Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A Year of Savings: 2013
I washed a dishwasher full of dishes this evening. I ran on a shorter cycle, since I rinse the dishes well when loading. And I turned off the heat/dry mode and let them air dry.
Was that all? Nope. I washed out my bras by hand using watered down shampoo. Shampoo is gentle, as gentle as those 'special' cold water detergents meant just for hand washables. And using that watered down shampoo instead of the 'special' stuff saved me $2.99.
I made a loaf of bread, but I've already given that savings last week when I said I would make bread. I also made up a batch of hot dog buns. The good sort from the deli bakery are closest to my homemade ones, so I'm upping the savings to $2.99 to reflect that rather than the mass produced big name bakery buns that don't even begin to resemble homemade ones.
Made a big pot of soup for Sunday dinner. I used some leftovers from the fridge, canned vegetables and a bit of leftover roast. I ended up with easily 2 gallons of soup and for pennies! There is no canned vegetable beef soup half as good as homemade, but I reckon using what I had compared to cans of soup at the grocery is a rather substantial savings $9.45 figuring ten cans of soup at $1.29 minus the cost of the canned veggies I used.
Put bell peppers into the freezer today, savings $3.00.
Opted to rethink the meal plans I had in mind for the weekend meals. I 'saved' myself one meat meal with that bit of thinking. Savings: $4.99.
I really have found a trick for 'saving' bananas from ripening too fast. We bought a very green batch of bananas last week at Aldi. Brought them home and I divided the bunch in half. I put three to ripen next to our apples. The other three went into a sealed plastic bag. I used the bag the bananas came in, making sure the bananas were thoroughly dry (and bag, too) then I closed up the bag tight, wound a rubber band around the top of the bag. This morning we ate two ripe bananas from the first batch. My second batch? Not quite as green as when we brought them home, but still not quite ripened either, 8 days later. That little trick saved $.98 the cost of half that batch of bananas.
Feb. 16: I spent all day long researching family history. I have so enjoyed this hobby and I must say that so far it's cost me $5 for a big notebook where I write down information. I thought, towards the end of last year, that I'd join one of the websites that specialize in documentation and connections, but I confess that looking at the prices I just couldn't bring myself to spend money on it right now, not when I can and do find so much information free. I won't count it savings since I haven't spent it and was only considering it, but the least expensive website I've come across so far is $80 a year. Compare that to my $5, but it is worth mentioning that if you dedicate TIME to research you can find information. If you don't have time to devote to long hours of reading and seeking then by all means, join up. It's one of the least expensive hobbies I can think of!
Feb. 17: No savings today...and no spending either. It was plenty cold, perfect soup and cornbread weather. John brought home the paper and we played with the crossword puzzle. I found two coupons to use towards grocery shopping this week, which will cover the cost of the paper. Others went into my coupon stash. I spent time with my daughter (the reason for the soup) and finished the day off with that final episode of Downton Abby. It was a good day.
Feb. 18: Cleaned out the refrigerator. There were losses but minor ones, 1/3 of a bag of spinach, some packets from take out (duck sauce, ketchup) (WHEN did we last eat takeout?!). Cleaned and organized, I know for sure that nothing will spoil or is lost and lanquishing. I'll take my loss on the spinach (-$.49).
Dinner plan for tomorrow is takeout fried chicken. I know my husband prefers KFC but honestly I'm into savings this week. I made potato salad and black eyed peas tonight. Tomorrow I'll just heat when I come in with the chicken. A 1/2 pint of potato salad at the deli (another favorite of that husband of mine) is $2.99. Homemade cost me $.85 for a pint and a half. That's quite a savings, five times as much potato salad for less than 1/3 of 1/2 pint! My savings: $14.10
Feb. 19: I love the internet. Trudy has a cough. She feels fine, you can see that in her bright gaze, shiny fur, perky ears, lack of fever, and complete and total interest in every meal and treat put before her, not to mention loving to run the fields with Maddie. But that cough... I looked up doggy coughs online and sure enough I found one that sounded exactly like my Trudy's. It seems that this particular sort of cough is produced after a bit of grass or a tiny leaf gets lodged in the lung. All that was needed per the online vet, was an expectorant (NOT a cough suppressant nor a decongestant) and I know of a really good one that is safe. Since Trudy weighs 55 pounds a child's dose would work just great for her. I picked up a store brand expectorant. That cost me $4 and is more medicine than she'll require. It just so happens it's safe for humans as well and is a common cold medicine ingredient so we can use it as well. That sure beats the basic Vet visit of $65. Savings $61 (update on Trudy: The cough is looser and more productive just 36 hours into dosing her. Go internet!) (later note as of 2-24: still a little cough now and then but worlds better. She can now bark and growl without coughing).
I had a plan today that involved a lot of stops and a few hours away from home. Well rain puts me off errands and I don't mind saying so. I had a hair appointment and initially meant to leave home just in time for that but I realized that if I left early, cut out two or three stops and streamlined my morning, I could be home in two hours instead of four. So I went to the bank, hurried into the dollar store with a 24 minute drive and 10 minutes to shop. Knowing you have a limited amount of time to be in a store is a HUGE savings. I never walk out of the dollar store with less than $40 of stuff. I got two items (the cough remedy and a mascara) for $12. Saved $28 simply by not walking around and 'just looking'. Those two items I picked up may have cost me $12 at the dollar store but they would have cost $20 at any other store. I saved $8.
