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A Week of Cooking for the Family


As always, when I visit my family this coming week, I will be cooking. And not just cooking for my two kids, but also my parents, my 4 siblings and possibly an assortment of their friends and significant others. I don’t mind it. Truly.

But it’s definitely not a relaxing vacation week. The flip side is that my dad pays for all the groceries and all our entertainment and a few meals out. So I get to visit some of my favorite restaurants from my childhood and college days.

In all these years I’ve been writing here…the roller coaster of life we’ve been on, I have learned that controlling my food is more than 1/2 of the battle when it comes to controlling my spending. And as a result, I big part of my debt journey.

Lessons in Food Spending

Not eating out, not stopping for snacks, not splurging on unnecessary groceries…

These are all HUGE factors in my daily money battle. Making wise decisions every day.

  • We learned that giving ourselves some entertainment money to blow how we want, provides the needed limits on eating  out spending while not making us feel deprived.
  • Compiling a list of snacks that were healthy and safe to keep in the car curbed our stops for snacks when we had long days in the car or a child was “starving” when I picked them up.
  • Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan – we get to eat what we want and everyone gets a say and shares the responsibility.

As the kids have gotten busier, they are cooking less for the families. But I am enjoying the nights at home.

It’s our grocery budget that I expect to change the most in the new year…

  • History Buff is going to be working full time and going to school part time. He rarely eats at home other than leftovers.
  • Princess will most likely have a job come the new year. And while she does eat dinner at home most nights, she does not eat a lot.

I’ve started looking at recipes for smaller families. It’s been hard for me. I’ve over-cooked way too often in the last few months…too much potato salad, too much chicken salad, too much pasta salad. Used to be all the food would be gone…now I’m throwing more and more food away.

I guess this is the first big change in going from a big family to a small one…and I’m on the cusp of being an empty-nester. Well at least a mom with only super responsible and/or adult children at home. It feels weird. But I know it’s just the first big change with many more on the horizon as Princess will start driving in the new year and much more.



  • Reply Den |

    It is hard to downsize meals after the kids are out of the house, but I still like to make big meals and freeze them into smaller portions for lunches and 2nd dinners. It doesn’t take any longer and having a pre-made meal in the freezer is gold on busy nights!

  • Reply Alice |

    Hope, do you intend to ever respond to comments/suggestions that are given?

    I haven’t seen any real responses from you in days. You’ve been given some solid suggestions on collecting on that invoice that you were complaining about when it was approximately three minutes past due. Do you intend to continue sending invoices and asking for payment? Have you given up so easily?

    I truly hope you start responding to readers, because that’s a big part of what people come here for.

    This blog started out as a ‘get out of debt’ blog, and ‘here’s what I’m doing to get out of debt’ and it has turned into something so different from that.

    • Reply Hope |

      As many stated in the post you are referring to, I have to give him time.
      But yes, I am continuing to “remind” him that he owes me money.
      And I’ve gotten a nasty email back from him which I will share once I decide if I will pursue this further then my continuous emails, call and texts with my invoice.

  • Reply Sara |

    Our grocery spending has been so eye-opening for me too… we could definitely cut back on food! I love the idea of not saying “We’ll never eat out again!” but instead letting yourself eat out here and there with your entertainment budget. Great tip.

So, what do you think ?