I recently read a blog post entitled 10 Things Guys Married to Crunchy Moms Understand and while I found it amusing, I found that there are at least 4 of them that I don’t do. Though I don’t use the title “crunchy” when I describe myself I would probably be classified as such. So I’ve created my own list of 10 things that make me a crunchy wife and mama.
- I make my own sourdough bread. I learned from a friend how to make my own sourdough starter. It is homemade, with no preservatives, very simple ingredients, and it is so delicious!
- I make my own yogurt. It started out as a money saving thing, and now I also enjoy it because again, it’s simply milk with no added sugar and other weird ingredients. I let the fruit I put into it be the natural sweetener.
- I make my own laundry soap. Yes, I make my own. It keeps the clothes clean and costs pennies compared to what I used to buy at the store.
- Most of my cleaning is done with vinegar. I do still have some cleaning products, but I am trying to finish them up before switching mostly to vinegar.
- I make my own granola. It’s so good!
- “Don’t throw that away, put it in the recycle!” I’m constantly taking things out of my husband’s hands that he’s about to throw away and insist they go in the recycle bin.
- I grow my own vegetables. I admit my vegetable garden is nothing compared to my sister’s or my parent’s but still, we get a good amount of produce from it. This past week we have enjoyed green beans, okra, tomatoes, and jalapeno peppers from the garden.
- I can’t stand wastefulness. This has more to do with being a good steward of God’s creation, and not wasting the gifts He has given us.
- I think it would be fun to raise chickens. Yes, my husband thinks I’m crazy on this one, and I’m sure our HOA wouldn’t approve, but I think it would be awesome!
- We don’t use birth control. My husband and I practice Natural Family Planning, specifically the sympto-thermal method. This one, again, is more for faithful religious reasons rather than crunchy reasons, but hey, it’s also non-hormonal and natural!
I enjoy going to the grocery store, probably because I love cooking and love food in general! Usually I bring all the kids to the store with me, so these days shopping needs to be done quickly and simply. I’ve found a method that works great for me as I shop and it helps me stick to buying only what’s on my list with little impulse shopping, which is good for the budget. Initially this system took a while to set up since it’s very detailed, but now that it’s established, shopping is fast.
I began with a trip to the store by myself with a pen and paper. As I worked my way through my usual route in the store, I wrote down what was in each aisle. First produce, then bacon, ham and cheese, the bakery, condiments in aisle 2A, pasta in aisle 3A, etc.
Next is the tedious part. I created a spread sheet with many pages. One is a copy of my pen and paper list – grocery items by aisle. Another page, the one I reference the most, is an alphabetical list of any grocery item I have bought more than once. I don’t list specialty items that I may only use once for a new recipe, but anything I buy more than once a year goes on the list. The first column of this page is the item, for example sugar, the second column is the brand I prefer, Imperial. The third column is the aisle where it is located, the fourth column is the weight or quantity of the item, the fifth is the cost of the item, and the last is the cost per ounce or cost per count. I keep the price and cost per ounce on there to serve as a basis of comparison. If I don’t have a preferred brand, perhaps I can compare prices and go for the less expensive one. Sometimes I can find that same item but in a different size at Costco, so I’ll keep cost per ounce handy to see where the product is less expensive. Not every time, but occasionally I will go through my receipt and update the prices on this page.
Another page on my spreadsheet is a list of items I purchase every week from the store like eggs or bread. The final page of the spreadsheet is the current week’s grocery list. As I make the list for the current week I begin by copying over the items purchased every week. Then I fill in the other items on the list, making sure everything is listed in the order that I would see it in the store.
So while initially it’s a lot of work, each week the shopping is super easy. I print out my list and as I go through the store I just follow the order. I often can skip many aisles since I can see easily which aisles I need to go down, thus preventing the impulse buys, and I rarely have to backtrack because I forgot something.
Now least one thinks I miss out on good deals because I avoid unnecessary aisles, I do review the weekly ads before making the shopping list. Then I am able to purchase a good deal and stock up on something that I might not need this week, but will definitely use in the future.