Monday, July 1, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments

This photo is actually from last week, when Grandma and Grandpa came to visit, but I couldn't resist - I had to share!

Late last week, some important decisions were made, and we have a guest for the rest of the summer.  We had about a week to prepare.  The biggie - changing our spare room from an office/homeschool space to a bedroom.  Aaaaand......GO!

First, we went through the things we had on hand. 

We realized that a small table that we already owned would fit into a space in our master bedroom and become our new, downsized office.  The other office items went downstairs.  Truth be told, they will still need some sorting and organizing, but they should store in the 'library' downstairs just fine.  After re-arranging some furniture in the master bedroom, Husband has a space to do the things he needs to do in regard to making payments, investments, tracking things, etc. 

We also had a chest of drawers in the office that we used to store everything from copy paper and spiral note paper to batteries to small electronics to stuff.  It got emptied....and it feels like we can't find anything.  Actually, it's just more of that organizing and sorting we'll have to do.  The things that needed to remain upstairs went into an antique dresser (used primarily for linens) in the master bedroom.

The closet had to be emptied, too - lots of jigsaw puzzles, some banker's boxes of papers, etc.  Most of those items were taken downstairs, and again...sort and organize.  We took daughter's homeschool desk and the office desk downstairs and set them up where they can be used in place if we like. 

We had a wooden table that can be used for a night table, a twin mattress and a smallish book shelf for books and toys.  We also had a lamp we weren't using that fits nicely on the bedside table.

Daughter rounded up 'things girls like' and brought in two pillows, floral pillow cases, a quilt and some stuffed animals.  She wants to do more, but we want to allow our guest to have some say in things too, so I think that's enough for now.

Next, I put the word out.

Someone wonderful recently made a freecycle group exclusive to the little hamlet near us.  It's awesome, because so far, everyone is 10 minutes away or less.  I explained the situation and ended up with a bed frame/box spring. 

I was also given clothing that meant our guest could travel light rather than trying to pack for the summer.  Once she chooses the things she likes, we'll share the extras.  I'm also saving some of the clothes for Daughter to grow into.  I know there will be extras, so we'll share those around soon.

Okay, I did some shopping.

99 cents for the pair....
This one is felt and embroidery...1.49
By moving a few items from other places in the house and then spending $3.25 at Goodwill, we were able to decorate the room some too. Again, we want to leave some options open so it can be more personal.
75 cents! 

Here's the room - what do you think?

Some clothes...and clothing storage....
A place for books and toys...

It looks a bit empty now, but I'm sure it'll fill in soon!

Other, hee hee...

I picked up 9 T-posts on freecycle.  T-posts are metal fencing posts.  I don't know if we've ever thought we had enough, lol.

A sweet friend came for a playdate and brought us a fresh pineapple.  Yum!  Late in the week, right after Bountiful Baskets had overwhelmed her, she gave us 3 red mangos, a head of celery and four oranges.  We haven't had oranges in a while - kinda excited!  (I mean, I'm happy about all of it...but oranges!  squee!)

Bottom Round roasts were on sale for 2.49 a pound, and they are great for teriyaki.  This store will also slice them for free, so I got two roasts, sliced. I also got some 85/15 ground beef for 2.49 a pound.  I guess that passes for a good price now...sigh...and yes, we used some stock-up money for the meat.  I made some of the ground beef into pre-seasoned, shaped patties and put them in the freezer.  They can go directly from freezer to grill for a quick meal.

After I wrote the above, I went to package the teriyaki meat into meal-size packs.  It was supposed to be 1/4 inch thick, but it was 1/2 to 1 inch instead...very raggedy, and...I've never seen this before...the pieces were all still connected to the fat cap on the roast.  The way it was wrapped, it looked great, but this was a poor job.  I called the store and spoke to the meat manager.  We figured out that on the day/time I was there, it's likely that his employee was on lunch, and their apprentice didn't know to use the meat slicer, so he used a knife.  They did offer to have me bring back the meat, but I said no, partly because it's kind of far from home, and partly because they will replace it, but they will throw this meat in the trash.   That just seems wasteful, to me...I'd rather it feed us all raggedy than be pitched in the trash.  I can either pound it out and make plate-size teriyaki slices, use it for kabobs, or make beef stew.  He asked me to come see him next time I'm in that store and he will 'do something' for me.  I'm going to press for something free rather than a discount - I'd rather have a small free item than a larger discounted one.  My point though - call, be nice, and often, you'll get taken care of. :) Later:  It turns out his idea of 'doing something' was to give me $1 off the full retail price if I wanted to buy more meat.  That's quite a bit more than I paid for the raggedy roast I have in my freezer, so I turned him down.  I still think we ought to be nice, though...and I'm going to call when it's not Friday (and the store is very busy) and speak with the store manager, to see if we can work something out.

