Friday, March 21, 2014
My Frugal Week - March 15-22
Earned 300 points (= to $3) from Pinecone research.
We decided to have synagogue at home complete with liturgy and worship and each took time to read Book of Esther in honor of Purim tomorrow. We will go to evening services at church today, which shaves a good 40 miles off our synagogue ride.
Maddie isn't eating as much now the weather is warmer (even slightly). I was careful to put away her and the cat's food bowls to avoid ants getting to the foo.
Dinner today leftovers of salad, pasta, chicken. I made Molten Lava Cakes for dessert.
Sunday: Packed John a work lunch. Made him breakfast.
I had big plans today...didn't include rain! I decided instead of shopping (groceries and shoes), I'd just stay home and stay out of the rain.
Made cookies from scratch. Have two batches of dough to go in the freezer.
Used bread end pieces to make croutons for salads.
Used more bread end pieces to make a breakfast casserole for tomorrow morning.
Extended the sausage called for in the dish (I had about 1/2 pound instead of 1 pound) with portabella mushrooms and onions.
Used a can of evaporated milk in the casserole to save my regular milk for drinking purposes.
Shopped at home: brown sugar and evaporated milk from pantry, a bag of chocolate chips and a pound of butter from the freezer.
Ate leftovers for my dinner.
Put on a jacket when I got chilly instead of turning on heat.
Turned on a fan when it got stuffy indoors.
Monday: John washed a full load of clothes.
I washed a full load of dishes and did a sinkful by hand, using water run into the deepest biggest dish that needed to handwashed and using it as a dishpan.
Used a new recipe to make our corned beef and dished up the leftover broth and potatoes to use to make potato soup later in the week.
After John left for a work meeting, I went through my things and gathered up those that I no longer want to put in the flea market booth.
John took outgoing mail to post, picked up and deposited his paycheck and picked up the incoming mail on his way home this afternoon.
Tagged items to be placed in booth this week.
Worked on the 2nd quarter budget...eye opening in many ways. We're saving on gasoline, groceries remained decently near budgeted amount, electricity has increased but the average is only a few dollars more than we'd been planning for, propane costs were just under budget, we need to increase our tax/tags amount. Now we've had three months salary under the new schedule I can see how our money will play out each month and we can better plan our spending overall.
Stayed home again though I had planned today as an alternate shopping day. It continued to rain hard. Not wanting to go out in it at all!
Shopped at home: bread from the freezer.
We had our Harvest after John got back home from his meeting. This is the time when we have our budget discussions, pray over our needs and grocery shopping.
We had a couple of bills that we didn't need to set half aside for due to our having a month with three pay days. I put those toward the loan we took from ourselves for the porch. There's still a ways to go to pay that money back into our account, but we took a good hard swipe at it this pay period.
Tuesday: Made pancakes this morning. I used Aunt Maple's Mix from Aldi. I halved the amounts on the package and ended up with only two pancakes more than we needed. I wrapped them in waxed paper to keep them from sticking together and froze them. I can pop these into the toaster one morning when we're in a hurry. I do this with french toast slices as well.
Trip into town this morning, combining errands. I had a hair appointment. We took off trash, dropped off more outgoing mail. John came along because we were to go grocery shopping after. While he waited on me, he sat in car and attempted to repair a flashlight that wasn't working any longer. He also cleaned out the console boxes.
I paid cash for my haircut today. I'd forgotten to bring a check along but as it turned out, I'm glad I paid the cash.
We shopped at Aldi and only the perimeters of the store. When I needed two items that necessitated a trip down the center aisles, John went and got those two items. It saved temptation. Because it was a 'short pay period' we had to trim hard on our grocery allowance. I came in at about half what we'd normally spend and was very proud of that.
While we were near the meat counter, I did some investigative work: ALL of the chicken products at Aldi have carageenan. I shall have to check at the other supermarket (Kroger) where I buy chicken as well. If it turns out that both markets have this product in the chickens, I shall start buying chicken at the meat market we go to, where meat is fresh and not injected with 'flavoring'. It will cost more so we'll be buying more whole chickens and I'll cut them up myself. My other option is Publix Greenwise chicken which I also would purchase whole, if they prove to be Carageenan free.
