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Thursday epiphany - seriously!

January 5th, 2012 at 04:30 pm

I had an epiphany today - not in the religious sense but in the "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience." sense. (Thank you, dictionary.com!)

I was looking in my refrigerator for the cheese I needed for the King Ranch Chicken written about at homesicktexan.com (Thank you, CCraw!) and as I looked at the five containers of leftovers that need to be eaten it hit me - I love to cook but I don't necessarily love to eat what I've cooked! Let me repeat that. I love to cook but I don't necessarily love to eat what I've cooked. Slowly now. I-love-to-cook-but-I-don't-necessarily-love-to-eat-what-I've-cooked. The light bulb went off as I looked at the stacks of food that were soon going to have to make room for the leftover King Ranch Chicken and I almost fell over. How could I not have seen this before?

I love to cook but the eating of what I cook is often simply a chore to me. I eat enough to judge the recipe, rip it up, spit it out, etc. but I don't actually dig in and enjoy it. I don't savor it. I don't linger over the scents and flavors like I do food that I don't cook. I basically eat it without paying much attention to it because by the time it's ready, I'm bored!

It explains so much;the almost constant overflow of food languishing in the fridge, the overspending on the grocery budget, the leisurely pace at which I grocery shop when all other shopping means I run in, grab what I need and get the hell out, perhaps even the lack of interest I have in plating and presentation of the food. Of course, the latter can also be explained by the fact that I feed just me. But still. Do you see where I'm going with this?

It might not seem to be much of an issue but it is when one is opposed to waste and on a limited budget. Today I made King Ranch Chicken when I have two containers of chicken and dumplings, a large container of mexican stew, and two containers of beef and barley soup. I didn't need to prepare another dish! But I did. And now I have six containers of leftovers in the fridge.

I dislike how most food tastes when it's cooked, frozen, then reheated though I don't mind it with soups and things with very little to no meat. So freezing everything isn't the answer. The answer is apparently to make smaller amounts, make myself eat what's in the fridge before preparing more, etc.

If you have ideas on this, please share them with me as I absolutely have to get this under control.

Now that I'm aware of this I might find it easier to control it but I need some input and suggestions. I'm trying to figure out what to do with the food that's in the fridge now. The mexican stew will be fine in the freezer but not the other stuff. Oh wow, how could I not have seen this??

Thanks, LuckyRobin! Here's my jar :)

December 19th, 2011 at 06:48 am

LuckyRobin had a good suggestion for a visual reminder of how much money I haven't spent on cigarettes. I have a pretty glass container from Ikea (heart pound!) and right now it has one penny for each dollar I haven't spent on cigarettes.

One of my sisters has some pretty stones she's bringing me this weekend and when I get those I'll replace the pennies with stones but for now, this is awesome!

Oh yes, I realized the widget I have isn't calculating correctly so I'll just keep track mentally of the money I haven't spent on cigarettes. As of right now it's $25!!!

Here are a couple of observations on the days since quitting smoking:

I no longer feel the need to get to work 30 to 45 minutes early to make sure I have time for that last smoke or two or three or....

When I'm at work if I don't get a break, it isn't quite as big a deal as it used to be. Yes, I should still get them and I need them so I can sit down, have a snack, etc. but the need to smoke is gone so it isn't quite so important.

Very interesting....

And the plot thickens...

January 15th, 2008 at 06:43 am

I just talked to my other half about our spending habits and the ways we
Text is waste money and Link is http://pinchthatpenny.savingadvice.com/2008/01/15/so-where-is-it-all-going_34195/
waste money. He agreed with me immediately that we need to stop the waste and also agreed to some tactics I have in mind to help. One is that we stop smoking. The other is that we limit eating out to once a week. So, this Friday when I get paid I'll buy nicotine patches. The last time we used them I only needed them for 5 days and he needed them for about 3 weeks. If it goes that way this time we should have the $40 a week we normally spend on cigarettes freed up by the middle of February. And if we only eat out once a week, we'll see the savings there immediately!

