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Monday, August 28, 2017

Are you staying frugal?












Frugal doings lately:
> Received a $5 gift card from employer to use at workplace (convenience store).
> Have been making cold press coffee at home and have pretty much "quit" the coffee shops.
> Started to shop around for auto and home insurance. I'm positive we can find something far more affordable than what we currently have.
> I did shop around for an alternate garbage hauler. We've only got a couple available to us and the one we have appears to be the best price and service provider. The other couple cost roughly the same but only pick up recycling once per month instead of twice like our current hauler does. Didn't save us any money but puts me in the right frame of mind for seeking savings.
> Picked up three free bags of "high end" cat food with three different coupon offers from PetSmart. I did also purchase litter at a couple dollars more than I normally pay for the same product at Walmart. But I felt that a couple dollars for those three cat foods was a very small price to pay, especially when the bottom of the receipt stated that I'd saved over $48.
>Found a pair of pants at a garage sale that still had original department store tags on them that will be good for my work uniform... for $2. Tag says they originally were for sale for $56 at Macy's.
>Not a frugal win for myself, but still this makes me happy! I have a coworker/friend who just had a baby girl. I'd asked her if she minded garage sale baby clothes as I would keep an eye out for any nice items. She is fine with that sort of thing, thankfully. I found her lots of in new shape onesies and various other clothing items, boots, shoes, books... at several garage sales over a period of a few weeks. Probably only spent maybe $8 total for it all, if even that.
>Bought a couple of tank tops at a garage sale for myself for 25cents each.
>A friend gave me a pair of Skechers tennies that she wore for work for about 6mos. They are still in very good shape. They felt a little snug when I tried them on the first time. I intend to wear them for a few hours when going shopping or something to see if I can stretch them a little with wear. The size is an 8 & 1/2, and I fit that up to a 9 & 1/2 depending on brands and styles. If it doesn't work out for me I will return them to her and she will pass them on to the next person.
>My mother in law cleaned out her cupboards and gave us two bags full of rice, pasta, cake mix, etc. Pretty much all that starchy stuff I'm not supposed to eat. Some of it's expired and much of it will get tossed out. However, there's a few items that are good in to 2018 and we'd make use of, such as dried cherries, quinoa mix, dried beans, bags of shelf stable stew. Much will end up in garbage or compost though. I'd pass the rest on but feel like if expired is unappealing to me, it likely would be to others, too.
>Picked up eggs at work on sale for 48cents per dozen, which is a nearly unheard of price for our area. Also butter for $2.
> A friend asked me out for coffee. I suggested we do coffee at either her home or mine and play cribbage. I made a batch of scones with stuff we already have and brought those over to her house where she provided the coffee and cribbage game.
> Found a thin, button-up top for J at Goodwill. It had the right colored tag for 1/2off - paid less than $3 and it's in new condition.
> Ok. I may be getting way ahead of my adult kids... But I came across a Weebles bus and figures at a garage sale. The bag was wrapped and taped. I asked a lady running the sale how much it was. She took the bag and looked it over trying to find the price, too. She said, "How about a buck?" I didn't even have to give it another thought - SOLD! When I got home and opened it completely I discovered that they'd priced it but had folded and taped it over so the price wasn't showing. They'd originally wanted $6.
> Again. I may be a grandma some day down the road, maybe years from now, who knows... I also found a Little People airplane for 50cents! One character was included. I snapped that up, too. Yeah. My kids are adults, not married, no babies in sight. But I will be a prepared grandma. Both of the toys are in good condition, also. So happy with those finds.
> Been using frozen leftovers up sooner rather than later. I've cleared out some roasted chicken w/peas and fingerlings, curried chicken with rice, and tonight we are clearing out a container of pork roast w/cabbage to which I added a couple of small chopped potatoes that had grown "eyes".
> Borrowed "Gifted" and "Sully" dvd movies from the library.
> Received a free Redbox rental code that was good for two weeks from receipt date. Borrowed "Life" with that code.
> Stopped at an estate sale "after the sale" unloading where they let people take for free from the leftovers. I left with a couple of kids' books, about half a dozen workbooks for grades 1-4, a Little Tikes hippo flashlight, couple paperback novels for myself, some cloth napkins and two tea towels, a keychain with my nephew's name on it and a Neutrogena Microdermabrasion tool with two new sponges. Again, some of it is in anticipation of being a grandma some day, ha ha. But the keychain will be fun to mail to my nephew who just started college out of state, the Neutrogena tool is something I'd considered in the past to purchase. All for free.
> Popped in to Goodwill again and found a pair of Sonoma jeans and a.n.a. jeans for myself for a total of $10. Both are in great shape. I only had two pair of jeans and one of them are becoming a little... sheer in places and was needing to be replaced soon. Yay!
> Our little blueberry bushes produced enough blueberries to enjoy a few little handfuls - yum.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Are you staying frugal?

