Money Monday!

the Big Changes at Our House have had quite a positive impact on our finances.  I was afraid that our grocery budget was going to have to increase because "healthy food" seems more expensive.  I was so wrong, and so thrilled by the extra positives that have gone with the changes.  Here are the Big Three!

1.  My grocery trips are so much faster!  When you only need fresh produce, dairy, and meat, you avoid 80% of the store.  Less time in the story means less time to be tempted to buy things we don't truly need.  And less time for the grocery store to wear you down!

2.  Popcorn!

I'm having a love affair with popcorn.  I decided to eliminate chips.  They were expensive (about $0.35 each for the individual bags) and full of nasty pretend foods.  They also caused conflict because someone always took the last bag of the kids of chips someone else wanted.  I didn't need the drama, and the kids didn't need the junk.  The kids panicked when I told them.  They wanted something salty in their lunch boxes.  I understood that, but wanted something that had some nutritional value.  I thought about pretzels, but at $5-$6/bag, I couldn't justify the cost. We decided to go old school!

A 1-pound bag of popcorn kernels costs me $0.85.  From that, I can make 40 - 1.5 cup servings of popcorn (a whole grain food!).  So, instead of the $0.35 chips, I get $0.02 popcorn.  (The ziploc bags are under $.03 per, and the kids are told to bring them home so we can resuse them.)  The kids get a salty snack without all the preservatives and additives.  It's a win-win-win.  (And I happen to think it's super neat to watch the popcorn pop through the clear lid of my Dutch oven.  It's the little things, people!)

3. My dining budget has dropped!  This was the big shocker for me.  There is no question that buying grilled chicken breasts with vegetables for six at a restaurant is much more expensive than a trip to Taco Bell.  It's almost twice as expensive.  Here's the deal, though.  If you buy "real" food, your body fills up faster and stays full longer so everyone doesn't need his/her "own" chicken breast and veggies.  You can share.  

Yesterday, due to poor planning, we ended up eating Taco Bell for lunch.  It was $25.  And 25 seconds after we finished, we were hungry.  Then, we got ice cream for another $14.  And we were that unpleasant bloated full from processed foods.  By the time we made it home, I had a terrible headache, Carson was super cranky, and everyone was hungry again.  I'm confident had we spent that almost $40 on real food, everyone would have been satisfied until dinner.

What have been your money surprises this week?  Did you get a great deal?  Or did you come up with an easy way to save money?  Leave a comment, and let me know!


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