As I've already mentioned, Robert and I are trying to find ways to become more frugal and spend less money. We have been buying things for our home, and will have to place a hold on that for the summer. We also need to figure out ways to spend less, and still get the healthy food that we need to get. Since I will be home more during the summer, I will be able to make more things from scratch (unless it costs more to make it than buy it), and since it's summer, we can eat more in the dining hall (although I will be choosy about this… at least I plan to be). We want to continue these changes into the fall (even though I will be getting paid) because we want to start saving more and putting more towards debt. We will be making some more changes to our home in the fall, but we will do it a bit more carefully.
Some food/natural product changes that I will be making (at least for the summer) are these:
- I won't be buying coconut oil anymore. There are great benefits for it (well, depending on who you ask- some say it's wonderful, others say it's horrible… kind of frustrating), but I have not been able to find good uses for it in my daily cooking. It's also expensive, and I just can't justify it. I still have a whole container that I will use for things like lotion, and occasional baking/cooking.
- Instead of coconut oil, I will use (and already use) canola, sunflower oil, and extra virgin olive oil. I can buy these pretty inexpensively at HEB or Whole Foods. These oils have no saturated fat, and have omega-3 fatty acids. They also work best in my baking and cooking.
- I won't be making granola any more (at least not often) because I have found that it's pretty expensive, then I don't end up eating all of it before it goes bad. It's yummy, but it's expensive. I may make it here and there as a snack, but I'm cutting down. Another reason is that it has quite a bit of sugar (it's honey, but still sugar), and I'm trying to cut down on sugar. I buy a wonderful multi-grain cereal that is yummy and has almost no sugar (Cascadian Farms, Multi-Grain Squares). It is often on sale, and I can find coupons for it often.
- I will start making my own tortillas. I have been buying tortillas from Whole Foods, but they aren't extremely cheap, and they don't last very long (because there's not many in a package). I only go to WF once a month or so right now, so I need to just make my own.
- We plan to eat more frugal and healthy foods such as beans, eggs, avocadoes, etc. Both of my kids love these; they are cheap and very healthy (some people list these as their tops items for healthy eating). We already eat these quite a bit, but I'm hoping to be more creative with them and have them even more often.
- STICK TO THE MEAL PLAN and don't eat out. I make a meal plan, and we often follow it over time, but we've been eating out too much lately. Eating out should be a treat, only. It's not healthy, and it's expensive. We were really good at not eating out much for a while, but we got busy, and got back into the bad habit. We won't have the ability to eat out much during the summer because of Robert's hours. I'm glad!! I hope we get back into a good habit, and are able to continue that into the fall.
- Make the most of the items that we already have, and ONLY buy what is needed. This is a hard one for me too… not sure why. I LOVE grocery shopping, so I always find an excuse to go… which can cause issues! I also like to have a stocked pantry, and really, that's not necessary!! I was stocking up for the summer, but we will be fine even if I don't stock up.
- I have found that buying frozen veggies and fruits saves quite a bit. The reason I say this is because we end up throwing quite a bit away if we don't eat it fast enough. Since our schedule changes constantly, I never know if I'm going to be able to use things that I buy fast enough. I can buy many veggies frozen, and they are just as healthy (they are frozen at the peak of ripeness, usually). They usually cost maybe $2 for 1 pound. That's not bad at all.
- I'm going to come up with a list of "frugal meals," and try to stick to that list, at least for the summer.
- There are certain things that I will not "skimp on," and those include: 1) The wonderful dishwashing soap that we use. We have tried all different kinds, including homemade, and they just don't work. We started buying this kind called BioKleen, and it is AMAZING. The dishwasher soap makes our dishes super clean, and you only have to use 1 tbsp! It will last forever. 2) Vitamins, whole foods supplements. I've said this before, but I just can't get Karis to eat all that she needs to, and I want her to be healthy!! I will also continue buying herbs, etc for things. I find this important. 3) I will continue buying natural soaps, shampoo and conditioners, face wash, etc. 4) I also started buying the natural scrubbing bubbles cleaner, and it works so much better than homemade. It's not expensive (although probably a little bit more than homemade). I don't really know how natural it is, but for me, it works, and that's what I'm looking for at the moment. 5) Some things I will always buy organic. Some things I will stop buying organic because they are "low on the list." Things like milk and yogurt I will buy organic, and meats I will continue buying natural and cage free/grass-fed as much as possible. 6) Organic infant formula. It has gone up (from $8.79 a can to $10.28 at Vitacost, and $10.99 at WF), but it's worth it in my opinion. Luckily, I only have to buy it for another month and a half, at most. We are trying to get Ethan used to a cup now so it won't be hard for him to transition.