Friday, December 16, 2016
Frugal Friday: A Little Nearer Christmas Day
Saturday: How did I save money today? I had a house full of family visiting and it might seem I didn't save anything at all, but let's look at just what I did do:
I'd gotten up in the middle of the night to put a light quilt over Josh so he'd have cover enough. It was cold when we got up, even with the heat pump running. I turned on the propane heater, making sure to warn Josh that it was hot and not to touch. Then I put my vintage coffee pot on the back burner of the stove with plenty of water in it.
Put potatoes to bake in the oven with the roast beef.
We used disposable dishes and cups today. Not a savings perhaps on any one save myself, but it meant I could relax and enjoy my company, which was John's intention when he urged me to purchase them.
It was so sunny and bright we didn't even need lights indoors today.
We were having a big dinner so a light breakfast was had by all. Normally John and I just have a bagel with cream cheese on Saturday and that's what we served today as well.
Vacuumed rug immediately after we ate so the children wouldn't track stuff over the rest of the room.
John and I made sandwiches from leftover roast and rolls from dinner for our supper.
Sunday: Sent John off to work with hot breakfast in his stomach and a filled lunch bag.
Washed a full load of sheets from our bed and guest bed. Remade both beds right away after I stripped them, since they'd each had time to air.
Hung sheets on the line. Not sure they will dry but they are hung outdoors just the same.
Bagged up all the trash bags into one bag and put them in the big outdoor can to await the next trip to the dumpsters. I'd normally carry them off myself but the last two times I've gone over by myself, I've been startled by men stepping out from behind the dumpsters. I just don't feel comfortable going over there by myself any longer.
Walked about the yard picking up limbs that had blown out of the trees. Went down to the mailbox. It was empty. Perhaps John picked up mail on his way out this morning.
Ate leftovers for my dinner today.
Made meal plans for the leftovers in the fridge.
Downloaded free games to my computer to play.
Monday: I make it a habit to check the fridge even though I think I know just what leftovers I have. I'd forgotten the three ears of corn left from Saturday's family day meal. I switched up my meal plan from Vegetable Beef Soup to Corn Chowder and served it with a big salad with roast beef slivers on top. The weather was much warmer today than over the weekend and a soup and salad meal felt just right. Put a quart of leftover soup into the freezer and a single serving portion into the fridge for myself later this week.
Katie left her bag of cookies here. These are the cookies I make special for her and Samuel each year. I'd promised to forward them in the mail. I couldn't help but note that many were broken and they were likely not going to do well in the mail. Fortunately I had a few leftovers and was able to piece our her share with whole unbroken cookies, then I packed them in a container that seems more suitable for packing in a box with bubble wrap. Hopefully she'll get these cookies in their whole state.
I made biscuits from scratch for breakfast this morning.
Both meals I cooked a little extra. A little extra bacon at dinner time while making chowder base. I'll use to top a sandwich later in the week. I also cooked a few extra pieces of sausage while cooking sausage for sausage gravy this morning. I'll use that on breakfast sandwiches later this week.
We washed two loads of clothes this morning. I did towels and John did clothes. We hung some of the clothes to dry but due to the damp cloudy weather I dried towels in the dryer. Note to self: sun came out a bit later. In future I'll try to dry on the line first and pop in the dryer later if necessary.
Ran a very full load of dishes this morning in the dishwasher. I forgot to check the air dry button. Those tiny little fingers do love to push buttons and click switches, as I found all through the weekend after they left. They flipped the TV remote from Directv mode, turned on the shredder button (thankfully has a guard in place so little fingers can't slip in), etc. I checked stove knobs frequently during the day but I forgot all about the air dry switch on the dishwasher.
Plus side of having air dry on? I got the dishes put away earlier in the day. Trying to look on the bright side, lol.
Put the pet food up after they'd eaten this morning. On very cold days I set food out at night for them (extra calories help protect against the cold) and leave it out in the mornings so they can eat as they need but on warmer days it's time to put it away so the ants don't get into it.
I'd been admiring a certain handmade card on Pinterest. I had an empty tissues carton that had similar stripes as the admired card's pattern. I cut panels from the sides of the box to recycle into similar cards of my own.
Tuesday: Used leftover biscuits and the extra sausage I cooked yesterday morning to make our breakfast this morning.
John wanted to get a haircut today. As usual when going out we plan to do several things at once. Today we picked up mail, went by post office to send off mail, dropped trash at the dumpsters and stopped at Lowe's on our way to purchase two items we've had on our needs list for sometime. I also made sure to write down all my free items and to check Kroger's website for other good coupons to use since John would be at the hair place next door.
We are grateful for the still much needed rain. A recent report on a local television channel said that we are still 68% below the average for rainfall for the year so every extra drop we get is a bonus to us!
