Friday, June 7, 2013
A Year of Savings: 2013
June 2: A couple of years ago I was looking for a metal mesh side table to go on the front porch. I didn't have the $20 in my budget for a new one and there is apparently a dearth of old ones in my thrifting neighborhoods. At the trash dump last year, I picked up a cheap end table that someone had tossed. It's just particle board but other than the plastic strip that bound the edges, it was in good shape. I brought it home, washed it down and after it dried painted it with free paint. That was last year. This year it was looking pretty rough...so I painted it a new shade (also using FREE paint) this morning. I doubt it lasts until next year, but you know for two years of FREE use it's not so bad.
Roasted a whole turkey this afternoon. Not the prime time for baking, because it made the AC work hard to keep the temperature stable. However, the savings on meat servings/meals is so high that I more than balanced the electricity used (the stove is gas) and I did use my vent to draw the majority of the oven heat OUT of the house. As soon as the turkey was cooled enough to handle, I divided and froze in portions, except the breast meat which went right into the fridge. Then I sat down and planned out menus for the week based upon that meat in the fridge.
The turkey was bought on sale after Christmas and cost $.69/pound. It weighed 20pounds. I'm figuring I will get about 15pounds of meat plus the carcass for broth.
We had some dicey weather hit us last night. After listening to a program broadcast from Moore, Oklahoma, John and I grabbed wallets and cell phones before running into the closet to shelter until the weather passed. I think I'm going to put copies of insurance papers (with policy numbers and coverage info) and a couple of other important items into the safety deposit box at the bank as backup.
Ha! Speaking of hiding in our closet...I'm glad I cleaned it out Thursday evening so we COULD get in it to hide!
June 3: We washed a full load of dishes and a full load of clothes today.
Out early to pick up the mess in the yard. It could have been a lot worse. We are minus one pumphouse roof and one side of a tree is decidedly gone. The Faith Tree lost a couple of smaller limbs and we located the odds and ends that blew here and there. Funny, none of the dead limbs blew out of the trees, just live green ones.
I used some of the longer limbs to form a teepee in my pot of peas. These things run about $20 at the home improvement stores. I'm happy to use my FREE material to make one.
The peas are pretty much done I think. I harvested two pocketfuls of fat pods off the vines this morning. I have enough peas for one small 'mess' (two servings). Not bad for the planting of 5 single peas. I might plant some running beans in that pot just to make use of my new teepee.
Packed up half the Wellesley Fudge Cake for the freezer. It was good, rich and fudgy but far too much for just the two of us.
Made Turkey Tetrazzini for dinner today. While I was piddling about in the kitchen anyway, it seemed reasonable to layer cooked broccoli and turkey in another casserole dish for Turkey Divan. I'll need to add a sherry and Parmesan seasoned White sauce to that dish before cooking, but making white sauce takes no time at all. I put that dish, and a second casserole of Tetrazzini in the freezer for future meals. I like 'stocking up' the freezer with convenience meals I've made myself. Savings over convenience items: $10 at the least.
Supper was an easy meal: Turkey Rice. It's hard to find a meat meal as inexpensive to make as turkey rice. I used the broth from baking the turkey (chilled so I could de-fat it), 1 small grated carrot (gave a lovely golden color), 1 stalk celery, 1/4 of a large onion finely dice, 1 cup water (to make about 3 cups liquid), 1 cup rice and 1 cup turkey
June 4: Used homemade cleanser to clean the shower. This is the Dawn/Vinegar stuff I found on Pinterest. It works so very well. I find after an initial cleaning that just a light spray every 7-10 days will knock out any further soap scum buildup. If Dawn is bought on sale with a coupon I can usually get a small bottle for$.74. Mixed with an equal amount of vinegar this cleaner runs about$.90. I was previously using a brand name toilet bowl cleaner because it worked so well on soap scum that I bought on sale for $2. Savings: $1.10
Combined several errands today. We took off trash, went to town for John to get a haircut and I went into the grocery next door to pick up a couple of items that I can't buy at my local Aldi. I can't call it a savings but I did stick to my list, made out before I left home. We didn't get fruit at Aldi this past week as it didn't look as good as we'd like. I bought the fruit on sale at this grocery: grapes and cherries. I washed these as soon as we came in, cut the grapes into manageable clusters and pile the fruit in bowls. So nice and refreshing to grab a chilled fruit from the fridge after a hot morning of work.
