Friday, July 17, 2015
In My Home This Week: Better Saving Habits
Saturday: Saturdays are our day (usually) to stay home and rest. It means we seldom spend money on this day. Instead we're all about a certain ritual, from what we have for breakfast to stacking dishes in the sink and leaving them until the next day. John usually prepares either breakfast or supper on Saturdays. It's all part of our rhythm and it works beautifully for us. I find, at the end of a Saturday that I am often starting a list of things I mean to accomplish the next week, simply because I'm so rested I can think of all the things I would like to get done.
Fed the pets the scraps of food from fridge clearing out and from dinner plates. I didn't need to give either of them any more food, so a 'free' meal for those two.
I washed a full load of dishes last night after Shabat started. I'll unload them tomorrow morning, but I know there was a savings in washing them mid-evening.
It must have been hot outdoors this afternoon. I didn't even put my nose outside the door, but I'm judging by how the AC ran all afternoon long. I can only imagine how much more it would have had to run had I not pulled the room darkening curtains on the sunny side of the house.
John has gotten on board with the 'flush less often' thing. I've been trying to institute that for years upon years. I don't know just why he's ready to do it now, but I'll take the small savings in it.
Do you remember my saying I took out too much money last week? I set it aside. I picked up John's prescriptions on Thursday and it occurred to me, I had cash in my purse...why on earth use the debit card to pay for it. That cash is all accounted for so it works out just fine.
Gave myself a fresh pedicure this morning.
I meant to set up outfits last week...I took time to do that this morning. I didn't use inspiration photos this time. I just opened the closet and the drawer where I keep my costume pieces of jewelry and sort of paired things up based on what I liked.
Living Well: When all seems wrong in the world, or at least it seems as the old hymn puts it, "tempest tossed", I find Shabat to be a sweetly peaceful day for our household. I feel the weights falling off my shoulders Friday evening as sunset approaches and it seems that nothing can disturb that peace. We had a lovely day today and yet there was nothing at all to it. Just two people who enjoy being together, siting quietly reading, listening to music and feeling blessed.
Sunday: This is typically another low spend day in our household. John and I went to church. He stopped and bought soda and a Sunday paper. There were enough sales papers and coupons in the paper to offset the cost of purchase.
John wanted take out for his dinner. He paid from his allowance. My part was to go in to place the order...and as it happened to correct the mistake the clerk made in thinking that the purchase was for dark meat only...Not at those prices! Thankfully the manager came up and corrected the young woman and my order was put right.
There were enough leftovers to put in John's lunch for work tomorrow. And enough for my lunch as well. In light of four servings, I think the meal was not the worst value we could have picked but it was a splurge and one I'm not willing to make a habit.
I pulled a bag of Stevia baking mix from the cupboard in the kitchen. It's unopened, so I can take it back to Aldi or pass it along to my son and his family.
I took time this afternoon to put snack crackers in the tin cans I keep in the cupboard or to fill the snack jar on the counter. This eliminates ants getting into our foodstuffs, something I've had very little trouble with since putting every single thing in either a glass jar with a screw on lid or a vintage replica tin.
Living Well: We went to church this morning. How good it felt to walk across that parking lot today and stop inside...and how revealing later as I found myself weeping, feeling it's time we looked for our own church home once more. Not to hide away and glean what wisdom we can but to be an active participant once again...I didn't say anything to John, but I'll just lay odds he's feeling the exact same way. I think our present church is way too big and impersonal for me but it might be exactly what he wants. So I'll leave it to God, but go into prayer that He will place us where we need to be.
Monday: Watered plants this morning and refilled pet water buckets. We've had no rain in a couple of weeks or more and everything is brown and dry.
Mopped floors today. In the kitchen, I used the dishwasher detergent that we couldn't use in the dishwasher. I love how clean and white it makes the white tile floor look.
Ordered a new battery for John's computer.
Ordered a new book for myself from Blogging for Books.
Made Swag goal very early this morning. I always find it easiest to earn points in the dawn hours of the day rather than later.
Meant to go grocery shopping this morning but decided to hold off. I want what I want from the store, but it's not necessary...and since I'm about to do a pantry/freezer inventory I think I can hold off until late this week or for grocery day next week before making any purchases.
Ate leftovers for my lunch today.
Packed John's work lunch, and made him breakfast.
After mopping, I made myself a Diet Limeade (Diet Sprite, lime wedges) over ice. Boy did that hit the spot!
