As tempted as I am to just blog about my darling little boy these days I thought i would take a break from just being a Mamma and instead go back to blogging about running a home.
In this day and age (and economy) everyone I know is looking for ways to save some money. I have a friend who is very good at extreme couponing and often has savings of over 70% on her grocery shopping. I admire her dedication, especially with five growing children to feed and living on a single income. However I also know that couponing just isn't for me. It involves too much shopping for me, and I like the predictability of a planned menu that means not having to think about what we are going to eat every single day/week. I wrote a post about our 8 week menu plan some time ago. You can read it here. We have revised it a little since then, but it is pretty much the same idea. We have a rotating menu with lots of variety, and a grocery list so we can shop every few weeks for everything we need.
Living on a single income with a baby has so far not been as expensive as most parenting articles would suggest. Firstly we decided ahead of time to use cloth diapers/nappies. We bought 5 packets of Gerber Premium Prefolds, 3 snappis and 3 econobum one size diaper covers. We used a gift card to purchase the prefolds so the total cost to us was just over $40 (with shipping etc.) We were able to have enough supplies to diaper our baby from birth to potty training for less than the cost of 2 months supply of throw away diapers/nappies.
Now that Aiden is eating some solid food I save on that cost by making my own baby food. He will eat any fruit as long as there is some mashed banana mixed in, and almost any vegetable as long as there is some sweet potato. I like using only organics for baby food, so I buy several of any item, make them up and then store in the freezer in little tubs. I'll mix up a couple of days worth at a time from the freezer stock and store in the 'fridge in little double portion glass jars. When its meal time all I need to do is put half a jar in his bowl and I'm ready to feed him.
We are also in the process of transitioning our own food to healthier organic or naturally produced food. The first meat we have chosen for this is chicken. We used to buy chicken breasts in bulk at Sam's Club. I would put each one in a ziplock bag before freezing them, that way we could just take out what we needed. We eat chicken probably three times a week most weeks, so we use a lot of chicken. Then we found whole chickens at Publix for less per pound than the chicken breast at Sam's Club. Obviously you're paying for the skin, bones etc too. As we talked about it we realised that we could save some money through this too. We use a lot of chicken broth. We were buying cans of chicken broth, again in bulk at Sam's Club. Rob also likes to have chicken wings and over the last two years we've noticed they have become rather pricey, more expensive per lb than chicken breasts. So we buy a couple of whole chickens at a time. I butcher them myself at home. The only part I throw away without using is the skin. I bag the breasts as before. I cut up the wings and bag them up for the freezer, and likewise with the drumsticks and the thighs. I then keep the carcass and bag it up for making stock. I currently have 4 chicken carcasses waiting in the freezer to be made into chicken stock, and then I'll pick the bones for the left over cooked meat to add to soups, curries etc. All we need is to go and buy some reuseable mason jars for the stock and I'll be good to go. By using every part of the chicken I'll actually be able to save money in the long term while still feeding my family hormone and antibiotic free meat. We did this with the leftover Turkey carcass at Thanksgiving and it was surprising just how much meat I was able to pick out of the boiled bones, not to mention how tasty the turkey soup was that I made with the stock I produced. We just finished using up the leftover turkey just a few weeks ago.
Finally, for this post anyway, we switched to cloth napkins instead of paper ones. We bought a couple of packs of plain white cloth table napkins so that we would always have plenty, even when some are in the wash. We chose white so that when they get stained it is easy to add a little laundry bleach to make them all white again. We also stopped buying paper kitchen towels and just use dish towels and hand towels in our kitchen. It is amazing how quickly the savings add up when we switched to reuseable products instead of disposable. One of the nice things about this is that it not only cuts the cost, but it also cuts the environmental impact too. We can be good stewards of our money and good stewards of our planet at the same time.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.