A Year of Savings: 2013

July 22:  Meatloaf was on my mind...I haven't had meatloaf in eons and even though it's  not John's favorite I simply had to make a small meatloaf.  I used one pound of ground beef, 1 egg, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 2 tbsp tomato sauce, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1/2 tsp minced garlic and 1/4 finely minced onion.  Enough meatloaf to serve 6 nicely.  We'll have a leftover makeover from this recipe. 

Washed a medium load of clothes, so I lowered the water levels on the washer.  Hung the clothes to dry.

Saved water from water bottles to water the porch plants.

Shopped at home: 1 jar mayonnaise, 4 cans soda, 1 container of bread crumbs (pantry stuff),  1 gallon of milk (freezer).  All bought on sale.  All right here at home, waiting for me when I ran out.  I love having my pantry and freezer!  If I'd gone to town to buy these things I'd have easily spent $20.  All of those items together cost me less than $8 on sale.

I'm reading a book that is a little bit difficult to understand.  The vocabulary is more "College Master's Level" than college level.  I used Swagbucks search to look up the words, earning points as I learned the new vocabulary.

When John left for work, I turned off the TV.  Who  needs it running when there's nothing worth watching on anyway?  I worked about the house enjoying the peace and quiet.  I didn't turn it on until a program I wanted to watch was coming on and then I turned it right off again.  I'm trying to do this more and more lately, a necessary thing for me as I need to withdraw from the 'world out there' just a bit.  The result of this is I'm sleeping far more soundly each night.  Peace...it's priceless isn't it?

It pays to check your calendar.  I realized as I looked at paydays that we have finally caught up to the 'extra' paycheck in two billing areas, meaning we can set aside a little less or slide those 'extra' payments over to the car loan.  Car loan it is!  That means we'll be paying an extra payment and decreasing the amount owed substantially.

July 23:  Harvest Morning in our home.  I made a Western Omelet and used the last of the homemade Salsa in it.  So good and so nice to know I'm not going to find that item lingering at the back of the shelf when I clean the fridge next week.

After paying bills, I totaled the checkbook and determined that we'll be on a 'bare basics' grocery shop for this pay period.  This is why I have a pantry and freezer, it's my little insurance policy.

Went to CVS to take advantage of a good sale on soda, (with a kiosk coupon and ECB) and free paper towel (also kiosk coupon).  When both coupons failed to print after repeated efforts, I left the store.  I saw no point in spending money to pay full price for either item when I went into SAVE.  Savings $4.

Stopped by my favorite thrift store, which I haven't been in for months now.  I found a lovely pair of blue Chambray pillow shams for $1, the perfect item to dress my 'summer' bed. Used RL shams on eBay run anywhere from $26 to $109 for two!  I'll call my savings $25 at the least. I also picked up 6 bone handled steak knives for $3.  I love the thrift shop!  Both items were on my list and I'm happy to have bargains like these.  Savings $4 (for cheap steak knives) .  No idea the savings on the pillow shams, but these are heavy fabric, very well made, so I'm guessing substantial.

Went into grocery to pick up the sale priced chicken breasts...only to discover they were not as good a buy as I'd thought looking over the online ad.  As it happens the breasts were prominently displayed but the price wasn't and then another item in the same frame was tiny but the print large.  Very misleading to one reading a 'page' in a format that made it about the size of a greeting card!  I skipped the breasts, did take advantage of the cat food (b1g1).  Noted that the price was slightly increased since last purchase but I can still claim a savings when I can get two bags for the cost of one!  Savings $4.99.

Bought a soda formula that John likes.  The sale was good but I could have done much better at CVS if the coupon/ECB combo could have been used.  I bought 1 pack, enough to last us nearly two weeks.  That will be good enough.  It's all too common to see 3 packs (the sale price was for 3 for $11) piled in the cart.  The sale price at most stores applies even if you buy 1...I saved $7.28 buying just one.

I did not walk down any other aisles, cruise through the deli/bakery or snacks aisles while at the store.  I went directly to each item I needed/wanted and made my selections and got out of the store.  I spent $25 of my grocery money on pet foods and soda but I was certain when I walked out that I could not have done better.

