Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

I fell off the wagon

My A1C went up again. Yes, I was stress eating…. and comfort eating…. and depression eating… and just plain eating.  I was eating whatever and whenever.  I had the MUNCHIES almost every day. (definition: strange urge to eat the entire contents of the kitchen cupboards including any chocolate candy languishing towards the back).

I was doing so good at first.  But as anyone knows the motivation and urge to keep going can leave you just as swiftly as it began. I can’t give up.  Its too important to get the sugar levels down.  I’ve set my mind to start over again. (And again and again and again if necessary.)

One of the problems with controlling my sugar levels is because eating for a diabetic is one of those four letter words.  D.I.E.T.  For me, the word diet conjures up images of eating bland baby food for the rest of my life or having a constant feeling of hunger. Hunger pains are NOT GOOD.  I’m about to change these thoughts!

Anyone who gets and uses food bank food can tell you that it is definitely NOT diabetic friendly food.  Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the food from the food bank.  It does stretch my food budget.  Now that I’m on 4 medications for controlling my sugar my food budget is even smaller. I need the food bank foods more than ever. I’ll describe the food banks here in my area. Other areas might be slightly different.

Food and kitchen 2015 211

There are two types of food banks. One type is the “pantry staples” food banks that provide emergency food.  These are usually distributed by a church or a community center and are for times when there is a job loss or a weather related disaster or a major type illness that wipes out the food budget.  Receiving this is usually limited to a certain number of times a year.  When you are asked to donate food to help end hunger that food goes to the staples pantry.

Art ideas 2014 009

The other type is the “mobile” food bank that picks up short dated bakery and produce from groceries, left overs from restraunts, blemished produce from fields, and close date dairy items which is then distributed at different drop off points weekly.

I had grown used to getting fresh produce from the weekly mobile food bank that was just around the corner.  The drop off location has moved several blocks farther away which means I’m not able to get there.  Too far to walk and not on a bus line. I have no choice but to find a new way there and back.  It may take a few days and I’ll post about it then.

Art ideas 2014 011

My current grocery budget is $10 a week…. max.  This will pay for both edible and non edible items. I supplement my budget by using the mobile food bank and the USDA senior commodity food program.  There is no one standing over my shoulder saying “your going over budget” and the sky won’t fall if I do.  It’s the cost of the new medications that limit my food budget.  I had to make the choice of food or medication.

Now before anyone starts feeling sorry for me, don’t.  I’m merely stating facts, not looking for sympathy.  I have 3 little angels setting on my shoulders whispering in my ears telling me “you can do it Mom.”  With encouragement like that how can I loose?


12 comments on “I fell off the wagon

    August 26, 2015

    I take 5 prescriptions daily. My pharmacy had a discount plan for 2 of them & the manufacturer had another discount. Those plans brought the monthly total from about about $160/month to about $125/month…
    Then I later qualified for my state’s Medicaid for seniors on Medicare — then the drugs cost about $10/month!!
    Now I have a part-time job & earn too much for Medicaid. So the co-pay for doctor visits went from free to $10/visit for primary to $30/visit for specialists…
    Who said that retirement was easy??

    • Na Na
      August 26, 2015

      Not me, that’s for sure. I’d never say something like that. 😉
      My specialist co-pay is $90 and no medicaid for me either.

  2. mea
    July 23, 2015

    I have a tip for those that need to control their blood sugar levels.
    Start using barley, pot or pearl barley. This food does not raise your blood glucose levels fast and it is very satisfying which can aid in weight loss. Lots of recipes on the net and ideas how to use it. Diabetes can be a very expensive disease, so be on top of as much as you can.
    I got the message that my HgA1C was elevated as well so I started researching on the net about low GI foods, lots of tips/info out there. But Barley is a very good frugal food and good for those that have to mind their sugars.

    • Na Na
      July 23, 2015

      Yes Mea, diabetes is a disease of poverty. Calories are cheap but nutrients are expensive. Often when making a food choice its a matter of just filling the belly with what the pocket book can afford.

  3. Frugalwarrior2
    June 23, 2015

    well,I gotta say change the word diet to lifestyle change. I am also diabetic and popped my AC1 last fall almost ending up in the hospital. The chamber of commerce in your area will be able to tell you if any community gardens are in your area. I know you are city so maybe city gardens for you.

    • Na Na
      June 23, 2015

      Yes, you are right there are community gardens but they are not the same as a garden right outside the back door. So what caused your A1C to go up? Is it back under control now?

      • Frugalwarrior2
        June 23, 2015

        I did!lol I was stressing about life and started “forgetting” that I have to watch it.
        Recently we have struggled w/ Dh’s Feb.-May job loss and I started it again but got after myself. I recently added a med I take at night that has helped. It was 13! and I got it back to 7 in 3 months.

        • Na Na
          June 25, 2015

          I sent you an email, did you get it? I was asking what med you take at night that helped so quickly.

    • Frugalwarrior2
      June 25, 2015

      I have to look it up regarding your request. It is up and I am down. Spent yesterday
      At the hosp.w/ DH he is throwing a kidney stone and is under the pain right now.

      • Na Na
        June 26, 2015

        No problem. Take care of yourself, everything else can wait.

  4. Howto$tuffYourPig
    June 22, 2015

    I’m sorry for your struggle. I see you’ve already taken advantage of some community resources, but are there any churches or fundraising groups you could get involved with that may help you out a bit more?

    • Na Na
      June 22, 2015

      I appreciate the suggestion. I’ll look around for some. Really though I’m gonna be ok. Things will be very tight but I’m much better off than many others. I’m a SURVIVOR. I’m hoping that writing about my struggles will help others see the possibilities. Actually that is what my whole blog is about… making do with what I have.

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