My Frugal Week - March 15-22

Saturday:  Earned a $5 Swagbucks gift card.

Earned 300 points (= to $3) from Pinecone research.

We decided to have synagogue at home complete with liturgy and worship and each took time to read Book of Esther in honor of Purim tomorrow.  We will go to evening services at church today, which shaves a good 40 miles off our synagogue ride.

Maddie isn't eating as much now the weather is warmer (even slightly).  I was careful to put away her and the cat's food bowls to avoid ants getting to the foo.

Dinner today leftovers of salad, pasta, chicken.  I made Molten Lava Cakes for dessert.

Sunday:  Packed John a work lunch.  Made him breakfast.

I had big plans today...didn't include rain!  I decided instead of shopping (groceries and shoes), I'd just stay home and stay out of the rain.

Made cookies from scratch.  Have two batches of dough to go in the freezer.

Used bread end pieces to make croutons for salads.

Used more bread end pieces to make a breakfast casserole for tomorrow morning.

Extended the sausage called for in the dish (I had about 1/2 pound instead of 1 pound) with portabella mushrooms and onions.

Used a can of evaporated milk in the casserole to save my regular milk for drinking purposes.

Shopped at home: brown sugar and evaporated milk from pantry, a bag of chocolate chips and a pound of butter from the freezer.

Ate leftovers for my dinner.

Put on a jacket when I got chilly instead of turning on heat.

Turned on a fan when it got stuffy indoors.

Monday:  John washed  a full load of clothes.

I washed a full load of dishes and did a sinkful by hand, using water run into the deepest biggest dish that needed to handwashed and using it as a dishpan.

Used a new recipe to make our corned beef and dished up the leftover broth and potatoes to use to make potato soup later in the week.

After John left for a work meeting, I went through my things and gathered up those that I no longer want to put in the flea market booth.

John took outgoing mail to post, picked up and deposited his paycheck and picked up the incoming mail on his way home this afternoon.  

Tagged items to be placed in booth this week.

Worked on the 2nd quarter budget...eye opening in many ways.  We're saving on gasoline, groceries remained decently near budgeted amount, electricity has increased but the average is only a few dollars more than we'd been planning for, propane costs were just under budget, we need to increase our tax/tags amount. Now we've had three months salary under the new schedule I can see how our money will play out each month and we can better plan our spending overall.

Stayed home again though I had planned today as an alternate shopping day.  It continued to rain hard.  Not wanting to go out in it at all!

Shopped at home: bread from the freezer.

We had our Harvest after John got back home from his meeting.  This is the time when we have our budget discussions, pray over our needs and grocery shopping.

We had a couple of bills that we didn't need to set half aside for due to our having a month with three pay days.  I put those toward the loan we took from ourselves for the porch.  There's still a ways to go to pay that money back into our account, but we took a good hard swipe at it this pay period.

Tuesday: Made pancakes this morning.  I used Aunt Maple's Mix from Aldi.  I halved the amounts on the package and ended up with only two pancakes more than we needed.  I wrapped them in waxed paper to keep them from sticking together and froze them.  I can pop these into the toaster one morning when we're in a hurry.  I do this with french toast slices as well.

 Trip into town this morning, combining errands.  I had a hair appointment.  We took off trash, dropped off more outgoing mail.  John came along because we were to go grocery shopping after.  While he waited on me, he sat in car and attempted to repair a flashlight that wasn't working any longer.  He also cleaned out the console boxes.

I paid cash for my haircut today.  I'd forgotten to bring a check along but as it turned out, I'm glad I paid the cash.

We shopped at Aldi and only the perimeters of the store.  When I needed two items that necessitated a trip down the center aisles, John went and got those two items.  It saved temptation.  Because it was a 'short pay period' we had to trim hard on our grocery allowance.  I came in at about half what we'd normally spend and was very proud of that.

While we were near the meat counter, I did some investigative work: ALL of the chicken products at Aldi have carageenan.  I shall have to check at the other supermarket (Kroger) where I buy chicken as well.  If it turns out that both markets have this product in the chickens, I shall start buying chicken at the meat market we go to, where meat is fresh and not injected with 'flavoring'.  It will cost  more so we'll be buying more whole chickens and I'll cut them up myself.  My other option is Publix Greenwise chicken which I also would purchase whole, if they prove to be Carageenan free.

