Living Frugally and Well: Sizzling Savings

Saturday:  I didn't prep food ahead yesterday for today's meal because it wasn't necessary.  I put meat in the crockpot early this morning to cook.  I needed only to chop a few vegetables for stir fry as a side dish.

I put leftover meat right into the fridge.  We didn't have the option of going back for seconds.

John offered to make pancakes for supper.  That's why we keep the mix on hand.  I have the instructions written a chalk board tag that is tied around the neck of the jar I store the mix in.  They were delicious.

I finished prepping John's work lunch.

I ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Sunday:  Sent John off to work: he had breakfast before leaving, lunch and coffee in hand as he went out the door.

Remembered to turn off the porch light when I came back indoors.  I don't always remember this and I'm trying to be better about it.

Stripped bed.  Washed linens and bath towels together.  I tossed in the few clothes in the basket as well.

Hung most all of the items to dry.

Bagged up all the trash to carry out the door with me when I leave.

Went by Kroger and picked up the free item I could find on the shelves.  One bottle of BBQ sauce, 19 ounces went into my pantry.  I only bought a Sunday paper while in the store.

After church, I went to get a haircut.  Then I went to another grocery to pick up a prescription and a few loaves of good bakery bread for our home use.  I stuck to the perimeter of the store.  I did note a sale on an end cap and knew I could find the variety I wanted as I walked past the other end of the aisle on my way to the registers.  It does pay to know the lay out of your store!  I avoided a double line of temptation by walking the perimeter and going to the right section of the aisle where the product was located.

The item I bought extra?  BOGO on Ritz stackable crackers.  I don't know why John prefers the stackable size but he does.  I agreed to purchase them when they were no more than Aldi brand of the same cracker.  Well, these BOGO sales are dead on the same price.  I stocked up with enough to last me until next sale.

I purchased a big bunch of gladiola for $4.99.  The usual bunches of common flowers are now $4 a bunch.  The glads filled a big vase and look lovely.  I don't consider these as 'extra' by the way.  I normally purchase a bunch of flowers about every two weeks.  Sometimes in summer I buy them weekly because they do not keep as well in the warmer temperatures.  I budget for them as part of my grocery money.

Do you know what else I did to save at the grocery today?  When I went into Kroger I was on my way to church.  When I came out of church I was beyond hungry.  I then went to get a haircut.  I'd eaten at 5am with John and hadn't had anything since.  After I got my hair cut, I went right to a fast food place, purchased a meal, and ate.  I used my pocket money to cover the cost.  It was a lot cheaper to pay $7 for a meal than to wander the deli and snack aisles at the grocery tossing in any item that looked good at the moment.

Filled the car with gasoline in that town where it's 20c cheaper than our hometown.

Found a good deal on a slipcover.  Ordered it for my chair.

I was weary when I came in.  I hadn't slept well last night and all I wanted to do was sit and chill.  You know what I did?  I brought clothes in off the line and folded them.  I made coffee.  I sat down at my desk and totted up the checkbook, wrote out checks to pay bills.  I balanced the checkbook against the bank statement.  I did what I had to do.  That's part of what gets things done.  After I was finished with those tasks, I had a cup of coffee and did what I'd wanted to do all along: chill.  No guilt, no worry over having to get up to do one thing.  I was done!

Monday:  I made breakfast sandwiches for us this morning.  They are filling and easy and quick.

John washed a load of clothes and hung most to dry.  Yes, we had a few more clothes, which included his work uniform.  He likes to have that ready to go right away even though he doesn't go back to work for two days.

Gave myself a pedicure.  I used the new Jamberry wraps I got for hostessing the party.  Bess had shown earlier in the month that a single accent nail wrap could cover five of your toes.  I actually covered SIX with a smidge leftover.  Pretty impressive.

Gathered bills to mail when we went down to pick up John's check.  We made our deposit in that town.

We wandered.  We did.  We hadn't had lunch and really hadn't been hungry when it was dinner time, so I didn't cook.  We took a very long very roundabout trip to our favorite restaurant.  I paid for our dinner out of my pocket money (recently refreshed at the bank).

Nothing more was done today.  We simply enjoyed the afternoon and the conversation we had.  We laughed.  We talked.  And then we had ice cream.  There's just something about a summer cone of ice cream isn't there?

Tuesday:  I placed an order this morning and remembered to use Swagbucks this time.  I have forgotten far too often of late to use those Shop and Earn points.

Cashed in Pinecone research points for Paypal cash.   I shall put that with the Lowe's gift card I got first of the year and use the funds to replace the last mini blind with a nicer one.  That would be our guest room window.  I've no idea why it took me this long to notice we had that one last window to do!

