Friday, February 7, 2014
My Frugal Week: Feb 1 - 7
Saturday: Lori forgot the children's chocolate drink mix. I hadn't made any of the homemade syrup and didn't really have time to do so. I sent John into grocery for chocolate syrup on our way home from synagogue. Cheaper for him to go into the grocery than for me to trail in and pick up this and that while wandering about. As it was, he grabbed two deli sandwiches for us to eat on our way home, and a bag of the roasted salted in shell peanuts that he liked so well that we'd only recently tried. I forgot to tell him I'd purchased two jars of dry roasted nuts the day before.
Made breakfast for us. The kids and grandchildren slept in until just minutes before we left home. I pointed out where all the foods were for their breakfast and we headed out to synagogue.
Lori made dinner for us tonight. She brings her own foodstuffs with her to make these special dishes she wants to share. I provide the side dishes, any ancillary needed items (eggs, milk, onion, seasonings).
Lori washed a full load of laundry. It was dried in the dryer but timed carefully and folded as pieces dried.
We portioned out foods for the children carefully keeping in mind just what we thought they might eat.
Put away leftovers right away after dinner.
Lori's very kind to pass things on to us that she no longer wants, or at least to offer if she thinks we might want them. I had a nice pair of pajamas I'd worn perhaps twice and a pair of shoes worn once. Neither really fit me (pajamas a tad too snug, shoes a bit big). Both fit Lori nicely. I was pleased as could be to pass those things on to her. She offered me a chair and ottoman she's had in her home since Daniel was a baby. I think it will be just right to replace one of my living room chairs.
Sunday: I made pancakes, bacon and sausages for breakfast.
The children's pancakes were made in the silver dollar size, the way Rhonda does for her grands. Just right for the kiddos. Zachery is the one who enjoys a meal, string bean though he is, so he ate two of the pancakes. I buttered and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on them instead of syrup. I sliced apples and a banana and that made a very tasty breakfast.
John washed a full load of our laundry this morning and hung to dry on the line and the drying rack for the most part.
We didn't need much heat last night and have had windows open today since it's so pleasant and warm. Cold weather headed our way again but we'll take time to air house as we can.
Put sweets up in portions and put them in the freezer. We'll take out a few items at a time as wanted and not gobble them all down at once.
Washed a full load of dishes after the children left. Zach likes to play with knobs and I didn't want the machine switched ahead while running.
The children ran around outdoors this morning for a wee bit before leaving. They sure did enjoy the warm air and sunlight and were not happy to have to stop. Such an inexpensive 'treat' for them, to just turn them loose and let them run about. I'm glad they feel safe enough here to do that and we don't have to fret over traffic or bodies of water.
John and I checked fridge and had leftovers for dinner. Mine saved from a take out lunch he brought in Thursday, his from dinner last night.
We cleaned house after the company left. It didn't take long to set it all to rights once more and working tandem meant we had it all done in record time.
Discussing home furnishings this morning, Lori suggested she might be replacing another chair in her home and offered us the chair she has now. We accepted it. It will take a bit of planning during visits to get these things to the house here but it will all work out.
Having observed our overflowing toy basket she suggested Jd build a toy box/window seat we can use here in the living room as an extra seat as well. Jd loves to do wood work as a hobby and is always looking for a new project. hmmm...I seem to be getting some decorating done without a lot of effort on my part, lol.
Lori texted they'd not cleared their stuff from fridge. Juice and yogurt went into freezer for next visit.I guess I'll use up the drinkable yogurt that expires this week and I think I'll try and freeze the iced coffee mix she left.
Monday: Washed a full load of bedding. I couldn't hang to dry since we had rain, so I made sure to time the load. Because it was such a large load I started at 45 minutes. John removed what was dry at that point and let the rest run another 10 minutes. That finished off the clothes nicely.
Weather was quite warm this morning. We opted to have cold cereal and used the last of the bananas in our cereal.
I remembered an item I'd meant to offer to the kids this weekend. I texted to see if they'd like it. Set aside a couple of items to give away while I was cleaning this afternoon. I also put aside two house shirts that were going to go into trash. I'm pretty sure I can manage something cute from the backs of the two pieces that will make good use of the nice fabric.
Waste: 1/4 cup egg salad, 1/4 cup canned chili, 2 tomato slices, about 1/2 cup of fruit salad.
