Wednesday, October 9, 2013
A Year of Savings: 2013
Walked out the backdoor and discovered a minor problem: a pin hole had developed in our metal spigot (HOW does that happen? Especially with our very soft water?!) and water was spraying away. I called to John that we had a problem and we went to work right away. An hour later we had it all fixed, a spare spigot purchased as well as the one we used to replace the old one. It's good to have extras of these things because after all that front spigot is just as old as the back one! It cost us a whole $17 for all the required parts and extras. That money didn't have to come from our current paycheck either. Nope. We took that money from the house fund, money we set aside for just such minor things as that.
Went to deliver Mama's order of cosmetics from a friend and she blessed me with two gallons of Brunswick stew. That's 8 meals for John and I. Since it was bagged in meal sized portions I froze it when I got home.
Went by the local grocery and picked up the loss leader items that I normally stock on my pantry shelves. Savings: $8.16. Add an additional savings of $1 to that total please. I looked through the sales sheet when I went in the store and discovered a coupon for a dozen eggs for $.39 if you spent $20. I hadn't planned to buy eggs there but I did have eggs on my list at home for the other grocery and I was spending $20 at least in the store. Why not get eggs at that lovely low price?
Combined errands while out: took off trash, dropped off bills at post office and utility buildings, went to bank, ran by Mama's, picked up the local loss leaders. It all took quite a bit of time, despite my hurry. I knew John needed to get some rest and I would never get dinner on the table before 2pm so I went by the local diner and picked up burgers. $5 for dinner with fries and slaw included.
Ever tempted to just toss that junk mail? Don't do it. In the past month I have received a growth chart to hang on the wall, stickers, address labels for the holidays, a dozen Christmas cards (6 each from two different sources), a dime, a free reusable grocery bag that folds into a flat envelope shape (great for carrying in my purse), a note pad...That's a lot of stuff that I can use in my home.
When we last ordered checks I was surprised we had to pay extra for check registers. I underestimated how many we needed (and at $1 each it was as much price as not knowing what we'd require). We ran out of registers last month and I brought out one of my last ledger sheets to use. Then I realized that ledger sheet was filled on one side and we would likely fill the other this morning. I used our copier to make another double sided ledger sheet so we have an extra. We have a very good printer known for being economical in ink usage. I'll save $5 in buying a new set of ledger sheets. By the way I like these sheets over the register. It's far easier to read and we keep track of our budget on a daily basis as we add our debit usage.
Oct 2 I knew we'd be having a fairly filling dinner today and that John was off work for the week. This is the morning to have cereal and toast for breakfast which never seems to last quite as long as a breakfast of eggs and toast. We only eat cereal about once a week and always buy at Aldi so it is an economical choice.
I realized as I started my dinner preparations for roast beef hash that I had too many potatoes and onions in the pan. I set aside half for hash-brown potatoes one morning. I'm glad I realized that before I added the roast beef, carrots and gravy.
Washed a full load of clothes this morning. Some were hung dry and some went into the dryer. There are a few things we find fit far better if we dry them in the dryer. I added the sheets in as well. I figure if I'm going to run the dryer it might as well be a little more full as well.
Ran a full load of dishes this afternoon.
Made a pan of Gingerbread as our snack/dessert item for the week. Savings $1.50 over el cheapo cookies.
Realized today was my window of opportunity for making Challah, so I started it right after I finished the Gingerbread. Savings $3.59.
We had two pineapple slices, and two navel oranges (small-ish) that were not apparently going to be eaten. I am trying hard to avoid all waste. I thought the fruit would be nice on my lettuce. Fruit is very good with French dressing. I'm happy to use it up. An alternative idea would be to make ambrosia with it. I saved the pineapple juice to drink.
Oct 3: Shopping day and it was time for our quarterly trip to buy beef. I was blessed a few weeks ago with an extra amount of money to use for groceries from John. He'd been watching my efforts and knew I'd tried really hard to bring our grocery budget down still further. I spent a particularly low amount one pay period and John was so impressed he gave me the same amount of money to use however I chose. I told him I'd like to save that money towards our beef purchase. Well that was a blessing. I had a portion of grocery money and the money he gave me which allowed me to save the money I'd have had to come up with. It was a blessing.
