Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Year of Savings: 2013

March 8 (cont'd):  John washed a mixed load of clothes today.  That consisted of colors, whites, towels, etc.  We seldom separate our clothes preferring instead to wash a full load two or three times per week.  John hung clothes to dry today, forgoing the use of the dryer.  When he came indoors later with the towels he did something I've done many times myself: he held them to his nose and inhaled deeply, "GOOD!"  That's one thing the dryer is not going to give us, that lovely line dried aroma of clean laundry.  Fresh air and sunshine are FREE and no artificial perfume will ever duplicate that aroma try though candle and freshener manufacturers do.

Peaches to Beaches yard sale  stretches for about 250 miles from the start of the peach growing district to the coastline of Georgia.  I've attended this yard sale regularly for the past few years but this year I'm skipping it, as much as I've enjoyed it in the past (and the weather is lovely today!).  In years past I've spent about $40, my personal limit for the yard sale. I have that amount in my purse at present, but I'm saving $40 and the gasoline usage.  I don't have room for more 'stuff' at present and I need other things I never find at yardsales or thrift stores.  In the meantime, I figured I'd hold onto my money for a bit.

Made sloppy joes from scratch today.  I made up my own sauce.  A can of sloppy joe sauce costs $3 these days.  I saved $2.50 making my own sauce.

Made my own BBQ sauce, too.  Savings $2.59 the cost of one bottle of sauce.

March 9:  No expenses connected with this day except the small amount of electricity used.  We stayed home, didn't do any work aside from heating our dinner and putting it on the table.  John watched Rugby, which I'd never seen before and rather enjoyed watching, too.  I now know the word "Scrum"...knowledge free, lol.

Filled my Swagbuck quota today doing searches.  I had enough points at day's end to order another gift card.  Savings $5.

March 10:  Spring Forward today for Daylight Savings Time.  We set our clocks back last night prior to going to bed.  I'll appreciate the later evening hours, especially now that the cold weather will soon be passing.  It will give me extra time I can spend in the yard.

John had an errand he wanted to run today.  It took us over an hour away from home.  We were both surprised that it was so much further than we'd thought it might be.  On the way back home again, now well into the afternoon, he decided we'd stop for lunch.  $5 for a footlong sub, $3 for two drinks and eating al fresco under the big covered patio at the place enjoying the warm late winter afternoon, FREE.  We had many options, all of which would have cost a good deal more than our $8 meal, but you can't beat atmosphere.  We overlooked a city park and a row of lovely old houses opposite.  The birds sang, it was reasonably quiet for an area near a highway and was so pleasant we lingered for over an hour after eating!

That little patio made us think hard about what we like.  We've always enjoyed picnics and eating outdoors.  we frequently plan a picnic into any long roadtrip from home.  John mentioned twice how much he was enjoying himself and I said the same at least two times myself.  I finally looked at him and said, "At home we have a front porch, a deck and a patio...Why don't we make our own outdoor areas more attractive for use?"  I think we're going to be working on those areas this Spring.   We have almost all the furnishings we need to do this.  Our only expense might be the purchase of an umbrella for shade for the patio.  Inspiration FREE.

Bought the Sunday paper while we were out.  Coupons galore this week, more than enough to offset the cost of the paper.  Savings $2.

March 11:  Morning spent in the kitchen.  I made 1 dozen egg rolls.  Savings $1 each or $12.  That's what they cost at the Chinese restaurant and mine are just as good.  Perhaps even better, as we bake them.

Cleaned the top of the stove.  No fancy cleaners required, even though there were 'baked on' stains from the past month's meals.   I used baking soda, a bit of Dawn detergent and a green Scouring pad.  I buy the pads in 8X 4 sheets at the hardware store for $1 each.  I cut them down into four 2X4 pads. I'll get more use from the pad yet and have three fresh ones in reserve.  Not buying a special cleaner is a savings of $4.

Roasted a whole chicken for our lunch today.  I'd planned to BBQ it but didn't.  While I was prepping vegetables for the egg rolls, I made up a nice coleslaw.  That finished off 1/4 head of cabbage that likely would have languished and been tossed (savings $.30) and 1/2 an apple (savings $.50) that had been in the fridge since Thursday and was obviously not going to be eaten otherwise.

Made up 16 slider type sandwiches.  I used Smoked turkey legs and wings from the freezer for the meat, dinner rolls we'd bought and put in the freezer, and my homemade BBQ sauce.  Having that convenience meal on hand for 'heat and eat' meals saves $8 (the cost of 1 dozen White Castle Burgers), and every bit as convenient to microwave.

