Viewing the 'Saving Money' Category
January 24th, 2021 at 07:26 pm
Illinois is one of the states that participates in the MegaMillions Lottery tickets. Sad to say, we didn't win. Of course, we didn't play either. I guess some lucky winner in Michigan will be the next millionaire. DH turned to me last night when they announced where the winning ticket was sold and said he bet that even if we won a jackpot like that, I would still shop at Aldi and clip coupons, and reuse bread bags. You know, he's right! He said being frugal is ingrained me and I don't doubt it.
This week was spent doing things that are in effect, taking care of things. I have a few pairs of shoes that were expensive and are leather. I spent some time using some shoe cream on them and polishing them. One is a pair of ankle boots that I cannot even remember how old they are. They don't look perfect, but the fact that they look as good as they do I chalk up to using this shoe cream/polish on them. I know when I went in a year or so ago with a pair of leather shoes, the salesman recognized them as being quite a bit older and asked if I wore them a lot. I said yes, but I try to take care of them. He said that was the key.
Twice a year I use a cleaner and polish on my wooden kitchen cabinets. They are 16 years old which probably isn't really old, but my kitchen gets a work out with all the cooking, baking, and canning I do.
I have a couple of pots that belonged to my grandmother. I don't know when she got them, but I know they are at least over 60 years old. I wash them by hand. I try not to let them get scratched or burn stuff in them. It's amazing how quality stuff lasts when you take care of it. I have a Pyrex dish that also was my grandmother's. It still looks pretty nice. I have a set of wooden handled steak knives that are over 30 years old. They still look great because we hand wash them and I treat the handles with a special oil so they don't dry out. I'm going to say that taking care of stuff also saves money because I don't have to buy a lot of new stuff when the older stuff keeps going.
These are just a few examples of good maintenance. Do you have something you've taken care of that still looks and works great?
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January 4th, 2021 at 12:49 am
Looks like 2021 has finally gotten here. 2020 was a challenging year on so many fronts and I think most of us hope that the new year is far healthier.
One thing I noticed before Christmas were so many of the advertisements and emails and messages is how many claimed people deserved to buy this and that because "you deserve it" after the year we've had. I wonder how many succumbed to the persuasion. I have a friend who does subscribe to that theory, and has for years and then complains how he's running out fo money.
I don't know if we deserved it or not, but we did trade cars. We felt we were treated fairly and got far more for our 8 year old car (only 35K miles) than we expected. We got a three year loan simply because we owe for nothing else and wanted to help our credit scores.
That was the big news as far as finances for us. We continue to eat at home -- we really don't have a choice since Illinois only allows take out and to be honest, as much as we would like to help the local restaurants, after you order, go pick it up, bringing it home, reheat it, and then clean up, it just isn't worth the expense and trouble.
My birthday is Tuesday and to be honest, it is going to be a little bit of a challenge. I'll be 60. It's weird, 40 and 50 didn't bother me, but for some reason, 60 is. One of my friends who has self taught herself on baking and decorating cookies brought some she made over; what a pleasant surprise. A far better one than the two we had this morning -- 6 inches of snow (we were to get a dusting to an inch) and no power for a few hours. Fortunately we did regain power. Hopefully the snow will melt in the next couple of days.
Let's hope that 2021 is a wonderful year for all of us!
Food / Groceries,
Ramblings and nonsensical chatter
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November 2nd, 2020 at 03:49 pm
Let me point out this is not a political post.
That being said, I'm looking forward to election day because I'm simply tired of all the nasty political advertisement and social media posts. I want to tell them all, go back to kindergarten and learn how to play nice. It's not just one side, it is both sides. Egad.
In other news, DH picked the last of the herbs and the leeks and green onions. We did a third planting of onions and they are small, but hey, food is food, right? I plan to use some of the onions and leeks and roast them with potatoes and bell peppers as part of our supper tonight.
