Lately I’ve noticed several new construction projects that have turned out to be self-storage facilities where I live. Why so many? Out of curiosity, I looked up some statistics on self-storage facilities and was surprised by what I found. Self-storage facilities began growing in popularity in Texas during the 1960s and have become so popular, that today storage facilities are considered a viable form of real estate investment. As in – real estate investors see this kind of property as profitable, and can expect 2.9% in annual growth. In fact, revenue from this industry, which consists of nearly 53,000 facilities in the US alone, is expected to exceed $37 billion in 2018.
Week 3 Wrap-Up
Today is the end of week 3 in the 60 Day Grocery Makeover and I’m thrilled that things not only went to plan, but I also ended up with an extra meal for the week. We had chili on Tuesday – one of those meals that is even better the next day – and ate it leftover on Thursday. I’ll carry over the spicy Indian lentil dahl with pita to our week 4 meal plan, which will help me stay on budget during the holidays. The fact that my meal plan went, well, according to plan, is nothing short of amazing with all the extra holiday events and errands that happen this time of year. It feels really good to have a practical plan in place to save us from spending more going out to eat on those busy, tired nights.
After trying out Natural Grocers last week, I’m going back to my tried-and-true stores: Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market. There’s something to be said for grocery shopping in familiar territory; knowing where everything is makes the shopping trip much more efficient, both in time and money. A well stocked pantry (dried beans, pasta, dried herbs) also helped with meal planning and staying on budget this week.
Week Two of the 60 Day Grocery Makeover is shaping up to be a success. I’m learning how to be a pro-fridge-forager, seeking out and using up all the things. This makes me happy because the more miles I can get out of our groceries, the lower our effective weekly grocery budget will be.
Last week, I talked about finding the ingredients for an impromptu cauliflower soup by a perfect assemblage of odds-n-ends in my fridge. I love it when you can accomplish two things at once; cut down on food waste AND maximize the grocery budget with no extra shopping. Two birds, one stone? Indeed! This week, I was again able to extend our weekly menu by an extra day, but this time it was by getting two dinners from one.
Today marks the close of week 1 in the 60 Day Grocery Makeover. I’m happy to report that I mostly stuck with the meal plan, with the exception of substituting out one meal for another (more on that later). I did end up having to run out to the store once this week to get a couple of things:
Sprouts: $2.15 for organic tomatoes
Whole Foods: $7.93 for a loaf of ciabatta bread and a jar of roasted red peppers.
I ended up spending $ 134.82 for week 1 and I feel really good about coming in under budget. That gives me an extra $15.18 in padding for the month of December, which I’m sure will come in handy for the holiday meals coming up.
I always plan for a leftover night mid-week to use up anything from the last several days. Even though most gets taken for lunches or frozen for a later easy dinner, there are always stragglers. This really helps prevent things getting overlooked and spoiling.
Since yesterday was December 1st, I thought it would be perfect start to the first week of our 60-day grocery challenge. While I did do the grocery shopping Friday, we already had a long-planned dinner with friends, so I started our cooking week Saturday. It’s a rare treat for us to have a dinner out; we reserve that for special occasions. I’ve deducted the cost from our entertainment budget, which has gone untouched for quite a while, giving us peace of mind and a wonderful evening.
Managing basic expenses well can make all the difference, either in making ends meet or being able to save for the future. Both are important and no matter what camp you fall into, learning how to be more efficient about each dollar you spend can help you succeed.
The top three expenditures in a US household are housing, transportation and food.
A Life Changing Phone Call
Do you remember that one time when, for a moment,time stood still? Six weeks ago, a phone call from my doctor became one of those moments for me. I felt unsteady and in disbelief as we said goodbye. I had cancer. I didn’t understand how this was possible; I had just turned forty. I know my kid’s think I’m ancient, but forty seems too young for something like this. It certainly wasn’t the outcome I’d expected when doing a few routine tests my doctor recommended. She had assured me the results would likely be normal, but were necessary just to be sure nothing was missed.
Last August, my husband and I set a goal to pay off all our consumer debt in a year. We looked through every area of our budget and trimmed as much fat as possible. We cooked our meals at home, packed our lunches, sold our second vehicle and a few other things we didn’t need. We started riding our bikes, avoided buying new clothes and found creative/free things to do on weekends.
How Efficient Is Your Life?
I mean in terms of how you use food, electricity, water, clothing, and all the other necessary resources for living in the modern world. It’s so easy to be sloppy in these areas because life is busy and we all get distracted moving a mile a minute. If you’re like me, you have clothing hanging in your closet with the tags still on.