Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Menu Planning on a Budget

Most people these days are not made of money. With the recession in full swing, and as our national debt rises, it seems everyone is pinching pennies (Well, they're at least taking a double look at price tags). Baby Campbell is certainly taking a tole on our monthly budget, so we have to be diligent in many areas to ensure we stick to the plan. Our student loans are not going to pay themselves (though, think of how nice that would be if they did!).

Enter menu planning. I'll be honest, I used to love menu planning (of course, I also used to enjoy vacuuming, but that's another story...), but I sort of dread it now. It's much harder since we are trying to eat a real food diet. I'm still trying to come up with budget-friendly and healthy recipes we both can enjoy. But as much as I pout about it, we couldn't do without those weekly menu plans. Sometimes, it's the only thing that keeps us from eating out every other night or spending a fortune at the grocery store. It takes away the confusion of what to eat. In short, it saves us time and lots of money.

I thought I would post a sample menu plan for our family. Here's a list of this week's dinners:

-Rice and beans taco w/ salsa
-Sausage, Potatoes and Peas Casserole
-Homemade Pizza
-Shredded chicken sandwiches w/ frozen veggies (boxed)
-Mashed Potatoes w/ Corn on the Cob and Zucchini
-White Cheddar Mac and Cheese w/ carrots and peas
-Open/date night

So. There you have it. The Campbell family menu. AKA Our-Budget-Lifesaver.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby C's Nursery

Yesterday I was hard at work getting Baby C's nursery together. We don't have a whole bunch of stuff for this baby, but I like it that way since it keeps things simple and clutter to a minimum. The only items we have bought thus far are the crib and the changing table. Since we fully expect lots of Campbell kids, we wanted to get those new. We didn't pay much for them either- the crib was $79 at IKEA and the matching changing table was $40.

My mom gave me her rocking chair (it was a wedding gift to her from my grandparents), which I love. We already had the canoe-shaped bookshelf (it used to be in our old living room). Most of the books we bought at a library book sale where we filled a resuable bag with used children's books for only $4. The storage drawers used to be in our closets, but they don't fit in our new apartment's closet, so we are using them as a dresser for the baby. The filing cabinet really didn't have a home, so I just put it in here and will use the drawers for more storage.

Sometime this week, we plan on making some shelving for the walls. We have an old tabletop from an IKEA desk that we are going to cut into shelves. It cost less than a $1 for a set of shelving brackets at Home Depot, so it's a nice frugal project! I am going to spray paint the shelves white.

I packed some more items in the hospital bag, and I also organized the diaper bag. I feel much more prepared for baby C's arrival! The only things left to do is freeze a few more meals, install the carseat and purchase a few more non-necessary but nice-to-have items (diaper genie, baby monitor, bouncy seat, moby wrap- purchased 2nd hand of course). I plan on tackling these tasks this week!