Thrifty Thursday

One of the two homemade 'baby' birthday cakes I made this week to celebrate our birthdays.

 Friday: Plans to get a hair cut today didn't mean just a haircut...You know me, combine errands whenever I can.  One town, three stops (salon, grocery, Walmart) and one stop in my hometown plus take off trash, pick up mail...It felt like I'd been busy all day long...And I was!

Remember a couple of months ago I mentioned that I'd gone into a salon that was obviously male oriented but I'd loved the haircut I'd gotten?  Same place, different stylist, lower price, still love my hair.

Grocery: I took advantage of it being Super Bowl weekend and various special coupons.  From MyCokeRewards: coupon for a FREE box of Ritz crackers.  Publix offered Ritz as a buy one get one free this week.  I can do that math: two for the price of one, when the price is FREE that's two boxes FREE.   A store coupon for Coke, offered $4 off any purchase of 2 six-packs of soda and a box of RITZ.  Soda was on sale too, 2/$7 about a $1 savings.  Are you keeping score?  That came up to two free boxes of Ritz, and $3 for 2 six packs of soda.  

Picked up a few other necessary usual purchases that also happened to be on sale.  I looked over all the sales sheets very well indeed before leaving home and I see no reason to go back to Publix on Tuesday.  So I've saved gasoline, saved money, stocked up. 

My trip to Walmart was solely self indulgent.  Have been wanting to make a quilt for ages upon ages, so I went in to see if any fabric caught my eye.  I found a remnant piece and bought 1 yard each of 4 different fabrics. I was very pleased overall with my purchases. I feel it's high time I did something I've wanted to do for years upon years.  If not now, then when?  Life is too too short to always be putting off all our small dreams until tomorrow, don't you agree?

Didn't stop to eat out today.  Instead I waited until I got home. 

Now and then  when I have a craving for something special that I don't/can't make at home and taste half as good,  I look for a way to have it less expensively. Like hot wings.  Love them.  Haven't found a recipe yet that I like well enough to try to make them at home.  Found them at the grocery deli today for $6 for 3 pounds...Considerably less per pound than the frozen ones I like, even less than wings purchased on their own and made at home.  So I bought them and brought them home to put in the freezer.  How nice to have a 'convenience' food in my freezer and at such a bargain.

Saturday:  I didn't buy thread yesterday.  Couldn't find the colors that matched my fabrics, so I went to Hancock Fabrics and bought the thread and fusible webbing  I had to have to start the quilt.   A 40% off coupon considerably reduced the price of these items.

No dinner for me this day.  I was treated to a big late lunch and felt no need of a meal.  Cheese and crackers were just right with a cup of coffee. 

Sunday:  I bought flowers last week and they have held up very well indeed. I trimmed the flower stems,  washed the vases, put in fresh citric acid solution and I think I'll have flowers for another week.  While I had the flowers out of water, I mixed up the varieties, so I feel like I have three brand new bouquets.

Leftovers for lunch this day.

John's birthday today, mine tomorrow.  I wanted to make a cake.  Trouble is John likes one sort of cake and I like another.  And frankly we've been sharing HIS leftovers for too many years.  I made a cake (from scratch) and poured batter into a jelly roll  pan.  Using a cereal bowl as a guide, I cut six rounds.  Three for him and three for me.  One batch of buttercream frosting, split in half then adding in the flavoring (chocolate for him, lime for me) and I have TWO birthday cakes, scraps of cake that were tasty for a bite with coffee when Mama stopped by.  From scratch cake is more expensive than a boxed mix, no doubt of that, but oh the flavor!  And I discovered today that I like plain cake without frosting when it's this tasty.  Two birthday cakes, enough leftovers for snack...I think this turned out to be a great deal.  Especially after pricing the 'baby' cakes at the grocery ($10) and the deluxe cupcakes ($4 each), I feel like this was a savings.

Washed a full load of sheets and quilt fabric together (to pre-shrink fabric) today.

Washed a full load of dishes as well.

Katie came in later that afternoon and said her daddy had told her to tell me to feed her. Trouble was, I hadn't made anything today.  In comes that Chinese food we froze last month.  Put in the oven to thaw and heat while she and I shifted things about in the shed and fed the dogs.  One hot meal, no trouble, thirty minutes later and it didn't involve a trip into town or extra money.

Sent Katie home with fresh rosemary and cilantro harvested from my own plants.

Remember those fabrics I bought last week?  I've been scared to start that quilt.  What if I messed up the material?  What if the idea didn't come out in fabric the way it had in paper?  Well that's foolishness!  It's a waste of money if I put perfectly good material on the shelf and don't touch it.  So I sat down this morning and starting cutting and snipping and the first block's pieces are cut out, laid out and ready for the next step (fusible webbing).  Not one mistake made...yet.  

