Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hello February 2017

So let's just let a snowy wind blow away my missing week or two. Have you seen the snow outside? My goodness it is almost 2 feet deep! The chickens are not impressed. The children on the other hand are thrilled.

I am thrilled to say that I did in fact keep our grocery budget as well as every other budget we set. So this post is going to be a purely a goal update but I promise to get back to delicious recipes very soon.

Let's start with The Grocery Budget.

Now, I have had people ask about it and let me make one thing very clear: we buy absolutely no meat. We raise pigs and chickens and hunt deer to provide meat on the table. Now, having said that, please also note that the cost of those things, including the cost of eggs, another thing we do not buy, comes out of a different budget we set up for our animals. Some may argue that the two overlap and it is true, they do. If we had to spend the $3-$3.50/lb that it costs us to raise our pork, our grocery budget might be higher. Ditto for the eggs. We budget about $150 per month for all our animals, including our pets, which is an extra $1800 a year. Now, we also typically spend $125 per month on raw organic milk, which is something I have NEVER heard anyone else say. That's $1500 per year in milk. Since most people go through about 1-2 gallons of milk per week, a savings of at least $900 per year, most people could easily use the same amount to buy meat with. Every household is different. Before we started raising pigs or chickens, we kept our grocery bill, buying organic, to about $150/month with 2 adults and a baby, then 2 babies. At that time we bought eggs and meat but we only ate meat a couple of times a week and I stretched it. So I am willing to wager that most 4 person families could get away with this grocery budget or one under even $350 per month if they wanted to. Don't believe me? Check out She feed her family of 4 on $100 per month for a long time. She recently changed it to $250 and she buys meat. So it can be done. Try it for one month and leave a comment telling me what did or didn't work.

Okay, back to the final tally. Here's what I spent:
1/1     Starting total                                  $250.00
1/9     Distributor: imported Cheese          -$ 35.91
          my sister bought 1 lb                    +$   3.00
1/3     Store: org. Cashews                      -$  20.41
1/11   Store: Org. Fruit                            -$  13.71
1/11   Store: Org. Food Pantry Box           -$  10.00
1/12   Farm: Org. Raw Milk                      -$  60.00 (prepay 12 gallons)
1/15   Store: Org. Fruit                            -$    5.79
1/15   Amazon: Org. Coffee                      -$  10.04
1/15   Amazon: Org. Pretzels                    -$  30.50
1/23   Distributor: Org. Flour                    -$  20.90
1/26   Farm: Org. Raw Milk                      -$   25.00
1/26   Store: Ramen Noodles*                  -$    2.00
1/28   Store: Org. Cheese, Org. Butter**   -$    2.97
1/30   Distributor: imported Cheese           -$ 12.58
Total spent:                                             $246.81
Total left:  $3.19

*Ramen Noodles: No these are not organic but my husband wanted them for lunch verse a sandwich so for $2 (on sale!), is it really worth fighting over not eating something better for him? The short answer is no. The week was cold, he wanted a hot lunch.

**Org. Cheese, Org. Butter, Org. Celery: I bought these at BJ's Wholesale. Since we frequent there, we have a membership that gives us 2% back so I had a free $20 coming to me. So while the total was $22.97, it only cost me $2.97 cash from my grocery envelope. Score!

So there you have it. January's Grocery Budget, under $250, just as I had hoped. We spent less on milk this month because I traded some of my Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate mix around Christmas time that paid for two pails ($50) during this month. Next month I will have to be a little more careful.

Homestead Goal: Waste less
In January as well as February so far, I have been trying to be really careful about not wasting food. Thankfully anything we don't eat does go to the chickens but still. I have been working extra to make sure that we 1. eat leftovers or 2. not make any more than enough for one main meal and a second the next day i.e. lunch for either my husband or lunch for the kids and I, usually with a sandwich.

4 month No Spend
This has been relatively easy since that first week. I am have been very intentional when I go somewhere. I did buy a school book (Addition Fact that Stick) after a lot of debate (2 weeks!) but I have a small, separate amount for things like that. I don't regret the purchase but having gone so long without buying stuff, it was actually really hard to click the Buy button.

50 Books
These past few weeks have been pretty great on the reading front. I finished Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and am still listening to the podcast almost daily. On a personal level, I have realized that I really need to have at least half an hour in the afternoon to clean up the kitchen and prep for dinner. This has made a world of difference for me. I hate the rushing at dinner time. It never used to bother me but now that time is a magnet for the kids to sudden decide "I need your undivided attention NOW!" and it has been a little overwhelming. So during afternoon naps/quiet time, I have been turning on the show and clearing counters, washing dishes, doing any prep that needs to be done, etc. It has become this down time that I had no idea that I needed.

I also reread The Dirty Life for my book club. I loved it even more than when I read it the first time. Should this book ever become available on PaperBackSwap, I will happily add it to my collection. It is just as inspiring for me now as it was then. We humans really can learn anything if we want it enough. Next month we are reading Wild.

On the rereading note, I have started rereading Notes from a Blue Bike. I read this book almost two years ago while I was pregnant with E2. It always surprises me what new things I pick up when I read things for the second time. Last year I also read Unprocessed and More Than Happy and would really like to add them to my list again this year should I get the chance.
  1. The Recipe Club
  2. Total Money Makeover 
  3. The Dirty Life
Finally, we have Decluttering:

I have been going through the kid's clothes and magazines and slowly trying to clean out whatever extra items we have. I am thinking about cleaning out the kitchen again this year but first my clothes, just like the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up recommends. I did a kitchen purge last year as well as a clothing one. Now that I have stopped changing sizes, it is probably time to do it again.

How are your new year goals coming along?

This article was shared on Homesteading on Grace

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