Living Within the Means God has Provided for you.

I have been a stay at home mom since 2003, although living on one fairly small income has been challenging, God has always provided for our family. With a Gross income of aproximately $20,000 we own our own home, actually have two running vehicles and want for very little. Lots of people complain about not having enough money to pay their bills. I have a hard time understanding why. On a monthly basis, we make a mere $1, 356, I had no clue til recently how low that really was. Its funny, but being Poor is more of a mentality than an actuality for most of us.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Menu plan for October 6

Monday- Cheese Enchiladas, Black Beans and Corn, and Spanish rice
Cheese I buy in bulk and I use about 12 ounces in this recipe cheddar and Monteray jack the cheese cost about $3.50 the sauce is 99¢ a can Black beans and corn are 56¢ and 99¢ respectively. The rice I can't calculate since it came with Angel Food and I have quite a few bags, I will just add Salsa and spices to it, a cup of salsa cost less than a quarter, the tortillas are 99¢ and I am not sure how many we will have leftover. The total cost is about $7.28 but we will have leftovers and those will be imported into meals later in the week.

Tuesday, Chili, I hate to admit this, I do this so lazily now. We shop a lot at WalMart because thats where the bank is. I take 3/4 lb Ground beef about $1.50 when bought in bulk, and add two cans chili ready tomatoes (54¢ each) and two cans chili beans in gravy(50¢ each) then leftover black beans and corn and we have a meal $3.58 with leftovers, those leftovers will go towards tomorrows dinner.

Wednesday, Taco salad and baked potatoes bagged salad mix 1.47, taco chips (I use two quarter bags or generic brand at $1.47 a bag) The potatoes are 2.49 for 5lbs and I get 3 meals out of that so 83¢
Top the salad and potatoes with leftover chili and voila a meal for 3.77 with leftovers for lunch.

Thursday We will likely have chicken Cordon kiev, which is a splurge for us, the chicken will cost 3.96, We will have sauteed green beans and Twice Baked Potatoes at 50¢ and 1.50 respectively. 5.96 for the meal and unfortunately this one won't have leftovers.

Friday we will have Pizza sticks, Baked Pizza crust 44¢ topped with herbed cheese 84¢ and pepperoni 98¢ then dipped in leftover pizza sauce (from this weeks meatball subs courtesy of Tammy's recipes) 49¢ this whole meal, yumm, 2.75

Saturday we will have tacos with the lefover tortillas 3/4 lb ground beef 1.50 and cheese 85¢We will probably have the leftover taco salad since I will set half of everything aside. making the meal 2.35

Sunday we will have spaghetti and Meatballs 79¢, Sauce 99¢, meatballs 99¢ whole meal 2.77

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Ok I am going to try a little harder this week, its been stressful not making my goals....

Monday, Spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread
.79+1.00+1.00+.50=3.39 =to feed a family of 3

Tuesday, Sweet and Sour Chicken stir fry (from a kit)
1.69+2.50+.99=5.18 each person in a Chinese restaurant would cost more

Wednesday, Bratwurst and Buns, Baked French Fries, Corn and baked beans

Thursday, Pork chops with apple sauce and hash browns

Friday, Homemade pizza from packaged crust mix with mushrooms,
pepperoni, peppers and onions

Saturday we pick up Angel food and will have steak and twice baked potatoes cost unknown as I will have to break down the whole order.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Job Hunt

Over the past month, I have been back on the job hunt....I know we COULD make it on one income, but we really need 1 1/2 to make things more uhm, whats the word I am looking for? Uhm, this will work, LIVABLE.

With gas prices rising, we need more income coming in, less going out doesn't seem to be happening really well, not with EVERYTHING going up.

I have put in more than 20 job applications across the board. Mostly in the field I am going into in school....I am claiming that I will have a job soon. VERY SOON.
God is the provider, and we need him to provide two jobs, I need a full time job and Chris needs a part time job CLOSE to home.

Why do I want to work full time and want him part time? That's easy, I need something to keep my mind off of my pain and keep me busy, He can handle homeschooling Lauren much easier (he proved it last week when he had her, she doesn't fight him the same way she does me) and he is a better father when he is around her more....also, and here is the BIGGEST reason I want him working only part time and me full....I need him happy, he has been miserable in his job since he started, its a long drive and that stresses him out, he hasn't gotten a raise, but rather pay cut after pay cut and responsibilities keep increasing....overall, I need him to be here for us, and that job is killing him.

He has applied at a local grocery store for full time, and I am hoping he gets in there, its 5 minutes from home, good benefits, good hours, and good perks...I know, I used to work for the company....I only quit because I wanted to be a stay at home mom, now I am ready to return to work, but with my leg I have to fight to get a job....who wants someone who can't stand?

