Frugal Friday: Boot Camp Graduation Week
Saturday: We didn't have bagels for our morning meal...at least one of us didn't. I did have one bagel in the freezer and frozen croissants (my choice) so the meal was simple enough.
I had fun this morning. I didn't feel well so I treated myself to a pretty coffee tray, something I'd gotten out of the habit of doing while family was staying with us. I have a pretty coffee cup and saucer from the booth that I kept for myself. This makes one more in my little collection.
I cooked a steak dinner today. It was easy enough. John and I only ate half of our steak. More and more we're sharing one, which is what I should have done today. I'll be using leftover steak later in the week for another meal.
John asked for a peach cobbler earlier in the week. I've learned to half my recipe but it still serves about six or so. No problem with John who will happily eat peach cobbler several days running. I noted while I was paring peaches that it's time to put the rest of these in the freezer.
I really wasn't well so I gave in to feeling bad and spent the afternoon napping and even went to bed later in the early evening hours and went to sleep for two hours. I feel more than ready to sleep again, so I'm listening to what my body says it needs.
Sunday: Feeling better, I started a load of dishes right away this morning. I washed on a short cycle since I rinse my dishes well before putting them in the dishwasher. I do this because I don't do a load of dishes every single day and my machine is not top of the line, though it's been mighty faithful for the past 20 years.
Simple breakfast for us, as we slept later than usual and wanted to make it to church on time. I did take time to set up some chicken to cook in the crock pot. I knew I had a variety of vegetable leftovers in the fridge so didn't worry about side dishes.
We stopped on the way home for a Sunday paper and an item John needed from the vitamin counter at CVS. He bought it on sale, used his CVS card and brought me the receipt filled with coupons. Isn't he a great husband?
We came home and had our dinner. It went on the table in a bit under ten minutes.
I clipped coupons and went through sales sheets after dinner dishes were cleared away. I filed coupons, an important step I can skip for weeks on end. Useless to clip coupons and not file them so I have them to use!
I've been chilly the past two days. I got tired of shivering and turned up the AC by one degree, to 78f. Instead of running endlessly the AC started cutting on and off and it was not as chilly to me.
Not my money saving hint but one of Katie's: I bought a travel packet of make up remover towelettes. I used one the other night while Katie was visiting and she suggested I look for the 'simple' baby wipes that are priced lower than these towelettes, are alcohol free and far cheaper than. I just checked on Amazon and a bulk box of 9 72-count packages of simple baby wipes name brand are $17...I don't need anywhere near that many but I'll be checking these wipes out in the CVS sales papers.
My biggest money saver this weekend? To skip going to the grocery to pick up the loss leaders.
I completed a Pinecone research study.
Monday: Packed John's lunch, made him breakfast....You know the usual routine. What I might also mention is that every single morning, work or otherwise, I make a pot of coffee. We don't run into town to get cup at the convenience store or the diner. We have coffee right here at home, hot and fresh. John does like to purchase coffee these days when he's out and about. And I'm not complaining because given a choice between a soda and a cup of coffee, the coffee is the better thing overall. Not to mention less costly than soda. I personally like cold unsweetened tea but just you try and find that available in a convenience store! Diet, sweet but not the unsweetened sort. Anyway...I make coffee here at home and we drink it here at home. It does save a good amount of money over a lifetime, let me tell you.
Put on a full load of clothes to wash: sheets, towels and the few pieces of clothing we had in the basket. It just filled the washer to the full level. I used the shortest wash cycle because while we are blue collar our tasks don't make us filthy. No need to soak and pre-wash and do long cycles. Short cycles get our clothes clean.
It was misty rain off and on and generally uncongenial weather for drying clothes on the line. I hung out the towels and put the other things through two short cycles in the dryer. I dried a few lighter things, then when they were dry and the dryer was warmed up, I removed the dry things, and put in the sheets. I doubt it saved a single cent of electricity to do that but it meant all the clothes got completely dry and nothing had a damp spot and that was my purpose. I am so blessed to have this 'servant' to use in my home and while I might occasionally forgo the usage in order to hang clothes on the line (because, let's face it, NO dryer or added scent makes clothes smell as wonderful as sunshine and fresh air!). Why hang out the towels? Because rain has a wonderful softening effect upon towels. And we do have spares so if ours stayed wet it would have been okay. As it happened we had a dry patch of weather mid-afternoon and a nice breeze that dried them.
I bought bananas on Friday. We ate bananas but somehow that bunch of bananas grew...I mean it! This morning I had one banana that was firm and nice for John's lunch and four that were speckled with sugar freckles. Humph. I found my recipe for Banana Pound cake and mixed it up using three of those ripe bananas. Not a savings really, as pound cakes are probably the most expensive to make overall. However, they are delicious and a great alternative use to banana nut bread and the same amount of bananas nets me two loaf sized pound cakes or one banana nut bread. I like to have a pound cake in the freezer. Now I have TWO in the freezer.
