Friday: I knew I had to spend the day doing things outside the home, so I tried to accomplish what I could before I left. I didn't however, rush about or push hard to accomplish too much. The day ahead of me was bound to be stressful, why add to it while at home? I've learned this lesson the hardest way possible: experience. This might not seem like a 'savings' tip but think about it and you'll see that it is. Being less stressed when I start out 'saved' me a world of frustration and aggravation. Going into my day more relaxed meant less stress...Seeing the pattern here?
A few weeks ago I found a small metal box with a handle, more than likely a makeup box but I looked at it and saw a box suitable for John's microphones to travel in...Only thing it lacked was a nice thick foam padding to keep the mikes stable and cushioned. Ha! Mama had an orthopedic wedge meant to be a throw away after use that happened to be dense and thick foam. I looked at it and saw a suitable filler for that Mike Box. So did my husband when I brought it home.
The petunias that wintered over on the front porch this year have rewarded me well by opening into dozens of blooms this morning.
We're using AC already. The air outdoors is 'misty' looking with pollen and smoky too with lots of controlled burns going on. I find it's important to monitor our usage but coming out of 'winter' and into 'summer' so soon means that our tolerance for summer is low. We started with the AC set on 70. Every day I've been slipping it up one degree higher. Now we're at our more usual setting of 76. Next adjustment is for the 'night time' temperatures.
I slipped a lime wedge in a bottle of cold water and then put that into the freezer for an hour or two. The water just begins to freeze, the lime exudes a slight citrus flavor as it thaws without making the water too acidic. I love it. I think I'm going to try it with mint leaves and perhaps a bit of orange or strawberries...It's a nice change from plain old water on these warm days.
I've made it my habit for the past year or so to save online recipes in files on my computer named for the month in which I found it. This month I have also deleted a few recipes because I've tried them right away. I have a new one printed and on my table for tomorrow morning: Lemon Pancakes with mixed berries.
Saturday: I stayed home today. I don't want to spend anymore gasoline going anywhere else for the next three days. Small economy perhaps but I'm determined to save what I can. We spent our month's gasoline budget these past two weeks! It couldn't be helped but I sure can do my best to offset it.
Cooked a nice Corned Beef dinner. Decided to cook the potatoes separate from the meat. I cooked all the potatoes I had on hand at once, and put the rest in fridge for making potato salad.
Love the molten lava cakes recipe. I used a bit of that ground cardamon in them this time. Not bad. I'm still trying to decide if I like it best in savory or sweet dishes, but figured I liked the molten lava cakes well enough I'd eat them anyway, lol.
Sliced the leftover corned beef and put away in the fridge for sandwiches later in the week.
Made time for me today. Pedicure and coloring my hair. Cost to me was about $3.50. Savings was about $100.
Used quiet afternoon hours to go through magazines, collecting recipes to try, design ideas and planting ideas. I don't buy these magazines. Mama gives them to me or I subscribed through MyCokeRewards using points earned from buying Coke products. I figure I'm buying Coke anyway, the magazines and free products I get are all bonuses.
Sunday: Another day at home. Didn't even go into town to buy a newspaper. Mama's giving me coupons, and I pick up what I can at the grocery, from magazines etc.
Was digging about in the freezer and found one small steak. I pulled it out to thaw for tomorrow's lunch but I got busy working well beyond dinner time and was too hungry to prepare a complicated meal. Instead, I decided to cook the steak and serve as a Black and Blue salad. Yummy and dinner was literally on the plate in 14 minutes.
Wanted a new look for the bedroom and remembered my trick last summer of turning over a quilt and using the back side as my spread. Did the same with my lovely cathedral windows quilt and love the khaki backing with my khaki drapes and bed skirt. This will do nicely until I find something else to use.
