Friday, May 22, 2015
In My Home This Week: Savings Routine
Saturday: Birthday party for youngest grandson today. I kept things within budget. His gift cost no more than the big kids will get for their gifts, about $10. I have a slew of birthdays coming up next month. I'm going to try and set aside a little grocery money to help cover those costs.
We contributed to the birthday party very simply. I don't know anyone, child or adult, who doesn't like cheesepuffs. I sent John in for one bag, he came out with two. Cost less than $5. We brought a bag home and I shared the partial bag with my niece for her wee little girls.
I carried along a table protector. Not to put on the table but to put under the birthday boy while he had his cake. These cost about $10 at the grocery and are quite handy for little ones. We put them under the twins high chairs when they visited here. The thicker, heavier plastic lasts longer than a cheap plastic tablecloth and we just fold up, carry them outdoors and wash under the hose.
Sunday: I overslept this morning. I was in luck twice: My already put together outfits in the closet allowed me to just open the closet door, take out an outfit and dress. The second was an item bought for our vacation that we didn't use; Frozen breakfast sandwiches. We heated in microwave and I was able to eat on the way to church.
I didn't have a ready meal when we came out of church either. I used some of the holiday money we'd set aside to purchase lunch. I figured I'd call this day the last day of our vacation, since we planned to rest. I suggested we get a rotisserie chicken from the deli. John chose to add a half pint of potato salad.
When we got home I took all holiday money from my purse and put in an envelope and put it away. We'll use that money this month for anything special we choose to do and if it goes unused we're going to put it back in the bank and save for traveling to see the grandchildren.
I cut the chicken into five sections. We had leg quarters with potato salad for dinner. I put the two breasts and the back/wings aside for future meals.
There was leftover potato salad. I put it in the fridge for tomorrow night's supper.
I hadn't planned supper either...Oh I definitely had a holiday frame of mind! I also had another food item we hadn't used on our vacation: a box of stove top mac and cheese. That made a very nice hot supper for us and I didn't need anything else to satisfy my appetite.
Sat down and planned meals after supper.
Went through paper and gathered coupons and looked through sales ads. Noted that the discount grocer in the next town over had whole chickens for a very good price.
Monday: Up early this morning. I was so excited at the idea of being back in routines that I couldn't sleep. I made breakfast right away and loaded the dishwasher while it was cooking.
I washed a dozen or so zippered bags this morning, most from our trip. I was tempted to toss them but knowing I was going to be purchasing meat, I decided to wash them. I prefer not to reuse meat bags and I generally use previously used and well washed baggies to store the meat since I'm going to be tossing them afterwards anyway. I saved the cost of one box of quart bags doing that job this morning.
Mid morning I sat down to look over the store sales ads. I noted the price of chicken breasts was also very good and then I saw the .disclaimer at the bottom stated prices were good in an area where I don't shop. I decided to go to the nearby store anyway and at least see what their prices were. Roughly a dime more on the whole chickens and $.13 more on the bone in chicken breasts but the price of the breasts was still below $1/pound and the whole chickens were just barely more than that price.
When I went out to the store, I took off the trash, stopped by the post office to buy postage.
Bonus at ths store is the array of potted plants offered at discounts also. I bought a lovely coleus (none of my seeds to have started. I'll try again but in the meantime I want to have pretty pots of plants for the front porch and flower beds), and two 4 packs of petunias. I was tempted by a pot of white petunias but didn't purchase them. I've sort of promised them to myself next week for my anniversary if they are still there.
I bought the turkey sausage we like...but I had to dig to find it. Fortunately I spied a few packages down deep in the case and was able to pull them out.
I bought 3 packages of chicken breasts with four to a package. They are huge breasts. I can easily feed us with one breast, so I packaged them separately when I got home. I bought four whole chickens for roasting.
When I came home I subtracted the cost of the chicken and plants from the ticket and found I was still well within my $300 limit. I have enough left to buy bread and milk and any other necessities. I have my money set aside for my beef purchases. I feel very proud of myself...Now to repeat the same next month!
I promised John I'd bring home some ice cream. I decided to purchase sherbert which is always inexpensive and so very refreshing on these hot summer days.
I wore my white jeans today. It rained and I leaned against the back bumper of the car putting groceries in the trunk. I had a lovely red clay line right across the belly of my pants. I came home and spray treated them. John insisted on washing them right away and put them in to soak with a little bleach first. My jeans came out looking absolutely pristine. I am glad! I would have hated to relegate those pants to the house drawer after I'd only just started wearing them!
I went out this morning and watered the plants deeply, then refilled the pet water supplies. Of course we've had inches and inches of rain this afternoon and evening. I'm not complaining. The rain lowered the temperature nearly 15 degrees and the AC has had no need to run very much at all.
We had hot dogs for supper. I've learned something important. If I boil hot dogs, put them in buns and wrap and freeze them in threes we don't overeat and I can stretch three packages of hot dogs to 8 suppers for us. I'm going to keep a package or two for cookouts but I'm going to cook ahead, too, simply for the savings.
