Every Thursday my Facebook feed is filled with funny photos of my friends with wild 80’s hair or their now teenagers running around with diapers and gummy grins. I love scrolling through these pics not only because it’s fun but because of the memories it brings back. Mr. Wonderful and I met in high school and upon graduation packed up my Jeep Wrangler and drove to the University of Arizona to begin our college career. We were idealistic, madly in love and dirt poor.
We arrived in Tucson with about $50.00 to our name and immediately started classes and our job hunt. He pumped gas and I worked at a local preschool. The experience is one I will never forget and something that I am immensely proud of. We survived and thrived in our tiny little apartment and both graduated with honors. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. Our food budget was about $50.00 a week and involved a lot of creativity. We ate a lot of beans, pasta and meat was a rare treat. I taught myself how to coupon and became very familiar with the “day old” bread section of the grocery store. Eighteen years later and we are blessed with good jobs, our own home and three wonderful children.
Big, Middle and Little are huge foodies- they love to cook and go to gourmet restaurants. They have never met a steak they didn’t like and can tell the difference between homemade marinara and jarred. However, Big will be off to college next year and Middle just two years behind her. We have tried to explain to them that it will be tough but it will make them better people to struggle just a little bit. While we won’t let them starve and I’m sure like my Mom did I will send them the occasional fruit basket but we want them to make it on their own. That’s why when Mr. Wonderful came to me with his idea last week I was on board immediately. Last week we hosted our first Throwback Thursday meal. A sample of what we ate in college when our daily food budget was about $7 a day for two people. We ate beans and rice and some frozen green beans and waited for their reaction. They took it in stride and even brainstormed other inexpensive meals that we could have. I was proud that they got the point- not everyone has food at their disposal every time they open the fridge. It can be a challenge to make ends meet and an even bigger challenge to serve healthy, inexpensive meals to your family.
At Connect for Community we host many classes on couponing and cooking. We believe that anyone can learn these tips and apply them to their lives- whether they are college students or a single mother of five. i know I will be signing Big and Middle up for the next class we offer. DKL