My Frugal Week/Living Well

Saturday:  Up early.  Breakfasts are purposely kept simple on Saturday mornings.  Bagels and cream cheese this morning.  Most Saturdays we have some sort of bread (muffins, biscuits, etc) with a light protein.  Easy, inexpensive.

Our dinner today was leftovers from yesterday.

Dinner was big, so cheese, crackers and fruit for supper for me.

Tried out a few free genealogy sites a friend shared.  As I have time to check out her list a bit further, I'll share those that appear to be good.  The one or two that I've tried thus far appear to lead to paid sites.

Sunday:  We headed to church, taking off the trash and picking up mail as we went out.  We also dropped off our Netflix film in the post office in town.

We'd planned to stop at the grocery on our way back home.  This particular grocery has a Starbucks kiosk. John and I haven't stopped for a coffee in a couple of months but today we treated ourselves.  We still have a  balance on the card we were gifted at Christmas so this feels like a double treat to get good specialty coffee and get it for free.

I'd made out a short list of needed items before we left home.  I knew I needed to especially pick up waxed paper, an item I cannot buy at Aldi.  I might well keep my list short but it does pay to know what you need  when I go to a store that isn't my usual one.

John and I both wanted pizza.  We decided to pick up a frozen pizza there at the store.  Our favorite brand was on sale 3/$10.  Even though we usually only eat half a pizza, John encouraged me to pick up 3.  We put them in the freezer here at home (aside from the one we had at dinner).

Took time this afternoon to get the bill box in order.  The pre-work

We've had a little rain but not enough to really water our plants.  I've been refreshing our stored water supply.  I watered plants with the stored water and refill the containers with fresh water.

Monday:  Couldn't seem to get my day off the ground, though I was trying.  I was in the middle of very late dinner preparations when Mama called.  She'd locked herself out of her car at a store two towns over.  I put dinner prep on hold and went off to find Mama's spare key and take it to her.  It was nearly 2pm when I got home. I dug about in the fridge and pulled out all the leftovers.  I managed to put together a decent dinner that we could microwave and eat in under 5 minutes.  The lasagna I'd been prepping when I left?  I finished it up and put in the freezer.

Put the turkey breast carcass on to boil with the tops and tails of onions, carrots and celery. I was preparing broth and meat for the freezer.  It started raining and got almost chilly indoors.  Soup suddenly seemed a good idea. I used a portion of the broth and meat pickings to make  our supper of turkey noodle soup.  Yum.  It hit the spot.

Made egg salad for sandwich filling.

Washed a full load of dishes.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung them to dry.

Technically today is Harvest day...but John has to work tomorrow.  We decided it was silly to drive down to pick up his check when he can get it just as well tomorrow.  We'll save the 2 gallons of gasoline that would have cost us.

Tuesday:  Paid bills after John deposited his check.  I made a trip to town to buy postage, mail off bills and to do my own banking.

I decided to make the trip count for good. I'd marked several items in the local sales papers as I looked them over.  I went back over them this morning and made out a list for three different stores.  All items bought at two of them were for pantry restock.  I purchased only personal care items at the third store.

Refilled water bottles for fridge.   I like to drink water but John will not drink it voluntarily unless it's cold from the fridge.  I find it worthwhile to fill bottles with water and keep them handy for him.  It works...he drinks water every day.

Do you know how I saved the most money today?  Stopping to THINK.  I put an item in my shopping cart online but decided to wait until afternoon to order.  By afternoon I'd reasoned that after all, I could watch the same series online for free.  I thought about running into the dollar store and bringing home a few shower curtains to use as drapes in the kitchen sitting area, but I realized it was one of those snow ball things.  If I got the curtains I was thinking of getting, I'd want to replace my rugs, etc.  I'll just wait a bit longer.

Home again, I turned on a fan to stir the air a bit further, rather than lower the AC thermostat.

Hash browns are so easy to make and inexpensive, too. I know I've already shared this but I had some for supper tonight and put some aside for tomorrow.

Wednesday:  Made a frittata for breakfast this morning.  I used a green onion, the 1/2 cup of hash browns I I set aside last night and 3 well beaten eggs with a little bit of shredded cheese.  Yummy. Making a fritatta meant I used one less egg since the vegetables added bulk to this meal.

Heated the blueberry muffins I pulled from the freezer last night.

I vacuumed the fans.  Yes, that's right.  I vacuumed the fans.  The blades of the oscillating fans were dirty and I vacuumed them and dusted well then put them back together.  I think this is one reason our fans have been running for the past five years.  We use them a lot, even in winter, so they do get a work out in our home.

John brought home a reimbursement check.  This money will go back into savings now that he's been reimbursed.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung some of them to dry.