I splurged on one item: Black Forest Smoked Turkey breast.  They had a case load of these this time and I'd normally buy two or even three because they are an occasional item not regular stock.  However, I stayed mindful of my budget and bought just one.  At $10 they seem pricey just at first, but I slice them thin for sandwich meat and find that they are good value and taste much much better than packaged sandwich meat slices.

We stopped in town and got burgers at the local diner.  I paid for them from my allowance.

As I was putting down our expenses for the day, I realized we were at the bottom of our pay check and any further expenses were digging into our base balance.  We've only recently gotten that base built back up after a very tough uphill climb.  I warned John that we were on cash only basis until next pay period. That means that except for gasoline for his car, we must pay out of our own pockets for any items we buy.  It's good incentive for us to really examine the 'need' of an item.

Our supper was leftovers from the fridge: breakfast casserole warmed in the oven.  Pear salad from half a can of pears that I opened last week.  Very tasty and very filling.  We didn't want a snack this evening.

Wednesday:  Made a substantial breakfast this morning.  While it's still fairly cool, I am taking advantage of the weather to make hot cereals.  Grits for us this morning, with fried eggs.

Lately I have been taking my coffee in thermal cups that we've had for years.  I find that if the coffee doesn't get cold I will finish a cup and not pour it out to 'start over' (usually after reheating twice).  This has cut down on waste and I am enjoying my coffee while it's HOT and fresh.

Stripped bed to wash sheets...I added in our bath towels, and a few clothing items that we wear around the house and don't mind if they get a bit of lint on them.  This made a full load.  I dried the clothes in the dryer today, due to the dampness and lack of sun outdoors.

While the bed was unmade, I put on my 'bed-skirt' which isn't really a skirt per se.  It is the bottom portion (perhaps 12 inches) of the sheets I used to make curtains for my windows a few years ago. It seemed such a waste to throw away that length of material that I kept it.  I realized it was all hemmed except for the cut edge.  I use twist pins to pin to the box springs of the bed, putting that cut edge at the top, just under the mattress edge.  It looks like a bed-skirt to anyone who doesn't know it's actually four pieces of the bottom of sheets.

Pulled a few items from the pantry shelf that  contain yeast or yeast extract.  I am trying to use these items up prior to Feast of Unleavened Bread next month.  Today's culls: two dried filled ravioli items and 2 boxes mac and cheese.  I am pretty certain the yeast extract is in the cheese flavoring packet of the mac and cheese.  Another item that contains yeast extract is onion soup mix (unless you pay $2 more for 'kosher' soup mix).  I am trying to be inventive in my use of items.

Today I made chili mac at John's request and cooked the two packets of macaroni.  I set the cheese packets aside.  I used one of the packets this afternoon to season our snack of popcorn.  It was very good and made a nice change.

When I browned the ground beef, onions and garlic for the chili, I took up half and put in a container for a second meal.  Then I made chili.  Before adding the macaroni, I removed 1 container of chili from the pan for a third meal.  Then I set aside half the cooked macaroni for a fourth meal.  And we still had leftovers of chili mac, enough for a third serving.

Checked online prices for decaf coffee.  I save money when it's not on sale at grocery, buying it in bulk from Walmart online.  I go through Swagbucks to earn credit for shopping, and order enough to get free shipping so it's not costing me anything extra.  I placed a bulk order today.  I use paypal so I don't have to pay cash out but can divide the expense over two pay periods.  That way my grocery budget takes a smaller hit.

Tagged  a few more items for the flea market.  Packed my bag so it's ready to go when I am in the morning.

Culled a few more pieces from my personal collections to put into flea market in near future.  These are pretty pieces that I seldom use.  I do not want 'hidden treasures' in my home any longer.  It takes up valuable storage space and is a waste.  I am keeping those pieces that have a strong personal attachment to and/or use frequently.

Though it was a little cool, I opened windows and aired the house.  I noted that buds are fast growing on the pine trees, which means our air will soon be yellow with pollen drifting about.  It was damp enough this morning to keep most of the pollen counts down.

