April 8: We wanted to make an investment in our health. To that end, after months of just talking about it, we began to look at a piece of exercise equipment this past weekend in store and then online. We found a great bargain on line but after reading reviews on two different machines one thing was obvious: Size was everything. One complained a piece of equipment was far too short for his longer legs (not a problem in our house) but we were concerned about reach for our shorter legs. Another common complaint was that the machine was too narrow between the seat and handlebars so the elliptical feature was difficult. "Perhaps when I lose weight," the review ended. Well that hit us hard. We were wanting to buy the equipment to use, not to sit about until we lost it!
We agreed that we'd go back to the store and 'try on' the pieces we were most interested in. I'm so glad that we did! We discovered that one piece of equipment was not nearly as stable as it appeared. Another had plenty of room...too much room! I had to bend double with the seat in the nearest position to reach the handle bars. In the end we found a third piece that was, as Goldilock's tale goes, "Just right." We came home and ordered the item online, a less expensive option than returning to the city with our truck to pick it up. Shipping was just $8, a savings of $20 in gasoline for us.
As we walked about the store we found some good buys on clothing that John was in desperate need of. I also took time to peek at the outdoor furnishings. We've been just longing to get furniture for our patio but zowsa! The table and chairs were over $300 and lightweight stuff, apt to blow away on our windy hilltop. Coming back through town, I craned my neck and looked hard at the Once a Month yard sale. I spied a patio table and four chairs. When John said he was coming back to town with the truck to get gas for the lawnmower I asked to ride along and go back to the yard sale.
I knew what they wanted for the furniture at the store and the cost of a bistro table and chairs ($100) which we'd looked at earlier last month. I set my limit and gathered my cash. I countered the first price I was quoted but the second price was better than I'd hoped for the solid iron chairs and tables. Those babies are not going to blow anywhere in a storm or gusty winter winds. Cost: $125. Savings: $175. The set needs a good wash down. I'd love to paint it and put new cushions on the seats. Even so, I'm sure my savings will remain pretty high.
April 9 About two weeks ago I received a free roll of paper towel in the mail. It was part of a survey process so I can't share about the brand, but I can tell you how pleased I was that it was free. I was to use that roll until it was finished so I removed the roll I'd bought from the holder. That FREE roll of towels saved me $1.29.
For reasons unknown to me, not part of a survey, I received from a chain drugstore a courtesy bottle of Excedrin Migraine, a product I normally keep on hand. That saved me $3.49.
Lined the kitchen drawers. I didn't purchase a thing to do this task. I picked up a roll of vinyl contact paper that I liked on a clearance aisle sale a couple of years ago and used that.
Rearranged the chiffarobe and put in the milkcrates from our closet to organize it without building in shelves. I don't want to spoil this lovely old solid (HEAVY) wooden piece of furniture but did want it more functional for how we use it now.
Found a spare mini-blind I didn't remember I had. I recall it was just a tad too short for one of the windows but John can move in the holders a little closer and it will work fine for our window. This will replace one of the recently broken blinds. Savings $6.
Put together some of the wire cubes and stacked them in a cubby in my closet. Now my shoes and purses are all organized and I have a bookcase I can move from the closet and into a better spot. Cookbook storage? Reading nook in our bedroom? Possibilities!
April 10 I didn't spend a single dime today while out with Mama. We opted to take a long drive instead of shopping. We did the same last time we were out together. Mama's already planning a route for our next day out. We're enjoying seeing all the Spring blooms.
This evening, I went out to feed the dogs and recalled a conversation John and I had earlier this week. He suggested I use the hay on the front porch as mulch on the flower beds. I tossed about 2/3 of the hay off the porch this evening, gathered up my saved newspapers and covered the flower bed in front of the porch. I put 9 bags of mulch on that small space two years ago. That cost me $18. Hay was free...and there's enough hay to finish the flower bed on the other side of the porch. Savings $36.
