Wednesday, January 14, 2009

*NEW* Blog

Well, as you can tell, I'm transitioning this blog. I finally got the Merry Christmas border down. I want to be helpful to all my friends who read this blog (and man, are there more of you than I ever thought there was--I've received emails with questions, comments, referrals on sites I've suggested!!), and help people save money. When Eric and I were being "gazelle intense" in our Total Money Makeover, people thought we were crazy. We sold both cars and a house, but we are (almost) financially free!! Now with 2 kids, we want them to be able to go and do as we did when we were young. We want to provide everything (within reason) for them that we want them to have (however we don't believe in complete extravagance just for the sake of spending money). And I figure, since I'm searching online (using swagbucks) all the time, reading up on how people save money in their own lives, that I might as well share the information. I want to be a good steward with my money and help others do the same.

One thing I've got a LOT of questions over is our grocery budget. I did want to mention some things about it.
1) Sometimes I go over, I'm not perfect. Like this month, I budgeted a little more so that we could start stockpiling, in hopes that we will spend less later. I think with the amount of rebates and coupons I'm getting, this will be the case. Plus, we have enough toothpaste, deoderant, etc to last us months now, so I will only be buying that when it's pennies now!
2) I don't buy ground beef, or beef in general. My step-dad is a hunter, and my parents share their venison with us. They give us ground beef, round steak, etc, so I NEVER buy red meat.
3) I have now started only buying chicken when the split breasts are on sale for $.99/lb. This grosses me out (ask Eric, I still make him cut the skin and bones off), but it's a TOTAL money saver. And one way I make my chicken last...
4) About once a week or two, whenever I get a good haul in chicken on sale, I throw all of it in the crock pot with a little salt, pepper, and a few dashes of reduced sodium soy sauce, for flavor, and let it cook on low. From 4-8 hours depending on how much chicken I have. Then I transfer it to tupperware and put it in the fridge until the next morning (and save the broth! This is a new thing I'm trying.). Once the chicken is cooled, I cube it/shred it and put it in plastic baggies and put those smaller baggies in a large Freezer bag. I put it in about how much a recipe will call for. Another way I make it last, I NEVER put in the full amount it calls for. Sometimes I reduce by as much as half. I'll throw in other forms of protein (black beans are a fave way to up the protein in a mexican dish), and my family never notices.
5) We used to buy organic EVERYTHING. Now we've scaled back. I still buy organic milk, and try to buy organic canned items if they are within $.10-$.20 of the non-organic variety (like canned beans!). I buy organic apples and berries when they are on sale. I always buy organic yogurt (large cans, I portion it for her and less waste for the environment....although I recycle it)anyways, but I found a website where you can make your own (I have actually seen it on MANY sites) and really want to try it. We usually don't buy sodas/lots of extras (like chips, etc although this month was a fluke and Eric is totally excited, haha.
6) I bake from scratch a LOT. I've started making my own bread. I found this AWESOME website that has a lot of stuff from scratch. Can anyone say cream of _____ soups, for cheap and in bulk! :)

Ok, that's it for tonight. More to come.

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