Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments for week ending October 11

This week I started off with a bang.  I canned the 10 lbs of pears I bought last week.  I got 9 pints 1 half pint.  We used up the last of the pears I made last year about 2 weeks after I started canning this fall.  My kids are rating my pears based off when I made them, they are favorite batches.  We have also found that letting them sit for a month improves the flavor and texture.  This is even more true of the peaches I canned last year.

I made some cute shorts my Middlest.  I have plans to make her more, but we decided to wait until spring.  I used fabric I had bought months ago for this purpose, but had to buy elastic as I could not find what I though I had.  I did use a 40% off coupon and refrained from buying anything else, so that was also a win, I have rarely gotten out without additional purchases when I go in needing only one item.

I bought a ebook bundle a few weeks ago, and got a free e-course that started this week. 
It is taught by Shannon Brown over at GrowingSlower The course is groceries made simple.  I think I do pretty well, but am currently working on cutting my grocery bill even further, and trying to streamline my meals a little more. I am two lessons in and I am feeling challenged in a good way, already.
 As much as I do to cut my budget I feel like their is always  more I can do.  I have learned a lot over with Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker , but my family is different from hers, and so is my situation.  There is so much I am still learning, I think it will be a life line thing, because different things challenge us at different times in our lives.

Our daily temps have been all over the place, with pretty high humidity, so I am doing things like watching our lights, working on not rewashing or redrying laudry (a big issue as our humidy level causes laundry to spoil and smell bad quickly.)

I water down all my soaps, it helps with the kids over pumping, and using what they need ie... less waste.  I moved bath soap into a pump bottle as well, also to help the kids figure out how much liquid soap the need to use.

I tried a new bread recipe, only made the one loaf, and the kids voted no to the new recipe, yes it would have been cheaper, but the taste really suffered.

I did not buy any meat last week, just used what we have in the freezer, doing the same this week.
In leiu of itemizing my shopping, I am $194.40 into my food budget for the month.  I am trying to move my grocery budget to a monthly perspective vs, a weekly perspective.

What have you done to be frugal this week?

Monday, October 6, 2014

My frugal week ending Oct 4

Last week I got my Bountiful Basket, love it!  I go early and volunteer so I ended up with two cartons of strawberries.  Then the regular part of the basket had bananas, cantaloupe, broccoli, green leafy lettuce, 2 bunches of spinach, 4 cucumbers, 7 large orange bell peppers(traded some artichokes for bell peppers that is how I got so many of those) tomatoes, lemons, and merlots.  Yummy!  I also got 20lbs of potatoes for $6.75, a great price for my area!

I also got 10 more lbs of pears, there where .77lbs this weeks, makes me wish I had waited last week and not spent the .88 lb,  Seems like pears are late this year because I got them in Aug of 2013 for .67 lb.  I also wish I had gotten two boxes from bountiful baskets, just didn't see how I could prep 72 lbs, in one go, 36 seemed to be pushing my limit.

I got some sewing done, but not as much I wanted to do.

I worked harder on keeping lights off in rooms not occupied.  Limited dryer to morning, failed on one load though, we ran it 3 times before getting it out of the dryer, while weather was cooler the humidity was high, this means the air conditioner still ran, and I slept in sweat pants.  husband loved it.  I got my electric use down some, below the average home in my area, the week before I was even with the average.

Watered down my soap for washing hands, moved kids bath soap into a recycled pump bottle, hoping this will help Timmy need less help in the shower.  And if I am lucky use less soap.

Timmy also made it thru the week with no bed wetting!  Yay!  So no diapers AND no extra laundry:D

Did not make any sandwich bread, also did not buy any so it was okay,  I did make 1.5 batches of corn bread using a recipe I found on pinterest.   I did end up altering the recipe a bit, I have a bunch of biscuit mix, so I used that in place of flour and baking powder.

Made fruit leather with the left over pulp from making plum jelly.  Took it to our playdate, and both the kids and the mommies loved it.  YAY!

