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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.