A Year of Savings: 2013
I had a dinner plan...John admitted what he really wanted was fried chicken. No trips to town. I'd thawed out chicken. I fried it myself in the electric frying pan and added french fries to the oil. I made coleslaw from scratch. Typically this meal costs us $13 in town. I spent far less. Savings $9
Planted the cabbage root end. There were a few new roots on it and space in one of my pots to plant it.
Mixed up more shower cleaner. This particular recipe is very good at melting soap scum: Equal parts dish detergent (Dawn is recommended, but I've used Palmolive both times) and vinegar. Shake in a spray bottle, spray on the walls, leave for an hour or so, then rinse. No scrubbing is needed unless you don't spray well in an area. This costs about $1 to mix up and use (sale priced detergent, plain old white vinegar).
It does have a little vinegar aroma but that isn't unpleasant to me the way the chemical heavy stuff is. Savings $1 over sales priced cleaner. I used the whole bottle of detergent, have enough cleaner to use several more times.
I spilled a bit of dishwasher detergent last night. I've noticed that it has a little bit of a bleaching effect all on it's own. I wiped up with a cloth, rubbed over my stainless sinks, then used a green scrubber to really clean the sinks well. Boy did they shine when rinsed! I was happy not to waste the detergent.
Fed the dogs table scraps, cutting down on the amount of dog food needed.
Ancestry.com has a week of free marriage records this week. I took advantage of this feature last night and printed out a copy of the marriage certificate for a relative.
Ordered a book John mentioned wanting. I used the Amazon gift cards I'd earned from Swagbucks. Savings $12.
Ordered Lily's birthday gifts and had them sent directly to her. It's less expensive to have the dealer ship direct than to go purchase the gifts and then mail them. Savings $10. The money for her gift was already in our checking account. We set aside a little money each pay period for the grandchildren's birthday and Christmas. With six of them we have to!
April 16: Harvest day in our home. John and I sat down to pay bills and that upcoming 'third pay period' allowed us room to pay extra on the car payment. This month's extra was $266 over the payment amount! That means with the next payment we will have lowered our loan amount by $1000 in two months time and saved interest of nearly $70.
I did not feel well (seems to be a theme on pay day, lol) so I hurried off to do local errands only and skipped all the extras I'd meant to do. I won't count the non-spending as savings, because that money WILL be spent. It will just sit in our account for a short time longer.
John likes take out on this day. It's a simple way to acknowledge that he's brought home fruitfulness. I do try to keep our take out meals on the low end of the budget. Today I brought home a $5 Subway sandwich that we shared.
April 17: John came in and ran a full load of laundry. He brings his sheets and bedding covers home with him each week and washed those along with his uniform. We have enough pollen still that we ran the sheets in the dryer but he hung his uniform to dry on hangers.
We were off to have eye exams and buy new eyeglasses today. I had an idea of what we'd likely spend based on my last purchase. John did, too, based on HIS last purchase. We were both surprised to discover that we spent far less either of us planned. I chose frames based solely based upon what I liked as did he. Mine were just $25! His were not as inexpensive as my own but less than his last glasses. And because we booked our appointments back to back we got a 20% discount! That was a savings of $65.
We combined errands while we were out and bought groceries. We did pick up dog food at Walmart and I discovered that if I bought the 35# bag it cost no more than two $16# bags at the best sales price. I also bought AC filters there. Since we change them every month we buy the least expensive filters. I usually purchase enough for several months at a time. They run about $2.58 for four, compared to paying $1 for singles. Savings at Walmart: $1.42
Groceries at Aldi were right at our usual 'set point' spending. That included all the foodstuffs we'd normally purchase and stocking up on a few items (paper products, refried beans and seasonings). We saved $100,
the amount we'd normally spend at Publix each pay period.
April 18: Spent the full morning hours working in the yard trying to tame the overgrown flower beds. John went out to mow later while I cleaned indoors. We skipped lunch and worked through. I didn't even take any food from the freezer! He asked me later, when I took him water outdoors while he was still mowing, what I planned to make. "Nothing big...perhaps something from the freezer that is can be cooked in the microwave?" He said a sandwich would be fine, but I am the stickler for having at least one hot meal each day. I was piddling about the kitchen when I remembered we'd bought baking potatoes at Aldi this week. A can of chili from the pantry shelf, a baked potato (microwaved), some cheese, salsa, sour cream and we had a hot, filling meal in under ten minutes of cooking time. It cost less than one of my well priced freezer entrees, too. I figure my cost for the chili baked potato came in at $.50, a savings of $1.25.
April 19: Washed a full load of laundry (our sheets and clothes from the previous two days) and a full load of dishes.
I have a partially used bottle of dish detergent that my drains didn't like...but I figured if I used it every third or fourth load I might could finish it off and it would extend my current bottle of 'good' detergent. I used the 'bad' detergent to wash dishes this time. Not a whole lot of savings in it except I getting to use what I'd already spent money on. Savings $1.99.
We had internet troubles Thursday and Friday. I'd called the company and we'd gotten a fix the day before but even the fix didn't fix the woes on Friday. Since the company has been fondest of sending us out to buy new cables every three months (at $19.95 a pop), I protested when they suggested we go out and buy yet another cable. So we were told to wait on a service tech to call us from the local office. I told John I reckoned it was time for us to renew our contract and we'd get a new modem in the bargain. Ha. I admit I was psychic.
We got a new modem/wireless router (we'd had two separate units). This eliminated the cable entirely and cost us $45 and a new contract at the same monthly rate as the last one. John almost balked but as I pointed out the new modem/router costs no more than two of those cables we were forever being told needed to be replaced and at that price we'd saved the cost of 2 more! Savings $39.10.
We stopped and picked up chicken at the diner and brought home. I made a salad, mashed potatoes and roast asparagus to go along with. We have enough chicken for three meals for the two of us, and leftover mashed potatoes.
Made a lovely salad of romaine, sliced strawberries, sliced almonds and feta cheese. I mixed up my own salad dressing, Strawberry vinaigrette. Savings $2.59. I used some homemade strawberry jam, oil, lemon juice, vinegar and a smidge of sugar. It was so very good that I think I will experiment with other fruity dressings in the near future.
Made a Texas Sheet cake for our company meal on Sunday.
And bread for our Shabat evening. My recipe for bread nets me two loaves for about $.50/loaf. We'd been buying loaves especially for Shabat at $2.59. Savings $4.18.
April 20: With a two hour round trip and a long service followed by fellowship, making a breakfast that will last us from early morning to late afternoon is hard. John and I have found a number of restaurants near the synagogue with well priced menus. We try to choose options that keep us within the $5 or less each range. There are many more expensive options but we determined before we began attending that we'd set a budget to stick to. It's not a savings to eat out but it certainly makes that long drive home far more bearable.
We stopped on our way home to pick up soda, the first time we purchased soft drinks in a month. I stuck hard to that and only that when we went into the store. Not one extra item went into the basket.
April 21: Company all weekend long. Some went home on Sunday, more arrived on Sunday with a nice overlap time in between. John and I planned our meals carefully. I didn't have to send to town for one single item. That is a record. We had plenty of ice, drinks, bread and eggs and snack foods. Not going into town saved not only gasoline but any impulse spending I might have done.