I only made it to 21 days with take out.  My oldest slept over at a friend, so I treated Middlest to take out Chinese food.  At least it was cheaper with one of our big stomach's missing.

Ordered ink for my printer online, seems to be cheaper, and I can use swagbuck gift cards.  I tried store brand and the ink did not seem to last as long, tried getting recycled ink cartridges and it made my printer not work, so this seems to be best for us.  I love having my own printer/scanner.

I used $15 in amazon gift cards on ink, earned another $5 amazon gift card this week.

I got some reduced hamburger as I am out in the freezer, cooked it and taco's, put some aside for spaghetti later, spaghetti uses less meat.
Over all spent less money, did well in the grocery store, I am happy with my week!  Are you pleased with your savings/spending/frugality this last week?  I hope so!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My frugal week ending Sept 27

A few months ago I signed up to get weekly energy reports from my electric provider, and it really helps me to be on top of our energy use.  While I am blessed that my highest bill this summer was only $175, that is because we spent a bunch of money 18 months ago and getting the top of the line new air-conditioner.  We found out that our old air-conditioner was the wrong size for our house, actually to big for our space, our air-ducts where to small, they fixed that for us.  We got a new air-conditioner heater combo unit, because our old heater went out, and while they could fix it, they found that our air-conditioner was leaking Freon into our attic.  Yikes!  So while there is no electric savings for us from November to April(the heater is gas), from May to October our bill doesn't move a great deal, we save from $100-$150 a month, with the weekly updates I am hoping to save even more.  It just takes time to see what affects our usage, and get the whole family on board.  The best part is I can SHOW my kids how running the dryer in the morning vs the afternoon benefits our pocket book.

Frugal loss this week, I had to pay full price for our internet security, I have been watching it for a few weeks, but not as closely as I should have.  Ended up getting it at Sam's, that saved us $10 over the other stores, but more than I wanted to spend.

Also spent more at Sam's club than I expected!

Frugal wins this week.
My kids challenge to have me cook dinner every night for a month, convinced me to skip take out and cook dinner at home, on the two occasions this week we got home at 6:30. This saved us $60+.

$15 on a quart of local honey at the farmers market.

Managed to cook dinner every night this week!

$20 I did order and received a smoked chicken and brisket from our friend.  They gave us way more than we ordered and charged us less.  Our friend was not happy with the quality this week as he was using we wood and had trouble with consistent heat.  My girls and I where just fine with the flavor, but my husband noticed, he did however eat his normal amount:D

I made 3 24oz jars of grenadine
from the info I found on canning pomegranate's I will keep those in my fridge instead of process them for shelf stability.

groceries I got at Sam's club food cost $77.11
25# of sugar
Simply Orange 2pk orange juice
2 boxes General Tso chicken
1 pork loin $2.69lb
1 pkg chicken breast $1.98lb
18ct eggs

HEB $53.49(used a $10/$30 coupon I earned a few weeks ago)
2 boxes apple sauce Dole fruit Squishems
1 box HEB brand apple sauce squishems
1 box HEB brand ritz type crackers
1 big container Pert Plus
hydrogen peroxide
rubbing alcohol
2 6pks of socks(clearance $2.50 each)
4 lbs pears .88 lb
1 qt organic chocolate milk(serious markdown .50)
1 organic milk
1 Cat food
2 pk string cheese
2 pk cheese slices(free with string cheese purchase)
1 2pk appliance light bulbs
1 50ct store brand ziploc sandwich bags
1 pk suishi(snack for Middlest and I) should never shop hungry!

I had 2 more trips to HEB that I am not recording.  I took my husband and we bought lego's (I had two $5 off coupons, and some cane sugar no preservative soda, not something we normally buy, but quite a treat.

No pictures this week, should have some great one's next week, as I have finished some cute projects, and am canning plum jelly as I type this:D

If you have any frugal wins or losses feel free to share!

