Friday, September 18, 2015
In My Home This Week: Looking for Fresh Savings
Saturday: I was all set to finish up dinner. I had only minor things to do and then put in the oven. John asked me to go into town and buy chicken...and I went willingly and did just that since he generously offered to pay for it as well. I took advantage of going into town to go by the local grocery and picked up a few sale items (Rump Roast and carrots and our favorite Red Baron frozen pizzas). Every one of those items went into the freezer (or fridge in the case of the carrots) but none of them were used for today's meal prep. I bought them 'ahead' planning to take the money from this next week's grocery money. I mean they shall be food for later not right now.
I did purchase some frozen Brussels sprouts and John's favorite canned biscuits to make side dishes to go with the chicken. I could have gotten fries and slaw too at the diner but it was early yet for dinner/lunch and I spent less on the sale priced biscuits and sprouts than I would have paid for just a small 1 cup serving of slaw.
I spent all day long on Pinterest. No outfits this week, just lots of reading budget and frugal tip articles and pinning lots of ideas for the holidays and fall and the house decor. I got ideas...a wealth of them!
John enjoyed the SEC channel. I noticed this weekend as we flipped through channels that we had certain channels that were not part of our package choice. I think during my conversation with customer service when she asked what channels we liked, a few of our favorites were added in to the package we were getting. More free stuff and paying less, too. It's one reason why I keep doing business with DirecTv and I mean that sincerely.
Living Well: There is nothing like discovering you've been blessed with something i.e. the satellite channels that are not part of our package but which 'stayed'. God bless that dear manager who helped me work out a deal and kept us happy customers!
Sunday: We took off trash on our way out of the neighborhood this morning.
We stopped for gasoline on our way home from church. John went in and bought a Sunday paper. We like a station that is on the same block as the church we attend but I'd noted that our papers were always 'free' of coupons. I mean never even one flyer. I asked John to pick up his Sunday paper elsewhere from now on so that I could have coupons once more. We went to another station today to get the paper and fill up. I got coupons!
Came home to dinner that I prepped yesterday afternoon after we'd eaten our chicken dinner. I tried an experiment that might have worked a little better. I put my casserole dishes inside my crock pot (they were smaller casseroles) filled with the meatloaf and Zucchini Au Gratin dishes and a foil pan I could bend smaller was filled with rice. I turned the crock pot on high for about an hour and then I turned it down to keep warm. It sort of worked. When we came in from church the food was almost warmed through. It took only a minute or two of microwaving to make it hot.
Spent this afternoon reading through the paper. I found several coupons I might have missed otherwise. I've set it all aside to see if I can match sales with them tomorrow.
Set up another week of outfits.
Washed a full load of dishes after dinner.
Cleaned the kitchen counter tops and cabinet fronts this afternoon and wiped down all the appliances.
Washed a smaller load of clothes on a short cycle and then hung to dry outdoors.
Living Well: I had a lovely surprise this afternoon when my phone rang. It was my lovely Josie calling to wish us a Happy Grandparents Day. I hadn't even realized that was today and it was wonderful to talk to her and Lily and Ross...Not Rosalyn who was too busy singing loudly as she toddled about the house, lol. Did my heart a great deal of good talking to those children!
Monday: The cool air continued. I turned off the AC last night and turned on the house fan which pulled in the lovely cooler night air. This morning I opened the windows. It got chilly...and we just enjoyed it being chilly! I kept the AC off until nearly 2pm today. Past experience has taught us that once the interior temps go over 75F the house gets stuffy and stays stuffy. I expect we'll be shutting off the air again tonight.
I thought I was going to wash towels today but the load was so small I decided it could wait. I'll change sheets a day early (doing them tomorrow) and wash the clothes then.
I pulled weeds from along the sides of the patio and inside the flower pots this morning. I noted LOTS of tiny little plants coming up. I suspect it's all those petunia seeds I kept spreading in the pot. If they come along I should have a glorious amount of petunias in a couple of weeks or so, especially now that it's cooling down.
