I track our money in CheckMATE. I had about $30 left last week and got another $100 this week. We’re stocked up on cleaning supplies, shampoo, and TP thank goodness! I also still have several pounds of free range ground beef and a free range chicken in the freezer. I make sure we always have brown rice, dried beans, and canned beans in the pantry. I can use them separately or together to make a meal and we eat beans at least once a week. We love Mexican food; black beans and pintos lend themselves to Mexican seasonings. Corn bread, beans, and greens are another combination that many people enjoy in the south. All that to say, we didn’t have to buy a ton of groceries this week.
George and I hit Earth Fare every Sunday after church and Costco on the way home. I still haven’t planned menus but I knew if I had some produce, I could figure it out.
At Earth Fare we bought several pounds of wheat berries, organic peanut butter and free range eggs. We bought a 10 pound bag of onions (onions from our Kroger always rot before we can finish them – anyone know why?), roasted almonds (way better price than at our Kroger), and a huge plastic box of organic salad greens. We picked up organic apples and pears, 10 boxes of “Mom’s Best” cereal, and butter. The butter was a goof; we forgot we’re supposed to be buying organic butter. Checking the price at Earth Fare, it’s almost 2x the cost! It looks like we may be cutting back on butter as time goes by.
The cereal was about half the cost if we bought 10 boxes. George loves it and I figured it was the least I could do since we’re not enjoying pasta meals together any more.
The next few dinners are revolving heavily around huge salads. We’ve got to finish the salad before it goes bad.
I have $69.77 left and we’ll probably need to buy more produce and almond milk before the week is over. I roll over money left over to the next week because it’s going to hit hard when we need to buy olive oil and meat.
Are you trying to eat healthier on a tight budget? What’s working for you? What’s not working as well?
For us, we’re both surprised at how much money is left each Monday. George hasn’t complained but I’m getting a little tired of grilled meat and steamed veggies!! I’ve got to carve out some time to go through our cookbooks or some cooking sites to figure out how to change it up (while still staying off grains).
I did use leftover grass fed roast last week with Costco frozen organic mixed veggies to make a soup that was wonderful. George has been happy with the 100% whole wheat bread I made. When you grind the wheat yourself, it adds so much flavor to the bread. The grains have a nutty taste and a freshness that comes through in a delicious way. I wish I could eat it – it smells really good especially when he toasts it in the morning.
$10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway
These are the last two days to comment before the winner of the $10 Amazon gift card is announced! Don’t be shy – someone is going to win it and it might as well be you! Remember you can comment on any post. Every comment you make in January will count! The top commenter will win the gift card and I’ll announce it as early as I can in February (I’m too cheap to buy the Word Press plug-in that would automatically tell me who had the most comments so I’ll be doing a lot of counting at the end of this month!)
We made our regular $100 deposit plus an extra $20. Our total is now $1825.41. Remember – our goal is to deposit at least 1% more than our regular $100/week deposit each month (to realize at least 12% annual growth). Again, this week was 20% more than our regular deposit.
There’s not much more to add. I realize many of you have been saving this much and more probably your whole life! I wasn’t raised this way and am guessing there are some who are learning by looking over my shoulder. We’re just a real middle class family who has decided to save their car payment. I’m getting excited about where this will take us!
Are you saving? Paying down your debt first? Did you get any big wins this week? (Remember a $10 Amazon gift card will be given away early February to the top commenter in January. You may comment on as many posts as you like (even ones posted before January). Every comment posted in January will be counted!)
January is almost over and the winner of a $10 Amazon gift card will be announced early in February. It will go to the top commenter for January. Remember you may comment on as many posts you like (even posts written before January). All comments posted in January will be counted!
Here’s a round up of great stuff I found on the web last week:
Pat (from Quilting Thoughts) who often comments here sent me her recipe for Chai tea.
