Frugal Friday: Using What I Have, Holiday Style
Saturday: I found it a good bit cooler this morning than the past two mornings. I wanted crispy toast for breakfast, not our usual bagel. I don't know what it is about nice crunchy hot toast and a hot cup of coffee, but it seems to go nicely with a cooler morning.
I made a recipe of pizza dough...then John decided he'd rather have a turkey sandwich, which turned into not a turkey sandwich but a plate of turkey with some of the leftovers. More power to him! That fridge is packed with leftovers and I am trying to put on my thinking cap and determine what I can do with them all and fill the gaps in my freezer with ready to heat and eat meals. I do have a few ideas.
I fashioned a second wreath from one of the older ones and did some decorating on our back porch entry area. I have decided that with all the cedar on the place I can afford to keep trimming branches and using that as fresh greenery...Why on earth should I go buy more faux stuff when the cedar is free?
I used a coupon code good through Monday to purchase two items, something for John's Christmas and a book I'd been wanting for some time. It saved me $10, more than the cost of shipping and tax on the two items.
Made the pizza for supper. We'll have leftovers. I will use them later in the week for a meal for a supper for us.
I only used 1/2 of the 1/4 pound ground beef I had cooked on Wednesday. I stowed it in the freezer. It will come in handy in the future as pizza topping or soup seasoning.
I reviewed my Pinterest boards tonight and decided upon my theme for indoor decorations this year: Woods on a Snowy Evening. I'll be decorating with evergreens, pinecones, moss, milk glass, glass jars, etc. I have beaded bird ornaments and glass pinecone ornaments I purchased a few years ago. I used gold edged pinecones on one of the wreaths and a bunch of pretty vintage pinecone picks on the other wreath. I'll be using pretty much what I have on hand with only a few minor additions should I find them. I will definitely buy ribbons. I have two other items in mind but we'll see if I find them. Neither should be expensive. I expect I'll pay more for ribbon than anything since I buy it to re-use for several years running.
Sunday: I combined an outfit that was comprised mostly of pieces Katie had given me. I only added my own scarf and earrings. When I came home, I put together another one, again using a top plus a butter yellow cardigan she'd given me, adding in another scarf and my own jewelry. And the jeans I wear as my 'good' jeans were also some she gave me, come to think of it. Probably some of the make-up I wore as well!
I am all about making the most of what I have today. I used up little baby sausages left from our post Thanksgiving breakfast in our eggs this morning.
While we were out this morning, we stopped to pick up mail and then stopped on our way home to purchase a paper.
When we came in, I made dinner plates up from leftovers from Thanksgiving Turkey meal.
I put everything on the counter I could possibly repurpose into leftover makeovers this afternoon. Two bananas and an amaretto creamer that's been in the fridge awhile: A fancy Amaretto Banana Bread. When it's cool, I'll put that in the freezer. Sweet potato casserole and some leftover roasted butternut squash: Autumn Soup. I didn't have the vegetable broth called for, so I used chicken broth. I put two 1 1/2 pint jars of soup into the freezer and will add half and half when I thaw and reheat. Turkey and dressing became a small entrée for two that is now in the freezer ready to heat and eat. The rest of the turkey and gravy were mixed and will eventually be Turkey Pot Pie. That's in the freezer, too. And the carcass is in the freezer waiting to be made into turkey noodle soup a little later. I have 1 1/2 pints of Chicken Wild Rice soup in the fridge. If we don't have it for supper tonight it's going into the freezer, too, which nicely fills some empty space and then gives me some quick meal ideas on busy days.
I have some leftover potato salad which is going into John's lunch. And that should clear up all the leftovers from this past holiday week but I'll double check tomorrow when I'm not so tired!
Gave myself a pretty manicure this morning while dressing for church.
We washed a full load of sheets and towels and house clothes this afternoon. Most were hung to dry.
I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Prepared John's work lunch for tomorrow.
I bought a new brow pencil this past week at CVS...For some reason I cannot find it anywhere, yet I know I made it home with it. I remember taking it out of the bag and placing on top of the cabinet in the kitchen...sigh. I should have just put it right into the makeup box, but I didn't. Lesson to me: do it anyway, even if you are busy, and you'll know just where it is in the future. I found it, still in the cloth shopping bag. Apparently I meant to put it in the make up box later and instead I put the bag away. Again, lesson to me: put it away right away and then you can find it!
Monday: Frugal started the day. I made John's breakfast and packed his lunch.