I wanted pimentos but couldn't find them, so I bought a jar of roasted pimento peppers. Yes, there is a difference and it's not just in taste. A two ounce jar of diced pimento costs $1.19. A 12 ounce jar of 4 whole roasted pimento peppers costs $1.19. That's a HUGE savings for something that tastes just slightly different from the item I'm accustomed to buying. I'm getting four times as much (one pepper is sufficient for most recipes where I'd use this item). Savings: $3.57
We'd normally indulge in our once a month Starbucks coffee but the air was so heavy with humidity we just couldn't work up enthusiasm for coffee, as good as it smelled. I offered to buy us a milkshake. It didn't save any money but it was a nice cool alternative that we both enjoyed. I used my allowance to pay for the treat. I dropped the change in our charities box and put the $1 bills in my savings account. Savings: $2
June 5: Another pair of sheets bit the dust this week. I was making the bed when I noticed fine little tears all over a top sheet. Of six sets of sheets that fit our bed, I have ONE left. I have two flat sheets that I hope to make into a set, but it was obvious I needed to think about new sheets NOW. While out with Mama today, I went by Ross for Less. I find the quality/value of the sheets and towels there is far better than I can afford elsewhere. I have a set point price that I won't go over for good Queen sized sheet sets: $40. That is about the average price at Ross for Less. I found two lovely sets of Laura Ashley printed sheets of the thread count I prefer (never over 300), all cotton for $34.99 each. That is a HUGE savings over other stores for the same thread count/content. Savings: at least $65 for one set (priced on Amazon) and $74 for the other set. Not counting it in my total because I never would have spent that much for either set!
There are any number of temptations at Ross that I bypassed but I almost always check the foodstuffs aisle. This week the best buy was 14 ounce jars of lemon curd for $2.99 a jar. That's a savings of $1 over grocery store prices. I bought two for my pantry shelf, doubling my savings on the item. Often just a little is needed, but this keeps well in the fridge once opened and freezes well, too. A spoonful warmed and drizzled over angel food cake and berries, or a scoop of ice cream, or stirred into whipped cream is delicious.
It was my turn to pay for dinner out today. I paid for it from my allowance but I didn't let that prevent me from saving a bit of money. I ordered an entree that came with rice and steamed broccoli. I decided to skip a salad, knowing that I would have more than enough food without the salad. Savings $3.99
Sharp eyes on my part noted an understated little sign: Free Pie on Wednesdays. I called Mama's attention to it and we ordered pie for dessert. I won't count all of the cost as savings, because Mama and I usually have an ice cream dessert on these Wednesdays out, so I'll count the cost of our skipping ice cream: savings $4
Mama gave me a stack of gently read magazines. I enjoy looking through these even if they are a little out of date. Of greater value to me was the huge stack of coupon inserts she gave me as well. Now there's a savings! I saved $4, the cost of two Sunday papers.
I enjoy Pinterest a great deal. I find so many cute ideas, good recipes and such. This week's big find was a grapevine/burlap/sunflower wreath. I've got all those materials on hand and will be making a similar wreath for my back door. I'd been thinking I'd have to BUY something for the back door this year, but happily I can provide a lovely accent for FREE.
June 6: I was so frustrated last night with my computer. It wouldn't load pages, would freeze for long minutes at a time. I decided I was going to find the cause. I was looking up solutions when the computer pages closed and I was left without a way to even look up possible helps. I decided to uninstall two programs that were recommended as possible causes before my pages shut down. That done, I ran a virus scan, then defragged and finally I restored to a past date prior to the slow uploads and error messages. It's not perfect, but it's working far better than it has at any time this past week.
Made two loaves of Challah bread today for Shabat. I tried a new recipe this week and like it much better. This will be my go to recipe. Savings $2.09.
I've been feeling terribly restless of late, now that my Basics approach has netted me a decently cleaned home. The trouble: not enough money for projects. I sat down yesterday evening and made out a list of projects, activities and such that will cost nothing to take care of. Ever think you haven't anything you can do? I came up with 42 projects, some big and some small that will cost me nothing! Just goes to show that once you put your mind to it you can always find something to do.
Homemade sandwich fillings this week for work suppers: pimento cheese, egg salad, turkey salad. I expect these will see us through the work week. The cost was far less than what I paid for the last packet of luncheon meat, which netted us exactly four sandwiches. We'll get nearer a dozen and half sandwiches from these fillings. Pimento cheese is likely the most expensive of the fillings to make, yet it still comes in at around $1. Savings at least $8 this week.
June 7: I'm on a mission this week to USE every last bit of our foodstuffs for us and NOT to feed to the dogs or toss in trash or make compost. To that end this week, I used the last of the rather withered but still tasty strawberries to make muffins, three very ripe bananas to make a banana pudding and the last loaf of my first batch of Challah was split to make a homemade version of French Bread Pizzas for our dinner today. Small savings in all that to be sure but SAVINGS and that's what counts. Did I have a no waste week? Nope. I made a meal the other day that lacked a great deal in flavor and wasn't going to be helped by anything I did to it even with my awesome skills for using up leftovers. I won't be buying that particular item again for the pantry shelves. The dogs did eat it. They thought it tasted just fine. However, it was that particular item that made me that much more determined to use our food for us. I pointed out to John that while it was true the dogs will eat any of our leftovers, we're not half so keen to eat theirs even though we do pay for their food, too, lol.
Oh the luxury of my mostly empty shed! I carried a big box of stuff outdoors this morning and stashed it in the shed. The guest room looks much better and I am happier with it. I have a few more things to go outdoors but it's a start to have one clean spot.
I worked at organizing my things so I could find them once more. I didn't get finished because honey it was so humid that it felt like I was drowning. However in the space of half an hour, I cleared one corner, managed to put like items together and located two items that I want to use in other projects.
Manicure and pedicure done here at home. I've only had mine done professionally once. The last time I priced a manicure I was told $40...hence my doing my own at home!