Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Questions Answered

Next week I will be cutting my food/paper budget down from $125 a week to $75, this did however include oddball items such as gifts and household items such as a new shower curtain. My question is, do you do this as well? I looked over your site and noticed no mention of pet food, deodorant or even pads/tampons. Just looking for some pointers.

My grocery budget does include paper products, light bulbs, and hygiene stuff too. But I probably approach it in a little bit different way than the norm. For example a few months ago a bathroom light bulb burnt out and it took a couple of weeks before I could find a sufficient gap in my budget to fit it in. We all survived in the dimmer than normal bathroom but I was just fine waiting until I could afford it. For tampons, I make sure I'm prepared for the next time so that I don't have to make any emergency budget blowing trips to the store. I figure I have at least 3 weeks between the time they run out and the time I'm going to need them again and surely I can fit it in during that time frame. I also use sites like Start Sampling and Walmart Samples to get free samples of items that tide me over. I'm constantly getting free tampons, pads, Advil, sample size boxes of cereals, lotions, shampoo and things of that nature. I stuff those away to supplement my stash. Plus I've been building up my supply of pads for when my daughter needs them. I have a huge stash. And the question about pets...we just don't have them right now. My first priority is feeding the people. When times are better, we might add a pet to the mix.

I noticed that on one of your shopping lists, that you included Delsym cough medicine, so my question is, "Do you include all of your families medicines in your grocery budget?"

We are a pretty healthy bunch. We get a seasonal cold here and there and seasonal allergies but I don't think I've taken a kid to the doctor for a few years. (I hope I didn't just jinx myself) Only one of us is on a regular full time prescription and I don't count that into my grocery budget. But to treat allergies, the occasional headache, fever, cramp or cough I keep my medicine shelf ready and on standby. And yes, the money for that comes out of the grocery budget. What I found from working at a pediatric office for several years is that medicines are just like food in the sense that you pay more for a brand name than you do for it's equivalent generic form. I usually buy generic medicines and they last us a long time because we only use them when we are miserable. I'm not a big pill-popper. I'm more of a rest and let your body take care of itself kind of person.

I received a new bread maker for Christmas (my old one fell apart after a zillion moves and little use) and I finally got a great loaf of bread from it, but how do you store it? And how do you slice it so that if makes a reasonable size sandwich that does not have too much bread?

I mainly use my bread machines dough cycle and then shape it myself and cook it. Every once in a while I'll let the machine run it's course but I don't like the size of the bread that comes out. To store it I keep it in a Gallon size Ziploc storage bag. (I seldom buy these. I just wash and re-use the good quality ones and they last at least a year.) I slice it only as I need it to keep it from drying out too fast. And they freeze really great as long as you cool them completely before you seal them up. I hate slicing them up though. They always crumble or cave in when I slice them with my serrated knife. I found a bread slicer guide at a thrift store though and that thing is amazing. It holds your bread for you and has slots on the side to line up your knife and cut uniform pieces. You might be able to find a cheap one on E-bay. It looks like the one below only mine was made of plastic not wood.

Still more questions tomorrow.


My Life as a Soccer Mom said...

I just wanted to agree with your comment of Startsampling. I've been a member with them for 10 years and I've received great samples from them (including lots of tampons).
Thanks for all of your great suggestions.

noahandlylasmommi said...

Wow I have alot to learn from you!

Terri and Bob said...

I am going to check out those sample sites! Thanks!

Amy said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these questions. My husband and I really appreciate it.

God Bless,

nan said...

I couldn't live without my electric bread knife. It makes slicing your bread so much easier. (No smashing the loaf down.) We make all our bread and slice it up once it is cooled. A neat trick I learned is to cool your loaves on one of your oven racks outside the oven. when you turn your bread over it has indents of the rack on it just right for slicing. I put each loaf in re-used zip lock freezer bags and store them in the freezer.

HuNnY aNd PoPpA LeWiS said...

Thanks for the information on the samples. I am headed in that direction to check it out. Love your blog and all the tips!! Have a blessed day.

Anonymous said...

I especially appreciate that you have shown me that I can cook healthy, from scratch, meal for my children without breaking the bank if and when I plan properly. we still enjoy some convenience foods but I am giving my daughters healthier, less processed foods. They enjoy it and so do I. Thanks!

My next search is for an inexpensive (but good) bread machine. Thanks for taking the time to do this blog.

Moonwaves said...

I know this is an old post (I clicked through from something else which I had clicked through to from something else - you know how it goes!) but I thought I'd add my comment anyway in case others are also reading through your older posts. Perhaps you've even covered this in a later post.

The most frugal way to deal with hygiene products is to stop using disposables. Get a mooncup/divacup (I thought it was a joke the first time someone told me about it, which when I think about it now is a bit sad really) or start using washable pads. I honestly don't know how I used to find money to buy these every month, even though I did stock up if I ever say a BOGOF offer. I also feel far more hygienic using them (while most people expect the opposite) and have the added frugal benefit of no longer suffering the excruiating pains I used to which required lots of expensive painkillers (prescription ones) and the use of the Pill (also not cheap).