I dressed a little more warmly rather than turn up the heat when the morning air got chilly.
Ate a breakfast of two slices of toast and a container of FREE to me yogurt (a Kroger Free Friday special a couple of weeks ago).
After I fed the dogs, did Bible study and a little housework, I went to the closet and pieced together a second outfit using a shirt Katie gave me. I wore that instead of the first planned outfit. Nice to know I've at least two options with that shirt. I'll have to play with that piece a bit more.
Took a bottle of water with me when I left to go to Mama's.
Took off the trash on my way out.
Not a spendy day today by any means. It was Mama's turn to pay for dinner and my turn to pay for our ice cream.
We shopped in the gift shop of Cracker Barrel after our meal today. I found a roll of ribbon. It.was.gorgeous. It was perfect for my theme. It was pricey. It was beautiful. I decided to buy it anyway, even if it was expensive. Happy moment, when it rang up for half price! I made bows for both the wreaths when I got home. I have loads of ribbon left.
I always look at every thing when I'm in Cracker Barrel, even if I don't mean to buy anything. That's how I stumbled upon that ribbon. Also how I happened upon a really nice story book for my great nieces' Christmas gift. It is a lovely book and was half priced. I paid for ribbon and book from my allowance.
Decided to put ALL the snowflakes on the tree. It looks pretty and full and pretty full. Not sure I need those extra pieces I'd thought I'd buy for it. I do however, have a tiny little tree in the dining area that has NO ornaments just yet. Perhaps I'll buy a package of mini snowflakes for it.
Supper: leftover single serving entrée from freezer, leftover last piece of pumpkin pie. No waste and pretty doggone good.
Sat down while I was thinking hard on money anyway, and pre-planned next year's budget. I altered a few things and I purposely figured lower than this year's figures on salary but we should manage. If we can reduce or cut out anything, so much the better. But at present, with some tightening here and there we should do well overall.
While I was planning ahead I made out three lists of needs/wants: home, personal, and supplies (things I'd normally use and am very nearly out of like blank address labels and page protectors, sticky tabs, pens). Now I have lists of the items wanted and needed and as extra money comes along can purchase a few of them as they go on sale.
Tuesday: Rain, lovely wet rain! The water buckets and bird bath are filled to the brim, the concrete hard soil in flower pots is looser and less compact. I am deeply thankful for this rain which has lasted hours in a nice slow steady outpouring. I pray many others who require it receive it as well!
What to make for breakfast? We're out of sausages and I won't pick up more until the end of the week when we have a fresh inflow of funds in the account. I scrounged about and figured out a menu that seemed substantial enough despite the lack of meat.
Low ambition today. Nevertheless I made dinner and while I was at it salvaged the green onions from the fridge which were trying to go bad. I chopped half the package or more for a batch of egg rolls and put the remaining onions in the freezer to use at as needed.
Made 13 egg rolls. Put one dozen in the freezer.
I had seven wrappers leftover...I have one idea for use but think I'll look for a few more. Don't want them to go to waste!
John touched up paint on the counter edges. This is an ongoing attempt to keep the counters looking nice. The wood had an oil based paint on them originally and the suggestion was that we remove the latex, take off the wood pieces and redo them with oil based or remove and put on fresh wood and paint those with latex. John likes neither of the suggestions so it's touch up continually. Fortunately we've plenty of paint and once a week or so he walks about with a tiny brush and dabs at the places that have shed paint.
We had a call from the flooring man about doing our bedroom carpets. We'd just received Christmas money from Mama and it's not quite enough to cover the cost, but it means the hit to savings is a lot less. Frankly I don't want to give up my funds for flooring because I had already tagged it for several much needed items and a couple of wants of mine: jeans, underthings, a blanket, a rug for the kitchen sitting, a couple of chairs if I found any viable options at thrift store, etc. However, I'd very much like to have the carpeting all match and now seems the best time to insure that happens, so we made an appointment for late January and will cough our gift monies for the privilege of it. And if I see a way clear to return any of that to us, I will and if not, I shall not complain.
Supper tonight was cheese sandwiches with the grapes I very nearly forgot last week on the side. John happened to mention grapes and I remembered due to lack of space with holiday foods I'd shoved them in the produce bin, where I'd not been since! I pulled them out over the weekend and we've very nearly finished them now.
Wednesday: It does not feel like Wednesday at all to me.
