Sunday, September 23, 2012
My Thrifty Week
In Our Home:
Thankfully the whole house program of cleaning means I don't have to do a heavy pre-Fall cleaning and I am grateful for that. Today I changed out the quilt on our bed. The summer quilt (in pastels) went into the washer and onto the line to blow dry.
I have a small cold/allergy thing going on. Lots of Vitamin C, zinc, and water (items we always have on hand) and Vapor rub for my chest has helped a good bit. I was happy to find I'd stocked a few boxes of Kleenex over the summer when there were good sales. I'll definitely be getting more to restock for the Fall and Winter seasons.
Our electric bill arrived. I'd love to claim it was our vigilance that knocked off about $20 but the truth is it was the cooler weather we've had which meant the AC ran a good deal less in the evening, night, and morning hours.
Again that 'good clearing up' theory went into play. I gave the front porch a good going over with the broom, rearranged the plants, and just generally straightened things up. Just as it works well inside the house, it works outside to make things look nice and well kept. I spent less than a half hour working out there but knocking down spider webs and sweeping under things made a HUGE difference in how it all looked.
We have mostly hung clothes to dry this past week. I think John might have used the dryer twice.
I saved water to pour over plants, as I usually do. I'm also emptying out the contents of the bottles of water I keep on hand for emergencies (PETE bottles only are used) and am refreshing them. I try to do this at least once a month. Should we lose electricity for a couple of days or so we'll have water enough to consume until power is restored. That's especially important for us in the three 'seasons': tornado, hurricane, freezing sleet.
Combined errands and grocery shopping.
Katie went with me to shop for new foundation makeup. I find her eye is better than mine when it comes to matching skin and she knows a bit more about balancing the yellow tones with pink tones, etc. all of which sounds too complicated to me. Just to show how good she is the color is a perfect match for my skin right now and as I lighten up still more during this 'indoor' season, she's explained how to balance using the powders I have on hand.
I couldn't find a sample chip of paint I liked at Lowes, but had carried along the sample chip I picked at Walmart several years ago. They matched it perfectly. The young man there suggested we go with a specialty paint meant for kitchen and bath and told us we could bring the paint back if it didn't suit us. Happily it suits us very well.
We won't have to buy trim paint. I picked up a small quart of white enamel for another project (never got around to doing that) and so we will have a savings there.
John decided it was worthwhile to begin to set aside a set sum twice a month to clean our car at the car wash that is on the grocery shopping route. They offer free unlimited vacuum time which we need, living as we do in the country. No driveway or sidewalk or carport floor equals a very dirty car at the end of a month.
Mr. Executive Decision Maker also decided we needed to purchase a proper cooler for the groceries. He was unimpressed with the insulated bags I'd found to replace my old ones. They are great at keeping things cold, but considerably smaller and far more difficult to pack groceries into on shopping days. He says next pay period he's buying a second cooler. The larger trunk on our 'new' car allows us more room and the coolers really do seem to be the best idea. John chose a model that has wheels making it easier to transport from deck to indoors.
I always look at sales sheets even if I have no plans to go by the store to pick up anything. Why? Because of what happened on Thursday when John bought that cooler. He determined to go into Target because it was nearest the grocery. I happened to have noted that our favorite brand of toilet paper was on sale for $14.96/36 roll packages. I knew I had about 12 rolls at home but this was a far better priced package of tissue than the last big purchase I'd made. It wasn't budgeted but I bought it since we were there anyway.
I don't think I mentioned our 'new' car. Mama bought a new car for herself, gave us her old one, my Honda was passed to John and we passed John's work car over to our oldest son to use as his work car. The 'new' car is a Toyota, has low mileage and is fuel efficient. So efficient that we only put in a half tank of gas this past month! Of course, I must remind myself that with John home every day I seldom leave the house during the work week and we're currently not driving a long distance to go to Shabat services which also makes a bit of a difference in our gasoline usage.
More fall decorating this week, though I'm not by any means doing a huge bit of it was to buy a sheaf of wheat for $3.99 (the price I've now determined fits my grocery budget best for floral purchases). I placed it in a copper coffeepot and put that on my dining room table with a pair of creamy white pheasants either side with a dull gold cloth on the table. So pretty and it cost me all of $3.99 and won't die!