We had a nice time on Halloween. We put a bowl of candy in the middle of the driveway and sat in the opening to the garage door and instructed the kids to take two pieces of candy. It was fun seeing the kids dressed up and the kids and parents were very polite. We have quite a bit of candy left over. I have some cookie recipes on using it up, so I may put the candy in the freezer and then make Christmas cookies with the leftover stuff.
Last week the stock market wasn't very good. Sure hope it rebounds. We haven't spent as much as usual simply because there isn't a lot we need or want. Almost all of my Christmas shopping is done. Just waiting on DH to tell me about a musical CD he wants so I can order it. I may start thinking about addressing Christmas cards in the next few days and will need to buy stamps. I guess I'm old fashioned. I like sending and receiving cards. One of my friend's daughter just started college and I have been mailing her a card each month and her mom visited her dorm room over the weekend and said she has the cards tacked to her bulletin board and was so happy to get "real mail."
Hope your day is a good one.
Ramblings and nonsensical chatter
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October 29th, 2020 at 08:22 pm
I notice that many of our blogs are food oriented lately. Maybe it is the cooler weather or perhaps we are all foodies at heart.
I was going through the freezer and noticed I still had some slices of ham there. I pulled them out to defrost and decided to use them for two different meals. One is for tonight -- quiche. It's dark and damp here today and nothing makes me happier than to have a hot meal from the oven when the weather is like this. Thursdays are usually egg night at our house anyway. I went out and pulled some green onions and chopped them as well as some Sage and Oregano. I added bell pepper and some chopped mushrooms and will add cheese to the eggs when I whip them with Half and Half. DH likes this type of quiche and it should be nutritious and filling.
The rest of the ham is being cooked with beans for ... ta da...ham and beans. OK, not original, but something good. I had some chicken broth in the fridge and thought, I better use it. A number of years ago we went to an Amish fundraiser and the Amish lady made ham and beans and besides chopped onion, she chopped celery. We had never had it with celery and I've made it that way ever since. I figure another vegetable won't hurt. I plan to make skillet cornbread the day we have the ham and beans. A cheap, economical meal and using up something from the freezer.
I notice I have quite a selection of soups in the freezer so we will be partaking of those in the next few days as well. It sure will help save on the grocery bill and using up some of the stuff will also help with the packed freezer.
Are you having trick or treating on Halloween? So far we are allowed to have it as long as we do not hand out candy up close. Our plan is to put a bowl on a box in the driveway and put candy in it and sit back aways so we can greet the kids and see their costumes. Hopefully no one will empty the bowl for just themselves. If they do, they do.
Well, nice we can again blog. I feel like I missed out on your lives.
I don't know if it is food, but I'm getting ready to fix a cup of tea. Reusing a tea bag of course. Frugal is as frugal does!
Food / Groceries,
4 Comments »
August 11th, 2020 at 06:56 pm
Yesterday was a busy shopping day, masks included. We decided to eat lunch out. I ordered a salad and although it was expensive - over $9, I brought half of it home so I had a second lunch today with it. While we were out in the north end of town, I decided to do some shopping. DH was surprised when I said I wanted to do some shopping because other than grocery stores and browsing thrift stores, I rarely want to go anywhere to shop. However, I had some things in mind that I was looking for.
Being a retired teacher, I still like using notebook paper. Staples had it on sale. While we were there, I noticed they had a 3 pack of Kleenex on sale as well so we bought that as well as some ink refills for a pen. I received a coupon for $10 off our next purchase of $20, so I think I may have to go back and get more Kleenex. DH has bad sinus problems and he goes through a ton of Kleenex besides using cloth hankies.
