This Week In My Home: Frugal Friday, A New Year of Savings

                      My vintage kitchen paper holder...who knew cute would lead to savings?

Thursday (New Year's Day):  We didn't have the components of our holiday breakfast on hand.  I will surely plan better next year but my lack of planning does not warrant spending extra.  We had some apple fritters and John fried eggs.  It was pleasant enough, a nice hot meal on a cold morning.  I ate my meal in the sunny kitchen sitting area which just added to the meal in my opinion.

Washed a full load of laundry and hung most of it out to dry.  I added the mattress pad to the sheets this morning and I knew that the mattress pad can be stubborn to dry outdoors.  It went into the dryer, sheets went on the line.

Leisurely day for the most part.  I continued to make my plans on paper.  I managed to write out my 'Non-Aldi list' and was pleasantly surprised to find that really we buy 90% of our grocery at Aldi.  More than I thought.  Personal care, pet foods, soda (they do sell Coke but not the one that John prefers) and meats are the items we buy elsewhere.  My list ended up being rather short and I was glad to see that it was so.  It reminds me that I have little reason to make a second store stop unless the items I need are on sale.  If I buy and stock up on sale that will mean fewer trips and should mean extra savings overall as I avoid impulse buys.

Mixed up the rest of the ground beef and made meatballs.  I got 30 meatballs.  I used bread end pieces, some milk that was just slightly off tasting, a little finely minced onion and eggs to make the meatballs. I chose to season only with salt and pepper.  I can now use these for spaghetti meatballs or Swedish meatballs as the seasoning can be added with the simmering sauce.  I divided the meatballs into portions and bagged them up.  I had six leftover and turned those into mini meatball sliders using the rolls I bought yesterday, canned marinara, a mozzarella cheese stick and a packet of Parmesan John left from his Cesar salad kit.

I cooked the meatballs in the same oven in which I baked our steak and potatoes.  I also added some fried chicken breast fillets to use in John's work lunch sandwiches.  I had three left in the package, so cooked them all.  I cut the largest into four pieces.  I will use those for our weekend breakfast.

Prepared foods for John's work lunch tomorrow.

Friday:  Let's start with what went right about this day...Fed the dogs this morning and added the pan drippings from my foods yesterday.  I'd just added hot water and scraped the bits up off the bottom.  They sure did like that!

Went to CVS to pick up a prescription...Well I didn't.  There was a glitch and we had a renewed prescription end up at a different store branch.  They are working on fixing that and we'll pick up when we go through town later this weekend.  In the meantime, I took advantage of sales, coupons, kiosk offers and ECB at CVS.  Here's what I did.  I needed vitamins.  Kiosk coupons came up for $2 off 2 different vitamins/supplements.  They were on sale as a BOGO.  I paid just $3 for both bottles.

Proctor and Gamble products were on sale with an ECB offer of $10 if you purchased $30 worth of products. I bought 3 packages of hair color at $6 a box with $7 in coupons, 2 deodorants, and 3 Dawn dish detergents with $.75 in coupons.  My total came up to $31.  I earned my $10 ECB.  Those three hair colors will carry me into next year as I need only 1/2 of the contents to color my short, thin, fine hair.

I also purchased a concealer.  No coupons, straight price, but it counts towards another ECB and my beauty products earnings.

I spent $79 but after sales/coupons I paid $35.  I earned a $10 ECB to use on my next purchases.

The plan was to go thrifting.  Who would have guessed that of four available thrift stores they would ALL be closed on the Friday following New Year's Day?  Bust.

Drove to another town, the plan being to visit an antique mall.  I have a short list of items I want for my home and I thought this the most likely place to find them.  I found 1 of each item in poor condition.  I resisted hard the urge to replace my red canisters with a nearly mint set that is exactly like mine but in turquoise.  Happy to note that my knobs are original to the set.  I did buy a lovely antique turquoise necklace that resembles the bold necklaces so popular just now and a silk scarf.  Both will boost my wardrobe nicely.  I got two iron plant hangers, two little trays (one will go on back porch wall) and a lovely little figurine of a little girl reading that reminds me strongly of my granddaughter Hailey.  I paid for these items from my personal funds.