Eats lately:
Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese is so good on a thin slice of apple, pear or your cracker choice. Not really a recipe, just crush some nuts with a little spice, then roll and pat your cheese in it. I used 1/4t Penzey's baking spice blend.




Frugal doings lately:
> Bought a favorite brand of coffee that, while pretty expensive compared to my other favorite (Aldi's doughnut shop beans, light roast), will save me lots of $$ that I'd otherwise spend in the coffeehouses. It also happens to be an area roasted one that our little, non-chain coffee shops use.
> Along those lines: I ran out of my favorite sugar-free coffee syrup (Monin) and can't bring myself to pay for the cheaper brand at Sam's as it's just not as good. While my coffee doesn't taste quite the same without the syrup, it's been still pretty darn good with stevia drops (which I bought quite some time ago but found too bitter at the time). Not sure how long I can withstand going without Monin, but worth a try, ha ha!
> Pulled a bag of shrimp from deep down in the freezer. Made a little rice, let it cool, then mixed up a dressing/sauce and combined it with the rice and shrimp for a cold salad. (Recipe from a bottle salad dressing.) Cheap, satisfying dinner that I wouldn't have ever thought to make normally. I'm finding it sort of fun coming up with new ideas to use the "meat" items from deep down in the freezer and love not spending money on meat right now!
> Nearly passed on a two piece swimsuit that a friend offered me. But glad that I took it. Tried it on and found that it fits nicely. I own two others that are getting a bit worn out and this one is in new shape still as this friend likely only wore it a couple of times.
> Finally decided to make use of the wire hanging baskets that I'd picked up from the recycling/reuse center in the nearby city (for free). I did purchase a $5 coconut fiber liner and have to buy a couple of plants. But this is so much cheaper than purchasing a new filled basket from a greenhouse.
> Opened a Roth IRA in my own name so that J and I can each make deposits towards retirement as neither of our employers offer any benefits. Additionally, I influenced my son to make a frugal choice that will serve him well someday, too, as he also opened one for himself.
> Hit a few garage sales where I found a fleece pull-over jacket for J (50cents), a short sleeve and a long sleeve top for myself (50cents total), a nice dress for myself which may be too big but worth a try at $1. I also happened to come upon an electric skillet at the very first sale. It was $4 and in great shape. I had just told J the day before that we needed to replace ours as it's so scratched up. Yay!
> Made too much spaghetti and sauce for supper one night. There was enough left for an entire meal so I froze it. (We're not very good at using up leftovers quickly.) Same thing happened a couple nights later when I made a pork and peppers stir-fry with jasmine rice. These will be great for evenings when I don't feel like cooking.
> Received a coupon for a free bag of cat treats.
> Printed a coupon for a free bag of cat food with any purchase at a pet supplies store. Bought a tub of cat litter for the same price as we typically do.
> Answered a "quiz" on facebook and won 5 coupons for $3 off berries. This amounts to free ones as long as I buy when on sale.
> Received a brochure from which to choose a gift of thanks from my employer. It just so happened that I've been talking to someone recently about wanting an egg cooker and there was one in the brochure!
> While not a frugal doing for me so much, I was able to give a pair of tall, black boots to someone through our area freecycle site. Also, my m-i-l took a couple of bags of things that I was going to donate to Goodwill to go through first and she will drop the leftovers off at Goodwill. I'd rather someone get use of those items for free than having Goodwill sell them.
> I was asked to come in to work a couple of hours early to help out on a busy weekend. Two more hours of pay!
> While this was a spend, it still made my day! I went to Sam's Club to buy another skort as the one I'd bought from there has been so comfortable. They were marked down to half the price I had paid. I bought 3!
> I've had two empty essential oil room spray bottles hanging around for a while. I realized that I actually have lavender, sweet orange and tangerine essential oils. So I combined water and alcohol with a combo of the oils and refilled the bottles. It smells great!
> Made a low-sugar rhubarb freezer jam using rhubarb from the garden and a little sugar, xylitol and jello packets. I'd guess it to be about 2/3rd less sugar than regular. This will be a nice topping for yogurt.

What I've Seen Lately:
Cut a couple of small branches from a rose bush during a storm before all the blooms blew off. (I know, I know... boy, is my lamp dusty. And my bedding doesn't match.) Second pic is of said storm rolling in to our neighborhood. Cut peonies and placed vases of them all around the house for a natural deodorizer.








Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Are you staying frugal?

Eats lately:
I have forgotten to take pics of what I'm eating. Though these two photos may reveal why I have gained five pounds over the past several months. Well, part of the reason. (The other part would be potato chips and Top-the-Tator dip.) I can't seem to curb my fruit cravings. (Or chips and dip.) Also, portion control has become an issue. Anyway, first pic is of Spam,spinach & eggs topped with white cheddar and a clementine. Second pic is pre-seasoned chicken breast from off the grill, salad and cottage cheese with pear slices.

Frugal doings:
>Bought two graduation cards at the dollar store at 2 for $1.
>Refashioning a keychain out of a couple gifted items and a clearance purchased item.
>Repaired the crotch of J's favorite pair of pull on pants. He has a habit of wearing pants over his pajama flannels a lot and it increases the wear on his pants, grr. His second pair are waiting to have the button replaced that had popped off a few days ago. Again, worn over flannel pajamas. Men.
>J took on a portion of another contractor's route. He's doing a month long trial run before committing completely.
>Since we do not have health insurance, I have been taking advantage of a slow period at work and have been resting my legs a lot. I've had lots of knee pain (both knees) for the past several weeks. It seems that the concrete floors and long standing periods at work may be contributing factors.
>Bought a solar lantern for $15. I like the idea of having it for power outages, as well as reducing electricity use by using it to read by in the evenings. Now if I could just remember to get it out in the sun to charge it...
>Went back on the sub list as a school lunch lady. It's only a few hours at a time and may only happen twice in a school year. But I like the little ones (only subbing for the elementary school) and one of my friends is a former coworker and I enjoy working with her, too. Also, in the summer when there is no school it is our busy time at my "real" job as the tourists come to town.
>Considering selling my Leslie Sansone dvd's and just doing some regular walking once my knees are good to go again. The kicking in those videos were when I first realized the knee pain some years ago and I think it's time to let them go.
> Bought two bookmarks at Barnes & Noble from their 50% off tables, as well as a tote bag, that will be a couple of stocking stuffers and a birthday gift.
> Noticed in my new members coupon booklet from Sam's Club that they offered a free dozen croissants in addition to their other already advertised freebies (rotisserie chicken, dinner rolls and an apple pie). It's far more bread than this house can consume while it's fresh, so I froze a few of the dinner rolls and croissants and J will bring some to his mom, along with part of the pie.
> Used rhubarb from garden to make some tartlets that I brought along for coffee at a friend's house. We also played Mahjong again.
> Took chicken salad to work for lunches instead of buying something there. Although we have cheap food items, it comes at the expense of my health.
> Received a check from US Treasury that they say is due us because we've overpaid. I think they've made a mistake. I put it into our tax account at the bank until they catch up to it or I call and get it straightened away. Until then it may as well grow interest.
> Downloaded a few books onto my kindle from the library. I haven't done this for a while as I prefer to hold an actual book. But I haven't found any good ones lately. This feels less wasteful of my and the librarian's time and I can delete them right away if they don't catch my interest fast enough.
> Came across some forgotten, frozen blueberries in the freezer from several years ago. I heated them with some store brand pancake syrup, a bit of vanilla and a gob of brown sugar to make a blueberry syrup for J and D for their waffles.
> Have greatly reduced meat purchases as I still try to reach the bottom of our freezers by using what we have. It's gotten frustrating as we don't tend to rotate that stuff to the top. Grr.
> Have spent time with two friends where we played cribbage and had coffee together as well as played Mahjong and ate a lunch of one friend's Memorial Day leftovers.
> Along the line of game playing, we have discovered that a group of people get together in our little hometown on Thursday evenings to play Mahjong. We will be going for the first time tomorrow night!

Sights lately:




Oriole, couple turkey vultures (neighbors guinea hen had just been hit = roadkill supper), hummingbird, evening grosbeak and a little bird with a strange growth on its leg.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Are you staying frugal?

Eats lately:
Few cheese selections from Aldi store, plain Greek yogurt w/blackberries & homemade low-carb granola, salad w/Ranch & Russian dressings and roasted asparagus and pork roast. tuna salad on lettuce salad.
                          


