Assigning Value To Our Days Frugal Friday, End of January

A manicure done for me by Katie.  She used gel polish and an LED light to set the coats.  This is one hard wearing manicure.  I'm duly impressed by how well it has held up over the week.  

January 23:  We left home today to visit with Katie.  I knew her planned menu and carried along Parmesan cheese and bread for garlic bread and a peach cobbler I made with peaches I put up two summers ago (still perfectly good), as well as whipped topping from the freezer.  I loved pulling items off my pantry shelf and not having to stop to purchase.  Oh and I can't forget I brought along my own whole wheat pasta  for myself (John ended up eating that, too) to help keep my blood sugars fairly stable.

We stopped and picked up mail on our way out of the drive and I found I'd been chosen to receive a free Wanda Brunstetter book because I'd written her a quick note.  I was very pleased with my new free book!

The visit was lovely.  Katie offered to do my nails and I decided to go daring and chose a color that surprised her.  Pretty teal was my top choice and Katie chose the accent nail color.

I took along the package of items I'd meant to mail off to her...You can tell our trip was last minute can't you if I had a package sealed and ready to mail?  That saved me about $12...which happened to be what it cost us in gasoline.  It was a very worthwhile trade and a prime example of what I mean when I say I saved money to 'use elsewhere'.  I'd much rather have driven up to see Katie and taken the stuff along than send it off and not seen her!

Katie gifted me a plum colored eye liner she didn't care for, which happened to be something I'd put on my mental shopping list.  I love when things work out that way.  Another moment of savings I can use elsewhere.

John and I drove home without stopping for supper. I reminded him I had chicken at home for sandwiches which sounded really good to us both. I'd brought along a couple of clementines and some crackers, he'd purchased some peanut M&Ms to bring along  and that was our 'snack' when it came time for supper, along with the water bottle I'd brought with me and his soda.    That bit saved us about $12.

We took an alternate route home but the mileage and time was exactly the same as our usual route.  The difference was the alternate route was less woodsy, winding back roads and more familiar, well traveled highway which made driving in the dark easier.

January 24:  Took all the prepared vegetables I'd cut up on Friday and put in the crock pot with my meat and seasonings to make stew for dinner.  This cooked while we were away at church.  Not giving in to temptation and buying something at the grocery means we have about $14 to use elsewhere.

Because most slow cooker meals should begin with room temperature items (aside from meat) and my items were prepped ahead and refrigerated, I always start my slow cooker on high for an hour or so then cut it back to low heat before we leave home.  This prevents overcooking and yet insures that the foods will be fully cooked.   It took a little experimentation with this and that's why I'm sharing.

For our breakfast this morning, I served bagels but it was very cold outdoors.  I brought out cooked leftover grits and oatmeal, 1 serving of each, added a splash of milk and reheated.  The hot cereals really hit the spot and helped carry us through the morning.

John went into the pet store to buy Blossom a coat.  Her fur is nowhere near as thick and multi layered as Maddie's and it was miserably cold this past weekend.  He found a waterproof, reflective, fleece lined coat on clearance for $5.  He saved $15, which I thought was terrific.  I'll have to try to get a photo of her wearing the coat.  She doesn't mind it at all.

Surprises me every time but more and more of the quickie type stores carry fresh fruits.  John bought a banana for us to share and boy was that good.   Much better for me than many other snack options he might have chosen.

Came home and ate the dinner I'd left cooking.  I made a quick salad, put out crusty bread and dinner was served.

John purchased the Sunday paper.  There was a special in this issue of a puzzle book which has multiple crosswords and sudukos and other puzzles.  Lots to keep us occupied for a good long while I think, which is perfect with NFL season about to end.  I collected the coupons and sales papers and scanned the news.  It's the only newspaper I read all week long.

