A Year of Savings:2013
January 15: I had a kitchen prep day today. That's when I take time out of my schedule to spend extra time in the kitchen. When I chop vegetables, I chop double the amount needed. When I pre-cook meat for one dish, I go ahead and pre-cook extra meat for a second dish, etc. Today, I made Sweet And Sour Chicken for our dinner. I diced a second chicken breast for another meal and stir fried it, since my second dish starts with cooked chicken. Chopped broccoli to steam for our dinner and chopped extra to go in that second chicken dish. Chopped onions for three meals, chopped carrots, peppers, etc. There isn't a monetary savings in this but there is a time savings. I may be a full time homemaker but I stay full time occupied and where I can save time, I've saved myself a little stress or created a little room for reading, spending time with John, or watching a favorite show without multi-tasking.
January 16: Sold the last of the pecans. I had 13 pounds. I've already added this savings into the budget for last week, but I wanted you to see that follow-thru is the most important part of any savings. If I had just let them sit on the deck I wouldn't have had that last bit to add to my annual income. And this was true savings, it's going right into the bank for vacation. Earned $9.75.
I promised myself I'd buy pansies for winter flowers on the deck again this year. For one reason and another I hadn't had time or money to go buy them, but this week I had the money and the time to go to Lowe's. I was surprised at the cost of the flats (1 dozen in each flat) at $11.98 each but I knew the pleasure I'd get from those pansies was worth every penny. I chose two flats. Then I picked up Dusty Miller ($1.89) an 18 pack of snapdragons I meant to share with Mama, that was marked down ($5.99) and a four pc container of Kale ($4.99). At that point I knew I had all I wanted/needed. My total? $19.87 including tax. That's a savings of $16.96. Seems because I chose plants with few blooms (but very nice looking foliage) which I thought would transplant best, were considered discount worthy by the clerk! Yes. She told me she'd marked them all down 50%!
At Christmas I wanted beaded birds to clip onto my Christmas tree but I could not justify the costs at that time. Most ranged from $9-14 each and that doesn't include shipping. I thought perhaps I might buy a few a little along all throughout this year as I had extra money. Well, I won't be doing that. No indeed! I walked into Lane's packing shed with Mama today and discovered many gift items were marked down. I wandered around and looked and there in a far corner was their Christmas markdowns. They had a whole little wire tree just filled with beaded bird clips. Their price: $2 each. I bought ten. Savings to me: $70 not including shipping costs.
January 17: De-cluttering has proven itself worthy of the time. I had an idea the other day that I might better use other areas of the kitchen for storage. From the time we moved in here, we've had no place to store our plastic ware for leftover storage. I have been frustrated with that. We resorted to an old metal milk crate that sat on the floor. Not the best or most sanitary option. When we had the mouse in the house last fall, he delighted in visiting the plastics and leaving his calling card. Ewwww! I threw away more plastic ware during that time.
Well, the chiffarobe had two newly emptied drawers due to my decluttering. And it occurred to me to think out of the box (or milk crate) and use that area for plastic ware storage. I am so pleased! It fit perfectly! For the first time ever I have plastic ware storage that is out of sight and relatively contained from pests and sweet little grandbabies who think that the bin was meant for their pleasure. No more stubbed toes on the milk crate either! And here I'd been seriously considering purchasing a storage unit. Silly me.
January 18: All those lovely plants I bought really benefited from the rain. I discovered this morning that I had no potting soil. No problem. I bought really good potting soil this past year and it's still good for the new plants. I just needed to empty out the pots and 'cultivate' it a bit. Then I let it sit and dry out a bit. No need to go purchase another big bag of soil right away. If you think re-using soil is silly, I beg you to consider that we re-use the soil in our traditional garden all the time. This particular potting soil is the moisture control sort and the little beads that hold water were working just fine. I will fertilize with vegetable water (not drained from canned vegetables) and the water I use to boil eggs. I find this is usually sufficient for the majority of my plants. Re-using potting soil saved me: $14
January 19: Re-use seems to be the theme of my weekend! I love my home keeping notebook but I was so bored with the way it looked. What better to do then, than to buy a new one, right? WRONG! The notebook is one that Katie used in high school and we purchased when she was in 10th grade. It's still going strong. One thing Katie insisted upon wasn't the fancy schmancy notebooks but plain 1 inch binders, in white with a plastic cover that opens at the top covering the outside. This allowed her to have any look she wanted as she either drew pictures or used gift wrap, etc to individualize her notebook.
