Feb 27: John worked last night. A 'better' breakfast is wanted on those mornings even if it is Shabat. I make sure there is plenty of coffee, too. This morning I kept it simple: Cream Cheese and Chive Scrambled Eggs, Beef Sausage, Toast.
Dinner today was made up of frozen leftovers and Ground Beef. I used leftover tomato sauce and tomatoes and a pint of no meat spaghetti sauce and made Spaghetti for today's dinner.
I thawed the second pie that Bess made when she was home for Christmas. It is delicious, not hurt in the least by freezing.
Our Shabat afternoon at home ritual includes Home Popped Pop Corn. So inexpensive and so good.
While digging in stuff yesterday I found two pictures, both my own artwork that I'd forgotten I had. I think they will be beautiful in the bedroom. I'll need frames for those two pieces. I'm hoping to find I have some the right size lying about in my stash.
I had a thrift store find picture that had no glass in the frame. I can't recall if I broke it or bought it without the glass. No matter. In digging about in the closet I found a piece of picture glass that was the exact size needed for that picture. I can't believe I've kept a piece of glass for years just so I could use it now.
Feb 28: Simple breakfast sandwiches this morning for breakfast. John made the meal and used bagels as the sandwich bread.
Wore one of the tops Katie gave me to church this morning. It is a lovely deep plum color which went nicely with a vintage necklace I had picked up at a yard sale years ago. I wasn't brave enough to wear the matching button earrings.
While at church I grabbed a bottle of the complimentary water. I hadn't gotten any on my way out of the door this morning.
John wanted to go out to eat today. He was very specific about what he wanted and so we decided to give a restaurant we've visited twice a third try. Our previous experiences were good and bad. Third time is the charm. We ate on the patio and all was well with the service and the meal. We'll likely return in the future. John paid from his pocket for that meal.
We stopped and bought a paper on the way home. Lots of coupons and some decent sales.
Worked on the checkbook today, getting it balanced and settling the money we'd agreed to use to boost the sub accounts. This is our third pay period this month. I was able to push half payments towards our meat purchase and now have enough to fill the freezer with all the beef we'll need for four or five months. Notice I did NOT use money designated for savings to put in the meat account? We do not eat our savings in this house (nor do we put meals on the credit card).
Ordered checks. Gosh but they are pricey these days. Nevertheless they must be purchased and the company we use is much less expensive than the bank...who also orders them from an outside company and then marks them up! I stumbled upon a deal that allowed me to get four boxes for the cost of three. Total Savings: $38.75.
Dug through all my frames and found one I can use to frame one of my pieces of artwork for the bedroom. Shopping at home first saved me $10. Which will help pay for the one frame I must buy.
Found another picture for the living room gallery wall. Now to find objects to fill in the spaces and buy a can of paint to unify the frames.
Feb 29: I all but emptied the other side of the chiffarobe this morning, which netted me lots of freed up storage space. I can't even put a value on this it's such a commodity in my home!
Hung pictures on my bedroom wall. I need one frame but tacked up the piece of art with poster putty in the meantime, just so I could get a feel for how the wall will look. While I was working on arranging things, one piece of artwork's frame broke. The glass fell out and hit the floor, breaking at one edge. I don't have another piece that size. John did repair the frame with wood glue and a clever idea: he tied a knot in two plastic trash bags and then twisted them to create the needed pressure to hold pieces together.
I was so busy this morning that I pulled a freezer entree from the freezer and heated in the oven while I continued to work.
We went down to pick up John's check. We gathered trash to carry off on our way out. Took bills with us to mail, went by the bank and stopped to pick up our mail on our way back in.
It seems hard to get paid and find there's little left of the check when you're done. I reminded myself this evening as I totted up our totals that I'd paid a good deal extra on our loan (the one we took out in July when the first medical bills hit us all at once). Our loan is set up so that if we pay over and above the payment amount, the remainder is taken off the principle of the loan. Yes, we do still pay interest but we're saving ourselves a whole lot of interest overall. It's darn good incentive to pay it off, let me assure you and we do save ourselves hundreds of dollars by paying more than we owe each month. This month I doubled our usual payment amount.
I also set aside a good portion towards our meat purchase we plan to make this week. I have a generous budget and should manage nicely. Anything leftover will be added back into the account balance.
