Frugal Friday: Reining In
Saturday: My plan today was to have bagels. Again this Saturday morning, John took over breakfast duty and made eggs to go with the toasted bagels. Again, I made no complaint. After all, if he wants to cook for me who am I to argue?
I planned a dinner of leftovers. John wasn't particularly happy over that meal idea. I opened up the last package of hot dogs and made French Fries. I brought out the cupcakes from Family Day that I'd set aside and frosted them with a quick to mix up buttercream frosting. That was a second meal planned and ready in under 20 minutes which made me happy.
John opted to open a can of baked beans and eat leftover hot dogs for supper. I had the originally planned leftovers. There was enough of the Chicken and Dumpling casserole to have Monday when he goes to work.
I monitored the portion of mixed nuts we ate today. My man wasn't terribly happy. He tends to think he works hard and he ought to be able to eat as he wants and normally I'd agree. I say I'm in charge of inventory control and this is an expensive item. I want it to last a month, not a week! He followed my lead in that but he was not well pleased. I'll turn a blind eye for other less expensive treats but I have to maintain control somewhere or we'll sink.
Lots of rain this morning. No need to worry about watering plants for a day or two or three.
Maddie wouldn't eat with thunder rumbling. I suggested John put her food away and we'd try again tomorrow. I assure you all that she doesn't go hungry. She can count on John to pass out a biscuit or five and there are lots of little baby rabbits that she helps herself to despite my pleas to let them be. I suppose she is controlling the population but you'd never know it from the number of rabbits on the lawn morning and evening.
Sunday: Decided to put off washing sheets one more day. John goes off to work tomorrow and I'll be up plenty early to get them on the line.
John cut off all the ceiling fans before we left the house for church.
Splurge day. John wanted to go into the grocery store. I suggested he pick up a loaf of bread and perhaps a rotisserie chicken. He had other ideas. He bought a full meal to prepare for Mother's Day. Sweet. Yes it was, truly, and I'll not complain.
There was a leftover portion of steak which I put in his lunch for work tomorrow.
With two more work lunches to make this week I'll have to get a little creative with things. I'm going to prepare ahead tomorrow. I have already cut celery sticks, will make up his favorite tuna pasta salad, etc. He'll never know I'm reining in the grocery budget and trying to stretch things out until our next big shopping trip, which is planned for June. Yes, June. I'll be very creative!
John purchased the Sunday paper. I gathered the coupons and sales ads I want to look over but I don't really plan to purchase much this week except cat food. However, it never hurts to look. Now and then some really great bargain presents itself and it's worthwhile to go ahead and make that purchase.
Set up oatmeal and coffee for morning.
Monday: Zowie, 5am came early this morning. So glad that lunch was put together and needed only to be packed, coffee was brewing and oatmeal was pour and stir. Sent John off with a cup of coffee in his tumbler and a fully packed lunch.
Washed a big load of clothes and hung to dry on the line, drying rack and back porch rails.
Went through my vintage magazines and organized. I have two issues of vintage June magazines. Two! I've been looking online but too pricey for my taste at present. Either the price is too high or the shipping is ridiculous. I'll just wait. Prices tend to fluctuate on these old things and maybe I'll luck up on a few more in some shadowy gritty antique store.
Am very nearly done migrating all my emails to one account. It's involved countless unsubscribes and updating the really important accounts, etc. I'm hoping by end of week it's all finished. Of course, all this generates another organization task or three, but it's time to move away from frustrations and aggravations and this is an easy enough fix for such as that.
Saw credit card balance. I can easily identify what each item was but golly gee. Was sitting here this morning looking over my lists and I've bought all that was required and some of what was wanted. Time to rein things in hard and just stop.
I looked ahead at the upcoming pay period, too. No, I don't know just what John will make. I don't need to know that. I looked at what we'll pay out this period and then figured ahead slightly to see the 'lay of the land'. I'm going to be able to pay off our house insurance balance early. I will still be able to pay off the auto insurance renewal when it falls due. Then no matter how the rest of the summer goes come that July 1 date, we'll have a good bit of wiggle room. Hallelujah!
Tuesday: Up early this morning. I had coffee with a side of sunrise.