I had a rotten potato in my bin.  I wasn't happy when I discovered this.  I was just in that bag last night and never smelled a thing or noticed any soft potatoes either.  Ugh.  Tossed three and then washed the bin out.  I washed the potatoes and put them on a towel to dry thoroughly before putting them back up.

I used a dishpan to catch the hot water I used to rinse my dishes for dishwasher.  I then added soap to the dishpan and washed the rest of my dishes.  Then I took that water outdoors and poured over plants to water them.

Used up the last bits of John's bagged salad from his lunch.  I added in some fresh lettuce leaves.  We also emptied three, almost gone but not quite empty, bottles of salad dressing.

No grahams to make S'mores...I used vanilla wafers.

Made out my grocery list for tomorrow's shopping.

Thursday:  Grocery day. Made sure I had list and bags and water in a thermal glass.  We took off trash and picked up mail on our way out of town.

We spent a bit over usual this go round and we did last time, too.  I'm going to check over my most recent receipts to see just why. I can total in my head our impulse purchases.  Now it's time to check prices to see if something has gone up more than I'd taken notice of.  I am puzzled about the higher total...I spent a lot of time talking myself out of things not on my list reminding myself that I had staples and could make those items at home.

Made pimento and cheese for sandwich filling.

Did a pantry inventory before putting items on the shelf, then added those purchased today.  I've not noticed a sizable dint in much of my pantry or freezer stock.  I think that's because we've bought so much fresh produce and worked to eat that.  I'm going to use my pantry list to plan meals for the next week.

I am putting a halt on spending until I determine just what it is I NEED to fill gaps in the pantry and freezer. And in my home decor as well.  Officially declaring July a 'nothing extra' month.  Frankly, after repairs and fixes for several items and a month super heavy in birthdays we could use the break.

John bought lunch today using his allowance to pay for it.

I didn't get everything on my list.   I have quite a list but am thinking I will just skip those items for right now. I can easily make substitute items for those missing items until my next shopping trip for groceries.

Friday:  John had a class today.  His county pays him to attend his continuing education classes. This is a bonus amount for us, and much appreciated.

While taking some things out to the shed, I noted that the blackberries were ripe.  I picked about a pint this morning. I flash froze them after rinsing and then packed into a zippered bag.  I think more will be ripe Sunday.

I was deep in the midst of cleaning when John called to say he'd been released from class earlier than expected.  I didn't really have a hard and fast plan for dinner.  I did have leftovers.  I made a salad, sliced bread and made a fast dessert.

I asked John to bring home a couple of items from the store.  Those were paid for from my allowance.
I'm practicing for my Nothing Extra Month.  Ack.

Potted two plants I'd bought last week.

Took bread end pieces from freezer and made a breakfast casserole for tomorrow morning's meal. In the past I've put chopped mushrooms in to stretch the sausage but today I had no mushrooms.  What I found in the fridge was a half apple my husband apparently decided not to eat, so I dice that and added in with onion and sausage.

I decided to have a fruit salad to go with the casserole.  I used a few blackberries, some of the fruits and melon in the fridge.  Glad I decided to make this.  I discovered the strawberries were rapidly deteriorating. I immediately prepped them for the freezer.

We bought an unsliced loaf of French bread at Aldi.  We used that for our Shabat loaf. I cut off the end pieces after we had our communion and put those in freezer.  I'll make croutons from those in future.  I sliced four pieces off to use for french toast next week and then put the remaining loaf in the freezer.  We'll slice and use when we need more loaf bread but haven't any.

Living Well

Sometimes it's not the money we save that makes the biggest impact in our life; it's the money we spend.  John  and I were discussing our finances this week.  We've had a small season of struggle.  The AC needed some maintenance work, the fridge required a repair, the lawn mower, too.  We hit a birthday heavy month.  We had two baby gifts, and a wedding gift to add to the birthdays.  John's work pants decided they had worked hard enough and shredded.  He had to renew his work license.  Am I talking about these expenses in enjoying life?

Nope.  I'm talking about the vacation we took end of last month.  I'm talking about the back porch we spent a good amount of money adding to the house this Spring.  Those are the things we mention most often in our money discussions.  Yes, the balance drooped and we had to prop it up a bit  as our sub accounts dwindled.  But we have no regrets at all about taking that vacation nor spending the money on that back porch.  In fact, just this week when the account drooped the hardest, we both made time to go sit on the back porch and do Bible study, decorate a little more with plants and items we already have on hand and discuss our plans to renovate our front porch sometime later this year.

You know what else I'm prone to do when things get a tiny bit snug in the budget?  Put on my diamond earrings and wear them about the house.  They aren't rocks by any means, they are not even pebbles.  John got me those beautiful little diamonds for our first anniversary when we were right in the midst of living po'...John tells folks that we had so little we couldn't afford to call it poor.  It was money he saved from his pocket change that bought those earrings and they made us both so happy.

