The first church that we served at paid us on a once a month basis. There were plenty of pros and cons to being paid only once every month. I had to strategize how I would make the paycheck last for the full 30-31 days.
It was then that I developed the once a month shopping trip. If I didn’t buy almost everything at the start of the month, then we ran the risk of our bank account being empty as well as our pantry.
Even in my hardcore couponing years (Yes, I was THAT coupon lady…the one with the big gigantic binder) I always had at least one major trip to the store. It is hard to break away from those habits I created years ago.
I Still Make One Major Shopping Trip a Month
When we moved to NC, our grocery bill went through the roof. We had our 3rd child and the sales were and never are as good here as they were back in VA. Not only that, there is a huge coupon community in my area, so I have struggled to make deal scenarios work out.
I had to say goodbye to my hardcore couponing regime and say hello to other wonderful opportunities.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still shop sales and use coupons when it makes sense. However, I have gone back to many of the things I used to do to keep my grocery budget under control and having one large shopping trip a month is one of those things.
The Refrigerator Gets Pretty Bare
Since I shop monthly, the refrigerator gets pretty bare by the end of the month. It can get a bit frustrating to have to work so hard to make meals happen, but it is worth it to keep our budget (as best as we can…I still go over).
One good thing about cleaning out the fridge like this is that we can wipe it down with ease every month! The other good thing is that I get to be creative in the kitchen, which is something I love to do, but have less time for. I make a lot of new recipes like lasagna soup and beef pot pie.
How I’m Stretching My Kids This Week With Herbal Teas
I stretch my kids on a regular basis with the different recipes I put together at the end of the month. This month, I’m stretching them even more. I love to drink hot herbal tea in the winter. It gives me a break from the coffee, but helps keep me warm.
This week, we are out of regular tea bags. I rarely buy juice and sometimes buy sodas and make the kids drink water most of the time…but tea is a staple for dinner. Since I am out of regular tea, I have been brewing a variety of flavors every single night.
Let me tell you something! My kids are being stretched, especially my oldest. He HATES change. When we run out of milk for breakfast, I’m always coming up with alternatives…none of which he ever likes. Now, I’m having to come up with tea alternatives for dinner….none of which he has liked so far.
What I Am Learning About Stretching Myself and My Family
It is not just the kids that are being stretched, but Austin and I are also being stretched. We both can get a bit whiney when our favorite foods are gone. Believe me…there is never any ice cream the last week of the month and hardly ever creamer…definitely not flavored creamer. These are two things that we really love and find ways to afford.
However, I am learning that through these small inconveniences about our diets and budgets, we are constantly growing. It is so important that my family and I are reminded that our every desire and want does not have to be met. We will get by and get by well.
Seeing the refrigerator get empty and having to do with the things we do not like as much, helps to keep us humble. It serves as a reminder that God is our provider and that we rely on Him regularly to meet our needs.
How are you stretching your family? Or yourself?
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