The propane  truck came today.  A sure sign of spring's approach:  he checked tank but didn't add to it. That means he's deemed we have enough to last us through the next two seasons.  It is unlikely he will return until late September.  I'll apply that money towards building a 'pre-fund' for electricity costs for summer.

Went out to back yard to neaten the area right near the house.  My son fixed our broken bottom step by placing a pile of bricks under the step then nailing the board atop them.  When my brother tore off the old steps he stacked the bricks neatly to one side.  I decided to edge the flower bed nearest the back step with that brick.  It looks neat and nice and will help contain the Bouncing Bet in that flower bed, which tends to creep along the ground, rooting at every joint.  It's lovely, but will get out of hand if not kept in check.

Between our good dinner and the popcorn snack we weren't really hungry at supper time.  We chose to have bowls of cereal for our evening meal.

Thursday: Packed John's lunch to take to work.  This lunch bag actually is his lunch, supper and snacks for the 24 hours he works.

I'd love to say I made him breakfast but this morning I slept in a little too long (that's what happens when you swat the alarm off and drift right back to sleep).  He made his own breakfast of peanut butter toast.

Gathered up the trash and took it off with me when I headed into town.

Stopped by flea market to restock and rearrange booth items.

Went out to dinner with Mama.  My day to pay.  I paid out of my allowance.

Mama always has some little something for me. This week it was coupons from her papers, a magazine, a half dozen muffins, and three pretty enamel bracelets and silk coin purses.

Stopped at local grocery to pick up bread.  Costs the same thing in town that it does out of town so no savings, no splurge.  I didn't buy anything but bread either.  This came out of my allowance.  I have enough to buy dog food and then I'm broke.

Picked up mail on my way back in.

Scrounged about in fridge and found leftovers from Sunday to eat for dinner.  Not a bad meal and didn't need much after a good dinner with three vegetables.

It got very warm, compared to our usual cooler temperatures inside the house.  It is now getting into pollen season so not opening windows but did start out with the whole house fan first and then switched on the AC about 7pm to cool house down a little.  This was to aide my sleep.

Friday:  John worked last night.  He appreciates a slightly larger breakfast after his 24 hour shift.  I made cheese omelet, heated the yummy muffins Mama gave me yesterday and cooked turkey bacon.  I cooked extra bacon, looking to have cooked bacon on hand for sandwiches this weekend.

John came in with plans for the weekend which involved a few purchases.  These he paid for himself.  However, when I picked up dog food, decaf coffee, and a grapefruit and started to pay for them with cash, he got a little upset with me.  Seems that my paying for groceries from my allowance is a no no in his eyes...I explained my over zealous first payment to the bank had wrung the last drop from our last check and I was simply trying to not touch our usual balance.  In future, I will most certainly be drawing cash from one of our pre-funded areas as requested.

We left home today to tend to errands related to John's plans.  I gathered all trash in the house and took off a bag when we left home.  While he was fiddling about putting his sleep linens back in his car (he says home laundering helps him to rest better at work because the aroma is familiar to him), I picked up branches around the carport/back porch area and put away the extension cord to the pump house light.  It's unlikely we'll need it again this year.  We also went by the grocery to pick up last needed items for this pay period.

Did not stop for lunch even though it was well past dinner time.  We waited until we got home and had a very late lunch/early supper instead.  Snacks will be our evening hunger smashers if needed.  We've plenty of fruit, yogurt, crackers, etc.

Picked up today's mail when we came back in.  We got two bills.  One was the electric bill.  It dropped $55 this month.  Methinks they were not reading the meter after all...The little I've done to lower costs was not substantial enough to make that big of a drop and I know it.

Am cutting pets food supply down just a little.  Guidelines on packages and the milder temperatures justify this move.  Turns out that all Maddie's girth is not winter coat.  She's shedding and not getting smaller!

Earned a $10 PayPal payment from one of the survey sites.

That's my Frugal week!  How did yours go? 


Anonymous said...

