Saturday, November 9, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments!

Husband wanted some bean dip.  It's 2.50 a can at the store, so he looked for a copycat recipe online and found one here.  It's really tasty, and believe me, it didn't cost nearly so much. 

We planned a menu for the week, and I made kimchee, rice, chicken katsu, tongkatsu sauce, bean sprout salad, hash browns, eggs, nachos, turkey enchiladas, skillet lasagna turkey-alphabet soup and beef and vegetable curry. 

We went out one night for pizza at a place that's participating in a program with UPromise.  The pizza was $10, but because we ate there and paid with the UPromise card, $10 was deposited into Daughter's college fund account.  They are doing this same promotion with Burger King, so if/when I'm in town, I've been buying some little something there, and then getting the $10 deposited into her account.  (This is for up to five total transactions.) Can I just say it's really weird to use a credit card to buy a 59 cent hamburger?

We signed up for (and later picked up) the Free Friday Download at King Sooper.  This time it was our choice of a free cookie mix or muffin mix.  Online, I signed up for a free probiotics sample.  I got a coupon from Safeway for a free Kraft dinner sauce and Mars sent us coupons for free product and $2 off any product.  I took a survey and earned $3.  I used a BOGO coupon at the bread outlet and got two loaves of light/lowcarb bread for $2, and I used a $10 gift card that Kohls sent us to get a Christmas present for daughter and an ornament for our tree.

I used about $9 in coupons at the store and stocked up on a few things.  After sales and coupons, Triscuits were 1.29 a box, Campbell's cream soups were .29 each, Betty Crocker cake mixes and Hormel chili (chicken chipotle-yum!)  were .49, and turkeys were .59 a pound.  I picked up the second turkey of the season, cut it into parts and wrapped/froze them, then simmered the frame for stock and soup.  I would like to get four more turkeys between now and Thanksgiving, but I have to make sure I have the freezer space before I do any more.  (How's that for a happy problem?)

There were some great produce sales this week.  .88 a pound for lots of apple varieties, including Honeycrisp, which is my new favorite.  .98 a pound for black grapes, .48 a pound for bananas, .88 a head for leaf lettuces, .88 a bunch for celery, green onions and bunch radishes for .48 each, roma tomatoes for .88 a pound, 12 oz. cranberries for $1, cabbage for .48 a pound and big yellow onions for .48 a pound.  Yummy!

It's the time of year when I seem to get a lot of opportunities to sub at the library.  I worked all day Saturday, a few hours Tuesday, and this coming Saturday, I'll have five hours in the afternoon.  (yay!)  I'm truly grateful to have this opportunity.  I love the library, it's fun to be there and it helps me stay current with my skills. 

Early in the week I canned 6 quarts of turkey stock from the turkey I bought and parted out last week.  A whole turkey is far too large for us, so I cut them up, much like a chicken, then freeze the breast halves and thighs for future use.  I simmer the legs, wings and frame, dice the meat and make stock.  I also froze containers of diced turkey (already cooked) that we can use lots of different ways.  I usually can the diced turkey, but since this was a smaller amount, freezing makes more sense.  If I get several turkeys at one time that I'm parting out, I'll have enough to fill the canner with pints.  We'll see!  Right now I'm just getting one turkey at a time...and with the second one, I wrapped the legs and wings and froze those for later instead of cooking them and dicing the meat.

Right before Halloween, I put the word out that I would take unwanted pumpkins - carved or not - after the holiday.  I did specify that I didn't want carved ones that had been soaked in bleach water.  On Monday I went on a small route in a neighborhood near our house and picked up 14 pumpkins I'd been offered.  The carved ones (there were five) and one of the whole ones that is a bit soft will be fed to our chickens.  I'll process the others to make pumpkin butter and puree' for soups, breads, cookies, pie, etc. 

The next day, I told people they could leave pumpkins in the bed of my truck while I was working at the library.  I got ten more that way.  Yikes!

One of the pumpkins had rhinestones attached to it.  Daughter removed them and used them in a craft project.  We drew pictures one evening, using the backs of printed pages we no longer needed. 

