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“Make do Month”

January 19, 2012
by Erin B

Gail Vaz Oxlade has a great post on her blog about “Make do Month.”  January is always make do month for us.  We make it through Christmas just fine.  T’s January pay cheque gets deposited at least a week early but we stay on budget and don’t start spending it until January 1st.  Groceries are more expensive, but we mostly manage.

It just always seems like January is full of booby traps.  This year (for example) the car took a rock to the windshield and it immediately did a funky spread pattern that meant it had to be replaced. My watch broke and needed to be replaced.  Little girl grew a whole clothing size and needed a whole new wardrobe.  We spend more time at home and stuff that we could ignore through the holidays (like the pantry shelves falling in or the bunny running a muck in the laundry room) suddenly needs to be addressed.  Things that broke or got used up need to be replaced and since we are trapped inside by the cold, more stuff gets used up.  My most expensive grocery month of the year is always February.

Family and friends unexpectedly turn up, and we are very happy to see them, but I don’t feel comfortable trying to serve freezer food stretched to feed extra mouths.  I sometimes wish there was a visit moratorium for January.  I think for lots of people there is.  The week of -40 or worse weather mostly keeps people home.  My birthday is in January so people make an extra effort to visit.  I sometimes wish we would just wait until February when the weather is better and we have all recovered from Christmas a little more.

Then there is the stuff that in theory I should be able to budget for but in reality it never works out that way.  The stuff that you buy all year that happens to be on a crazy boxing day sale.  If I stock up, I will save money on the item compared to buying it randomly through out the year, but then I have an unexpected item in the budget.  Let’s face it, that’s the whole point of boxing day sales and January special features.  If the sales weren’t great, no one would buy stuff in January.  Food, yes, but not stuff.  I know this happens every year, but darned if I know how to plan for that in the budget.  Does anyone out there have a “January stock up fund” that you save up all year for?  How do you predict how much you will need?  It is never the same items, I can’t predict that in January doo-dad X will be on sale for Y amount and I will buy Z quantity.

None of this is to say that I am running up the credit cards this month.  We are still living within our means, it is just a little harder.  And I’m sure that some (most) of you are in the same boat.

In the meantime, pantry eating continues.   Last night was manicotti and I used up my manicotti pasta, a jar of sauce, a tin of soup and some of the parm out of the fridge making it.  Yum, yum!  Tonight is hot artichoke dip to use up the artichokes.  I have to say the internet is a great resource for “use it up” meals.  Almost any weird combination of ingredients that you type into Google with return 10,000 recipes.

I have to say, -48C (with the windchill) is really starting to get me down.  It’s only been a few days, but I hope it breaks soon.  Being trapping in the house with a energetic Little girl is getting hard.

One Comment leave one →
  1. LAT permalink
    January 19, 2012 1:30 pm

    I was already working on eating what was in our freezer before Christmas so we could fit the turkey in and the pies Mom was bringing! It continues into this month. Overall, I’m trying to use up what we have because I tend to be a hoarder. Safely prepared for the zombie apocalypse!

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