Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fear of the future or THANKFUL for today?

I'm still struggling to stay within my $360 grocery budget for 2 adults. Yep, I raised it from $260 because I kept going over once we started eating lower carb. I can do $360 but it's still very challenging. I keep trying new things and praying for God to show me how to shop and cook.

Prices continue to rise but my husband disability check is staying the same. My imagination can live in the 'what ifs' of a fearful future if I dwell on the wrong things.

 I would much rather dwell on God's faithfulness. Those thoughts bring peace, thankfulness and joy. And oh my .... how faithful He HAS been for the 56 years he has given  life and breath.

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
 whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure
, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
THINK about such things. Phil 4:8 NIV

When we first started having financial difficulties 5 years ago I often thought about  the children of Israel and their journey through the desert. I reminded myself how the Lord fed them manna DAILY (except on Sat when he gave them extra for the Sabbath). I would remind myself how their shoes did not wear out. "He" was their provider. He was my provider. It brought such peace and increased my faith!

Low carb pumpkin pie
And He has provided for my husband and I daily over these past years ... wonderfully.. unconventionally... and beautifully! It took over 5 years to come through those financial difficulties but God provided food, clothing and shelter in the midst of some very difficult times.

 I can choose to look for God's blessings each day (and boy are they everywhere) or I can choose to fear what 'might' happen in the future. My fear steals the joy I could be living in today as I count the multitude of God's blessings and provision. 

I will leave my tomorrows in His capable hands!

My daughter, daughter in love and granddaughter at a 'tea party'.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing?  Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are?"  Matthew 6:25-33 (NET)

Here are a few ways I stretched our income this week along with my Typical Frugal Day Routine:

- I pressure canned 7 jars of Romano green beans and 7 jars of a variety of hot peppers from our garden. I continue to slice and freeze the okra until I have enough to fry. I'm also freezing the small amount of raspberries that are picked to use for smoothies. 

- I used another eggplant from our garden and made Eggplant Parmesan. It was a meatless dinner meal. 

- I washed a piece of seran wrap to reuse. I also saved a bread wrapper and a high protein cereal box wrapper to reuse. I'm using the cereal box (turned inside out) to mail some items.  Waste Not! Want Not! :-)

- I found an egg farm that sells imperfect eggs for $2 a flat or $10 for a box of 6 flats. I bought a box. Eggs have been so expensive in the stores lately so this should save me quite a bit and last for a month or longer. I plan on using more eggs for lunches. I boiled some today for egg salad and fried up eggs for husband's sandwich. 

- I'm saving the envelopes that come in our bills. I pay my bills through online banking so I don't need the envelopes. They will be used to store the seeds we're saving from this years vegetables.  Which reminds me.. we are saving our vegetable seeds, too! :-) ..

- I made tartar sauce for our fish this week. I used mayo, ketchup and a dill pickle. 

- I tried my hand at a new potholder pattern. It's called  a 'Crocheted Double Thick Diagonal Hotpad'. Here is the free pattern: 

Free Hot Pad Pattern

I'm using a multi-colored cotton thread. I am on Joann's mailing list and get 40% coupons regularly. I keep them in the car until I'm ready to use them. 

- I saved the cotton ball on the top of my new vitamin bottle to reuse for facial astringent or to take off nail poish. 

- I picked up 2 more tall (5 or 7 gallon) plastic food grade buckets at a store bakery to use for my compost scraps. That makes 3 total along with 3 small ones. I should have enough now and they were completely free. 

- I'm searching for low carb  recipes that use meat more as a garnish than the main focus.  I'm hoping this will help lower my food bill. 

- I'm starting to work on Christmas gifts. I know, I know! Summer is not even over yet. But, I don't like to be under pressure so I'll take my time and work on a few projects at a slow pace. Hopefully I can get a nice little stash of handmade gifts set aside before December. 

-  I found a pair of pants at the thrift store for $3. 

How is your grocery budget?  I would so appreciate hearing what you do to keep it low.



  1. Our Associate Pastor spoke on the complaining of the Israelites today. Practicing being content as you point out. So much satisfaction in making gifts.

    Bartered for someone to fix our roof; or rather our faithful LORD arranged this.

    Instead of buying prepared BBQ pulled pork which my husband likes for lunch, I am making it in a crock pot. Hope it turns out. The meat man at the super market told me how to do it. You just cook pork shoulder blade roast with water or bouillon and seasoning for about 10 hours on low in a crockpot. Then shred and use BBQ sauce. I am saving half the cost. It also provides other meals over a baked potato or over a taco salad.

    I accepted a long-terms substitute teaching job for September which will bring in income for credit card bills.

    1. I think it is a quarter of the cost and imy BBQ pulled pork turned out well. Then I used the liquid to make a soup with two cans tomatoes and the older vegetables in the ref rig. I am thinking "How would Georgene do this?" Also, our financial consultants pointed out we go out to eat way too much and we really need to cut down on our food budget.

      Thanks again for inspiring me, Georgene!

    2. I'm glad your pulled pork turned out well. When I was eating wheat I used to love making pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw.

      I find that if I can cook 'ahead' it helps me avoid going out to eat. I always keep a couple of quick meals in the freezer.

      I think you're doing great Carol!

