Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tough Times

Times are getting tough for a lot of folks. Not yet as tough as it was during the Great Depression but pretty dog-gone tough. Unfortunately things may get even tougher. So, I thought I'd pass on a couple of things that we are doing to cut back on our spending. Then ask you what you are doing.

Are you making any changes to your spending habits?

Let's start with our grocery budget:
The first thing that we are doing is eating out of our pantry. What I mean by that (cuz others might have a different meaning) is that if we don't have an item that is called for in a recipe in the pantry or the icebox we don't go out to get it. I just make some sort of substitution.

Take last night's dinner. I thought this recipe from Razor Family Farms looked great and thought the homeboys would go for it in a big way. Then I came home from work, looked in my pantry and found I didn't have all the ingredients (ok, I didn't have most of them). Did I pick a different recipe? Nope! Not me. That would've required work, and time, and a readjustment of my taste buds. As I've said time and time again: I can be down right lazy. Looking for a new recipe would have required work. Work runs counter to my lazy principal.

Now, I'm sure what I made didn't taste like it should have but the guys really loved it anyway. When I do have all the ingredients I'll make the recipe the right way. Of course, that means that all the ingredients have to be on sale at the grocery store.

The second thing that I'm doing to cut our food bill is to only shop the sale items. By doing this I was able to purchase $285.00 worth of food for $165.00. I don't use coupons. Oh Sure, I could probably walk out of the grocery store with more stuff. You see it on TV all the time. A woman goes into the store with a fist full of coupons and walks out with a buggy full of groceries and a receipt total of $1.94. It's too much work. Plus, most of the coupons I see are for things I don't ever buy such as breakfast cereal or prepackaged foods, or cleaning products (I do clean my house occasionally but I make most of my own cleaning products. Better for the environment that way).

Anyway, that $165.00 gets me 2+ weeks worth of food for what works out to feeding 4 adults 3 meals a day. It also includes: personal care stuff, dog food, TP, and wine (lets not forget the wine. I cook with it. Sure, that's right; I cook with it, hmmm. (imagine a look of innocence on my face & finger in my cheek.) Don't judge. These are tough economic times. Some of us need a crutch. Now, that I've justified that one out we'll go on). If we could have a decent garden here in Phoenix this bill would be even less.

And the third thing I do is cut back on meat. I don't' eat it at all (big savings there) but Jr and the homeboy do. So what I have done is to use less than the recipe calls for. If it calls for a pound of meat I'll use half that amount. This seems to satisfy the boys. They have also been known to go meatless a couple of times a week. Bless their hearts. They're trying to work with me here.

That's my grocery savings plan. Any tips & tricks that you have would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, I have stopped buying new books. I use the library (free!!!) and I should I'm a librarian for goodness sake. Also, places like Half Price Books (a used bookstore in the West) has a teacher & librarian discount. The weekend after next we get an extra 10% off. I smell Christmas gifts.

Let me know how your saving money. I could use all the help I can get.


P.S. If you haven't seen the Steven Cobert video about libraries/librarians take a look. I loved it (for obvious reasons)


  1. Like you we eat out of the pantry and freezer. Adjust recipes if we must.

    Cutting down on gas consumption which means the kids may have to just wait a few hours for me to pick them up. We live 25 miles from school. Of course there is always the library to sit and do your homework at which the kids are pretty good at doing..after they hang out with friends for a bit.

    A huge gas savings is stocking up your pantry. Then there is less gas used running to the store all the time. We live 45 miles from a big city. Our local grocers are expensive. So I try to stock up on all dry goods from like Aldi which prices are compareable to big city sale prices.

  2. How do I save money? Let me count the ways... carpooling, buying in bulk, gardening, canning, drying, freezing, preserving, hunting, fishing, raising chickens, sewing, and making my own soap.

    Awesome post! I love that you are such a rad librarian. Yes, I used the word "rad."

    I'm glad you liked the recipe. I have to tell you that I always wonder if anyone every actually tries them. I work so hard to post pictures and measure the ingredients that I would usually just measure in my palm.

    What changes did you make? You may have created a brand new recipe and I would very much like to try it!!! :)


  3. With just the two of us I do pretty good at saving money, but it always seems that the kids save more money because they come for supper (a lot!).


  4. You sweet thing, you. If you were any more wonderful -- why, I'd dunk you in my coffee. And that's love.

    By the way, I posted more of that there untitled story which I am horribly addicted to and probably require medication.

    Intervention may be required.

    Anyway, you need to waltz your librarian self over there and critique it.


  5. I know the Aussie dollar has taken a huge dive against the US, but I am amazed to find out how expensive groceries are here. (This isn't the first blog post I've seen about the subject.)

    I spend about $450 per fortnight on food (& personal hygiene, cleaning etc...) and we don't eat much meat either.

    Yes, having a veggie patch would help but we aren't allowed in our defence-owned property.

    I had a laugh at you comment about the tulips. My aunt & uncle lived in Phoenix for many years and we visited them once. So yes, I can see how you'd have trouble growing tulips there!