Budget-So I have decided to cut our grocery costs in half. I am regularly spending 200 bucks a week on groceries and that is just too much. I am again hauling myself back under control and making sure I follow a list with coupons and sales marked. This week I was able to spend just 74 dollars on my weekly groceries. I used my reward dollars at Fred Meyer and was a vicious couponer using several store coupons w/ sale prices and manufacturer coupons to lower prices to just pennies.
I think the real challenge of ‘cheap’ shopping is actually eating healthy foods and buying local these things don’t often come with coupons and are more expensive. I am back to my old mantra ‘I am doing the best I can for right now’. Local milk and veggies, whole grains and beans, local meats (augmented with sale meats). Going meatless is a great way to save money too, Mrs. JellyBelly has a great post on that idea read it here.

Pantry- To really make living on a budget work you have to be able to buy whats on sale, when it’s on sale and store it for when you do need it. Behold the pantry. Or as my son likes to call it “the pant-ree”. You must have a place to store food. Or 2. A dry pantry and if you can swing it an extra freezer somewhere. You also need to EAT the food you buy. So as you stock up make sure you pull the first bought items to the front. This is not the stock up and never eat it lifestyle, because when you do go to eat it you want it to still be good. If it’s not still good when you want to eat it well then you are throwing money down the drain.

I don’t know about anybody else but 6 months out of the year I need heavy duty fabric softener because Alaska is so dry the static sparks can literally light up a room. The rest of the year I line dry and don’t use it at all.

This is a picture of the Leprechaun trap we built on St. Patricks day. My children are so funny. I thought I would revive the old game I played with my oldest son…we have a leprechaun loose and he is dying our milk green-hiding our shoes-causing trouble and generally being naughty. So when they got up that day the carafe of water from the night before was dyed a deep green and there were green cookie sprinkles thrown all over the counter. They were intrigued. Who? What? Why? Talking between themselves excitedly, they were trying to figure it all out. I let it ride as I made coffee but when I poured the green milk for #2 son he burst into tears saying how he hated the naughty leprechaun. I could hardly contain myself and stepped in to my room to smother a laugh and get it together. That leprechaun was doomed though. They hatched a plan, after I showed them a magazine with traps to catch the pesty little guys they had it all figured out. They were going to wait until he climbed the ladder to take the honey nut cheerio bait and then the youngest would bang him on the head with a Lincoln log and down into the box/trap he would go. Thankfully the leprechaun avoided his undue persecution and the entire day was spent devising ways to make the trap bigger and better. All in a a cheap, fun and creative day. WE NEED SPRING! And melting snow. Simultaneously.

Can I just say how very sad I am to see the end of the Gnu Bars? I am sad. They are SO good. My kids are saying “these are the best ones, oh, wait, no this flavor is better” 3 & 5 year olds having discussions over their favorite Gnu Bars, it’s hilarious. So the results for my kids are in. They have each tasted/eaten every flavor and they picked their favorites. My 5 year old adores, I mean ADORES, the Orange Cranberry! The binary super dark black boy(our nick name+his favorite color) 3 year old loved them all but his ultimate “best ever in the whole world” was the Peanut Butter Bar. Oh and how weird is this? I can take or leave bananas but I really fell for the Banana Walnut Bar. I like fresh bananas. I usually can’t take anything ‘banana flavored’, this has no banana flavor it is FLAVORED WITH ACTUAL BANANA. And WOW too good to be true. It tastes like the moistest banana bread your mother ever made. Truth be told I left this one until last to taste, then finally drug it out and of course it blew my doors OFF! If you missed my original review you can find it here.
Thanks Gnu Bar folks! The bars were so delicious and it was fun to put them out as family taste tests and ask each person what they thought. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.