My Frugal Week: Aug 30 - Sept 5
Saturday: I've had a hard time sleeping lately. I found part of it was waking due to being too warm. Lowering the temperature 2 degrees has helped tremendously. I turn the AC back up every morning first thing, even before coffee.
We had spaghetti and meatballs for our dinner today. I put a quart of sauce in the freezer and set 4 meatballs aside for my dinner tomorrow.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Typically this is a quiet day at home for us. We don't work, we don't shop, we don't spend. In order to assure that this is a day of rest for me, I prep and/or make dinner the day before so we have something readily available. Otherwise the temptation to eat out, or to run to town for fast food is high. This is the bulk of my savings for this day, making dinner ahead.
Sunday: John works today. I packed his lunch, made him breakfast.
Turned up the AC.
I was torn today. I really wanted to spend the day at home, but with $20 in Kohl's cash I really wanted to use that coupon and not let it go to waste. I had an epiphany and read the cash buck. It had an online code. I went through Swagbucks, earning more cash back, and found a promo code online for another $10 off. In the end I paid out of pocket $6. With coupons, clearance sales and promo code I saved $73. I may not get Swagbucks since the amount out of pocket was shipping but I felt pretty proud of myself. And I never had to leave home... I would have spent more in gas than I'm paying for shipping!
Cleared out a flower bed this morning that had become overgrown and problematic. I found a look on Pinterest I really liked and will replicate as near as I can using what I have. My only expense will be the mulch material. I'll also have plenty of iris to move to other areas. Gotta love 'free' flowers which will multiply.
I made a mini sub using the four leftover meatballs for my dinner today.
I found loads of ants in the flower bed....and in the kitchen when I came indoors. I sprayed well then cleared off the counters and wiped them down. I never did discover their entry point nor find their highway (they leave a scent track for other ants to follow). I lost about 1/2 cup of sugar that was in the sugar dish next to the coffeepot but I seem to have stopped the flow. When you live in the country there's always a battle to protect your foodstuffs from an infiltration of mice or ants or roaches. It truly does pay off in savings to pay close attention. I'd seen an ant on the counter near that spot late Saturday night and made a mental note to check that area again Sunday morning. Losing a half cup of sugar is a bearable expense.
Once I cleared up that small pest control problem, I went over all the other counters and cleaned and wiped them well, moving items and looking to be sure there were no scouts out in those areas.
Knowing there would be no coupons in this holiday weekend's papers, I skipped purchasing the local paper. Again the savings generated was the gasoline I didn't use going to town.
Washed sheets and towels and bed pillows today. It was hot and sunny outdoors, perfect drying weather and a good time to refresh the pillows. I ended up putting them in the dryer to help insure they were fully dry since it was very humid outdoors as well. I timed the dryer to be certain the pillows didn't stay in too long.
Shopped the pantry: aluminum foil, sugar were moved to the main stock in the kitchen. I've found it's been very helpful to have just a few items in the cupboard, say one of each item and the main portion hidden away. It's psychological, but it does help to not see ALL the food at once and get heavy handed with my supplies.
Made the high Swag goal today by taking time to work at it for about an hour or so. I can't deny that it is time consuming but it is an earning opportunity and worth my while to figure out how to manage my time so that I can earn. My goal is to make first goal each day. Now and then I can manage a higher goal, as I did today.
Monday: Turned up the AC first thing.
Made biscuits from scratch for our breakfast. I have enough leftover to have for breakfast another morning as well.
Washed a medium load of clothes. Hung them to dry on the line. We do put our undies in the dryer as it helps the fabric to 'snap' back better than line drying does. I timed the load carefully. 20 minutes was just the right time to get those items dry.
Made a batch of cookies. It was a new recipe so I decided to half the recipe. I like the recipe very well.
Our dinner today was a fish fry. We don't eat a lot of fish so I used frozen fish fillets that I heated in the oven. I fried potates for our 'chips' and made hush puppies from scratch. I also prepared slaw and tartar sauce from scratch as well. I used half an apple in the slaw and half a carrot. The remainder of the carrot was cut into sticks and put in a jar of water in the fridge. I'll have carrot sticks later in the week as a side for supper sandwiches. The savings in my sides and accompaniments more than covered the cost of the fillets. I had enough fillets to save for another meal as well.
Began work on a new wreath for the back door. I did purchase some fresh floral picks last week, but only a portion of them will go into this wreath. I'll have plenty more to use for wreaths to sell or give as gifts. If I can sell one wreath it will pay for all the material I'll use to make four or five.
Supper was hamburgers John brought home from work. We just reheated in the microwave and served wtih chips on the side.
Started the long delayed work on the guest room and discovered an item I'd given up looking for. I was so happy to find it. I came very close to purchasing another last week and decided to wait. So glad I did!
