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.