We have the opportunity on the daily to make a positive impact on the world around us.
Whether one goes through their day searching for good deeds to be done,
or simply takes advantage of random opportunities to spread love,
every action (or inaction) has a resounding impact.
The question is: Is your impact today going to be positive, negative, or indifferent?
I have been told that one person can't make a difference.
I affectionately call these people "dummies"...
Those who actively try to hold the rest of us down,
those who would rather watch you drown than help you soar, those who can't grasp the power of positivity to create change.
Whether it's a great recipe found, or an uplifting story to share, you can be sure to find it here.
Let's start a Positivity Revolution, and drown out the dumb!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Staying on Budget

I love grocery shopping almost as much as I love cooking. I love slowly cruising the aisles, letting random ingredients create new ideas. I love using coupons, or price-matching, or scurrying back and forth between 2 items to get the best deal possible. I love the challenge of creating a weekly menu that's delicious and satisfying, as well as cost-effective.

Budgeting for groceries seems to be getting tougher, as produce prices constantly fluctuate and items that we purchase on a weekly basis never seem to have a sale or coupon available. It's easy to get a break on junk food, but health food is rarely sold at a discount. Not to be deterred, I have started couponing in an attempt to stretch our grocery dollars further, and planning for two weeks of meals at a time will allow us to buy some items in bulk.

Last night, we went shopping, armed with a scaled-down list, a few coupons, and an exact meal plan for the week (I thought of doing two week's worth this morning, when I saw how much meat we bought!). We ended up spending about 30% more than what I wanted, but after looking over the things that can be frozen to use next week, I thought there must be a way to save 30% next week to even our budget out.

My meals for this week are (I try to incorporate 1 chicken dish, 1 fish dish, and lots of veggies):
Maple-Glazed Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
Baked Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia with Garlic Bread and Roasted Broccoli
Baked Farfalle with Chicken and Broccoli
Stuffed Bell Peppers and Stuffed Mushrooms
Crock-Pot Pork Roast with Scalloped Potatoes

We bought so much meat this grocery trip, because almost every dish has a different protein! We ended up with:
  • 3 1/4 pounds chicken breast
  • 5 pounds of pork loin
  • 14 ounces of Tilapia
  • 1 pound ground turkey
After this week, I'll be left with:
  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken breast (no need to buy more)
  • 2 1/2 pounds of pork loin (ditto)
  • 3 ounces of Tilapia (I'll buy another pound of frozen fillets for about $5)
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
So, even though we were slightly over budget this week, next week we can spend about $5 on proteins and can count on being significantly under budget with a little help from what we've already got in our pantry! Any tips for us to help stay within our budget? What have you found to be your best practice on staying disciplined?

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