Friday, September 16, 2016
Frugal Friday: Determined
Saturday: John worked last night so a big breakfast was in order this morning. I made hash browns from scratch, cooked with a bit of Polska Kielbasa on top. We didn't need a whole package of the sausage so I cut into two pieces, one larger to set aside for another meal and one smaller to have for breakfast. I also beat three eggs to make scrambled eggs. If seen on the counter, it might be said that three eggs weren't much, but beaten ready to scramble no one but myself is aware that it's 'only' three eggs and yet it's plenty.
Put a turkey breast in the oven to roast slowly over the morning.
Made succotash using leftover butter beans. Georgene asked how I make my succotash. I keep it pretty simple. I prefer fresh cooked butter beans, which I rinsed this morning, then add a can of drained whole kernel corn to the beans. You'll want about 2 cups of each. I chopped some red bell peppers only for added color and had perhaps 2-3 tablespoons of that. 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of butter and simmer until the milk is evaporated and thick. Salt, pepper and thyme to taste.
I had four peaches left from the half peck of Autumn Blaze I purchased just before Labor Day weekend. I pared those and made a fresh peach crisp to have as our dessert. We had about 1/2 cup of ice cream left and that was shared between us on the warm crisp. Yum!
I reworked my Home Keeping binder this morning using cardstock, scrapbooking paper I had on hand. It's quite pretty. I'll post a picture of it a bit later. I want to make up a pretty new box for our bills and do something fresh with the notebook where I keep our check register. Truth is now that I've removed the bookcase from the top of my desk I'm trying to make up a pretty work station for blogging and work related to home making. I want to print off some sheets but need to get new ink cartridges this week before I can do that. I'm really pleased with the new Home Keeping binder!
Sunday: Quick and easy breakfast this morning. I did pack some snack items since I knew Jon meant to go by Home Depot, Target and the grocery after church today.
We gathered up trash and took out with us. Stopped to pick up mail.
Came home to eat our late meal. Though it was just turkey sandwiches, it was so late that I told John not to expect a proper supper tonight. We'd snack if we got hungry but it seemed silly to have such a very late lunch and then plan on supper shortly after.
I stuck to my list at the grocery: bread and prescriptions and Sunday paper...but I succumbed to a dozen mini cupcakes for $2 on the clearance table. I don't typically see much on clearance at Publix so I pay attention when I do. I know that foods are always fresh and not expired despite their being discounted.
Returned the unbelievably high priced planner (I swear today they were all just $9.99 for the same book) and purchased one that was better priced at $7. I studied hard the one that went for $4 but truth is I like a notebook sized planner with places to keep track of notes and that is what I purchased in the end. It took some doing since none of the notebooks were actually in the places they were supposed to be. I had to read barcodes and item numbers and match them up to get the one for $7. Even so, it was less than half the price of the one I was 'settling' for originally.
Did you ever purchase something thinking it wasn't a necessity and then realized what a huge bonus it was to you? Furniture gliders were such a purchase for us. I'll likely get another package or five over the next few weeks. We bought one last week and put them under the legs of the chiffarobe in the kitchen. That piece of furniture, like my bedroom dresser is truly solid hardwoods and H.E.A.V.Y. Well we put those gliders under the chiffarobe and I can just slide that thing across the floor without any effort on my part. Impressed, we went back today and got another set to put under the bedroom dresser. Mind you, John can just barely lift that heavy old dresser two inches off the floor. With the gliders under it I can move it away from the wall and across the room easily. These particular gliders come with a smooth plastic disk and a fuzzy furry looking cover. The fuzzy cover is for tile floors, the plastic disk goes inside it. On carpet, you just use the disk. They aren't cheap at about $2 each and come packaged in 4's but worth every single penny as far as I'm concerned. I told John I can't fathom why we hadn't done this years upon years ago. Oh the savings to my back when that dresser needed to be moved and the carpet vacuumed...