Living Well: A day at home alone...It's the first one I've had where I felt really well. I made big plans today to clean floors and tackle a bit of work in cleaning one room really well and prepping grocery list and ...Oh it went on and on that list. And then I realized what I really wanted was to finish the book I was reading (for review but a very good book indeed) and enjoy the quiet. So I did that. After lunch I managed to knock out the whole of the list and was no more tired than I ought to have been. I'll just bet I sleep really well tonight. Here's to good books!
Tuesday: Started the freezer/pantry inventory today. I was not surprised to find I have quite a few butter beans on hand. I'll certainly be making sure we use those at least twice a month.
One of the handiest things I've employed has been the use of plastic baskets in my freezers. I keep various items organized and can find what I want more easily. Yes, I do lose a minor bit of space in the freezer, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice for the ease of finding what I'm looking for.
I used a chicken breast to make chicken and dumpling soup for dinner today. It was a help to have dinner simmering while I worked.
I found a few items in the freezers that I thawed for Maddie and Misu tomorrow. Not so much stuff really but enough to make a meal for them.
While I was cutting celery for the soup, I cut sticks for John to snack on. He enjoys them filled with peanut butter or cream cheese.
I made pancakes this morning for breakfast. Instead of eating maple syrup, I melted sugar free raspberry jelly and poured over my pancake, which I'd topped with peach slices. Oh my gracious! that was good eating!
John hung a load of clothes to dry.
Living Well: I've been through some lean times in my life. I mean lean...Where I didn't know for sure how we'd feed the children, much less ourselves. As I worked on my pantry/freezer inventory today, I couldn't help but recall a tiny little pantry and an upright freezer that once supplied all the food required to feed my two oldest children and myself during a really lean period that lasted about six week. I remembered another day here, when I'd come home from shopping and Katie put away the groceries. It was something she liked doing back then. She sat cross legged on the floor in front of the cabinet where we then had our 'pantry' of goods and said to me quietly, "Mama...isn't it comforting to know you've got this food?" Well she had no idea really, how very comforting that stockpile was. Things were still a little difficult at us for times still, but nothing like those long ago years when times were really hard for my family.
I am so grateful God has shown me how to supply my household, and how to stretch what we have so there is always enough and some leftover.
Wednesday: I washed two loads of clothes. I hung most to dry. I did use the dryer for our mattress cover.
Fed Maddie the food I'd thawed for her.
Reheated leftover soup for our dinner today, when my mind refused to consider possibilities for meals otherwise.
Did a pantry inventory. I wrote dates in big numbers on top of the cans so I can see at a glance date/year of expiration. I still need to do those items in the kitchen cupboards but I certainly see where I need to fill gaps and where I need to restrain myself in purchasing more and where I need to use immediately!
Fashioned a lovely card for a dear friend.
Pulled a few items to tag for the booth. All are from my current stockpile.
Found a book on my bookshelf when shifting books about. I was happy to find it as I've wanted to read it for a few months. Happy me.
Used items on hand to make a diabetic friendly sort of ice cream sandwich: frozen strawberries, fat free whipped topping and non-fat plain Greek yogurt between graham crackers.
"Shopped" the pantry/freezer and brought out coffee, milk, some chicken I'd pulled from the last batch of broth (added to the chicken soup to meat it up once more).
Living Well: I was moving some things around on the bookshelves yesterday afternoon and found a book I'd purchased several months ago. I'd looked and looked for it but never in the spot where it was apparently, lol. I've been finding lost things all week long: earrings, tools, sewing supplies I'd mislaid. I don't much like losing them, but how lovely it is to find them once more!
Thursday: We batched errands this morning on our way out of town. We picked up mail, took off trash, went by the dollar store to pick up a couple of necessary items, stopped at post office to drop off mail and stopped at the peach shed to buy peaches and tomatoes.
We went to one of our favorite spots today. We stopped for burgers on our way home, but carried along snacks and water since we knew we'd miss our regular dinner hour.
Came home and did absolutely nothing. A luxurious way to spend a day, with a short day trip and leisure at home to follow. I made salads for our supper since we'd lacked vegetables at lunch.
Living Well: I've been asking John several times over the last few months if we couldn't go to the mountain. Our schedules were packed too full, the weather was frightful, another packed month, my illness and recuperation all delayed the trek I so longed to make. Today we went to the mountain.
It was so lovely to be there once again and so wonderful to speak our hearts to God as we gazed over the far reach of the valley and hills before us. And I wept when John prayed, "Abba, it's time for us to have a church home once again." I knew it, he knows it, God knows it, too. Whenever we find ourselves of one mind we know that God is in it.
Friday: Packed John a lunch for work. Made him breakfast.
Partially filled a large pan with water and washed the few dishes in that.
Set washer to low setting and washed a small load of clothes.