I was a happy woman earlier today. I set the table with one of my favorite vintage tablecloths and discovered that the green compote I bought last month is a perfect centerpiece for the colors. Yet again, I find buying something just because I like it pays off nicely in pleasure and beauty. I paid all of $3 for that piece. I'd been using it on my desk to hold odds and ends, but found it rather handy to hold our napkins at the table.
Washed a full load of clothes: sheets, towels, dishcloths. Dried them in the dryer. The world outside my windows has a pale yellow mist overall.
Used saved water to water the plants. Took the summer hardy plants back outdoors. Our weather has been very warm.
Yesterday the AC came on and ran and ran and ran. I realized I'd made two mistakes: had the AC set too low and forgot to close curtains on the sunny side of the house in the early afternoon hours. Remedied both those today and the AC ran much more efficiently coming on and off as it ought. Now I shall have to be careful to check the filter every two weeks. A clogged filter will make the AC run harder, too.
I purposely left the last pecans on the ground. The birds enjoy them and it's less expensive than buying bird seed. I watched a woodpecker take a pecan and place it in the crotch of two branches where he could peck the nutmeat from the shell.
I have a big project I want to tackle tomorrow, so worked on grocery list today.
Ran a full load of dishes as my last chore for the day.
Cleaned the vacuum...Does that sound like an oxymoron? There are filters which must breathe in order for the vacuum to form suction. I washed the filters and set them to dry overnight. I make sure they are completely dry before putting them back in the machine, otherwise any dust will just cling to the wet filter and clog it.
Monday: Worked smart today. I knew I meant to tackle a portion of a big planned project and I'd likely end up overtired before the day was done. I made lunch in the early morning hours before getting started on the work. I stopped at noon and had lunch on my plate in about 15 minutes.
I had tacos for lunch today. I used cabbage I'd cut up on Saturday when making corned beef instead of lettuce. I've seen several times where some people prefer shredded cabbage on their tacos. It's sturdier than lettuce but softens just enough with the heat from the meat.
Fried my own taco shells using corn tortillas. It takes only minutes and the flavor difference is well worth that little extra bit of time. Not to mention the savings. Ten taco shells cost about $1.59 at the store if you buy the shells only. Most come in a kit with taco seasoning and will cost closer to $2. I bought 18 corn tortillas for just $1.19.
As I worked today on my project I realized that I am ready to let go of several items that I know have fair value. I believe these are all good items for eBay sells so am setting them aside. I may not be able to do the work until later in the summer but I'll have a good stash of stuff to work my way through by that time.
Helpful hint found in a magazine about African violets was to water weekly, letting water soak into soil from bottom upwards and for no more than 20 minutes at a time. I've done this for four weeks now and am proud to see buds have appeared on one of the violets.
My planned project is a re-do of the living room, moving to a different color scheme overall and a different feel overall. I wanted new artwork but my budget is very very low for this re-do. Even though I've waited nearly a year to begin this project and have been picking up items here and there to create the look I want, I haven't found artwork. And then I walked into the bathroom today, looked at a project I worked on two years ago and realized I have the items I need to create at least some of the artwork I want. All I need to do is make it. Free is a great bonus for a limited budget.
I like coffee mid-afternoon. John likes a single cup when he comes in evenings. I can make just enough for two cups (it's the 4 cup mark on my pot) but either I had to wait until evening or I had to make two small pots. With the increased costs I'm seeing in gasoline and groceries this month I determined that we had to trim our dearly loved German coffee budget by half. One solution: make one small pot, turn off immediately after it's brewed, have my cup while it's hot and turn the burner under the carafe on about 45 minutes before John comes in. Works just fine and there's far less evaporation of the pot as well.
Solution two: Order coffee half as often. Instead of once a month, ordering every other month.
Harvest night in our home. We paid the last of the propane costs until September. I suggested since we were already using AC we'd best increase our 'half' pay amounts to summer time rates NOW. We agreed finally to ease our way up the scale since this pay period was a little tight after our gas usage during Mama's hospital/nursing home stay.