Prior to the antique mall (which was to be followed by a trip to another town and the thrift stores in that vicinity) I realized that I'd not eaten since 5am.  Conscious that it had been 8 hours since my meal I decided to stop for a quick meal, which would be my 2nd and only other meal today....Another hour later and my blood sugar had dropped hard before the meal ever arrived.  I was given a discount and it was hot and delicious but it pointed up my need to keep some crackers on me.  I am not a diabetic nor a pre-diabetic but had simply gone too long between meals and I hate how I feel (weepy, emotional and shaky) on the rare occasions this does happen.  In future I'll have crackers with me!  I think I'll just pack up a little kit bag with snacks and a bottle of water for just such slip-ups.  Result was not only that I ended up buying a meal when I had foods at home, but my energy was sapped by the swing.  I managed the antique mall and then came home.

On the way home this afternoon, I talked myself out of stopping at the grocery.  I reasoned rightly that I had foods a plenty at home and there was no need to go shop for anything extra.  I can easily wait until grocery day to purchase those needs.

Washed a full load of clothes.  I hung a portion to dry but the rest went into the dryer.  It was rainy,dark and cold by the time I came in this evening.

Washed a full load of dishes as well.

Made myself a single cup of coffee using that feature on my coffee pot.

It took so long for my supper to heat (I needed to eat to take a medication) that I decided against eating it all and put some aside for one of us to eat one night this weekend.

Saturday:  Of course we stayed home all day today.  I was up a wee bit early this morning.  I did so purposely so I could color my hair before John came in from work.

Fed dogs leftovers from John's work lunch.

I made chili for our dinner today.  It's relatively easy, can certainly be made less expensively than most meals. I doubled up on the ground beef, increasing it to one pound, added in three cans of beans (cannelini, black and kidney) and two cans of tomatoes plus a whole onion.  I wanted leftovers so I could put some in the freezer and make another couple of meals from the chili as well.

I served the chili over rice to stretch it a bit further.  I doubled up on the rice, too.  It's to be cold this next week and I thought a bowl of warm rice pudding would be nice for dessert one day.

I waited until evening to do dishes...and that's when I discovered the baking counter and cabinets above were over run with ants.  Here's the bonus of having all my foodstuffs stored in glass jars...Not one thing was bothered by those ants!  They were just busy doing something we can't quite figure out yet.  Sprayed them and then cleaned counter and cabinets and then spritzed perimeters of cabinets with spray again.

I made some new cards for upcoming events this afternoon, using just what I had on hand.  I keep card stock and clip pictures from magazines and catalogs and save scraps of pretty paper when I've worked on other projects.  Now and then I find scrap booking supplies in the dollar store which I also incorporate into the cards.  I didn't think to photograph them : - { so I haven't anything to show you.  However, they turned out very nice and I was proud to write my notes inside and get them ready to post.  I  used manila envelopes to mail them.

Thawed sliced corned beef for supper sandwiches.

Sunday:  Up early this morning.  I made breakfast sandwiches.  They are hearty enough to carry us through a longer morning at church.

Carried off trash, checked our mail and dropped off mail to go out with today's post in town as we left for church.

John stopped and bought a newspaper.  Coupons aplenty in this issue.  I read the thing from page 1 through to the advertisements.  Glad I did because I found two coupons hidden in the pages.

Decided not to stop for Chinese takeout on the phone.  I told John we had plenty to choose from here I'd just need to take a few minutes to prepare it...but I've made up my mind that from now on we'll just have dinner from the crock pot.  It's a great time of year to leave something slow cooking and come home to something lovely and hot.

John went into grocery to buy a dozen eggs...and came out with two dozen, an 8 piece box of chicken and a macaroni salad.  He took of care of dinner!  I won't complain.  I'll just make the best of it.  I should get two more meals from that box and I will.  One will be lunches for us the next day he works and one will be a full entree.

Washed the vacuum filter after emptying the canister.  It is a bagless vacuum and we often wash the foam filter.

Monday:  Cleaned the laundry area this morning, but got frustrated.  I want to do so many things in that tight little closet to improve the appearance of it but can't just at the moment.  I soothed my need by covering a detergent box we use for trash with contact paper.  It turned out cute.  Not photo worthy but an improvement.  I talked to John about another thing I want to do.  I'm going to look at paint swatches too and get that little area painted this year.

I cleaned the back entry.  I've been wanting a bench at the back there forever.  I have a piece of furniture that has a bench underneath a tabletop.  I asked John about cutting it down to just bench height so that it's more comfortable and useful.

