My Frugal Week: Balancing Acts

My little herb garden.  Rosemary, parsley and basil thus far.  I plan to add sage, dill, Thai basil and mint.  I'll be adding pots to the area and moving out the decorative things to use elsewhere.  You can see the basil is already growing well.  The parsley is up in the far back left bucket.

Saturday:  This day is always simple, and today was simpler than usual.  Bagels and choice of fruit and toppings (butter, jam, cream cheese and nut butters).  Cost to me was the bag of bagels I picked up at the grocery on Thursday, so less than $2 and we had an ample breakfast.

Samuel treated us to lunch out today. 

Supper is always wanted.  I had leftover fajita chicken and plenty of vegetables on hand.  I asked Samuel if he'd like to make pizzas for supper.  We decided to do a chicken Bbq pizza and a vegetable pepperoni one.  My task was to prep vegetables and cheese.  Sam made the crust which was awesome.  We all had a slice of each and there were two slices left to go into John's work lunch.

Coffee seems to be the most asked for item in the house at the moment.  We're making about 2 pots more per day than we usually do.  I've been reusing grounds and adding half as much fresh for the second pot.  No one has made a complaint yet.

Sunday:  Packed John's work lunch putting in as much extra as I could with the limited space.  I made him breakfast. 

The kids headed out early-ish this morning.  Samuel wanted to take Bess out for breakfast on their way to see her folks.

I washed three loads of clothes this morning.  One load of clothing, one load of sheets, one load of towels.  I hung all I could outdoors but the bulk of the clothes went in the dryer as they were needed for the day.

I washed a full load of dishes.

I emptied the fridge of leftover vegetables that were cooked or prepped and made myself a frittata for lunch.

Mama stopped by after visiting with my brother who made her lunch.  I don't have sweets on hand but I did make coffee for us to talk over.

I have a doctor's appointment for tomorrow.  I have a list of things to do on my way or just after, as usual.  I always try to make those trips out of the house count hard.

Supper was fast and simple: reheated leftover hot dogs.  Made myself a pseudo smoothie that consisted of one container of yogurt, the same container of milk and the same container again of ice.  It made a 20 ounce glass, counted as two servings of milk.

Balanced checkbook, worked up the bills, wrote out checks.  This pay period will be a short check which happens once a month unless John works overtime on this side of the pay period.  This past month, we opted to go out of town for a week instead of him work extra so this pay period we tighten up.  Fortunately I knew last check that this was coming and set aside extra money for several bills I knew would be coming due this pay period.

I had planned to work on another area of the landscaping, but truthfully, I saw that I'd have bigger impact and less money if I worked on the area in front and at the driveway end of the back porch instead.  I have nearly all the elements I need to make those areas work and really just need to do the labor and purchase potting plants for the chairs. However, I promised John I would not play in mulch today...

Monday:  We all got our own breakfasts this morning.  I have a load of eggs and we scraped bottom on bread sacks but we had breakfast.

Out to doctor today.  With family in the house my brains were scattered.  I remembered to take the bills and such along with me.  I forgot the trash. Meh.

I'll be coming off the blood thinner in the next week.  I need to add two supplements to my regimen of natural medications but that's okay with me.  I don't have to have anymore blood tests either.  I am happy to put this in the past and move forward.  And I just have to mention the savings in being well.

I ran errands.  I needed to buy two items at Home Depot.  Ross for Less is next door.  I had a set of sheets bite the dust this week.  I bought a new set.  I also picked up new bath rugs since ours have been washed so often the backing is coming off.  I will move the old bath rugs to the shed.  I keep them to use for mats when the guys are working under cars, or for the pets houses in winter.

I always scan the clearance aisle at Ross for clothing.  I found a cute sheer kimono that will look nice over a sleeveless top Katie gave me as well as a couple of t-shirts.

Went by Kroger to use the coinstar machine.  I also picked up essential oils (lavender and peppermint) which are good for migraines.

Went by Publix and picked up John's prescription.  I also purchased bread while there.

Went by the bank and the post office on my way home.

We had leftovers after supper tonight.  I think there's enough for another meal. 

Tuesday:  I have been having a difficult time getting a whole lot accomplished today but I did manage to do a bit of yard work and a tiny bit of cook ahead prep. 

I went outdoors to water plants after it was fairly obvious that the ten raindrops we got this morning was going to be all the rain we'd have for the bulk of the day.  I  purchased a galvanized bucket that has holes punched in the bottom and it works very well as a watering pail.  I fill it over the dog's water bucket and when it's full I hold it over the plants that I need to water.  The multiple holes make it a gentler stream of water enabling me to water even tiny plants without washing them up.

I noted today that some of the other sides I'd sown have finally germinated in with the dahlias.  I'm disappointed that not all the dahlias came up but I do have about six out of ten.

