Friday, February 5, 2016
Assigning Value To Our Days, Frugal Friday: Ushering in February
January 30: Made biscuits from scratch today. A can runs $1.59 on sale. Frozen are $2.99 for a dozen and they are closer to my homemade version. I'll call my savings $2.59 for my batch. I've split it between today's meal and tomorrow's.
I had leftovers of dinner today. I decided that was sufficient for supper tonight, no need to make an extra meal when I wasn't feeling up to par.
I had a bit of leftover cooked cabbage. I set it aside to go into tomorrow's dinner of Chicken Stirfry.
Although we typically do not wash laundry on Shabat, I discovered the cat used Blossom's bed as a litter box. In getting the bed into the washer, I got some of the mess on my clothes. So we did two loads of laundry today. All were hung outdoors in the wonderful warm sunshine.
I told you I'd do this so...I gave myself an acrylic gel manicure. I used the bought on sale kit and the bought on clearance polish. Savings $45.00.
January 31: Put away pet food bowls before we left for church this morning.
We stopped to drop off trash, pick up mail and dropped a book off at the library drop box.
John has this way of being really subtle about my meal plans. If he doesn't want what I'm preparing he'll say, "I was thinking we'd go by 'X' and pick up some..." Uh huh. Today I looked at him and said "Well...if you do that then I can contribute $5 which is all I've got in my purse. What can you put towards the meal?" My subtle message was "Not if it's coming from our checking account." He told me what he was willing to contribute from his wallet and we went to pick up what he wanted. I added fresh fruit, bread and drink to go along with the meal which we brought home. I also went right ahead and put a good portion of the meat up in the freezer. I told him we'd get less next time, which would lower the costs considerably.
That meal he didn't really want today will, thankfully, keep quite well in the fridge and we'll have it either tomorrow or Wednesday.
Clipped coupons and looked through sales papers. I'm not quite ready to determine the stock up portions just yet, but I knew which of the basic items we needed to buy: Milk and bread and eggs and fruit and lettuce, the perennials of the grocery budget.
Weather warmed up considerably. The pets do not need the extra calories to stay warm when it's this mild. I didn't feed them this evening since they had their daily portion this morning.
Total savings for January: $6,254.52 a substantial sum and not a bad start to the year. I'm not counting on having those sorts of savings all year long but I'd love it if I could, lol! Actually, my 'savings' will pay for insurance this year...there is that.
February 1: We did a big day today, at John's request and given the added things that have come up for this week, it is a good thing. We went out today and did an early grocery shop. I spent $115 and with the $30 I'd spent last week on dog food, I am still under by $100. I'll count that not as savings but towards the bulk beef purchase I hope to make this month.
We had another dinner out...that's an awfully lot for us of late and Mama wants to take us out for our birthday later this week...We bought today's meal from the checking account, but it wasn't pricey, just about $5 a piece. I augmented our sandwich and water meal with a clementine from the bag we purchased at Aldi and we shared a candy bar John bought yesterday.
Went to my doctor's appointment.
We drove from the doctor's down to John's work place to pick up the paycheck. I hadn't done bills yet, but I did bring along the checkbook. Before we make our deposit, before we pay any bill or get cash for allowances and groceries, we pay our tithes. The money I spent on groceries this morning? John gave me cash from his Christmas money, a loan of sorts. After we made out tithe checks, we headed to the bank to do our business there.
We paid our property taxes and bought car tags. Those funds were in our account already, in a sub account. As of this pay period I will begin to save money for next year's expenses.
Stopped at the bank in that town to put items in our safety deposit box.
John filled up my car with gasoline before we headed home.
John and I were mutually agreed on what we wanted for our birthdays. I ordered both from Walmart and they will be shipped to the house. I used the balance on my PayPal account to cover half the cost. I went through Swagbucks Shop and Earn and will be credited 3 points every dollar spent for the full amount before taxes and shipping.