I 'worked ahead' this morning, cleaning the kitchen well, making bed, folding clothes, etc.  The afternoon was mine to be leisurely at home.  I spent my spare time reading the fiction in a February 1937 issue of Woman's Home Companion, as well as the homemaking and fashion items.  I'm telling you all, I really appreciate these yesteryear magazines!  I drooled over a lovely little 2 bed, 2 1/2 bath cottage floor plans that much to my surprise discovered was built of cinder blocks with a coat of stucco over all.  It had along terrace at the back of the house and screened porch and a basement too per the copy.  We don't have basements as a rule here in the South.  It was a lovely house.

Used leftover pizza dough to make  a very inexpensive cheese pizza for supper. I used just 2 tbsp of tomato sauce and grated Parm and Mozzarella on the pizza, no meat, no vegetables.  I'll wager crust and all, that pizza hardly cost me $.75 and it made two generous slices each for our supper. Savings $3 over frozen sale priced pizza.

Prepped John's lunch for work.

January 25:  I packed John's lunch and made him breakfast.

It wasn't this week's savings but it was this month's. A couple of weeks or so ago,  Lana mentioned to me that Publix had a good sale on Seattle's Best coffee.  I didn't have the coupons she mentioned nor could I find them online, but the coffee was still a great buy at the BOGO price of $5.99.  I normally get my decaf coffee from, choosing Gevalia for $5.68 a bag.  The Seattle's Best beat that price  and is an equally as good brand in my opinion.  I bought six bags,  a savings of $16.21.  Thank you very much Lana!

I was due to go out to lunch with Mama today.  I've amused myself this weekend with my clothing choices, all gifted to me from others wardrobes.  On Saturday I wore a heavy sweater that Virginia gave me with the coat Mama gave me.  Yesterday for church I wore a sweater Katie had given me from her wardrobe.  This morning I put on a t-shirt that Katie had given me.  It really does please me to have such nice things that are new to me in my wardrobe and to know that all of them were given to me because someone else had tired of them or no longer wanted to wear them.  I confess, I've never had much opportunity to wear 'used' clothing since I was an only girl and always a bit heavier than other girls I knew, so having  hand me downs now is kinda fun!

Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

My flag was in shreds after Saturday's heavy winds.  I removed it from the flagpole this morning and replaced it with a new one I'd bought and was keeping in reserve.

Paid two bills that needed to be sent out prior to next pay period.  The funds were already set aside for both.

Mama treated today.  I paid tip and for our usual ice cream dessert.

I keep my dessert portion smaller.  It may sound wasteful but I scoop half of the ice cream out right away (even though I order a small serving) and toss it.  I always offer it to Mama first but she refuses it.  It keeps my portion manageable for my needs and is a treat I look forward to.

Mama gifted me several of her gently read magazines.  She also surprised me with two genealogical society books that Granny had purchased 22 years ago.  I was well pleased to receive those and the savings over purchasing something to acknowledge.  I'd meant to start purchasing books (I've bought three thus far).

Ate leftover stew for my supper.

Back mid month, I called the insurance company to ask about some claims that weren't being paid.  It was a coding issue and my call  brought them to the attention of a claims person who said she'd call the doctor's office and ask them to resubmit with the proper code.  I'd mentioned my grief in having used an unauthorized lab and wracking up so many charges prior to my knowledge that they were not the lab I should have been using.  This evening I received notice that claims had been processed.  Not the two I'd called about but all of the previous lab charges that had been denied.  I was pleased to find that it was considered an appeal  and that while they were not paid in full, my out of pocket portion was considerably reduced, saving us $2007.00.  That isn't even the claims I was concerned about when I called.  I had assumed I'd have to pay these unauthorized charges in full.  Gracious but it was worth an hour of my time on the phone to talk to this representative!

January 26:  John had a CEU class today.  We didn't know when he went this morning that the county was paying him for the class time.  An additional four hours salary will be much appreciated.

I made him breakfast when he came home, a little hardier one than usual since we weren't sure he'd get lunch today, or at least not until quite late.