Our next foray was Joann Fabrics. I wanted one of those foam ink pads. I had another one that wasn't foam and it seemed to have dried up pretty quickly. I looked at yarn not because I wanted any, but I was nosy. It looked like someone had bought a lot of yarn because there were empty bins in some of the more economical yarn. I also wanted some elastic. Since I think we will be wearing masks for awhile, I wanted to try and make some masks. However, other than the really wide stuff, they were out and the clerk said people were in over the weekend shopping like mad for elastic and yarn. No kidding. The stamp pad was on sale. Yay, another savings!
We hit Walgreens to pick up a prescription and they had grape juice and peanut butter on sale. We drink a small glass of grape juice with supper since we are not wine drinkers. We have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch many times so figured we might as well stock up. I bought some of those elastic hair holders to use instead of elastic. They let me use my Balance Reward points for $20 so I spent $11 and some change there after they took off the $20. All in all, I spent less than $100, but felt like I had gotten some good deals and have worked on my stock pile of food and paper products. Plus, I had a couple of things that were wants: the stamp pad and the ink cartridges. Yes, I can use the free pens, but I really like the Cross pen I was given in 1979.
I spent part of the afternoon stamping some cards. I had found a new package of blank cards and envelopes at a thrift store for a quarter a couple of weeks ago so I thought I could stamp them with some designs. I have had the stamps for years and years. I had a red one and green one already so the black one just added to my collection. It was something fun to do.
So, that was it for my shopping trip. I was pleased with my results and shopping on a Monday later morning, early afternoon meant few crowds. No one to ask, "Who was that masked saver?"
5 Comments »
August 9th, 2020 at 06:40 pm
Our pantry is getting pretty full. No complaints either! DH's tomatoes have really been producing, but have sort of slowed down in the past week. We had a few days of cooler temps and I think the plants took a break. But that was fine. I started canning a few weeks ago when things were going hot and heavy and I think I have more then enough tomatoes and spaghetti sauce made for the winter. What a blessing that is!
Our neighbors shared some of their cucumbers so I'm going to make a few jars of sweet pickles and then give them some. It's nice when there are good neighbors, not just ones that share, but just nice people who realize that there is something about being kind to each other. Last winter I gave them some jars of green beans and spaghetti sauce and asked they return the jars and rings. They did. We've been passing things back and forth ever since -- baked goods, vegetables, and it's really nice.
I have a friend who lives a couple states away and she said she found a salsa recipe that is a little beyond what she considered the norm: it also incorporates cucumbers. I had never heard of that. But, I Googled it, and there are a couple of recipes like that. It's nice to learn something new. I don't make salsa, so I don't think I'll try it, but nevertheless, I learned something.
My state, Illinois, seems to continue to have large numbers of the virus cases, so I don't look for our church to be able to have our church bazaar the first Saturday in December. It breaks my heart. We bake cookies and sell them by the pound as well as other sweet treats. I guess I'll bake a lot of stuff this year and give as gifts.
I was discussing with a friend some of the meals I've made this week and she was teasing me about my using the Crockpot so much. I guess I really do. I used it three times this week. Twice because I would be canning and it was easier to just have supper in the cooker than to have to stop everything and take things off the stove to cook supper. I have read some of the blogs where people really like their Instapots. I haven't succumbed to one yet. But, I can see the draw.
Since we have been eating a lot of fresh foods from the garden, our grocery bills haven't been as high as they were in the past. That's a nice relief. We normally spend over $100 each week and the past three I've spent less than $60.
Food / Groceries,
5 Comments »
July 1st, 2020 at 11:57 pm
We have received a couple of rebates. One was from Menards for some things we purchased for a new sink and faucet. We didn't really need anything as far as home improvement stuff, but then I thought about it and decided to use the money to buy paper towels, facial tissue, and toilet paper. I figured that is stuff we would buy anyway and why not use this "found money" to purchase it?
DH uses Miracle Gro garden soil to enrich his garden and they had a rebate of $2 a bag. He bought ten bags, so that meant $20. We got the rebate for it and I'm going to put it in the home improvement savings account.
