Saturday, June 28, 2014
My Frugal Week/Living Well
Saturday: Up early. Breakfasts are purposely kept simple on Saturday mornings. Bagels and cream cheese this morning. Most Saturdays we have some sort of bread (muffins, biscuits, etc) with a light protein. Easy, inexpensive.
Our dinner today was leftovers from yesterday.
Dinner was big, so cheese, crackers and fruit for supper for me.
Tried out a few free genealogy sites a friend shared. As I have time to check out her list a bit further, I'll share those that appear to be good. The one or two that I've tried thus far appear to lead to paid sites.
Sunday: We headed to church, taking off the trash and picking up mail as we went out. We also dropped off our Netflix film in the post office in town.
We'd planned to stop at the grocery on our way back home. This particular grocery has a Starbucks kiosk. John and I haven't stopped for a coffee in a couple of months but today we treated ourselves. We still have a balance on the card we were gifted at Christmas so this feels like a double treat to get good specialty coffee and get it for free.
I'd made out a short list of needed items before we left home. I knew I needed to especially pick up waxed paper, an item I cannot buy at Aldi. I might well keep my list short but it does pay to know what you need when I go to a store that isn't my usual one.
John and I both wanted pizza. We decided to pick up a frozen pizza there at the store. Our favorite brand was on sale 3/$10. Even though we usually only eat half a pizza, John encouraged me to pick up 3. We put them in the freezer here at home (aside from the one we had at dinner).
Took time this afternoon to get the bill box in order. The pre-work
We've had a little rain but not enough to really water our plants. I've been refreshing our stored water supply. I watered plants with the stored water and refill the containers with fresh water.
Monday: Couldn't seem to get my day off the ground, though I was trying. I was in the middle of very late dinner preparations when Mama called. She'd locked herself out of her car at a store two towns over. I put dinner prep on hold and went off to find Mama's spare key and take it to her. It was nearly 2pm when I got home. I dug about in the fridge and pulled out all the leftovers. I managed to put together a decent dinner that we could microwave and eat in under 5 minutes. The lasagna I'd been prepping when I left? I finished it up and put in the freezer.
Put the turkey breast carcass on to boil with the tops and tails of onions, carrots and celery. I was preparing broth and meat for the freezer. It started raining and got almost chilly indoors. Soup suddenly seemed a good idea. I used a portion of the broth and meat pickings to make our supper of turkey noodle soup. Yum. It hit the spot.
Made egg salad for sandwich filling.
Washed a full load of dishes.
John washed a full load of clothes and hung them to dry.
Technically today is Harvest day...but John has to work tomorrow. We decided it was silly to drive down to pick up his check when he can get it just as well tomorrow. We'll save the 2 gallons of gasoline that would have cost us.
Tuesday: Paid bills after John deposited his check. I made a trip to town to buy postage, mail off bills and to do my own banking.
I decided to make the trip count for good. I'd marked several items in the local sales papers as I looked them over. I went back over them this morning and made out a list for three different stores. All items bought at two of them were for pantry restock. I purchased only personal care items at the third store.
Refilled water bottles for fridge. I like to drink water but John will not drink it voluntarily unless it's cold from the fridge. I find it worthwhile to fill bottles with water and keep them handy for him. It works...he drinks water every day.
Do you know how I saved the most money today? Stopping to THINK. I put an item in my shopping cart online but decided to wait until afternoon to order. By afternoon I'd reasoned that after all, I could watch the same series online for free. I thought about running into the dollar store and bringing home a few shower curtains to use as drapes in the kitchen sitting area, but I realized it was one of those snow ball things. If I got the curtains I was thinking of getting, I'd want to replace my rugs, etc. I'll just wait a bit longer.
Home again, I turned on a fan to stir the air a bit further, rather than lower the AC thermostat.
Hash browns are so easy to make and inexpensive, too. I know I've already shared this but I had some for supper tonight and put some aside for tomorrow.
Wednesday: Made a frittata for breakfast this morning. I used a green onion, the 1/2 cup of hash browns I I set aside last night and 3 well beaten eggs with a little bit of shredded cheese. Yummy. Making a fritatta meant I used one less egg since the vegetables added bulk to this meal.
Heated the blueberry muffins I pulled from the freezer last night.
I vacuumed the fans. Yes, that's right. I vacuumed the fans. The blades of the oscillating fans were dirty and I vacuumed them and dusted well then put them back together. I think this is one reason our fans have been running for the past five years. We use them a lot, even in winter, so they do get a work out in our home.
John brought home a reimbursement check. This money will go back into savings now that he's been reimbursed.
John washed a full load of clothes and hung some of them to dry.
I had a rotten potato in my bin. I wasn't happy when I discovered this. I was just in that bag last night and never smelled a thing or noticed any soft potatoes either. Ugh. Tossed three and then washed the bin out. I washed the potatoes and put them on a towel to dry thoroughly before putting them back up.
I used a dishpan to catch the hot water I used to rinse my dishes for dishwasher. I then added soap to the dishpan and washed the rest of my dishes. Then I took that water outdoors and poured over plants to water them.