I put away the cat and dog food.  It warmed up just enough to bring out the ants yesterday.  Not wasting  food to feed the ants!

Went to get lab work done.  I didn't need to take off trash or pick up or drop off mail...all of which were done yesterday while I was out with Mama.  She didn't feel up to going to the city where I get labs drawn yesterday or I'd have had it done then.

Went into Target.  My goal was to find one or two shirts I could use right now.  I've got five that are borderline too large or which look shabby and three that are just a bit too snug.  That leaves me with about three tops for warmer days that fit just so and they are all sleeveless!  While I don't mind layering I was finding it more and more difficult to get dressed especially when I was going out for the fourth day in a row.  I found one shirt on the clearance rack today for just over $8.  I also purchased another scarf (this is more of a Challis type fabric and will go with at least three of my other tops), and a chain and gemstone type necklace that can dress up or down.  All of these purchases set me back less than $20 and all were clearance items.  The top may not go the distance if my size changes but the necklace and the scarf will stand me in good stead over several years.

I wore another hand me down shirt today when I went out.  A sleeveless one yes, with a light jacket over.

I walked all the clearance end caps and found, much to my surprise, two gel type nail polishes that were reduced in price to $3.48 each.  These typically sell for $9.99.  I'd just been pricing them and meant to purchase one.  It was a bonus to get two and save $11.99.  

I have been duly impressed with the way this manicure has held up.  It honestly looks as though it will grow out before it ever chips.  I bought both the polishes and then purchased a starter kit with many of the needed items including an LED light and a type of gel coating that will allow me to use my regular polish as a gel polish.  I priced the cost of a gel manicure this week, and it was $45 at a local salon.  The kit, the polishes and the remover I need, plus the top/base coat cost about $35, a savings of $10.  Katie assured me that while the kit says you can do ten manicures, she's gotten closer to 30 from hers and of course the LED light and such will last far longer than that.  In future months when I say I've done a manicure, I'll count my savings as $45.

I found on another end cap a perfect birthday gift for my oldest daughter.  It is something she will just love and is nostalgic for her, and the best part of all was that it was very affordable and will allow me to buy her something else as a little extra to go with it and stay very well within my budget for gifts.

I was hungry but didn't stop to pick up anything to eat.  John brought home half a submarine sandwich which he'd told me was mine.  I came home and had my lunch of sandwich, and half a soda leftover from the weekend.  It was good. I always say that hunger makes a great appetizer.

For supper we finished eating the roast chicken, using another breast half.  Now I shall pop the lot into a pot and boil for broth, pick over the bones and likely have enough meat yet for another meal.

January 27:  Pulled all the older bread slices from the freezer.  I made French toast.  We had some for breakfast and I put some in the freezer to thaw in the toaster one morning when we're rushed.

I cooked a thawed turkey tenderloin.  This package was in three pieces and I found 1 piece was just enough for the two of us.  I put one in the fridge for sandwiches and one in the freezer to eat at a future date.

I used the last of some frozen blueberries to make fruit crisps for dessert.  I drizzled the last dregs of maple syrup over the berries as sweetener.  This is real maple syrup and a more complex carbohydrate that my body handles well.  I topped the crisps with rolled oats.  Lots of extra good fiber there.

I started washing down the walls around the stove in the kitchen.  This is a tedious task and involves lots more stretching than some tasks, so I take it in portions to keep from overworking my back muscles.

I have been saving envelopes from junk mail for a very good reason.  I store my coupons in envelopes and it seemed wasteful to me to purchase white security type envelopes and then use those to store silly old coupons instead of using them to mail bills.  I am a little bit stoked over this bit of thrift.  Granny saved all envelopes that weren't needed for mailing off bills, and even the envelopes that contained those items to make lists on.  She carefully cut off the very end of mail received so that she might reuse that envelope for just that purpose.

Started a new stack of things to be sent off to others or donated.  It seems I have perpetual piles that I allow to stack up until there is enough to warrant the postage to mail them off.  It makes me happy I can pass them along to be used by others I know.

