In My Home This Week: Looking To My Saving Ways

You might well wonder what daffodils have to do with being frugal.  I bought the bulbs in a big bag last fall and took the time to actually plant them in the ground.  The bag cost about $10.  This is just one little clump I planted.  There are bulbs planted in pots and other spots in the yard.  The sheer pleasure I get looking out the window these past few days reminds me that sometimes what we get for $10 is all out of proportion to what we pay.  I've promised myself that this coming fall I'm buying TWO bags.  Joy doubled.

Sunday:  I took a bit of leftover hamburger meat, substituted some hash browns for the usual mashed potatoes and made a favorite shepherd's pie recipe.  Yum.  Good use of items on hand and tasty.

My appetite has been very much all or nothing.  I'm either starved or could care less. I'm letting it take the lead and eating only when I'm truly hungry and not when I'm not.  I've about figured out that the fever is the thing that doesn't care to eat and the cold is hungry.

I ate the last of the pineapple slices I'd saved from the can opened earlier in the week.  We're out of fresh fruit at the moment but the extra Vitamin C in pineapple is most appreciated.

I felt better today but took care not to overdo.  I stripped both beds.  I was so ready to get all the sheets washed!  I put them in the dryer, too, unusual for me but I felt the heated dry would help sanitize them.  I also washed our spread and hung it on the line.  When John called he suggested I open windows and air the house out but it was honestly too cold to do that.

When I re-made our bed, I folded another quilt to put across the bed, rather than the one we had been using.  I hadn't realized the white backing would suit the room so well.  Simple update that I hadn't thought about and I really like it.

Went over the check register against our bank statement and discovered a small debit I'd failed to write down.  I was able to reconcile my statement and while I was in no danger of a fee it was nice to catch that mistake early rather than find myself struggling to find it later.

Monday:  For breakfast meat this morning I fried the last few slices of the deli bologna.  I knew if I didn't use it now we'd end feeding it to the pets.  Mighty expensive pet food.

An easy meal for dinner today of Spaghetti and Meat balls. The meatballs were frozen ones I'd made up and cooked when we went to meat market.  I used last of the lettuce in our salad.

We decided to skip making a special trip down to pick up John's check since banks were closed.  We'll do an all in one day tomorrow.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung them on the line to dry.

I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

I haven't had a makeup remover I really like in months now.  I hit upon a solution.  Coconut oil.  It takes only a small amount, never leaves my face feeling greasy and goopy and removes every trace of makeup.  It rinses away with my cleanser.  Best of all it was very soothing and beneficial to my chapped nose and lips during this cold.

Breakfast for supper for us.  I used half whole wheat flour to make up a batch of biscuits.  I discovered in my cookbook, as I was checking the amount of baking powder, that adding 1/4 cup more liquid would result in a lighter whole wheat biscuit...and it did!  John was very complimentary of my experiment.

That whole wheat flour has been in my pantry for a couple of months or more now.  I was very mindful of the need to start to use it.  I have an inkling of an idea forming...

Tuesday:   I used leftover biscuits, splitting and toasting them, for breakfast.

Plans were for an 'all in one' day.  Well here we go!  Trash, all loaded and ready to go.  Bank deposit slip, checkbook to write out tithes and necessary checks that needed to go into mail, water bottles, tissues, grocery list, insulated and grocery bags, and bill to drop off as we went by agency on our way.

It was a big haul at Aldi today.  I am so happy I decided to give that store a try!  I would never have been able to bring home half as much from another store.

We stopped at the local diner for burgers on our way home.  We went dutch today and paid from our allowances.

As I put groceries away this afternoon, I was mindful of that idea forming yesterday.  Rather than stow every thing in the pantry where things get lost and shuffled, I put one of each item in the main food cupboard in the kitchen.  I'm going to keep one of each in that cabinet and when I use it I will use the next item.  In other words, that cabinet has just become meal planning central.  My purpose is to stop hanging on to things like  whole wheat flour or 9 cans of pumpkin until they reach expiration date and I struggle to figure a way to use them.  No more.  I will use the foodstuffs I buy or I'll stop buying them!

We ate leftovers for supper tonight.

Wednesday:   Warned John that the cooked sausage for breakfast was not all for one meal.  I told him what portion was meant for another meal.

He washed a full load of clothes.

Though the dishwasher was nearly full, it isn't quite.  I will wait to wash in the morning when all the breakfast and our glasses and coffee cups from today are in the load.

Truly I should listen to myself and just take food from the freezer to thaw the night before.  I did not of course and at 10am it's a bit late to think I might thaw anything for a meal.  I did have frozen chicken enchiladas that could thaw in a timely manner.

Went outside this afternoon when the wind was wild and sat in the sun.  It was so nice soaking up all that good NATURAL vitamin D, enjoying the cat and dog, using the patio furniture I've never really bothered to sit at in the past year.  Just like those unused pantry items I think it's high time I took advantage of what I have.  This time of year, sitting on the sunny patio is a good thing.  Later in the warmer months I'll avoid it most days because it's far too warm to enjoy it.

