Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Year of Savings: February 2013

February and a new month to begin saving anew.  I thought I did fairly well in January and our repayment of that car loan shows the hard work we put into savings.  We are just a few dollars shy of breaking another 'barrier'.  I want to go as far below that mark as we possibly can.  So I'm looking for ways to amp up the savings.  There are just 28 days this month to make a dent, so I'll have to work a bit harder than last month.

February 1:  I know I'll have to go to the store this weekend and it's my own fault.  I didn't buy milk nor cat food this last pay period and I knew I'd need them both.  However, I want to stay away from the store until at least Sunday  when I will go into town to buy the Sunday paper.

In the meantime...I'm out of more than milk and cat food.  I haven't got any of my favorite purchased cleaners for the bathroom.  I do however, have a decent enough substitute in three items: that powerful homemade shower cleaner (works very nicely on tubs and sinks, too) and plain old baking soda and vinegar to clean the toilets.  Worked beautifully.  Trip to town avoided.

Savings: $4 the cost of cleaners

February 2:  I like to have an easily prepared meal for our Shabat day meal.  The less work there is in putting a meal on the table, the less clearing up after, the more real rest  the day affords.  I planned ahead on Friday and made pizza dough.  I mixed it up until it was a firm ball of dough, then put in a zippered plastic bag to sit overnight in the fridge.  Cooked beef and onions on Friday, too, and had the vegetables in the freezer all prepped.  All I had to do today was to 'toss' the dough until it began to feel light and stretchable, then spread it on my pan, top with the prepared toppings and bake.  It took me a whole ten minutes today to prepare the meal.

We could have gotten take out, or even frozen for the day, but home made is always the best in my opinion and for just a few minutes work I saved $10.

February 3:  Today was the day to go into town.  Milk was gone and the cat food bin was empty.  Sunday papers were on the shelves.  The hardest part: deciding where to shop.  Where was the least temptation to overspend?  Our local grocery was the spot.  Their prices are a bit higher than the stores a few miles away, but the range of products is limited and the higher prices kept me on target.  Besides the local store had potatoes for $.29/pound about the lowest price I've seen on potatoes in a long time.  Even at Aldi they haven't been that cheap.  I saved $2.99 the cost of a five pound bag elsewhere.

Not going into the dollar store today saved me money as well. My 'setpoint' for that store is about $35.  Going to the grocery saved me $8 off that setpoint.

John is going to a super bowl party tonight and didn't want a heavy dinner.  He wanted me to pick up something for dinner today and not make a big meal.  He paid for the take out from his allowance, a savings to our budget of another $5, the cost of a Subway sandwich.

February 4:  I was out of French dressing today and it was important to have it to go with my salad.  I went online and looked up recipes but found nothing quite like what I wanted. I  decided to wing it.  After all most all salad dressings are based on oil and vinegar, sugar and salt, right?  It's just getting the balance right and then adding whatever flavor is best suited to the salad.  I used ketchup as the flavoring (I wanted a paprika tomato base), mixed up my ingredients and tasted until it was just right.  It was so good, I think I might just mix up my own from now on.  I saved $3.29, the cost of a bottle of dressing, and discovered that I am developing my own little recipe file of dressing recipes to make up: blue cheese, thousand island, and now French.

Made a roast chicken for dinner and discovered as I rooted about in the fridge that half an apple was sitting on back of the shelf, where it had been pushed  a few days before.  It wasn't spoiled, just a little dried out on the edges, which I trimmed.  Then I used that apple and some onion to fill the cavity of the chicken, which imparted good flavor and kept it moist as it roasted slow and long.  I used another apple in the salad which polished off that batch of apples.  Using all the apples saved me about $1.50, because we buy apples individually per my husband's request and they are always pricey compared to bagged apples.

John's birthday tomorrow.  He's a man of simple tastes: yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  I made a cake from scratch, using a recipe that makes just a 8-inch single layer.  That cake didn't cost me as much as a boxed mix and frosting nor anywhere near as much as a cake from the bakery!  I saved about  $4.

February 5:  While we were up visiting with Katie we went into a bookshop.  She began to look at Bibles and mentioned that she needed a new one.  We looked and looked at the various versions, styles and covers and finally she sighed, "What I really want is my old Bible!"  Her dad asked where it was and she said she'd left it at the church we left during her senior year.  That was almost four years ago!

John took a chance and asked our former pastor's wife to check.  We told her about where Katie thought she'd left it...and then we waited. Bless April, she found the Bible near the area where Katie thought it might be and offered to meet us so she could return it.

I'd happily have bought Katie a new Bible, but I know how lovely it is when you're used to a certain one and you can turn to just the book you want and know just about where to read, when you just feel comfortable with a certain translation, etc.  I'm not counting savings here because it's intangible compared to having something lost be found, something loved and thought gone forever to be returned.  I'm sharing only because this was the saving this day, the opportunity for my daughter to know that someone besides just us cares for her enough to make a little extra effort, to take the time to go out of their way for no reason other than love, as April has done several times now.

February 6:  Today was my husband's day to spoil me and I do love it.  I'm not a fussy person, like simple things and he knows that.  We went out to dinner at The Bullock House in Warm Springs, ate our meal from the buffet and then John ordered a single serving of dessert which we shared.  I wandered about the grounds and into two of the gift shops without damage to our bank account, lol.  I spent my allowance on my purchases and came out under $20.  By the way, our dinner and ride up was under $20 as well.  I could have asked for a pricier meal at a chain type restaurant without half the charm and John would have happily provided it. However, charm costs a good bit less than chains.  We saved about $20.

February 7:  We meant to buy groceries today but the rain began at 7am and didn't stop until 3pm.  We joked about 'high water' marks on the house but that rain was much appreciated and badly needed.  And yes, we postponed buying groceries.  Extending ourselves by one more day is a savings because it's one day less of groceries I must plan to buy.  Savings $14.25 our average daily expenses per our budget.

Total:  $73.03

1 comment:

Precious said...

Great savings. Thanks for sharing with me.