Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Keeping it Cheap! (I have no clever Alliteration today.)

Ah, the "joys" of being a teacher.

The good news: I got a teaching job! It looks like the school is really nice, too. (So far, the staff has been nothing but friendly and helpful, so I'm taking it as a good sign.) Which means I'll be a leetle busy (but still trying to update at least 2-3 times a week).

The bad news: I don't get paid until the end of September, and we're still waiting for Unemployment to kick in since being let go from my last (temp) job. =/ It's not necessarily PANIC-worthy, we're not BROKE. My hubby brings in a solid paycheck that covers our monthly bills and even covers gas and groceries. The only issue is that it's ALL the paycheck covers. Which is a lot better than a fair amount of people in our country, so I'm not complaining! It's just a change - we've been used to doing things a little less stringently. So NOW the challenge is to keep our groceries bill low and find ways to keep ourselves amused for cheap (preferably free).

So starting Monday night, we've been eating from the pantry and freezer. Due to our tendency to eat frozen dinners or grab fast food, they're both actually pretty well-stocked still! xD I know, so bad. This is actually a good exercise in frugality - even if it's by force. The only things we've bought from the store so far have been soda (The Hubs has quite the addiction - but hey, it beats cigarettes, which he quit this year!), and dog food for Daisy. I had a 2 for 1 coupon for Chipotle, so The Hubs (the accountant of the marriage) let me have one more indulgence for the month since I could stretch it out for 2 meals.

As weird as it sounds, it's actually kind of fun to play "mystery dinner". I mean, we're not INSANE, so I'm not just throwing random ingredients together and crossing my fingers or anything. Last night I used some cooked shrimp, angel hair pasta, and covered it in an Asian sauce that was basically from the recipe I use to make lettuce wraps. It actually turned out good, should've doubled the sauce though. Tonight I WAS going to make meatloaf (using condensed tomato soup), but it wasn't defrosting fast enough so I had to throw something together last-minute. Luckily, my beloved turkey italian sausage defrosts quickly even using the cold-water method, so I grilled those on the Foreman, and boiled some shell-pasta I had leftover that I mixed with some Trader Joe's frozen veggies I have yet to try (cauliflower and romanesco w/ garlic butter). Tasty! Plus I never had romanesco, and it was yummy! Like broccoli with cauliflower-like "flowers" on top. Tomorrow will be the meatloaf, with some sort of dressed-up rice. Like I said, it's kind of a fun challenge! It'll get tricky, though, when work starts in a week and a half and I'm commuting 2 hours a day... we'll definitely have to figure out some quick, easy meals to make (or learn to love PB&J until we can afford frozen meals ;D). I'm actually hoping to spend a day next week making some stuff ahead to freeze, like personal lasagnas - any successes will be shared here, of course!

As for cheap entertainment... well, he likes TV and I like the internerd, and we have iPhones to play on, also. We'll get out of the house, too, to go see a free movie in our local park this weekend! I'll be checking our local weekly for other free events, too. Any suggestions for two young-ish people to kill time out of the house for cheap?

How do you keep things cheap when belt-tightening is absolutely necessary?

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