Clipped and organized coupons.

I made Spaghetti Diable for dinner today.  I've been making this for years.  It uses just 1/2 cup of chicken.  I found that one chicken thigh had 1/2 cup.  I put chicken in John's lunch for work tomorrow and I have enough chicken for me to have lunch tomorrow as well.

While prepping dinner, I also made tuna fish salad for sandwich fillings

I prepped dinner for Wednesday using some of the chili I'd made.  I opened a can of creamed corn instead of the whole kernel corn I thought I was opening.  Boo!  I re-planned my meal and made a tamale pie.  I put the creamed corn in the cornmeal batter that goes on top of the chili.

Worked up the bill box for Harvest.

Made banana muffins.  This was a boxed mix bought on clearance back in autumn.

I am running low on milk.  I used a can of evaporated milk as my milk today.  I diluted it with water.  As an aside I just discovered that canned evaporated milk has Carageenan in it, sigh.  I shall have to give it up.

Tuesday:  John's work day.  I made him breakfast and packed the lunch I prepped yesterday.

Looked over CVS sales paper and thought I might go pick up a few beauty items...Then I threw the sales sheet in the trash and went and dug in my bathroom cabinet.  Face mask, moisturizer, lip balm, micro scrub for hands and lips, toner...I decided to use what I have and I did.

Harvest day in our home.  I paid tithes and bills this morning.  It was a heavier job than usual but thankfully
we had ample to meet all needs.

Took off trash when I carried bills to town to post.  Went to bank.  I couldn't get cash as the ATM was being serviced at the time.  Having experienced the shock of being charged double fees for using another bank ATM I decided to proceed with my thrifting and come back to town to try again.

I used my cash stash, the money I keep hidden for emergencies to do my thrifting.  I had a spending limit and stuck to it despite using 'extra' money.

Came back through town and was able to get cash.  No fees!

Went into local grocery to get milk enough to carry us through until we can grocery shop.  I discovered that Crowley brand half and half has NO CARAGEENAN!  Yes!  I will have half and half in my coffee once more!

John and I like ice cream but a half gallon (or whatever size it is these days) is too much and gets freezer burn despite great care on my part.  A pint is too tempting to eat all in one sitting and ridiculously pricey compared to the half gallon.  I discovered the little individual cups, 1 dozen at 50cents a serving.  Not cheap but the best plan I think for us.  We should limit ourselves to 1 serving, or so is my hope.

I am forever looking for a mop bucket.  I've used a dish pan, used my little plastic and metal trash cans, used the sink.  There's never a bucket handy for me to use.  I found plastic buckets today for $1.  I bought two.

When I am thrifting I buy things that screech out at me, "Pick me!".  Usually they are vintage items, pretty and in some way they remind me of my past.  The real thrill isn't just the hunt.  It's coming home to look items up online and discovering that my treasure-ometer was working very well indeed.

Put a moisturizing mask on my feet...It's nothing more than globs of a rich lotion and a pair of fluffy socks to allow it to soak in.  I used petroleum jelly on my nails to help moisturize them.

Completed an online survey about service at the burger place I stopped at for lunch and received a code for a free sandwich.

Registered my Kroger card online so that I can take advantage of the Friday Freebies and load coupons directly to the card.

Ate leftovers for my supper. I had the two chicken wings left from the box of chicken purchased on Sunday.  I added a side of rutabagas which I'd cooked and put in the freezer.  Yummy!

Wednesday:  Made rice pudding from the leftover rice.  I didn't need the whole can of condensed sweetened milk.

I used the rest of the condensed milk to make a flavored coffee creamer.  I mixed it with an equal amount of milk and a few drops of almond flavoring to make an amaretto flavor.  Pretty tasty!

John brought home his salad untouched.  Since he's careful to keep his lunch bag in the refrigerator at work, I knew the salad was perfectly fine.  We had it today for with the tamale pie.

Re-used a binder to create a dedicated spot for my booth paperwork.

Planted a few more of the iris I had dug up.  This has been an ongoing job.  I planted them this morning because it is supposed to freeze today and I thought they would do better in ground.  I had perhaps a dozen more rhizomes but couldn't think where I'd put them that I could easily dig the ground. If they survive I'll plant them later and if not the hundred or so that I did get planted should more than make up for the loss.