Here's my second thoughts on the same subject: fear of making a mistake means I'm letting that perfectionism worry rule.  It's my first quilt.  Odds are that I will make mistakes, but I'll learn something when I make them, I have from very nearly every mistake I've ever made.  So starting this quilt is very important.  Not letting fear of mistakes stop me from a dream is super important.

Got so caught up in the fun of fabric that I forgot all about lunch, until my tummy gave a great huge grumble at 2pm.  A fast lunch was thankfully had.  A chicken breast and wing were in the fridge, I made a carrot raisin salad. 

I didn't want the breast since the wing was so big.  Skinned and boned it and made a bowl of chicken salad for John's work lunch sandwiches.

For supper I made pigs in blankets out of leftover hot dogs.  I made a full batch of biscuits, enough to wrap the leftover hot dogs and to make biscuits for breakfasts.

Very low on my favorite decaf coffee...So low that I had to be very careful in dividing what was left into enough for a cup or two for me mid-afternoon and enough to make a cup for John when he came in.  Just stretched it far enough, without adding caffeinated to it.

Put money into our savings account this afternoon, moving the agreed upon amount right away, after subtracting our tithe from it.  We don't see it, we don't miss it.

Tuesday:  Grocery day but the morning was terribly thick with fog.  I decided it was best to wait until the fog began to lift.  Didn't leave home until around 11:30 today.

Have you noticed? I'm not doing Big Shops anymore.  I'm shopping weekly instead.  I'm limiting it to once a week stops, usually combining a grocery store with other errands in the same area and picking up sales items.  I was a bit over last month with my budget but am on track for February.  I love not having a HUGE shopping trip taking up a goodly portion of my day and finding myself overtired at the end of it all.

Waiting on fog to live gave me time to go over the sales ads for the stores I meant to visit, since I didn't do that task yesterday.So glad I did. One store I've never been in before, Aldi, doesn't put out a sales paper in my local area, so online ads helped.  I found several items on my shopping list were on sale.  And the only other store I meant to visit had dog food on sale at a very very good price. If I'd not seen that sale I'd have missed out on a very good buy which saved me a nice sum for the month.

I have to say I was very pleased with Aldi over all.  It's small enough to find the items you want rather quickly, doesn't require searching high and low and most all of the produce was a product of the USA.  Prices were very reasonable too.  I'll definitely be adding this store to my list of stores where I shop routinely.

The biggest shock of the day was the cost of peanut butter.  Now I live in the south and I know all about the drought of the past summer and I saw the harvest in the peanut fields...but I was not prepared for the price of peanut butter to DOUBLE.  John likes peanut butter a lot but we'll be cutting down on that until the prices drop a good deal.  It's moved from the staples list to the treats list from now until that price drop occurs.

No lunch out today.  I had plenty of leftovers right here at home.  However, I did buy my monthly Starbucks treat, a yummy Cinnamon Latte.

I have plenty of butter in the freezer, but I bought butter today anyway.  I can't beat the sale price and a little more never hurts, I've plenty of room in the freezer for more.

Today I came in just a few cents under the budget amount and I was so proud!  It's been quite a struggle to hit that mark and to do so makes me feel I can do it again. 

Saved all my one dollar bills last month.  Deposited $45 to my vacation fund this morning.  Added $3 to my envelope to start the deposit for March this afternoon when I came home.

We had more than enough snack items on hand, so I skipped buying anything except chips this day.  John was a little disappointed I skipped buying lunch out (I almost always have something extra out of it for him), but he was easily appeased by the steak biscuits I'd made last night and put in the fridge. 

Wednesday:  We planned to be out and about this day.  We had only one real objective: going to visit a meat market we'd been told about.  We did make two other stops in an attempt to buy our birthday gifts but both were a bust (oh well).  

Found the meat market and I am convinced it's more than worth the drive.  Today we bought steaks (birthday dinner and purpose of our drive), short ribs and ground chuck (theirs is 92% lean).  Prices were reasonable, the meat beautiful.  I think this place would be worth going to once a month or once in six weeks and stocking up on each trip.  It's about 100 miles round trip from my home but easy traffic wise.  

Our total purchases came up to $45 and lest you think that pricey for what we bought I promise you it's about spot on what we'd have paid in any of our local markets.  Compare that to the cost of two steak dinners at a restaurant: again about the same cost and you should have just seen our beautiful thick t-bones! Nothing like those in the restaurant!  No waiting, no poor service to deal with and we were happy to know we had premium quality meat for our meal (and future meals).

Our birthday meal was prepared here at home: Steak, roasted asparagus, baked potato, tossed salad and blue cheese dressing followed by our favorite German coffee and homemade birthday cake.  I don't believe we could ever have bought that much food for the price we paid for all the meat, not to mention what we paid for the steaks alone.  

