My Frugal Week: August 2 - 8
John and I decided to look at our options with our cell phone bill. We cut it by $8 a month.
Washed a full load of clothes.
Washed a full load of dishes.
Sunday: John worked. I made him breakfast and packed his lunch.
I had the last banana muffin for my breakfast with a smear of cream cheese.
Kept electric usage low. I didn't run lights nor have the tv on until mid evening.
I stayed home all day long.
Washed a full load of towels. Had to use the dryer but I hung the lighter weight things to dry on the rack and on hangers.
Clipped and organized coupons.
Checked sales sheets for sales...Wasn't impressed with anything much.
Went through the magazines Mama gave me and clipped coupons, recipes, ideas to save
Monday: Today as I waited for John to come in from work, I mixed up the filling for stuffed peppers. I've had trouble in the past with the rice not getting fully cooked, even in the slow cooker. So today I par boiled the rice. First I rinsed the rice. Then I brought 1 cup water to a rolling boil and added my 1/2 cup of rice. I let it cook about ten minutes, uncovered, then drained and rinsed again. When cool, I mixed in with the meat. I also extended the filling with some chopped baby portabella mushrooms. Yes, the rice was fully done, but not overcooked when the peppers were done.
I didn't have condensed tomato soup. I mixed an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of flour and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Even without cooking this slightly thickened the tomato sauce. I poured half into the meat mixture and then used 1/2 cup of water to extend the rest to use as liquid over the peppers.
I've been letting dishes accumulate in the sink, stacked neatly. When the sink is full, I rinse all at once and put them in the dishwasher. This has cut down on water usage and is saving my hands from the drying effects of hot water.
When I did the dishes after dinner, I filled the crock-pot with soapy water and used that to rinse the dishes for the dishwasher and wash the remaining dishes.
Our breakfast was from the freezer. I'd been freezing the extra pancakes each week. I let them thaw and then put in a warm oven. It heated the pancakes with out drying them out.
John and I went to pick up his check. We decided to go ahead and get cash too, instead of going back to the bank after we paid bills. We are very disciplined in how much cash we take out. It's the same amount every two weeks. I did not get grocery money, just our pocket cash.
We paid bills when we got home. We discovered a couple of weeks ago that a doctor's bill was applied to the deductible. Even though we've not yet received a bill from the doctor's office, we've been splitting up the amount owed between pay periods so that we have that money ready to pay when we receive the bill.
I cashed in points with PineCone rewards last week and had it deposited to my savings account.
In July, I sold a collection of Victoria magazines that I no longer wanted to keep. The funds are now in my account. It was a private sale, so I had no fees associated with it. I am planning to purchase three more of the upgrade louvered shades for my home with my earnings.
Last year John purchased one of those pressure wands that hooks to the regular water hose. When the porch was put on this past Spring, part of the fees associated was a 'pressure washing'. It was a pretty good sum of money we paid for that job and it only included that end of the house. This evening after watering plants, I took the pressure wand, turned it up and cleaned the siding on the front porch. I used a broom with a bit of Dawn detergent on it to cut the dirt on the walls. I won't be paying anyone to do that job again.
Tuesday: The bulk of this day was spent traveling to the meat market. It might not sound frugal to do what I did today but it works out over several months. I bought beef and chicken. The prices at the meat market are comparable with sales at the best grocer for good quality meats. I know that what I buy at this market is fresh, good meat without additives of any sort. I bought roughly four months worth of meat and the cost to us works out to about $55/mo. This is the bulk of the meat we will eat.
I will purchase a corned beef and a turkey breast from Aldi. With cooler weather coming closer, I'll likely buy beef shanks at another more local store, a cut I can't purchase at the meat market. I prefer that leaner cut over short ribs for a slow braised dish we enjoy. I buy turkey sausage at the same store, one of the few places I can get a well seasoned turkey sausage. We will also purchase a couple of packages of Kosher beef hot dogs when they are on sale. I make sandwich fillers at home, from sliced cooked beef and chicken and turkey when we have meat sandwiches. I seldom purchase luncheon meats from the dairy case. We're more prone to splurge once or twice in these months on deli quality meats, but the price of those make me more determined to have my own 'at home' fillers.
