Monday, June 17, 2013

A Year Of Savings: 2013

June 8:  I worked out a menu yesterday while I had a few minutes quiet time.  So glad that I did.  I had only to look at the menu to determine an alternate menu for tomorrow.  We'll be having company and my original plan wouldn't work nearly so well for four as it would for two. 

I feel like such a smarty pants.  I had two sirloin tip roasts in the freezer.  I'm running low on beef but I also don't really care for a heavy roast dinner in the summer months and this is not a rump or round roast that slices nicely once cooked...Unless it is cut into steaks before cooking.  So I did so yesterday, cutting two steaks and cutting the rest into cubes for Shish Kebab.  And then it occurred to me that this was the answer to John's request to give him steak at least twice a month.  A roast costs $3 a pound less than the sirloin steaks and $6 a pound less than T-bone or New York Strip.  I'll be saving an average of $4.50 a pound each time I buy a roast and cut into steaks.  Today's savings:  $9.00



Made blue cheese dressing from scratch.  Cost savings of $2.

Washed a full load of dishes.

Used rain water to water the front porch plants.  At this time last year I was saving dibs and dabs of water from dishes, drink glasses and water bottles.  So nice to have the rain.  I just set out the watering can and let it fill, along with a few pails and buckets that rest under the drip of the eaves.

June 9: Pancakes for breakfast, made from scratch.  Cost to us was about $.30 and made enough to feed four.

Homemade Bbq sauce: the real luxury of making it at home is that you can flavor it any way you like.  Sam helped me to make my sauce today.  Orange Marmalade, liquid smoke, the right balance of sweet and sour. It was yummy and sticky enough to stay on the meat. I had about a cup of the sauce leftover.  We made about 16 ounces.  Savings: $1.29 the cost of on sale Bbq sauce Memorial Day weekend.

I was pleased with teh way the meal came together over all.  It wasn't what I planned to have but that's the beauty of having a pantry/freezer.  Just bump aside the meal you'd planned to make and go gather ingredients.  Do you know how much that saves?  About $25 for additional ingredients had I run to the grocery instead of shopping at home in my own 'stores'.

Sunday paper this week wtih lots of coupons.  We'll save the cost of the paper, $2.

Decided to make dessert and happened to need the last can of an item that I'd stocked up on two years ago.  Just happens that it was expiring this month!  Now I'll avoid the waste of not using that item.  I'll be watching for sales on the item so I can restock.

As I looked over the grocery list I'd made out I noted that as the weekend progressed I was adding more and more items.  A lot of what is on my list were items I meant to use to restock the pantry, but I'm not really out of them at the moment.  I've decided the best way to approach this is to look over the items and restock just a few.  Say this week I choose to restock pastas and rice and next pay period I stock up on juices and canned fruits, and the next pay period baking items only.  I have a supply of all of these on hand with a few gaps or low quantities.  I can also watch for better than Aldi prices at other stores (sales/coupons)on these items since they are common sale products.

Checked the freezer (a mini inventory of meats only) and determined that we can manage at least one more pay period before going to meat market.

June 10:  Planned to wash a load of dishes last night but it wasn't quite full.  It takes just as much water to wash a partial load as it does a full load but I feel I'm getting value for the electricity used if it's full.  I waited until this morning, putting in our breakfast dishes, which filled it full.  THEN I washed it on 'short wash' which saves water and energy, too.

Set aside half our meal for a quick at home dinner on grocery day.  Savings $10, the cost of our usual grocery day fast food meal.

It's time for my annual review of our insurance policies.  I'll be calling around to check prices on coverage.  I'm sure we'll find we can save money somewhere but I won't change agencies until I've checked to see if they can give me a better price, too.  In the past they have been able to come up with enough savings to make it worthwhile to stick with them.  I am not loyal to anything other than my budget however.  If someone else can save us a substantial amount for the same covereage...well, we'll take the savings.

I'm out of cat food, very low on milk, have no lettuce, am near the end of the bottle of olive oil, and have a handful of grapes and cherries for fresh fruit...Sounds like it's time for a grocery store visit doesn't it?  I thought so, too.  But then I decided that no, I don't really need to go to store.  Locally I'll pay a doubly high price and get a lesser quality of any of those items. Going out of town, I must add the cost of the gasoline to the cost, and the time spent, as well.

June 11:  Harvest day in our home.  This morning I realized that we needed to start setting another little portion of money aside each month or we were going to be hit with a bit bite from our account come Fall.  So glad I recalled this and was able to start setting that amount aside.  It's so much easier to do it a little along than to come up with a lump sum later!

