Monday, January 12, 2009

I think a change, a change would do you good

First let me say thank you for your suggestions on Sophie's dizzy spells. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and, even though they may or may not apply to her situation it's still nice to have you all thinking of her.

Now for today's post:

I've decided to make some radical changes in my life, mainly out of necessity because we need to reign in the household spending. Believe me, I much prefer the status quo because I'm basically lazy, but life is kicking me in the pants and telling me I need to get with the program.

Change #1: So the first radical change is to make a weekly menu plan & grocery list and shop once a week.

Change #2: The weekly menu plan goes hand in hand with no more eating at restaurants, fast food or otherwise, on a regular basis. The hubs is the worst about this, but if I don't have food ready for him that he will eat, then he drives thru. And we have spent way too much money over the years on convenience foods, and that is going to stop.

Change #3: I figured out how many meals I'd need to make this week, then created a grocery list, and spent two hours shopping on Saturday afternoon at 3 different stores. I used to do all our shopping at two stores--Schnucks (a St Louis based grocery chain, the best our town has to offer) and Target--on week nights with kids in tow. I despise Wal-Mart, but I have gone over to the dark side because I'm now in money saving mode. And we also now have an Aldi, which has crazy low prices. I'll still shop at Schnucks because they have good meat and produce, but that's all I'm buying there. Saturday I spent around $150 for all our food for the week. And I don't care what I run out of--I'm not shopping again until next Saturday.

Change #4: I'm cooking like it's nobody's business. I made a pork roast Saturday night in the crock pot. First time ever! I know, I know, but still, I'm just learning to cook and a roast, to me, is intimidating. Turns out I cooked the darn thing too long and ended up with about half the meat I should have, but oh well. I'm learning. Mark liked it anyway. Tonight I'm making meatloaf. First time for that, too.

Change #5: Making a budget and sticking to it. This is going to be the toughest. But I'm serious about this money saving stuff and we're cracking down just like the rest of the country. No more impulse buying or spending unnecessary money on myself or the kiddos. I should have been doing this 5 years ago. Better late than never, I suppose.

Change #6: We cancelled our gym membership. Scratch #5 being the toughest. This is the toughest. No more swim lessons for Sophie. No more treadmill for me. No more body pump classes. No more easy summer-time pool for the family. It's going to be hard, but seriously? I just need to get over myself. Many, many people survive & thrive without a membership to the most expensive gym in town. I think we'll live.

Change #7: I'm clipping coupons! And using them!

Change #8: The little things that I used to think were no big deal, I realize all add up. As in: I'm not using mousse in my hair anymore. I tried it one day without it, and it looks exactly the same. And I'm not going to buy $15 a can hairspray any more. Understand, my hair has always been my thing, ever since I was in junior high. But it's stick straight, and the only thing that needs a spray is my bangs, so why do I need Big Sexy Hair hairspray? I don't. And my mascara is now L'oreal instead of Estee Lauder. Also, I'm not using paper towels for every little thing in the kitchen. I got one of our chamois cloths and am using a new one each day (a new one every day will hopefully keep the nasty germies away). We go through so many paper towels, it's nuts. This is going to cut that back big time. And I'm using half the laundry detergent I used to, and so far the clothes are just as clean as before. And I'm turning down the thermostat to 65 while we're at work. I'm sure there are more things I'll think of along the way.

Change #9: I'm implementing the parent skill lessons I've learned in Beyond Time Out. I'm still on a learning curve but I'm serious about changing things for the better for my kids. And my sanity.

Change #10: This one I have yet to implement, but it starts tonight. I'm going to bed at a decent time and waking up at a decent time. My habit has been to stay up until 11 or midnight (or later, like last night) and then sleep until Sophie needs to get up for school at 7 a.m. This means I don't get to work until 10 or 10:30, which is fine since I don't have a boss yelling at me, but it's not helping me be as productive or helpful to Mark as I need to be. My plan is to leave the house at 8 a.m. and be at work by 8:30. I'll let you know tomorrow how that one goes.

Notice there are no radical diet or exercise changes. I made those in 2007! This year, I'm sticking to running (ran 5 miles Sunday in 54 minutes, which is darn good considering I'm almost 10 pounds heavier than I was when I ran my half in October, and I've not been running regularly since October either) and I'm going to do the 100 push up challenge (started that yesterday, too). I'll probably throw in some pilates DVDs as needed, which Sophie will do with me. On the diet side, I really just need to focus on not eating at night. That's where I sabotage myself. And if I stick to change #10, this shouldn't be a problem because I'll be asleep by 10 p.m. instead of eating oreos.

