My Frugal Week: March 22-28
Saturday: We didn't do a thing all morning long, nor much of the afternoon either. It was bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, and reheated leftovers of chili mac and cornbread with salad for our lunch. We watched a wonderful movie with John Lithgow and Bob Hoskins, "The Man from La Mancha"...well mostly watched it. John and I both took naps but the parts of the movie we saw were beautiful and wonderful and funny. I'll look for that one on Dvd.
Went to church this evening. It is so good to hear a sermon. There's one more Saturday evening service and then we'll be back to mandatory Sunday services, which means just twice a month for us.
We stopped at Burger King on the way home. Plain hamburgers and small shakes make a nice supper, isn't too expensive.
We did some chores when we got home this evening. The purpose was to clear up so we could leave especially early tomorrow morning.
I've been collecting stuff all week long to take with us, little things I've bought/found/thought one of the kids might like to have. I passed along some of my pasta that had yeast in it. I don't mind tossing stuff as I get nearer time of Passover but I do try to either use it or pass it on to someone else.
Sunday: Off to see our northeast of us kids. We carried all the fixings for a cookout. John stopped and bought ice. We also stopped and got a biscuit for our breakfast. It's a drive of 2 1/2 hours (if we don't get lost, lol) so we prefer to start out early so we can stay a good long while, hence we dont' take time to eat before leaving home. We did take time to grab thermoses of hot coffee, though.
We stopped on our way home and bought a Sunday paper. Coupons a plenty to offset the cost.
We discovered the kids had provided the bread, vegetables, chips, sodas, so we came home with foods including leftover burgers and hot dogs. John's lunch was packed up with burgers to put in his bag in the morning. We had hot dogs and coffee for supper.
Fed the cat and dog early this morning, but put the food away before we left to avoid losing it to the ants. I fed them the leftovers of their foods this evening.
Monday: Up early this morning. Packed up the lunch I put together for John last night. Then I cooked his breakfast.
I was a slow starter after John left. I've been so bad lately about making coffee and letting it go cold before I drink it then reheating it two or three times until it doesn't taste good. I started using the thermal coffee cups we've acquired over the last few years as gifts or that came with coffeemakers. I get to drink every cup of coffee while it's hot these days and I like that a lot. I'm glad too to put those thermal cups to good use.
Earned a $5 Swagbucks reward this morning. I decided to go with a Walmart card this time, although the Amazon card is a better 'buy' overall I'm limited by having to pay whatever Amazon deems the best price on items that are meant for home use (think Acetaminophen or decaf coffee). My goal is to earn enough on a Walmart card to buy my next big lot of coffee. To that end I also spent the quiet time letting Jun group videos run. I don't typically earn more than 30-40 points each day. Today's minimum goal was easily reached. At odd moments I've continued to add to my points for the day.
Started at the backdoor and worked my way IN...That's a cleaning method I haven't used in a long time. Moving things that I've stacked up for the shed and taking them to the shed really made a huge impact on how neat it looks when you walk in the back door.
After I finished housework, I went into town. As always I made it count: took off trash, took along other mail that needed to go out, even had a bank deposit ready to go but alas the local bank closes at 2pm...who knew? Went into Dollar store and grocery store. I bought exactly one item at each store, the items I actually went into town to purchase. One of those items was to be posted. I nearly put it in a flat rate envelope but instead bought a padded mailer, which was less than $1, postage was less than $2. The smallest flat rate mailer was $5.80.
Came home and cleaned up yard. More sticks gotten up, roses trimmed even if it is too late simply because they are way out of hand. I was tired but heartsick over a family matter. I find work always helps to settle emotions.
Leftovers for both meals for me today.
Tuesday: Worked in yard a little more today. It's not something I like to do as a rule, mainly because it's hard work and a bit beyond my abilities, but I can do a little at a time every single day. It's the whole 'how do you eat an elephant?' principle. I do a little work everyday, anywhere from 15-30 depending on outdoor temperatures and difficulty of tasks. In small time frames I've picked up all the sticks in the main portion of the yard, all of Maddie's winter bedding, and just set things right in general.
Ready for Spring wreaths on my doors. I went out to the shed this morning and gathered wreath forms and materials. I don't have a clue yet what I'm making but I have all I need to make it.
Mama came out today to have John work on her taxes. She asked us to cook out, too. I didn't have the chicken she requested in my freezer, so yesterday I went to town to buy chicken. Mama brought all the vegetables for the meal. I made the Bbq sauce and the dessert of Molten Lava Cakes. John cooked the chicken. It was a mighty good meal with all parties collaborating.
I didn't buy boneless breasts but bone in breast. The breasts were cut like quarters minus the wings. I trimmed the excess boney pieces (mostly back and some ribs) as well as removing the bigger portions of breast bones and grizzle. The smaller bones stayed in place. John said he felt this helped the chicken cook more evenly but they stayed more moist because of the small bones remaining in place.
Saved the trimmings from the chicken breasts for broth making.
Washed a full load of dishes.
John washed a small load of clothes and hung them to dry. It didn't take long to dry this morning. The wind was strong and soon whipped the clothes dry.
John earned a small bit of cash today. He gave to me to add to the vacation funds since he didn't need extra pocket money.
