Sunday, January 24, 2016

Frugal Accomplishments

This past week has been out of the ordinary, but not necessarily for this time of year.  We've received about 12 inches of snow over the past several days, which meant that school was cancelled every day but Tuesday (and Monday was a holiday).  In light of the weather, we hunkered down and ventured out very little.  This saved us tremendously over the week.  Here's how:

  • I carpooled to work on Tuesday.  Every other day, my principal was flexible enough to allow me to work from home, which was a great blessing both financially (by not having to use the gas) and to our family time (I could work while little man slept or was otherwise occupied).
  • Tutored on Tuesday, and was paid for that.
  • Little man did have preschool on Thursday morning, so Benny took him and picked him up.  He did our small bit of grocery shopping ($15 in milk, almost free yogurt, 28 oz tomato products on sale for $1/can, and a few staples), got the car inspected, and filled it up with gas while little man was at preschool.  This saved on gas and time.
  • Otherwise, we have not left the house since Thursday.  This has saved on gas, and thankfully, Benny was able to get his hours in at work on Monday and Tuesday before the weather got bad.
  • We were able to meet for little man's IEP this past week via phone, which saved on gas.  This also means that we'll now be receiving his speech services for free through the school system and no longer paying for them out of pocket (our health plan does not cover any speech services).  This will save us a few hundred dollars a month.
  • We did "splurge" and have the gas refilled for the gas logs.  This cost about $160.  While this is not our primary heat source, and we rarely lose power, it is nice to have them and to know that we could use them as an emergency heat source if necessary.
  • All meals were prepared at home.  This included:  vegetable beef soup and corn bread, baked potatoes with lentil sloppy joes, foccacia (x2), baked oatmeal, salmon and roasted veggies, and pizza.  We also plan to make stock in the crockpot today, using leftover turkey parts from Thanksgiving.
  • Met one of my new year's goals by trying out this recipe for pumpkin spiced baked oatmeal.  We did jazz it up with the addition of raisins and pecans, and found that it was better leftover than the first day.  It would be good with pumpkin seeds and other dried fruit too.  We used pureed winter squash from the freezer instead of canned pumpkin.
  • Worked to assess the pantry/freezer stash, and have found a few more items to use up (such as some of the barley that went into the vegetable soup).
  • Accepted a few gifted items that were going to go bad at the food pantry, including:  two turnips, four carrots, one peach, and a mango (which ended up getting composted because it was too ripe).
  • All compostable items were composted, including salmon skins.
  • When the oven was done being used, we tried to leave it open to benefit from the residual heat.
  • All laundry was hung to dry, and only full loads were washed.  (This also helps with the humidity in the house, since the air is so dry this time of year.)
  • Potty training continues to go well, so our loads of laundry continue to decrease.  
  • Entertainment took the form of shoveling snow (a great workout), filling bird feeders, and watching a few shows for free via Netflix.  Little man and I also made some paper collages using paper destined for the recycle bin, which he's had great fun practicing his scissor skills with.
  • Made thank you notes in preparation for meals, gifts, etc. when baby #2 arrives.
  • Graciously accepted hand-me-downs for baby #2, including an infant car seat and base.  We were also able to secure a second seat and base for our other car.
  • Organized baby clothes, so that we know what we have and if we have any gaps (it doesn't appear that we do).
  • Made a small dent in organizing the garage space.  It is going to get worse before it is better, but Benny is using up some scrap drywall to hang in the unfinished space.  This will insulate it a bit more, and will clear out some more space.  We stored a few more items up on the high shelves, since they are rarely needed (camping water jugs, etc.)
  • Cleaned the rental room upstairs thoroughly.  Have now posted it to Craigslist and the university housing site, with the hopes of renting it soon.
  • Repaired the stain on a chair upstairs.  Plan to put a coat of paint on an existing shelf today.
  • Invited our new downstairs tenant up for dinner, which was fun.  She seems to be settling in, and aside from the big snow, is enjoying being here.  She is quiet and is keeping the space nicely, so we hope she'll stick around for a while.  Her lease is a year long.
  • Researched natural alternatives to commercial lotions.  They have bothered my skin in the winter for years, and now, I think I've found a few easy recipes using ingredients we already have around.
What did you do to live and save green this week?  I'd love to hear from you, so leave some notes in the comments!

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