Leftovers for dinner today. I didn't officially clean out the fridge but I did grab all the items I could see right away that needed to be used up. I was surprised to find that we had enough chicken to make a meal for the two of us. That's 5 servings for us from that 8 piece chicken.
Put a chicken carcass in the freezer to save for making broth. I pulled enough chicken from it to make a single sandwich.
Mopped floors this morning. I took one of those green scrubby sponges and went around the edges of the kitchen about the counters. I don't know just who the brilliant one was that decided floor tile needed dimples...ugh. It does seem dirt and grease will catch in them and build up until it looks dirty even when it isn't. I did the guest bath floor about all the edges of the room as well. I called it a bit of fall cleaning.
John spent the morning cutting branches. This was a task I'd meant to finish but these needed a saw. He cleaned up behind himself, too. Then he mowed the yard. We don't pay for a yard service here, it's all self-done.
Made out a short shopping list this morning. This shorter list is for items I'll purchase in the next town. I plan to purchase whole chickens on sale.
Worked up the bill box.
Balanced my check register.
Baked a frozen pizza...Talk about the incredible shrinking grocery items. We still managed to get enough for supper and for John's lunch from it.
Living Well: I so enjoyed mopping floors this morning and smelling that good clean pine scent mixed with the fresh air coming in the windows. Lovely weather, lovely day.
Tuesday: Up early this morning to pack up John's work lunch and make him breakfast.
Started work right away. I stripped the bed and started a load of wash. I mixed towels and house clothes and sheets.
Earned goal on Swagbucks. I always find this most easily done prior to 7:00am.
Hung most all of the load of clothes to dry. The pieces put in the dryer were dry within 25 minutes.
Went into town for a haircut. I took off trash, took mail to post office. Went on from hair appointment to bank, then did my shopping. I picked up specials at one store, prescriptions at another.
Because I was so near Aldi, I decided I'd just go on and do the grocery shopping. I walked the perimeter of Aldi. I knew I didn't need much and what I did need was mostly snack crackers, dairy items and produce.
Went to Target to look for a bathroom rug. I wanted a rug large enough to stretch from sink to tub in the narrow guest bath. I found a runner on clearance that wasn't exactly the colors I wanted but will work. The cost of the same rug in the color I wanted was $18 more. I can live with the color just fine as I have some of that same shade in the bathroom, so it works just fine for the price.
What I didn't do today: buy random and sundry things that were not a bathroom rug...
Stopped at the discount grocer in the town before my home town and bought whole chickens on sale for $.88. I'll cut them up tomorrow, was just too worn out today to do it. I'll package in the freezer in meal portions for two.
I bought a lot of candy today. A diabetic buying candy? Why? Because my husband is not a diabetic and he likes a sweet snack. I used coupons, specials and store coupons as well as Extra Cash Bucks to bring the price down to about $10 including tax for 6 bags of candy. I also earned $2 in ECBs back to use on my next transaction. That works out to $1.66 a bag. I purchased fun/snack sized candy because that was what the manufacturer coupons required I purchase but I'm really okay with that. I've noticed John eats less of things if they are individually packaged like these particular candies.
Before I left home this morning, I planned my shopping at CVS. I did as Rhonda suggested and cut out the deals I wanted, clipped coupons to them and when I went through to the kiosk and received store coupons on some of those same deals I clipped those to the item. I didn't do nearly as well as Rhonda does. I did separate transactions but when the line began to grow I felt I had to give others a fair chance to get to the register. Next time, I think I'll just go to the end of the line and wait. However, today I earned $20 in ECO which was 33% of what I spent. I combined sales with coupons and store coupons and used ECBs on the next transaction. I still came home with $13 in ECBs. They expire in a month's time. I'll be sure to use them on deals before they expire!
We are now well stocked on facial tissues, mascara (that would be me who is well stocked, no 'we' in that one, lol), hand lotion, mouthwash.
My fail today was to not read an ad carefully enough. I thought I was buying an item for $.99 after sale, coupons/ecbs. I didn't read the fine print which said I needed to purchase 2 to earn the ECBs.It was still a good sale but not the best deal I could have made.