Kept breakfast simple this morning when John announced his intentions to mow lawn.  I know he dislikes to go out in the heat with a heavy breakfast sitting upon him.  Pushed plans for our dinner to be something simpler and quickly prepared.  We postponed getting groceries until later in the week.  I'll likely go buy another half gallon of milk (and incidentally pick up some cottage cheese that is on sale and carrageenan free) but we've plenty of fruit, lettuce, eggs and bread to see us through the end of the week.

We had another very late dinner today.  No supper for us again tonight.  Tomorrow I shall likely eat four meals because we'll be starting our day so very early, so it balances out.

Made John's lunch/supper for tomorrow and set it aside in the fridge so I can easily pull it out in the morning and not miss anything.

I used Matzah crackers we've had in the cabinet since Passover to make Sweet and Saltines...Only mine is Sweet and Matzah, lol.  I packaged up the confectionary  pieces in an old cookie tin.  This is a very fast recipe.  It takes about 15 minutes start to finish.  Five minutes to boil and five minutes in the oven.  I had the oven on to make oven baked fries already so it was no trouble.

Took advantage of the nice mild weather to make those oven fried potatoes.

Katie fired my imagination this afternoon with some Jamberry nail wrap pairings she set up and forwarded to me through photos.  I went through my stash and pulled together a few more looks, including mimicking some of hers with wraps we had in common.  I figure I just extended my ability to use my wraps efficiently by 50% which is pretty good.

John had a phone holder that clipped to his belt.  It broke the other night.  He remembered when he purchased it and that it had a warranty so he wrote the company.  They wrote him back asking for measurements.  Today he received a brand new phone holder from the company. No, it's not exactly like his previous one but his phone does fit in the new holder.  The company is called Nite Ize...

This morning as we were about to eat breakfast, I happened to glance out of the kitchen window.  Two young bucks walked across the yard, strolling leisurely about.  This afternoon from the same windows I watched as a hummingbird fed from the hibiscus and petunias.

John mowed our yard.  It costs an average of $50 to get a lawn mowed in our area and John mows the equivalent of THREE yards with our big lawn.  That's a HUGE savings for us.

Wednesday:  Have had a very productive morning thus far.  I'll start with the usual work day morning drill:  breakfast, coffee, packed lunch.  Yep that trinity of work morning savings took place again today.

Remembered to turn off the porch light when I came indoors.

Maddie gets biscuit treats when John goes to work.  Misu has been coming around this whole month and started demanding a treat, too.  She'd happily eat a small piece of dog biscuit but I splurged the other day and bought a trial sized packet of cat treats.  She enjoyed having her own treats!  I will get another bag for her but will look for coupons so I can indulge her.  Maddie's biscuits are from Aldi and very similar to Milk Bone...Maybe I'll check Aldi for cat treats...

Washed a full load of clothes which included the slip cover off the wingback chair and my ottoman cover.  The other chair hasn't been sat in by anyone so I didn't feel washing that slipcover was necessary.  I run the vacuum over it every couple of weeks to keep the dust off it.

Went outdoors and cleaned up the porches and patio.  Since we hang clothes on the front porch, it is especially important that I wipe down those railings after John mows.  I've not done it once or twice and rued the dirty marks that ruined my clean wash.

Watered the patio plants using water we'd caught from roof run-off of rain.

Dug up the iris then went to work pulling up all that soapwort under the Faith Tree.  There must have been a million ants living in that mess and about 18 big brown spiders went scurrying away, too.  Ugh. I shall be quite happy to make that space look neater!   I worked a good 45 minutes on it all and decided I'd do more another day.  I did quite enough this morning.  I sure wish I could determine where to plant some of the soapwort.  It needs sun to bloom.  It also needs a space where it won't invade places where I don't want it.  Not sure where that could be.

Washed a full load of dishes.  I didn't have quite a full load so I put in the coffee pot, filter basket and filters, the sink strainers and my sponges and scrubbies.

Cleaned out the fridge.  I have had plastic liners on the shelves which is nice for catching spills.  I just took all the liners off the shelves.

Found three or four items that had gotten buried and forgotten.  Not a lot of waste, perhaps 2 cups of food overall, but more than I'd like to have go to waste.  Noted what foods I have on hand and need to use before I start using the produce I plan to buy this week.

