Friday, March 4, 2011

Frugal Friday - Living Well

Frugal Friday

March...It was hot earlier this week, hot enough to warrant running the AC for a few hours in late afternoon/early evening.  Then this morning I arise and hear the heater running.  And coming on periodically all morning long.  "Seriously?" I asked it and stepped outdoors to find it was indeed chilly and drizzly with rain.  Even the clouds couldn't tone down the color of the Forsythia, which shone like liquid sunshine.  Ah Spring!

Saturday:  Not at all surprised when Chance commented he'd like a steak dinner after service.  I knew we were on our way to the grocery store.  We shopped local, which has lovely meats and we found a nice pair of steaks on sale.  Chance wanted those potatoes wrapped in plastic and usually I say no very quickly, but this day I found the wrapped potatoes were less for two than the HUGE loose potatoes (one potato weighed 3 pounds!).    It always pays to really check around before automatically assuming you're buying the least expensive simply because there's no packaging or extra handling.

I didn't pay for this meal from the grocery budget.  It came out of my allowance and was my treat to my husband who'd been treating me rather nicely.

Sunday:  Chance worked an extra shift.  Nice to have the added time.  It's been a great help to our budget.  For some reason, the first five months of the year are the hardest to make our way through and the added time has made a big difference. Kudos to my husband for being willing to give up his Sundays off to do this extra work.

I spent my morning cleaning the house very well.  Then off to see Granny.  After spending a little time with her, I picked up the Sunday paper.  That first paper of each month has the Proctor and Gamble coupon insert and many of the stores put  P&G products on sale at this time.   Some of those items end up being very low priced or even Free.  It is well worth my time to buy a paper with these coupons.

$3 bought a lunch box of chicken livers and potato logs.  I didn't mind the expense because it meant I didn't have to cook a late lunch.  Instead, after eating  my dinner, I settled down with the paper, a stack of magazines and my book...Luxury and leisure!

I'd opened windows while doing housework, shut them while out, but came back home to throw them open again.  That moving air kept the house at a nice temperature until late in the afternoon.

I began putting together that shelving for the auxiliary pantry in the craft room closet.  I'm not quite finished but there's enough room to begin storing a few extras in there now.

I hung pillows out to air while I did housework. 

I combined towels and sheets to make a full load of wash.  I'd meant to hang out towels and sheets as well, but someone began to burn trash and  I had to bring the pillows indoors and shut the windows.  Plan B: Divide the load of clothes into heavier and lighter items. Dried towels first, then put the sheets into the warm dryer.  That warm dryer made all the difference in the world in length of drying time.  I removed the sheets after half an hour.

Front porch light finally blew...Chance replaced bulb with one of the CFL bulbs to help cut kilowatt hours.
Monday:  I was doing housework when Mama called and offered to bring out dinner for us all to eat together.  I'd been wracking my brain about what to do with the ground beef I'd taken from the freezer and hadn't a clue what I would make.  I offered to provide dessert and coffee to go with our meal.

Mama brought along a package of pastrami and a portion of a corned beef she'd cooked.  I was happy to accept these extras from her kitchen for the work week lunch box.

Spent the afternoon crafting.  The inspiration was an old Victorian Trading Company calendar picture.  I spent hours in the craft room playing that afternoon.

Tuesday:  A big breakfast for my husband.  Biscuits from scratch, sausage gravy and grits.  Gracious but it was all so good and gracious but it was inexpensive to make!  I used up some of the failed yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk in the biscuits.

Chance asked that I be sure to save a certain amount of money each month.  It seemed easiest to make it an auto transfer to our savings this month.  

While I was dabbling in flour, I decided to mix up a batch of pizza dough for a veggie pizza for our dinner.

Produce from the fridge provided the toppings for our pizza: baby bella mushrooms, dried tomatoes, a variety of colored peppers, red onion were used up.

Leftover biscuits were toasted with cheese or butter and served for a light supper.

We've been extra vigilant about cutting off lights, tv, making sure AC/heater is set at a money saving temperature all week long.  I expect to keep this up for the beginning of the work week as well.

Wednesday:  A day out with Mama.  We went to Target where I kept in mind my grocery list as well as my household list.  Dog food, milk, bread were no more expensive at Target than at grocery.

Breakfast area chairs...bought metal chairs from the outdoor/garden section for $36 each.  I will need cushions to make them extra comfy but they are the perfect size with my table.  Let's see...So far that breakfast area has cost less than $100 including drapes ($12), table (FREE), chairs ($72), and glass tabletop ($10).

Bought soap savers (a plastic item that goes under a bar of soap and keeps it lifted up so that water doesn't puddle under and cause it to turn to goo) for $1 each.  I bought one for each sink and shower. 

Mama treated us to lunch.  I treated us to dessert and provided the tip.

Washed a blanket and allowed to partially air dry while I was gone.  Finding it still a bit damp when I arrived home late that afternoon, I put it in the dryer for 25 minutes to finish it off.

