“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms shall be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
Know well the face of your flocks; and pay attention to your herds.
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Proverbs 16:8 Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.
Here’s an idea to track your spending:
The most important thing is to carry around a little notebook. Every time you get money whether it’s from a paycheck or a garage sale or picking up change from the ground;write it down. Every time you spend money whether it’s paying bills or buying coffee or paying bus fare write it down. Try keeping track of every penny that enters or leaves your life.
Tracking your spending helps to demystify money you begin to perceive it as a tool. You gain a sense of power & you no longer feel that money controls you, but that you control your finances. Your awareness of your money habits is sharpened, allowing you to make changes to improve your situation. This is an essential money skill, and it’s easy.
This exercise may lead you to change spending habits.
Here are some pointers:
- Be careful with transactions that are easy to forget. Some transactions cash transactions, online transactions, transactions without a receipt are quickly forgotten.
- Get a receipt for everything. It’s easy to forget were you spent your money on just 24 hours later. Make a habit of putting all your receipts in one place so that you know where to find them.
- It’s best to process your transactions daily. I find this easiest but some prefer to do it weekly. Takes minutes!
- Make it a routine. If you get into the habit of tracking your spending, it becomes second nature.
- As always, do what works for you. No one system is perfect for everybody. The important thing is to track your spending.
This process paints a picture of your spending habits as they actually exist, not as you think they exist. You can use this information to create a budget. Or, at the very least, to serve as snapshot of where your money goes.
Money down the drain… wow I hate to see waste. Waste of any kind really. I’ve found that when I’m not on top of the management of my menus and kitchen, waste happens. You know, that one piece of bread that gets old or the Tupperware with cranberry sauce in the back of the fridge that spoils or that can of mandarins that I bought 3 years ago ( I confess) and now has gone bad. Probably this kind of waste is only acceptable in western societies. Do I feel guilt? No, not really, but I do feel responsible for the things that have been given to us.
Here’s a few ways to stop food waste:
- Make a weekly menu plan and shop 1st in your pantry, fridge & freezer
- shop with a list~see how little you can buy and how much you can use that is already in your pantry
- buy the fruit & veggies you will eat instead of the whole bag~ maybe just 2 or 3.
- think out-side the box. My brother-in-law Joe says that any food leftover is breakfast with an egg on top of it. John agrees and loves it. Pizza, mashed potatoes, rice casserole…
- learn to make soups. That last cup of pasta would be perfect for an Italian flavored soup. I (my girls too) always make stock or soup from the turkey carcass after a holiday meal.
Did you know?:
- North Americans waste about $1,000 worth of food a year?
- It has been found that the main foods that are regularly thrown out are:
- Salads – almost 50% of what we buy we throw out!
- Meat and fish
- Yogurts and milk
- Spreads and dips
- All of our scrapes of food and egg shells are used as a supplement for our 3 hens we have in the backyard.
- I freeze what is leftover~sometimes the same day I make it. This also saves on rush trips to the market or the temptation of buying fast food. It takes so little time to defrost a zip-lock bag of soup, beans or casserole I have in the freezer!
8 days left of my 30 day challenge to spend only 10euros on grocery, paper and cleaning supplies.
What I have spent: 7,26€
What I have left: 2,74€
Everyday I’m more encouraged and thankful for the resources I have to work with. I’m getting by with what I have on hand and I’m so glad to be able to save the money and also use up what we have. Love it! I have a jar of Marmite in the fridge and I’m going to be focusing on using that up. I did this with the pesto I had. All these jars of condiments in the fridge are a blessing but also take up a lot of space.
For those of you who don’t know what Marmite is:
Marmite is dark brown-colored savory spread made from the yeast that is a by-product of the brewing industry. It has a very strong, slightly salty flavor. It is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it type of food.
It comes in small (2-5 inches high) bulb-shaped glass jars with a distinctive yellow lid.
Children in Britain are generally fed it from the time they are weaned, and most never grow out of it. It has a high B-vitamin content, as well as riboflavin and niacin—and as such is very healthy. (The vitamin-B complex helps prevent anemia.)
