Friday, February 19, 2016
Assigning Value to What We Do: Sweet Savings
Feb 13: Really nothing much to this day. We stayed in our pajamas all day long, which was luxury, ate leftovers for dinner and supper, had bagels for breakfast. We went nowhere and didn't do anything either. All in all, a very easy relaxing and low cost day.
I packed John's lunch for work tomorrow.
Feb 14: I bought Valentine's M&Ms at CVS a couple of weeks ago (with an extra cash bucks/coupon/sales combo I think I spent $1.50) and that was our big treat this holiday. I sent a small jar to work with John to snack upon during the day.
Made John's breakfast and packed up his lunch.
Inventoried the fridge freezer and the meats in the big deep freeze. By my estimation we have just enough meats to last us until March begins. That is not a conservative estimate either, but based on what we'd normally eat and how many servings we can expect from each.
I know that I will need to buy meats this month to restock but it is a creative process to figure out where the money will come from. At present I've set aside a small portion of a small check we get each month savings $87. This brings my current total set aside for beef purchase at $139.
I looked ahead to the end of the month when we will have an 'extra' paycheck due to having three pay days this month. I should be able to manage more funds then and pay extra on our personal loan as well simply by using the half payment amounts that we won't need to set aside at that time. It is one of the luxuries of our system of paying bills.
I cleaned the refrigerator this afternoon. I am happy to say I had only to dump a half jar of homemade jelly that had been opened a long time ago.
I set aside a 1/2 cup of baked beans (from last week) to mix with some things I took from the freezer. Dating items I put in the freezer (leftovers) has really made it easy to know when something is likely not going to be eaten. I pulled out sweet potatoes, rice, chicken and salmon cakes this afternoon, all of which had been in the freezer in excess of six months. I thawed them and mixed up for pets foods, adding in the baked beans. No waste on that score.
My dinner today was leftovers of Turkey Noodle Soup. I wanted to go out and purchase something to eat but I decided to just spend the day at home and save that money to use elsewhere.
Sat down late this afternoon and went over the check register. I moved money to savings and that is true savings. $150.00.
Worked on bill box and got things ready for the Harvest this week.
I keep thinking I need to buy frames for pictures, but in my decluttering mode I've found loads of frames in various spots about the house. I repurposed one this morning for a framed water color I'd bought in St. Augustine two years ago. It was two large but by careful measuring and using the glass from the repurposed frame, I scored and cut down the mat to fit my frame. It looks lovely on the gallery wall in the bedroom!
Moved three pictures to the guest/craft room where they better suit the decor.
Feb 15: Made a big 'welcome home' breakfast for John. He's always hungry when he comes in from work.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher after lunch and I mean that was a full load! I got very creative in stashing things in there. I used the short cycle, since I rinse all my dishes prior to putting them in the washer.
Had an oven spill at lunch time. I dropped a wet cloth on the floor of the oven after I turned it off. This allowed me to get up some of the sugary substance. I used a scrubbie after dinner and got more of it up, and finally used a butter knife to scrape off the last of the residue. And it wasn't even a really sugary dish! I have reminded myself to put a new steel scrubber on my shopping list.
Our dinner today used up the last bits of the turkey breast and the remaining gravy from our weekend meal.
I mixed up pimento cheese for sandwiches for supper tonight. Leftover pimento cheese spread will fill the celery sticks for snack tomorrow. A tub of pimento cheese sells for $3.99. Mine, made here at home, cost me less than $1. Savings $3.
Shopped at home in the pantry: milk from the freezer, 5 pounds of white flour, 1 can of green beans, 1 can of blueberries (not pie filling) and 1 black pepper grinder.
Pulled coupons from a magazine I was reading.
Sorted my coupons this morning and set aside those needed this week as well as those which will expire in the next week to ten days.
Planned my grocery shopping based on items I know must be restocked now.
Set aside the last bit of gravy, some broth from the green beans to pour over dog food.
Feb. 16: It was warmer than it's been a long while. We opted for cold cereal for our breakfast. Greatest extender of my cereal has been carefully measuring portions.