John was out of deodorant. I knew it was getting time to buy more and I'd been watching hard for a really good sale. No luck on that part, but I did find a sale that was okay. I noted that both the 2.3 ounce size and the 3.7 size were on sale for the same price. Guess which one I bought? The larger one, of course! It's a no brainer on something like deodorant to buy the bigger container!
I treated myself to a single bunch of mums. They cost $4.
I forgot to turn off the fan this morning and didn't turn on the AC. It was pretty warm in the house when I finally returned home. I thought it would take forever to bring the house down to our normal temperature but it didn't. It's cool enough this evening that it's already gone off. That means the AC ran for less than 5 hours today.
Living Well: I was surprised at how much I accomplished on my own today. Yes, I was tired at end of day but goodness gracious! I haven't done that much in a day's time in a few years, much less all summer long. It made me feel well, healthy, strong. It was a good feeling.
Wednesday: Spent an hour this morning cutting up chickens. I really like this brand, Claxton. There's nothing but chicken in that bag, no carageenan, no added broth, etc. The chicken tastes really good and fresh. After I cut up the chickens, I packaged into portions. I put up 1 bag for deviled chicken which included two meaty backs, 3 packages of thighs, 2 packages of legs, 1 package of wings, 1 package of wishbones, 5 packages of 2 breasts halves, 1 package with 3 backs and 1 package of scrap pieces.
Bonus this week was enough livers for a meal for me. I put those in the freezer too. John doesn't care for them so I'll save for a special treat for myself later. I cooked up the gizzards for the cat.
I just did not feel well today. I am sure it had everything to do with that big day yesterday.
John washed and hung a load of clothes to dry.
On these weeks when John deposits his check while at work, he's very careful to let me know amounts. I work from that information. Then he brings me the paper work to put away. Today he happened to have the deposit slip separated from his check stubs, so I got them at different points in the day. I was headed to bed for a nap and found it on the dining table. As I laid it with the other paper work I glanced at it...and noticed it was for a good deal less than what he'd told me his check totaled. Gah. Let's just say nap wasn't gonna happen not with a sizable mistake. I looked at his check stub and sure enough it was the amount he'd told me it was. I asked him if he'd gotten cash from the bank. No, he hadn't. Last step was checking with the bank. Apparently someone transposed figures when keying the deposit. It was caught and corrected. And thankfully my husband keeps up with this sort of paperwork so we don't find ourselves facing nasty surprises!
Living Well: I managed to do what had to be done today but truth told, today I felt a lack of all the energy I had the day before. I finally allowed myself (I am working on this) to give in and lie down and nap and do you know, I felt so much better, I was deeply sorry I'd put it off for so long.
I guess it dates back to my childhood and later to my early first married years. It was considered lazy to take a nap and wasn't encouraged unless you were truly sick. So I've shunned the idea and most of my naps have done just what I say they have done: they sneak up on me when I'm supposed to be doing quiet work. To actually go lie down in bed and actively seek to take a nap is something I'm trying to learn to do. John tells me that it will reset my sleep barometer and since I sleep poorly nearly all the time, I kind of need that extra bit of rest.
Thursday: The cat enjoyed her gizzards with her meal this morning.
I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon. It meant a light lunch for us instead of a dinner. We stopped on our way home and picked up a special take out meal. We shared the expense, each paying about half from our personal funds.
I love to batch errands and such but it's not always possible. John called his barber shop for an appointment and was told the first opening was for tomorrow...so we'll be headed back in that direction. I postponed doing lab work this afternoon and will try to do it tomorrow while we're out.
John turned off all the ceiling fans while we were gone today. I left the AC set to come on but it's been so cool these past few days that it runs only a few minutes an hour. I think the electric company will go into shock of withdrawal, lol.
Paid a doctor bill this afternoon. I am so glad we had the money set aside and I could pay it off right away.
Washed a full, very full, load of dishes this afternoon when we returned home.
Living Well: Sometimes we have to see the long view to understand how blessed we truly are. This afternoon I wrote out a large check to the doctor's office. I was so grateful for the money we'd set aside to pay medical bills that allowed me to do that.