John wanted to make me dinner tonight. He suggested I wanted a cheeseburger...I gave him money from the grocery budget to pick up the items he wanted to purchase. It was $10 and we'll get a second meal from the meat, have sandwiches from the sliced cheese and likely use the buns to make hoagies for our picnic later in the week. So several meals will result from his purchases. He was very pleased with his dinner. I'm pleased with how it's stretching out over the week and extending my menu plans.
I put money in savings from a small income stream we have. Savings $137.
total for February: $2,647.49 Golly! I impress myself, I do truly...I think I need to track this more often than once every few years, if only privately.
Mar. 1: We had plans for errands, etc. today. I brought along a bottle of water for each of us and suggested last night that John put his bottled soda in the fridge to carry along with us. By the time we were done today we did stop to buy a drink on our way home (we had an hour's drive ahead of us) but ultimately we saved the cost of those first rounds of water/soda. savings $3.58
We stopped at the bank to make a deposit to a small savings account we have. I reported this as part of a bigger savings overall last week. It was just a portion of that amount used in this account.
Got my hair cut and we voted while we were in town.
We went to meat market today. This is the butcher shop that is about an hour from home where we buy Black Angus natural beef. Price point is on the higher end of things but not much more than we'd pay for regular beef at the prime supermarket where we shop. I like natural...That said I did not spend all the money I'd set aside although I felt I got all the meat I wanted today. When we came home I put money back into our account. total savings: $54.78.
I put in the freezer today: 2-1.25 pound and 1-2 pound eye of round roasts (cut a large 4.5pound roast into three sections). I cut a 2.5 pound sirloin tip roast into cubes. I put 4 bags of sirloin cubes in the freezer (shish kebab for warm weather meals). I cut a second 2.5 roast in half and tied them (reusing the twine used on the two larger roasts) and put 2 sirloin tip roasts into the freezer. I bought 3 sirloin steaks and had them cut in half (6 steaks which will serve 2-4 depending on what I make with them). I made 1 dozen hamburger and 10 slider size burgers, 2 dozen meat balls and put 10 pounds of ground chuck packed in 1/2 pound packages in the freezer this afternoon. I had a 2.5 pound chuck roast left in the freezer from last purchase as well as a smaller sirloin steak and 1/2 pound ground chuck.
Mar 2: We had to leave home again today for a doctor's appointment. We planned our regular grocery shop around that trip since the doctor is in the same town. We carried off trash on our way out.
Shopped at Aldi and as usual filled the buggy full. This pay period I needed little to fill immediate needs but used the bulk of grocery money to plump the pantry and purchase a few items I've wanted but could never quite stretch to cover. I've started my list for next pay period. I want to stock up on baking items (sugars, flours, meals, chocolate chips).
My latest order of bulk purchased vitamins arrived. I took advantage of a free shipping and $10 off coupon plus sales to get this lot. It's pricey to order so much at once but not so difficult when you realize that you're getting 12 bottles for about $4 each.
Mama called and asked me to stop by and pick up a quart of strawberries. Even though I bought berries I gratefully accepted. She put in a bunch of the hugest grapes I've ever seen. They were each three or four bites big!
Now the pantry is looking a bit fuller and the freezers are both full, I am thinking I'll manage just fine for the next two weeks, especially with all the lovely fresh produce we have on hand. I bought two bags of oranges and another bag of apples, so we'll have some fresh to eat for the full two weeks.
I spent every cent of my budget but again I got a couple of luxuries like a jar of almond butter and a bit of fontina cheese and a bottle of the Boars Head Gourmandaise which is a peppery seasoned mayonnaise that we like on sandwiches. I also splurged on all beef bologna for picnic sandwiches. Funny...since we seldom eat bologna or any other sandwich meats to buy a half pound at the deli seems like the most outrageous of luxuries, yet it cost us only about $4.
We washed a couple more of the older patio chair cushions. They got wonky. John hung them to dry yesterday and then tossed them into a chair. Today I finally got to them and opened the end of the cushion cover and sorted out the lumps and bumps and made them look nice once more. I'll sew up the ends again and then I'm going to go to work at rehabbing those cushions for a new season of life.
Took time to open mail: found address labels in two different mailings, a recipe, a valuable coupon and a bit of information I somehow wasn't aware of. I'll be looking into that matter over the next few days.