Monday: I'd promised John I'd pack up my books this morning. Nine boxes later...I ran out of boxes but not books. He asked, as I worked away, if it was worth having that many books. I told him truly I thought it was. I pulled a short stack to keep me in reading material once the bulk of them are packed. I get so much pleasure from reading and re-reading these old friends of mine. And though I'd thought I'd let go of a few more, I found nothing I wanted to remove from my shelves just yet...but I did note where I was missing three or ten I'd like to add to the authors already on my shelves.
Our breakfast this morning was pancakes I'd put in the freezer a couple of weeks ago. Nice to pop into the microwave to reheat.
All our meals today were leftovers that were being repurposed. I'd found some leftover Italian Pot Roast in the freezer. This meal was a bust when we tried it back in June and I'd actually had leftovers of roast which is mighty unusual when the family is around. I added in a can of three bean salad, which I'd drained and rinsed, a small can of drained mushrooms and cooked some cheese tortellini. I added a little water and beef stock to the pan, seasoned with oregano and garlic. This made for a dish I called Italian Goulash and it was not at all bad. John said he liked it. I told him I was glad but I'll likely never make this again since the start to it was such a huge disappointment.
We had to call the flooring place to get a quote on the flooring after all. We are sure a mistake was made. The quote was twice what we thought it might have been and based on our selection it seems impossible they got it right. However, we've declined their offer and will be looking elsewhere.
Supper tonight was chicken fajitas. I had a leftover chicken breast, bell peppers and onions.
This afternoon I spent time at my desk. I recovered my checking notebook, made a new bill box from a box that items were shipped in, Put new papers on the recipe notebook. All in all I'm pretty happy with the way my little desk area is shaping up.
This evening, we moved the bookcases and vacuumed under them. When we'd cleaned thoroughly we put them back but not quite in the same formation as before. It's fresh looking...and it's got us thinking of making a lot more changes. That little change and clearing out in general has led to the idea we might move other things about. I think we've felt a bit stuck with our furniture placement these last few years.
Tuesday: John off to work this morning. I packed his lunch and made him breakfast. I had a couple of extra egg yolks left from a recipe made over the weekend. I added those to John's breakfast fried eggs. It was like having a couple of double yolk eggs for him.
On these early mornings, I can use data without using up our allowance. It's a silly arrangement where any usage between 2am and 8am is 'free'. However, I qualified for a survey this morning on Swag bucks and that boosted me to earn another $5 gift card.
John paid a ridiculous price for a cup of yogurt with a half cup of fresh fruit the other day at the grocery. He's forever trying to find something to 'hold' me these days when we've a longer day out and hours span long between meals. I didn't want it Sunday but I had it for my solo breakfast this morning. I love how he takes care of me and I think the yogurt and fruit tasted all the sweeter knowing it was love led him to purchase it.
John waited until today to pick up and deposit his check. It seems awfully silly to us to drive 50 miles round trip to do that and then go back the next day for a shift. It's a small savings but a savings to us in time more than in money.
I totted up the checkbook, wrote out the tithes and went into town to post them. I looked long and hard at the CVS sales sheet but in the end, the coupons that were supposed to be available in this Sunday's paper apparently weren't, although I got plenty of coupons. I decided ultimately that I'd skip CVS altogether since I had neither extra cash bucks nor coupons to make up the deals suggested. I will look at one of the super shopper sites later this afternoon and determine if there's anything I missed.
I went to the bank to get our allowances. I knew I had to have milk and that the local store also featured the Red Baron cheese pizzas we like now and then for $4. Since that generally costs us about $2 per serving, half price looked pretty good to me for inexpensive and convenient dinners. I daresay I could make a cheese pizza for less and when I've more room in my freezer to prep ahead I'll pop in a few par-baked crusts with toppings on and save still more. For now, two of those pizzas fit in my freezer just fine. I walked down the meat aisle and selected two small T-bone steaks that were rather thin. They will cook quickly and again it's a nice convenience meal as well as a little bit of luxury. John's favorite orange juice was on sale. I'd loved to have purchased two of those but I opted for just one. Fortunately milk was also marked down as it expired sell by date tomorrow. I'll take milk for half price any day.