**Quickie update** I was feeling a little hungry and thought about making some scrambled eggs and beef sausage. But I remembered some of the spicy chicken I used to make quesadillas was still in the fridge so I made myself a spicy chicken and cheese quesadilla and microwaved it. It was better than the skillet ones a few nights ago and I used up most of the chicken. There's still a little left, just enough for a quesadilla for DH for lunch. I asked him to please eat that up when he gets hungry. He kind of halfheartedly nodded but just now made himself a beef sausage sandwich. This isn't going to be easy!

So, wish us luck!

Musings on waste and finances

January 14th, 2008 at 09:37 pm

I went to bed but couldn't sleep. I have a knot on my gum that is causing me some discomfort. I got up to take some aspirin and drink something hot but that hasn't helped much yet. So here I am again, reading and thinking, thinking and reading.

Here are more of my musings on creating some kind of financial plan for this year. It's hard! But putting my thoughts in a blog entry and getting feedback seems to help the process. So does reading the blogs of others. I've gotten some excellent ideas and am very thankful for that. On the other hand, I read the blogs of some members (like Ima Saver and Lux Living) and feel like such a spendthrift at times! But that's not necessarily a bad thing. If reading their blogs inspires me to do more to cut back here and trim there and save this way or that way, this is a very good thing! Again, I'm thankful.

I've thought a lot about waste the last couple of weeks. I'm not sure why but it's been on my mind. Perhaps the recent political issues in the news got it started. Wink Then I talked to my youngest son tonight. He's an OTR driver and called me from Indiana and we got into a discussion of government waste and the national sales tax concept. Regardless, waste of this sort and that sort has really been in my thoughts lately.

DH and I are wasteful. Compared to many we aren't but compared to many others, we are. I think we're too wasteful and want to work on reducing waste.

We throw soft drink cans in the trash. That's wasteful when we can sell them for a little bit and that could be added to the challenge money or put in savings.

We smoke still. Yes, we quit for almost a year but started again. We smoke less than half of what we used to smoke but it's still costly in many ways and wasteful. We need to quit. Period.

We try very hard not to waste food and for the most part we're good about that but we do it at times. We need to put an end to it and eat or freeze leftovers before cooking something else.

We waste time. Oh, do we! We're at the shop more than anywhere else and unless we're open we're wasting time. There's no television at the shop but we stay online when not busy. There are other things we could be doing - reading books about personal finance, discussing strategies to save and the need for a plan for 2008, continuing to work out goals for our marriage, etc. Surely there are more constructive ways to spend spare time.

Those are just four ways in which we're wasteful. The first three directly impact our finances and eliminating or greatly reducing them could save us a bundle. Quitting smoking alone would save us about $35 a week. The last one indirectly affects our finances but I'm not sure what the solution to it is or if that solution would save us money.

Okay, now I'm all verklempt. Give me a moment..feel free to discuss amongst yourselves. Opinions, suggestions, accolades and spare change welcome!

Envelope system and saving update

January 11th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

DH and I sat down this evening to evaluate how the envelope system is working for us. There isn't enough in any of the envelopes to pay that bill but there's money in each of them and we have two to three weeks to get the money for the current bills and that should be very doable. It's only been six days but it appears that the system is definitely working for us.

While we were discussing this, DH told me that he wants to try to pay the bills from shop income and save at least half of what I earn. Wow! If we can do that, we can have some decent savings in short order! The shop is making enough to cover all the bills but only if we stop frittering away money. We still do that and although we do less than in the recent past, cutting back on that more will ensure we can pay our expenses with the shop money and save a good portion of my income.

Frittering - it's so easy to do! We eat out too much which isn't good for the pocket book or the health. And DH likes to buy soft drinks and snacks while we're out and those are hard on the budget and health, too. I admit I do it occasionally, too. But if we just cut back on eating out, that will make a big difference.

I think if we keep track of every penny we spend for awhile it will show us again just how much money we're frittering. When we did that before, it stopped us in our tracks and caused major overnight changes. But that was a few years ago and we're complacent again, I think. Now if I can just talk him into doing that again. But that's the kicker. He knows we blow too much and he knows we need to stop so he will probably remind me that he knows those things and say there's no need to track every penny again. If he does, I won't bring it up again.

I'm grateful, though, that he's working to improve our financial situation and is aware and willing to work on it with me. Yaaaaay for husbands who man up! Wink