She’s coming! Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene is on her way up the east coast and the people of Central Connecticut are getting prepared. Yesterday, I sent my husband out to get some bottled water. I hate buying bottled water but he wanted to get some. Today, I realized the flashlight was dead and I didn’t have enough batteries. First, I hit Target. They were out of water, batteries and flashlights. Radio Shack was also out of batteries. Luckily, Super Stop & Shop was just putting out some D batteries. Woot!

As I was walking through the store, I saw people with carts, piled high with food. Some of these people were buying enough food to feed a family of four for weeks. Two things I thought were pretty amusing and sad really. First, people were buying food that needed to be refrigerated or frozen. Then, I noticed that most of it needed to be microwaved. Now, I don’t know if our power is going to go out or not, but you are only going to need days worth of food if the power does go out. Otherwise, you can just go to the store like you normally would. But if the power does go out, you will have neither refrigeration, nor microwaves. Hmmmm.

As for us, I didn’t buy any food because we’ve got stuff in the freezer that will need to be eaten if the power goes out for a few days. Luckily, I have a gas stove so it will still work if the power goes out. We’ve also got the gas grill just in case for after the storm is over if we don’t have power. Not really much planning needed on our part.

Only thing I fear is if Jeff has to go without coffee because the power goes out. He loves his coffee. I’ll have to see if I can find my old coffee press. I’m sure I can jerry-rig something if I can’t find it.

I hope everyone on the east coast makes it safely through the storm. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Why do you eat out?

The bane of our budget the last few months has been eating out. It breaks my budget every month. Luckily, there is usually slack in my grocery budget and it all evens out, but I’d love to be able to take some of that cash and add it to my debt snowball. In order to get that budget under control, I started to look at why we were eating out.

Most of the time we were eating out because we were running errands and didn’t eat before we left the house. We’d stop for fast food or something inexpensive somewhere while running errands. Am I the only one who thinks that fast food is getting ridiculously expensive? Seven bucks for a value meal? Really? But I digress… so we were spending a lot of money because we were not prepared. Since I’ve identified this problem, we’ve either eaten before we go out or I’ll plan something quick to make when we get home.

Other times I just don’t feel like cooking something. That doesn’t happen often but it does happen. I’ve now got stuff on hand to make a ton of quick meals that either my husband or I can make. Having a meal plan helps but having back up plans, like grilled cheese or an awesome salad is a budget lifesaver. Hell, even keeping a couple boxes of mac and cheese is a cheap way to fill your tummy without breaking the bank (note to self: we are out of mac and cheese).

A few times, not very often anymore, there were foods that I just loved that I didn’t make at home.  Pizza was one of those things, until I found Kristen’s recipe. I found this about two or three months ago and I think we’ve only had takeout pizza once since then. I make it every week to cut out my husband’s pizza cravings. I’ve also remembered to mix in recipes Jeff really loves, like my chicken marsala (recipe can be found on the recipe page of this site). I made it this weekend and it was a huge hit. Figuring out how to make our favorite foods has really helped us save a lot of cash. Have you tried to go out for chicken parm or chicken marsala recently? Wow, that’ll cost you. The chicken marsala I made this weekend cost us… are you ready for this? Less than $3. Not per serving but $3 total (Chicken $2.00, can of mushrooms $.25, clove of garlic $.10, half a box of pasta $.33, Marsala wine $.30, flour and seasonings were all on hand = 2.98). That’s a $40 dinner if we went out.

So if you think you are eating out too much, think about why you do it. Plan a strategy for eating out less and watch those savings pile up.