Our bathroom 'make-over' would be a good deal pricier if I hadn't turn a blind eye to the previous wall pattern about three years ago and slowly begun to purchase towels, rugs, accessories, etc. When the painting is complete I will be buying new sheers to drape around the tall mirrors over the garden tub, and possibly some thrift store art if I can't find anything in the shed, but that's about it. Everything else is already a perfect match.
You do realize that this bathroom job has got us just longing to do a bit more sprucing up? Fortunately I have plenty of materials and projects to work with here at home that won't require we spend money. The few projects that need to be done for which there are no materials are inexpensive fixes that may easily be taken care of from our house maintenance fund each pay period.
In My Kitchen:
I had only a little waste this week and that was edible for the dogs: 1 cup of rice, 1/2 cup of coleslaw that got pushed to the back of the fridge. I'm sorry I missed those two items but glad it wasn't more.
I made spaghetti sauce this week and chopped some tomatoes into that which were a bit wrinkled, grated a little bit of carrot leftover from a salad, added in a partial jar of pizza sauce left from a weekend meal. I feel spaghetti sauce is a good bit like soup, it's not hurt by a bit extra tossed into the pot.
I used a full pound of ground beef to make the spaghetti and put a pint and a half of sauce in the freezer for another meal.
Grocery budget this past week was spent mostly for stocking the pantry. I bought at least one more of things I was low upon, bought one or two of items I was out of and felt rather proud at end of unpacking to note how much I managed to put in storage.
Not including the toilet tissue mentioned earlier, I was just $10 over this pay period's budget despite all the stocking up I did. I know just where that $10 overage came from too. I mentioned to John that we had put 3 items in the buggy which were not on the list and those were the last ones that went in. That was our warning bell so to speak and we kept ourselves on task.
Remade leftover roast into a second dish (Beef Pot Pie) and put the leftovers of that in the freezer as a single serve entree. I have about four of these single serve dishes which comes in handy when I need a dinner for John on those days I'm out with Mama.
Made a pizza for our dinner on Friday and split the recipe (which called for a 13 X 9 pan) between two 11X 7 pans. I froze one unbaked for a future convenience meal. I put the cheese required halfway through the baking in a zippered bag to go in with the pizza. I won't have to worry about not having all the ingredients on hand when I decide to have that pizza.
Today's dinner of turkey and dressing will net us three meals. We've eaten our dinner, will have leftovers for supper and I fixed a pie pan of turkey and dressing for the freezer which will serve 2 for another meal. I even put a bit of cranberry sauce up with this entree to insure we have all the fixings.
We were pretty low on groceries Wednesday. All the snack type foods were gone and I knew my husband would want something 'extra'. I still had a bit of cookie dough in the freezer so pulled out a roll, patted into a pan and made coconut bars from it.
Made an apple pie for the weekend. I bought a bag of apples to use in the pie because they were less per pound.
My 'savings' wasn't just buying bagged apples. I saved as well by reusing bowls. I mixed up the pie crust and after it was ready to roll out, dumped in my struesel topping ingredients to be mixed in the same bowl, without washing in between. I tend to do this when cooking. Rather than mess up lots of unnecessary extras I try to reuse what has already been used. Mind you I'd never cross contaminate items that contain egg or meat but you'd be surprised how often you can reuse something and save that extra cleaning step. I mixed my pizza crust in a bowl on Friday then used the same bowl to mix up my corn bread batter for today's dressing.
I used the oven to serve dual purpose and baked both the pizza and the corn bread for my turkey dinner dressing.
Used the crock pot today to make the turkey and dressing. I put the dressing ingredients in the bottom of the crock pot and then placed my turkey roast on top of the dressing. I checked half way through cooking and added a bit of chicken broth to keep the dressing from being too dry.
I've decided that good intentions that never become fact are wasted effort and so I will no longer be 'saving' apple peels and cores, over ripe bananas etc. Better to turn them into compost than to fill freezer space with things I never get around to using, I say. I could use the freezer space far better for stocking with freezer entrees, extra meats, baked goods, etc.
Posted by Terri Cheney at 1:27 PM