  2. The grocery bill is always a challenge to reduce. The way I keep my bill as low as possible is to buy my eggs and milk at the local pharmacy where it is quite a bit cheaper than the grocery store. Your eggs costs are even lower. The other things I do is buy my produce at the produce store where it is also much cheaper than the regular grocer. I grow a few veggies but not nearly enough to make a dent in the food bill. I only buy everything else on sale and I've learned to use all kinds of pulses and grains to limit the amount of meat/fish/fowl. I also bake bread and cookies/cakes etc. as well as make my own pizza dough. It's been a process of learning to eat differently but I'm enjoying it.

    1. Hi Joyful,
      What are 'pulses'?

      I can't do the grains any longer which has really put a strain on our grocery budget but has really improved our health. I just keep trying to things. I'm hopeful this month will be better financially.

      Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love making that hot pad pattern. We call it the magic pot holder as you just go around as in a circle and eventually it comes out as a square! I always have to remind myself of God's faithfulness in the past whenever I think too hard about the "What ifs." He has always provided ... and always will.

    1. I like the name 'magic pot holder'. :0)

      Yes, He HAS always provided!

  4. Groceries are a challenge, to get good groceries at the best price, seems to keep me on my toes.
    We just reworked our budget in August. We allow $500 for groceries-all food, home care and health-beauty included in that. There are just 2 of us living here but our grands are here often and we have quite a bit of company. So far, the new budget is working fine, I even had money left in the grocery envelope at the end of the month. My town just got an Aldi that had really good prices on things we buy and I think that accounts for our budget working better.

    Your egg prices are great, but what are imperfect eggs?

    We are all fine here, thank you for asking :)

    1. I think $500 would be a perfect budget amount. We could afford that while I'm working part time but I don't plan on working forever so I'm trying to keep the budget as low as I can for those days.

      I hear Aldi's is great. We do not have them where I live. :( So sad!

      Imperfect eggs (they are called Checks (sp?) are eggs that have like a thin shell, or are odd shaped. They are edible but not perfect. :-)

  5. This blogger spends 100 a month on groceries, she gardens, coupons and barters. Check out her blog and see how she does it. I don't buy much with coupons as I avoid all processed foods, but some of her tips are amazing. You're right to trust the Lord for our provision. Blessings to you.

    1. Thanks for sharing that link Mrs. Mac. I have visited her website many times. If I remember right she uses grains. I'll go back and look at it again. :-)

  6. I spend $350 for a family of 5. We've had that budget for years. It is tighter than when we started, but we have changed what we buy to keep it there. I don't coupon.

  7. Groceries must be high where you are. I try to stay at $300 a month, and we have a 20 yr. old son at home. Some months I do go over. If I stick to shopping at our local Save a Lot I save the most it seems. I really watch meat prices, buy when it's on sale.

    1. We live in California! Need I say more? :-)

      Great budgeted amount for groceries!

  8. Hi Georgene,

    I can't begin to tell you how much this post spoke to me. We had a rough week, the simple out patient surgery ended up with complications requiring a trip to the emergency room and a 3 day stay in the hospital!! Last night I awoke around two in the morning and felt a bit stressed, I started worrying about just how long my husband will be unable to work, will he have a hard time regaining his strength for the physical demands of his job, when will the medical bills start arriving, how are we going to manage, well you can imagine my mind was in a bit of whirl. So, I ended up online, saw that you had a new post, read it and it WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO READ!!! I stopped stressing, made myself a mug of hot milk and went back to bed, and slept soundly until seven-thirty this morning. Thank you for your words of wisdom, they are truly God inspired.


  9. I just posted some of my tips for making the grocery budget stretch on my blog a few days ago - if you would like to read it let me know and i will send you a link :)

    1. Hope its useful for you :)

  10. Well said ... I too struggle with the 'what if's" and must do a better job of remembering that the Lord continues to provide for and protect us.

    1. I'm reminded often of the verse in Matthew 6 that says not to worry about tomorrow for today has enough problems of it's own. :-)

  11. One of those most helpful things I have done is to work on a pantry. To get started, I did a bulk buy on just one item-- a large bag of black beans or a big pkg. of oatmeal. Little by little I added things, and it has helped a LOT in taming the food budget. If you want to see a pantry building pro in action, visit the blog "The Prudent Homemaker." Brandy has seven young children, and because she has built such a fabulous pantry (plus she gardens and cans), she regularly spends just $100/month on groceries. She is wise beyond her years, and I love reading her tips and recipes. That said, Hubby and I recently lived in California for 8 years, and I do think your grocery budget is a bit high for two adults. Portion control also helps to keep food budgets down, and this is hard for me because I do like to cook and eat!

  12. PS The Prudent Homemaker has a blog (blogspot) and a website also (dot-com) Go to her website and take a look at her pantry. It's a sight to behold! Beautiful.

  13. I too struggle to keep my grocery budget in check. We only have a grocery budget of $70 a month for two of us. (Well really 3, I watch my granddaughter full time, and don't charge her parents). We eat alot of meatless meals. But we also eat grains. I found your blog post on The Prudent Homemaker website and will check it out more when I have more time. You are so right, GOD does provide for all of our needs, sometimes we just have to stop and listen. We are so deep in debt right now that I am just taking it one day at a time.

    1. I think it's amazing that you live on $70 a month for groceries! Do you have any meatless meals that don't have dairy?


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