Monday, May 18, 2009

Money, Food, and a Plain Lunch that Still Works

It's pretty amazing, but no matter how much you may plan, things happen in life that can leave you suddenly wondering, "HOW am I going to feed my family this week?"

For us, it was a grand combination: the tax bill, followed by a sick cat with $1500 in vet bills and counting, a broken Air Conditioner on the hottest day of the year so far, a preschool payment due. It's been a long time since I looked at our bank account and wondered how we'd make it to the next paycheck.

Fortunately, we had freezer meals in the freezer. So at least dinners were mostly taken care of. It may be boring (we were down to 3 packs of pork chops with peppers, 3 packs of curry chicken, 2 packs of stew, and 2 packs of butternut squash soup) but at least we can have dinner. For everything else, I've been selling off some Mary Kay discontinued items at half price for some cash flow. We'll be fine next month. Thank goodness. But it's leaving me thinking that we need to get cheaper somehow, learn to eat and live on a tighter budget in case something like this happens again.

Micah, for one, is used to having pretty awesome meals three times a day, or at the very least two times a day. This week has been a bit of a shock for him, but he's adjusting. We did some shopping for staples for breakfast and lunch yesterday, and turkey was on extreme sale. 

So today for lunch, I made turkey sandwiches, something that, I guess, Micah has never actually had. I gladly cut his into squares as requested, and he immediately became adamant that this is NOT what he wanted. 

Now, we've been having some eating issues at dinner time. If, for example, we put in front of him meat, veggie, carb, he will eat the carb and demand more. We've finally gotten to the point where he knows that if he wants more rice, he has to taste something else. 

Since Turkey Sandwich was creating tears, I went to the fridge and found what I hoped would be my big savior: a 1/4 of a yellow pepper. I sliced it up onto the same plate as his sandwich and watched him go at the pepper. Of course, he finished it, and then turned to the sandwich because he knows now, taste the other thing before you can get more of the thing you want.

Fortunately, the next thing I heard was "Mm, it's good."

Oh thank goodness.

So, Micah's lunch was a 1/2 a turkey sandwich (cut into squares) and some yellow peppers, with water. When he was done he asked for dessert, and he got a small bowl of strawberries. Perhaps not gourmet, but if I've just gotten my kid to appreciate a sandwich instead of a gourmet meal for lunch, I may be saving myself some serious money in the long run.

Tonight, by the way, we're having Pork Chops with Peppers (and onions and tomatoes) and probably some kind of rice or pasta on the side. Like I said, it's nice to have the freezer meals, even if we had the same thing a few nights ago. 

And in the coming weeks I am going to learn about coupons, and getting our weekly bills down as much as possible. I know LOTS of people who never pay full price for anything! I just have to figure out what they do!

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