A Year of Savings: 2013

June 22:  I noted that CVS had sodas on sale this past week.  Today was the last day to take advantage of what was a very good sale.  3 12-packs for $11 with a $3 ECB rewards.  I had $4 in ECBs, and a FREE 12-pack coupon from MyCokeRewards.  My final total was $3.34, I received my ECB rewards of $3.  That made the soda $.34.  I'm waiting on a sale on hair color to use the ECB I received. Immediate savings: $8 with $3ECB for future savings.(used the ECB so am counting that in as savings as well)

Weekly Menu

I'll pose this question to you all:  Do you really want to keep seeing the weekly meal plan?  I don't mind doing it, but don't want to bore you to death with it.  I could use the time to work on another blog post entirely.  I do make out a menu for my own personal use (very often this one!) but if it's become redundant to you all, let me know and I'll move on.

Whom Shall I Send?

Isaiah 6:8:  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"

Several years ago I attended a small community church with a varied group of people from different backgrounds.  There was one young man who was obviously mentally challenged.  Many found him a bit bothersome.  He was awkward and had a hard time expressing himself.  He lacked the ability to tell when he'd crossed the line in conversation or action.  It made people very uncomfortable to be around him at times.  Yes, even the best of the Christians in that church, and those who struggled daily as Christians just couldn't quite figure out how J fit in...

Out of Debt For Good - This Little Piggy Went to Market

A couple of years ago a young woman turned to me in line at the grocery, sighed deeply and explained that she was trying to trim her grocery budget.  "It's so hard!" she said.  I sympathized.  "And why is it," she went on to ask, " that when we need to find room in our budget we always start with groceries?"  I think most of us will focus our attentions on utilities, food, and any areas we consider purely optional (entertainment, clothing, etc) simply because those are the areas where our expenses can be controlled easily.  Often the car payment and mortgage, insurance rates are pretty much set by the company that holds the deeds, but groceries?  That is strictly on us and we all know it.

Remember that old nursery rhyme, "This little piggy went to market..."?  Actually I'd forgotten it until this past weekend, when my granddaughter began to play with my toes and speak in her sweet little sing-song way.  I realized that she was doing 'This Little Piggy' when she repeated her motions a couple of times.  I was thinking about that incident and realized there's more wisdom in that little rhyme than I've given thought to before now.  This week let's focus on the little piggy that went to market.

Weekly Menu Plan - Stretch Week

We have Harvest Day this week but since we shop on Thursday, I find these few days prior to shopping is always a bit of a stretch.  I think I planned better last pay period: I have milk, bread and lettuce and some other fresh produce on hand.  Good for me!  GREAT for the budget.  I'd been just ignoring these outages until we shopped but John, in a moment of honesty last pay period, said sadly, "I'm so tired of NOT having lettuce or snacks this last part of every pay period!"  Well he's not going without entirely but I'll own up to refusing, stubbornly refusing, to go out and buy locally what I can get much less expensively at Aldi come shopping day.  So instead of stocking the pantry or freezer this past pay period, I stocked up on snacks (an extra box of crackers), produce (an additional head of lettuce), a little more dairy (1/2 gallon more of milk and one bar of cheese).  Lo and behold, I spent less than $10 more in those areas (easily removed from the stock up funds) and we've enough to last the pay period and a little to carry over.  Lesson learned. Just because I want to save money doesn't mean I can't redistribute my funds so that we can have our lettuce and eat it, too.

The Woman She Really Is

I truly look forward to our Shabats and especially those we are able to go to synagogue.  This past weekend I was very ready.  I'd taken time to study the Torah, Prophets and New Testament chapters for the week.  I'd been in prayer all the day before about synagogue, praying that the service would be a blessing.  John had prayed much the same Friday night and then again Saturday morning as we left home.

A Year of Savings: 2013

June 15:   Day of our roadtrip.  I'm glad I packed the water and snacks and extra coffee for this weekend because the meals out cost more than we expected.  Our final stop was the grocery store where we bought milk for my coffee...Only to discover at the hotel that we had no fridge!  John took advantage of the free ice offered as an amenity.  We put the insulated picnic bag we'd purchased last year to good use.  It worked remarkably well, keeping the water we'd brought from home frozen for nearly 24 hours. 

June 16:  Had breakfast at the hotel FREE saving $12. 

 Carried the milk with me to my son's home and took advantage of his fridge.  When we left that evening I took only as much milk as I wanted for my before bedtime drink.  I left the rest with them.  No need of wasting it when the babies will drink it right up.

Coffee Chat - Weekend At Home

Won't you come in for coffee?  I've got sticky buns on the counter.  John's been wanting those for some time now and I finally found a recipe that had only ingredients I had on hand.  I put an extra pan in the freezer since this recipe made a dozen and a half.  I just didn't think I needed that much temptation about, lol.

This week seems to have just flown past!   We left home last Saturday morning for synagogue and from there we went to visit the grandchildren.  It was a lovely weekend and we enjoyed it thoroughly.  We arrived much earlier than we'd planned.  We were debating texting the kids and telling them we were in town 'early' (they thought we were coming in Sunday morning) when they texted us asking where were we...seems they'd been debating how we'd manage to arrive so very early Sunday morning given the length of the car trip and they were taking bets about where we'd be spending the night, lol.  Of course, we went over and visited with them for a bit.  The babies (hardly baby-ish any more) kept their distance and watched us, but Daniel was more than ready for a visit with us.

