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I thought that I would lay out my menu for our family for dinner

Hi all,

I thought that I would lay out my menu for our family for dinner for the last 8 days. I manage to keep our grocery bills down to about $160.00-$180.00 a month on average for a family of 5 and that includes dog and cat food and cat litter along with paper products, etc.. We have 2 big dogs, 3 cats and 12 fish! A regular zoo!

Here is what we ate:

Cheese and Crackers, (video night at our house)

Teriyaki beef on a bun, apricots, necterines and peaces, green salad (from our garden)

Lemon-dill trout (caught by the kids and I while on vacation with my parents in Montana), cheese scalloped potatoes (potatoes that my kids helped to plant and harvest in a friend’s garden), green salad (from our garden), steamed green and yellow beans (from our garden)

Corn on the cob feast! (corn from a friend that gave me a case of it), watermelon (given to us by a friend in exchange for some of the corn we gave her), homemade biscuits, green salad (again from our garden), jams and jellies

Pasta salad (made with tri-colored pasta noodles, diced cheese, vegis and italian dressing), fruit

Leftovers, make your own and a quick stir fry for Mom

Potato/Corn chowder (using some of those potatoes the kids dug, a couple of huge Walla Walla Sweet onions given to me by a friend {she had 2 boxes of them and was given them free} and some of the leftover corn on the cob), homemade cornbread, cucumbers in vinegar sauce, honey, jam and butter

Spaghetti with italian sausage, onions and tomatoes, green salad (garden), homemade biscuits

My husband and I homeschool our 3 boys, oldest will be 13 in October and the twins will be 11 at the end of this month. We are living on 1 income and a very low one at that (about $1,200 per month while my husband retrains in a different field of work). We tithe 10% before taxes and do so joyfully. God does reward a cheerful giver!!!! He is the one that helps lead us to all the good deals and makes the money stretch so far!

Our garden is very small. We do have 3 fruit trees (1 summer apple, and 2 cherries sweet/sour) and a huge rhubbarb plant! I also grow mint and garlic. Our small garden area has strawberries, lettuce, oregano and thyme (used fresh and dried), cilantro, spinach, cauliflower, brocolli, green and yellow beans, and tons of tomatoes! We can, dehydrate and freeze our bounty as well as share with others. We have friends with raspberry patches and have found wild plums and italian prune plums growing along the sides of the roads (we live in a rural area). I also shop the produce sales and farmer’s markets and freeze blueberries, blackberries (found growing wild), peaces, etc. along with cherries from our trees.

We have been blessed with bargains when it comes to homeschooling supplies. I buy alot of them used, make use of the local libraries, have gotten a lot of Christian biographies from a local free book store (part of a church’s ministry and these were the exact books I had been praying for God to provide a way for us to aquire them before the bookstore opened), my parents buy us the “Big Ticket Items” like the microscope for Christmas gifts, and we use the internet alot! My kids are very creative and eager to learn!

WE try to save money anyway that we can and that includes hanging out laundry in good weather, using cloth napkins, borrowing videos, books and music from the library and friends (we also loan out our things), share our lawnmower with friends and they share their utility trailer with us and provide us with free fertilizer for our garden (they have a horse) and many other things. Our kids swap Nintendo (the original Nintendo games, got some games and the machine for $2.00 at a yard sale) with friends, go to work for neighbors when they want to earn some spending money, and are getting really good at bargain shopping and cooking from scratch (they love to help me make bread and they are each in charge of making one complete meal a week). The boys also spend a lot of time just doing things for people “just because” and can frequently be found helping to weed or mow a neighbors yard, taking out their trash or taking care of their animals when they are on vacation.

I am very proud of them all!

Shopping sales, thrift stores, auctions and yard sales are not only a way of life for us but also a source of great amuzement! You never know what treasure you will unearth! Used bookstores are another one of our favorite hangouts. We love to trade in our “used and read” books for “new to us” books. We almost always come home with a new and exciting book that leads us off into another branch of learning.

Anyway, those are a few things that we do here! We enjoy a simple life full of friends, fellowship, love and lots of good food. Our home is a welcoming place for all our friends, young and old alike. Their is always room for a few more at the dinner table and the couches are quite comfortable to sleep on (according to our many friends who have stayed the night). Our lives are rich in the things that really matter to us!

To me living a frugal life really does free me up to enjoy and appreciate all that God has blessed us with!

Posted on

I certainly have been mourning

I subbed to this festival immediately but was no mail and would check in periodically. I too miss the high volume and all of the helpful tips and suggestions. I am finally realizing that if I miss all of the posting that used to go on, then I better do my part and contribute soooo I’M BACK.

During the past few weeks I have been spending less time online. I have been doing my points programs faithfully to try to get a jump on Christmas. Once the kids go back to school, I am planning to hit the store clearance racks once a week to look for bargains. I have some GC’s saved and got a plastic web certificate card that I have been adding to for this purpose.

I am also (as always) trying to work on my food budget. At this point it seems to be the easiest place to cut. I don’t seem to be making much headway with my mini-emergency fund and would love to be able to add to it more regularly. My food budget for a family of 4 is $70 per week. I did our last challenge and was able to average out at $45 per week. It was really tough and I depleted some of the things that I stored up. I think that $55-$60 including paper goods and toiletries is “doable” and comfortable on a regular basis. An extra $50 per month would be great to add to the EF.

In order to do this, I am planning to drastically reduce purchased snack items and do more baking for treats. I also located a thrift store for bread. I can’t seem to make bread that I like for sandwiches. I love the Amish bread and make it for dinner and french toast but still purchase bread for sandwiches. With school coming, that means more sandwiches and therefore more bread. I should be able to save another $1-$2 by going to the thrift store each week. I am also trying to build my pantry so that I never have to pay full price.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to build my pantry in a systematic way. I am willing to continue to spend $70 per week, using $10 per week to stock up on sale pantry items.

If anyone is still reading this book, could you share any brown bag lunch ideas.

Well, I think that I have written enough to make up for all of the time that I was gone.