Saturday, November 16, 2013

Frugal Highlights

Rainforest Exhibit, Denver Zoo

If you don't blog, you may not realize that those who do blog are able to start a post, set a future date, and then work on the post, edit, etc. until it's time for it to post.  I usually do that with the frugality posts, so that as stuff happens, I can make a little note.

I didn't do that this week, so this will be whatever I can remember....

We heart snakes!

Daughter can jump as far as a flea!

We went to the zoo on free admission day, which saved us $32 in admission fees.  You know who else went to the zoo?  Everybody.  That's why we parked on 17th street...the entrance to the zoo is on 23rd.  So we got in some walking too!

Daughter with a handful of penguins!

It was a beautiful, fun day.  Perfect weather, time with family - life is good!

I baked some bread this week, and it came out really nice.  I also made sweet and sour chicken, spaghetti with sauce, salads, the best pot roast I think I've ever made (the gravy was awesome too), ginger-orange glazed carrots, a pot of rice and other things, I'm sure...that I don't remember.

honey-wheat-oatmeal bread for a lesson at church

I subbed at the library a little bit last Saturday, and then worked all day this Saturday.

I figured out that I'd really make pretty good use of a teakettle.  I asked friends and determined that stainless was the way to go.  The one I picked out was $30...but I got this one second hand (but only used a time or two) for $5.

Laundry was washed with homemade laundry soap and dried on drying racks.

I used coupons to get Triscuits and Wheat Thins for .79 a box, also Challenge Butter for 1.29 a pound.  The same sale is still on.  I may purchase more butter.

I accepted two pumpkins at church.  They were going to throw them away.

My neighbor gave us some canning jars.  He said some of them are probably mine from when I've given him jam or preserves at Christmas.  At any rate, I'm 16 jars richer, plus his wife gave me a canning funnel and a jar lifter.

I've kept up with my walking, putting in 7+ miles per week.

We've used the wood stove to keep the house warm at night.  It's been warm most days, so a little baking or other kitchen work has kept the house warm in the daytime.

We've gotten books and media from the library, free of charge.

I signed up for a community 'toy box'.  It works like this:  The lady who started it gathered up toys that her children and the children of a few friends have outgrown.  Now, the box is circulating through the people who signed up for it.  When the box comes to a participant, s/he may take whatever s/he wants from the box, and then re-stock the box with excess items from his/her own children.  The toys need to be in new/like new condition, and from what I'm hearing, many of the people participating plan to use the toys as Christmas gifts for their children.  When everyone has had a turn who wants a turn, the remaining toys will be donated to a local charity.  I already have a few things set aside to put in the box when it's our turn. :)

Well, Dearies, that's what I remember.  How did you save money this week?

Love to all,
-Laura at TenThingsFarm


Sheila said...

I love the zoo pictures! So many happy memories of times we went there! I don't remember the name of the building, but I think it's the one that has the penguins in front in the picture with your daughter, but I loved the bird building. There was one room with a bench and if you sat quietly for a bit you could see so much and the birds would come over right by you! Of course, we did get pooped on one day, but that's how it goes! :)

I colored my hair (been doing this for YEARS) and refilled the ink cartridges in the printer. I'm not loving that task, but wow, our printer goes through a lot of ink, so it's worth my time. Repaired a pair of jeans for my daughter and a shirt for my husband. Sometimes the things I do get repetitive (cooking from scratch, air drying some (some!) of our clothes, etc.), but I try to keep the big picture of how much money these things save in the long run.

I don't know if it counts as frugal really, but in light of at the layoffs at work I did get my resume updated and contacted people to act as references for me and have that typed and ready to go. I hope I don't need it, but I know it was probably easier to do while I have a job than it would be if I don't. Truly, if we can get a few more things paid for I won't need to work. When our daughter graduates next year, it will take a big payment out of our budget as well (private school tuition). Of course, as soon as I say that, the other daughter will choose the private school, but I think she will stay in the public schools. Her middle school has been such a good experience - honestly much better than the private Christian school my older daughter was in for middle school in Colorado.

I hope you have a good week! I so enjoyed the pictures of the zoo! One favorite memory is my younger daughter in first grade had a field trip to the zoo there. I went with them, and we stayed after the buses left and enjoyed more time. I bought her an ice cream cone and just love the picture I have of her with her big smile and ice cream cone. She's 13 now. :)

Jennifer said...