The temperatures cooled just a bit.  Thankfully the day was smoke free as well (lots of controlled burning going on at present in our area) so I opened windows and let the breezes blow through the house and keep it cool during the peak hours of afternoon warmth.

Thursday:  I spent this day doing very little...I'll explain more in a bit but it was certainly a day that proved it is always best to attend to the household.  I was guest ready in under ten minutes!

Chance came home and washed a full load of clothes. I just needed his uniform to make it a full load.

TV off for over 16 hours...That's some kind of record in our home!

Friday:  Made up for yesterday's lack of housework.   Then I planned the errands list.

Before leaving home, I turned down the thermostat to night time temperatures.  No need to heat an empty house.

I took off garbage while going out today.  Next stop banking, then grocery shopping.  No, it wasn't Big Shop day but I did my next pay period shopping today.  Why?  Two very good reasons: I was out of peanut butter.  Kroger had peanut butter on sale for $1.25.  If previous sales patterns hold, I won't see this price on peanut butter again (or at least a lower price that is near this) until the next school year begins.  I couldn't afford to pass the sale up!  Reason #2:  Gas prices have risen and I have made plans to spend a day with Alan next week...Cutting out the shopping day next week will offset the gasoline costs for my day with him.

Made another $20 deposit to the vacation fund.  All I do is save my $1 bills until I have twenty and then I make a deposit to our fund.

Took advantage of 10/$10 snacks and clearance powdered drink mixes for  'Miss You' box fillers to Kay's husband. 

I skipped deli purchases and opted instead for a kid's menu burger/fries/small soda as my late lunch.  $3 seemed a reasonable price and far better than any item I saw in the deli.

Instead of a purchase of cut flowers I opted for another lovely African violet for $5.

Made sure to get a rain check for the items that were out of stock. 

Came home and put away groceries.  I began stocking the auxiliary pantry with some of the items I bought today.  I think I'm going to like this little system.  It was easy to see what I had and to keep it in some semblance of order.  I'll gradually move items from the under counter pantry/area back there to give myself a little extra room.

On my way home this afternoon, used the driving time to plan out that cleaning cupboard I've always wanted.

Added $1 to my next vacation fund deposit.

Chance called and mentioned a surplus office goods sale at the hospital he works out of.  I'd just been pricing bulletin boards Wednesday at Target and asked him to check to see if they had one available.  Bless the man! He brought one home tonight. He bought one for $2 complete with pushpins, lol.  It's the exact size I looked at earlier this week (their price $19.95). 

Am waiting until Chance has his evening coffee before I start a load of dishes.  There's just enough room for our coffee cups.

(one of my latest art projects)

Living Well

I am a woman of plans.  I go to bed with a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do the next day, which tasks I most want to accomplish.  I wake up with a purpose to my day.  But yesterday I didn't.  I was tired and after a minor incident that involved forgetfulness on my part, I realized just how very tired I was.  I did something unusual and went back to bed, even though I'd been up two hours and normally would have pushed ahead, but not yesterday.  I crawled right back into bed and pulled up an extra blanket for added warmth and despite the brightness of the light through the curtains, I went to sleep.  I thought I might get an extra hour of sleep, but FOUR HOURS later I awoke only due to a call of nature, not because I by any means felt ready to arise.

It was 11am...I showered, made a fresh pot of coffee and decided that I'd start my day from that point.  I wasn't going to reclaim the time I'd spent sleeping, but the day could still be profitable, right?

God apparently had plans for my day.  I had just poured a second cup of coffee when I received a phone call from a young woman I'd met only briefly.  She is Kay's sister-in-law and is a war bride as well.  This young woman asked if she could come by and spend time with me and of course, I said for her to come right ahead.  I rushed about and did a quick pick up of the house and was putting the last of the dishes in the dishwasher when she came up the driveway. 

I spent all day long with V and a good portion of the evening as well, and I enjoyed her company very much.  There wasn't a moment of the day that lacked for conversation.  Can I just say one more time how much I admire the younger generation?  It seems that just when television has shown one obnoxious teen and irresponsible young adult after another, I have the opportunity to encounter one of the current younger generation.  Whether it's a young man who is dressed in the current fad of pants down to the back of his knees who holds a door for me to walk through and says "Ma'am" to me when I address him or this young wife who talked about her plans and dreams, who is crocheting dish cloths for her future home, I am just amazed at the lovely young people in this world. 

When V left last night she suggested she'd like to stop by again one morning after she got off from work.  I was pleased as punch and told her I'd make coffee.  She said she'd bring her knitting.  Now doesn't that just sound lovely?


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

It is so lovely to catch up on your life dear Terri. I've been so busy with my projects lately that my computer time has been curtailed dramatically. (Not such a bad thing as I tend to over due in that area. ;) I'm off to read more!
P.S. I absolutely agree about the amazing generation judging from my own experience.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

P.S. Your "Victoria Trading Post" re~creative craft is so pretty Terri!

Deanna said...

As the mom of two 20-somethings, I totally agree. Our house has often been full of these folks and I find them to be wonderful, indeed.

I love your idea of saving your $1 bills in batches of 20.