dsc014781Then we were led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Oreos…

Now that a week has passed since Easter, I look back upon our experience with our social assistance food budget and have a compelling need to share frugal wisdom!

 I will never look at grocery shopping the same way again.  The planning and organizing that went into feeding a family of five on $14.66 every day was painful yet enlightening.  I was dangerously close to obsession during Lent in making sure my family was well fed, but have learned a lot about waste, frugality and generosity.  Yet in completing such an exercise, I also firmly believe there is no need to feel guilty about having worked hard to reach a certain pinnacle in your life and enjoying the benefits of your pot of gold at the end of your rainbow (aka strawberries with your breakfast!). 

 The comments we’ve all received about the article and the conversations it has generated have been truly gratifying to say the least.  Thank you all.

What leftovers do I have for you now?  How will this change my life?  I pledge the following:

  • I will create a weekly menu on Thursday evenings after the food flyers are out (you can actually get some delivered to your email Inbox!).
  • Though I will invite my family’s suggestions for dinners and try something new once in a while, I will give them only choices from what is on sale that week rather than a free-for-all smorgasbord of options.
  • I will shop only for what is on my shopping list for my menu – creating a stockpile of snacks for the pantry leads to unnecessary spending and over-eating.
  • Something “On Sale!” is still a waste of money if it will never be eaten.
  • Canned foods are not as repulsive as my kids would suggest – I will try to buy in season and expose my kids to some canned or frozen fruit and vegetables.
  • I will watch what gets scanned at the cash:  many cashiers are part-timers and don’t always know the right code (and don’t often care) – I never realized how often I was being over charged.
  • I will plan my shopping trips around my work schedule or errands – it is not against the law to shop at more than one grocery store (but it is a waste of gas and not so green to travel 40k to save a dollar on ground beef).
  • I will try to buy in bulk and cook in batches – see my note on communal cooking below (are you interested?)!
  • I will no longer buy salad or lettuce kits – a head of leaf and a head of romaine do not take that long to wash and stay fresh a lot longer.
  • I will make more of my own salad dressings (but not my own ketchup)!
  • I will buy tubs of yoghurt for at home consumption and save the individual yoghurts for school or picnics.
  • We will not buy store bought cookies any more – homemade cookies are way better (my kids suggested this one themselves!) (check back with me on this one).
  • I will always add finely chopped carrots, celery, onion, zucchini to my spaghetti sauce and chili (no one knew and gobbled up the extra vegetables without complaint – and it stretched my kilo of ground beef a little further).
  • One good-sized whole chicken feeds my family twice – once for dinner and again with soup made from the chicken stock and leftover chicken.
  • We will have homemade soup and homemade bread for dinner more often.
  • I will give money to the Food Bank – canned food drives are awesome but what I found most challenging was providing perishables to my family (fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and bread).  The Food Bank need regular donations to accomplish this:  http://www.theottawafoodbank.ca/donate.php

and, last but not least …
  • It won’t kill me to pick up a broom and dust cloth once in a while (but then I would have to rename my blog…so forget that!)

 ….please stay logged to my blog!

I am about to embark on some new challenging projects so come back soon and read about them:

  •  The astonishing benefits and amazing side effects of having regular family meals
  •  The economic, social and nutritional benefits of communal cooking
  •  . ..and more!

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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