We've been out and about more than usual this winter and I've worn makeup far more often than I normally do. My skin was telling the story. I exfoliated, put on a mask and then heavily moisturized.
While my mask was drying, I took an exfoliating hand scrub and used on my poor hands. They've looked especially dry and my fingertips are peeling something fierce.
Poured the last of the coffee into John's cup and then filled the rest of the way with water. He heated in the microwave and that saved the waste of a cup of coffee. John does this nearly every day. In a month's time it saves about a half pound of coffee. Not a big savings but a savings of $4.
Just because the freezer is full and the pantry is starting to burgeon once more is no excuse for slacking off in the food waste area. I'd meant to make a second entree from the leftover spaghetti this past weekend, but John ate it... I'd thought he'd eaten all of it but this afternoon as I sorted through the refrigerator I found he'd eaten only half. There was a single enchilada left, 1/4 of a hero sandwich, 1 serving of spaghetti. Leftovers for supper.
Mar. 3: Made oatmeal for breakfast. I added apple and cinnamon to the batch this morning. Used just half an apple. This afternoon I cut up that half and then cut another apple into slices. I made an apple and cheese plate for John and I for snack this afternoon.
I washed sheets and towels today and hung outdoors to dry.
Made muffins using up items in the fridge and an over ripe banana. I used pineapple juice and two slices of pineapple (diced), the banana and some coconut in the muffins. They are very good! Not bad for a made up as I went recipe. My muffins were made from scratch. My only muffin pan is fairly large, holding about 1/2 -3/4 cup of batter. I made 10 muffins. At the grocery a couple of weeks ago I noted that 4 muffins (the larger size like mine) were selling for $4.99 or about $1.25 each. I figure mine cost me about $1.00 in ingredients. That makes my muffins value rise considerably doesn't it. $15 for a dozen or $1 for 10? That's $11.50 I can use elsewhere.
Boiled potatoes for potato salad. I put five eggs into the potatoes to boil, too. I used one in the potato salad and made deviled eggs with the rest.
Pre-packed the packaged non-perishables for John's Sunday work lunch in his lunch bag.
Remember back at the end of last year when I called about hospital bills that weren't being paid? I mentioned I'd not known that the first lab I used for the first four or five months was not a covered lab. Apparently the girl took it as an 'appeal' and the insurance company went back over those bills, and paid a portion of them all. I got the bill from the hospital today. Originally I would have owed over $1300. My total was $239. Just mentioning it in a phone call to the insurance company saved $1100.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
I've been doing a lot of extra shredding lately. Our shredder has been on it's last legs for some time...It quits periodically (not just from overheating) and I work with it and work with it and get it working and then it quits all over again. John told me to go ahead and order a new one today. He'd seen a deal online with Best Buy where shipping was free on orders over $35. I ordered a new shredder.
I also ordered ink cartridges. I nearly ordered a 4 pack which included all the needed colors for our printer but I decided to check the price of the single black and 3 color cartridge. I saved $12 ordering the color and black cartridges separately.
Mar. 4 We had plans for today. I packed a picnic lunch to go with us. There were only two options for a meal in the area where we planned to be at noon. We had a lovely picnic meal with lots of good foods. It cost me about $4 to pack. If we'd eaten out today we'd surely have paid far more. Savings $15.
I went out to two yard sales today. I carried along a list of things I was especially looking for. I found one. I had set a limit of $20 on non-list items. I spent $16. savings $4.
It was cold, as in c.o.l.d. this morning. Damp, windy and cloudy. John told me when we were near our destination "I'm going to find coffee." I was happy to hear it. That coffee really hit the spot. It also brought up one of the items I had on my list: a Thermos so that we can bring hot coffee from home when we are traveling. I made up my mind that if I can't find one shortly in a thrift store, I'm certainly going to buy a new one. We paid $3.50 for two coffees today and that is cheap compared to what some places charge. Still, it would be a huge savings over time to bring along hot coffee, now wouldn't it?
As always when we're out we do our best to get as much from our gasoline usage as possible. We dropped off mail to go out, went to two yard sales, and on our way back through this afternoon we stopped at the parts store to pick up needed items, went by the flea market so I could settle up for the month, picked up mail on our way into the property.
Once home, John did some things outdoors. I prepped ahead for tomorrow's meal so that I can do as little as possible and enjoy as much rest as I can for our Shabat.
Total for the first days of March: $1,178.36