Thrifty Thursday - Merry Merry Month of May
Friday: It was meant to be a fun Friday, though I do confess I was feeling spendy. I wanted to go to Walmart to find the items on my growing list. Nothing pricey but altogether bound to get expensive. Well I had a spendy day all right! Four new tires and an alignment later...However, as my husband pointed out, we save for rainy days and we were certainly in a rainstorm yesterday.
Money saver for the day? That Premium AAA membership we bought last year. I had no idea, I really didn't, what a savings it was! I thought it was an unnecessary expense. I certainly thought no such thing yesterday when I found myself with a flat tire and no help to call upon but AAA! I was so impressed with the service from first call to repair. The first question I was asked "Are you in a safe area?". The repair service was able to arrive within 15 minutes. Someone spoke to me on the phone every five minutes until repair arrived. And it was this young man who 'educated' me on the premium service: four emergency calls FREE each year. Which means I paid not one penny for service yesterday. Wow. Since I'd just spent my last $5 at Goodwill this was a great thing.
My education for the day was not over. I went to Walmart as planned, since the store there has a tire service. I don't know about you all, but I do not know how to buy tires. A young woman at the tire center told me that it was her job to teach me and she did her best. We discussed attributes of this set over that and she told me that due to the mileage put on my car each month I'd best go with a higher rated tire. Thanks to her education, I knew what I needed when I went to the Tire store. I am sorry to say that Walmart did not have the tires I needed in stock and the young lady would not sell me an inferior tire (that was a good thing).
Was it a frugal day? Yes and no. We knew we needed to buy new tires soon, but not this soon. Now I have four new tires. The AAA membership was up for renewal and I'd already planned to argue against renewal...We'll be keeping that. We included Katie on it last year since she travels so much on her own.
Frugal too because by the time I got back to Walmart I was too beat to even bother with half the wishes on my list. And having laid out a hard chunk of money on tires, I was less inclined to splurge. Essentials only were bought. Although John insists that the tube of Icy Heat I bought for his back was a bit exorbitant in light of the final costs of the day, lol.
It was so late when I finally made it back to Walmart that I bought Fried Chicken and a Sub Sandwich for supper and Saturday work lunch. I just knew that adding in the strain of trying to come up with a quick meal when I got home was going to make for one ill woman. I bought both for about $10. Well worth it.
Goodwill purchases? Four large cream linen napkins. Can't decide if they shall become throw pillows for the living room or be napkins. I've quite a lot of napkins at the moment. However at $1 each they were well worth the money. My other two purchases were two pieces of cut glass, a mug and a small fruit cocktail dish. I bought the dish because it reminded me of Granny's laundry detergent incentives. I used to love to watch her dig down in the box of soap powders to pull out the pretty juice glasses, bowls and such.
Saturday: I had intended to visit the Strawberry Festival downtown today but considering the expenses of the past two days, I thought it far wiser to stay home.
I made potato salad to go with the leftover chicken for my dinner this day and had a section of the submarine sandwich as my supper.
I ran a full load of dishes this evening. John washed a half load of clothes, so he lowered the water level and I set it to the shortest wash cycle on the machine.
Sunday: I dyed some fabric a couple of weeks ago that did not turn out very well. I was so disappointed. I happened to come across a box of dye remover last week and so this morning I thought it a good time to attempt to change my fabric back to a more desirable color. While digging about looking for the box of remover, I found a pair of curtains I'd bought last year at Goodwill for $8...Blue and White seersucker stripe, the most perfect match for the quilt in my room. Oh boy! I was so excited I went right away to put them up. They look terrific. I'm so glad I couldn't find curtains the last two times I was out looking for them.
Tried the dye remover on the fabric. I really needed two or three boxes, but the one at least changed the color to something different than it was. Now I don't loathe the material.
It's been fairly hot here. It was 90F in the shade this evening at 7pm. Our AC has worked long and hard the last couple of days. I'm doing my best to offset the running. This morning I opened the windows and let the air circulate via fans. That kept the AC off until nearly 12:30pm. As the day heats up, I turn it up to about 80F. About an hour before John comes in I lower it to 76.
I close the shades and pull the curtains on the west side of the house come afternoon. I've decided that I'm going to invest in blackout shades for the windows that get the brunt of the sun each day. That would be a total of six shades. Even if I buy them one at a time, I think it will pay off in the long wrong.
I'm making all kinds of little savings a new habit. I finally got the chicken broth I cooked the other day skimmed of fat. I did not throw away that fat however. I couldn't help but remember the number of times I've seen chicken fat used in cooking. I put that in the freezer and saved it, too. And I poured off the juice from a can of juice packed pineapple into the ice tray the other day and froze that. I like to make a sweet and sour sauce using pineapple juice. So why toss it?
Fed the dogs the rest of the big bones and skin from my broth making the other day.
A little waste this week: a salad's worth of lettuce I'd cut last week, thinking we'd eat more salad than we did, about 1/4 cup of corned beef hash I'd made for breakfast one morning when John was off and about as much turkey salad. I so hate losing foodstuffs to poor planning, but it is also a good reminder to me and incentive, too. Hence the saving of the chicken fat and the pineapple juice.
Watered plants with water left in water bottles...And I poured dishwater over plants this evening after I'd hand washed a few dishes.
I've very nearly wasted my Netflix this month, but this afternoon I watched my current DVD as I balanced checkbook, worked out menus for the week ahead and planned my goals for next month. It's ready to be mailed off tomorrow now and I'll have my two selections for the coming month.
