I've been reading up on some of my AZ friends' blogs about Food Storage and living on less. As I somewhat experienced this more than twice (early marriage, job loss, pregnancy expenses, moving squeeze...), I'd like to share some of the things that worked for us.
Coupons are your friend. Don't use these when it's convenient, use it because you want to see your piggy bank get fat! If you calculate all those $1 off ones on those you normally use, that you threw away every week, you'd realize that you are at least $300 poorer!
Stock up on non food items during easier times. This is self explanatory; it is easier to buy necessities on sale when you have the money to stretch your budget than trying to stretch it with non-Gro items because you ran out. Most non-Gro items are rarely ever on sale when you need it.
Make room. Indulge only when you can afford it, and only after you stock up on your needs. Believe me when I tell you, when it comes to good clearance finds, even 1% of your meager good year, can go a long way. Also, stock up to share, the blessings are incalculable.
Gauge your stock between short and long term. If you're in a location for only 6 months, DO NOT buy 2 year's worth of stock. Buy enough with enough extra for just in case, but not waste. 'Nuff said.
Buy packed food items you NORMALLY eat. If you don't eat it, why have it hanging around in your pantry? If it's still there after a year or so, it just becomes a reminder that you wasted your money. If you got it FREE, give it away, blessings come to those who share...
90% need, 10% want. If you are stocking up, go for things that you know you will use spiced up with some things that you want. It is very easy to feel tired of the same things, but the "wants" make it more interesting. For example, we stock up on Cheerios a lot because it's nutritious and versatile, but we also get the Multi-grain and/or Honey Nut to stretch out our stock and add a little sweetness to the mix for the kids and not use up our sugar.
Get powdered. Powdered milk and juices are great in a pinch for instances of needing to choose between milk, juice or gas money.
Drink up! There had been an article or two about keeping dehydration at bay if you just eat foods with soup or broth on top of drinking your daily ration of beverage. So, to stretch your dollars during the lean times, use broth to perk up pasta, noodles and rice dishes. Even your breads will get a second life just by dunking it in broth, so stock up on water and different stocks! Have very little stock, add 1-2 cups of water and some veggies and create a whole new stock!
Half Off. I extended my meat recipes just by cutting them in half and chopping them into cubes. So during lean times, I don't make lasagnas or any recipes asking for more than 5 items or a lot of meat.
Salt is Gold. If you salt your meats first, the flavor spreads better in dishes. A quarter of a small onion can also do enough flavoring, if you saute it with meat and a little salt as salt draws out moisture, the flavor mix easier.
Can the Greens. Find as many different canned veggies as you can THAT YOU EAT so that when you are strapped for some Lincoln greens, you have the canned ones to still feast on.
Ask yourself twice. If you see something you want, ask yourself what you'll do with it then add two more reasons. If you can't come up with two, YOU DON'T WANT IT THAT BAD. Put it back!
One is plenty. You can make a whole dish with four ingredients of 1/4 cups of onion, veggies and 1/4 pound of meat plus 1 package of pasta and 1 cup of water or broth. I've fed my family of five with this exact measurements.
Brace for the downpour. If we pay our tithings, we increase our faith and contentment. Place the same faith in your budget by putting away 1/2 to 1% of your income in a savings a month. For any bonus, put away more. There was an article about the significant difference of putting away two quarters a day. That totals to $182.50 a year! How much more if you can put away just $1 or $5 a day! And do not ignore any coins, just like a drop of oil is insignificant on its own, a jar of coins can easily add up to get you from point A to point B and back! I sent my husband to work several times on a jar of collected coins!
Bills are non-negotiable. Though most places will accept a 50-75% payment arrangement, remember that your budget should include bills every month and not seasonal shoes or purses or that hobby you started once.
Hope these tips can help you; I have a family of five, one of which is a son with food allergies.
Yesterday was made easy by all that we had to do, so with our errands today, plus Ian needing to have his kneecap checked (he twisted it), there is no time for pride or anything silly like I'm a girl...
Love is Honorable
"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."
Choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse that is above your normal routine. It may be holding the door for her. It might be putting his clothes away for him. It may be the way you listen and speak in your communication. Show your mate that he or she is highly esteemed in your eyes.
What I Did:
Today after a Costco run, I took over the returning of the carts and after we got home, I took a lot of the groceries without complaining though they were very heavy.
This is really getting exciting for me!