Saturday, December 17, 2011

Winter Thanks

This morning I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

We are by no means wealthy, but there are others who have less.

Our house is not very grand, but it is a warm roof over our heads.

We won't be having steak for dinner, but at least we know where our next meal is coming from.. right there in our fridge.

And though I may not be completely satisfied with this chubby reflection staring back in my mirror, I have a body that is healthy and whole.

Yes. I will be thankful.

" O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD."
Psalm 105

Friday, December 16, 2011

My groceries ate my wallet...

Groceries. They cost. Usually more than we would like to be paying. Okay, always more than we'd like to be paying. Is eating really that important anyway?

When we made the decision that I would stay at home we knew this also meant less eating out and more home-cooking. Up to this point meal planning was unheard of in this household. So the day we sat down,  jotted down some meal ideas and made an itemized grocery list... well, that was a pretty big day for us. The day I planned out our meals for a complete week I felt like a champion. :) {We won't discuss the fact it took a entire day.}

Somehow it seemed we weren't saving as much money as we had originally thought. So, we set a budget. Really I should call it a "suggested spending limit". My goal was to get everything I needed while trying to stay around  that limit. Pretty soon this was easy.

However, when sitting down to discuss and reevaluate our financial goals {as well as making our money "work for us"} once again that grocery budget was revisited.  So I found some other resources to help.

 Grocery University  - Caught this when it was on sale for $5 one day. Though I am not a "coupon-er" per say, I am  a person who occasionally uses coupons. This was great information for learning how to better use coupons, but my favorite part of this was the "Rock-Bottom Price List" that you can download. For those {like me} who aren't really certain what is a good deal - this will get you started. I also appreciate her view of a monthly budget rather than splitting it into weeks and her perspective on saving in your individual situation. Good info.

This got me thinking... how do I know that I am saving if I don' know what I'm spending? And if I'm getting a good deal or over-paying if I don't know the cost? 

So here is something new we are trying.

Using Money Saving Mom's printable Shopping List, I made my grocery list. Once at the store my husband would read it off, I would take us to the item and read him the price per pound/ounce {something learned from GroceryU} and then he would fill it in the empty price blank on the paper. At home we add those prices to the master Store Price sheet {also from MSM}. This will help me keep track of what our items cost and make me aware of any screaming deals.

Something else we're now considering:

Last night I used the price sheet to calculate just exactly what our dinner cost.

Tortilla Soup {Mom's Recipe}

  • Chicken breasts- {amazing deal at Safeway- they we're $1.69/lb- I bought 8lbs}
  • onion
  • garlic
  • spices {already had in pantry}
  • Mexican style tomatoes
  • Chicken Broth {oops.. not a great deal on these}
  • Juanita's Chips
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Shredded Mozzarella
Total cost to make this pot: $8.87. Let's just say $9.00.
But wait, there's enough here  for at least three dinners. 9/3= $3.00 for last night's dinner. Can't beat that! And because we love it so much we're having leftovers tonight. :)

We're still learning. Still working through it. Still trying to find ways to whittle down our expenses.

What are your favorite money saving ideas? What are your favorite go-to resources for coupons/budgeting/planning? 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6

Our real, live tree. {Mmm... getting smell envy?}We're a fan of classics.
And Baby's First Christmas ornament. This one took several tries since she thought the clay was fun to squeeze between her fingers.

There's probably a little bit of Christmas is every room of our house. But I was tired of taking pictures of that... so I moved on to this little munchkin!

We have too much fun.

She thought the bulbs looked tasty.

It was all fun and games... until she wanted the camera

How do you decorate for the holidays?


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