I've had fun spending the money I set aside for shopping. I have a few more items on my list some of which are on sale at Target this week. I looked at items online and have an idea of which I might purchase but there's no big rush. So they can just sit in the shopping cart for a few days. I find that often I don't really want the items after all, or I can see them in person and determine if they are as nice as they appear in the ads.
Tuesday: Made breakfast from leftover biscuits. I still have a few more left. I'll use them tomorrow.
Pulled ice from the freezer to put in the coolers before going shopping.
Took water and thermal glass of ice with me for us to drink. It was hot outdoors!
John decided to get a haircut. This put me in the vicinity of the store where I buy turkey sausage. I'd made up my mind that I'd buy turkey sausage and little else. I picked up pears and black seedless grapes that were on sale and the sole package of turkey sausage in the freezer case. $10 spent. I normally don't buy just 1 package but I have overbought the last couple of times so I will have just enough to get through this month. If I'm back in that area I'll stop and check for more.
We went to Aldi. I forgot my list. Shouldn't be disastrous and really it wasn't but I did spend more than I'd intended simply because I didn't have my list. We stuck to the basics for the most part. I bought a refrigerated pizza for dinner when we got home...and I got a bag of Daffodil bulbs for $4.99. Those were my splurges. I'll be happy about the bulb splurge come next spring.
We dropped off trash and paid bills, went by the bank, while we were out.
Washed a full load of dishes this evening.
I finished the wreath for the back door.
Used leftovers to create an entree salad for supper tonight.
Worked on Swagbucks goal this evening. I was unable to make goal yesterday due to power outages and credits not working as they ought.
Wednesday: After a friend mentioned making chicken and dressing for her son in college, I had such a longing for a good old fashioned chicken and dressing dinner! So I thawed a chicken last night. I also took out the pieces of cornbread I'm always adding to the freezer when we don't eat it all. The cornbread and the last of the biscuits, fresh chicken broth and a little onion/celery made up a pan of what we Southerners calle dressing. Yum! It wasn't an expensive meal, though I will say that was the littlest chicken I've seen this side of a Cornish hen. I got about 1 cup of meat from it after we ate the leg quarters and half a breast. I don't think it weighed much over a pound bone and all. Not necessarily a frugal buy on that bird but it tasted good all the same.
With care I can make a nice entree out of the leftover bits of meat. I am thinking Spaghetti Diable which uses mushrooms to extend the meatiness of the chicken. I think I'll make that up for our dinner this weekend. It will be a quick and easy Shabat meal for us.
A bit of food waste to report today: Two servings of cherry cobbler, pushed to the back of the fridge; half a dozen large Brussels Sprouts purchased last pay period; 1/2 cup of black eyed peas I failed to do anything at all with.
For some reason we've had ants coming indoors. Not sure why, and it's mostly non-food areas where they are entering house. However, we didn't put away all the groceries yesterday. I had John carry a bag to the pantry and leave it there. I went back this morning and put away the foodstuffs right away, especially the sugar and flour which are kept in a sealed bucket. I 'shopped at home' while I was back there and brought out grape juice for our Shabat evening. I like to have it chilled so it went right to fridge.
Prepared John's work lunch for tomorrow.
A little brainstorming and I decided my next big push indoors is to get the guest/craft room decorated and arranged at long last. I set myself a budget and will mostly use what I have with a few new to me/gently used items mixed in.
Thursday: Packed John's lunch, made him breakfast.
Found ants dashing out of the glass/cup cabinet. Ugh...Not a 5am sort of job let me tell you. We found a track but have no clue where it began nor where it ended. We sprayed over the area and I will keep my eyes open all day for more of the little pests.
Part of my plan for the guest room included rearranging furniture and establishing clear 'zones'. That costs nothing, so it was easy to get started. I'm not sure it's going to be easy to finish, but it was easy to get started, lol.
Another thing that cost nothing: decluttering. My form of declutter is a little different these days. I have keep, donate, booth/ebay, and makeover piles.
Jotted down more organizing ideas that should be fairly low cost to use. Then I mentally rearranged furniture I have in the house already and got the guest area furnished. There will be a good amount of shifting about but it's free to me. It should allow me to declutter the living area a bit more, create a reading spot in my room and put much needed furniture in the guest area.
Went to work on a few booth items. I tagged them and then took them into town. I picked up my statement for the past month. I very nearly squeaked into a profit, but not quite. Right now I am not purchasing new items for the booth until it begins to make a solid profit every month. I am trying to keep things fresh by putting in items I've had here at home and shifting out those that have been on the shelf for a while.
