Thursday, August 19, 2010

Manna from Winco.

As an LDS mom with 4 kids 5 and under in today's economy, I have a really hard time budgeting my family on 400 dollars a month. This 400 dollars includes diapers, food, clothing, gas, and any family extras. This includes any holidays, vacations, gifts for others, or taking my kids out for treats. Did I mention that I live in the Seattle area, where food, clothing, and any extras are really expensive for me and I feel the money crunch most of the time.
I have become the most frugal person I know. I shop only garage sales, use the local Freecycle (like crazy), accept hand me downs graciously and shop the local Tukwilla trading company and Winco for groceries. Why would I travel 30 minutes by van since both of these stores are on the south side of Seattle and we live on polar opposite side and use my gas to grocery shop? Because I can make my money stretch to the point of hilarity. The picture below is a typical shopping trip for me and I spent only 120 on that trip. I do only shop once every 2 weeks and it not only must last us those 2 weeks but it must replace our food in our storage.

Did I also mention that I have a huge garden that is not producing well this year but I have canned like crazy out of our garden in years past. We do home canned pinto beans (large bags from the store), green beans, carrots, beets, pickles, relish, tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, pears, peaches. I make freezer jam after picking the berries (raspberries) or getting a crazy deal like 88 cents a lb (strawberries). I freeze the rhubarb out of the garden and store the winter squash for the winter and can the pumpkins after Halloween. Our prophets continually tell us to be diligent with our finances and to store for times of need. In this economy I know this has become so important but we do it since we were hard up in AZ.

So that was the explanation but here is the reason why. I want to brag, I may not be talented with fashion, or can sew, or musically inclined. But I can be crazy frugal and keep my storage up. So here is my weekly blog, my ability to live off of 400 a month, ready?.....

This is what it look like on a typical Winco run. What you cant see in on the bottom there are 6 gallons of milk as well. This one cost my 120 for the two weeks. Have to say I am pretty proud of myself. I don't use coupons, I find that I don't generally eat snack items or name brand items. That leaves me with sale items or shopping certain things that are only in season to get the lowest price.

These are the two freezers and refrigerator in my basement that are filled with the food that will not fit upstairs in my cutesy 1940's era house.

This is the meat freezer that has all the pig and beef bought from Clif's relatives and brought back to Seattle and also all the good deals on chicken that I can find.

This is my dairy, fruit, and veggie freezer. What you don't see is that it is filled to the bottom. I also keep the lunch meat and extra turkey in here.

This is my fridge that we brought from our house in AZ. We decided that our very older model fridge upstairs didn't have enough room for the 5 dozen of eggs or the 6 gallons of milk so we plugged it in and use it extensively.

So this is my dry storage. I keep all my store bought items here. This includes also our cleaning items. Upstairs in our closets keeps our hygienic items that we have. I think I have about 6-12 months storage of those items but it is not very impressive since the closet is also our linen closet.
Like I said, I am not crafty and I am not good at the typical motherly things, but this has to count as a talent. I have really enjoyed learning how to be frugal and have realized that I have talents that I was able to hone. I love to garden and can my veggies and fruit. I know how to balance a budget and to make good financial decisions. Hopefully this doesn't come off as total bragging, I promise that I will not post this again, but I want to blog it once for record.


Mindy said...

don't worry about the bragging- you should totally own this! I love being a frugalista! I take a lot of joy bragging about how much I saved on this or that- how our entire wedding- everything-including the rings, airfare, the dress and his suit, all the food, decorations, rentals, invitations, and renting a cabin on a lake for 2days after the wedding cost us less than 4500$.
knowing how to keep along of your hard earned money is an amazing skill, one that takes dedication, willpower, and the ability to know that you are not what you buy- something that america would be in a much better place if we could only realize this...

Belkycita said...

WOW! I am beyond impressed!
I do want you to share tips for the food storage. I've never done it well before and I really want to learn how to do it well.

You are seriously amazing!

Cyn said...

Very nice and quite impressive!

Sarah said...

Yeah - impressive and definitely a talent. In case of emergency - I'm coming to you!

Emily K. said...

Totally not bragging! You have a gift. I wish I could do that. I spend way too much on food. But, my husband kind of insists on it too. He Does NOT like off-brands. Very impressive, Bree! I need to learn. I want to accompany you to WinCo one of these days, to see what you buy!

Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings said...

Wow! I am totally impressed. You seem to have such a good system going! Keeping to a budget like that is such a challenge, not to mention the food storage stuff -- I can't imagine. I am going to have to check out those stores -- if its worth you driving so far, it probably is worth me (living in south Seattle) checking them out!