Monday, December 12, 2016

Travelling soon...

On Friday, my daughter and I will embark on an 800 mile journey so she can go see her dad for the holidays.  We had decided to pack a cooler so we can save money on the trip by bringing foods we already have at home.  Sandwiches, cereal and milk and drinks.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

In the Coming Year...

I have been reading old food stamp challenge posts, thinking about an old website where this woman spent $800.00 a year buying groceries and household good for a family of 4 and pets.  The $800.00 a year included eating out.

The lady that was only spending $800.00 a year only counted money coming directly out of her pocket.  Any gift cards she earned and freebies did not count towards the total.

The food stamp challenge is $27.00-$36.00 per person depending on location.   That at the lower end would be over $2800.00 a year in just food costs.  That does not include household cleaning supplies.

So how can I combine the 2 to get a reasonable number?  It is me and an 8 yr old girl that is always hungry.  I work a part time job that only offers 20 hours a week most weeks.

I don't receive child support on a regular basis, but I am not looking for it.  I am not on food stamps, but my daughter does receive free breakfast and lunch in school.

I am thinking the number is going to be $1800.00 a year or $150 a month.  That number will include all purchases. This is including gasoline for the car, car tags, license renewals, clothing etc.  Basically if its not rent, insurance or utility (also my ISP and phone are counted as utilities as I need it for work) it gets counted towards the number.  I will list all free items, but it will not count towards the number.

Any food currently in the house will not count towards the number, but to be honest, I only have a week or 2 worth of food, 1 jumbo pack of toilet paper and 3 single rolls of paper towel, maybe 2 gallons of bleach and 1 spare container of laundry soap.

I will post meals and pictures to show if we are eating well during this time.

Any leftover money will roll over to the next month.

So join me in this journey on January 1st, 2017 to see of we can live on $150.00 a month for a family of 2.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The refrigerator and Thanksgiving meal plans

We have a monstrosity of a refrigerator.  It barely fits into its space.  You would think perfect fit right?   Sure if you never want to take out the drawers and shelves for cleaning.  I had to get the EX to pull it out and turn it for me.  It was so bad that I am thinking the last time it was cleaned probably was back in 2010 when I last lived here.  It took me 3 hours to clean the thing due to the drawers needing to be soaked and lack of space to be able to set them all up. 

How in the world can you put fresh produce on crap.  Can you imagine the bacteria? 

The plus side of cleaning out the refrigerator is I can now plan the menu for Thanksgiving.  My plan is to use as much of the items that we already have.  You heard of pantry meals? 

A pantry meal is usually a month long where a person challenges themselves to only cooking from what they already have on hand with only buying the absolute basic perishables such as milk, bread, eggs and such. 

So my plan is to plan a pantry Thanksgiving.  We have a turkey that has been in the freezer since last year.  There is some spinach and brussel sprouts in the freezer, also some dinner roll dough.  I had not gone through the deep freeze yet and I am sure I will find more.  We have a few potatoes, carrots, lots of canned fruits and such.  I believe I can pull this off without buying much more than onions. 

Turkey and dressing
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Roasted brussel spouts, sweet potatoes and onions
creamed spinach with French onions?
glazed carrots
Pinto Beans? Thinking about cooking a pot of them tomorrow.
pumpkin roll or pumpkin pie

I would normally have more but its just the 3 of us and I would not want too many leftovers. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

All the Frugal based blogs out there...

I am looking for tips and such for saving money so I am Googling... What I am finding is blogs that tells you what is on sale, which means spending money to "save money" or so full of ads that you can not find the content.  The other thing I am finding is the vast majority of them has not been updated in years.  To the bloggers out there, if you are not going to update your blogs any more then pull it down.  nothing is more frustrating as to click on what looks like would give you good info or be really interesting than to find it full of ads and promotions for sales. 

I miss the Dollar Stretcher site of the early 2000 before they sold out to feeds of financial sites, they really had some great stories that you could relate to.

School Lunches

Yesterday I went to the Thanksgiving lunch at my DD school. 

I signed into the office to get my pass so I can meet up with my DD in the cafeteria.  We wait in line for about 15 min.  We get to the front of the line and start to get our food.
The main course is on a Styrofoam tray that has been doubled up so it won't break before you get to the table.  The side items has been proportioned in individual plastic disposable dishes.  Everything looks appetizing.  (I wish I would have snapped a picture of the meal before I started eating it.) 