Last week I spread it on puff pastry with shredded cheese and rolled it up, sliced & baked it as a ‘tapa’. It’s very strong and a little goes a long way.
The last piece of quiche and pumpkin french toast
toasted cheese sandwiches with Butternut soup- we’re on the road today and I’ll pack a picnic.
Cream of butternut soup
Pork & gravy over mashed potatoes
Yesterday I spent 1,25€ on a package of deli ham. My total spent for this 30 day challenge is: 5,52€; leaving me 4,48€ left to spend until December 12th.
For Card making supplies: http://www.stampinup.net/esuite/home/jerushagish/
November 27th, 2011~Sunday
I hope you’ll take the time to watch this 6:21 video I added below. The end of it is the best. It’s a great motivator to reduce spending in one area in order to have money for the things that are important to you. My 30 day challenge is to save all but 10€ of my grocery money in order to add it to the budget line items that need to be funded. It’s amazing how much we already have in our cupboards and freezers instead of going to the market to buy more.
Here’s a money saving idea for this week: instead of going out to eat after church or work this week, why not dust off that crock-pot. Put your meat & potatoes (for example) in the morning and the tasty food will be waiting for you when you return in the evening. Here’s an idea:
Easy to do & good to eat. Why go out to eat?
Crock-Pot Turkey Chili
- 1 lb cooked turkey (chopped)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small can chopped chilies
- 1 can black beans, undrained
- 1 can chickpeas, undrained
- 1 can kidney beans, undrained (or use the white beans but the red gives it a nice color)
- 1 large can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1-2 tablespoon chili powder, to taste
Add all ingredients to the crock-pot and cook on high for about 6 hours.
If you don’t have any leftover turkey to work with, you can use 1 lb ground turkey; browned or use chicken, pork or whatever you have.
You can serve this with rice cornbread, or tortillas.
For all of you who like to can/preserve; this would be a fantastic recipe to put together (no need to cook for 6 hours) and then pressure can. You’d have it on the shelf for the upcoming year. A healthier version of fast food.
Here are my menus for today:
Quiche~ still leftovers!!
Turkey Chili (above) & bread
I have spent so far:
4,27€ out of the 10,00€ I budgeted; leaving: 5,73€ left to spend
I am COMPLETELY out of:
non-fat milk~ but I have powdered
I’m ‘making do’ without them
* I have 1 onion left but still green onions in the pot on the patio.
Here’s a shot of my very full refrigerator!This week will be dedicated to emptying it the best I can. We have pizza, carrot/butternut soup, beef fried rice, lots of veggies, plain rice & more. The eggs I’m saving for the guests we have coming this week. Remember that my… Read more »
Day #16: We traveled to the village today. We actually left a bit late, and got to the house at 8pm. We stopped in Coria to buy a few groceries. I plan on canning the hamburger for future meals. No one calls, no meetings… just work and I have time to CAN! I love that.
Spent today: 39,35€
37,20€- 8 kilos of hamburger (that’s 17lbs 6 oz)
0,60 cents-1 liter of whole milk-(John drinks whole milk)
0,20 cents-1 onion
1,55 euros-2 romaine lettuce
Spent the last 16 days: 58,85€ (but most of it is for the future.. canned ground beef)
Average spent per day: 3,67€ per day
Meat… I love the stuff! I especially like to can it. Last year for Christmas, John gave me a pressure canner and a couple hundred jars and 800 lids. I’ve run down my ‘stock’ considerably and I can’t stand to see those empty jars, so when I have a few days in my otherwise busy schedule, I prepare for a canning session. For me, there is a tremendous satisfaction in seeing the fruits of my labor on the shelves.
Did I mention how handy it is? I can the hamburger for example, with different spices added. Some may be taco flavor, or sloppy Joe flavor. Some with chili powder or onions and garlic or Italian seasoning. When I have a recipe I want to prepare, I just open a jar or 2 of the hamburger… ready to go. No defrosting or panic if I have unexpected guests come for a meal. I’m pretty well set all of the time.
Blessings!! Today I received a package from my friend Joye. It was the mother-load of things I love! Here is what she sent:
7 cans of jalapenos (really needed those!)