Tuesday: Surprised by my husband's request for me to put off shopping until Wednesday. Seems he LIKES grocery shopping with me every other week. I agreed last night but realized something more this morning. He's giving me an extra day of time to spend at home each work week as well and that is bonus time for me. Today I'm obligated to run errands for Mama but in future I'll plan to do something at home that either brings in income (like eBay sells or picking up pecans in season) or cuts down on grocery costs (baking, making yogurt, jelly making, etc). As well this will make it far easier for me to shop weekly, as I can use a portion of the day out with Mama to pick up loss leaders.
John and I are responsible for yard work around our place. Knowing what Mama pays to have her small yard in town mowed certainly is a huge motivator with our three acres of lawn. We budget the gasoline for lawn work out of the house fund each summer.
And that's where landscaping funds come from too, so we're limited in what we spend. That's why I'm happy to see the $20 spent on bulbs this past autumn paid off in nice blooms for three weeks now...also why I'm so pleased to find the petunias wintered over that I'd potted last summer. To be sure it's just one pot of blooms but that's about a six pack of plants in that pot...and since they self sowed seeds I have a bonus few plants coming up in the bucket with the coral rose I rooted last year from a cutting.
While out running errands for Mama I shopped at the dollar store to do my local shopping. Found a bathroom cleaner that appears to be similar to one I used to buy in the store brand for just $1 a bottle. Figured I could try it for that cost. Other dollar store items purchased: store brand of a high priced antacid, our favorite soft drink (at least $1.00 less than the grocery!).
While at the dollar store, I bought lighter colored shades to go on the bedroom lamps. The shades are fairly luxe looking and cost just $5 each for the size lamps I have (more buffet sized).
I am a trash picker. Yes, I am. Today as I dropped off our trash I spied an inexpensive end table crammed in the top of the dumpster. Hauled it out and the only flaw is a bit of trim that had come loose on the bottom of the table. Nothing that glue and a clamp can't fix...And since it's a free table I have no problems at all with the idea of painting it a bright cheery color to use on the front porch between my two chairs...and guess who has free paint in a bright cheery color? Yep.
Wednesday: Grocery day. Took time to go over Publix sales ad before leaving home so I could shop wisely there and at Aldi's.
Suggested to John we go ahead and get haircuts while we were out. He has a busy week this go round and I thought it would be nice to save him time for rest later in the week. Also saves an extra trip over to do that task alone.
Took advice of a friend who suggested I use a third solution to save on my lovely German coffee: Try the Aldi's German brand. We found the price about comparable to what we're paying now but it's 1 pound and not just 8 ounces. I probably won't open the package for a couple of weeks yet, but will be sure to report how we like it.
Big special today at Aldi's was $.89 a pound chicken breasts. Deeply regretted not getting more.
Stocked up on tomato sauce/paste and mustard today. I bought just enough mustard to last us until summer. Mustard is well priced at Aldi's but I'll buy at the grocery come summer holidays because coupons and sales will bring prices very very low on name brand mustard.
Added $12 to the vacation fund today.
Thursday: Warm mornings call for cold cereal for breakfast...Happily I found cereal to be reasonable enough at Aldi's to pick up a box or two until I see a really good stock up sale elsewhere.
Leftovers for dinner don't look like leftovers: corned beef from Saturday's Irish meal turned into today's toasted Reuben sandwiches. Potatoes from same meal became potato salad. And there were extra eggs boiled today for egg salad for tomorrow's sandwiches.
We have dinner plans for tonight so a lighter than usual lunch. Annual EMS region Award dinner. We will drive down to the next town and then ride along with another couple to the city where the dinner is being held.
Washed a full load of dishes.
Put away dog food when they refused to eat this morning. I may have to change brands but in the meantime I'm mixing a bit of catfood in too. Not enough for them to be eating only the cat food, just enough that in order to get to the smaller pieces they get bigger pieces of dog food too.