I feel like I never have enough time in the day. I'm horrible at time management so I'm sure that's part of my problem. I'd love to be one of those women who wake up in the morning and have a list of things done by 9am. Of course, that involves getting up by 8am so I may be reaching a bit in wanting that level of organization.
I also have a lot of demands on my time. I run my own business with my husband and while I love being my own boss, when you work from home, it's hard to delineate where work stops and home begins. I own more cats than I'm willing to admit to most people, several who have medical conditions and I feel like I've spent weeks of my life just scooping litter boxes. I have a rather large garden by urban yard standards and I try to produce and preserve as much of our food as we can. This involves lots of canning. We have a house that was built in 1894 that will one day be gorgeous. Right now, it's missing things like walls, plumbing in some areas and is a bit decrepit. Lots of time goes into fixing it up. My husband and I talk about kids but I'll admit that I feel so crunched for time now and I know how much time kids take!
However, no matter how rushed I feel, I have an abundance of time when you compare it to a lot of people on food stamps. I work from home so it's easy for me to let a pot of stock simmer all day. Eating a meal of leftovers involves no planning. No figuring out how to get it to work and heat it up. I have time to bake my own bread and preserve my own food. Granted - I make the time for that but I'm not having to work two jobs to get by. It's not a choice between me baking bread or working an extra job so my kids can have clothes to wear.
I've got lots of ways to save time: I make extra and freeze it. My freezer right now holds containers of gumbo, Hopping John, spaghetti sauce, mushroom-wine sauce, chicken stock, frozen pizza dough & a bag of breadcrumbs. Whenever I make something that might freeze well, I usually double the recipe so that I have some to eat later. I also have a list of quick, easy meals that are made from wholesome ingredients but come together in a flash. I always have pasta on hand and I make use of a slow cooker and pressure cooker. But these tips might not be helpful to someone who doesn't have the extra money to buy food in bulk. You have to first own a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. I bought a chest freezer so I'd have space to save leftovers - that was a serious upfront investment.
What it comes down to is that there's no way I could do this challenge and not cheat. No matter how closely I count my pennies or follow my planned meal plan, there's no way this even begins to approximate the choices and considerations that someone who lives this budget on a daily basis has to deal with. I knew that when I started this challenge but I don't think I really KNEW that. It's become a lot clearer to me that no matter how strictly I follow this challenge, I can't really follow it because I'm not really living this life.
PS - I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. My data card got corrupted and all my pics were corrupted as well.
Thoughts on the food I ate yesterday:
I often make Beef Stroganoff with hamburger. It's a great way to use ground beef and make it different. I've never really followed a recipe before but I had to with this challenge. I needed to know the exact cost to make sure our budget could swing it. So I turned to SimplyRecipes.com because I knew Elise had posted a recipe for this dish recently and I knew her recipe would be great. It was wonderful. Instead of winging it, I'll probably use her recipe in the future. Normally, I'd serve this dish over egg noodles but since I had penne pasta and it was cheaper, I used that.
Thoughts on the Eat on $30 Challenge so far:
I've been thinking a lot about the time component of this challenge. The amount of time it takes to make sure that we don't go over our budget - the calculating out every last thing. But even though that's a pain, I'm lucky because if we do go over our budget, it just means I've screwed up this challenge. It doesn't mean I won't be able to pay my electric bill. Calculating out my costs isn't personal to me because the consequences aren't very dire. Granted - I want to not go over my budget but if I do, all I lose is a little bit of pride. That's a pretty small price to pay in comparison to someone who doesn't have the leeway in their budget.
Breakdown of costs:
2 tbsp butter: 24¢
1 lb local, grass-fed ground beef: $3.45
8 oz onion: 40¢
8 oz Bella Mushrooms: $1.67
1.25 cups sour cream: $1.19
1 tsp lemon juice: 4¢
3 oz penne pasta: 19¢
TOTAL: $7.18 for 4 servings
Breakfast: Scrambled free-range eggs, bread, fair trade coffee and local organic milk
Dinner: Hamburger Stroganoff over penne pasta
3 Eggs: 57¢
6 tbsp milk: 18¢
3 tbsp coffee: 33¢
1 organic local apple: 70¢
2.5 oz grass-fed bacon: 93¢
6 oz tomato: 60¢
1 tbsp mayo: 25¢
Beef Stroganoff - 2 servings: $3.59
GRAND TOTAL FOR THE DAY: $7.15
TOTAL SPENT SO FAR: $37.95
Here are a list of the other wonderful bloggers participating in this project! If you decide to follow along on Twitter the hashtag is #EatOn30:
- Tami of Running with Tweezers - Twitter @runwithtweezers
- Betty Joan of Trouble With Toast - Twitter @bettyjoan
- Carrie Neal of carrienealland - Twitter @carrienealland
- Paula of Bell'alimento - Twitter @bellalimento
- The Broke Socialite - Twitter @brokesocialite
- Jimmy of Eat It Atlanta - Twitter @EatItAtlanta
- Robert of WhizKid Sound - Twitter @rdyson
- Jen of Use Real Butter - Twitter @userealbutter
- Mike's $30 Project Blog - Twitter @boutte
- Zach of Mise en Face - Twitter @drzachary
- Hailey of Hail’s Kitchen - Twitter @hailskitchen
- Susan of Doughmesstic - Twitter @doughmesstic
- Frugal Hostess - Twitter @frugalhostess
- Diana of Spain in Iowa Twitter @dianabauman