Interesting post from my friend, Amanda, where she refers us to a Cardus article on the difference between Canadian and American evangelicals. There are differences, to be sure, but lots of similarities as well. Read the article and then weigh in on Amanda's blog!
Saving money on groceries requires time, energy, and forethought. Why bother? Here are five reasons:
1. Obviously, so you have more money in your pocket at the end of the day. Inspired by Dave Ramsey, we are trying to increase our emergency fund, save for home improvements and eventual car replacement, invest for the future, and give to our church and other charities. If I want to accelerate our progress, it's logistically easier and personally preferable for me to spend less rather than earn more, at this stage of life. We already live in an affordable home, drive one old used Toyota, and buy mostly secondhand clothes. The one category in our budget that has the most "wiggle room" is our grocery spending. For this reason, I've noticed that the grocery budget is a common topic on personal finance and simple living websites such as Simple Mom, The Minimalist Mom, and The Simple Dollar. Spending less on groceries might also help you save for a house, afford a family vacation, or just survive the lean student years!
2. Children benefit as they help you grow a vegetable garden, bake homemade bread, and creatively make do with what you have. As Amy Dacyczyn says:
But children of frugality have an advantage. They grew up watching their parents fixing things, making Halloween costumes, and cooking from scratch. Those images were stored in their "mental banks." If needed, the information is there to retrieve in their adult years. Because Jim and I were raised by thrifty parents, changing economic gears was a natural process for both of us. (from The Complete Tightwad Gazette, p. 296).
3. Your diet will probably be healthier, fresher, and more varied. Websites like Pennies on a Platter can offer new and fun ideas for budget meals at home. If you experiment with international cuisine, your whole family can learn about other countries together.
4. You will tread more lightly upon the earth as you buy less packaged food, waste less, and grow more of your own food. (Genesis 1:26)
5. It's a challenge! Some people think of it as a game! Maybe some of us are easily entertained... ;)
Canada is gearing up for a federal election. Here's an amusing post by my friend, Amanda, in which she explains Canadian politics to Americans. Here's a snippet:
Canadians do have their priorities straight. When given a choice between a leaders’ debate and a hockey game, hockey takes priority. That’s right, the leaders’ debate was rescheduled because Montreal made the playoffs.
Her sister, Abbie, describes a program called E-mealz here. Endorsed by Dave Ramsey, E-mealz can save money by helping you create meal plans--it can even take into account what is on sale at the specific store where you shop (if you shop at Kroger, Aldi, Walmart, Publix or RALPHS). Other plans you might choose include: vegetarian, low-carb, portion control, etc. Abbie, what's your verdict on this program?
My sister-in-law, Stacey, has a blog with fabulous recipes she's collected from family and friends. Definitely try the Andes Mint Brownies--yum! I love the idea of creating our own recipe collections--when I married into Eric's family, I was given an Ortlund cookbook filled with recipes from various people in the extended family. It's an ongoing work--some of my own recipes were included when the next bride-to-be received her copy. A website called The Great Family Cookbook Project can simplify that process if you're interested in trying this yourself, as my friend Colleen has done.
Colleen has recently blogged about her gardening dreams as well. She's such a creative soul that I'm sure her garden will reflect that. Abbie has a garden as well. She talks about discovering the idea of eating seasonally, from a book she happened upon at a little neighborhood library in Edinburgh, Scotland, when our husbands were both studying there.
I love this post by Lisa about how pita bread features so prominently in their family meals in Jordan. A perfect example of making the most of the local foods!
Camille is a lawyer turned stay-at-home mom. I can't even identify one post to showcase, since her whole blog is so inspiring and informative for anyone interested in bargain hunting, meal planning, and cooking/baking from scratch.
Finally, I've been intrigued with the website Cheap, Healthy, Good, since I came upon it. Here's an example of the amazing feats they pull off in the kitchen--1 Chicken, 17 Healthy Meals, $26 Bucks, No Mayo. The website has lots of ideas along this line, as well as general articles about cooking healthy and delicious food on a budget.