I moved the wagon which had bagged mulch in it and rocks and was pulling it around front.  I decided to go ahead and lay out the rock and bricks about the bed I hope to form in front of the back porch.  Now this is also the spot where Maddie likes to lay during the day as it's cool there in the mornings.  I am unsure just how to proceed with this project, since I don't think she'll accept mulch in her lying down spot and I'll get mighty upset if I do a load of work on those areas and she undoes it.  I decided to just go ahead and lay out the bricks and rocks.  I ended up with almost enough.  I need to fill in 5 1/2 feet of that space ( it's about 22 feet long).  I used every last rock and brick I had on hand.  I told John to keep his eyes peeled for large rocks and even half bricks and if he sees any on the roadway or at dump, etc. to bring them home.  I really want enough to turn about the corner and front that corner flower bed but since the day lily are so thick there just now, no one would know it's not bordered yet.    I will tackle another portion of this project tomorrow or Thursday.

I went over my stock of vitamins and supplements and figured out which I'm about out of and how long others would last.  I placed a large order with Puritan's Pride for 21 bottles of vitamins.  Several were on special with a buy 2 get 4 free sort of deal on them.  This brings my cost down to about $6 per bottle average.  Because it was a large order shipping is free.  I also earn 7Swagbucks per dollar spent, so I'll earn nearly 800 swagbucks.

I noted that John's refusal to take several of the supplements the doctor ordered for him and which he had assured me he'd take are just sitting there taking up space.  I mean to take them to my doctor's office next week and ask him if he'd pass them on to other patients he might prescribe those things for.  It's silly to have them sit here unused when someone might get benefit from them.

John hung the newest set of blinds up in our bedroom.  That leaves me with the guest/craft room window and the need to do something at kitchen and bath windows. I really need to research all my options for those two smaller windows since the cost of similar blinds is stupid high.

I made sides to go with fried chicken I'd purchased yesterday while out running about.  That was meal two off the 8 piece box.  While dicing potatoes for potato salad I diced all the rest of the potatoes in the bag for hash brown casserole.

I've made out a grocery list for Aldi tomorrow.  This trip will be combined with John's haircut appointment. 

I noted during the making of the list that our habits change ever so slightly, as we try new products.  Once I discover something John likes, I look for ways to make it better or more frugal.  For instance, he likes the shelf stable puddings and gelatins.  I'd like to make my own but obviously I must rely on his having refrigeration at work for anything homemade.  So I will buy certain items ONLY for his lunch and make up a similar item in my kitchen for our home use.  He likes the portion control of those items in his lunch box.  I can do that with containers of a similar size and simply stack them in the refrigerator for use.  Which is also helpful, by the way, in saving space because seldom can you make a stack of gelatin or pudding when put away as a whole!  The nicest advantage of making at home is that I can make sugar free which allows me to enjoy the treat as well.

I've been switching from sodas to diet teas but the aspartame is making my knees ache terribly.  I decided to make and freeze bottles of tea here at home.  I do use Splenda but just use a couple of tablespoons rather than a measuring cup measure.  I think having these as a grab and go drink will stop the desire to have something more than just water when I'm out and about and have had my fill of water, it will keep cold and I can skip the aspartame sweetener. 

John brought home half a Subway sandwich. I know he almost always gets double meat so I felt half of that each was sufficient for a serving for each of us for supper especially when paired with chips, half an apple and gelatin.

I have a cute impressed piece of resin that is shaped like a rock.  The word "Rosemary" is written on it.  I like placing it in the pot of rosemary, naturally.  I had a lovely round river rock that I picked up from the roadway some months ago and I used a permanent marker to write "Basil" on it today.  A smaller rock, not as pretty, has "Parsley" written on it.  I'm satisfied with my handiwork and will keep my eye out for other smooth rocks I can use as markers as I add herbs to my herb bed. 

Wednesday:  John had a hair cut appointment this morning.  We bagged up trash to take off with us, stopped to check mail. 

We planned grocery shopping to follow the hair cut.  I meant to only go to Aldi today and that's the only place I went.  I was $20 over my budget, and I'm okay with that.  We didn't buy extras but a lot of produce and fruits and such.  I know I will need to go purchase dog food but I can handle that from my allowance.

My happy find of the day was two outdoor tablecloths in the perfect color pattern to complement my front porch.  I've been looking for months now for curtains to use on that porch and this is not only perfect colors but outdoor fabric as well.   What's more they were under $16 for the two of them! This has spurred me on to finish up my front porch.

I bought lunch for us on our way home from my pocket money.  John had stopped for gasoline and bought a banana and coffee (for him) and water (for me).

I made up some leftover chicken into a chicken salad and made pimento cheese.  This will do us for sandwich fillings for a few days at least.

Encouraged Samuel to use up leftovers for a hot meal for himself.  He did and proclaimed his meal 'good'.

The AC ran on and on and on last night.  John was quite worried about it.  I'd thought it was a problem prior to our vacation but it was running fine when we returned.  I agreed I'd call repairman.  In the meantime I turned it off for a bit and it seemed to run better for a little while after.

Thursday:  Hideous night but had to be up with John anyway.   I packed the lunch I made for him last night, made him breakfast.

I worked on Swagbucks since I was up during the 'free' time for videos and such.  I didn't make goal.  One of the forums I was using ran fine but would not credit. 

