Interesting question, right? So I have creepy neighbors on two sides. The ones across the street are entertaining and I'll catch you up later. The ones next door are kind of boring and share a waist high, chain link fence with us. Apparently it's been that way for 50 years. And they love to sit in their back yard and watch the birds, chat, and sometimes watch my kids play. This is creepy, but not creepy because they're both in their eighties and perfectly harmless. Crotchety, but harmless. The creepy creepy part is their grandson, who's been spending more and more time with them. He's not in his eighties. He also drinks, a lot. And I often catch him talking to someone that no one else can see. He gives me the heebie-jeebies. More technically, he sets off my mur-dar (and I consider my mur-dar to be fairly well honed).
A few weeks ago the kids wanted to camp out in the backyard like good, suburban kids do. I reluctantly bundled up and got comfy for a night under the stars with my kids. After the kids were asleep I was lying on the grass browsing my phone and looked over to see grandson on the back porch smoking a cigarette, looking right at us. *shudder*
So now I need a fence. Like, right this second. I have a lovely, handy husband who could build one. However, that same lovely handy husband is a perfectionist so it would probably be done by the time Avery started high school. So I have to pay for a fence and I'm not in the mood to scrimp and save for it. In true impulsive fashion, I've dedicated a third of our budget for next month to building a fence. It's going to be glorious and solid and seven feet tall and I cannot wait. I was practically giddy as I spray painted the lines in preparation for the utilities to be marked.
BUT, that means that my grocery budget is getting cut pretty much in half. And all the other budgets are getting cut even more. It's going to be a tight, very boring month. Which is why I come to you, internets. I've lived on much less (grad school anyone?) but I had much lower standards and was only feeding two already-grown adults. What are your tips for feeding an actual family on a super-tight budget? I'm pretty sure feeding them ramen for a month straight is a bad idea...
Ramen for a month is worth a fence. If it still exisits, the Fly Lady group has a zillion budget friendly family meals. You probably have to join (it's a site for getting your life together - I'm a drop-out). It's easy to un-join as well. If you can't find it I copied a bunch of the recipes. Easy stuff that you don't need extra ingredients that aren't in your house. They have one famous recipe that makes one chicken last a week. Peace of mind is a good thing.
I suggest a lot of tacos. Soft corn tortillas (way cheaper than hard shell or flour). Giant batches of pinto & black beans. Canned tomatoes jazzed up with cilantro and onions. Sautéed random veggies if you like. Giant block of cheese.
Also frittatas - kid friendly with ham, cheese, & potato.
Spaghetti with the cheapest jarred/canned sauce, jazz it up with onion & garlic.
Obviously this is done and over with, but for the future I recommend a big freezer. During the summer when my expenses are lower I stock up on meat and vegetables and it gets me through the winter when my food budget has to go to my electric bill. It will get you through months with unexpected expenses.
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