The Price We Pay

Today, we had to make a trip to Tyler (about 30 minutes to our north) in the morning, so we decided to head on over to the IHOP for some breakfast.  I had already decided I wanted nothing with eggs, since there is absolutely no flavor in store bought eggs when compared to those we have here on the farm, so then I cracked open the menu and nearly passed out.  I solemnly swear I remember the 2 egg breakfast (used to be the cheapest thing) being  between 3-4 dollars.  It was almost 7 bucks!!! NOTHING was under 6.99, with one exception being 3 pancakes for 5.50!  My God!  It’s no wonder people go broke when they eat out all of the time.  I can go to my local cafe of choice and get coffee and an egg, toast, and meat for about 3 bucks.  I immediately lost my appetite and Jason didn’t want to order anything at all, so I decided to split a Rooty Tooty Fresh N’ Fruity breakfast with him for 6.99.  Our bill came to 14 bucks!!!!  FOURTEEN DOLLARS FOR BREAKFAST….ACK!!!  Well, I did not realize that the coffee was TWO WHOLE DOLLARS a cup, either.  Geez!  While this may not sound like much to some, being the Frugal McDougals that we have become, it was rather astronomical for a meal that I think should probably not be any more than ten bucks at the MOST.  I was looking around me, and the place was busy.  In the booth next to us, there was a woman and a young boy and I can guarantee you that they didn’t get out of there for any less than 25 dollars, judging by the items on their plate.  Jason was just commenting to me how IHOP’s breakfast is absolutely no comparison to what we cook here.

  If you do not cook your own meals, there’s never a better time to start than now, may I add.  Even if you aren’t a great cook, the Good Lord did provide us with Crock Pots, which could turn ordinary shoe leather into tenderloin, I am fairly certain.  I have been doing a LOT of baking/cooking lately, since I read about a cooking method called once a month cooking.  Essentially, you set a date, and cook/prepare a month’s worth of food. I did start small, making only breakfasts for the moment, because that is the meal that we are usually in a rush with.  I made muffins, pancakes, and breakfast burritos, all of which were frozen and can be ready to eat after a minute in the microwave.  I have been lurking on this site:  Once A Month Moms, which I find to be informative and FREE, and they have monthly menus in spreadsheet format.  Anyway, it’s something to think about!  I can tell you that this month, we spent about 80 dollars on eating out, which is more than I should have spent.  I hope to cut that way back with my prepared meals.

On my anti-debt kick, I would just like to say that it is not the easiest thing to try and stick to a budget, BY ANY MEANS.  I totaled up this month and found that I had spent WAAAAAY too much on Halloween crap that I don’t really need and WAAAAAY too much on clothes (I only buy at Goodwill, but still….) and miscellaneous crap.  It is a little heartwrenching to see that I overspent my month by about 75 bucks with money that I didn’t HAVE to spend.  I think the best thing/punishment is to tighten up my belt for next month (and the next, and the next) and make a vow to myself to not buy junk I do not need.  Christmas is coming up soon, too, and we have already decided that the grandparents can do the toy gifts.  My kids have too much, as do most kids, and in fact, I will be paring down their toy department really soon.  I either read or heard something the other day talking about children, and I can only paraphrase, but it was something about how it is not about the things that we give to them, but rather the time that we share with them that is the most important thing.  Kids are only kids for so long, after all.  We don’t have very much time to spend with them when they are small!  So, rather than go out and buy 500 dollars worth of junk for Christmas, I am looking forward to spending time with my family. As a side note, I simply don’t have the funds for all of that useless stuff anyway!  May I also say that since we have become the Frugal family, I do shop at Goodwill for my clothes (happily, they have GREAT music in there!), I do not choose whole dinners @ restaurants (almost always eat a la carte), and I avoid WalMart like the plague, or, H1N1, if you will.  I knew I had won over Jason with my frugalness when:  he hid a Chicken Express receipt from me because he figured I’d gripe at him about the price, and, one day when we went to Chili’s he refused to order anything because he said it was all too expensive.  I was a nice wife, though, and gave him my salad! Needless to say, we have not been back to Chili’s, and if he’s been back to Chicken Express, he must’ve figured out a better way to rid himself of the receipt!

So, we are coming into a new month tomorrow, my budget slate is clean, and I promise to do better!  I try to envision myself in two or three years when I will have the majority of my debts paid….that is always a great stimulus for me to stick with my plan. NO MORE PAYMENTS!!!  There is never a better time to start paying off debts than today! 

In farm life, we did stop by a feed store today to get some winter veggies (cabbages/onions/cauliflower), and the guy at the counter had the personality of a potted plant, I swear.  I am Chatty Cathy, just trying to strike up conversation about my chickens and my garden and I got shot down like three times.  He kind of acknowledged my presence and that was about it.  Very irritating to a Libran woman.  He must’ve been a Virgo. (sorry to Matt) I dunno.  I guess I was too intimidating!

And, nothing much else.  I am trying to come up with a good farm name so I can begin to think about marketing my jelly/produce/eggs.  I want to start designing labels, too.  Or, at least give it some preliminary thought. 

Well, off to bed for me!

The County Fair

Last Friday, we took the girls to the East Texas State Fair.  I have to admit I have not been there in more than 10 years or more, and I have never been during the day.  At night, the fair gets a lot ‘seedier’, if you will, in terms of the population, and since we don’t ride the rides anyway, we went in the morning.  We got to see a baby chicken hatch, quilts and handmade items, mostly bad art (lol), and lots of canned goods.  They also had a fruit and vegetable show and I am fairly sure I could have won in the okra division, had I entered.  Anyway, I had to have a fair corny dog, which was pretty good.  We also had some homemade root beer.  We went through the exhibitor’s booths and surprisingly, I didn’t pick up much of anything (I did get a free gun lock and a pen), because there were so few people that I would have had to They had a children’s show called the Ag Magic Show, which was funny and informative.  Naturally, even though my oldest was called upon twice as a volunteer (there were only about 7 kids in the crowd since it was early), she buried her head in the carpet and pretty much remained in a fetal position until she was sure no one was looking at her any more. 

Anyway, then we made our way to the Ag Barn, where the cattle show was taking place, and so we went up and down, down and up, and up and down again, the rows and rows of heifers and steers.  I was carrying my youngest and did not see a huge bucket of water on the walkway and somehow, by the grace of God, managed not to fall butt over teacups on the sidewalk.  I had about 5 little teenagers ask if I was OK, which in fact, I was NOT, because I fairly well bruised both shins in the accident, but fortunately did not do a face plant on the concrete, or better yet, a pile of cow poo.  But, you just can’t put such things past me.  So as we were traversing through the Treacherous Land of the Cows while juggling two weary and cranky children, I did notice that times sure have changed!  The girls (all high school) all wore the tightest and flashiest clothes I think I’ve ever seen.  It’s not that they didn’t look good, but they just looked so….suggestive!  Skin tight layered shirts and skin tight pants with rhinestone cocho belts!  Back in the day, at worst, we broke out with a ‘keyhole’ brushpopper type affair (now only to be found in only the most dedicated barflies) and our Rocky Mountain jeans, which, looking back, were the most hideously designed pants EVER.  Ok, maybe the exception would be the pleated-front, acid washed, TAPERED pants (shudder).  Anyway, with all of the evil in the world, I sure wouldn’t want to be advertising, if you will, to the wrong person.

So, all in all, we did have a really good time, even with the girls getting cranky towards the end.