A Year of Savings: 2013
Oct 26: Every two weeks I make two loaves of Challah bread for Shabat. At the end of every single week I throw away a small portion. This week I was determined to use every last bit of Challah. I started by using Challah as a base for our Turkey Sausage Gravy this morning. It tasted as well as any biscuits would have and used up a large portion of the bread. The leftovers became garlic bread to go with our Spaghetti Pie (freezer entree) dinner. Bread used UP. Nothing wasted.
Making Sausage Gravy may seem a splurge but it isn't really. I use the gravy to stretch the meat. Two slices of that good turkey sausage is just enough meat to flavor that gravy nicely. Two slices is a single serving! The sausage is not inexpensive at $.50 each patty, but it's considerably less expensive to use in this way. Savings $1.
Our salad today was from our own little potted garden.
Oct 27: When I made potato salad on Friday I set aside about one third of the cooked potatoes for hash-browns. It takes just moments to cook a little onion until soft, then add in the potato pieces to brown while I cook eggs. A great time saver.
Cleaned the kitchen counters really well today and the sinks, too. I used baking soda and a green scrubby sponge to remove spots and stains. I don't have to worry about the soda scratching the counters and it's certainly economical to use.
Saving time seems to be primary on my list of late. I took a morning last week to prep foods for the week ahead. It was a huge time saver for me and meant I could work on a major project without stopping midway to begin a meal. In fact, two days I was able to just slip dinner into the oven or crock pot and get to work on my project. I stopped work about 10 minutes before dinnertime. There was less clearing up after the meal. I'm determined to incorporate that prep day into my week every week from now on.
I've also noted my routines are not working for me lately. Too much time spent in kitchen is indeed part of the problem but there are other factors. I've noted a few changes I've made are working well, so the routines were revised as of today. More time saved and hopefully more productivity for me.
Fed the dogs a variety of leftovers and scraps from plates to extend their dog food. Savings $1.
Baked a batch of cookies using the frozen dough. Big time saver and savings of money, too, but I factored that money savings into last week's figures.
John brought home the Sunday paper. I'll use the sales sheets to determine if I need to visit any store other than Aldi this week. I do have a few needs I can't purchase there but I can wait on most until I see a good sale. There were coupons as well. I don't use nearly as many as I did but I still save the cost of the paper at the least. Savings $2.00
Windows open this afternoon as they were yesterday. No need of using the gas heater to knock off the morning chill either. The weather is on a warming trend...Still it's been nearly a week since the AC was turned on so that's a big savings. Yesterday's mail brought in the electric bill. Our usage dropped, so there was a savings of $30. I'm very pleased that all of this year we never reached my 'highest allowed' peak on the bill.
Made Challah bread, two loaves. Savings $3.59.
Oct 28 Altered menu after sorting leftovers in fridge. Just a swap of side dishes which meant no food waste. It is a doubled savings. I use up food that might have gone to waste and can set aside the other side dish items for the next menu week.
Washed a full load of dishes.
Mixed up another batch of the shower cleaner that works so well. I don't know if there's a savings in it but it works well and saves scrubbing.
Meal prep for the week done. This involved cooking rice and chopping vegetables, baking a roast, chicken and cornbread all at the same time, and making sure that any further items needed were in the fridge defrosting so they are ready to use. I put in about one good solid hour of work and will save about five hours work over the rest of the week. That's time I've freed to do other things: work on a project or the flea market booth.
All that prep work also allowed me to re-use my knife, cutting board, and grater; steam broccoli for today's dinner over the cabbage steaming for egg rolls (just put broccoli in a strainer and set atop the cabbage and covered the pot); use one pan to roast chicken for later and Bbq chicken for dinner (divided using foil). That meant I washed half as many dishes when I was all done.
Made 1 dozen egg rolls. They cost $1 each at the Chinese restaurant or frozen, so I feel secure with this particular savings estimate. I saved $10.50 (subtracting cost of 1/2 pack egg rolls and 1/2 head of cabbage).
Cleaned out my closet this evening and set aside two piles of clothing. One I'm going to offer to a friend who wears this smaller size. The other is for donation, mostly items that are too big for me and are too old looking for the young friend.
Oct 29: Ran errands and paid bills this morning. I had scheduled a haircut into the morning as well. I didn't stop for take-out on the way home. I came home and made Fried Rice for our dinner. That's really a very inexpensive meal to make. Savings $12.
I washed a full load of clothes and hung to dry overnight.
Made sandwiches from cooked roast beef. A 6 ounce package at the deli costs $5.99 these days. My roast hardly cost that! I'll get sandwiches again off this and two meals I think. Savings $5.99.
Oct 30: John washed a full load of clothes and hung most to dry. The rest were partially dried and hung to finish.
I washed a full load of dishes.
John asked me to pick up takeout for dinner today while I was out running some necessary errands. I paid for it from the grocery money and it was on sale. I can't count the savings as savings, but it did mean our meal was less expensive.
My shopping was in the dollar store where I bought magnesium (b1g1 saved $3.50), a loaf of bread, a can of chips (same cost as one of the two serving bags at the sandwich shop where I bought dinner. We'll get several servings from the can). The other items were on my list.
I got inspirations for Free while I was in the dollar store. It was a display of towels and it happens that one of the colors was the same as my bathroom walls. I'd been thinking of using a teal blue/deep turquoise color in there and this display used those two colors plus a medium gray together. I liked it a great deal and will be on the look out for items in those colors to use in my bathroom.
Spent my quiet work time going through my recipe notebook and pulled out those recipes that are seasonal favorites, a few new ones I'd like to try. I've gathered these in a separate folder so they are handy to look through at the start of each week when I'm planning meals.
Took time to give myself a fresh pedicure. Each time I do this I remind myself I am saving because I do not pay anyone else to do it.
Oct 31: Went in to town to work on my booth this morning. I noted which items were gone and marked down a few and added a few. I brought one item back home. It hasn't sold and I really really liked it when I bought it. I've thought about it endlessly over the past few weeks. I decided I would regret it if I didn't keep it for now. The item was damaged and I knew I wasn't going to make anything extra off it, so felt comfortable bringing it back home.
Allowed myself to walk around and shop for a little bit today. I came away with one item under $5 which meets my criteria of being something I will use and enjoy looking at. It is a two candle candlebra and will be used on our Shabat table. It's a lovely thing of fluted glass and will add to the beauty of the Shabat evening ritual of lighting the candles.
I had set aside $20 for spending this week, for my own personal pleasure. Even subtracting the cost of my one item I brought home, I've still got $13 to spend at a future time. I've tucked that away so I'm calling it savings $13.
I have a star hanging on the living room wall, but I don't much care for it. It's a little larger than I want and not quite the color I want either. While digging around in the shed, I found another star, more to scale that I liked very well. I painted it closer to the color I'd like to have and when dry will be swapping the 'new' one for the old one. Free.
Total for Week: $82.58
Total for October 2013: $540.90