Thrifty Thursday: Try Harder


Friday:  I was awake very early this morning.  Very early.  I decided to watch vlogs until John woke.  Several weeks ago I subscribed to a vlog I'd stumbled upon "Becoming a Farm Girl".  This young woman lives in a townhouse.  She grows vegetables on her balcony, cans and preserves, pickles and ferments, and stockpiles.  She doesn't raise her own meat or many of the foods she eats.  But she is most definitely living the homestead sort of life.  

I'm often hindered by what I can't do, but after listening to her I realize I can do what I can.  You can do what you can do.  We don't have to all look the same in our journey, or do the same things.  The important thing is to take the path that is available at the moment.

Today we did our usual Friday cleaning.  I'd broken eggs the other day when I got home.  About four to be exact but they were not fully broken.  I went ahead and put them all in a jar and today we made an omelet with them.  

After our work was done we went out to run errands.  John decided we'd get haircuts too while we were out.  I had a short list of items I wanted to pick up at the grocery next door to the salon.  I'd forgotten my phone where my list was stored, so I used John's phone to create a new list.  It was a tad longer than the previous one.  I  like to make a 'wish list' of all I'd really like to buy, then cut it down to what I can actually buy.

When we got to the store, I found a few items I didn't know were on sale, like pickle relish.  I've been out of pickle relish for several weeks now.  And salad dressing.  While I am making some of our salad dressings, John really likes store-bought French dressing which I haven't been able to replicate.  I wanted wings.  We looked at several options and I purchased a family pack which I split into two portions.   I spent a bit more than I'd planned but when I got home, I found I was right at the point where I'd wanted to be two weeks into this month.  I'm good with that.

We chose to pick up lunch while we were out.  John got a sandwich, and I got a salad.  That came from our entertainment fund and fit perfectly in the newly reduced budget.

Supper for tonight was Lasagna, Broccoli, Salad, and the last of the Cheese Rolls.

Saturday:  An easy day at home today.  I made Buffalo Chicken Pizza, using half the dough I made.  The rest of the dough went into the freezer for another meal.  

I used the tenderloins I'd cooked on Thursday.  This was an excellent pizza and we greatly enjoyed it.  For supper tonight I'm undecided.  I have leftover soup.  It's also National Grilled Cheese Day...

Checked online and both the outstanding checks finally cleared the bank.  Both bills were late by nearly a week although they'd been mailed weeks ahead of the due date.   Sigh.  

I prepared dinner for tomorrow and will take it all to Katie's.  I set aside four cornbread muffins for our menu this week.  I've pulled items to thaw in the fridge for the week ahead.  Let the new week begin.

Sunday:  I carried dinner to Katie's today.  She provided mac n cheese (necessary for the children).  Everyone seemed to enjoy the food.

John stopped at the gas station and bought us an ice cream sandwich on the way home.  That's all we bought.  Is it cheaper to buy a box of sandwiches to keep here?  Yes.  Is it less calorie-hazardous to buy them singly at the gas station?  YES.  

I took time this morning to sew up a two-inch portion of the split neck opening on my blouse.  I realized I'd be less self-conscious and tug less at my top if I took the time to do this.  This job didn't save money but it eliminated spending five hours tugging at and rearranging my blouse.

I made my first cold brew cup of iced coffee.  John surprised me with a package of cold brew sachets from the local coffee shop.   The lady told him you can re-use the sachets.  I'm resoaking this one to see how that goes, but the initial brew tastes good.  I can get two coffees off the 12-ounce brew if they are single-use.  This makes each cup of iced coffee cost about $1.69.  If John is correct that I can reuse these sachets a couple of times, the cost is anywhere from $1.12 to 89c per cup.  

I'm off to the kitchen to make a batch of Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.  I have ripe bananas on the counter.  John's feeling snack-ish, which means he didn't have enough lunch.  I need to figure out what supper shall be.  Never-ending cry: "What's for supper?"

Oh...On Friday when we bought groceries, I got orange juice cartons on sale.  The price was excellent, 3 for $10. When I picked up the carton, something was not quite right.  The carton was 52 ounces and not 64 ounces.  If 6 ounces is considered a serving we're now 2 servings shy...Shrinkage strikes again.

Supper: Broccoli, Chicken and Rice casserole, Citrus Salad, Whole Wheat Tortillas.   I added Green Enchilada sauce, a bit of salt, and garlic powder to the casserole.  That helped make it more flavorful.  I had planned to use the citrus later in the week but I'd been eyeing the grapefruit and one was looking bad.  I sectioned the citrus and mixed it with fresh onion slices. I could have served it over shredded lettuce but I just didn't.  The lettuce would have added a nice contrast to the meal.

