Friday, January 8, 2010

Enjoying life!

This past year I have really struggled with saving money and still enjoying our life. I want to be responsible and take care of our family. However, I want to have fun and enjoy our life. I don't like to stay home all the time and I like to have nice things. The problem is that I used to live life differently. I used to buy what I wanted and dress very nicely. My daily jeans and T-shirts are fine but sometimes I just want to break down and buy some shoes, get a mani/pedi and a really expensive coffee. God forbid I do this all in the same day!
I think that finding this balance is key! I try to cook really good food for our family. I really love to cook and eat good food. If we could afford it, I'd shop at Whole Foods every day. I used to make a weekly shopping list based on recipes I picked out of magazines and cookbooks. This was obviously very pricey. Our weekly grocery bill for two was over $100. I was also finding that we threw away a lot of food. I started clipping coupons and following sales but then I found that sometimes we weren't eating as healthy as I'd like. I did save money though. I got our shopping bill down to around $75 a week. (And now there were three of us!)
The next thing I did was start using a local grocery store that sells produce. I find that some of their items need to be eaten right away or they go bad. I have learned how to shop there and I now know what to buy and what's not so great. I also learned to use store brands. This was also a problem since they just don't taste as good sometimes. I don't mind for some things but again...I like to cook and I like good food! Stale taco shells don't make me happy!
I then found Aldi. I don't work for them or anything....I just love it there. They have a good thing going and I leave with a cart full of grocereis for $50. And their items taste good!
So now I think I'm on to something...I buy veggies and fruit at the produce store and everything else at Aldi. The only problem is that I don't buy meat there.
I tried a week of vegetarian eating and it was okay but I just like some chicken sometimes. I also have a hard time feeding a 1 and 1/2 year old just veggies and beans all the time.
My local grocery store has meat sales often so I stock up and freeze things when they go on sale.
I do have some higher priced items that I can't live without...but it's all about balance right? I must buy Trader Joe's Almond Butter and High Fiber Cereal. I eat this every day. I consider it a good investment. It keeps me full until lunch and I don't have to buy morning snacks.
I have a new plan for the new year. I'm going to go vegetarian three days a week. The night I work will be Pasta night...easy for the hubby. Another will be some sort of egg dish with veggies. And the third I will try something new!

So to recap:

1. Buy fruits and veggies at discount
2. Aldi for everything else
3. Trader Joe's for my two expensive staples
4. 3 non-meat meals a week
5. Buy meat on sale and freeze

I'll keep you posted on this new plan! Anyone want to join me?

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