Ran warm water in the pan in which I'd cooked our meat today. I let it sit for a few minutes, scraped up the goodies on the bottom of the pan and poured all over Maddie's food. She appreciates the occasional 'gravy' on her food.
John repaired his wind-up radio. He'd been looking for it for quite a little while and found it last week. He wanted a radio to take to work that he could listen to at night when trying to rest.
Put together a quick and simple supper that used up more items in the fridge.
Tuesday: Made a meal out of leftovers for dinner: roast beef hash. I checked fridge and determined to use up most of the large crown of broccoli as a side and sliced the last two tomatoes as our second side dish. In the bread basket I found two rolls from our meal on Friday that I wanted to use up. Meal done, and most every thing were items that needed to be used up, except the potatoes in the hash.
Had Harvest Morning. Also day of picking up car tags. We set this money aside all year long, divided into twice monthly portions. It was not a pain to write that check today...and that's why we do it this way.
We meant to rent a movie from the local RedBox but no luck with that after the screen froze. So we went into Dollar store to see if they had any movies that were cheap. I'm so happy! I found the first season of Cranford for $9.95, Becoming Jane for $2.95 and one other movie, Hugo, for $5. I stopped looking when I'd found three, but I'm planning to go back and to look at other Dollar stores in the local areas to see what their selections might be. I think I've stumbled upon a warehouse sellout for video stores.
Wednesday: John's birthday. I ordered his gift from Amazon a few weeks ago after he mentioned wanting a certain item. It's hard to think of things he'd like, so I've made it a point to listen to what he says in passing and try to get him those things. It was a Cd he's long wanted, and which I knew he'd never get for himself and it was a joy to see genuine surprise and pleasure on his face when I handed it to him.
Birthdays for John are simple, quiet affairs. He's never liked a fuss or even wanted anyone to do more than quietly say Happy Birthday to him. I planned his favorite meal today: Cheeseburgers and fries. I splurged and used a whole pound of ground beef and made three large thick burgers. He was very pleased. And for his special sweet, I bought a package of chocolate chip cookies that I know he likes very much but which I seldom indulge in for him, preferring to give him homemade treats. I bought the cookies as a BOGO offer and set one package aside for a future treat, preferably in picnic or vacation season.
Did what I knew I must and opened up the freezer and began inventory of foods in the kitchen. Next week I tackle the pantry/freezer in the craft room closet. What I realized: We seldom eat frozen vegetables even though I put them up. This is due in part to my failure to plan to use them, and even a small tendency to hoard because I consider them so very good that I put off using them. This last factor has led to spoilage far too often. The reason I put up that good food in the first place was to have good food to eat. From this day forward I vow to use what I've put up.
As I did dishes today I thought more about why I seem to have trouble with my pantry supplies, budget and food waste (however small I may have gotten it down to). I am paid every two weeks. I buy groceries every two weeks. I plan meals for 1 week at a time. That means if I discover I'm out of a needed item, I often scrap the entire day's menu and start fresh with a new plan instead of focusing on what I can make with the same items. I may use the protein (the most expensive part of the plan) but I use different sides.
Starting next week I shall make out a meal plan for two weeks (I'll just post one week at a time on the blog), so that I can buy all the ingredients needed for those meal plans.
Started to wash a load of dishes today but truly the dishwasher wasn't full and I do not like to run a load if there are empty spaces in it. So I determined to wait.
Our dinner lasted us well. We chose to have a snack supper of crackers with peanut butter, fruit, roasted nuts, yogurt.
Thursday: John made breakfast for my birthday this morning. Today is a day of necessary errands and appointments. We plan to do something tomorrow for my birthday provided weather cooperates. John purchased my gift several weeks ago when we were out for the day. I found a lovely pair of pearl drop earrings that I really liked and he bought them that day.
Out to do errands/grocery shop. We stopped and picked up mail from our box, dropped off trash, took bills to town to pay, went by post office, stopped at the flea market...where I was surprised to find I had a small check of earnings! Yippee! I'd stopped by to pay the little bit of rent I owed, though I did pretty well overall. I'd had a sale over the weekend that tipped the scales in my favor.
Put the money I'd meant to pay for rent aside to use for vacation, along with the earnings from my booth.