Monday, September 22, 2014

My frugal week ending Sept 20

Wow, I had a great week financially.  Not so great in other ways,  funny how it works that way sometimes.  The not so great part was I ordered my niece's senior pictures from an online venue and the pictures came back twice unusable. So I had to make an extra trip into town to get them done locally.  There are finally shipped off to her for her parents to order from.   YAY!  But caused my IBS to kick in as I worked thru the printing process.  Ugg.  Top that with showing up to choir practice in the opposite direction from the printer when choir had been cancelled.  I really wanted to cry.  We salvaged that gas expense by vising with some friends that live in that area.

The other not so great is I broke down and finally replaced my broken laptop, it was driving me bonkers.  The good news on that is I got some medical reimbursement that covered that cost, so it did not come out of my budget or get charged.  Win win.

Frugal wins,
Made dinner every night.
Made all but one lunch, and the one we ate out counted towards a 60 day of excellent behavior reward I owed Middlest.
Ordered a basket from Bountiful Baskets.
I know it doesn't look like a great deal of variety or even like what other's in the blog world have posted for this weekends pickup, that is because I go early and volunteer, and traded some things my family will not eat for things we will.
Spent $18.50
I brought home 10 pomegranates(making homemade grenadine syrup) Traded one lady Kale, we won't eat it, and one lady cherry tomatoes, we don't eat raw tomatoes, and someone else got my celery.
22 plums one lady just gave them to me along with her pomegranates
green leafy lettuce
2 honeydew
4 red bell peppers

HEB $22
7 large red bell peppers marked down for $1.50
2 gallons of milk
4 boxes of 4 squishems apple sauce
3 pkgs 11oz beef sausage
1 pkg 100% whole wheat hamburger buns
1 pkg whole wheat hotdog buns
50 count pkg flour tortilla's
1 banana
1 pkg spring greens salad
1 pkg large pasta shells
2 lbs thin spaghetti pasta

Randalls $20
pineapple juice
12 cans of soup
6 cans greenbeans
2 small Dawn dishsoaps
drinkable yogurt(on clearance as a treat to the kids)

Total spent $60.50

Turned in some receipts for Checkout51, will get $2.25 back

All meat eaten(which is every dinner) came from the freezer.
Did not get my normal smoked meat from our friend.  He was sick last weekend.

Made 4 loaves of wheat bread, 2 loaves went fresh and hot to our playdate and was devoured.
Added water to shampoo and conditioner to get all out of the bottle.
Got Middlest to use an older bottle of shower gel instead of buying her some of her own..
Remembered to use less shampoo and conditioner since I had 14 inches of hair cut off two weeks ago, takes some adjustment.
Cut out some shorts for my Middlest using a pattern I already have, and fabric I already have.
Bought supplies for my co-op class and already got reimbursed for it.  Used coupons and shopped around to get the best prices.

What have you done to save money this week?
I know I will spend more money this week as I am going to Sam's club and will be buying meat, how about you?  My kids have challenged me to cook dinner for a month straight, I am 7 days in wish me luck, I don't think I have done this in the whole 16 yrs I have been married!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My frugal week ending Sept. 13

Last week I bought 36lbs of pears, and canned 8 pints.  This week I canned another 17 pints and 6 half pints.  I wasn't sure if I should bother with the half  pints, but my oldest really wants canned pears with lunch so I made these for her.  I am hoping I can get another box of pears next week.  I have been watching my local stores and the lowest price this year has been .99 lb, at this price I think store canned pears are going to go up in price, making me even happier I got the .69lb pears canned up.  On the down side I did buy more jars. 1 more box of 12 pints and 12 half pints.  I am finding that as I get used to using my canned produce, the more things I am canning.  I am actually considering watching for a pressure canner.  Hmm, but pressure canning still makes me nervous so we shall see.

We have had a super busy week this week, and I still managed to get dinner on the table.  Not completely from scratch, but not take out either, YAY!

One of our activities this week was a 4H food and nutrition meeting.  I am running this and we made individual chicken pot pies, we talked about how these can be made using left overs.  My  kids actually really loved them.  I forgot my camera at the meeting, but here are the two samples I made at home.

