Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Frugal Benefit of NOT Planning Menus Ahead

Menu-planning.  Everybody tells us that is the way to save money on the grocery budget. 

Okay, there's some truth to it.  You plan the menus, go to the grocery store once that week (or two weeks), buy what you need, and stick to the plan.  That's definitely more frugal than running to the store repeatedly or going out to eat. 

But I developed an even cheaper way.  I was shocked recently to see my scheme promoted on a website for eating local and organic.
Plan your menu AFTER shopping, not before. This allows you to stay on budget because you aren’t shopping for special ingredients to make pre-planned meals. You can take advantage of the best deals and plan your meals around those.  This can also help by keeping those unplanned budget purchases from going to waste in your crisper drawer while you carry on with your planned menu.

I like to jot down meal-plan ideas as I'm going through the store.   Lettuce is cheap?  Grab a few heads, write "taco salad" in the margin of your grocery list, and then make sure you grab a tomato and a pepper to be part of the salad.

Find some pork roast marked down to a frugal price because tomorrow is its expiration date?  Toss the roast in the cart, make a note of it in the margin, and remind yourself that it should be cooked tonight or tomorrow.

Find the el-cheapo deals at the store and then figure out what you'll turn it into. It doesn't always work: sometimes you can't find the fabulous deals.  Other weeks, time constraints at dinner will trump the plans you could've developed from the week's good deals at the store.  But other weeks, everything falls into place easily ... and for half the price of pre-planned menus.

Definition of "Engagement"

So if a couple is living together,
if they have a legal contract for rent or mortgage,
if they co-own pets, furniture, bank accounts,

what is it to become engaged?

Gary suggests that engagement really doesn't have anything to do with marriage (for most people out there in the world today) but is more about planning a big hoopla of a party ... and possibly a splendiferous vacation/honeymoon too.

And that would be why we Christians appear to be such oddities -- focused more on the decades-long marriage than on the day-long wedding.

And it would also explain why so many living-together couples end up divorcing not long into the marriage.  Sometimes the thing they had in common was the event of the wedding, and once that's past, it's past.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Sweet Honey from the Rock

Flipping through a homeschool catalog once upon a time, I saw a CD by the singers "Sweet Honey from the Rock."  I assumed the group's name came from the last verse of Psalm 81.  (Wiki confirms this.  For whatever that's worth.)

But the honey in the psalm isn't just about the stuff bees make.  And it's certainly not about richness and beauty coming from an unexpected location.  We read throughout Scripture* how the Rock-which-was-Christ provided for both physical and eternal needs.  We read how God's Word is eaten and tastes sweet.  Really, God?!  EAT a scroll?  And yet, Ezekiel and John both said it was true: the scroll was sweeter than honey.

* Ex 16, Deut 32:13
Ps 19:10, Ps 119:103
Ezek 3:3, Rev 10:9