Feb. 20: We traveled up to see Katie and family. I packed a supper for us of sandwiches, granola bars and fruit. John stopped to buy coffees for us on our way home. Savings: $12 the cost of burgers, fries and drinks...Not to mention a few extra calories.
I don't purchase sandwich bags any more. I wanted the sandwiches to stay together and the sandwich filling had no stickiness to it. I wrapped them in waxed paper squares and placed all of our lunch in a bread sack. I have plenty of quart and gallon zippered bags on hand but it was kind of fun to figure out a different way of doing things.
Katie did it again...she pulled things she had tired of from her closet and gifted me a stack of new to me clothing. A blazer and a short cardigan, several tops, a bra and a pair of pants. She has a knack for realizing when I'm smaller again and these items are a size smaller for me, even the bra..and they fit! I'd just told John on the way up that I am, sadly, down to one blouse that fit really well and a lot that were just a bit too large or a bit too small. I think I'd best pull out those 'bit too small' ones and try them on, as I've apparently lost a little more weight.
Katie kindly made Brunswick Stew for us and froze it in meal sized packets. I brought home several (I forgot to count how many but it's 2 gallon sized bags with smaller flat frozen bags inside).
I am sporting a new manicure with a fancy Chevron patterned accent nail. We did the manicures while we chatted. Savings $45. One of the nicest things about this sort of manicure is that none of the product has a noticeable scent. No I take it back. One of the nicest things about this manicure is that I got it while spending time with my lovely girl. And the second nice thing is the lack of odor in the polishes.
We were gone all day long. I left one light on indoors and the porch lights on because we knew it was going to be dark when we returned. The two porch lights are LED bulbs and cost nearly nothing in electricity. The real savings is that we were not home. It was warm enough that the heat didn't need to come on and cool enough that the AC didn't need to run, so the heat pump/AC was cut off.
We picked up mail and I had two bills, money for which was already set aside. I went ahead and wrote out the checks. We'll drop them by the post office tomorrow as we go through town.
Feb. 21: Tired today but I was up quite early anyway. I decided I needed my 'pretty coffee' ritual to boost my spirits this morning. Part of what makes it nice? If I want hot coffee I have to consciously sit down with my cup and drink it because it does go cold quickly. I had nice hot coffee this morning and enjoyed every drop of it.
Put on some of the clothing Katie had given me in a previous visit. I had a scarf that complemented the top and shrug I wore. It felt nice to get dressed in something new to me.
John is so sweet. When I declined a soda after church, he came out of the store with a banana. It's very thoughtful of him to bring me a treat he knows I can have. It's not his first time doing so. I asked him how much it cost to buy just one banana like that but he didn't answer. I wasn't going to suggest he stop purchasing them, was just curious, but sometimes he understandably might think I'm going into frugal overdrive, lol.
We decided not to fill up the car and just wait until next pay period (would have been the third time in a week's time. We generally fill up when it hits half a tank). I can think of only one trip we'll make in the next week and there's really no need to fill that car just now.
Came home for dinner. We brought home two pieces of chicken from Katie's yesterday. I made a salad and another side dish pretty quickly. Hot food on the table in 20 minutes. This saved us money, because I'd surely have suggested to John we pick something up on the way home, since I hadn't prepped anything ahead. Savings $18, because a trip in the grocery on Sundays when you're good and hungry is never cheap!
I used that space of time while heating the chicken and baking the side dish to clear the kitchen up and unload the dish drainer, dishwasher and dish pan. Yep. Dishes! Normally I'd wait until after dinner but tiredness drove me today. If dishes were done prior to dinner I could sit down and rest (aka nap) after dinner.
John washed a full load of clothes and hung all but undies to dry.
I mixed up whole wheat pizza dough. I will use up some onion, mushrooms* and yellow bell pepper on a pizza for supper. I'll likely have enough dough left to make a second and third pizza. I'm thinking I'll assemble and pop in the freezer as my own homemade version of oven ready pizza.
Shopped at home: milk from freezer, turkey pepperoni from pantry. I've avoided buying turkey pepperoni lately because it was nearly $4 a package. I found turkey pepperoni at Aldi this past week for $1.99 and bought two packages. Savings $4 to use elsewhere (that's the cost of ONE package of turkey pepperoni at the other grocery).
Made up John's lunch for work tomorrow.
Feb. 22: Packed up John's work lunch. I gave him a surprise today, that leftover pizza from last night.
Made him breakfast as usual.
My day out with Mama. I went through house and picked it up and straightened it all nicely.
