1) A lot of extra bills, and no extra money to cover them
2) A lack of space in the freezer - now the lambs have been born, our extra animals need to move off the paddocks and into the freezer, but there's not room due an extraordinary amount of bits and pieces - some produce from last season's garden, odds and ends of meats and soup bones, mutton fat rendered or awaiting rendering and so on. The kitchen cabinets also have a selection of odds and ends that keep getting not used - cans of beans and lentils I was given, various ingredients from my days of being gluten free, and so forth.
The solution to both? Temporarily reduce grocery spending, and get creative using up all those things in the cupboard and freezer! That way I use up things, and free up some dollars to pay the bills.
Normally, I do the grocery shopping every other Friday (fortnightly). Two weeks ago, I shopped more or less as per normal. This week, I purchased only a small number of items (toilet paper, flour, rice, pasta, oil and a packet each of mince, bacon and cheese). I also bought some carrots, onions, apples, bananas and celery (carrots, onions and celery are staples in a lot of meals here, but the ones in the garden are only just beginning to grow). I've spent about one sixth of our normal grocery budget.
So, the goal now is to NOT spend any more money for the next two weeks on food or groceries, except $30 for milk which we buy direct from a farm every 4-5 days, 10 litres at a time.
What will we eat? I'm not sure just yet! While normally I plan our meals, of late I've gotten out of the habit, and the last month has been so crazy I haven't given it a lot of thought. But I know we'll do just fine - as long as I take the time to plan at least a day ahead (to allow for things that need soaking or extra prep time), and resist the temptation to go to the store.
It's amazing what simple things can create an unexpectedly amazing meal - I remember many years ago living far from both roads and stores, and having nothing left except a can of tomatoes, a few lentils, a stick of celery and one carrot, plus a few herbs, and coming up with a delicious soup that became a family favourite for a time!
Time to get creative - I'll be sharing some of the recipes and ideas I come up with on this blog. How about you - do you have a favourite, frugal meal?