Thursday, March 10, 2022

"Food" for Thought - Choices

 Good day to you all!  I know we are all in basically the same boat at this point in time.  EVERYTHING we need costs more!  Now you noticed, I said NEED!  There are tons of things out there that people want - but we have to make some hard decisions at some points in our lives - and YES, this is one of those times.  Your "wants" just may need to be put aside to cover the needs.

Utilities are going up.  Gasoline prices are going up.  Food prices are going up.  It is going to get worse before it gets better - so we all need to buckle up and get smart about our choices.  
Sorry but many need to say so long to the morning coffee shops, the soda stops, lunches out, frivolous driving here and there and yes, even the random thrift shopping.  We need to make smarter choices at the grocery and buy the REAL food and not the garbage foods. (sure, we all need a treat - just make it).

Sorry, but this is so true.  We complain about the cost of milk, eggs, fresh produce, and definitely gasoline prices - yet some still stop for that expensive coffee drink or that fast food.  I just shake my head.
Yes, a gallon of gas is getting crazy expensive - but how far can you go on a gallon of gas?  Most vehicles can go several miles per gallon.  My food for thought - I'd sure be happy to pay the price of a gallon - than to have to walk those miles!!!  
I have stores and shops, a library and a post office all within a mile or so of my home.  I can walk to some (even at my age) - but it is nice to know I can drive as well.  NO, I wouldn't want to walk to the grocery and have to carry all my groceries home (I know many do that in places) - I will pay that price for gasoline to get me there and back.
I guess it all depends on priorities.  If you have a job - the choice is not so easy.  Maybe you can carpool or take transit to save on costs.  

Think about what it takes to get groceries to your table.  No matter what it is, eggs, milk, produce, canned goods, boxed foods, etc.  Farmers grown and take care of crops/animals - they harvest and prepare - they ship to plants - it is packaged and shipped again - and then stocked in your stores ALL before you get it.  Each operation takes people and energy!!!!!  Why then do we complain when the cost rises a bit?
I know we all ONLY make XXXX amount of dollars - most times that doesn't change.  Yes, prices go up and our pay doesn't.
So that is where it all comes to choices.  I can still walk through the grocery and see carts and carts of 'junk' being purchased.  Their decision - so I am trying not to judge - but I can almost bet money - those are the same people complaining!

I know we all complain - it is human nature.  We all hate the rise in costs of everything.  You know what?  At this moment there is not one darn thing we can do about it.  
All we can do is make CHOICES that may be hard.  Maybe we have to get rid of cable, or turn down the heat, or get rid of the extra phone, or sale things we aren't using, or stay home more, or quit doing the 'fun' things that cost money.
Yep, maybe - choices is all we got at this point.  Does it suck?  Sure, at times it will.
It will eventually get better - it always does - but for now, we have to be strong and get up and DO what needs to be done.
Plan those gardens.  IF you have no garden space - think about a few containers for growing.  Friend people who DO garden.  Think about summer fun at home.  Think about new uses for things.  Plan your trips out and be vigilant when shopping.
Do what it takes.

I don't know about you, but I am so thankful for each and everything I have.  I am so thankful I live in relative freedom.  I am so happy I can nourish my body.  It may get to a point that it is not with things of choice - but nourishment none the less.  I am thankful I can worship. I am thankful for home and for family and friends.  I am thankful for this wonderful community we have here and for the grand encouragement we give each other.

I hope I have given you something to think about and ponder.  I hope maybe, just maybe, I have given you look at things in a new light.  I hope you make good choices - even if a tough choice.  I hope you too, can be a rebel and count your blessings.

I am thankful and I am blessed. 


  1. Debby in Kansas USAMarch 10, 2022 at 9:10 AM

    Oh, no question about gratefulness. My buddy and I just spoke of this yesterday. That we'd rather eat our simple soup in peace than something fancy while listening to bombs or unrest.

    That said, haha, I'm still gonna whine a bit!!! Some years ago, my mom was complaining about life in general. Some of her apt. ladies were taking a local bus to Las Vegas for a weekend gambling thing. There are some very cheap Sr. trips to go. She said she couldn't afford it. I told her to quit smoking and she could afford to go once a month! She got mad and said that wasn't the point lol.

