Eating through our cabinets, and BIG GREEN SALAD.

Once we came back from our beach vacation on August 26th, our cabinets and fridge were bare!  And I loved it!  I had to get uber creative to make the most out of the food that was left.  And guess what:  it was awesome!  We made it and we did it.  And the next day, I headed out to my favorite grocery store (Aldi), and purchased EXACTLY $100 of food for the following week.

And by the end of the week, there was NOTHING left, or barely nothing.  But we continued to survive.  It was pretty awesome.

I absolutely love my rice cooker.  It makes delicious rice, and when you add a bit of coconut oil & soy sauce – it’s truly the most delicious meal.  It’s a single (adult) meal that everyone in my house can agree on – from my almost 2 year old to my 37 year old hubby!!!  The only issue with this meal is the clean up when the rice falls on my wood floor, and gets mashed between the boards.  But no big deal, it’s just a meal and I have to clean!!! 🙂

My girlfriend joined me at Aldi this past Sunday, and she thought I was a bit nutzo for thinking I can feed my family of five on $100/week.  And even though I did go out the next day and buy an additional $138 of food (special snacks like Z-Bars, spinach, cole slaw mix, and other bulk items for back to school), I’m determined to succeed on $100/week.

I have to continue to perfect this, and I will get it right.  Practice does make perfect!  She said she found what I was doing “intriguing” and even found me an Aldi app, I can use while shopping to make sure I stay within my budget.  I find it intriguing that she finds a budget intriguing – but that’s the whole POINT of saving & investing.  It’s like we’re rare animals, roaming out there in the wild among big-spenders and over-consumers.  It’s awesome to challenge ourselves, do great for our accounts & keep practicing saving, investing & spending less.

Last night I made a ridiculous delicious big salad that fed our solid FIVE, and then my gf, her son, and my mama – and I still had two more servings left over for work today.

Spinach (ShopRite)
Cole Slaw Mix (ShopRite)
Romaine Lettuce (Aldi)
Tomato (Local Farmer’s Market)
Cucumber (Farmer’s Market)
Broccoli (ShopRite)

Time to eat those greens, and repeat.

 

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“Cheaper” Day @ The Beach

We spent all Saturday at the beach!  It was so hot, and so beautiful, not a cloud in the sky, and the water was FREEZING.  We ended up going to the beach with many of our neighbors & friends.  Another family suggested this particular beach, and so we tagged along.  The parking was $12, but our neighbor offered to pay for this parking spot (she hopped into our van with her son for the ride).  The entry fee onto the beach was $9 per adult, so we paid $18 to get onto the beach.

I made sandwiches, brought grapes, strawberries, juice boxes, water, and other snacks.  I did not want us to have to go out and buy lunch, buy snacks, buy water – when we had everything at home, already purchased, and purchased with thought.  It’s easy to overspend on day trips, especially when we are ill prepared, and they are not well planned (or there is just lack of time).  I like to make the food, I like to feed my family exactly what we made, and what we prepared ourselves.  I’m not a huge fan of eating out, both for the cost, and the lack of health in fast food.  My children are just 1 & 4, so they are a great age to not know any different.  They grab grub from our cooler and are happy.  I’m sure once they get older, they will understand that we can buy pizza, and other boardwalk deliciousness, but for now – they are eating “at home” and I love it.

The entry fee to this beach is a bit steep, but because I was not involved in the planning, I did not want to complain.  We did spend 8+ hours at the beach, with lifeguards on stand by, so it was well worth it – especially for a full day of fun & activity.  I have already done some research for less expensive entry fees, and we’ll try those beaches next time.  I also have to weigh it against the actual distance it takes to get to the beach.  The shorter the ride, the less it costs.

Cheers to your GOALS, and making the adventures of your life, as cost effective as possible.

Cash Only, breaking up with the charge card.

I convinced myself that using my Amazon Chase Visa credit card, and paying the entire balance off each month is the way to go.  Usually, I receive a $30-$60 statement credit for using the cards, and this is well worth it.  No more.

I overspend using the credit cards.  I have no limit (as the credit card has no limit) and I let myself buy ANYTHING (mostly anything) I want at the grocery store, versus buying within a budget.  I am not mindful when using the credit card.  Instead, I buy what I need & want and what looks good, and I tell myself I’ll pay it off later.  If I have a grocery list, I go over it, and buy what is advertised and marketed, what I thought I forgot to add to the list, and so many extra items end up in the cart.

I instead, I am going to start using cash for my grocery purchases, and gas, and anything else that needs to be purchased.  This will cause me to be extremely more mindful and thoughtful.  I’m breaking up with the charge card!

Saturday morning I drove to Aldi, and I brought $140 cash with me (I have not been there for 2 weeks).  I ended up buying less, I put in 1 bag of chips, versus 2, I put in 1 ketchup bottles instead of 2, I ended up getting 1 package of burgers instead of 3, and so on.  Once I got to the register, I told the cashier that I only had $140 so to please warn me if we went over.  Instead, I was $20 under.  This was a win, as it seems my Aldi check out bill kept getting larger and larger each week.

Sunday night, I drove to the grocery store to buy some seltzer water, and romaine lettuce.  But, once I got to the store, I realized that I left my $20 at home, and I did not have any credit cards on me.  Oh well, no big deal, even though I had to go home empty handed, I did not spend any money on things I did not need.  We already had plenty of food and water to drink & eat at home.  Instead, I used that $20 on gas for the car this morning.

It’s nice to log onto my Chase credit card this morning, and not see a single item charged all weekend.  This is a win win win, and I’m psyched to continue to use CASH versus CREDIT.

 

 

Buy Exactly What You Need, nothing more.

Yesterday, Old Navy was having their annual flip flop sale.  I walked into the store at around 11am, and most everything was purchased.  There were women picking up to 10 pairs/20 pairs of flip flops.  I need one pair.  A black pair.  The one I purchased a few years ago, is wearing down, and with a beach vacation coming up, I wanted a new pair for end of the summer and warmer fall days.

Please note I said:  I wanted, not needed.  I did not need these flips, but I wanted them instead.  They weren’t an urgent need (as my feet had another pair on), but they were a great price for the quality – so I went ahead. Flips at the local thrift store are more, so I decided to go ahead and buy myself a pair.

Instead of a woman’s pair (because they were all sold out) I ended up getting a hunter green, and a gray pair in men’s size 6.  I will wear them until they wear out, or until my son’s foot grows into them.  They will go to great use.

I stood inline, a long – slow moving line, with my two flip flops, while holding my 20 month old daughter who wanted nothing more than to run wild in the store.  I held and entertained her to my best ability.  And yet it was amazing to see how many people were truly buying out the store.  A lot of sale signs were up, but that does not necessary mean you are getting a great deal, not does it mean you NEED to buy it.  We all have so much, and we have to learn to live & love what we already purchased, what we already own.

Buying ONLY what we want – is a process, and takes time, patience, commitment and practice. And most important – deciding BEFORE you enter the store, that you will ONLY buy what you need, not all you may want.  I need to practice following my own advice, especially before going grocery shopping.

It was awesome to charge just $2 to my Amazon Chase Card, versus $20, or $40 or $100 or $200.  Let’s keep practicing buying only want we need (or lessss), and becoming MILLIONAIRES and FINANCIALLY FREE in the process!