My Frugal Week: August 23 -30
Saturday: Our dinner was pretty much prepped for the day, so little work required from me. I sliced potatoes, covered in water and put in the fridge yesterday. I should have drained and refilled the pot with lukewarm to take less time to heat up, but I didn't think about the savings that would have made. I will next time.
I kept coming across a recipe in my vintage magazines that I had made a few times quite a few years ago, Fancy Pants Burgers. I made that for dinner today. I made the patties up yesterday. I thawed a pound of ground beef and made four thin patties. I didn't need quite all of the pound, so I browned the rest in the skillet I meant to cook the burgers in. I mixed that meat with some taco meat that I had in the freezer. I'll use that later to make burritos or soup or something.
We didn't have any cookies or dessert for the day. My homemade brownies are not cheap to make from scratch but they do taste better than any boxed mix. I made a half recipe. These will last us several days as snacks/desserts.
Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher. I've been utilizing my dishwasher more and more of late and not hand-washing as many dishes. I'm convinced there's a savings in this for us.
Made sandwiches for John's lunch and gathered things in a basket in the fridge so I could find them quickly in the morning.
Sunday: Packed John's work lunch. Made him breakfast.
I skipped eating this morning. Every now and then I do, though not often. I find it just clears my system so to speak and it makes me feel better.
I stripped the bed and washed a full load of laundry: sheets and towels and cloths. Hung all to dry on the line. I didn't have quite enough clothes to make a full load so I left them for Monday when John came in from work.
It might not sound frugal but I shopped this afternoon. I have no shoes for winter wear. Mine split at the seams late last winter and I never replaced. Today I went out with the purpose of buying shoes, several pairs of shoes. I found a pair of pretty sandals on sale. I got a dressy pair of black shoes and a casual pair of black ones. I spent good money on those shoes and this is one area where I don't mind spending bigger. My shoe size is common and that makes it very hard to find good comfortable shoes in my size range, so when I find shoes I think look nice, fit well, and are pretty I pay whatever price is asked. I received a $20 off $20 purchase coupon on this purchase. I will go back and use that on something else to enhance my wardrobe, a purse, scarf or nice piece of costume jewelry that I can use several seasons.
I stopped at the grocery to buy something for my supper before heading home. I also wanted to get a few items on my list for pantry that I use occasionally. As I got out of my car the woman next to me was unloading her cart. I offered to take it back into the store for her. She thanked me then offered me a coupon good for $10 off $50 grocery/beverage purchase. I spent a little more than $50 so that $10 coupon was a real blessing for us.
I had intended to pick up a couple more packages of the Kosher hot dogs that were on sale as a BOGO. These have only 7 hot dogs in a package. I noted that a very good organic brand of beef hot dogs were also on sale, same price with 10 in the package. I chose to purchase those.
I bought the Sunday paper while in the store. The coupons will pay for it, but we like the entertainment value of the paper, too. I also found another $10 off coupon from the same store where I'd bought my shoes which I can use when I go back. That makes $30 in savings.
I saved half the sandwich I bought for my supper.
I did not turn on the television until nearly 9pm when a program I look forward to came on. This NEVER happens when my husband is home though he now cuts the television off more often...just doesn't leave it off ALL DAY, as I often do.
Ordered a new battery for my computer using Swagbucks to earn extra bucks, getting free shipping on the purchase and using PayPal earnings from Swag to cover more than half the cost.
Monday: I forgot to reset the timer on the coffeepot so it made coffee at 5am. We didn't make a new pot when John came in from work. We just reheated what was in the pot. Since this coffeepot also automatically cuts off after 1 1/2 hours it doesn't burn and get bitter tasting.
Made breakfast from scratch after John came in. I used the last of the Lemon Poppy Seed muffins as our bread for the meal.
Spent another morning in the kitchen, though it wasn't quite what I'd planned for the day. I made 1 dozen egg rolls, as well as Chicken Fried Rice for our meal. I steamed half a package of Snow Peas as a side dish and made Ambrosia from frozen orange slices. I put several egg rolls in the freezer after they'd cooled. I bake mine in the oven so they do not require oil to fry.
I put the chicken carcass and a back from another chicken in to make broth for soup this week. I added a tbsp of vinegar to leach calcium from the chicken bones. I picked over the bones and got another 2 cups of meat from them. I saved the skin and soft grizzles for Misu and Maddie.
I mixed up Banana Poundcake using three bananas that got fully ripened very quickly. I made in loaf pans instead of a tube pan and put one in the freezer. I'd meant to put both in the freezer but underestimated my husband's like of freshly made Banana Poundcake, lol.
Washed another full load of dishes.
Tuesday: We had plans to travel to a favorite nearby destination today. I made breakfast for us here at home.
I packed water bottles to take with us.
We had dinner out. We ate late so supper tonight was cheese and fruit for me. John chose to eat some of the egg salad I'd made.
I packed John's lunch for work tomorrow and put in the fridge.
I had the coffee pot ready to make coffee when we walked in the door this afternoon.
Wednesday: Packed John's lunch, made him breakfast.
Yesterday morning when we left home, John cut off every ceiling fan in the house, fans we normally leave running. I couldn't help but think he might have hit upon an unseen savings window. Today when I left home I did the same. I was gone several hours, as we were yesterday.
I had a list of what I meant to purchase at the craft store today. I found all but one item on my list today.
Found a pair of shoes, 50% off. I save $32.
Mama bought lunch today. I paid the tip and bought our dessert from my allowance.
Spent a few minutes doing housework after I got in. I am grateful that we are fairly neat people in this household.
