Friday, February 15, 2013

A Year of Savings: 2013

February 8:  Grocery day.  I came in well under my budgeted amount this week, as well as under the usual amount I spend.  I'm sorry to say that while I have a set budget we typically are about $30 over it at the end of a day's shopping.  So you'll understand that I'm especially proud to have come in under the $10 under my budgeted amount.  That's a savings of $40.

I earned enough Swagbucks the last week to acquire another $5 gift card.  That's $5 I can spend on household or personal needs that didn't come from our budget!

Put $3 into the vacation/call time fund after we returned home today.

Came close to buying a bottle of French salad dressing but after questioning John, we decided I'd make more of my own.  Bottled dressing at the store cost $2.29.  I figure my savings $2.00.

Paid $2.00 for Bleu Cheese today. The packet of cheese will make two jars of Blue Cheese dressing.  The jar of a similar dressing in the refrigerator section goes for $4. I save $ 5 making two jars at home.

 I prefer to buy bread at Publix, but this week I just plain forgot.  We picked up two loaves at Aldi ($1.29 each, a savings of $3) and I told John I'd make a batch of homemade bread (a savings of $4.50) to make up our usual four loaves per pay period.  He was agreeable to that, as he really likes the homemade bread, just finds it a bit too tender for making sandwiches for work lunches.



February 9:  Use it up!  Found the tail end of a bag of french fries at the bottom of the freezer.  There was just enough for two small servings so I baked them in the oven.  We skipped our more usual chips with our supper sandwich.  Small savings to be sure but savings nonetheless of about $.50.

February 10:  I had green onions in the fridge that just didn't get used as quickly as they ought.  I stripped off the bad green portions, trimmed the tops and then diced them down to about 1 1/2 inches above the root ends.  I had about 1/2 cup of chopped green onion that went into the freezer.  Then I took those root ends and set them in the window in a glass of water.  I've been reading on Pinterest how these roots will grow more green tops and I'm all for getting more for my money!  Savings $1.29 for not wasting the onions and a possible future savings of the same if they grow as well as predicted.


Today was all about using things up, too.  I finished off the last of the free full sized bottle of dish detergent sent to me via a survey program in December, by rinsing out the bottle well.  That was the last drop and I saved $2.99 by using all of that bottle of detergent and not buying another bottle.

Took one hot dog and two baked potatoes and made up an entree for our Tuesday dinner.  That meal is from leftovers (and if I remember it will be a Leftover Makeover feature).  Served with a salad and a second vegetable, it will make a great low meat meal for the week and I can save meat for another meal, stretching my budget out that much further.  Savings estimate: $3  the cost of 1/2 pound of meat.

Made the last bits of chicken (1 breast and 1 thigh) into a chicken pot pie for today's main dish.  I put the bones, skin and fat into the freezer to use to make broth.  Incidentally, the broth used to make gravy for today's pot pie was the liquid drained from the roasted chicken the other day.  That triples the savings from that little bird.  One chicken equalled 1 pint broth, 3 full sized meals (we have enough pot pie leftovers for another meal) and a future quart of homemade chicken broth from the bones and skin.  I paid $4 for that chicken.  The broth alone is a savings of $1.50, bringing the cost of the chicken down to $2.50.  Which means I averaged $.30 a serving for chicken dinner.  Who says you can't save money by eating at home?!

Feb. 11:  Employed that shop at home trick once more in my pantry.  I 'bought' mayonnaise, olive oil, butter, coffee, juice, and peanut butter.  All bought on sale at best prices.  I saved $10 over the usual store prices buying on sale.  I saved even more by not having to go to the store and steer through the impulse laden shelves...

Feb. 12:  I so love cell phones.  Yes, they cost you to use but I have to say this for sure, the built in long distance is a huge bonus to a mom with kids who all live in the distance.

Of concern to me has been the responsibility of protecting the music that John has written.  He's seen to copyrights, but the physical pages with lyrics and chords represent 10 years of work and really concerned me, since the copyright process was merely recorded CDs.  We've had the discussion a number of times about this for three good reasons.  First was a book I'd begun writing on floppy disk, only to discover that was obsolete before I'd finished.  When our computer died, so did the book, since there was no physical copy.  Then John began recording his music on CDs.  However, the latest machines now use flash drives.  I feel strongly two things  will not be obsolete: pen and paper.  So we decided to make copies, but safe  storage was a big concern. We finally settled on our safety deposit box...and then when the copies were made we realized we didn't have enough room in it.

