For a very long time I have been a very frugal person. In the past I have always shopped primarily at thrift stores and garage sales. I got cheap haircuts. I scrimped and saved and bought in bulk where food was involved. Never paid full price for anything. Routinely said no to any extraneous wants or desires. I had all sorts of money saving ideas and plans that we actually followed through with. We lived on a very small income for many years.
I don’t know how or when it happened but somewhere along the line, in the past year or so I have really let myself slip. Some of the changes have actually been for the better and have improved my outlook on life and on my sense of individuality. However some of it is just pure laziness that has set in. It is easier to have my husband pick something up at the store down the street than to plan everything out ahead as I used to do. Additionally, I know that part of the problem… and this is me being completely honest with you all, I have inadvertantly adopted a bit of an entitlement mentality that has allowed me to justify some of these changes.
I have found that it is all too easy for me to use the fact that I am a busy Mom of four boys to be a dandy excuse for just about anything that I want to do or buy and the general public typically agrees with my excuse. I know this because I can’t set foot in a grocery store or restaurant without being declared a saint. Just today a man at the Farmer’s Market looked at me surrounded by my little flock and
awarded me the Nobel Peace Prize on the spot told me that I deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. They might think they are being kind to me in telling me I deserve any special thing I do for myself but they are just enabling my current default setting, one which I am not too fond of.
I do not go out clothes shopping all of the time, maybe once or twice a year, and my haircuts still do only amount to about two a year. And to be honest I am quite prepared to continue allowing myself these infrequent moments of sanity and aloneness so that I can look and feel attractive. On the other hand, though being a mother is lots of work, the rewards don’t have to always be tangible pleasures like rose petal baths and “Me Moments” where I rediscover myself on a routine basis (though there is nothing wrong with a little escape now and then!) I’m not at all saying I shouldn’t allow myself a nice haircut and a few new items of clothing once a year… but just being who I am called to be shouldn’t be my excuse for say… not wanting to cook dinner or at least not wanting to think about it until the last possible minute. And that is where I know that I can quite easily cut costs, probably in a fairly substantial way, if I really give it my best effort.
I admit it, over the past several months I have really let meal planning and food budgets slip. Big time. It is time to start afresh with this and I need some rejuvination by way of good ideas from reputable sources (ie. you.)
What are some of your best budgeting tips? What are some of the best online sources you have found to help you get your food budget under control? Have you found a system or groove that has made meal planning, shopping and cutting grocery costs easier and… dare I ask… even fun? I never cheated in school but right now I am really wanting for someone to have already done all the homework on this… What I am looking for is a source for low cost, healthy meals, which includes not only variety so as not to make me want to drill a hole in my right temple and pour something corrosive into it but also shopping lists, recipes and a breakdown of how much money can be saved by sticking with it and keeping that belt tightened (and getting thinner due to healthier eating which makes the tightening of the belt a little less painful maybe!) Hee hee! Yah… I know I’m shooting for the moon here but does such an animal exist?
I might appear to some of you as someone who has it all together. I don’t at all. I struggle to maintain balance in all areas of life. I have weaknesses and strengths. I yell at my kids. I put off doing the dishes now and then (now being the operative word.) I know how easy it is to get a false image of people we look up to but don’t really know online. It’s much easier to appear polished in blogland than it is to say… actualy polish anything. So I am down here in Normal-land with the rest of you mothers. Gosh… after spilling my guts like this I hope the rest of you do live in Normal-land… otherwise I’m down here all alone and feeling quite vulnerable.
I’d love any and all advice on the subject of meal planning, money saving tips, domestic budgeting and all that stuff. I’ve heard of the Tightwad Gazette so that is going to be my first stop… Other than that… bring it on!