Some financial considerations for the week:
I told you last Friday I would think about ways to further reduce our monthly grocery bill this week. I've been wracking my brain for some ideas on how to stay within our grocery budget now that our food store has dwindled. It was opportunistic that I did my once-a-month grocery haul this week because while out, I realized that I spend a lot of money on cheese, canned beans and instant brown rice. We are a cheese family- big time. We love it. And eat it, often. The canned beans and instant brown rice are basically convenience foods...I get them because they are quick and speedy. It seems like I should be able to find ways to reduce those costs.
I kept coming back to one that I have been thinking about for a while. Dried beans.
The problem with dried beans is that I forget about them until it is TOO LATE. I can't cook them fast enough, let alone soak them. I read this summer about canning dried beans and think this might be a good solution for me. If I can get some dried beans canned up and ready for 'instant meals' than I can have the convenience of canned beans at dried bean prices. I will experiment this month with it and see whether or not it is indeed a money saver. (It must be.)
A few others ideas:
~ buying cheese in bulk online? (Something I need to research.)
~ eating less cheese (perish the thought!)
~ buying brown rice in bulk and just cooking it already. This would require a more thoughtful approach to meals with brown rice. Discipline?! Perish that thought too! ;-)
~ no more canned soup. Tomato soup, in particular.
~ make homemade taco seasoning. (Though I only bought this in bulk, not those little packets so the savings wouldn't be THAT significant.)
Some financial efforts for the week:
* Did the big monthly grocery run. I made it within cents of $200.00 which was perfect. Except for the fact that I still have three more weeks of milk to buy and no more money in our envelope! :-) I may have to adjust the allotted grocery amount to $250.00 until we can start milking Penny. I also anticipate another grocery run before Christmas, as I am hosting 15-20 people for Christmas Eve.
* Took some holiday clothes to the consignment shop.
* I finished a Christmas gift: a crocheted cowl (*used stash yarn that was given to me. = FREE!)
* I cut my own hair.
* Made a homemade birthday cake and dinner for our birthday girl.
* I hung all cleaned pants, sweaters and towels to dry by woodstove.
* Just like last week, I got ANOTHER notice in the mail saying I still owed on a bill I had already paid in full months ago. I kid you not. This time it was for $144.35~ so it was not only the principle of the thing (like last weeks') but the finances of the thing as well. I *knew* I had paid it in full already (another over-the-phone payment) so I called them and because I had proof of the conversation, etc. they took the charge off. What is this? An epidemic of businesses trying to squeak more money from me than I owe them? sheesh. Lesson: Always check your bills to see if you ACTUALLY owe them. And when you pay something off in full- write the date down and the name of the person you spoke to, if you spoke directly to anyone about it. Generally, if it is a large bill I am paying off, I like to call and pay over the phone just for this reason.
* Finished making some photo calendars to try to sell. Used a free shipping code to get them shipped for free.
* Completely reorganized and cleaned one of our food storage nooks after a mouse got into a bag of flour. Thankfully, it was a a five pound bag of flour instead of 25 or 50 pound bag. But I was still mad. Everything in that nook is either in rubbermaid or glass now, except a few pasta and rice boxes. (I ran out of containers on hand.) I need to find something for them soon. Why bother wasting money on food for MICE? I hate mice.
* Completely reorganized and cleaned the upstairs cubby where I have rubbermaid bins of sheets and blankets and a bin of dress up clothes. The lids were not put on and I found mice had chewed up several things in the dress up box. I hate mice. Everything except one down comforter are in CLOSED tubs now. Not sure what I should do with the comforter...
* Set a bunch of mouse traps. I HATE MICE.
* I spent hours re-doing our budget and making a list of all non-budgeted items bought this month in preparation for a budget meeting. A BUDGET MEETING?!? Yes. A budget meeting. Matt and I agreed to have a meeting on the last day of every month so he and I are both on the same page with where the money goes and how fast. Unlike traditional budget meetings, however, there will be candles and daquiris and he may or may not get lucky at the end. :-D
* I listened to this while finishing up the cowl (above):
Favorite quotes from it:
"Materialism (or consumerism) is not a function of an amount of wealth. It is a disease of the heart."
"If you give me your tax returns, your checkbook, your credit statements and so forth, I can pretty well write you the story of your life. I can certainly see what your goals are, your values are, your priorities are... because your checkbook reveals it."
"All money decisions are symptomatic of spiritual condition. They are. No exception. And if you believe that God owns it all, as I do, then every financial decision you make is a record of your stewardship."
How about you? How are you doing on your financial goals?
Any one shopping the Black Friday deals today?