Friday, October 10, 2014
Living Frugally, Living Well October 4-10
Saturday: No cooking for me today, at least not until after sundown this evening. We are participating in Yom Kippur today. I have something out to make up quickly tonight into a hot meal.
I heard the breezes start this morning and ran to open the windows. The first really cold air of the season is coming in. We have all the windows open and are letting the cool fresh air blow through the house. John always says we're blowing out the germs. There's something to that theory. After years of pooh poohing the advice of our great grandmother's day, a recent study suggests that fresh air and sunshine are two of the greatest disinfectants for any household.
I got chilly as the morning progressed but I didn't close those windows! I went and put on a sweater and socks instead. I'm training myself for winter days when I get cold but the heat is really turned up quite high enough.
Why a photo of my freezer? To remind me that it's a FREEZER Challenge month. I need to make room for holidays ahead. I'll be planning all my meals this month from stuff that we have in our freezer with the addition of only a bit of fresh produce and dairy items.
Started a project this afternoon in the craft room while the sunlight was pouring through the window. It gave me much needed light to see by...My project involves fabric from my stash, a circle cut from a cardboard box and a needle and thread.
Sunday: I slept wonderfully well in the chill air last night, even put the quilt on the bed. Love to snuggle under my quilt! Fresh, naturally cooled air is certainly a terrific sleep aid and quite inexpensive. I do think it might be addictive though, lol.
Failure to plan, failure to prepare caught me out thrice today: I opted to have John fry eggs and I made toast so that was our breakfast. This is usually his workday meal. Mind you he LIKES it so he was quite happy and I enjoyed having him cook breakfast for me.
I had meant to make a dinner but we arrived home later than expected from service this morning. We ran errands is why. I told John the meal plan I had would take a bit of time but he could snack...and he drove straight through town to the Subway and we bought a sandwich for our meal.
No plan for supper either! Well I had a sort of a plan but John didn't feel like what we had, I used the only other item to make his lunch and so we had bagels for supper. It could have been worse...We might have gone to the grocery deli and bought snacks etc, we could have gone out to a sit down restaurant and splurged, or headed to the fair and eaten at the fairway. So I'm not considering it an awful thing we spent $8 on a sandwich big enough to feed two!
When we left for church, John went through house and turned off all the ceiling fans.
Even though we were going to church, I bagged all the trash in the house and we took it off to the dumpster on our way out. On our way home we ran errands, too. We stopped for gasoline, we stopped to pick up John's prescriptions and we made a third stop to get a paper...before we came to our hometown and went to the Sub Shop for our dinner.
John played it clever at the drugstore. He went in, saying he wanted something else. Well he wanted to get two prn medicines refilled. While he was there he decided that he really was hungry and got two candy bars, on sale for $.50 each. Then when he paid for his prescription there was a $1 ECB on the ticket and the girl told him to use that to pay for the candy. He paid tax only for the two.
For all my lackadaisical ways today I did prepare John's work lunch for tomorrow.
We opened windows again as soon as we came home. The AC hasn't been on since Friday evening.
Monday: Made John's breakfast and packed his work lunch.
Stripped the bed and washed a load of sheets and towels. I hung those on the outdoors line to dry and what didn't fit went on the drying rack indoors.
Washed a second load of clothes on a medium wash setting. It was really too many to leave in the basket and too few to warrant a full washer of water. I used the shorter cycle for this load of clothes as they weren't deeply dirty, just had been worn a few times.
Hung that second load of clothes to dry, too. This time I used hangers and the tension rod between the laundry room door frame.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher. While I was running water so it would be hot at start of cycle, I filled water bottles, rinsed dishes and filled my little dishpan with enough to hand wash the last few items.
It was my day out with Mama today and my turn to pay for dinner. I paid for our meal out of my allowance.
Sat down this afternoon and determined how much of my personal fund account has to be subtracted to pay for my shoe and clothing purchases last month. This is a separate savings account where I plunk birthday and Christmas gift monies each year. Because our budget is fairly tight, I pay for the majority of my clothes each year and a few things for the house we mightn't otherwise be able to afford. It's not a lot of money annually but it does go further than it would if I simply carried in my pocket and randomly spent it. I actually PLAN how I shall spend the money each year. This is one of the last purchases I will be able to pay for this year. Everything else must come from the allowance until that account has a booster shot.