Monday:  Those Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins are yummy!  John ate two just because they were there yesterday and we had them for breakfast this morning.  I don't know if I'll get any into the freezer this week.  They are a megahit.

Today, I cut and juiced limes that were old.  I knew I needed to use them so I made myself stop and do something with them.  The juice is in the freezer now, about 1/3 cup.  I couldn't zest them at all.  I told you they were old.

I used up two tomatoes while making my Cabbage Rolls today.  The tomatoes and limes were the last items from that big produce purchase I made at the discount grocery before Easter.  I chopped the tomatoes and added half to my filling for the cabbage leaves, then I tossed the other half into the pot with the tomato soup I used to cook the Cabbage Rolls.  I forgot to put in the leftover cornbread stuffing as I'd planned to do.  In fact, I didn't make them at all as I'd planned to.  I made my meat mixture with grated zucchini, oregano, garlic, tomato, and feta cheese.  I'll be serving with Dilled Green Beans and cooked rice.  I'm making extra rice for another supper later this week.

Today's lunch was simple: Leftover pizza.  I made a cucumber, feta, and tomato salad with red wine vinegar. Oh goodness, that was a good salad!  The cucumber had a nice crunch and the sharp cheese complimented the sweet tomatoes.  That could quickly become a favorite of mine this summer. 

Tuesday:  Slept late this morning.  My knees have ached like toothpicks (makes no sense but it's what the old folks always said...) all night long.  

I did as suggested and mixed the last half of that yogurt drink with homemade plain yogurt.  Wow.  That made the drink more palatable, far less sweet, and a good incentive to drink my rather grainy yogurt.

I found two lemons at the back of the fridge.  They were very soft, too soft to zest but I managed to get 1/3 cup of juice off those lemons and put a slice each in mine and John's water today.  I put the juice in the freezer.  

I found white cabinet paint in my stash and painted the guest bathroom cabinet and the mirror frame.  Both need to be replaced but in the meantime, this is a free fix and it looks much better.  I'll move some of the blue towels from our bathroom into that room to oomph up the color.

I was outdoors this morning blowing off the patio and front porch.  I wandered around the patio pots and found an onion here and another one there, so I transplanted them into the bed with the other onions I'd planted.  Fingers crossed...I also noted that the Amaryllis I'd potted last year after it had bloomed here indoors, has multiplied and has two baby bulbs shooting off it! This surprises me because I had no idea that Amaryllis would multiply.

Thinking I didn't have enough chicken breast patties to make the planned meal for this week, I decided to have them for lunch with fries.  I put those in the oven, sorted through the freezer some more, found soups from October, stacked the prepared entrees with the newest on the bottom and the older on top, inventoried the Chicken basket, and organized things.  I do not have old chicken in my basket...but I did find that other package of chicken patties.  I just popped them right into the oven and had them for our lunch.  We skipped having the bread to make sandwiches.  

Sorting through paint I found a small pot of sage green acrylic that I thought would be pretty on the picture frames.  It's okay but it is a flat paint and a gloss would look better.  I did find some black paint but have only half a quart.  That should do for the bed but would it stretch to cover the two frames, too?  I'll try painting the headboard first and then see if there's any left. 

I was going to hang the curtains I found in the shed. I held one up last night and they are quite wide and would work well.  This morning, I was unfolding them further to iron...and then realized that the backing had started to come off them in spots so that like the ones hanging they just wouldn't work.  I've thought of various fixes: getting plastic paint like puff paint to put over the holes on the back side of the curtain, buying and attaching black-out liners, or ordering new ones.  All options mean spending some money.  

Last night I came very near to making a purchase.  I have wasted more money than that amount in the past and I know it, but I decided to go back to my rule of waiting 24 hours and see.  Well 12 hours later, I'm glad I hit cancel on that purchase.  That same amount will be a nice sum to go towards curtains!

Wednesday:  Last night's supper: Saucy and Spicy Meatballs with Cheese Ravioli and a big salad.  What happened to the meal plan?  I was not inspired, tired, weary...I don't know.  And we're off the mark today as well.  Never mind we'll get right back on it. 

Today's meals: McSandwiches with Tater Tots, Hot Dogs and Chips, Beef Pot Pie with a Greek Salad (feta, tomato, cucumber).

Tomorrow we'll have the Mongolian Short Ribs, with Stir Fry Vegetables and Rice, and have Peaches (canned) as a sweet finish to the meal. 

