Assigning Value To Our Days on Frugal Friday
January 16: Kept it simple today. I couldn't completely prepare our dinner ahead yesterday but it took only minutes this midday to have it all ready. I made calzone using some meatballs I found in my beef basket in the freezer, some leftover sauce from a spaghetti dinner a couple of weeks ago and variety of cheese from the fridge. I priced ricotta yesterday ($3.99 for a 1 cup sized container) and cottage cheese (2.99 for a half pint, both at local store). I opted to not buy those items and used what I had on hand as a substitute, a little dab of Neufchatel cheese which added the creaminess I wanted in the calzone without adding a ton of fat or calories.
Spent the afternoon perusing some of the vintage magazines.
Applied for a free subscription to Family Circle magazine. That's a savings of $12 at most subscription rates.
It was so nice outdoors that we opened windows and aired the house a little bit. It kept it from getting stuffy indoors and necessitating use of the air conditioner. Such weather we have in Georgia!
We tag teamed the kitchen this evening. John made supper of pan fried hot dogs (reheating leftovers) and I made his work lunch sandwiches.
January 17: When we woke this morning it was pouring rain. I'd never have believed that by sunrise skies would be clearing and the cooler temperatures would move in far quicker than predicted.
Packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast.
I hurried through my chores and gathered return items to take back to the store. No need of saying I saved any money taking those items back because I went straight to another store and purchased twice that amount...However, it is fair to say that half the amount was 'reused' money, purchasing some items I wouldn't have been able to buy had I not made those returns. I found a pair of jeans for $10 and a much needed top for the same price. Both were smaller sizes. I also bought a set of sheets for our bed for $20 (clearance priced good quality set with extra pillowcases included) and some sturdy cloth covered boxes/baskets to use as photo storage. I did NOT buy the chocolate bar I put in the buggy, or a rug for the bedroom or two more decorative pillows for the living room...Lots of things got put back in that store as I really stopped to think about what I was purchasing. The savings this trip really was the set of sheets. Typically I spend $40 at discount home stores for sheets, but finding them on clearance saved $20.
Went into a second store to look for more tops and decorative items to use on the front porch. Found nothing, walked out with nothing.
Stopped at the grocery in the next town. I really was hoping chickens would be on sale, but they were not. Still, I purchased two for $.98/pound. I had none in the freezer and I'd rather pay that price than have none. I also purchased 3 packages of the turkey sausage patties we like. I figured out the price of those per patty at $.25 each. It would take 8 of them to equal a pound so that works out to about $2 per pound, a fairly good price for turkey sausage.
I allowed myself to get a Sprite Zero...It was my gift to myself for not purchasing frozen entrees or going out to dinner but choosing to wait and eat at home.
Purchased the Sunday paper. Coupons, sales papers and crossword puzzle equals a bit of afternoon relaxation time. Noted in sales sheets that the chickens go on sale for $.88/pound tomorrow. I would love to make a trip over to buy several but it's short pay period and I think I'll just have to wait.
Came home and ate leftover chicken and butternut squash.
Tried on clothes. Jeans do not fit and won't for quite a few pounds yet. The top fits like a dream. Katie mentioned needing this size jeans and I will ask if she'd like to have them. As she is in process of losing weight, I suspect they will be returned to me later on down the road when I am at that size and she's moved on.
Sorted the photos into the new bins...Now to sort out all the memorabilia stuff left in that box in the closet. At least the photos are now in a guaranteed to stay dry place (hot water heater is in our closet and has wet the flooring in there twice). And my sorting and decluttering continues. I contributed a perfectly nice but empty photo album to the donation pile.
The temperature dropped all day long. I opened curtains on the west side of the house to be sure and gather in all that sunny warmth I could to help chase away the chill air.
Supped on leftovers for the evening meal, this time breakfast casserole left from the other morning.
January 18: Made biscuits from scratch this morning, adding in whole wheat flour. A can of biscuits is about $1.39 at Aldi I think and I'd say I had half that amount in my batch of biscuits. I cut down on the fat, used half whole wheat flour and 2% milk...Must remember to start mixing up skim milk to use in cooking and puddings and biscuits and such. Less fat and less noticeable that it's fat free in a flavored dish. Savings $.70.
Made sausage gravy and purposely made extra so I can reheat it for John later this week when it's meant to be really cold before he leaves for work. I set biscuits aside as well.
Worked on Swagbucks for an hour this morning.
Turned on the kettle to provide much needed moisture. This makes 67 feel far more comfortable in the house.
John washed a load of clothes and hung several pieces to dry indoors. I took them outside and put them on the line where the wind whipped them smooth and crisp and freshened them nicely as well.
I was in a bit of a cleaning mode, so I stripped the slipcovers off the chair John uses and tossed them into the wash. He decided to add his work pants and another item or two. The whole load went outdoors on the line to be wind dried.
Repaired a shirt that had holes under both arms. This was a brand new shirt of John's and I can only assume shoddy work done at factory. It was fixed and is wearable once more. Savings $15.