Bought four boxes of whole wheat spaghetti today. I have priced it at various places and the least expensive I'd seen to date was $1a box at Walmart. At Aldi today, we found it for $.99, a very small but saved amount, $0.04.
February 2: Poor John...My alarm didn't go off this morning. Fortunately he had eggs and bread at hand and cooked his own breakfast. I was up in time to pack the lunch I prepped last night, but if I'd continued to sleep in this morning, he'd have found all the items together and packed them himself.
Made Swagbucks goal for the first time in three days. Some days are just harder than others for reasons unknown to me. Glad it went well this morning!
Tucked away $7...I have this idea of something I'd very much like to do so I am saving all my $1 bills towards it.
Sat down this morning after Bible study and prayer(!), and paid bills.
Called a doctor's office whose claim is being denied as he's not covered under my particular policy. My appeal to pay went unremarked entirely. So...bill due what to do? I told the clerk the situation and she offered me a 50% reduction if I'd sent out a check today. It was by no means the largest bill I've had and the other bills for the office we paid the full amounts due. It was a courtesy on their part and appreciated on mine. I had the funds set aside in my medical payment fund. I saved $68.
Went into town today. I used the last of the grocery money to purchase stamps and pay for the goods bought at CVS today. I will write a credit to the meat fund for the stamps, but technically CVS was grocery and from grocery budget it shall come.
I had $4 in ECBs that were expiring this week and wanted to use them. What on earth is the point of free money if you toss it in the trash?! So I spent my ECBs today. I really thought hard about what I meant to purchase and I think I did well enough. Not perfectly but well enough. I earned $1.75 in ECBs to spend between now and March. My total out of pocket including taxes was $12.39 with a total savings of 62% or $18.91. My favorite purchase of the day? The candy bar that earned me $0.75 ECB and ended up costing me a mere $0.24,,,That price took me back to my teen years, lol. I also got a free toothpaste using a sale/manufacturer's coupon/store coupon combination. I think I have enough toothpaste for a year now so will only watch for sales to replace what we use.
I stopped for a fish sandwich today. My doctor urged me to be sure and eat my fish, so while I was out I got myself some fish. I paid for my sandwich out of my allowance.
I priced flat rate boxes and envelopes today at the post office. I'd made up my mind I wanted to send the grandchildren something for Valentine's Day but golly gee whillikers! Postage is too high to send them treats or anything more than a card...especially when I've a birthday package to mail off already. So...cards it shall be. Handmade cards at that. Best get busy with my craft supplies.
As I've been reading through my vintage magazines I've been culling them again. Some are just tattered and delicate. Well I can't bring myself to throw them away but I've a friend or two who will enjoy them and have less of an investment in them, so I'll gift them to those girls and let them determine the magazines fate after they have enjoyed them. I'll keep the best of my collection to continue to read annually. I scanned the ads and such that I wanted to use as copy on the blog, so I'll have that.
Made myself a single cup of coffee when I came in from town.
Feb. 3: Today I made Chicken Fried Rice. It was super tasty and I think what made it was the use of the broccoli stalks instead of adding peas or other vegetables. I liked using the last of the broccoliI'd purchased and having zero waste for that foodstuff. I priced Enchiladas at my favorite place and they are $8.99 for three. I made 9, or $27 worth. My cost to make was one can of enchilada sauce ($.79), half a block of cheese ($.89) and 9 tortillas from a package of 20 ($.79). So for less than 10% of ordering at the Mexican restaurant I have food for two meals (with leftovers) for us. Savings $25
Not so happy to discover that my sour cream molded. The expire date was Feb 16, 2016. No clue why it went off but it did. That was waste but nothing to do with me!
I made two pans of chicken enchiladas. I put both in the freezer for now.
John picked up mail on his way in this morning.
Fed the pets. Went out to put away food pans and found ants crawling all over them. The weather was super warm and it took just a few minutes for the ants to go to work. Waste of a sorts, yes. The truth is once that food is tossed into the yard not only do the birds peck at it but the dogs go out and eat it all up to keep the birds from having it.
