Friday, October 21, 2011

Strict Budget Week 1: Major FAIL

I recently told you about our new budget.  It's quite a challenge.  A very depressing challenge, but also an exhilarating one at the same time.  I was upset about it at first, but now my competitive side has kicked in and I'm ready to do this thing.  Bring it.

So as i said, we have $300 that has to last the whole month, and includes every single purchase.  I've been doing a lot of research on the internet about frugal living, and i found a mom-blog about "100 Days of Real Food on a Budget."  This woman took a challenge to buy organic, healthy, whole foods for her family of 4 on a budget of $125 per week.  (Unfortunately i don't have time right now to track down the link to her blog for you, but i'm sure you could google it if you are interested.)

She had $125 per week, i have $75.  Her budget didn't include household items like diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.  Mine does.  But then again she was buying organic food, whereas i am not.

The Professor and i know that we cannot make it through this season without the sheer grace of God.  We believe that God brought us here, so we have to believe that He will provide for us.  Like the Israelites, He didn't lead us out of Egypt just to starve in the desert.

Already we have seen answers to prayer.  One night i prayed, "God, whatever the heck you do or don't do about me, please PLEASE provide for my BabyGirl."  The next day i was getting the BabyGirl dressed to go to Toddler Story Time at the library, and her jeans, which were pretty tight a few days before, now didn't fit at all.  I don't have any jeans in the next size for her.  Those jeans were it.  I thought, "Well, praise the Lord we have several pairs of fleece sweatpants that Granny sent; she'll just have to wear those all the time."

Wouldn't you know, THAT VERY AFTERNOON Granny called me from Old Navy.  Said she was looking at boots and wanted to know the BabyGirl's size.  "Oh, and they have some jeans here too, does she need jeans?"  I immediately got teary-eyed with gratitude.  God was providing for my BabyGirl.

Due to the aforementioned auto repair costs that ate up all our money, i had resolved not to buy any groceries this week.  Nope, not going to do it.  We would live off of whatever we had in our freezer and pantry.  Fortunately i had a good amount of leftovers in the fridge, so it wasn't an impossible mission.  And i'll tell you, if i was the kind of person who took pictures of their meals and blogged about it, we could all have quite a laugh because i have made some pretty dang creative meals this week.  You would be amazed at what you can do when you have to.  Also, you would be amazed at how outdated some of the things in your pantry are.

The one exception to the no-purchases-for-a-week rule was the BabyGirl's rice milk.  She has to have it, and i didn't have enough on hand to last all week.  So after Toddler Story Time at the library, we stopped by the store to buy three jugs of rice milk.  We were really rushing to get home in time to feed her lunch and put her down for a nap before she turned into an ogre.  We zoomed home, and i saw that the trash collection had come, so my garbage can and recycling bin were strewn all over the place.  I wanted to go ahead and bring them in, but i can't carry the can\bin and the BabyGirl at the same time.  I decided to leave her in the car in the garage for a minute so i could bring in the garbage can, then run back and bring in the recycling bin.  It took about 45 seconds, but when i returned to the BabyGirl, she was crying because she'd been left all alone in the [creepy spider-infested] garage.  I comforted her, assured her that i didn't leave for good, and took her inside for lunch.

The next morning as i was brushing my teeth, i realized that when we had gotten home i never got the milk out of the car.  It was still in my trunk at that very minute.  I was sooooo devastated.  It was such a costly mistake.  I could not believe that i had been such an idiot, and completely wasted THREE ENTIRE JUGS of milk.  That milk was the only thing i was allowed to buy for the whole week, and it was gone.  When money is so tight that every ounce of milk matters, the loss of three jugs is significant.  I was so mad because it was my own stupidity, and there was no excuse for it.

So i had to put my tail between my legs and go right back to the store to buy milk for a second time.  And where do i buy rice milk?  At Walmart, of all places.  A store the size of an entire African village.  The worst place to quickly run in for 1 thing.  The milk is on the back wall, which is a football field's length from the front door.  We had to battle the Evil Aisle Blockers of America to get to the farthest corner of the store to obtain our milk.  And then, wouldn't you know i had to get in line with the exact same cashier as yesterday?  It was so humiliating.  I tried to avoid eye contact so that he wouldn't recognize me.  But the BabyGirl loves to push the buttons on the credit card machine, and when you press zero repeatedly it makes a very satisfying beeping sound, which she then imitates.  Yesterday when we bought milk, she pressed buttons and made beeping noises while he very neatly bagged up our milk and put it in my cart for me.  Again today, she made beeping noises while he neatly bagged up the milk and put it in the cart.  Unfortunately, i'm pretty sure he remembered us and our beeping.

I drove home with the milk in my lap so that i wouldn't forget it this time. =]


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