With our shrinking dollar at the grocery store and community market, I have tried to cut out any extras we might be consuming. I confess that I'm not a big coupon clipper. I believe that works well for some ladies. I also think it takes a lot of time and in my experience, the coupons are not generally for things we use (basically we don't use packaged or processed items). Here are some of the things I have done:
Jelly? No. Totally unnecessary- especially when we have delicious, homemade bread.
Beverages? This was cut out a long time ago, but a few "fun" drinks have crept in here and there.
Variety. Golden raisins and regular raisins may be delicious overkill. In the same way, we don't really need to have almonds and cashews or pecans in the granola. One is just fine. Though I like a very textured salad, I can also appreciate one with only one type of green and a few vegetables instead of the array of a chopped salad.
Vanilla. I can make this at home for a fraction of the cost. We have an Amish market here that sells vanilla beans inexpensively.
Cheese. Gone is the delicious sun-dried tomato basil feta and the crumbled gorgonzola topping the salad. Though Parmesan is tasty on lentils, it is the most expensive portion of the meal. Scrambled eggs without cheese are still scrambled eggs, after all. When we aren't used to consuming cheese it is easier to taste and enjoy just a little (especially if it's good cheese!).
Honey. If we pass on the coveted combs we can purchase a larger jar. We can also recycle the glass containers from the market. With my new boule recipe for bread I no longer need honey- I like the simplicity of the flour, water, salt, and yeast.
Milk. Even though we don't generally consume cow's milk, I do buy it to make kefir. I can make almond milk from raw almonds in the Vitamix and it is less expensive (usually) than what I find at Kroger. When I do buy cow's milk, I can sometimes find it in the glass jars and on sale. When we return the jars, we receive back the $2 jar deposit.
With all this said, I've been feeling . . . well, kind of hungry. Maybe it's just that I miss the variety and the extras. Maybe we need more meat or protein. Maybe I'm just experiencing the pinch of cutting back. I think I see it in the kids, too- this yearning for things yummy. I'm not just meaning sugar or sweets (because we do still have some of those around from Easter!). . . but that desire to eat until you are really full. To pass around the bread until everyone is full instead of saying, "Everyone gets two pieces." To serve the oatmeal with all the delicious extras- nuts and raisins and maple syrup, vanilla milk and fresh berries. To have a snack other than popcorn. To have nut butters again! And Trader Joe's nutty American mix...
This is what I call "American hunger." I know that we are not deprived. I know we are RICH! Truly, immeasurably rich by the world's standards. It's just interesting to see how it pinches us when we give up some of the luxuries we are used to. We aren't really all that hungry, please don't get me wrong. In pinching pennies and trying to eat healthfully as food costs rise, these are some of the challenges.
So I praise Him that we have enough. That there is joy in breaking bread together as a family. That He continues to provide in amazing ways. (More on that later!) American hunger isn't so bad after all.