Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Frugal Momma To Be

No I am not pregnant. Don't let the title confuse you.

I am all about saving money now. After Nils, Shaylee and I moved in with my parents and brother in a three bedroom/2 bathroom house for almost 10 months now, we are really feeling the urge to get out and into our own house. So we upped the ante and increased how much money is direct deposited into our house savings account from our paychecks and have buckled down some as of this month. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and don't mind living with them, but we are really craving our own space and privacy. I want Shaylee to be able to have her own room again, to play undisturbed and house all her toys in one room. I want to have all the cupboard, fridge, and freezer space all for my own things, to be able to buy in bulk again, without compromising space for anyone elses stuff. I want Nils to be able to pee with the bathroom door open again. Okay, maybe not that last one, LOL! But we want our own home. I want the housewarming party, deciding on paint colors together and a framed photo of us as a family in front of our first home with a "SOLD" sign.

I will admit, I have never been very good with money. I was never one to go on a shopping spree but I have been known to buy "little things here and there". Sadly, even the "little things" add up. Quick. Even last night I went a little overboard. I went into Target for peanut butter, Pull-ups, cheese sauce for my Mexican Lasagna recipe for dinner, and tampons and walked out with those items plus a new vintage tee for myself ($12.99), travel coffee mug for myself ($2.50), and Elmo bath fizzies for Shaylee ($6.99). It was only seven items but it totaled just under $50. And most of it was not NEEDED, just WANTED. My name is Shawna, and I am a compulsive buyer. But that's it. I am turning over so many new leaves lately to save money. I already quit getting my nails done to save me over $40 a month, Nils has quit smoking so that saves us a boat load of money already, and now I have a whole new outlook on the money we spend on groceries.

Nils and I love food. We love to cook. But sometimes our recipes, as tasty as they are, sometimes just don't fit into our budget. I'm not talking caviar and champagne or anything like that, but what we could easily drop into the preperation for one meal could be enough to buy groceries for two or three. Its fun but just not practical. So I joined an awesome site called Menus 4 With that I found helpful articles and tips on how to save money on food cost. And I joined (for $4.95 a month) a monthly menu Food Ministry mailing list that provides recipes and a grocery list for five meals a week for a family of four that is suppose to help you save money each week on groceries by having you make the most of your ministry food box from Angel Food Ministries. They menus each month with meals including as many of the published box items in as possible. The menu will be sent by the 7th of the month in preparation for the food box pickup dates so I have time to plan my meals out.

Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States. The program began in 1994 with 34 families in Monroe, Georgia (between Atlanta and Athens), and has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families every month across 35 states. Angel Food Ministries crosses denominational lines and has spread the good news of the gospel of Christ through salvation tracts that are placed in each food order.

Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month's menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $60. Comparison shopping has been done across the country in various communities using a wide range of retail grocery stores and has resulted in the same food items costing from between $42 and $78.

Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is all the same high quality one could purchase at a grocery store. There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.

Also offered are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. Many participants in this bonus program appreciate the expanded choices. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can receive, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere. Angel Food Ministries also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.

They are truly a blessing in a box. What's more is the church that I have chosen to join is the host for my area's Angel Food Ministries! I simply stop by on the order dates listed on their wwebsite and place my order or mail in the order form.

This month's pick up is March 28th and the regular box menu is truly a bargin:
  • 1.5 lb ribeye steaks (4 x6oz)
  • 3 lbs split chicken breast
  • 1.5 lbs Country Fried Steak patties (6 x4oz)
  • 1 lb pkg 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 lb fully cooked meatballs
  • 1 lb mild italian sausage
  • 12 oz deli sliced ham
  • 1 lb California blend (I am assuming this is salad?)
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 20 oz shoestring fries
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 28 oz marinara sauce
  • 21 oz condensed soup (makes 5 servings)
  • 1 lb pinto beans
  • 32 oz 2% shelf stable milk (dry milk I am assuming?)
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • and a dessert

For $30. WOW!

Can you believe that! We had been spending $3.99 a pound for chicken alone! Meat gets expensive thats for sure! Nils and I are a family of 2 and a half and this is suppose to feed a family of four for a week, that means it could stretch us out two weeks of dinners- for $30!!!! We have a deep freezer so we could probably stretch this one box even longer if we fill in some nights with conveince foods or leftovers. And my Food Ministry Meal Planning susbcription from will make the most of my box (and give me ideas because I was already stumped with what I was gonna do with a pound of pinto beans!). My mom liked the idea so much she is probably gonna place an order too. I can't wait! This is a really, really good thing for us! Its our first step into living a more frugal living to allow us to have more money to save for that house.

I am really curious to see just how much money we save using all these tips, food ministry, and coupons. I might need to keep a log to see just how much money we saved in a month's time or so. You know, compare what our average grocery bill used to be and what it is now that we are a bit more wise. I'll keep you posted!

1 comment:

Neabear said...

Wow! You are definitely motivated! Sounds interesting too. I noticed you mentioned a church you have chosen to join. Now I am curious which one you have joined. I am glad you have though. That is another good thing.