Monday, June 21

Unemployment: good for me?

As some of you may know, my husband lost his job almost a month ago.

Each week we are learning what that means for our family of four. As the clothes-buyer, grocery-shopper, food-prepper, coupon-clipper, sale-searcher and gift-giver for our family, I feel a lot of responsibility to reduce our spending as significantly as possible.

When Ryan and I were first married, I had a budget of $50 a week for groceries. I would take my coupons and my calculator to the grocery store, and I would add up my purchases as I went. I did my best to stick to under $50. 

Now it's not so much about sticking to a budget as it is about spending as little as possible...because how do you set a grocery budget when unemployment only covers your mortgage and health insurance? There's not much left for groceries!

However, I have hungry mouths to feed so there's a few things I'm doing to try and be as responsible and wise as I can in this season of unemployment (hopefully it's a very short season).

I'm reading articles, blogs and anything I come across that has suggestions on how to get more bang for your buck when it comes to food. There are plenty of sites that offer budget-friendly meal ideas and I'm trying out some of them or keeping the ones I already have in my recipe collection at the top of my menu-planning.

I'm trying to make recipes that include rice, pasta or potatoes rather than those that are just meat-based. Everything I read about preparing economical meals, suggests doing this because meat is expensive.

I signed up for coupons online from a local grocer (https://emailsignup.cub.com/). I'm trying to pay attention to the double coupon days at another local grocery store so I can get even greater discounts on my groceries.

We got a coupon in the mail to receive the local Sunday paper for only $1.25 a week. If I double just a couple coupons inside each week, I can easily save more money than what we're spending on the paper.

I'm also learning to shop what's on sale. In the past I have certainly purchased items on sale. But now I really pay attention to what's on sale and that's the fruit or meat I purchase for the week(s). And I've been buying many more generic foods (canned and boxed items) than I have in the past.

I'm not gonna lie. It's hard. I have my preferences when it comes to the brands and type of food I like to eat and prefer to prepare. I'd rather not have to take the time searching, making lists, cutting coupons, going to multiple stores, and getting generic items.

But it's just not an option. I do not want to come out of this season with loads of debt.

And you know what? This isn't just good for the pocketbook, it's good for me. It's forcing me to choose wisely. It's encouraging me to be aware of mindless spending. It's challenging me to stretch myself in an area where I don't want to be stretched.

Yes, it seems unemployment just might be good for me...in so many ways.

3 comments:

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Katy said...

Hi Stacy, I have been through this myself & you have a great attitude about learning life lessons along the way! I pray this will be a short season for your family. I found the "Pocket Your Dollars" website to be very helpful in tracking all kinds of deals in the Twin Cities area (I may have already shared that with you).

Katy said...
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