Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Day 4: July Grocery Challenge $1/meal/person/day

Holiday Weekend continues...
Money spent: $0
Meals: 6.5 out of 10? (10 being awesomeness)

I fell asleep last night, so playing a quick catch-up.
Fourth of July and we've come to expect it to be a big feast day for everybody: every meal, all day, party, party.
When you're on a budget, you realize pretty quickly that's not going to happen.

We started the day off celebratory enough. I made homemade biscuits shaped like stars. These were a hit, save with our youngest, who promptly declared that he didn't like biscuits.
Nevermind, he hadn't tried them yet.
Nevermind that he had no clue whether they actually tasted good or terrible. He didn't like them and so proceeded to only eat the grape jelly off them and leave the remainder for the dogs. Everyone else, apparently, loved them. Loved the thought of them being in a special shape.

There were sausage patties and applesauce and fried eggs also on the menu.
The biscuits were quick and easy and made a bunch (18 to be exact). They were munched on throughout the day and by bedtime, there were only three remaining in the basket.

Lunch was sandwiches, chips, carrots, milk/juice.
Watermelon slices (given to us) at the pool as an unexpected snack.
Tomato soup and cheese/pepperoni quesadillas for dinner. We talked about trying to have a meal that was actually red, white and blue next year. The suggestions were interesting: bacon and whipped cream with blueberries.

Someone wanted to do a lemonade stand to make money, but they didn't want to use their money to buy the lemonade supplies...though they did want the money they earned for themselves.
When folks are used to "it was always done this way," it can be hard to speak the words, "Well, I'm not going to buy those supplies for you, since it is not in our food budget." But I said them. The innocent question back was, "Well, when will you?" To which I (trying to stay calm and not get irritable, because I don't like being the money b*tch), "Truthfully, I'm not planning on it, though I could probably work it into next month's purchase and you can do it the first week of August."
They stared at me for a minute.
I squirmed inwardly, but kept my calm, poker face. The face that says, "Facts only."
They shrugged their shoulders and sighed and walked off.

Later, I sat softly with another child and we talked about always wanting to buy something and how we weren't going to feed that impulse daily, like we had in our past (whether buying or looking to buy). Words were extra gentle, so as not to accuse or sound angry.
Again, just facts. And extra hugs and snuggles.

We are constantly bombarded with messages to buy and spend.
But what if you don't have a limitless amount of income?
Or disagree with getting into debt simply to have more pleasurable moments spent indulging in a constant stream of treats?
Or you choose to live a deliberately less consumerish life?
How do you teach your kids, "Hey, we've got a good life. A charmed life, really, but even we have to be mindful." ? You do it daily, like I'm doing right now.
One child had a fit and gave me back their allowance.
To which, I responded, "You may want to reconsider that and realize that saving your money for something...even if you don't know what that something is, is a skill you need to master."
They stomped out and sulked for about five minutes, but then came back and said, "I've changed my mind. I'll save the money for a pair of roller skates."
"That sounds like a good plan, Kiddo."

Four days in and it's not a game.
Four days in and most of the family is at the "sighing point" of the adventure.
I wonder if it was such for anyone embarking on a sailing ship of old for new lands.
Four days in, the ship seems perilously small, the horizon vast, and the food feels constricted.

Reading this, you may be thinking it was a terrible day.
It wasn't.
It was a happy day, overall.
But the reality of this food challenge is the ripple affect it is having on my mindset overall.
Is it chafing?
Is it confining?
Is it difficult.
No. It's just a level of awareness that I was oblivious to before.