With the cost of gas & food prices

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
on the rise, I find I must really watch the spending (more so than in the past - even with husband's new job). That includes non essential trips & such.

I find that we are doing less driving to keep kt "amused". Not that we ran her all over the place before but we found a Y that is a lot closer (a mile away), kt is walking to parks with her PCA to play, out on her scooter or bike & of late, walking Sally a couple of times daily (with walkie talkie in hand to stay in touch).

I've gotten her semi excited about gardening (I've given her her own little plot to plant what she'd like to), & set up the basketball hoop in the backyard. (She's on the team at day treatment.)

What are you doing to stop the continual run to keep your kids amused or are you still running?

Just curious.



Active Member
I found activities closer to home as well. Based on moving the activities closer to home and clustering the kids onto same days for lessons, we figure we'll save $3K in gas this year and more in food as I'll be home more to cook rather than restaurants 3-4 meals per week.

The hard part was leaving our friends at the other programs.


Active Member
I was just about to start a cheap or free summer fun thread at Watercooler, thinking along the same lines, so thanks for doing this. Here in Illiniois we are not only getting nailed with the gas costs but electricity deregulation resulted in our electric rates doubling a few months ago and there's talk it still may go higher.

My younger two have been building forts with chairs and blankets and sleeping there during the weekends. difficult child likes it as a dark getaway to play Gameboy as well.

My daughter got a bunny for a 4-H project a few weeks ago. We got the cage for free and built the hutch from scrap wood. A bag of free lasts a year and they are cheap to upkeep as far as pets go. I'm expecting once summer rolls around and we build some kind of enclosure on the grass the two of them will be spending a lot of time hanging out.

We don't have cable TV and my great source for VHS and DVD's has been a pawn shop in town. VHS tapes are 50 cents - $1 and DVD's range from $3-5. I take back anything we don't want to keep for credit--we've enjoyed a lot of cheap entertainment from this source this past year.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
Here every time the gas prices rise our electric and gas bills go up. Now we pay a "delivery" fee for pizza that is awfully high. No more ordered pizza for us. Our trash bill jumps too.

And has anyone else noticed that milk prices seem to be going up and down according to the gas prices? Last time I looked our gas was 3.50 something and so is milk. :surprise: To a family of huge milk drinkers this is horrible. No one's allowed to drink milk as a beverage except Aubrey.

husband is loosing at least a third of his paycheck to gas. He has to drive all the way to cincy and back everyday. And he doesn't get paid much since it's a temp co. He told his boss either she finds him work closer to home or a job that pays better or he's headed off to another temp co that will.

N has had to cut down her driving lessons to an hour only a couple of times a week.

T walks all over town with his cane, unless a family member is headed out in the same direction.

I monitor all electric usage in the house. No lights til after dark. No window air conditioners this summer. And God help the person who leaves a light on after leaving a room. Aubrey "swims" in a small rubbermaid tub to keep cool. We were going to buy her one of those small plastic pools from wallie world but it holds at least twice as much water as the rubbermaid. I won't be turning on my gas oven all summer. I have a crockpot, and an electric countertop oven that doesn't use much electric but bakes as well as the gas oven.

Groceries have been cut back to the essentials. No snack food except popcorn. And my menus are back to my "poor but filling" type. Lots of mac and cheese, rice, potatoes, hamburger, noodles, ect.

If we need something and it's within walking distance, we walk. My friend and I take turns driving to school. And on clinical days we have together we'll also take turns.

You know gas prices are too high when at Nichole's graduation they give all the grads a 25.00 gas card to give to their parents. :rolleyes:

Let's see, some cheap things I used to do with the kids..... waterguns, wiffle ball, volley ball (made net by recruiting a clothes line and used a 99 cent bouncy ball), we'd gather up the neighborhood kids for Old Fashion games like Red Light/Green Light, Mother May I, Simone Says, Freeze Tag. Kids used to round up my plastic lawn chairs and toss a couple of old sheets over for tents and forts, trips to the park to play and fish using cane poles and worms dug out of the backyard.....

I'll have to think on some more.


Active Member
Expect any food items containing and/or dependent on corn to continue to rise for a time. The fact it's all hitting at once is a big time budget buster.