Skipped supper since we'd had such a late lunch. I did have a graham cracker and peanut butter with my milk this evening.
Thursday: Up early this morning to have coffee and do Bible study before John came in from work.
I made French toast for breakfast. The last few times I've made french toast, John has insisted I scramble the egg and milk mixture. I usually add nutmeg and vanilla to my egg/milk for the toast and I just didn't think it would make good scrambled eggs. This morning I decided that since he was likely to want the scrambled egg, I'd skip the vanilla and nutmeg. Yes, I missed it but French toast is still good toast without it. Besides, I can always sprinkle cinnamon sugar on my toast which is pretty awesome. Hint: I always add a smidge of freshly grated nutmeg to my cinnamon sugar. It adds a bit of something extra that is very nice.
After breakfast was cleared away and the pets were fed, I washed out water buckets and watered the outdoor plants. I do not understand pets in the least. Fresh beautiful clear water in the buckets and pails and what do they want to drink? The green cruddy water running across the patio...sigh. Never fear, the plants appreciated the green cruddy water, too.
Another kitchen morning. Savings galore! First I skimmed fat off the pot of broth, then added in chicken and fresh vegetables to simmer. I'll thicken later and add noodles and we'll call it supper instead of dinner tomorrow as planned. I don't know. Maybe it will still be dinner tomorrow. Anyway, it's all simmered up and reduced a bit. later note: we didn't have for supper as I got involved in a discussion with a dear friend online and missed the supper hour. We had something we could make quickly instead.
Made meatballs and stretched the half pound of meat with some bread crumbs, an egg, chopped onion, garli and finely minced baby portabella mushrooms. I also added 2 patties worth of the turkey breakfast sausage we like which extended the meat a little further. I managed a dozen meatballs from the meat with the extenders. I browned the meatballs in olive oil.
Made spaghetti sauce. I added my chopped fresh vegetables which included several Roma tomatoes that wanted to go spotty on me. I cut away the bad parts and chopped the good ones. I browned the vegetables (not the tomatoes) in the oil I'd cooked the meatballs in, scraping the pan well so all those lovely bits came up. I simmered the sauce for two hours or so, then added in the meatballs and removed from heat. I don't intend to have this meal until Saturday. All the components should have great flavor after sitting together for a couple of days.
I made potato pierogi from leftover mashed potatoes and leftover egg roll wrappers. I put 16 in the freezer.
I had a few false starts but I think they will be all right.
I put a portion of our fajita mixture aside for another meal. I'll mix with rice and black beans to stretch and fill tortillas and make burritos for the freezer. These will make quick and easy suppers and work lunches.
I cut the fan on in the kitchen sitting area each morning to keep that area cooler as the sun heats thru the windows. In the afternoon I've found I can cut the fan off, saving that energy.
Friday: John was vague about plans for today but clear about his desire to leave home. I brought along bottles of water. Next time I'll bring along snacks, too! We didn't stop to purchase snacks but we did get rather hungry before we finally found our way to a favorite restaurant.
Two days this week we've gone off on long drives and had dinner out. We won't do this every week by any means, and certainly not every time John is off, but as he pointed out to me there are times when he just gets weary of forever saving and making do. I get that. There are times I get weary of it as well. It's nice to remember that we CHOOSE to be frugal and CHOOSE to live debt free. It's nice as well to just have fun now and then. The bulk of our money that day was gasoline usage. We traveled a good ways, saw a lot of the countryside and had some great conversations. We laughed and joked. We had some deep serious conversations, too. We enjoyed ourselves. And when we came in we were ready to buckle down once more and SAVE.
Supper tonight: Chicken noodle soup. I set 1 quart of broth aside. I had enough meat/veg/broth to make TWO batches of Chicken Noodle soup, so one portion went into the freezer.
This weekend, this last weekend in August, has been sort of bittersweet. It's the last holiday weekend of summer...Football games began in earnest. I've listened to the roar of crowds all afternoon...And outdoors leaves have fluttered to the ground all day long, drifting slowly but relentlessly down. It's made me a little sad to watch the end of the end of another season, another summer.
Each year there are a few regrets. This year I'm sorry that I never experienced the joyous thrill of splashing cool water on sun soaked skin. I regret not eating even one single bit of sticky sweet, chilled watermelon. I regret that I bought peaches only twice and that I failed to buy corn to put up for the winter months as I did last year. I regret we didn't make it to the beach. I regret not having a frozen Coke.
But there are things I indulged in...I had peach ice cream. I sat outdoors and listened to the drying wind blow and enjoyed the warmth of a summer's day. I had pretty flowers in pots and in the flower beds. I may not have eaten my fill of peaches but I did buy some and enjoyed every juicy mouthful. I've appreciated the aroma of fresh mown grass at least right up to that moment when I began to sneeze, lol. And I've appreciated the wonderful scent of laundry brought in from the line, freshened by sun and wind in a way that no dryer sheet or detergent is ever going to impart.
I've appreciated iced tea mid afternoon after working hard and getting hot. We made it to the mountain for the first time ever in summer. (I didn't see any more leaves changing color than we've had here.) I've enjoyed having iced water along with me when I had to run errands. I relished this season and it's offerings. That's what I meant to do. It's what I want to do with every season.
So here's to a pleasant summer just leaving us quietly and gently. And here's to Autumn and all it's pleasures. Bring on the football and the rustle of leaves, the pumpkins and crisp cool air. Bring on the wonderful tart apples, fresh cider, boiled green peanuts and the other nuts and spices we associate with this season. Bring on the sweaters and the quilts and the first slow simmering stews. It is time to move on once again. Let it begin.