Today we both worked outdoors.   John cut a huge limb off of what we call "Daddy Tree".  He cleaned up that mess.  I painted the headboard and picture frames from the guest room.   I admit I had misgivings when I went out to do the painting.  I've always been more of a spray paint sort of girl, but I had a can of latex enamel and a brush (USE WHAT YOU HAVE).   I looked at the headboard and told John, "If I hadn't vowed to spend no money on this project I'd just go get some spray paint."  I will lay odds that I'd have needed 2 or 3 cans of paint.  Of the 3/4 quart of paint I started with, I had half a quart of it left when I was done.  I'd put three coats on the headboard.  

After lunch I followed a link on one of the savings emails (Krazy Koupon or Hip 2 Save) for an air pump that was on clearance at Walmart.  I have two air mattresses and no pump.  I was just about to toss them both, but for $4 for an air pump, I'll hang on to the mattresses for future guests.    I decided to scroll through clearance and I'm so happy I did.  I ordered several items that were less than half price: a new comforter for my bed for this coming winter, new towels and a rug for the guest bath, popsicle molds (for less than $5...I've been looking at them for two or three years now and they were so pricey everywhere that I wouldn't buy them).  I was careful with what I added to my cart and came in under the budget I'd set for spending.

I know it's only Wednesday, but we've had a great work week thus far.

Thursday:  Nothing much got done here today.  We ate the Mongolian Beef and the rice as part of our lunch today with Katie and Caleb.  Katie ran into town and bought a box of frozen egg rolls and a bag of mini dumplings to round out the meal.  Good job on her part because when I looked at the meat, planning to trim off excess fat, I found it full of a thick gristle.  The meat was chewy, to say the least.  That was one meal plan that was just not going to work out 

I hung up the pictures and had John place the headboard in the guest room and I'm so pleased with how that all looks.  Now to find a good moisturizer for the old sewing machine.  A wood butter might be the best thing since it's so dried out.  I will find a pretty mirror to hang above the machine and that will make a nice spot for a sort of vanity table.  

I've taken pork chops from the freezer to have for supper.  I plan to roast potatoes with them and glad I did because though I've kept my eyes on that potato box lately, I found two more potatoes had gone bad.  Ugh.  Nothing smells worse.  

I went over the checkbook this morning and realized that all our spending had already been set aside for every purchase made in the past few days.  In my checkbook, that means I strike through the balance section, and then I write the balance left in that category next to the item purchased.  It's very satisfying to purchase something and NOT subtract it from the checking balance.  

How did your week go?  Did you save money in a way that you'd like to share?  Feel free to do so in the comments.  We'd all love to share in your triumphs.

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Karla said...

My week has been fine. I've preordered a book set I want to read at a really good price on Thriftbooks. It isn't releasing until June but I'm saving about $20 over buying it Walmart or Barnes & Noble. I thought that was a worthy purchase.

Our oldest daughter is having shoulder surgery tomorrow after dislocating it for the 6th time in as many years. I'm her nursemaid (ie, mommy, LOL) so I will spend tomorrow through Saturday with her. Thankfully she lives only about 15 minutes from us and I'll be spending the night with her since she has to have supervision for 24 hours. I'd appreciate prayers for her!

Your menu once again has inspired me. I'll have to make myself a batch of that cucumber, tomato and feta salad. That sounds right up my alley. Also you mentioned the sachets of coffee for cold brew. That reminded me it's about time for me to make my batch of concentrate so I need to get a bag of good coffee to use. I like it make it extra strong and in a 2 quarter jar so then I can dilute it with cream and ice. I haven't made any in a long while but I love how easy it is.

My biggest triumph in the budget area this week was finding cooling comforters for my bed for $9 each on Walmart. And they get really good reviews. I'm at the age and it's that time of year where I tend to be sweaty at night but still need an extra layer for the weight factor (I can't do the weighted blankets - they hurt my feet). Anyway I was so happy I found that and it came the other day and is such a good blanket. I'm already noticing an improvement in my sleep.

Karla said...

Terri I have been meaning to ask and keep forgetting - how do you do your buffalos chicken pizza as far as toppings and sauce? Thanks!

terricheney said...

Karla, I saw those cooling blankets and was curious. Great price on them, too.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza: I melt about 1 tbsps. butter and add a bit of garlic, then mix in the hot sauce of choice. I am using Franks at the moment, I think. I spread that on my bare pizza dough, then top the pizza with chopped celery, onion, and chicken, crumble over blue cheese, and top with mozzarella. I bake on a hot pizza stone for 18 minutes at 400F.

mikemax said...

