My Frugal Week: Adjusting and Readjusting
Saturday: We had a quiet day at home, which is not at all unusual for us. We really do like to 'keep' Shabat what it's meant to be, a day of peaceful rest where we try to put our focus on God. What does that have to do with being frugal? We very rarely will do any shopping on a Sabbath. I encourage myself to forgo housework as much as possible. I generally only make our bed. I plan meals ahead and do as much prep work and cooking as I can on Fridays. Dishes are put away before Shabat begins on Friday evenings so I can simply rinse and stack dishes all day long on Saturday. It becomes the restful day it is because I work hard on Fridays to make sure that its that way.
Made pizza for lunch today. I didn't chop vegetables yesterday so I kept it simple today with just olives and onions and the hamburger I made yesterday. I made the dough from scratch. One thing about a rising yeast dough is that it's quick to mix and then walk away from it and let it do it's stuff. I made our dough half whole wheat flour so it had a nice texture and added fiber.
We opened windows and so the AC didn't come on until nearly 5pm. I recalled we'd set it a little lower than usual the night before because the house hadn't gotten stuffy so I reset it to our more usual temperature. This allowed us another 45 minutes of no AC. When the AC came on the second time we shut all the windows. The AC ran only two full cycles and never came on again that evening.
I did load the dishwasher after dinner, as we had a full load of dishes. I set it to wash on a short cycle. Dishes air dried after the cycle was done.
Sunday: Bess came in last night. We opted to have bagels and cream cheese again this morning for breakfast in the interest of giving her a favorite breakfast and using up the bagels which have yeast in them. I don't go all out in cleaning my home deeply for Passover but I do try hard to use all products containing yeast and to clean my kitchen well during this season.
In the interest of use it up or toss it out where yeast is concerned, I gave Bess a big container of pretzels, a packet of yeast and some onion soup mix and cheese filled crackers.
I rode with Bess about halfway to church. We parked her truck at a gas station where John and I are regular customers then rode to church with John. This put Bess within 15 seconds of the interstate entrance and saved her an hour or two of time...we wanted to use that time to take her to lunch.
We took Bess to lunch and there was nothing frugal about it. However...I had the extra cash in our account and was happy to treat her to a good meal before she hit the road.
John tried to fill the car tank...again...We finally figured out that the pump is faulty so next time we'll use a different tank. John went into the station to buy a Sunday paper. Coupons more than made up the cost of that.
John had said he was going to get coffee, but forgot. Not a hard thing, since I always have a pot ready to go when we walk in the door anyway.
We ate leftover pizza for supper.
I made up sandwiches for John's work lunch and pre-packed the non-perishables in his bag.
Monday: John insisted this morning that I was to call doctor and schedule an appointment to get some relief from the poison ivy. I was more than ready to call, having noticed two more large patches starting up despite my great care not to scratch or to spread the stuff. I was able to get an appointment this morning. I found that my body was having an over reaction to the poison ivy and not only was it attacking the enemy but other areas of my skin as well in an overzealous attempt to 'heal' itself. Whew! I got a prescription to help reverse this allergic reaction.
I dislike going to the doctor for 'common ailments' like poison ivy but I'd done all I could on my own with very little results, a miserable 8 (going on 9!) days. The doctor told me that poison will last 21 days...and when he said 'from the last breakout' I could have cried. I had breakouts this morning before I left home! I guess my face said it all. He recommended an ointment that contains zinc, an over the counter allergy medication and the prescription he gave me for a corticosteroid. On the bonus side (which seems mighty small compared to the promise of relief at last and not facing 21 or more days of misery), I still have a credit showing on my account and today's visit will apply both towards that credit and towards my deductible for the year without my paying one cent out of pocket. It takes the sting out of the 'common ailment' doctor visit!
I called Mama to reschedule lunch for a later time. She called back and suggested I pick up take out and bring to her home instead. This worked very well with my morning, allowing me to drop off my prescription to fill while I went to pick up our food and then I pick up my prescription with out the usual "It will take 20 minutes...why don't you shop for what you need while you're here?" routine, which usually costs us far more than the prescription we stopped in for, right?
I made a small headway on the weight loss I hoped to accomplish before my May doctor's appointment. I still have three weeks to reach my goal. Since the medication I have to take for the poison ivy can make my blood sugar run higher, I will be especially careful to follow a more strict diet, rather than my more relaxed approach. Careful measurements, more fiber, exercise will help to bring the numbers down a bit.
I hung two loads of clothes to dry before leaving home this morning. Both loads were full washers of clothes.
Had supper here at home, using what was on hand.
Since I'd been gone well into the afternoon, the house was already stuffy and warm. I kept the windows closed, turned on fans to stir the air and waited for the AC to kick on at it's usual setting. The fans were enough to keep the house comfortable until the air conditioner came on and kept it from running over long.
While reading The Prudent Homemaker's weekly frugal blog post, I came across a statement from another reader that struck me as sound thinking. It's simple enough: NOT to turn on the heat anymore this year. Typically our mornings here are cool, but not so awfully cold. I've been quick to turn on the heater to warm the house up to the usual winter temperatures but
Tuesday: Washed the cushions from the patio furniture. It will likely be my last year with these. I noticed a tear in the fabric that is a weak area. I can patch this year but experience tells me I might be replacing or recovering next year. In the meantime, I'll patch.
Hung the cushions to dry.
Removed a bag full of extra decorative pieces and put them in the shed. I'll recycle them another time here in the house.
I have two boxes and one large bag of items to go out for donations this week if I can slip away from home.
John found a special price on something we really wanted badly. After discussing various obstacles we decided to go for it. He'll pay for this from a savings account that we seldom touch.
I have started a book donation bag. I can't donate to the women's club this year so this bag will eventually wind up at one of the thrift shops.