Our summer pool pass in our community was $110 for our family of five and we get hours of fun out of it. It's only a few miles away so gas isn't a big issue and we never buy snacks there.

The library reading program is also a good bargain--the kids come home with loads of freebies such as coupons to ice cream, putt putt golf, movies, kids programs at the library, etc. The only downside now is that the teen program runs differently so I wind up with two kids with coupons and one without.

Plastic gallon jugs filled with water and frozen are good fun.


Well-Known Member
Arent prices outrageous now?

I have to use the AC because I cannot regulate my body temp so I roast. I do use my crock pot and my counter top roaster oven quite a bit. If I have to fry something I have an electric frying pan. I rarely use my stove.

We do keep the windows covered.

I dont have kids to keep occupied so that is a plus.

Milk here is 3.99 a gallon. Our grocery store is doing this promotion where if you buy 6 gallons of milk you get one free. Whoopie...lol.

We also shop at some weird discount food stores now.


Active Member

Do you have to buy all 6 gallons at once?????

Our grocery store is running a special on milk at 1.98 per gallon. I wish I could stock up.


Well-Known Member
No, they give you these milk coupons and you save them. When you get all six coupons you turn them in for a free gallon.


Well-Known Member
And you can freeze butter and bread too. LOL! DDD

I'm consistently aware of costs and have challenged myself over
the years to "not waste". This afternoon I am baking banana bread instead of tossing the old 'nanas out. At the same time
I am prebaking my baked sweet potatoes and the pork chops so the
oven will only be on for an hour or so. Boy, does my kitchen
smell YUMMY!


Active Member
I managed to get the kids a scholarship from our local parks and rec. easy child is going to a day camp for a week, and difficult child insisted he HAS to play tackle foot ball this fall, so his went to that. There are some free programs available here at different parks, but husband would have to take the kids, and I do not know that he will. May enlist Aunt or Grandma to take them on their day off so kids can do something.

Groceries are high here to. When I can, I go to Costco (warehouse store) as milk and many other things are less. Problem is you get so much, and I do not always have as much money as I would like. I also found a store where I can get ground beef (12% fat) for 1.68$ a lb.

Almost forgot, mother in law will be here in August :faint:

this can be a blessing and a curse, as it adds one more difficult child to a house with a child difficult child, husband who is difficult child, dog who is difficult child, I sometimes want to run away. Last time she came she halved her anxiety medications before she came. She readjusted the dose after a week. I think she should double it. :rolleyes:

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful

Do they have an Aldi's store down there? I know they do in Illinois and ohio, but I'm not sure where else they are.

Aldi's is great when you don't have much cash. They specialize in generic brands but do have Normal brands for much cheaper. What I like about them is their generic food tastes great. (except the peanut butter) And my grocery bill is usually at least halved when I go there.

Unfortunately the closest one to us is 20 miles. So I have to weigh what I'm planning to buy vs gas. We have a Save a Lot but their generic brands I just can't eat, at ours their produce is usually higher than the reg stores and goes bad fast, but they do have cheap frozen foods that are name brand.

I don't know how you could keep cool in a trailor without air anyway. My sis used to try and OMG we nearly died of heat stroke. :faint:


Well-Known Member
We do have an Aldi's and thanks for reminding me of it!

We have been shopping at this weird lil hole in the wall family place that has these bulk meat deals. The biggest bargain we have found is some boxed pork spare ribs for 10 bucks a box and this really wonderful Yankee Pot Roast for 20 bucks. The pot roast is pre-cooked and weighs about 10 to 12 pounds. It comes with carrots, onions, beef and gravy. We take it home, thaw it out and cut it into thirds and refreeze two portions of it and eat one for dinner immediately. We do add more taters to it and maybe more carrots. But for maybe 25 bucks total I get at least 3 if not 4 meals for at least 3/4 people with plenty of leftovers for lunches. That aint bad!


Well-Known Member
Just thought of something that maybe you all know but I just learned two years ago. The meat department at the supermarket
discount labels all the meat that is within 24 hours of the "sell
by" date. I really save alot of $$'s by focusing on those products and then freezing them for later use. Often I pick up
a two pack of beef filets or center cut lamp and then eagerly wait for the next time I can get another package so I can serve
the four of us..lol.