Over to the next town to do banking. While there went by the discount grocery and picked up sausages and hot dogs for the freezer. I buy in bulk there usually but restrained myself today as I've a special meal coming up this weekend with family and I knew that ice cream was needed so the freezer space had to be considered. I walked down the canned goods aisle and picked up some vegetarian baked beans for a much lower price than I've seen elsewhere as well as a couple of cans of Pineapple juice (very good to have on hand in cold/flu season as it helps release the mucus plug in the lungs) and a couple of cans of turnip greens. We don't eat those often but I do like them now and then. I was looking at a well known Southern brand that contained just turnip greens and water. That sounded reasonable to me but I found a brand called Everyday Essentials was a good bit less expensive and the contents were turnip greens and water. I'll give those a try and if they prove to be tasty I'll happy make the switch. The last item I purchase two of was a Hispanic brand of pimento. Since we like pimento cheese sandwiches now and then and occasionally I use pimentos to season a few other dishes I make I felt comfortable buying them. I had just one jar left on my pantry shelf and that is one item I do consider something of a basic although I shouldn't need dozens of jars of that.
I felt very happy with my spending overall this morning. I'll make out a grocery list later this evening but I can pretty much count on hitting just the snack aisle, dairy and produce sections. I know it will take nearly all I have once I also purchase the needed menu items for this weekend, but we've plenty of foods on hand and will hardly go hungry over the next two weeks if I'm careful.
Mama gave me a lovely quilt that I like a lot. I knew the minute I saw it that I had a single curtain panel that would be the perfect match at the window if I used the quilt in my guest room. I couldn't be happier with the look of that bed at the moment. Can't show you the room however, as that's where we've been slowly moving small items since we decided we'd get flooring very shortly. I did make sure there was a path about the bed and the bed was made up nicely for guests this weekend.
Packed up all the china from the buffet and had to ask myself why I'm not adding to those pieces to use daily. I've had one set since my first marriage and the other for nearly 20 years and I think I've used both sets a mere handful of times. I love both sets of china and yet I am using Corelle wear that I dislike on a daily basis. Gracious! I need to pull this other stuff out and use it at least once a week. What a pretty table I could set with either one! I think our Shabat and family holiday meals are about to get an upgrade.
I used the vacuum this evening and realized it was really not working well. I took off the hose and found I'd picked up something that partially clogged the hose, but that didn't quite fix the problem. I dumped the stuff in the canister and washed out the two filters. I'll bet when it's dry it will 'breathe' once more! I am sure all this heavy dust we picked up on the carpet under the bookcases and that heavy old dresser did the vacuum no favors.
Made out a grocery list.
Wednesday: We had plans this afternoon. We ate a large breakfast so I made a sandwich lunch for today and slated those thin little T-bones for supper.
We went by Walmart which can be a dangerous place for my budget as a rule. Not so badly today. John wanted a wall mount for our television. I wanted to look for a couple of items for our family dinner on Saturday. No luck there but we did get printer ink cartridges which saved me $12 and shipping over the last price I paid ($42 this time), a movie I'd wanted to see badly but which never came to our area ($9 which is cheaper than theatre admission would have been!) and matches to put in our pantry.
I suggested we look at Publix for the food items wanted. John headed to the Publix nearest Aldi. I did very well there though I ended up settling for food items rather than getting exactly what I wanted. It simply wasn't available. I suggested purchasing the alternative item elsewhere but one look at his tired face (he did work a 24 hour shift yesterday) I knew it was the better evil to pay the extra price for what was to be had at Publix, regardless of savings. Besides, I insisted we go on to Aldi while we were in the area. That was punishment enough to him, I reckon, tired as he was, but I couldn't see being within two miles of the store and then going back today when we'd have to drive 70 miles round trip.
I did very well with my budget this time again. I am well within the newly set $300/month realm and that includes stocking up, good bakery read and items for our family dinner. I am quite pleased over this. I reckon I used $30 this pay period to add stock to the pantry this time. At Aldi I added another tub of oatmeal, a jar of peanut butter (29ounce) and a bottle of maple syrup.
