I've still got those grumblers on my mind, you know, the ones from Oprah's money-saving-show message boards. It's sad how panicking and pessimism can make common sense dribble out of your ears. :)
Okay, so I'm going to address some of their questions and gripes by sharing a few more helpful hints here.
Some (defensive) women said they're into eating fresh, healthy food so how do you stockpile that in your pantry, huh?
Uhm, here's how: You grow a garden and/or you buy fresh food on sale. You read on the Internet how to freeze foods. You read on the Internet how to can foods. And you stockpile frozen fruits and vegetables (for canning or freezing) from the supermarket when those same things are not in season. You make two casseroles at a time and freeze one for later.
It's not rocket science, folks. But it does require extra work and reading and research and organizational skills, something we frugal homemakers have used for years while women who worked outside the home believed we were just clowning around on the couch. ...heh...
How do you find coupons online? You just google them. And if it takes a few minutes to fill out a survey first at a coupon site, you chalk it up to doing a little work for your savings. Fifteen minutes to save $10? Why not? That's like you're making $40 an hour. Why must everything come to us so easily? Work is a good thing. It keeps us off the streets (in more ways than one).
Where do you find the good coupons for healthier stuff? You look on food packages. You buy the Sunday newspaper for the coupon supplement. You look into refunding at sites like this and this and this.
What happens when you don't have money to grocery shop for a week and must make what you have stretch? You grab your clipboard and take a little stroll around your pantry and your refrigerator and you make a list of meals you can create with what you have.
I love to do this and since I'm always searching for excuses to skip grocery shopping (all that noise, all that effort, all that money), I make-do often. Here's a partial, sample list of what I'd probably write on my Use What I Have On Hand List:
French toast (with homemade syrup)
Homemade soup (using leftover chicken and stir-fried vegetables)
Homemade macaroni and cheese
Homemade ice-milk (love our ice cream maker...I just toss in milk and fruit, a little sugar and some vanilla, then set it spinning)
Cold cereal, orange juice, toast
Chicken and rice and vegetables casserole
Tuna sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Peanut butter on celery
Fruit salad with nuts
Egg salad sandwiches
Homemade potato salad. Mashed or baked potatoes.
Homemade blueberry muffins
Ok, you get the idea. Don't begrudge making-do. That spoils the fun.
I hope you know how to make good soup. I've not bought a salt-injected can of soup in decades. Your own homemade soup is a zillion times healthier, tastier and cheaper. Start with a recipe online or just wing it. It's hard to ruin homemade soup. Practice until you get good at it.
Same goes for a white sauce and/or cheese sauce. Learn to make your own and you'll be able to make tons of creamy dishes without all the salt or fat of canned soup or sauces.
I've made my own cookbooks from recipes online and ones torn out of cookbooks. It's always ready when I am with my make-do recipes. I just have to open it.
Well, that's enough for now. If you can convince your brain that saving money is a terrific challenge, one worth conquering, well, you'll be farther ahead than you imagined. You might even keep it up when 'your ship comes in' and you're sailing pretty. :)
Need recipes? Every recipe you could ever possibly need is online. There's no longer a need to buy expensive cookbooks. (I do, though, still buy old, old cookbooks at yard sales for pennies because I love to sit and look at them--and occasionally--I've even been known to cook from a recipe inside them. :)
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."