Friday, January 28, 2011

Frugal Friday - Living Well

Another week gone by and January at a very close end.  It's been a wonderful start to the New Year for us.  If the rest of the year goes as this month has we shall be assured of 'something different' all through the year, lol.  Good thing I wanted to be more adventurous and spontaneous this year.  It just suits what this month has been.

Let's start back at Saturday and see where I've made savings and misses this week...

Saturday:  Breakfast was a microwave meal of waffles and sausages.  I find that even the smallest of the pancake/waffle recipes makes far too much for us two to eat in one sitting though we are hearty breakfast folks.  So I put extra waffles on paper plates along with a serving of cooked sausage and then slip the whole plate into a gallon zippered bag and freeze.  It takes only moments to thaw and heat in the microwave and is a good way to make quick breakfasts for Chance on his workdays.  Convenient for me, too on those mornings when a good breakfast is a necessity but the busyness of the day prevents making a substantial meal.

After synagogue I planned to go to Hobby Lobby to look over arts and crafts supplies.  I've had a real longing to pursue another creative outlet and thought I might gather a few supplies, which have been very depleted of late in my home.  I set a limit and bought only those items I knew I'd use for right now.  I also noticed lots of new items and noted prices and frugal minded soul that I am determined what I might use that I already have rather than buy new...It was a successful trip I think. I stayed within budget and felt qualms about only one item.

While out I bought dog food and coffee.  You know how I love to combine trips with errands so that I won't waste gasoline needlessly.

Came home to find the electric bill had arrived.  As I looked it over I noticed it was considerably higher than last month's bill though not alarmingly so.  Reading the bill more carefully I noted three things: it was for a longer billing period (34 days instead of the more usual 29-31 days), the meter reading was guessed at rather than actually read and the cost per day was a nice round figure that I can easily attempt to bring down in the next month.

It was quite cold this past weekend, but I kept the heat turned down to 60F while away from home.

Sunday:   Combined a visit with Granny to pick up a Sunday paper...Even though I didn't get the capitol's paper as I wanted, I did get the usual paper.  There weren't many coupons, but enough to offset the cost of the paper.

Mama asked me to lunch.  We were each looking over the menu and mentioned what we wanted to one another.  I remembered seeing a note on one of the menu pages that both those items were available as a special, Two for $20 and included an appetizer and drinks.  Well that was a much better deal than each of us ordering an entree and drink. 

With an appetizer my meal of Chipotle Chicken fingers was just too much to eat at one sitting.  I asked for a takeout box and brought home a good portion of the plate. Back home, I divided that portion into two, and made a chicken salad for my supper and another for Chance's lunch.  Keeping score?  That's just  $3.33 per serving  for my $10 lunch.

The afternoon was very warm...I came home and opened the windows for a couple of hours to let the house air.  When it began to cool, I shut the windows but made certain the shades and curtains were open on the west side of the house to let the sun warm the rooms.

Found a sweater I'd planned to wear needed mending.  I started a mending pile with one or two other items that also need a little help.

Looked over the items bought the day before.  One item just wasn't me...and I knew just when I'd failed in my resolved and why I purchased it.  I put it in my purse along with the receipt for return later.

Monday:  Chance needed my car...and I seriously contemplated what life would be like with just one vehicle.  It bothers him that I am so far from town and alone without a car, but you know I remember well that Granny and Grandaddy managed with just one car (and a very rattletrap sort of truck they used for farm work).  We don't have anyone for Chance to commute with, but with his every other week schedule if it were necessary we could make do with just one car.

Alan came down and repaired Chance's car.  Cost to us: $45 and one meal for a hungry young man.

When Alan asked if I'd make him something to eat, I felt momentary panic...I hadn't shopped in a month and was scraping barrel for ready to eat things.  I had eaten leftovers for my lunch and packed up the last of the sandwich stuff into Chance's work lunch.  Then I remembered a container in the freezer that contained roast beef/gravy and potatoes.  Hash!  Alan's favorite meal and all I had to do was to thaw and heat over low heat while he worked on the car. 

Sorted coupons, matched to sales in grocery ads, organized them and made up a neater, more easily read main shopping list.

Took time throughout the day to go directly to that shopping list and add items I'd forgotten we needed as the thought occurred to me, rather than rely on my faulty memory.

Realizing that my list was a lot longer than my budget, I went back over it and noted what items might wait, what items I really should be certain to get.

I didn't have enough decaf coffee to make a pot.  I decided a 50/50 pot of coffee was a good way to extend what we had on hand, so I used half regular, half decaffeinated coffee.

