Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Poor Decisions

I have been going over this post for a few days now, and have finally had the time to sit down and put my thoughts to paper. I'll do a quick update for the newest followers. We have been actively preparing for my full time student status, and it's here. This is the planning and foresight part.

This has meant getting out of debt, couponing, saving six months living expenses, stockpiling food, and generally being frugal with our money. We also refinanced our house to drop our house payment in half. Now, this hasn't meant eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for six months, but rather seeking out sales and good deals.

My number one personal goal during these two years of one income is to keep our financial safety net in tact. Don't go into debt and to pay cash for school. I don't relish the idea of saving money for another two years to replenish our safety net.  I would also like to expand our food storage to at least a year, while buying some quality camping gear for the family.

I'll be shifting some of my emphasis on this blog to cheap meals for my family. This is the biggest hit that we have taken on our budget. We used to have $320.00 budgeted for every two weeks for groceries, now it is $180.00. Heck, I'll just post our envelope cash budget. A big thank you to Dave Ramsey.

This is our old/new budget for two weeks: 
=========== OLD ======== NEW
Car Repairs......$60---------------$20
Allowances......$20----------------$20....for Kids
Mad Money.... $100--------------$80

This is an all cash system that we use, so no overspending.

I figure that our tax refund will be used for a summer vacation, and to plug any gaps that have developed in our finances. Ex: New tires, etc....

Here is our current situation. We get paid on Friday and have $12.00 in the grocery envelope. Today, we did make it to Chinamart to round out the frig.

I did spend about $20.00 to make homemade beef jerky last week, and they had Community Coffee on sale for $4.99. Nearby was a hanging coupon dispenser that had a dollar off coupon that dropped the price to $3.99 each, so I bought 12 bags. That kinda killed the weekly grocery budget this pay period. They also had chips on sale for $2 each, so I bought 12- 14 bags.

The rest of the week we have on the dinner menu:
Breakfast Night / Eggs / Pancakes
Grilled Chicken when brother, sister, and kids come over for dinner on Wednesday.

Lunch for Row and myself includes portioning out potato chips ( $2 for Lay's and Ruffles - on sale ) and peanut butter sandwiches. I take water while Row has a juice box and a fruit Rollup. The peanut butter is coming out of the stockpile, and we have around 15 9 jars put back. I'll wait a few more months, and hopefully replenish our stock.

It does make it easier knowing that we have a large amount of food set back for this time. I really feel for people that can't make ends meet. Here are my photos of some of our storage.

Drinks, Snacks, Mac & Cheese, Pasta, etc

Nuts and some of the longer term storage

8 cases of water, 8 seven gallon jugs not shown.

Sugar, Cornmeal, Rice, and Some Overflow.

Canned meat, Tang, Veggies, sauce, spices, and condiments.

We are going to have to learn to make poor decisions.


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  2. I have two full pantries and other supplies hidden under beds in my home. I've lost count of the pounds of rice and dried beans...yet, I envy you your supply of Tang.

    Well done.

    1. Caught them on sale for $1.00 each at Kroger. A one a year sales price.

  3. Do you guys drink 2-liter sodas? If so, start saving the bottles, rinse them clean, and you can store dry goods in those. Popcorn is a good example. We use gravy in a lot of recipes, so I have found Emergency Essentials sells brown and chicken gravy in the large #10 cans, and its pretty darn cheap.

    1. Nope, we don't drink many sodas. Cheaper for us and healthier. Kool-aid, heck ya! I'll look into the gravy, usually I make my own though? Should I do a new post on how to make gravy?

  4. Like Stephen said, Well Done.

    There's nothing like that feeling of at least being able to get by for awhile should something happen.

    1. Thanks, I can't imagine my kids going hungry because I was stupid. It would absolutely kill me if that happened.

  5. You might want to try and keep the grains and meal in a freezer for awhile to kill the pantry moth eggs or you may find a whole bag or box full of worms and webs. Nasty things seem to hatch out of sealed boxes. They bore a small hole through almost anything if they can't get under the lid which isn't a great seal some times then you see them flying everywhere.

    1. Thanks, I do remember reading that somewhere, but don't practice it. I really should rethink my proceed on grains, esp flour and cornmeal. (Headed downstairs to throw grains into freezer for a few days.) I have gotten excuses.

  6. Store dried split peas. They are god-like for storage food IMO :)

    Stores look good though my friend...

    1. I am gonna try lentils on the boys real soon. I definitely need more beans and legumes.

  7. Are you buying your bread or making it? 25 lbs of wheat will make a lot of bread. If you don't have a grain mill, has their small hand grinder on sale this month with some yeast and other stuff. It's whay I use and I can grind enough flour for a loaf of bread in about 8 mminutes -- Dear Husband can knock it out in about half that time. I use 3 cups of hand ground (sometimes rye or oat flour if those grains are available for less) and 1 cup store-bought flour per loaf, which really cuts down the cost of those PBJ sandwiches! Salt, dry milk and yeast are enough to make bread, or add sugar or other goodies to brighten it up. The $45 for the grain mill deal will probably pay for itself in less than 10 loaves of bread and it will be great bread.

    1. I have not been real active in making my own bread yet. I bake a loaf to just play around, but now that time isn't that big of an issue. I do have a grain mill, and have been reluctant to purchase an electric one because of the cost. Anyways, that will be another post.
      BTW, I am really humbled by the amount of posts that have been done. Thanks for reading. Hey Monsoon, any good recipes? I'll cruise on over to your site in a few days, after I study for 3 major tests happening this Friday.

  8. I figured out the gravy would cost less than $12. When you buy the gravy packs from Walmart, to match the total weight of the #10 can, it came out to a bit over $29. We have stuff in our closet, Four 4-tier shelves in our master bedroom, and stuff in the garage. I built a Excel file to track all our stuff, it's helpful and easier to track. I applaud you for going back to school, and for your change to your finances. Very well thought out.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. The inventory is second nature after 25+ years as a kitchen manager for a local eatery. Mese en place.