2 cans of cranberry sauce
2 boxes of pie crust mix
2 popcorn balls
wow! we are very thankful and blessed by these treats. All these foods we can‘t get here and how helpful for my Thanksgiving feast! We are humbled by the Lords goodness to us.
Day # 9 I have spent ZERO today and have spent only 5, 48€ in 9 days! A real victory for me as I gather up the fragments and use all that I have.
Tomorrow I’ll go again to market to buy some items needed for the guests that are arriving tomorrow after midnight but will need breakfast the next morning.
My menu for today is:
Lentil Soup (using my cherry tomatoes & 1 potato)
Chicken thighs -Leftover from Yesterday. I fried them yesterday with this WONDERFUL seasoning that my sister-in-law sent to me from the SPICE HOUSE called: Milwaukee Iron Seasoning. Well, all I can say is: YUM!
Baked Sweet Potato ( last one)
1 sliced tomato
Supper: omelets & toast (using 3 eggs)
What I have left:
2 tomato ( I found a roma tomato in the garden!)
a few small onions from my garden
LOTS of Swiss Chard in my garden
Day #8 and I’ve only spent 5,48€. I like it. John called the butcher to see about the price of turkeys per kilo and try to order one, so my efforts to save $ for a turkey are paying off in my frugality (comments below)
Today the menu is:
Dinner at 2:
1st plate: a re-worked potato/carrot soup (adding beef broth & hot peppers)
Fried Chicken Thighs (freezer)
Instant Mashed Potatoes (from pantry)
Fried Cabbage (last of the cabbage)
Sliced Tomatoes (1 left!)
Leftover burritos or paella from yesterday
What I have left:
a few cherry tomatoes from my garden
plenty of Swiss Chard in my garden
a few onions
I spent today: 4,98€ on 2 fresh pumpkins. This was the 1st year ever that I have seen them in the store so John rushed out to buy them. I had hoped for more than 2 so I could can them for pies, but that was all there was. John went for me because I continue with this flu bug!
My total for 8 days on groceries is: 5,48€
I feel that I’m doing well on my savings budget and we got the price per kilo (2.2lbs) for the turkey today: 5,40€ or $8.10 per kilo in USD. We look forward to sharing our feast with friends on November 21st to celebrate our Thanksgiving.
Here is my menu for today:
I eat lightly usually a yogurt with cereal in it. John will eat the leftover meatloaf and any other thing he finds in the fridge.
Cream of squash soup (I’m making it with hot thai seasonings this time)
Machaca Burritos- a Cailfornia favorite using 1 jar of my canned shredded beef, 3 scrambled eggs, cheese, salsa, wrapped in a large flour tortilla
Fried flour tortilla wedges sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar
You may have noticed that I’m trying to finish off a package of flour tortillas in the fridge!
Paella- we are still working through all the paella in the freezer in 2 portion baggies.
Money spent on groceries today: $0
Total spent the last 7 days: .50¢
What I have left:
a bit of cabbage
1/2 of a zucchini
I also can still pick 2-3 cherry tomatoes each day from my garden.
We have guests coming on Thursday evening so I have to get a few things to buy for that, but I don’t plan on spending anything until then.
Today I spent $0 on food! Five days in a row!! Hallelujah! I was gone working at the church until 4pm and John ate leftovers. For supper I took out some pizza from the freezer & made a salad.
We are gathering up the fragments here and trying not to waste anything.
Total spent since October 20th: $0!!
Well, here we go… day #3. I still have lettuce and tomatoes, potatoes, 1 zucchini squash, 3 carrots, 1/2 a cabbage & onions that are fresh.
I found a recipe for pinto bean burgers with a yogurt horseradish sauce and made them last night for supper. I went to my pantry and got a jar of beans I canned earlier this year, took out cheddar cheese from the freezer, added the cilantro from my garden, some onion, Worcestershire sauce, and egg, bread crumbs, salt & pepper and fried them up putting them on hamburger buns with lettuce and tomato. We ate them last night with 3 leftover for lunch today. I have a rice recipe I will try today to go with it. Our 2:00 pm meal will look like this:
Cream of Green soup ( I make this using all the green veggies I have on hand, like broccoli, zucchini green beans etc. It was leftover from when the kids were here.
