A Year of Savings: 2013
I'm going to change things up just a wee bit. I've typically been sending these out every 7 days with a variation of 9-10 days at the end of each month. I'm going to begin sending these out every Friday, more like my old Frugal Friday posts starting this week. This is in the interest of bringing back Frugal Friday posts at year's end.
Oct 8: Our trip to Kingsland ended up just being an overnight thing due to cancellation of the appointment my daughter in law had for today. Fortunately I packed water enough to last several days since their water is sulfurous, so I had water for the long ride home. We also had snacks with us. Our sole stop on the way home was for a treat of a milkshake about 2 1/2 hours into the drive and a stop for a bag of boiled peanuts at a local peanut producer's farmstand. Under $6 for both items.
I'd thought ahead and put milk into the fridge to thaw (savings $3.99 locally) and I'd taken a freezer entree of Macaroni and Cheese in the fridge. It was my intent to have that for dinner the day we'd planned to return. We got in so late that the planned dish seemed too heavy, so I served eggs and toast instead. Not stopping for take out for dinner: savings $10.
Oct. 9: Cooler air blew in overnight. No AC for us all day today. We've turned it off and let the whole house fan draw in the cool air. Even when the afternoon warmed up quite a bit we chose to leave the windows open well into the evening, letting that lovely cool air in instead.
Made waffles from scratch. No pancake mix in the house at present. Savings $1.99.
I had bananas which ripened pretty quickly this past weekend. I put them in the fridge before we left and found them slightly more freckled but just as firmly ripe as when we left. I took a cue from Tracy who made a banana pudding last week. It's an inexpensive dessert but oh so delicious and I put in the oven right next to my macaroni and cheese dish to brown the meringue. Using the bananas savings $1.58.
Washed a full load of laundry.
Watered plants on the porch with water I'd stored and needed to refresh.
Took off trash while I was going out anyway.
It seemed the best day to go to thrift shop so I made circle of sorts, visiting two stores.
I'd told John I'd bring home something for dinner...which was long past by the time I headed home. Obviously I need to do something differently, but until I figure this out, I figured my least expensive option for a meal was the local Sub shop and Dollar store. I bought chips at the dollar store (and cookies). All told I spent $16 for our meal, but we had cookies and chips to spare. Those will last us through next week.
Since we ate such a late meal, we opted to have banana pudding for our evening meal.
We were getting low on decaffeinated coffee. I'd had a very good cup of coffee at my daughter-in-laws this week and felt the brand was a contender with that favored German brand. I checked the cost of my favorite coffee, and then compared to the cost of the coffee I'd had earlier this week. I could purchase 8 12-oz bags with free shipping from Walmart.com, and earn 100 Swagbucks compared to 6 8-oz bags of the German coffee, plus shipping as an extra cost. Yes, I switched brands. I ordered and it should arrive this weekend.
Oct. 11: In yesterday's mail were complimentary tickets to the fair. John decided we needed to use those tickets for several reasons. We did light housework, had a good breakfast, then headed out. Our total expenses for the fair: $8. That was the cost of supporting the VFW. We skipped all the overpriced food items at all the many many vendors. John asked if I'd like anything and I said an ice cream cone, from the local DQ. That cost us $4. Ice cream at the fair was $4 each for a small cup. Savings $4.
I carried a bottle of water with me. A bottle of water from any vendor (1/3 the size of mine) was $3, sodas were the same price. John opted for a soda when we stopped for our VFW burger, but I stuck with the water from home. Savings $6.
As we existed the fair we were stopped by a representative giving away free samples of dog and cat food. I was given a sample packet for each of our pets.
I planned ahead this morning and boiled a large chicken breast. It took only moments to mix up chicken salad for sandwiches for supper. We ate chips and cookies from yesterday's purchase. Had enough chicken broth to put a quart in the freezer. Savings: $3.59/sandwich filler and $1 for broth.
Worked ahead and put spaghetti sauce on to simmer this afternoon. I also made a salad. These items will be tomorrow's meal. Cooked one pound of ground beef. Used 1/2 pound for the sauce. Set other portion aside for another meal.
Shopped at home: Challah from freezer, a fresh loaf bread (freezer), gallon of milk (freezer), pound of butter (freezer), bell peppers I'd chopped and put up (freezer) and from the pantry: mayonnaise, coffee, evaporated milk, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, salad dressing.
Oct. 12: Put spaghetti sauce on to simmer and thicken, set a covered pan of water over low heat for pasta.
Picked a handful of spinach and homegrown lettuce to add to our salad.
Fed pets the sample foods. There was enough food in each pack for TWO meals for each pet.A small savings of $2.
Coffee arrived today!
Used leftover Challah to make Cheesy Garlic bread to go with our dinner.
Combined frozen and thawed leftovers from freezer with leftover rice from mid-week for my supper. Thanks to the rice I can stretch the meal to serve me a second supper later in this week.
Oct. 13: John back at work last night. I made sausage biscuits for breakfast. We passed a national fast food chain and noted they sold their biscuits for $1 each. I figured mine cost me about $1.50 to make (the sausage was the costly item for us). Savings $2.50.