We shopped at Aldi today and bought all on my list except the coconut I needed to make frosting for my birthday cake. Sad face. No coconut equals no cake. Stocked up on canned tomatoes and vegetables that we normally don't buy frozen as often (canned corn, green beans), and sugar.
We went by car wash to clean up the car. We go to an automated wash that has free vacuuming. We spend no more than I spent at the do it yourself place and can even use the vacuum for a longer period of time as there is no time limit on use, so the car and trunk gets a thorough going over. I keep a Swiffer duster in the car and go over the interior dash and along the tops of seats, etc. while John vacuums.
John stopped at Publix, insisting that we had to pick up apples (he is not fond of apples at our local Aldi). I suggested that since he was there I go ahead and get two items I'd noted were on sale: dish detergent and another that eludes me at the moment. That is the bonus of looking over sales sheets even if you don't really expect to go into a store. It paid off to spend that extra five minutes to go over the online site and see what sales seemed best. John didn't want just apples. He insisted I get the coconut I wanted for the cake I wanted to bake but also asked me to please buy myself a cake for my birthday. I looked over the selection and chose a small Italian Wedding Cake. I'll postpone making the other cake for a little while.
Despite the second grocery stop at Publix in a week's time, I was only $4 over my spending limit for the two weeks.
We didn't stop for dinner on our way home as we'd normally do. We came home and made sandwiches, sliced apples, made coffee. It was a good late lunch for us.
Waste: When I went to put the sandwich meat we'd bought away (just one package for our lunch today), I found two sandwiches John brought back home after his last work day last week...I trashed them. I thought he ate them the other night, which was his plans.
When we left home we cut the heat back to 64F. I didn't want to risk forgetting to cut it back down later, so turned on the propane heater instead. I knew we'd never leave that running. It warmed the house up nicely.
John had a late meeting last night and asked me to go with him. It was at that awkward hour when you must leave home too early to eat supper and come back too late to eat it. John opted to stop on the way home for a sandwich. We drank the water we carried with us.
Friday: Frosty morning. John had the propane heater on this morning to offset the electric heat pump coming on so often. I made that hearty oatmeal we like on these cold mornings. My purpose was two fold. It is a warming meal and it sticks with us. We had plans for a little road trip this morning and we wanted a meal that would hold us until we stopped for a late dinner.
Mama called while we were getting ready to go. Here's the savings for this day and I mean this sincerely: I'd gotten ready early but John delayed getting ready. I know he was tired but I really wanted to leave early and return early. We didn't. Mama called yesterday morning and suggested coming out but we had to buy groceries (having put it off already). When she called this morning and asked if we'd stop by and pick up our birthday present, I told her we would. We visited with her for over an hour and a half...and it was noon before we left her home. I had my plans but seeing how the day was progressing, I decided I'd best pray and turn over my plans to whatever God's plans for the day were. Doing that immediately lessened my frustration and allowed me to sincerely enjoy visiting with Mama...and helped me to keep my cool when John suggested we do another errand before we ever embarked on our road trip.
Our errand was a joyous one. We paid off the only debt we've had over the past three years, that loan we made with ourselves when we bought the Honda. Yes, we're debt free once again. We know that we might have to take another loan for repairs on house or another car at some point in the future but for now we're completely free of debt once again. It feels GRAND!
Mama gave us a check for our birthday. We talked it over and decided to put the bulk of the check into our vacation fund and allowed ourselves only a small amount of 'fun' money to spend as we chose.
Finally on our way to our destination. We had a lovely drive and a nice day and a wonderful meal. It was a perfect post birthday outing. I couldn't help but realize that had I let my plans being frustrated upset me the day wouldn't have been at all lovely.
Back home, we decided after Shabat we'd have a very light supper of bagels and cream cheese. No need for a big meal after our late dinner today.
Planning ahead. I took an entree out to thaw that I'd put in the freezer a couple months ago. I can heat in microwave tomorrow for our meal when we come in from synagogue.
Set aside two jars of baby food for my niece to use for her baby.
Waste: when I cleared out the kitchen cabinet the other day I found a partial box of baby food my daughter left here back when the twins were small. 6 jars had expired. Also found a bottle of my son's favorite soda that expired last March. I am deeply hopeful these are the last items I'll find expired in my pantry stores.
Linked to: Rebecca@Renaissance and Brandy@PrudentHomemaker