This Week In My Home: Frugal All Week Long
Saturday: I promised John a breakfast of sausage gravy. We had that over leftover warmed biscuits. Yum.
I made a simple at home lunch even though I had no desire at all to cook. It was quick and easy. I thawed frozen burger patties (I made up when we brought the ground meat home at first of year) and cut two medium potatoes into oven fries. Everything went into the oven to cook. It was quick and easy and painless for clean-up as well. I cooked two extra burgers to put in John's work lunch tomorrow.
After sunset, I prepared items to go into John's lunch for work tomorrow.
waste: some turkey sausage thingies that we like from Aldi. They are like Slim Jim but not quite as dry. I've noted before that once the package is open they spoil. I should have put them in the fridge. Unfortunately this package got lost in a basket I keep in the cabinet. I think I'll swap that basket out. It's black and hard to see items that might be lurking in it. I tossed about six of the sausages. Ugh.
Sunday: Made John breakfast. Packed his lunch.
Washed two full loads of laundry. I decided it was time to freshen my dining linens. Today I washed all the napkins (lots!) and tablecloths. I still need to wash all the place mats and runners, but they can wait. I hung two loads on the line, all tablecloths. I put the napkins in the dryer. Everything is so crisp and fresh now. I am not putting them back into the drawers until I have time to wipe them out. They I'll try to store everything neatly. I've culled a few items for donation or sale.
Cleaned my kitchen counter tops and all items on them most thoroughly. That was my deep cleaning exercise for today in that room! It took nearly two hours to get it all done but it looks so nice and uncluttered and neat. All except that dish drainer...I really am thinking of getting one of those spongy microfiber mats to put dishes upon and doing away with that drainer board. It would free up so much more room!
Sorted coupons I'd clipped earlier in the week.
Balanced checkbook. Good thing. I found I'd forgotten to write down a small purchase I'd made.
Got bill box ready to for Harvest tomorrow.
Opened the windows and let some of that cold fresh air blow through and clear the house of odors and such.
Have taken advantage of my television today to listen to cooking programs, a kitchen program that discussed thrifty tips, ice skating and Downton Abby. I also got a good deal from sermons I heard this morning.
Lunch was easily prepared and tasty. Supper was a frozen leftover entree from the freezer.
Made myself a single cup of coffee.
Shopped at home: mayonnaise, blueberries, coffee, milk, buttermilk. Some from the freezer and some from the pantry.
Monday: Made blueberry muffins for our breakfast this morning...I am running low on bread and it seemed a good way to stretch things out by skipping toast.
I have struggled with dry splitting cuticles for years. I started using coconut oil on them about two weeks ago and it's remarkable how much better and healthier they look. Bonus is that my nails are also healthier and growing more quickly since I started using it. And it's so inexpensive. I have 1 tbsp in a little tub container and I've barely decreased the amount at all. A warm fingertip brings it right back to oil stage and I rub that on my cuticles and massage in.
I wanted to make a cake and thought I'd half the recipe when I saw that it made 2 dozen cupcakes. My muffin pan is a bit larger than a standard cupcake pan. I figured that I wouldn't get quite 2 dozen from the recipe and I didn't. I made a dozen cupcakes and then I used my doughnut pan and made six doughnuts from the remaining batter. I put those in the freezer for another day's treat.
I chose to half the amount of frosting. This proved to be a wise choice. I might have piped the frosting on the cupcake and used more but there was enough even with half the recipe.
I halved another recipe as well which called for 1 stick of butter, 1 can of mushroom soup and 1 can of evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water. I used regular milk and skipped the water. I used half as much milk as the recipe called for, half as much butter and half the can of soup. Honestly we had a gracious plenty and could have had leftovers! (We didn't keep any for leftovers however).
I cooked twice the amount of rice needed today. I put the leftovers in the fridge.
I ran a full load of laundry and a full load of dishes. I put both to wash on a short wash cycle. John hung the laundry to dry. I cut the dry function off on my dishwasher but about two thirds through that cycle I turn it on. This gets rid of the bulk of the water on the dishes without running the heat dry for a full cycle.
Paid bills. We have one pay period each month that is significantly smaller than the other one. It all has to do with how the work days fall and it pretty much sucks to be honest, but we have learned to manage it. I try to keep this pay period's groceries down to just the basics: dairy, produce, bread and any absolute outages that have already or will occur before the pay period ends. It is what works best for us. This pay period I have a small amount extra (not sure how that happened but I've checked our figures three times, lol) so I will stock up on a few items that are on sale at the local grocery. I will buy a case of canned vegetables and three cans of Turkey Spam to go on the pantry shelf.