I priced several items while we were at Lowe's. I found some knobs that were relatively inexpensive and we looked at handles too. There are some economy packs that really help cut costs if you don't mind a rather generic style. I also priced outdoor lights to replace our broken ones. I found three I liked all under $30. These will go on our list of possible purchases later.
At Kroger, I took time to scan the sales sheet. I could have done this online but I didn't think to do so. I'm glad I checked it at the store though! I found that there was a deal on flour, sugar, cream cheese and another item I can't remember. They were 99cents each when purchased in 3s. I don't really need sugar but I got sugar and 2 bags of flour because that price is a sight better than Aldi's price even. I know because I just checked those prices when we shopped on Thursday. Flour was $1.29 and sugar was $1.59. I'd love to purchase more but I need another bucket to store it in! Also on sale was Dole Pineapple 10/$10. I haven't seen such a good price on pineapple (20ounce cans in juice or heavy syrup) and so I bought 10 cans.
Picked up the following items FREE: 8 ounce Kraft BBQ sauce, 5 oz. package of Werther's Originals candies, 16 oz. jar of Planters dry roasted peanuts and 2L bottle of 7Up. That was nearly $10 worth of stuff for FREE!
You'll note that I bought pantry supplies. I've said before that if I find a great deal on something I'll stock up! Aside from that, on the way to the stores this morning, John told me he'd like for me to expand the pantry and how much we store. We have always agreed that a pantry is nice to have but we're thinking of working towards a couple of years worth of foods and paper products. In light of this I felt it mandatory to purchase these items. I've done very well overall in not trying to fill the pantry but purchasing only what was immediately needed over the last few weeks and I now feel comfortable thinking I can both lower my grocery bill as I'd like to do and stock up as well.
I noted a coupon for $5 off two Burger King gift cards. Now I don't have an immediate need for those gift cards but I figured if I could get two lower cost cards that it would be worthwhile to go on and purchase these two. I found cards for $15 (that was the lowest denomination). I will set these aside. They will be nice to have on hand for future birthdays or sudden needs (like if someone is traveling) etc. I realize that $2.50 off each card isn't a lot but it's still a great savings.
Received in the mail today my three wise men. They are smaller than the set that Granny had but obviously they are the same manufacturer and I am pleased to have these replicas that remind me of her set. Tomorrow, if it is not raining I will go out to the shed to choose my nativity set to display and set it all up.
Also received a $3 ECB from CVS...Yay! More money to spend for FREE...
We stopped at the local diner for lunch today. We brought it home to eat. It's good food, not fancy, just burgers and fries, but it was hot and it tasted pretty awesome.
Completed a Pinecone Research Survey. I also have been trying to work daily on the Swagbucks daily items that do not require me to run a video. I do those on the mornings after John leaves for work, during 'free' time on the download meter for our satellite internet service. Such a rip, this service, sigh. I'm doing my best to work around it but it's cost me money in more ways than I'd imagined it might.
Everyone keeps asking me about the milk jugs and vegetables. It's a Pin I saw on Pinterest. A lady took her clean empty screw top milk jugs and poured her loose frozen vegetables into them. I thought it a nice idea...and two days later I pulled a bag of peas from the freezer that burst just as I lifted them out over the floor. Peas everywhere! I made up my mind then to save my milk jugs, wash and dry well and then fill them with my frozen loose vegetables. I don't keep a lot of them in my freezer but I do have butter beans, black eyed peas, mixed vegetables (the small diced size good in soups and pot pies), green peas. I am shocked at how much fits in a gallon jug and since Aldi has changed to a more square shaped milk jug they are truly good for space saving storage in a freezer.
Wednesday: The usual workday routine: made John breakfast, packed his lunch, and sent him off to work with a hot cup of coffee.
I had to leave home today to pick up John's prescription. I looked over sales but there wasn't anything I couldn't see myself upset I'd miss on sale. I opted to go to the drive thru window.
As a treat to myself, I went to a Chinese buffet. Neither Mama nor John cares over much about eating Chinese or Mexican foods, both of which I really like. It was reasonable enough. No I didn't pay out of pocket (broke after buying supper the other night) but felt sure the account could handle a small splurge like that.
Made myself coffee when I got home.
Sat down and planned out meals for Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
Thursday: John asked last night what was for breakfast this morning. I had a menu made out last night and knew what was on it but I hate to spoil the surprise, lol. I used a leftover baked potato to make a pan of hash browns to go with our omelet.
