Stretching the Budget

I have always been someone who thinks frugally. I started keeping a budget at 15! I have no idea what prompted me to do so, but I thought it’d be smart saving for the future. It is times like now that I am so appreciative of this.

If you’re a frequent reader, you know that I am a SAHM to my favorite little girl, Cupcake. My husband just started his medical residency. A common misconception is that because my husband is a doctor, we are rolling in the money. This could not be further from the truth! To put it in comparison, I made more as an elementary school teacher.

So our family has had to look at things from all angles. I grew up with a working mom and always saw her as strong and motivated. I was proud of her for working. However, this did not seem like the right fit for me. Prior to having Cupcake, my students were my “babies.” I stayed late at work and arrived early. One of my favorite custodians used to always tease me that I was “still here.” He had to walk me out to my car on numerous occasions.

I am positive that there is a teacher out there who has a spouse completing residency, all the while raising a family. If you are that person, I bow down to you. I literally could not figure out how to make it work. The cost of childcare alone would eat into essentially my whole paycheck. When we factored in all the variables, we decided that the best fit for our family was for me to stay home with Cupcake.

Although I am not earning a paycheck, I am greatly helping our family by finding ways to save us money. I have the time to research coupons and plan my shopping trips better. I can cook from scratch, saving us the expense of having to pick up prepared meals. And all of this is still pushing it.

So, part of my “job” is looking for ways to reduce our grocery bill. I almost wish I didn’t care about preparing healthy meals so much. One of our biggest expenses is our food budget. Recently, I have been looking for more ways to cut down. I update our budget weekly, and with the numbers staring me in the face, I knew I had to find more ways to cut back. Thank goodness we live in the modern day, where finding more budget-conscious recipes are just a Google search away!

I have several websites that I use, but you all know my love for Ms. Andrea at Pennies and Pancakes. If you haven’t checked her out, please do! She has amazing recipes that not only taste great, they are very affordable. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on bread? Yea. Look for upcoming posts with some of my favorites from her website!

How about you? What are some of your favorite money-saving ideas? Please pass them along in the comments section below!

A Day in the Life 

4 am: Cupcake wakes up and wants to nurse. Maybe hitting a growth spurt, because she feeds for 45 minutes! 

5:45am: Cupcake wakes up again. Hubby goes in to comfort her 

6:45: Cupcake up for the day! Make breakfast. Clean her up and change her. Play with her baby doll that she insists on carrying everywhere.

8:00: Get Cupcake and myself ready for the gym. Pack bags for both of us. 

8:30: Drop Cupcake off at “school” (gym daycare). Run and lift. Enjoy magical, peaceful, childless shower. Spoil myself and do my makeup AND blow dry my hair. 

10:30: Bring Cupcake home. She’s screaming cause she’s tired. Nurse her for 45 minutes. Put her in her crib to nap. 

11:16: My bottom hits the couch, and she’s wailing. I’m not going back up to feed her. She’s crying on and off. I hope and pray she’ll fall back asleep. 

11:35: Whiney cries turn consistent. I go to rescue her. She pooped. I change her and will her to go back to sleep with Jedi-mind tricks. 

11:45: My Jedi-mind tricks are not working. The force is strong with that one. She’s just giggling at me and trying to pet my face. She’s pointing around the room, “a this? A that?” This is an annoyed mommy. That is your crib, where you should still be napping. She gets so happy when she hears a bird. Nap time over. 

12 pm: Feed Cupcake lunch. She eats two bites of an apple and licks hummus off a piece of bread. I realize we don’t have anything in the house and eat a lunch of carrots and hummus. Good thing I ate my weight in cake last night, so my body has plenty to keep it going. 

12:20: Scan the flyer and my coupons to plan grocery store trip. Cupcake yells as loud as she can for about 10 minutes. I’m glad no one’s around for me to have to explain that literally nothing is wrong- she’s just yelling because she can! Fun! 

12:40: I pack Cupcake and I into the car and head to the grocery store. 

2:10: Attempt to bring in groceries. Cupcake wants to be held the whole time. At least she helps unpack the bags when it’s time! 

2:45: Snack time! Cupcake eats peanut butter, puffs, hummus and a piece of clementine 

3:00: I try to clean the house. Cupcake actually allows me to do this because she noticed a zipper on her hoodie. Note to self: always dress Cupcake with zippers. 

3:30: She got the hoodie off, so I’m done cleaning. We cuddle and read books instead. 

4:15: Best part of the day! Daddy gets home!! We enjoy the warmest weather we’ve seen since November and go on a walk. 

5:15: Cupcake is napping in the stroller, so my hubby sits outside while I go in and make dinner. We have homemade burgers with kale chips and pickles. Amazingly delicious for such a simple meal. Cupcake refuses to eat anything except pickles. 

6:00: Cupcake signs “All Done” and signals us that it is bedtime. Poor baby is so so so tired that she cries while I change her into pjs. She nurses, I sing, we cuddle, she goes to bed. 

7:00: Hubby and I plan her first birthday party. We get snacky and he offers to go out and get us a treat. I have eaten well all day, and hold strong. He makes us a berry protein shake that is amazingly delicious. 

8:00: We quickly tidy the house and get ready for bed. 

9:00: We like each other too much and we’re still up talking. Cupcake makes a peep. We realize we need to sleep before she wakes up for a nighttime feeding. We go to sleep.