Sunday, June 26, 2011

Crazy-eager to start our family!!!

I have the WORST baby fever right now!!! I want to be pregnant, I want to have children, I want to cloth diaper their little bottoms and homeschool them and play with them all summer long. Sigh.

We are officially NOT trying- and trying to NOT. I know we are not ready for a baby right now. And we are not in the position to foster right now either. Neither of us have our degrees. We live in a one bedroom apartment with a commitment to remaining debt-free (That means we don't want to buy a house till we can pay for it.) We are not what I would describe as struggling, but money is tight and I don't even have health insurance right now and haven't for a year.

I used to get bad baby fever sometimes before I was married and it was relatively easy to ignore, or so far from a possibility that I felt content to just day-dream...but it is soooo hard now that I have a husband to ignore it!!! I find myself looking at the photo listing of waiting children on and wanting to pick up tons of kid/baby stuff to start our stash (which I have so far not done as we have very little space and it would probably get ruined before it was used anyways)

It does NOT help that like  6 of my close friends are expecting this fall/winter. Grrr!!

Okay, BUT, I am trying to appreciate all the things I can do right now in this season of my life that i will not be able to do in that season. I'm trying to focus on growing closer with my husband and with God so I can be the mother I one day hope to be. Im really TRYING to be patient. Its just so hard!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thank God that REALLY eating healthy is so cheap!

My husband's income is tied directly to his school enrollment so the summer is a lean time for us. Unfortunately, this year we were hit with several maintenance costs on BOTH of our new (used) vehicles that we were not really anticipating. Breaks needed replacing in my van, all tires and break/similes and wheel assembly on the car needed to be rebuilt. Thankfully, my very skilled hubby was able to do most of the repairs, saving us HUNDREDS, maybe even as much as a grand. But the costs of parts and tires and tools etc still set us back well over 1k which not only depleted all of our emergency fund but also ate into the money we had squirled away knowing that summer would bring a drop in income. My husband is still taking very intense summer courses, so he really cannot work. My summer load is not intense, plus I'm used to the stress of full-time school and full-time work anyways so I am continuing to work while I take summer courses.

But with having suddenly such a small sum in our bank account we are feeling slightly nervous and reevaluating which costs can be cut. We are both rather frugal people (how else would we be able to save up for the months of summer, and pay off our debt all during the school year?) but there are still some areas we can tweak. One of those areas is groceries.

Thankfully eating healthy is rather cheap when you are fond of cooking (which I am.)  Unfortunately a few factors combined to get us in the habit of eating certain convenience foods which I am normally not accustomed to (Including adapting my menus to my hubby's palette during our first year of marriage and my suffering a bout with my chronic health issues from about January-May.) But this new situation is stretching me to dig deep and get back in the (tiny) kitchen!

When people first hear that I am vegan, invariably one of the first responses is "I could never afford to eat that way!" Which would probably be true of most people if they bought all the commercially vegan products on the market! One way I'm stretching out our budget by going back to making meals based around the dozens of dried beans and lentils I can buy in bulk for less than a dollar a pound at the grocery store. There are endless possibilities with these: black bean burgers, lentil loaf, lentil pot pie, chili,  hummus, jambalaya, pasta-bean salads, "meatballs" made of beans and seasonings, and my husbands favorite- Bean Burritos!  I also like to keep some made up in the refrigerator  to throw on salads and stuff. Plus I have dozens more recipes I am dying to try.

Aside from that we always do grains from scratch (which we mostly buy in the bulk section) including:brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, oatmeal and barley...I haven't been too creative with this yet an mostly just serve them as sides or for the quinoa make a salad.

For fruits and vegetables, I have  that BJs has really inexpensive organic apples and oranges.And I am hoping to make it to the farmers market this week. We don't do 100% organic due to costs, but we do consistently buy certain things organically such as greens and other things highly affected by chemical pesticides. I attempted to garden this year and was sadly disappointed. There seems to be a learning curve to gardening in pots as I now have to do living in an apartment. but I'm not willing to give up on that yet as I both love to garden and know it will save us money. Although we steer clear of canned veggies for the most part, i like to buy large packages of frozen fruits and veggies at BJs and incorporate those into dishes that wont be hurt much by not using fresh. It saves us money on produce for sure. We're also gonna try to start making our own organic soy milk and bread. Those things fell to the way-side while I was sick.

One thing I am very weary of is that I don't want to go crazy with saving money on food and stuff and end up eating boring stuff or get sick again (Its very easy for me to become malnourished due to my health condition) For example, I HATE buying fruit juices!!! It seems like such a waste of money. My parents didn't buy them while I was growing up for the same reason. However, my dietitian has asked me to drink juices throughout the day because it is a way to both sneak extra calories into my diet and keep me hydrated. I have a really bizarre and random fear of drinking things- including water which leads to chronic dehydration. I'm working hard to get over that phobia, but its not easy and for some reason some of these juices go down easy. Thankfully, I can buy a 40 pack of 100% juice individual servings at BJs for less than $10.00 so that is what I am using for now.

Anyways, so that's the deal! This week my NOT eat breakfast cereal for breakfast but to instead opt for something like oatmeal or make a big batch of muffins and soy-yogurt to eat for breakfast. It will be healthier and cheaper!

Whats your best tip for saving money on groceries???