Tips to get started

So this article has seven tips for eating out less. While it was written by a New Yorker, I found that it definitely had some beneficial info that I could use as I start this journey.

PLAN!!! Yeah, I hear ya, who has time to sit down and write out a menu for the week and then compile a grocery list and then get to the grocery store? I tried really hard to make it happen this week. I’m not usually one that finds reward in marking things off a list, but I will admit that I felt like super mom/wife walking into the grocery store with a pre-designed plan.

PREP!!! Again with this time thing, I have a four month old child! Sunday evening while the babe and hubs were snoozing on the couch, I did as much “prep” as I could. I trimmed up all the chicken and organized ingredients in my pantry that would belong together later in the week. Will I always have time to make this happen? Maybe, but I’m making a great effort here in the beginning.

Our progress:
I’m happy to report we are doing great this week! I’ve successfully made dinner Sun-Wed nights, and yesterday we were with family celebrating Independence Day. I took a yummy squash, zucchini, and corn casserole that I doctored up from a Pinterest recipe I found. I will admit I’m really tired of washing dishes. Between bottles and dishes, I feel like I’m constantly at the sink, but it’s worth it! There’s a pork loin in the crockpot for tonight. Yay for five days free from a restaurant!

How’s your week been? Were you able to make dinner at all this week? Are there any other tips you found in the article that you think are super useful? Let me know! I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Say it with me: eating out is a treat!

I remember sitting around the dining room table with my mom and my brother just about every night growing up. Even on nights when we had ball practice we still managed to find a way to eat at home, and she was a single parent!! What excuse do I have? I sometimes think that when money is tight you find ways to just make things happen. I’m sure it would have been much easier on my mom to just drive through somewhere on the way to the gym but with a limited income it just wasn’t option. Dinner out was a big deal at our house, reserved for birthdays or winning championship games. How do we reprogram our mentality and get back to that?

I found this article while flipping around Pinterest the other day and thought I’d share it with you.

I think my favorite quote is “We find the time for activities we value, like surfing the internet or watching TV. The problem is we don’t value cooking enough.”

Can I get an amen to that? If saving money by cooking for my family is a priority right now, then I have no excuse for not making time for it. Let’s change our thinking, eating out shouldn’t be our go-to option; it should be a treat reserved only for special occasions!

My Progress
I went to the grocery store Sunday morning. Gathered enough supplies for four meals with plenty of leftovers. I think tonight I’m going to try a Pinterest recipe I found for Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers. I’ll let you know how it turns out!


Staying at home and saving money

So it’s been just one day shy of a year since I spent anytime writing about anything. To say that a lot has changed would be an understatement. Just two days after my post on July 2nd, we found out that after months of trying, we were pregnant!

A rough first trimester left me with little time to do much of anything other than work and sleep. I lived off crackers and sprite so cooking and baking just weren’t in the cards. My second trimester brought much needed relief, but I spent the majority of my free time getting ready for baby and for my maternity leave replacement. Not knowing when the babe would take me out of work, I wanted to be sure my classroom was ready for someone to jump in at a moment’s notice! I am oh so glad that I did because I was put on bed rest 4 weeks before my due date because of my blood pressure. After two weeks of trips back and forth to the ER with BP spikes, my doctor decided to induce us about 10 days early.

Blake William made his debut on March 5th, at 9:08 PM!

20130624-103521.jpg
Since that moment, our lives have been nonstop with baby action. He truly is the greatest thing on the planet, and I can’t imagine loving anyone any more than I love that little guy. Shameless mom moment where I share some of my favorite BW pics:

20130624-103656.jpg

20130624-103703.jpg

20130624-103709.jpg
Isn’t he just the sweetest?

Ok enough about him and on to the real purpose of this post, staying home and saving money!

When my husband and I got married, we made a decision (ok I begged and he finally gave in) for me to stay home for at least the first year when we had children. We’ve worked really hard in the last three years to save and be able to make that happen. So sadly, I’ve resigned my teaching position (yes I want to stay home, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss working) and have started to adjust to the idea of being full time “Mommy” and not “Mrs. W.”

I decided that since I won’t actually be contributing a regular paycheck to the family, the least I could do would be to find ways for us to save money on our bills while I was home. My first mission, our monthly food bill!

Like most first time moms, or busy moms in general, take out and delivery have been our main source of survival for the first couple of months. But now that B is sleeping better (hallelujah!) and life has taken on some sort of a schedule, I’ve been attempting to cook more. It doesn’t always work like I’ve planned but we are trying. We spent a ridiculous amount of money on food in June. Like an embarrassing number that I’m too ashamed to admit, and that’s with trying to eat at home more!

I know that you can’t eat an elephant all at once, so I’ve made myself little goals to help get this beast under control.

Goal 1: Limit eating out to three times a week. We always go out to lunch on Sunday after church so that leaves us with two meals to eat somewhere other than at home.
Goal 2: Once the eating out is under control, I’m going to tackle the grocery store bill itself. Watch the sales and meal plan around them.
Goal 3: Clean up what we eat. I’m not jumping on the Paleo or Cleaning Eating bandwagon wholeheartedly, but we eat a lot of refined, processed crap. I’m also hoping that this will transition nicely into making my own baby food.
Big Goal: Reduce monthly food costs by 50% of our March-June average.

I’m hoping to tackle goal one in the month of July, two in August, and three in September (B will be 6 months that month, yay for real people food!)

I hope you’ll follow along with me while I undertake this project and check back each week to see how it’s going! I want to challenge you to take a closer look at your food expenses. Is there a place where you can cut back? Any tips you have for me as we get started?

I can’t wait to see what life (and our bank account) looks like on October 1st.