Skip to main content

When Frugal is Out of Your Price Range

2012 - 2014 were especially hard years for us. Here's why . . .

Breath caught in my throat.

For two weeks I had told myself  "if we can just make it through this two weeks". And the end of two weeks came and we had even less money to buy groceries.

When we finally committed to paying all of our bills consistently, our life didn't change all that much. We still had to juggle our bills. We had to choose which bills to pay. We rotated them.

But the juggling act didn't always leave room for groceries. More than once I had $40 to buy groceries for our family of 7 that needed to last two weeks. I did the best I could, and "just make it through these two weeks" became my mantra. Except, sometimes when we got paid again, there was NOTHING left for groceries. So, I had to figure out how to make the $40 worth of groceries I had bought two week before, stretch for two more.

And you know what?! We survived.

We did not eat three meals a day and our meals did not look like traditional meals. But nobody starved.

I would scour the internet looking for ways to get more for my money. But I couldn't even afford the frugal dinner ideas/recipes.

So, here's what I did. Here's how we survived.

1.  When we got our tax return we went to Costco and bought meat and other things that would "keep". I would usually buy a big bag of whole wheat flour and a bag of bread flour, corn meal, baking soda, butter, spices, etc. This is pretty much the only time I ever bought meat. When this meat ran out, BEANS BEANS BEANS!

All of this saved me money on my monthly grocery bill.

2.  I baked all of our snacks, except oranges off of our tree and apples from my apple guy (more on that later). When I have staples, anything is possible. I baked graham crackers, saltines, cheez-Its, muffins, name it, I've probably baked it.

Frequently, we would skip breakfast and lunches for our kids would just be cornbread. Yes, probably not the best thing in the world but it was baked from scratch and THEY DIDN'T DIE. And, it's literally all we had.

3.  I bought "staples" first. Things that I knew I could create a ton of different things from by just have those ingredients. So flour, sugar, butter, eggs, potatoes, rice, yeast, corn meal.

4.  I didn't buy a ton of fruits and veggies. I know, it's awful. But during the summer my Papa would have zucchini, onions and tomatoes coming out of his ears and we ate it up!!! During the fall, I had an apple guy that would sell me 90lbs of apples for $20.

I did buy celery and carrots because they are always super cheap. But I couldn't afford a lot of other fruits and veggies.

5.  I learned to make beans really well. They are cheap and we ate them A LOT.

6.  My kids were not allowed to just go in the kitchen and get something to eat.

Mean, I know. But most of our foods were staples, and I couldn't go in there and not have any milk because they had drank it all.

7. Also, I served them. And a lot of times there wasn't enough for seconds. But none of my kids have ever been under I think they were okay.

8.  I didn't always contribute to potlucks, because we didn't have anything to contribute. Or we wouldn't have had anything to eat for the week if I had. And we even stayed anyway.

Here's the thing, I feel like people don't talk about things like this. I'm not complaining or trying to make anyone feel sorry for me. I am thankful for those years, I learned to find joy and contentment in being creative and making things stretch.

I felt very isolated. I felt like we couldn't let people know that we didn't know if we would be able to feed our kids that week. I trusted that God would provide, but it was hard to talk about it. I felt that people either judged or tried to fix. So I didn't talk about it when things got really dire.

All I'm saying is . . .

To the Mom who's just trying to feed her babies. I see you. And it's going to be okay. There are worse things in the world than having cornbread and only cornbread for dinner. It will be okay. God will provide. You will be okay. Your babies will be okay.


Popular posts from this blog

Who is Gonna Tell the Child?

Last night, for the first time, our family had the privilege of attending an Eagle Scout ceremony. 
Our oldest boys were asked to be a part of the ceremony.  They were put in charge of the ceremonial fire.  Fire.  In a public building full of people and expensive things. FIRE. :)

As a recovering helicopter parent I appreciate situations like this one because I almost always learn something from them.

I've read a lot of parenting books. But in recent years I think that God has really redefined my view of my job as a parent. I see my job as more of a guide. I give them a job, some instructions if/when necessary and then I step back to let them figure it out. It's my job to get them ready to fly off into the sunset without me.

Events like this one often teach me about an area where I haven't given them growing room. So I go away better prepared and more enlightened about what my kids are capable of.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the ceremony happened when the young man …

Help Wanted

The other night I saw the movie The Help. I read the book a few months ago and I couldn't put it down!!

While I will admit that I did enjoy the book a bit more than the movie (some of the castings didn't seem quite right to me) I did enjoy both a good deal.

What gets me most in stories like that (and about the Holocaust) is not the actual perpetrators of the crimes...because they actually are deluded into thinking they are right (and as much as I hate to admit it...and I pray it is not to that grotesque extent...we all have blind spots). What gets me is the people who see that the crimes are wrong but are too afraid of what will happen to them or what their friends will think if they actually do the right thing (like Skeeter's mother).

Well, I know you'll probably find this dramatic...but from what I hear people who blog tend to be on the dramatic guess it's to be expected.

Today while I was walking home from my 5k training there was a woman unloading…

Exhibit A

Being the mom of five wild indians makes my life interesting.

Exhibit A:

Yesterday I loaded them all into our Wild Indian Wagon and stopped to get gas.

Okay, so apparently our local fillin' station has had problems with people leaving the pump nozzles clicked down and spilling gas everywhere so they took the little whatchamacallits that hold the trigger on the nozzle down off. And a 47 gallon tank  takes a while to fill when you've run the tank purty near empty.

Meanwhile...back at the ranch...err...back inside the Wild Indian very wild Wild Indians decided to reenact Custer's Last Stand...on a very small scale since I'm pretty sure Custer and the Native Americans had a much larger space to battle it out in than the backseat of a Suburban.

I'm pretty sure you couldn't get hydraulics to make that thang move in the way it was moving. For know in cartoons when a group of kids gets into a fight and all you see is a cloud? There's a reaso…

Gettin' Real

It's no secret that I was pregnant when I got married (I do want to be clear, getting pregnant was not the sin, the actions that led to it are).  I'm pretty open about it.  Not because I'm proud, I am absolutely NOT proud of it.  But it's my past.  It's my story. It's my mess. It's part of the story of how God has redeemed my life from the pit.

I am saved. My sins are gone, I've been set free.

I'm still learning to live in a constant state of free-ness...I have a tendency to fall under my own condemnation. It's a work in progress! I am a work in progress.

Here's the deal though, I want to speak to those who might find themselves in a cycle of sin similar to the one I found (actually, I didn't FIND anything, I PUT myself there...let's just be honest about it) myself in. I know that the chances of this helping anyone are slim. I'm not eloquent and typically only the people who really love me even read what I write. But I want to s…


I received a rejection letter today.

Before you feel the need to comfort me, please know that I'm completely fine.

A while back I learned that (in)Courage was accepting submissions for blog posts to be used on their site. It needed to be something original that had not been previously published and it should fit the tone for the site and the theme for the time frame it would be published.

I immediately wanted to submit something. I wanted honest feedback about my writing from someone who doesn't already love me or like me or feel connected to me in some way. But I decided that I was not going to submit anything unless I felt prompted by God to do it. I wasn't going to force it. (On a side, but relevant, note I'm actually not sure if I stuck to this decision. I'm still asking God to open my eyes to blindness and He may reveal to me that I didn't wait for Him at all...that I jumped ahead in my own timing instead of His.)

So one night I sat down and wr…