    Which circles me back to my friend and me. I told her I wished I had something left to give up!! Fancy coffee, cable, weekly dinners out etc. I always roar with laughter when the news channels break out their money saving tips and say to start brown bagging it and save $50 per week, take your own coffee and save $30, etc. Yeah, as if I EVER did any of that lololol!!!

    No, we're down to the nitty gritty now.

    But, a great blessing yesterday was at Aldi. They had chicken quarters?(thighs with drumsticks) on sale for $4.99/10lbs. We bought the limit of 2. Yeah!!

    1. I realize a lot of people are down to the knitty-gritty and that makes things tough. It sure is hard to give up things, when like you say, there isn't much left to give up.
      I hate that for people. I guess just getting even more basic in our eating patterns, turning off even more (if possible) and looking for those great deals.
      I heard about the chicken at Aldi - that is a fantastic deal.
      I hope people can find food pantries and help if needed.

      I see your point on your Mom - guess she didn't!
      There are many out there like her - but there are also many who are just getting by. That breaks my heart.

  2. Life hasn't gotten hard enough yet. Still seeing people with carts full of sodas and junk at Sam's yesterday. But, yes, always grateful for a warm house and all we need.

    1. Sad statement isn't it? But I think true. Some people are just oblivious and don't have a clue. It will NEVER happen to them!!!

  3. This is good. My BFF and I were talking about this yesterday, saying we may need to help each other before it’s all over. I decided I can live without cable tv if need be... so far, that’s the only place I’ve thought about. ☺️

    1. Absolutely - we can all help each other. Sharing, bartering and just exchanging ideas and tips. I can do without several things I pay for (even tho mine is minimal). I can eat a LOT more basic. I think we all have the right attitude.

  4. An attitude of gratitude makes the belt tightening a lot better. If you're whinin', you ain't shinin'. We are tea drinkers and I have yet to have a good cup of tea out anywhere. Same with coffee...I can make my own fancy coffee at home. Most of the junk food folks buy is detrimental to their health. Why pay to get sick?

    We try to combine trips rather than run back and forth. The furthest we drive now is 6.1 miles to Rural King to get chicken feed, except for trips to Carmel to take the Urban Farmer for his appointment at the eye specialist every few weeks. I include a stop at Trader Joe's as it's on the way home.

    Ole' Jim said we are going to get some snow. Today is pretty good.

    1. ATTITUDE is HUGE!!!!! While having the "I can do this' attitude, we can muster through a lot. You are doing great. I go very little and then only when I am just about to go stir crazy! LOL
      Looks like less snow than they said earlier - warmer days ahead!!!

    2. I agree but we are coffee drinkers. Our coffee is way better than anything away from home!

    3. It does seem homemade anything it better

  5. The 3 Parts of Gratitude:
    Feeling grateful for the good things in your life;
    Expressing your gratitude to the people who have made your life better;
    Adopting new behaviors as a result of interacting with those who have helped you.

    Thank you, Cheryl, and all your readers for ongoing encouragement during tough times. Thank you for the reminders of what really matters and what doesn't. We all made it through the Great Recession. Being here today is proof of that. Was it fun? Heck, NO. Did we expect that just a short while after that we'd be back to pinching pennies and (at times) doing without? Of course not. But we'll all get through this just like we did before.

    Again, thank you ALL. --Elise

    1. AMEN SISTER! Bad times - really bad times - have happened before. They will happen again. We just go forward. Nothing else to do!!!!
      I love the 3 parts of gratitude. 100% true.
      We all just do and learn and go forward.
      Thank you - you are an integral part here as well.

    2. Debby in Kansas USAMarch 10, 2022 at 1:25 PM

      What is the Great Recession? The last time I remember anything remotely close to this were the gas lines.
      I especially remember that because I finally got my driver's license and then I couldn't go anywhere!!! Such punishment for a teen with wheels lol. That was 1979ish.