Beautiful bread, Laura, and nice prices on food! Better than what I'm seeing up here in Oregon. I had a pet go to the vet this last week and it was unexpectedly expensive. I decided to treat that as a learning experience. Sometimes that's the best that you can do.
Sat Nov 9; total spent: $33.36
• Saved $0.20/gallon on gas. There are a handful of cheap gas stations equidistant from my house. It’s up to me to reduce fuel prices with store fuel rewards, preferably by accumulating them as cheaply as possible by providing receipt feedback or taking advantage of bonus buys.
• Spent an overnight visit with family, a roundtrip of 130 miles. For dinner, we cooked using ingredients that were on hand and altered a recipe for pork roast accordingly. It was soooo good! Pork roast with pan sauce, homemade applesauce from homegrown apples, mashed potatoes and salad with blue cheese dressing.

Sun Nov 10; total spent: $0
• Ate leftovers for lunch and dinner after homemade breakfast with family.
• Diluted the last of the dog’s spray-in conditioner so that I can get a couple more uses from the remnants in the bottle after giving him a bath.
• Diluted apple juice to drink.

Mon Nov 11; total spent: $303.40
• Took dog to the vet for a non-emergency surgical procedure this morning. $303.40
• I had a pound of preformed burgers that I used in a pasta recipe. These burgers were a coupon purchase over the summer. I cut the slightly thawed burgers into cubes and cooked them in a skillet. Added one package of Hamburger Helper (past purchase @ $0.60), 1/4C extra water and a handful of extra noodles. Cooked for 19 minutes. I always try to stretch packaged noodle dishes with extra pasta, and usually less meat to make them cheaper.

Tues Nov 12; total spent: $40.63
• Shopped at St. Vinnie’s and Goodwill. Bought a pj t-shirt for $3.27 and pj pants for $3.97. Made a $1 donation for holiday meals for the needy.
• Purchased cat food which was luckily on sale because I couldn’t find a coupon; $32.39.

Wed Nov 13; total spent: $81.32
• Used a gift card I got last year for Bath and Body Works. Got two large holiday scented candles for myself and three small shower gels for stocking stuffers.
• Purchased a dog calendar for my grandma. This is an annual purchase that she expects for Christmas. There were three to choose from, but only one had a 30% off coupon. Guess which one I bought?!? :) $10.49
• Picked up the Thanksgiving Butterball turkey at $0.99/lb at Walmart (price matched to Target) for a total of $20.91. Using coupons, I also spent only $0.70 more total for four boxes of Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes, four cans of S&W beans and two shower poufs. The poufs are stocking stuffers.
• While at Walmart, I also checked and wrote down prices on other holiday food items.
• Made an au gratin potato and chicken casserole for dinner.
• Purchased sale items for stockpiles and holiday dinners: Fred Meyer-$30.51 (highlights-three gallons milk reduced to $1.49/gal and six ½ gallons of apple juice for 35 cents each!!!); Walgreens-$18.71 ($2 register rewards and 16 bars of Dial soap at ~19 cents per bar).

Thurs Nov 14; total spent $0
• Made half batch of chocolate chip cookies to satisfy my sweet tooth. Sometimes it’s better to give in to this craving at home with something homemade rather than running the risk of an impulse purchase when I’m at the stores.

Fri Nov 15; total spent $33.85
• Purchased sale items for food stockpile and holiday dinners: Safeway (63% receipt savings)-$18.16 (highlights: six 18.7oz boxes of Kellogg’s raisin bran for $1.17 ea; free 2L pop); Fred Meyer-$11.27 (highlights: Philadelphia 8oz cream cheese for 99 cents; Nestle Toll House morsels $1.63; free strip of yeast); Albertson’s-$4.42 (highlights-bag salad 79 cents).
• Finished leftovers for dinner.
• Provided receipt feedback for Wednesday’s purchase in exchange for 50 fuel points.

momma-lana said...

Now we know your secret!! I have a terrible time remembering how we saved money for a whole week!

Hubby and I do not buy Christmas gifts for each other. Instead we put aside a certain amount of money to be used for something later. Friday night we went to a bluegrass concert and the tickets were purchased with half of last years Christmas money. We do not need anymore things around here and we would not have just bought those tickets out of our regular budget. We very much prefer this to trying to guess what the other one will love and get a warm fuzzy feeling from receiving. The concert was a blast. We also purchased a CD from our favorite band that played from that money for a souvenir so to speak. We will enjoy that for sometime to come and remember the fun evening we had. Just an idea for anyone else struggling with the spouse gift thing.

We repurposed a triple dresser that we had in one of our guest rooms. Hubby removed the drawers from one end and put shelves there and we replaced the hideous hardware and painted it. Now we have a beautiful new TV stand/entertainment center. We brought home a large, nearly new TV from my father-in-law's house after he died last month and had nowhere to put it. The transformation cost us only $25.
We will enjoy having a TV large enough to read words on the screen from across the room.

