Sunday, March 27, 2011

Frugal Friday

Frugal Friday

Saturday:  Friday for supper I made pancakes.  I use mix bought on sale because I need to add only water.  Instead of adding water this time I used the whey that developed in my homemade yogurt.  I think those were the best pancakes I've made and they had a protein boost from the whey.

I didn't make my dinner for Oneg after service yesterday.  Chance offered me money to buy something at the grocery deli, but  I was up early anyway and went right to work making my food.  An old favorite recipe for Corn Moussaka called for ingredients I had on hand: ground beef, cinnamon, garlic, canned corn, cottage cheese, eggs, mozzarella.  To keep the casserole hot, I baked it just a half hour prior to leaving home.  I took it from the oven, covered it, wrapped in a thick towel, then put into an insulated bag that I use to bring home cold groceries.  This worked very well.  When I removed the casserole from the bag and unwrapped it three and a half hours later it was still plenty hot, didn't need to be warmed at all.

A red cabbage slaw went well with the casserole.  I had toasted pistachios on hand, carrots, red cabbage.  I made a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, paprika, cumin, garlic, fennel seed, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.
I had just enough casserole left over for one serving.  I made that my supper entree for the evening.
I had nothing to make sandwiches for Chance...but then remembered I had sliced roast beef in the freezer that I'd bagged up for sandwiches.  All I had to do was thaw a packet to use in sandwiches.
Sunday:  Flipped my mattress to the position for the Spring quarter.  I'd read that it wasn't necessary to flip mattresses any longer since they contained inner springs but I find the mattress does wear unevenly if left in one position.  I went back to the old advice of flipping and turning the mattress and find we sleep far better.  To help me I've used permanent marker to write the months when seasons change on either end.

I was putting away a blanket in storage and found an old top sheet.  The fitted bottom sheet ripped badly and wasn't worth repairing but the top sheet was perfectly good so I saved it.  It happens to be just the right color to go with that quilt I wanted to revamp, so I'll use a portion of the material to work on that project.

Digging about in the fridge to find an item, I found another dish in which I'd stored leftover wild rice and deli roasted chicken when Alan was here the other night.  I added half a can of cream of chicken soup, 1/2 cup of water and milk and made a chicken and wild rice soup for my dinner.  It was exactly what I wanted as I hadn't been feeling well and wasn't up to a heavy meal.
Washed a full load of clothes by combining sheets with a handful of other items.  My detergent bottle was 'empty'...I found that by swishing a bit of water inside I was able to use the last bit of detergent in the bottle.

Monday:  A small bit of spring cleaning: I took down the curtains from the bathroom mirrors (it helps cut down on noise in that large room to have softening drapes at the big mirrors over the garden tub) and washed them.  A second load of clothes was made up of towels and rugs.   Pollen is so heavy that it's impossible to dry things outdoors so I used the dyer, loading the second load of laundry right into the hot dryer after the curtains came out (they took only half an hour to dry).  I think for two loads the dryer ran about 1hour and 15 minutes.
I used online ads to pull sales items for my shopping list.  I did not purchase a Sunday paper this past week, so saved that cost. 

Where am I getting coupons without purchasing the Sunday paper?  Magazines, Mama saves coupon inserts for me, and I receive a few from mailers that come to the house.  I also pick up coupons in the stores and I use coupons within sales ads (such as Walgreen's or Publix) which may be used with a manufacturer's coupon to stack savings.

We had hoped to hear good news this day and were shocked to discover that the report was different than we'd been told.  Immediate thoughts were to panic a little but then we let calmness take hold once more.  Our situation is the same as it was the day before.  Not better and not worse.  This helped us to gain perspective that might have had us being too stringent with our money, which is a danger though it may sound unlikely.  Being too stringent in savings and denying small routine pleasures can make sticking to a budget pure drudgery and just like a diet it might mean bingeing in ways that are more harmful to the overall savings plan.  I'm glad to stopped and let sound reasoning take hold once more.
Spent a small portion of this day assembling outfits from my closet into new fresh looks.  I didn't complete the task but I did find a few  fresh takes on what I had on hand.  I'll be working on that task more as the week goes on.

Harvest night:  Last pay period we discovered that we could hold one of our bills, pay an extra half payment and reduce our debt a little more.  We checked the calendar to be doubly sure we'd be able to pull this off and indeed we had three pay periods before the next bill was due.  Then we double checked the due by date...which fell a good ten days prior to the time a late fee would be incurred and gave us that extra leeway of time.  It felt good to write out that extra amount and add to our usual payment this pay period.

Electric bill arrived this afternoon.  I was happy to see the bill had dropped $50.  We hit that lovely in-between time when we didn't need heat for more than an hour in the morning and weren't yet needing air conditioning.  Of course we have been very diligent as well about not running lights, water or other energy eaters except when necessary.

Realized that though I'd budgeted for one more propane fill-up we're not going to require it.  This allowed us another bit of savings in our month.

Tuesday:  Shopping/Errands day.  Although I'm doing a pantry/freezer challenge again this week, I had a full shopping list.  Why so much if I've challenged myself?  There were good sales on items that I felt compelled to stock up on for our pantry: toilet paper, peanut butter, canned tuna, juice etc are all good for long term storage.  I spent about my usual grocery amount but only milk, produce and bread were added to the fridge.  In fact, the milk will not be used until next week, the sell by date is April 4.  It was, however, on sale this week and a good enough buy to warrant the purchase.

