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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Day 29: July Food Challenge $1/person/meal/day Looking Towards Next Month

Found today: red velvet ant
aka "the cow killer"
Money spent: $0 (did you expect to read otherwise?)
So, the last couple of days, The Spouse and I have been reviewing "what's on hand" and "what to buy grocery-wise next month."
It is interesting because almost NONE of the staples that I bought based off of Mr. Money Moustache's list of his family's staples were actually things we used (except eggs and cheese). Several things on his list have not even been opened. So, we certainly aren't buying those things for the next long, long while.

Instead, we made a list of what are actually OUR family staples.
Now granted, having a basic list of staples with which to make nutritious, healthy food in the house is important, so OK, we started there. And maybe he meant all along that you rotate each month what your "staples" are. Maybe, he even says that somewhere, but I must have missed that useful post. And I'm sure the things we have on hand will eventually be fully consumed, but on a month-to-month basis, our family's staple list is different the Senor Mustache.
And yours would be, too.
So, for August the list will be more "us." It'll have more bacon and more tomato soup. More green beans and no (additional) rice, potatoes, or oatmeal. It'll have more applesauce and eggs and yogurt and not quite so many carrots. We now know exactly how much milk, bread, cereal, and eggs we actually use in a month. We didn't know that before this adventure. Three gallons of milk A WEEK? Two loaves of bread each week. For the month: five cans of tomato/marinara sauce? Almost seven POUNDS of cheese? Six dozen eggs? 1.5 gallons of ice cream? Three bags of cereal? 20+ pounds of fresh vegetables. Nine pounds of meat. Nope. Had no idea.

And as happy as I am that we are going to have mastered this moustachian challenge for July 2016, for our family of five, with me on a restrictive food plan, we are not obligated to adhere to the $1/1/1 beyond Sunday when the challenge is ended.

Will we stay under $700/mo?
Absolutely! There are; however, several bulk items that I buy for my food plan that I am going to continue to purchase. It gives me joy and makes me able to keep doing what I'm doing these last four years and not weigh in at 300# (or more)! I've done the math and figured out how much per month those average out to, and it's about $65/mo.

We could put it in another category dubiously called the "Fat Tamer" fund or "Anti-Obesity" fund or "Remove-at-your-Peril" fund or the "IMAHANH" account (if mama ain't happy...) Just to give you an idea: one of those things is instant coffee. Don't judge me. The Spouse prefers coffee more mindfully prepared (read espresso). I like sugar-free flavoring in my cheap-o coffee. Our family budget can support those preferred items, but not on $1/1/1... I tried. We ran out of coffee. Even instant. It was not a good day.

So, for our family, we're going to hover around the $515 - $525/mo. That will still be a family savings of $175 each month (or more) from our past grocery bills. It will also remove the "freak out" factor from my day-to-day life.

Resolving that has taken up a lot of brain power, because the "competitive, good girl" in me wants to prove over and over again that I am just as good as anybody on any challenge. Yeah, whatever, Sassy Pants! My family, my food addictions, my kiddos, my life... it can be "good enough" as The Spouse and I mutually determine.

Come September, we may refine it even more. After all, school starts in six days. There's about to be a major change in routine.
The main thing that has happened is that we are no longer living in money oblivion.
I am now conscious of where the money is actually going, and fully acknowledging how much money we were pouring into food and into convenience purchases in the past.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Day 28: July Food Challenge $1/1/1 Like a Never-Ending Pregnancy

A part of my lunch
At least, that's how it always feels on the home stretch, "This will NEVER end!"
"I'm going to be enormously pregnant FOREVER!"
"I am NOT HAPPY."

Waaaa. Waaaa. Waaaa.
Big deal, Lady.
Have you read some statistics on how many families in America actually experience hunger on a regular basis? How many American children do not have a reliable source of consistent, nutritious food?
I double-dog dare you to go look up those facts and then complain about not having bacon.
Instead, you'll find yourself looking through you cupboard going, "What can I give to my local soup kitchen to help?" Or "where local can I volunteer to DO SOMETHING about a real crisis?"

Food supply is great.
Honestly, I thought we'd be nearly out of bread and milk by now, but we've got more than enough for the next few days. Veggies literally everywhere we turn around. Plenty of cheese. Plenty of soy. Plenty of eggs. Even some chicken and pepperoni. Lots of apples, raisins, and I could probably go pick more figs, if I cared too. Tons of peanut butter, beans, oats, rice, potatoes. Oil. Even butter.

