April 1: John and I were discussing things this morning. "We should just take our savings and do all the work on the house, pay off that car loan and then we can sit here and start fresh!" Yep, you can bet he got my attention all right. And then I remembered what day it was! I started breathing again after that.
Spent more time than I ought to have going over sales sheets, looking over coupons and getting them in order. That's what I get for watching a few episodes of Extreme Couponing Well it did pay off, I found a free items hidden in the sales sheets. And yes, I do mean to go shopping for those items. By the way, if you click the link above you can watch program episodes.
I carefully read an email from CVS instead of just assuming it was advertising and deleting. I discovered that I had ECB that could be added to my card. Savings $5.
It's been very warm lately, as in needing to use the AC sort of warm. I decided to offset the cost in two ways: I changed the filter which helped the air to move more freely and I use the fan only feature in the evening and early morning when outdoor temperatures have cooled down. That way we're only using the AC for a few hours each afternoon. I'll use this same method on really mild mornings in the summer, too.
Made pancakes and sausage for breakfast. I purposely cooked the whole box of sausages. Then I told my husband that the sausage on our plates were all that we would be eating. I have plans for another breakfast that includes those. savings $1.00
Fed the dogs some food scraps from our meals over the weekend.
Went through the fridge and gathered leftovers in one spot so I could see just what we had.
Went over my pantry inventory list to see what items I needed to replace (those marked with 0 as number on the shelf). Added noodles as we like them but I seldom have them on hand. Sure I can make noodles fresh but it's nice to have some on the pantry shelf for those times when time is an issue.
Began research for our Spring vacation destination and rooms. I have a pretty good idea what we can expect to pay for that stay now. Used the internet, lovely thing, which is free for all sorts of research. Once upon a time, this research require a long distance phone call. At $.17 a minute it added up to a vacation expense right away. These days, not so much. True internet is not exactly free but it's no more than paying a normal monthly phone bill.
Chose a book from my shelves to read.
Read through one of the magazines Mama gave me last week. I found a coupon good for $1 off a product we normally buy. That's a savings of $1.
April 2 Harvest Morning in our home. We had a little extra on this check. I decided that we could manage just fine paying a bill we'd meant to come from savings. I just left savings intact and paid from our regular funds. Nice to have that extra. There was a savings in NOT touching our savings! Savings $124.
Planned my morning carefully. I wanted to do my imitation of Extreme Couponing this morning. Mapped out my route: post office, bank, CVS, Publix, Chinese place (takeaway lunch is our treat on Harvest Day).
At CVS I stuck to my list. A couple of items I needed to check the final price (not in ads) to determine if it would really be a good buy. Turns out they weren't that great, so I struck those from my list. I bought
1 hydrating shampoo FREE after coupon (savings $4.99), 2 Mascaras (buy one get one half price, with two coupons for $1 off 1 item. I got 2 mascaras for $10, savings $5.97), two chocolate bunnies at half price (savings $2), 2 deodorants for $1.25 for both (savings $2.25). I added in two nailpolish for $1.99 each to my total for the day. One was a clear top coat. I'd picked up a bottle of name brand polish for $6.29 then found this display of a good polish for far less. Even indulging myself with a new shade in addition to the clear, I saved $2.29 over the cost of the name brand stuff. I had further savings at CVS with my ECBS. I had a $4ECB in my coupon file and the coupons loaded on my card yesterday for an additional savings of $9. I paid less than $10 out of pocket for all my purchases.
Next stop was Publix. I did something I'd normally NOT do: I was buying frozen prepared foods...Why? Because I know how much take out costs and every now and then I need a meal that is easily prepared. We don't do a lot of take away foods as a rule, usually about once every two weeks. Now and then though time will crunch hard and we'll pick up something in town. That usually means spending $10 at the least. I found frozen entrees on sale 4/$10 and had a coupon for buy 3 get one Free (savings $2.50). I also had coupons for a french bread pizza ( savings $1.50) making the cost of the pizza, also on sale, $1. Two other items on sale with a coupon(savings $2) were just $2.00 for a true 2-serving size entree. The sales price gave a bigger savings of $15. I saved 50% of the original total prices with sales and coupons combined. For the price of basically 2 take out meals I bought 6 meals for the two of us. I need add only a salad to complete the meal.
I might not have done an extreme coupon episode on my own but I was pleased. I stayed within the budget I'd set myself for spending and got some great deals.
April 3 Spent the morning working in the bedroom since John was off. After a good basic cleaning, things looked neat and nice. Just the way I like it. John was asleep in the living room recliner so I just continued to piddle about the bedroom. I culled a few shirts from the closet to go into the 'at home' drawer and then I cleared an armful of stained and worn looking things from the at home clothes. I added 4 shirts to the at home drawer and was able to determine just what I'll need for summer wear.
Today's dinner was Roast Beef Hash. I needed to use up the remaining roast beef and two potatoes I found in the vegetable bin. It sure was good and I was happy not to waste either item.
