MSfit Momma Meal Plan #3

So I am following this 28 Day Detox but the cost of Organic is killing my food budget.  I will be doing some serious price comparison on Weds when the Ads come to see where I can stretch my pennies the most.  They sent a bunch of meal ideas that you could stick with or create your own.  Since I spent so much last week, I hit my pantry and freezer to make similar healthy meals but from what I already have.  I routinely look through my freezer and pantry to stretch our food budget when I menu plan but If I can stretch that last weeks $89 to cover this week also, I think I will be less discouraged about eating better. It wasn’t all spend on food per say.  We spent $11 on a jug of Olive Oil. We spent $6 on Almond Butter.  IE- things that we will use to cover more than one meal but that $89 still really hurt my grocery paying brain.  I was going to go to the local farmers market today too to see their prices on organic food but it’s rainy so I stayed in. So anyways here is this weeks Healthy Eating Plan!

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MSfit Momma Meal Plan #2

This week’s menu reflects going Gluten Free and Organic for the month of January. Total and full disclosure: I am participating in an Arbonne 28 Day Toxic Cleanse.  My friend sales Arbonne and asked me if I would participate. The menu they give is Gluten Free and Organic.  The shakes are pretty tasty too which is good since I will be drinking them twice a day along with tea and other supplements.   I need the accountability of a weight loss challenge to stick with it.  I also text my bff my weight and inches so when I call her frantic for something tasty, she will remind me it’s only x numbers for days left. I am hoping to loose 20#. I am 40# up from when I graduated high school 15 years ago. I can’t blame it on being a newlywed, new mom or the freshman 15.  Really, I got in a relationship and got comfortable.  I also have limited mobility with my left leg so exercising is few and far between.

I want to loose weight. That is my main goal.  If I also improve my MS symptoms- fantastic!

There are lots of theories that changing your food habits can help your MS symptoms. I’ve never gone into MS Remission so I figure what do I have to loose to go Gluten Free for a month and see if I notice any changes. I am on day 2 and still want to continue, so that’s good. (I had to fight the urge to finish that sentence with a smiley face.)

Question for those of you that already eat this way, how can you save money going Organic? It doesn’t seem like they carrying much that I’ve ever seen a coupon for.  We spent 2 and -1/2 times our weekly food budget for the first week of food. To be fair we bought some stuff not on the list for the kids and we bought stuff that will carry over week to week like a big jar of Olive Oil.

I get that it is a lifestyle change to go Organic. I’m just not sure I can afford it.

Here’s this week’s menu:20150103_172138 20150104_095850 We have so much chili left, I will probably freeze half of it. It was really good.

MSfit Momma’s Average Joe’s New Years Money Tips

It’s New Years Day and littered all over the internet are articles of ordinary people paying off $5000, $10,000,or $20,000 and becoming debt free and riding off happy into the sunset!

I hate those articles!

I  don’t think they are practical.  I’m happy for those people but I think the average person can’t follow their tips.

As I mentioned before I stretch our food budget by meal planning  https://wordpress.com/post/81700486/8/ .  I stock up on meats at low prices and leave in our freezer. I make sure our pantry is stocked.  I shop clearance shelves first. I use shopping apps to earn rebates or discounts. ( I will do a different blog on that with specifics this week.)

What if you have cut everything you can? We are trapped in a Cable Contract that will cost us more to break, than just pay our bill for then next 3 months (We have already downgraded to the lowest package cost.)  Once our contract is up, we are switching to Netflix.  $8 a month for a variety of TV shows and movies via internet (even with the cost of upgraded internet we will be paying less than half of our current cable bill).  My husband will miss Sports but someone just told me that you can hook a cable from your laptop to the TV and stream the games to the TV to watch.  If that doesn’t work, I think my husband will just have to figure out other places to catch the games he wants to see.  We already can’t watch the Dodgers on Cable unless we switch to a particular cable carrier.

We have an additional problem of only having one income while we wait for me to have a Disability Hearing next summer to see if the State of California, says I am disabled enough to earn my Disability Payments.  It’s a lot of pressure on my husband to be the sole bread earner.  When you are already stressed about making ends meet, it can be incredibly stressful.  Money stress is the #1 cause of divorce in the United States.