Well bully for her! I just went into the craft room yesterday and found some pretty scrapbook papers and slipped into the pockets. Now my notebook has a whole new look and I am a happy woman. I think I'm going to change up my dividers, too. I bought fancy file folders at Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago and I have been saving them. I figured out that cutting them in half at the fold, using the whole punch netted me a dozen dividers from a half dozen file folders, complete with a tab I can label as I like.
It's a small savings to re-use things but it's a savings of $4 for the notebook and $6 for 'fancy' dividers. Savings: $10
January 20: All week long we've been 'coasting' along with meals low on meat. So far this week we've used 1 pound of hamburger and two chicken breasts to make 7 meals. I do this now and then to keep me on my toes, stretch out the lovely meat market meats we purchase.We'll get two additional meals from these very same meals too, a further savings. I put the leftovers in the freezer for convenience meals. Two convenience meals means two times I won't need to rely on takeout or frozen convenience from the store. I figure that is a savings of $14, on the conservative side.
Typically we do very well with our funds, but along about vacation time it seems a bit tight. We miss a small portion of John's check, "Call Time". It's not a great big amount but when he has three pay periods without it...well it kinda hurts. So I've decided that this year we're going to offset that. I've put aside $30 so far, which will go right into our savings account where we can't touch it until we need it. I mean to set aside a little every pay period until I cover that amount of money.
John and I usually take stock of the week ahead and adjust our allowance as needed. I still had allowance from last pay period and so did John. We decided to cut down on our allowance this time around. That was another savings of $30.
I used a few coupons today on items that were needed and saved $5.45.
January 21: I feel I've little to add to this week for this day's 'value' but here goes:
I experimented with a homemade floor cleaner. Can't say I like it, or that it cleaned any better than my PineSol, and I definitely do not care for the way the floor feels under my barefoot, but I tried it. The savings in that is small, barely noticeable even in the small amounts category. I won't use it again, but the mop looks cleaner than it has since I bought it!
One of my 13 in 2013 items was to take out a small life insurance policy on myself. John and I've talked over what we would each like to happen at the end of our lives. He's carried a small policy for years on himself that would cover his burial and I wanted to do the same. So this week, with two offers in hand from very reliable companies, I took time to sit and read and determine which of the two was the best. The coverage on both was exactly the same. The difference between the two was one company's political affiliations and the costs. I chose the least costly, which also happens to coincide with my dislike of the other one's political stance. I don't think I can call this a 'savings' per se, because it's really more of an investment but it makes me feel I am providing some little something towards the future for my husband and or children if they don't have to worry about burial costs and such and that's priceless in my opinion. There is nothing worse than dealing with a death in the family AND having the added worry of coming up with the cost of the burial, too. Sadly I know this from experience with other family members.
I will note that my being a non-smoker helped keep rates even lower. I will save thousands of dollars on that score alone! Again, not an amount I can figure exactly, not knowing how long God's plan for my journey here might be, but it was a substantial savings. If figured over this year, I'll save $120.
I washed zippered bags and reused a glass jar today for storage. I figure I save us the cost of about every third box of bags which is substantial these days when the lowest price I've found of late is $2.50 a box. More and more lately, I reach for the glass jars I've saved from salsa, tomato sauce, jams and use those as storage, which is still more effective. Jar lids seldom seem to stray too far from the jar, while the plastic containers we buy usually end up without a lid or without a bottom because one or the other breaks. Jars also tend to come free with purchase, so we never have to buy one to use they are just there. And they have the added advantage of being clear, which means I can SEE what is inside and will use it up rather than lose an item to spoilage because I forgot what was in the container which is not transparent. The last three pack of containers I bought cost me $4. I've been using jars so much that I haven't bought new containers in over two years. I only have three now because they were a free with purchase item six months ago. And wouldn't you know it? One is missing a lid!
I steamed that cauliflower in the microwave and served most of it for our dinner today. I saved the water I steamed it in and fed it to the African violets that are blooming so prettily in the living room. It was a hard call, as there's an orchid with a new stem and buds in the other room that might have benefited just as much....oh the choices a gardener must make! I don't buy fertilizer for my plants. I use eggshells and the water I boil eggs in and steam vegetables in to give them that little extra and it's obviously working very well. Savings of commercial fertilizer: $3
The total savings for this week: $329.66