I have started cooking for Thanksgiving and stashing food in the freezer. Hubby is gone right now to pick up the free turkey that his employer gives out.

Early in the week I roasted a whole chicken and made broth which turned into 4 meals for us and included one meal with our oldest daughter and her munchkin. I picked up many free items at the grocery store this week. I earned 35 cents in Fuelperks at one store and only spent $15 to get them. I was able to donate a large bag of food to the soup kitchen this morning at church from our stockpile. I baked bread and we ate at home all week. I made applesauce with some apples that were started to get shriveled and froze 2 containers and we had a big bowl to eat. Our one year old grandson does NOT like Nana's homemade applesauce. He made all sorts of faces while we tried to feed it to him. Monday night we had homemade mac n cheese with ham. The Cracker Barrel cheese was $1, the ham steak was 75 cents and the milk was free. Along with some BOGO macaroni it was a very inexpensive meal that made 5 large servings.

I ordered a new pair of jeans for myself and used a $25 off $50 code from retail me not. I know that would not seem thrifty but I never find clothes in my plus size at thrift stores so I save how ever I can to buy them. I have put off buying a new pair for way too long hoping that I would find them at one of the outlet stores I shop at.

Our out of state grandson's 4th birthday was today and I saved on his birthday gifts by ordering from Yo Yo and having it shipped straight to them. I used a promo code for that too and it came out to a good deal. They just raised their free shipping to $49 so I won't be using them in the future.

I received a bunch of samples in the mail this week. Our youngest daughter was over when hubby brought the mail in said that I get the weirdest stuff in the mail. Well, yippee for weird stuff. I have gotten quite a few free k-cups lately and that is always a plus.

I cannot think of anything else, until I post this, that is. :)

Have a good week everyone!

Laura said...

Y'all are amazing! So many great ideas - I really appreciate you posting so much great info. :) Sheila, I think you're wise to update your resume' now instead of waiting. If you never need it, it's updated as of now, and if you do, you can move forward with a sense that you're a little more prepared.

That was our first time at the Denver zoo. I liked it. I think it's smart to go in cooler weather, because it's not so 'fragrant', and it's nice weather for walking (I'm not a big fan of hot weather).

Jennifer, I know just what you mean about counting some things as learning experience. Several years ago when we were having some trouble with an appliance, we finally had a service guy out. $279 later, I just marked it up as 'training'. I watched every single thing he did (whether he liked it or not - but hey, I was also the one writing the check!) and I learned a lot about what to do the next time we had a concern.

Thanks also for the compliment about the bread - it's a pretty easy recipe that's really reliable. I'll post it soon. :)

Lana, we buy little gifts, but this year, our gift to one another is some dirt work! We're getting some stumps knocked out, a little bit of grading done, and then gravel for the driveway. It'll really make a big difference, and there's no sense buying something big that we don't need. :)

I'd love to see a picture of the dresser's transformation - it sounds really interesting! I picked up an antique dresser this week that's in good-but-not-great shape, and I am considering how we can use it...perhaps with a wee bit of alteration. :)

Here's to another frugal week! :)

Jennifer said...

momma-lana: I can totally commiserate with your clothing situation. I'm tall and wear plus size clothing too. I don't think I've ever been able to find a pair of jeans in a thrift shop in the size I am now with the length I need. I wrote that I bought a t-shirt and pants for pj's this last week from the thrift store... from the men's section! :) This is so I don't have to wear highwaters in winter.
Anyhow, I wanted to say that I think being frugal is about spending money smartly within whatever situations we face. Your time is money too and you made a smart decision based on experience to purchase jeans from an online retailer at a 50% discount! Nicely done! :)

The Moxley Family said...

Ive been wanting a tea kettle! I need to keep my eyes out for one. Here's my link.

momma-lana said...

Laura, there is a picture of the finished dresser on my Facebook page. Pinterest is full of ideas for repurposing furniture. Basically, my husband took the three drawers out of one end and cut out all of the drawer support. He added some 1x2 pieces to hold two shelves on that end. We bought new hardware for the remaining drawers and a quart of black paint. The hardware I bought was pricey but I felt it would be worth it and it was. Most of the work was the 3 coats of paint it took to cover everything. It would have cost hundreds to buy a TV stand like we ended up with. we are very happy with it.

Jennifer, Thanks for the feedback! Only certain body types can dress frugally in my opinion. The rest of us do what we can to save. :)


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