I menu planned. 
Made bread.
It was spending money, but since my oldest got a expander last month I picked up a waterpik to help keep her mouth and teeth looking good.  I priced it out and was going to buy it for $60 at Walmart, but they had sold it when we went to get it, a few days later my mom in Ca told me she found one for the same price at Costco.  I went to Costco and got it!  It was awesome because the one I got included a travel model and had 12 flosser ends.  So much more for the same cost.  Thank you MOM!  Also as it turns out my husband has been wanting one, so they both are using it.

I went to Randall's(was in that part of town)
got $1 from last week from redeeming a missing coupon.
spent .68. and got
Stayfree liners 20pk
small blue Dawn dish soap

Sprouts $0, actually they gave me nickel because I brought in a reusable bag.
Free Tortilla chips from email coupon.

HEB $81.31 (had a $10/$30 Beauty coupon)also Checkout51 covers 2 weeks of offers, if I got more than one it was some Sun-Wed, then it resets on Thurs
Dove curly hair mouse
3-Dove hairspray's
4-1.8 trial Men's Dove body wash(free with the above purchases)
8-clearance CoverGirl nailpolishes(marked down to $2 plus $1 off coupons)
Tabasco sauce(had .50 off coupon plus .75 checkout51 rebate)
10 donuts(just because)
1 Banana(again checkout51 spent .17 got back .25)
2-Organic milk
6 McCormick Grillmates marinade(2 free w/store coupon 2 free w/checkout51)
2 Challenge Cream Cheese (2 $1 coupons plus 2 $1 checkout51 rebates)
Duncan Hines Brownie box
sm avocado
3 bags tortilla chips(checkout51 rebate)
Sunday paper
2-Neutrogena face wash($2 off each store coupons)
Arm &Hammer deodorant
HEB mixed frozen vegetables
1 small white onion(checkout51 rebate)
1small tomato(checkout51 rebate)
clearance min tongs
clearance peeler(mine came up missing)
12 pints mason jars
12 half pints mason jars
12 ball lids
Liquid fruit pectin

Total spent for the week out of my grocery budget $81.04, will also get back $6.

YAY!  I didn't count my Costco purchases because non of that came out of my grocery budget, that was medical and educational(found an awesome two wall map set I have been looking for only $15, one is US and one is world)
All our meat came from our freezer this week.

I did eat three meals this week that I did not cook.  One is a smoked chicken from a friend, I do this one just about every week, I haven't been counting it but I guess I should:D  One was lunch out and was planned, the last was sheer exhaustion, my littlest is getting me up in the middle of the night with nightmares, it is hard to function for me with only 3-5 hrs of sleep. 

Also I don't wear make up, I got the 8 nail polishes for my kids and a few of them to give at Christmas to my nieces.

Spending wise, I ordered a 8x8 photo book from Shutterfly, total cost of $8 shipping, this one for my SIL pictures of niece's senior pictures.  Got her 5x7's that I ordered for them to have and pick from what they want to get enlarged and give away.  They came in with my niece having an orange skin color!  Shutterfly chat got replacements ordered should get them on Monday.  Was friendly, they think they know the problem and can fix it, just frustrating.

I have 3 more 8x8 photobook codes that will cost me shipping only, hopefully I will get those done in the next couple weeks, we like to do one of our summer, and any family trips we take.

I also made a cute shirt for myself yesterday, I rarely make or spend on myself, but I have made myself two shirts this year, and have plans for a few more:D  Maybe my kids will appreciate what I make them more, they have been a little upset and asking for some like what I have made.  My kids are a bit ornery though, if I had made for them first their would be no appreciation, they take it for granted.  They also really have plenty of clothes, I am waiting to make things they need them, while most of my clothes are several years old.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My frugal Week ending Sept 6

Blogging like being frugal takes deliberate thought.  My current season in life I am wanting to put more thought into  being frugal, and thought I could use my blogging to be
more own accountability tool.

