Assigning Value to What We Do: Mid-February Savings
February 6: I teasingly suggested to John yesterday when we were in town that he could just pick out a card, I'd read it and we'd put it back and not bother with the buying. He'd have none of that! No indeed the man gave me two cards for my birthday and a toy shelf recorder, which is something I've never in my life had and I've enjoyed tootling about the house (very badly) upon it. We've homemade cupcakes and I've discovered that mine, which were frosted with lemon curd are neither too sweet nor too tart, but very pleasing. I made 11 cupcakes and frosting for half and I don't think all the ingredients together came to much over $1.50...Which beats the heck out of the recent 'sales price' at the grocery of $3.99 for four. At that rate, I saved $9.50...
By the way, one year when we were very broke, we did that card trick at the store. It was rather satisfying to know that we'd each chosen something that brought either tears or genuine laughter and it were all the wealthier for having shared that silly moment.
It was quite cold this morning, so I lit the propane heater to take the burden off the electric heat pump. I also turned on a kettle of water to add much needed moisture to the air and we opened windows on the sunny sides of the house, which all made the houe feel quite nice rather quickly.
About noon the temperature indoors was sufficiently high to cut off the propane and let the heat pump run now and then.
Turned the heat down last night to 64F before going to bed. Turned it down tonight before going to bed, too.
An easy Shabat meal plan has come to me over the past few months. Mornings we have bagels and cream cheese or peanut butter and fruit and coffee. Easy peasy, no thinking, no mess to clear up. Dinner is generally prepped ahead the day before or is made up of substantial leftovers and just requires turning on stove or crock pot. Supper is omelets with toast and fruit. Another easy meal and this week the omelet was nice and inexpensive as egg prices were down to $.99/dozen at Aldi. Eggs might have been cheap but I saw no need to use more in our omelet than we'd normally use.
I was reminded this day what a huge blessing things like internet and cell phones are. We used to dread getting the phone bill when we had long distance charges on it and it really curtailed our calls from the kids, too. Well today I heard from all my children and many online friends and family as well. I told John how lovely it is to have the freedom to reach out inexpensively to one another. Granted it's not free by any means, but it's much less costly than old long distance costs ever were when calls could easily average $.20 a minute or more!
Feb 7: Packed John's work lunch, made him breakfast.
Made goal on Swagbucks this morning and did it easily. I do hope this is indicative of how the week will go this week!
Cashed in Swagbucks for a $5 gift card to Walmart. I was credited 55 Swag points for cashing in as a birthday bonus.
Earned 10 points for doing a survery saying what I meant to buy with the gift card.
Use what you have...I am nearly out of white thread and in the midst of a project for my niece. I decided to use a blue embroidery thread and whipstitch the edges of the feature item on this project, saving the necessity of a trip out of house and to the bigger city where I can buy threads. I've put the item on my list (along with a few other basic colors). And I'm sorry but no photos of the project. I shared with her and didn't keep any photos after. It was fun however to help create what John referred to as a family heirloom.
Made a single cup of decaf for myself this afternoon.
Ate single serving entree of leftovers for my dinner today that I thawed and heated in the microwave.
Used the propane heater and the kettle to bring up the temperature indoors this morning and relieve the heat pump from running constantly.
We were invited to John's partner's home for Super Bowl this evening and what fun it was! Good food, a girl's game room and a guy's game room so we females could chat and watch football cause you know, women are really awesome doing two things at once. Judging by the amount of traffic on the roads leading home last night I'd say Super Bowl gatherings were the top social activity.
p.s. Lana you have my condolences. I was one of only two cheering for Panthers last night.
Feb 8: John worked just half a day yesterday, taking off the second 12 hours. Not to worry. He's two classes and an extra 12 hour shift this week to make up for that 'lost time'.
It wasn't quite as cool as it's been (that's on the way judging by the blustery wind), but still cool enough to warrant a lovely bowl of that oatmeal we enjoy so. I used skim milk that I made up from powdered milk to cook the oatmeal. I didn't notice a bit of difference in the taste.
Easy dinner today, easy day. We were out late last night and up still later before we finally went to bed. I pulled a pan of those Chicken Enchiladas from the freezer to cook. I bought the Enchilada sauce at Aldi, during one of their ethnic week promotions. Disappointed. It was tart and a little bit spicy. If I'd had the can still I'd return it for their double back guarantee. I don't know...Maybe I'm spoiled by Rhonda's good Red Enchilada Sauce (look at February 6, 2012 post....blogger is not cooperating with me in linking directly to the recipe).
Walked to the mailbox again this afternoon with the dogs. I love being out in the cold blustery wind and the dogs are excited to have human company on one of their many walks.
Had a supper of leftover pizza that was sent home with us last night. Yum.
Made my own flavored nonfat Greek yogurt. I melted 1 teaspoon of jam in a bowl, then mixed in 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt. Yummy. I get 32 ounces of plain yogurt for less than the cost of four of the 6 ounce individual cups of Greek yogurt. Savings $0.81, which works out to about 6c for every ounce.
Renewed my library book online to save going into town unnecessarily.
