Every so often I have a "brain cramp" about what to write. My goal is to keep this blog about frugal/fixed income retirement in general. Sometimes though, I sit down to empty paper or computer. I need to remind my self that rather than conscious effort, frugal retirement is about every day experiences and routines. Almost anything I do, or talk about, has sometime to do with how I manage on my income (creatively or otherwise).
This week, one of my projects is to work out some kind of long term grocery list. I (we) eat a fair amount of fresh food, so eliminating grocery trips for produce and milk would never work out. I would like to be able to get ALL of the non perishables I need at once, and as much meat and fish as my freezer will hold. This is a new habit for me. I'll still fill in on occasion with great loss leader deals. My goal here is not preparation in and of itself-it's a financial strategy. I want to slowly move to a single payday (my two paydays are different times of the month) to pay all regular expenses once a month and treat groceries as much as possible as a regular expense. Then I can be more flexible (or less flexible) with what's left.
Part of the process is making a list of what we eat regularly (I enjoy trying new dishes but that's a separate issue and much easier to do if you have everything you need on hand). This can be eye opening. Five to six days a week, breakfast around here tends to be oatmeal, frozen made by me waffles, or an egg dish. Yogurt has never been a food group in this house. I'm working on developing the smoothie thing, but I'm not there yet. Lunch is equally simple. Peanut butter and jelly, leftovers, soup. Round this out with fruits and veggies (OJ, green salads, fruit of the season) and you have really simple meals-by choice. Snacks seem to follow the same trend (I'm trying to eat three snacks a day). We eat whatever we pull out of the fridge during the day, as a rule.
On the other hand, I like dinners to be more involved (especially on the weekends). We often have wine with our meals. Lamb, veal (yes, I know how it's raised), fish and seafood enter our repertoire-as do the occasional gourmet ingredients. We also regularly drink soda, bake, have really good coffee and treat our dogs with the kindness they deserve. Actually I'm going to start cooking chicken and rice for the dogs, but that's another story for another time.
As in many aspects of life (at least mine), our eating style is one of mainly simple seasonal comfort food interspersed with splurges (and when I say splurges I mean caloric as well as spending choices here). While our eating style is unplanned (although I expect similar to many others), the end result is a feeling of plenty (again, not just in the financial sense). I suppose this is a metaphor for life in general. Balance.
This morning I actually had eggnog. It's seasonal and it's a weakness. At least I use little eggnog and fair amount of milk. I justify it by calling it a breakfast drink (I do know better). Lunch was fruit, crackers and cheese, with popcorn as a snack. Dinner though, was lobster ravioli, homemade garlic break, salad, wine, and sand tarts for dessert. Tomorrow I'll be back to oatmeal on the patio with my kindle-and loving it.
On my sewing table today: wine themed coasters, table runners and cocktail napkins. At my bedside tonight: Living Our Faith (a reread that's worth it). On the telly: Monday night football and Dancing with the Stars. Sometimes mindless drivel really is the best choice.