I have, in the past three weeks received three different subscriptions, all gotten for free from FreeBizMagazines. I promise as soon as I can get a link to that site I'll share it.
One dose in and this allergic reaction to the poison is so much better. Again, I hate going to the doctor for common complaints but so glad I did. Not cured, but certainly on my way to it! Worth every bit of the gasoline and cost of the prescription.
I cut a steak into thirds last week when we had a steak dinner. I'm making a stir fry meal for dinner today with the steak and a variety of vegetables.
I made an Oriental dressing from some of my stir fry sauce and mayonnaise to go on our salad.
Wednesday: Made a bigger than usual breakfast this morning. I felt sure John would go out to mow and I was quite right. Because he was starting earlier than usual, I was certain he'd run over dinner, so I wanted to be sure he had food to carry him through a longer than usual spell between meals.
We switched our meal plan up and had a sandwich which was a cool light lunch. John had a world of trouble with the mower and was hot and frustrated when we finally had a meal. (I'd had a protein bar snack around our usual meal time to keep my blood sugars in check). We ate in the kitchen sitting area, something we do more often when we're hot.
I cleaned ceiling fans today getting into crevices and about the blades.
Tossed the Swiffer duster into the dirty clothes. I've often done this, but never put in the dryer. They work just as well as first time around.
Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Altered the black maxi and the olive green top. Both had deep slits, neither of which was necessary. I sewed up the slit of the skirt from mid-thigh to just below the knee. The top was slit to the bra line. I sewed those shut to the hips.
Heated the iron and used that and paper napkins to remove candle wax from a place mat.
Pieced together outfits based on what I found on Pinterest and general inspiration. With a handful of clothing I planned 19 outfits. I have not even begun to figure out all possible combinations but feel I shall do very well with those pieces and the few others I have in my closet.
We had a hot supper tonight. I heated a frozen entrée I'd prepared and served with a salad. So much less expensive than takeout and as convenient.
Thursday: Washed a load of rugs this morning. I shall soon be replacing my bath room rugs and the mat at the back door. Both started to shed their backing today. I've had about 5 years service from the back door mat, almost 3 from the bath rugs which were very inexpensive ones.
Had to open one of the patio chair cushions to sort out the stuffing...discovered the fabric is very frail and truly if I make it through this summer with these cushions I will be well satisfied. They are three or four years old, purchased long before the back porch was added onto the house. I also patched the cushion that was slightly torn with iron on mending patch.
While I had the machine up and running, I mended a shopping bag from Aldi that had torn in several places.
Made a meal from my menu plan for the week...I slightly altered side dishes to use up items I felt were getting a bit old.
John worked on the mower for hours upon hours. Upshot was that he replaced a belt, two pulleys, a spindle, a spring and spent roughly $115. The mower is 6 years old and this is the first hard maintenance it's had in all that time. It's been a good mower for the hard use it gets here. I covered the cost of repairs by switching money from various sub accounts. I'd normally have removed from the car maintenance funds but we're having oil changed in my car tomorrow and I'm uncertain how much it will cost.
Careful examining of the freezer contents revealed a package of chicken patties. I cooked them all. We'll eat for supper and tomorrow for dinner and that will use them up.
Saved a chicken thigh bone for our Seder plate tomorrow night. I have gone over the elements and know just what I need to purchase to complete our plate for Passover.
John made a drink this evening for dinner. I had just a little bourbon in a bottle and he certainly could use the relaxation after his tough day. I do not mind throwing away items which contain yeast but I prefer to use up or give away all we can't use. We've also eaten the very last of the pretzels today and will finish the bread about lunchtime tomorrow.
I sliced turkey from the breast and put into the freezer. I set the breast carcass to boil immediately. I ended up with two more cups of meat which I put in the freezer in chunks with broth. This will be used for soup or to make creamed turkey. I put three tubs of broth into the freezer. I saved the skin and soft gristle for Maddie and the cat.
I made a birthday card for Lily. I used an envelope from my stash and made the card to fit.
Sorted coupons and clipped new ones. Anyone else notice that many coupons are expiring within two weeks these days?
Friday: I am down to a mere two slices of bread, 1/2 a sandwich and 1/2 a piece of pizza in the house. I've suggested strongly we eat these items for our supper tonight, officially eliminating all yeast in the household prior to sundown. If not, John can make a run over to the trash dump before we begin.
We had the tires rotated and balanced today while getting the oil changed. Happy to hear from the maintenance guy that our car is in terrific shape for the year model (2005). The car has been well maintained.
We went by the grocery to pick up matzoh and horseradish. I totted up my groceries for the month and had $12 left in my budget. I spent a wee bit more but was close enough to suit me.
I had some apple seeds that sprouted. I planted them this morning. We'll see if they live. I planted them in a homemade terrarium aka take away ice cream sundae cup with a lid.
Fed Maddie and Misu turkey skins and a couple of leftover breaded chicken pieces. I did not give Maddie extra food but did swap out the home cooked food for regular cat food when Misu was obviously finished with the home food. Maddie got those and ate every single bite. One thing Blossom the Beagle taught Maddie was that she who hesitates goes without. Maddie obviously still believes that Blossom can get to it if she doesn't eat it, lol.
Not a savings other than in aggravation factor. We cleaned out the CDs, the dash pocket, the console pockets, etc. in the car and hauled a big bag of things, plus my purse filled to max, indoors. Then we sorted and determined what would go back. I will warrant we have space to spare in all these areas after we put the few items we're returning back.
A flashlight that failed to work was soon in good repair once more with new batteries. This may sound a no brainer but it's one of the LED lights which sometimes work with new batteries and sometimes don't. This time it worked. We put the flashlight in the car. We find them handy...
Stopped and bought lunch in town today. I paid for it from my allowance.