Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Year of Savings: January 2013 Totals

January 22:  Feeling splurge-y.  Well I was this day at least.  I didn't feel well, didn't have an easy meal in the freezer, didn't feel like making a meal from scratch.  Take out?  I opted for grocery freezer section which is generally less expensive than take out and marginally healthier than most options.  I needed Blue Cheese dressing but at $4 a bottle locally, I was definitely not feeling like that much of a splurge.  I came home and made my own for about $1.25 worth of ingredients, including the blue cheese, which offset the cost of my splurge a little.  Savings in making my own dressing at home: $2.25

January 23:  A dozen oranges languishing on the fruit stand...Every time I walked by them I checked them for spoilage but then I found one with the telltale soft spot.  Once one goes, they all start spoiling.  I was just not going to lose my money by throwing them out.  So I spent an hour or so this afternoon, peeling long strips of zest from the rinds.  I sectioned the oranges and put them in the freezer (along with the rind in a separate bag).  I'm sure to get my money's worth from them now.  Savings: $2.29

January 24:  There's a fact out there that 20 minutes in a store equals $20 overspending on impulse purchases.  I told John I had a short list for Aldi and so I did.  My goal: get out of the store for $20.  I spent $17.  Savings: $3.

We've been using a dealership to service our cars for sometime now.  It was time to have the oil changed in the Toyota and we debated where to go.  Should we go to the dealership where Mama had the car serviced?  To the dealership where we purchased our newest Honda?  To the Honda place across the city?  We finally settled upon the dealership where Mama normally had the car serviced...After all it couldn't be much more than what we'd been paying right?  Turns out the Toyota dealership is rather luxe.  John and I were a little worried about the cost, but we'd committed ourselves.  We were used to paying upwards of $50 for service.  We crossed our fingers, settled in and waited.  Humph.  Turns out this luxe treatment was just the way they treat their customers.  Service was half the cost of the other place.  Savings to us: $25.

John offered to take me out to lunch and suggested a variety of places.  I know we're going out to eat this coming weekend.  I suggested we go to Sonic.  Savings: $20

January 25:  Last night I noticed as I drank my milk that it tasted just a bit 'off'.  I'd been  meaning to make yogurt and decided to do so before the milk spoiled.  2 quarts of milk made into yogurt and incubating, I still had milk to use up. I looked up a recipe for gingerbread after recalling my favorite Grace Livingston Hill author mentioned sour milk in gingerbread several times.

The yogurt did not set up.  I thought it was a big loss but after reading online I discovered that I'd essentially 'saved' my milk.  Seems that yogurt cultured milk is good for about a month even if it doesn't 'set'.  I plan to freeze mine in 1cup portions to use in baking.  Savings: $1.50, for a half gallon of milk that didn't get tossed out.

January 26:  Another rescue mission: 1/2 dozen Gala apples that got a wee bit wrinkly.  I cored  and chopped them and steamed, then mashed with the potato masher and made the best homemade applesauce.  The apples were so sweet that I didn't even need to add any sugar.  Savings: $1 for half a bag of apples.

January 27:  Off to visit the kids and we ate our dinner out today.  Lest you think we are spendthrifty I'll share that this meal did not come out of our bank account and no it wasn't a 'free' meal either.  John and I paid for it with allowance/gift money that we'd set aside.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  I won't list the 'savings' but the peace of mind we had knowing we'd taken the kids out and we wouldn't have to pinch and scrounge to make up for it is just about priceless.

January 28:  It was a big spending day today.  How much did we spend?  $260.00.  How much did we save?  $250.00.  How's that?  We didn't spend a penny that wasn't already set aside for the services we purchased today except $10.  That's right.  We only spent money that was already allocated for the services we purchased, except that one small amount.  Now that is truly savings!

January 29:  We'd contemplated new floor mats for the Honda and I wanted new ones for the Toyota as well, until John priced the Honda mats at $147.  Wow.  While he's researching Honda mats from someplace other than Honda, he decided to clean mine.  Are they perfect?  No, but the majority of the dirt and stains from spills that Mama and Granny made in the car were removed.  We hadn't gotten around to pricing them, but I'll bet they cost at least (and very likely more) than the Honda mats.  Savings $147

Over this past week I've heard at least 6 times, from myself or John, "Oh we're out of ----, better go to the pantry and get some."  That pantry has been the greatest boon for us.  Yes, it cost a bit to get it stocked, but we did it in increments, a little at a time.  Yes, it takes up space. But when you figure that for every twenty minutes you are in a store you spend $2/minute, and you note that no less than 6 times this week we had an outage, filled from our own freezer or pantry, then you can see that  is equivalent to say three trips to the store and I'll wager we'd have spent $15-20 each time.  Figured conservatively, I'll say we saved $45 easily.

January 30:  I planted peas today.  Last year I harvested two pods but this year I'm certain they will do better.  I waited a little longer to plant them, I have a better idea of the sun requirements and my pot has better drainage.  Gardening isn't hard.  It's all about learning what you did wrong and NOT repeating the same mistakes again.  I did not purchase new seeds.  I had seed left from last years packet.  I know many will tell you not to use the seeds from year to year but I thought I'd see how they do.  Ultimately, if they germinate I will have lost nothing.  Since I use the square foot method of planting (yes you can do this in a pot, too), I use fewer seed.  There's a savings in that as well, since using few seeds mean I can stretch a packet to cover more than one crop. Not a huge savings but about $2.00.

January 31:  Two big savings today.  First, I was out with Mama today, instead of yesterday.  We visited three stores. I went into two, but purchased in only one.  My store of choice for shopping was Ross.  I had a list, looked only in those areas related to my list.  I stayed right on target and no doubt saved myself money.  However my real savings came in a bit later when we went to the two other stores. I stayed in the car at Target.  There's always something I want at Target.  I average about $50 a trip when I go in, so I'm counting that as my savings today.  It might sound iffy to you, but I've talked about spending setpoints before where we condition ourselves to spend a certain amount at a store.  That is my setpoint at Target.  Staying in the car for certain saved me that much money!

Second big savings was coming home and making cookies instead of stopping in at the grocery to buy them.  I haven't baked in a few weeks since we had plenty of candy from after Christmas sales and fig bars we bought at Aldi.  However, John made comment earlier this week that we were down to the 'dregs' of the candy and cookie jars and he was right!  There was very little left in either one.  I had plenty of cookie dough in the freezer so set two rolls in the refrigerator to thaw while I was out today.  After John left for work, I made cookies, two batches, the equivalent of two packages.  Of course, my homemade cookies taste far and beyond better than store bought, but the savings is substantial.  My homemade cookies saved us $8 the average price of two packets of cookies.

Total for this week: $557.04

Total for this month:  $1231.33

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