I changed hairdressers in the past couple of months. I really really like working with this young lady and she works hard to give me a great experience in her chair. She listens to every thing I say, tries to work on any problems I might have had with the style, etc. The bonus of this is that she's $5 less expensive than my former stylist. My former stylist was good but was a bit afraid to 'cut'. She preferred to do your hair every two weeks. That doubled my costs. What a choice to have to make! A decent haircut for $44 a month or look shabby for two weeks a month and pay $22. New stylist knows how to cut hair just right. I pay the lesser amount, can easily go four weeks without a cut (she even suggested I might go five!). I'm saving $60 a year, $5 a month.
Skipped going into the local grocery. I'd meant to go in to purchase a certain brand of shredded cheese that was on sale. I don't normally buy shredded cheese, but this brand has a shredded Gouda. I never pick up just the Gouda because I buy into that sales promo of Two for $4. As I scanned my memory for any other items I might want, I knew that I was only going in for the cheese. I can buy an 8 ounce package of Gouda for$2 at Aldi. That's 3 ounces MORE than the sale promo cheese. That would be a savings of $2.40 at the cost per ounce of 1 package of the other brand.
Picked up chicken at the local diner. It costs $8 for 8 pieces, which is a savings of $6 over the 4 pieces of KFC. They threw in an extra breast today. We'll get 3 meals off that box of chicken. I've frozen and reheated this before with very good results. So for $8 I get a meat entree for today and two future meat entrees. We never have leftovers of KFC to make a second meal.
Today was Harvest Day, when we pay our tithes and bills from John's paycheck. The propane truck came to refill the tank yesterday but we didn't need any gas this month. I budgeted $30 a pay period for propane. That's $60 we can apply to our car loan which will mean we make an extra payment on that loan amount.
We'll save some interest. Don't ask me how much, I don't figure such, but it's a little money that adds up.
Feb. 20: We moved up our grocery day to coincide with some errands John needed to run today. It just made sense to save the gasoline by combining the trips. I went into one grocery while he got his hair cut next door. The grocery has a Starbucks and because I registered a gift card that Katie gave me at Christmas I qualified for a free coffee this month. I got the coffee today. Savings $4.35.
Although I went over the grocery and Target fliers repeatedly dog food was not on sale in any of them. I was really disappointed. I was out of dog food. I looked over the shelves really well and discovered that while the brand wasn't on sale, the particular flavor they prefer WAS and for the same price I paid January 4. I figured then that buying four bags essentially netted me a free bag. I bought four bags today. I should have dog food enough for 6 weeks and hopefully will find another sale at that time. I saved $10.99, the cost of the fourth bag and a single mfr. coupon for that brand.
Walked around the deli cheese section and I'm glad I did. I found a 5 ounce block of good blue cheese for $1.79. Savings of $1.29 over the okay cheese I normally buy to make dressing.
We bought a 12 pack of water for a future trip. I realized as we headed home that I was really thirsty. John offered to stop and buy me something to drink. I asked if he'd just stop and take a bottle of water from the trunk. Savings: $1.49.
Feb. 21: John and I planned a trip for this weekend. We've traveled enough in the past year or so that we've about got packing down to a science. The hotel we'll be staying in serves a continental breakfast but the place is packed out from 6a until 9a when it closes. We picked up cinnamon rolls and string cheese for breakfasts and I brought along our own coffee to brew in the room coffee pot. We'll save the cost of breakfast two mornings (savings $12).
I cooked a rump roast for dinner. It weighed four pounds. I knew we'd be gone this weekend but the roast had been thawed and needed to be cooked. It served us for dinner, and then I sliced and divided up the remaining meat and put into the freezer. I could have safely left in the fridge over the next couple of days but I happened to think of the two kids meeting us at the house on Sunday. They rummage through the fridge and eat things sometimes. I left just enough for them to make a sandwich or two. Savings: two meat entrees for four for future meals, about $12.
While I was packing foods away, I decided it might be best to freeze half of the two packets of luncheon meat we'd bought. That allows us to have sandwiches NEXT pay period and insures we don't have leftovers to spoil.
Feb.22: I made a homemade rendition of a popular breakfast sandwich and served prior to our journey. Savings $6. I used super sale priced English muffins, thin turkey ham, a slice of cheddar and a single cooked egg. I think my version cost us a whole $.30!
We booked our room via online 'bargaining site' that lists prices from the hotel website and several other travel sites at once, allowing you to choose the best price. This saved $20 for our stay.
Feb. 23: We had to balance our budget on this trip since we were staying an extra night and so we did what we could. We packed breakfast foods and snacks. We bought a pack of bottled water at the grocery. At convenience stores, we'd have paid $1.49 a bottle. The packet of 12 bottles cost us only $2.99 and we had enough water to last us all weekend long, even to share with family for the trip to the zoo we made. That's a savings of $15.
Feb.24: The two youngest kids were waiting for us here at the house. Katie's car needed a repair and her brother was doing the work, using dad's tools. A meal would be needed and after five hours driving home? Not likely to be a happy moment for me, lol. We noted at the grocery earlier this week that hot dog buns were just $.35 a pack. We have hot dogs in the freezer, canned chili on the pantry shelf, sweet potato fries in the freezer...A meal. Savings $20, the cost of a take out meal for four.
Savings this week: $337.55