Went to Target to pick up some gift items. Checked out some items I'd been viewing online and determined they were not at all what I wanted. Found another item though that just might be the exact thing I want to create a change in living room and it was a clearance item. I'm going to do some measuring and see how that will work out. Better to save the gas and trouble of having to make a return by determining first if it will work as I envision.
I walked out of Target with the gift items I went to purchase and three items that were on my pharmacy list. The gift items will come out of the gift fund.
I forgot all about lunch today until I was beyond hungry. I stopped at a favorite low cost place and had a meal. I won't eat supper tonight since I ate so late this afternoon.
Friday: That mental moving of furniture yesterday? Today it was physical. Oh boy am I tired. However, I am pretty happy with what I've actually finished. The guest room and our bedroom both need refining touches. I have a few things to figure out yet, but am too tired to plot them so they can wait.
John washed a full load of clothes this morning. He hung all but undies to dry and they were finished in 20 minutes. I took the drying rack outdoors to the back porch so the cloths hung there could dry outdoors, too.
Cleaned and neatened up back porch this morning. Two planters of flowers were just flat done for the season, so I pulled those up. All the empty pots are stacked at one end of the porch. When the wagon is empty of the weeds I pulled, I'll move the pots to the shed for wintering over. I won't fill more than I have with plants now with winter things.
In the kitchen today, I made waffles for breakfast. Usually I make a full batch and freeze them but I don't really have freezer room at the moment. I put the remaining batter in a jar and will use it to make pancakes in a few days time.
I took the leftover fajita mixture and yellow rice today and filled burritos. I had less meat than I thought I did so I added a couple spoonfuls of refried beans to the mixture. That's one weekend meal dinner entree...
I took the leftover chicken from Wednesday, some mushrooms from the fridge that needed to be used up and made a favorite casserole dish. The original recipe calls for just 1/2 cup chicken. I measured mine at 3/4 cup. Since the remaining bit was too little to make chicken salad or even a decent sandwich (it was all very small pieces) I tossed it all into my Spaghetti Diable. We will get two meals off that casserole. That's the second weekend entree.
I made potatoes to go with our dinner today. I went ahead and cooked four, even though we only needed two. When they were cooked, I set half of them aside. I'll make hash browns one morning for breakfast from them.
I was weary and decided that today was the day to take advantage of one of the frozen entrees I have on hand. I chose Chicken Pot Pies, made mashed potatoes. Iserved the leftover cranberry sauce as a side to the pot pie. John didn't eat his lunch salad yesterday so we had salad for dinner as well. I do not like bagged salad, but I won't throw it out! We bought a sweet roll that we aren't fond of, but we had that for dessert with a cup of coffee. Mixing up those things we don't like so much with those we like quite well, balances it all out.
John went out to mow. The grass has slowed considerably. Despite rain, the lawn didn't look at all messy after two weeks of not mowing, just a little higher than normal. I believe this will be our last mow of the season.
John asked to have a special meal for dinner tonight: beans and franks. It's not something I'd normally make, but my husband doesn't request foods too often, so I try to comply. Normally we season beans a certain way but the can we had tasted pretty good as they were, so I saved those extra ingredients.
The photo here is of my craft space as it was a couple of years ago. I'd worked on it some this Spring and made it slightly better but this week the push was to finally tame the room into two distinct, organized, pretty areas. I have, at present, gotten the room arranged, reorganized. The pretty part is a work in progress.
I usually go through a fit of decluttering, reorganizing, cleaning when I have upsetting things going on in my life. Not so this time. I can only lay it at the feet of seasonal energy and since I've returned to my deep cleaning year round plan, I don't have fall cleaning to do. So making a new spot in my home pretty is my goal. I have a small, very small budget, but I've got a vision. Odds are against me that the room will look as nice as my vision. However, it will be close enough to please me and at this point any work on the room is a plus.
I'll share after photos when the room is a little nearer completion. Right now there are a few items out of place (a donate pile and a stack of things meant to go to the shed), so I'd like to wait just a wee bit before I show off things.
So the reason I'm late this week? Exhausted, lol. Two days of hard work back to back at the end of the week, getting that room started and doing a major moving about of bookshelves/books on Friday from the living room, as well. I've moved furniture from one room to another and that created a domino effect of messes. I worked my bottom off in an effort to get it all back in order before sundown Friday evening. I did what I meant to do, but I was so weary, I couldn't write Living Well until this afternoon. I promised myself I'd take the whole weekend off from house/yard projects and I have. Now the new week shines before me with four days of time to work my bit of magic about this house. I am looking forward to jumping feet first into my work this week.
Homemaking is a challenging task, one I find most lovely in it's mix of routine and creative inspiration. Enjoying your work is part of Living Well. It makes rest most enjoyable and it brings a satisfaction when you create a little haven from next to nothing.