Took frozen waffles and thawed in a slow warm oven for breakfast this morning.
Clipped back the lovely petunia that I was given in April. I've been reading all about them and it was getting rather leggy. I thought now was the better time to trim it back. I took the pieces I trimmed and set them in water, hoping they will root.
Walked into the kitchen after lunch and was amazed at how those petunias had scented that room! So lovely and what a glorious thing to look at that bunch of blooms on the window sill. Color hint to self: aqua blue and deep purple make an awesome combination.
Planted my piece of ginger root. It had small roots on bottom and the shoot is developing into a stem.
Our dinner salad consisted of leaves snipped from the romaine butts I'd put in the kitchen window to regrow. It was just enough for two. Kinda proud of that little economy.
Washed a full load of dishes.
John washed a load of clothes and hung them on the line to dry.
I cut off the two sundresses and turned into skirts this morning. I need to buy elastic before I can finish them off. I did remember to leave an open space to run the elastic through. That is only slightly important if you don't want a load of aggravation. Ask me how I know.
Prepared John's work lunch for the half day he'll work tomorrow.
Set up coffee and oatmeal for morning.
Wednesday: Sent John off to work this morning fed, coffee in hand and lunch bag packed.
Found a bed bug in my breakfast sitting area. It is all tile floors which is why John has been dropping all his things in that area. I was livid though, finding a bed bug in MY house. I put it in a covered glass jar, sent a text to John which got forwarded to his boss. I demanded something be done pronto about the work place or I'd go straight to the county myself.
We have agreed that we'll continue with the procedure of his disrobing at the laundry area, and his clothes go right into a HOT wash. His linens stay at work and will get laundered there, his bag stays in his car and does not go into the shop. His lunch bag goes into the fridge at his workplace. This has been an ongoing battle for over a year now at his workplace. I don't know why on earth the county stopped the pest control spraying the shop.
I can't help but recall Granny's grave concern when they stopped allowing use of some pesticide or other in the 1990's. She told me that while it had serious effects if misused, if applied properly it had been the only thing to ever kill bedbugs and keep them at bay. So much so that until my 50's I've never known of a bedbug infestation. I don't know what we'll have to do but I will not have them invade my house!
On my way out of house this morning, I took two bags of trash to the dumpsters. I picked up mail from yesterday.
Went into town and stopped at the dollar store. I picked up some new dishtowels since mine are starting to look worn and have holes. I also bought birthday cards for $1 each. I have TEN birthdays in the next five weeks and that's a lot of cards. I saved over $30 buying them at the dollar store instead of elsewhere.
Bought another bed bug spray for John to take to work and to use here at home if needed. Noted that the dollar store now has an ample supply of sprays and bombs for bed bugs...Obviously it's getting to be more and more commonplace problem. UGH.
Went to Hobby Lobby. I needed elastic for my two new skirts. I found a 2 yard length for 30c less than two packages of 1 yard lengths.
I wanted some greenery to put in my glass bottles on my buffet. I looked at various things and put them all back, deciding they were ridiculously expensive for fake plants. I was looking at bunches which I thought might be less expensive than single stems but they weren't. I finally chose three stems at a whopping $4.99 each. I reminded myself I'll reuse them for years to come on a seasonal basis, but I skipped buying the flowers I wanted for the centerpiece on the table.
I found a book I've been wanting for quite awhile on sale. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers was on sale for $7.99. I was happy to get it at a greatly reduced price and not have to pay shipping. I found the book at Hobby Lobby.
ALL my purchases came up to less than what the four stems originally cost. I didn't know the greenery was 60% off and though I had no coupon the young man apparently applied that to the rest of my purchase. Hooray!
Found 2c today on the ground.
Waiting on Mama to meet me in the grocery parking lot, I got a text that I had a prescription ready for pickup. I went to the drive-thru window and picked it right up. I was glad to be in the right place at the exact moment I got that message.
Took Mama out for dinner and ice cream, my treat today as her Mother's Day gift. She was well pleased and we enjoyed a little ride after our ice cream picnic.
Came straight home. I need to pick up some cat food and a couple of other items but really want to wait as long as I can. I'd like to put it off until Sunday but will likely go out on Friday to get those things.