I earned half my booth rent this past month. Not a huge sum of earnings but I'm still staying within my allowance as expenses money. Here's hoping for a great month this month!
Oct 4: When I bought meat yesterday I had the option of buying formed burgers. I usually buy a higher grade of ground Chuck. The burgers are made from a lower grade of ground beef but they cost MORE than the ground Chuck. I chose to buy an extra amount of ground Chuck and make my own burgers. I saved$2.50 that's $.50 a pound. It will be handy to have a few burgers made up for those days when I feel I want to have a quick meal.
Blanched 2 split green bell peppers and dice 1/2 green pepper, 1 whole orange and 1 whole yellow bell pepper for the freezer. I'll use the halves for stuffed peppers one day soon, the diced mixed peppers are nice to have on hand for a variety of uses. Savings: $2 the cost of the peppers had I not used them, as well as the cost over the frozen diced variety.
Planned ahead and prepped pizza toppings to go on our plain cheese frozen pizza for tomorrow's dinner after Shabbat. Savings $15 the cost of take out meals these days.
The vegetables I planted a couple of weeks ago in pots have come up nicely. I have beets, carrots, peas, tomatoes and lettuces as well as cilantro up and looking quite nice. I can't wait to get to harvest these items for our table.
I made a dessert the other day that fell a little flat. I didn't quite let it cook long enough. Today as I prepared dinner, I put it in the oven alongside and let it bake some more. It was quite good the first day but even better today when it was a little less moist. I also had baked potatoes in the oven and a rib eye steak that I started in the oven. I put onions in the same pan as the steak to cook alongside. I had plenty going on in that oven!
This steak was quite thick so we shared one steak. In the past we might have each tried to eat a whole steak but I knew it was just too much. Savings $10.99.
Changed the AC filter, cleaned another oscillating fan. Keeping our items in good working order saves money, too.
Checked junk mail before tossing today and found $.03. Small amounts count as savings, too.
We had an accident yesterday. One of the insulated bags of meat fell over on the grocery bag that held our bread. One loaf was squashed. I suggested we leave it alone and see if sprang back since it was fresh bread. Well the front half of the load did but the backside didn't. Those pieces were too small to make a sandwich. This morning I'd meant to use some leftover Challah to make French Toast but discovered it was spoiled. I thought about my options and decided that squashed bread would be a good substitute. Savings $2.
Oct 5: No big savings today. John replaced two pairs of jeans, because they were needed. We did choose to skip the sodas we'd normally have after synagogue so that small savings occurred (savings $2, we always get the $1 drinks when we do get one). We came home and ate dinner, but I posted that savings yesterday.
Posted another $10 to my Amazon gift account. I also bought a new $5 gift card. These two cards will go toward Christmas purchases. That will be my focus for the next several weeks of doing surveys. savings $15, that's money we don't have to find or take from savings.
Oct 6: Mama made Brunswick Stew. I had already planned to serve over rice, mostly as an extender, but as it turned out this batch is a little tart and needed the blandness of the rice to tone it down. It made edible a meal that might have been dog food! Savings: a meal...about $2.
For the life of me, I don't remember much more about Sunday...and that's because I am trying to write this after the fact. We didn't go anywhere. Stayed home all day long, watched football, napped, ate leftovers for supper and stretched that with hot dogs since dinner was only barely satisfactory...
Oct 7: Today is a traveling day for us. We opted to leave home after eating dinner, leftovers from the hot dogs we ate last night for supper instead of starting out early and spending on the way down. I packed snacks, luncheon items, water and soda for us. Just a quick trip to watch over the grands while their Mama has an out patient procedure done. We'll stay with them instead of going to hotel. Savings $150 overall.
Total: $209.68 A very good start to savings in October!