Feb 9: John off to class today. He does get paid straight time for these classes, but they are still extra hours and that is always a help.
Fed him a decent breakfast before he left. He wanted to get lunch on his own which he paid for out of his allowance.
Once John left, I went to work on the house. I may have planned to work in the living room today but the whole house needed a good going over and then the weather has been cold and cloudy and snow flurry-ish so I decided to change out my supply of water and freshen the jugs. This is routinely done in summer when I use those jugs to water plants and then refill, but I haven't needed to do that at all this winter with the rain we've had. So this morning all the jugs were refreshed. I have 16 1/2 gallon jugs of fresh water and they will be rotated over the next few weeks. Savings is $8 for 8 gals of water if we'd had to purchase it.
Should our pipes freeze, this water is handy for emergencies and will be good drinking water, while I'd fill the tubs for water to use for washing or flushing purposes. Quite important, too, to have that drawn up in case the electricity goes out which is a real possibility here when ice weighs down powerlines. However, since morning the skies are clearer and while it's cold the threat of snow has passed.
While the water was being refreshed it seemed a good time to clean that cabinet (under the sink) out, so I removed every thing and washed the cabinet down, making it clean and fresh. I went through the vases and tossed a can and a bottle I'd kept after I realized how many receptacles I had for flowers.
Baked the turkey breast in the oven this morning which helped keep the house a nice temperature and meant I could keep the heat a little lower than usual. After we ate this evening, I sliced the turkey and set aside enough for another entree (with stuffing). That will be our Shabat meal this weekend. Then I sliced the rest of the meat for sandwiches. I had about 3 pounds of sandwich slices. At $1.69 a pound. The only meat even close to this at the grocery is sold in the deli for $10.99 a pound! That's a savings of $27.90. And it's the best example of why I cook meats at home and slice for sandwiches.
Used leftover frozen bits of bread and cornbread to make a pan of stuffing. There will be enough of this to freeze for another meal I think. I used the broth that cooked out of the turkey breast while it roasted.
As I cut up celery sticks, I finely minced the leaves and mixed in with my stuffing. I made a 7x11 pan of stuffing, or enough for about 8 servings. Two boxes of store brand stuffing mix would have cost me $3. Mine was made up of leftovers! I'm calling this a total savings: $3 since it was all odds and ends that I just used up to make something delicious.
I set aside stuffing for our Shabat dinner later this week.
I put the turkey breast carcass, skin and all in the crock pot and filled with water, half an onion, two carrots and the ends of celery stalks and cooked overnight.
I set up my March magazines for reading over the next few weeks. This is a mix of both vintage and recent gently read issues from Mama.
I took a banana bread from the freezer to thaw so I'd have a little something extra to put in John's work lunch which has been made. He's working a 36 hour shift and will need enough food for five meals and three snacks. I can't pack enough food in his bag, but I've done my best to make sure every crevice has something in it. In the morning I just need to pack his yogurt and soda and water in the bag along with ice packs to keep those cool for the morning.
I called to auto refill a prescription. It will be ready tomorrow. I'll pick it up while I'm out with Mama and save an extra trip over. While there I plan to purchase bread, garlic and will peruse the sales ad before I leave home in case there are any 'not to be passed up' sales on any items we will need in the next pay period.
Again, I took advantage of already being in a space to do some extra cleaning. I organized prescriptions and supplements by expiration dates and got rid of some expired things. I never ever complain about tossing old drugs or medicines. I always see it as a blessing that we were healthy and didn't need it! We have a few extra of some of our prescription medication we have to take on a regular basis and I keep those rotated so that they don't expire.
Used an online slide show to refresh my knowledge of carb counts in various foods. I did fairly well but was off on a few, which is why I was refreshing my memory.
John's birthday present finally arrived! I'm excited because I'd waited to open mine (Sixth season of Downton Abby) until his present came.
Turned the heat down to 64F before going to bed.
Feb 10: Turned on the propane heat this morning when we got up to help offset the heat pump running so much. I also turned on the kettle. It's been bitter cold these past couple of days and meant to warm up just enough to throw us off track and then cool way down all over again.
That broth cooking in the crock pot smelled very nice when I woke about 2:30am this morning. It must have added some moisture to the air as it cooked. John dislikes me to leave on the kettle overnight, so I was glad of the added bonus of moisture in the air last night.
I picked off nearly three cups of meaty pieces from the broth bones. I smushed the carrots and separated the skin and soft gristle for the dogs to eat. That Blossom loves to eat cooked carrots.
I put up 1/2 gallon of broth. I plan to make turkey noodle soup for Friday's meal, so will use the meat and bigger container of broth for that. I set aside a pint and a half of broth to use to make gravy to go with our Shabat meal. Broth here often sells for $1 for 15 ounces. Savings to me was $10.93. Again, it was all leftovers of stuff and I turned it into a savings for our household.
I took off trash and dropped off my library book at the book bin on my way through town. I'd planed to get new books today but the library is closed on Wednesdays, so I had to let that idea go. I'll get a book some other afternoon when I'm already in town.