    3. Debby, officially from 2007-2010 has been called the Great Recession, brought about in part by spikes in gas prices, but mostly had to do with banking/loans. Specifically mortgages. Millions wound up in foreclosure in the U.S. It's kind of hard to forget, because that's when a lot of frugal blogs got started and took off. It's when people started growing their own produce, etc., which hadn't been a popular activity for more than a generation. Canning, freezing and food drying made a comeback, too. Normal cost of living pay increases stalled for as much as 8 years while actual costs (especially for medical insurance) doubled or tripled. Economic recovery was very slow.

    4. Debby in Kansas USAMarch 11, 2022 at 9:07 AM

      Ohh, that's why that label threw me. In my circles, it was more "The Great Stupidity of 2003-4." No official name, of course, that just about sums up what we saw in Cali. I can't tell you how many people I personally knew that traded in their 20 yr. Old nearly paid off homes to buy Mc Mansions for a million dollars. No, no exaggeration. Or people that went for crazy loans that could barely afford their rent.
      It was so obvious that the fallout was going to be ugly. I personally begged 3 family members to wait for the crash before buying, not to fall for the hype going around. My brother that waited got a beautiful brand new home in Phoenix for $77k. It's now worth several times that and he paid it off in less than 10 years. We took the opportunity of our over priced home and left Cali. I do remember gas prices being high in 2008, but nothing else. I think "The Housing Debacle" is much more appropriate description of that time. Our realtor told us agents and escrow people were raking in cash when we sold our house. I remember telling my husband that they'd be smart to save their great wads because they'd have to live on that when it all crashed. Ugh, what an entirely avoidable mess.

      I was sucked into the Tightwad Abyss lololol in 1994, when I stumbled upon a copy of The Tightwad Gazette at a used bookstore. Way way before the housing debacle mess. In fact, that's how we bought our first home during a poop housing market in 95-96. Snagged a foreclosure that had a huge price drop. The blogs that came much later to me are Tightwad 2.0, if you will!! They have kept me wise to more modern and timely ideas. Like our Cheryl! I'm grateful to her and others for my continuing education.

    5. Debbie I remember the gas lines on the 70's - long lines. I also know people who did the crazy housing market thing in early 2000's. Huge houses they couldn't afford just because everyone who applied could get a loan. It was ridiculous.
      I really couldn't feel sorry for any of them.

      I learned from parents - but then went on and made mistakes. I learned hard! Changed my ways and pretty much have stayed on mark - that started in mid 80's.
      Mistakes hurt and are no fun.

    6. EM - I remember high gas prices around 2005 Hurricane Katrina and then again in and around 2008. Times were a mess financially for a lot of people then. They sure did get over their heads in debt. Some never learned.

    7. Debby in Kansas USAMarch 12, 2022 at 9:31 AM

      Cheryl, I forgot another crazy aspect to those I knew in Cali that bought up. Cali has Prop 13, which keeps property taxes way low if you live in your house a long time. For example, relatives of mine bought their L.A. home for a mere $3750 in 1941! Can you imagine lol?! When the house value exceeded one million dollars, the property taxes were only $600ish per year.

      Now, some people I knew in L.A. had a beautiful 4+3 home that they bought new in 1981 for about $150k. Based on my experience, their taxes were probably between $1500-2000 per year in 2004. House was 7 years from pay off, they were 50 something, all 4 kids gone. Just before we moved, they sold their home for $500k and bought a 6+4 brand new home for $995k. So, that's not only a $500k mortgage, but the taxes exceeded $10k per year!!! And don't forget insurance, plus they were in a red lined fire area. In their 50s.

      Mind boggling, huh? All 4 kids ended up moving in with grandkids. It's gossip but I heard that they hung on to the house for 10 years with all the kids paying rent. But, can you imagine such a crazy move? And sadly, I knew many that did the same thing. I knew the details of this one because the wife crowed about buying their million dollar dream home. She also had all kinds of events to show it off. I honestly didn't know what to say. It was a house. Nothing impressive, just a big house!

      Honestly, it was painful to watch over and over. We knew it was going to be ugly in the end. And it was.
      The moral of the story is an ancient one...If it sounds too good to be true.....

