Ok, let me preface this post by saying I am a reformed Spendaholic. For a Spendaholic Friday night means Pizza or dining out...and it continues through the weekend, right?
Well, several years ago I opted out of the Spendy Club and acquired Frugal habits. For one full year I bought Nothing for myself or my house. That meant no more mindless shopping on Sunday afternoons or Saturday mornings at Starbucks. Can you imagine? LOL! Friends thought I'd lost my mind. Maybe I did. *shrug* But I found a simple path and easy living followed thereafter.
One of the many things I had to do was cook. Yep, actually use that tiny kitchen that came with the house. It was scary because I knew only 3 meals I could cook for my family and one of those meals was Stew and Cornbread.
Lots changed during that Frugal year. I learned so much! Saved so much! And now I have 26 meals my family will eat without whining. That says a lot for kids raised on Delivery, Carry Out or Dine In foods. I know, it wasn't healthy, it wasn't so many things, but it WAS convenient! :) These days I can usually have dinner ready in less than 15-20 minutes. I am almost smug about it because I am ready to make what ever the guys want for dinner and I don't dread that question 'what's for dinner?'.
Of the many Frugal things I learned was to cook most of my meats in advance. Much like Once A Month cooking but only the meats. So I typically cook ahead ground beef and bone in chicken breasts. I let em cool and place meal size portions in freezer bags, then lay them flat and stack them in my side by side.
Today, I cleaned and did some wash, mostly I chatted with friends and read blogs. Then tonight, in about 20 minutes I made that stew and cornbread. I just threw in the meat I cooked earlier, chopped some potatoes, added veggies, seasonings and let it cook while I cleaned the kitchen and made corn bread. And I thought back over those times when I was tired of being frugal and tired of cleaning my own house and remembered a lovely little statement by a very wise 80+ something woman.
Her comment to us girls whining about and struggling with cooking from scratch on a daily basis was: "Girls, in my day when we cooked from scratch we had to kill the chicken first." That pretty well put it all in perspective...LOL!
I think about that wise woman when a couple times a month I cook up my meats while I do laundry or when I make my own pizza dough and I think how very blessed I am to have a nice cook top to cook on and don't have to round up the wood to start it. I don't have to do much more than open cans, boil rice or pastas, tear lettuce a couple times a week and throw my dishes in the pretty white box to be cleaned.
As it turned out, I didn't buy a thing for myself, except underwear and VERY few clothes for 3 years. I didn't go to Hobby Lobby except to buy paints to sell my painted goods on ebay. And I didn't go Thrifting again till three weeks ago.
I am proud to have taken that Frugal challenge WAY back then. Proud I hung in there and made it work for my family. Tonight my hubby will enjoy coming home to a nice Jethro bowl of homemade stew and cornbread and I can take that $35 I would have spent on pizza and throw it into my Christmas fund. Or sneak some of it into my purse for next week when I hit the Thrift Stores again.