Happy New Year! For some reason, this New Years more than any other I feel like I have some real resolve to make some positive changes in the way our family spends money. Don’t get me wrong, we live pretty simply and there are really not a lot of extras around here. But I think the past several months I’ve taken that for granted, and thus been a bit lax about going beyond my budget for certain expenditures and justifying it one way or another.
Honestly, this year has been a bit tougher financially as I’ve cut back many of my tutoring hours since I’m going back to school, and that loss of income, though small, can be felt. On the bright side, I’ve started up a little cottage industry selling Fermented Vegetables in my local co-op, and surprisingly that’s taken off to a good start. Hopefully that can bring in a bit of extra income.
I started to realize that I have complete control over what I spend. Thankfully, we are not in debt (except for our mortgage) and so therefore I really have the power to choose wisely when it comes to spending my husband’s hard-earned cash.
We’ve stripped our life down to the bare essentials (in my opinon). We own a small, affordable condo. We own one car. My husband has a great job, closeby, that provides for our needs and has amazing insurance coverage (thank God!). We homeschool and utilize the local community center for a few affordable classes for the kids, we keep our driving down to a minimum, I stay the heck away from the mall. We clothe our children with hand-me-downs or cheap finds at second hand stores. I make most all of our meals. I try to make my husband’s lunch. We don’t buy expensive conveniece foods. We don’ have cable, home phones (only cells), dish network, magazine subscriptions, etc. Our insurance is low and affordable.
So what is the problem? Well, for some reason we’re still not able to save much money every month, and that really bothers me. I know I go a little lavish on my food budget because I’m a food snob. I have a problem restraining myself from exotic ingredients. Well, this year I’m challenging myself to do what this blog is all about: be truly Organic and Thrifty!
Here is my resolution for 2010:
Work to get our costs down to below my husband’s net income so we don’t have to rely on my odd jobs or pull from savings to balance the budget.
…. and ultimately save for my dream home: a yurt on 1/4 acre with southern exposure so I can have my suburban homestead! That might not be my husband’s exact dream…..we’ll see.
- Grow my hair long again. Save $40 every six weeks on a designer haircut and don’t worry about vanity so much!
- Starting in January, I’m giving myself a personal “fridge and pantry cleanout” challenge to use every last item in the fridge, freezer(s), pantry, and storage shed until I can see the back of them. I’m going to blog regularly (hopefully daily) about what I’ve made with what I had on hand. I am excited to see how long I can make the food last, and also will be eager to see how much we save in the process!
- I’m declaring January a “No Spend Month” (as originally inspired by Shannon of Nourishing Days) other than absolute essentials (toilet paper, etc.).
- Learn the art of rationing: use bacon sparingly, make almond flour treats once a week only, plan a use for everything, but when it’s gone it’s gone. Learn to live in feast or famine. (No worries, I won’t let my kids starve).
- Simplify menu planning further by creating a month-long menu plan all at once. Or, just repeat the same theme week after week for a month, and then rotate. I think I’m going to try both ideas and see which one works best.
- To optimize nutrition while saving on ingredients, I’m going to be making lots of soups with bone broth, veggies, and a small amount of meat. These are real budget-savers, and a couple of soups a week can really make the budget stretch without sacrificing nutrition.
- My new goal is to create as many nourishing, grain-free $5 meals as possible each night. I will post the meals that are worth sharing!
- I’m going to begin making my own coconut milk using dried coconut and hot water. I mostly use coconut milk for soups anyway, so I’m hoping that this process will save a bit of money.
- Ask every dollar “Who are you, and where do you think you’re going?” before spending it (thanks, Dave Ramsey!).
I’m really excited about sharing my journey and getting back to blogging more about food budgeting while eating real food. Like I said before, my major motivation right now is to really try to get into a saving pattern so that within the next year or two we really can upgrade and afford to significantly increase our mortgage and purchase a house on 1/4 -1/2 an acre so that I can really work towards more self-sustainability. This has been a desire of my heart for a while now, but I know that God is teaching me some great lessons here on my little condo “farm”. I’m excited to graduate to chickens and goats in the near future, and to possibly have more space in my kitchen for culturing more kombucha and such in order to expand my tiny little fermented veggie business.
As always, dear readers, thank you for reading this blog and for your continued support!
Happy New Year!
In my recent post on Fertility, one of my commenters asked about where to fine find a functional, holistic nutritional practitioner. I quickly realized that the response would be best put into a blog post, since I know many other readers might value this information. What follows is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather some starting points for your search for a holistically-minded practitioner. It’s always good to “shop around” if you can, and to take advantage of “free consultations” that are offered by many practitioners.
It’s hard to believe we are nearly halfway through December with holiday festivities just around the corner. I have to admit, the rushing, the spending, the advertising, and the big box stores all really drain my energy this time of year. Christmas is a sacred holiday centered around giving; which is a beautiful thing. But when giving becomes indulgent, greedy, and wasteful I think we really miss the point. Here at Organic and Thrifty, we value quality over quantity. We chose to support sustainable products and businesses and principles which give back to the earth and do no harm. I’m not here to convince you that these need to be your values, but if they are, I encourage you to read on for some great sustainable (and quality!) Christmas ideas. The best thing? You can avoid driving and long lines (and possibly even shipping!) and excellent costumer service along the way.