Went over my grocery list and counted what remains of my grocery money. I used a portion to pay for purchases at grocery yesterday. It's easier to plan spending if you remember what you have to spend!
Took out a piece of meat that did not thaw in time for dinner. I do have ready prepared entrees in the freezer (extras I'd put up) but I was looking for a less carb heavy meal after our breakfast. I opted to slice the frozen meat and make a stir fry. When I went to the freezer for bell peppers I found a package of frozen stir fry vegetables I' bought at Aldi on Rhonda's recommendation. I used half that package and had quite a good dinner in no time. The vegetables are an oriental blend and very good by the way.
When John asked what was for dinner and said I said I wasn't sure, the meat was still thawing, he offered to have me go into town to buy chicken. Now typically he does pay for such meals but I declined. I know full well we're going to eat out when we buy groceries tomorrow and there's no need of eating out today as well.
Used frozen portioned brown rice from the freezer to complete that meal, along with tangelos.
Took some 'chicken stew' from the freezer to make chicken noodle soup. These were leftovers from a pot of chicken and dumplings minus the dumplings. With the wind blustering and shaking the house today, I think it's going to be just perfect to have soup for supper.
Sorted coupons, clipped new ones and filed. My shopping list is made out and now was a good time to do it. Reminding myself of the limited funds it was easy to mark off those things we truly don't need at present. Helpful to remember is that I can purchase in two weeks.
January 19: I was very aware of the heat pump running non-stop from the early hours of morning right up until we got showered and dressed to go get groceries. I should have turned on the propane heat but here's the deal: the propane heats the living/dining room and kitchen pretty well. It almost penetrates to our bedroom but the bathroom is frigid. I'm afraid we're using far too much electricity with the heat pump just now. It's only good down to about 30F and after that it works and works and works.
Turned on the kettle right away when I got to to the kitchen.
Seems to be my week for 'found' foods in the freezer. I moved a package in the fridge freezer yesterday to get to the frozen ginger root and found a package of French Toast I'd put away a couple of weeks ago. I thawed in the oven this morning and served up with maple syrup and sausage (and scrambled egg for John).
Carried all I've gathered thus far for a trip to Katie's out to the car with us. Wish I'd remembered to take along Bess' package I was going to mail. I guess it will go out Thursday when I go into town.
Katie mentioned wanting cafe curtains at a couple of windows. I happen to find one spare cafe curtain rod. I was sure I had two but I'll take her the one I have at present as I'm certainly not using it
Grocery day. Made sure to take along my list this week.
Compared prices between what was on sale at Publix and what the cost was at Aldi. Aldi is not always the very best price, but it often is.
Reminded John we were on short pay week and would shop accordingly. I did considerably shorten my list of all but necessities and a few special buys I'd promised him we'd get once they went on sale again. Well...I ended up $40 over and here is where my husband and my desire to stick hard to a budgeted amount part ways.
He is not the reason for my overage. No, it's entirely my own doing and I know it. However, when I say out loud, as I am wont to do, that I am over again and I really must get this under control, he offers me more money to spend, offers to pay out of his allowance for any overage, questions whether we don't have the money in the bank, etc. I tried to explain to him again today that I've designated a generous amount for groceries and really there is no excuse for spending more and I certainly do not want or need him to pass his allowance to me to use either. The truth is I need to just change my own mindset about how I'm purchasing. It's easy enough to say "Oh but it's on sale and we'll use it" but that is a poor excuse when I know full well that at some point it will be on sale again.
Of that $40 overage exactly $10 of it was splurge. John has been bugging me for a week about macaroni salad which he loves (I don't) and so I urged him to buy a small single serving container today. He also wanted to buy a cheese for me to have as a treat. He says it's all he can figure out I can eat as a treat now (sweets being something I prefer to choose myself with a sharp eye on carb counts). And I bought a lovely rose colored bunch of carnations from the bargain flowers on display. Can't say I'm in the least upset with myself for that $4! I smile every single time I look at them... Still if this is my year of savings then today I saved -$40...and frankly I hope that is the last time this year I post a negative for savings!!
We purchased gasoline near where we bought groceries. At $.20 a gallon difference we did save a bit there, about $2.00...Hardly offsets the money I overspent but it is a true savings all the same.
John bought us lunch at the local place today as we came through town. He paid for it with his allowance.
I asked Publix to sync two of my prescriptions that were filled a week apart so I can make one trip do in future months.
Put away groceries when we came in. That might sound like a 'duh' thing but in putting them away I poured cereal into a jar to keep pests out of it (ants namely) and crackers in the cracker tin and milk in the freezer to help it stay fresh until it's needed. I repackaged and individually wrapped the rolls I bought for Shabat breads and put those in the freezer. I put dog biscuits in the doggy snacks container (again preventing pests in getting to the foods we bought). Protecting the goods that we bought is key in preventing waste or loss.
Wanted a hot supper tonight. We typically eat a sandwich or soup for supper meals and I had no soup thawed tonight. Hot cocoa and grilled cheese with popcorn on the side hit the spot and made us feel we'd had at least one good hot meal on this chilly winter day.