I wrapped the pound cakes in a cereal box liner and taped it shut. Then I put them in a bread sack and squeezed out the excess air. I labeled them and put them in the freezer. This is part of my challenge to buy fewer zippered storage bags and re-use something that is already in my home.
The seasoned broth from our chicken didn't strike me as something I wanted to use in a soup pot. Mustard and maple syrup are great on chicken. I just can't imagine it as a soup base. I fed it to Maddie and Misu this morning. Apparently mustard and maple flavored dog and cat food are quite tasty.
Mama doesn't want to do much these days when we go out. Run an errand, eat a meal, take a ride. Today she wanted to go into a clothing store we both like. I knew just what I needed: black and white camisoles/tanks to go under shirts I already own. A pair of black pants if I found any that fit. I found all of these items and all were on sale. When I got to the register to pay for my purchases I found Mama waiting. She told the lady to ring up my things with hers. I gratefully accepted.
Lunch out today was delicious. It was also HUGE. I asked for a to go carton and boxed up 2/3 of the plate of food. I'm pretty sure John and I both can eat this when I reheat it. Especially if I supplement with a good salad and some Spanish Rice.
Watered plants with saved water.
Pinned up the new black pants to hem them to right length.
Tuesday: Used pieces of bread too small for sandwiches (we buy bakery loaves of bread) to make French Toast. I save and sort these too small pieces into two bags in the freezer. One is for French Toast and the other is for croutons/bread crumbs.
About a year ago John insisted I scramble the leftover egg/milk mixture for his breakfast. I've been doing that ever since. I happen to love nutmeg on French toast but it doesn't go well with scrambled eggs, so I leave it out of the mixture.
I had leftover toast and sausage. It was just enough for a single breakfast so I packed it up in a plastic container and froze it. One morning that single serve will come in very handy indeed.
I had a hard time going to sleep last night though I was tired. I sprinkled lavender oil on my pillows and that helped me to go to sleep.
I had so much of my meal left from yesterday that I was sure could serve it to John and I today. I did add a portion of steak leftover from our meal on Saturday but no other additions were made. I warmed those leftovers up and they tasted good! I served with homemade Spanish rice (leftovers are packed up to have another day) and a crisp green salad.
I spent time organizing the file cabinet this morning. Now all our office supplies are in one drawer and all our files are in the other one.
Wrote out a tentative third quarter budget, late as I am. I've held off on this because I needed to see how our pay had changed with the recent raise. No clue yet, but I went ahead and wrote out our expenses portion as I know all too well what those are! I made note of how much some things are annually that we break down into sub accounts at present. If we have a windfall come in then I can immediately set it aside and tag it to cover that sub account amount. That's money we will no longer have to set aside or can filter over to another sub account to boost that one to the point where we can discontinue it until the next year. It's a sort of snowball effect with annual expenses really, rather than paying debts, but it should be just as effective.
John had to wash his uniform today when he came in. He went about the house looking for other items to include in the laundry. Since I'd just done laundry yesterday I knew he wouldn't find much. He moved the washer load setting to small load and ran the machine on the shorter cycle.
For dietary reasons as well as cost effectiveness, I've been filling a three ounce cup with ice cream for my personal serving. It's just the right amount of ice cream and insures I don't over do the carbs.
Wednesday: I knew John meant to go run an errand this morning. To that end I made a breakfast that was light but still substantial enough to carry us into early afternoon.
I bagged up all the trash and had it ready to go out.
We stopped to pick up mail.
We took our time doing our errand. We had a list of things we meant to buy and we did add a few impulse items to the buggy, but nothing outrageous. I bought some new garden pea seeds to plant for fall (I have lettuce and parsley already). John added bug spray and Terro ant bait which we obviously needed to replenish after our recent bout. We also purchase two light fixtures for the house that were an awesome price. I've asked my son to install them when he comes to visit in a couple of weeks.
Our purpose in going to the store was to pick up a block that we could use as a step up to the new shed. We bought a nice big flat paver and some smaller ones to level it (there's a slope there). This cost less than $10 and worked out wonderfully well. It also made me aware of prices on bordering stones which I will be purchasing a few at a time to work on the rest of the landscaping about the house. I love my old stones and bricks but I need a lot more material to work with!
Do you know what else we did? We walked the whole store and looked at every item we could possibly use to upgrade our home ourselves. I took notes on my phone as we walked so now we have both a wish list and a price list that I'll transfer to a paper list.
