My grocery budget for a family of 4 is $330 each month. This real food budget includes food, toiletries, household items as well as health & beauty products. This post is our monthly budget accountability session, where we share what we spend on food. Today marks the end of February 2015. You can read previous Counting Crumbs reports HERE.
Have you ever been in fog so thick, you couldn’t even see the house across the street?
That’s what the Crumbs house has looked like this past week.
What started as a fun, lively birthday party last Saturday (to which my son and I walked to save gas), turned into a week (and counting) of “The Ick.”
Technically this post should be our budget accountability session for February 2015.
But we’re on a fiscal fast and there isn’t much spending to report (details coming below).
So indulge me for a moment as I recount this past week and what led to our spending (a.k.a. budget accountability), despite our no-spending rules (a.k.a. the fiscal fast).
It all started last Saturday.
My daughter had run a fever the night before and still had a low-grade fever the morning of the party, so Mr. Crumbs stayed home with her.
Shortly after the birthday presents were opened, I got a phone call from Mr. Crumbs.
My daughter took a turn for the worse. Her fever was rising and she was complaining about severe stomach and head pains.
We left the party and walked home as fast as we could. My very warm and sick little girl was curled up in a ball on the sofa, crying because her head hurt and her stomach hurt anytime anyone touched it.
My first instinct said constipation, so we made her drink a full glass of water as I rubbed her back down with diluted peppermint essential oil (to help bring down her fever).
Although her fever came down by a full degree, her stomach still hurt and she was having severe coughing fits causing her to practically vomit.
I walked down the street to the local drug store and bought the least of the worst children’s ibuprofen (more on THAT saga later) and all-natural cough syrup. Then I walked one store over and bought canned tomatoes, prune juice and a small container of half & half.
In the midst of her wailing and writhing, my daughter had requested “Tomato Sauce Soup” (a.k.a. tomato basil soup) for dinner. How could I say no?!
My total for both purchases was $25.78.
Not more than 5 minutes after giving her the medicine, my daughter vomited. It was like someone flipped a switch! Just like that, she was smiling, cheerful and telling her brother to stop picking his nose.
Life was normal.
But two days later, Mr. Crumbs got sick.
And then my son got sick.
And then I got sick.
As of this writing (Thursday afternoon), none of us are 100% better, but I’m happy to report that we seem to have gotten through the worst of it.
Although that fog I mentioned still lingers in my brain, so please forgive any blatant typo’s.
So that run to the store was one of two purchases we made during our fiscal fast. The other one was a small grocery store purchase for lettuce and hot dogs.
I know, of all things – hot dogs!
We invited my parents over for dinner and everyone wanted to grill. President’s day will do that to you, I guess.
We made the rest of dinner with what we hand on hand: homemade buns, Greek pasta salad, corn on the cob and dressing for the lettuce. Although I can’t claim that lettuce and hot dogs were the most wise decisions to spend of $8, we’re human and American.
The End of a Fiscal Fast – How Did We Fare?
As Mr. Crumbs mentioned in our halfway report, we didn’t feel the pinch this time around like we felt it last time. We attribute it mostly to a trip to Oregon.
Although the trip was done within a budget, and paid for through a Visa gift card we unexpectedly received before we left (read about that HERE), it meant five days of “new food” that we didn’t have at home.
Then we brought home the groceries we didn’t eat and added those to kitchen stock, which kinda felt like grocery shopping, even though it wasn’t… per se?
Other income to report is a $75 bonus check from Ebates.
(For those who don’t know, Ebates is a cash-back program that rewards you with a percentage of your online purchases. We ALWAYS check Ebates before buying anything online, because those 3% and 5% rebates add up!)
Our plan was to not cash the check, mostly because there was no need. We had food, we had gas and we were committed to not spending anything.
And then “The Ick” came.
And there was that craving for hot dogs.
So all in all we spent about$32 of the $75 from the Ebates check.
We’ve officially switched to the other car and we’re down to 2-3 ticks of gas. We weren’t sure if we’d make it to the end of the month, but since we’ve been quarantined to the house this past week, we haven’t had to use any gas!
We’ve been making coconut milk for most needs, and making lots of homemade baked goods (pancakes, muffins, breads, etc.). Produce has been a minimum for each meal, so that we’d have enough for every day, but let me tell you – we’re DEFINITELY ready for some fresh bananas and apples!
Was this fiscal fast a bust? Not really.
We felt pretty defeated after getting back from Oregon, realizing pretty quick that this fiscal fast wasn’t going to have the impact that our last one did. But a lovely reader left a note on Facebook (which now Facebook won’t let me find!) that basically said this:
The purpose of the fiscal fast is to find contentment in what God has provided for you.
- That $500 Visa gift card didn’t have to arrive before our trip.
- The check from Ebates didn’t have to arrive at all.
- The company we bartered for lodging could have said no.
And I’ll add to that list, noting:
- Our friends might not have been able to make that trip to Oregon with us.
- We should have run out of gas last week.
- Our cold/bugs could have been much, much worse.
Honestly, there are probably many more things that I could list here for things to be thankful for, but I’ve been so side-tracked about this fiscal fast not being “hard” like the first one, that I’ve lost sight of the whole purpose in the first place.
Shame on me.
Going forward, I think more time should be spent focusing on the reason behind it all rather than the outcome. Maybe the lesson to be learned from this fast wasn’t the same lesson we needed to learn last one… And I’m wondering if me seeking the old lesson was only detracting from the real lesson at hand.
Maybe that fog was in place long before any of us got sick.