I know it is not a glamour picture, but it was the best I could do after a long day moving furniture into our new home… yep! We’re renters for the time being. It has been a wonderful, crazy ride! I know I did my post on small home living and while I wanted badly to touch on it more, I am very glad to be in a larger space. It had gotten to the point where I begged God to change my heart. I was daily begging Him to help me be content in that small space. I felt like I had to constantly rearrange, reorganize, purge, and question every single item that came into the home. That is not a bad thing in of itself, but when your children are hiding possessions because Mom is tired of trying to just fit towels, home making stuff, and more, it gets to a point where hubby and I were just done.
After a few weeks we had some friends ask if we miss our little starter home. We looked at each other. I know now that we were both thinking if we should admit it to each other– we really didn’t. My hubby put it best when he said, “You know, I should feel guilty because its been a good home but I do not miss it one bit.” I feel the same way. It served its purpose but now it is time to get fixed up and placed on the market for the next family.
I was so excited because a few months ago I got a grocery budget raise. I was so proud of having $600 a month for groceries for our growing family. Even typing that amount seems like so much. It works out to about $4 per person per day or $1.33 per person, per meal not including snacks. However, when we started renting, and knowing we would need utilities at both places (minus phone/internet for the “old” house) we knew we would need to tighten the budget. We cut ALL activities. No ballet for the girls, no Jiu Jitsu for the boys, no homeschool co-op, and etc. But, we also cut the budget, we needed the extra $100. So, I am back to $500 for the month. I am also trying to once again grocery shop every two weeks. I told myself to stick to it for 3 months. I went over by $13 the first week.
I hadn’t realized how lax I had gotten in our budget. If you had asked me if I was still thrifty and frugal, I would have answered with a resounding YES! But suddenly, I changed from questioning every single item brought into the house, to every single purchase. (Do we need two gallons of almond milk? What if I made larger mealtimes and cut snacks out? Is boiled eggs more frugal than carrot sticks?)
Do you want to know what the most amazing thing about it all is? I’ve been writing out all expenditures and all earned income and God has worked in ways that do not add up on paper. You are more likely to forget to record a purchase, not added income. But I believe that God has worked in ways that I can’t even comprehend. Things that should have pushed us to dip into savings (that is rapidly dwindling) have gone in opposite directions.
So, where does this all lead? Well, for a while I typed out my heart of what I did in years past to make the ends meet. Somewhere along the way, I forgotten or set aside the details of how much work actually goes into making a very tight budget work. I have noticed that a lot are really struggling financially right now. It’s never just us. Never. Someone is always dealing with similar struggles– just different circumstances. I want to share with you what I am doing to make it all work. I want to encourage those out there wondering if being debt free or if you can live on thirty-thousand a year or less, and by the way the answer, is yes you can.
So, onto the two-week meal plan. I hope this helps someone:
Breakfasts are a rotation of oatmeal, eggs, smoothies, and muffins
quesadillas x 2
Mac n Cheese x 2
Leftovers x 2
Bean and Rice casserole x 2
Sandwiches x 2
Soup x 2
Make our own lunchables
chips, salsa and mexican rice
Dinners: (all are served with a starch like rice, noodles, or potatoes and some kind(s) of greens and veggies).
Tacos x 2
Beef stir-fry x 2
meatballs, rice and veggies
Bacon and Brussel Sprouts with roasted potatoes and carrots
Pick up this shopping list guide for your next trip and at least feel ahead of the game! My mom swears by these things!