Took time today to enter Coke points at MyCokeRewards.  I am going to just keep working there until I have enough to order a$25 gift card.

Cashed in Swagpoints.  Earned $25.

January 28:  Shopped the pantry this week:  Coffee, tomato sauce, peanut butter, mustard, breads from the freezer.

John wanted to get out of the house today.  Specifically he wanted to go out for pizza.  I agreed to go out.  I figured it was a good time to stop at the grocery store.  Pet food brands I use were on sale. I was out of dog food entirely.  We needed a few pieces of fresh fruit to carry us through until we grocery shop.  We gathered up all the trash in the house and took it off as we went out.  We dropped off a bill payment.  As always we made our trip count.

We went into the Christian bookstore near the pizza place.  John wanted a certain translation of the Bible and I offered to buy it or other reading material for his birthday.  We didn't find the Bible nor any of the authors he'd hoped to find.  We walked out the same way we walked in, empty handed.

At the grocery we bought cat and dog foods, apples and bananas.  That was it, just what we went in for.  I bought several bags of pet food because it was buy one get one free.  The dog food cost me exactly what I'd pay at the dollar store for the same amount.  I was at the grocery and not at the dollar store, so I bought it where I was.

The cat food was a better buy than I could get at the dollar store.  I bought four bags, buy one get one free, had four $1 coupons.  In the end, I paid $3.98 for 4 bags of cat food.  That is the equivalent of three bags free at regular price.

My final tally for fruit and all was $29.  The receipt says I saved $33.  I won't count it all as savings and I'll tell you why.  I spent ahead on the February budget which is where this money shall have to come from.  I have to think hard on this matter.  However, the cat food coupon/sale was worthwhile and did bring me a true savings of $11.67.  *see January 29 thoughts*

I made John's lunch for work tomorrow.

For tonight's supper we had toast and an omelet.  It was hot and hit the spot this cool rainy evening.  I used up the last bit of mushrooms in the omelet.

Sat down this afternoon and planned my goals for February.

Took extra time to plan menus for the weekend and to plan the work of preparing them.  The more I can do ahead the less work I need to do Saturday and Sunday.  Especially on Sunday when we're already going to be out for church, having a hot meal ready when we walk in the door is a big savings.  If I take time to plan what steps I can do ahead that makes me twice as likely to have that hot meal ready when we come in.

I'd planned a fun day for tomorrow, but I have been out of the house 6 days out of the last 7 and frankly, I am ready to buckle down and get a bit of work done.  I opt to stay home tomorrow.

Earned $10 with survey group.

January 29:  Hit the floor running this morning.  I made John's breakfast and packed his lunch.

I  put a chicken carcass and three backs from the freezer on to boil for broth and meat pickings.  I ended up with three  pint and a half containers of unsalted broth and 1 pound of meat from the bones.  I fed the skin and grizzly bits to the dogs and cat. Savings on the broth: $5.26.

Hung two full loads to dry (all except undies which need the dryer to stay in shape).  The day was sunny and breezy and the clothes smelled so awesome being dried in the fresh air.

Ran a full load of dishes this morning.

Made croutons from bread pieces.  I filled a quart jar with croutons this morning. Savings $2.39 the cost of a box of croutons.

I planned meals for the weekend and prepped ahead all the vegetables.  I grouped items in the fridge by meal plan.

My lunch was leftovers.

Made a 1 cup serving of Barbecue sauce from scratch using about 6 ounces of tomato sauce left from last week's pizza making.

Went over my checkbook and balanced it.  I knew something was off and found a $ mistake in my favor.  I did some weird subtraction at some point and ended up with a lower balance in my register than I should have had.