Made sure the dog and cat had cozy spots for the incoming cold nights.  Both go nuts if I bring them indoors, so I keep the most worn sheets and old towels and bath rugs especially to make them warmer spots to be.  I'll lay odds Maddie will drag every bit of hers out in the yard where she will sleep on them in the full cold.  She did the same thing last year in the snow, foolish girl.

Electricity was out for about an hour this afternoon.  No clue why.  I am always double minded about outages.  I like having the amenities electricity allows, but figure it's a savings to have every blessed thing in the house off for a bit, too.

Set up a dedicated notebook for my booth.  I used an old binder already on hand and dividers I'd bought in bulk for my genealogy notebook.  Now I have my paper work better organized and it's easier to find the pages needed.

Thursday:  Grocery day for us.  We took mail with us to town to drop off at post office.  I went by the flea market to settle up.  I made a profit again this month.

Put a pot roast on to cook in crock pot for our dinner.

At the grocery it was about restocking the pantry.  I purchased a good number of canned goods today, some baking items.  As I put things away this afternoon, I couldn't help but recall Katie putting things away for me one afternoon and turning to me to say, "It must be very comforting to see this cabinet full of food."  It does.  Not in a  cozy feeling sort of way but in homemaking sense I feel I've provided well for my household.  I felt that way this evening as I put the last of the canned items into the pantry.

It's very cold out here in the south, never getting above freezing temperatures today.  Sad to see my snapdragons budded and frozen solid, sigh.  So glad they are perennials and will come back.

John asked why I didn't buy the flowers I looked at today.  I explained to him that I didn't like the color combinations but was interested in an odd looking flower that was in the arrangement.

We didn't eat out today.  We came home and had our pot roast dinner.  I can't begin to describe how nice it was to open the back door and feel the rush of warm air and smell the aroma of the roast cooking.  Gosh but it was good to come home to that!

Tagged items for booth.

Boxed up some books that need to go back to the book club.

Baked Challah this afternoon.  I divided the recipe into three parts, making three smaller loaves.  This will be our bread for the next three Shabats.

While the bread was baking I put cheese sandwiches in the oven to toast.

Our roast was small but we had leftovers of meat and vegetables.  I decided that with the cold, soup was in order for a meal.  I cut up the last of the meat and used the broth the meat had cooked in.  I mashed the vegetables that were leftover and used that to thicken the broth.  I used canned vegetables to make up the bulk of the soup.  We'll likely have leftovers to go into the freezer but that's okay by me.  I like soup!

I checked the bag of clementines well before I put them in the cart, or so I thought.  When I got home I found they were soft and very close to spoiling. I'll return them and get a refund.

Friday:  Greatest luxury in the world at my age and days is a good night's sleep and last night I slept GOOD.  It sort of put the shine on the day.

John made breakfast this morning.  I have kept to my resolve to buy less turkey sausage (because of costs). To go with the pancakes, he sliced turkey spam very thinly and cooked it crisp, like bacon.  It was very tasty.  And what luxury to have someone cook breakfast for me. How blessed am I?!

I put a couple of small items in the laundry basket and John came in right behind me with a small handful.  I could tell he was itching to do a load.  He asked if I'd anything else.  I suggested we strip the bed and gather bath towels.  That made a full load.  He hung all to dry on the line outdoors, on hangers on the curtain rod in the doorway and the drying rack.

I put the soup on to simmer this morning.  I suspected, from the time frame we were working on and the plans we'd each stated for our day today, that we'd eat out but I knew that we'd have to have supper this evening and the soup needed to simmer to be good.  I had only to warm it when I came in this afternoon.

Put new stock in the booth.  Measured space to be extra certain I could put in more shelving.  This means I can effectively double my space without costing more rent.

Living Well

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a homemaker.  There is something about making my home clean and tidy, organizing a space that isn't working well into one that does, making things pretty, figuring out a way to make home more pleasant, that just makes me feel happy.

I was reading a blog the other day and the author wrote about fluffing her home making her happy.  I understood perfectly what she meant.

I watched a number of episodes of HGTV's "Fixer Upper".  As Joanna Gaines was putting the final touches on one of the houses, the camera spanned the room then came to rest on her face.  As she tweaked the items on the shelf, I saw a look I recognized all too well.  It was the look of complete joyful concentration. She was in her zone in that moment and it was caught on camera.

