Saturday, September 14, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments

We price matched loss-leaders from several stores, which saved us a trip to town.  We planned a menu to use up things we had on hand.  At the store we bought a head of lettuce (88 cents), some bananas (38 cents a pound), flour tortillas (1.58) and red grapes (68 cents a pound), along with a gallon of milk (1.88).  When the new sales rolled around, we combined errands and made a trip to town, dropped off recycling and Goodwill donations, and got 2 bottles of Magic Shell free w/coupons, soup and mustard (.50 each), bell peppers (red and green, .33 each), Gala apples (.98 a pound), and some salt&pepper pork rinds for Husband (.98).  We are still getting some things from the garden, so we just don't need a lot these days. 

whole wheat biscuits

I made a double batch of biscuits, since I have some room in the freezer right now and it will save me time at another meal.  I also made cherry-chocolate chip scones (some of those went to the freezer too), taco salads, tukey a-la-king, hamburgers, chocolate pudding, chicken katsu, carrot raisin salad and oatmeal-raisin-chocolate chip cookies (mostly for a church event, but we kept a few too).  I pulled some homemade tomato soup from the freezer as well.  When I saw that bell peppers were .33 each, I got 3 and made stuffed bell pepper halves and froze them for lunches for me (no one else in the family likes them).  It was a good way to use leftover rice too!

stuffed peppers - just add cheese!

I'm calling this frugal just because it was DIY - we got the baseboards and door trim installed, caulked, etc. in Husband's workshop, and now it's all ready to be used!

Husband fixed the line trimmer, because he's amazing like that.  :)  I got it re-loaded with line, because that's my job, and for the first time all season, our yard looks tidy.  Sure, it's September....better late than never!

I cleaned out my closet, which was helpful.  It's not that it was messy, just kind of full, because I had some gift items tucked in there.  Now that we have converted the spare bedroom into an office space, we are keeping those items in that closet.  It's good to have everything in one place where I can actually locate whatever I might need.

We went for bike rides and walks.  Free and healthy. :)

We borrowed materials from the library - books, movies and games.

I decided to stop watering most of the garden due to diminishing returns.  I'll continue to water the carrots and the zucchini.  I picked the spinach and froze it for winter and I'm getting about 3 tomatoes a week (from five plants).  For the size of our garden, we really did get a lot this year.  I will start some fall lettuces and spinach soon.

cheery-chocolate chip scones, which I forgot to cut, so they are 'scones for two'

We used the remainder of our K-Mart gift card to get some tissues and soap.

A children's magazine sent us an offer, and included wintery stickers in the mailing.  I tucked the stickers away to use later as a stocking stuffer.

Goodwill was having a promotion where you could get a 20% off coupon with any donation.  My 'for good' athletic shoes were pretty sorry, so I got a new pair.  Really - I don't think they've ever been worn.  I also got a set of 3 Knifty Knitter circle looms, both for about $8.  Sweet!

I got a free 20 oz.  Coke with reward points, and used several coupons this week.

Did you have a frugal week?  Leave a comment and tell me how you saved!


Ruth Dixon said...

Wow... I'm impressed. Not very frugal for me, though I did get some good finds at a couple of yard sales. Of course, if I hadn't have stopped, I wouldn't have spent. One thing re your flour tortillas, is that I have a really easy recipe for homemade ones. They aren't as pretty (or flexible) as the store bought, but they taste so much better.

Sheila said...

I have been so busy that I haven't gotten much blog reading in but wanted to say that I hope you guys are unaffected by the flooding. We used to live in Greeley, and some of my daughter's friends have been evacuated, I would love to see pictures of the shop that you guys have been working on. I had a total frugal fail for a week with way too many unexpected expenses. Some I should have planned for, like the copay for a scheduled dr visit, but others like the fee for my daughter to take her PSAT, I just did not know to expect. Ugh. But now just have to move forward. I need to change my budget somehow to deal better with this stuff.

Crystal said...

Great job! I really need to get with it again - I've back-slid the past couple of months! Thank you for your posts - they are VERY encouraging!!

Laura said...

Thank you all so much! We are not directly affected by the flooding, but we are keeping a lot of friends (and their access roads) in our prayers these days. There is a streambed that runs on two properties adjacent to ours and it is running, but where we live is rolling hill prairie and our home is considerably higher than the streambed.

I think we all have weeks that aren't as 'frugal-rific' as others, hee hee...and sometimes we just decide so splurge on something. If it's not going to make you lose your house or something, dire, I think it's OK. The overall habit is what matters - don't give up! :)

Mari said...