For the past two days I've been strictly at home. John drove his truck these past two days. We can't afford for him to drive it every day but I figure if I make it a point to stay home over a work weekend and keep my errands to a minimum during the work week we can afford the extra bit it takes to drive the truck.
Monday: Did a small amount of housework earlier then headed out to town. The first day of any month in our town is hectic with activity, so I decided today was the best day to run errands and do my banking.
First stop was at the local bank. I needed to reorder deposit/withdrawal slips for savings. I asked the clerk about it. She suggested I just use counter slips since I only make a deposit once a month or so. My savings: $10.
Bought stamps. I got two books and made sure I purchased the forever stamps. I've been caught one time too many with stamps that were no longer valid for use without adding more.
Drove to Ft. Valley. I had banking to do there, too, and meant to pick up a few plants, perhaps by something for lunch, run into the dollar store etc. In the end, I just went by the bank. I drove by the store selling plants and they had no six packs of annuals at all, nor the color Geraniums I wanted to buy. I came home and ate leftovers rather than buy dinner out.
Made sure to turn up the AC before leaving home. No need of keeping the house so very cool when no one is home.
Spent time in the afternoon making out the shopping list for the week.
Tuesday: Before going outdoors to finish the first portion of yard work I made a batch of cinnamon rolls. I used a recipe that calls for a rich biscuit dough, rather than a yeast based dough.
Did two full loads of laundry. I removed the curtains at the laundry area to help fill that second load.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Watered plants with saved water and rinse water from dishpan.
Started a batch of yogurt. I used my own homemade yogurt as starter. I sterilized jars. I've found this seems to be key for my yogurt to become nice and thick.
John requested spaghetti with meat sauce for this week. I wanted the Ravioli lasagna, so while the sauce was simmering, I put the ravioli in to cook in the same water I'd used to sterilize jars. I saved this water, too.
My meat sauce was made using a combination of vegetables from the fridge: mushrooms, onions, carrot as well as the usual canned tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Made a single serving of the Ravioli lasagna. I mixed cooked beef ravioli with a few tablespoons of jarred pesto, layered with cheese in a small ramekin then heated in the microwave (not using the oven to prevent heating the house further.
When the yogurt was ready to incubate, I put in the old cooler. I poured in that same water I used to sterilize and then cook pasta in. I didn't worry about the jars getting a bit of pasta starch on them. Too often they have a bit of yogurt dribbled on the outside of the jars and they most certainly did today.
Set the cooler on the back porch to incubate. The temperature was so high outdoors I felt it would be a good spot to insure the water stayed about 120F. I did not set the cooler directly in the sun however, for fear it would heat up more and kill my yogurt bacteria. Best and fastest yogurt I've ever made. In four hours it was thickened.
Our bed had been unstable for a couple of weeks. I was planning to flip the mattress and put on a dust ruffle I meant to sew...Well I forgot the dust ruffle in the ensuing disaster called my room. But I did discover the source of the trouble with the bed. The casters had fallen off the foot of the bed. I got them back on and the bed feels far more stable.
As I made the bed, I wanted new pillow shams on it but honestly was too tired to even think of trying to get my sewing machine adjusted to cooperate with me. I went through my linens and discovered two old embroidered pillowcases I'd bought, both with pink and blue and green threads used in the design. The old fashioned cases look right at home on my bed.
The best thing I did all day long? Lie down to rest after working so very hard. It reminded me that last year I had vowed to lie down for 30 minutes every day. Unlike sitting with my feet up, the lying down relaxes my back and shoulders and allows me to stretch cramped tired muscles. I felt so refreshed after that time!
For supper: the rest of the dish of Ravioli Lasagna.
Wednesday: My first attempt at making Aldi my main grocery store. I did look up the Publix sales prior to leaving home. I made a very short list of items needed based upon the sales. How did we do? I saved about 1/3 of my grocery budget. We bought some things for use now and some to restock holes in my pantry.
I don't normally buy luncheon meats but we were at the deli counter to purchase a special cheese that John likes. It was on sale and a half pound is quite affordable. I noticed as we waited that the all beef bologna was on sale for less than $3 a pound. This bologna is far superior to any we buy in the meat case. I bought one pound. I'll divide and put in the freezer.
We never lowered the AC yesterday when we came back home...I'm thinking that we'll just try to leave it at this setting from now on.
I didn't purchase flowers again yesterday. Instead I opted to buy two more herb plants: cilantro and basil. I have cilantro seed but needed it for a recipe this week. I figured a plant would be more economical than purchasing a bunch that will only spoil. I'll be planting my herbs Friday morning and when I do, cilantro seed will also go into the pot. My plants from last fall produced until after January and were quite hardy until Maddie pulled them up.
Thursday: I knew we were having a heavy dinner today. I chose a lighter breakfast of cold cereal and toast to balance the spaghetti dinner.
Today is our day 'off'. No big plans, no big jobs tackled, no heavy duty chores. Just resting as much as possible. I believe on these sorts of days that even small savings will add to my overall savings throughout a week. So I watch for waste, double check the fridge, save my water, make sure the pets finish the food in their dishes, etc.
Used one of those cards I fashioned plus a purchased envelope for a gift recipient.
We had enough leftovers to serve another spaghetti meal. I piled the cooked spaghetti in a pie dish, topped with the meat sauce and wrapped with waxed paper and foil. Slipped into a zippered freezer bag and put in the freezer. This is my idea of 'convenience entree'.
When I planned menus this week, I planned breakfasts and supper as well. It saves so much time to just know what we'll be having and what's on hand. I posted the menu listing on the fridge where I can check it out daily.