We upgraded to a larger size.  Honestly the savings here can't even be calculated at this point but peace of mind knowing his work is safe is priceless.

We got our tax refunds back this week.  First we tithed, then we put money in savings ($1,000) and finally we splurged.  Our big splurge was a trip to the grocery where we limited ourselves to a $20 splurge fest.  Our favorite snack food (one salty and one sweet each) and steaks for dinner. We saved $1.89, what we had left of that $20. Just call us big spenders. 

Only 1 item in this week's sale paper for the local grocery seemed worthwhile.  I bought green bell peppers for $.50 each, a savings of $.19 over the best price I've seen anywhere.  savings $1.14.  I have a plan for them.  I'll make up a batch of stuffed peppers and put them in the freezer for future easy prep meals.  I'll chop the other two peppers and freeze to use in other recipes.

Feb. 13:  A refund was due us on the smaller safety deposit box.  I had it applied to our new box rent.  Savings: $6.46.

A trip to Walmart used to mean pointless items tossed into the buggy.  Today's trip I stayed on target by thinking hard about what I'd pick up before we arrived.  I chose to purchase OTC pain relievers and a special brand of lotion we like.  I saved $6 purchasing those items at Walmart instead of elsewhere.

I priced some of the items on that shopping list I have. Pillowcases were the same price at Walmart as they were at Ross last week but the ones at Ross were a higher count and much better quality.  Quality wins out in this case.  I kept my money in my pocket for my next trip to Ross. Savings, albeit temporary: $11.00 (cost of 2 sets of pillowcases).

Feb. 14:  Valentine's Day is a quiet thing in our home.  We didn't buy one another cards.  For goodness sake, this man tells me I'm beautiful right off the bat each morning and any man who can do that doesn't need to buy me a card!  And honestly?  I've yet to read a single card that says what I feel about him, so why go for second rate?  We saved $10 right there.

No flowers either, not even a grocery store bouquet.  Saved $10 there, too.

What DID we do?  We kissed one another and said "I love you."  I made a meal I thought he'd like and he did.  We shared our usual after dinner bite of chocolate over cups of coffee.

Lest you think we are completely lacking in romance I did buy him something.  Two king sized Tootsie Rolls, his favorite candy treat which he savors whenever I spy them and purchase them for him.  And yes, I'll have chocolates too, but not yet.  At my earnest request he's buying me a BIG box of chocolates.  Tomorrow when they are half priced!  What can I say?  I'm greedy when it comes to chocolate and I'm frugal, too!

This week's Savings:  $1128.27

4 comments:

Rebecca said...

Though I can't quite figure out your method of calculating your savings, I always enjoy reading your posts :)

And re. Valentine's Day, we're very much like you two. Sometimes I wonder if there's something WRONG with us!

Tracy said...

The green onions will grow in the cup of water. I've done it several times. :)

Karla Neese said...

Although I'm still beginning my journey back to frugal thinking and living, I did have some victory today. We have very terrible storage in our kitchen so storing food is always an adventure. Today I spent a couple of hours rearranging the cabinets so it made more sense. While I took out all of the canned/boxed foods I scanned or entered everything into my Grocery IQ app on my iPhone. I created a home inventory of food. And then, instead of just making up a random menu, I planned from what I had in the cabinet. I will be using a good deal of the grains and canned items as well as the frozen veggies in the freezer for our meals this week.
I did have to purchase some items to fill in and needed fresh veggies as well as some toiletries but my bill was much less than it is when I don't plan well. So proud of myself!

And on top of the kitchen victory, I spent some time with my oldest daughter at her Christian Sorority's Mom's Day where we all did a painting. Mine turned out so well and I can't wait to do that again. Perhaps it will be my new hobby on occasion.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Good Job!

I'm amazed you have your refund already - we haven't even started on ours! I think we're finally going to buy another car. We've been a one car family for the past 2-3 years and as you know, it's difficult in Georgia with no mass transit to speak of.