While I was out with Mama I went by the grocery and picked up my prescription. I used the drivethru window and skipped the purchases I'd meant to make as I felt rather tired by mid afternoon. Awakening (and staying awake) at 2:30 am is hard on a girl. I was certain in my tired state of mind I'd be splurge-y in the grocery and I can't really afford to be if I'm saving to buy bulk meats this month.
I lost my glasses this afternoon. I came home and went through my car and purse looking for them, checked all my pockets but no glasses. I decided I'd backtrack. That meant going into town to Mama's because I knew I had them on when I came out of the gas station where I'd stopped to fill her car with gasoline. I checked her car and didn't find them there either. So I followed my own tracks in her yard. Found! They were lying on the driveway where they'd apparently slipped from my purse as I took her trash can to roadside for pick up tomorrow. I'm calling it what it is, a real savings because those glasses were pricey! Savings $350. I came very close waiting until tomorrow to go by her place to look for them, but I'm glad I needed them this afternoon at home or Mama might have backed over them leaving her house tomorrow.
No shopping of any sort today while out, just dinner and picking up a prescription before returning home.
I made a new flavor yogurt to have after supper tonight. I mixed a teaspoon of lemon curd in with the plain yogurt. It was quite nice, very very subtle sweetness and lemon flavor.
Feb 11: Another day on my own. I try to make as little impact as I can when I'm home alone but it was cold. I turned on the propane heater and the kettle to add moisture to the air. It got warmer quickly outdoors today so I turned off the propane heater after about two hours.
Leftover Chicken Enchilada and Salad for lunch.
Made a single cup of coffee for myself mid-afternoon.
Washed and hung to dry on the line: sheets and towels.
Made Swag Goal.
Entered codes into My Coke Rewards.
I added a ribbon bookmark to my devotional book...which led to another of my decluttering tasks. My ribbons drawer was a tangled mess. I sorted and rolled ribbons and put them neatly back into the drawer. Which led me to clear our all the other drawers of the unit and good thing. An old, much loved snowglobe that Katie and I made years and years ago started leaking. It was filled with baby oil and I'm glad I found it before it became a huge mess.
It was an easy enough job and all the drawers are nice and neat once more. The only savings, aside from the potential for a mess, is the time savings in looking for items now that it's all well organized.
Free exercise is mine for the having if I walk daily to the mailbox and back. I did it today and that makes three times this week.
Was there a cash savings today? In a way. I've opted to pay cash for a couple of items this week but technically the money should have come from our checking account. I wrote those amounts in today as credits and put a special mark by them to designate that money is being set aside for our meat fund. I have saved $48.45 for that fund thus far.
Feb 12: Easy peasy breakfast this morning of French Toast I'd prepared and put in the freezer. I baked/thawed it alongside the turkey bacon I put in the oven and all was ready at the same time.
Made a big pot of Turkey and Noodle Soup. John's a little under the weather and I felt he needed that boost. This meal was all but free (the cost of the cup of whole wheat noodles was negligible). I added a little yellow bell pepper to up the Vitamin C content of the dish, grated in a carrot so he got all those lovely 'A' vitamins, too.
It's amazing how motivating my weekly lists on the blog can be. I got the guest room cleaned up today.
John washed two full loads of clothes this morning since he brought in his work bedding. I put in my pajamas and nighttime clothes (baggy sweat pants and shirt which is cozier than pajamas when the temperatures are lower). He hung most to dry on the line outdoors or on the drying rack.
Washed a full load of dishes this afternoon. I used the shortest cycle wash which is 40 minutes.
We went off to the store to buy bread. I really wanted to go to the nice store with the good bakery bread but was resigned to eating low end mass manufactured loaf bread. John told me he wanted good bread and drove to the nice grocery. While there the only other things purchased were store brand Splenda (savings $2) and some fresh bananas. We looked at everything. In the deli. In the bakery. In the floral and candy departments. (I did buy carnations at $4 bunch). In the meat counter. At the snacks. We stayed on target despite that and walked out with bread and bananas and Splenda.
By the way, per the store receipt I saved $.70 on bread.
John was in a riding mood and part of it had to do with a question he'd asked me earlier in the day. "What do I do for Valentine's for you?" Well, we eliminated all the obviously overpriced stuff. Most florists will be closed on Monday. At some point he'd mentioned that he'd told someone at work that I liked to ride. "I should just buy you a wine cooler and take you for a ride on all the backroads," he teased...and I said "Actually that sounds like a great Valentine's Day gift!" We skipped the wine cooler but we did ride the backroads home, taking a very meandering path going here and there on whims and I liked it very much indeed. I doubt we used more than a gallon of gas, which still leaves me ranked in the 'cheap date' category. I'm a girl of simple tastes.
Supper at home was leftover hotdogs made into cozy pigs. What is a cozy pig? I split a cooked hot dog, insert slices of cheddar, put face down on a slice of loaf bread that has been spread with mustard and wrap the bread about the hot dog. The edges of the bread are on the bottom. Bake until well toasted and cheese melted.
Made Brownies with the Splenda...and forgot the baking powder. Oh well. They are flat brownies but they are good brownies just the same.
Managed to make two bouquets from my carnations.
Total Savings this Week: $480.78