Over the next few weeks, I plan to post a photo of something that promotes thriftiness in my home. Last week's homemade cookies...and this week's shot of the auxiliary pantry in my guest room. There are three more shelves on the bottom that aren't shown. One day I mean to finish building this unit...lol Guess I'd better put it on my household list so I'll get it done!
Friday: Mama was taking us out to lunch and I'd warned John the night before that since we'd be eating a big meal at dinnertime (that's midday for us), we'd eat a cereal breakfast. The plan was to have cold cereal but boy did it turn off cold! Brrr! Too cold to eat cold cereal. I made a hot cereal for us instead.
Turned on the heater, too, it was so cold indoors. However, I set the temperature at 68F. And when we left home I turned it off completely. By the time we'd returned later in the afternoon the sun was warming the inside of the house rather nicely.
We had coffee with our dinner so I decided we didn't really need to make a pot here at home.
Supper was a light affair, too. John ate leftover pizza from our bargain priced delivery pizza. I opted for homemade yogurt with a bit of cereal sprinkled in the bowl.
We got our electric bill. We experienced our annual 'drop'. And I am very proud. Only once this summer did our bill creep up over $200, once to $190 and the rest of the summer it was nearer $150. I am not complaining. That is a remarkable summer for low cost electricity. John says it is because I watched so little TV during the day, lol.
Saturday: Time is at a premium on our synagogue mornings when John leads worship. We must get to our synagogue extra early. It's for that reason that I always set an alarm...and it's why I panicked a bit when my alarm failed to go off this morning, despite being set! I was running about 20 minutes behind, so breakfast had to be a hasty affair. I didn't have time to make two or three items at once. Breakfast sandwich to the rescue. I take two slices of bread for each sandwich. Flatten out the center of one slice, leaving a nice edge along the crusts. Then I break one egg over the depression. On the other piece of bread, I lay strips of cheese. I might add thin slices of cooked sausage or turkey Spam too. Then I bake the bread in a medium oven (about 425F) for 15 minutes or so, until the egg is fully set, the cheese melted and the bread lightly toasted. Put the two halves together and there you are: a breakfast sandwich. I can put on my makeup, feed the dogs, dress, while this bakes and save a portion of time. It's also a hearty enough breakfast to hold us through the long morning of practice and service.
We bought some fresh purple hull peas today. They were $12/bushel. We thought it a good price, but I had no freezer space for peas. However, I went with my friend to pick up some things we needed for the afternoon, and left John at synagogue. He decided peas were just what he wanted. He very smartly asked the woman if he might buy 1/4 of a bushel. She agreed and so we have peas after all. I got about two packages once shelled. I can fit that much in our freezer and am glad to have them.
Harvested a handful of lettuce from the plants this evening.
Katie called and is headed home for a visit. We've been leaving the heat off all night long just now but I know that she will be too cold without some heat. I set it for 62F. And if Katie finds herself too frozen, I've put out an extra quilt that she can double over the bed.
Sunday: Katie came in extra early...5am! You know we made coffee. I had thawed cubed steak for our dinner on Saturday and we ate out instead with our synagogue. When Katie said she was hungry I realized I was pretty hungry myself. Hot biscuits and cubed steak to fill them seemed a good thing at 6am. I can whip up a batch of biscuits in no time and cubed steak fries pretty quickly. We soon sat down at the table with our biscuits and a jar of pear preserves.
I can't claim the day was a huge money saver. We did go into town to buy a paper and pet foods. The pet foods part took a nice chunk of change. I hope we can make up the difference in a few usable coupons. I haven't even looked at them yet! We also bought gas for the mower and took off the trash. We'll call combining errands as our savings.
Dinner time. I took three chicken breasts (boneless skinless) from the freezer, had peas that I shelled last night. What to do with the bit of leftover rice in the bottom of the fridge? Well why not my version of Broccoli Rice casserole? I used just a portion of the big crown of broccoli we bought this past week and steamed in the microwave.
Poured off the accumulated water into the pitcher I keep next to the sink for the leftover water in bottles and glasses. I've begun adding coffee (some plants like that extra acidity), too, by the way. So the broccoli water went in for the nutrients that would give plants.
Mixed the rice, chopped broccoli, a can of mushroom soup, a few spoons of sour cream, some grated cheese in the same casserole I steamed the broccoli in. Saved washing that dish.
Baked the casserole alongside our chicken breasts.
Samuel showed up just as dinner got ready. Gee it's funny how that boy can show up when a meal is going on the table. Thankfully the breasts were large and Katie and I could share one.
While the broccoli was in the microwave steaming I popped in to washed and scrubbed potatoes. They will become part of our breakfast in the morning.
Monday: Took the two potatoes I cooked in the microwave yesterday afternoon and diced, added with onion to a hot frying pan and made yummy hash browns to go with our breakfast.
John off to golf...I had tentatively planned a thrift shop hop day for myself but realized after buying pet foods and gasoline yesterday that the account had sunk enough to shout "HALT!"...teased myself with a few other ideas which involved the use of gasoline only, but ultimately it was the morning sun that determined what I did today. That sneaky sun popped right in through the kitchen window and just highlighted all the housework that needed to be done!
Used the last of the toilet bowl cleaner. I'd turned the bottle upside down two weeks ago when I thought it was empty. In the kitchen there is a bottle of dish washing liquid turned upside down. And in the bathroom I've just turned a bottle of moisturizer upside down, too. All this upside down business means I get to use every last bit of what's in those bottles.
Meals today were easy enough. John was gone at lunch time. I ate the leftover Broccoli Rice casserole and half a piece of steak from yesterday's meals. That was my dinner. I knew my husband would want something NOW when he got in from his golf game and I was right. I'd pulled thin sliced roast beef from the freezer to thaw and made a fancy sandwich out of ordinary ingredients: thin sliced roast beef, sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced Swiss cheese, a bun spread with Blue Cheese dressing. Yes, really, blue cheese dressing. It takes only a tablespoon for each sandwich and boy does it amp up that otherwise simple sandwich.