I had a pretty good week. I spent more than planned at the grocery store today, but I stocked up on ground beef, bought some fancy brie cheese as a treat, and bought several bags of candy for the office candy jar (if you are going to take, you should also give...)

However, I got some great bargains. I stopped at the farmer's market this morning because red peppers were a bit pricey at the store and I thought I might be able to get a couple for a better price. Did I ever! One stand had a bumper crop of peppers this week and you could fill a plastic bag of peppers and eggplant for $5. I'm not a big eggplant person, but they had several kinds, incuding a thin-skinned white variety. I took 4 because they are small and I will give them a try. They also fit in the bag with the 22 red, yellow, and green peppers I got. I could have fit a few more in the bag, but at some point you feel kind of greedy taking that many, especially when it is just me in the house until Thanksgiving. I'm going to use most of them to make the red pepper relish in the Ball Blue Book. It's really tasty and a few small (quarter pint?) jars will be included in Christmas presents.

Yesterday I bought half-bushels of peaches and tomatoes for $13 each because they are "seconds". I have already polished off the peaches - 12 pints canned, 8 cups frozen, 4 kept for fresh eating, and one peach pie made. Not one peach was rotten. This is also a big deal for me because I often am more enthusiastic about buying than processing and some of the fruit usually goes bad. I'm going to do the tomatoes tomorrow and Tuesday after work. Each half bushel weighs about 22 pounds, so this means the peaches and tomatoes cost less than 60 cents a pound.

I ate out once this week, at the restaurant attached to the fruit market and had some excellent fried chicken with mashed potatoes and corn fritters for $13, including a generous by percentage tip. Worth.every.penny!!!!

I also cancelled the cable TV effective next week. This will save me $48 per month and a lot of time.

Mari said...

Sheila, I have a daughter who is a freshman in college and can feel your pain on the PSAT cost. My only advice is to start including some money in your budget because it only gets worse. In spring of sophomore year, it's the class ring. Junior year - the prom, the SAT and/or ACT, AP tests if your daughter takes AP classes ($85 a pop), possibly driver's ed if your school doesn't provide it (ours didn't and it is required in Maryland - $320), and increased car insurance rates once she gets her license (ours went up ONLY $30 a month because I shopped around a lot, changed companies, and got a group discount through my very, very large employer). Senior year - you don't even want to know. Senior portraits are ridiculously expensive but I still purchased them because I had not done any formal pictures in years and she was GORGEOUS in them. College applications, more SAT/ACT tests probably, trips to check out colleges (also in spring of junior year), more AP tests, deposits for housing and admission once she decides on a college, senior prom and possibly after-party, graduation gift and possibly a party, if you want to do that (we skipped that one), maybe a senior trip depending on what kids in your area do (in Maryland, they tend to go to Ocean City but my daughter skipped that because she doesn't drink and she could pick up extra shifts at work from kids who did go). That summer you will be buying things for college presuming she goes away; even when you buy used, it adds up.

There are probably other items that I don't remember, but I think I have probably made you cry enough already. You may or may not choose to do some or even all of these things, but you should be aware of them. As my sister once said, the costs don't go down when they are teens, the money just goes for different things.

momma-lana said...

I started off the week pretty well with grass fed organic ground round marked down to $2 a pound and 3 pound bags of organic apples for 2.48. I made some new things from scratch and put some ready made meals in the freezer to prevent eating out. Things went down after that with my Father-in-law in the hospital and a phone call from my Mom where she was not making any sense. Worries always make things tough when the elderly parents are 500 miles away. I am thankful we were going to see and check on all them this week anyway.

I enjoy reading your post each week!

momma-lana said...

Sheila-When we had kids at home I always had a 'Non-budgeted" category in our budget for just such expenses. It was so helpful. Other than that I do what I call budget skimming where I go through the entire budget and take money from any category that can give up any amount of money. I have at times come up with $200 or more this way for an unexpected expense. I will do whatever I have to do to not touch the savings account.

Mari said...

Momma-lana, I totally understand your parental concerns based on my own experience. I strongly suggest you have your Mom checked out to see if she had a stroke, especially if she shows any physical weakness but really even if she doesn't. At the very least, see if you can talk to her doctor, although she will need to be there or give you permission

Sheila said...