Picked up mail on my way IN. Stopped at various spots along the drive and picked up sticks that needed to be removed from the yard.
Came in and gave Maddie a pupsicle. It's 96F outdoors. She was hot and needed the refreshing. She loves her pupsicles. Took an older jar of frozen broth from the freezer to thaw so I can make up some more for her.
Thursday: Woke this morning with dry itchy eyes and a sore throat. I took a zinc tablet just in case it was a cold I'd picked up. I do not want to be sick with John about to be home for two weeks for vacation. No fun being ill during what is meant to be a holiday time.
John mowed lawn while I worked indoors this morning.
I made tuna pasta salad. As I mixed it up this morning I couldn't help but laugh at how this recipe has changed over our years together. I used 2 cups of dry pasta where we used to use 5-7 cups. I now use whole wheat pasta instead of regular. I put about half the amount of vegetables I used to use in the dish: 1/2 an onion, 1 stalk of celery, 1 large carrot, 1 bell pepper. I added in two drained cans of tuna to increase the protein value, but in the old days we only used 1 can of tuna. The dish was good, as it always is, but the cost of it is slightly higher with these changes. However, we still had plenty for our meal, enough for each of us to have a serving for a meal tomorrow and with the fiber from the vegetables all of which are 'free' because they are low carb and the increased protein from the extra tuna, it's suitable for a diabetic lunch.
I finished both my skirts and am quite pleased with them. I will be happy to have them for at home wear this summer! I had a bit of struggle with one of the skirts. I'd bought 1 inch width elastic but I'd sewn in a 3/4 inch waistband on that skirt. No clue why. I tried to pull out the thread but the cotton is too thin and the seam too tight. I decided to just go ahead and turn the waist down another inch. It will be a little shorter but it will still be well within my acceptable length.
Shopped the pantry this morning: coffee, foil, pepper, tomato soup, maple syrup, crackers, brown rice. Luxury to 'shop at home'.
We spent the afternoon out running errands. I had planned to go out over the weekend but I picked up a few things at the grocery while John got his haircut. It is a savings of gasoline to do it today.
Everything purchased today was on sale and some things came up half price. I bought longer lasting fruits. I am trying to stretch through the upcoming pay period without making any more food purchases for home. This will allow us money to play and eat out over the two weeks John is off work. We know these days of time together are going to be further apart with the new schedule and that our lives will take on a little faster pace so we really want to enjoy this vacation time.
Years upon years ago, probably about 16 years ago we were in Walmart one day with Samuel and he found a small Morris Mini Cooper replica car. He wanted the car but I couldn't afford it. I apologized to him and we left without it. He was a teen ager and not heartbroken, but you do hate to tell your child no over something that is small. I had a little extra the next pay period and went back to buy the car as a surprise for him. No car. I'd told John about it and he'd agreed that it would be a nice surprise. For 16 years we've looked at every toy section at the cars all these years hoping to find a Morris Mini Cooper. We found one today.
John and I know Sam likely won't remember that day I had to tell him no, and he'll certainly never know how much it hurt me to be unable to afford that little car at that time. He won't even understand the quest that we went on to provide it at long last nor understand why we kept on for sixteen years, but one day one of his kids is going to want something and it's not going to be something he can provide right away. He'll understand then.
John wanted to pick up chicken on the way home. I suggested we stop in at the deli. We paid about half the cost of a chicken dinner elsewhere.
Put leftover chicken and rolls into John's work lunch for tomorrow. I have leftover chicken and vegetables for one of my meals tomorrow, too.
Set up oatmeal and coffee for supper.
Tomorrow will be the third morning this week I've been up at 5am. Not a hardship. In days past I only had about 1 weekend a month to sleep in ever, but hard enough these days when I'm accustomed to a different sleep pattern. I thought to myself as I set up oatmeal this evening that I really ought to set up oatmeal packets ahead of time since we're going to have this change of schedule in July. I can also set up the jars of milk and egg in the fridge and this will save time and insure I always have planned for breakfast first and not last during each week.
I think I'm going to pack up snack bags of non-perishable foods, too. Again this will save a little time and if foods are divided into lunch bags he's unlikely to snack on them when he's NOT working. Since a peanut butter sandwich is always a staple, I'll make up several of those and put into the freezer. Streamlining the preparations for work will be a small help.