Worked on my fourth quarter budget. I started by averaging what we made the previous three months. Usually I work with that figure but I'm aware that these next three months are going to be a little smaller pay wise as John uses up vacation time. He does get paid vacation but it also means NO overtime at all, so it is a slightly smaller pay scale overall. Expenses will be a little higher, too with holidays coming in. I would rather figure low and end with more than find myself struggling to keep to a budget that is nowhere near what I can actually afford.
Big dinner out, small supper at home. Crackers and cheese were sufficient for my evening meal.
Tuesday: Made an 'after work day' breakfast for John this morning. I made hash browns from half a potato I'd put in water after cutting into fingers last week.
I made up a box of muffin mix bought on clearance. It was a cinnamon struesel muffin and quite good. I had some leftover struesel topping I'd stored to the boxed mix stuff.
Used the last two tablespoons of goat cheese crumbles in my scrambled eggs this morning.
Took several items from freezer to thaw for meals this week. Realized half way through morning I'd over estimated the foods we'd need...So I put a few things back in the freezer. They will come out next week.
I needed only half an apple to make enough salad for our dinner today.
I had four navel oranges that we just weren't touching. I peeled and sectioned and put in the freezer.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to try and salvage my time. I'd been spending a lot of time in the kitchen and less time on other projects. My new plan has worked well...but I realized something today as I went into kitchen this afternoon. I also use the kitchen area, where work is always awaiting me, to procrastinate doing other projects that are less appealing. My eyes have been opened to my own devious ways, sigh. I shall be on guard to make sure I don't use the kitchen to avoid other work.
Wednesday: We were up very early this morning to watch the Eclipse of the Blood Moon. Although my source said we'd need to rise by 5am, there was nothing to see at all at that hour. I went back to bed, lol. John however, researched online and discovered it was to occur about 6:30am ET. He got me up and we watched the full eclipse.
Made apple pancakes using the last of the apple I used to make Waldorf salad.
Went into town to drop off the electric and phone bills, do some banking and drop off mail at the post office. I went into the local grocery...very cautiously. Typically a mid-pay period shopping trip totals about $50. I bought bananas and grapes, a bottle of orange soda (2 litre which is less expensive than 2 singles) and 2 half pints of ice cream. I found milk for $2.19 a gallon with a sell by date of today. Did I need milk? No. I had a gallon thawing in the sink here at home but...$2.19! I bought it and put my still frozen gallon back in the freezer. Had I had more freezer space I'd have bought the 2% milk gallons for the same price.
We have begun buying the half pints of ice cream for one reason: we seldom waste any of the half pint, but often leave the larger cartons until they are freezer burnt and disgusting and wasted. The half pints are more expensive overall so we buy them only occasionally which is a savings for us in both calories and money. And because we buy them so seldom, we eke them out and are careful not to eat them all at one sitting.
Finished off two bags of salad that were left from John's work lunch. Seriously I dislike these bagged salads a great deal. A LOT. But I won't waste money if I can help it. I can't always find the smaller salads that are better suited to his lunches. The cost of those is the same as the cost of a larger family sized bag of salad when I do find them but then there's seldom waste from those.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
John washed, and hung to dry, a full load of clothes.
Fed the dog and cat some food scraps we had left from yesterday and reduced their dry pet foods accordingly.
Decided not to go to the dollar store when I found a similar product at the grocery to the one I'd meant to purchase. It saved a lot of temptation spending.
Ran Swagbucks videos while we watched a movie this afternoon. I had my first goal complete long before the movie was over.
Made egg salad for sandwich filling.
Thursday: We changed plans this morning and decided to stay home after all. It suited me perfectly...and it gave me a great idea of how to streamline my time still further. Since our plans didn't change until a little later in the morning, I prepared dinner while straightening the kitchen and making breakfast. I figured we'd just reheat and eat instead of buying lunch out. After we changed our plans, the morning was free before me...no need to prepare a meal. I had the whole morning to work at various tasks. I think I'll employ this method more often.
