Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Challenge

We have spent the last year discovering a new gluten-free lifestyle.  Cinnamon, Paprika, and myself are all gluten-free.  After going gluten-free, one of the greatest things was beginning to feel better, but I noticed something:  the more healthy we began feeling, the more unhealthy my wallet became!  Gluten-free stuff is EXPENSIVE!!!!!  Especially at the beginning when we didn't have a clue what to buy or how to eat.  Everything we bought was packaged.  I was trying to get used to a new lifestyle and making bread with flours I had never even heard of was too overwhelming!  A year later, I make my own bread, but it is still expensive.  That got me thinking....there has to be a better way. 

In this economy, extra expenses make it tough on a family budget.  My budget left no room for extras and every penny was counted, sometimes twice.  This year we were given the bad news that my husband would be taking a pay cut.  That may not seem like a lot, but when every cent is accounted for, it makes a huge difference.  Then we discovered Cinnamon needed a tooth implant and the entire procedure, start to finish, was going to cost us an extra 8000 dollars we didn't have!  I needed to look at our budget and find some answers. 

The food budget in our house was a likely place to start looking for those answers.  It looks pretty good on paper, 700 dollars a month for a family of five, except it is a cheater's paradise.   Let me explain.  First, I am almost always over-budget and am taking from other accounts to balance the budget.  Second, we raise two pigs each year, but I never take the meat costs out of the grocery budget.  Same with the chicken eggs.  The venison is never included.  See what I mean.  I cringed to even think about the "true" budget, but I knew I had to.  So, I took a closer look.  It was a little over 1000 a month and that did not include eating out.  The year before we became gluten-free the budget was 500 dollars.  It had doubled!!!

I look back on the last year and realize I have come so far.  I know so much more than I did a year ago about gluten-free products and recipes.  I know what tastes great and what tastes like cardboard.  I make my baked goods from scratch.  I know what is a good deal and when to stock up.  However,  I need to take it a step further,  to cut that budget.  So, I decided to challenge myself over the next year to cut my budget for a family of five back to 500 dollars a month.  I am not going to do this by purchasing the cheapest ingredients or living off beans and rice for the next twelve months.  The food has to be healthy and taste delicious!  We are a family who appreciates the beauty of taste, besides, the gluten-free fare must meet the very high expectations of my two non-gf eaters.  I will share my successes and failures with you along the way.

So, this is where my blog is born.  I hope to share delicious recipes and their costs, budget ideas, gf-family tips, savings ideas, great books, menu plans, and a look into what is special to me.  I hope you will join me on this adventure!

Look for these awesome Double Chocolate Donuts in an upcoming post!

1 comment:

  1. Something I have done is to replace bread with alternatives. For meat sandwiches I use romaine lettuce leaves because they are so large and for pb&j or pb and honey I use rice cakes and swipe the pb and jelly on top of it. This has saved me time and money both.


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