A Little Ray of Sunshine

Monday, February 13, 2006


I guess me sharing a few dreams started something: Heidi (http://pebblechaser.blogspot.com/) has one up. My last noteworthy dream was about a world where magic was treated like we treat technology. This went straight into the writing files. It was one of those dreams where I'm not myself. This makes it so I can sometimes hop around to a different POV character. Hey, I have weird dreams.
Vox (www.voxday.blogspot.com) has a post up about aspartame. After Morgan's comment about how poor people rely on the government for health care, I realized that, although we are definitely poor (by the US standard, at least) we have not needed much health care. In four years of marriage, I've had one sinus infection that required antibiotics, and my husband has had a kidney stone. Hemi had viral pneumonia last winter, but that doesn't require any medical treatments. I hear people whining about their children's ear infections all the time. My boys haven't had any.
I think it's because we're poor. We really can't afford much junk food. Since we can't buy it, we don't eat it. Veggies, fruits, meats, whole grains are cheap. Well, cheaper than pre-processed stuff. That's how I can feed a family of four on a food budget of $250 a month, and still buy luxeries like fresh fish and real, imported parmasian cheese. (I don't think I spelled that right.)
Sometimes my food budget is less, it's one of the most flexible parts of our budget. I can feed us on $200, but we have to drop the fish and cheese.
We eat better than many people we know who are upper-middle-class. Whom we frequently eat with. You see, we're at the low end of the economic strata, but fairly high in the social strata, at least in this town. Classical Musicians can do that, you know. Actually, all Arts people can.
Because I'm willing to wear second hand clothes, and dress my children in them, we don't look poor, either. (My husband, unfortunately, does not wear a size that is regularly available second hand, he is too tall and muscular.) If you met me walking down the street, you'd never guess that I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband is a college student, and my biggest worry is paying the bills.
Appearances are deceiving. What we haven't got in money, we have in time. So many women I meet say "I'd love to stay home with my children but we just couldn't afford it." We live on less than they do. The difference, I suppose, is that they paid $50 for that brand name sweater. At most, I paid $.50. Being thrifty is more valuable than being well-paid.


  • At 12:46 PM, February 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi! I like your blog. We are theatre artists; I'm expecting my first child. I'm used to economising on food by not eating much. Now I'm eating constant whole grains and soy and veg etc, and while I'm much healthier I'm finding a) this costs a bundle and b)this takes all day. And I'm not even eating meat (never have) or fish (mercury concerns, am scarfing down the sardines though). The cheese expense is big, and some veg I'm buying organic although I try to keep it local. Here's my question, do you have any tips or recipies, know any books, any sites, just anything to help get the grocery bill down without not eating, eating crap, or having the prep and cooking take all day? Any info appreciated, especially since we're coming from about the same place here. Thanks!

  • At 3:53 PM, February 14, 2006, Blogger BoysMom said…

    See if you can find a book called Recipies for a Small Planet. My copy was my mom's, and was published sometime in the '70s. (It is a companion to a book called Diet for a Small Planet, there are some recipies in this one as well, but not very many.)
    If you are in an area where Winco or another bulk foods store does business, buy your grains and beans in bulk. Most places will discount if you buy in the size of the shipping package. You will use it up, beans and whole, unground grains last a long time, and if that's your main food, you'll go through it pretty quickly. (I go through 50 lbs of whole wheat flour in about six weeks.)
    Cheese does get pricy, if you can treat it as a condiment rather than the main course it will be better for your budget. Yogurt likewise.
    As far as time goes, a pressure cooker will save your life. If you find an old one, you can just get a new rubber ring for it. You should probably also consider a crockpot for times when you can do your prep first thing in the morning but won't be home until dinner time.

  • At 1:42 AM, February 15, 2006, Blogger heidi said…

    Girl, we are sisters. I swear it. Down to the trailer park and the .50 sweaters!

    I love reading the "how to be thrifty" articles in magazines and realizing I do pretty much everything in it.

    Anyhow. Just dropped in to say hi!

  • At 3:34 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger prettylady said…

    Make that triplets. Bulk produce purchased at the cooperative, chic Salvation Army attire, artistic passion. Check.


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