    8. The moral to the story says it all!!!!!!
      People do some crazy things - just to brag and fulfill crazy dreams.
      I have people who tell me I need to move from here. Well, no house payment, minimal heat/AC, low upkeep, super low taxes, affordable insurance - ummmmmm NOPE! Not till I have to.

      I think about all those things you mentioned, as well as heating and cooling, utilities, cleaning, maintaining.....
      Some people not only waste all their cents - but show no sense!

  6. I'm fortunate to live in a neighbourhood that is near to a number of grocery stores. Like you, I can walk - the main store I shop at is about 20 minutes walk - but I wouldn't want to carry my load of groceries home. Sadly, transit is not an easy option as the bus stop is nearly half the distance to the store.

    But I agree, we need to be conscious of our choices and spending.

    1. Yes, everyone is going to have to start regrouping and looking at things with 'new' eyes.

  7. It is amazing how life can turn on a dime. But I am so thankful that I still have choices and safe housing. One of my goals for 2022 was to save for a special purchase and also improve my health. One way was for me to ditch the drive thru beverages when I'm on the road, and instead take my filled water bottle whenever I go out. I was making so much progress, and then price increases ate all of that away. I'll definitely be planting vegetables in my container garden and finding a local source of farmstand produce -- at the farmstand, if possible. I'm also working on menus that use what I have on hand, cooking from scratch, and I've even pulled out the breadmaker and LOVE what comes from it. I'm also back to checking store circulars and am no longer loyal to just one grocer -- they're all within close enough proximity, so it's who has what on sale right now. And my weekly menu may be based on that. I need to get my bike to the shop for some maintenance. Who knows, I may add a basket and bike to the grocery store this spring and summer!

    1. Sorry your plans have been eaten away by inflation.
      You make some very good points. Changin up stores and buying only the sale items or clearance. Doing what we can at home - growing, buying local and menus. Love the idea of bread making.
      I have my bike - it needs new tires and a little maintenance - it may just come out of mothballs!
      It is nice to see people looking at WHAT they can do instead of what they CAN'T!

  8. Can't remember if I've shared this before, but it's an inexpensive "treat" from things on hand. It's Banana Bread using complete pancake mix and the recipe is from Farmer's Almanac.
    3 ripe bananas, mashed**
    2-2/3 c. any brand complete pancake mix, including buttermilk
    2/3 c. sugar (a little less works, too)
    1/4 c. milk
    3 T. vegetable oil
    3 eggs beaten
    1/2 t. vanilla extract
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and generously grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine pancake mix and sugar. Add bananas, milk, eggs, oil and vanilla; mix well. Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes, turn bread out onto a cooling rack and cool an additional 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or fully cooled. Keeps in the fridge up to 3 days.
    **I've found you can substitute other pureed fruit for this; applesauce (especially cinnamon applesauce) works great using about 1-1/2 cups of pureed fruit.

    1. THANK YOU! Love you all sharing your ways of saving a little here and there. This is great. So many things we CAN do - if we just put our minds to it.
      Thanks again. **It sounds wonderful

  9. I love living a simple life. I do not need things that most people think necessary to be happy. I feel bad for them, in their minds they are suffering and they don't how they will get by.

    I like you, live in an area where I can walk to a lot of places. Post office, library, hardware store, pharmacy and grocery stores. I have written about walking to Walmart with my grandson's little red wagon. We are flexible, we think about how we can adapt and get things done.

    1. I love the simple life as well. I was talking with a nephew yesterday and we were talking investments and savings. Luckily he is doing quite well. I told him, because I live so basic - I live on 1/3 of what I bring in a month. His response - wow - you are the queen of frugal! LOL!!!!!

      I need very little to make me happy. Life can be good and simple.

  10. Gas prices are shocking. Here in Ontario, Canada, it's $1.85 a litre as of yesterday. That's about $7.40 a US gallon. My husband's a truck driver. The price of diesel today is $1.95 a litre. On his last pay, the fuel cost alone was almost $5000. Once insurance is deducted, licensing costs, truck payment, repair costs, and of course the fuel costs, that leaves a very pitiful pay to work with. He has to drive - no work, no pay. It's not as simple as to say that you can walk or ride a bike to get where you need to go. In the case of someone who makes their living driving goods around, the result of the higher diesel prices is catastrophic for us.