Frugal doings lately:
>Traded points for a $10 Olive Garden gift card that I used on my birthday when J and I went out for lunch. Also used an email from Olive Garden to take home a piece of Tiramisu for free.
>Won a new cozy book from an online giveaway. I chose the first in a series of three (I think) as I've been looking for another cozy series to dig into.
>Borrowed a new paleo cookbook from the library and made a homemade dressing from it, which was good enough to write down and make again.
>J picked up coffee grounds from the coffeehouse where I'd worked in the past. These went around the blueberry bushes.
>Printed a coupon for any coffee drink from an area coffee chain for free for my birthday and picked up a BIG blended drink.
>Added a cup of mini Nabisco cookies freebie coupon to a grocery loyalty card.
>Bought 4 (limit) pound containers of strawberries for $1 each at the same grocery store.
>Emailed an Indian foods company and requested a coupon. She sent me three $1 off ones.
>Picked up a Bath&Body Works mini lotion for free with a coupon they'd mailed A. Sadly, I'd forgot to use the other coupon before it'd expired which had been for a free full-sized product. Drats. But I also was able to make someone else's frugal day by giving her my $10 off $30 coupon that I wasn't going to use. She was so happy as she was scrounging around for some other coupon on her phone after presenting one to them for Bed Bath & Beyond by mistake.
>Signed up for a deal on a Sam's Club membership again through Ebates. Hopefully I will qualify for the $20gc and free food items with sign up. I'll know when I go there with the emailed voucher. (I had been a member already until a couple of months ago.)
>Came to the decision to have a garage sale again. I'd been donating to Goodwill. Thought I'd  like the money myself and will sell things for so much less than Goodwill does.
>Enjoyed a game day at a lady friend-of-a-friend's house. We spent several hours visiting, enjoyed a yummy lunch and several rounds of Mahjong.
>Bought a tube of shoe glue to repair J's work shoes. Nice investment as he tends to rip his shoes in the same place, so this will get more use.
>Received a $20gc from my employer for my birthday, along with two other $20gc for everyone for being a top performing store.
>For just under $6, purchased an 8pk of LED bulbs at Sam's Club.


Things I've seen lately:
Bald eagle far across the field, crocus from a few weeks ago, purple finch (I think), (downy?) woodpecker.










Sunday, March 19, 2017

Are you staying frugal?




Eats lately: Cheddar and onion topped burger with slaw and an orange segment. Chopped salad and brat with leftover onions/mustard/relish topping. Chocolate dipped strawberries. Peanut butter protein bars. Fajita chicken salad.






Frugal doings:
>Found Charlie perfume on sale for under $7 at Walmart's site, whereas in store they wanted $25.
>Bought 4 for $1 flower seeds from Dollar Tree that I'll toss into the straw-bales from last summer's garden project. Hopefully it'll create a new flower bed for me!
>Found myself going out for overpriced coffees on average of once per week and have now scaled it back to only a special occasion such as out with a friend that I don't get to see too often anymore or when J and I are out on a "date". May even cut that out as I am switching to coffee with cream instead of espresso drinks with half and half. If I grind my beans just right it tastes better than the coffeeshops anyway.
>Have been clearing out frozen leftovers for meals. For instance, tonight, we are having taco seasoned rice (frozen leftover) that I will combine with hamburger I was able to purchase with an employee discount at work ($1.47 for 1.25lbs) and top it with shredded cheese (frozen leftover).
>Borrowed The Accountant and Deepwater Horizon from the library to enjoy during the next few days.
>Discovered that A, our adult daughter, has Netflix for herself on her laptop and suggested that her sharing it would be a nice way to "pay rent". So we've watched Bates Motel and a couple of other things that we'd been wanting to see.
>Went to the waste recovery center (place for stuff that people throw out that could be used still) and found a small roll of wire fencing, a roll of black gardening cloth/material still in its wrapper, a paperback book and a "waiting room" chair that looks to need only some wood glue and c-clamp to make it useful again. Most of the stuff there is pretty well used and I consider a lot of it garbage so this was a nice surprise.
> J and I stopped out to eat for a lunch date. We used a certificate that I'd purchased for 1/2 price.
>Went Goodwill-hopping in the nearby city. Found a couple of tops for myself and a couple lightweight jackets for A.
>With a Target cartwheel coupon and an in-store sale, as well as a coupon on each box, I was able to get two 19lbs boxes of cat litter for under $10. I then also used a $5gc from a previous purchase and the total was under $5! (Regular price would have been nearly $25 for the two.)
>Asked a friend to find out further info from her son's girlfriend about teeth whitening at the college where she's doing her dental training. My friend is getting a cleaning done for $20 there next week.
>Spent an evening at a friend's house, along with her husband and mine, for dinner (we brought salad) and a lesson in cribbage. Very fun!




Sunday, February 5, 2017

Keeping frugal, trying to stay somewhat low-carb.