I splurged on one item: Black Forest Smoked Turkey breast. They had a case load of these this time and I'd normally buy two or even three because they are an occasional item not regular stock. However, I stayed mindful of my budget and bought just one. At $10 they seem pricey just at first, but I slice them thin for sandwich meat and find that they are good value and taste much much better than packaged sandwich meat slices.
We stopped in town and got burgers at the local diner. I paid for them from my allowance.
As I was putting down our expenses for the day, I realized we were at the bottom of our pay check and any further expenses were digging into our base balance. We've only recently gotten that base built back up after a very tough uphill climb. I warned John that we were on cash only basis until next pay period. That means that except for gasoline for his car, we must pay out of our own pockets for any items we buy. It's good incentive for us to really examine the 'need' of an item.
Our supper was leftovers from the fridge: breakfast casserole warmed in the oven. Pear salad from half a can of pears that I opened last week. Very tasty and very filling. We didn't want a snack this evening.
Wednesday: Made a substantial breakfast this morning. While it's still fairly cool, I am taking advantage of the weather to make hot cereals. Grits for us this morning, with fried eggs.
Lately I have been taking my coffee in thermal cups that we've had for years. I find that if the coffee doesn't get cold I will finish a cup and not pour it out to 'start over' (usually after reheating twice). This has cut down on waste and I am enjoying my coffee while it's HOT and fresh.
Stripped bed to wash sheets...I added in our bath towels, and a few clothing items that we wear around the house and don't mind if they get a bit of lint on them. This made a full load. I dried the clothes in the dryer today, due to the dampness and lack of sun outdoors.
While the bed was unmade, I put on my 'bed-skirt' which isn't really a skirt per se. It is the bottom portion (perhaps 12 inches) of the sheets I used to make curtains for my windows a few years ago. It seemed such a waste to throw away that length of material that I kept it. I realized it was all hemmed except for the cut edge. I use twist pins to pin to the box springs of the bed, putting that cut edge at the top, just under the mattress edge. It looks like a bed-skirt to anyone who doesn't know it's actually four pieces of the bottom of sheets.
Pulled a few items from the pantry shelf that contain yeast or yeast extract. I am trying to use these items up prior to Feast of Unleavened Bread next month. Today's culls: two dried filled ravioli items and 2 boxes mac and cheese. I am pretty certain the yeast extract is in the cheese flavoring packet of the mac and cheese. Another item that contains yeast extract is onion soup mix (unless you pay $2 more for 'kosher' soup mix). I am trying to be inventive in my use of items.
Today I made chili mac at John's request and cooked the two packets of macaroni. I set the cheese packets aside. I used one of the packets this afternoon to season our snack of popcorn. It was very good and made a nice change.
When I browned the ground beef, onions and garlic for the chili, I took up half and put in a container for a second meal. Then I made chili. Before adding the macaroni, I removed 1 container of chili from the pan for a third meal. Then I set aside half the cooked macaroni for a fourth meal. And we still had leftovers of chili mac, enough for a third serving.
Checked online prices for decaf coffee. I save money when it's not on sale at grocery, buying it in bulk from Walmart online. I go through Swagbucks to earn credit for shopping, and order enough to get free shipping so it's not costing me anything extra. I placed a bulk order today. I use paypal so I don't have to pay cash out but can divide the expense over two pay periods. That way my grocery budget takes a smaller hit.
Tagged a few more items for the flea market. Packed my bag so it's ready to go when I am in the morning.
Culled a few more pieces from my personal collections to put into flea market in near future. These are pretty pieces that I seldom use. I do not want 'hidden treasures' in my home any longer. It takes up valuable storage space and is a waste. I am keeping those pieces that have a strong personal attachment to and/or use frequently.