Used up the last bits of John's bagged salad from his lunch. I added in some fresh lettuce leaves. We also emptied three, almost gone but not quite empty, bottles of salad dressing.
No grahams to make S'mores...I used vanilla wafers.
Made out my grocery list for tomorrow's shopping.
Thursday: Grocery day. Made sure I had list and bags and water in a thermal glass. We took off trash and picked up mail on our way out of town.
We spent a bit over usual this go round and we did last time, too. I'm going to check over my most recent receipts to see just why. I can total in my head our impulse purchases. Now it's time to check prices to see if something has gone up more than I'd taken notice of. I am puzzled about the higher total...I spent a lot of time talking myself out of things not on my list reminding myself that I had staples and could make those items at home.
Made pimento and cheese for sandwich filling.
Did a pantry inventory before putting items on the shelf, then added those purchased today. I've not noticed a sizable dint in much of my pantry or freezer stock. I think that's because we've bought so much fresh produce and worked to eat that. I'm going to use my pantry list to plan meals for the next week.
I am putting a halt on spending until I determine just what it is I NEED to fill gaps in the pantry and freezer. And in my home decor as well. Officially declaring July a 'nothing extra' month. Frankly, after repairs and fixes for several items and a month super heavy in birthdays we could use the break.
John bought lunch today using his allowance to pay for it.
I didn't get everything on my list. I have quite a list but am thinking I will just skip those items for right now. I can easily make substitute items for those missing items until my next shopping trip for groceries.
Friday: John had a class today. His county pays him to attend his continuing education classes. This is a bonus amount for us, and much appreciated.
While taking some things out to the shed, I noted that the blackberries were ripe. I picked about a pint this morning. I flash froze them after rinsing and then packed into a zippered bag. I think more will be ripe Sunday.
I was deep in the midst of cleaning when John called to say he'd been released from class earlier than expected. I didn't really have a hard and fast plan for dinner. I did have leftovers. I made a salad, sliced bread and made a fast dessert.
I asked John to bring home a couple of items from the store. Those were paid for from my allowance.
I'm practicing for my Nothing Extra Month. Ack.
Potted two plants I'd bought last week.
Took bread end pieces from freezer and made a breakfast casserole for tomorrow morning's meal. In the past I've put chopped mushrooms in to stretch the sausage but today I had no mushrooms. What I found in the fridge was a half apple my husband apparently decided not to eat, so I dice that and added in with onion and sausage.
I decided to have a fruit salad to go with the casserole. I used a few blackberries, some of the fruits and melon in the fridge. Glad I decided to make this. I discovered the strawberries were rapidly deteriorating. I immediately prepped them for the freezer.
We bought an unsliced loaf of French bread at Aldi. We used that for our Shabat loaf. I cut off the end pieces after we had our communion and put those in freezer. I'll make croutons from those in future. I sliced four pieces off to use for french toast next week and then put the remaining loaf in the freezer. We'll slice and use when we need more loaf bread but haven't any.
Sometimes it's not the money we save that makes the biggest impact in our life; it's the money we spend. John and I were discussing our finances this week. We've had a small season of struggle. The AC needed some maintenance work, the fridge required a repair, the lawn mower, too. We hit a birthday heavy month. We had two baby gifts, and a wedding gift to add to the birthdays. John's work pants decided they had worked hard enough and shredded. He had to renew his work license. Am I talking about these expenses in enjoying life?
Nope. I'm talking about the vacation we took end of last month. I'm talking about the back porch we spent a good amount of money adding to the house this Spring. Those are the things we mention most often in our money discussions. Yes, the balance drooped and we had to prop it up a bit as our sub accounts dwindled. But we have no regrets at all about taking that vacation nor spending the money on that back porch. In fact, just this week when the account drooped the hardest, we both made time to go sit on the back porch and do Bible study, decorate a little more with plants and items we already have on hand and discuss our plans to renovate our front porch sometime later this year.
You know what else I'm prone to do when things get a tiny bit snug in the budget? Put on my diamond earrings and wear them about the house. They aren't rocks by any means, they are not even pebbles. John got me those beautiful little diamonds for our first anniversary when we were right in the midst of living po'...John tells folks that we had so little we couldn't afford to call it poor. It was money he saved from his pocket change that bought those earrings and they made us both so happy.
Our kids still talk about the super budget vacation we took the summer our oldest son graduated high school. We spent a week at the beach in a cut rate hotel right on the beach. We cooked meals in the kitchenette and shared a single bathroom. One night John took us all out to dinner. We paid more for that single meal than we'd spent in a month for groceries at home. When my children mention that vacation they start by describing the fantastic meal at a big deal restaurant, the first time we'd had a nicer meal than take out pizza.
I am frugal because I have to be to some extent. I'm frugal because I like and enjoy a challenge. I'm frugal because I believe we should be a good steward of our resources. I'm frugal because living debt free is a whole lot more than just not owing someone money. But I never, ever regret the times we spend on what some might consider frivolous or unnecessary things. As John is prone to say too often, "What are we saving for?" To live well, that's what.