The Ac is back to running regularly. We bumped it up a degree or two so that it doesn't come on quite so often. It does at least stay off longer into the mornings now. By the first of next week we should be able to cut it off again.
I worked on my craft project. I try to do a bit every day. I plan to carry a few pieces with me when we are out and about, as it is a nice filler for spells of waiting and very portable.
Planned spending: we have some upcoming purchases to make. So we sat down this morning and talked about each item and made a list. We determined what we'd need overall, what we could stretch out and what we could do without. We even discussed how to pay for items. It was a good conversation to have as we realized we were pretty much on the same page and that we had all we'd need to cover the purchases.
Friday: Packed John's lunch, made him breakfast.
Ate leftovers from dinner for my breakfast. It wasn't enough for a lunch entree and was too good to toss, so I thought it would make a nice breakfast...and it did!
Washed a smaller load of clothes, hung all to dry.
Went over weekend plans and determined what meals might be.
Had to run an errand or two this morning. I received a $10 off $50 coupon from Lowe's the other day and I'd thought I'd purchase two more shades with it. Well, I almost made up my mind to skip it but yesterday I moved the cheap mini blinds in the living room and broke off four more ends, sigh. I think after time they just get brittle from the sunlight and heat that comes in those windows, besides being incredibly flimsy. I debated the thought of buying two more cheap blinds and realized it would cost me half the price of a new nicer blind at regular price and the same as a nicer one on sale. So I made up my mind that after all buying two at $40 was the better route. This will come from our household funds.
I read on a blog that Lowe's had several of their curtains marked down and boy did they! One valance was $1.50 in one pattern. I looked hard to see if I found something I liked. Most of the patterns I was drawn to were $11 per panel...Unfortunately the ones I liked best didn't have enough of the same sized panels left to put in the rooms I'd have used them in. I left that area empty handed.
Bagged trash, gathered a deposit, double checked cash for weekend, planned to stop by flea market...all in the name of making this trip count big while out today.
Turned the AC up two degrees higher. I knew it was supposed to be a LOT warmer today but didn't want the AC to run for hours on end either. That two degrees made a huge difference.
Turned off all ceiling fans before leaving home. I'm curious to see how this affects our next electric bill.
Stopped at flea market after talking myself out of a Good Will shop. Glad I did. I found a pair of curtains fro the guest room and the needed three picture frames to frame my Good Housekeeping prints for the guest room walls. I spent less than $10! So far I've put a whole $15 into that bedroom. Everything else has been 'use what you have'.
Came home from town to find a new test product sample on my porch. Yum! And that's not just the 'free' talking!
There's a lot of small town living in my life...and I wouldn't have it any other way!
I stopped by the flea market on my way home, intending to settle my account, but the proprietor was out. Her husband was in and he had customers looking about. He enjoys folks that man and he talked and chatted with a couple, then came towards me and told me if I'd wait just 10-15 minutes Shirley would be right back. The customers requested some of his attention, so I slipped away from him to look at what was new in the shop. I ran into another good soul who likes to talk. By the time Shirley got back from her errand I'd managed to move only about 6 feet, lol.
Well eventually I made my way around a portion of the store, in an attempt to get back to the counter in the middle of the store, bumping into her husband at least three more times and listening to him chatter away between catching Shirley up on things. Shirley had another customer come in and kept eyeing me, in an attempt to communicate she'd be with me in a moment and I nodded and moved out of her way. I discovered a new booth and there on the floor in a basket were just the picture frames I needed, even the sizes (I'd decided on one larger matted print and two smaller standard sized frames) for $1 each. I was some kind of happy about that bargain.
There was more chatter before Shirley and I ever got to think about settling up. Between her husband and I, between that good soul and I, and between Shirley and I. The gentleman customer Shirley had been trying to help was at the counter when Shirley finally got around to ringing up my purchase. He'd waited as patiently as I for service. I was standing at the counter when I realized I was happy to be part of that hometown group this afternoon with all that was going on and that's when I looked up. The older man who'd been waiting so patiently in all the hullabaloo looked at me and smiled. I knew right away that he was as pleased as I to be here in our small town where the clerks and customers all have a little time to spare.
You don't get a lot of that in the city.