I received coupons for two 20 oz. cokes in the mail...from doing coke rewards points.  I used those coupons, plus a sale/coupon combo to get the two sodas and 4 bags of chex mix for .06, which I think is 'snack tax' or something.  I used a few dollars worth of coupons this week, and did some price matching.  I don't have exact numbers, but I know it helped.  We got some queso dip at King Sooper for free (an in-store promotion) and we're really well stocked on most everything.  In addition to the stuff mentioned above, we did buy some real food - lettuce (mine is growing very slowly), red onion, milk, grapes, whole wheat bread and more. 

I did some scratch cooking this week.  Don't ask me what, but I know I did.   I've been distracted.  :)  But there were applesauce muffins and bean sprout salad, roast sticky chicken...and other things.

The sweet friend who brought us pineapple invited us swimming.  Since she lives in the development that owns the pool, we were able to attend as guests, free of charge.

We dropped off recycling, along with hazardous materials this week.  Our hazardous materials were batteries and light bulbs.  It was just a tiny bag.  The real benefit of stopping by is that they have shelves of paints, solvents, polishes, cleaning supplies, etc...all free for the taking.  Here are the items I found that we could use.  (I also picked up a bottle of Murphy's Oil Soap, but forgot to put it in the photo - it is about 1/4 full.)

Did you know that Brasso does a good job clearing the haze on car headlights?  It seems like it works best on newer models (it did a better job on our 8 year old car than it did on our 19 year old truck.)

We need new blades for the riding mower.  They're $60 from the manufacturer.  We found some made by another company with great they're on they're only $30ish.  After applying swagbucks gift cards, they were about $7.50...and we took a one month trial of Amazon Prime, so they'll be here Monday or Tuesday.  Woo Hoo!  (I like mowing.)

I picked spinach, lettuce and green onion tops in the garden.  It is very, very dry here, so things are growing slowly, even though we're watering and the gardens are mulched.  I've decided to stop picking the asparagus a little early just to give it more of a chance to be vigorous.

I watched some videos on youtube, and now I know how to repair the hail damage on our vinyl siding.  (sigh....)

I went to our local slash/mulch site and got a truckload of freshly ground mulch for $5.  While I could get it free if I loaded it by hand, I opted to let the endloader load it...after all, my friend Kelly and I had to unload it later!  We used it to mulch the garden and flowerbeds at church. 

Room for Improvement:

There was more running to town this week than we'd usually have, and I admit, a time or two, I got a soda or something, because I hadn't planned ahead to bring something from home.  I've had a lot on my mind, and I know that was a contributing factor.  I also know we used gasoline, because when you drive your car, that's what happens.  For the most part, though, we did limit our trips to town to days we had library programs, so it wasn't too bad with the fuel costs.  I suppose there will always be room for improvement, yes?

I have a nutritional supplement I bought in bulk.  It's a dry powder, probably about a quart.  I was measuring some before bed..spooned it into a water cup, got the water, and then, because my mind is other places, I poured the water into the container of the supplement.  Aaaargh!  That said, this stuff doesn't really dissolve, so I have it sitting on the counter, lid off, under one of those mesh plate covers like you use on picnics.  I'm stirring it twice a day.  It is drying back out, and I'm still going to use it.  Because I'm cheap.  Also, because I really don't think it hurt it...but it sure was a dumb move on my part!


Cathy said...

You never said who the guest is that is going to be staying with you. I read through the post wondering if you had decided to adopt. Perhaps you didn't say because it isn't any business of mine so feel free not to answer.

You have done a stellar job again this past week. Even if you did pour the water in the supplement!

Laura said...

You're right! I didn't say...hee hee.

For those of you who might not now, we were blessed with our daughter through adoption. This week, her sister came for a visit. It's the first time they have met (other than when they were babies), and it has been, and continues to be, just great. They are having so much fun!

Sheila said...

I was wondering, too. :) I love the room! So pretty! I especially love the paint color. It really turned out well! It sounds like a wonderful visit.


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