Toasted pecans in the microwave to go in my cereal.
John washed and hung to dry a full load of clothes. May be one of our last loads to go on the line until after pollen season. The first telltale yellow dusting on the car this morning.
Took off trash on our way out.
Picked up John's pay check. Went to bank and then to drop off mail.
John treated us to lunch at Mama's Kitchen, a country fast food counter in the middle of nowhere. Mama is an older Mennonite woman who makes some awesome fresh sandwiches. Ours were burgers.
We stopped at the grocery that sells chicken cheaply, $.88 a pound. I bought ten whole chickens, cut up 6 and put four whole ones into the freezer. I am now restocked on chicken for a while. I spent about $25 on the chickens. I saved about $25.
I headed down the most direct aisle to get to the meat counters so I wouldn't be distracted but I got distracted...And I'm glad. I spied a favorite brand of Spaghetti Sauce with an apparent clearance item, Garlic and Herb flavor priced at $.79 each. This brand typically is on sale for $.99, so a nice savings on the four cans I bought of $.80.
I chose to pick up turkey sausage while in the store and then out of curiosity I looked at a beef sausage we also enjoy. I saved $8.74 on the turkey sausage, and $3.24 on the beef sausage.
I cut up the 6 chickens myself. Now you can have this done at the store, but I chose not to wait. It's easy enough to cut them myself. I ended up with 3 packs of 4 thighs, 2 packs of 6 legs, 6 packs of 2 breasts, 6 backs, and 12 wings.
Feb 17: Up early this morning and rushing about to make John's hair cut appointment. Nevertheless we took time to stop at the mail box and pick up mail, dropped trash off at the dumpsters and then headed over. I made sure too, before we left home to make sure and check the sales ads at Publix which came out fresh this morning.
I took along my latest library book to read while I waited on John.
I made sure to make two separate list so that I'd pick up what was needed at both stores.
I also separated my pharmacy and my grocery list at Publix. I had determined exactly what I had left in my grocery budget and I did not want pharmacy items running up my balance. I told John if no one in our house could eat it, it didn't belong in the grocery budget...but that budget does include cleaning and paper supplies...just not pharmacy!
So in the end, I was over. Not by a whole lot and I can tell you right where that overage came in. I failed to plan for John's bagels, my bread, and blue cheese dressing which we haven't had in the house in nearly five weeks. I'd meant to buy blue cheese at Aldi and had forgotten Savings - $14.
Typically the Blue Cheese dressing is $4 a jar but I bought a brand we'd normally not purchase simply because it was on sale as a buy one get one. I won't add the savings back into my grocery budget because I was over any way I look at it, but it was definitely a savings to purchase the 'other' brand of dressing.
I paid attention to what I'd written on my list. I was very nearly fooled by a sign on the freezer door which touted the price of Cool Whip at $1.79 but the signage suggested 'compare at $1.17 for our store brand'. Well who doesn't want to save money? The woman who was paying attention saved today. Cool Whip was buy one get one free or $.825. Publix was at full price for both. I very nearly grabbed two of the Publix brand until I read my list and checked the upper part of the freezer door for signage about the sale price on Cool Whip. The savings came in purchasing the advertised special in that particular instance! Savings $1.82
While in Publix, I picked up my prescriptions. I'd told John yesterday that I meant to call them and ask if I could get them a day early, just so I wouldn't have to drive back over there. I got a text from them shortly after saying the prescriptions were ready, so I saved a phone call and a trip.
I took John out to lunch today, using my allowance. He enjoys a pizzeria that is a small business and serves a delicious but limited number of items. We ordered side salads today and got a small pizza, which was far less expensive than ordering a medium pizza and healthier for him (I get a side salad each time we go in). Just a side note here: the pizzaria offered pans of lasagna for dinner take out. Call a day ahead and be prepared. You'll shell out $39.99 for a 9 x 13 pan.
