In My Home This Week: Listing MyWays to Save

How refreshing a simple coat of new paint can make things look!  This is my current work in progress but even unfinished it looks 100% better.

Saturday:  While my intent today is to rest, I will be jotting down brainstorming ideas for new savings.  I have an added incentive to save.  John and I have a bit over three years before our 25th wedding anniversary.  I want to do something bigger than the norm, like going on a cruise sometime during that 25th year.  I need to start saving now.

Used up the last of the grapes in a salad today.  There were only about ten but those ten left to wither still represent waste.  I want to stop waste in my kitchen that is related to my lack of usage.  I can't prevent things spoiling on their own, but I can avoid that waste that is based on this human!

Saved a mushroom container.  The ones at Aldi are plastic and just the right size to fit in my big shallow dresser drawer.  I've sorted necklaces by color and each color fits perfectly in this punnets.  It makes finding necklaces so much easier and has cut down on tangling as well. I am hoping to fit one or two more in the drawer and that will be all I need.

Made an all in one oven meal today.  The salad, of course, was refrigerated, but chicken, potatoes and Brussell Sprouts were all roasted in shallow aluminum pans on the same jelly roll pan.  All cooked the same amount of time at the same temperture and clean up was super easy.  I literally rolled up the foil pans and tossed them.  I didn't even have to rinse the pan I used to bake the foods on.

Made pudding for dessert.  While our dessert for today went into the antique sherbert glasses, I put the remaining half in two of the KFC cups I've saved.  They hold exactly one half cup of pudding, perfect for 'individual serving size'.

Cooked a few extra pieces of chicken for supper one night.

Rinsed and stacked dishes for easy dishwasher loading later.

After Shabat was over, I sat down with my October calendar and pencilled in appointments and dates we need to be mindful of.  I also worked on goals for October.  I then moved on and worked on the 4th quarter budget sheet.  I plan to check my figures a fourth time but I am cautiously optimistic at present.

Sunday:  I received a much awaited book in the mail...Disappointed.  Something was in the box and smooshed over the book which attracted ants, which laid eggs...Ugh ugh ugh.  Book is in a plastic bag and will be shipped back to center.  I hope for a replacement but will happily take a refund.  I certainly don't wish to pay for a new book in that condition.

Made another pot of vegetable soup today, adding in some odds and ends from the freezer and leftovers from the week.  It was pretty good.  I put 1 quart and two 1 1/2 pint jars in the freezer for future soup days.  There will be plenty of those ahead!

I have found that if I use canned potatoes in soups I can freeze the soup without losing taste/texture quality as I do with fresh potatoes.  I don't know why, but I do know it is so.

I made an impromptu centerpiece from a faux bois salad bowl, a few of the plants purchased to plant in the yard (mums and dusty miller) and burlap ribbon.  It looked really nice and I doubt anyone was aware that it was potted plants destined for my garden tucked into my salad bowl.

I made cornbread from scratch and saved the rest of it in the freezer.  I shall make stuffing or Southern dressing  from it.

Neither pet was as interested in eating as they were in my company who has an affinity for animals.  I put away their uneaten food to avoid attracting  ants.

My friend and I had agreed to work on craft/home projects. I worked on sewing some yo yos for a quilt top.  The entire basket of fabric circles was sewn up today, many with Susan's help after she finished the hand sewing task she'd brought with her.  It was nice to have time to chat with my friend and nicer still to get a task or two done while we chatted.  We agreed that much as love to go thrift shopping, we felt more accomplished with the day overall and will do this again.

Washed a full load of dishes.

I'd saved water from boiled eggs to water several house plants.  All indoor plants and the orchids got a nice drink of calcium rich water which they all love.

Worked on piecing a few more outfits together for the final Fall Wardrobe post.  I'm curious to see what the winter posts will look like.  I never expected to get so much mileage from so few pieces this season.

Supper was leftovers for me.

Monday:  No eggs...I had to really think creatively for breakfast this morning and will need to be equally creative tomorrow morning.

Used an expired can of sauerkraut in our meal today.  It was fine and tasted wonderful.

I've looked for our printer cable for months...We have a wireless printer but cannot scan from printer and download to computer without the cable which was removed for reasons unknown.  Today I was determined to look everywhere, whether it seemed sensible or not.  I found it shoved in amongst John's music equipment!  Success!!  Now I don't have to buy another cable.

Went through a couple of year's worth of inspiration pages to see if I was missing any good unused ideas.  I was proud to mark several of those saved inspiration ideas as "Done".  It was a good reminder to me that writing down my ideas helps them stick in my mind.

Worked on bill box today and got checks made out for bills.  Happily I had more than enough money in two categories to pay our bill this time without adding in additional funds.  On a short check pay period that is a good thing.

Went back over my new quarterly budget sheet for the fourth time.  Glad I did.  While my addition subtraction was correct, I realized I'd only entered in half a month's allowance amount for us.  I corrected that figure and found we still had a bit of wiggle room and could move forth with a possible raise next month.  We shall just have to carefully watch our figures and be sure we're really able to afford them.  Anything extra that comes up and isn't categorized should be okay, but it doesn't hurt to watch figures and be doubly sure.