Poured up another batch of pupsicles and set them in the freezer this morning. I had one ready this afternoon when we came in. It was 92F and Maddie was panting when we got home. She loves those cool treats.
Washed a full load of dishes.
Friday: Sent John off to work with coffee in hand, lunch bag packed and a good breakfast under his belt.
Washed a smaller load of clothes this morning and used a cold/cold wash. We're expecting rain this weekend and I wanted to be sure John's jeans were dry for Sunday church. I hung all but three items on the line. I did a quick dry in the dryer for those things and then hung two items to completely dry.
Checked over our toiletries bags and replenished our supply of trial sized items. We seldom travel these days as we did when the oldest son and his family moved to Georgia, so I haven't stayed atop that travel bag. It's very handy to have it ready to go. All we have to do is put in a change of clothes and pajamas and off we go if we'd like. I last used this bag when I spent two weeks with Josh in February and several items needed to be replaced or replenished.
The AC began coming on regularly at 6am this morning. That's summer time doings not spring! Fortunately the temperatures are meant to drop by about 10 degrees over the weekend and through the coming week. I'm so glad we will have a week of milder days.
Worked up the bills in readiness to pay them on Monday. I prayed over the house insurance and triple checked my figures and that check will go out paying it in full with the next due date. I am so pleased over this. Pleasantly surprised to find I also tucked aside a little money for the credit card bill that is upcoming. I am so glad I thought ahead and kind of glad I'd forgotten I'd thought ahead.
Had my leftovers dinner.
Made myself a nice hot cup of tea, which is a small savings over making a quarter pot of coffee. I do have an individual size to my coffee pot that allows me to make just one cup, but it takes the same amount of coffee as it does to make 4 servings. I am currently out of the single serve packets so tea it is. I didn't mind in the least.
Cleaned out my makeup box.
Gathered stuff indoors for a donation box and managed to fill it up. I guess I'll carry that off and then fill it up again. It filled up really quickly without too much effort on my part, and considering how often I have a declutter-fest, it does make you stop and think, doesn't it?
Gathered some information while at home on the computer. Perhaps one day I'll be universally linked to the web by smart phone but for now I often wish I had information at my fingertips when I am out and alas, I can only access it at home. I actually planned ahead and did my research this time. I have the information printed out for us.
Although we're supposed to get rain for the weekend, the pots on the patio were dry as could be. I went ahead and watered them deeply now. I find that water at a time of need with a plant is usually far less harmful than waiting in hope of rain. All the pots have good drainage so they will release whatever is not needed.
I don't know just how or when I started leaving off this feature. I mean to add it in once again. My life is about balance. It's not all one thing and nothing else.
I hope you have been enjoying our Charm School. I launched this series for many reasons. First there is my fascination with that element that is called charm and can be defined by so many more things than mere dress, though personal appearance does play it's role. Second, I think the theme fits quite well with my blog motto: "Making the best of what we have." If I can teach a woman a little about how to present herself well, even if she does have just one or two outfits for public wear, then I'll be happy to have helped another woman carry herself with confidence. Third, I believe that every woman has a role in this world and bringing the refinements that she might introduce into her environment is one of those areas where she can and should bear influence.
I know that not every woman cares to wear make-up nor has the resources to purchase a new wardrobe and that some could truly care less. However, as with the money saving tips and the decorating tips, etc., I feel sure that there is something that can be used in these posts by each and every one of us, and in the case of being courteous to one another, I think every one can use that to improve your world and the world about you.
Being courteous and kind in nature and being neat in appearance and manner are some of the rare and finer things in life. What's more, they are elements that cost little to cultivate, requiring nothing more than time and thought and intention rather than money. Why reject the finer things if they are yours to be had for nothing more than a small investment of time? It's like forever ignoring opera or classical music when it's right there on the same radio as country and rock. It's just a little expansion of your world that costs nothing at all, yet it does influence you to growth in a nice sort of way.
There's about one more week of this series. I hope you find it pleasant and helpful and that it will promote that feeling of making the best of what you have that enriches our lives in a way that money often doesn't.