It's been a stressful couple of weeks, financially speaking. With gas prices over $4.00 and Ben driving 120+ miles each day, a huge chunk of the weekly paycheck is going straight into the car. And we've had some un-budgeted-for spending by both of us that has sort of thrown a wrench in things.
After setting aside a certain amount for bill paying and building the savings, allotting enough for gas money to get Ben to work, and covering our overspending, I've only been left with about $30 to get groceries the last few weeks.
It wasn't a big deal at first. Our pantry is ample. I had some meat in the freezer from previous sales. I spent what little cash we had on fresh produce and milk. We ate pretty much like we always do.
But then this week rolled around. And boy was I stressed out. I'm used to having excess food in the freezer. I like having wiggle room in my meal plan. My children are growing, as evidenced by the continually shrinking amount of leftovers I have to send in Ben's lunch. I'm used to having leeway, so that if we do have a low budget week it really doesn't affect us.
But suddenly it was effecting us.
I worried about everyone having enough to eat, but at the same time I started limiting serving sizes and how many glasses of milk each child could have in a day. I worried about what my in-laws would think when they come to visit this weekend. I wondered how many meatless meals I could get away with serving in one week. I was way outside my comfort zone and I didn't know what to do about it.
And just as suddenly we have been blessed again and again this week.
My sister-in-law gave us a bag of chicken that her girls refused to eat. A good friend dropped off a huge bag of name-brand, barely used clothes for Anna. My mom watched the little kids for me one day and not only fed them snacks and lunch, but she fed me lunch too. One of Ben's coworkers sent home enough Chinese take-out to make a yummy meal for me and and the two little kids.
They're all little things, but they have made a huge, huge difference to me. I'm still struggling knowing that the freezer and pantry aren't filled to capacity, but I'm trying to remember that what we need will be provided.