Friday, November 18, 2011

Still Shopping, just slowly updating and looking for bread

Time runs away from my when my life become 'unstructured.' I've always needed a regular schedule to get the most of of my time. As I no longer work two jobs my shifts at CVS have less structure then before. So I find myself either with too little time or far too much and I want to spend less time on the computer. I should make a weekly schedule for myself. I keep thinking one of those weekly dry eraser boards would work out well right at where my computer sits.

I'm still shopping for my free items at CVS. I love this buy 3 Hallmark get $3 EB. It's nice to go back and look for some $.99 cards for free to set them aside for later. I also picked up on the awesome Aveeno Lotion deal. (It was buy two get $7 EB) At the start of the week the trail size were not included. In the middle of the week the started issuing the EB. Of coarse I had to try it out to see if it worked. ^_~ I'll be using those EB for the upcoming Black Friday sales.

I really want to get back into couponing more. As I am trying to eat more unprocessed foods it becomes more expensive for me. Take bread for example. Before I would buy any whole wheat bread I liked. Has anyone actually bothered to read all the ingredients on bread? The following is the list from my Organic 14 Grain Bread. (I would expect maybe 20 things to be listed because of there being 14 grains, but it's so much more.)

Organic Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Organic Gain Blend (Steel Cut Wheat, Steel Cut Oats, Cracked Tritcale, Cracked Barley, Yellow Corn Meal, Cracked Rye, Spelt Flakes, Kamut Flakes, Sunflower Seed, Bulgur Wheat, Cracked Rice, Quinoa, Millet, Amarath) Organic Sugar, Organic Wheat gluten, Contains 2% or less of the following: Yeast, Salt, Organic Soybean Oil, Organic Honey, Organic Vinegar, Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Malt Extract, Cultured Organic Wheat Flour, Calcium Sulfate, Sea Salt, Ascorbic Acid (Dough Conditioner), Enzymes, Potato Starch, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Corn Starch

33 ingredients. *blink, blink* So much for simple. Just what the heck is Microcrystalline Cellulose anyway? (A quick search reveals: wood pulp. I've been eating wood?!) I've looked high and low in several grocery stores to find some kind of bread with less than 10 ingredients. I had given up on finding something without having to travel 50+ miles or make it myself and settled on the above bread choice. While visiting my mom we went to the grocery store that carries more 'exotic' (read larger ethnic food section from many parts of the globe) items. Lo and be hold! I found a bread! It's 5 ingredients! It has no sugar! (A little honey instead.) It's organic! How much does it cost? $4.69 a loaf. OUCH!

Don't mind the water drops. I freeze my bread to make it last longer.

Right now my bread cost me $3.39 a loaf. That's relatively comparable to most conventional whole wheat bread in the store with the exception of perhaps the generic. (About $2 or so.) I really want to be buy this bread I've just found. How on earth am I going to afford it? Is it really worth the extra $1.30? I think it is. I'll just have to careful about how much bread I eat.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Budget & Climbing - Where did I go?

Haven't been blogging much. One reason has been computers freaking out on me. It's clammed down and everything appears to be running smooth. (Although every time it makes a strange sound I start to panic.) I also now have the ability to grab pictures off my camera! I hate doing posts without pics, but what can I do? Sweetheart had gotten a new computer, but then the hard drive died. He only had it for about two months! So we waited three weeks the replacement and we have it back now. (Thank goodness!)

Another reason I haven't been blogging is I needed a break. One where I wasn't posting every couponing trip I managed to make. I've been making fewer of them as I've gotten worn out and run into the 'coupon burnout.' I'm still buying coupons and using them when I spot a good deal, but not nearly as many. So what have I done with my time?

I've been reading and cooking. Wondering how exactly I want to switch from conventional to less processed and more organic options. I had started a post about it, but it got far to long and lengthy for my taste. I think it's going to be a product by product sort of change. Some things were simple enough buying whole wheat flour and then organic whole wheat flour. Others not as much such as cutting out processed sugar or finding a bread with less than 5 ingredients that will not have my traveling 35 miles and paying $5 a loaf. I'm trying.

Ideally I would like to follow the rules listed below:

1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)
2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label
4. No deep fried foods
5. No “fast foods”

Please see Real Food Defined: AKA The Rules, as spelled out by the Lisa the author of 100 Days of Real Food. (It's the site that got me interested in changing my diet.)

I like that these rules are simple and to the point. The simplicity is wonderful, but it's what also makes them hard to follow. No buts, only ifs, no exceptions, no loop holds. Mostly I'm having issues with rules 2 and 3 as stated before. I think I may make a few of my own exceptions as I go (such as Hellmann's® Mayonnaise, something Sweetheart will not compromise on), but that is for another post.

The Budget

Bills (Electric) $100
Bunnies $30
Car & Renter Insurance $46
Car Repair $60
Cellphone $36
Clothing $10
Cruise 2012 $0 *Completed Savings Goal
Free Money $20
Gas $120
Groceries $120
Health $10
Rent $100
Student Loans $372
Emergency Funds $20 *Decided I need a bigger fund

Grand Total: $1044/month (Take home pay.)

No changes for this month. I need to use extra cash for a gift or two . . . After that I think I am going to split it three ways: Paying off Loans (40%), Fixing up Kori, my car (40%) and Computer (20%). The only other additional element to the budget is what I've been earning with Swag Bucks. (Yes, this is my referral link.) I've been doing well enough to earn $25 worth of Amazon credit a month. It's not a lot, but I'm using to further my goal of unprocessed organic food. That amount is almost 20% of my month grocery total! It's a lot in my book. ^_^

Hamburger Salad, it's tasty!

Grand Total Last Month: $39,519.14
New Grand Total: $39,219.38
Amount Paid Off: $299.76

Slightly better than last month. I moved one of my loan payments a little early because of the way pay days fell this past month. I figured I would save myself a little bit of interest. Fingers crossed I actually have some extra money at the end of this month to pay off more!