Though it was a little cool, I opened windows and aired the house. I noted that buds are fast growing on the pine trees, which means our air will soon be yellow with pollen drifting about. It was damp enough this morning to keep most of the pollen counts down.
The propane truck came today. A sure sign of spring's approach: he checked tank but didn't add to it. That means he's deemed we have enough to last us through the next two seasons. It is unlikely he will return until late September. I'll apply that money towards building a 'pre-fund' for electricity costs for summer.
Went out to back yard to neaten the area right near the house. My son fixed our broken bottom step by placing a pile of bricks under the step then nailing the board atop them. When my brother tore off the old steps he stacked the bricks neatly to one side. I decided to edge the flower bed nearest the back step with that brick. It looks neat and nice and will help contain the Bouncing Bet in that flower bed, which tends to creep along the ground, rooting at every joint. It's lovely, but will get out of hand if not kept in check.
Between our good dinner and the popcorn snack we weren't really hungry at supper time. We chose to have bowls of cereal for our evening meal.
Thursday: Packed John's lunch to take to work. This lunch bag actually is his lunch, supper and snacks for the 24 hours he works.
I'd love to say I made him breakfast but this morning I slept in a little too long (that's what happens when you swat the alarm off and drift right back to sleep). He made his own breakfast of peanut butter toast.
Gathered up the trash and took it off with me when I headed into town.
Stopped by flea market to restock and rearrange booth items.
Went out to dinner with Mama. My day to pay. I paid out of my allowance.
Mama always has some little something for me. This week it was coupons from her papers, a magazine, a half dozen muffins, and three pretty enamel bracelets and silk coin purses.
Stopped at local grocery to pick up bread. Costs the same thing in town that it does out of town so no savings, no splurge. I didn't buy anything but bread either. This came out of my allowance. I have enough to buy dog food and then I'm broke.
Picked up mail on my way back in.
Scrounged about in fridge and found leftovers from Sunday to eat for dinner. Not a bad meal and didn't need much after a good dinner with three vegetables.
It got very warm, compared to our usual cooler temperatures inside the house. It is now getting into pollen season so not opening windows but did start out with the whole house fan first and then switched on the AC about 7pm to cool house down a little. This was to aide my sleep.
Friday: John worked last night. He appreciates a slightly larger breakfast after his 24 hour shift. I made cheese omelet, heated the yummy muffins Mama gave me yesterday and cooked turkey bacon. I cooked extra bacon, looking to have cooked bacon on hand for sandwiches this weekend.
John came in with plans for the weekend which involved a few purchases. These he paid for himself. However, when I picked up dog food, decaf coffee, and a grapefruit and started to pay for them with cash, he got a little upset with me. Seems that my paying for groceries from my allowance is a no no in his eyes...I explained my over zealous first payment to the bank had wrung the last drop from our last check and I was simply trying to not touch our usual balance. In future, I will most certainly be drawing cash from one of our pre-funded areas as requested.
We left home today to tend to errands related to John's plans. I gathered all trash in the house and took off a bag when we left home. While he was fiddling about putting his sleep linens back in his car (he says home laundering helps him to rest better at work because the aroma is familiar to him), I picked up branches around the carport/back porch area and put away the extension cord to the pump house light. It's unlikely we'll need it again this year. We also went by the grocery to pick up last needed items for this pay period.
Did not stop for lunch even though it was well past dinner time. We waited until we got home and had a very late lunch/early supper instead. Snacks will be our evening hunger smashers if needed. We've plenty of fruit, yogurt, crackers, etc.
Picked up today's mail when we came back in. We got two bills. One was the electric bill. It dropped $55 this month. Methinks they were not reading the meter after all...The little I've done to lower costs was not substantial enough to make that big of a drop and I know it.
Am cutting pets food supply down just a little. Guidelines on packages and the milder temperatures justify this move. Turns out that all Maddie's girth is not winter coat. She's shedding and not getting smaller!
Earned a $10 PayPal payment from one of the survey sites.
That's my Frugal week! How did yours go?