one heck of an idea and a pottery barn freebie!

I need to set the stage for this brilliant idea b/c it will give insight as to why I think it’s SO brilliant…we have had a working budget for the majority of our marriage which translates into me knowing exactly what dollar amount I have for groceries every month. Yet, in spite of this teamed with my menu planning and my newly learned skill of using coupons (thank you Coupon Mom) I still consistently go over budget $10, $20, sometimes $30. This is significant when other bills need to be paid as well. And for 2+ years I have been consistently frustrated that my problem solving brain hasn’t been able to figure out a way to insure never going over again. SO, with the stage set, enter Alex’s BRILLIANT solution…that he didn’t come up with this month’s ago I’m willing to overlook b/c it is SO brilliant :0)!

As most people who plan menus, I have a few things that are on regular rotation plus a slew of recipes I’d like to try…however these rarely get worked in b/c if the ingredient list is long I assume said recipe wouldn’t help my attempt to stay on track with the budget. UNTIL two weeks ago when Alex suggested that I figure out what it costs to make each meal. From there, I could break my recipes up into categories…under $5, under $10, and $10+. Then when I sit down to do my menu each week I can start by figuring out which toiletries/household items we need and then make a menu by dividing up the money left over with recipes tailored to that dollar amount!!!! Is that not the most genius idea?!? What this also allows me the freedom to do is fix one or two cheaper meals so I can actually budget for a more expensive meal should I want to try a new recipe that has lots of ingredients…the missing link to my planning…knowing what each meal costs!

So, on Friday of last week I went to the grocery store with clipboard in hand and jotted down prices for each item that’s included in one of my recipes…on a side note I recommend that if you will go through the recipes and just make one list of all ingredients that is by far the easier route…I had x amount of pages with ingredients on each and it took much longer than it should have…anyway, the next step is to organize and tally up totals for each of those recipes and then put them in the appropriate category in my binder. Plus, now that I have the frame in place it will take very little effort to add recipes as I go along. And, to make this a complete process I can also more efficiently use the coupons with my price book to determine how to get that original total down based on the sale items…a recipe for success!

On another fabulous note, I recently acquired a FREE fireplace mantel from Pottery Barn! I have been looking for one to put behind our dining room table as an architectural element for the past 2 months and haven’t been able to find one with either the right price or the right look. After seeing one in the display window at PB about a month ago I inquired to see what would happen with it once the display switched over. I was told that an employee wanted it but given the name of a few places to look for one. In addition to a continued search I also called the Littleton branch but didn’t get a response.

Three days ago our little fam went to the shops at Briargate and I noticed the display window had been changed over. On a whim I asked again about the mantel and was told that one of the employees was going to keep it, but a few minutes later the girl came back up to me and said she didn’t know if the employee was going to take it after all, could she please have my number so she could call me the next day with an answer. YES! Of course…and, the next day, an employee called to tell me it was mine!!!

Alex picked it up and I couldn’t resist bringing it in immediately. It’s the perfect color so no painting required and after Alex attaches it to the wall I’ll post pictures. SO EXCITED!!!

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2 Responses to “one heck of an idea and a pottery barn freebie!”

  1. Amy Says:

    Stacey–that does sound like a good idea about pricing the meals. Sounds like a lot of work to get it set up, but I might give it a try too, as I often have the same problem of groceries being more than I expected. Thanks for sharing!

  2. ann Says:

    Isn’t the task of feeding your family (hopefully well) AND staying withing budget and having it not take hours to figure it all out and very overwhelming? I have been struggling lately to find something that works for us. I have been frustrated b/c I have spent hours clipping coupons only to save just a little, and sometimes still go over. My sister very recently directed me to couponmom and I am excited about it! Hope your new plan works and you get to try great new recipes!

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