At Aldi I stayed on task by carefully editing my thinking. I had $X to spend and I wanted to stock up on several outage areas. I realized that most of the items I was planning to stock up on were standard every day items, available most all of the time, and not at a special price. I followed my list but edited the amounts, reminding myself that what I really needed was one for now and one to start stocking up and I can purchase the same items again in two weeks. I did very well at Aldi, not increasing my costs and still stocking up, albeit a little more slowly than I'd thought I would.
John treated us to coffee from a convenience store. $1.19 a cup which beats the $2.90 we are charged at most restaurants these days. He paid with his allowance.
I happened to look over the candy at the checkout aisle. It's all empty calories and some of it is very high carbohydrates as well but a few choices are 'acceptable' if eaten in great moderation and small quantities. However, it wasn't carbs that put me off today, it was price. $1.79 for each candy bar which were all King sized or marked 'Share' sized. Wow. I'm going to watch for sales to purchase candy and dole it out myself in proper portions.
Boiled eggs when we got home, using the eggs bought last pay period. I set two aside for my supper and made the other two into egg salad for John. There's enough egg salad for another couple of sandwiches from those two eggs. Cost to make egg salad was about $.30 and we'll likely get 4-5 sandwiches worth from that. A packet of sandwich sliced meats, is at least $3 for 12 ounces. That's a savings of $2.70 for sandwich filler.
Feb. 18: I got some yard work done this afternoon. The doctor prescribed a Vitamin D supplement but nothing substitutes for the real thing! The sun was just lovely this afternoon and I was glad to get some much needed sprucing up done even if it only pointed up how much more wants doing.
I had to take John something essential that he'd forgotten this morning. My 'savings' here might sound silly to some but it took me away from home at a time when I'd normally be thinking ahead and preparing something for my lunch. Well, there was nothing thawed, and no single servings of anything in the house not even leftovers and I was arriving back at lunch time. But I came home and made dinner out of something frozen anyway. Savings $15... How so? Well the only thing I could think of that I wanted was hot wings. I'd have had to drive a very long way to get to a spot that sold them, OR buy them frozen, which was just as costly. So I came home. Hot wingless.
No it wasn't John's lunch left behind this morning. I got that packed up and sent him off with that and a good breakfast.
I washed and hung on the line to dry, two loads of clothes. One before I left home and the second when I returned. Fresh air is the most awesome laundry freshener ever.
You get what you pay for...I bought a set of sheets just after the new year. There was no label indicating what their cotton weight was, etc and I should have taken a hint then. What I got was a pair of 100% polyester sheets. Fine, they were $20 and they were beautifully embroidered on the edge and they had a designer name on them. But I felt they were cheap when I got them and not the bargain they were meant to be according to the 'markdown'. Two times they've been on my bed and they are pilling and the embroidery is unraveling. I'll be buying a second set of sheets to replace them sooner rather than later. I won't write them off as a loss yet. There's some wear in them but they won't last as long as a better set might have. Reminder to self: Buy quality and buy it for certain not just because you think it might be due to the name slapped on the front!
Feb 19: John worked three hours overtime this morning.
I took advantage of his being gone longer to mop floors and finish up the Shabat cleaning I started yesterday.
Put a sirloin roast in the oven to bake. I used some of the olive tapenade I'd bought and was very slowly eating (need to make crostini to spread it on, crackers are too salty) mixed with mustard to spread over the meat. It sure is tasty. I realized it would also make a good stuffing for a steak or boneless chicken breast.
I put potatoes in and rolls, too at various points during the cooking. Good way to maximize the oven use.
John washed a load of clothes when he got home and hung them to dry on the line. I've been watching carefully and haven't seen a lot of pollen yet, just a little. We'll keep drying outdoors until the pollen amps up.
Part of the roast will do very well as sandwich meat. At the grocery, good roast beef for sandwiches costs $6.99 for 6 ounces. My savings for sandwich meat: $21.
Did more yardwork and then walked in my private 'gym' which is the whole outdoors. With Maddie's urging I managed to walk the full property this afternoon which is non to shabby a feat for someone who couldn't make it to the mailbox without resting a few months ago.
This week's totals: $304.30