Last night my wife and I sat down (and stood around, and paced) and talked about our finances. We are in fine financial shape overall. When we look at how we can immediately cut out expenses, there isn’t much that jumps out in the no-brainer category. We don’t have cable or satellite television. Our electric bill is low. We get a discount on the oil we use. We keep the thermostat at about 62. The price of gas is low. Still, we feel like we need to balance things better.
Our conversation about bread make me think about bread, if you know what I’m saying. One area we might cut expenses is our grocery bill. We don’t spend a fortune on frozen dinners or junk food. The problem is that we want quality. I was raised with the knowledge that teh generic or store brand version of a product is the same as the name brand, and this was and often is true. But I have entered another league since those days. I don’t want just the whatever, GMO, artificially colored, high-trans-fat margarine. I want the local, all natural butter. It tastes better and it works better when cooking.
I know we could save money if we were willing to compromise on quality, but I am determined not to do that. I buy Green Mountain fair trade coffee, and that is a compromise of sorts. I prefer that to Maxwell House by a long shot and I know that it has benefits far beyond my budget. I also don’t want to pay for coffee in a paper cup every day. When I bake bread, I know it will be better bread with good flour and butter and even salt. Quality matters.
I also know I trade time for money. I could buy a five dollar loaf of bread, or I could bake a loaf of bread. The freshly baked homemade loaf is just as good if not better but takes more time. I just popped a loaf of bread out of the oven that I started this morning. A few hours of work means some damn good food and a big savings. If I can take the time to make what I eat, I will save money and have quality grub.
For dinner we will have fresh bread and fresh soup. That is good stuff. Yes, it takes time. I need to make time when I have it to prepare so I can eat well every meal, not just boil up some pasta because it is quick. I need to whip up dinner in a hurry sometimes when the children and I get home late. Prepping in advance can help us eat sooner and still eat well.
Maybe that should have been a New Year’s resolution: eat even more freshly made food for taste, health, and the the old pocketbook. I suppose I can make it one now. Bread once per week? That might be doable. I’ll have to see what I’ve got for time, as soon as I finish eating this pasta.