Tag Archives: frugal

It Started Frugal . . .

RetroLaceHeartValentineGraphicsFairyThe week started out frugal.  I had a “Secret Valentine” at work (like Secret Santa) and I made her Cupid Crunch (popcorn and pretzels coated in Wilton confectionary coating with added pink M n M’s and sprinkles for bling).  I also gave her stargazer lilies in a vase from Goodwill which I swear was leaded crystal.  I got it for .49 during a “yellow ticket happy hour” of sorts.

We also had a breakfast social at work and I made my Irish soda bread, which is delicious and uses ingredients I have on hand.

We ate at home and used a lot of pantry items.

How was your Valentine’s Day?  I made “black magic” cupcakes, which is one of those famous recipes that I believe originated with Hershey’s cocoa.  My husband picked up our traditional heart-shaped pizza from a local restaurant.

Each week we have a set amount of money we can spend, and when we don’t spend it all, we like to allocate it to savings or other budget areas we are focusing on.  Today we went to Target.  Need I say more?  I think we had 10.00 left at the end of the week.  Much of what we purchased at Target was organic frozen meals which Mr. Saver takes for lunch.  Fortunately, we don’t get to Target very often which minimizes the damage.

At this time we are pretty set budget-wise for kid summer activities.  Our main budget focus is saving for family vacation and overall savings.

 

 

What I Did This Week to Save Money 5/30

IMG_7334

Neighbor’s tree peony

Today is Memorial Day in the US, and it has been a weekend of extreme relaxation and general laziness!  I have been reading kids’ fiction while lounging on my front porch.  Finished The Lightning Thief and onto The City of Ember.  Both are very good and free via my library’s e-book loan option.

In the “Oh Yes I Did” money saving category I had two price adjustments this week.  One was the result of an expired sale price the store had neglected to remove from the shelving and the other was a price that was incorrect in their computer.  Each was around 1.50… enough of a discrepancy to make me seek out a refund.

It’s far too early for us to have food from our garden (other than rhubarb and chives!) but I loaded up on sale zucchini, peaches, pears and figs… all from .99 – 1.49/lb.

The long weekend of lounging left me unmotivated to shop, so we have had a lot of meals using items from the freezer.  Grilled chicken became quesadillas; Trader Joes veggie masala patties paired with a piece of naan, hummus, and spinach for a “Mediterranean plate.”  Tonight we are cooking out using meat from the freezer.

I hung my wash out… and am showing DD how to do it so she can help this summer.

A parent of a child in my daughter’s grade is taking up a group collection for end of the year teacher gifts.  I made a contribution using our “education expenses” budget category. This is really helpful because in middle school it is a challenge to thank all of the teachers and specialists.  Last year the collection raised enough to also give a gift to the aides, which is wonderful.  At our last home budget meeting we started increasing funding in the “education expenses” category so we will be ready for back to school in a few months.

Goals for the coming week… putting away winter boots and mittens. Clip coupons and check CVS ad.  Freeze rhubarb.  Get to Office Depot for sale on paper.

 

 

What I Did This Week to Save Money – 5/22

IMG_7284Ah, 12 days until school is out!  All things ‘summer’ are on our horizon, like vacation reading programs at the library, free concerts in the park, and no 7:00 AM school bus!  On the flip side, I do not get paid in summer, so this is a good time to get the money-saving muscles back into form.

This week:

  • DD won her teacher free subs for a YEAR, free catered lunch for her advisor class, and a free sub coupon for herself because she entered her favorite teacher in a teacher appreciation contest!
  • Ebates check!
  • Dried towels and sheets in the back yard
  • Had a strong meal plan…  bought ground chuck for 2.99 a pound and had both tacos and taco salad from the pound of meat
  • Downloaded free e-books from the library.  No gas, no clutter.. just have to read quickly!
  • Spent the weekend taking lots of bike rides.  The crabapple blossoms are so beautiful and fragrant!
  • Made rhubarb crisp using our abundant rhubarb
  • Made oatmeal cookies and added some chocolate covered sunflower seeds I received as a gift months ago.  It was a good match!
  • Closed out our week with a quick budget meeting.  Unspent money at the end of the week is being saved for a renovation project and for vacation in 2017… England, hopefully!

How was your week?

Beauty bike riding

Beauty bike riding

 

Amazon – Saving the Lazy Way

Scholastic Image

Scholastic Image

“Necessity never made a good bargain” – who else, but Ben Franklin

Mr. Saver is the guru of all things Amazon.com, and recently he had quite a rewarding, pat-on-the-back experience that made us both glad he is such a diligent planner.