    We've gone through our share of hard times. I've cut our expenses and stretched our budget to no end. All I have left to cut is cable and I'm in the process of doing just that. But at the end of the day, after doing what I know of to do, I put my trust in God to do the rest.

    1. I can not even imagine being a truck driver through all of this. Both of my brothers had their own rigs for years. I feel so bad for you and your husband - this is such a big mess.

      You are so right about no easy way around it, when you have to drive like that. Most of the population, doesn't have it that drastic - so that is what I am speaking of. There are always exceptions - and YES, truck drivers are indeed exceptions. They are so appreciated - without them, we have nothing.
      You are so correct in saying 'trust in God' is all we can do.
      I pray for you and your family and I hope this mess ends soon, so hard working folks like you all can get some peace.

    2. I know nothing about Canadian economics, but in USA taxpayers subsidize oil companies, farmers, and on and on. Giving the ESSENTIAL work of moving goods, seems like the government would subsidize trucking industry.

    3. Eileen - I have no knowledge of how it works there either. I know when my brothers both had there own trucks - they took a huge amount of items off their taxes - mileage/so much money per mile, etc. That really offset a lot. But that was in U.S.

  11. You know since I decided I wasn't going to complain about the skyrocketing prices, but count my blessings instead, I have felt better. We all just have to stick together and uplift one another.

    1. It is attitude. You have lifted yourself above the misery.
      We MUST stick together.

  12. I was at Aldi this a.m. and agree that most people are still filling their carts with junk. There sure was a lot of grumbling at the Costco gas station. Regular was $4.15/gal, and they are usually at least 30cents cheaper than the regular stations. One gal was bemoaning her inability to find an electric car (while filling her Audi with premium). Wait til she finds out how expensive those are to own!

    We are to the point where there is nothing left to cut. Even the internet has become a necessity in order to learn any news (besides on the radio), receive & pay bills (can't trust the mail to get things delivered on time), and learn new things. We turned the furnace down from 72F to 70F for a month to see how much money we might save, and poor Husband literally shivered while wearing sweats, a long sleeved t-shirt and a fleece jacket. (Elderly people often cannot regulate their body temperature and can actually become hypothermic at temps below 70F.) We cut our health insurance bill almost in half by reducing coverage (and crossing our fingers that we don't need to use it.) I already drive as little as possible. A nice walking/biking trail is 1.5 miles away, but the road to get to it is extremely dangerous. It even turns off into a bike lane that would get me to Aldi, but there is no way to safely get a bike to the trail. Moving to a walking community would put our rent well over $1000/mo for a 2-bedroom walk-up apartment that would be inaccessible for Husband. The house and car are paid for, but the lot rent goes up 5% every year and is over $485. We haven't had cable in over 10 years. We never eat out, not even fast food or pizza delivery. We've never taken a vacation. Don't buy new furniture and rarely buy new clothes. Hang out laundry in good weather. Don't flush unless necessary. Shower less often. Wash dishes by hand. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about our situation. I was much worse off when my first husband left with all our money and I had 2 kids and no job. I am very grateful for everything we do have, especially our health.

    I've been trying to think of ways to save more on groceries by substituting less expensive meals for some of what we eat. Husband has dietary limitations making many things out of the question (including beans & rice), so it makes it challenging. I plan to add 2 new raised vegetable garden beds in the back yard and am considering sneaking vegetables into the front flower bed (even though it is not allowed by the trailer park!) I hope to be able to use some of my excess produce to swap for things I do need. I'm also saving things I no longer can use (like a good shovel head that broke off from the handle-got the shovel for free) with an eye toward swapping in the future. This is definitely the time for major ninja frugality skills!

    1. They say the golden years are bliss - guess 'they' were not average citizens. My former 92 year old neighbor once said "golden years - that is a bunch of s**t" I laughed then - but I do believe she was right.

      Everything is so expensive - I just hate for those with limited incomes. It doesn't seem fair. But I guess no one ever said life was fair.
      You are doing so well, and your big plus is your home and vehicle are PAID!
      Keep trudging along and doing what you can. Keep getting those free groceries when you can. I wish we all lived close, so we could help each other more.