*see January 28* Went over my grocery shopping/budget and finally determined I knew  the troubles.  First of all, I have failed to pray over my shopping, a priority that I let slip unintentionally and realized yesterday has made an overwhelming difference and not in my favor!
Number 2,  I am stocking up in an erratic way.  I need to plan my stocking up/pantry purchases and buy while on sale not two or three of anything I happen to be picking up that week.  
Number 3, I do not take out enough money during the big pay period of each month and so I think I'm overspending.  And honestly my mind is about silly enough to say, "Oh well, I'm already over, might as well..." and then I really do overspend.  I'll be adjusting that figure this next pay period and make sure I get the right amount of cash out of the bank for my shopping.  
Number 4, I have sales anxiety.  I must remind myself that sales will recur on a routine basis. Number 5, I have a wrong mindset about outages.  If I do run out of a necessity I don't have to restock my entire pantry with that item right away.  I just need one or two at most to see me through the time until it does go on sale once again.
Number 6  I need to plan ahead and have a reserve for when sales/coupon creates a perfect purchasing moment and I am not borrowing ahead in order to stock up.  Case in point is the pet food shopping I did yesterday.  The cat food coupon/sale was awesome and well worth stocking up on. The coupons were not going to be any good next week and the sale would have been off by then too. The dog food?  I could have gotten along without buying so much of it at once.  What I really had to have yesterday was dog food enough to make it until pay day.  What I did was start my February shopping budget off with a deficit right away.  A little slush fund of cash money from the grocery budget could have met both needs.

Well that is how I did this week...Let's see how much my job 'paid' me this week:$2, 119.52

I realize there are two more days in January so shall offer you my total for this month next week when I have shared those last two days.  In the meantime, it's nearly time for Shabat and I want to have my supper.  Please share how you saved this week in the comments or leave a link to your post.


Lana said...

You are welcome on the coffee tip. Sometimes I find printable coupons by just Googling what I am looking for. We love Seattle's Best and have a good supply from that sale to carry us through many months. What a blessing to have those lab bills paid in part!

Our kitchen remodel is in high gear now. The stove was uninstalled today so no more cooking until it goes back in. By next Friday night it will all be done except moving back in. This weekend we will do the removal of the old counters and sink which will save $500. I have carefully used up perishable foods over the last few days. Today I made a bowl of chicken salad with chopped cooked chicken from the freezer and the remaining celery. That will make easy sandwiches over the weekend. We also plan to eat cereal for breakfasts for the next few days. Those meals eaten here will save a good bit of money over eating out. We have set up an area in our living room with the microwave and coffee pot and such. I will come in about $50 under on my grocery budget for January so that will be used for meals out over the next week. Next Friday I will make a big shopping trip to Aldi to restock.

We had our oldest daughter and her two toddlers here today. I had closed and covered my baby grand piano when all the construction started a few weeks ago. They were thrilled to find that Nana had a fort in the living room and had great fun playing under there! Fun and free entertainment!

We are stoked about the Super Bowl and our Panthers! They have their training camps here in our hometown and at the college that our youngest son graduated from so they are like our own team. Hubby wanted to have some people in for the game and I would love it if it was not only two days after I can get back in my kitchen.

Have a good weekend!

Dawn said...

We also bought Leo a coat as he insists on going outside with us even when we need to be bundled in coveralls. Leo was not as happy with his as Blossom sounds. He is getting used to it.

I am glad to hear that you got things worked out with the insurance claims. That was a significant savings.

Melissa L said...

Sounds like you found some nice things at Target. Target is like a money magnet for me. I always end up with more than I planned so I try to only go about once a month with cash only. I just don't trust myself there, lol! I too am trying to stash a little money aside for pantry building. I can't do it consistently right now but maybe by the end of the year.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

So happy the insurance is paying that claim for you.. What a wonderful blessing.
Great buys you found. [dog food and coffee]
Hope you have a good weekend.
the gel polish sounds wonderful and your manicure looks pretty.

Debbie said...

