Friday, July 25, 2014

Budgeting: Grocery Store Edition

I don't know about y'all but I am always looking for ways to save money. We spend some serious money at the grocery store. I literally feel like I could just hand over my check right to the because seriously. It is a little ridiculous. Food is EXPENSIVE and there is no way around it. We don't meal plan because it ends up being more expensive for us. Yes, I am that weirdo that spends way more meal planning that I do winging it. I am probably doing it wrong and that's why it is so expensive but I just give up on it. I am by no means an expert but I am going to share two tips that help me stay under budget or right on and some meals that are in our rotation. Do we go over budget sometimes? Absolutely! Are we under sometimes? Yes, definitely. I try to keep our budget at $100 a week but it includes diapers, wipes, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap/shampoo, etc. when we run out during the month.

Plan and Guesstimate
I LOVE FOOD. Giving myself a $100 budget for food for four people used to stress me out. In my head I see myself and the kids starving to death because we don't have food. Am I being dramatic? Absolutely. I just LOVE food, ha! When it comes time to go grocery shopping I make a list of things we need and want then I guesstimate what they cost. Most things we buy regularly so my guesstimate is pretty close. Another thing that I do is I either round up to the dollar or add a dollar for tax. This makes my guesstimated total higher than my actual checkout total usually but then I get so excited because I was under! Woohoo!! If our list exceeds our budget I start cutting things- never anything we NEED. If we need it, I will go over budget sometimes but I try to stay under when it is possible.

Name brand vs. Off brand
Some people are very serious about only buying brand name things. I don't have a problem buying the off brand. There are a few things that I will not buy off brand- macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets (Great value ones we had last time were ORANGE. Blech!!), Little Crunchies by Gerber, and Huggies Natural care wipes. We use Parent's Choice diapers. Many people are against this and I was with y'all. I loved Pampers! However, for half the price we gave PC a try and we love them. We haven't had any issues at all with them and I love the money we save buying them.

We are a simple family. We don't have these extravagant and fancy meals. I don't have the time to devote to preparing them and cleaning up the mess after and I find it is more expensive. If you are one of those people? Awesome!! I am a firm believer in you have time what you make time for and cooking/cleaning the mess isn't my choice. I like trash tv much more ;) We usually have ground meat, fish, and chicken in our freezer at all times. We are a huge chicken family. Huge. We eat chicken in one way or another at least three days a week. The other days we will have ground meat or fish. We really don't eat out too much because it gets so expensive! We eat tacos, hamburgers, shepherds pie, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, grilled chicken salad, chicken salad, grilled chicken, chicken and potatoes, fish, red beans and rice, and pork chops occasionally. For lunch Ryan brings a sandwich and snacks. The kids and I will eat a pack of those $1 noodles or rice mixes and some type of meat- chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or lunch meat.

So, tell me, What is your weekly/monthly budget on groceries? Do you meal plan? What are you eating? Do you have things you buy specific brands of?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Abram Ryan: 9 Months!

I can not even believe that we are only three short months away from your first birthday! On one hand it seems like you have been here forever, but at the same time it seems like you were just born yesterday. I can't even imagine our lives without you and you complete our family! This month you are up to no good, ha!!

(These pictures are terrible but he literally would not stay still long enough for a picture. Such is life. )

You are weighing in at 16 pounds and 6 ounces and 26.5 inches long, which puts you in the less than 5 percentile. I think you are just a small little guy, just like your bib sister. You are eating 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours, starting to stretch to 4 hours. You eat three meals a day and at least snack twice. You are a bottomless pit! I fear your teenage years- you are going to eat us out of house and home. When you are eating your three meals you prefer foods you can feed yourself but you tolerate purees still. Solids that you are eating are blueberries, bananas, any type of pasta, little crunchies, wagon wheels, and puffs. We go through a container of each of the baby snacks. You definitely don't play when it comes to food. If we sit down to eat, you must have food or you throw a fit. And waiting for your food you fuss and slam your hands down. It is hilarious and obnoxious, ha! You are wearing size 2 diapers and 6 months clothes, with some 9 months thrown in there. Your shorts you fit in 3-6 months because your waist is teeny tiny- just like your sister.

You are so much more ambitious than your sister ever was and I blame that on second kid syndrome! Between wanting to keep up with her and being set down more, you keep up. You are a pro at your walker- constantly slamming into my legs when you want food, running to the stove and fridge, and stealing fun sticks (fish sticks) right off your sisters table. You have been standing on your own much more lately and you even took two solid, solo steps the week before you turned 9 months! I would not be surprised one bit if you are walking by 10 months. You are a very proficient army crawler but this last week you decided that crawling on your knees is much better.

Sleeping was a little iffy there for a while. You were waking up anywhere from 2-5 times, for no reason at all. It was seriously exhausting! Then daddy told me to let you fuss it out. Well, that worked for you! Hopefully I am not ruining this but it is working for you and the best part is that you never even fully cry! Sure makes the mama heart feel better. The first night you were up four times, the second once, and the last two- none! That is a huge improvement. You sleep about 0-:30-8:30ish. You nap three times a day- at 9/10am, 12/1pm, and 5:30/6:30pm. The first two are usually about two hours and the last one is about an hour.

This month you were started on Zantac for reflux. You started spitting up a good bit more, weren't interested in your formula (drinking 3-4 ounces tops!) and having reflux at night. Your angel care monitor has been going off every single night which has been worrying me. We mentioned it to your doctor and he wants to do a sleep study, so we are waiting for them to call and schedule that. You are such a joy, sweet little man! I can't wait to watch you continue to grow. You are special!!! <3