2 Comments »
May 24th, 2020 at 05:57 pm
It's been a busy week as I tick things off my to do list.
One thing I've been waiting to do until it was a decent day with no rain is clean up the car. We had road tar on the bottom half of it, probably from the pot hole filler they put in. We have so many pot holes, they are filling them and even when you try to avoid them, you still wind up running over some of it. So, yesterday afternoon was spent working on the car. About 4 hours later, it looks a lot better inside and out since we vacuumed and put some of that Armor All stuff on the plastic inside and out and washed and waxed the exterior. It's 7 years old and other than a few paint chips here and there, it isn't faring too badly.
DH worked some in the garden too. We had so many gloomy, rainy days, he was very worried about his vegetable garden. We've had some sun the past couple of days and I think the plants are excited.
We were hoping our peonies were going to open so we could put them on graves for Memorial Day. Sadly, only a couple have.
I asked DH to plant radishes earlier this spring and he did so, reluctantly. Well, we've had a few ready to eat and I pointed out how healthy they are for us, now DH can hardly wait to get more planted since we've eaten all that are ready. Funny how when you have to stay home and not go out, your taste buds appreciate different things.
Since we do not have room to grow green beans, I buy fresh ones from the store and can them. I'm about done canning beans for the upcoming year. I also decided to try my hand at making dill pickles. I've never made them before. DH doesn't like them, but I do, so I bought a couple of cucumbers to work with. I was pleased with the outcome. Here is the original recipe:
8 pounds of small pickling cucumbers
4 cups distilled vinegar
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c Kosher salt
4 c water
3 T pickling spice
7 heads fresh dill
7 cloves garlic
Place cucumbers in large pot and cover with ice. Let sit for 2 hours. Drain and pat dry. Place all other ingredients in sauce pan and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add to large pot with cucumbers and cover. Put cucumbers in sterilized jars. You can hot water can them if you wish.
I of course did not make this much because I wanted to try making them and I didn't have fresh dill; I used dry so I used less, but they are pretty good and will satisfy my dill pickle craving I have every so often. I guess I continue to be astounded how expensive pickle products are. So, I made 2 1/2 pints of dill pickles for myself for a little more than $2 since I had the vinegar, sugar, dill, and garlic. Figure that is a good way to save money.
Food / Groceries,
5 Comments »
April 19th, 2020 at 06:30 pm
After a cool, dreary week, it has been nice to see the sun yesterday and today. Well, so far today. It's supposed to get cloudy as a cold front moves in with a chance of showers, but right now it is bright and looks springy.
DH is impatiently waiting until the chance of frost passes so he can start to plant part of his garden. We picked up some bell pepper and herbs as well as a few tomato plants before the governor has said lawn and garden places can only sell online or do curbside service. So, we move the plants inside on cold nights and then take them back outside when it is nice. We are getting our exercise anyway by doing this.
I'm impatient about the lettuce I planted way over a month ago. It's been so cold and gloomy that it has come up, but not much else. I have been covering it at night when it gets cold trying to keep it from getting frostbitten. It will probably surprise me and get big all of a sudden and I'm looking forward to when that happens.
We received our stimulus money and we let it sit in our checking account a couple of days and then moved it into savings. Right now we are doing OK money wise. I did order some whipped honey online this week and did a small Kohls order for underwear, but other than groceries and paying the regular bills, haven't been spending a lot. Other than these items, we haven't need anything. Just waiting and staying home, hoping this will soon pass.
We've seen things get a little better at the grocery stores the past couple of weeks. We shop at Aldi and Kroger. It's funny though, Kroger was totally out of flour and sugar last week. We didn't need any, just happened to go down that aisle to get something else and noticed the bare shelves. But Aldi had both. Kroger honestly had regular size packages of name brand tp too and Aldi had no tp. So, I guess it depends on the store and clientele as to what is available and what isn't. I was happy to be able to buy the loaves of bread we like. We haven't been able to for about 4 weeks.
