Tag Archives: money

6 Things to Buy When You’re Almost Out of Grocery Money

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What would you do if you were almost out of money to buy groceries? It’s understandable if that would cause you to go into a panic mode.

But it’s not just a hypothetical scenario – some people are actually facing that question now. Due to the government shut down, some people are actually having to ask themselves: What bill will I pay first? How will I pay my rent? How will I pay my light and water bills? How much can I really spend on groceries? These folks have jobs, but their employer – the government – isn’t open for business. So, no work = no pay.

It’s a tough spot to be in. I’ve been without work before and the process of a job search that will go on indefinitely was, for me, an anxious time of waiting and wondering.  But wondering where your next meal is going to come from doesn’t have to be part of a time of unemployment if you can do some planning in advance, as much as you can.

I like to keep a list of grocery staples for when times are lean. This might help you if you’re trying to trim your grocery budget when times are good also. Each item has a specific reason for why you should buy it when your funds are running low. This isn’t a comprehensive list that will keep you fed, but it is a starting point for how to start planning if you’re running out of grocery money.

Coffee

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Unless you don’t drink coffee, this would be at the top of my list in a budget crisis. Although it’s not a food, coffee is highly addictive and running out of it could not only cause headaches but a cranky mood! If you drink coffee every day, having that first cup in the morning can give you energy and motivation to start your day. Pick it up at the grocery store – get the grocery’s store off-brand – that way you avoid any morning trips to the cafeteria at work, fast food restaurants, or gas stations to get your fix. These little purchases add up when you charge it on a credit card.

Tea

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If you don’t like coffee, you might want to pick up some tea. And even if you do drink coffee, there are some added benefits to hot tea. If you’re in truly desperate times, hot tea can distract you if you have nothing to eat. Peppermint tea can assist with mental clarity and alertness. Chamomile tea can help with relaxation and alleviating stress. Because I’m trying to lose weight, I also find that hot tea distracts me from food. You can pick up a box of 10 or 20 tea packets as cheap as $1 at a dollar store. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that.

Bread

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What you want to do is look for bread that is marked down, buy some extra, and freeze it. Get your extra loaf of bread, wrap it in a plastic bag, tie it down, and freeze it to prevent freezer burn. Don’t be discouraged by the “sell by” date- be smart about it! The “sell by” date is NOT the expiration date – it’s the date the product must be sold by, not the date it must be consumed by. I would not serve to guests bread that has been frozen because yes, there is a difference in quality. However, it is still safe and will meet your needs when you’re looking at potentially going without.

Butter

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Butter is an item I love to pick up and freeze; it has so many uses. If you’re doing the ketogenic diet, you may have heard of putting butter in your coffee to get sustained energy. I haven’t tried this, but it’s a possibility. I like to buy butter (not margarine) in stick form and freeze it, and for my purposes, freezing doesn’t compromise the taste or quality.  Butter on toast will keep you from going hungry; put butter and pancake syrup on toast and you’ll have a gloriously unsophisticated breakfast.

Corn

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I love that corn is a stand-alone item: you can serve it by itself without any addition and it’s just fine. But, you can also try to make salsa if you dare, or serve it in a salad, or place it in some Southwest Mexican burrito bowls, or serve it alongside steak. Corn is versatile like that. For lean times, corn is great because it’s so cheap and it is healthy.

Pasta – Noodles – Spaghetti – Macaroni Shells

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Pasta, spaghetti, bowtie shells, noodles, call them what you will. The final flavored product is pasta and that  is my final item, the item that could keep you afloat for a very long time. It’s been a while since I cooked any of this because there was a long, long spell of time when I cooked it and practically lived off it. I’m pretty sure I gained some weight as a result. This broad category of food I call pasta (a dressed up noodle) can keep you from starving and keep you full. You can buy a box for about a dollar and I recommend this over the ramen noodles that come with the flavoring that is loaded with MSGs that are so harmful to our health.

And there you have it, six items to help you with your planning of  what to buy when you run out of money for groceries. I hope this is helpful to you if you’re experiencing a job loss, a layoff, a budget crisis, or if you just want to save money! Feel free to share your comments in the comments below, and good luck!

