There is a possibility that our income may drop a bit in the near future. We have run the numbers and we can still manage, but we will have to tighten things up considerably. Honestly, there are areas that we can easily cut some costs, but others expenses are set, so it will be a balancing act of sorts. We have been praying about this possible change and, if it is part of God's plan, it will come to fruition.
There are areas that I need to work harder on, like our food budget and being careful NOT to waste food. I have shamefully fallen short in that arena and need to get back on the frugal wagon once again. Today I went through the refrigerator and the fruit bowl. I looked at what needed to be used up ASAP. I found 6 bananas that were way overripe and turned those into 3 loaves of moist banana bread. I noticed that we were down to 1 lonely piece of sandwich bread, so 2 more loaves of that were made. I had a big tub of cottage cheese that needed used so I got that out and decided to make cheese lasagna. I mixed that up with some Parmesan cheese and parsley from our garden. Since I was lazy, I used some Havarti cheese instead of Mozzarella. The slices were easy just to layer in. After the lasagna was baked, I put some fresh Parmesan cheese on the top to melt in and give it a little kick. All of the ingredients I used were deeply discounted or from our garden and I had them on hand here. I served this with some garlic bread that I had gotten for free. There are lots of leftovers for later in the week, which is a good thing since I have a leftovers night planned for Thursday. Our freezers are still packed with lots of meat, cheeses, butter, veggies and frozen fruits. Our pantry is full to the brim, so we have lots of options to pick from there also. We will be using those things instead of buying more right now unless I see a screaming deal. We are also going to finally do what I have been wanting to and that is having a $200 monthly grocery budget and use cash because it really is harder for me to part with that.
I also went through our HBA items and made sure I had all the shampoo, soap, antiperspirant, body wash, hair spray, OTC medication, etc. that we need for the next 6 months. Luckily I had used some coupons the other day to get toothpaste for .50 a tube and big bottles of dishwashing soap for under $2 a bottle. I also stocked up on laundry detergent at the Dollar Tree (4 more bottles) so I think we are set.
Since I am sleeping in the guest bed now (it is way more comfortable with my fibromyalgia pain), I wanted to make sure that we had 2 complete sets of sheets for both that bed and the bed in the mater bedroom that Jeff prefers. I dug way back into our linen closet and found that I already have what I needed. I had forgotten about a set that Jaysn had given us years ago that he had bought for his bed and then decided that he would rather sleep on the couch at that time since it was comfier for him (this was way before he married Rachel). So I can cross that off my list! Savings of at least $40 right there.
Jeff and I also made some fun plans for this Summer that only involve the cost of gas for the car or truck. We are going to try and limit taking my car to once a week and he will continue to use his little commuter car for work the rest of the time. Keeping me out of the stores also saves money. 😉 Our list includes going huckleberry picking with the kids, going down to the river for the day and going to see the fish ladders at the dam, going to see the bears at WSU (they just make me so happy), going up to CouerDAlene and spending the day there, going to a beautiful botanical park in the Spokane area that has a huge indoor tropical garden, butterfly house, Asian gardens, etc. (and it's all free), and going camping. When we go, we will take our own food with us to picnic. Things at home we want to do are get out the corn home game Jeff made me and play that, have fires (in the firepit when it is safe to do so) and roast sausages and make smores, do BBQs with the family, and just walk around town and enjoy everyone's gardens. My parents are coming over in a few weeks, so we are also having a big BBQ at Jaysn and Rachel's new place to celebrate the May birthdays, anniversaries, and do a housewarming. It should be a lot of fun and we finally, after more than a year, get to see and hug my parents again!
In the next few weeks we will have the garden beds Jeff built me up and have the colder weather crops planted, the rain barrel will be up and ready and Jeff will have the soaker hoses all in place. He is going to run the hose to the side garden in some conduit pipe and bury that in the grass so he does not have to unhook the hose every time he has to mow the lawn. I am going to see if I can get some well established chive plants from Jaysn and Rachel since there are many in their garden just thriving and going crazy. I need to dig up some of the strawberry plants here that escaped their bed and get those potted up in a planter for Steven. That boy loves his strawberries and there are none currently on their property. I figured that if we had them potted up near the front door, he would be able to take care of them and make sure they stayed watered. Jaysn and Rachel also have lots of fruit trees and we can't wait to see what all of them are. The plan is to share all our fruit and veggies here and there with the family since there is way too much for any of us to use on our own. Chris and Heather will continue to do the hunting and are great about sharing that with the rest of us. We are truly blessed!
So that is the plan for now. Hopefully everything works out the way we want it to. It would mean a smaller budget, but a lot less stress in our lives and that is much needed. Be blessed!