" For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. " Song of Solomon

February 6, 2009


When my husband was in school and we were struggling financially we didn't use credit cards and paid cash. We always had 'enough', by the grace of God. But there weren't a lot of extras. I never bought soda, for example, and we didn't get cable TV until 1993, and then only the basic broadcast stations for $10 a month because our rabbit ears wouldn't pick up the signal at our new house.

I read everything I could get my hands on--from the library because it was free--to help me save money on groceries. One of them was a book by the same title as this post. I don't recall the author, but the title came from the idea of things being so bad, that the wolf was at the door about to bring the house down.

I can't recall anything specific from the book, but so many people are falling on hard times I thought I'd share a few things. Here at our house I've cut back, since husband got a huge pay cut, and likely will lose his job and even if he doesn't it looks like his company will end up bankrupt soon.

For starters, here is a partial grocery list of foods that deliver significant protein and carbs without significant cost.

peanut butter
cottage cheese
canned wild Alaskan salmon
ground turkey
plain yogurt
baby spinach
iceberg lettuce
unsweetened applesauce
100% orange juice
canned legumes
canned green beans
canned beets
tea bags

This list isn't all inclusive, but most of these foods will supply good amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals-- plus anti-oxidants--for not a lot of money. Throw in some staples like flour, sugar--which eaten is moderation is a lot cheaper than artificial sweeteners or honey, agave and the like--and you can whip up some quick breads or cookies. It's one thing if you can afford the more expensive and possibly healthier options..but if you can't, there's no sense in concerning yourself over it---so much of our health is wrapped up in our genetic predisposition. And taking a walk, which is free, probably could offset a lot of the bad stuff .

Iceberg lettuce makes this list because it's cheap and it lasts a long time in the crisper drawer. To boost the nutrients I add the baby spinach and some grated carrots. I find that the spinach and iceberg last a lot longer than the prepackaged salad mixes and cost less too. And with the fresh spinach, if it does begin to wilt, you can steam it, add some salt, pepper, a little oil and vinegar and it makes a good side.

Wash only the amount of iceberg you need for the meal. Buy the spinach pre-washed and ready to eat. I find the spinach keeps 7-10 days once opened if I keep it in the original bag. Open the bag from the bottom too and use the leaves at the bottom first since it's been weighted down by the contents of the package while in the display case. Then fold the top down 2-3 times and clip shut.

As your budget allows, scout out the produce department for the seasonal buys on fruit and veg. And don't forget to check out the frozen foods for those items. Shop the outside of your grocery and by pass most of the inside aisles.

For a couple of years I've purchased only organic milk, but have quit that too. Kroger's store brand milk does not have the added growth hormone and is around $3.30 a gallon compared to $6 a gallon for organic.

If it's important to you to spend the extra on organic milk or similar, then cut corners somewhere else.

I take all these 'hard times' as a challenge and make a game out of it. But then, I guess maybe I'm an odd duck. I get a huge thrill out of not spending or spending little--getting the biggest bang for my buck is a 'high' for me.

If you're experiencing tough times, try to make it a learning experience and gain wisdom. Remember-- a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. So, work at keeping a merry heart amidst your difficulties and you'll be better off for it.

"....there have been many times when I have shed bitter tears, when if I had understood the situation better, I would have celebrated my good luck instead."


I am not a doctor and all information, suggestions, etc are my personal opinion only.