If you’ve ever checked out my Resources page, you have already been introduced to these great businesses. These sponsors all work through the Real Food Mediaad network, and when you support these businesses, a small percentage goes to support the work of this blog as well as the other Real Food Media bloggers. Real Food Media is choosy about who we support, and you will be able to tell if you ever work with any of these businesses. I’ve gotten feedback from readers who have ordered items from a number of different sponsor, and consistantly, across the board, the message is “Wow, I can’t believe what amazing customer service”.
The Nutrivene Company (listed as GapsDiet.com) actually personally called one reader after placing an order to make sure the order was correct and the shipment was received within a few days. US Wellness meats offered another reader to gift wrap some of the items ordered and asked for specific instructions through e-mail. Their order was received within a few days as well. I mention these instances to illustrate that with these companies, you are working with real people, not beaurocrats and middle-men, who have a mission to promote real food, health, and sustainability.
If you are still needing to complete your Christmas or Holiday shopping list, please take a peek through my Resources page and shop around! But first, here’s some additional information:
Actual organics has a line of cosmetics, perfumes, and mother-baby personal care items good enough to eat. Literally. No harmful ingredients. Read more about them here!
The Homestead Company
If you’re looking for a great gift for someone in your life who struggles with dry skin or eczema, or are looking for a 100% natural and effective diaper rash cream, check out the products offered at The Homestead Company. Check out my resources page for a 15% off coupon on your order!
US Wellness Meats
If you want to give a gift of wellness that is unique and fun, why not give someone the opportunity to choose from the myriad of items sold at US Wellness meats? A gift certificate will give someone in your life a chance to choose from high quality, sustainably raised beef, pork. goat, rabbit, turkey, grassfed cheese.
Grass-fed beef is rich in omega-3 anti-inflammatory fatty acids (the healthy fat found in salmon), in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a proven cancer fighter and lean muscle-building tool, as well as vitamins A and E, essential nutrients that are known for their antioxidant properties. When it comes to nutrition, grass-fed beef truly is a completely different animal. (source)
The Urban Homemaker
If you value thrift and self-sustainability, the The Urban Homemaker is your one-stop shopping center for all items that will help you be more self-sufficient! This family-run business supplies all kinds of resources for the kitchen, including Bosch mixers, grain mills, and Norwex environmental products (you have to go read about these amazing products!)
Cultures for Health
I’ve blogged a lot about this amazing little company; but don’t just think they sell cultures. At Cultures for Health you’ll find a host of other gift-worthy items such as cheesemaking kits, Excalibur dehydrators (my favorite dehydrator!!!), and an extensive collection of the best books on the subject of Real Foods. Check them out; you’ll find some unique books and kitchen supplies, and even gift certificates are available.
Pure Indian Foods Grassfed Ghee
Grassfed ghee is an utter nectar of heaven, and what a unique and amazing gift to give! The best thing? It’s lactose and casein free, which means it can be enjoyed by people on the GAPS diet or who are simply looking for a wholesome source of animal fat. Check out their website for countless articles and information on the amazing health benefits of ghee.
I hope you’ll consider supporting these purveyors of high-quality foods! Spend wisely!
It’s rather obvious to most that pregnant and nursing women have significantly higher nutritional needs than the rest of us. What we don’t often acknowledge, at least in this culture, are the important nutritional needs of women long before they become pregnant. Read the rest of this entry »
I have posted before about my Amazing Real Food deals at Grocery Outlet but I thought I would share some photos of what I recently purchased at my local Grocery Outlet store. I got a HUGE amount of food for storing in the freezer and pantry for all under $80. That may seem like a lot, but I think it’s great considering how far all of these things will stretch. I hope you’ll indulge me as I share my finds:
I think the happy dance I did in the aisle when I saw the uncured bacon drew some stares, and I couldn’t stop talking about the cacao chips. It was a good day. My daughter could sense it, and she asked if she could have a pack of glittery pencils in the impulse buy section of the checkout line. I think it’s really cute when your kid passes up the candy and sets her eyes soley on pencils. A proud moment and a wonderful shopping experience
Those of us in the Fast are faced with the challenge of creating innovative, delicious ways to serve shrimp. We were hosting a dinner party of fellow fasters recently and wanted to come up with an entertainment-worthy dish. I was also anxious to create a dish that highlighted the amazing mandarin oranges from Chaffin Family Orchards that are so amazingly delicious. I searched high and low for a good recipe, and in the end I fused two recipes together. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m not sure what it is about the crispy, crunchy taste of something slightly salty and flavorful, but it’s something I still have a weakness for. Since going grain-free, our “cracker and chip” options are few, but whenever possible I love to transform an otherwise bland vegetable into something delicious and enticing for my kids!