I already follow Brandi at The Prudent Homemaker and her weekly frugal post.  So I will be joining her in posting at the beginning of the week.  I hope you will share with me some of your tips and thoughts each week.

My fails:
I took two of my kids to a restaurant for lunch instead of waiting an hour and eating at home.  I was starting to feel light headed from not eating enough at breakfast.

What I did right:
I finished making another page for daughter's Christmas gift felt quiet book.  I also finished the front and back panels, still need to put those together.
I made 2 batches of bread this week, and gave some to a friend.  She has just finished her first trimester for baby 6 and couldn't keep up with bread baking.
Picture is missing 3 bell peppers and the Prickly Peas, I was already processing the Prickly Pears into Jelly.

I made my menu plan
I ordered from Bountiful Baskets I got a box of 36lbs of bartlet pears for .66lb, I'll be canning those, my kids loved it when I canned pears last Aug.  Last year I got them for .87 a lb I believe at Sprouts.  The box of pears plus my basket I spent $45.00  I always get at least $18 in fresh fruits and vegetables that we will consume, and a few things I gift to friends with different pallet.

When I got my basket I got lettuce($1.58), a cucumber(.58), large green bell peppers(.52each), pricklypear apples, 3 corn on the cob(4/$1), 3 small/med red onions(.98lb), green grapes(.79lb), 8 lemons (3/$1),5 peaches(.98lb), 4 applepears(2.99lb), 6 hatch green chili's $1.98lb.   Approximate value this week based on my local store prices $21.77 for the basket portion.

On Saturday made 2 pints and 4 half pints of the pricklypear jelly(didn't set will try reprocessing Monday.  Also canned 8 pints of pears.

Shopped with a list:

HEB $60.03
3 big packs of toilet paper(got $10 coupon for future purchase
3 wet wipes containers(free with purchase of toilet paper)
3 yellow cake mixes
1 pk frozen hash browns
1 pk frozen curly fries
1 Pam spray(free with frozen potato purchase)
1 Hunts ketchup(also free with frozen potato purchase)
1 gallon milk
1 mixed spring greens package
2 sweet potatoes
Cat Food
2 jars BBQ sauce
Fresh Pineapple($1 a piece!)
Also $2 off baking products

Randalls $22.53
2 12pks Poptarts
6 cans chicken noodles
4 cans green beans
2 small cans pineapples
1 small Dawn dish soap
4 small cans of chicken
1 small Tabasco Sauce(checkout 51 also has .75 back on this one)
2 pk yogurt
12 Ball Pint jars

Sam's Club  $60.87
1 25# Jasmine Rice
2 pk Lemonade
2 pk Hershey's Syrup
6 lbs raw chicken breast
2 boxes General Tso's chicken
1 #10 can tomato sauce
18ct eggs

Bad thing one item at Sam's rang up higher than marked and I didn't notice till I got home and had already opened the item:(
Total spent for the week. $185.43
Okay, higher than last week!  YIKES 
Some of this is stock up for the future weeks.  We eat one box of the General Tso's a week, Chinese food is a big take out item for us, having this in the freezer gives me a 20 minute dinner.  Usually takes me out of the take out mode.  The Pint jars are not a normal purchase, but I needed a few more as I am still stocking up on my jars.  Also the toilet paper, really we have enough, but the price is good and the coupon makes it better, I stock up during weeks like this so that I don't ever have to buy toilet paper at fool price.  Lastly the canned chicken breasts are for a 4h cooking class, I am going to be teaching kids to make individual pot pies.  For this class canned chicken makes the most sense.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Frugal Accomplishements for week ending Aug 30

Blogging like being frugal takes deliberate thought.  My current season in life I am wanting to put more thought into  being frugal, and thought I could use my blogging to be more own accountability tool.

I already follow Brandi at The Prudent Homemaker and her weekly frugal post.  So I will be joining her in posting at the beginning of the week.  I hope you will share with me some of your tips and thoughts each week.

