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Category Archives: My life as a housewife

A housewife’s budget crisis: shopping for groceries with a calculator.

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While our government fought about the budget, my husband and I fought about our budget. Well, not exactly. We have more values in common than the Democrats and Republicans but sticking to our budget is not easy. We are in a predicament because although Joe makes a good deal of money, we have a mortgage, he is in school, our wedding is not fully paid for yet, and I do not have a paying job. The biggest problem, other than our outstanding bills as mentioned is that we spent way too much on groceries the last month. In my joy of being a housewife and preparing dinner almost every meal, I bought whatever I wanted at the grocery store…as well as whatever Joe wanted. But after consulting our budget and my friends who are wise with their money, we decided that we needed to spend only about $50 a week on groceries and at the most occasionally $75. So, I did some research online and determined that in addition to planning out our weekly meals I also needed to shop at the cheapest grocery store and add up my purchases on my calculator as  I shopped.

So yesterday I set out to walk to Aldi’s with my commuter’s shopping cart. By the time I reached the corner of Wrightwood and Clyborne I was dripping in sweat, the heat index made it feel like it was $100. And then I saw that Aldi was closed for remodeling and would reopen in the Fall. I looked across the street at the Dominick’s for about two seconds, refusing to even try that store.  Frustrated I walked another half mile to a place where I knew I could catch a bus to Trader Joe’s. It turns out that Aldi is the cheapest grocery store, followed by Target, and then TJ’s. Jewell and Dominicks are almost as bad as Whole Paycheck (ur a Whole Foods). After waiting for the bus for over 15 min, I saw the bus coming and realized I had left my bus pass at home and had no cash. I walked home. I grabbed a snack, I checked on the puppy, and I caught the bus to TJ’s.

At Trader Joe’s I careful followed my shopping list, for each item I looked for the best unit price, and then I added the price into my phone calculator. I even decided to buy the unpeeled whole carrots rather than the cut and peeled “baby carrots” in order to save a buck. After going through my entire list, I was only up to $35. I thought of a few more items we needed, and wanted but kept the bill at $52 with tax! I’d like to see the American government do that!

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How I became a Puppy-Momma: Adventures in housewifery.

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Just as I was finishing getting dinner ready, which by the way was fabulous gourmet grilled venison burgers topped with melted brie, caramelized onions, avocado, and sweet barbeque sauce, with sweet potato fries and asparagus as sides.  D.M.K. Burger eat your heart out. They tasted as good as they sound. I was getting out the plates, napkins, and burger toppings to bring to the roof when I noticed Chaco was prancing around the living room making wet footprints of the hardwoods. “Why are your feet wet?” I asked. I turned the corner, and there it was the thousandth pee puddle I have witnessed in the last two weeks, but this mess could not be cleaned with a simple wipe of a paper towel followed up by “Natures Miracle” cleaning agent to get ride of the smell of urine. No, this meant that I was not doing much tonight accept mopping our entire living room with “Natures Miracle.”

How did I get myself in this situation less than a month into marriage? Well, Joe loves dogs. Last  year he wanted to get one as soon as he moved into the condo, but I convinced him he was too busy and it was not a good time. This was very true, plus I still needed to work Joe up to big dog. See Joe grew up with a little Havanese dog named Snuggles–a four pound white fluffy bundle of love. I grew up with a Rhodesian Ridge-back mix named Rusty–a hundred pound regal testament of devotion.  I used to joke that one day Joe and I would be walking down the street and I would be walking a dog bigger than me and he would have a little toy dog.

Then a week before we were married I was talking to my brother’s wife about her dog and I turned to Joe and said, “how long do you think it will be until we get a dog?” “Two months,” he said. I was fine with that.  But it turns out that I only lasted one week of being a housewife without a constant companion. I was looking to adopt the perfect dog: 1-2 years old, house-trained, non-shedding, cute boy under 50lb. I could have been looking for a long time. But, Joe came to me on his own and said, “I’m okay with a bigger dog, then I could take him on a run with me.” Another time he said, ” We have to get a puppy so we can train him exactly the way we want.”  I also had my qualifications, and top of the list was adopting a dog from a shelter. I’m not in to puppy-mills or overpaying breeders. So we were set up for compromise. We would get a bigger breed puppy from a shelter…The first time we went to PAWS which is the most posh shelter you can imagine, we just didn’t see the dog for us. I was looking on pet-finder and other places. Then two days later, I checked the PAWS website because I heard that they add new dogs on their site everyday, and on that day there were too black lab puppies. They were so cute. I told Joe we just had to go see them. “Labs are huge,” Joe said. We’re not getting a lab. “I know,” I said, “just for fun let’s go see them.” “But, as I have been researching labs are some of the best with people of all ages.” When we saw the two puppies they were so cute. At first Joe wanted the smaller one because we were trying to not end up with a 100lb dog, but the more we played with them the more clear it became that the little one was the hyper one and the bigger one was the chill one. I wasn’t quite ready to make this decision so fast. I said, “I think a calm personality is more important than size.” We started focusing on the bigger one, then Joe said, “So, do you want him? Should we get him?” “Let’s go to lunch and come back,” I said. “The puppy will be gone by then,” Joe urged me to decide. “Ok, let’s do it, let’s get him,” I agreed.

And just like that we went from being a newly-weds to being a small family with our .5 child. Poddy-training a puppy is not easy and waking up early to take him out is not always my favorite, but having little creature to love, and project to share (training him), and most of all seeing him nap on Joe’s chest is worth it.