Hope everyone is doing OK in the SA community. Hope you are all hanging in there!
Food / Groceries,
2 Comments »
March 8th, 2020 at 08:04 pm
I really like the show "Home Town" on HGTV. I guess one reason is the hosts seem like nice people. But another reason is they work with a variety of budgets. And both Erin and Ben seem to be the kind to not only use new stuff, but reuse and repurpose other things. I like watching that kind of thing and it seems I am spending a lot of time looking for ways to do just that.
As many of you know, I belong to a knitting group at my church where we loom knit hats and scarves and give to schools and other non profits in our area. We gave to 4 schools last year as well as the hospital for the preemies, and then a bunch of baby hats for one of the clinics here in town as well as a social services group and a woman's shelter. One of the things I do with the smaller bits of yarn is crochet dish cloths and I made and donated 125 of them to a local food pantry.
Besides that, I've been making those market bags and giving those away to my friends as a way to use up bigger pieces of yarn that there isn't enough for a scarf or hat. It keeps me busy (and off the streets LOL). Seriously, I just like making sure I can use up the things we have.
I saw on Pinterest how to fold newspapers and make bags so I've made a few of those too. Our comics section is printed on heavier paper and I'm thinking these would make great "gift" bags for thinner things.
I recycle what I can, but I also reuse as much stuff as I can. I seem to have a fetish for glass jars; I have all different shapes and sizes. I like them for storage as well as for leftovers. Plus we won't even mention my love affair with canning jars.
I make my own laundry detergent and have been using the same plastic jug to store it in. I figure I'm saving money as well as not contributing to using more plastic bottles. I also have smaller glass jars with some of the extra laundry detergent in it.
We eat a lot of chicken around here and one thing I do is pound the chicken breasts to tenderize them and then flour them. I hate using a new bag each time, and read a suggestion about using a bread bag. What a great idea. Granted, it is still using plastic, but I figure using them for something else helps.
I'm collecting those mesh bags that fruit and vegetables come in to make a scrubby. I don't have enough yet to make a decent one.
I reuse envelopes that mail comes in. Some I make lists on, and some I just use to store things in. We collect cancelled postage stamps for a mission at my church so I keep an envelope with those in it. We also collect coupons from the paper inserts to send to some military folks and I use one of those reply envelopes for those.
For years I've used cloth napkins and I go through a ton of kitchen towels. I do use paper towels for stuff like raw meat, but I have cut down on the paper towel use a lot. Most of my friends as well as my hubby know if they want to give me something for Christmas or birthday, a kitchen towel is appreciated.
I continue to search for ways to reuse things. We shop at thrift stores a lot for things. Most of my kitchen dishes and plates were bought preowned. I figure I'm saving money not only by doing that, but also by not using one use items like paper plates. I have a couple of cast iron skillets that I use frequently. I have one of those splatter ware lidded pans that is oblong that I use for a lot of baking and cooking. It was my grandmother's.
So, what do you you reuse or repurpose to help save money as well as our environment?
Ramblings and nonsensical chatter,
8 Comments »
March 1st, 2020 at 11:30 pm
A friend and I recently were discussing ways we could cut more of our plastic consumption. I know we will never be able to totally forego it, but we figure anything we can do to help the environment helps. In an earlier post I talked about making bags. I have sewn a bunch of grocery bags for us and I even made some for some friends to use as well. And recently I have been knit looming some "market bags" that I will use for produce as well as gift bags.
I was thinking about my coffee maker. I use paper filters. Now, I know I'm going to offend some coffee experts, but I don't use a new filter each time. I'm the only one who drinks the stuff and I don't make a full pot each time. I put the coffee grounds on our garden, but throw away the filter. I thought, I wonder if there is such a thing as a reusable coffee filter out there for my machine.
There is and I bought one yesterday. I thought about sewing some, but I didn't have any muslin, so I figured maybe this would be the best bet and I can rinse it out without having to run it through a washer and dryer.
