This might well be called Frustrated Friday at the moment, but only for the moment. I'd worked three hours typing away at Frugal Friday and just as I got ready to start the Living Well section, I put down my laptop to do something for Chance. My finger brushed one of the keys, the keypad locked up and when I unlocked the keypad the whole post disappeared.
One of the things I've loved about blogger is that posts save automatically...And so mine did...Right after the page went blank.
Foiled by technology yet again!
I'd written the post in my current favorite format, breaking down savings day by day, but as I stood at the kitchen sink this evening, I decided to write this repeat post more as a conversational piece. Why? Because as I've said before, being frugal isn't about the huge savings very often. It is more common to build savings by repetition. I love sharing various things I did in a day that netted me a larger savings, but the truth is I save more by being consistent in those areas where I save a penny or two or three each time I repeat actions. Like turning off lights in rooms we're not using, washing a full load of clothes or dishes, hanging clothes to dry, washing and reusing zippered baggies, mending clothing to extend the life of it, measuring portions for the pets instead of eyeballing the amount of food I put out...And it goes on and on and on.
So how did I save this week, in the bigger ways? And how did I save in smaller ways? Let me share what I can remember of the week...
I've been saving $1bills for vacation for weeks now. This last pay period I deposited a $20bill from my personal cash for deposit and replaced it with $20 ones. Dealers prefer small bills as payment at yard sales and Peaches to Beaches dealers are the same. I promised myself I'd steer clear of pretty china that I'd not use but just 'own', and would look for useful items I could really enjoy handling daily. In my home that category includes books of course, but not just any book. It has to be a book about a current interest or study area, or by a well loved author.
I followed my own rules. I bought three items, all useful to me.
Chance worked an extra shift on Sunday. This extra work has meant we have been able to put money in savings, pay a little extra on our car, and worry a bit less about how to squeeze ever increasing prices into the same old budget. I do not count overtime as permanent wages...I count it as a windfall. It's important to not take it for granted but to put it to use while we have it, with the viewpoint that we might not have it the next pay period.
Kay and I had dinner with our friend Mrs. Harris. We went in separate cars, as Kay headed back home following the meal. I went by the grocery to pick up dog food, milk, eggs, and a Sunday paper. The Sunday paper was bundled as two papers, billed as 'Double the coupons'. Why pay for two papers if the coupons are mediocre? I checked first and indeed found the two flyers barely contained enough coupons to pay for one paper. I separated the bundle with manager's permission and bought one paper.
I realized as I stood in line at the grocery that I was thirsty. There was a drink case within reach but why pay $1.49 for a drink when I had bottle of water in the car. Yes, it was a little warm, but it was just as wet as the cold water, was bound to relieve my thirst just as well.
Monday and Tuesday Chance and I didn't leave the house at all. With gas prices spiraling upwards that was most definitely a good thing.
I was taking meat from the freezer to thaw for dinner and the next day, I inventoried the freezer contents. I was surprised by how much meat I had once I'd reorganized it all into the proper places. Organization also netted me extra room in the freezer.
We had unexpected lunch about dinnertime. And I'd been so busy doing different chores that I'd failed to note the time (ooooh that time change! it's totally thrown me off this week) or the fact that my meat was nowhere near thawed. I didn't panic. I have a pantry and in my pantry I had tuna. Well tuna fish salad on a warm Spring day sounded good to me. My guest needn't know it was a Plan B menu, right?
I was out of pickle relish. I might have chopped pickles to use, but I decided to see what I had in the fridge that would be good: hard boiled egg, apple, celery and a tiny bit of onion. We love apple in our tuna salad, it makes the tuna taste milder. Three cans of tuna (5 ounces each), well drained netted us six large whole grain bread sandwiches. I served with Sun Chips and cupcakes to round out the meal.
Mama stopped by just before our company left with a deli rotisserie chicken, 1 dozen Danish and two large bottles of OTC pain relievers she'd bought at Sam's Club while out with my sister in law. I thanked for the all the items. The Danish went into the freezer so we could avoid temptation. I put the whole chicken I'd gotten out to thaw for dinner (which was still solidly frozen), right back in the freezer. When Mama said she'd be out the next day for Chance to work on her taxes, I invited her to stay to dinner, with the chicken she'd brought us as the entree.
I spent the afternoon going over my budget sheets, household and monthly goal lists. I haven't done very well so far this month where my goals are concerned. Or my grocery budget either. It seems I am always just that little bit over. I contemplated changing my budgeted amount to a slightly higher amount but decided to think it over carefully before giving in. I so hate to lose in a budget fight...
I'm glad I didn't give in. I realized later in the week that the Big Shop is really to blame. Too often I miss really good sales in the between pay period weeks because I have nothing left to shop with. As well, during the Big Shop if we're out of something I must buy it at the current price, no matter how good a price a sale might bring. I looked back at past budget sheets and saw that when I was trying to shop weekly, I spent LESS. Obviously the best option isn't to budget more but to shop more often. I've been wanting to break away from Big Shop for a long time.
I planned shopping very carefully this week. I checked sales ads and determined which items were needed, which were good buys for stocking up. I was very careful to set a LOWER grocery budget, based upon a government chart. I stayed very well within that new budget this week. It meant scratching off an item or two when I found myself nearing my budget limit but that's fine.
Mama and I went shopping one day as well. I'd planned to buy new pieces for Spring/Summer wear. Last year's pieces were two years old and really needed to be replaced. I set a budget limit and am proud to say I stuck to it hard, going over by just $1. When I returned home, I removed older pieces from the closet and put them in the house drawer for wear here at home. Then I hung the new pieces. I won't start wearing them right away either. It's still cool enough I can get by with the winter pieces just a wee bit longer.
I shared last night my 'new' piece of furniture, a reworked piece that better suits our new tv. I love that the piece matches my other items and that we saved ourselves $120 for the piece we priced two months ago while shopping with Alan.
We washed only full loads of dishes and clothes this week. Once or twice that's meant when we did laundry we did what we call 'mutt load' which is just whatever is in the laundry basket regardless of type. We don't sort our laundry by color/whites but by type: bed, bath/kitchen, clothes.
This morning, I slipped out on the porch as the sun was coming up. The view from the kitchen window had lured me outdoors. I grabbed up my camera and headed outdoors. Maddie came to greet me, the cat bowed slightly in my direction, the birds sang sweet songs of happy housekeeping tasks. I was reminded yet again of my late father-in-law's wisdom, that nothing is so bad that it doesn't look a good deal better in the morning light.
I hadn't had anything so terrible happen this week. It was just the usual week of work, play, laughter and worry, thanksgiving and prayer. Not unusual at all, but surely a morning as beautiful as this March morning boded well for the day. And without a doubt it did, because we had a lovely day, quiet and easy going.
Sort of like the week just past. I spent time with friends and family, laughing over silly stuff and discussing deeper things, worked away at tasks that netted me a deal of satisfaction after a bit of hard work.
In light of world events I see no need to complain of inconsequential things, but to be eternally grateful for one more week of normal.