Found paperwork to go with the DSL router we have.  We'd written on the instruction booklet and those things will need to be blacked out.  Maybe I can sell it now that I've found the instruction booklet and warranty papers.

It is rainy and miserable.  My husband came in from work more than tired.  When he lay down this afternoon and took a two hour nap, I felt sure he'd need a heartier, comforting meal for supper. I used 1 pint of home made chicken stock, and two medium sized potatoes to make creamy potato soup to go with his egg salad sandwich (I opted for crackers with low fat cream cheese as my accompaniement.

Hemmed John's new work pants.

Sewed together yo yos in nine patch  squares...I have five squares, sigh.  I spent an hour or so cutting out more fabric circles.  Lots of cutting and sewing days ahead of me to finish this particular quilt top.

Went to mend a blouse but found I had no thread that even vaguely matched.  I have put that on my shopping list.

Tuesday:  Off today to do banking and purchase groceries.  I was very well aware of my budget for this pay period.  I was doubly aware of it, because we finally allowed ourselves a small raise each in our allowances.  I figure sticking to my grocery budget is that much more necessary.  I don't like to have to 'give back' money that is meant to be my own!  I did very well indeed sticking hard to my budget despite a few higher than I'd expected prices.

In leaving home we gathered trash to take off and stopped to pick up mail.  We dropped off bills after we'd been to bank.  John wisely decided that since we were so late leaving home this morning he should purchase a small lunch.  With what he provided and the apple in my purse we had a rather well rounded meal and it held us until we returned home at 3pm.

I picked up a prescription at Publix.  I pay a very small amount out of pocket and paid that from my allowance.

I took my pantry stock up list with me to the stores and picked up a few items on that list that were on sale.  I didn't check them all, as my budget this pay period was low, but those I knew immediately were best priced, I picked up a few of to put in the pantry.  I added four boxes whole wheat spaghetti, a box of pancake mix, an extra bag of regular coffee and four cans of packed in juice peaches from Aldi (an item I have not seen there before).

John broke his phone clip which holds his cell phone on his belt.  He had tossed it in trash at work and called me after.  I had saved the receipt for the clip because he told me it was under warranty for one year.  I told him to fish it out of the trash and we'd take it back.  Today we took it back and it was replaced for free.  He was told to hold onto his receipt because he can have it replaced once more if it breaks again.  After that he's on his own until he purchases another.

Because we had such a small lunch, we had a light snack.  We didn't purchase anything from the store to eat.  We waited until we got home.

Repackaged cereal and pancake mix when we came in.  I find it's helpful to keep out ants to put them in air tight canisters or jars.

Noted that the rubber gasket on two of my jars had started to get dry and brittle.  I went straight to Amazon and found a six pack for under $5.  I need those gaskets to be in good shape to prevent my food from going bad.  That is a small price to pay to insure food preservation.

Wednesday:  I tossed a banana and two small clementines that were well past prime.  I have so many bananas now in the freezer that I couldn't bring myself to add one more.  I loathe waste but sometimes you just have to admit that you don't need something and let it go.  Otherwise it just becomes frozen waste.

Made a new to me salad that was very tasty.  It was sliced navel orange and pomegranite kernels.  I served on romaine lettuce with a slightly sweet Catalina or Russian type dressing.  Very good.

I had plans today, but John didn't feel rested enough to attend to my plan.  That was okay.  I had warning enough to take out chicken to thaw and could easily replan my day.

Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.  I added in our coffee cups and coffee pot to insure it was full.

Washed a mixed load of sheets and other clothes.  I hung the sheets and John's work pants on the line to dry.  Was glad to see the sky finally clear and sunshine.  A nice breeze picked up this afternoon which helped dry out the clothes.

Called customer service number to report the damaged book I received.  I was very very unhappy at the end of that phone call.  I cancelled my membership.  I am supposed to receive a refund when they receive the returned book.  There was no apology nor offer to send a new book, etc.  I was basically told it was 'my problem.'  I refuse to do business with a company that treats customers shabbily.    

After five days of test driving the new satellite internet, I am happy to report that not only have we not been dropped from service in all that time, downloads are quicker and internet speed is faster. I've made Swag goals easily and often surpass my goal.  I am so pleased that this service has proven to be all we'd hoped.

Thursday:  Washed a full load of towels and rugs.  I hung them on the line to dry.  Not my fail, but a fail.  While I was gone today the sun fully disappeared and we had light rain.  I came home to clothes just barely drier than they were when I hung them out.  I brought them in to put in the dryer.

Made John breakfast, packed his work lunch.

Took time this morning to print off a registry list so that Mama could make decisions about what she wished to purchase.  It was helpful because the store printed out what they had in their store and Mama could match items.  It cut down on how much walking she had to do overall as well.

I purchased a wedding gift.  The sum came from my gift sub account that we feed each pay period.

While in the store, I found a lamp I loved.  It was marked for clearance and exactly what I'd been wanting for months.  Well within my current allowance allotment, so after considering the probability I'd ever find another for such a good price, I went ahead with the purchase.  It looks perfect in my living room!