Speaking of which, I make my own laundry detergent. I've been using the same old vinegar bottle for years. It's scary how much water is really in laundry detergent. I also make my own knock off of Febreze.
I try to reuse any jars I get besides my canning ones. I use a ton of canning jars not only for canning but for other food storage. I have some Pyrex that is probably older than I am and cook and store things in them.
My friend wants to learn how to make bags. We are challenging each other to come up with ways to reduce our plastic. I was very careful with a plastic bag I had in the freezer with tomatoes. I washed it out and it looks like I can use it again. Hopefully my doing what I can will also save me some money!
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February 23rd, 2020 at 09:17 pm
I've been trying to use up stuff from the freezer and pantry and only buying things we use each week like milk, eggs, fresh fruit, and bread. I know it has made a big difference in our past few grocery bills plus we are using what we already had. Once a week it is what I call buffet night where we have a little of this and little of that from previous meals. I just hate to see food go to waste so it's a good way to clean out the fridge.
Although we don't live in a flood plain, we bought flood insurance last year and this year's premium came due. So, I'm trying to cut back on spending a little bit on other stuff so it doesn't make our checkbook balance go down far too much. DH read that so many places have had floods that have never had the problem before and regular home owner's insurance doesn't cover it. I really feel insurance poor some days, but hopefully we will never have to use any of it.
I continue to work on hats and scarves for my church's knitting group. We haven't been able to meet for the past couple of months because every time we have a meeting planned, we've gotten snow or ice. So, I work on stuff at home. Another church gave us a bunch of crochet cotton so a couple of us are also making dish cloths. I made 125 of them last year to donate to a local food pantry for them to put on their line for people to take if they wanted them. I used leftover yarn for them and someone had given me some crochet cotton too. Hopefully with the three of us making them, we can have about 300 made for Christmas baskets this year. I know it isn't a big thing, but a new dishcloth is kind of nice.
I had purchased some yarn and it is very thin. My fault -- I didn't look closely. It would take three strands to make a hat or scarf. So, I've sort of put it to the side. Well, I was browsing Pinterest which I swear is dangerous. I saw a knitting loom pattern to make a market bag which is one that isn't totally solid. So, I followed the pattern and have made two, using up this thinner yarn. I am thinking maybe I can make these for gifts to add to packages for Christmas. They go quickly and don't take a lot of storage so maybe this is something someone could use. Plus, another use for the yarn.
I did crochet myself a doily out of some crochet thread I had purchased a few years ago at at thrift store. I have made 4 book marks out of the remainder of the thread. One more thing I used up.
And an update: A couple of weekends ago I talked about the neighbor girl and her mom letting her play sports with a 103.5 fever. Sadly, the girl wound up in the hospital for almost a week not only because of the fever, but she couldn't move her arms and legs and ached all over. She's home now, but I can't even imagine the pain and expense that caused. Plus, the fact she could have infected everyone else she came in contact with.
Ramblings and nonsensical chatter,
2 Comments »
January 19th, 2020 at 08:34 pm
Every so often, I try to find different ways to save money. Not that I'm an expert, but after awhile, so many articles seem to say the same thing over and over. I do many of them. There are a couple I won't. One is we don't plan to give up cable. My husband doesn't drink, smoke, golf, gamble, or do any of these things that cost lots of money. He enjoys television and the shows that are on cable. I figure that is is entertainment and we can afford it. We rarely if ever go to a movie or sports event. So, we aren't spending money on those things.
But getting back to my original thought, every so often I type into Pinterest and Google and read the articles. I do a lot of the things.
So, is saving money just doing the same things? Yeah, I know, it is a rhetorical question. For everyone it is a different thing on how they save. I'm certainly not going to do some of the extreme things that were on shows a couple of years back.
So, what do you think? Is there really nothing new about finding ways to save money?