January 20: Oatmeal for breakfast and I made a mistake and put in too much oatmeal so I had to add more milk...well it was too much oatmeal made in the end. I set that extra portion aside. With leftover sausage gravy and leftover biscuits and leftover oatmeal...I'm thinking we're either going to have breakfast leftovers for supper or for breakfast in the next few days.
John mentioned late last night that we were going to be out today...and it was just cold enough I didn't want to get out of bed to take out meat to thaw...as though it would...This morning I took one of those frozen entrees from the freezer and thawed it.
So it all worked out that in the end, we didn't go as far afield nor were we gone as long as he'd initially proposed. Still we didn't leave until just before dinner time and we came back just after. I popped that casserole dish into the microwave and set a plate on top of it, then I broke up broccoli into florets and put those in a small bowl with a bit of water. That bowl went on top of the plate topped casserole, and was also topped with a plate. I microwaved it all for about six minutes. End result was hot food and warm plates to put it on. I shall keep this in mind for doing one of these summer Sundays after church.
I received a bill...which said I owed two months. I looked and looked, certain I'd written that check last month. Well I didn't. As it happens I didn't get a bill last month and it's my own fault I didn't send in my check in time. I felt sure I was missing that bill and forgot it entirely during the holidays. Check will go out in tomorrow's mail for this month and next.
I fought with a printer problem and looked online for solutions, but to no avail. John offered to help with it and I was unconvinced it would do a bit of good. Well it did do a bit of good. Because he asked to go through the program with me, I discovered that I missed an option on the scan program which asked which of the two computers I wanted to send the scanned items to. Problem solved.
John bought a few parts and fixed a utility cord for the new pump house light he just purchased. He told me he'd priced a new cord and saved us $9...Now it's his savings for us not my doing so I won't count it in the totals this week, but smart man, huh?
Turned on the propane heat this morning early, since we'd both taken showers early. This allowed the heat pump to take a rest.
The morning warmed up quickly and nobody hung around on the front porch looking hopeful this morning, so I skipped feeding pets. I think they finished up the night time cold rations I'd put out.
Received my big order of vitamins this afternoon. 20 bottles at an average of $3.50 a bottle. They will last varying periods of time but it was a huge savings getting them this way through Puritan's Pride and I will have Shop and Earn points for Swagbucks in a couple more weeks. My savings just might make up for my overspending on groceries. I saved $60 over what I've been paying.
Spent my hour (and a little more) on Swagbucks this morning.
January 21: Packed John's lunch. Made him breakfast. I reheated the sausage gravy and biscuits and fried him two eggs.
I washed two full loads of clothes. I hung some to dry but due to rain ended up using the dryer for sheets and towels. I did separate the towels and dry those after the sheets so that the dryer was good and hot when the towels went in.
Tagged several items for the booth. I looked up comparable items, determined what pieces would go into booth, etc. Two items were re tagged. They are rugs I had in the booth. At one time they were on the floor and after being walked on they looked worse for wear, so much so that I was offered half the price marked. I brought them home and cleaned them well and sprayed them with a stain resistant spray. They look as good as new. I don't think anyone will offer me 50% of asking price on those now.
As I was digging through the stuff for booth, I found some tea cups that don't have saucers to match. Mama likes a 'half' cup of coffee when she visits and the tea cups are just the right size. I put those in the cupboard to pull out for her.
I ate leftovers from the freezer, single serve entrees I put up over the past few weeks. I had both dinner and supper.
January 22: Planned ahead this morning and wrote out a list of the things I hoped to get done. It's a good way to stay on target, when time must count. It did keep me on target and by early afternoon I was done with my tasks.
Baked a chicken this morning while I ran into town to take items to the booth.
That trip into town was made to count. I stopped at the dollar store to pick up a handful of items. I went to the post office and by the booth to place my tagged items. I took off trash, too as I went out.
I saved money at the dollar store. I didn't look around but went in and got exactly what I meant to get and nothing besides.
When the chicken came out of the oven, (just after I got back from my trip into town) I put a peach cobbler in.
As soon as the cobbler came out, I put in a dozen cookies. No fears about sugar overload. I cut the sugar and increased the fiber (oatmeal) in the cobbler. This will be dessert for guests tomorrow. The cookies are for John and I which we'll mete out.
There was plenty of chicken leftover. We ate only the leg quarters. I put the juices that cooked from the chicken up to save for making broth. I expect to get at least 3 more meals from this chicken. I paid about $4 for the hen and that works out to about $.50 a meat serving for each of us.
This week in completing surveys and Swagbucks, I've earned $35.
Total savings this week: $107.70 and that's just on the thing I can actually put a figure upon. I can't imagine how much the savings were for all those dibs and dabs of leftovers I used instead of wasting, how much the savings was for letting the sun warm the house, nor put a value on the extra space created by decluttering and culling. Still my savings are always tax free!
What did you do in your home to save this week?