My Frugal Week: Jan 25 - Jan 31
Jan 25: My youngest son called last night to say he and his fiancee were coming down to spend the day. I couldn't decide what to do about dinner. I really wanted to honor my Shabat but really didn't have a wide range of choices to feed three. I remembered the Chicken Stew I'd made Wednesday. I added Noodles to the stew, and made a Grape and Apple salad. Molten Lava cakes were an inexpensive dessert. I had plenty of cookies in the cookie jar and 3 pounds of Clementines. That is enough food for dinner and snack.
Supper was Grilled Cheese sandwiches.
The kids decided to stay the night. I only have one guest bed. Samuel made up a nice thick pallet in the music room for himself. I pulled out all the comforters and quilts and he piled them one atop the other.
Jan 26: Up extra early to make a hot breakfast for the kids before seeing them off. I made Scrambled Eggs (fried eggs for the guys), homemade hash-brown potatoes and toast. It was a hot and filling breakfast meant to set the two travelers on their journey of 2 1/2 hours. Bess had to go to work as soon as they got home, so it seemed right to feed her before she was on her way.
Used 1/2 pound hamburger that I'd thawed to make a simple meatloaf. I peeled the last two potatoes and sliced them to boil and mash. I made green beans (seasoned with a smoked turkey wing tip), Mexican cornbread. I decided to make Mexican cornbread when I spied the half can of corn in the leftover basket in the fridge.
It was a quiet day here. John was quite tired after his weekend and slept a good bit. I tried to keep quiet and let him rest. I have nothing but time this next week to work.
Boiled eggs for egg salad.
Made John's lunch for work tomorrow.
Shopped at home: milk from freezer to thaw overnight.
Heated up leftovers for supper. John had leftover pizza. I had whole grain nachos.
Jan 27: Got up too early, lol. Made John breakfast and packed his lunch bag.
Stripped both beds and washed sheets today. It was so nice and sunny that I hung sheets on line to dry and threw pillows in the washing machine, figuring they could hang to dry as well...15 minutes after the pillows started washing it began to rain. Everything went in the dryer. Some days using the dryer is a great help.
Washed a full load of dishes.
For a snack, I ate half an apple, left from making the fruit salad on Saturday.
I put the pet food away when they finished eating today.
Had a single serve frozen leftover for my dinner, along with leftover mashed potatoes and leftover Mexican cornbread.
Worked hard all day long. My dinner was so late, I skipped supper.
Kept lights off in all rooms all day long. I used natural light to work by.
I shopped at home: today I brought Coffee from the back pantry, and retrieved a loaf of bread from the freezer.
Jan 28: John coming in from work and the temperatures dropping...I made Oatmeal, added 1/2 an apple left in fridge that John had cut Sunday as his snack.
Shopped at home: flour and sugar from pantry, butter from freezer.
Needed a little more onion than the one used. I recalled I'd put a piece of onion in the fridge in the leftover basket Sunday. I used that to make up the difference rather than cut another onion.
Washed another full load of dishes, this one made up of our dishes from the past two days and the things I'd bought at the thrift store last week.
Found a couple of things the kids left here over the weekend. I put them in an envelope to mail to them.
Kept the tea kettle simmering on the stove to add humidity to the air and allow me to keep the thermostat at 67F.
Fed the cat and dog extra foods for the added calories they'd need for the cold weather.
Made sure they had dry bedding in their houses. I used an old towel in the dog house.
Made a cake for our dessert today. John has been rambling about the cupboards of late looking for 'something'. All the usual snacks are in place so I figured it must be cake he was wanting. I used that easy Dinette Cake recipe that is one bowl, one mix and frosted with a simple buttercream frosting. Easy to make as I keep all the staple items on hand for baking.
Made sure to plug in pump house light to keep pump from freezing.
Donated another old towel to Maddie to cozy up her doghouse. Adjusted position of dog house and cat 'condo' as we call it, lol, so that moisture wouldn't creep into either one.
As it began to sleet and the temperatures to fall hard, the heat pump had a hard time keeping up. We turned on the propane heater, put on extra layers and opened the sink cabinet doors.
I picked up a marked down package of cubed steak at the local market a few weeks ago and put in the freezer. I thawed that today and sauteed in a pan to make sandwiches. The cold has us wanting heartier foods than we'd normally eat in the evening.