Tuesday:  My first Big Shop in a month.  I had no less than 8 planned stops to make.  One stop was to make a return to Hobby Lobby.  Three stops were not grocery stores but they had certain food items on sale that considerably boosted my spending power.  I spent a sizable chunk of money this day BUT my car in gathering coupons and seeking out sales meant I bought half again as much as I'd spent.

Watching the register helped me catch a ridiculously high price on an item that shouldn't have cost even 1/3 what the grocery was charging.  Now I know why there was no price on the item in the produce department!  I asked the clerk to remove the item and bought it at another grocery for a price better suited to my budget and the value.

I spent about $6 on myself in this long drawn out shopping day (miserable too as it was cold and rainy).  I stopped and got a hot lunch at a fast food place ($3) and at the end of the shopping treated myself to a medium Cinnamon Latte ($3).  I credit both with giving me the stamina to do my job well.

Wednesday:  Lowered the heat and put on a third light layer of clothing. 

Following medical experts advice I've added calcium to my daily vitamin regimen.  The calcium will help my body better absorb the vitamin D I've been taking.

Re-purposed a sour cream container and a pint sized glass jar for storage.

Checked the refrigerator for items I needed to use before week was out and put them on a shelf together.

Printed out the list of food/household items with shelf life dates for my Home-keeping notebook.  I need to know this information as should any homemaker.

Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.  Sometimes this means waiting for a cup or glass or one more plate.  I wait until the dishwasher is fully loaded before I run a load.

I've been watching a good bit of "Living With Ed" on PlanetGreen.  Again and again they report that it's more efficient and less wasteful of water to use a dishwasher.  I'm trying to do less hand washing.

On the other hand, I hand washed bras and hung to dry.  Friend Rhonda says it is recommended that a bra not be worn two days in a row.  This preserves elasticity of the fibers.

For one reason and another our dinner was a "Miss".  Substitutions were necessary for a main ingredient and overall the recipe just wasn't that good.  It was decided that it was best to feed the leftovers to the dogs and skip their usual dry food feeding. 

Thursday:  Combined errands while we were out.

We set aside a little money each pay period for tags and taxes.  We picked up tags this day for our cars and had a little money leftover in that fund.  That will be a nice start for our property taxes at the end of the year.

We were away from home most of the day.  I carried along a snack, water, and sodas.

Friday:  A much milder morning meant little use of the heaters to warm the house.  About an hour was all that was necessary.  Opening the curtains on the sunny side of the house helped.

Chance's car had yet another problem so into town we went for another hose.  We were in luck.  A piece of hose had just been cut for another customer and the section left was just what we needed.  Cost: $1  This repair was fairly easy and we were very proud that it cost so little.

While out I suggested we stop to buy pet foods and any items Chance might want for weekend meals.  He went in and picked up the pet food, so no temptation to pick up more.  He also decided what we had at home would suit us very well for meals.

Discussed baking for weekend.  We opted for a half recipe of a favored cookie which suits our needs perfectly.

Made my own special BBQ sauce for chicken wings for our lunch.

Have a bucket of compost food scraps and a small trash can of shredded paper to add to compost pile.

Used a full sized sheet to dress the table this evening.  Tying the corners makes it look neat and fitted.

Living Well

It's been a lovely week. I've taken time to admire the sunrise and sunsets, watched robins bathing in the puddle in the middle of the driveway, watched Maddie at play, spent time doing things just for fun and enjoyed a beautiful Sunday ride.  I've taken time away from my 'must do' schedule to accompany my husband and slept a full 8 hours more nights than not.  I've taken a much needed nap and treated myself to a hot cup of cocoa on an especially cold night and a hot cup of coffee when I was out shopping in the cold and wet.

I've learned to use a new feature of Power Point that I hope will enhance our song service, found a new recipe for yogurt I mean to try, attempted a new recipe (failed but I'll try again), and combined a few pieces of clothing into a new outfit, simply by mixing and matching.

The week has seemed to fly past and there are many things I didn't do...But the things I DID do I thoroughly enjoyed.  That is the way I want to live my life, one moment at the time, fully enjoying every bit that I can.


debbie said...

i have embroidery supplies also ill look while im cleaning out my sewing room

Manuela@TPOH said...

Always fun to read your weekly recap! I'm back to baking once or twice a week. I found that keeping my Kitchen Aid out makes the job so much easier. I had it in a place where it was difficult for me to get down as it's so heavy. Now I just leave it on my kitchen cart I got at Goodwill last year and I'm much more inspired to use it!