I've known many a woman who has no interest whatsoever in their home per se.  They keep it well enough and it looks okay overall but their heart isn't in it.  Granny's home was never really comfortable, not especially.  She thrived on outdoor work and readily confessed that to anyone who asked.  She cooked well enough and she kept house well enough but her yards and fences and fields showed her love.   That work was always first on her list of things to do each day.  Housework came second.

Mama was more than competent in her home and she decorated it nicely, cooked good foods, canned, preserved and sewed tirelessly.  But her heart was in nursing.  Had that avenue been closed to her she would have enjoyed the homemaking part of her life less. She would have been resentful of it.

I think in this area, I take most after my grandmother.  I recall her morning routine of work well.  She was not an early riser (that I get from Granny), but her routine didn't falter.  There was breakfast and she wore a 'duster' in the mornings, which is not the same as a robe.  A 'duster' was meant for house work, cool and non-restrictive and stain resistant.  I can see Grandmama still with her dust mop cleaning the wood floors, smell the aroma of Ajax cleanser and bleach she used on all her porcelain surfaces in bath and kitchen.  She was a dynamo going through her house.  By the time lunch time came around, she had finished her work and was in her regular clothing ready to run errands or work in her garden in the afternoon after lunch was cleared away.

I don't know that either of my daughters got this gene, but I am sure there have been times they've experienced the joys of decorating their homes.  I recall a conversation with Amie in which she chatted happily about painting and reupholstering dining chairs.  Most recently I've seen it in Katie's happy preparations of a nursery.

As for me, the sunny scene above was captured one morning when I walked into my kitchen, before I'd had coffee.  It made my heart thrill to think how blessed I am to have this home of mine to keep.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I read this post today ... I needed to write out the tithe check, and you reminded me!! Thank you. ; 0)

I love my home. I was just thanking my hubby yesterday for giving me my home. He worked hard so we could buy it. I too am blessed. I've enjoyed making it mine through these past 36 years.

It has been really cold here in the north country. I don't think I've stuck my head out the door in 10 days. I used to dread January when I worked outside the home, but now that I'm retired and home full time again, I love January. I can stay home and enjoy the cold and snow from inside my warm house. The sunrise was gorgeous this morning. I never run out of things to do. I have many, many no-spend days!

So glad to hear God is saying yes to prayer for your booth - that you are making a profit. I'll keep praying.


Mable said...

Boy, I am with your mom. I hate taking care of our home, so pretty much do only what I have to do to keep it livable. My heart is in gardening and canning.

Unknown said...

Hi Terrie, Thank you for a lovely post. It's really encouraging.
I simply love the photo of your kitchen counter. What a charming picture it made. Pam, it's true what you say about being thankful for our homes and being content in them. Your comment really blessed me! I found your blog from reading the comments from The Bluebirds are Nesting.
Warm Regards, Helen

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

It looks so cozy in your kitchen with the sun streaming in and your cute red canisters.

Putting the half gallon of ice cream (in the box container) into a zipped Ziploc Freezer (not storage) bag seems to help it not get freezer burn as quickly in my freezer.

When we had outside dogs (they didn't like being inside either) I put an old, badly worn out 100 percent wool coat on the floor of the dog house for them. Wool still keeps one warm even if it gets damp. They were pretty good about leaving it in the dog house. Any other fabric they drug around in the yard. I think because it got damp if it rained or snowed and made their fur damp.

An old farmer that I was once talking to at the hardware store
said that the best thing for bedding was prairie grass hay. We used that for a couple of years, but the dogs liked to dig around in it to make a nest until it fell out of the dog house door, and ended up blowing all around in the back yard. Our big collie used to like to lay out on his side on the hillside in the sun even on the coldest of days. The little fuzzy Pomeranian that we have now shivers in the cold. He is definitely an "inside" dog.

Vickie @Vickie's Kitchen and Garden said...

I love your good night's sleep -I know just what you are talking about. You wake and you feel so good!

Glad you made a profit this month on your both. Love your canisters and I love that you watch my favorite show "fixer upper." I want them to come to my house someday!

Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Well Done!

  Saturday:  I was asked to keep Caleb today and so I'd sort of prepared the house the night before.   I might as well not have bothered...