Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Post in Which I Realise that I Can Buy Four Extra Books a Month if I Make My Own Tortillas

I've been looking for ways to trim our grocery spending.  I've talked with friends and I've searched the internet and I've been surprised. 

I expected...
But found instead...
...people to feel completely comfortable talking about grocery spending.  I wasn't asking what was on their tax return.
...while many people had great ideas they were willing to share, some clearly felt embarrassed for me.  This was awkward.  I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable or uneasy.  We're okay.  I just want to be a wise steward, wasting less, and using resources well (this is code for more money for books).
...to be told to cut back on fruit and vegetables.
...while some frugal living websites suggested using frozen produce occasionally, fresh fruit and vegetables were everywhere.  The trick is to shop the sales, buy things in season, and skip particularly expensive fruit (fifty dollars will buy a lot more apples than blackberries).
...lots of sodium, corn syrup, and preservatives.
...people are eating really well for less.  No one said eat more Kraft Dinner, Froot Loops, and Ketchup.  Things you make from scratch tend to be less expensive and better for you than prepackaged alternatives.  For example, this month, I'll improve our spending and our nutrition by making tortillas instead of buying them, and using dried beans instead of tinned.  Also, spices are cheaper than condiments, and add flavour without sugar, harmful fats and chemicals.
...one magic solution that would require no extra work from me (secretly).
...many ideas from which I'll have pick and choose, most of which require creativity, time, and planning ahead.  I buy tortillas because it takes five seconds.  Making them takes an hour.  With tinned beans, I can plan and prepare dinner in twenty minutes.  With dried, I need a day's notice.  One of the tips I've tried before and will get back to now is planning our menu in advance.  My children love knowing we're having tacos on Mondays, homemade pizza on Saturdays, and slow cooker mac n' cheese on Sundays.  When I have a plan, we waste less and user fewer expensive last minute convenience foods.  
...frustration....an interesting adventure.  People are fascinating.  Learning from them is one of my favourite things to do.

*Just some frugal living blog posts I liked, Wise Bread, We Got Real, Pennies and Pancakes, Denver Bargains, & Life as Mom*

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