Almost grain-free!

I still need work but I’ve only a had few Valentine’s day cookies over 2 days during the last week. I don’t remember any other grains. Still very high carb, but my husband has been home on “vacation” so maybe now that he’s gone back that will get better too (as in, “I need sugar to comfort me. When is he going to leave?!”) ;-D

I’m trying to get ahead on keeping meat cooked. If I have yummy, meaty goodness around to eat then I’ll be less likely to go after the candy in the freezer. Mmmm, beeeeeeeef.

Tasty ground beef recipe that 3.5 year-old dd likes coming soon!

Saving on groceries and pet food (with flower pics).

One thing that has helped keep the grocery/pet food bill down quite a bit is (drumroll) dumster diving.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. Our local health food co-op has a bin out back where they put there “trash” veggies and fruit to be picked up for compost. The food is not loose – they put it in a trash bag. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes they’ve already been picked clean. I was told by an employee that other people who goats  and some with chickens also come by to pick up from there. Usually it’s greens (kale, turnip, lettuce), outer celery stalks that broke off, lots of citrus right now that starts to go soft before being picked, and the occassional apple with a bruise or hole poked in it. This one I’m less concerned about us eating it.

The other store I pick up from is a conventional grocery store. The food is thrown out loose in boxes. We usually will only eat from bagged items from this place (e.g. bagged apples, celery or carrots).  We give the rest of it to the bunnies.

Something I’ve noticed recently is that both stores are throwing out less food. Or maybe less is there by the time we get there. I’m a little concerned about what that means for the economy – if either the stores are putting out less food because they’re trying to save money (not a bad idea) or if more people are resorting to DD to put food on the table (scarier thougtht!).

We found a 3rd store that we tried last night. Not too many veggies picked up – only enough for 1 day, but dd was hollering for me to get back in the car because she wanted to go inside (the beginning of the hollering *sigh*). Note to self: try not to go to store without taking a nap first!

We did get some boxes of pancake mix that syrup had spilled all over. I can’t salvage the boxes but I’m going to repack the mix into a vacuum storage bag tonight. We don’t usually eat pancakes (I’m trying to be as grain-free as possible), but when you’re looking in dumsters to save a buck on food, you might want to save what you can’t use for the lean(er) times. Or to trade with someone else later on.

We also got 3 bunches of flowers! A very pretty yellow bunch with a few purple and pink accents that I’m sitting in front of typing, a dozen red roses, and a dozen pink-edged roses with greenery and a vase. They had not even dumped the water out of the vase before tossing it! Unbelievable! I really think they brighten up the house quite a bit.

We’ll be going out again tonight or tomorrow night in search of more fruits and veggies. Snow or no snow the buns have to eat and since the offspring that don’t sell as pets will be used as food, I need to keep them all fed and healthy.

No spend going fairly well.

I had to pay for some homeschool stuff on Ebay that I had bid on before I started the no-spend challenge, so I’m not sure if I count that as being against the rules or not. I’m thinking not because (1) I promised to pay before starting and (2) after I get everything under control again I will have a little set aside each month in the budget for homeschool. I guess I should count this purchase against the budget though. That means no homeschool spending until April. THAT is going to be hard.

I did give in to the tears and bought 1 package of cookies for $2.99 on about the 23rd or 24th but I did not give in last night. Miraculously, when we went back in the store (after calming down outside for 1/2 hour), we found the last piece of Sara Lee cake that the store had set out samples of! Thank you!

So we haven’t spent anything unplanned for since about January 17, with the exception of that box of cookies and the Ebay stuff. I think we’re doing pretty good! It’s getting a little easier as times goes on but I’m so tempted! I’m dreading going to Costco next week.

It looks like my in-laws might be able to swing some money our way next month. I’ll raise the grocery budget a bit (I had it down to $50 – we were going to have to eat pantry/freezer only) but I’m going to try to put the rest toward the Emergency Fund.

No spend update.

I did spend money yesterday on food. Mostly food for the dogs and rabbits (the store had pork picnic roasts for $0.97/lb!), but I did buy about 1/2 lb of grapes for dd. I feel conflicted about that. We were able to get them because they were on “special buy” at less than $1/lb, but I hadn’t planned on getting “extra” food. We were “this close” to buying a $1 toy because we had enough money with us when dd saw the strawberries.

We broke out the calculator and checked. Couldn’t afford the strawberries. By this time, dd (3.5 years old) is putting her mouth on the container. *insert roll-eye smilie here* Think fast, mama. Wait! There’s a red “special buy” sign under the grapes and you can adjust the weight! Negotiations/explanations ensued. Got 2 days worth of grapes in exchange for putting back the strawberries and the $1 pony.

So I will count it as no-spend. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that spending on food is still spending. Even for the bunnies. I’m usually able to get enough veggies for them out of the dumster at this grocery store and the the compost bin at the local health food co-op.

I think I’m going to have to make up rules. Rules post soon!

I can’t take it.

I just can’t take any more. Three days before Christmas I found out my “husband” had been having an affair and she left him. He was trying desparately to get her back. He was so broken up about it (and I guess everything else in his life that he thinks sucks) that he became suicidal.

Then he got suspended from work on December 29 for 1 week for insubordination.

January 12 I had to put Gypsy to sleep.

Then he got demoted (from a management position) on January 17 and my in-laws cut off our monthly loan on January 18.

He says he wants to “work things out” (yeah, now that you have nothing you want me; thanks!), but I basically want him to fall off the edge of the earth.

Add to this that we don’t have any savings mostly because of me making bad decisions. There was some necessary spending/over-spending and quite a bit of spaving, but I can think of several books, downloads, etc. that I really didn’t need to buy.

On the plus side, I’ve made a budget, committed to a no-spend year, and am going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I just wish the budget would swing telling him where to stick it.

Bunnies!

We had baby bunnies arrive overnight. At first I thought there were only 5 but I think there might actually be 7. I was trying to count them without touching them too much becaude I didn’t want my scent all over them the first day. I may try to pick them up to count (and make sure they’re all alive) tomorrow. This is the mama’s second litter so I’m hoping she’ll take good care of them.

Anybody want to buy a mini rex/dutch mix bunny? Future litters will be mini rex (or rex after we get new does).

Pictures soon!

So far, so good!

I have not spent any money Saturday, Sunday or today (Monday)! Go, me!

Food today will include leftover chicken wings and oatmeal for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch, and duck with asparagus and cranberry sauce for dinner. Mmmm, duck. I’m never going back to chicken. We have one chicken left in the freezer and that’s it. There’s so much more lucious fat on the duck, it’s crazy good!

I normally don’t eat grains but I’m kind of one a kick the past few days. Between putting my dog to sleep, my husband getting demoted and our other stream of “income” (loan money from the in-laws) being cut off, I’m allowing a few days of wallowing in the grains. I hope to get back to grain free by the weekend.