Noted higher prices on 20 ounce sodas ($1.69 up from $1.49).  John and I discussed this when I got home, and I pointed out that if I could purchase the soda at CVS over the next few days we'd have 12 ounce cans for $.10 each...It's really a no-brainer isn't it?  Buy in bulk and SAVE or buy one for more than the cost of a 12 pack!

Also noted, a $1 increase in the cost of bags of dog food.  I looked at the store brand, which my dogs don't like nearly so well as the brand I buy.  The cost was exactly the same price. I'll stick to what they'll eat.  Cat food sale today at least provided a balance to that price increase.

July 24:  I determined I absolutely had to finish up the asparagus we bought last grocery day.  There were so many thin little spears of  asparagus in the packet that we couldn't eat them all.  I made up my mind to finally make a quiche.  I knew I had plenty of half and half and eggs and that shredded Gouda which I'd just bought.  All I really lacked was the pie crust.  I followed one of the recipes recommended in my Betty Crocker cookbook.  It turned out perfectly.  The Quiche was delicious and the crust was flaky and tender.
Four eggs made 6 substantial servings of Quiche.  I served simply with a salad on the side. Making my own pastry at home savings $2.

John checked blades on mower before going into town for gasoline.  He determined he could get mow one more time with the current blades.  Getting an extra mowing of those blades means we've saved $4 the cost of blades spread over

July 25:   We stuck hard to my proposed shortened grocery list but didn't quite make the low amount I was hoping for.  We did however Save $100 from our usual amount that we budget to spend, so no hard complaints.

We'd looked online for an especially requested birthday gift and were swallowing hard at the cost.  We found one that fit our budget and the amount we'd saved for gift purchases at a local store.

July 26:  My husband was not feeling well.  Lots of rest and tissues, and Vitamin C were called for.  All were in plentiful supply, thanks to stocking up when items were on sale earlier this month.

July 27:  We took time away to spend with the kids.  We didn't really make dinner plans for our return trip, but I carried along a gift card we'd been given at Christmas and hadn't spent.  It was nice to stop for dinner and not have to spend a lot of money.  Not to mention scrambling to put together a meal when it was late after a long drive.

July 28: My husband has to work tomorrow, so I planned ahead.  I made tuna pasta salad, one of his favorite meals.  I made my work count twice today, by prepping the vegetables for the salad and for tonight's supper at the same time. We had the salad for lunch today, he'll eat it for lunch tomorrow and there will be enough leftover for lunch later this week.  Cost to make this salad is $2.  Cost per serving will end up being about $.30 per person.  Compare that to luncheon meat at $4.19 to make four sandwiches. Savings $2.19.

No Chinese takeout here:  It's my own version of Almond Chicken.  An entree to serve four adults and three children would run about $14 and that's without the side of Sugar Snap Peas I plan to serve with my dish.  I will have about $5 in my whole meal, including the two packets of Sugar Snap Peas, a savings of $9.

We didn't buy anything special for this visit with the kids today.  We decided to rely on our usual foodstuffs and snacks that we'd normally keep on hand.  There's plenty the grand children can eat...good old fashioned goodies: graham crackers, vanilla wafers, saltines and peanut butter.

July 29:  I altered my menu plans since  grandson Zach had a bad cold.  I debated between chicken soup or spaghetti, both very nourishing meals.  His mama told me how much the children liked spaghetti so I figured that was the best meal to make to tempt his appetite.  I made up a batch of tiny meatballs to go in the thick tomato sauce base.  My meatballs cost me about $5 to make, including the cost of the pound of beef.  No savings over frozen meatballs, not at all, but they were 100% good beef so I'll happily carry the extra cost of that.  My sauce is always "semi-homemade".  I saute lots of vegetables (today I added zucchini cubes, too) and canned crushed tomatoes to a can of spaghetti sauce.  We had double the amount of sauce needed, so I'll get an extra meal off that, bringing the cost back down to about the initial cost of the canned sauce, $1.