But then I looked at the long view of things, from the moment we acquired medical insurance for me. I was worried how we'd make the premium amounts but we've managed. And when I was in the hospital I worried that whether the bills would be covered. They were. And then I worried lest we not be able to come up with the full out of pocket amount we'd owe. Bills have literally trickled in and each time we've received bills we've managed to pay them. In full. John's made a little less money this year, but we've managed. We've reduced a few major bills but not enough to offset the premium amounts yet, but still we've managed.
What I'm really saying here isn't that we are so good at managing but that God is so good to provide all we need, as we need it. And all that worrying I did didn't help one thing.
Friday: We had another day of being out and in the same area where we've been no less than three other times this week. Lots of miles on my car, but we did try to batch things as much as we could. Today I stopped at the hospital to have labs done before John's appointment.
We came straight home after John's appointment was done. He told me what he wanted to have for lunch...It wasn't what I'd planned. I didn't want what he wanted either, but told him I'd eat something else. After a few seconds he asked me, "What did you plan?" Ha. The man does know me and my meal planning. I told him what I'd planned to make. "Oh! That sounds good. Will it be a lot of work?" I assured him I'd planned it simply because it would be easy. And for supper he got his original request for lunch.
I didn't cook the entire pack of meat. I cut two portions from it and then put the rest in the freezer for another meal.
Baked apples....I swear they are as satisfying as apple pie! I put mine in the microwave today and used a bit of oatmeal and brown sugar and cinnamon to fill. I used up the last bit of the butter the restaurant packed with my baked sweet potato yesterday, too. I don't believe in wasting things if I can avoid it.
Speaking of which...This week there was waste. A bit of cooked broccoli I'd left too long, some sauces and jellies and so nearly empty bottles and jars that were taking up room that was needed.
After doing light housework I took a time out and wrote a letter to my new pen pal. Old fashioned mail is so much fun both in getting and in sending.
I prepped foods this afternoon for meals this weekend. I chopped vegetables for spaghetti. I cut more vegetables up for a Philly cheese steak sandwich and then I chopped more vegetables (green bell peppers) to go in the freezer.
I put the onion ends and some trimmings from a carrot and celery into a bag in the freezer. These are my broth making vegetables and I save them until I have enough to make a batch of broth. Then I gather the vegetables and chicken carcasses or scrap pieces and cook them up.
Made John's lunch for Sunday. Since he only wants to carry foods that can survive without refrigeration, he gets peanut butter sandwiches, shelf stable mac and cheese and pudding, etc. So it's easy to prep ahead for his work lunch. The one item that goes into his lunch routinely is yogurt. Since I put in a cold drink and ice packs I am sure that these items will keep the yogurt cold until lunchtime.
I didn't have time or energy to bake Challah this week and didn't buy a whole loaf of bread. We substituted a whole bagel for our bread at the Shabat table.
I had no pepper. None. I thought I had a spare grinder bottle in the pantry but no, I didn't. I thought there was a salt/pepper shaker from our picnic/vacation with those items under the counter. There was barely any in the shaker on the table! I'm not sure how I let myself get completely without what is a basic seasoning in most every household. I hated to go back to town today but I waited until evening. Then we went down to pick up mail, carried off trash and ran into town. I bought pepper at the dollar store, thinking I'd get it cheaper there. There was only name brand and I don't think it was cheaper than I'd have spent at the local grocery. I'll be sure to stock up at Aldi next time I'm there.
Living Well: Katie texted me this morning again about her baby girl. She's on one of those fast moving learning curves. This week she's discovered her feet and her hand/eye coordination has improved so that she can grab them. She's able to hold herself in a sitting position in her bumbo sit. She's learned to squeal and is following the cat and dog with her eyes. She's also discovered her tongue and is constantly sticking it out and blowing raspberries. Katie said how much she appreciated getting to see all this first hand. I'm so glad she's able to be at home to see it! And what's more she's shared every little milestone with us. Thankful for cell phones that send photos so we can be there in the moment right along with her.