I think my comment may have been lost, but forgive me if I'm repeating. Mari and Momma-lana - thank you. Well, Mari did not exactly make my day with that list of expenses :), but I do need to be aware of what is coming. The driving stuff we have already done. She has a car and drives herself to and from school. It's 20-25 minutes one way, and I was having to go there and back twice each day and work that into my work schedule. I am really blessed in my job (work 30 hours/week from home for full-time level pay and benefits) and we felt it didn't look good for me to be gone so much in addition to it just being such a burden. I was able to skim most of the expenses from other items and only took about $15 from savings this time, but I know that I just have to have something 'extra' put aside. I used to have an 'unexpected expense', but had to remove that due to all the 'expected' expenses. :) But need to figure something out. I'll have to look at this weekend, because this isn't the only time this has happened. I know both kids will be playing basketball, so that will be $320 that I need to come up with sometime in December/January. I do have a school expenses category, but won't have enough to cover that. Anyway, definitely need to change something! Thanks for the support and advice!

Anonymous said...

Did I have a frugal week. Hahahahaha not in my town. Milk for instance is around $3 a litre (one cup more than a quart) for the lactose free. My package of eight panini (little Italian breads) is $2.95, Coffee is $6 or more per small can. Our town is found to have the distinction of having the highest priced groceries in North America.

Cheers from WriterLinda

Laura said...

I love that y'all are sharing information about things I've not experienced yet. Thank you for being so awesome and sharing details like costs, various things to plan for, etc.

Don't smack me...but when I was a kid, I worked part time after school, did babysitting, etc. to help pay for fuel, insurance, etc. I certainly realize that everyone is in different situations, kids in sports or academics or other things, but for us, working to bring in a little to cover our own expenses was just part of all that. :) Is it still pretty common for kids to work part time after school or on the weekends?

Laura said...

Linda, we used to live in Hawaii, so I know what it's like when the costs for things are higher than the prices you hear about on frugal blogs. I think you have to be frugal in different ways in those places - you make sure to not over-buy things that don't keep very long, for example. I bet at $6 for a small can, you are more conscious about how much coffee you make on a given morning!

I'm so tickled that you stopped by! :)

Mari said...

Laura, my daughter did have a part-time job from January through August (when she left to go to school out of state). She did pay for her own clothes, prom expenses, entertainment, etc, and had to give me 50% of each paycheck towards college. Since she made minimum wage, that is basically covering her spending money for the year with a bit towards books. She also babysat a few times but did not like that much. She worked at a movie theater and could get herself and a friend in for free, so she see lots of movies!

Unfortunately, with the current economy, employers either aren't.hiring as many employees or, if they are, they have some more experienced people from whom to choose. Many employers, including my daughter's, have decided to cut back the hours for large groups of employees so the max anyone can work is 28. This was done to avoid the penalties for not providing health insurance to anyone working 30 hours or more a week, even if they already had health insurance. Several people my daughter knows had to get second jobs to fill the income gap to pay for school, families, etc.

I am not making a political statement on this, I am just trying to explain it. Let's face it, we probably all know people who were laid off in the past few years and their employers found they don't need as many people on staff. I think this is even truer for teenagers.

Sheila said...

Laura, My daughter just got a job 3 weeks ago. :) Jobs for teens are harder to come by, especially in a retirement town like we live in, because a lot of retirees try to supplement their incomes. However, she is only working 3.5 hours a week - one afternoon a week. She is at a really rigorous school and has a lot of homework, runs cross-country and is taking an online college class. Even 3.5 hours/week is actually a bit challenging. We are still discussing how to handle the income she has begun to make. My 13-year-old is hoping to get a job next summer at the church camp she went to. I can say that most of the teens we know do not work, do not seem to want to work, and their parents appear (from our view) to support that. Our daughter has had several comments from friends about why is she taking college classes now - do college in college, and high school now is their attitude. In our family, we feel that taking college classes now (especially with free tuition in our situation!) will help her in many ways in the future. I wonder if teens in other areas work more than they do here.

Becky said...

As is true for most weeks, this one was a mix between frugal and not frugal. Probably the best deal we got was at Fred Meyers. They were having a big sale and had a daily deal of a chicken from the deli for 91 cents. It took quite a bit of work, since my husband had to register our card, and load it with this offer before he went in there to buy it. He was not sure we would get one, since he did not have the time to stand there for a long time waiting for them to finish more. We served it for dinner with a few cut up veggies, some rice spaghetti I found in the back of the cupboard and some sauce I had frozen a while back. This morning I used up some corn grits I found in a coupboard. They were good. I just made it like cream of wheat and the kids put milk and sugar on it.


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