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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Learning....The Hard Way

I have been telling my husband for months that we need to budget. It just seems that no matter how much we bring in it's always gone in a matter of days, and then we are sweating and waiting on payday again. It really sucks. For a while I just marked it up to playing catch up. Wes had been out of work for so long, and it just seemed like everything was behind.

About a month ago I pulled our checking account statement and realized that we are nickel and dimeing our account to death. A soft drink here, McDonalds there, everyday it was constant. Well, it's really been bothering me. We shouldn't be broke all the time, so I prayed last week, please help me figure out how to budget.

I think my prayer was answered.

Last Sunday, while in church, I was listening to the preacher but, something kept bothering me. I don't know why but in my mind I was going over everything that I had paid and thinking that I had missed something. I had not missed anything, just missed calculated. I paid out too much. There was NO MONEY LEFT. My husband works 1 1/2 hours away. He drives there every day!!! So I prayed and prayed all through church help me figure this out.

This is what I came up with. To buy gas for both cars and groceries we had about $175.00. That was it... My husband’s truck holds about $75 in gas and that will get him back and forth to work for the week, my car holds about $30 in gas and it will get me where I need to go all week. So that left only 70.00 for groceries. YIKES!!!

I thought on this all day, no eating out...that is definitely out of the question. I needed a plan and I prayed that something would just happen. Finally the brain continued to work and this was the plan I came up with. I looked at what was in the cabinet and decided what can I cook that is cheap and easy, something that I had some of in the cabinet, and something that we can eat on more than once. Chicken casserole and spaghetti. I had the cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and spaghetti noodles. PERFECT!!!!!!

So I went to the grocery store and got the rest of the stuff for chicken casserole and spaghetti and spent 45.00. I continued to pray the entire time I was at the store - Please Lord let this last us all week.

It's Wednesday and we still have $25.00 in our account. I know that is very irresponsible, and God help me not to ever do this again. But for the first time in our adult lives our debit cards will stay in our wallets all week, we can't use them. We had to buy what we needed, and make do with what we have. I've had to go home the last two nights and fix supper. Now for the next two nights we will eat leftovers, and there is enough hamburger meat (already cooked) for Sloppy Joe’s on Friday.

I'm going share my 2 recipes with you and ask if you will share something good, that you can eat on more than once (lots of leftovers), I think this is what I'm going try and do every week now. ;) (Not clean out the account, but cook more and have leftovers more often). It really is easy when you plan what you are doing, and stick to it. There is no question as to what is for supper, you know.

Chicken Casserole

1 - 32 oz box of chicken broth

1 bag of wide egg noodles

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 - 8oz sour cream

1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers

1/4 c butter (melted)

2 cans of chicken (in the canned meat section - I use all white meat)

In a large pot pour the chicken broth and the egg noodles and bring to a boil. At first it doesn’t look like there is enough broth but there is just keep the heat turned up and wait. When the noodles are soft and ready add the cream of mushroom, cream of chicken and the sour cream and the chicken. Mix well.

Pour into a casserole dish and set aside. In a bowl crumble the sleeve of Ritz crackers and pour the melted butter over them. Mix well. Spread the cracker mixture over the casserole mixture and place in the oven on 425 for 15 min, or until the crackers are brown

We can eat on this 3 times if we want to :)


1 lb hamburger meat, cooked

1 large can petit diced tomatoes (I like the ones with Italian seasoning already in it)

1/2 can tomato paste

1 package of spaghetti seasoning

Pepperoni (I buy the whole pepperoni and dice up about 1/2 of it, but you can use pre sliced pepperoni)

Pour everything in your crock pot and let it cook all day. I usually use about 1/2 box of noodles each night, and I always end up throwing some away. But the sauce will last 2 nights.

Honestly this is about the extent of my cooking for more than one night so I need your help to find more recipes so that we are not eating the same thing every week! So help a sister out here!


Tiffany said...

I am proud of you for trying to cook more often at home. It really does free up the budget. Check out bettycrocker.com. You can create an online recipe book, and it will even print out the shopping list for you. I have found some very easy, very inexpensive meals there.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Proud of you, Kelly! That's a hard lesson to learn. I'm a lot older than you and still struggling with it!

Money and diet have us being more careful of those little items here and there too! They just add up so fast!

Look at Pioneer Woman Cooks for some great, easy, not too expensive meal ideas. I made her Italian Drip Beef on Monday and we're still eating on it! It's good too!

Jessica said...

This sounds like a great plan! I used to never budget my money or meal plan, but I find that now that we are working on one income, I have to. I am cooking more and looking more for sale items. I also am following more frugal living type blogs. I have some favorites, but I can't think of their links off hand. I'll have to come back with that.

With budgeting, planning is key. I think that we, as women, have the great gift or resourcefulness. We now how to make seemingly impossible things happen with God's blessings.

I wish you all the best.

Rachel said...

Good for you - sometimes planning ahead is the smartest thing we can do. And a little extra elbow grease in the kitchen goes a long way! :)

I find the easiest meal in our house is soft tacos. Literally I am cooking up some seasoned beef and then everyone can add their individual ingredients. The seasoned meat can be used in a mexican casserole the next day, or in omelets.

I'm having to be creative in the kitchen these days too!