Monday, January 28, 2013

Tips for Managing a Small Grocery Budget

Over the weekend I was at a Women's Breakfast, and the topic of budgeting for groceries came up. We talked about meal plans, coupons, and shopping at Aldi, but it got me thinking, what were some ways that I personally had found to save money on my grocery bill?

Some of you know that a year ago Erik started a new job and that we moved to a new town in the St. Louis area. The fact that we live so close to a big city meant that our rent was significantly higher than it was in our old town, plus the cost of living is a little higher here too.Since I'm a stay at home mom, and Erik was just starting out in a new career, we had to look for ways to cut our budget down. And our grocery bill was the first place we looked.  Since this was also around the time I started learning about the importance of whole foods, and Nourishing Traditions,  I had to learn to stay within a realistic budget while also providing healthy food for my family.

Last year we spent about 75 dollars a week on groceries for our family of six. We have increased it some since then, but I still follow these same principles.

Give every food item a budget category. This was huge for me, and probably my best tip for staying within a tight budget. Basically this meant that I budgeted 30 dollars for meat(including eggs), 20 dollars for dairy, and 15 dollars for produce. Since I have access to Aldi, 15 dollars for produce was stretched pretty far. I used the extra ten dollars for oats, flour, sugar, pasta, spices and sometimes for hygiene products if I had any wiggle room whatsoever. If I had a week where I needed more pantry staples than my budget allowed I had to take it out of a different category(usually the dairy.)

Make as much from scratch as possible. Typically I make bread, tortillas, hamburger buns, chicken stock, pizza dough, and basically any other bread product we eat. We rarely have cereal since a box of cereal in this house lasts about a day, and cereal can really add up. I make a lot of oatmeal and muffins for breakfast. Not only does making things from scratch save a lot of money, it also tends to be healthier!

Use Swagbucks! If you haven't heard of swagbucks, it's a great way to win some gift cards to amazon. By utilizing swagbucks I was able to get coconut oil for free, which is something I definitely couldn't have afforded on my tight budget. I also used my gift cards for bulk purchases like succanat and flour.

Yes our budget was tight, and there were plenty of times I was discouraged. There were plenty of times I was anxious about stretching our budget to last the whole week, but God was always faithful. We were always provided for, and never went without anything.

What are some ways the rest of you have learned to save some money on groceries?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Examining Priorities

When I read the above, I was challenged yet again to examine my priorities in this current season of life I'm in. When my children grow up, I don't want them to look back on their childhood and remember a grumpy and stressed out mama. But I feel like I've become that way, especially in the last few months.

For most of the five years I've been a mom, I've been pretty good about being intentional about how I spend my time, but in the last year I've allowed things to get out of hand. My  life consists of home schooling, house work, child training, wife-ing(not a word, but you get the point), mothering, and fixing meals. Which is plenty, but on top of that I have classical conversations, church commitments, a Bible study on Wednesday mornings, and doctors appointments every other week. There's also errands, grocery shopping, bill paying, and friendships to enjoy.

I realize that to some of you this might not seem like very much, and in fact it might seem like I need to just deal with it. I understand that. And obviously a lot of the things I'm doing are just part of life. But please also understand that, getting 4 young children out of the house, and trying to be places on time, is no easy task.

So I'm evaluating things. I'm asking myself what my priorities should look like, and I'm asking God to reveal to me anything that I need to stop doing right now. Obviously in about 2 months the ob appointments will stop, but then I'll be caring for a newborn, which brings its own set of (precious) challenges.

None of the things I'm doing right now are bad, but for me in this season of little ones, I want to be a wise manager of my time so I don't look back on this time with a lot of regrets.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Desperate- a Review


Feeling overwhelmed? Longing for an older and wiser woman to mentor you? I've been there( a lot!), and so has Sarah Mae, the author of the newly released book Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe.

The book is written from two different perspectives, one from a mom with young children(Sarah Mae), and the other perspective is written from an older Titus 2 woman(Sally Clarkson.) Every time I read Sarah Mae's part, I felt relieved knowing I'm not the only mom who struggles with some of these feelings of inadequacy. Sally Clarkson offers so much wisdom throughout the entire book that I came away feeling refreshed and encouraged. I felt like my vision was once again renewed for the way I wanted to raise my children.

This isn't a book of formulas, so even though I was convicted about many areas in my mothering, I never once felt like I was being condemned. 

So if you're looking for some encouragement, and you long to have a Titus 2 woman in your life, definitely check this book out! I promise you won't be disappointed!

Buy the book here.

Check out the Desperate Mom resolution here.

I was given an advance copy of this book to review, all opinions are my own.


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