I am saving money. Week by week, sometimes day by day, sometimes one challenging minute at a time, I'm setting aside bits of hoarded cash--a $3.99 ipad game that Willow wanted me to buy for her, but that I asked her to pay for herself. Plus tax, that's five dollars in my stash.
A trip to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, sans the typical visit to the gift shop. That's a good fifty bucks in the stash.
A choice not to order take-out at all last week. That's thirty bucks in the stash.
I'm saving money for a (hopeful) September trip to Disney World, if you must know. Yes, it's silly and expensive, but the girls and I want to go, and Matt is willing to indulge us, and so I'm saving money.
One of my most controversial money-saving experiments, and one that I'll have to evaluate for a couple more months before seeing if it's actually worth it, is attempting to do without one of our weekly trips to the grocery store each month. We spend approximately $150 a week at the grocery store, so that's $150 straight to savings every month if we can pull it off. The theory behind the practice is that we have ample food supplies in the pantries and the freezer--stuff that I bought at good price in bulk ages ago, stuff that I have a lot of and don't regularly use, stuff that got lost and then re-purchased and then found again during the Great Kitchen Remodel. I certainly don't need the excess, and I certainly don't like the clutter that an entire case of canned tomatoes, or three half-used jars of tahini, or a giant bag of powdered milk out of which approximately one quarter-cup has been taken, adds to the minimal storage in this house.
Wouldn't it be nice to save money AND declutter our food storage, and spend a week eating a nice canned tomato-pesto soup with homemade bread and last year's frozen corn, and chicken and dumplings from that frozen chicken we need to process, and DIY pizza with homemade dough and all those bits and bobbles of leftover cheeses, and barley with our stir fry one night instead of rice, and peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches for lunch one day, because why on earth do I have half a jar of marshmallow fluff in the back of the pantry?
That's the idea, anyway.
So with a can of pumpkin (minus the quarter-cup that I used making pumpkin-spice latte creamer), a cup of chocolate chips, and a pie crust that I found in the back of the freezer (I DO know how to make a pie crust from scratch, but Matt doesn't, and he's the one who made the pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving. Apparently frozen pie crusts come in pairs?), I whipped together one of our favorite desserts, the chocolate pumpkin icebox pie from Chocolate-Covered Katie. I often make desserts from Chocolate-Covered Katie, and I'm always pleased with them--they're healthy-ish, since they're minimally sweetened and made mostly from highly nutritious foods, they're delicious and satisfying, and they feel better in my tummy, probably because they don't have all the usual crap. I have a big sweet tooth, and it's highly UNUSUAL for me to be satisfied with desserts that aren't southern redneck rich, so these are extra happy foods.
The chocolate pumpkin icebox pie calls for lots of nutrient-dense pumpkin, a pie crust that you could make far more healthily than Matt's leftover Pillsbury pie crust, a cup of melted chocolate chips, whose sugar content you can monitor when you select the brand, and some extract (I used vanilla and orange extracts, because that way I could use up the last little bit in the orange extract jar, and I really liked the resulting flavor). It looks like this after it's set:
But less than an hour after all four of us came back from sledding, the entire pie looked pretty much like this:
I usually make hot cocoa from scratch these days, so I had no idea that we still had all these envelopes of powdered hot chocolate! Another no-groceries-week score.