When I made dinner today I thought I'd thawed chicken thighs and breasts. The plan was to use the chicken thighs to make a small batch of chicken salad. I found I'd taken out legs instead. I just went ahead with my recipe, oven frying them. We had legs for supper tonight instead of having chicken salad. Same difference in the end. I used up leftover mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes to go with the chicken.
The past two days it's gotten a little warm indoors towards 3pm. I have opened windows both days and kept them open until the late afternoon temperature drops. It has kept the house quite comfortable and I like to have that air movement through the house.
Tuesday: Toasted blueberry muffins for our breakfast bread.
Made sure to tell John that we were eating only a portion of the sausages cooked. I put them away after preparing our plates, so no temptation.
We bagged up trash, gathered banking stuff, mail to send out...combining errands with grocery shopping. We filled up the car on our way home.
John bought us lunch out of his allowance.
I went a little over my grocery allowance. There were some very good deals this week on items I stock in my pantry. This will balance out over time. There are plenty of weeks without good sales on anything.
Opened windows when we returned home and let the house air out.
Wednesday: We bought tags for our cars today.
We made some changes to our auto insurance policy and cancelled the tag on the truck. It hasn't left the yard in two years so it seems silly to keep it insured and licensed. John is going to put it up for sale.
Took my car for an oil change.
The tags and the oil change came from sub accounts where we deposit a small amount of money each pay period. It was nice to know that those 'big' sort of expenses (tags plus oil change was a good amount) were covered and we didn't have to scratch to find money to cover.
Came home to eat lunch. I had a quick and easy meal option here. We ate so late that we skipped supper last night and just had a light snack about 7pm.
Thursday: Made John breakfast and packed his work lunch.
John only has a small dorm sized fridge at work which must be shared with four others and also store the shop's soda/waters (sold to fund two annual dinners). He asked if I could just pack him peanut butter sandwiches and shelf stable foods that needed no refrigeration. That was easier than I thought it might be. I was thinking this morning that I can also buy him the shelf stable pudding cups to go into his lunch bag. As he pointed out to me he eats a well balanced diet here at home and he's only at work 48 hours each week. He doesn't think nutritionally he'll lose a load of ground in those two work days. Since I can also pack fresh fruit, water, etc. in his lunch I am inclined to agree.
Took water with me when I left the house. Should have taken two bottles but didn't. I had no place where I could refill it, so I bought one. I see all the time where people rant about buying bottles of water but really, I'd rather have the water than soda. Just sorry I failed to realize that I'd want two instead of one.
Found a brand new pair of moccasins at the thrift store. They are Minnetonka and very nice and fit perfectly. I shall enjoy wearing them!
I was thrifting to stock the new shelves that arrived for the flea market booth. Yes, I finally stopped procrastinating and ordered the shelving. I am expanding my space and I need more stuff to fill it up.
Expansion doesn't mean going nuts with spending. I stayed within my usual limits and paid for it all from my allowance.
Stripped the bed and washed the sheets with the clothes in the laundry basket. I'd rather wash a full load than a half one.
Friday: John asked for a special dinner today. I agreed readily enough since it was inexpensive to make and it was SOUP. Soup is one of my favorite things to eat especially when it's wet and cold and miserable outdoors. I had leftovers enough for another meal.
I baked a chicken for Shabat dinner tomorrow. I put cornbread in the same oven to bake, making good use of the oven heat.
John washed a full load of clothes. He hung some to dry.
I washed a full load of dishes.
I brewed two single cups of coffee this evening after supper for us. We normally don't take coffee in the evening but we both were just longing to have one to chase away the chill.
All in all it seems a small day for savings doesn't it? It was...But it was the same small things I do every week, in and out to save money. Washing baggies, packaging leftovers for another meal, checking the fridge for potential additions to meals for the next day or so, measuring pet food, hanging clothes to dry. It's not exciting, it takes a little more patience than doing otherwise.
Small details...Often they go unnoticed. The photo above is a case in point. You might have to enlarge the picture but on the knee of this statue (looks awfully real doesn't he?) are two lizards sunning, one an adult and one a baby. John pointed them out to me. I'd been looking at the garden plot but had failed to notice the lizards. Small detail.
It's those little details that make home special. The way a lamp is placed for reading, or the way we arrange a mantle is not really something that is absorbed right away, but it comes to the attention of a visitor or family member as they relax and look about a room. These little arrangements are seldom expensive but usually just a pleasing group of items that are already at hand or that have been picked up for next to nothing at a thrift store.
Perhaps the person looking is not even sure just why a home seems so pleasant, especially when nothing is obviously expensive or eccentric looking, but the overall feeling is that there is something particularly comfortable and appealing about the home. That is just as it should be.