    2. There are many that I don't feel sorry for. They have purchased homes, cars, vacations they could not afford. They have continued to dine out, buy clothes they did not need.

      When our best family friend passed away, he left his estate to my son. I got a call from a friend of his that he expected to give the frozen food to be given to another friend, as they were 60,000 in credit card debt. I simply asked who was responsible for that? Why do people do this and then expect someone to bail them out. Mind you, I knew these people and knew all they did was eat out. Why would they need frozen food, they were not going to cook it. If you can't be responsible for your own debt don't expect others to pick up the slack. This has always bothered me, people do things they can't afford and then want others to bail them out .Now that I am older, I hear about some high school friends are suffering with no place to live, no car, no healthcare. They are the ones that chose to live above their means. They did not think about old age/retirement. You can't fix that now!

    3. Texas - I hear you! We see it every day. I know there are people who are truly trying and do everything right, and don't seem to catch a break.
      Like you, it drives me crazy to see the abuse of money and then wanting bailed out. The kids net door that bought a house worry me. He is the only one working, she spends like a fool, they bought a house that is very expensive, and they aren't even married. I love them - but she is an emotionally unstable person. I do not see a good future for him!
      I have friends older than me, that still work - never for a minute did they save or plan. I don't get it!

    4. Debby in Kansas USAMarch 11, 2022 at 9:28 AM

      "Ninja Frugality" lol! I love it! Frances, we've really depended on the microwave pillows for helping us warm up while the thermostat is down. We're doing 60 day, 55 at night. It bites, let me tell you!! Those pillows help with cold hands and toes. Hubs is wearing a beanie in the house now to keep his head and ears warm. And we're both up to 3 layers of shirts. Short sleeve, then long sleeve, then actual clothes. I'll tell you, I sure wish I had my leg warmers from the 80s!! I also sip on plain hot water during the day. It really does help! I'm sure you're already putting towels in your doors and windows to keep out drafts. We did that and threw flannel sheets over the regular drapes for triple insulation! It looks like a British blackout from inside.

    5. Frances, I would totally use that front flower bed. Sprinkle is some lettuce and spinach (who doesn't love to look at beautiful green leaves), and some carrots-those lovely fronds. Onions could look like those spike plants....Beets that will give you both leafy greens and the root veg.

      Oh I can't wait to hear about your breaking the silly rule!

    6. I am with you!!!!!! Frances - you go girl

  13. Frances can plant turnip greens, kale, romaine and other things in with the flowers. They won't be obvious like tomatoes or squash.

    I continue to go to food giveaways to eat well. Tommy insists on a burger when we have to go to some places far away. I am willing to make and eat sandwiches from home. So, I do all I can. We use coupons and drink water from home.

    I need a greenhouse so critters cannot get to my food I try to raise on the porch!

    We do not complain about the price of gas since we have so many freedoms the people in Ukraine do not.

    1. That is a good idea - growing all kinds of greens in the flowers - even onions or other root crops.
      I think doing all the little things helps out a lot. We all need to be mindful.
      We are blessed indeed.

    2. Greens are a good idea if I can keep the rabbits out. A row of onions would look great among the flowers. Thanks for the ideas!

    3. You betcha. Maybe carrots and radish too if you like them. No one would know!

  14. This is such a great blog post, Cheryl, and much food for thought. I really like the meme. About a $5 cup of coffee and one dozen eggs. It all comes down to choices like you say. I for one am willing to pay for the gas to get where I need to go. We will just go less often. :)

    1. Thanks - me too. I want to be able to get somewhere far away without walking - just not often!
      I am staying home again this week. Got all I need.

  15. You know it's an adjustment. We have rehashed how we will get the kids to school without spending a fortune. So far, we have changed what car we drive (lower gas mileage) and have some other things up our sleeve if we need them. Planning ahead is key.
    I think warmer weather will help us as we go along ..we will walk and bike more but to the grocery store like you it will be a car!

    1. I think many of us can come up with new ideas - we just need to put our thinking caps on. Maybe make it a learning thing with the kids - see what they come up with!!
      We can do this.