Not Exactly Weekly Not Exactly Update ~ by Sam

So, it’s been more than a week since I last gave the general rundown of our progress.  Our progress has been somewhat backward this week (or two), so I guess I have been shy about writing.  We decided to buy the sofa.  More on that from Shane later.  Suffice it to say, it cost us a rather large chunk o’ change.  It was, however, considerably less than we thought we would spend on a sofa, so ~ Score!

On the homefront:  It has been roughly nine million degrees out here lately, so no one feels like cooking, and no one feels like eating.  Nevertheless, there are dinners to make and lunches to pack.  I did so well my first week or so with the cash-only spending, but then, this week, it sort of fell apart.  I got my cash on Saturday, as planned.  Shane deposited his check on Friday, and he got enough for my weekly $100 (that’s groceries + whatever else comes up), as well as cash for the sofa, which we had decided to buy.  Now, my $100 usually goes to grocery and household expenses, but, somehow, I got all mixed up and use some of it for something else (a gift, I think, and maybe a PTA membership…I can’t remember).  So, then I had much less than usual to work with.  It also happened that this was a Costco week.  I needed some of the bigger staple items, and that took a big chunk out of the budget.  So, by Monday, I was down to $27.  I thought I could stretch that through the week (because I am insane, apparently), but it just didn’t work.  After we bought the sofa, we split up the leftover money between the two of us, and…well. mine is gone.  I don’t even know where it went.  However, there is some good news (besides the fact that we can finally all sit on our sofa and watch a movie together):  I just counted all of the coins in our jar, saved from the past couple of weeks, and..*drumroll*…we have $12.30 in our little coin jar.  Not bad!  If we save up 5 or 6 bucks per week, we’ll have…um…more money in there at some later time.  (I am so good at math!)  Fine…I’ll use a calculator.  If we manage to put $5 in the jar each week, by this time next year, we will have saved about $260.  That’s not too shabby, in my opinion.

Today will be about trying to get myself back on track (it is a constant struggle for me to stay on track).  I have many raspberries in the fridge, waiting to become jam, tons of flour that needs to be turned into bread, scones, etc., and a few things to clean and organize.  I made a huge pot of refried beans, and a huge pot of rice a few days ago, so I can probably put off grocery shopping one more day.  Before I begin, however, I will sit and enjoy a cool and refreshing homemade (and probably vastly more nutritious than the kind I used to buy) iced mocha.  I use cold-brewed iced coffee and dark chocolate almond milk.  Pour it all over a tall glass of ice, stir, and enjoy.  Not only is it delicious, but it is high in calcium, and I didn’t use any gas or waste yet another disposable plastic cup.  And, yes, that does make it especially satisfying for me.

Oh!  Before I go, I will leave you with a recipe:

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup organic sugar/evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, depending on your preference)
3 cups cheerios (or try chex, corn flakes, rice crispies, broken pretzels…)

Grease an 8-inch square pan with coconut oil or butter.  In a medium saucepan, bring honey and sugar just to a boil.  Turn off heat.  Stir in peanut butter until smooth and combined.  Stir in cereal, coating well.  Using lightly oiled or buttered hands (or spoon), press mixture evenly into prepared pan.  Allow to cool for at least 1 hour.  Cut into bars or squares.  Yummy!

Got the recipe here http://www.cheerios.com/recipes/honey-peanut-squares/b70cfd8a-9589-4a7a-9991-ba90100ed8be#.Uin1N2Q9CYJ, and didn’t change it much.  Kids love them, and they are easy to pack in lunchboxes.  Cheaper than packaged bars, and no nasty disposable packaging.  You can probably add in other ingredients, too (dried fruit, chopped nuts, ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, etc.  I am going to try this method to make granola bars, using oats instead of at least some of the cereal), and I am sure you can sub something (soy or sunflower butter, perhaps) for the peanut butter, if you have allergies.

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3 thoughts on “Not Exactly Weekly Not Exactly Update ~ by Sam

  1. P.S. ~ I guess this kind of was an update, huh?

  2. Wait. You feed a family of 5 on $100/wk (groceries AND whatever comes up)?! I NEED to know how to do that!

    • Hi, Eric. I would say we sort of gyrate around that number. I have gotten through some weeks on $50, but that involved buying most of our groceries at the 99 cents store, and I am not sure that’s the healthiest choice. I used to allot about $100/month for some staples from Costco, and then I give myself about $50/week for groceries, in addition to that. It really was a struggle, but I could usually do it…well…sorta. There were things we were missing, for sure. Since we moved, I have been a little off track, so I decided, just arbitrarily, to give myself $100/week, and see how it goes. I found that, last week, it wasn’t enough. I went over by a good bit, so I will probably make some adjustments. The week before, I got by all right. I think I need to do a month where I keep track of every dollar we spend on groceries, and see how we stack up.

      Some things we do that help us save money, however are: We’re vegetarian, and I think that saves us a good bit of money. We try not to rely on a many packaged, processed foods. I bake most of our bread, make homemade granola bars, etc. Also, we have had some fairly productive gardens over the years. Since we moved to our new house (December) we have traded some of our homegrown fruits and veggies for other things we aren’t growing.

      I think it’s important to note, when I say “groceries,” I am talking about food. Things like toilet paper, household cleaners (‘though I make most of those), etc. I consider part of a separate budget. If you look back at the early posts here, you will find a link to the tumblr account on which we started this project. If you go there, you can read about our early experiment of trying to get by on $50/week for our food budget. In the end, I found that was just not enough. I have been reading more and more about what an average family “should” be spending on groceries, and I feel like we’re doing okay. I think I am going to have to do a post about my findings, and then save every receipt for a month, to see just how we really stack up.

      Thanks for your interest! Nice to hear from you.

      ~ Sam.

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