Here are some tips, I think anyone can follow regardless of how much money you have coming in. They are not money savings tips as much as laying the foundation to start taking control of your debt and stretching your pennies.

-Write it down. I use Excel and list all of our bills as they come in the mail monthly. I have a tab for all 12 months.  I always have my bills mailed because I note when I paid something or if I made a partial payment directly on the statement.  It helps me see it and remember. (This MSfit’s memory isn’t that good) I also have a running total at the bottom of my sheet that tells me how much money we need that month. If we are short money, I highlight in Excel in blue on my sheet and as extra money comes in, I know I need to pay it as soon as I can.

-It is important to communicate with your spouse or family/kids (if they are old enough to be apart of the conversation) about your money budget.  My husband gets paid twice a month so we discuss twice a month (minimum) where our money is going. If we know he is hitting a bonus that month, we decide together: Are we applying it towards a Credit Card to pay down our balance? Are we getting new tires? Do we need it to help cover our bills that month?  These conversations are not always easy but it helps us in the long run and no one can say they didn’t know what is going on.

-I am not a saver. I admit it. It would make my life easier if I was. Knowing I am not, I opened an account with my Momma at her Credit Union. I didn’t get checks or a debit card.  I have just been giving her cash and she makes the deposit. We have a savings goal. Once we hit it, we will start a new savings account for a Hawaiian Vacation using this system.  We are not focused on Hawaii right now.  As the hubs pointed out, “Those islands aren’t going anywhere.”

-Lastly celebrate the small wins. Paid all your bills on time this month? Make your favorite dinner. Made an extra payment on your credit card? Paint your nails that bright purple so every time you look down, you remember that you did it.   Knock out one of your 5 credit cards? Rent a movie, eat some fancy popcorn and drink some cheap bubbly.I think it’s so important to have a “Here & Now” goal like setting up a savings account or paying off a credit card. But just as important is an “Once we are Done” goal like Saving for Hawaii. It makes all the little repetitive steps seem worth it.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a financial expert. I don’t know how to balance my check book.  There have been times I have overdrawn my account. These are things I have had to learn and implement in my life and that have worked for me to slowly chip away at our debt.

MSfit Momma Menu Plan #1

I have adopted the habit of Menu Planning our meals on Sunday nights.  I do it for a few reasons.  I can stretch our Grocery Budget if I know what I’m making.  I also go to the grocery store and just stick to the list (for the most part. I am guilty of adding things if there is a good sale or I can get a rebate on an item from one of the many shopping apps I use.) It also helps us eat through our fridge and pantry so I waste (hopefully) less food.

It also really helps me not come home and panic about what to make for dinner.   My kids have different school schedules and when they are in school, we pretty much drop one off and pick up the other and drop one off, etc.  It’s a ton of Mom-Taxi Service during the school year.  My husband comes home for lunch at dinner time and it helps me have dinner for him ready to eat if I know what I’m making.

I used to plan a month at at time but I feel like we eat the same things all the time.  In fairness, I am super picky though and the foods I like, I really LIKE.  Haha.

I also really don’t like leftovers so when I plan, I try and make 2 different meals out of one thing.  Example: Ground Beef: Tacos one night and Lasagna another. Chicken: Chicken and Chicken Salad Sandwiches later in the week,  This also saves me prep time because I can brown a pound or two at the same time.

I also make sure I do a crock-pot meal on Monday’s to get back into the flow of the week and one Thursday, because I’m pretty exhausted by then.  This weeks menu doesn’t reflect that since the kids are still on Winter Break from school.

Today’s meal was supposed to be Turkey Taquitos to use the last of the Turkey from Christmas but I am soooo turkey’ed out. So while I was at Target today, I noticed they had seasoned Chicken Cutlets on Special for $3 off (making it $5) and I had a box of wild rice in my pantry. It’s ok if you change it up if necessary.  It’s a PLAN, it’s not binding.

These are pictures of the 2 planners I have. Both are you can write on/wipe off and magnetic.I stick them to the side of the fridge.20141228_195014 20141228_195002

This is my menu plan for this week:20141228_200918

Also just because it’s scheduled on a particular day, doesn’t mean we will 100% eat it that day.

Do you menu plan? Do you have an easy go to recipe for when the weeks are just too crazy?