Baked homemade cookie bars today. Even though I totally messed up the recipe by not following directions and adding in ingredients before the mixture was cool enough. I went right ahead and baked it up anyway and it's good enough to call a snack but next time I'll try the recipe as written first and then experiment as I get more familiar with it.
A few months ago, back at the start of summer, I bought a product that seemed awfully pricey to me. Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream. It was $9 at Walmart but I really believe that Burt's Bees products are worth the money. And my feet really looked pretty bad... I used the foot cream daily for two weeks then weaned myself down to every other night for two weeks, then every third night. Currently I use this product about once a week (twice at most) and let me just say I'm still using the same tube I bought at the beginning of summer. I have about 1/3 of the tube left. It's been a great purchase overall... And my feet look a lot better than they did 4 months ago.
Tuesday: Lay abed this morning. Not thrifty but unusual and I thought I'd mention it to show that despite all the savings in the household I am still on vacation...
I have a little pile of things on my desk just now: items for the bank, a shopping list, mail to be sent out. All those things will go right into my purse when we leave to run errands later this week.
Oatmeal suits a cold morning, and is filling, too. I cooked it in the microwave and it took less than four minutes.
Dinner was an oven meal. One item had to be started in a 475F oven. That was okay with me. I just put the other items in at the same temp and then lowered it to 400F and all three items cooked at the same temperatures. Worked out beautifully.
Mopped floors today. I took the used water outdoors and used my old mop to wash off the porch railings and floor. The last of the water was poured over the plants.
Supper time rolled around and there I was with a 1/3 of pound of ground beef thawed out and no real desire to have a burger. John suggested we have creamed hamburger which practically doubled the amount of food we'd have. I call this comfort food and it was just right for supper.
I didn't bake bread today and wasn't aware we were so close to being out. Thank goodness for the bagels in the freezer. We'll have those for breakfast tomorrow morning while I set bread dough to rise.
Trudy wasn't in the mood to eat again this morning. More and more of late she's wanting just one meal a day. Suits me just fine. I don't put out food for her unless she comes up on the porch.
Wednesday: Emptied two pump bottles of facial cleanser and moisturizer this week. I started to throw the bottles away then realized how foolish that was. Bearing pump bottles of this quality are a pretty penny at the dollar store and how convenient to use them for dishwashing liquid, shampoo or even olive oil. I washed my bottles well and will definitely be reusing them.
No loaf bread for our breakfast and I knew it yesterday evening I could have gone to town but I didn't. I had bagels in the freezer and that was what we had for breakfast.
Those cookie bars are being utterly ignored. I tried putting bread slices in the cookie jar but no use. They remain dry and hard. So...toss or reuse. I decided upon reuse. I can crush and make cookie crumb crust
or break into pieces and layer into a trifle bowl with pudding and whipped cream for a special dessert. We just won't be eating them as cookie bars.
We planned to spend the day out today. Even planned a lunch out. Of course, we did a few extra errands along the way. We took off trash, sent out mail, cashed in coins, went by the grocery and made a deposit at the bank.
John mowed earlier in the week. The cars got the brunt of the dust and grass clippings too. Knowing we'd be running into wet weather later this week, John opted to just rinse the car twice, once with soapy water once with clear. Cost $1.25 to do that. I normally spend upwards of $4 to wash the car but I think it looked almost as good as the usual wash.
I had a list for the grocery. We bought everything on it, too. One of the items needed was Tylenol. We prefer the arthritis strength tablets. Tylenol was $13.89 bottle for 150 caplets. The store brand acetaminophen same strength, same number of tablets, $10. However, the store brand 500 mg, 500 caplet bottle was just $7.38. We figured taking 2 1/2 tablets would be equal to two 650mg tablets and we'd get 200 doses for half the price of 75 doses if we'd bought either of the higher strength packages.
We wanted to eat at a certain burger place and to enjoy one of the special ice cream treats. To cut costs we had the treats as our beverage, meant to share a large order of fries but found 2 small were less expensive. Our treats were small which proved just right. Yes, it was more expensive than our usual Burger King venue but we kept costs down and enjoyed our meal.
Our supper was a simple affair, Cheese Omelets and toast with fresh brewed coffee. Sometimes the simplest foods are the best all around and eggs are still fairly inexpensive even despite the rise in cost of late.
Thursday: We've had some mild nights of late. I haven't bothered to cover my vegetable pots with plastic at night. Still it has been cooler, so we're also not setting the AC lower at night, just letting the natural coolness in the house suffice. We've also avoided turning on the heater in the mornings.
The dishwasher was F.U.L.L. Nothing else could be squeezed in, so definitely time to run a load of dishes. Before running the load, I took a toothpick and cleaned the filter out.
John off to do work at synagogue. I had lunch of leftovers.
Supper was eggs again, this time as egg salad sandwiches, a particular favorite of my husband. We should have enough to make work lunch for him as well.
I meant to clean the back deck and water the plants there too, but I didn't. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and the storm clouds were rolling in this afternoon. I decided I'd let nature do the cleaning and watering.
I was vacuuming this morning...went right on and vacuumed the whole house. Just a savings of getting out the broom and dustpan and took a whole two minutes extra to vacuum.
Interested in a project for the first of this year, I've been reading up on how to go about it...I think this is going to be a definite 'go', and thank you very much to the internet for helping me to see how it might work as well as providing some really good pointers.
John was gone this afternoon and so I waited until evening to make coffee. I chose to make less than usual and had just 1/2 cup myself.