Decided today was a kitchen day. I made up a pan of croutons to bake using frozen ends and odds of bread from the freezer. I got 2 quart jars of croutons. Homemade croutons have NO resemblance to those horrid tasteless little blocks of glorified hard cardboard one buys at the market,
Also put the apple peels and cores on to boil. I had jelly anxiety all morning long but I read the instructions through three times, set up all my stuff and fingers crossed, I should have 6 pints and two half pints of jelly on the counter for my trouble. I've heard several jars 'pop'. *later: all but one jar sealed and all of them appear to be soft gelled at this point with a promise towards being fully jelly once they are completely cooled. They are still warm to the touch at present.
I had a few canning jars available to use. I know it's not recommended but I used some pint sized jars I'd bought salad dressing in. These too are glass jars and I figure if they canned the salad dressing in them they must be heat proof. I do prefer to use regulation canning jars but this worked for me in a pinch tonight.
Just for a cost comparison, I used one box of pectin at $2 and 1 4-pound bag of sugar for $.99. For $3 I have the equivalent of $16.50 worth of jelly...All from cores and peels and half pieces of apple that no one wanted to eat at the time! The croutons cost me nothing. I used the oven heat from our breakfast preparations to toast them. I have the equivalent of 3 boxes at $6.66 for the 3. That is nearly $20 worth of foods from what might have gone in the compost or trash can. This is food for our table. Never underestimate the 'end bits and pieces'.
Decided I need to order a water bath canner. And jar rings...I was short on those. I'll be picking up a few flats of jars to put in the pantry. I've been meaning to do this for awhile but kept putting it off. Canning jars make wonderful storage jars if you don't need them for canning. That 'savings of making croutons and jelly this morning saved me just a bit more than the cost of a water bath canner...And that's how I turned a $20 savings into future savings.
Made stove top cookies for John for Christmas. This is an annual treat for him.
Made a loaf of banana nut bread using up one last banana that was a bit ripe. I didn't have quite enough banana so I added some applesauce. I am making this loaf for my brother's Christmas gift. It is one thing I know he likes and will appreciate.
Made a turkey pot pie. The pie filling consisted of leftover turkey and gravy from our Thanksgiving meal and some leftover KFC gravy, too. By the time I added my vegetables it was too dry to make a pie. A can of chicken soup remedied that. John told me that Marie Callender would have to keep an eye on me. There was almost half of this pie left. It will serve us another meal. Again this is real food for the table from leftovers, what some might even call table scraps (i.e. the leftover gravy). This is how I work hard to stretch our budget. A small frozen pot pie from Mrs. Callender would run about $4 in my stores. It would serve one person. My pot pie would serve 5 hearty servings, 6 if I'd served with an extra side dish and was really good. Here again, I've saved us about $16 say. By the way, that chicken soup is key to a good flavorful sauce in my opinion. I diluted it with only 1/2 can of water.
Friday: Washed a full load of dishes.
Washed a small load of laundry. Because it was late afternoon and I wanted them dry before sundown, I put them in the dryer. It took about 20 minutes to dry that load.
John and I went out today. We did the usual routine: took off trash, picked up mail, ran our errands.
Although we've been in Home Depot too many times to count of late, we came across an aisle we've somehow missed walking down. On that aisle was a variety of things we'd been looking for. Hooks to hang tools, chains nice enough to use as purse straps (I'll be going back for those) and a number of other things. We spent the last of John's gift card today on batteries and wall hooks.
John treated us to lunch out at the Greek restaurant. It was so good. The waiter suggested we order a dinner which had the loveliest fresh salad. It cost just $1 more than the plates we'd intended to order. We were both glad of his suggestion as we had our daily quota of vegetables and the salad was the best I've had in a long time.
John stopped and bought me a cup of coffee (he'd gotten one at the restaurant) although when I'd mentioned coffee I was planning to make a pot here at home. For the coffee and lunch, John paid from his pocket.
When we got home, I tried out my new blower and blew all the leaves off the patio, dirt off the patio after I planted the pansies, and the porches. John blew sawdust and dirt out of his shed.
We used the new pole saw to cut two branches off the faith tree that were blocking views and made the tree look uneven. We hauled the branches out of the yard over to the brush pile.
I have been freezing all week long. Despite wearing extra layers and putting a pot of water on to humidify the air, I've stayed cold. I finally decided that turning the thermostat up one degree must be the next step. I'm happy to say it's made a world of difference.
I did turn the heat down when we left home. No need of paying extra to warm the house when no one is home.
Entered Coke points on My Coke Rewards this evening. Discovered the $10 Amazon Gift Card is still available for 170 points. I ordered another one. I believe it is a limit of one per customer per month.
I redeemed a coupon for a free Shutterfly 8 x 11 calendar.
I sent a jar of jelly to Bess. We had some for breakfast and it is delicious...and it jelled! I put a jar with my brother's Banana bread and set another jar aside for my niece and her family.
That's my week...How was yours?