Sunday, January 11, 2009

So.....

You wanna know my grocery secrets, do you?

You wanna know how I feed my family of five on under four hundred bucks a month?

Lots and lots of practice.

Seriously, though. I'll start at the beginning. Are you sitting down?

Once upon a time before I was married or had children, I lived completely alone, just me and my cat, teaching elementary school children by day and vegging out on a comfy air mattress watching that new-fangled Friends sitcom by night. It was 1994 and it was the first time I'd ever lived alone. It was also the first time I was totally financially alone. I had a good job. I made pretty good money for a teacher, but alas, I had a new car payment, a new adjustable rate mortgage, and I liked to shake my early-twenty-something booty on the dance floor every weekend at a cool bar that required a hefty cover charge (five bucks, but, really! Five bucks?). I also liked air conditioning and being able to dry my hair in the morning and who knew THAT cost so much money?? Well, my dad because he reminded us daily for over eighteen years, but it had never been more apparent than the moment my first electricity bill arrived.

Man, I thought I was rich when I tore open those fold here and tear strips on my first "real" paycheck. 888.50. Oh. My. Gawd. I deposited $600 of it for my mortgage payment ($600 bucks?) and cashed the rest on the way to the fancy mall and blew it in one afternoon. I still have the blueberry Yankee Candle that was, oh, so necessary at that time. Boy that smell really takes me back.....

Oh, well, anyway, yada, yada, I was rich or so I thought and then realized, hey, I don't have any money left after I pay all these bills and staying home on a Friday night just wasn't an option and I couldn't drink beer on my friend's alimony payment forever.

So something had to give.

I wasn't that hungry back then so the groceries were the first to go. That and my work required physical showed my cholesterol to be 238 which, apparently, is pretty crazy for a 24ish year old. The first thing I did was give up meat. I ate only fruits and vegetables. I checked the cholesterol on every label and subsequently gave up many of the tasty and expensive snacks I so enjoyed. I kicked the soda habit that had been dragging me down for years. I began drinking tap water. In an old Mountaineer bottle. All day. You know, because this was before the bottled water craze began, you know, because I am OLD. I never did have my cholesterol rechecked, but I felt better. And I had a little more money in the pocketbook.

And then. Then my friend quit receiving alimony and introduced me to coupons.

Cue the trumpets and fanfare because, ALL HAIL THE COUPONS!

OMG! How did I NOT know about these things before?

1995. The year Andria learned how to shop.

To be continued........

8 comments:

kelly jeanie said...

You tease!!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Can't wait to hear the rest.
And Yankee Blueberry was my favorite!!! I spent money I didn't have in college on collecting all forms of the Yankee Blueberry.

Dana said...

Carry on... I just MUST know the secret. Because, well, you know, I have 5 HUNGRY boys to feed and my food bill is astronomical. We're talking more than $1200 a month. UGH! Help me! Tell, tell!

Jana said...

Thank you for doing this because I need all the help I can get! We're a family of five and our grocery bill is twice what yours is. I can't wait to trim our bill so I can go buy some much needed new shoes.

Maggie said...

Oh man, I am with you! I had some cholesterol issues too before I got pregnant with my youngest. Apparently eating fried shrimp three times a week isn't good for you. Who knew?! LOL I've cut out a lot of meat too since then and have drastically reduced my cholesterol. I bet yours is lower too, especially if you're feeling healthier!

I love your stories... can't wait to hear the rest!

Miss Hope said...

Heh Heh I get more and more skeered because I have become the Coupon Queen (who's friends all hate her because she's always talking about the GREAT deals she's gotten through coupons). Can't wait to hear the rest.

Teach us o' Wise One.




p.s. the word identification word to post my comment is "BOODLE" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha don't know what it means, but got a good laugh off of it.

Lynsey said...

Coupons! The secret is in the coupons?? Damn. I hate collecting those things, but if I must....

Alli said...

I learned real quick how to feed our family of 5 for under $400 when that was all we had to eat on. Surprisingly though, I loathe the coupons, and don't use them at all. I'll be staying tuned to see how you make them work for you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. :) You've got a great one here! I'll be back!