Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Buying Groceries for $30 (or Less) a Week

Grocery shopping with my husband, I sped past the aisles of delicious food for the back of the store where I knew the butter would be. Shocker of shocks, my Aldi's butter prices had doubled, and I couldn't afford it that week. I knew that Walmart – less than a block from Aldi – would have cheaper butter. The trick there is getting past the bakery, the spice rack that calls my name, the coffee... everything. I was hungry, and I knew whatever I saw had the potential to tempt me.

Then it happened. I saw the clearance section. I didn't know this existed until that very moment, and I stopped in my tracks. Most of it was overpriced teas that had dropped to reasonable prices, but there were cans of tuna half off, various grains at rock bottom prices, and a precious bag of high end, organic, blonde, coconut sugar for ¼ the usual price. I never ever buy specialty sugar, despite how wonderful it is, and I hemmed and hawed over it for a full two minutes before my husband plopped it into our cart and said it was worth it.

When my husband came to me with concern about our food budget (which was only $60 a week to begin with), I told him I would try to only spend around $30 a week for groceries. This includes whatever staples we need. Frugal grocery shopping is one of the most exciting aspects of my life. I don't say that in exaggeration or to be over-dramatic. It truly thrills me. I love pinching every penny and seeing how delicious I can make each meal. This month, I managed to feed us with around $20 a week. How do we do it? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Wonders of a Child

As I write, my little girl is babbling away at her daddy as he puts her into pajamas and her nighttime diaper. She turns one, next week, and I can hardly believe it. That tiny almost constantly unhappy baby has turned into a laughing, tall, inquisitive, confident, sweet, little one.

She still loves her daddy best. Her temper – oh my, her temper! – can be shocking, at times. Her vague wishes which she so struggled to communicate at first now burst forth with a clarity I didn't know a baby could possess. She is, quite possibly, the sweetest child I have ever known. She knows when one of us is ill, and she already kisses us goodnight. She is determined to do things, no matter how hard the obstacle. My little problem solver. She wants to be helpful, even if she isn't quite sure what that means, yet.

She learns quickly, and she loves to explore everything she can get her hands on. I can hardly wait for her to walk, and she already giggles with excitement when we help her stand and walk around, her pudgy fingers gripping one of our hands. She is constantly dirty, which I find delightful.

Listening to her talk to her daddy is a wonder to me. She loves her time with him before bed, when he dims the lights and reads to her. I come up to lay her down for the night, and she is completely limp against him, still awake but relaxed. She still cries for me during the night, and even when I'm exhausted, it makes me feel special when she soothes so quickly in my arms. I am not eager for these days to pass. I treasure my little princess.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Family Cloth: Why You Shouldn't Be Squeamish

By now you probably know how much I enjoy frugality. It shows in my home, my eating style, my wardrobe, and now it's showing in my bathroom.

Family cloth. Do you know what it is? In case you don't: family cloth is what you use instead of toilet paper. It it reusable, washable cloth. I made ours out of the flannel receiving blankets we had used for our little one's home birth. I cut them into squares and sewed them - 192, in all. They look pretty and feel absolutely luxurious.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Embracing Minimalism

Minimalism has always appealed to me - perhaps because I always felt overwhelmed by the need to pick up so many things I owned which I wasn't really fond of. Toys, books, clothes, makeup, and the list goes on. When I married, my husband and I lived in a tiny apartment which we managed to barely fit ourselves into, and part of that was deciding what our essentials were, though we weren't living with the minimum.

About two years ago, I threw away or sold the majority of my clothes and started using a capsule wardrobe (just before I became pregnant, which was terrible timing, as most of what I wore was tailored). It has only been in the past month I've been able to finalize it so that almost every piece is high quality, can be worn year-round, is maternity-friendly, and can be worn while nursing a baby (I am still nursing and hope to have another baby soon).