Monday, March 2, 2009

♣ March Madness ♣

Disclaimer: I apologize if I am bumming anyone out with all my posts about saving money. Sadly, the reality of it is this is what my life is all about right now. Also, I am in no way suggesting anyone adopt this particular experiment out of guilt or anything else. :)
For February it was difficult to stay on budget. ..and it was a short month, yikes! We are doing a great job tracking how and where our money goes here. And I definitely only stuck to needs instead of wants. But alas, I had to "roll forward" some March funds which only leaves me in a pinch now. So.... I came up with this...a drastic experiment for the month of March~ Not spending any money on food this month.

Now before you call me "mad" (hence the name of this post) hear me out, it may not sound as crazy to you after. Looking back, I think I was making decisions to prepare for this without even knowing it. Here are some things I have done that will help me a lot:

  • following our prophet to store what we eat for a time of need. We are nowhere near a year supply, but I have bought a little extra when I could.
  • after cooking a meal like meatloaf or beef stew I immediately take any leftovers and freeze them for another meal. My family is not big on leftovers, I would normally toss it after a few days.
  • make extra basics like spaghetti sauce and freeze if for the future. can you tell I love my extra freezer?
  • made my kids aware that we will not be eating full course meals nightly. This was because my husband is rarely home for dinner. Our meals are always balanced, but we often have breakfast or sandwiches for dinner.

It will not be easy, we will need to sacrifice. But I have come to learn that sacrifice exercises faith. Here are some challenges I foresee and I would love your suggestions on how to get through them

  • it is clear that we will be sacrificing some health benefits as when our fresh produce runs out we will be using canned veggies and fruits. Packaged foods are higher in sodium and less health-efficient.
  • school lunches??? any ideas for this when the juice boxes run out, this is not something I have stayed stocked up on.
  • milk...I hate powdered milk!
  • there are a few events that have been already planned ( few birthdays) where I will need to spend money on restaurant food.
  • will I really save money in the long run? I will need to replenish just about EVERYTHING in April and that could be difficult staying on my April food budget.
  • I am sure there will be others, I plan to update you throughout the month.

If you still think I am crazy, you just may be right! I don't really consider myself an "extremist" so this experiment is not usually how I roll. BUT I do foresee many benefits from this; for example my children are already looking for ways to stretch their favorite foods.

I took the following pictures, NOT to show you my messy pantry, BUT I thought it would be fun to show you an "after" picture at the end of the month. Please know that I also have garage pantry storage and a freezer out there.

pantry 3/1- before

fridge 3/1 - before

Wish me luck, I know I will need it!


Carissa said...

Yikes, I have no ideas for what to do when the milk runs out. Maybe you could allow yourself to buy just milk. I imagine you could stock up on bread and freeze it. Do you have any sort of thermos that you could fill with juice, or bottled water the kids would take with their school lunches? I admire your dedication to sticking on budget.

Anonymous said...

Buy milk, if you have to suffer saving money, then it's not a plan you'll be sticking to.

Don't buy canned veggies, stock up on frozen when they're on sale, less sodium and better for you. I buy roasting chickens when they're buy one get one free. I cook them both at the same time. We have one for dinner, then I package the leftover meat in separate freezer bags to use in casseroles, tortillas, chicken salad later on. I bake three loaves of bread at a time and freeze two. I make a double batch of healthy muffins and freeze half.

I clean with baking soda, and make my own laundry detergent. Modcottage had a terrific recipe for that here:

Good luck!