Some time ago, our carbon monoxide detector reached its “end of life” and started to make a unique chime every 60 seconds.  After replacing the unit, he thought that some of our other fire/CO detectors could also be hitting that milestone (if you are a new homeowner, a distinctive chime may mean “end of life” – check the back of the device.  They last 5-10 years).  He shopped Amazon for the latest and greatest and placed some units on his “wish list.”  He checks the wishlist frequently and noticed one day that the price had dropped quite a lot.  He pounced, knowing we could pay for this from our home maintenance fund.

Just this weekend one of the devices in the basement started making a unique chime (and isn’t it fun to try to figure out which one it is?)  He had recently changed batteries, so end of life was the reason for the chime.  He pulled out his new unit, bought leisurely and at a low price, and proceeded to earn that pat-on-the-back.

If you anticipate a purchase in the months to come (back to school?  Christmas?), why not start watching for low prices now?

For Mr. Saver’s other Amazon tips, including a full analysis of saving with Subscribe and Save, go here!

 

What I Did This Week to Save Money – 5/8

Finding Beauty at Home

Finding Beauty at Home

You might recall my angst a week ago when I realized we had been to the grocery store EIGHT times, and had heaps of emergency purchases due to all of us being sick.  This week felt much improved.

This week I:

  • hit the grocery store on double coupon day, which was worthwhile because we were pretty much out of everything.
  • found chicken on sale and took advantage of that (2.99/lb boneless/skinless). The package will be enough for two meals and it was just under $3.00
  • will use heaps of Saltines from when family was sick to make homemade chicken tenders
  • went to the store with a meal plan in mind – spent 60.00 for the week
  • used up some crystallized honey in millet muffins.  I have had the ingredients for a while but needed to get down to business and make them.  I am glad to have the container of honey gone as it was difficult to work with.
  • made twice-baked potatoes while the oven was already heated from the muffins; used my abundant garden chives
  • free entertainment was reading my back issues of Victoria magazine and watching a free movie on Amazon “The Holiday” – thank you to DH for watching this ultimate “chick flick!”
  • reviewed our seed purchases for the garden –  seemed a little light on food and heavy on herbs.  Picked up some Swiss chard seeds for 25% off.
  • spent Saturday after grocery shopping at home and napped!
Millet

Millet

Budget surprise this week:

  • More clarinet reeds.  Eighteen days left of school, but Murphy’s Law….  We do keep a budget line funded for school expenses.

How was your week?

 

 

Working and Unconscious Spending

Free-Downloads-Vector-Vintage-Stove-GraphicsFairy-redWith summer comes a break from employment for me because I work in a school.  This past year I worked more hours, and I am thinking about how that affected my behavior with our money.

All along we have been staying debt-free and working a budget, but even within that I can see an increase in ‘buying to get through the week’ kind of behavior – unconscious spending.  I can tell I haven’t been as mindful with money when I am afraid to see what the grocery spending looks like when I run a report in Quicken.  I haven’t run one in a long time, but did so tonight.  It was better than I expected, but lots of room for improvement.  When I get lax with our shopping and meal planning, it generally costs us about an additional 100.00 a month.

It’s easy to get in the mindset of picking up convenience items at the store, and saying ‘yes’ to impulse purchases, when you are so busy.  Yet, that isn’t really how I want to spend the money I go to work to earn.  What I dislike even more than the expenditure, is the unconscious part of the spending.  Unconscious spending to me means those expenditures where I say, “Looks good, I’ll pick one up.  Why not.”  Conscious spending is when I might deviate from my plan, but I do so with intention and joy (and a definite plan to use the item soon).

If any persons think some of the maxims too rigidly economical, let them inquire how the largest fortunes among us have been made.  They will find thousands and millions have been accumulated by a scrupulous attention to sums ‘infinitely more minute than sixty cents.’

-The American Frugal Housewife, 1832

Meccas for unconscious spending:  Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fresh Market  All danger zones!  I don’t belong to Costco but I suspect that it also belongs on the list.

So, I am contemplating this summer how to find that balance come fall between minding the food expenses and not running around all weekend with coupons and grocery store flyers.  Your input is welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got $10 and Time?

Mr. Saver is Head Gardener in our home.  He was researching shrubs and trees and came across a wonderful, economical resource at the Arbor Day Foundation.  The Arbor Day Foundation sells an enormous variety of evergreens, fruit and nut trees, shrubs, and flowering trees, many of them priced from $ 4.00 to $ 19.00.  Who needs Monrovia at the garden center?!

Of course, there is a catch.  The plants are small, many from 6″ to 3 feet.  So, you need to be both frugal and patient to make this work.  There is also a “tree wizard” which will help you select the best trees for your growing conditions.

I was drawn to the “American Beech”  – its “beech nuts” serve as an important food for wild turkeys, foxes, and porcupines!  It grows 70 feet tall, has fall color, and you get all that for the low low price of $ 9.00!

Note – they only ship in spring and fall.  This is not a sponsored post – just sharing!