Consider: “Living Well, Spending Less”

Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup is a book that speaks more to living than spending, so don’t expect in-depth budget analysis, but hopefully we also spend more time living than spending. ¬†Here are two excerpts from this practical book:

While I’d like to think this book can change your life, the reality is that true change will come only through prayer. The upcoming chapters of this book will contain more practical tips than you will probably know what to do with. We’ll talk about choosing contentment, finding our sweet spots, setting goals, becoming more disciplined, clearing our lives of clutter, establishing a budget, saving money on food, keeping a clean house, and learning to appreciate all the things that money can’t buy. I truly hope those ideas will help and encourage you to lead a simpler, happier, and more productive life. But I can tell you right now that nothing else in this book will mean anything without continual, wholehearted, and passionate prayer.

If we aren’t perfectly clear about what is most important in our lies, it is easy to be swayed by anything that comes our way.

These books are set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.

Budget Meals

How can you feed your family well for less? There are a number of things you can do to stretch your grocery dollars. Try them out and incorporate the ones that work best for you and your family.

Use cheap but nutritious ingredients

Eggs and beans provide protein without costing a lot. Rice also provides nutrition cheaply. Cooking a large chicken on sale and using it for multiple meals will save your dollars. Bananas and baby carrots are not expensive fresh fruit and vegetables.

Shop at the cheapest grocery store

I am a huge ALDI fan, but there are other options available. If your staples are consistently affordable, you are a long way toward meeting your budget. Also, be careful that store-hopping for deals does not cost you more in time and gas money than you are saving on the groceries.

Stay flexible to take advantage of sales or windfalls

You never know when the manager’s special will be a jackpot or day-old bagels will be available for use. Remember your meal plan can be tweaked, so take advantage of the bagels or whole chicken and work that into the next meal or two while it’s fresh.

Use storage mindfully

If you have a freezer or large pantry, make the most of it. But do so mindfully. If you don’t rotate stock or forget to use items until they are out of date, you are throwing away food (and thus money) and wasting space.

Use meal plans

When you plan out your meal menu, you will provide boundaries for yourself. This makes it easier to buy only what you plan to use. You can stay flexible, as noted above, to use bargains, but your list will be complete without room for impulse purchases that are unnecessary and potentially unused.

Eat at home when you can

It is so tempting to just pick something up on busy day after busy day, but remember that groceries go farther. You also have the added benefit of family time, good conversation, and healthier menus.

Junk food costs money

Similarly, snack foods are generally pricy carbs. If you can cut out sugary drinks and pre-packaged snack packs, you will be healthier for drinking water and have more money for good, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Note: Many thanks to multiple family members, far better at this than I am, who contributed ideas to this post!