Frugal Friday: Merrily To Christmas Day

Saturday:    Reading through old blog posts I stumbled upon a recipe I'd apparently made but once, though my family raved over it at the time.  I've all the ingredients and then some on hand so I shall make it again this week, I think. 

We were gone most all day yesterday so no meal prep was done for Shabat.  I had to cook today which is not something I care to do.  I cooked half a pound of ground meat shaped into slider type patties to use for our supper tonight.  These served in leftover rolls I'd frozen last week after the Christmas and Family day. 

I cooked the other half pound of meat and made Cheeseburger Mac as I'd planned on my menu last week.  There's enough leftover to serve two servings with generous salad and a second side vegetable or one very hearty serving for one. 

We stumbled upon the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol this evening.  Lovely thing.  "There's more of gravy than the grave in you!"  is one of my most favorite of lines.  It makes me chuckle every single time.

I had set aside a jar of jelly for my niece.  I have a book for the grand nieces.  I was given a half sheet of Jamberry wraps that looked like little girls to me.  I tucked those in with the book.  The grand nieces love to have pretty nails and I thought perhaps their Mama might like to try these on them.

I had a full set that look seasonal and pretty and put those aside for my brother's girl friend to try.

I reused gift bags from our family day to package up these simple gifts.

Sunday:  We were very low on bread this morning.  I had just enough to make us breakfast.  I made breakfast sandwiches and cooked sausage, toast and eggs in the oven. 

Took along a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a change of shirts since I knew we'd be going to a family thing later in the afternoon after church.

We opted not to go home after church but to stay within the nearer vicinity of where our family gathering would be.  That was a gasoline savings.

John and I went into the grocery to pick up bread and dog food.  Because family gathering was scheduled for later in the afternoon we picked up bananas, unsweetened tea and a berry and yogurt parfait.  These items were still cheaper than lunch out anywhere and had plenty of protein/carb mix to hold me until we ate at about 4pm.

Although my niece and her daughters live just across the field, I took the gift for the grand nieces to Mama's this afternoon. 

Happy to say my jelly gifts were welcome by all.  It amuses me no end, since my family is generally not receptive to homemade gifts.  Apparently jelly is the exception to that rule.

My brother gave us an unused HD antenna which John hooked up to the guest room TV.  We only get two channels but it's two more than we got before we hooked it up.  I hope we can figure out how to pick up a few more channels but not sure that will happen.  Update:  Now the weather has cleared up I tried again and found we got 17 channels. Not too shabby!

Worked up bill box this evening.  I was much amused to realize that I now have six months car insurance money set aside.  That 'monthly payment' was rolled over to two more sub funds which topped one off at payment level and bumped up another.  If I do the same next pay period all my sub funds for annual fees will be full!  Now to determine what I shall do with an extra $70 a month...Nice dilemma to have!

Monday:  Used a leftover baked potato to make hash browns for our breakfast.

Washed a full load of sheets and towels.  It was rainy today and meant to rain for the next three days.  I used the dryer to dry clothes and timed the loads.  It takes longer to dry towels, so I put them in after I dried sheets and a few small items.  It took about 22 minutes to fully dry the sheets.  At this point the dryer was fully hot.  I loaded in the towels and that took less than 30 minutes.  Notice I dried two loads for about 52 minutes, which is just a big longer than what most people dry a single load of clothes for (average is 40 minutes).

Cooked a double batch of brown rice.  We are having a splurge meal for our Christmas dinner this weekend.  I am planning ahead and making up some cheaper menus for next week.

John and I carried off trash, picked up mail, picked up his check, went by the bank, dropped off bills in the mail.  We picked up a take out pizza (we had a gift voucher that nearly paid for it) and stopped at the dollar store to buy a half gallon of milk. 

The pizza was a savings as was combining all those errands together.  Picking up the milk was not.  We bought it at the dollar store because the brand they sell at the local grocery just does not taste good.  I will buy an extra gallon of milk this week and make sure to freeze it so we have some to spare on hand. 

We had pizza for supper.  Leftovers were packed up and put in the fridge.  I told John that tomorrow when we're out buying groceries we will be coming home to eat.  We have a variety of good leftovers in the fridge that will do very well for our dinner and supper meals.