I had breakfast at 5:30 this morning with John. I knew I needed to eat a snack of some sort, so prepared myself a half cup of Greek Yogurt with a teaspoon of lemon curd and 1/4 cup almonds stirred in. It was quite good and nice to have the texture of the nuts.
Plan of action: pick up Mama at her house, hit CVS sales, Aldi for more of those lovely Cara Cara oranges I got last week, lab work and then we'd lunch. It was my turn to pay for lunch. I checked to make sure I had funds with me (allowance), packed up my coupons (clipped a couple needed for today, too) and grabbed a bottle of water on my way out of the door.
At CVS, I purchased the acrylic polish from Sally Hansen that does not need the LED light to activate the finish. Katie gave me a kit with top coat in it at Christmas and so I purchased four lovely colors. This stuff is $9.99 a bottle. No I'm not crazy. I had a $10 off $40 coupon on my card as well as earning $5 in ECBs, with the purchase of 2 bottles with up to 2 transactions allowed. Total cost of polish at the end works out to about $5 each which is quite reasonable for a good polish and excellent for an acrylic coat polish.
I also bought a single Reeses Peanut Butter Easter Egg. That money was returned via an ECB for $.99 making it free.
I got another tube of toothpaste for under $1 with manufacturer coupon, and a kiosk coupon. I paid $.89 for the tube.
I bought 2 bottles of Xtra laundry detergent, a product we used for years upon years and which I know works well with our soft water here. It was on sale for $2.88 for 2. There was a manufacturer's coupon of $1 in the Sunday paper making it 2 for $1.88. I had $1.50 in ECBs from my last visit to CVS which I applied. I got both bottles of detergent for $.38 Total Out of Pocket paid today was $31.97
Total Savings at CVS: $18.75 Total earnings: $10.99 ECBs to use at CVS in the next month.
Followed through on my plans after CVS. After dropping Mama off at her house (we had a nice ride through the country, taking the long cut home after our dinner), I stopped at the dollar store. I didn't need anything at the dollar store but I'd made up my mind that I wanted to do something in my home this week that was fresh. I picked up a cute sign for another project (unannounced at present) and bought fresh white shades for our bedroom lamps which looks so much nicer than the cream colored ones did.
I also bought a room darkening curtain for our bathroom. I think that I'm still going to have to line it with a blackout fabric simply because the sun is so very strong at that point of the house in summer and there is no shade for that window. The shade to fit that window and the kitchen window (the two smallest and shortest windows in the house) cost more per window than three of the shades for the much larger, longer windows which is craziness in my opinion. However, my 'something fresh' for the bathroom cost $10. I saved $65.00 over the cost of a shade. If I end up buying a black out fabric I'll deduct that in a future post. I know they run about $20 at Target.
Today while out I wore one of the items Katie gave me on Saturday, a yellow short cardigan which reminded me strongly of a Pin my niece sent me back in the autumn saying the outfit reminded her of me. Well the cardigan worked beautifully with my version of the outfit. And how blessed am I to have a daughter and a niece who know my style and make sure I look stylish?
For my meal tonight I had one of the single serve packets of Brunswick Stew Katie made and froze for us. It was delicious!
Another savings today: no one was home for the bulk of the morning and into late afternoon. When I did come home the only things I switched on were the coffee pot and, as the daylight waned, a lamp beside my chair (LED bulb). I don't worry a great deal about electricity costs. We cut out many things many years ago and are pretty vigilant about lights being turned out, etc, but to know the house has had a day of rest from regular routine expenses is nice, too.
Feb 23: I have been intent on giving my home a fresh look for Spring, which I'm hoping is indeed just around the corner, and I have the usual budgetary restrictions. Ha. Nothing like wishing for something new to spur me on to use what I have. I knew I wanted to use the bird prints I've had in my bathroom in the living room. I had another of the same note cards to make a third for the living room. It is actually just like one of the cards but hung on the wall with the one that is different in the middle gives the illusion of three different prints. The sharp eyed will see they are the same but most people won't pay that much attention to it.
I disassembled the wall of pictures I had in the master bedroom. Four of those prints went to the bathroom. Two were moved to another narrow wall section in the bedroom. I am not quite through with my freshening up phase but so far it's cost me less than $20 (lamp shades for the bedroom and a curtain for the bath). And not one penny for the art part of two rooms.