Went back to bed for a short sleep, but was still up 'early' by many's standard.  I did not make a second pot of coffee.  My tummy has been bothering me and I'm sure it's the acidity of the coffee.  This happens to me each year when it starts to get warm and is a sign for me to cut back.

Made myself a smoothie using three strawberries, 1/4 sliced almonds, 1 cup of yogurt and ice cubes.  It was very good!

Washed a full load of clothes.  I dried this lot in the dryer because the bulk of it was my son's stuff and he likes his things in the dryer.  Since he is paying board I'll do just that for him.  Tossed in a handful of our things.  If I'm going to use the dryer I might as well get a full load dried, right?  I timed it carefully and found that easily 3/4 of the things were completely dry and the rest had those mystery wet spots.  I hung those few things to finish drying.

Called repair man for AC.  He came by this afternoon and said the unit had frozen up.  He went over it, added Freon and checked to be sure it was working properly.  I've made up my mind to turn the AC a smidge higher during the day.  We can use fans and pulls curtains and shades to help offset the difference.  Even when working properly, when it's hot the AC has a lot of work to do and the more it runs the more electricity it uses.

I paid for the repair using the AC maintenance fund and a little from the  house maintenance fund.

As I was vacuuming today I got a little frustrated with the dining area.  It's always felt horribly cramped and I know just why it does.  Because the opening to the kitchen is quite wide we've always tried to cram the table, chairs and buffet into the small width the dining room wall dictated.  Today I decided to ignore the wall and move the table so the length of it pointed towards the living space.  What we'd had before was the table crammed into a tiny area that also served as front entry, and dining, leaving about an 8 foot wide pathway to the back bedrooms, or practically the width of another whole room!  Gracious it's taken me long enough to finally figure out space is space in my home and I need to utilize as much of it as possible.

I cleared rocks out of an overgrown flower bed about the base of the Faith tree.  I had more than enough rock to complete the back porch flower bed border.

I washed and tore lettuce and put up in a plastic bag to use for weekend salads.

I walked down to the mailbox to pick up mail.

Friday:  I made homemade whole wheat pancakes this morning.  John likes pancake mix cakes and so do I, but homemade ones do taste extra nice in my opinion.

I made up a big pot of tuna pasta salad this morning.  We had it for lunch (handy considering what I got myself into this morning) and we'll have it for Sunday after church meal as well. 

What did I get myself into this morning?  Paint...and you know me and paint. It was all over me. I painted the chairs for the back porch flower bed, a dining chair and got a partial coat on the ironing board (front porch plant stand).  It was nice outdoors and I thoroughly enjoyed my time painting, but time sure did slip away from me.  Thank goodness I'd made tuna pasta salad!

This evening I set up the chairs in the flower bed.  I put flowers I haven't potted up yet in an old dishpan on one the chairs to try and get a feel for how it's going to look.  I think it's going to as nice as the two beds back of the house.

I found an old aluminum coffee pot in my cabinet I'd forgotten I had.  I put it in the flower bed by the back door, weighted down with a rock inside.  It looks so cute there.

Took off trash this evening and picked up the mail.

I used some of the salad I made last night, heated rolls and frozen chicken patties for supper tonight.   I do like a hot meal for dinner or supper.

I made a menu plan for the weekend.

That's my week!  How was yours?


Lana said...

We have had a lovely relaxing week here at the lake. The weather has been perfect.

My big savings for the week was new luggage for hubby. When he flew to France the airline dropped his large suit case and broke the wheels. He was compensated $150. I found a whole set at Macy'S regular $260 for only $79.99 shipped and we have money left over!

Debbie said...

You have done well this week. :) I love that you used what you had on hand for your gardening projects.

I just posted an update at my blog about all my frugal doings this week. I literally got hundreds of dollars worth of things for free! :)

Be blessed and have a great weekend!

Tammy said...

I worked every day this week at the theater. It has been many long years since I had a real work week outside my home, and my home shows it! An odd load of laundry here and there, quick vacuuming of the floors, and getting supper ready before doing dishes are about all I got to. I was able to sort and re-straighted the pantry cupboards. That will make meal planning easier.
Only one more day of preschool for S, and three more days of Kindergarten for B. Summer starts next week!

Louise said...

Try this for coffee making stomach yucky.. it really works...

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Love your spice garden... And love that you wrote the names on the rocks..So cute.
You did a good job this week, stretching the grocery items you had.. You really encourage me to save.. thank you.
Bet your tablecloths will be pretty on your porch.Look forward to seeing it.

I have had a really busy week, we sold our house/got moved in.. I am trying to get things organized, [and learn where we are putting them,ha]. I have not bought groceries this week, but it really hasn't saved much money...we have picked up take out too much, and not ate what we had/thus letting veggies and fruits go bad on us..
I must get my meal plan and prep work , done this week.
Hope you have a great week.
I would love to have Samuel's pizza dough recipe.. sounds good.. You may have posted it before and I missed it???

Kathy said...

Catching up on your blog, and I read about the essential oils helping with migraines...I so need to try this.
Your herb garden is so pretty. I think the rosemary, and basil and parsley signs will be so cute.
Glad you were able to have more room in your dining room, just by moving the table.
Hope you have a great week.

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