Errands for me this morning were batched, too. I went by Lab, by grocery for bread and bananas, stopped at a couple of thrift stores and went by another grocery to pick up chicken and turkey sausage to restock the freezer.
Pulled curtains on sunny side of house to prevent the house heating up.
Carried bottled chilled water with me, as it was very hot outdoors.
In the early morning, while it was cool, I shut off the oscillating fans and let the natural coolness in the house suffice.
I've spent an hour trying to upload a photo of my purchases at CVS today. I didn't do anywhere near as well as Rhonda does with her awesome bargains but I sure did my best. I was alone at the register with the cashier and asked if she'd work with me on ringing items up in a certain order and doing multiple transactions. She quickly agreed. So here's how things worked out at:
2 Revlon nail polishes @$5.97 ea.
1 CVS mag citrate 2.67
1 Rimmel Stay Matte Primer $6.79
-$5/off $15 beauty purchase
-$5 beauty club rewards
Total oop 11.04
Earned $3 ECB
All Free and Clear detergent x2 $6.99/2
-$3 ECB from previous transaction
Total OOP $3.99
earned $2 ECB
2 Nice and Easy hair colors @$7.99 ea
-$5 mfr. coupon
Total Oop $8.98
earned $5 ECB
2 All Free and Clear detergent @ $6.99/2
1 G.U.M. twin pack toothbrush @$1.99
-$1 CVS coupon on G.U.M. toothbrush twin pack
Total OOP $2.98
Now if you've been reading my blog awhile you know that when I color my hair I use only 1/2 the mixture at a time. I eyeball and mix it in a saved bottle that I rinse and reuse, so I get 2 colorings from each box of hair color. That means each coloring will cost me just $2.25 (more or less) each. I'm saving upwards of $70 over salon coloring
The All detergent will likely last us about 1 year and ends up costing me about $.75 a bottle...That makes doing laundry super cheap for us and I like that very much!
It is so terribly hot outdoors...I gave Maddie an especial treat of some cooked and frozen beef bones I'd saved. It's a sort of doggie popsicle to help cool her down a bit.
In the interest of saving time today I asked at the hospital to whom I needed to direct my complaint over not getting information to my doctor as requested. I explained that I'd spent an hour or so each time I've had labs down, trying to track down who is responsible to fax that information directly to his office. I have a number to call on Monday to speak to someone.
I made a round trip of things today. First I went to CVS, then to my two favorite thrift shops (where things are getting mighty pricey, sigh...Then to do lab work. Because I was very hungry and realized it had been 7 hours since breakfast I went out to eat (maneuvered Chinese buffet today and think I did okay).
Then to a grocery where I stocked up on chicken breasts and whole chickens and turkey sausage and what I hope is far fresher cabbage than I've gotten of late at my usual store. I also bought sugar free popsicles and as a treat, I bought little cups of ice cream and sherbet. Not the least expensive way to purchase either one but the least tempting to overeat this way. And since it's not for daily eating but for occasional treats I think it will prove more economical and less likely to ice up over time. I was out of cash by the time I hit the grocery today but it's okay...Those funds are coming from next pay period's (imminently coming up)
I bought a knit top in a lovely Robin's egg blue at my most favorite thrift store for $1. It is a smidge snug but should be my next size down as I lose weight so I'm hoping it will fit really well by Fall.
I also purchased a long chunky necklace that will be pretty paired with this top.
At the other favorite thrift store I bought a pretty necklace which will do very nicely with the above mentioned top for $2.99, which will give me an alternative look. Let's see...That comes up to $8.99 spent on my fall wardrobe thus far. I'll get two 'looks' for that price and I think the budget can handle that deal.
Prepped food for the weekend...I hate to spend a lot of time making meals on our Shabat and lately I've just not had the time/energy to work ahead but I made a point of it today. I have food prepped for Saturday for two meals (dinner and supper) and food ready to heat and eat for Sunday after we come in from church. This should offset the desire to spend extra getting take out...especially since I must go into the grocery on Sunday to pick up my prescriptions. Best leave temptation at the door!
Living Well: I've been full of good intentions this week. Well, I've done several things I meant to do but there are so many I never made it around to. I never did get a chatty post up here, nor check in with Katie to see how she was doing, nor write an email to a friend I'd promised one to. I meant to talk to Bess more one day and never got back to the computer to do it. I meant to call V and check in with Amie and talk to the boys. I meant to take time out to talk something over with God that had been on my heart and then I couldn't do it at the mountain because travelers came in to see the views. I meant to do so many things about the house that I didn't. I'm making a list of all those 'meant to' items and I'm going to tick them off next week same as I do household and yard tasks that I want to tackle. Life is too short to leave it full of things we meant to do!