My mind has been racing this morning. Since we've had some rain, and since the ground is not overly saturated now is a good time to think of putting in bulbs and pansies. I'll be out Friday and plan to go by the discount grocery for turkey sausage anyway. I will pick up a few 6 packs of pansies at $1.20 each.
Saw a pin I'd previously saved about storing loose vegetables in gallon milk jugs with screw on caps. The jugs at Aldi have changed and are more square shaped and have a screw on lid. I'd just emptied one and tossed in the trash but thought better of it. I'd pulled black eyed peas from the freezer that Mama packaged up in sandwich bags and the bottom split open just as I got it over the floor. Peas went everywhere. I rinsed out that milk jug well with a tiny bit of soap and water and filled it with some garden peas. It lies flat on it's side and I marked it on the cap with contents but may get a permanent marker and mark the sides as well. I'll collect more milk jugs over the next few weeks and put all my loose vegetables and even berries in them
Did a quick freezer inventory and noted how much of things I have. I organized it a little better and am certain I can now find what is needed. Biggest surprise of how much I have on hand? Three things: chicken broth (I thought I'd emptied a lot of that out. Apparently I scratched the surface,lol), butter beans (lima beans to some of you though they are truly different as night and day. Lima beans are more starchy), and corn on the cob. I don't think we've eaten any since I put it up in the freezer. I made note that I needed to really start putting those things on the table.
What I have little of is meat. I can however, manage for about 2 1/2 weeks on what we have. Since we seldom eat more than 1/2 pound of meat daily and sometimes not that, I am sure I can stretch it to last. It looks like The Fresh Market is not offering the Tuesday specials on ground beef and BS Chicken breasts that they've had for months now, so I'll be shopping around for deals elsewhere.
Read through the sales ads that began today. Publix has a few items it is more than worthwhile to go buy this week even though it is not grocery week. For one thing the roast the kids want for our family meal is on sale. Also John's soda and Nathan hot dogs are less expensive than at the discount market. Since I plan to be in that area on Friday, I'll go on and check sales at a couple of more stores to see if there's anything on a super good sale. My day in that city is building up into a big deal. Better go prepared with a snack and water and possibly even a take along lunch!
I don't shop at one store often, but there is an incentive coupon of $5 off $30 purchase. Lo and behold they have the roast for sale less expensive than Publix as well as BS chicken breasts for just over $1.30 a pound. I guess I shall go stock up on meat at that store this week and use that coupon!
Made meatloaf for dinner. I used one pound of ground meat. I should be able to stretch the leftovers to make 3-4 sandwiches for us. Instead of opening tomato sauce and chopping a lot of vegetables, I used about 1/2 cup of salsa as my wet ingredient and that seasoned the meat loaf nicely. I did add some chopped onions but there was no need of adding more of anything except bread crumbs and an egg.
I thought of a post I'd read recently on a blog about saving on groceries. One of the statements was to use less cheese. I agreed with this wholeheartedly, as many blogs will post a recipe and say "We used LOTS of cheese because we love it!" So do I! BUT I also know that cheese adds more fat and more expense to a dish. So while making the squash casserole this morning, I used just 1/2 cup grated cheese. Rather than grate more to put on top, I did as the money saving blogger suggested and reverted to the method used in many 1940's and '50's casseroles: I topped with crushed crackers. Bread crumbs or crushed potato chips or corn chips are all good options as well. All are fairly inexpensive, the chips crumbs are generally leftovers anyway so there's no waste. The bread crumbs, crackers and chips make a nice contrasting crispy topping on the casserole dish and that adds to the overall appeal of it.
Thursday: I don't know just why I overslept this morning, but John was a dear and made us a nice breakfast. Poor man was no doubt hungry as he waited for my coffee to finally take effect.
We ran errands this morning as we left the house, all the usual stuff: dropping off and picking up mail, taking off trash, going by bank, etc.
John and I went into Home Depot...No surprise there. We've been spending little bits here and there to fix up our home. John is still working at finishing off the bathroom wainscoting and needed a brad/staple gun. He found one that suited his needs. We were in the paint section looking at spackle and noted the 'Oops' paints. I bought a small can of a pretty sage green that was just $.50. No clue what I'll use it for but it will be used for something.
John treated me to a very nice dinner out. Because we'd eaten breakfast so late it was an early supper for us, as well. We brought home leftovers.
John gave me some cash...He knows I like to carry (and seldom will break to spend) a single certain denomination bill. Knowing this he gave me a little more to buy new jeans with. I so appreciate his doing that.
