Thursday, July 21, 2011
Deep breath...Can I just say I am TIRED and it is only just after 10am? I have made breakfast, made the bed, fed the animals, watered the plants, spread 8 bags of mulch, started a pot of strawberry jam cooking, have yogurt incubating and bread rising and have diced nectarines to make muffins and blueberry/nectarine pancakes (the last two for the freezer) and I am weary already. How I shall manage to do more today I do not know, but I am waiting for energy to pick up so I can continue my plan of attack. Needless to say, however, mopping floors will most assuredly WAIT. We've looked at the drips and drops for the past week. One more day won't hurt.
Now seriously, a lot of what got done today was thrifty thrifty thrifty. How so?
We don't eat breakfast out except on dates. I haul myself out of bed at 5:45am on work mornings and make my husband a meal. It may not be elaborate, but it's good solid food and a nice balance of protein/carb to give him energy. He very kindly makes coffee when he gets up so it's ready when I get up about an hour later (he likes a bit of alone time). He could stop in town and get a breakfast but why pay $3 for what I can rustle up in ten minutes here? $21 for a 7day work week is our savings. Double that for the month.
I also packed his lunch while waiting for the bagel to toast (this morning's breakfast: bagel and cream cheese from an 8 ounce block not that fancy whipped stuff at twice the price). I pack enough food for lunch/snack/supper, so more savings there. A lunch/snack/supper would cost at least $12 if bought from fast food or convenience store. That's $100/week we're saving on his work weeks and well worth the savings. And let's double that for the month, too. It's pretty obvious why we keep doing this over and over again isn't it? Those meals I make at home save us almost $3000 a year. That's $3000 we can use to pay off our car loan or make repairs on our home. Note too that is a low savings...really it is. I know my husband will eat dollar menu selections. Restaurants cost far more so if you're eating out daily at a restaurant you could easily save that much money annually on lunch alone.
The nectarines are the last of the 5 pound bag of fruit I bought two weeks ago. I had three leftover. Two will do for the muffins and the third will get mixed with 1/2 pint of blueberries to make up a summer fruit pancakes which will taste just fine with maple syrup or brown sugar and butter or even a smidge of whipped cream on top. This is 'breakfast ahead' preparation. I'll put some in the freezer and save some out for our breakfast this week. All I'll need to do is thaw, scramble an egg or fry a couple of sausages and breakfast is on the table.
Laying mulch may not sound so frugal but it is. I didn't hire a landscaping company to come in and pretty up our yard. I'm buying mulch myself at $2.50/bag and spreading it myself. It's been slow so far this summer due to a lot of "idon'twantto-itis" on my part. I can only buy 8 bags at one time (that's all that will fit in my car trunk). However, we're saving mega bucks over having a crew come out and tend to this. Mulch will help conserve moisture around our plants which means when it rains that moisture lingers. So $66 a month (or thereabouts)is the cost for landscaping our yard, conserving water for the plants we already have. I don't make a special trip to buy mulch. No. I buy mulch on shopping days. Mulch goes in the trunk, groceries go on the backseat. Combining errands saves a lot when you live 70 mile round trip from stores. Here's the real thrift: except for one load, I've paid for all the mulch myself out of my grocery budget. I buy mulch first then shop for groceries after I've paid for the mulch. John kindly offered me use of some of our household money to cover the costs, but saving that for use in buying edging, pavers and plants.
I used rain water caught in my garden wagon to water plants this morning. No running my well pump to do what nature so kindly did for me. I left the wagon out, the rains came and filled the thing to the brim. I've made good use of the water and I'm happy to say I only poured out about five gallons this morning after watering all my potted plants very heavily. I wouldn't have poured that out but I needed the wagon to haul mulch around the yard... We have buckets under the eaves of the house meant just especially to catch rain water. The dogs like to drink it and we use it for watering the flowers and young trees.
Making yogurt at home is a savings, too. I spent about $1.30 for 3 1/2 pints of yogurt, which includes 1 quart milk and a 6 ounce cup of plain yogurt (to activate my milk). I'm reusing pint sized glass jars that once contained refrigerated salad dressings. I sterilized them on the stove top and reserved that water to incubate the jars of yogurt (letting it cool to the proper temperature first). I love the homemade yogurt and usually sweeten it with about 1/4 cup sugar, but I forgot today, so my yogurt will be plain. Supposedly I can save some of my homemade to use to make the next batch. I've always eaten every single drop of the homemade though. It's so good I don't want to give any of it up!
Homemade bread: I should get two loaves and perhaps a half dozen sandwich buns from the batch of bread. I'll make hot dog buns today I think because I have hot dogs in the fridge to make up for lunches.
And finally my strawberry jam: fresh strawberries (about 2 quarts) and 1 cup of sugar. This is a soft jelly but so tasty and good! It tastes like fresh berries. I don't use pectin as the berries are naturally high in pectin and have just enough to give the jam good body.Oh the recipe also calls for juice of 1 lemon but I have no lemons, so I used a lime. It will be slightly different but should taste pretty good. I'll have an average of about $1.25 in each pint jar when it's all said and done. This week a SALE on preserves is $2 a jar and that is a good sales price, but homemade for half that? Oh I'll take the homemade! With strawberries only running $2 a quart this year (a very good price overall), homemade jam is certainly worth an hour of my time.
Rather than make a special trip to town to get gasoline for the mower, my husband employed his own thrifty measure. He took the gas can with him to work and filled it on his way home. He practices safe precautions...The gas can sits in shade at his work place, in a well ventilated area and he doesn't fill it until he's in our own little town, to further prevent any problems.
Golly...Can we add "AS A Dog" to the tired I was before? The pancakes didn't turn out so pretty but they are edible. I have a half dozen nice enough to put in freezer and four that will do for our breakfast tomorrow. The muffins made 10 total, and they are cooled and packaged to go into the freezer. I have 3 1/2 pints yogurt incubating, 2 loaves of bread and 4 hot dog buns in second rising, a Chicken Lo Mein meal awaiting my dinner that used up stem end of broccoli, a BBQ chicken breast from Sunday, and various vegetables found in the fridge, plus spaghetti I found in the freezer this morning as I dug out strawberries. I have four pints of strawberry jam cooling in jars...
And that's just what I've done TODAY to save money!
We haven't even talked about how I only fill the kitchen sink half full of hot water to handwash dishes, and that hot water is runoff caught while rinsing the dishes that go in the dishwasher. Or turning the AC up as soon as we get in morning to 78, keeping all the lights off on these sunny days and using natural light to do household work, running the stove vent to pull out some of the extra heat while cooking, making my own iced tea (which is considered a 'huh?' if you live in the South, but there are folks who BUY iced tea at the grocery). Or making 'second tea' from the used tea bags because the geraniums LOVE tea to drink (unsweetened of course) just like we Southerners do.
I've used a fan to cool me down when the house seemed too hot instead of turning the AC lower and making it work harder. Refilled water bottles to chill in the fridge for trips and everyday drinking. We 'save up' for laundry and dishes, waiting until we have a full load to wash either one.
Oh dear...My sweet little hot dog buns are looking like they will a be a challenge to eat a hot dog in, lol. Oh well. If they don't hold the hot dog they will be nice for eating out of hand. Now, I've got a whole sink full of dishes to attend to. I'm going to do them while the loaves of bread bake and then I think I'm making an appointment with a nap...a well deserved nap, don't you think?