Sunday, December 11, 2016
Frugal Friday: A Hurried Week
Saturday: I was up super early this morning. I awoke perhaps 5am and at 6am I knew I may as well go on and get out of bed. I turned on the propane heater, put on a pot of water to add humidity to the air and turned on the Christmas tree lights. I made sure to dress warmly today, too.
My reward for early rising? A most gorgeous sunrise, a fitting background to my prayer time this morning. Somehow the intimacy with God is greater when you're looking out on the glory He's created while you pray.
I used small pieces of a loaf of bakery bread to make French Toast this morning. I wanted very much to have nutmeg and vanilla in my French toast this morning, so I made sure to pour up the leftovers into an almost but not quite empty Strawberry jelly jar. I've shaken it well each time I've gone into the fridge today. I'll use that to make muffins another morning and will likely add a bit of frozen berries to the batter.
I made a small pan of brownies for us to have as snacks over the next few days. I reduced the sugar the recipe calls for and noticed no difference in taste or texture.
I made coleslaw from scratch, chopping my own cabbage by hand.
Because John went to sleep (poor man was dog tired this morning when he came in) just about the time dinner got ready, I let him sleep through. I took advantage of his being asleep to put away four of the hot dogs for another meal. Typically he likes to eat two in buns and then have a third hot dog on it's own. I felt sure he'd have more than enough since I bought bakery rolls for the hot dogs.
You might think I'm foolish in buying bakery breads, but I have two reasons for doing so. For one thing it tastes vastly better than any loaf bread in the stores these days and for another we never waste a single bit of a bakery loaf. What we don't eat as bread we will use to make crumbs or croutons or French toast or a Strata with. We get the full value of these bakery loaves.
I took time this morning to piece together several outfits and set them up at one end of my closet rack. I do this so that I don't dither and toss multiple things because I can't decide what to wear when I need to be elsewhere, which is several days in the coming week. I also find that if I build an outfit prior to need then I have several options to choose from depending upon how dressed up I might need to be or how I 'feel' on a particular day. You know how you can just feel off and want the most comfortable clothing you own some days? I like to have a few go to outfits that are super comfortable should I have one of those days.
One of the tricks I use in cold weather is multiple layers of light clothes. Something I've done for years now is a little trick that might help expand your wardrobe as well. I have a few V-neck t-shirts and a couple of camisoles. In cold weather I like protection across my chest area because I seem to feel cold keenly there. I'll put on a camisole or t-shirt (and this week as it happens a sleeveless shirt) BACKWARDS under another shirt or pullover sweater. It gives me coverage over my chest area, adds a nice pop of color under a solid or print, and it expands my wardrobe a smidge. As I said I'll do the same with a tank top or camisole (both of which tend to be lower in the front).
I love scarves and have for years. I tend to pick them up in thrift stores, especially silk ones which are surprisingly inexpensive. That scarf tied bandana style in front also is a nice filler for a low neck in cold weather, another thing I'll use this week to add a light layer of warmth to an outfit.
We ate leftovers for supper. It's end of grocery period and the fridge always has a lot more room so I'm less likely to 'lose' my leftovers. I had moved all of them together this afternoon when I put a single serve each of baked bean and slaw in the fridge after dinner. So it was easy to pull out items for supper: meatloaf and mashed potatoes that I turned into potato pancakes. Tasted delicious on this chilly Saturday evening.
Sunday: Made breakfast sandwiches this morning for breakfast. I felt sure we'd want a substantial breakfast before leaving for church, as we planned to do some shopping after.
Ordered a devotional book from Amazon this morning, using a $10 gift card I got from My Coke Rewards for an unbelievable 170 points. I don't know if it's still available or if it was a Thanksgiving Special. If you do My Coke Reward points by all means check and see if it's still available.
After church we went to Walmart. On a Sunday. In December. Yes, it was crazy busy but there were multiples of registers open which helped. We took a list and picked up every single item on it and were well pleased. I paid for the bulk of the items with cash in hand. I had a $5 gift card that also applied. Again, the card was from My Coke Rewards.
Off to the grocery to pick up a paper (none at Walmart) and I checked the sale on John's soda. They had restocked the shelf so I picked up two more. The price is unbelievably good. He should be set for six weeks or more now.
From there to the station to fill up my car with gasoline. That will cover me for the next two weeks and is much less expensive than filling up here in town.
Home in the cold and wet to heat up creamy tomato soup and the leftover hotdogs from yesterday's meal. We used up the last of the slaw making slaw dogs of those. It was a perfect meal and suited us both immensely.
Went through the paper and culled coupons. I also took time to look through each section, sales papers and all the supplements. Glad I did. I found two more coupons that may prove to be welcome in the coming weeks.
Late lunch later and lighter supper is our motto.