So there is nothing to complain about or grump about.
As I sit here trying to pay attention to the "What's really bothering you, Kid?"
So, I sit, and think, and then I talk over the phone with my best friend.
We talk about my stuff and her stuff. We listen to each other's pain and offer gentle comfort as friends.

It's actually not about the bacon.
For me, it's about wanting a pacifier to soothe the hurt.
Something, that I, as a food addict, want to put in my mouth and make me feel better...and not feel this pain of loneliness, rejection, or passive aggressive manipulation.
Something to make me forget the gnaw and the ache of being innocent and still "they done me wrong" and I don't know how to fix it.
Perhaps, it can't be fixed.
Perhaps, only time can heal and fix it...or at least blunt the rocky, jagged edges of the pain to a rounded smoothness.
Food, for most of my life, has been my go-to comforter.
My drug of choice.
My solace and my worst enemy all rolled into one giant, raging addiction.
Even now, more than 100 pounds later, I still want to reach for comfort food when I'm in emotional pain.
Tonight instead, I opened myself up to my friend.
Her words, both a combination of wise solace and tough kid humor, were a balm to my frayed emotions.
And so, I can stand here before you and say, "Yes, there is more hope, in abundance, and it was not found by burrowing into food, because I can not cope, or am afraid, of what these feelings are."
These feelings will pass.
And I will enjoy bacon again.
I just don't have to have "my fix" tonight in order to forget the pain.

On some brighter notes:
- the air-conditioning is FIXED! (Thank you, thank you, thank you, God!)
- This weekend, I get to learn how to make ricotta AND mozzarella cheese with another dear friend and a honest-to-goodness cheese-maestro!
- Money spent: $0


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day 27: July Food Challenge $1/person/meal/day Clouds, Parks, and a Dash of Love

It's been a good day, made more pleasant by clouds, parks, and friendship. Thank God it was cloudy today. And it rained.
And it stayed cloudy: all day!
The heat of our non-air-conditioned home was actually bearable because of those facts.
Still, we gladly let the kids have a sleepover with friends last night.
Yes, those same pizza-loving friends I wrote about yesterday.
And they played there and then later at the park. Late in the day, it was home again to relax in our bedroom, where our other neighbor-friends' portable AC-unit kept it as chilled down as any meat locker.
Seriously! That thing would probably "keep on keeping on" until it generated icicles! THANK YOU!

Tomorrow, the repairmen come and hopefully, the entire home will be back to normal. With the humidity, it's beginning to smell just a little bit like our two dogs.

To top off today's "good things," The Spouse cooked a delicious, veggie stir-fry for The Fam.
God bless our youngest.
Perhaps, he's overtired.
I can honestly say, he tried to bite his tongue and not complain.
He ate the broccoli and a little rice and three glasses of milk.
Of course, coming in from the heat and playing in the park meant that the decision was made to feed the kids ice cream at 5:30 p.m.
Before dinner.
I get it.

Tonight would have been one of those, "Let's just go through X, Y, or Z and grab a quick bite and something cold to drink!" To resounding kids, "Yesss!" $25 for that supposed transaction, easily. I know, because I've done it quite frequently in my past money oblivion.

But our family didn't do that.
We came home and had a treat here instead.
And The Spouse then proceeded to chop up a bunch of veggies and made a delicious meal.
Well done, Beloved.
There are certainly worse things than ice cream for dinner.
Perhaps, you forgot that time I served them popcorn for din-din?
Not once, but twice one distant spring.
Yes, we're human.
Happy, hot, and a little grumpy, but madly-in-love-with-each-other family.

Money spent: $0
Tons of food still remains: I promise.

----
Today, we had a request for bacon.
It's been off the menu for over a week.
"Oh, yes!" I replied, "We'll have bacon on Monday! Perhaps, for dinner."
"Do we have to wait till Monday?" (yes)
"How many days are left until Monday?" (Well, it's Wednesday now)
And then a request for another exotic food item.
"But this one, I think, only costs a dollar. Maybe two." (Well, we can add it to Monday's list, if you'd like)
"Do you promise me, you won't forget?"
"Do you need to write it down, so you can remember because Monday seems like a really long way away from now." (I promise that I won't forget. I'm very smart and have an excellent memory, just like you!)
"Ok."
And then the conversation moved to alligators and dogs barking and summer vacation coming to an end.
No tantrum.
No tears.