German coffee:  Ordered on sale and arrived yesterday morning. I still mix this premium coffee with a less expensive readily available source of coffee as a rule.  Last night's coffee was pure German coffee but all the rest of the packet was mixed half and half.  We get the same great flavor at half the cost.

John did our taxes.  It cost us about $56 to do them right here at home.  In previous years when we had heavier deductions and filed  the long form, we used a bookkeeper, paying about $150. 

I've been wanting to change my living room decor a bit, but didn't have a clear picture in my mind yet of what I wanted to do.  However, inspiration hit me last night as I gazed at a curtain in my bathroom.  Suddenly I 'saw' the fabric used in my living room, giving me the perfect jumping off point for the new look in that room and I saw the bathroom in a fresh way too, with a different fabric from my stash.  It will take only moments to change the bathroom decor (and the purchase of 2 new towels to add to what we have).  Love when I am inspired and see how to use what I have to get what I want at a lowered cost to us.  

Thursday:  Washed a full load of dishes.

Watered plants with water I'd saved and some of the water we'd stored for emergencies.  I like to refresh the stored water on a regular basis, but won't waste it.

Needed warm water to run into sink for dishes but it takes a little while to heat up.  I ran the cold water into the water bottles I meant to refill until the water was hot enough for the sink.

Breakfast: used thawed leftover eggnog and dry bread I'd frozen to make French Toast.

Offset the cost of our big meal yesterday with  Homemade macaroni and cheese today.  I used 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to add moisture and creaminess to the usual cheese sauce and boost the protein of the dish as well.

Doing dishes after our meal today, I realized I could run the water to rinse the dishes for the dishwasher over the sink I meant to fill for those items that had to hand washed.  No water wasted running down the drain this way and my sink was filled by the time I was done.

Heat came on regularly most all day as temperatures dropped but by afternoon sunlight warmed the house very nicely.  Open shades and curtains insured we got plenty of that 'free' heat in the house.

It often feels that I spend the majority of my time creating savings in my kitchen and to some extent that is true.  Saving things that might otherwise spoil by freezing or making into another dish, watching that waste is reduced drastically, making many items from scratch instead of purchasing convenience products are all areas I use to save, but it's not the only way I save.  I also save when I clean an appliance (routine maintenance) or upholstered piece, when I vacuum the carpet or use a homemade cleaner.  

I'm saving when I combine several tasks or errands into one trip or plan ahead and buy items I find on an unexpected sale even though I might not have planned to purchase them at that time.  I'm saving when I use common household items in my creative efforts too.  My quilt pattern started with the pull tab from a box of tissues!  I happened to look at and think, 'hmmm that looks like the petal of a flower.'  Not only did I start the first quilt with that piece, I've used it to create another pattern for my next quilt project.  It cost me nothing, was trash really, but now it's in my craft drawer!  

Something as simple as stopping to pick up a penny on the ground is a savings.  It takes 1 second to bend over and pick up a penny yet I've heard many a person say in disgust, "Oh it's just a penny," and watched as they walked away.  There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour.  You do the math.  It works out to $360 an hour if you stop and pick up a penny a second.  I think that's good wages and hey, that's TAX FREE too.  Now I'll grant you I don't pick up a penny every second I'm out but it bears thinking about doesn't it, how even little things add up as savings?


Kathy in Illinois said...

Happy belated birthday to you and John!
God bless, Kathy in Illinois

Dawn said...

I share your fear of starting a project. That is one of the main reasons that I have yet to make my apron. I am determined to sit down this weekend and cut out the pieces. Thanks for the nudge!

Tracy said...

Ive been bit by the perfectionist bug a time or two myself... :)

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Happy happy birthday!

Oh yes, when you learn something new you're bound to have mistakes! When I made my first slipcovered chair I had to undo and redo many many times.


Castello Blue said...

Hey - don't worry about being a perfectionist. I was there once too, and it strongly inhibited my desire to take action.. for many reasons.

My advice to you is to always dive in head strong, and worry about the rest later. You'd be surprised how 'perfect' things can turn out when you just dive right in and get started without pondering too much. Don't get me wrong, a plan is always good. But start small.

BelleDiabolique said...

I love the baby cakes idea. I might have to try that. :-D I'm currently hunting for a small portion cake recipe. There are tons for the microwave, but they never taste quite the same. I'm just looking for a scaled down version of a "real" cake.

On a side note. I no longer get updates in my blogger dashboard for you :-( I'm subscribed to Blue House Journal, but it seems to still think that that is the blue house on the hill blog. This one won't turn up. I've unfollowed and refollowed, so maybe that will help.

Love from Texas!

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