Totted up the checkbook.  Grateful again for the small savings I set aside each heavy pay period to see  through the short pay period.  Noted to self that if I can push through pre-funding these sub accounts I will have savings and that 'spare' amount for the short pay period as well.  This is a bonus of pushing to get these accounts filled.

Tuesday:  Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher this morning.

We went to the grocery today.  I had cash for Aldi and practiced caution at Publix where I planned to use the debit card.  At Publix I bought steaks for our Christmas dinner and hamburger meat.  John pointed out the rib roasts for $2 less per pound than the on sale steaks we bought.  I agreed it was a preferable price and would indeed allot us a nice supply of steaks but... If I did that I had to choose not to buy hamburger and a few other things.  I reminded him it was short check pay period.  To no avail.  Well, I finally spilled the beans, that the extra money I had saved up was set aside to pay that full six months of car insurance.  "Will we save money doing that?"  "Yes, we will."  "Okay, then.  We'll buy the two steaks."   

This also made me think seriously about this whole business of pre-loading sub accounts and having that money at the ready.  I want to fill those sub accounts up right away, as quick as I can so that we can have a little free room in our budget.  It made think hard of planning a little better, too, in the future so that there are extra funds for our holiday meals and I shall not have to deny my husband something special he wants that might be a splurge.

My small pantry additions this week: several cans of 'cream of' soups. True I can make these for the most part but $.49 a can is a small price to pay for a little convenience.  I am also most likely to make cream of celery soup on my own, since I don't always keep mushrooms or cooked chicken at the ready for soup making.

I settled the check book and balanced it against the statement. 

For the second time in a week I'd wanted to tell John the balance in one of our sub-accounts so that he'd feel at peace about his spending.  Well I couldn't!  Those numbers don't stick in my head the way some others do.  I have taken the initiative to write them in my notebook in my purse so that I'll have the numbers at ready in future.

We did indeed come home to eat our dinner of leftover turkey pot pie.  I made a salad with a bit of apple we'd not eaten and some cheddar.  It made a nice side to go with our pot pie.

It was another cold dreary damp day.  I thought grilled cheese an admirable supper tonight.

Wednesday:  Made a recipe I found buried in an old newsletter post.  It was pretty darned good!  And a good candidate for making when Bess' due date comes near.  I plan to fix up a few frozen things for her to pull out and heat up after we've all gone home and left her to fend alone with her baby and toddler.

Made John's lunch and set aside in the fridge.

We each had a glass of the Dr. Pepper that we opened up on family day almost 14 days ago.  Yep it still was fizzy!

This morning I turned on the propane heater to offset the continuous running of the electric heat.

Went over my December goals.  There are only two or three I've done nothing about.  I'm shocked.  And pleased to note that one of them I can't do anything about, much as I'd like to alter that, but it's not being done due to poor planning or procrastination on my part.  We went in reverse instead of moving ahead in that particular category.  Nothing I can do about that since it was a head of household decision.

When I got chilly a little later in the afternoon, I put on a sweater rather than look to turn up the heat.

Had fun culling magazines for ideas.

Thursday:  Sent John off to work with breakfast, coffee, and a work lunch.

Repurposed a basket that was in the way on the counter into a place to stash my nail wraps, polishes and emery boards. 

Cleared out the old makeup box of all old cosmetics and arranged things in my new makeup box.

Washed out the old but perfectly good cosmetic brushes.  Boy were they past due a good cleaning!

I was having one of those sorts of days.  I wanted to eat ALL the foods that would negatively affect my blood sugar.  I wanted to shop and spend ALL the money.  I stayed home.  I satisfied my urge to shop by using a gift card to purchase an item I wanted.  I satisfied my food cravings by eating a good balanced diet and then allowing myself one small indulgence (Nutella and Spekulaas ).

John texted to let me know that a favorite Christmas movie was on one of the movie channels.  I watched or listened to three films back to back and thoroughly enjoyed them all:  The Bishop's Wife. White Christmas, and Santa Claus, The Movie.  I'd never seen the last film before and it wasn't bad.

Printed out a bunch of free printables to build my homekeeping notebook.  My notebook looks far more professional and is super functional.  We have a very economical printer so this is truly a frugal thing.