John has new suspenders, the sort with teeth that grip the waistband of the pants rather than hook onto his belt.  The teeth bit hard into the fabric and to prevent wear he asked what I could do to help save the material.  His pants only come in one length when he orders them and so I typically cut off about 5 inches of fabric from the bottom and re hem to his length.  I save this material as it comes in very handy.  I've used it to patch pockets, repair tears, etc. over the years.  Today I took some of the material, cut into strips and made tailored patches that I sewed to the waistband in the spots where he hooks the suspenders.  This should be an effective way of extending the life of his pants.  It took about an hour or so to do but his work pants cost $50 a pair.  I'm counting this as a savings over purchasing a new pair next year...savings $50.  And by the way, that means my hourly 'wage' for that task was $50.

March 12:  Plundered through the fridge and freezer for this meal: 1/2 package Kielbasa (7 ounces these days, since the packages have been reduced from 16 ounces to 14 ounces.  Yep they got us again!).  I found 1 cup of Green Peas left from a meal late last week.  I dug about under the counter and came up with a sprouting onion, three potatoes  that were beginning to age a little...One casserole later I'd used all the ingredients to make a meal.  Savings: $2.00 for items that nearly weren't used.

John did a home repair job.  The facings inside our double windows have been looking steadily worse over the past two years.  He removed the inner windows, cleaned, spackled, sanded and painted the interior framework and then replaced the windows when it was all dry.  To do two windows took just over an hour of real work time.  Our goal is to do one room every other week until all are refurbished.  It cost us the price of a new tub of spackle ($6.97) which will do all the remaining windows as well.  We had paint on hand.  We figure a handyman would have charged us $20 an hour and would have added in the cost of waiting on the spackle to dry etc.  Our DIY job saved us $50.

March 13:  John washed a full load of clothes, hung to dry.

I've been waiting to wash a load of dishes until the dishwasher is full.  I thought I'd have enough after breakfast this morning but no, there's still room in there.  I'll hold off until tomorrow.

Out with Mama today.  I spent $3.   I skipped going into the temptation filled store and stayed in the car.  My expense was the cost of ice cream (our usual dessert when out) for the two of us.  I used a $5 and put the change aside to add to  my savings account deposit $2.

Mama shared produce she'd bought yesterday.  A half pint each of yellow and red grape tomatoes, 1/2 a stem of green grapes and 1/3 of a pound of radishes.  These are bonus foods for us and saves her having them spoil.  How I wish she could buy just what she needed loose, but I am the one who benefits from her overage.  It will extend our fresh produce here and means we can eliminate some of the pantry items from our menu this week.  Savings to me: $5.

New pantry shelving arrived this morning.  John had it together in about five minutes time.  It's light enough to move easily when empty and sturdy as can be.  I think we got really good value for that $42 purchase.

Came home this afternoon and put the new pantry shelving into order.  We're very pleased with the shelving we purchased.  It fits the space perfectly and we now have MORE storage room for further stocking.  That's one bonus we hadn't planned for, doubling our storage space for free.  Because the length is shorter I can now stack the resealable buckets at the end of the unit, freeing up floor space in front of the freezer.  That's another added bonus we didn't plan for but are certainly grateful for. 

March 14:  Prepped vegetables for chicken fried rice for tomorrow's dinner, the last meal from this roast chicken.  The chicken cost me $3.20.  We will have had 4 meals from that chicken and I've not yet made broth from the bones and skin.  That works out to about $.80 per meal. I expect we'll have enough chicken fried rice for TWO meals.  That will reduce the costs even further.

Used the last of the potatoes that were getting older.  Savings $.50.

Refilled two water bottles for John's work supper.  Savings $1.50.

After dinner today, I finally had the dishwasher filled to capacity.  I waited two full days beyond the day I thought I might wash dishes.  Since the water must be hot when you start the machine, I filled a measuring cup and the coffee pot for later use while the water was still cool, and when the water was warm, I ran some in the sink to handwash a few items. I washed them quickly and had hot water just in time to rinse those dishes from the sink.  Then I turned on the dishwasher to begin it's cycle with really hot water.

I've recently followed another blogger's example and reduced the amount of soap I put in the dispenser.  I've found that the 1 tbsp she uses is sufficient for thoroughly cleaning our dishes. I should double the usage I get from this bottle of detergent, a savings of $2.29.

Total $186.18

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