We made a box of mac and cheese for supper tonight.   I felt like a kid again.  It was awesome.  I told John to remind me of this and we'd take a box of mac and cheese with us when we go on vacation.  It's still a fairly inexpensive meal and easy.

Learned something new about baking again today.  I've started a list to add to my recipe file.  When baking cakes we might occasionally substitute shortening for butter or butter for lard, etc.  Per my 1930's vintage magazine when doing so an adjustment is needed in the liquids as well.  Butter and lard are similar in texture and therefore liquids would remain the same.  However if substituting shortening for butter increase the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.  If substituting butter or lard for shortening decrease the liquid in the cake by 1/4 cup.  All these years I've baked and never knew this or the tip about baking with whole wheat.  Just goes to show that older dogs DO learn new tricks.

Thursday:  Ran a full load of dishes this morning.

This afternoon I went to buy some fried chicken livers. I love them and John doesn't.  I usually go about twice a year to a fast food restaurant that prepares them.  I buy the large order and put half of them in the freezer for a future day when I'm craving them, which makes them more economical since I save gas and the larger order is less than half again as much as the smaller order.

Went into town to run a few errands besides buying my dinner out.

Went into the flea market.  No sales to speak of last month and I had to pay out of pocket.  I am glad that I've kept myself strict about using just a portion of my personal pocket money each month and haven't used our mutual account at all.  

Ran fresh water into the storage water jugs.  I rotate these more often  in the summer when I can water plants with these jugs of water.  It was time to do it however, and with the very cold temperatures we currently have it seemed wise to make sure we had COFFEE water!

Plugged in the pump house light to keep pump from freezing.

I wanted a boiled egg for supper.  I boiled a half dozen.  I'll make egg salad from the rest.

I made a single cup of coffee for myself using the feature on my coffeemaker.

John brought in mail this morning before he left for work.  One item in the mail was the mouse pad from Shutterfly that was free.  It turned out very nice.  I think John will be very surprised when he sees it.

One of our bills had a late fee added to the charges.  I checked my calendar and check register and noted that the bill was mailed ahead of due date.  I confess it was a little shy of a week ahead but it was very close to that mark.  I called the company and asked that they waive the late fee.  They did just that when it was noted by customer service that our bill was credited within 24 hours of the due date, showing I had indeed mailed my payment in a timely manner.  I thanked them for their courtesy.

We had a fee increase on another bill.  There is no reason why that bill should increase.  It is time for John and I decide if this is an annual investment we really want to make or if we can't find alternate and less expensive ways to entertain ourselves.

Friday:  Here we are at the end of the week and I've just been to another grocery where I spent half again as much as I spent earlier this week at Aldi.  Not frivolous spending, mind you, all necessity and very necessary.  I had to buy pet foods.  There was nothing left this morning after I fed them and the dear things need more food right now due to the extreme cold temperatures.  That and shelter and checking that they have drinkable water (frozen is NOT) is the best I can do to show them my love.

Put dinner on to cook in the crock pot before we left.

Gathered mail and trash to go with us.  Dropped them off at the respective places.  Picked up mail, too.

Happy me.  The same company I had a late fee to haggle over yesterday sent us a letter stating we'd earned a gift card of our choice!  It wasn't a large one but it's enough to give me the last bit of money needed to pay for the next two window blinds.  Yea!

At the grocery I took advantage of two sales:  5 ounce cans of Chicken of the Sea tuna for $.33 each. I bought a dozen.  I wish I'd bought 3 or 4 dozen.  I may go back while out with Mama on Monday and get more.  My set point for tuna has been trying to find it for $.50 a can and here lately I've only been able to find it at Aldi for $.69 as a best price.

I also bought the 'fun size' 6packs of Butterfinger candy bars for $.49 each.  I put them in the freezer when we arrived home.  Butterfinger is not my favorite candy bar so no danger of binging on those, but I'll be mighty glad on one of those "OM Gracious I gotta have CHOCOLATE" days when there's not a chocolate chip in the house...If family doesn't tackle them.

John treated us to dinner out, paying from his allowance.  He followed up with an ice cream sandwich a little later.  Even on a cold day we can manage a bite of ice cream!

I was able to buy stamps at the grocery which saved a trip inside the post office.  We dropped off outgoing mail at the outdoor drop box.

I was able to get my birthday coffee from Starbucks while out today.  I'd tried on my birthday but the store where we stopped refused me.  I'm kinda glad they did.  It was so cold and that coffee was grand after our dinner.  I paid for John's coffee using a gift card.

Since we ate out today I pushed the crock pot meal over for tomorrow's main meal.

I made egg salad for sandwiches for supper.  We used Shabat Challah to make the sandwiches.

Made waffles from scratch this morning for breakfast.  We had so many leftovers that I put enough for two more meals into the freezer.

Cold enough this evening to warrant running the propane heater to help out the heat pump.  Pump house light is plugged in.  All of our sink cabinets are on outside walls, so those doors are open to let extra heat get to them and keep the pipes from freezing.  I put a kettle of water on the stove to keep the air moister and therefore increase the warmth of the air.