Out of Debt For Good- The Power of Budgeting

When we first were married and trying to keep the household running, we used credit cards for various reasons.  We had thousands of dollars in charges on our cards, and not all of them wise choices.  A meal out with friends here, a charge at a store there for items I might well have lived without, etc.  I soon began to see the foolishness of many of those charges and stopped making them.  If dinner out with friends meant using a credit card, we invited them over for a pot of homemade chili instead.  Gradually we paid down the balances on all but one card.  We'd pay it down but soon it was slipping back up.  That credit card worked  as a pseudo emergency fund for those bigger expenses we couldn't quite cover ourselves like medical costs not covered by insurance, car repairs, etc. 

A Year Of Savings: 2013

June 8:  I worked out a menu yesterday while I had a few minutes quiet time.  So glad that I did.  I had only to look at the menu to determine an alternate menu for tomorrow.  We'll be having company and my original plan wouldn't work nearly so well for four as it would for two. 

I feel like such a smarty pants.  I had two sirloin tip roasts in the freezer.  I'm running low on beef but I also don't really care for a heavy roast dinner in the summer months and this is not a rump or round roast that slices nicely once cooked...Unless it is cut into steaks before cooking.  So I did so yesterday, cutting two steaks and cutting the rest into cubes for Shish Kebab.  And then it occurred to me that this was the answer to John's request to give him steak at least twice a month.  A roast costs $3 a pound less than the sirloin steaks and $6 a pound less than T-bone or New York Strip.  I'll be saving an average of $4.50 a pound each time I buy a roast and cut into steaks.  Today's savings:  $9.00

Menu Plan Monday

We had a wonderful Father's Day weekend, spending it with our oldest son and the three youngest grandchildren.  John heard from all the kids and from all the rest of the grandchildren as well, so he was doubly blessed this Father's Day.  I am forever amused by the noise level in my two older children's homes.  Barking, screeching, yelling, crying, stomping feet, whimpers and whines, all over the chatter of adults and the noise of the television.  It's wild both in person and when experienced over the phone!  I always end up chuckling to myself.  It's a madhouse and I am deeply thankful to hear it but just as grateful for my quiet home.

Family Financial History; Part II

Our finances were pretty tightly stretched with all the expenses we had as a family, homeowners, etc.  It seemed every day we received two or three or four bills in the mail.  I remember one day, after walking down to the mail box, I cried as I laid the bills on the table.  "One day, I hope we can go to the mailbox and NOT get a bill!" I said to John.  Yes, finances were tight but with John handling the payments and me stretching pennies in other areas, we always paid the bills on time, we never missed a single payment or had a collector call the house.  Still it did seem to me that we'd never be without bills.

A Family Financial History, Part 1

An interesting discussion came up the other day with a couple of other ladies about a current financial guru who has helped many to establish better financial lives.  One of the women mentioned that at the time she was growing up, discussing finances was taboo.  However, as each of us told our story of how we became frugalites, we discovered that taboo or not, our family pasts deeply affected our present lives and certainly had a marked effect upon our present financial lives.  Our stories to each other reminded me of family histories...and they are.  It's a financial history of our families we shared, just one facet of the history of who we ourselves are and how we arrived where we are today.

Menu Monday: Stormy Weather Part II

Here we are on another Monday and I'm telling you it looks pretty much like last week's Meal Planning Day.  Heavy gray skies, heavy rumbly rain...We had rain yesterday, too.  I haven't checked the rain gauge recently but last week we had 8 inches.  Yes, 8!

We had the nicest possible weekend.  Saturday was a restful Shabat here at home.  I'd prepped food on Friday and had only to do minor things for cooking and clearing.  I deeply enjoy this day of rest now that I've grown accustomed to it.  I find I'm far more productive all the rest of the week when I've taken this day of rest.  It's like a booster shot to my week that day of rest.

Coffee Chat ---Oh Computers!

Well....It's been a week all right.  I was so ready for Shabat rest this week.  Coffee's on and there are a few 'boughten', as Grandmama would call them, cookies in the cookie jar.  Have some won't you, pull out a chair and let's chat.

It wasn't a hard week over all, not as weeks go.  Can't remember just what we did Monday but I do remember we had a Monday this week which is saying something after last week when I forgot we had a Monday and stayed off kilter all week long.  I've had computer woes.  Pages that won't load, html codes that are askew, a complete and utter failure to recognize well travelled web addresses, slow loads.  Sounds viral doesn't it?  It did to me, too.  I spent a lot of wasted time thumping the screen or complaining out loud.  John just looked on without batting an eyelash.  He was so cool, calm and unflustered I daresay it made me a little less composed.

A Year of Savings: 2013

June 1:  We ate out yesterday and it was just lovely...but we normally eat out after synagogue each Shabat as well.  I suggested to John last night that we skip eating out.  I made a big salad and planned to put one of those frozen pizzas bought on sale into the oven when we came in.  True we had to wait a little longer to eat, but we saved $10 that we'd normally spend on a value menu selection for the two of us.  My pizza cost just $5 and we only ate half.  Lunch for 2 for about $3 is a nice savings I think.  Savings of $7.

Questions, Answers, Comments, etc.

Karla, I know just what you mean about the leak at the back door.  I wonder if your set up is similar to mine.  We only have the deck on the back of the house and in a heavy rainstorm the water runs along the top of the door frame.  It then drains down through the frame itself and between the door and storm door.

Fingers crossed here... we're getting an estimate worked up on putting up more stable railings and a roof over our back deck which will officially make it a porch.  It occurred to me this evening that means furniture, plants, porch decor.

A Late Menu Post...Stormy Weather

I was roughing out a menu plan early when the thunder that had grumbled and rumbled and complained all afternoon long finally turned into a heavy downpour.  That heavy downpour soon became a rather rough and rowdy thunderstorm.  We lost electricity, hail pelted down, and then I heard a sustained roar of wind and the floor under my feet shook a bit.  I ran to get John, who was strumming guitar in the music room and we dove into the bedroom closet (center of house and the only safe spot here on our place).

In My Home This Week: All Routine