoes as a side.

This is another one that stores perfectly and is a hit again on leftover night.

 

I hope maybe one of these piqued your fancy and made this weeks meal plan a little easier. I have another one of these posts planned. And I definitely have to get a new bulb for my dining room light because I hate the yucky yellow color it gives everything.

Bon appetit!

Week of Budget Dinners

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Last week on my Instagram account I did quick posts about what I made each night for dinner, along with how much I spent total and then broke it down to the per person costs (for our 5 person family).

I wanted to put them up on here as well so I could post links and more information and so they would be more permanent. I also hope to do this more and more.

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  1. Honey-Apple DrumsticksI found this recipe here, on the Food Network website a few weeks ago searching for easy, healthy dinner ideas. The first night, it got rave reviews, and the second time were even better because I had more practice making the glaze. Even Sam ate two drumsticks after six years of refusing to touch any food with a sauce on it. I was intimidated at first because I had no idea how to make a glaze, but it’s seriously so easy, and I feel like a more experienced cook now. Doesn’t take much I guess.
    Served with two dry packaged Spanish rice bags.
    Cost: $4.88 total, .89/person.

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2. Spiced-Apple-Stuffed French Toast Casserole

After taking two months of the summer off, I restarted Weight Watchers last week (and lost 5.4 lbs!).  So when I was looking for dinner ideas, I knew I should check out some WW ones just to make my life easier. I found this crockpot recipe here, on the Weight Watchers website. I like having breakfast stuff for an easy dinner, and this was just filling enough. The apples and spices in it made it taste like fall, so I’m sure in a few weeks it’ll be a new favorite.
Cost: $4.10 total or .82/person

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3. Soup and Paninis

This is on the meal plan every week. Another easy, fast dinner, and everyone can have just what they want (read: no whining). Conveniently this was for dinner the first night I started feeling really sick with what I now think is Lyme disease after visiting my doctor and starting treatment the other day.
Don’t have a panini maker? No problem. You can also use a waffle iron, a non-stick-sprayed pan (as if you were making grilled cheese), or toast both pieces of bread before assembling the sandwich and microwaving it for a few seconds.
Cost: $4.23 total, or .85/person.

4. Pizza Night

Ok I was feeling pretty cruddy by this point AND I worked until after we usually have dinner, so there’s no picture for pizza night. Anyways, this is another thing that stays on my meal plan. I love pizza. We used to order delivery several times a month; sometimes ever more than once per week. This was obviously ridiculously expensive, and after we added drinks and sides, we could top $40-50 easy, for one dinner. Not wanting to give it up, I have a frozen pizza night weekly. Aldi has a million different varieties that go from classic cheese and pepperoni to roasted veggie bistro style to (my latest favorite) taco and gyro pizza. I get two so little people have options and we usually have left overs for lunch the next day. Sometimes we even do make-your-own, and pick out our own toppings and have a little mini-cheffing.

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5. Honey Mustard Pork Chops

This one was from my Weight Watchers cookbook, but I also found it here, on food.com, except I go with boneless chops. I must be on this week because all the kids ate this one too. Pork chops are so cheap, and after they’re left to marinade, they cook on broil in like 12 minutes.
Served with mashed potatoes (red russet because you don’t have to peel them). You could also add a bag of frozen veggies for under $1.
Cost: $3.60 total or .72/person.

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6. Skinnytaste Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

From my Skinnytaste Fast and Slow cookbook, but you can also find the recipe here. So I couldn’t fine heirloom carrots and I wasn’t interested in driving all over creation to find them, and I used goat cheese crumbles instead of feta because my Aldi was out this particular day. Anyway, it turned out delicious and we ate every bite. Definitely going on the plan for next week.
Cost: $6.45 total or $1.29/person

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7. Leftovers/ Poverty Meal

I really have to say, when I posted about pasta with butter on my Instagram, I never ever thought it would get such a response. So many people (considering my small amount of followers) either said they had something similar or wanted to know how to make it. Something borne in my childhood when we had no food in the cabinets, and no money to get anything more, this still goes on my meal plan for Wednesday nights to supplement the week’s leftovers. Its cheap, easy and for some reason, everyone seems to like it.
For those of you looking for the recipe: 
Boil 1lb pasta (any type) and drain.
Add 1 stick of butter and mix until butter is melted and pasta is coated.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan/Romano cheese.
Add salt and basil to taste.
Cost: $1.61 total or .32/person

I really like the idea of the budget meals posts. I’m definitely going to try to post more on here as I discover and try some more out so stay tuned!

Behind the Scenes

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Recently I finished paying off one of my remaining two (at the time) student loans. I wanted to celebrate in a big way, so I brought my debt payoff chart out to the backyard and burnt it in the fire pit. The video brought me the most comments on Instagram and the most daily views of this blog of anything else I’ve posted so far.

The day you finally get to burn those loan documents or that mortgage is a HUGE day and I’m so grateful for everyone’s words of encouragement and congratulations. But I do want to remind people who may be struggling, or just starting out on their debt free journey, that the one big day is the result of. So. Many. Small days. So many small choices. There were so many little things going on behind the scenes of that video that were the reasons I was able to pay off $3,200 in 30 days.

So this post is all about “behind the scenes,” so show that it’s not all sunshine and bonfires and precipitously dropping loan balances over here. When I was new at this whole debt paying thing, it was nice to think about getting that “Paid in Full” letter, but like.. what do you actually DO to get there? This is what we DO.

We don’t have huge incomes, we didn’t hit PowerBall, no one died and left us an inheritance. And none of those things have to happen for you either. What we do have to have is determination, a goal, and patience.

