Monday, September 21

And they all lived frugally ever after... Or not.

Well, we're officially settled in now. Most of our stuff has been unpacked. We've got some furnishings. We're learning the area.

What we're not doing is living frugally. We're burned out. Big time. What with the 6 weeks of move preparation, the 1,700-mile drive, and getting here, our tanks have officially hit E.

In retrospect, we probably should have put more energies into getting our cupboards full rather than unpacking everything, but it's hard to deal with anything when there are boxes all around. Especially if you daily have to rummage through five or six of them to find what you're looking for.

So we waited for the food circulars on Wednesday, only to find out that we don't receive ones in the mail from Fry's, Albertsons or Safeway. Sigh. In other words, we've been living on takeout and pizza. Not good for our wallet or our waistlines!

And getting some furniture put a dent in our budget too. Some would argue (probably rightly so) that we should have focused less on furniture and more on paying off the move. But there were reasons to get some side tables, etc. First and foremost is that a table lamp doesn't do a whole lot of illuminating if it's sitting on the floor. Tim's also used the side table we picked up as a gaming surface for Magic. And the coffee table is a good eating surface (we don't really want/need a dining table at the moment) plus it will be a work surface while we try to find an affordable desk that can fit in a 4-door sedan.

In other words, our budget is wincing in pain from the combined costs of driving down, using the pod service, hiring movers to empty the pod and getting set up. It's not so much a mortal blow, mind you. It's more like a shallow wound -- but one with every chance of getting a malingering infection.

So what are we to do? Well, mostly it's a matter of getting back into a frugal mindset. I got the Sunday paper today -- and will be grabbing the special that gives me Sunday and Wednesday papers for $1 for the first 13 weeks -- and went through the ads. Then I printed out coupons from online. Then I sat down with the food ads (physical and online) and figured out what was worth buying this week. That's a start.

But it's not just a matter of hitting specials. We need some basic foodstuffs. We've started over nearly from scratch in the food department. We have some crackers, peanut butter, jelly and spices. A few random mixes and condiments also made the trip. By and large, though, our cupboards are bare.

So Tim and I need to put our heads together and figure out what sorts of food we want to be eating and then start the process of fleshing out our pantry. We also need to realize that the temperature outside may affect our food tastes inside. While I am in air conditioning most of the day, I still don't eat all that much until the sun goes down. I don't know if that will go away or not, but it's good to bear in mind when grocery shopping.

I've pledged to work on learning some slow cooker recipes. Not only does this make the chore of cooking slightly less onerous, it also comes in handy for light fare, such as soups. But I have been told that you can make a ton of things with a crockpot, so feel free to send me any URLs with good recipes!

Beyond that, I'm going to try and stock up on cheap chicken breasts while they're on sale this week. I'm trying to include more meat and less bread in my diet. It's supposed to help with the hypoglycemia highs and lows. It also means that I'll stay fuller, which means less food consumed overall. Or that's the theory.

In other news, I am officially in love with dollar stores that sell food. It's fabulous! Obviously, you still have to be careful. The packaging tends to be smaller, so you're not always getting a good deal. On the other hand, we found cheap salami to accompany Tim's cheese and crackers. And the jerky has been OKed too. That's a lot better than the $6-7 a pack in grocery stores or even the $3.50 at Wal-Mart.

Interesting note about this place: There are tons of drive-thru Mexican places. We're not talking Taco Bell here, though somehow those are still around. We're talking about $5-6 quality enchiladas handed to you through a window as though it were a Happy Meal. Awesome. Strange. Quite tasty.

That is all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love my crock pot! I found a blog where a woman cooked out of her crock pot for an entire year, and she keeps the blog going, so there are TONS of recipes on the site:
I think she might even break down the cost for some of them.
Hopefully you guys can get back on track soon, I know it takes me a while to settle in and finally feel like I've gotten my life in order after a move. Good luck!

September 21, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Blogger Ginger said...

I was going to give the same link as naturally frugal...

That website is awesome and I've cooked a lot of her recipes and they've turned out well. Try the lasagna!

Also try the slow cooker section on

Good luck!

September 21, 2009 at 9:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're unfamiliar with, I'd make friends with it pronto. The Az board is especially active and has lists for every grocery store in the phx area every week. There is also a list of the best prices on perishables that I found extremely helpful after dumping my pantry prior to an across-town move.
I second the crockpot365 rec. above - it is a lovely blog and while you may not find every single recipe enticing, it did open my eyes to possibilities I hadn't ever thought of when it came to crock pot cooking.
Good luck getting back into the swing of things. There is a big frugal Phoenix community, so hopefully if you need any help you'll find it.

September 21, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Anonymous John DeFlumeri Jr said...

Moving is very tiring, we moved fom NY to FLA this year and I'm still tired 6 months later.

Yes the dollar stores are a bargain wherever you go, and chicken breasts on sale are the number one value in meat always, no waste and quality protein. Goof luck in the new home. I will become a follower of your blog now. Visit mine too.
John DeFlumeri Jr

September 24, 2009 at 3:44 AM


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