Our kids still talk about the super budget vacation we took the summer our oldest son graduated high school.  We spent a week at the beach in a cut rate hotel right on the beach.  We cooked meals in the kitchenette and shared a single bathroom.  One night John took us all out to dinner.  We paid more for that single meal than we'd spent in a month for groceries at home.  When my children mention that vacation they start by describing  the fantastic meal at a big deal restaurant, the first time we'd had a nicer meal than take out pizza.

I am frugal because I have to be to some extent.  I'm frugal because I like and enjoy a challenge.  I'm frugal because I believe we should be a good steward of our resources.  I'm frugal because living debt free is a whole lot more than just not owing someone money.  But I never, ever regret the times we spend on what some might consider frivolous or unnecessary things.  As John is prone to say too often, "What are we saving for?"  To live well, that's what.


a8383 said...

Terri, You so encourage me. I love how you live your life- lots of good old fashioned hard work, self-discipline, and planning for the future but balanced by fun, making things pretty, and enjoying your pursuits. Just the way I think life should be lived. I know when we have saved a long time for something I so much more enjoy/ relish it because of the waiting and sacrifice. I got a quart of blackberries today from our weedy bushes on the back of our property- but boy am I buggred up- haha! I think I will make a small batch of jam. Angela

a8383 said...

Oh I know a second comment... something you said has played in my head all day as I went about my chores... "living debt free is a whole lot more than just not owing someone money." I would love your thoughts on this. You always give me such good food for thought! Angela

Anonymous said...

I love the thoughts on frugality you came together with in the last paragraph of your post! Written so well. I agree 100%.
I have had to rethink several supper good buys but then should I buy them even if they were supper good buys? If it was a food we needed or used often in the pantry that would be another thing. These super good buys were decorative things we did not have to have. I just loved them. Then even super cheap is too expensive. Instead since I was in the decorating mood I dug around in my cupboard and used things I already had. They had not seen the light of day for a while so they were 'new'. I found myself so happy to see a lady find a beautiful big quilt at the Goodwill the other day. I had found one several years ago we use daily. I had not seen any since. I would have loved to have the one she bought too. Yet didn't need it. She did. I could tell how happy she was and how it made her happy just to look at it. Mine I still love too. Today was her turn. Even shopping used has its seasons. One year a particular store seems to be the one who has the things you need,. Then the next year their prices have gone sky high or their donations are not what you use and another store has it now.
Yes when I think back we have done what might have seemed like going over board money wise several times as the kids grew up. Really though in the long run it was money very well spent. One thing was we had the 'Koolaid" yard. What we had in our yard brought the neighborhood kids to our yard. We knew where our kids were and knew their friends. We got each thing as carful of the money as we could but each was used as long as it could be. Then they were passed to families who had younger kids when ours grew out of them. They were still good because they were sturdily built to start. Many things we did cost no money. We were here as parents to guide and teach all the kids in things that money could not buy. Skills and manners and all of that.
I keep a little notebook in my purse for shopping. I attach several pieces of square post-it note paper on the inside page of it. Layered so you can pick the top on up and get to the bottom one. On each page I list say 1-3 stores we go to. The ones we go to the most on top. Then I list anything we need at each store. I like to use the post it notes 'cause they can be replaced easily. I use the rest of the notebook for the things we need to reference. Like the size of the cooler pads we use or the size of a window I am looking for blinds for etc. Lists of store hours and anything we need reference of like the grand kids sizes, birthdays etc Also when I need to take a note of something we have the extra papers if needed to even tear out of the book. I keep a post it note on the front of the refrigerator to write anything I think of on. Then if I have not already written it down in the purse notebook I can just grab this post it note and literally stick it in the purse one for quick reference. It has worked for me for years. I also carry a purse calendar with squares to write appointments and such in.
What do you hope to do to the front porch? It is as long as your porch isn't it?
I was reading a book from 1920 where the wife used her front porch in spring to have breakfast on. Porches used to be such a part of every day life growing up. Then they started building patios out back and people used their back yard and front yard hospitality was lost. I loved walking up the street and everyone would be out enjoying the cooler night and everyone seemed to stop and talk to neighbors. I am glad to see more homes having porches out front. We enjoy out patio out back but can not have one out front. I enjoy seeing both your porches.
Yes a Starbucks or a good steak dinner or whatever is so special. It is special especially since we seldom get it. If they were part of every day life they would seem hum drum. It is a celebration when they are a rare treat! :) Sarah

Lena said...

Oh, I just love the story behind your diamond rings:) You are such an inspiration for sure, Terry!

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