Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Feeding a family on a budget

As you know we are a family of 5. As we adjust to RVing fulltime I am sure in time I will return to canning but this year it isn't happening neither is freezing options. I don't have freezer space and learning ways to make space in our limited space. Believe it or not I was able to feed the family these past 2 weeks on $100! We had some vegitarian only meals, some with meat and even had one meal out. I watched the local sales and Safeway had a 10 for $10 sale going. for things like rice and noodles, fruits and more. I actually overshopped the amount of meals I needed for the 2 week pay period. The kids love any meal they get to throw soy sauce in...lol.

Aside from sales, there is discount racks hit them up before you do your regular shopping and if you have a vehicle that is easy on the gas it would be worth checking a few different places on the discount racks if time allows.

Shop at Dollar Store or similar stores and supermarkets that have discount food prices. Clip coupons for extra savings I get online coupons from couponcabin.com . My daddy always told me You won't starve if you keep flour, milk, yeast, oatmeal, and eggs, (since having kids I have added to the list-peanut butter, jelly, cheese, assorted veggies, rice, and ramen noodles in your pantry.

This means we aren't sticking to a gluten/caesin free diet which would better suite Benjamin, and I no longer purchase organic. BUT my family is fed, we keep to a resonable budget and still cook mostly from scratch. If you are willing to choose budget over convenience I can post some great tips and ideas for you. With todays hard economic times as in the words of Ron Paul more and more people are being forced to live with in their means.

We went the whole route of trying to keep up with the "Jonses" even if it meant charging it on the plastic, having great furniture, newer vehicles, shop sales even if we really didn't need the items etc. We got away from the city back into the country and finally decided we weren't happy with ourselves. I now drive an '83 Ford f250 and '88 Ford Festiva (excellent on gas 45 mpg on the highway and 35 in town). Best part they are PAID for and they run oh and there is a CD player that plays MP3's...lol. If something breaks down we can afford to fix them esp since the towing is connected with a garage. We did away with banks and credit cards. We do use prepaid Visa cards to pay those few bills we still have or for online purchases. Our only major payment is our new RV. It is more 4 season gives room and isn't dry rotted so we decided it was worth the price we will pay.

My grandmother once gave me a book on an envelope system and since I started implementing this and keeping all receipts, attaching them to each paystub I have found money I didn't think had. Turns out we had it only we just spent the money and wondered where it all went. You know that saying little things add up...same is true with money. And it is only a good deal if it is something you truly need and will use.

Since converting to the RV lifestyle we have found we really stop before purchasing something simply because we like it and have a little extra to splurge. you know that cute outfit you might wear once or twice then what, one more figurine that where it is cute you have to dust, pack when you move and put back up. We must have a real or multi use for an item esp with there being 5 of us and 3 pets. For instance we considered bringing in our food dehydrator well we also need a toaster oven or something like it because the financing is just not there to fix the oven (wasn't working upon purchase and we had full knowledge). So we started searching deeper and discovered a convection oven covered both the baking and dehydrating so out it went and next week we will get a convection oven with the holidays big for baking around the corner it is time to make the big purchase. Many many options to go over out there. when something big like the oven or fridge quit working they aren't just a couple hundred dollars to repair. More like in the thousands on avg.

I hate the term going "green", but whatever term you would like to call it RVers are very conservative on avg. We conserve water as we have to our hot water tanks are only on avg 10 gal, we really watch when the lights on unncessarily (ours anyhow get really hot so is best to use them little), we open the windows mostly but is nice now and then to turn on the ac for a few hours when needed, nothing is wasted. I feel the kids are getting a real education first hand in what it means to save their money, budget and converve all at the same time doing what is better for our land. They go out of their way to pick up garbage they see blowing around on the ground, they go out and help the managers here at the park pick up rocks so community service in a way. I am going to end this post here, but will post more at a later date.

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