Wednesday: Frosty mornings and hot cereals just go together don't they? I think so...I won't be nearly so interested in hot oatmeal when days dawn in the 90's but in the 30's? I'm all for it. Made a good breakfast this morning and so much less expensive than a cold cereal.
Turned on propane heater to offset the chilliness and cut down on using heat pump.
Washed a full load of clothes. Hung to dry on line before we left to run errands.
Spent NO money while out. John got his haircut (he spent from his pocket) and then we walked next door to Starbucks for coffee and a treat. We used a gift card given to us at Christmas.
We came home to have dinner. Lucky mistake: the cookie dough I thought I was thawing turned out to be a ravioli dish I'd frozen earlier in the month. I heated in the microwave, made a salad, set out bread and butter. Dinner on the table in 5 minutes.
Took the cookie dough from the freezer to thaw. Used the light so I'd be sure to see what I was doing.
I've been checking refrigerator daily to be sure I get foods used or frozen before they spoil. Tonight's supper nachos with some ground beef/onions I cooked earlier in the week.
We shared a molten lava cake leftover from yesterday's company dinner.
Thursday: When John grilled chicken for Mama's visit, we put a steak on the grill for today's meal. I baked potatoes, roasted asparagus and warmed the steak in the same oven.
Set out meats to thaw for weekend meals. Wrote out meal plans yesterday so I know just what needs to be done.
Worked on April goals list.
Went over this month's grocery budget list. We are well below our usual costs but are slightly over what I wanted to spend this month.
Went through fridge to see what needed to be used or stored. Moved some broth to the freezer, making sure to date it.
Started packing John's lunch. He likes the bagged salads to go into his lunch but we're out. I have plenty of lettuces on hand though and just made up a zippered bag of freshly made salad greens.
Rearranged the kitchen cupboards. I eliminated a few things from the mess underneath the appliance cabinet. My goal was to figure out how to get all of my pots and pans in the island. I had a larger wire plate rack than the one I'd used to create a second shelf in the bottom of the island. I swapped the two shelves (one was in the kitchen food cabinet) and found I had enough room to put all my cake/pie/loaf pans in the island which freed still more space in my cabinet.
We had such a nice dinner that was so filling we opted to have cereal for our supper. We do this about once a week these days, usually when we've had a heavy meal midday or we've eaten particularly late. With a piece of peanut butter toast we find we're very satisfied and not prone to snack all evening long.
I got caught...I thought I was signing up for the $7.99 Netflix dvd only program. Seems they slipped in a 'streaming' video subscription as well, so my first charge after the free month was $16. I cancelled that portion of my subscription. Next billing will be for $7.99 for sure.
Friday: Up early this morning to see John off to work. I made him breakfast and packed his work lunch.
I removed the slipcovers from my chairs. Grandchildren are coming in this evening and there's no point in having cream slipcovers with three pairs of little hands coming at them all weekend long.
I made up a big batch of spaghetti sauce this morning and allowed it to simmer. I've put in fridge and tomorrow our dinner will be quickly and easily made. I'll reheat sauce while water comes to boil for the pasta.
I browned a pot roast in the pot I meant to make sauce in. I put the roast in the crockpot once it was nicely browned. We'll have roast tonight for supper.
I baked cookies using freezer dough.
Washed lettuce and wrapped and stored to make a salad tomorrow.
Had to reorder checks. Zowie zazinga!! I found another company to order from and saved about 40% of the cost, getting 4 boxes and deposit slips for LESS than the cost of two boxes at previous firm. We don't use checks very much anymore. I expect this batch will last us two or more years.
Registered all my saved Coke points at MyCokeRewards. I have enough points to get a coupon for a free box of soda. I also have an second reward of getting 100 prints for 5 points from a photo finishing shop. That's a terrific deal, and I am seriously thinking of having some of the snapshots saved on my computer printed which will save the need of purchasing a flash drive.
Initially I had planned to allow the day for fun, but it's raining...and the sort of things I planned do not go well with rain. I decided to just stay home, saving gasoline, money and time.
Washed a full load of dishes. I really needed to do dishes but the dishwasher wasn't full. I popped in my coffee pot, filters, and a few odds and ends from counter tops to fill the remainder of the basket space and make a full load.
Made a single cup of coffee for my afternoon cup.
Made out a menu plan (altered due to company coming) for the weekend and insured we had all the foods we'd need on hand.
Asked Lori to bring a gallon of milk with them since my own milk supplies are running a little low. I countered with the offer of a bottle of apple juice from my own stock. My goal is to put off a visit to the store until Tuesday which is pay day. Not sure I'll manage but we'll see.
I made a point of adding a raw salad to our main meal each day for healthy purposes last year and we've really enjoyed having that additional nutrition and texture. It's had an additional effect: we are less inclined to have seconds of other foods. This week I'm experimenting and trying to serve 3 vegetables (including salad) with each meal. We have lots of vegetables on hand and that additional serving is making us less likely to want a snack mid-afternoon.
Put leftovers from supper in fridge. It might look like a stem of broccoli and 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes mightn't be worthwhile to keep but the potatoes will make potato pancakes or Duchesse Potatoes (a fancy baked whipped potato side dish) and the broccoli can be chopped and added to rice for Broccoli and Rice casserole or to extend another dish. I have learned to be very careful with leftovers and to use them. I'll plan these items into my menu for the first part of the coming week.