2 nd plate:
Pinto bean patties (cheese is mixed in)~ these were yummy!
new rice recipe (brown rice & wild rice)- We really liked this.
1/2 of the zucchini, sauteed in olive oil & herbs
So far, I’m doing well on my plan to see how LITTLE I can spend on groceries.
Day #3 I spent: $0….nothing…nada!
I have left:
1 liter of non-fat milk
I’m using my last package of paper napkins, so John & I have switched to cloth to make the package stretch.
I’m also on my last tub of margarine which I use for some baking. For eating we use only butter.
Total spent since October 20th: $0
This has been a good and fun week! Well, it’s been 12 weeks, 3 months of spending 10€ a week! This week, I have to give myself a raise… to 15€ a week instead of 10€. I am just out of too many baking items. After having our guests with us, and all the beverages (juice every morning, coffee, soda, chocolate milk for breakfast for the daughter) for the adults and their teenage daughter, I need a raise. Normally, I don’t have to buy that stuff in such quantity, but it was worth it too, because we love them and love being with them.
I still have plenty in the pantry, but the everyday staples and toiletries, have been depleted. I’m going to try to do the 15€ a week for a while but I also may decided to go back to 10€ and then do a quarterly “larger” marketing day of say, 50€. I will have to decide on that… My goal remains the same: use up my pantry, and save money for other “funds” or adjust for the changes in the economy as needed.
starting balance: 15 Euros
.49- 1 kilo of flour
.49- 1 kilo of flour
.49- 1 kilo of flour
.98- 1 kilo of sugar
1.15- 1 dozen eggs
.65- chicken hot dogs
.71- 1 liter of non fat milk
1.98- dish washing soap
2.65- 1 liter of olive oil
1.45- 1 liter of sunflower oil
*- I am officially out of nuts of any kind in the village house. I think I may have some almonds in the Madrid house. We will live without them for a couple of weeks!
Menus for this week:
Breakfasts will be: oatmeal, banana bread with jam or peanut butter (Mom and Dad brought that for us last year)
Suppers will be: pita bread sandwiches, veggie sandwiches with all of the tomatoes, zucchini, sprouts and onions we have, or leftovers
John and I feel that we eat very well.
Thursday, August 20th- 1st plate: Gazpacho 2nd plate: Pinto beans and rice, salad
Friday, August 21st- 1st plate: Tomato soup 2nd plate: fish fillets, rice-a roni, pisto ( squash, tomatoes and onions)
Saturday, August 22nd-1st plate: bean soup (using leftover beans) 2nd Plate: Pasta and meat sauce, salad
Sunday, August 23rd-1st plate: fish chowder (leftovers from the fish) 2nd plate: Pork Loin, couscous, sliced tomatoes
Monday, August 24th-1st plate: cream of zucchini soup, 2nd plate beef fillets with mushroom gravy, spetzael, salad
Tuesday, August 25th-1st plate:Leftover soup, 2nd plate: pork Loin, rice, zucchini
Wednesday, August 26th-leftovers
Blessings I have received this week:
Look at these veggies! I took a photo each time I was given them. I have had so many tomatoes that I canned some of them… they just keep coming!
The green peppers have been diced and frozen on a cookie sheet then bagged for recipes during the winter.
How does my garden grow?
Here are my vegetable seeds that I started. I have peas, broccoli, haba beans (may be called fava beans in English…not sure), and lettuce. I made “pots” out of newspaper, using an empty can as a guide. As the plants sprout, I will then plant the whole thing into the ground, paper and all. I have a few peat pots in the house in Madrid, but I will use this method from now on to avoid the cost of buying them again.
My baking for last week:
This is the baked oatmeal that I have included on this blog. It is really good and full of dried fruit. Since we are still in the village and have run out of brown sugar here (we have some in Madrid), I used granulated sugar. It’s good but definitely better with brown sugar!
Ok.. that’s all… tomorrow I will bake bread and other pastries for the week. I’ll post those later. I hope you will all stay encouraged in your own goals.