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

How to be Charitable When You’re Broke

 

Dealing with job loss, unexpected bills, or other tough financial times can make Christmas a trickier time to navigate, financially speaking. As you look ahead to your budget, it might be awkward when people ask you to be charitable. The warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you help other people could conflict with the fact that you could use some extra money. But the good news is that if you’re between a rock and a hard place, there are ways to be charitable when you, yourself, are broke. There are three charities that I believe are doing great work, year round, not just at Christmas, that you can support even when you’re broke.

Goodwill

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The catchy slogan used in some of Goodwill’s commercials has been “good deals, good cause, Goodwill”. And it’s true – Goodwill operates thrift shops that fund programs for homeless veterans and people with disabilities. By providing job coaching services to people those with disabilities in a job search, Goodwill helps people achieve their full potential. The stores in my area offer special discounts every week, typically a half off everything weekly (some exclusions apply). Goodwill even holds auto auctions if you’re brave enough to take a chance on a car you’ve never drove. So whether you’re shopping for household items or just purging your closet of some clothes that no longer fit, you can be confident that you’re funding a good cause.

The Salvation Army

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This distinctively Christian organization has a very practical, relevant mission. Long before the heroin crisis gained national attention, The Salvation Army has understood how addiction can ruin lives. That’s why The Salvation Army supports people on a journey of recovery out of drug and alcohol addiction. If you or a loved one could benefit from free alcohol or drug treatment services, The Salvation Army may be able to help. When you donate goods or shop their stores, you are funding positive change in someone’s life. What better feeling than knowing that your donation or purchase can help give someone a better life?

St. Vincent DePaul

The Society of St. Vincent DePaul is a Catholic charity that works for the poor. Similar to Goodwill, you can donate goods to their thrift shops, and they also hold auto auctions. St. Vincent DePaul’s mission is to “end poverty through systematic change”, and they operate different programs in different states. In my area, one amazing program they operate is the Charitable Pharmacy, a safety net for people who have no other means of obtaining essential medications. So, if you’re upset about the state of healthcare, why just complain? Donate your junk to St. Vincent Depaul, a great charity that is doing something about it and helping people.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

 

How to Have a No-Spend Weekend

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If you’re accustomed to celebrating every weekend by spending money, it can be a challenge to change your ways if money gets tight. But if you set your mind to it, you can have a no-spend weekend- a weekend that doesn’t involve spending any money.

I’m what some call a house cat. I love to stay home. I like to relax, and now that it’s fall, I love to stay cozy. So for me, a no-spend weekend is no problem. But for you, it might not be second-nature. But I can help you get there if you’re new to this idea or if you’re just trying to cut back on your weekend spending.

Avoid the Mad Rush

Whether it’s to the bar, the mall, or to get food, you might feel a rush to just make some plans on Friday night. After all, if you work Monday to Friday, it’s only normal to want to celebrate the weekend. But before you go spend money you don’t have – or money that’s reserved for something else – just remind yourself that it’s ok to not make plans. It’s ok to not have plans. If you’re normally busy as a bee on Friday night, you can always make up for a lazy weekend if you feel like you have to by making plans with a friend to meet up for coffee during the week or having the lunch special during the week instead of dinner on Friday night.

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How to Save Money on Food Costs

To save money on a no-spend weekend, give some thought to how you’ll be dining. If you normally go to a bar on Friday night, try playing host in your own home. You could save some money, show off your cooking skills, and have a good time. One of the easiest ways you can help yourself is to learn the skill of couponing. Whether you’re an eligible bachelor or a mom of five, you can save a ton on your food and drink costs. While my time to coupon isn’t what it used to be, I still love getting products for free (or close to it) because of my couponing skills.

Free No-Spend Weekend Activities

In my hometown, there are museums, sports teams, casinos, and so much more. All these things could burn a hole through my wallet if I let them! But there are also free things to do – music events on college campuses, parks, walking trails, and a museum that has free daily admission (no catch, no kidding). The free events get less press than the paid ones, but it’s probably true that your town has something to do that’s free. The free events might be hard to find, but if there’s an arts-and-entertainment newspaper where you live, that’s a good start for locating free activities for your no-spend weekend.  Other activities on your docket could include:

  • Starting a blog (here on WordPress, you can do it for free)
  • Searching the internet for your favorite restaurant’s recipes, and cooking at home (not completely no-spend, but you gotta eat)
  • Binge watch a TV show, something you’ve never seen
  • Find something on Rotten Tomatoes that has an awful review. Try it, see if you can survive it!
  • De-clutter your closet and donate unwanted items to charity
  • Go walking or hiking
  • Visit family or friends
  • Go to church
  • Go to public library and check out some free stuff
  • Volunteer with a charity you care about