I did a little sewing and made a book bag from fabric and notions I had on hand. 

It has gotten cold outside, so we're heating much of the day with firewood.  I have to walk indoors now, on the treadmill, which I find much harder (as in, I don't want to do it) compared to walking outdoors.  I've been borrowing Husband's Ipad and watching the tv show Kitchen Nightmares on Netflix.  If that's not motivation to cook at home, I'm not sure what is!

On our town/errand day, we stopped at Goodwill.  I got a cardigan style sweater, a velvet pullover top and a scarf for myself for less than any one of them would have cost in a store.  I also picked up a book for myself and one to give to a friend...and this cute piece of bakeware!  It would make a gigantic loaf of quick bread, but I'll likely use it for things like au gratin potatoes.

It was a busy week.  I am hoping for a little less busy in the weeks to come, but I don't see that on the horizion.  How was your week?  Leave a comment! :)


Jennifer said...

Hi Laura! After reading your site and the Prudent Homemaker's site for last six months, I decided to finally create my own spending log this last week to keep me motivated through the holiday season. I've copy and pasted it here. (Funny that we both picked up some of the same sale items, shopped at thrift stores and hit the treadmill this week!) Thank you for your posts. They're honest, well-written and inspiring.

Sat Nov 2; total spent: $11
• Consolidated errands into one car trip. Bought 2 boxes of hair color for $2.50 each.
• Watched a Redbox movie for free and got another free promo code.
• Ate leftovers for dinner and lunch.
• Purchased a Groupon for a $10 Shell gas card for $6 (40% off gas!).

Sun Nov 3; total spent: $0
• Took dog for a walk to return movie.
• Made egg scramble for dinner using a leftover baked potato.

Mon Nov 4; total spent: $0
• Cooked shredded pork in the crockpot from the freezer stockpile for dinner: $1/lb bone-in pork roast, two $0.50 cans of green enchilada sauce, onion, salt and pepper. I shredded approximately 1 cup of this meat and mixed it with a can of black beans for burrito filling. The rest will be frozen for later meals. I also sieved, defatted and boiled the enchilada sauce back down. Added a portion of the sauce to the burrito filling and will freeze the rest.

Tues Nov 5; total spent: $17.34
• Had jury duty today. Went to the grocery store afterwards to purchase last minute sale items: two 30oz jars of Miracle Whip for $0.99/jar; 64oz bottle of Mott’s apple juice at $1; two boxes of Triscuits for $2.38 total. Receipt savings of 72%.
• Shopped at Goodwill and St. Vinnies. Bought two shirts for $11.98 at Goodwill. One shirt was new with original tag. I’m careful to watch clothing brands at Goodwill as the prices can be higher than buying new at the local chain stores. This is unfortunate, so I also take some comfort in knowing that I’m reusing an item and reducing waste.


Jennifer said...

Continued... (Sorry if this is annoyingly long; it's probably just a case of overenthusiasm. :))

Wed Nov 6; total spent: $58.61
• Started Christmas and spring birthday shopping early: spent $17.49 on gift for my mom and $24.96 on gifts for my niece. Last year I kept a tally list in my purse of gifts I had purchased or was planning on purchasing and it really helped me keep the costs within my budget for each person, including small items for stockings.
• Grocery shopped sale items. Albertson’s (50% receipt savings): 1lb bacon for $2.99; two boxes Hefty freezer bags at $1.50/box. Fred Meyer: four 1lb blocks Tillamook butter for $1.67ea; $0.30/can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup; six grapefruit at $2 total.
• Day 1 of food reduction plan (FRP), aka diet.:) I’m starting to “grow” out of my current size of jeans, and instead of buying a larger size, I decided I should attempt to lose weight in order to fit into all the smaller sizes I currently own. I’m approaching this as a frugal endeavor because it’s more interesting to me than becoming a smaller size as I’m fine with my overweight body and the doctor has declared me healthy as a horse. Reducing the amount of food I eat will save me money in groceries, although I will continue to purchase sale foods to stockpile and create meals from my stockpile. Spent 30 minutes on the treadmill.

