Sunday, September 15, 2013
A Year of Savings - 2013
Sept. 8: We had a busy day Saturday and it felt we'd hardly had time for the deep rest we needed. I decided it was a day to spend taking it easy, once dinner was taken care of. John made us a yummy breakfast, I started dinner (a pot roast) and the day went along all by itself after that. Pot roast was cooked atop the stove instead of in the crockpot. I had real mashed potatoes...what? Seriously do you know how prolific instant potatoes have become? I peeled my potatoes and cooked them then mashed with a bit of warm milk and butter as seasoning. They taste sooo much better than instant, take only a small amount of time to cook. The truth: it may actually be cheaper to buy instant. I just prefer to pay the extra and have the full flavor.
No whipped cream on hand. I tried an experiment. I whipped well chilled (with ice crystals) evaporated milk. It whipped up really nicely. I then tried a tip I'd read online, to add 1 tablespoon instant vanilla pudding to stabilize the whipped cream. uhm...No. Not good. The lovely whipped cream fell and I ended up with a thin custard sauce. I dumped in the rest of the pudding mix and made pudding. No savings, no loss. Except for that idea of having shortcake...that was a loss, lol.
Spent my afternoon tooling about the internet looking up genealogy information. All free, no cost and I did get a few leads. It's rather thrilling to find an online document with your 4xs great grandfather's signature.
September 9: I used dishwasher liquid to wipe the greasy film off the walls and cabinets. It worked beautifully, is far less harsh than many of the chemical cleaners meant to do the same task. I was pleased to use what I had on hand. Savings: $3.99 for a 'made just for' task specific cleaner.
Took a few minutes to go over my little potted patio corner garden. One pot of marigolds was done as was the dusty miller (I'd hoped to salvage that as it tends to be more perennial than annual here, but not this year). I moved the larkspur that had started in various pots to the original planter. That nicely filled the pot and I won't need to go purchase more larkspur. Savings $2.99.
Washed a small load of clothes and the bathroom rugs together. These were 'around the house' clothes so no harm done if we had a little lint on them. Noted that the bathroom rugs have begun to split on the rubber back so last wash for them. I expect to get about a month's use from them, which will allow me time to purchase new ones. Hung rugs outdoors over deck railing to dry.
Used last of the can of cherry red spray paint to touch up the red I put on the plate stand last year. It's a little brighter, more noticeable and lovely. I had just enough paint left to give it a good solid coat.
Easy dinner was wanted today. I used stuffed peppers from the freezer (popped in crockpot and cooked while I was cleaning), made coleslaw, reheated the leftover potatoes from yesterday. Dinner done and little effort required from me beyond clearing up.
Sept. 10 This morning I had a kitchen accident. I moved something in the fridge and an egg carton hit the floor. Fortunately there were only two eggs in the carton. One broke completely, but remained in the shell. The other cracked but did not leak egg. I put the cracked egg in another carton, and determined I'd use that broken egg right away. I happened to have one last can of crushed pineapple to use up that was expiring and decided to make my favorite one bowl, one egg, single-layer cake we like so much. Salvaged the egg, and the can of pineapple. Savings $.60.
Sept. 11 Nasty early morning wake-up. As soon as I sat up and put my foot on the floor, a wave of nausea hit me. I couldn't fathom what on earth would cause me to feel so awful. Fortunately I keep plenty of fresh ginger root on hand. I cut into quarter sized pieces when I bring it home and freeze it. I plopped two pieces into a mug of water, heated in the microwave and sipped. It brought some relief. I went back to bed and slept two or three more hours. I was still a little woozy when I got up. I opened a soda at that point and let it sit until it was slightly flat. I've followed my former doc's wisdom. No solid foods as long as nauseated except dry toast or crackers, just enough to stave off hunger. I'll follow up with the BRATY diet: Bananas (there's a half one in the freezer), rice, applesauce, dry toast, yogurt for the next 24 hours and that should put me right. Not having to send to town for any of these necessary items is a savings! All are on hand, part of my standard 'sick' pantry wherein I keep tissues, cold medicines, viral remedies, soups, saltines and basics of said Braty diet.
Leftovers plenty today to serve for John's dinner (I skipped until later in afternoon when I indulged in rice), so no need of putting forth a lot of effort. Lots of relief in knowing that if I had not had leftovers, this man would have managed on his own but it's so much easier when you have a small stash of leftovers.