John had a mishap while they were filling the ambulance with diesel. His shirt took the brunt of it. He's stain treated it, washed it and now has it in the laundry with more stain treatment. He's doing his best to salvage the shirt even though he has plenty more work shirts in the closet. I share this because it really is a frugal person's way. He has a uniform allowance and could easily just toss the shirt and order another but the instinct is to salvage the ruined shirt. **the stain did not come out and when he held it up for me to see, I could tell it was a lost cause. I suggested he move it to the house drawer and wear about home. You see...we'll get a bit more use from the shirt even yet, just not at work.
John washed the shirt separate from the rest of the laundry. He hung all the laundry to dry except the undies.
I washed out my bras by hand and hung to dry.
I made a new recipe at dinner time today. I had to substitute ingredients but it still came out tasty and will be something I make again. This recipe also broke me out of my rut, as it was not one I'd normally have given a try.
It was nice enough this afternoon after dinner to take coffee on the back porch.
Took time to work on Swagbucks. I didn't make goal today but I added to my points.
I took time to enter Coke Points into MyCokeRewards. Oh speaking of Coke points, I typically don't touch John's wallet but he asked me last week to put something back. I found he'd gathered Coke points from cartons at work and stuffed them in his wallet. I let him know I'd taken them and thanked him for thinking of me in my small efforts to stretch our budget.
Today is one of those days when it feels like I did nothing notable to save money but every thing I did in my home was a savings to us somehow. I made all meals at home and I edited ideas I had that might make a meal more costly. I switched off lights and used natural day light for most tasks. I used what I had to create a new look in my home. I went into my closet and pieced items together to see what matched up with what. I'm not happy with any of it but I did at least determine which pieces had possibilities to use with the new to me items. I hand washed bras and hung to dry, to save wear on them. I substituted ingredients in a recipe when I found I was out of what was called for...All of these things saved us money in some form or way, even if I can't put a full scale dollar amount on them.
Feb. 24: We had blustery warm winds this morning and cooler ones this afternoon. John washed clothes and hung out to dry, as well as hanging out towels to freshen.
I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
I put up a full serving of our meal today for my dinner on Friday.
Yet again I've experienced problems with a Swagbucks Shop and Earn. It's not normally a problem but the last three I've used have been problematic. Getting it squared away is a pain but it's a small earnings and I want it! Perseverance paid off today, as the one item I'd tried to get credit for several times was applied to my account this afternoon. That pushed me over goal, too.
We picked up $.12 this past week and added to our charity box.
I baked frozen cookie dough at dinner time while the oven was on anyway. 1 dozen cookies at a savings, too. Compare to frozen cookie dough at a bit over $4 for a dozen pieces. Savings $4. *I priced cookies at the grocery today (2/25) and boy oh boy! $6 for a dozen cookies. $5.69 for a dozen mini muffins. Same price for four regular sized muffins...Boy, is baking at home the best bargain around or what?)
Shopped at home for both decaf and regular coffee.
We opened up the windows today and let the house air out until cooler air began to blow in.
When I bought the patio set, it came with cushions on the chairs. I took them off and put in the shed because they weren't my choice, but appeared to be okay other than fading. I put two of them on the front porch chairs after Blossom arrived since she liked to sit on the chairs and it kept her nails from getting caught in the grid of the metal chairs. Well today, I noted that the cushions, which had gotten wet in the rain last night, smelled bad. I took them up and tossed them in the washer and hung to dry on the line. This evening I went out to sit with Maddie while she ate and realized those cushions had been refreshed in more than one way with the wash. They are really quite nice. Still not to my taste but I have a plan...And there are two more in the shed. I'll be washing the nice ones on the patio set now, too.
Sometimes the smartest thing we can do with our money is to talk about it. Our tax returns are in and John and I discussed how we'd use them this year. We discussed making an offering and determined the amount. Yes, I said offering. We tithe on the gross income amount so that money was tithed upon already. So we made an offering of a portion of it. Then we talked about how we'd use the rest. Ultimately savings is our goal and that's where it has gone in various ways. We put some into savings accounts and split a smaller portion into our sub accounts to boost them up for the year. Savings $1,480.
Feb 25: Oatmeal for our breakfast this morning. Oatmeal shouldn't be discounted as a savings by the way. It's very economical and even made as I do with the custard base, it's still thrifty, much less than a breakfast of eggs and toast for example. I change up how I flavor it. This morning I added a bit of real maple syrup to flavor it. Not a lot is needed but it made a nice change.
