Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year of Savings: 2013





Dec 21:  Deeply grateful for the rest of Shabat.  Dinner was prepped yesterday. All I had to do today was prepare pie crust.  Savings: $2.50

Dec 22:  Just didn't feel like much of anything.  How lovely to have a ready made item in the freezer.  I put it in the oven to heat.  While the oven was on, I put in hamburgers to bake to use in John's work lunch.

I've often felt I had a limited repertoire where his lunch meats were concerned, but the other day I realized that we seldom buy any luncheon meats these days.  That good ground beef, made into hamburgers, is far less expensive than a small package of decent luncheon meats.  I'm going to stop looking at the beef and turkey and chicken as something I should 'save' for our bigger meals and use it more often for sandwiches.  It tastes so good and is far less costly.  Savings $4.99

Dinner was so easy, I thought I'd whip up a batch of brownies.  It only takes minutes and they are so tasty.  I made a half batch. No savings in making them from scratch over the cost of a boxed mix, at least not my recipe, but gosh are they good.



Dec 23:  With the pain letting up only slightly, I realized that I had best just 'get on with living', especially since John has had many many extra work hours here at the end of this work week.  He'd promised to take me to town tomorrow, but today and tomorrow both he's working an extra shift.  While he's keen to take care of me and be sure I'm okay, we must do what we must do.  So...

Today is payday and since he'll be in town he's depositing the check.  I'll pay bills and then drive to the grocery to do our holiday shopping that has been delayed far longer than planned.  I will visit just one store, the best that is nearest us and I'll do all my shopping for the next two weeks plus the holiday.  No stocking up is likely but it's expedient and I am sure I can do this.  note: stayed spot on my budgeted amount despite our holiday splurges. No savings but no overage either.  I can deal with that.

Dec 24:  I won't get to see Mama tomorrow, so I went into town today.  I stopped by the flea market to at least swish the dust off my stuff.  Not up to much work there and I hadn't been out to do any thrifting anyway...but I did buy myself a gift today.  A lovely old cotton scrap quilt from the 1930's-'40s.  I used money I'd been gifted to buy it and I have NO regrets.  Lovely old thing!

I wrapped gifts before I left home and sorry to say, I had no holiday wrap nor gift bags, so I used what I had at home.  Fortunately some of the paper had a more Christmas-y feel even if non-traditional.  Note to self: Buy more such paper!  I'll get far more mileage out of it than not.  Good thing I did use what I had.  I went by Dollar General to pick up more wrap and gift bags and it looked like Whoville following the Grinch's great exodus.  Using what I had saved $10. 

Dec 25:  A quiet holiday at home.  We had a nice meal. I served it on our lovely rose printed china.  I baked two extra potatoes to use for supper one night or for morning hash browns.

Neither John nor I could finish our steak.  We wrapped half of each to save for a supper one evening.

Dec 26:    Heat packs and hot water bottles did their stuff.  I burned up my rice pack from reheating it so often this week.  Makeshift: borrowed an old pair of socks from John and filled with dried beans from the cupboard.  They have worked admirably well. Cost to make $0.

Dec 27:  Well enough today to manage a trip out of the house.  We went to Walmart.  With lists.  We bought most everything on our lists and food for weekend and the total was high.  John and I both contributed a portion of our personal funds for the personal items we bought.  Savings $100 (replaced cash spent).

We stopped for dinner on the way home.  I didn't feel up to a walk in restaurant, so we opted for drive thru and a picnic in the parking lot.  Worked fine for me.  Somewhat less expensive than eating out at a restaurant too.  Savings $20.

Supper for tonight was our leftover steak made into a sandwich for me and Steak and Eggs for John.


Dec 28:  We bought a 24 pack of hot dogs yesterday which was a little less costly than 3 8packs.  I bought Nathan hotdogs for $12.97.  8 packs were $4.39.  Savings: $.30

So glad we got the extra hot dogs.  We'd planned to freeze any we didn't need but we had more family stop by than we'd thought were coming.

Temptation is always to make an extra dish or two when unexpected guests come in but I squelched the desire and waited.  We had enough and leftovers.  No need for more.

After I put away leftovers this evening, I sat down and planned meals, while I was aware of what we had on hand.  This should prevent loss of foodstuffs.

Dec 29:  Made pancakes and sausage for breakfast.  A few weeks ago, I found some store bought frozen waffles in the freezer which we ate, but they tasted sort of different.  Not homemade was how they tasted.  I can stir up a batch of pancakes (or a bowl of muffin batter) in about three minutes from start to finish.  I use what I have on hand, flavor as I choose.   The frozen waffles?  No idea what they cost, only that they'd been in my freezer for a few months and were looking decidedly frosted.  I speculate they run about $3.29 a box of 8.  I venture to say my pancakes this morning cost  me a whole $.50 including the egg and milk used.  That is a savings of $2.79 excluding tax.

My pot roast was too small to cut into stew beef...or even to plan leftovers from. I left the little thing whole and cooked it as a single piece of meat so it wouldn't dry out.

Dec 30:  We went out today for John to get a haircut.  While out we decided to clean up John's car at GooGoo.  It really needed the cleaning.  The car wash, complete with a rain shield and tire cleaner is $10.  It might not seem such a good deal at first but there is free vacuuming available.  I've found this was where my money was eaten all too often.  John must have spent a good 15 minutes going over that car.  Considering that typically it cost $.75 for 2 minutes at the do it yourself place, plus another $5 to wash the car it works out to about the same cost with less effort.