I set my grocery budget in late December for the year. I was just a little over it last month and not by much. Then I read a post on another blog (I think it was A Working Pantry) and she mentioned a government table that laid out food costs. The following figures are for Thrifty, Low Cost, Moderate and Liberal diets. I would say that we are Moderate in our choices. My budgeted amount is $230 less than what they suggest is moderate spending! That's a Savings! Now multiply that by 12 and you've got a huge amount of savings of $2,760 annually.
Thrifty Low Cost Moderate Liberal
$367.00 $473.60 $589.70 $711.80
Feb. 4: John prepared our taxes last night. He used Tax Act to file an itemized deduction. It cost us $29.98. In years past, when we filed itemized deductions we paid a professional to do them. It cost us $169 to have our taxes prepared and file an electronic claim through that service. I gathered numbers and John entered them into the computer. WE filed them electronically. Savings: $129.02
Wanna know how we lost $2,000 this week? Let's revisit the whole government subsidized health care policy. I have said and will say I am grateful, despite the difficulty we had in finding this cost in our budget, that I had it last year (and yes, I have it this year at a still higher cost...). However, the last month of John's work year, he was scheduled to work both Thanksgiving and Christmas. This amped up our income by a bit more than we'd estimated we might earn. Despite doing an itemized tax form, despite having $xx,xxx.00 in medical and charitable giving, despite squeezing our budget to cover the $xxxx cost of medical insurance subsidized by the government, we were FINED for earning more than we'd estimated we might. Yes, really. All those medical expenses we paid out of pocket, all our giving over the year didn't budge our tax refund even one penny but two holiday pay periods and we got reamed. savings loss: $2,000.
All that said, let me tell you what we felt overall: We were genuinely and honestly and still in awe that God took our fishes and loaves income and stretched it to cover all those added expenses this past year and our net worth just slightly less than we started the year with last year. Yes, I am perturbed at what I think is blatantly unfair treatment at the hands of our government but I will say that I am so grateful we look to God as the source!
John filed Mama's taxes today, saving her hundreds as well.
Mama treated us to lunch for our birthdays. We ate late and were so full that opted for a lighter supper than usual. Knowing we were going out for lunch today we ate a lighter breakfast as well.
Hung sheets and towels on the line to dry. Though we normally use the dryer for underthings, today with everything on the line, I wasn't about to turn on the dryer for two sets of undies. I hung them on the drying rack instead.
Even though we were heading off to eat in Mama's car, we made our trip count: took off trash, dropped off mail at the post office, picked up our incoming mail at our box here at home.
February 5: I presented John with a handmade birthday card this morning, as I found none with the sentiment I wished to express. I made the card yesterday, as well as another for my eldest daughter whose birthday is next week. No savings in John's as I found nothing suitable but for Amie's I'll count it as $4.
I'd planned to make Valentines for the grandchildren but realized that I'd really waited too late to put together anything pretty. I recalled the local dollar store had Valentines for just $1. I had John with me today so didn't get him one yet, but I did buy ten cards for the grands. I posted the four North Dakota grands cards in with their Mama's package saving myself postage on those. I used that savings elsewhere though to send individual mails to the three Kingsland grands. They are of an age where a letter for each is an exciting thing.
I had to pay a portion of rent this month at the booth, sigh. I'm giving this until September but I think I've seen the writing on the wall where this is concerned. I do enjoy it but it's really a way to waste a bit of money I could use elsewhere...Unless things pick up between now and then I'll have to close out at end of August.Lost $15.
Came home and made lunch for us (John's favorite burgers, fries, baked beans) and prepped dinner for tomorrow.
I mixed up a single layer cake and made into cupcakes. I got 11 cupcakes from the batter. I made chocolate buttercream to frost 8 and the last three I smeared thickly with lemon curd as a topping. That is our birthday cake for our birthdays. I like that it's already portion controlled.
Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Total for February: $998.72 and you could knock me over with a feather because I'd never have believed I'd have even 1% of that to show for this week's savings!