I know this isn't one of those overly frugal posts, but at the same time, part of being frugal is knowing when its time to make changes to make things work.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cooked Ground Beef

This morning I boiled 5 pounds of ground beef, Now what am I going to do with it?

Tonight we are having Sloppy Janes and French Fries,
Sloppy Janes are very similar to sloppy joes, one exception, they are served in hot dog buns instead of hamburger buns.

Other meals that will come from this 5 pounds of meat?
Well We have Stroganoff, Add one can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 can mushrooms, and one cup of sour cream or french onion dip
We have our usual, tater tot casserole, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can corn drained, 1 pound tater tots, and 1 cup shredded cheese
We can add to basic spaghetti sauce
Tacos are easy too, just add a cup of salsa and a tablespoon of Taco seasoning
Enchiladas, add 1 tablespoon taco seasoning, 1/2 cup of miracle whip, and LOTS of Cheese

since each of these meals uses about 3/4 pound of meat, I get about 7 meals from that 5 pounds. To stretch it further I add chopped onion, green pepper, zucchini, or whatever I have handy to it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lets get started Menus

This week, Well we are starting today because I goofed yesterday and only DH had dinner, Lauren and I ate a VERY late lunch so we werent hungry. We also finished our I spent a lot to stock, but remember, the grand total spent in August was less than $30 since our foodstamps got screwed up.
Due to my workers mess up, we had $375 to cover August and September.

Now before We get started, we get $165 per month, I know lots do not wish to apply but I want to run our budget through so people know what we have coming in and going out and why I am back in school and looking for a job.

Cheap meals can be quite varried without being stressful on the family.
My family does not like the same things regularly. We can not do a Monday through Sunday Menu and use the same basic menu week in week out, they would rebel.

This week We are having Chicken Cordon Bleu, Corn on the Cob and baked Potatoes
Chicken 1.88
Corn .51
Ham slices .50
Swiss Cheese .38

Baked Rotini and Garlic Green beans
Rotini Noodles .40
spaghetti sauce .98
Meatballs 1.31
Mozarella .56
Green Beans in Garlic Butter .50

Pork Chops with apple sauce and Broccoli
Pork Chops 1.99
Apple Sauce .50
Broccoli in Lemon butter sauce .50

Crab Alfredo with Broccoli and Carrots in the sauce
Broccoli and Carrots .50
Alfredo Sauce Packet .50
Crab .90
Fettuccine .40
Milk .10 for half cup

Crust mix .44
Sauce .49
Mozzarella .56
Mushrooms .50
Pepperoni .49
Chopped pepper and onion .13

for 15.20 I have 5 dinners, some of those dinners will have leftovers for lunch, most will not.
Can we keep lunch and breakfast to under 9.80 per week, I am pretty sure we can, I will attempt to make english muffin bread this weekend and give it the ultimate test.

Budget update

Before we moved, our bills were
150 Utilities
60 car insurance
50 House Insurance
100 property taxes
728 Mortgage
100 Phone and Internet
Gas and Medical are not included
that total is 1188 My medical bills average anywhere from 38-240 per month and gas cost about 50 a week there are no groceries at all in that budget.
DH brings home 1320 per month.

After we moved,
Utilities 150
Car insurance 60
Lot rent 400
House payment plus water 200
Phone and internet 100
Gas 70-100
House insurance 37
Medical still has its large range, but right now is averaging about 100 a month
that nets us about 1117 including our gas and medical bills.

We have nothing in savings and by the time we have paid our bills we have very little to show. Since there are also back medical bills as well as our two cc bills, that aren't there, they are $30 a month and will be being paid off without being used anymore.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New set of goals

Well, frugality became more of a necessity rather than a fun challenge this last month.

It was much harder without any room for error. It didn't always work, and my family now is far from fond of Chicken as that's what I had a large stock of on hand.

Did you know that 8 pounds of chicken will last about 4 weeks even if had for almost every dinner?

I get my chicken breasts on sale from Meijer for 14.98 for 8pounds, 4 pound bags b1g1 free.

We finally were able to restock the fridge and freezer, I still need a few things, but its a lot better than ALL chicken, lol.

We now have 3 pounds of hot dogs, 3 pounds of Bratwurst, a refill of the 8 pounds of chicken, 3 pounds of sausage, and I need to go get ground beef and some more basic staples, we were even out of those....I was never so grateful for a 2lb block of Velveeta cheese this last month, while I am not a huge fan of Macaroni and cheese, or macaroni period for that matter...the month of August saw lots of Macaroni and cheese, I made 3 batches of homemade with that block of Velveeta, I made 3 batches of Macaroni Tuna salad as well, its a nice food for summer when its hot, but now that the weather is cooling, the recipes will become more appealing again. I hate to cook in the summer, nothing tastes quite right.

We will be forming a monthly menu with cost analysis.
Three meals per day, 7 days per week, my goal, $125 per month.
Can I do it? Hmm, We shall see, but I am excited to try.