July 30:  I woke with cold symptoms myself this morning and phooey on the germs I say!  I was out of tissues, since John had been ill over the weekend and gone through two boxes.  Off to run errands and buy tissues and cold tabs for myself.  No savings in this day.  I even splurged on fried chicken for our dinner, going home to make the sides of potato salad and green beans.  I treated myself to a nap this afternoon, too.  Sometimes it's just better to spend a little money and put the effort into resting.

The family went off to visit daughter in law's brother this evening.  John and I snacked on leftovers from dinner.

July 31:  Another yucky feeling morning for me.  It rained, too, just as the family loaded up the car to head home again, so everyone got nicely damp to add to the cold misery we had going on.  No meals cooked today.  We had leftovers AGAIN.  The price of that chicken has really been a better value than anticipated with the leftovers we've had.

Made Pimento cheese for John's work sandwiches.  Savings $3.69, cost of a packet of luncheon meat.  We'll get the same number of sandwiches from this pimento cheese for about $.50 cost.

Total for this week: $164.25

Total for July:  $963.92


Anonymous said...

I had forgotten about pimento cheese sandwiches. Ages ago I used to have them a lot. I will add them to the list I keep of lunch ideas for those times my brain goes numb and I am making out menus! :-) I went back to a store to use another $1 coupon for an item I had bought from there a week before. They no longer carry it! :( Coupon is good another month so I will keep looking. I looked around. I had noted some prices on basic things we used. All had gone up since a month ago when I wrote prices down. Least I got to update them! Too bad I had to though!! :) I cannot imagine not having a pantry to shop from. We try like you, to not buy anything unless it is on a good sale. Stocking up a bit too on the low price if we can. Every one has many things they use over and over many of my recipes use similar ingredients. I am used to being able to usually find a new recipe and scan it and have most of all those things already. If not we can either wait and get the extras later or decided to substitute ingredients with things we have. We usually go to the store when we are out of milk then I get the best of the sales and look around for mark downs. Some weeks we just get the milk as nothing we an use is on a good sale. That is why I get sticker shock if I don't price check off and on!!! Wow how can people just walk into a store and buy whatever they want and come out and not break the bank!! Without strategies to help you save a families food budget has to be huge!! We in America actually eat for less percentage of our incomes than most any other country too I understand. Course it is not the farmer who makes much $ but all the people who process, truck it in, grocers etc that do. ...Sadly.

I have never tried CVS and such stores sales things and coupons etc etc. It sounds confusing to me to do!! When I go into these drug type stores that do all this the ads seem to say you have to have their savings card and do this and do that to even get the sale price and most of them time I walk out not buying a thing. Ya know at times you feel if you have to jump through hoops {and hoops I don't understand how to negotiate} it just is not worth it. Can't they make it easier for me to pay for something they are trying to sell me?? :-)

I have gotten new Ralf Lauren and Laura Ashley sheet sets at the used stores for $7. Again the savings is astounding!! I went to the department store and looked at the price of the chambray pillow cases alone I got one time that were his and wow! Shocking. I am just grateful someone who did not want them donated them to that store!!! ;-) Today I saw two pretties I Really wanted but knew I should not buy but someone will be sooo happy to fine there and buy!! Oh I just reread your post and you said RL shams....Oh RL is Ralf Lauren?? !!! Mine are pillow cases in the blue chambray. Tonight we found a very good long handled garden hoe, a blouse and sox for me and three other things all for under $10. Sorry for the long comment..... Sarah

Rhonda Sue said...

Good morning
I am sorry your local CVS is not as easy to shop at as my local one is. Do you scan you card multiple times? I usually do mine 3 times and then it won't give anymore coupons.
Several weeks ago when the free shampoo coupon did not print, I told the cashier and she used a code to give me the free bottle. I know all clerks are not as helpful as the ones at my CVS are though.

my grands are big fans of pasta too.

Susan in SC said...

I am always fascinated how you save money and make it stretch! I think the costs of the chicken was well worth you getting some rest from your cold.

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...