If anyone is interested in trying it

there’s a groupon for emeals, half price for a year. I just took it and signed up for the “slow cooker clean eating” plan. I really need to get better at menu planning! There are a lot of things in the first two weeks that I won’t eat – I don’t like to cook pork – but there’s enough to get us going, and some things are easy substitutions (like lamb or chicken sausage for pork sausage). I don’t cook recipes every night, some nights are just spaghetti or whatever, but if I can do 2-3 recipes a week I’ll pull ahead of the freezer (our monthly meat deliveries are starting to pile up!)
Although there are two of us I took the ‘3-6 person’ option because I like having enough for lunch the next day and seconds if we want them, so that’s 5-6 servings. The meat portions seem generous and I like that there’s an iphone app that makes a shopping list and lets you remove meals and their ingredients (but not tinker with them) although hm, the first two weeks had a roast on them. I don’t want to cook a roast every week, I hope that’s an anomaly!

I have the same issue

Biggest bill after the mortgage is feed for livestock and dogs and it’s a toss up between utility bills and fuel and cell phone. I could spend less on the cell phone bill when my contract runs out – I’ll have to shop around – I’ve been with T-Mobile for a long time and been an excellent customer so if I do need a little slack from time to time, they are happy to give it to me. If I get into a crunch, that comes in very handy to not have service cut, and I’ve had that happen once or twice in the past, especially after I kicked the ex out and was paying for his contract as well as his mother’s until T-Mobile told me how to have someone else take over the contract – they really were very helpful.

I shopped around for insurance and found that State Farm beats everyone else so I’m sticking with them – been a client since 2001.

I also have cable which runs me $40 and that’s my entertainment, between that and the $8 Netflix DVDs. No premium channels etc. I’m considering going over-the-air, so I’d need a converter box and antenna etc since my TV is not digital.

I do need to work more on spending less on fast food – it’s a toss up at this point since it costs less to grab fast food than it does to cook from scratch. As well as not impacting on time. Its hard to beat spending $1 for a sausage biscuit in the morning which sates my appetite and then I don’t eat until I head home at 6pm since I don’t get hungry. If I eat cereal, I’m starving within 2 hours. Same with cooked oatmeal (even using steel cut which does have a better texture).

I do plan to downsize the dogs – but again, I run up against who do I get pups from when I need them since there are not very many breeders who breed for working ability in Tervs and Icelandics. It’s cheaper for me to breed what I’m looking for since I have a decent market for the pet quality or companion pups. Same applies to my LGDs, I have specific goals and its a chunk of change to lay out $800 – $1200 for a pup coming from good working lines, on a working farm, where health and temperament checks are standard.

There are some days I just want to bury my head in the sand, until common sense reasserts itself and I realize that I’m further ahead than I was last year and really, having my mortgage paid off in 9 years is just NOT that awful, when all is said and done.

IF my sheep sales are mainly meat this year, that’s fine too – it would be nice to sell breeding stock – however, I’ll be delighted to have them pay for themselves and their feed for a year, regardless. Knowing I have my hay paid for through the winter goes a long way to reducing my stress level. And if the sheep could be nice enough to pay for one or two or even *fingers and toes crossed* 3 extra mortgage payments each year, I’ll be ecstatic.