Well, don't get too excited, I haven't shed any more unwanted weight yet, but I do have plans to do so. The weather is turning and it's gradually getting warmer, and the days of being outside are coming. Monday we were in the seventies, and I got a taste of life to come. My son was a maniac! We were literally outside all day, and I have no doubt that once we can do so again, Mommy is going to get a great workout playing with her little boy. My goodness he was busy. And of course it also has felt really good to throw open all the windows and just feel all the germs leaving the house as the cleansing breeze sweeps through. So with illness banned and days of play on the way, I'm feeling a re-charge.
We're also heading into the home stretch of Andy being laid off. He could get the call any day now, and we're all looking forward to that! He's been home for over three months now (going on 14 weeks!) and we have actually used this lay-off as a learning process. For example, we have found that it is indeed possible to live on $355 a week. It's difficult, but we can still pay all our bills on time and put food on the table by making wiser choices. When I look at my grocery budget over the last three months, it's quite remarkable to see the difference. Here's my grocery spending:
December 2006 total grocery expense: $719.72
January total grocery expenses: $409.93
February total grocery expenses: $365.97
March total grocery expenses to date: $196.96
Look at that!!! And if I go back further to November and October, it's enough to choke a horse. Now some of that excess was for the purpose of stocking the pantry a bit, but lets just say my grocery spending has gotten back in line. And look at March! I'm going to have to go shopping- probably Friday for milk, eggs, fruit, and chicken breasts, so that will go up about another $40. That's less than $250 for an entire month! That is truly amazing to me. And we have not been starving. We've just been careful, and much better about using leftovers and what needs to be used up. Rather than let leftovers languish in the fridge and go bad, we eat them for a few days for lunch, or wrap it up and tuck it in the freezer for another day. I've been doing a lot of scratch cooking- if I want bagels, I make them. I bake bread several days a week, and we've all taken to enjoying a slice of homemade bread with our dinner at night. I've discovered that not only is homemade pizza delicious, it's actually very economical to make, and we've been able to eat more of our favorite food. And I've travelled the world in comfort food! From Irish Shepherd's Pie to Filipino Lumpia, to British Bangers & Mash, and Indian Curries. It's actually been a blast, and I hope to keep it up.
I'd be lying if I said that we can maintain this grocery budget forever. And you can bet that once Andy is working, one of his paychecks will be like a fortune to us, and I will most definitely be filling a grocery cart or two, but I do think that I've gotten a little wiser. I've realized that sometimes canned soup and grilled cheese is a fantastic meal, and everyone enjoys it! Breakfast has been making a weekly appearance, partially because it's super cheap to make, but also because we all enjoy it immensely. And while I still don't particularly care to eat leftovers, I have gotten really creative at re-inventing them, and that's one of the things I hope to keep up. Right now I'm thinking about the smoked salmon we had a few weeks back. The last little bits are in the freezer, and I can't wait to pick up some cream cheese to mix with my freshly grown chives, bow tie pasta, and some of that smoked salmon.
I do think I've shown over the last few months that it is possible to feed a family well on a budget. We haven't gone overboard with carbs and saturated fats, mostly it's just been good eating all around. With a few more weeks to go, you can bet there will be more to come, but we're nearing the light at the end of the tunnel here, and I'm at the point where it can't get here fast enough.
And for something a little different, pop on over to Kids Cuisine this morning to find out a new way to be a sneaky mom!