I have been absent from my blog for quite awhile! But I am back and ready to inject some new life into Perennial Joy by talking about something I’m very passionate about: developing the skill of homemaking. I want to encourage women to fulfill our biblical role in loving our homes and truly make homemaking a “profession” by growing in the skill of keeping our homes.
To get some ammunition and inspiration from someone wiser than myself, I went to Rebekah Merkle’s book Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity.
In this book Merkle tells us that Betty Friedan, author of the 1963 book “Feminine Mystique”, kicked off the second-wave feminism in our country. In her book, Friedan “described the pitiable plight of the housewife, forever shackled to her merely biological role – that of childbearing – and not able to find fulfillment or meaning in higher, more challenging pursuits.” 1
I have to say that I have felt embarrassed or belittled by my role as full-time wife, mother, and homemaker…more than I care to admit!
I know that I exert great creativity and skill in my roles. However, in the moment of truth, when someone asks if I do anything other than stay home with my kids, I start to pull at my collar a bit. I have this unfounded fear that the other party I’m answering to might envision me sitting on the sofa in my sweats scrolling through my Facebook feed while my children squall in a pile of unfolded laundry. When a college student says “so how do you spend your days?” my mind tends to go blank and I blabber about errands and laundry and cleaning the house, which in the end sounds a bit like I am a maid, doesn’t it?
Rebekah Merkle says in her book:
“Friedan’s thesis was that in order for a woman to achieve true fulfillment in her calling she needed to turn her back on the home and on children. But I would submit that if we women decided to take our motivation, our drive, our inspiration, our imagination, and our creativity, and aim it toward our homes, our husbands, and our children, we would find a vast and glorious and transformative world of possibilities open up before us.” 2
A world of possibilities opens up when we commit to be workers at home and be creative and use all the skills that God gave us. There are endless ways that we can pour into serving our family, our community, and our church! Yes this will include laundry, errands, and cleaning, but is so much more than that. We have the chance to model Christ to our children and to outsiders by the way we selflessly serve our family and our community. We have the chance to perfect the art of homemaking in the arenas that interest us and serve our families most. This isn’t the case if we are exhausting ourselves and our skills in a full-time job, seeking work-arounds so our family can scrape along without us.
On that note, I am currently trying to grow in the skill of dramatically reducing our grocery bill.
This month’s goal: reduce the grocery bill
I am a budget-lover. We keep tight control of our finances using Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar, and I have a lot more information on how we do that in this post. Despite my fanatic budgeting, I have had a hard time finding areas to save money so we can work on paying down our mortgage. I really thought it was impossible to reduce the amount we spend on food, but after some research, I think this is the most flexible area, and I’m excited to drill down and figure this out.
I do work to be frugal – making things from scratch, not buying expensive unnecessary groceries. However, I do have food allergies that make our grocery bill go up, and I am committed to our family eating as organic and clean as we can. Also, my husband doesn’t eat sugar, so I try to stock up on other snack foods he will eat like pecans, dates, frozen berries for yogurt, and sourdough bread. All four of these foods he calls dessert, if you can believe that!
We can’t always buy everything organic, but we do our best to eat nourishing food on a budget. I also think that because we rarely eat out, our grocery bill is higher. But we are certainly saving money on eating at home instead of dining out – and staying healthier.
I am going to be transparent and tell you what I want to get our grocery bill down to each month, and what I have spent so far this month.
We did have a short two-day trip last week, and another planned for this weekend, so we did purchase some snacky things that we wouldn’t usually buy.
If you want to see the full grocery haul, click on the video below!
My goal is to bring our grocery down to under $500 per month, hopefully closer to $400-450. Here are the last few months’ grocery bills for comparison. These previous grocery budgets also included some household items, but I’ve decided to start splitting out anything that doesn’t qualify as groceries so I can get a better handle on the cost of consumable food coming into my house.
January: $384 (this was our no-spend month, in which I tried to shop our pantry and only buy a few staples each week)
February: $1478 (we bought 1/4 an organic, grass-fed cow this month)
So you can see that I will save an average of $450 per month if I can spend only $450 per month!! Do-able? I’m not sure!! Later this week I will share with you how I plan to reduce my spending on groceries.
This week I shopped at Fred Meyer, Rosauers / Huckleberries (our local grocery store and health food market), Trader Joes, and Costco. I bought a 25lb bag of organic brown rice flour at the 25% off bulk food sale at Huckleberries, so that jumped my bill up quite a bit, but I’m so glad to have that in my pantry since I have to keep my kitchen as gluten free as possible. (I still make sandwiches for the kids with wheat bread, but I can’t bake with flour since it’s dusty and uncontrollable.)
Fred Meyer: $7.80
Trader Joes: $112.89
Last week: $126.31
This leaves me $119.27 if I am to stay under that $450 mark! I’m pretty nervous about that, but I’m going to work hard to make it.
Thanks for jumping into this journey with me! Be sure to subscribe to my email list below to be notified as I post new videos and blog posts!
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