Thurs Nov 7; total spent: $5
• Purchased $10 Starbucks Groupon for my sister as a stocking stuffer for $5.
• Provided online receipt feedback for last night’s Fred Meyer purchase to earn 50 fuel points.
• Day 2 of FRP; 30 min on treadmill.
• Diluted juice. When I have juice on hand, I usually find it too concentrated in flavor so I dilute 1/3 of the glass volume with water. I find it more refreshing this way and it extends the number of servings I get from a bottle.
• Finished leftovers for dinner. (Ugh! Officially done with burritos at the moment. Tortillas will go back into the freezer. Pasta or pizza is sounding good for dinner tomorrow.)

Fri Nov 8; total spent: $5.68
• Safeway (67% receipt savings): Betty Crocker cake mix, 2@$0.73 total; Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes 2@$1; Brawny paper towels, 6 big rolls for $3.95. Fred Meyer: Dole fruit smoothie for free; Betty Crocker muffin mix for free (and it only needs water!).
• Rented Redbox movie using free promo code.
• Day 3 of FRP; 30 min on treadmill.

Laura said...

Awesome, Jennifer! When you start to make notes about what you're doing, it can be SO encouraging. I applaud you for taking the time to do it! :)

Ginger said...

Sounds like a great week! I hope I can get more frugal as I go along on our new journey!!!

Laura said...

Ginger, I am always finding new little ways to save a little here and there or make do with something we have on hand. You can do it! :)

Cathy said...

The thing I am most happy with is that I found some insulation in some old stereo speakers in my basement. I used those strips tucked into large, black trash bags to make a wrap for my beehive. I used duct tape to wrap the trash bags into long sleeves and then used a strap to tie them around the outside of the hive. Free insulation for my hive!

My parents came to visit this weekend and gave me a huge cast iron wood stove for my house. They got it for only $50 from a guy that didn't want it anymore. It is pretty new and in really good shape! Now to just get the proper stove pipe to install it...

Laura said...

Yay, Cathy! That's such a smart way to protect the bees for winter time. Good for you! And...a wood stove? What a wonderful surprise! The pipe is pricey, but worth it. When I was a kid the single wall stuff was pretty much standard, and it would get really, really hot. The newer ones (we have triple wall insulated) don't heat up the building materials that surround them, so the risks are a lot lower. We heat with wood and save a ton of money doing it. :)

The Moxley Family said...

So much encouragement! Here's my link

momma-lana said...

It was a getaway week for us which translates into many meals out but they are budgeted for and we used coupons for every meal. We went to some thrift stores in the area and found some goodies. I found a four cup and saucer demitasse set that was made in Denmark for only 2.50. Our oldest daughter has been looking for this at thrift stores so I will just wrap it for Christmas for her. I ordered a bunch of Christmas presents from Amazon which means I saved a bit on them and I don't have to spend time or gas to go out and shop. Our adult children usually have very specific wants and good deals don't really come along for those items. Christmas is budgeted and saved for all year so I do not mind that I cannot find the items super cheap.

I have started stocking up on baking supplies as I see the sales. Last week I stocked up on White Lily bread flour for 1.98 for a 5 pound bag. My favorite flour for a great price! My husband's employer gives a turkey to all of the employees so all we have to do is go and pick it up. I am reminding myself not to buy an additional one because we will not want to eat it! I will keep an eye out or a great price on turkey breasts though.

I used my fuel perks this week to fill up for 2.43 a gallon. We buy all of our gas at BP because our vehicles run better on their gas. They have a new rewards program so we try to make sure we only buy gas at participating stations.

I have started cutting up bits and ends of bread and stashing it away in the freezer for the Thanksgiving stuffing. It is amazing how quickly I can save up enough cubed bread.

I have made my weeks menus and the Thanksgiving menu. Some items can be made ahead and frozen so that the work load is reduced. We are fortunate to be able to have 3 of our 5 children coming for the day.

We are expecting another grandchild! This is the biggest blessing of all from last week!


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