Sept. 12 Just another day at home...and another day spending very little. I thought about that this morning. A friend reported running out to pick up an item at the store and then later in the day she went again for a movie and a bit later, she went out again for a late evening snack. No envy on my part, because my friend lives in town where she's happy and I live in a rural area where I'm happy. But I confess that running into town isn't quite my cup of tea, at least not three times in one day, nor even once a day for that matter. I have another friend who also lives rurally but she's city-minded so she thinks nothing of hopping in the car to run to town for something...I've learned to THINK rurally. That means that when we want something it goes on a list and if we can combine several errands we always do and if we just feel like say a milkshake along about 8pm, well we feel like a milkshake the rest of the evening, too.
Part of our rural mindedness is because we live away from the majority of stores and businesses we might be patrons of. Part of our mindset is budgetary. We allow just so much for gasoline, for groceries, for home goods, for entertainment and when the money is gone it's gone and there isn't more until the next pay period rolls around. We don't mind living this way. It's kind of our own custom made way to live. We like our life the way it is. And yes, it saves money for us to live this way. Far more than I'll ever be able to tally up for A Year of Savings or a Lifetime of Savings because so much of what we do, we do automatically, we don't think about doing it differently unless we become aware of a major savings inherent in changing our methods.
Like that 'little' that was spent today. 2 gallons of white vinegar, costing about $8. We decided to try a homemade weed killer. Savings: $12/gallon Weedkiller costs about $16.
We opened windows and let the house fill with good clean morning air. Air conditioner kicked on about 11am. We shut the windows then.
Sept 13: John insisted I should go to town and dust my booth. I gathered up the trash and told John I'd drop at the dumpster. I also told him I'd just run over to the thrift stores in the next town and look. I stopped and picked up mail, which included the local paper. Discovered a yard sale advertised. It was a little ways away, near the western county line but I decided it was worth checking out since it would cost me no more gasoline wise than going to the town to the east. I'm so glad I went! It was a great yardsale with lots of stuff I could use in my booth and nearly everything was marked in the $.50 range. I gathered all I thought I wanted (one regret...ack, isn't there always that one item we regret leaving behind?). As we tallied up my items, the woman said quietly, "I noted you looked at that milk crate of china plates...I'll let you have them all for $3." DEAL! There must have been 30 plates in that milk crate. I spent $20 and practically filled half my car trunk with items.
Decided in for a penny, in for a pound...Not really. I had a bit more money left that was earmarked for stock and I thought I'd ride around in the town between the yard sale and my hometown and 'just see' if anyone had anything going on. Two yard sales, one not worth stopping, the other a nice spot to score a few more items. Came back to my hometown with money in my pocket still, too.
Stopped to dust my booth as instructed by Mister. Discovered I'd had my first sale. Had a nice pep talk from the owner. Rearranged things and was pleased to be offered a loan of a bit more shelving and a small table to help display more goods. FREE...and a very kind savings it was, too!
To the grocery store. No savings there, right? Well no, and yes. You see I wanted to have frozen pizza for a quick meal when I got home since it was very late at this point and I was feeling a bit weak from heat and whatever the heck I've had going on physically. Our favorite pizza was on sale so I picked one for now and one for the freezer, as well as a favorite brand of shredded Gouda cheese, Powerade and ice cream, all of them on sale. I've no regrets. I don't count it as 'extra' over and above the grocery budget. The total of these items will be removed from our next grocery budget next week when we're paid. It was hard for me to learn this discipline but I feel quite comfortable with it now and I must say, it has done a great deal towards helping me to stay in budget and to rethink impulse buys. Savings: $6.50.
Sept 14 No shopping, no leaving home (at least for me). John got called back to work but this is the new norm and the extra cost in gasoline will be offset and a bit more by the extra pay he'll receive for going in.
The morning was so cool and pleasant that we opened windows and left them open until after 1pm. By 7 pm the air conditioner wasn't coming on at all, so I switched it off and turned on the whole house vent/fan which brings cool air into the house for the evening.
Warned John it's getting time to pull out his lightest jacket so we can get it washed and freshened for the coming season. Temperatures (at least morning hours) are supposed to be a bit lower from here on out.
Total this week: $26.08