Another day of planning ahead for meals. I got out chicken wings and a chicken breast. The breast was cut in half and made dinner for today for us. The wings we'll have along about Tuesday. Seemed prudent to cook them all at once in the oven.
Made mashed potatoes from scratch.
Had a lot of leftover spaghetti sauce and enough pasta for another meal. I thawed the last of the frozen cottage cheese and made Spaghetti pie with the pasta and a portion of the sauce and a sort of Pastitio with leftover mac and cheese and the rest of the sauce. I put both casseroles in the freezer for future easy meals.
Saves cost of frozen entrees, savings $15.
Used saved water to water plants.
Washed a full load of dishes.
Oct. 14: Now that it's a little cooler, I decided oatmeal should go back on the breakfast menu. Made Butterscoth Oatmeal for breakfast this morning. That used up two egg yolks left from our banana pudding. Savings $.20
Today's agenda: Baking cookies. I decided it's time to restock my freezer with cookie dough, too. It's just as easy to make four different batches of cookie dough, one right after the other, as it is to make one. I was 'inspired' by the cost of the cookies at the dollar store, which was just slightly more than Aldi costs, $2.75 for about a dozen and a half cookies. So I mixed up oatmeal cranberry (makes 3 dozen cookies, I baked one dozen and froze two dozen portioned pieces); sugar cookie dough (makes 3 dozen, divided the dough into two rounds and flattened them); peanut butter (3 dozen, two rounds); chocolate chip (4 dozen, baked 1 1/2, formed two rolls for freezer). That's 13 dozen cookies, that's the equivalent of about 6 1/2 packs of cookies. Now I figure with all the ingredients I used about $7 worth of pantry items. The cost of 6 1/2 packs of cookies at the store $16.36. Savings a little over $9.
Used leftover mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes.
Put a portion of today's dinner up as a full meal portion.
Yesterday was our last 'hot' day for this week. Didn't turn on AC until 7pm and then only due to humidity increasing outdoors. We had windows open all day long. It ran less than two cycles.
Finished off leftover/rice dish that I didn't eat Saturday night.
Oct 15: Harvest Day. I decided to do something different today. I kept errands to a hard minimum, came home and made dinner instead of buying take out.
Stopped and bought needed curtain rods and dishcloths...should have not looked in the fall aisle. I found a banana leaf bowl and four Fall leaf plates. I bought all those, too. When I got home, I regretted the leaf plates. I bought them to go with a set of plates I found at a yard sale and don't even intend to keep...seriously. I'll keep the bowl but the plates will go back to the store, even if they were 60% off. Savings $5.
We paid extra on our car loan repayment.
I made a small deposit to savings.
Windows open until after dinnertime.
I used the beef/veg mix and half a jar of homemade enchilada sauce to make burritos. I added half a can of black beans to the mixture. I made two burritos, had enough meat mixture left to make a third burrito and then filled four more tortillas for beef enchiladas! I mixed some leftover corn into the enchiladas as well as the rest of the black beans. I put the enchiladas and one burrito in the freezer for a future entree and a supper for one. So from 1 1/4 pounds of ground beef with vegetables mixed in, I ended up with: 1 spaghetti dinner that served two generously with leftovers, 1 spaghetti pie (should serve 3), enough sauce to make Pastistio (again should serve 3), 3 burritos(2 for today's dinner and 1 leftover frozen) and four enchiladas (to serve 4). That's thirteen portions! I paid $4.99 for that beef. That works out to $.31 a serving for the meat. My goal is to keep it to no more than $1 per serving, so stretching this ground beef so far results in a savings of $ 8.87
Oct. 16: Made hash browns from scratch this morning. I only needed two potatoes, 1/4 of an onion. Bags of hash browns are sold for the cost of a whole bag of potatoes. Savings $2.59.
Washed a full load of clothes.
Washed a full load of dishes.
Had windows open until after dinner today.
Made my own carrot and celery sticks to go with our dinner today. Yes, that sounds idiotic to me as well, but you know what? I see these things pre-cut in the grocery all.the.time. I can't fathom buying them either when it takes a moment to make them yourself! I can't even count this as savings as I'd NEVER buy them pre-cut.
Oct 17: Grocery day. I set my limit earlier in the week. Happy to come home with $15 to spare.
We did our usual Aldi shop, but also had to go by Walmart. I planned to purchase a few items there that were not available at Aldi. Cat food was top of my list. Call me a small town girl...I've never before had to go down four double aisles of pet supplies to make my choice! Yes, it was well priced but gracious not sure I want to have to take a walk just to choose cat food. Savings: $1.15.
Frozen entree for supper, one of my homemade meals. It made up for the fast food lunch and we found it satisfying.
Oct. 18: Burgers and Fries for dinner today. NOT takeout but homemade. Less expensive than takeout too, but tasty, oh gracious yes! Nothing beats a good homemade burger. Savings $5 over the price we paid for take out yesterday at lunch.
Made two loaves of Challah. Savings $3.59.
Skipped buying a soda while I was out. I came home and had one of my canned drinks instead. Savings $1.59.
Gave myself a fresh pedicure. Savings $40.
Total for week: $143.64