I never thought of using any excess powdered cheese to top popcorn! Thanks again! We found a place that had garden plants almost a third the cost we usually paid. I also got some good seed reduced and other garden supplies some of which will last through several years. We are nearer to finishing the new areas of the garden.
I got out my gift box and gathered together the gift for a friend. I try to collect things throughout the year for the people we give gifts to.
I bought a bag of many used thread spools. At a great price. I needed a certain color and there it was!! Thread is so dear any more that I do not like having to buy a color I will probably not need again. I could use I guess the invisible type thread for that purpose..if I had any! :-)
I went to a free cooking class and learned a lot. We found a store that has the laundry soap we use at less than half we had been buying it for. We stocked up. Looked around the store and found they also had several other good buys. We will be back. It is an independent store and we are so glad to support a home town store. We also bought a few things that were a tiny bit above another store but felt the small cost worth it to support it. Also the cost of gas to get to another store would even be higher. So it was a win win. The personal service at this smaller store is worth so much too. We have spread the word to others about it.
Thanks you for explaining more of our recipes and such. You do not give your old recipe net address on this site. Of course not all you cook is on it. You do find such good recipes! I am glad I still have the old recipe site address. I hope you rack is staying good. Sarah

Terri said...

I never would have thought of using the broth from corned beef and cabbage to make soup. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

Courtney said...

It is frustrating about that chicken and additives. It's hard to find anything that doesn't have some sort of additives. My biggest thing right now is high fructose corn syrup. I try not to buy a lot of processed foods, but i would like to buy crackers once in a while for the kids, but don't want to spend twice as much at whole foods when one box isn't hardly even enough for one snack for them.

Anonymous said...

Our kitchen renovation is going to cost more than we had planned. So much for a budget, and I'm the one who has a fit when people set a budget and then go over! ; 0) But, we don't know what we are going to get into with this old house. We have the money set aside so we won't go into debt, and it needs to be done right while we are doing it, so ... guess we'll just have to go over budget a little. To be honest, it was good to have a budget in place because I did keep trimming wants back, back, back. I can't imagine what our project would have cost if I hadn't done that.

On the other side, the weather has been so nice that I've been hanging clothes out on the line for all but towels. I've kept the grocery bills way down even though we are feeding our two guys who are remodeling for us. I've been turning the heat off on the nice days and opening windows to air out. All cooking is from scratch.

Life is good here ... thank you for sharing. Pam

Glenda said...

Hi Terri,
I do so enjoy all the posts you write. I don't often comment but check each day to see if there is anything new. My husband enjoys your posts, also, so I usually read all the new one's to him as we eat lunch. We have been retired for several years. You have wonderful ideas and are a talented writer.

I haven't tracked lately how we have saved as we haven't shopped much. My husband did run errands this week and picked up a few things to fill in the gaps of our storage.

We keep a large storage pantry and two freezers, along with three refrigerators stocked, so I mostly shop at home. We buy items on sale and purchase alot at one time of items we use frequently. I have calculated how much of each food we use for six months, so can purchase accordingly.

I like to cook up quite alot of main dish items at one time and freeze them for times when we are preoccupied with other things and there isn't time to cook. I noticed today how low my 'stash' of cooked items has gotten over the past month so that has to be a high priority next week. It is only a matter of going to the freezers and shopping at home.

My goal, once we get through all the antiques my husband brought back from his parents home, is to get our budget lined out once again. Since my in-laws passed last year we've been rather busy getting things settled and cleaned up.

We have spent the past week going through all the very old cookbooks, recipes, and hand crocheted items from my in-laws home. We still have alot of hand crocheted lace and sewing items to go through, along with six moving boxes of genealogy and family pictures.

I spent the day washing and ironing hand crocheted doillies, pot holders, and scarves; didn't iron the crocheted bedspreads or tablecloths. My husband kept busy cleaning up the antique spool cabinets and hand crank coffee grinders.

We have another few weeks of sorting through items, then I can return my focus to planning our garden/canning for the summer and track our budget better.

I plan to try many of the recipes from the 1930's and 1940's that were among the items from my in-laws home. These were recipes of my husband's grandmother who fed her family of children, as a widow, during the depression years and WWII.

Thank you again for your wonderful blog, Terri. Blessings to you.

Rebecca said...

Good job on the budget. Having that updated info will be so helpful to you.

I always dread when the propane guy comes because it always seems to be at the most inopportune time! ;-)

Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Well Done!

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