These are not New Year's resolutions. I don't want to set myself up for failure by labeling these resolutions. They are lifestyle changes that I have to make for the sake of our family's future well being. I'm sure there will be missteps along the way, because change is hard. But for now, I feel really good about what we are doing.

Are you making any radical changes in your life this year?


G.G. said...

Hey--good for you! Sounds like you have some good plans and the determination to follow through with them. Good luck, and be strong!

sharla*** said...

If you have a Marshalls or TJ Maxx close by, they always have "designer" hairspray for about $6-7. I always use BSH- I have flat, straight, baby fine hair, and the other stuff does not hold up. I've learned it's better to spend the extra on one can than more $$ trying to find something that will work-same with foundation, I buy E.L, but Covergirl Mascara-

Don't feel bad for just learning how to cook, I'm 43 and just started learning how to make "real" food about 2 years ago!

MCM Mama said...

I had to LOL at turning the heat down to 65 when you aren't at home. 65 is the highest ours EVER is in the winter. It spends most of the night at 58 and anytime we aren't home during the day at 62.

I've been using cheap wash clothes from Target instead of paper towels for quite some time now. Some days I go through several, but it doesn't seem to affect the amount of laundry I do.

My biggest money saving change this year is that I now color my hair myself. I hate doing it, but $7 vs. $150, well, it's a no-brainer. Gives me more money for race fees...

Jill said...

Good for you! I think your changes are very smart.

ie. the gym membership - have you considered finding a used treadmill? You can totally survive without the gym membership - and the money you save will be soooo worth it!

I'm a coupon girl too, and as much as I hate it, I shop at Wallyworld. I wish we had an Aldi's nearby!

We've talked about making a budget but have yet to do it. We really need to though.

The only big change I'm trying to make is the cooking thing. It's a process - a long, slow process.

Vickie said...

everything you wrote sounds good and practical - my only caution is #7 - be double sure they are only for things you need and use (and not processed stuff).

and how high is your heat if you turn it down to 65? we stay at 65 - is that cold? we wear sweatshirts and slippers in the house. And that doesn't have anything to do with my cold feet thing - that appears to just be me (have had nerves and circulation both checked - in case that sets alarm bells off in your head).

If you get Veria - check out Fixing Dinner -

she is big on planning meals and once a week shopping. I personally would not eat all that she cooks - but her thought process is very smart.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Laura. Some really great changes. A lot to make at once. I know the cooking will take more time at first, but I hope for you that some of these changes will simplify your life and give you more time.

I haven't thought about too many changes, but I'm afraid that life is going to bring me some changes even if I don't want them...

Laura N said...

Sharla, thanks for the suggestion on the hairspray!

I usu. have the heat set at 70 when we are at home, sometimes I'll bump it up to 72 (but not often, and then I turn it back down to 70). I'm usu. in long sleeves & a sweater even with the thermostat at 70. I'm sure we need better insulation. 65 in our house is pretty cold.

Vickie--coupons for me are only for things we'll use. I know what you mean about getting sucked into a good deal, and then not using what you buy. It's why I don't shop at Sam's. We never use all that we buy there, if it's food at least, and I've found the unit prices aren't that much cheaper than WalMart on household stuff (I mean, I haven't figured all this out to the penny, just my general experience).

By the way, I blew #10 today. I didn't make it to sleep last night until almost midnight. Sophie couldn't sleep and was awake until 11 p.m., and I basically had to help her work through being in bed for almost 3 hours, awake. I think it was the zyrtec. She had the same problem Sunday night. I'm going to switch it to a morning med.

Grumpy Chair said...

Welcome to the dark side. Though Wally's isn't as "attractive" as Super Target (I LOVE, but alas spent the last four years loving them too much) they do have some nicer grocery prices. I loved Pasta Queen's post (a long time ago) comparing drab Wally's to communist Russia and standing in line for bread.

Great post.

P.S. - Regarding roast in the slow cooker - Sharla recommended to me a while ago, to eat the roast with potatoes and carrots the first night then take the left over roast and shred with bbq sauce for sandwiches later in the week. Yum.

LG said...

When I used to make meatloaf (and it's not like I've totally stopped), I add baked potatoes to the oven or other things that bakes so I can use the heat for other things too.

I've read that the best mascara is "Great Lash" by Maybelline. I've noticed that Carmindy has it in her arsenal on "What Not To Wear" so maybe it's true.

You might find some good deals on used treadmills, etc. through Craigslist (which is where I'm selling my extraneous kitchen stuff and furniture). Maybe you can resume the swim lessons later.

You have some great plans and awesome ideas. I have no doubt that you can do it!