Last night as I was re-scanning the grocery list and sales papers, I realized that I'd missed a potential big savings on an item at CVS.  32 ounce Powerades were $5/5 with the CVS card ( a very good price), and earn a $2ECB.  I had in my possession from Coke Rewards two coupons for 32oz Powerade FREE.  5 Powerade for $3 with $2ECB (like an instant refund) seemed like a good deal to me.  When I made my purchase the coupons rang up for $1.79 each.  5 Powerade for $1.58 out of pocket with a $2 ECB...Yeah, I can live with that. Savings including sales price on the drinks:$7.95 

Walked through the dollar store...I was very careful to stick to the walls of the store where I was well away from temptation.  I've spent upwards of $40 on tempting little goodies in there in the past.  Today I walked out with what I went in for.  I spent $12.50.  That's a good $27.50 less than I'd normally spend.  Good for me for avoiding that spending.

Shop at home, shop at home...I know it's sounding like a mantra but it's so very helpful.  I have a project I've been wanting to tackle.  I needed white spray paint but was pretty sure I didn't have any.  I can't remember the last project I wanted to use white paint.  However, I went to the paint cabinet and there at the very back was one brand new can of Krylon Heritage White spray paint.  Hot diggity!  Savings $3.79.  Project started!


I've been avoiding floral bouquets for months now.  I've only allowed myself the occasional potted plant.  I so longed for fresh flowers in the house.  My gladiola bloomed this week so I cut a few stems and brought them indoors.  I can't even count how much money I've saved over the past year or more not buying flowers, but I know how much a bunch of gladiola costs in the grocery.  Savings: $7.50.

Raked up the very last of the straw from our autumn purchase for animal bedding and spread as mulch over another flower bed.  I think I got good use from that hay this year.  It's already starting to break down in the first bed I put it on and it is keeping weeds at bay.

June 12:  A day at home.  John came in from work and I made breakfast: biscuits made from the last of the dough I'd mixed up to make the Pigs 'n Blankets we'd had for dinner Monday and eggs.

I ran out of cat food Monday.  I didn't see the brand my cat prefers at the dollar store on Tuesday.  I wanted to be sure to get the hairball formula for her now that she's shedding so heavily.  I'll pick some up at the grocery tomorrow.  In the meantime, the cat eats dog food.  Unhappily, with complaints, but she does eat it.

Cleaned out the refrigerator and rearranged the contents.  John prefers a  tall water bottle that was continually falling over and preventing the door from shutting fully.  Much cheaper to rearrange than discover we've left the fridge open and lose the contents.

We normally hang clothes to dry but one cooler morning John wanted a shirt to dry a little faster.  The east facing windows in our breakfast area get quite hot even on cool mornings.  I suggested he hang the shirt from the curtain rod and let that natural 'dryer' go to work on the shirt.  Sure enough it was dry within the morning hours.  Most laundry days I walk into the kitchen to find he has one or two or four shirts hanging in that window.  Often they dry within an hour and a half.  We're saving the electricity and he's getting the 'fast' dry that he wants without using the dryer.  This morning I walked in to find he'd moved the portable drying rack to a prime spot in front of the windows and was 'hurrying' along the dishcloths and towels to dry.  I may well lose that planned company in the kitchen seating area for the space as it's such a prime spot for drying clothes!

June 13:  No meal out for us today.  We ate the leftovers we'd planned to have.  It was just a matter of heating them in the microwave and we had a meal within a few minutes of arriving home.

One item I stocked up on today was ice cream.  Kroger had an especially good price on a brand of ice cream I don't normally buy but do like.  This week they had a Match 4 price that was another $1 off each half gallon if you bought four.  I had 3 coupons for another $1 each off that brand.  I decided it was worthwhile to buy four and store them in our freezer.  They won't spoil and we'll have ice cream enough to last us most of two months.  At $1.59 a half gallon for a good name brand ice cream I think that is pretty grand.  Savings $9.

I caught an error on my receipt before we left the store.  I went right to the customer service desk and got a refund of $8, I'm calling that a savings too.

I've been looking for a red geranium for weeks now.  This week Kroger's hanging baskets were on sale for $9.99.  I found a lovely full red geranium.  I was happy to save $3.

June 14:  I spent the day at home planning ahead for the weekend.  We're off to visit the marrieds down in Kingsland and see those grandbabies of oursI've been planning ahead: freezing water bottles for ice in our insulated bag.  Savings $1.85 for ice.  Putting water bottles and soda in the fridge to pack in the insulated bag: savings $8 for drinks and water for the weekend.  Kingsland has sulfur water, which I dont' like to drink, so I'll take my good sweet well water with us.  Putting coffee and filters in the baggage so we can make extra cups of coffee in our room: Savings $10 over the cost of coffee and doughnuts at the Dunkin' Donuts next to the hotel.  Packing snack foods, both sweet and salty ones: $10.

Spent the afternoon giving our info to a family friend who is working in an insurance agency.  She had the opportunity to earn a bonus for giving quotes.  I'm gathering quotes to compare to our upcoming renewal with our current company.  I'm happy to help her out and it's a start in a process that I hope to have finished by the end of this month.

Gave myself a manicure this evening.

This week's total: $110.35

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