I feel like I did better, I menu planned using what was in the fridge and freezer, just going to the store to stock up on some things that I had excellent coupons for.

One of my problem area's is lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  I am fine during the week, providing lunch for myself and all 3 girls, partly because they help prepare it, and partly because I rarely make everyone eat the same thing, it is left overs, or soup, or something you make for yourself like crackers cream cheese and fruit, or a sandwich, macaroni and cheese etc.  On the weekend my husband is with us and I feel like I am cooking dinner twice each day.  In the past I often fall into "ugh I am just going to pick up lunch".  Well picking up lunch runs us $25 and up!  Yikes and that is without soda's or drinks of any kind.  To combat this I am getting some frozen things that just require heating up.  Eventually I want to just premake some things things during dinner earlier in the week, but I am not there yet. So this last week I ...

Got some awesome coupons for a Tx only grocer, it included a $3/$30 coupon and a $4/$15 precook meat coupon, $2 off salty snacks (tortilla chips!),  and a few others, plus the sale prices and in store coupons.

This is what I got and spent this week.

$32 in paper products
3 big things of toilet paper
3 flushable wipes
3 boxes of Puffs
Also got a $10 off coupon to use in 2 weeks and will get a Leapfrog writing system in the mail for free with the purchase of these items.

$59.82 on
1 gallon milk
6 24oz bags of precooked chicken breast chunks
6 frozen pizza's
1 24oz bag of chicken thigh fajita meat
2 16 oz bags meat balls
2 jars of parmesan cheese
4 bags of tortilla chips
2 jars cheesy salsa
1 bag of bbq chips
1 banana
1 5lb bag whole wheat flour
1 5lb bag unbleached white flour
1 spray bottle Bakers Joy
a 12x9 glass baking pan
a new bread pan
and a cupcake batter separator.
a small soda as a treat for Middlest
a donut as a treat for Timmie

$20.29 at Randalls
1 frozen pizza
2 small cans pineapple
2 20oz cans pineapple
6 cans green beans
2 small bottles of dish soap
4 greek yogurts
1 bar soap
3 cream cheese 8oz
1 Loaf French bread

2- day old Loaves of bread from Bread store

$60.80 at Sam's Club
2 boxes General Tso chicken
1 box dumplings
1 6lb not frozen boneless skinless chicken breast
1 6lb frozen boneless chicken thighs
2 bottles orange juice
#10 can tomato sauce

Total spent:$177.41
Okay see Yikes I had no idea I had spent so much until I did this.  Spread out over multiple stores and how much I got I was feeling really good about my shopping, not I know I need to offset this with some more frugal weeks!

I can say that I don't buy toilet paper every week, I stock up when they have the buy $30 get a $10 coupon back, this makes it so that I don't buy full price toilet paper.  I also don't go to Sam's club every week.  I also normally do much better on the toilet paper stuff, but I needed that receipt to be over $30 to get the (over a $20 savings and a Christmas present for Timmie)  I'll do one or more toilet paper transaction this coming week.  I'll let you know next week if I manage that.
This loaf was half eaten an hour after it came out of the oven!

I did manage to eat at home for every dinner, only one lunch out.
I got another $5 swagbucks for Amazon
made cherry cream soda syrup
made 2 loaves of partially whole wheat bread using some honey.(didn't burn it this week and finished up the small amount of honey at the bottom of a jar)
I made banana muffins using bananas that had gone black
Also made blueberry muffins
Made Oona several smoothies as she got a expander in this week causing eating to be difficult as she adjusted to it.
found some bath old bath gel that Middlest like the scent of( I did not hence why it wasn't used)
Processed Onion and peppers for freezer.  This just means I cut lots of onions and peppers into strips, taking out seeds etc.
Collect water from my sink when heating up water, use this to water trees and garden.
Downloaded some new books on my Nook.
Watch free tv shows using my Amazon Prime acct.
Shared some of my Nook books with Oona.

Now I am making plans for this week, I need it to include a lot less money spent!