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

 

How to Save Money on Halloween

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Halloween is in just a couple days- have you made your plans? Don’t let the costs catch you off guard and create a scary surprise! Just like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any other holiday, Halloween can make a sizable dent in the budget, even though it always happens the same time every year. The price of those bulk candy packages isn’t getting any cheaper, yet the price of each serving seems to grow smaller each year. Costumes can get expensive and so can decorations.

However, if you’re resourceful, you can find some ways to cut the costs without cutting the fun.

There are a number of ways you can save money on all the expenses associated with Halloween. Check out some tips here on how to save money on Halloween.

 

Can a Budget Give You Freedom?

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Can a budget give you freedom, or does it have to be restrictive, controlling, and so tight that it makes you feel like a boa constrictor is clamping down on your wallet so tight that it could make a dollar bill scream?

The word budget is almost a dirty word to some. If your funds are low and there’s never enough money to go around, that’s definitely cause for concern. If you’re living in lack or chronic poverty, it’s frustrating to not know how you’ll be able to pay the water bill, the rent, and groceries all in the same month. Robbing Peter to pay Paul gets old quickly. But when your situation is different – and you truly do have the funds needed to cover all the month’s expenses when you start off – having a game plan can set you up for success. Rather than looking at a budget as a dirty word, here are some ways that a budget can give you freedom.

Freedom to make choices: When you make a general guideline for where your money goes each month, you get to make choices. You get to decide. You’re the boss! Do you want to eat out this weekend, or would eating out during the week be better? In which setting, at which time, can you get better tasting food? Will you have more fun ordering take-out at work or does it make more sense to pack your daily meals?  What about at home  – on what nights does it make more sense to cook rather than eat out, when considering your other obligations? Budgeting ahead of time can give you freedom to make informed choices rather than making impulse buys when you’re tired, stressed, or hungry. This might sound like a silly example, but for most people, food costs take up a huge chunk of the funds.

Freedom to enjoy: The ability to budget gives us freedom to enjoy the fruits of our labor to the max. Choosing yes to the items and experiences we only truly want or truly need makes our work more worthwhile. With the freedom to enjoy what we’ve purchased, we reduce the items that will sit in our closets or on our floors unused and unwanted. With this philosophy in place of being more selective about what I buy, I’m much less likely to buy clothing that I don’t wear. I love that I have less laundry to wash, and fewer possessions to care for. I have more time to enjoy my life rather than be a caretaker of things. Enjoying what you buy, and buying what you enjoy gives freedom. If you’re not there, try starting with a budget in just one category or two and see how it goes.

Freedom to stress less and work for less: Considering how long it takes me to work for something always helps me put in perspective if the item is truly “worth it”. You can do the same. If you’re using a credit card, ask yourself if it will really be worth it for the interest rate you currently pay. How long will it take you to really, truly, finally pay for that sweater, that necklace, that ring? Will it be worth six months of paying on the cart of clothes that looks so good right now? Will those clothes even still be in style, or in season, with the changes in trends and fashions? Don’t shackle yourself to buying things just because it’s pay day; it’s ok to just “window shop”. Give yourself a budget and the freedom to enjoy your time rather than taking care of a bunch of junk you won’t like and definitely don’t need.

Freedom to give: Finally, having a budget isn’t just all about saying no and paring down. Having a budget or a spending plan can allow you to say yes. You can say yes to things that aren’t possessions, things that matter, things that can make an eternal significance in your life, your loved ones lives, and the lives of people you will never meet. Do you have the desire, the means, or the interest to support a charity? There are lots of possibilities. Will you do a charity walk or run, or will you make it possible for a child to go to camp next summer? Do you have a church that you want to support financially? When Christmas or Thanksgiving comes, is there a cause you’d like to support with a special end-of-year gift? Having a budget can give each of us just a little bit of wiggle room for those occasions that cause our heart strings to be pulled.. so we can use our freedom to give to say yes to causes we love (and no to those less worthy).

So what are you waiting for? More choices, more enjoyment, less stress, more giving… four wins that you get, only when you budget.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.