Cleaned out that kitchen cupboard I'd kept promising myself I'd tackle.  Found I did indeed have several packets of Italian and Ranch dressing, sigh.  It got pushed back into a corner I loathe and can't reach.  I put ALL the packets of dressing in a tin that is too big to lose in the cupboard.  Now to remember that's where I stashed those packets.  I might better put them in a jar where I can see them!

Happy to find there was no 'loss' in the cabinet, just a 'lost' that was found.

I bought a big 1 liter bottle of soy sauce a few years ago.  I've nearly drained the big jug and so I decanted what was left into a salad dressing cruet.  Takes up far less room and also gives me a far better idea of about how much I have left.  Somehow it looked like a lot more in that big jug.

Cleaned the guest room and found the fabric I thought I had used up. I have enough to cover the pillow for my bedroom chair which pleases me very much.

Result of cleaning the guest room: 1 trash can filled, one box filled for donation and one laundry basket filled to go to the shed.

Forgot the clothes on the line when the rain came in (not forecasted) but did think to run put the fern under the eaves to catch the runoff from the roof.  Oh well...I've heard often enough that rain water softens clothes.

I ate a leftovers supper but my main meal today was a combination of a special entrée I treat myself to (chicken pot stickers) and leftover stir fry veg from this past weekend.

Thursday:  Made a welcome home breakfast for John of French toast.   I used pieces of bread I'd stashed in the freezer that were too small to make a sandwich.  I cooked up the egg/milk mixture leftover after making the French toast.  John likes that eggy mixture for some reason.

John washed a full load of clothes, hung all to dry.

I washed the plastic shelf liners that were in the fridge.  I hung them on the drying rack to drip dry.

Started to work on one of the UFO's in my sewing room.  Then I walked to the cabinet to get something and stubbed my little toe and broke it.  I'm so sick of breaking toes!  Anyway, that sidelined me from working on sewing.  I am sitting with my foot elevated instead.

Prepared taco salad for our dinner today because it is quick and easy.

John brought home plenty of leftovers from his work yesterday.  Someone catered a meal for the crew so he didn't need the food I'd sent.  He will have it for supper tonight.  I am in 'use it up' mode.

I have onions and peppers prepped for a meal for this weekend.

We did not go buy groceries today, so that is on the list of things to do tomorrow.  I shall most certainly not want to prep foods for weekend then so I'm doing all I can, in stages, today.

Friday:  It's been very hot.   So hot that I'm watering plants practically daily if there is no rainfall.  We really should have left home super early this morning to run errands and shop for groceries but we didn't.  Failure on our part meant we suffered through the 100F part of the day at stop lights and in heavy traffic, ugh.

John wanted to get a haircut.  We remembered the Kroger next to the shop has added in a full pharmacy, a jewelry store, clothing and home goods aisles.  It's a huge expansion into a sort of super Kroger.   John and I have had a saga over underclothes.  He needed some.  I suggested we go to the store and buy them.  He suggested I just order.  I ordered and they filled the order as they pleased.  My husband only wears certain colors, mostly blacks and blues and dark greens.  They sent bright green and blues and reds.  As well the packer must have pulled from the boy's department to fill the package....It was a disaster and the packages were shredded in the opening so no way to return.  Let's just call that whole bit a total loss.

Anyway, I said I would pick up the few non-Aldi items needed and he suggested he'd look at underclothes there at Kroger.  I guess his wait time at the shop for  a cut was far longer than planned. Not only did I order and drink my coffee, I browsed the whole store, picked up the items I went in to purchase (no impulses) and checked the underclothes.  I was shocked at the cost.  Same brand, same style we'd just purchased but they were $8/pair in a package of 5, $39.99.  We'd paid only $2 a pair for the ones we'd ordered.  I walked out of the store shaking my head. I told John how much they cost in that store and he couldn't believe it.  So naturally he went in to check for himself.  He called me from the store to rant over the cost...I was headed to the car, because I knew I wasn't wrong, lol.  Ridiculous!

So we headed to Walmart to shop for underclothes.  I sat in the McDonalds and had a cold drink of water while he did the shopping.  He found the same brand, the same packaging for $13 for 5 pair.  Isn't that just ridiculous all around?

Drove to Aldi to get our grocery items.  I remembered that I needn't stock quite so heavily as we are already heading into the last week of the pay period and John will be gone for four of the seven days counting his next work day.  Good thing I didn't want much.  It was scarce pickings on much of the produce.  

We got the electric bill.  We had the expected jump which will likely be higher still next month if this current heat keeps up.  I pulled curtains on the western side of the house this afternoon and yesterday afternoon as well.

Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

John washed a small load of clothes, as he meant to take some things he'd been wearing today with him on his trip this weekend.  There's plenty of heat and sun to dry them.

