Top of my list to keep me in check is entertainment.
Cable. Can’t miss something I’ve never owned. So, no glorified TV for us, if the giant antenna can’t bring it into the house, then it’s not meant to be seen.
Eating out. Clay and I challenged ourselves one summer not to eat out for three months. We did it. It was a lot of work keeping food ready and resisting the urge to go somewhere real quick, but now that we live out in the middle of nowhere it’s not hard to go a week or month without going through a drive-thru. However, Clay you need to start packing your lunch again dear…really.
The Most Holy Place. In this family I own all rights to the kitchen. It is mine, no touch! I learned mega amounts of wisdom from two women in Kansas that have helped me turn a jar of mayonnaise and a few rocks into a delicious gourmet meal. Let me share this simple wisdom: In nearly every baked good there are five simple ingredients that cost far less than buying the ready made mix. So put that brownie mix, pancake mix, bisquick, cake mix, bread mix (see the trend?) back on the shelf and buy yourself some flour, eggs, oil, sugar and baking powder. Yes, you might have to spend five extra minutes getting out the cook book to make the pancakes, but eventually you will know the recipe like your favorite song and you won’t want to touch those mixes with the burnt end of your wooden spoon. You also stand the chance of hearing, “Mom, I like your pancakes better than Denny’s!”
Use it up. I don’t go to the store until all supplies are exhausted. All those cans of tomatoes have a purpose and that is to fill the bellies of the people I love. If I’m going to spend a hundred dollars on groceries then we’re going to eat a hundred dollars of groceries before I drag everyone back to the store. Have a plan. Use simple books like the once a month freezer meals to get you a core of meals that you can whip out of those last few boxes of pasta.
Vinegar. This is God’s gift to housewives. It has at times replaced all these items in my house; fabric softener, glass cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, floor cleaner, starch, odor killer. And I think a gallon of it cost a buck or less. If you mix it with water and a bit of dish soap you’ve got just about any cleaner you need. The trick is in the dilution. Play with it, have fun, make it your own! Also, save your Windex bottle and mix your vinegar/water/soap and tad bit of lemon juice in that bottle and you won’t forget that it’s your window cleaner.
Aldi’s. If you don’t shop there, you should. I used to feel like I needed to rush home and take a shower after I shopped there, but it has improved a lot. They have whole grain bread for $1.60. Next to God, Aldi’s is the reason I get to stay home with my children. End of story.