John treated us both to a cup of convenience store coffee after Walmart. It perked me up and kept me going well into the evening...which was a good thing because he wanted to immediately mount that TV on the wall. That involved a lot of work and a lot of my poor assistance. I never do exactly what he wants at any given time, no matter how hard I try. I was also trying to tot up the checkbook, put away groceries and start dinner as well as help. After I cleared up behind our dinner, I unloaded the old entertainment center, stored away the DVDs. John vacuumed the space and fretted over the tangle of cords...but the TV was hung on the wall.
Thursday: This morning we did a bit of 'Use what you have'...I removed the fern painted cabinet from the bathroom and we placed it on the wall under the TV and this allowed us to make a much neater look of that awful tangle of cables bothering my husband. We are both greatly pleased...Now to find someplace to put all the towels and soaps and shampoos that were in that cabinet in the bathroom...It's always one shift or another isn't it? Fruit basket turnover seems to be the order of our lives of life. I found space in the sink cabinets to put the soaps and shampoos. The towels will just have to reside on the bench for the time being.
I still had half of that turkey breast from the weekend to deal with this morning. I cut a few slices for sandwiches tonight, cut some up for Turkey a la King for dinner (instead of Tettrazini as originally planned) and cut some up for turkey salad for sandwiches tomorrow night. Then I put the skin, bones, and such on to boil. I'll have a little more meat to add to the turkey salad I'm sure.
Washed a full load of dishes.
John washed a full load of clothes this morning.
I cut up some bell peppers I had in the fridge that hadn't been used as quickly as I thought I might. While I did that I also went ahead and cut celery sticks for snacks, cut up vegetables for Almond Chicken in the next week or two (those went into the freezer) and the vegetables for the a la King dish. I even cut up a few things for a salad for this weekend and packaged those up to wait next to the washed lettuce for that to be assembled.
We had half the peach crisp left from the weekend. It made a nice dessert after our simple meal today. I had kept it in the fridge and reheated in the microwave.
Decided I could make soft pretzels. My instructions say I can make the dough ahead and freeze it, then thaw to dip into the soda water and bake...or I must wait until the day I want the dough. I don't have room in the freezer to put the formed shapes so I'll assemble my ingredients and make these early Saturday morning. I plan to have most everything done ahead that I can by then so this oughtn't to be a hardship and I think the family will enjoy them.
Made three pie crusts.
Made the turkey salad I started earlier in the day.
Mama came out for a little bit. I had coffee. She wanted a little sweet. I had a banana pound cake in the freezer which I sliced for her. She took several slices home.
I put three quart jars of turkey broth in the freezer. I used the little bit leftover to make a few pupsicles for Maddie.
Friday: I meant to take it just a little easier today since I know that tomorrow will be tiring if fun. I didn't do a great deal in the line of making meals. I purchased take out chicken, which I knew Katie would consider a treat and we had frozen pizza for supper with a salad for our supper tonight. What I did do today aside from the usual housework was to go into town to make a deposit and drop off mail, stopped by grocery to purchase a few necessary items, picked up mail on my way out and took off trash.
At the grocery I was in to purchase Kosher salt. Well I could get coarse salt in a grinder for $3.55 for about 1.5 ounces. I could buy 3 pounds of coarse Kosher salt in a big box for $3.55. I bought the 3 pound box. Do I need three pounds of salt? Not really but it isn't going to spoil and will keep for use. I can share it with the kids if they happen to need any of it. It's also a good household tool if you happen to have trees anywhere near your waste water lines because you can flush it down the toilet or drains and it will help kill roots. We do this perhaps two or three times a year with no ill effects on our septic system at all.
Made three apple pies. Two of the pies were actually half sized pie pans and so I simply doubled my usual recipe for both pastry and pie filling. I split one recipe between the two smaller pans and filled the larger one with 1 recipe each of pastry and filling.
I have my salad made and the potatoes soaking in water in the refrigerator. The pies are ready. Tomorrow I'll make salad dressing for the German potato salad and the pretzels.
I've made a salad dressing for the green salad rather than buying any today.
And that's about the sum of my week. I was determined to make goals this week and did in several areas. I was determined to save money and feel I did rather well. Now I'm determined to have a great weekend. You all do the same...And share with us what you did this past week to save money.