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Preparing for a Challenging Week or so


I truly am starting this year off in a completely different head space then I have ever been, or at least in the last 16ish years. I am working very hard to be very deliberate in my actions and plans and more importantly to STICK to them.

In the past, a week like the one coming up would send me into a tailspin…which would end up with lots of eating out, maybe some emotion induced spending and an unproductive day or two recovering. But not anymore…

What is Happening

  • My mom will arrive in town without a caretaker. My mom has Parkinson’s and definitely a touch of dementia, previously diagnosed as Lewy Body Dementia. While the Parkinson meds have definitely helped physically, she still needs a caretaker or supervisor most of the time. She will be staying at my grandmothers, and is not open to the idea of moving to my house.
  • My grandmother will undergo surgery to remove the cancer in her mouth. While I have been relieved of hospital duty this time (I stayed with her when she had her pacemaker put in earlier this year,) I will be the primary caretaker when she returns home. We believe she will also have a home healthcare provider for at least a short period of time so that will definitely help.
  • Same old routine with Princess back in school for the holidays…driving to and from school every day.
  • Same old routine with work, working 60ish hours a week these days. While I certainly have some flexibility with when and where I work, I can’t really take time off, I am working on launching some pretty big products over the next month or so for various clients.

Getting Prepared for 2 Patients

I am planning now. I am working on freezing some meals. Getting all the normal things I do for my Grandmother done in advance…groceries for my mom, undergarments and bed protection supplies and trying to look at the house from the perspective of “I just had surgery” to see what if any changes we need to make.

I will essentially have two patients to care for once my Grandmother is released from the hospital. And I’m not sure how long my mom will stay. (A week is normally her max, but I understand why she wants to be here while her mom is fighting cancer.)

I imagine if it goes on for too long, my dad will come to help with my mom or help convince her its time to go home. But I certainly respect and support his need for a break!!

Microwave to the Rescue

One thing that is going to help tremendously with this on my home front is that for Christmas, I bought a microwave as the family present. (We haven’t had a microwave in 5-6 years now.) It was $64 and on a smaller side since we don’t have a great deal of counter space. The kids love it!

As a result, I have added some frozen meals to the grocery order this week, those $1 Michelina’s meals, so the kids can feed themselves in a crunch without having to really cook or go out. Score!

I feel like I’m as prepared as I can be. And committed to not spiraling from the stress and overwhelm this type of situation can bring on.

Increase Your Debt Repayment By Slashing Your Monthly Grocery Bill


When trying to pay down debt aggressively, you look to save money wherever you can. But just because you’re shopping at the supermarket, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily saving money. Without a concrete plan of action, you’re susceptible to overspending and blowing through your budget.

6 Tips for Lowering Your Grocery Bill

According to the most recent USDA Food Plans report, the average monthly cost of groceries for a family of four is somewhere between $725 and $1296 (depending on the type of meal plan and the ages of the children). For simplicity’s sake, we’ll say the average family of four spends $1,000 per month on food.

Sounds like a lot, right?

Well, what if you could slash that number down to $700, or even $500? Believe it or not, it’s more than possible. It won’t happen overnight, though. You need a strategy to start moving in the right direction.

Here are some techniques and recommendations:

  1. Develop a Meal Plan

Before buying anything, you should develop a meal plan for the week. This includes all 21 meals – not just dinners. By planning out breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week, you’re able to buy only what you need.

Meal planning also permits you to strategically organize food prep in such a way that you reduce food waste to zero. (For example, you can have rotisserie chicken and veggies for dinner one night. Then whatever chicken you have leftover can be chopped up and turned into chicken salad for sandwiches the following day.)

  1. Create a List

Based on your meal plan, create a list of the food you need to buy. If it’s something you use a lot of – like peanut butter, cereal, or eggs – try buying in bulk. It’ll cost you more this month, but it could benefit your budget the following month. Always be thinking ahead.

  1. Order Delivery or Pickup

With so many different online grocery options – including both delivery and pickup – there are fewer instances where it makes sense to physically go to the supermarket and buy your own groceries. In fact, you could save hundreds simply by completing your order online.

Just ask personal finance blogger Chelsee Lowe, who recently did the math “…and found that my family saves more than $750 a month, between the gas we save driving to the store, the impulse purchases we skip, and the hours’ worth of extra productivity it frees up.”

You might not save $750, but what if you could save even $150 or $200 per month? Most would agree that it’s worth grabbing the laptop and grocery shopping from the kitchen table.

  1. Use Coupons

Perhaps you grew up in a family where your parents clipped coupons out of the newspaper and took them to the supermarket. And perhaps you vowed to never be a penny pincher. But now that you have a family of your own, you see just how expensive groceries are.

Coupons still exist, but they’ve evolved. You no longer need a newspaper and a pair of scissors. Today, sites like CouponDad.net allow you to search for specific coupons by category or store. You can then print them off or use the applicable code in the online checkout process.

  1. Stop Paying for Convenience

The average grocery shopper spends a lot of money for minimal convenience. If you don’t mind spending a few extra minutes on food prep, you can save some money. Here are a few examples:

  • Washed lettuce is typically marked up as much as 50 percent. Buy purchasing unwashed lettuce and doing it yourself, you’ll save a considerable amount.
  • A block of cheese costs roughly half the price of pre-shredded. That means a few minutes of grating can cut your cheese costs in half. (It’s also fresher!)
  • Eat a lot of beans? Try purchasing dried beans instead of canned. You’ll have to soak them before cooking, but it’ll cost you half as much.
  1. Eat Through Your Pantry

Make a habit out of going through your pantry and freezer three or four times per year and eating through anything that’s still fresh and edible. You’d be surprised how many meals you can get out of unused items and sealed leftovers.

Groceries: Just the Start

Saving a few hundred dollars per month on groceries is a great way to chip away at your debt and improve your financial situation, but it’s not the only way. Once you’ve optimized your grocery shopping, start considering other areas of waste – like eating out, online shopping, Starbucks lattes, etc.

By addressing multiple areas of spending, it’s possible that you could eliminate more than $1,000 from your monthly expenses without significantly lowering your quality of living. This would accelerate your debt repayment plan and speed up your timeline for finding financial freedom.

Are you willing to make some simple sacrifices to create some positive momentum?

For more great Blogging Away Debt articles, consider reading these:

Six Piggybanks That Help Teach Money Management Skills

How Much Did My Physical Therapy Cost?

Here Is A Sample Letter For When A Bank Rejects You For A Loan

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