I'm glad you went over your medical bills and found that error. Is sounds like you have done great this week! I just listed my Frugal Friday Wrap Up on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Since things have changed as our food shopping's shifted. We can ignore some of the grocery isles and now concentrate more on others. A shift here, a change there. The is also how the pantry is now. As things get seen and not going to be used it can be given away. Soon I will do a thorough job but now at least some things are gone. With all the bad news on tv and net I had purchased too much ahead for the pantry and luckily lately had concentrated on healthy things we can still use. Now to use it up!
I need some new clothes and found it at several used stores recently. Since the most I paid for slacks was $5 and Jacket $6 and blouses $3 and a purse $4 I count myself very blessed. I am so behind in makeup lessons!! Thanks for the gel polish and LED light idea. I will ask my granddaughter about it all !! She'll know!! :-))) I have been doing well at dressing more stylish..thanks to your lessons there! :-) Now on to better makeup?? :)
With the Walmart Neighborhood grocery store here going out we did get some basics at 25% off. I was happy to see they did not raise the prices in anticipation of this sale. I asked at the eye doctors for the measurements I will need in order to order frames on line. The stores seem to carry about the same frames and I like the styles I have had before better for my face. Most frames we see now are wider frame and dark colors. I have time now to do it before we need to get new glasses. The savings will be greater than doing it all at the hospital. Even with our discount there. We could get hearing aids through our hospital too. The doctor thought the discount was good. We checked NO! Getting them through Costco instead saved us half off their best price. !!! Your medical savings was fantastic!! We called on one problem a few months ago too and we did have to pay that fee but they reviewed others without us asking them too while on the phone and found another. They made the dentist give us our money back on that one. :)
The $12 to get to Katie's was a great bargain! You all reaped benefit in so many ways!!! Some like the memories and the closeness will last a lifetime. How do you add that 'savings ' up? :-)))) Sarah

Anonymous said...

Seeing your manicure reminded me of my 5 year old granddaughter when she was here and brought a big smile to me. She had been at her aunts who had painTed her nails for her and she was so proud. One was a sparkley silver. All was quiet when I got this alarmed voice and was being shaken, "Gramma, we have to go to Aunt as right now". What could be so urgent at midnight that I should get dressed, drive to my daughters and wake her up? "Why, Becca?" "There is something wrong with my nail polish!" So please dont wake John in the middle of the night to go to Katies if your polish rubs off! LOL. Gramma D

Anonymous said...

LOL, Gramma D's little story was great! Sweet! I'd call a trip to visit my daughter a savings at $12!! It's priceless! I was out for lunch by myself the other day and my girl texted me a pic of her and the littlest one so I'd not feel so alone. Daughters can be such a blessing! I'm glad you, and me too, have such a good relationship with our daughters. Not all do! Oh, and I'd like to say pretty manicure. I'd love to paint my nails but refrain because my hubby is very affected by the smell. Even hours later it bothers him. Not worth it!

Wow, I was thrilled for you with your insurance picking up the tab for those lab tests! So happy for you - a wonderful savings.

I've been thinking along your lines for stocking the pantry. I don't need to buy a lot if the price isn't that great, just enough for the week. I appreciated your 6 points. Very thought provoking.

You need to tell us what your miserable cold temps are. Grin. Living in the north country I'd find that very interesting. And not to compare my cold to yours because I know blood is thinner the farther south one is. It was 30 degrees the other day and I was running around from store to store in jeans and a long sleeve T - no coat - the sun was shining and there was no wind. It felt positively warm! Today is 40 but no sun and very windy and it feels colder.

Lastly I'll share a joy - we have a lovely cardinal hanging around our place this winter. That flash of red is such a joy. I've lived here almost 40 years and this is the first one I've seen. I asked my hubby to get me some sunflower seeds, millet and milo from his bins so I could tempt it to my front porch. It was enjoying breakfast this morning. Pam

Kathy said...

Wow great savings! So glad you called about those lab bills.
Pretty manicure, and I'm sure it was great being with your girl.
Hope you have a great week.

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