Sunday, February 14, 2016

Frugal Accomplishments

This week was pretty good for us in the budget department.  It was snowy all week, so there was no school for kids, and I got to work from home most days.  We also made great use of our pantry and freezer, so we saved quite a bit on groceries.  There were a few things we "splurged" on, but they were also things we would really use in the long run.

  • All meals were cooked at home.  We did two crockpot meals this week, so that saved on energy.
  • Turkey stock was made from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass in the freezer.  We used the meat  and some stock to make turkey noodle soup.  The rest of the stock was frozen for later use.
  • Black bean chili was made with dried black beans from the pantry, and all other ingredients were in the pantry/freezer.  We made cornbread to go with this.
  • We made banana chocolate chip muffins, foccacia, and banana breakfast bars (I added raisins and nuts to these bars) for breakfast treats using ingredients we had on hand.
  • Our Valentine's treat was homemade cheesecake brownies, a new recipe.
  • Because of the snow, the food pantry didn't have many clients this week, so we graciously accepted extra bagels, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and oranges.  We'll process the peppers for the freezer.  This was extra nice, since we had already used all of our frozen peppers from the CSA this summer.
  • All clothes were washed in cold water, towels and sheets on warm.  Everything was hung to dry.  We continue to have success with potty training, and are doing much fewer loads of laundry because of it.
  • On Thursday, little man had preschool, Benny had to work, and I had a workday.  So, we took one car out and combined trips.  I was able to drop them off, and I took the car to work.  I also combined this with a doctor's appointment and a quick grocery run for some cheese that was on sale, kefir, and bananas for our weekly fruit.  (We find that having fresh fruit around keeps little man eating healthier snacks.  Prior to little man, we made do with our frozen stash of fruit or winter veggies to eat more seasonally.)  Combining all this saved on gas.
  • Little man helped to make all the Valentine's cards for his friends at school.  We saved by not having to purchase any, and didn't give any candy.  (At least in our house, this causes more grief/meltdowns than anything.  So, we chose to not give candy to others.)
  • We did venture out on Friday for some errands.  We "splurged" on the cheapest birdseed to refill our bird feeders (it is fun winter entertainment).  We planned the most efficient route so we were conservative with our fuel.
  • We also went to check out the new Goodwill, which had some awesome finds.  I found a new straw cup for little man (his previous one had broken), discounted egg dye for 75 cents, and some brand new fun tights for after this baby is born for five dollars (they would have normally been over $15).  They had a fabulous teal storage ottoman that I really wanted to snatch up for extra storage in the living room, but because it was still brand new, the price was more than normal Goodwill prices.  Benny and I gave it the 48 hour wait test, decided we could sell a few more things on eBay and trim grocery spending a bit more, and call it Valentine's Day present (we hadn't done anything for each other).  We picked it up this afternoon. Little man has had a ball filling it with his toys, and it emptied the smaller basket for the baby toys, and forced us to go through the current toys and weed out a few things he no longer plays with.
  • Because we didn't have school, I didn't tutor this week, so no extra money from that this week.  I did manage to sell some Mary Kay, so I made about $60 from that.  It also helped to clear out some more of the closet space.  And it will help to round out the baby fund.
  • We continue to advertise the upstairs rental space and hope to have that filled for the coming academic year.  Our current downstairs tenant is really sweet, and we hope she likes it enough to stick around beyond her year long lease.
  • Ebay items continue to be posted, and we probably have a few more things we need to put in the mail.
  • After signing up for Ebates, we received our first check in the mail.  We plan to put that toward the home equity line.
  • We received our explanation of benefits from the recent round of testing for the baby.  It was more than anticipated, but maybe in the long run with other medical expenses this year, it will be a wash because it will help us reach our deductible sooner.  We'll wait for the bill from the hospital and see if there's any room for negotiation if we agree to pay it in full.
  • I made another batch of orange cleaner for the bathrooms, and we mixed up some citrus vinegar cleaner to use on the floors and windows.  Little man really enjoys helping clean, so this is a cleaner we can feel ok about him using.
  • I cut little man's hair at home, saving on the cost of a haircut.  
  • We're beginning garden plans, thinking that we'll keep things easy this year with mostly herbs.  I may try to start some from seed, but with the baby coming, we may just opt to purchase plants this year.  We go through a lot of basil and cilantro, so we know we'll have those.  We planted our garlic in the fall, so it will be ready to pull in June.  All other herbs are perennials.  We're also looking forward to hopefully a bigger berry harvest this year, perhaps including raspberries (free from a friend) that we planted last year.
What about you?  I'd love to hear how you're living and saving green this week!

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