We skipped supper and had a light snack a little later in the evening.
I made John's work lunch for tomorrow. I shared a portion of the leftovers with him. I saved the rest for my dinner tomorrow.
Friday: Made John's breakfast and packed his work lunch.
It was quite cold here this morning. I turned on the propane heater to offset the electric heat pump.
I had a long list of things to do this morning in and out of the house. I made sure to pack my lists, coupons and such in my purse last night so I wouldn't leave home without them.
Got my haircut at the Ulta salon once again. I LOVE how my hair looks when they are done with it. 8 weeks between appointments and I look pretty good in between. I had considered dropping this and returning to a much less expensive cut but John convinced me to return. "I watched you walk out with a huge smile, head up, shoulders back and you carried yourself well for weeks after. I think it's worth stretching our budget to make room for this for you." Well, I didn't see how we could quite manage but then I reasoned that going there once every 8 weeks is do-able. Happy I listened to my husband because I felt like a few hundred bucks walking out of that salon today.
I wanted a new makeup box, but knew I needed to replenish my aged supply of makeup. I was on my way to the register when I realized they had just loads of makeup bags and boxes and they all had makeup kits inside. There was a $5 off coupon in the latest salon sales ad. I purchased a new makeup box with makeup for $15. I couldn't have purchased the eye shadow alone for that, much less lip gloss and brow and primer. I can most certainly 'make do' with that makeup if it's not exactly to my taste for a month or so and I am pleased to have the new makeup box.
John gave me money for jeans. I headed to the Cato in the same shopping center and looked about. I found four pairs in sizes that fit me. Note I said 'sizes'...We all know the same size from jeans to jeans is not the same and it varies even more between manufacturers. I came out with two pairs, one a straight leg pair and one a boot cut, both a dark navy wash.
I took time to return the jeans I purchased two weeks ago that didn't fit.
Really considered hard the rest of my day. I was tired and had at least five planned stops. I cut it to three and it worked out just great.
I went into Publix and bought the soda John likes on sale. It was a great buy and I purchased more than we needed right away. I also stocked up on Nathan's hot dogs.
The deli was a good place to choose a sandwich for my lunch. I priced each type and bought according to price, not according to want. I skipped tea or soda since I had a bottle of cold water with me.
Went to the shopping center in the town between home and Warner Robins. I went into Roses there to grab up a few things for the kids. Nothing expensive just little things to sort of add to their holiday. I did as John requested and kept expenses low. I think they'll like their little gifts.
I had hoped to pick up items to decorate my little tree with but found nothing for it. I bought a package of tiny candy canes and think I'll use those on that tree with tiny red balls and some paper snowflakes I make myself. Not quite my 'Walk in a Snowy Woods theme' I'd planned but so what?
We are giving Josh a toy that belongs to John and is new in the box though it's been about for a while. I don't have anything suitable to give to Taylor so I purchased a hand/eye coordination toy for her.
Went into the discount grocer and picked up sausages, a lovely roast for our family meal next weekend and a package of chicken legs for $.69 pound. I packaged up three packages of 4 legs and 1 package of just 2 legs. I can fix them in varying ways. I priced meats overall as I walked down the meat counter. This place has nice meats. Not the same quality as I purchased at the meat market but nice enough. It would not be a bad spot to buy meats this month if need be. I may request we make a trip down to the meat market after the first of the year and stock up on things other than ground beef. I'm hoping after the holidays The Fresh Market will return to their Tuesday specials. Waiting until after the start of the New Year will allow me time to see. If not, then I'll purchase at the meat market.
Bought four 4cell pansies for $5. I will try to get those planted this weekend before the rains return. We're due some heavy showers early part of next week. I am so glad that this extended dry spell is broken and deeply glad that many of my neighbors to the east will see plenty of rain this time as well.
Came home and made myself a nice cup of coffee.
Worked on bills for pay day next week. I haven't quite finished but I did tot up the checkbook and found to my surprise that I almost balance to the penny.
John is working tonight. My supper is a leftover single serve entrée from the freezer. I have a dinner plan for tomorrow and I think we'll manage to wing it on Sunday without my picking anything up extra or doing any extra cooking this weekend. It's been a nice week, not as jam packed as I anticipated, not as productive as it might have been but it's been pleasant and I enjoyed it.
That's another week in this Blue House. I hope you all made good savings and will tell us what you did!
P.S. I'm doing a Boot Camp Refresher course. Not reading books this go round but digging about hard on Pinterest and blogs.