We stopped outside of town and picked up chicken tenders.  I told John we had plenty of salad already to go so we skipped sides.  I paid for that meal out of my pocket.  I'll repay myself next pay period.

What did you do to save this week?

Living Well

The store was packed with screaming babies and children running around and just far too many people in a small store.  The streets were nearly as bad with cars piled in lanes at stop lights, wrecks, sirens, firetrucks wailing...I was one glad country girl to arrive back in my quiet spot!  Today is not typical of the town where we shop.  I seldom hear sirens when I'm in that place, nor is Aldi generally so hectic but it sure was a chaotic sort of day out there today.

Even the highways were crowded with traffic and mowers working along the sides of nearly every road we traveled.  And in our little town, there was a backlog of traffic because the Department of Transportation is repairing a very rough patch of railroad track and pavement.

You can just bet this country girl was sure glad to pull into our roadway today and turn up that long winding drive.  It felt so quiet and peaceful and I felt tension just oozing from me as we drove up towards the house.


Lana said...

Very, very hot here, too. I am thankful to live under a full canopy of shade trees. When we come home I feel the same since it is s much cooler here than anywhere we go. Our long driveway is at the lake though and it is always a pleasure to turn into that track through the woods. Our city is crossed by two major interstates and a Business spur. There is construction everywhere right now and it is a mess. Some places we have just marked off the list since we cannot get there easily until the roads are reopened.

Our big saving would be saving up for the new refrigerator for the garage. I had considered picking up a used one from a Facebook garage sale group but I am so glad we did not. Why? Energy savings. When the old one died our power bill dropped a whopping $30 a month. That huge 20 year old fridge was an energy hog. The new one was delivered today and the yearly energy cost is estimated to be $43! It will have paid for itself in about 13-14 months. Not to mention less trips to the grocery store because we will be back to keeping more supply on hand. Win!

We had two of the grandchildren and our daughter here for the day today. We enjoyed them so much but we are also glad to be back to quiet! Have a good weekend all!

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

With our temperature at 104 degrees today, that's regular temperature, not "feels like" temperature, and 105 degrees forecast for tomorrow, I don't think we are going to have a very frugal month here by the time we pay for our AC running constantly.It's been 100 degrees and over for 5 days now. My plants and flowers are just about done for. I not only have west window draperies closed, but in our living room window, which lets in tons of heat and sun, I have gone full on hoosier-otic and put a giant piece of corrugated cardboard over as much of the window as I can. It really makes a difference. Luckily, it doesn't show from the outside, but is pretty depressing looking from the inside. I seriously need to get insulated drapes for that window.

This week's only frugal item was the $4.99 whole rotisserie cooked chickens that were on sale at the store. We bought two of them. They aren't big chickens, but are plenty for a very generous meal of chicken for both of us with rice a roni made in the microwave, and fresh sliced tomatoes; and then a next day delicious cold supper of cold chicken sandwiches, and enough left over for a small snack for my husband later. Most importantly, it is good tasting chicken that I am not heating up the kitchen cooking.

I'll need to pick the second chicken apart and freeze it. My husband has requested chicken quesadillas soon, so if I think I can eat chicken again this week without starting to cluck, I will make quesadillas with some of the chicken before freezing it.

Your home is beautiful. So much open space around it. You must be able to see every star in the sky at night. In my neighborhood the houses are all so close together. Late at night when I am usually still awake, I believe a nearby neighbor must come outside to smoke a cigarette because I usually smell the cigarette smoke at around the same time every night. That means that the houses are way too close together to me.

Laurie said...

I love soapwort! It's one of my favorite scented flowers. It does have a bad habit of sprawling though. Being we live well off the road, and don't try to have a manicured lawn, we just let it be. I hope you find a good spot for yours. In your fridge, what are you using to line the shelves? There's always something spilling in our fridge, it seems, so your idea sounds intriguing. I understand how you feel, leaving the chaos to return to your peaceful home. I feel the same way here.

Becky Gepford said...

I'm guessing bright green and red underwear didn't seem so bad after those awful prices on the other ones!!! Or, maybe the price didn't seem so bad once you saw the better color selection!!! The good news is: He's got some, and they should last a long time, hopefully:)

Anne said...

There has been something I have been wondering about for some time. Why do you still mail off your bills? You will save a ton on stamps if you pay bills online. It's quite safe. And if you don't have to stamp 10 envelopes, you save $5.00.

Jenny C said...

Hi there, I keep meaning to ask, what is a faith tree? Cheers

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