April 11 I made a freezer entree from flour tortillas that needed to be used up. That's one more convenience meal for me out of items that could have gone to waste. Using the tortillas saved me $2.29.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Walked about the house and turned off unnecessary lights. I shut blinds and pulled curtains closed on the sunny side of the house in the afternoon. It's been pretty warm outdoors and the AC is working to keep up with the heat on the roof. Until the pecan tree leafs out we're catching the full heat of the sun in the western sky and when the temperature is in the 90's outdoors the house really soaks in that sun. Any little thing we can do to offset it, we're going to do.
April 12 Planted cilantro, lettuce, carrots and basil this morning. These seeds and the soil and pots to start them in were given to me late last summer. I figured I might as well see if they'd germinate. If they do, I'll have the free plants.
Planted a pot of parsley we bought a few weeks ago when we needed fresh parsley for our Seder plate.
Repotted an aloe plant using a pot I salvaged. I then moved all the plants to the front porch. We shouldn't have anymore frost until late autumn. The plants will remain outdoors until then.
Used water I'd boiled eggs in to water the African violets (the only plants remaining indoors). This calcium rich water is much appreciated by these plants.
Used stored water to water the plants moved to the porch.
I had to go into town this evening. I made out a short grocery list, gathered trash and put the items I needed to carry to Mama's in my purse, so I wouldn't forget them.
Stocked up on canned tomatoes at $.50/can. I knew I had a dozen cans at home but the price was a good one and lower than Aldi. Tomatoes are used year round in our home for various things, so anytime I see them on sale, I buy a few. A name brand was on sale this week at a grocery for $1 a can. Savings $.30.
Washed a full load of clothes. Put sheets and underclothes in the dryer to dry, but hung towels on the line.
The morning air was cool and nice after the rain ended. I opened windows all over the house and let them stay up until the AC kicked on in the mid-afternoon hours. I know from experience letting the inside of the house heat up to more than 77F only makes the AC work longer and harder to keep the house at that temperature. If we ever have occasion to purchase a new home, the ductwork will definitely run under the house and not through the roof!
April 13 Made two salad dressings today. I used a yogurt that was a day past it's sell by date making it an unreliable source of starter for planned homemade yogurt. Including the yogurt, savings $5.67.
Made a big jar of salsa to go with our meal. I used canned tomatoes bought on sale and jalapeno I'd diced and put in the freezer. The can of tomatoes was $.50 (bought on sale). A jar of salsa at the grocery was priced for $3.59. Savings $3.
We bought bananas ten days ago. I broke off two, put the four remaining ones in a plastic bag, and tied the top. Five days later, I broke off two and put the remaining two back in the plastic bag, tying off the top. Today I took the last two out of the bag. They were just ripe, with slight freckling. Using ALL of my bananas saved $1.29.
Priced pies last night at the store in the freezer section. I hadn't done any baking and wanted dessert for today. I decided against buying any pies after pricing them. The least expensive cream pie was $8.99! This morning, I realized that the ripe bananas, a box of instant pudding and a homemade graham cracker crust equaled an easy dessert of Banana Cream Pie. My pie cost me $2. Savings $6.99.
April 14 John brought home a Sunday paper. There were two coupon inserts this week. There are enough coupons I will use to offset the cost of the paper. Savings $2.
Looked over the sales sheets. I noted that CVS had a coupon available at the kiosk that will net me a FREE toothpaste. I plan to go by there this week and pick that up as well as soda and coffee (better priced than any other source this week).
John was late getting in yesterday morning. I had a planned meal but knew it was too heavy for him when he meant to lie down and sleep after watching a church service. An alternate plan was to make a big salad and heat frozen pizza. These were leftovers I'd frozen. Much cheaper than takeout. Savings $6.
Stripped the guest room bed and left it to air overnight before remaking. The sheets added enough clothes to the basket to make a medium load of wash. John air dried those.
Washed a full load of dishes. I didn't have quite a full load even though all my dishes and silverware were in the dishwasher so I put the burner grates from my stove in, too.
Checked the fridge for stray food items that might need to be used up. I found only a single tablespoon of Hummus.
It rained today, lovely for the plants. After housework, I spent the afternoon curled up in my chair engrossed in a good book. It was just the sort of day to get lost in a good read. The book was from my shelves and is one I'd not read by a favored author. Such pleasure finding these unread gems gives me!