Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trying to get back to being frugal is kinda hard, man.

This month our quarterly homeowner's insurance, one of our vehicle's insurance, and our property tax bills all arrived within a day of each other. Along with recently really realizing how much less I earn an hour from work with the crazy cost of gasoline, seeing how much food I dump into the garbage can every weekend when cleaning out our leftovers, I'm needing desperately to get down to the nitty-gritty in frugality.

One of the ways I am getting a jump on spending less is to better plan our gardening. This year we will do better than we have in the past, we will have the clear intention to grow a decent amount and preserve it. I've even bought some new seeds (ranging from 20cents - $2 per package) and a bag of soil so I can start them inside, likely this week some time. I've even started to research how to take advantage of when my garden vegetables bolt, as they seem to inevitably do. For example, if I'm unable to keep lettuces from bolting I can always collect the seeds that follow and have a ready seed supply for next year. When buying seeds I also came across some jar lids on sale for $1/package and grabbed one. (Only one as most of my jars are wide-mouth and these were not.) Now if only I could find an out-of-this-world deal on some freezer bags or containers.

Both my husband and I have a Kindle Fire, received as gifts. For his birthday I went to Amazon and shopped for a protective case for his, as I received a case as a gift with mine. I had a set $ limit of $15. If you've a Kindle, you know that they generally go for $25 and up. I found one that was just a bit over $15 and put it in my cart, figuring I would check the brick & mortar stores to see if I could find something comparable. Well, I couldn't. I later went back to Amazon to price check something else, and low and behold there was a notice telling me that the case I had in my cart had recently changed in price - it dropped below $15. (I encourage you to place things in your Amazon cart and shop around for a few days to see if this happens for you, too!) As you know, the cost of shipping can, and usually does, kill a great deal. But this had free Super Saver shipping if I ordered $25 worth of qualifying items. So I figured I might as well get two other things that I've been waiting for a good deal on. I also bought my husband and I a 3pk of styluses and a reusable coffee filter for our little Mr.Coffee machine. I've been wanting to quit buying paper liners for a few years, and now I can.

I'm also attempting to plan our meals... again. It's hard with all the comings and goings around here. But this week's menu is up on the fridge - written on a white erase board that I bought on clearance for $1 and with markers that I got for free with a coupon. So, what it says for this week so far is:

Sunday (check!) - Turkey Burgers w/Mushroom Gravy, Pasta w/Asparagus Stir-Fry Mix
Monday (check!)- Coconut & Almond Crusted Fish, Memphis Style Coleslaw, Tator-Tots  
Tuesday (check!) - Parents choosing and making.  
Wednesday (check!)- Chicken Stir-Fry, Rice  
Thursday - ended up eating Subway as everyone had places to go...
Friday- On your own night, it's our anniversary and we don't have plans exactly yet.
Saturday (check!)- Pasta w/Artichokes, Bacon & Alfredo
Sunday - unplanned, taco salads when in-laws stopped by

Of course there are many meals that include starches/high carb items. But I either replace, go without, or take a minimal serving as long as it keeps my total servings down to the 2 allowed.

Pasta w/Artichokes & Bacon Alfredo made with Dreamfield's Pasta.

I've also been doing a whole lot of looking around on the internet for homemade gift ideas, with the requirement that they also be simple to do.  I'd like to cut back even more for Christmas this year.  (Yes.  I am already thinking about it, actually, have been thinking about it since right after last Christmas.)  If you've got something in the works and are willing to share, I'd love to hear about it!

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