Since I was going right by the hospital where I get lab work done anyway, and since I had to have it done either today or tomorrow, I opted to do it today.

Took off trash, picked up mail on my way into town.

Happily accepted gently read magazines from Mama.

Pieced together supper from what was in fridge.  Really must start to plan for these evenings alone, sigh.

Planned weekend meals.  Took out meats to thaw.  Wrote down a plan of action.

Friday:  John was a little late coming in this morning.  That gave me enough time to make hashbrowns for his breakfast.  I was making Potatoes au Gratin for dinner and it was easy enough to chop a bit of potato and onion and start them cooking as I worked.

John washed a full load of clothes this morning.  The bulk of them were hung to dry.

I washed a very full load of dishs this afternoon.  I included the gas range burner grates, the coffee pot and filters (we have permanent filters) and even the basket the filter fits down into.

I tried to be efficient this morning in my kitchen.  As I chopped potatoes and onions, I chopped extra onions for chili and a rice pilaf dish.  I made a bowl of mixed fruit for breakfast one morning and enough over for one evening, which involved sectioning oranges and cutting apples.  I sliced up enough apples to make Apple Brown Betty for dessert after dinner today.  I also cut up oranges  for eating as a snack.

I cooked the ground beef and onion together for chili, then mixed in my beans and tomatoes and seasoning packet (something John is fond of my using so I indulge his tastes now and then).  I will put this in the crockpot for dinner after church Sunday.

I cooked my rice for pilaf.

I put the potatoes au gratin into the oven to bake and decided the oven needed to get a good work out since it was going to be on anyway.  I oiled a little cast iron skillet that needed to be reseasoned and set it on the bottom rack to bake.  I cut up bread cubes for croutons and put those in to toast.  Later I removed those and added a loaf of bread I'd made for tonight's Shabat.  The Apple Brown Betty went into the oven, too, and when all was cooked and the oven ready to be shut off I slid in a pan of bread crumbs to dry out in the residual heat.  I think I definitely got the maximum I could from that bit of propane used to heat that oven today!

Yes, I took end pieces today and made homemade bread crumbs and croutons.  I used fresh bread crumbs in the Apple Brown Betty and dried the rest.  I put my croutons and crumbs in glass jars and then top with a square of paper towel and twist on the jar ring.  This allows any moisture that might remain to evaporate and dries out the bread and crumbs still further.

I reused one of the bread bags (that held the end pieces in the freezer) to store my loaf of homemade bread once it was cooled.

I put the apple cores from the apples used today into the freezer bag with my jellying fruit.  This is where I toss apple cores and peels, grapes, berries, plums etc that John hasn't eaten because they look a little tired or wrinkled and I can't think of any other way to use them.

Did you see Laura's post on her blog about wrinkled fruits?  I thought it a wonderful discovery.  I mean to try it myself in future.  Some of you may have already known this could be done, but I had no clue.

Living Well

If you missed the Living Well posts last week, so did I.  I had planned to do another separate post for Living Well and then I let time get away from me.  I really missed doing Living Well.

The reason I write Living Well here on these posts particularly is to remind me that life is not made up of a series of moments in which to save money.  Life is meant to be lived and to be lived well.  Those moments are priceless ones, the ones that money can't and won't buy, although now and then money can purchase a small portion of peace of mind or joy.

This week I'm listing moments that made me happy:

Maddie's joyful bounding when I came home yesterday.

Seeing photos of the grandchildren on Facebook this week.

Having a friend spend a cloudy miserable day with me.  It was sunny inside my home.  We sewed, we talked, we ate a simple meal and that was more than enough.

Sunsets two evening this week were pretty colorful and awe inspiring.

Listening to my husband work out another new song.  His writer's block is gone.

Listening to my husband praise and worship.  I am so privileged to be privy to the time he spends playing and singing his praise and worship to God.


Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Wonderful post.. Love your porch re-do..Looks so pretty.
thank you so much for all the tips and encouragements you share on your blog. I so enjoy ..Judy

Lana said...

Your porch is looking great! I did see Laura's post and I think that will be a real help.

Several times in the Spring of the year when I have had a graduation party or such at our home I have lined baskets with double layers of plastic wrap and packed them full of 6 pack annual plants for the tables. Then after the party they can be planted outdoors. This has saved a ton on buying cut flowers and they always get compliments.

Our oldest daughter and her two children visited one morning this week and it was so nice to have them here.

We have battened down the hatches and made all the preparations we can think of for the storm that is approaching here in the Carolinas. Since we always keep a good stockpile I did not have to stress about going out and getting non perishable food and water and such. We hope to not have to go out and will just stay here and get the bonus room painting done this weekend.

Erika, "The Make Do Homemaker" said...

Thanks for the tip about canned potatoes freezing better than fresh. I always wondered how the frozen potatoes kept their texture and such in the frozen stuff from the store. I'm thinking your discovery might be connected somehow.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been married 44 years. Enjoyed reading ways you saved . Blessings Always From Pamela in WV

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...