So DH has been unemployed off and on for the last three years (wow, has it been three years already? Time does fly!). This go-round, the unemployment checks run out in just a couple of weeks. Until he finds a job, we've made the decision that we're going to try to make it on just my salary, without dipping into savings, unless there's an emergency (or the stupid car breaks down again). It'll be TIGHT, but we can do it!
I've been delving back into all my frugal living resources - a few forums, some books (specifically The Complete Tightwad Gazette, the "bible" of frugal living), a couple of new cookbooks, and the Hillbilly Housewife website. I'm getting all kinds of new and refreshed ideas!
Food is one place where we typically spend about three times what we need to. So, until DH gets a job, here are a few new rules for me to live by...
1. NO eating out. This means no Starbucks (*gasp*), no fast food when I don't feel like eating what I brought for lunch, and no dinners out when I'm lazy.
2. Grocery shopping once a week. From a list. Which I will stick to. No more "oh, that looks good", or "ooh - let's have THAT for dinner!". If it's not on the list, it doesn't go in the cart. Had some practice on saying that when I went shopping with my SIL last weekend - my three-year-old niece wanted EVERYTHING she saw and I just kept repeating "it's not on the list - we can't buy it!" It occurred to me that I need to say that very thing to myself more often!
3. $30-$50 a week limit on grocery shopping. It doesn't sound like much, but really, with a little creativity and open-mindedness we could probably eat for a month just on what's in our pantry and freezers, so it's not that big a stretch. I can restock later, when we're not so stretched. I should just be buying perishable staples - milk, eggs, bread, produce. Meat if I find an unbeatable sale (that doesn't happen too often around here).
4. Menu planning. EVERY week. Even if we don't eat everything every day it's on the calendar, at least we'll have a general guide so there won't be anymore "what should we have for dinner?" conversations at 6:00 in the evening. It's just much easier that way.
So those are the new rules. I don't know what this means for my weight loss efforts, but I haven't been buying too many specialty "diet" foods this go-round, instead trying to adapt "normal" food to my new plan. I've been buying frozen dinners to take for lunches sometimes, which will stop, but that just means I need to have leftovers or extra casseroles and such in the freezer, easy and quick. I can do that!