John had the last of the potato salad for supper tonight. No waste there!
Tuesday: I made homemade waffles for breakfast. I use pancake mix because John likes me to kep it on hand and because mixing with water is all that is required. I put the mix into a big 2 quart glass jar with a chalkboard tag on it several weeks ago. I kept the back of the box with the directions on it and mean to tack it to the bulletin board John put up for me today but I thought, "Why don't I just right the basic amounts on the back of the chalkboard tag with my permanent chalk marker?" So I did. No need to keep that added piece of paper about and how handy to have it right there with the jar mix?
Yes, John got busy this morning and hung my little bulletin board inside my baking center cabinet door as I requested. I've written out basics for those items I mix most often (Challah, Dinette Cake, Biscuits, and Banana Bread) on index cards and tacked inside the door.
Made up two salads at once today: tuna pasta salad and the Club Salad (Lettuce, tomato, bacon, chicken). We'll eat the pasta salad in a day or two, but since the salad dressing contained the same basis as the tuna pasta salad (mayonnaise, onion, bell pepper, celery) why not chop all at once and make them both?
Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
I was sorting out the closet so I could put our luggage back in and decided to remove the wrapping paper holder I've had for years that never worked quite as well as I'd hoped. I had a solid navy garment bag and taking my cue from Pinterest I put the rolls of paper in that and hung in the craft room closet. I already like it better! The taller rolls of paper fit much better in the garment bag and now their ends are protected. from being crushed.
The ants were busy and quick this morning. Though I sat with the pets while they ate, the ants were already invading the dishes when I picked them up. I'll have to be watchful of the food bowls when I feed the animals from now on.
I'm trying to leave the AC strictly alone, but I got cold this afternoon. I put on a sweater. If I find I am consistently cold when at rest at the current setting, I'll edge it up one degree.
Wednesday: We decided today was meat market day. Of course, we made the trip count. I took along a bill that needed to be posted, John gathered trash to take off.
I bought enough meat to (hopefully) last us four months with the chicken just bought this week.
Bought a whole sirloin tip roast, rather than sirloin steak, to cube up for shish kebab. This saved nearly $12.
I made my own burger patties when I got home. This was a smaller savings than purchasing the pre-formed (but oh so good) patties they had at store. I managed to get 12 good sized and 9 slider sized burgers from the 5 pounds of beef. I made up the sliders because I had rolls in the freezer and I like the convenience of microwaving a burger. I don't have a lot of room in my freezer at present but I will soon be taking Katie's entrees to her and will have room to add a few more ready made things for myself.
All but $20 of the meat money was in our account or on a pre-paid credit card. Here's where I made that pre-paid credit card count. I paid $40 for it but it was valued at $50. That made our lunch free today. We picked up burgers at the meat market.
Received a food sample from PineCone Research to test.
Thursday: John commented that this is the third time we've finished bananas well before they reached banana bread stage. He sounded kind of proud of it but I'm a little disappointed. I like banana bread! Fortunately I have some bananas in the freezer, so no loss.
Making shish kebab for dinner, I marinated in the last of a bottle of Italian dressing. I am so over buying big bottles of dressing for the two of us. I tired of them long before they are done. This is the third recipe I've used Italian dressing in over the past two months.
I used lots of vegetables for the shish kebab: zucchini, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes. It seemed quite enough vegetables in the end and I did not make salad.
Made cookies this afternoon to fill the cookie jar.
Deadheaded plants this morning so they will keep producing lovely flowers and not seeds. I'll let them run to seed later in the season.
I did find one or two mature seedheads on the petunias so I cracked them open and scattered about the soil in the pot.
Took up another volunteer petunia growing beside the patio.
Friday: It was so much cooler this morning that the AC didn't come on until after noon.
John washed a full load of clothes and hung them all to dry.
We went down to pick up John's check (early pay due to the holiday). I took along tithes to mail off and bagged up all the trash to go off, too.
John headed to the next town and suggested we had a gift to buy. A bit of questioning revealed that he meant to buy me an anniversary gift. Truth: I have no desire for anything in particular at the moment. I suggested an ice cream cone would suit me just fine and so that's what he bought us. Lovely day for an ice cream cone on the way home anyway.
We stopped at local grocery to pick up basic necessities: milk, eggs, bananas, potatoes. I stocked up on fat free Cool Whip, which is nice to keep on hand especially for ice box pies in the hot months. Since I can't find carageenan free cream products any longer this is my go to substitute.
While in the grocery, I noted one pocket of my jeans felt crisp...I realized I had a waistband pocket and when I reached in I found $20.
When I got allowance today, I noted that I'd only spent about $10 of my last pay period's allowance. I put aside half of my money for project funds.
This is Katie at about 1 1/2. That smile was standard issue with her and still is. Any day now, Katie will have her own little girl. I am jumping every time the phone rings or a text comes in. Katie had some tough years following high school. The resutl of them is that she's grown into a lovely beautiful strong woman...a woman who can raise a girl to womanhood with gentleness and strength and skill. In the meantime, we wait for that new little girl to arrive.