Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What matters.

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I am a Dave Ramsey devotee.

I listen to at least a portion of his radio show while Liza naps and I, with Henry's "help", prep dinner in the kitchen. I really like Dave Ramsey and I automatically think, "What would Dave do?" when confronted with a financial issue.

I feel very blessed to have been raised in a family setting that taught me to buy only what I can afford and never to use credit cards for things I can't afford.  The frequency of deep debt callers to Dave's show have reinforced to me that my parents did a great job teaching financial responsibility.

Aside from his, ahem, recent political endorsements, I pretty much agree with everything Dave Ramsey says.  And, that's the problem.

I listen for my daily money motivation and I want to have gazelle-like intensity in saving money and eventually building wealth.  I want to move along, follow the baby steps and pay off our mortgage in record time.

Trust me.  I really do. 

But, the truth is......Dave is really stressing me out lately.

1 paycheck + 2 adults +  2 kids = Just enough money.

Just enough money + organic fresh whole foods = Impossible.

For years, I've preached to the choir that buying fresh whole foods is cheaper than buying processed boxed foods, i.e. a bunch of organic beets and basic pantry dry goods for homemade beet pancakes  is sooo much cheaper and healthier than buying a family's worth of frozen pancakes from the freezer aisle.

But, now, I'm realizing my error......I never accounted for coupons and sales.  If you wait a few weeks for the mystical time when coupons and sales collide, you can stock up on the next year's worth of pancakes for pennies on the dollar.

And, that will never happen with my organic beets, aluminum-free baking powder and unbleached flour.  Never.Going.To.Happen.

We have a garden.  We have chickens.  We take part in a local CSA.  We are even talking about buying a goat for fresh milk.  We do what we can do.  But, it's just not enough for me.

In order to feed my family a healthy, mostly organic diet, it costs a freaking fortune.

I blame the government.  I blame subsidized corn crops.  I blame the American people for falling into the belief that cheap and easy food is more important than healthy and sustainable food.

But, most of all, I blame Dave Ramsey for continually reminding me that in order to build wealth and eventually retire in dignity, sacrifices must be made.

When you already live a bare-bones little life, I refuse to sacrifice the quality of my family's diet in order to save a buck.

So, it looks like we will spending a bit longer than I initially anticipated in Baby Step #3.

But, I'm okay with that, as long as I have my beet pancakes and local honey to keep me company.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Money Matter$ — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
  • A different kind of life... — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
  • Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down & Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the financial aspect of infertility treatments.
  • Material v Spiritual Wealth - Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family's realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
  • If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
  • Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income Family — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the "real cost" of working outside of the home.
  • Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
  • Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
  • Money MattersWitch Mom hates money; here's why.
  • Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she's made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
  • What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
  • Making Ends Meet — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
  • Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
  • The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget - and her perspective on creating and mothering.
  • Jemma's Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama Gretchen's monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
  • 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier — Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life (and budget) easier.
  • Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from realizing her dream.
  • Total Disclosure and Total Reform — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget under control.
  • Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at Tmuffin is only good with money because she's lazy, has trouble throwing things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
  • Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in BudgetingMudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
  • ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes for her children's financial future.
  • Money vs. TimeMomma Jorje writes about cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater value: Time.
  • An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
  • 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
  • Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family's lives at the same time.
  • Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains how she's willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun, she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
  • Money could buy me ... a clone? — With no local family to help out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can take care of her health.
  • Spending IntentionallyCatholicMommy loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to buy.
  • New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old's learned from having his own spending money.
  • How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
  • It's Not a Baby Crisis. It's Not Even a Professional Crisis. — Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
  • "Making" Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little greener.
  • Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
  • Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
  • Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most important item to budget for.
  • Money Matters... But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting too much of a focus onto it.
  • Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
  • Crunchy Living is SO Expensive...Or Is It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living - and her surprise at what she learned.
  • Mo' Money, Mo' Problems — Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family's finances.
  • The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if she doesn't always do it.
  • Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family's approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

I couldn't agree more! I can't wait for the day when healthy, organic food is within the budget of every family.

Kissey said...

1. still need to meet lulu! will y'all be going to the game/junction?

2. i'm with ya on the organics economics. ughz.

3. local CSA? local honey? where, where?

RealMommy said...

But, also remember the cost of health care that seems to be part of eating the frozen, processed foods. When we eat better, we function better. Less sick days missed at work, fewer trips to the doctor. I know not everyone believes that, but I know 4 people to have gallbladder surgery in the last year who also told me they didn't believe eating fresh (and organic when possible) would effect their health. I'm with you on this one. And we aren't even at the "just enough" point yet!

