Friday, May 15, 2009

Frugal Disasters and Couponing Mistakes

This picture is of what I found when I opened my oven yesterday morning, the day after my big baking day. Yes, although I had turned the oven off, I had left the sweet potatoes in the oven all night! I was thinking that they would be okay to use, but after further investigation (calling my mom and Google), I discovered that they were liable to have grown bacteria and should be thrown out.

Ouch! I really, really hate wasting food, and this was a lot of sweet potatoes. I had bought these when they were on a great sale at Easter, and I was patting myself on the back that I could stock up on a ton of very frugal baby food.

It is discouraging when you try very hard to be careful and save money and it doesn't work out. This can happen in a variety of ways -- forgetfulness, an unexpected bill, a miscalculation. For instance, sometimes (like yesterday) when I am shopping, I forget a coupon or a coupon is not accepted, and I spend more money than I had planned. Back in January and February I was so excited that I had really gotten my grocery bill down, but what I saved was all eaten up by our huge electric bills from the cold weather.

I think that these kinds of failures happen to all of us, and in the end the most important things is to not let it get to you and to move on. There are setbacks in every kind of endeavor, and everyone makes mistakes. Just like when you're dieting and you have one day where you overeat, the most important thing is to not give up on healthy eating and to get back on track the next day.

One benefit to making these mistakes is that they are a great opportunity to learn. For instance, I always used to burn things when I was baking by putting them back in the oven for "one more minute, " but I don't do that so much anymore. I learned to always put on the timer, even for one minute, because I know that I will forget them otherwise. Through trial and error, I've learned how to organize my coupons so that I don't lose or forget them. And getting expensive takeout a few times has recommmitted me to meal planning and keeping extra meals on hand.

I know that having to waste these potatoes will certainly make me more careful about making sure all my baking is wrapped up before I break for the evening, as well as keeping me humble about how much I can accomplish at once!

I feel blessed that chances are, a batch of ruined sweet potatoes or a couple of extra restaurant meals won't break our budget. In the end, money is there to serve us, not the other way around. I do my best live very frugally and save as much as possible, but I can't control everything. That's probably a good thing, too - I'll leave that up to God. :-)

Check out Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom!

PS - I have a Coupon Giveaway going on right now, just through tomorrow. Go here to enter!


  1. what a great attitude. when i make mistakes i usually get down and want to give up cooking all together - now THAT would be a failure! :)

  2. I know exactly what you mean. It can be so frustrating when things don't go as planned. I recently had to throw out a whole pack of ground beef because I didn't get it cooked up. I try to just learn from those mistakes and not repeat them.

  3. Sorry about those sweet potatoes! You can find comfort in the fact that you are cognizant of wastefulness and not one of those people are wasteful and don't even bat an eyelash.

  4. I've been here too. . . A couple weeks ago I marinated some steaks for dinner as a treat and then something unexpected came up and I didn't end up cooking them. Then the next day, instead of cooking the steak I proceeded on with my regular menu plan and totally forgot about them for enough days that they were ruined. I was so sad! And yeah, I have to put the timer on for "one more minute" too. :) I think having kids kills all our short term memory brain cells. ;)


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