Cooked two chicken breast in the crockpot with a jar of homemade Enchilada sauce.
Made a jar of homemade salad dressing savings $2.59.
April 4 Grocery day is always a day of heavy expenses it seems. This week was our trip to the meat market. It was exactly 3 months to the day since we'd last been down to the meat market. That averages out to a bit less than $50 a month for all the beef we purchased or right at $12.50 per week. I spent around the same amount this time as well. I used every trick I know to stretch that beef out this time around and I still had 1 sirloin steak and 1 pound of ground beef in the freezer. Those two meats alone would see us through most of a week with care. In the past I've split the cost of meats over just two months, but given my record this time I'll split it between this month and the next two months of grocery budget. Getting an extra month of meat from each bulk purchase is like getting four free months of meat this year! That's an annual savings of $150! I'll settle for a quarter of that right now savings $37.
All the rest of our shopping this day took place at Aldi as planned. I did not purchase dog food (our pets do not like the store brand), water (none available), nor yeast (none available). Such is the way it goes at Aldi. I'll check next time we visit (though I'll likely end up purchasing a bag of dog food elsewhere in the next week) in two weeks. If no yeast is available then I'll go somewhere else to purchase some. Our Shabat bread this week will end up being a bagel. It's the only thing that resembles a whole loaf we have in the house. With what I purchased today at Aldi, and my shopping at CVS and Publix earlier this week, I came in $40 under budget which almost offsets my meat costs for the month. I consider that shopping well done well done.
April 5 Two days ago, I was so tempted yesterday to order a few new books. I have books all over my living room, stacked in front of other books. So I set aside the order form with the books listed on it and decided to wait. This morning I decided to search my own shelves. I found a book I'd been 'saving' to read, completely new to me and intriguing. I scrapped my plans to purchase the two new books. Savings $35.
Two weekends ago my dil arrived with a bunch of green bananas. Very green bananas. She left them with us. The last two were fully ripened this week. I didn't really have a use for bananas right away, so I froze them. No food waste there.
I mentioned I had five cans of pineapple I needed to use between now and end of May. I was just longing for cupcakes this week, so I made my favorite cake, dumped in one of the cans of pineapple and baked them up as cupcakes. I used leftover frosting from the bunny cake. John told me these cupcakes are the best I've ever made. I used one more can of pineapple. Savings $.50.
I confess to a real fondness for cupcakes. I look at them frequently at the grocery store, but seriously...$3.99 a half dozen? At that rate I reckon my homemade batch, which made a dozen, and used the leftover frosting from my cake two weeks ago, saved me $6.99, allowing for cost of ingredients to make the cupcakes.
We had steaks for dinner, something I've splurged up once for each trip to the meat market. John asked me to consider buying enough steak to have it once a month. That will be an additional expense and will mean I'll need to trim my budget in other areas to manage that. I think if we do 90-95% of our shopping at Aldi I can manage with just minor adjustments. There's a challenge in it for me but I think I can swing it.
April 6 We visited a new synagogue today. It's a bit of a trek over to the city where it's located. We stopped for lunch. I recalled a commercial for one of the burger places that had a $5 meal deal. We got a full sized sandwich, small fries, medium drink and small sundae for that price. We felt it was a very good deal overall.
While in the city, and since our route home led right past the stores, we shopped for new work books for John. It was much less expensive to do so today than to drive back in a day or two. Savings 2 gallons of gasoline, or about $7.94. That would almost offset the cost of lunch wouldn't it?
John offered, after our shopping, to buy me a drink for the long-ish ride home. I thanked him and declined. That pretty much saved us enough to finish covering the cost of our nice little dinner, savings $3.60. Besides, I set the coffee pot up so that all we had to do when we walked in the door was hit the ON button. Knowing we'd have coffee within minutes of arriving home was far more appealing than a soda.
I never buy onion dip at the grocery. I make my own at home. I use the California Onion Dip recipe from Lipton, but I learned long ago that I enjoy it far more if I add LESS onion soup than the recipe calls for. I use just 2 tbsp per pint of sour cream. I can make 2 pints from one packet. In fact, I use just 2tbsp in any recipe that calls for onion soup mix. I find it far less salty and more palatable overall to use less. That doubles my soup mix. Savings of $.99.
Making the dip at home usually costs me $1.70. Compare that to the $2.99 per container price at the supermarket. I save $1.29 making it at home.
April 7: I guess I was more tired after yesterday than I realized. I slept in really late this morning. I should have followed my instincts and gotten meat out to thaw last night. I didn't and by the time I began to think about lunch today it was nearly lunch time.
I could have gone into town and bought something, or used one of those entrees I bought last week but I happened to have a homemade entree in the freezer. I chose to use that one as our dinner, saving the purchased ones for future use. Savings: $3.50.
Made another batch of homemade dressing, Italian this time. Savings $2.59.