I went shopping a week after Thanksgiving and was pleasantly surprised at all the very good sales. All summer, I had had my eye on a large square roasting pan, but they were out of my price range for a basic pan ($20-$50). Stores purchase a surplus of these pans for the holidays, primarily for Thanksgiving. Bed, Bath and Beyond had a very large surplus AFTER Thanksgiving and had marked them down to $19.99. They also had a limited time rebate of $10.00 bring the cost down to $9.99. I also had a $5.00 off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond which brought down the price to $4.99 + tax. I was very pleased with the deal and LOVE my pan.
This week at Price Chopper, they had a special with a “store coupon” only, buy 3 boxes of Chex cereal for $5.00. That works out to be about $1.66 a box, which isn’t that bad of a price. First, I thought about how good the value was for $1.66 and then I thought, will my children be eating these for breakfast or will I be making something with these. You may wonder why I would think that, but the actual “feeling full factor” is less for a box of Chex than a box of Raisin Bran or Cheerios. And how that full feeling factor works, is if my kids are still hungry after the serving size of Chex, but not hungry after eating Cheerios or Raisin Bran serving size, they are more likely to eat more Chex than other cereal per meal thus costing more per breakfast than other cereals. After thinking about those factors, I checked to see if I had any coupons. I did have several coupons for $1.00 of 3 but the store coupon said “Limit 1 per customer” so I could only purchase 3 boxes at this visit. That brought down the price to 3 for $4.00 or $1.33 a box. My general rule for purchasing cereal is anything under $1.50 for a good size box of cereal is a good deal. I purchased the cereal and only paid $4 for 3 boxes when normally you would pay $12 for 3 boxes. Today was a good shopping day!
My family and I aren’t huge Christmas present people. We like to purchase one or two meaningful gifts for immediately family members but that is about the extent of it. For the mail man, and the neighbors, and the extended family we stick to homemade baked goods. I don’t know if it is just me, but people who cook and bake seem to be becoming a rarety and folks just appreciate a real homemade loaf of bread or homemade cookies, and such gifts won’t break the piggy bank. Sure, if you were to buy all the ingredients for full price in November and December, it could get pretty costly but if you start to plan ahead back in the spring…I know what you are saying, “Spring?”. But yes, in the spring, and your holiday baking expenses won’t be as much.
For example, this year my older children wanted to grow giant pumpkins. Pumpkins aren’t overly cost effective to grow in your garden, but I figure it was a learning experience for the kids. So, we picked out seeds early in February for giant pumpkins that average 50-100 pounds and were excellent cooking pumpkins. In June, we planted our pumpkin seeds and nurtured those pumpkins and in September, they were about 60 pounds each and we got 2 of those and 2 smaller 10 pound pumpkins. The kids loved those pumpkins and we got so many comments when we put those pumpkins in the front of our house. But as with all good things, it had to come to an end. It became very cold and the pumpkins froze and didn’t look good any more. But we had a warm snap and the pumpkins began to thaw so I pulled out my knife and 5 large pots and started to cut up one of the pumpkins. We cleaned them and started to dry the seeds and then boiled the pumpkin until it was soft and ready to be put in the food mill. We have gotton over 20+ cups of pumpkin just from half of one of the large pumpkins.
Now if any of you purchase canned pumpkin in the store, those little 15oz cans are not cheap. But for free, I have such an abundance of mashed pumpkin I can make dozens of loaves of pumpkin bread for a much lower cost. And pumpkin bread isn’t the only thing you can make with it. There are tortes, cakes, cookies, soups, bread and more, and it was ALL for only the cost of seeds which if I remember right was like $3.00 or so and I still have a whole pumpkin to go.
This brings me to sharing. Our family could never possibly go through that much pumpkin in a year or two so I have enough to share with others. Not only did God bless us with these pumpkins, he has enabled us to share our abundance with others. By being wise with our money, God gives us ways to share and bless others. We only need to pray and ask God to open our eyes and make us alert to those opportunities that He gives to us.