Get on the Same Page, Make Goals, and Make a Budget. Everyone in the house that has the power to spend money has to be on the same page with saving it. Jeff knows my game plan: pay off my loans from smallest to biggest, then tackle his smallest to largest. He supports me, me encourages me. Every month when he finishes paying the bills, he lets me know “Babe, we have $xyz left over in the joint account, how much do you want me to send you for your loans?” Or “I got my tuition reimbursement” or travel expenses approved or whatever it may be. We review our budget frequently and make adjustments as we go along (read how we made our budget here). It just wouldn’t work if one of us was pinching pennies and the other one was buying a new iPhone or trinkets and trifles off of Amazon.

Just… No.  The most effective tool we use to reach our goals is just saying no. No I don’t want to go out to eat, no we can’t buy that new toy, no we don’t need a new car. We won’t go on vacation this year, or to Great Wolf Lodge or Davis Farmland or Six Flags. We absolutely will not be at Disney World or on a tropical get away. My kids don’t have a trove of brand new clothes and a hundred pairs of shoes every season and nor do we. We won’t be doing swim lessons and soccer and tee ball and dance class and karate.

Find Free Fun. All these No’s seem like a life sentence of boo-riiinnggggg, but we have plenty of fun. During the summer we use Jeff’s veteran status to go to Blue Star Museums free of charge. The Highland Street Foundation in our state sponsors Free Fun Fridays, where local zoos and parks have one day that is free of admission. We also play outside, set up the kiddie pool and have a “pool day,” go to local playgrounds, have movie nights, set up play dates, visit the lake in town if its not too busy, or do art projects. I might plan a cupcake decorating day or a make your own sundae night and include the supplies into the grocery budget. Kids have fun wherever they are. You don’t need to whip out the plastic to enchant their youth.

Priority 1: Food. I plan the meals and the grocery list for two weeks and buy our groceries from the discount grocery store Aldi (read my other posts about grocery stores here). Actually, edit that: I TRY to. Food (also include here personal care items and household supplies) is the thing that changes the fastest and is the easiest to either reign in or to go completely out of control.
In summary of my other posts, my perfect plan is to 1.) plan out all three meals and snacks and school lunches and all supplies for two weeks, 2.) make the shopping list from that plan, 3.) search for online deals or coupons to get this cost down as much as possible, 4.) try to get as much as I can from Aldi or generic and clearance items at Walmart, 5.) stick with the plan over the two weeks using my meal plan and keeping that actual piece of paper handy to remember what the plan is.
If everything goes perfectly, we don’t get any take out or fast food items.

Utilities and stuff. The idea is pretty easy, the less you have to pay in bills, the less of your income goes to utility companies, the more you have left over to service your debt. We keep the heat at 62 in the winter. We have window unit AC’s that are only on during heat waves and are only on as cool as 70. Some days I feel like all I do is follow people in and out of rooms and turn off light switches. And sinks. Some of this stuff I’ve written before in Little Things.
The best thing we’ve ever done for our monthly bottom line is cancel our cell plans. Yup. We don’t have cell phones. Weird, right? Except it saves hundreds of dollars a month. When I tell people this they get this terrified look in their eyes. “What do you mean you don’t have a cellphone??” Recently I asked the receptionist at my optometrist’s office if I could use the phone. “Um… for what purpose?” she asked.
I still have my iPhone and I use it on wifi. Exactly zero of our dollars go to Verizon or AT&T or Sprint or whatever. At one point I loved my phone. I had totally fallen into the consumerist trap. They told me I NEEDED it and I believed them. It was hard giving it up but I’m so happy I did. And now I fell like I could live the rest of my life without the latest gadget.
Not long ago I was at a party and heard someone totally freaking out about the new phone they had just gotten. Like completely 100% FREAKING out about how amazing it is. It was clear this person wanted everyone to jump right on board and tell her how they have no idea she survived without it for so long. I couldn’t help but feel sad for her. The phone is over $800, or about the same as a month of rent.

Do it (all) Yourself. We don’t have a staff over here. Theres no housekeeper “helping me out” one day per week. There’s no baby sitter so we can go out on a date night. There aren’t any personal training sessions. There’s no hair stylist, no waxer no manicurist. If the kids were old enough for sports, there wouldn’t be any private coaches or trainers multiple times per week. If something in the house needs fixing, we fix it and if we don’t know how, we learn. If a button falls off or a new shirt (or even an old shirt) gets a tear, I fix it. Am I a pioneer woman? Not even close.
A while ago I read an article written by someone recounting how their grandparents lived on basically nothing. Part of it spoke about repairing things as soon as they were broke, not tossing them in a junk drawer to be forgotten, and keeping things in clean working order. These efforts reduce your want for things and keep you on budget. I tried to find it but I can’t remember the name. The tone of it was really simple and inspirational.
A huge part of us staying on track with debt repayment has been learning how to do basic things ourselves. Jeff learned how to do all of our basic home repairs, and some big remodeling projects. He also changes our oil right in the driveway which has saved us consistently. I’ve developed a basic understanding of hand and machine sewing. I can reattach a button, repair a small hole, add a hem. I even made Sam a pair of sweatpants out of green fleece when I refused to pay rush shipping for a Halloween costume. Instead of throwing that buttonless shirt in the donate bin and buying a new one, or doubling the price of the pants by rushing them to the house, we keep everything “in-house.” You can do it too, I promise. Check out YouTube for how to and beginner videos. Be resourceful. And have a little faith.

There are so many things I could write about here. Family finance in a culture of consumerism is a complex animal. Spending without regard to our income is part of our norm now. Friends and relatives will look at you like you’re crazy for being on this journey, and spending for the fun of it is part of our fabric. When we first started it took a lot for me to be able to examine each area of our spending and deem it necessary or extravagant. It’s ok. Good things take time. As does scrapping everything you know about managing money and starting fresh. These points are a good start, and I’ll keep writing. From behind the scenes.