I went into grocery to pick up a few needed items.  Milk was on sale if you bought two gallons, $1 off each, savings $2.

It was time to replace my non-stick skillet.  I bought it last year and paid $10.  They had another just like it, same sale price this year, but for $7 more I had the option of a ceramic coated non-stick skillet.  I debated the difference in the two.  I chose the ceramic coat.  If I use it two years I've saved about $3.  If I can make it last beyond that time I begin to cut my costs still further.  I read instructions right away when I got it home.  It cannot be washed in the dishwasher.

While in the kitchen aisle, I walked past the linens.  They must have just restocked all the placemats as there were many that I liked and all of them had more than 1 or 3 in the same pattern.  Have you ever noticed that?  I like to have 4 or 6 of each place mat but seldom can find the higher even number of  them!  Today I picked up two different sets of 4.  Both sets were on sale. I saved $6 over the sales price listed as they were also clearance priced.

Dec 31:  No spending today.  John asked for a change of plans in menu.  No problem.  I had all ingredients needed on hand and I can easily shift the menu plan about.

Total for this week:   $117.58

Total for Dec and Nov: $1,138.34

It's been a year. Just as last time I did this, there are many things I can't put a price on, because I've not taken time to be savvy enough to figure those costs.  There are many things I do repeatedly, without fail, like washing out baggies, using dishtowels or cloths instead of paper towels, or switching off lights as I leave a room, not letting water run endlessly, cutting down on my showering time, or choosing not to purchase impulse items.  There are a lot of things I simply went without because I determined the purchase would not greatly benefit us, or that I could use what I had already to do the same tasks.  I don't understand interest well enough to tell how very much we saved this year on our loan by paying it off so quickly. 

So  yes, again, my total for the year is skewed somewhat.   But I am sure that the total is proof that savings at home are worthwhile to stretch income...

Total for the year:  $7, 613.78

5 comments:

Rhonda said...

I think you did great! I would guess your efforts have much higher worth that your estimate.

I keep leftover homemade pancakes and waffles in the freezer as my grandchildren seem to usually come to my house without eating breakfast at their own houses. Pancakes do great in the microwave and I heat the waffles in the toaster oven.

I switch off lights too and I think about what you said about your granny who did not even use lights during the day.

Breahn Royal said...

I appreciate your hard work here very very much... I don't comment much, but I use your ideas and your help! Thank you very much!
Breahn Royal,
Longview, Texas =)

lislyn66 said...

I think you have done wonderfully from what all I've caught up on. But you always do better than you think you do.

I have been on the girls about the time they spend in the shower. Can't wait until they have to pay their own water bills sometimes.

Praying that your back is better and better every day. I just got back from my neuro and I have deg. disc disease, which I knew, and herniated discs causing impingement, which I knew, but found out a new one, one of the other herniated discs has actually slipped. We start injections in a week or two. I believe in healing, whether it be divine and instant or thru medical care. Sending you warm wishes for a happy, healthy and loving new year.

Lisa

Anonymous said...

Once the Christmas wrap I had was used up I determined to mainly not buy 'just Christmas' wrap again. I try to get stripes or dots which I love the most. Or any pretty print that is not for just one season of the year. some people say their dollar stores have their wrap for 1/2 off after christmas..Ours does not as they have to send all holiday stuff back to the corporate office. What I use the most is the Postal brown wrapping paper used to wrap boxes to mail. Big Lots has big role of it for $2 and the dollar stores sell it too. I just put stickers or pictures from old cards or anything on the paper in front. Using pretty ribbons I like the look. I use say some of the dot paper that is too small to use on a gift to put under the card for a farm around it etc. Use the imagination. We reuse the pretty ribbons. I find Walmart has many pretty all seasons ones for $1 if you look. Also I find ribbon at the used stores. The ribbon gets used by all the family year by year with the addition of say a jingle bell on it etc. Fun.! :)

I am still praying your back gets more..much more relief.

I take it the dollar amount listed is just for groceries? I keep a watch and list what we spend too. It is surprising how much we can spend if we don't keep a watch out! :-) Yes many cost saving things we do automatically. Many are listed in articles in books and magazines like they are new ideas but most of us have been doing most of them all our lives. I used to think everyone was thrifty but I was mistaken! LOL I still scan the ideas and do find new ideas off and on that have really helped. Taking care of our home and the money earned for it is not a chore but a privilege. We are so blessed to even have any amount to use and a roof over our heads. So many have such a hard time making ends meet. We have to continually cut back and keep our minds open to how we use the money God has provided for us. Yet when I ever feel low about it all I think of how much worse it could be and it is for many here and many in other countries. The ideas and thoughts you and other bloggers provide help so much. Just to know other homemakers are out there dealing with the same things and willing to share is a heart warming feeling. As others have said,.. this is the closest we may get to the way our mothers used to hang out and talk to the other homemakers over the fence. Thank you for being our budget cheer leading leader!! Sarah

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add the Postal brown paper I use for wrapping is also recyclable. We cut it up some and put it in the compost bin or lay it in the veggie beds as mulch. ;-) Sarah