We are out of magnesium tablets which we take daily.  I have on hand Phillips Milk of Magnesia tablets which are nothing in the world but 500mg of Magnesium each.  We are subbing those for our vitamin and in future I will determine which is the best buy, purchase only those and not buy both.

Living Well

I took $20 this past autumn and spent it on flowers.  $10 for daffodil bulbs and $10 for flats of pansies.  No regrets.  None.  I have smiled every single time I've looked at these lovely sunny things and the happy faces of the pansies.

Indoors this week I've admired the last of the bouquet I bought at the end of January (yes, still pretty blooms from that bouquet), the gleam of new green leaves on the Swedish Ivy, the blue green heart of the lovely Aloe that is overwintering in the master bath, the heavy buds on the orchid.  And I spent one whole afternoon watching for sunlight on the daffodils and snapping photos of them as soon as the sun shone forth once more.

Today at the grocery store, an upscale one with a lavish floral department, I looked at the tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids...  It was a lovely display and of course, I wanted to buy up bunches of flowers.  I wanted armfuls of those beautiful bright spring blooms most especially the hyacinths.  What better way to chase away the cloudy bitterly cold day outdoors?  I came away with none.  I reminded myself I had flowers at home that made me smile, but oh...leaving them behind, not even allowing myself even one bunch was hard.  I thought about them on the way home, how they'd shone and how much I'd have enjoyed them and how they would have scented the air of the house.   It wasn't until we were home that I realized something very important.

Of all the money I spend, or could spend, I have NEVER regretted what I spent on flowers whether a new houseplant, something to go into the yard or for pots on the porch or patio, or seeds or cut flowers.  Never.  And that tells me that I must, MUST, make flowers a priority in my spending life instead of turning with regret from the lovely things week after week.  They are important to me.  Not in a God, family, home sort of important way, but in a 'these are the things that make my soul sing' sort of way.

And so, in a week when I openly acknowledge that the budget has gotten a bit tighter, I've decided to loosen the purse strings and make it a point to purchase flowers.  Maybe not every week but at least once a pay period.  I promise myself that this will be so.


Julie Baker said...

Flowers definitely contribute to a homes joy...especially through some grey winter days. Had -9° morning to wake up to today and the roses from Valentines Day were a pretty sight to go downstairs to see. :)

Anonymous said...

We learned from a family member who works with the food industry here that we are getting our first Aldi! No one I talk to has ever heard of it. I've only heard of it from being on blogs. I don't know if this is their first store in this state or what but we will sure be checking it out after hearing so many compliments about it!!
I haven't finished reading your post so I best get back to it! When you mentioned going to your Aldi I came here straight away to tell you this! :) Sarah

Sparkiedoll said...

Oh, I do like reading your Blog. I'm a nurse looking after older people. The other day I locked up my drug trolley and went out into the garden and picked little bunches of snowdrops for 3 ladies who don't get out, their rooms are on the top floor of the home. It was the best medicine ever, we were ridiculously thrilled with a just a few flowers, the first of Spring. On a different note, I read an article that said to go back to a weekly 'big' shop was a sure fire way to save money rather than the modern habit of nipping out to the shops 2/3 times a week. I'm going to try to shop weekly and compare my spending. Best wishes, Rose x

a8383 said...

Hi Terri, I couldn't see where to contact you by email or I would have sent this privately because I wanted to ask you a slightly personal question.I am working on our budget. For the first time ever since raising 3 kids I want to give myself an allowance as you do. It would be good for me and it doesn't honor my hard working husband for my to look too dowdy. But I am really struggling with an appropriate amount. So, could I ask how much you allow yourself? Thank you for your help, Angela

Janell in Georgia said...

If you are wanting fresh cut flowers, check Kroger when you are in town. They have marked down ones quite often. I love them but every time I get some, they bother my daughter's allergies. I just have to look at my husband's day lilies outside. If you would like some day Lilly seeds to plant, let me know and I can mail you some. He has tons. No idea what color you will be getting, but they are all beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I have often seen "markdown" orchids at our grocery store. They are so expensive when in flower. You have inspired me to watch for them and see if I can get them to bloom again. I do that African Violets and they are sometimes only a dollar and with a little TLC look great in a short time. Love the daffodils! Food for the soul on a cold winter day with several feet of snow still on the ground. Gramma D.

Anonymous said...

From John Greenleaf Whittier

" If thou of fortune be bereft and in thy store be but left two loaves, sell one,and with the dole buy hyacinths to feed thy soul"

You have a beautiful blog.

Best wishes from Best Bun

vickie morgan said...

Terri, your daffodils are just beautiful. I can't wait till spring comes knocking on our door here.
It will be quite awhile I'm sure.

I used to buy flowers to grace our table last year more. I think I'll follow your example to help me get over this winter a d buy more again.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Terri, I enjoyed your post.. Flowers..oh how they make us enjoy our selves.. Treating ourselves..helps us to stay frugal on things.. or rather my thought on it..
Proud you bought the flowers and enjoyed them.. I totally enjoyed the photo of the beautiful daffodil.

Anonymous said...

Love your daffs! So pretty. You are such a busy girl. Love the post. Pam

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