Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Paying off bills while spending a little money.

I feel like it has been awhile since I've been here posting. I want to continue posting updates during this 'spend month' but I also don't want to bore you.LOL I did pay $700 on bill this month, so I haven't gone spend crazy. The bill I am currently focused on is my son's ortho bill. Once we get it paid off we can get our daughter who will be 16 braces. She is such a beautiful girl and has patiently been waiting her turn to get braces. Hopefully by her birthday she will have them...which is in May.

I have challenged myself this month to buy enough groceries with my normal grocery budget of $1000. It will be hard and I probably will need to add a bit to it, but I think I can come close. Next month doing my 2nd 'NSM' I am again going to keep $50 for basics like eggs and produce.

We went to Sam's Club and stocked up on all the normal things I would typically buy. We did add a metal shelf to put in our storage room so we could put our bulk items on it. Plus, we have a 'preparedness' food stock that we've been building up. Having that food stock has helped us in our first 'NSM'. I know most families have to grocery shop monthly because you don't have a well stocked pantry to go as extreme as I did. It really isn't to hard to build up you pantry...I'll talk more about that in another post.

My husband and I have always tried to have 2 months worth of food in the house. Living in Florida during hurricane season showed us how important it is. When Katrina hit, our grocery store shelves became bare. There was no milk in the dairy aisle. Gas was only delivered once a week so you really had to conserve. After living through that we saw how fragile our food system can be. And to be honest, it really scared us. We had back then 5 children to protect and feed. Now we have 7 children to protect and feed.

We currently live in what I like to affectionately call the 'frozen tundra', in NW Minnesota where it is extremely cold! If our little town were to lose power because of a horrible storm like much of the USA has seen this season, we would be in trouble. The nearest town to us is 25 miles away but they would probably not have power either. And they are a lot smaller than us so they may be sold out of food. So, we like to be prepared for what may come.

In preparing ourselves we are buying chickens this spring so we can have eggs and meat. My children are so excited about having chickens. I am excited about not paying $2/dozen for eggs. My family can eat a dozen eggs for breakfast easy. I counted up last month how many eggs we go through and figured out it was 13 dozen and that is cutting back some because it was our 'NSM'. Keep in mind, I bake a lot! On any given week I bake 4 dozen muffins, 6 dozen cookies and a cake. I cook pancakes twice a week and we only eat eggs with our breakfast once a week. Being a large family we just eat a lot of eggs.

Next on our agenda this spring is to put in a large garden. We live on 2.5 acres so we have some room. We have one producing apple tree and are adding 4 more apple trees, 2 apricot, and 2 pear trees. I am so excited about having my own produce. Grocery store prices are only going up and I have had enough! For the little money we have spent on seeds and trees, we should be able to recoup that in our first season. Next year, it will be even better.

We are totally trying to cut out as many expenses we can. We have cancelled our cable tv, went bare bones with our land line telephone and didn't renew any of our magazine subscriptions. We do have cell phones but we switched to a new company and that lowered our family plan by $25/mo. We joined Netflix so we could still watch movies but that only costs us $14/mo which is a lot less than paying $85 for Direct TV. In the course of one year we will have saved $1260 by making these changes!

This first 'spend' week has been a good one...