Eats lately: Boneless pork chops with veggies sheet pan meal (a maple gravy was spooned over each chop on our plates-made with real maple syrup that I was gifted), tomato & mozzarella slices with a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and steak smothered with mushrooms/onions/peppers, lettuce salad with sunflowers and cheese and mushroom smothered steak and salt & vinegar roasted fingerling potatoes.


A Frugal Doing:  These pictures are from this past fall. Dad had a good crop of leeks in the garden and we just weren't eating them quickly enough to eat fresh. So I dug the rest up, cleaned them really well, then sliced and dehydrated them. I didn't keep track of how long they were on the racks, though they were on overnight and then some. That small kitchen sink full of leeks gave me about 6 sandwich baggies full.


I'm hoping to get back on the low-carb bandwagon. I haven't fallen completely off, but pretty close. My weight's stayed pretty much the same. Though I am afraid that one of these times that I hop on the scale it is finally going to have caught up with me. A friend has finally started a "diabetic type of diet" (aka low-carb) and while we no longer work together and see each other as often, it is still nice to have a friend that understands the how and why of eating this way. Sadly, she is the one who gifted me a quart of real maple syrup that I have used on several occasions, ha ha... I have a new job in a convenience store where cheap eats are abundant and has added to my failing. I've recently started to bring my own lunch and am continuing to work on that. Meeting for coffee at friends' homes is another challenge for me as there's typically goodies on hand. I warned them at the last one that if I bring something in the future it will be made to suit my needs. Selfish aren't I? Anyway, here's to keeping a better diet and keeping a better record of it, too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Are you staying frugal?


Eats lately:




Seen lately:
 

Frugal doings lately:
* Received a coupon for an individual bag of M&M's (which was given to A to take with her on her flight to FL).
* Received two coupons for a free cup of yogurt.
* Used a Friday freebie e-coupon to get a healthy pistachio, dark chocolate and strawberry snack bar (also given to A to take on her flight).
* J brought home used coffee grounds for gardening from the coffeehouse that a coworker gave him when he last stopped by.
* Spent a day out garage sale-ing with friends and came home with a few new tops and some candles for just a few bucks total.
* Planted some leeks into the straw bales. These were shared with me from Dad. Keeping my fingers crossed that they will take - love 'em in quiche.
* Went out for lunch with a friend and used a $10 off coupon so my lunch came to just over $3.
* Applied for a job that will offer 40hrs per week. That job opens in October, so I have a bit of a wait.
* Hosted D's grad party. Kept it simple and small with just family (we don't have extended) and a couple friends of ours that were already at our home for coffee.
* Dug up several hens (minus the & chicks) for a friend so she could start her rock garden. A frugal win for her - yay!
* Entered codes from berry packages so I could print some cents off coupons from a berry producer. I love to use these when the berries hit a good sale price.
* J had surgery (so he couldn't sit comfortably) and I filled in for him on his route. Otherwise we'd have to pay someone else to do it as he is a postal contractor (zero benefits).
* Used another Friday freebie e-coupon for a bag of boneless/skinless chicken breasts ($8 value!).
* Visited a Habitat for Humanity ReStore to search for supplies for shelving and a bathroom sink.
* Participated in a garage sale with a couple of friends. Didn't make a lot. But over the course of 3 days I was able to unload a lot of clutter and earn a little. The remains went to Goodwill.
* Brought home some clothing for A to try on that were leftover from one of the other sellers at our garage sale. Also, a pair of tall black boots for myself, as well as a few hardcover books for summer reading.
* Offered a composter that Dad doesn't use anymore to a friend. Free to him and "free"s clutter for us!
* Pulled rhubarb for a friend so she could freeze some (which I also intend to do this week) and she said she'd take more, too. I also used rhubarb and raspberries from our freezer to make a crisp for a coffee get together with friends. Love it when I have all the ingredients on hand.
* Haven't bought meat or other groceries that require freezing as I am planning to defrost the freezers. One is nearly empty enough to do so soon.






Monday, May 16, 2016

Prom Corsage & Boutonniere

Our school had prom this past weekend. I stressed each point of the way in helping my son, D, get his suit together down to the corsage and boutonniere. After stopping in at our local greenhouse to price the corsage at $26.99 base price and the boutonniere at $9.99 base price (meaning, prior to adding a central flower or any bling)... I decided that we'd make our own. While I can't claim to have done this as frugally as possible, I did come far under that total, around $20-$25 total (and that was with a coupon at both Michaels and Hobby Lobby). Sadly, we also have still had snow. So it's been cold. No flowers blooming here at home to shave that cost. I also was out of a strong glue so had buy more. So easy to do yourself! I ended up with a second boutonniere so D could have his choice of the two.