Friday, October 16, 2009

Strategy and feedback

Mackenzie loves to attack Paige! Poor Paige!

Madison making sentences with flash cards.

I was asked recently about my post and what information I am giving out. I looked back through and, although I believe this to be a work in progress, I see I am doing a combination of things. I offer what I have done as far as shopping, goals and accomplishments, and I offer how I did it. But in this blog, I will focus on what exactly I do to get some results, particularly from shopping.

I have come to discover while doing some reading recently, that I am not a stockpiler, per say. I am more of a budget keeper. How do I keep my budget? I don't always. I do AVERAGE it though. I had set a budget several months back of $80 a week. I am slowly whittling this down. I am aiming for $50, though that does not always work out. I have not, even on my worst shopping trip recently, gotten back up to $80, so that shows some progress. Unfortunately, Mackenzie's diapers eat some of this up. Thank goodness I am still breast feeding and making her food rather than having to buy separate. Though I have recently read that, when learning to live more frugally, you will find things you ARE willing to do and things you are NOT willing to do. I am willing to breast feed and make baby food. I am not willing to make every meal from scratch and I am also not willing to shop at more than two stores for a good deal. You have to decide what works best for you in learning to live simply.
Madison helping to make Turkey pot pies to freeze.

I also do not take advantage of EVERY good deal that comes along. Here was what I did this week. I wanted to spend $50. I looked at the websites for Walmart, Publix, Target, and the ad for Save-a-lot. I compared them to the few sets of coupons I have and decided Walmart and Publix would get my the best deals. They had the items I needed on sale and I had coupons. I did not pay full price for anything and I did not go to any other stores. Does this mean sometimes I pass on something I may need? Yes. I did not buy milk for 3 days last week because I refused to pay 3.09 until I could get to Walgreens to get it for 2.49. That is my choice on certain items I can do without. I made eggs for breakfast.

As for keeping the things I need down to a minimum. Here are some other choices I make because I do not mind. I often make pancakes or eggs for breakfast. Though I have gotten some seriously cheap cereal, I tend to save it for emergency, leaving early days. I have snacks like crackers, cheese, yogurt, or veggies. But mainly, I make dinners that I know I can get leftovers from. I have been on a whole chicken, whole turkey kick lately as they were on sale and they were CHEAP! This means turkey pot pies, turkey sandwiches, left over chicken, soups. I also plan a few meals like lentil soup. Lentil soup costs .78/bag and I can make 2-3 pots of it. I add a chopped carrot, stalk of celery, some salt and half a small onion to a cup of boiling lentils. Cheap and it get me 2 lunches though I am the only one who eats it. I make meat loaf which makes lunches for the next day. If I am not going to be near a microwave, I just make peanut butter and bring raw veggies, apples, cheese, crackers, things like that. Mike always has leftovers for lunch. I make pot roasts. When I find them on sale I buy 2 or 3 to freeze.

So to sum it up, I have made the choices that work best to keep my meal costs down, keep us well fed, and keep me from running from place to place. No, my cabinets and fridge are not overflowing but they are full and we are fed and happy. We have gotten used to this manner of living and choose this for ourselves. I know others who have made other choices, but these are ours.

I would love to hear what people have done with their budgets. Please drop me a note and tell me what you have done or some progress. It is great when I hear other ideas. I am still a work in progress and am flexible.

If you read my last blog, you saw I did a Facebook fast to gain some extra time in my new time budget! I did it and I loved it. I have now gotten to cut out a LOT of time from Facebook. I think I will try it again. I do not spend a lot of time on the computer but I do need it for researching shopping and writing or I would cut it out all together. This week, I have not turned on any television for myself during the day. Instead, I played music or listened to a book from my computer. How did YOUR challenge go? Did you take it with me? Please tell me!!


-Paige and Mackenzie playing on the floor like little girls instead of babies!
-Madison reading whole stories to me.
-Mackenzie walking in the walker all around the kitchen while I cook.
-Some solitary, rare moments to myself.
-Madison mopping the floor because, "I don't want you to have to do ALL the work!, I can help too!"

Just when you think you have it all figured out...


  1. Just as a side note, I did manage the $50 this week.

  2. I love reading your blogs. Thanks for sharing. And I love to see what you are doing with Madison, Mackenzie and Paige.


  3. I always feel like I don't *plan* well enough, even though I sit down, go through my pantry and fridge and write lists, I feel like our budget gets wack from add on's that we wind up needing that I'm out of, like razors, shampoo, garbage bags, carpet cleaner.....etc. I was trying to stick to a " if it's not on the list don't get it " mentality but what do we wash our hair with for the week until Friday rolls around? I need to better plan for those moments.
    I love that little Madison. I know you say she has her moments but aren't they worth it when she puts others before herself like that??

  4. how do you budget for things like, co-pays, gasoline, clothes, unexpected needs? my bro-in-law uses 'pots', he has a long list of every possible thing they might need to spend money on and then when he gets paid they divide all of the money into the separate pots. All of it! then there is no wondering and things like auto repairs just build up over time. If they run over in a certain area, like um, wine, say ;), they steal from a different pot. What do you guys do?