African Babies Don't Cry said...

Totally agree with you. Luckily here in South Africa things are a bit different... no coupons but the government subsidises staples like rice, beans etc. Fresh veg and fruit are also pretty affordable... although not organic. You wouldn't be able to find a frozen pancake in 98% of the supermarkets here which makes it much easier to eat a healthy whole food diet.

The Whatleys said...

I agree with you, Laura. Feeding your family a healthy diet is more expensive, but it's a price I'm willing to pay. You know me and my love of Dave Ramsey economics, but even I miss the mark on the percentage he recommends spending on groceries. Oh well...I will just continue to make sacrifices elsewhere because my family's health is still more important than flying through the baby steps.

Jude and Alisha said...

Well said. Now if I could only get my family to eat organic beets... (maybe in a pancake recipe...?)

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Dionna, we have to hopelessly optimistic to believe that day will eventually come.

Kissey, 1. we'll have to get together Saturday! 2. Yall need to get involved with Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute. Lots of good stuff happening in town! 3. We do Sam McLemore's CSA but I know he is all filled up for the fall and the co-op for honey!

Real Mommy - I live in Mississippi....highest rates of diabetes and heart disease in the entire world. I see the price of processed food every time I step out of my door. Massive changes must be made to improve our country's food culture.

ABDC - very interesting!

Amy - I know! You pay for what you get.

Alisha, I think Joan would love Valentine pancakes!

Mandi @ Living the Good Life said...

"When you already live a bare-bones little life, I refuse to sacrifice the quality of my family's diet in order to save a buck"

^^Preach on, sista. Health over wealth. And I'm pretty sure god would expect Dave Ramsey to agree.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

It is so upsetting that the good stuff costs so much more. When we were super poor (before we had kids), we lived off lightly expired canned & boxed food we bought at Big Lots. Getting even nonorganic produce was a stretch. With kids, I'd have to ask myself what my priorities should be.

Cassie said...

It is sad that organic produce and good meats are so expensive. But you are right it's better to be healthy than to use up your wealth paying for medical bills later....
Maybe someday everyone will grow and raise stuff the right way and the price will come down. I can always hope at least!

Jamilie said...

I shop at Whole Foods every week and indeed it is crazy, but if you look around you will find good things for good prices.. like right now their organic pasta sauce jars are $1.19 with coupon! The good thing is that I buy less crap now.. so that helps saving also!

Patti @ Jazzy Mama said...

Yes, a freaking fortune! We spend almost as much on food as we do on our mortgage. I simply will not compromise when it comes to feeding my children the absolute best. I can happily go without trips and toys if I know that my children's bodies and brains are at optimal functioning ability all the time.

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Mandi, all these food documentaries we've been watching have meshed everything I love all into one group :)

Lauren, that is the worst part of it all, especially in areas of my state where they literally don't have access to fresh food and the gas station and WIC's pantry foods are the only things available.

Cassie, we have to have hope!

Milie, true.....except my closest Whole Foods is 2.5 hours away....

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Patti,yes!! Our grocery bill is higher than our mortgage.....at least we have a house and good food!

Anonymous said...

I think sacrificing everything in your life just for money isn't the right plan. You need to think about what's important to you and your family and work that into your plan, which is exactly what you're doing with groceries. Great post!

Adrienne said...

Man, I so agree! It is so frustrating. As my mom always says, "Why does it cost more for them to do less to our food!?"

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Lactating girl -- love the name! -- I agree about sacrificing for important things. Like most families that choose to have a parent stay home with the kids, financial sacrifices are a daily event.

Adrienne, 2 words ---> Government. Subsidies.
Corn is where the money is :(

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Lactating girl -- love the name! -- I agree about sacrificing for important things. Like most families that choose to have a parent stay home with the kids, financial sacrifices are a daily event.

Adrienne, 2 words ---> Government. Subsidies.
Corn is where the money is :(

Phoebe said...

Over here in the UK, organic food prices are crazy so I'm guessing it's a similar story in the states. But they only seem crazily expensive because the rubbish I used to eat (and most people around here still eat) is so much cheaper in comparison.
"I blame the American people for falling into the belief that cheap and easy food is more important than healthy and sustainable food"
It's the same story here. When people say it's easier to cut down on food prices than elsewhere in your budget I just don't get it. Food is what keeps you alive, fit, and healthy - it doesn't make sense to compromise on the quality of that.