John put up a towel bar in the kitchen. He then went to hang a flat screen TV in the guest room. This was a small TV Mama replaced with a newer slightly larger one. We were very pleased when she passed this one to us. Currently it's really no good for anything but we can either hook up a DVD player to it or get an antenna for it a little later.
Monday: I wanted a simple breakfast this morning, but I knew that we needed some nourishment from it. It was cold so a hot cereal was definitely on the agenda. I made grits, subbing milk for the water and adding some grated cheese at the end.
John washed a full load of clothes and hung most of them to dry.
I washed a full load of dishes after dinner today.
I altered my menu. It's been damp and cold and I wanted a heart warming meal. I used the spaghetti squash and made a Bolognese sauce. I put 1 pint and half jar and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce into the freezer at meals end. That's two extra meals I'll not have to make in future.
I went over my Christmas gifts and realized I needed a little something more for one person. I am still awaiting several of the things ordered for John.
Planted the four 4-packs of Pansies this morning. I have three pretty pots of plants. I'd like to pick up more of these this week when I'm out.
We skipped going down to pick up the check. John works tomorrow. It's a savings of gasoline to wait on him to go into work.
Finished another gallon of milk this morning. Immediately washed out the jug with soap and water and when it was dry, I put the bags of mixed vegetables in it. My next jug I'll fill with black eyed peas. I want to do all my green peas and butter beans, too.
I've looked for white ball ornaments or tiny snowflakes. No luck. I had purchased a box of tiny candy canes and decided to use those on the mini tree along with the tiny red balls. It's not the tree I started out planning to have but it looks cute enough. I'll get the centerpiece finished up towards the end of the week and we'll call decorating done.
Heated frozen burritos (homemade) for supper tonight.
Tuesday: Up early to send John off to work. I packed his work lunch, made him breakfast and sent him out of the door (into pouring rain!) with a hot cup of coffee in hand.
Washed a full load of clothes. I had to use the dryer...Had I known how sunny and windy the afternoon would be I'd have waited until I returned from errands today but forecast wasn't clear until mid-afternoon. Instead it all blew out before noon but I wasn't home!
I had a list today of several stores to visit. I clipped coupons to the back of the list. I picked up mail, dropped off bills at the post office and went by to pay the electric bill. Then I drove to Centerville and shopped.
I started out at Target. I meant to purchase several items I needed that were on a decent sale: toilet paper, laundry detergent (rebate gift card on those two items), sticky labels and address labels, a new notebook, candles for the dining table for the Christmas centerpiece. I had several store lists on my sheet of paper and I scanned it as I walked through and checked prices on items I'd meant to purchase elsewhere. I had a coupon good for $10 off $50 storewide. I had $51 worth of stuff before coupon when I was done, all on my list and all needed except two impulse items: Christmas socks for Taylor and Josh. I was actually looking for socks for Bess and Katie but no adult socks this year, so the kiddos get them.
I had a separate purchase that was all clothing. I picked up clearance pants for Josh and two dresses for Taylor and some shirts for myself. I had another $10 off purchase coupon for those things. My total was $53 before the coupon.
I stopped at CVS and picked up more toilet paper (same price as at Target where they had only one package), paper towels and trash bags. I also purchased a package of coffee (meant as a gift). I used coupons and extra cash bucks and ended up paying $15 out of pocket and getting $5 extra cash bucks in return.
All these paper products will go on my pantry shelves. I know I said I wouldn't stock them up and I'm really not planning to work too hard at that task but I do like to start the new year with plenty of paper goods on hand and buying on sale is a good way to start.
Stopped at the discount grocery and picked up four packets of boneless skinless breasts for $1.88 a pound, a shoulder roast for $2.77 a pound and 6 4-plant flats of pansies ($7.20 total).
I bought lunch for myself out of pocket money and stopped in the graveyard to have lunch. I was disturbed to discover that the old iron fence had been taken down but it appears that trees were cut out of it and the pieces were still there, so hopefully this is temporary.
Came home and made myself a cup of coffee, which I drank while I totted up the checkbook. Was happy to note that aside from far away family, I am done with Christmas for the folks in state. Happy, happy sigh following that statement.
When I came home there were several packages piled on the back porch. The good mail lady dropped them there this afternoon. It was the last of my ordered gifts, praises be!
Supper was the last half of a six inch sub I picked up early in the weekend.
Mixed up my first batch of cookie dough...found my recipe, too! Had I more eggs on hand I'd have made others.
Discovered I had a whole bag of shredded coconut in the 5 gallon bucket where I store sugar. Not just sure why I put it there but glad I found it. I can strike that off my grocery list. While I was in the panty I checked the flour can, checked stock on several other items. I was able to mark several more items from my list of needs and I added two that were unexpected outages.