I also make a menu for the week and post it on the refrigerator
door. It limits my impulsive cooking AND keeps the guys from
snacking on what is suppose to be part of dinner! DDD


Well-Known Member
PS: Where we live you can DVDs, CDs at the library instead of going to Blockbuster or whatever. They have games for PS2 etc.
as well as a sizeable selection of current and old movies. DDD


New Member
I'm glad to see that it's not just me wondering how on earth we are going to eat for the month. Between rent $1,400.00, car insurance $198.00, and health insurance $325.00, it's a wonder that my family get's to eat at all!!! The gas is absolutely outrageous!!! My husband often takes the bus to work because it's cheaper than gassing up the car. We have a mini-van and it cost's about $75.00 to fill. That is crazy!!! What happened to the middle class? It's working poor (me) and the rich. "The American Dream" has become obsolete. Owning my own home is just a fantasy, and it will remain just that - a fantasy. I don't see that happening in my lifetime. My husband makes a great salary, 6 figures!!! And we still can't seem to make it. When my difficult child gets out of her Residential Treatment Center (RTC), we are moving. It's just too expensive to live in NY!!!

At least we are not alone. :smile:

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
The summer here will be a relief as far as gas prices. Both husband and I work on the other side of town and put on about 40 miles each every day. We've even thought about carpooling but it would be a hassle and with both kids riding in the same car not fun but we have seriously considered carpooling a couple of times a week.

Of course, all of difficult child's and easy child's doctors are on the other side of town as well.

This summer difficult child will be doing a bunch of day camps and going to the pool. The pool isn't too far away so that won't be so bad.

Traveling to football games in Michigan will be expensive this fall!


We live in a small town so everything is within a couple of miles - unless you want to do "real" shopping - so as far as changing things with the kids, that isn't really an issue. :laugh: I drive 20 miles on way to work and, while that's never bothered me before (I drove 50 miles one way when I lived in Atlanta and in rush hour traffic that took about 2 hours), it's really hitting my pocket book now. It costs $40.00 to fill up my little Kia now and I'm filling up about every 5 days.

Groceries are killing me. I stopped at Kroger (2 miles from my house) and didn't even fill the bottom of my cart - no meat, no cleaners, none of the more expensive items - just produce, milk and a couple of other things - bought only what was on sale and it was $90!! I wanted to be sick. It wasn't even a real grocery shopping day. Just picking up some things we needed. Aldi's is about 20 miles away. Super Walmart is about 20 miles away. We do have a regular Walmart (I differentiate between them by calling them Super Walmart for the super center and Stupid Walmart for ours :smile: ) and I pick up non-perishables there - what little they have. The grocery department in our store is only about 3 aisles. They don't have produce or meat anyway. I don't buy Walmart's produce anyway; I've never been happy with it. easy child wanted to have about 5 of 6 friends over this weekend and I told him they would have to bring their own food. He had 3 friends over last weekend. I just can't afford to feed that many 16 year old appetites all the time.

There have been a lot of good ideas on this thread. I hope more keep coming in.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I'm copying this thread to my computer. All wonderful suggestions.

by the way, our Target here sells milk for 2.59/gallon. Since that store is just a mile from our home I hit Target for many of the dairy, snack (their Archer farm fruit snacks are great & a box of 36 pouches is 3.69; granola bars 2.39), & their knock off sugar free lemondade is great (1.77 for 10 quarts versus 3.99 for 8).

I'm always looking for deals.

Again thanks for sharing.


New Member
We have a Walmart Supercenter about 30 minutes away and husband and I have been going at least twice a month and stocking up. Our freezer and pantry are full. We figure the more we have in the house, the less likely we will be to get take out - and the prices are so much better there than at our local supermarket. Now, I just have to actually cook when I get home from work. It isn't too bad now that difficult child is home from psychiatric hospital - husband and I were putting $100.00 a week into our gas tanks when we were running back and forth there to visit. Eek.

We have also looked into different activities closer to home for this summer. difficult child will attend the extended school year program again this year and easy child can go to a summer rec program 3 days a week for just $1 per day - they do crafts, go swimming, etc. Will be good for her, too.

We also went to the local drive-in this past weekend. Only cost us a total of $14.00 to get in - and we took all of our own drinks and snacks. Very economical entertainment!!