John and I have been mighty blessed by his partner and family. They live quite near the work place and on Christmas Eve invited me and him (he was working) to attend their family gathering which was just lovely and especially nice as my family were scattered this year. They also opened up their home and family to us on Super Bowl Sunday. It's meant a lot to have some special time with my husband and to not be alone and I mean that sincerely. Today we treated them to dinner out. It was fun and made us happy. We had a grand time.
While out we planned to do several things as usual. We picked up mail, dropped off outgoing mail, took trash to the dumpsters, filled up the car, picked up a few groceries and bought a battery for the truck we mean to sell. You see what I mean about making our trip count? When you live in a rural area, you don't just run over to town 35 miles away without making it worth the gasoline to get there!
Although it's mid pay period there were some pretty awesome buys at Publix I wanted to take advantage of today. I edited my list carefully because ultimately this is all extra and over my budget at present but I think will help me to come in under budget in the near future. I bought an 8 pack of Powerade for $3.33. These are very necessary for my husband when it starts to get warm and he's working these long hours. I thought I'd start stocking up now before the heat arrives. The bottles sell for $1.79 each at the stores. Savings $10.99.
John is especially fond of the Whole Wheat Ritz Stax which is a half roll of crackers really. You get just as much as in a regular box but Aldi crackers are the least expensive. I told him if I found them for the same price as Aldi per box I'd buy him the name brand. Today was the day. No savings and no extra, so it was a win all around. I was in need of fresh flowers. None looked nice today, so I purchased a small Kolanchoe instead. It costs the same as a bunch of flowers. Again no extra and no savings.
Tuna was on sale again, buy one get one free. It made the four packs of tuna run about $.50/can just as Lana pointed out. Here's the bargain part: the same sized single can is on sale this week for $.89 each and yes that is truly a 'sale' as normally they run $1. I got 8 cans for $4, savings $4.
On our way home today, I felt like that lady that heads this post. John couldn't have pleased me any more if he'd given me a real corsage and I mean that. And what did the head of the house do? He was talking over how we grew our savings this week and he said to me, "You know, I appreciate everything you do that makes it possible for us to save this way. I know I don't make a lot of money but you sure make it feel like more than enough." There is nothing more valuable to me than that praise from my husband!
Feb. 26: Packed the work lunch I prepared for John last night. Made him breakfast.
Our electric bill rose considerably with the extra cold days we'd had last month. The temperatures dropped again last night. I turned the heat lower (64F) and put on the propane heat and a kettle this morning. That kept the house at about 68F which is quite warm enough. True the bathroom was a bit chilly but the guest bath is nearer the living room and considerably warmer. I like to shower there occasionally just to keep a feel for how well equipped it is for guests, anyway.
Opened the curtains as soon as it was daylight and turned off unnecessary lights thereafter.
Washed a big load of clothes (towels and sheets). I hung everything on the line outdoors.
It is a 'free day' for me today, with John working. I'd been undecided about what I might do. There are several 'want to-s' on my list. Ultimately I decided for the least expensive of options. Also the most tiring of options...working with what I have to give indoors a fresh new look for the coming season. I finished the master bath. I've stacked things in rooms and moved them to other rooms and cleared everything up three times over and I'm weary. I don't have a 'finish' for any other area but I've seen possibilities. Now to live with what I have done for a day or two and consider all before I change it up again. But...I didn't spend one dime all day long on any thing. I didn't even turn on the lights today since it was so bright and sunny!
Ate leftovers for dinner.
Washed sheet and towels and hung on the line to dry.
"Shopped the shed" this afternoon to see what I might have there. I think, and can't believe I'm saying it, I've got a bit too much. Time to cull hard and let some things go.
Needed a pot for the new plant I bought, something that was prettier than the plastic one it was in. I stepped out on the porch to take a breather and found a little bucket I'd painted last summer that was the perfect size.
I've been contemplating purchasing a new cover for the older ottoman simply because I think I would prefer a lighter color. As I put away some things I realized I had the perfect cream colored fabric right before me. I have more than enough for the project which I'll start next week, using the current slipcover piece as a pattern.
Pulled out some things from the freezer to thaw: a pie, a chuck roast for a pot roast dinner, some spaghetti sauce for another meal
Cleared the chiffarobe drawers where I store my jars and plastic containers. I matched pieces to lids and culled those items that had no mate. Amazingly I can fit more in both drawers now that I've straightened them up.
I have had a hate hate relationship with a lamp in my dining area. I didn't like the colors, hated the shade. I took paint from the cupboard, painted the lamp, used one of the shades I'd removed from the bedroom recently and now I have a lamp that is better. Not a love thing but better.
Total Savings for this Week: $1,677.94