1 T cinnamon
1 T ground cardamon
1 T ground cloves
1 T ground ginger
Mix the spices together and add just a pinch to your cup of tea (or 1/4 teaspoon to the whole pot). She prefers hers with less cloves and points out you can adjust the ratio of the spices to your preference
That’s what I was thinking as I washed the dinner dishes last night.
Only I wasn’t grumbling about it. I was smiling!
Before we started learning about personal finance, it would have been no pile of money and a new dishwasher on a credit card. It’s funny how your priorities change when you have options!
We could go buy a new dishwasher right now. But we have big, big plans for that pile of money. Plans so big that they make washing dishes by hand a pleasure.
If we were saving it just to keep from eating Alpo in our retirement, I’m not sure I could hold out. But Drive Free Cars (if you haven’t seen it scroll down, hit play, and watch till the very end) has taught me that we can build a magical money machine if we diligently save and remember what we really want!
This week I’m trying to empty the freezer and use up things in our pantry so I guess the fact that we are under budget doesn’t really count.
We spent $29.60 at Earth Fare on Sunday, 9.64 at our local Kroger today, and 26.02 at Costco. We bought a chuck roast (they were on sale and we knew it would be good for at least two meals), organic apples, blue organic corn chips, dried adzuki beans, and white wheat berries. We also got 2 dozen free range eggs and some kim chee (I’m supposed to eat fermented products. Since I can’t have yogurt kim chee is a good non-dairy substitute). We also bought a gallon of white vinegar that I use for cleaning and as a fabric softener. I got 3 huge bags of organic frozen vegetables and 5 pounds of clementines at Costco.
I grind our own wheat to make bread. I’m trying to figure out how much wheat I’ll need to buy every week (or find a good source for a larger amount at a lower cost). The bread is terrific tasting and so much healthier than anything I can buy. I feel like it takes the sting of not having cookies or sweets around for my husband. I can’t eat wheat so I’ll be experimenting with my recipe to see if I can make just enough for the week.
I’m going to try to get this down to one post a week; right now I’m feeling my way through this process.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned so far:
Keep track of prices for the things that you use each week.
If you have to travel to get to a good health food store, plan your trips so you aren’t constantly running out. We go to church in Chattanooga, so it makes it easy to run by Earth Fare and Whole Foods after the service. Know what stores seem to have the best deals for items you use the most.
Refilling your spice jars with bulk spices is a huge money saver. I bought enough bulk basil last week to fill half a jar for about twenty cents! A new jar would have been about $4.
Consider checking out the proteins on sale and then plan your meals around those.
Judiciously use leftovers. It’s like finding money in your refrigerator. When you are eating organic, it’s like finding a LOT of money!!
Avoid the packaged foods even at premium health stores. They really aren’t that healthy but they are expensive!
Consider checking out Costco for frozen organic vegetables. I was told their prices are good and I’m running by there tomorrow.
Be aware of how much food you really need to it. I know a good portion of protein is a piece of meat the same size as the palm of my hand. Eat slow and let your body realize it’s full (who knew that eating organic would also be a natural diet plan! I’m losing weight by the way and I’m not complaining about it!!) I started to eat some raw almonds from the pantry because I was bored. I stopped and realized I was eating dollars. We can’t afford that! I don’t have a problem eating when I’m genuinely hungry but my mindless snacking has to stop.
I’ll keep compiling tips as I figure this out. Last night we had free-range roast with roasted carrots and potatoes and separate baked sweet potatoes for me. It was a dinner fit for a king and we’re well under budget for the week. Tonight’s dinner was leftover beans and rice from the weekend. We spiced them up and enjoyed them very much (you get hooked on beans and rice by the time you finish Baby Step 2 on the Dave Ramsey plan!)
I saw the first sugar snap pea coming up in my garden and I’m hoping I’ll be able to supplement our meals with produce that we grow ourselves.
Do you have any tips to share? More and more people want to eat better and we could all use some help figuring out how to eat well without blowing our budgets!!