Terri, thanks for asking us to contribute our savings for the week. I had a great one that might help others, but I didn't know whether I should mention it. I hope this helps someone.

Our second vehicle is a 2005 Nissan 4WD pickup. We bought it new and it has 130,000 miles on it. We don't drive it much but prefer to keep rather than sell. But we also don't want to spend much. In the past few weeks we had to replace a wheel and all 4 tires because the sidewalls were beginning the crack from age. On the way home from the wrecking yard where we bought the wheel, it threw a code! The last thing we needed was a repair bill!

This is actually the first repair we've ever needed for this 19-y-o vehicle other than maintenance. I took the truck to AutoZone so they could read the code. The most likely cause would cost $98 for the part, but a filter also might be necessary. That is a $90 dealer-only part.

I called a repair shop for a ballpark estimate. They did not want to quote prices on the phone and wanted $173 just to diagnose the problem! He also quoted dealer prices for the two parts and wouldn't give me any idea of labor costs. It quickly became evident that this repair would easily cost $800 and possibly up. Then I called the Nissan dealer. They were equally hesitant to quote prices but it appeared it would be upwards of $800. I got the idea it might be closer to $1,000, but I didn't really know that.

I called a friend who used to live here and he gave me the name of a mobile repair service--the guys who come to your house and fix it. This friend is also in the auto parts business and had used this mobile service himself. So, I called the company he recommended and they said it would cost $400 or less. They came the next day and fixed it and the final bill was $230.53! It only cost $65 for the part and took him less than an hour to replace it. We did not need the $90 filter at all. There was a charge of $67.50 for the service call, diagnosing the problem and their time buying the part.

Using a mobile repair could be a huge saving if you are past the warranty and don't need to take the vehicle to the dealer. An even bigger saving if you would have to pay to tow the vehicle to the shop.

Sorry to have written so much but I wanted you to know how it works. BTW, the mobile repair and my friend said that AutoZone's computer reader is "the best in the business" and can be trusted. Friend works for an AutoZone competitor.

One more automotive thing...Wal-Mart auto centers always have an oil change special for around $25. This includes Quaker State oil and a filter. Also, they will replace your wiper blades for cheap if they are changing the oil. They install rubber refills, not all new wiper arms, and it's a lot cheaper than buying wipers at the auto parts store and having them put them on.

OK, I'm done now! Good post, Terri, and I'm looking forward to more comments.
--Maxine, aka mikemax

Casey said...

Hi Terri,

We love that cucumber, tomato, feta salad as well! I do use some olive oil along with the vinegar and some dried oregano and parsley. I made it this week, too! I had fresh cilantro, so I used that instead of parsley. If I have it, I’ll sometimes add a bit of chopped red onion and/or diced avocado.

We continue to eat down the freezer. I really needed to make some room! But, it’s a challenge. Today, I took out a container of chicken broth and chicken to make tortilla soup. I put the same size container back in full of soup for a future meal. Of course, we also had it tonight and have enough for another meal.

I made a batch of foaming soap for my bathroom. I just use an inexpensive body wash. Squirt a couple of tablespoons into the container, add hot water, and shake. It works just fine.

I called and got the information on cutting our cable and finally getting rid of the landline. The provider has finally unhooked everything and we can do it without increasing our costs. Go figure! I will finalize everything next week.

I loved your coffee chat!

Karla said...

Thank you for the buffalo pizza instructions! I'll definitely make this on our next pizza night later this week.

Susie said...

Sometimes I think I've missed something in a former post but don't see a thing about Lily Lily a granddaughter?

terricheney said...

Susie, I did mention Lily was coming to visit sometime back but I haven't said lots in case plans changed. As time gets nearer we are hearing from her more often and at this point, she plans to stay with us. She is my second grandchild and I haven't seen her since she was 11 months old...So I'm more than a little anxious to see her and more than a little cautious lest there be disappointment and she can't come. She turns 18 this week and is in her junior year of high school.

terricheney said...

Max, I think that is awesome! So glad you came here to share.

Casey, I need to do that with the foaming cleaner. The kids LOVE the stuff and use it generously. So I haven't bought more (the bottle I had was given to me). However, they WILL wash if they have the foaming soap so there's the bonus. You have a great idea for saving on that cost.

I haven't looked back since we cut out our cable bill (landline went ages ago) once we no longer needed dial-up internet.I think you'll appreciate that you can find watchable things on a Smart TV with internet hook-up. We don't even subscribe to any commercial channels, strictly watch Amazon Prime, You Tube, etc.