The menu was

Turkey and Dressing
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Green Beans
Fruit Medley
Applesauce cake
and a Dinner Roll.

The first thing I take a bite of was the dressing.  It was pretty sweet.  After the second bite, it reminded me of Jiffy mix corn bread.  For those that has never had Jiffy mix cornbread it is basically cake with cornmeal added.  It was way too sweet and needed salt.

The second bite was of the turkey. The looks of the slices reminded me of a mixed compressed roll of meat.  It reminded me of the Banquet Turkey that used to be in the bags that all you had to drop in a pot of boiling water when I was a kid.  The Banquet boil in the bag tasted better.  The turkey was also sweet and lacking of salt.  As cheap as turkeys are you would think it would be a fresh roasted one. 

The dressing was so sweet it reminded me of soggy cake.  It needed some savory spices like sage or poultry seasoning, garlic, black pepper and salt.  It also could have used some savory vegetables like onions and celery.

Green beans were just dumped from a can of no salt added green beans. It would had benefited from onions, garlic, pepper and salt.  Of course, hoping for bacon grease or bacon pieces is too much to hope for since the school system does not serve pork products.

The mashed potatoes was bland as all get out like they were made with water instead of milk and no butter added. 

The fruit medley was not too bad.  It had cantaloupe, mango, pineapple and grapes. 

The dinner roll was whole wheat but was so sweet, reminded me of a cake made with yeast or a whole wheat version of the King Hawaiian rolls. 

The applesauce cake was a bit on the dry side and dense like it had no fat in it.  The applesauce they put on top is what made it edible. 

For a lunch that the parents were invited to it was not very good.   The lunches were sweet and bland. 

The only thing the lunch had going for it is it was 4.00 for an adult.

From what I tasted they replaced salt and fat with sugar.  Actually sugar may not be the correct word.  It is probably high fructose corn syrup.  The milk they serve all low/no fat is full of thickeners and high fructose corn syrup. 

It is no wonder the kids are not eating their school lunches and so many school districts are losing money on the new federal standards.  Add the fat and seasonings back into the lunches, I am not talking about making the lunches high fat, but our bodies need fat and salt for the brain to function.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I am still here...

We are getting close to Thanksgiving and I am not sure yet on what we are having.  I have a turkey still from last year.  I have some pumpkin and some apple pie filling.  I don't really want a traditional Thanksgiving meal though.  I have been trying to come up with some ideas. 

Christmas is going to be slim for my DD.  She did ask when Elfie was coming back this week.  The thing is, Elfie is gone.  He was lost in a move.  I am not sure how she is going to react and I cant afford the 30.00 to replace.  The one thing going for me is that I had Santa to only bring 3 presents and that everything else was from Mommy.  I had always figured I could manage the presents from Santa.  Now, I am not so sure. 

I did find a cute messenger bag that I should be able to make for her.  I have a pair of jeans that has ripped in the crotch.  Walmart jeans tends to rip there at about the 6 month mark.  Not sure why.  I am hoping I can find some cute material for the other part of the bag. 

I found the leftover yarn from where I made her a scarf last year for Christmas.  I think there is enough to make her a matching hat.  She love the scarf, so I think the hat will be a good choice. 

I am not sure what else to do for her.  I recently made her clean out her toy boxes and give up 2/3s as she had way too much stuff and still does.  She is a good kid over all. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Welcome to My Journey

Here is my story. I am a 40 something divorced woman living with an elementary school student (DD) and my ex (EX). I have so much debt that its not even funny and I am unemployed at the moment. I am going to blog my journey to get out of the hole that I have dug myself into and my life.

My DD is an exceptional little girl. She is super smart, but does not apply herself as she could. She is very much a daddy's girl. She won't eat dinner until her dad comes home, but will eat before I get home.

My EX is a hoarder. Most of his family is the same way. He tends to sleep a lot of the time and he spends one day working hard then 2 more in bed. I am working on getting the place cleaned up and looking nice. At the right time, there will be before and after shots. I would throw out everything, but then he shuts down. I tried to talk him into buying another shed but have not been successful yet. I have to tread lightly here.

The journey along the way will show recipes, the job hunt, and debt reduction. I hope I keep you entertained and following me.