Monday, August 29, 2011

Money

I'm going to do a taboo thing this morning and talk about something you're never supposed to talk about...money!

With three kids in daycare and two of them going through a total of 10-15 diapers a day (over 100 diapers a week with Connor included), money is tight. It was a huge jump going from a family of three to a family of five (with no job raise)! We're hoping that when Mr. Howard finishes his degree (in 4 months!!! wooo-hoooo!!!), he'll be able to get a job that will work better for our family.

In the meantime we've had to be creative in how we choose to spend our money. We still need to figure some stuff out, because honestly at this rate we're still going to be spending more than we make as a net total for the year. It is funny though because, I think, once we implemented some of the changes that we did, I'm not sure we'll go back.

One of the main things we did was to plan out our meals. I never was a conscious shopper. If I wanted grapes, we bought them. If I wanted a certain brand of chicken, we bought it. I never considered what was on sale or where I could get it cheaper. One HUGE change in our life has been a weekly trip to Costco. We avoided it before because (shhhh...don't tell), Mr. Howard works for a leading grocery store in the area and we felt like spending the extra money, helped support his company. And that was fine when we had the money.

This week's meals
We started small at Costco and have slowly gotten better. One thing that has been life changing in our budget is purchasing our meat in bulk at Costco. I was always super wary of this because it meant I had to freeze it. This made me super nervous. But now I have the hang of it. We buy all our chicken, pork, and ground beef there (as a tip for you Costco shoppers: steaks and salmon tend to be cheaper at the grocery stores), individually wrap them and package them and store them in the freezer. We also love smoothies at night for dessert and so we bought (Kathe helped with this when I was in the hospital with the twins) fresh strawberries and raspberries and froze them in mixed packs. Now when we want a smoothie, we just throw in one bag of fruit!

Planning out our meals means (a) we eat more healthy/balanced meals and (b) we avoid going out to "fast" food places for dinner and (c) we shop and plan based on what's on sale rather than what sounds good that night (for instance we're having corn on the cob Friday night because it goes on sale Friday - 7 ears of corn for $0.97) .

One thing I would love to figure out is how to include more vegetables in my diet. We do buy asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms, and bell peppers from Costco, but they go bad fast and there's so much. I'm not really sure about freezing vegetables...anyone have any advice on that? I refuse to be one of those savvy couponers/buy in bulkers who eats all processed foods (because those are the foods that tend to be on sale). So I still have some learning to do on the vegetable-side of things. I know we could grow vegetables, but let's just be honest - Mr. Howard and I both work full-time jobs and have three kiddos two years old and younger. I'd be kidding myself if I took on that project right now. I do, however, TOTALLY see taking that on when the kiddos are at an age where they can maybe help me.

I'm so inspired by the show Extreme Couponer and have recently become a follower of SouthernSavers.com and it has been life changing. We get things on sale or for free all the time (I don't think we've paid for a redbox or blockbuster express movie in four months!).

So that's what we're doing! Like I said, we still have some things we're going to need to figure out, but we're making baby steps (no pun intended).

What do you do to save money? If you have a blog feel free to link up to me today. If not feel free to leave a comment!

1 comments:

Courtney said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I would wait until Tuesday to buy fruit/veggies as that is when the ads come out for Wednesday, then I would go Wednesday am to get that stuff. Also, Sunflower at Douglas/Harding and Sprouts, next to Costco, as well as Nugget have great deals on fresh produce and sign up for the e-mail ads.

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