Today's purchases filled the gaps. I still need ground beef and would love to purchase about 5 pounds of quality lean ground meat but I'm not quite as low on meat now that I've made these roast and chicken purchases. Also paper goods are well stocked and I've no need to purchase more for a few months. I know our personal care items are up to date except deodorant and I have no foreseeable need to purchase laundry detergent. I'm curious to see how I do on grocery budget this month since I've really been careful to be more thoughtful with my stocking up and I'm feeling quite comfortable with the current stock of things in the house. I anticipate filling only two or three more areas and then I want to stand back and consider what we have before I go any further.
Wednesday: Made breakfast this morning for John's return from work. Sorry to say I was down to just three eggs and used one of those for muffins I made using up the rest of the French toast batter from Saturday morning. I had some strawberries in the freezer so added that to my batter. Made pretty good muffins.
Wrapped packages this morning. I haven't bought wrapping paper in years upon and didn't think I'd manage with all I had to wrap this morning but I did. I won't ever make another package out of what's left though! Time to invest in some new paper. And just a note to myself, this last lot was some very cheap paper, hard to use. I'll buy some good quality heavy paper for my next bit of wrapping paper and something neutral or at least solid so I can use it for all occasion wrap. I'm done with seasonal papers. Much to my disgust I discovered that what I thought might be a second lot of useable rolls was all Valentine's Day....I don't even gift for Valentine's!
I had plenty of crushed bows as well. I definitely am going to sort out the wrapping papers and such after this week and will find some sort of storage that works far better for bows. In the meantime, I had plenty of that curling ribbon which made festive looking bows for the packages. Just need to make some gift tags now. I made sure to initial each gift so I could help my memory with who each package is for.
Cut more fresh cedar from the yard to fashion my table centerpiece.
Made a bow to decorate the garland at the back door area.
Added a couple of items to my grocery list after viewing the sales ads for this week's new sales.
Thursday: Gracious but we were low on breakfast items this morning. No eggs. Barely enough milk to lighten my cup of coffee. The tail end of a loaf of bread. I couldn't come up with a single menu that didn't require eggs or milk. I ended up making a plate of peanut butter toast and told John that was as good as it got until we could get o the grocery later in the morning.
Aldi and Publix for groceries today following that visit. I am nearly maxed out on my budget for the month. I reassured myself this afternoon that really all I need buy next pay period is fresh produce, bread and dairy, and the special food items for our Christmas meals. . Otherwise we're good. I'll likely end a little over budget but considering this month's totals will include three special meals and a bulk purchase of poultry, I'll call it good enough. Next month I'll be a stickler for the budget.
Happy dance...I got the car insurance renewal and I have enough and surplus saved to cover the next six months. I'll get the second six months amount for 2017 sacked away in my sub account with the last bits of the holiday pays I think. Happy dance! I can up the grocery budget by $25 a month for next year rather than lower it as I thought I might have to do. I'll also have wiggle room to push about $40 towards other sub accounts that need to be built up.
At Publix it was the clerk who caught a savings of $10 for us by using a coupon to cover a gift card we were purchasing. It at least saved us 2 1/2 of the fees attached to purchasing gift cards which was a nice savings.
I needed two gift bags for fairly large presents but didn't want to pay the prices I had seen everywhere I'd looked. Ridiculous! But while we were checking out at Publix there were shopping bags with Christmas themes on them. I knew they were just $.99 each and would hold larger gifts...after all they hold lots of groceries. And what's more here was a truly reusable gift bag. I got two. And I'm thinking seriously about buying a few more and putting in my gift wrap stash!
EMS dinner tonight. Knowing we were having a proper pot luck holiday meal, we had a light lunch once in from shopping.
Baked one batch of cookies. Not enough over to make the pretty sugar cookies I wanted to make but it's fine, but I have a bag each for Katie and Sam which will make them happy and some over for our family day this weekend.
Friday: John and I both were up very early this morning. No clue why I was, but I felt well rested and so we got up. Earned a few Swagbucks while we waited for the sun to rise.
I took advantage of the extra hours in my day and managed to prep all the food for tomorrow's family day dinner.
We were able to go meet Josh and his parents at the Bass Pro for the free Santa photo. He only cried while on Santa's lap this year. He did have fun with all the displays and carousel's.
I had managed to tuck away a little money. It was just enough to pay for supper for all of us tonight. We had all planned to go out to eat as a treat but it got late and all of us ended having a lunch. No one was hungry when we were done with Santa. I offered to pick up take out for us and we could eat at home.
Josh's eyes were a wonder when he saw the tree light up. He was very good with all the presents, never digging about in them nor did he upset the tree. I am so happy I took the time to do all that because he absolutely loved it. There is nothing quite like a small child at Christmas.
Leftovers from our meal were packed up for John's lunch and mine for Sunday.
Before Shabat I managed to make foods for John's lunch, except packing up the last items I added in.
P.S. I am late with this, but time simply got away from me this week. I had a wonderful time with family!