We made our regular $100 deposit plus an extra $20. Our total is now $1705.41. Remember – our goal is to deposit at least 1% more than our regular $100/week deposit each month (to realize at least 12% annual growth). Again, this week was 20% more than our regular deposit.
A few remarks
It seems like I just started this. It’s technically only been three months and the balance is now over $1,700!! It’s just amazing how quickly money piles up.
I just learned you can go to Amazon, search for their Trade-In Store, and easily search for any books you’d like to trade in to Amazon.
This is a good option for people who really don’t want to hassle with selling their books, electronics, and video games. Amazon will give you their offer and let you print a shipping label (they pay for the shipping but you’ll have to actually package the books and take them to UPS or the post office). After they receive the books and verify their condition, they’ll credit you with an Amazon gift card.
One tip: Put your books in boxes to see how many shipping labels you’ll actually need to print (they will provide you with the option of printing more than one label).
Since Amazon sells practically anything, I think the gift cards are useful. The last thing I ordered from Amazon was shower gel and shampoo just to give you an example.
If you are trying to raise cash to pay off debt or boost savings, you could order something you’d have to buy anyway and then take the cash you would have used to use as you’d prefer.
I just went through some of our books and was offered almost $15 for an old computer book. I couldn’t believe it! (Most of my computer books didn’t make the cut but a few did.) My total offer was almost $25.
I learned about this on Two Peas when some of the posters there said they had been offered quite a bit for some of their old scrapbooking books.
It’s a great way to make some extra money and clear out the clutter. Check it out!
Speaking of Amazon gift cards: Don’t forget that I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to the top commenter in January. Feel free to comment on any post you want (even older posts from last year). Every comment made in January counts!
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, let’s get started!
First – save your food dollars by realizing what has to be organic and what doesn’t have to be. Nuts with hard shells like walnuts and almonds don’t have to be organic. Neither do bananas as they have thick skins that are easily peeled and discarded.
Soft fruits like strawberries have to be. The fruit is so porous that it absorbs the pesticides and chemicals used in conventional farming. Peanuts have to be; they have porous shells and absorb pesticides from the ground.
The Daily Green has a list of foods that have to be organic followed by a list of foods that are thought to be acceptable if not organic.
The research is always changing and it can be confusing to know what to do. I’m choosing to follow my doctor’s advice and share what I’m learning along the way.
I had fun last fall figuring out how someone could start cooking if they didn’t know and if they didn’t have any basic kitchen equipment. The meals weren’t particularly healthy though but it was an improvement (for your budget and your health) over eating fast food every day.
I have some new health issues revolving around a low thyroid. I see an MD for my annual exam and a great chiropractor for just about everything else. The two doctors know each other and will work together if a patient requests it. I’m so lucky to have an MD who supports my healthy lifestyle.
Part of what I have to do to get my thyroid up is to start eating organic vegetables (for the most part) and higher quality chicken and fish. We really aren’t in a position to up our food budget though. I’m going to start sharing tips and recipes and I hope you’ll share what you know too.
I think our health is even a bigger priority than our finances. Eating healthier also can save our medical dollars. I’d rather spend money on great food than prescription meds.
The recommendations Dr. Knox has made for me are pretty extreme (I’m allergic to a lot of foods too) but some of the general principles still apply to everyone. If this topic interests you, realize I can’t eat dairy, sugar, processed foods, most grains and regular meat, fish, and poultry. That pretty much leaves me with free range meat and chicken, wild caught fish, limited amounts of quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, and millet, unsweetened almond milk, and a boatload of organic produce.
I’m learning a lot about a healthier lifestyle and my weight is dropping. Going forward, I’ll share how we’re doing and any tips and/or recipes we pick up along the way.
Please share your own tips, links, and resources! A lot of people want to eat better but they’re also trying to watch their money too. Don’t forget that the January giveaway is still going on (a $10 Amazon gift card to the top commenter) so don’t be shy. Please share your comments!