Jan 29: Up to find the world transformed into a beautifully white pristine landscape...And cold! Not so cold as I thought it might be but below freezing. The thermostat is set at 64 and honestly even at that temperature the heat pump had a hard time keeping up last night. We turned on the propane heater right away this morning, going up to two bars. It took quite a little while for that additional heat to penetrate and warm the house enough to have the heat pump go on and off instead of running endlessly.
Put on the kettle to add humidity to the air.
Kept the curtains closed and shades pulled on all but the sunny side of the house to help shut out some of that cold.
Halved the chicken breasts in the package and used just one for our dinner today. I put half the cooked yellow rice away for a future use.
I hurt my back yesterday. I employed the proper lifting method and hurt myself anyway while moving a heavy box. I ran out of the medication that works best, so I just made do with what we had here at home. It was too icy to bother trying to drive into town.
Besides the bit of cooking and washing up done today we didn't do a whole lot. We stayed bundled up and didn't turn the heat pump above 64 until late afternoon when the house was warm enough that it barely came on. Then we allowed ourselves the pleasure of having a little higher heat in the house and went up to 66F. I can only say that at least we'll save something on electricity...
Used leftover pieces of steak as our supper tonight. I made up a batch of biscuits and let the heat of the oven escape into the rooms when I turned it off.
Turned down heat pump to 62F. The temperatures are supposed to fall into the teens tonight. We left propane heater running on lowest setting to help offset the colder air indoors. Put an extra cover on the bed.
Opened sink cabinet doors.
Jan 30: Up early this morning. John has ACLS class today and must leave the house regardless of conditions. At least he can delay leaving until sun is fully up.
Used some of the warm water from the kettle to thaw the ice in the pets water bowl.
The cat didn't want to go potty in the snow at all this morning. It was 10F in full sunlight on the porch, so I guess the whole snow thing had palled entirely for her, lol. I scooped up some dirt from a flower pot and made her a temporary litter box. She happily used it.
Planned to go into town today but will wait until afternoon when it's supposed to rise well above freezing.
Hoping that will make the trek across the snowy deck easier. If I can get outdoors, I'll get the shovel and clear a path for us to use.
Made out a shopping list of items needed for the weekend. We're having grands and family come up this weekend and I know I'll need a few things.
Packed John's lunch for work tomorrow.
Made up a pillow sleeping bag for Daniel. I'm not sure he's going to like it so decided to do a mock up one first. If he's happy with it, I'll get the fabric colors he requested and make another (the first one will do for one of the other grandchildren. I used an old curtain panel that I had no need of for the fabric which was just right for 3 pillows.
Turned on kettle, turned up propane heat in early morning to help reduce use of heat pump.
John and I wanted hot dogs, but we had none in the house. He reminded me we did have a beef sausage in the fridge that we could use. It made for a very satisfactory substitute.
Jan 31: It felt like an un-frugal day in many ways but I know that my method is sound. I have company coming for the weekend. Certain items run very low or out by the end of each pay period and this one is no exception, so I had to go to the store anyway. I looked over the sales ad and determined what items I would pick up next week while shopping and purchased them today. It takes a lot of discipline to do this sort of shopping and great caution. It's easy, when you're already purchasing extra items to sort of hang the budget and go way over. When I enter the groceries purchased today, some of the money will come from our current balance. The ones purchased for next pay period will come from that grocery budget.
I made out a list before I left home of the things I HAD to have to go through this weekend. Then I made a separate list of the items needed for next week that were on sale. This will help me to divide my funds properly. I won't go back into that store this next week when we shop.
I turned down the thermostat before leaving home. No need to keep that heat pump running if no one is home.
I combined errands. I took off trash and went by the flea market to add a few items to my booth. I went by the bank, the post office and then grocery shopping. It was a full morning of errands.
I contemplated a few 'extras' while at the grocery store. I actually took items from my buggy and put them back. I realized I was hungry. I considered my cash and the possibilities and determined I'd allow myself $5 to purchase a meal. That limited my choices but also meant I was spending allowance and not dipping into bank account.
When I came in, I put away the groceries. I made sure to separate the weekend foods from the next pay period's groceries. Out of sight, out of mind.
My best buy at the grocery? Coke 12 packs. I had one free, $3 off another and a store coupon good for $2 off 2 12packs. I paid $.98 for two 12 packs.
Put a roast in the slow cooker (which cooked beautifully by the way! Not too quickly despite being on high.) as soon as groceries were put away. Good to know the money was well spent.
At first glance, when we served supper, it didn't look as though the roast would be enough. I sliced it and then served. It went further than I thought it might. I had leftovers which I put away for sandwiches later.
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