Overall, I've found it much more economical to purchase meat in this way. Knowing that I'm not going back to buy meats for several months makes me more prone to use less and to incorporate more meatless meals into my menu. We last visited the meat market the first week of April. I'd previously purchased meats every three months but it was personal challenge to extend what we bought to last a little longer. I was down to a 1/2 pound of hamburger, 1/2 pound of ground turkey, and a 1 pound roast. I say sincerely we could have gone another week with those meats on hand, but today was the best day for John to travel with me.
I'd been planning to go down to the farm stand to pick up fresh local butter beans and black eyed peas for the freezer. I found fresh from my local area at the meat market, so purchased them there and put them up for the freezer when I got home.
I hemmed a pair of pants I mean to wear to Katie's wedding this weekend. They were quite snug and had never been worn but I am happy to report they fit better now.
About a year ago, I was having some skin problems. John suggested then that I start using Mary Kay. It was a little more expensive than what I'd been using, but it was something he wanted me to do as a sort of gift from him. I try to make the product last a good while, not using more than the recommended amount. The trouble is that the moisturizer and cleanser look almost exactly alike. I often confused them, especially without my glasses on. Well I opened a new box of moisturizer this week. To help me tell which product is which, I put a dab of bright colored nail polish on the bottle. I don't need glasses to see that! Now I don't mix up the two containers.
Nail polish also marks the levels on my laundry detergent cap. It does not wear off the way I found the permanent marker always did.
Wednesday: We haven't had oatmeal for several months, but the mornings have been so much cooler that I was longing for it. Tasted yummy.
Put away the cat's food when she failed to show up for her meal this morning.
I spilled some of the bathroom cleaner on the floor this morning. It's less than a penny most likely, but I hated to waste it. A dampened cloth picked it up and I had just enough to scrub the bathroom sink.
I ran out of dish detergent three days ago. Fortunately we keep a bottle of Dawn in the laundry for pret-treating stains. I borrowed it for our dishes.
I'd meant to make a roast today but didn't start it in time for dinner as planned. Instead we had an alternative meal of a main dish salad.
I didn't go out shopping for groceries yet. I made John a salad from the lettuce I had on hand for his work lunch tomorrow.
Thursday: Up early to see John off to work. I packed his lunch, made his breakfast...The usual routine but a saving routine all the same.
I made out a list this morning of all the stops I needed to make while I was out. 11. Yes, 11. I was sharing with a group of friends today about how puzzled I am that men 'do errands' and it's usually one or two stops and then they go home. Women tend to batch them; so we DO errands. Is it because we have so much we'd rather be doing at home?
Dropped off both the electric bill and phone bill at respective offices, a small savings of postage. Both places were right on my way.
Made a big circle really today and it worked rather well time wise for me. I estimate I saved about an hour and half just using the logistics of where things were to my advantage.
I had a grocery list for Aldi and another for Publix. I didn't have enough for the second store and that's okay. I got all I NEEDED at Aldi. Publix was mostly wants and those I can put on hold for a little. The meat market took priority this week. It's a good exchange.
It was HOT outdoors today even though I left home early. I carried a thermal cup of ice and a big tall water bottle with me.
Watered plants on back porch with stored water that I rotate.
Friday: John called on his way home from work to warn me he wanted to go out today. I scratched my plans and reworked them. He wanted a haircut, which meant we were going to be near the market where I purchase turkey sausage. I'd forgotten dish detergent yesterday and I needed to restock John's soda, also available there. There's a coinstar at that location and we had a stash of coins we'd saved over the past few weeks. I was ready to go when he got home.
We dropped off mail on our way out of town.
I spent plenty at the market but got nothing that wasn't on my list. I used money from my own pocket to make these purchases. It's my hopes that I can recoup it from grocery budget next pay period.
We normally treat ourselves to a once a month coffee when we're in this store but it was so hot and John doesn't 'do' frozen coffee drinks. I offered to buy him a milkshake and a junior burger for lunch. I paid out of my allowance.
I didn't buy any sweets this pay period. I made up a quick cake from scratch for our snacks. It was just a single layer cake but will stretch over four days.
I know I'm late this week, but you'll forgive me. This happened. I think you'll understand.