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Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Musings Week 3

There must be something to that adage that if you practice something for 2 weeks or more, it becomes a habit. As I complete week 3 of the challenge, I'm finding it easier to "just say no" to spending.

Part of it is that I'm staying busy doing other things than shopping or surfing Amazon in my jammies. Another aspect is being better prepared -- like bringing snacks along so we aren't so tempted to eat out. I'm learning to say no with grace -- understanding that it will take time for my children to get on board and that I need to be gentle when I turn down their requests to buy things. As I declutter, I don't want too refill the open spaces with more stuff, so I am less tempted by the great deal I just passed.

Then, there is the decision-making. It's always easier when there are hard and fast rules, like "This year, you will spend NO money!" But applying the challenge to this large family requires some flexibility. Flexibility involves weighing the purchase of the object of desire -- the Chunky Soup on sale for $1 a can -- with the long term value and the principles of minimal living and the practicality of raising a large family. In this case, the best sale price for this soup is usually $1.50, rarely $1.25, but $1? I haven't seen that price in years. (Some people follow sports; I follow food prices. What can I say?) Poured over a bed of rice, it makes a delicious winter lunch for the 4-6 of us who are at home every day. Still, I could make my own beef soup, sans those cute little grilled sirloin burger patties, and it would be a healthier alternative as well as use up soup meat in my freezer. The problem is that I have to make the homemade soup. What I need is something my 12 year old son can prepare.

I ramble. Sorry.

Analyzing the situation, I see that I need to teach my younger kiddos more "from scratch" cooking skills. Right now, I'm swamped with a writing project, and time is at a premium. So, I decide to buy 12 cans of soup, which is enough for 3 or 4 lunches. (In the past, I probably would have bought 48-60 cans. Yes, really that many.) I've written a note to myself to block out time in our home school day to include cooking instruction and develop some simple to prepare-from-scratch recipes that Esther, Gideon, and Josiah can make. For the next month or so, the Chunky Soup will have to do, and it qualifies as a justified purchase.

Enough of that. Here is my week's spending.

Groceries                         $83.35
Pizza for date night           $11.00
Toiletries/Cleaning            $19.64  
Total                              $113.99

Ways we Saved Money this Week

Family night - Syd and the boys built a fire and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.
Movie Night - checked out DVDs of the Cosby Show from our local library

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