Monday, October 13, 2014

Saving...It's a New Day

This past month we have had to adopt a new way of thinking. We knew it was coming. My hubby is now officially retired and with that comes a new level of budgeting. Even though he is in charge of finances and bill paying (because, really, he is so much better at it than I), I try to do my part in being frugal in the areas that I spend, mainly groceries, gift giving and personal spending such as clothing and beauty items.

Where groceries are concerned, I do prefer to spend more for organic milk, cream, sour cream and most cheeses, some organic produce (I go by the "dirty dozen" list when deciding how to spend on organic produce) and occasionally other organic food items. For whatever reason I haven't wrapped my head around yet, I still buy regular butter, cream cheese and American cheese slices. Mostly because I have to "pick my battles" so to speak moneywise and also because hubby is particular about his American cheese (: Anyway, I do what I can.

I also prefer to spend the extra money to purchase humanely raised chicken and eggs. I would love to buy organic, grass fed but again, money is not a limitless supply around here so I do the best I know how. We don't eat tons of beef although hubby loves him a good ribeye! When I buy fish it's wild caught.

All that being said, if it ever came down to spending the extra money for organics & higher priced items or going hungry, I will definitely make fillin' our tummies the priority!

But for now, in order to be able to continue to afford to buy these higher priced items, I will do my best to be as economical as possible in all other areas. For example, I've decided that I have enough makeup, lotions & potions to last until the cows come home (& I don't own any cows so they wont be comin' home any time soon!) so I have put myself on a "makeup starvation diet". I will stick to my favorite frugal motto which is...

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
I am determined to continue to use what I have until I have used up the last little bit of any particular items until I am totally out and then I will go out and replenish the item. I started doing this in the past in order to try and declutter a bit. But I fell off the wagon. I'm only human...

Back to the grocery budget...a few things I am going to begin doing on a regular basis are
  • making all our bread. We love our French bread recipe and having the luxury of having my bread maker, it wont be a sacrifice, it will be a pleasure! (note~I prefer to use the dough cycle only and bake breads off in the oven.)
  • baking in general. Cakes & cookies are easy and economical enough, especially when I stick to tried & true recipes for basic sweet treats like oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. And to make things easy on myself, I've started making bar cookies to save the time of dropping each. little. cookie. tray. after. tray. It's one stop shopping! I also have favorite recipes for quick sweet breads (zucchini! and banana! Yum!) And muffins and cakes! Oh my! Biscuits and pancakes have become hubbys specialties.
  • building up our stockpile/pantry with sale items.

For now, that is what I am really, really, really going to concentrate on. I know all these things. I've done all these things during lean years of being a single mom to three chirren. But more prosperous times led me in new directions. Well, it's time to tighten the belt a bit again so we will be able to continue to enjoy many things that we have for a good long time.

Little things I already do and have been doing in the kitchen (because I'm basically a frugal chick anyway) are:
  • make my own broths from bones & veggie scraps.
  • wash & reuse (fairly clean-no greasy, meaty ones) Ziploc bags & aluminum foil.
  • look up recipes in order to be able to use ingredients I already have on hand. Online searches make this fairly easy.
  • improvise a bit when cooking & following certain recipes. Sometimes I just don't have the ingredient called for so I do an online search for substitutions for the ingredient the recipe calls for. After years (and yeeeeeaaaars) of cooking, I feel a little more comfortable doing this.
  • I save that bacon grease y'all. To season all kinds of good things mainly veggies/green beans. I'm not sure if that's just a southern thing or not.
  • Meatless meals and simple meals. We don't always require a big production when it comes to meals. Sometimes a quick sandwich with chips or fries suit us just fine. Leftovers make for a quickie meal as well. And some days we just graze. I portion out a lot of meals that make too much for us and that serves for other meals in the future.
  • I cook up dried beans and divide them up into two cup portions to freeze for future recipes.
  • I try to buy in bulk when it will be economical. If I can store it safely for future use I'll buy it. But only if it's the better deal. Sometimes buying smaller sizes end up being cheaper. My calculator is my friend for figuring out price per ounce/pound etc. 
There are so many little things I do on a daily basis that have become second nature that I can't begin to think of and list them all right now, but this gives an idea of some of the things I do.

It's all about balance.

Thanks for stopping by!~TJ

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