Temptation hit me at the magazine aisle when I found a historical quarterly magazine about my state...I put it back though.  $6 spent on a magazine I've never even tested to see if I'd want it, or $6 to put towards say a new vintage magazine?  Well for me the contest wasn't a hard one at all.  By all means $6 towards a new to me vintage magazine.

Strawberries continue to be extremely well priced, 3/$5 in our area and that is for Florida berries.  I bought 3 more quarts.  We'll eat a few fresh but most are destined for the jam pot.

Bought a 3# sirloin tip roast and cut into three sections when I got it home.  I then cut each section into cubes.  I'll use as shish kebab meat in the warmer Spring months.

No cash for my allowance this week.  I opted to write out a check for my recent bookclub purchases instead.  While I have a wee bit of cash on hand it is truly not mine to spend, but to have for emergency needs.  I'm very serious about how much allowance I am allowed and stick hard to my own rules in this area.

Wednesday:  Wow.  It's impossible to believe how much a little yard work can do to improve the looks of the yard overall!  Maddie had lots of things that she's claimed as her own for the past few months, there were broken branches and a few stubborn weed stalks here and there.  I spent about an hour outdoors and the yard truly was much improved by that hour's worth of work.

Talked to Chance about my deep desire to make my yard pretty and bemoaned my lack of ability to do it all myself.  He reminded me that Alan has the whole summer semester off from college this year and suggested I talk to him about giving me a day of work each week in exchange for a little cash...What a great idea!  Help I can afford, know well will do a good job and whose company I shall enjoy.

Rabbi came to dinner and brought the meal with him.  Bless him he'd had so many leftovers from the BBQ chicken he purchased from KFC for synagogue that he'd taken it home and vac packed for us and other members and froze them.  He brought the packages set aside for us, buns and chips to dinner.  I provided drinks. 
I put leftover chicken in to the fridge for sandwiches.

I did light housework only after my stint in the yard.  The day truly was more leisure and less work which suited my husband just fine since he needed the rest.  Supper was an easy omelet.  I'd meant to make it a Western Omelet but found a few items in the fridge that I thought were better to use up right away.  Lovely thing about omelets:  They'll take just about any filling you want to put into them.

Thursday:   Chance treated me to breakfast this morning.  Lovely breakfast of pancakes and sausage with warm maple syrup.  I love to eat out for breakfast.  The restaurants are less crowded on weekday mornings, the prices are usually more reasonable than for lunch menus and I seldom get a break from cooking breakfast unlike dinner or supper when family and friends are more likely to invite me out. 

Knowing we'd be on the road for a good while this morning, I packed bottles of water and granola bars.  Good thing, too, as the morning wound right into afternoon.

Chance and I have a secret shopping source...the pawn shop.  You'd be surprised what you can find in a good pawn shop.  Jewelry, music equipment, movies, televisions, guns, power tools, bedding sets and more.  Not all the items in a pawn shop are used.  Many pawn shops also buy out stores that are going out of business.   Yesterday's purchase was a new item at a price that seemed good.  We researched it online and we discovered we'd  $100 over the cost of the same item from a popular supplier. We bought two items and were given a 10% discount over the shop's price as well.   You just can't beat the Pawn Shop for bargains!

Late home and Chance wanted a meal right away.   I made up chicken salad from canned chicken meat and prepared salad plates using what we had on hand.  It was so refreshing and nice after the warm Spring day outdoors.  I mixed walnuts and craisins and mayo and lemon juice with the chicken for the salad and served on lettuce lined plates with apple wedges and crackers on the sides. 

That leftover BBQ chicken came in handy last night when Alan stopped by.  He waited until Chance was home from practice and the two of them ate a late supper together.  He also agreed to be my landscape help for the summer semester.  We discussed money and were both satisfied with our agreement.   It helps to have a son willing to accept a meal as part of his wages, lol.

Alan was complaining of stiff back muscles.  I shared with him a hint the doctor had given Chance about his occasional backaches: use Midol.  There is a muscle relaxant in this medication used for PMS or menstrual cycles that is especially good at loosening sore muscles.  And just because it's marketed for women doesn't mean a man can't use it.  I offered him one of my pills to take. 
Friday: Used what I had on hand to make a nice dinner: Thyme (bought fresh herbs on sale last pay period) and lemon chicken breasts, Zucchini au gratin (fresh produce bought this pay period) and Strawberry Cobbler (using some of the fresh berries).  I made only enough cobbler for two servings.

That cobbler was so delicious.  Hot cooked strawberries are not typically the way we eat these sweet berries but baking into a cobbler (or muffins) really brings out the flavor.  To further enhance flavor I used a little almond extract in my cobbler batter.  Gracious but that was a good cobbler!

Topped and froze the rest of the berries.

Bought two bags of lemons this week at the local store where they were on sale.  I will juice them and freeze the juice in ice cube trays.  I can then remove as much as I need for recipes or lemonade.


lislyn66 said...

I love to read about your week. Gives me that extra incentive I need to re-purpose everything!

Manuela@TPOH said...

What a great tip about Midol! I'd totally forgotten that medication even existed. I just told my husband we have to buy some - for him and me!

The weather is a bit crazed isn't it? One day I have the AC on and the next the heat. The storms have wakened us at hours I don't want to be awake:)

Always fun to read about your week.