Made myself walk to the mail box.  This is a short trek but exercise in any form is GOOD and I have been feeling under exercised of late.  It's a nice way to clear the head.

Had a lovely supper.  For some reason I've been very cold today though the weather is milder than it's been.  I had a hot toasted cheese sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate for my evening meal.  My midday meal was leftovers of  yesterday's meal.

Electric bill in today.  It dropped so low I was shocked.  Nice surprise!  Yea for cool weather and no need for AC.

Balance came in with the gasoline bill.  Those extra trips to Sam and Bess' last month  and the visit to Katie's were on that gas bill.  Ouch.  It used our whole budget for those trips.  Note to self, start saving now for the necessary trips down when baby is born.

Friday:  I am cutting my portions slightly. I have not gained weight, finding I still wear the same size as in the past year, but I've noticed a decided fullness to the chin that I dislike, so I am trimming back just a wee bit. This meant using less food obviously and it's no hardship as it's really just assuring I eat a little bit less, not a lot less.

Found two bad oranges in the new bag of Cara Cara's we bought this week.  Ugh.  There were only five in the bag to begin with and to have two spoil makes me ill.  I tossed them.  I can't hold on to them long enough to get back to Aldi to swap them.

I had to go out this morning to mail off a payment to the new insurance company.  I also had a short list of needs.  Short being the key word.  It was much easier today to stay on Target with my spending and yet I was still shocked by my total at the drugstore even after using extra cash bucks.  I bought four items for goodness sake!  Oh well.  I got a few extra cashbucks back.

I paid out of my pocket for a box of local diner fried chicken.  This was as a surprise treat for John but it was also partly self-serving.  I wanted an easy meal so I could work at weekend food prep this afternoon.

Made a carrot cake and cream cheese frosting from scratch.

Made a batch of sausage balls.  I do not use biscuit mix but regular flour and a pinch of baking powder.

Diced real potatoes to make my hash brown casserole.

Washed and cut lettuce and bagged for the weekend meals.

Washed a full load of dishes.

Carried off trash when I went out to run errands.

John washed and hung dry a small load of clothes.

Completed a survey on Swagbucks. 

Now I am off to frost my cake and settle in for Shabat.

Merry Christmas to you all!!  Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy!


Lana said...

Merry Christmas, Terri and John. Have a blessed holiday.

We are on schedule with all the cooking and prep and I have 56 cents of grocery money left! I kept it under budget! :) One son and his wife have arrived and another and his wife are on the way today and the oldest and his family arrive tomorrow. Our daughters and families live local. And grand dogs are coming, too. :) Happy, Happy times.

Kathy said...

Happy Hannukah and Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

When produce or other things spoil and you can't get back to the store try calling the store and talking to the manager. Usually they will accept the receipt as proof of purchase only. With 5 in the bag to begin with and two gone they can figure out easily how much $ to give you back. Some places write down that you called and others don't worry and just say come in problem. Tell them if you want that you only shop so many times a month. I have done this with things from a store we only get to usually every 6 weeks. It may be only two oranges you are out but two of them now and one or two of something later and... it all adds up. I had a pumpkin go bad once. Called and they said Please Don't Bring It Back! It smelled! Please just bring the receipt! :-)
Yew, Happy Hannukah and a Merry Christmas from me too! Sarah

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had another busy, productive week. You are making so much progress on your savings goals--that's terrific, and I know it makes you feel so good.

We have not done even one Christmas gathering, yet. We will go see my husband's mother today and celebrate with her, our little celebration with just the 3 girls, then with my family tomorrow. Next Sunday, it's a big birthday gathering for a few family members who have the distinction of having birthdays in January, my niece starting it all on the 2nd. We are taking his mom out for lunch, as she is not up to making us a meal and it's a bit of a distance, Rob bought a few treats for tonight, and I have most of my things ready for tomorrow. We are doing fondue, and I made a home-made gluten-free angel food cake. I still need to make cheese sauce and gf tempura batter.

I always enjoy reading your blog--you have a nice, easy style of writing that is enjoyable to read and gives me good ideas.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas. May you be blessed with good health and abundant bargains!

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