We were right next door to Ross for Less, so I told John I'd just run in and look for bras. I found two in my current size. I also spied a dark chambray shirt that was very well priced to add to my basic wardrobe. I can wear it as a layering piece or on it's own as a shirt.
I didn't try on anything except the shirt while I was in the store (easy enough to just slide that over my t-shirt). One of the bras will go back next time I'm in that area. The other fits great.
John stopped and bought take out for lunch from his pocket money. We shared an order of fries and a glass of unsweetened tea. We stopped at the old cemetery and ate in the shade of a huge old cedar. That little impromptu picnic of sorts was a nice note in our day.
I spent an hour on Pinterest looking for inspiration for Fall outfits, including using that denim shirt I just purchased. I have a list of ideas to experiment with.
Thursday: I am trying to use up all of the leftovers in my home, but I 'forgot' some strawberries in a glass jar at back of fridge. The berries looked fine...the aroma was a bit less than fresh, not spoiled exactly but not fresh. I put them in the compost along with a single banana that no one ate. It will make good soil anyway. I won't be buying more strawberries this year since the season is well past now.
Made breakfast using the tops of green onions and a leftover beef hot dog in our scrambled eggs.
After breakfast I started my chili. I didn't have kidney beans, but chili beans. I also added in some leftovers from the freezer which consisted of three bean salad (incredibly good in the occasional bow of chili as odd as it sounds) and tomato sauce.
I left the chili simmering and went to work on a project right there in the kitchen. John went out to mow but the sound I kept hearing weren't consistent with debris hitting the house as it usually does. I jumped up and the chili had cooked bone dry and started to scorch. Aaarrgghh! I dumped into another pan without scraping the scorched one. This left the burned portions in the first pan. I dumped in some baking soda, added water and set it to simmering. In thirty minutes I had a pan ready to be washed and needed to do no hard scrubbing. The chili I added water to and reheated in the microwave when we were ready to eat. Salvage operations went very well on all counts.
Served the chili over some of the leftover Mexican rice. I still had leftovers and leftovers of chili, too. I put both together in the same container, marked it as filling for Beef Burritos, put in the freezer.
I gently heated the last of the peach cobbler in the microwave and we had small servings of that for dessert. All in all, a great lunch.
While John was outdoors, I finished the one project and cleared out the dresser we have in our front entry. I had a small amount of stuff to toss and better organized the contents of the drawers. It feels so good to have the house coming together as a neat and well organized space once more.
Made John's work lunch for tomorrow.
Set up coffee for morning. The less I have to actually think about come these early mornings, the better the morning goes!
Friday: Packed John's work lunch, made him breakfast.
Began work on fall wardrobe looks. I have a short list of things I'd like to add (cute flats especially leopard pattern, a scarf).
I had to replace the seat cushion cover on John's chair. It had a small tear earlier in the week and meant to get busy repairing it but too late. The tear quickly became a large one. I took the sheet I'd draped across my chair and made a two new seat cushion covers. It took only moments to run up on the machine. I safety pin these to the back of the cushions which keeps them in place better.
Cleaned the front porch really well this morning. I'd never have guessed that just the little bit of trash and dirt and setting up the little table between chairs with a candle and plant would make such a huge difference. It didn't look bad when I began but wow! It looked great when I was done!
Went into town to mail off a thank you note. I gathered all the trash before I left home and took it to the dump. I also stopped and picked up mail and went by the peach shed to pick up the last (sob) bag of fresh peaches for this year. I knew closing date was coming but doggone it I hate to see it end!
Came home instead of going anywhere else. No dollar store, no grocery store, no diner, no fast food. Why? Because I could tell I was feeling too spend-y. No point in going places where temptations can be strong when I'm in this mood!
I made myself a perfectly nice lunch: basil tomato soup (fresh basil and pesto in canned soup), a cheese sandwich, a fresh peach and a glass of mint peach iced tea. I don't think I could have gotten anything half as nice as that anywhere except here at home and gracious the difference in price between what this meal cost and take out might have been! I think the total of this meal was $1.25 for my whole meal. And that's figuring a little high because the tea was an item I purchased at the store a couple of weeks ago (added fresh mint from my plant). I only drank half the bottle of tea, but it made up $.85 of the meal!
I am going to end here for this week. Housework is done and I'm down to playing about with my wardrobe and hemming a pair of pants for chores for the day. The house is neat and clean, I've planned a meal that should net me leftovers for Sunday for tomorrow, and so there is really nothing more to share for this week except all the boring little things that take little time but add up to savings overall: using cold water for rinsing dishes, watering plants with dishwater, making compost from egg shells and coffee grounds, washing zippered baggies...You certainly know the routine by now! What did YOU do to save this week?