Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all! I hope your children have a safe fun day. I always loved Halloween when I had children of my own. I loved decorating, sewing costumes, enjoyed all of the children's costumes who came to my door, etc. I still do. I especially love the really little ones who come with their parents. I have purchased the little boxes of animal crackers as a treat for the little ones ( 2 year olds) on my street who will be coming this year. I think it is better than giving them candy.

But my favorite part of Halloween is the day after when many stores put their Halloween candy on sale at 50% or more. Our candy supply has dwindled since Valentine's Day and Easter. It is time to replenish it. I put the discounted candy in my freezer to use for cakes and cookies and other desserts during the year. I buy mostly chocolates, M&M's and Reese's pieces. Then I buy other candies to have here for my grandchildren when they visit as a treat.

I know some people who wait to buy the candy at deep discount like 75 to 90% off. But I find that most of the candy in this area is wiped out at 50%. I can also usually get what I want if I go early in the morning. I have a really early dentist appointment tomorrow so I will be shopping right afterwards.

But candy is not the only thing that gets discounted. Many people purchase costumes for their children for next year. This is a smart thing to do if you don't sew their costumes.

At the market and Walmart, I will be looking for discounted Halloween cake mixes, cookies, frostings, pumpkin cupcake paper wrappers, paper napkins, etc. I look at things that are Halloween themed. I will be pulling any coupons that I can use today.

If you have a graduate this coming June and are having a party, look for discounted black paper plates, cups, and napkins. etc.

Over the years I have used ECB's at CVS, coupons at AC Moore, Rite Aid, Top's, Dollar General, Ollie's, and Big Lots to get the discounted candy, etc. Michael's and Pier 1 are great places to get discounted decorations.

I have known people who buy pumpkins cheap to bake and freeze in portions. 

Just think outside of the box for things that you can use during the year at a discount. I know I like to save money on some of these things and I am sure most of you readers like to also.

What are some of the things that you have purchased at a great price after Halloween?  Please feel free to share in comments.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A Bread Recipe From Gayle

Gayle Binkley was nice enough to share her favorite bread recipe in the comments. But I wanted to make sure that everyone sees it. It looks so easy. I can't wait to try it.

One-Day Sourdough Bread

1-1/2 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp. instant potatoes
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. yeast
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
4-1/2 cups bread flour
1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 Tsp. salt
enough lukewarm water to make a fairly stiff dough


In a large mixing bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients well and let it sit 1-1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Add remaining ingredients. Turn out on floured board. Knead 5 minutes. Put back in bowl that has been oiled. Cover and let sit for 1 hour or until doubled. Remove and make into 3 loaves. Brush top with oil. Cover. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 325 until done (about 20-25 minutes). Remove from pans. Butter top while hot.

Thanks so much Gayle for taking the time to share this with me and everyone else.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Frugal Things That We Have Been Doing

These are the frugal things that we have been doing:

- I mended a cable knit sweater that had developed a hole. It is over 25 years old and I love it. I purchased it two sizes too big back then so I could wear it over a top or blouse and have it be roomy and long. It has served me well. You can't even see where I repaired it.

- Hubby took the car to the tire store to get the snow tires put on for the winter. I gave him a 50% off coupon so he only had to pay $32. 36 including tax.

- Hubby asked me to buy athletic socks for him because he was running out. I always buy them all the same sock in bulk so that when he develops a hole in one and throws it away, they still all match. I purchased him 10 pair for $18.99. 

- I received $13.91 in rebate and other checks. I will deposit them in savings the next time I go to the bank. 

- Our favorite BBQ place started frying up huge fish fries again last Friday. They do this from now until Good Friday. So we treated ourselves for dinner. We hate their sides so we just order the fish which saves us $3.00 off our order. While I am picking up the fish, Hubby does French fries to go with it in our air fryer. The fish fries were so big this time that Hubby and I could have easily split one. So next time we will only buy one.  

- Hubby made homemade Ciabatta bread and tomato soup. I made a huge beef stew. Those meals we have been eating most of the week.

- When I picked up bread flour for Hubby this week, I also picked up 3 packs of TicTacs for free after coupons. They will be a gift.

- I am keeping my eyes open for a great sale on casual shoes for me. The ones I purchased from Naturalizer were way too big so I returned them. They were my size but I think it was the design. This cost me money so I am looking for a local sale on them. 

- Hubby will be making egg, onion, ham and peppers with cheese, salsa or taco sauce in wraps for our Sunday breakfast this weekend. My grandson will not eat them. So I will make him scrambled eggs, sausage, and toast made with our Ciabatta bread. Hubby's wraps are so good that I wanted him to make them for our son to try. 

- I made another bottle of homemade cleaner to clean our eye glasses. 

- I learned quite a while ago how to make my morning oatmeal with my Keurig which saves me time and money. So I have made up small snack size Ziplocs of oatmeal and dried fruit that I got free after coupons. I just pour it into a cup, have the Keurig run hot water into it and let it set for a minute or so.

- I had not been able to find tomato sauce at a decent price since my BJ's quit carrying it in the #10 cans. So I had been using Hunt's spaghetti sauce for my base which was expensive. My neighbor who knew I was looking for it went to Sam's Club last week and picked me up 10- #10 cans for $2.98 each. I was delighted and promptly paid her. I use it as the base to make homemade spaghetti sauce. I made her some homemade banana bread for her family to thank her.  

-Hubby was very happy to get his riding lawn mower back from the shop that repaired it. It was gone more than a week and the lawn was getting very long. I am happy that including pickup and drop off the repair the bill only came to $ 97. 

- Hubby made absolutely delicious garlic bread for dinner last night. He used some of the homemade Ciabatta bread. 

- I picked up 4 more James Patterson books at our library. They will be enjoyable evening reading instead of watching You Tube. I am just finishing reading a book that I downloaded for free to my Kindle. So these books will be my next reading.

- While I was driving, the warning lights came on in our car. I researched them in our car manual. It was the tire pressure. I filled the tires up to 33 psi which is where they needed to be. The warning lights went off. 

- The last thing that needs to be done for winter here is to clean the garage. That will be done with Hubby's help in the next few days. 

Please feel free to leave a comment and share with us what you have been doing frugally.


Friday, October 26, 2018

Hubby's Homemade Dinnner

After all the years I have cooked, I love it when Hubby decides he is going to cook a meal. He loves making me breakfast and once in a while he makes dinner. Last night was one of those nights. He asked me to look at his recipes the day before and make sure we had everything he needed. We needed bread flour because I was low. So I picked up 5 pounds on the way home from the dentist yesterday.

He made homemade tomato soup which he has been making for years. It is so good and so much better than tomato soup in a can. The pic above shows when it just started to cook. He simmered it for a while and just before we ate, he added leftover elbow macaroni from a prior meal this week. It was so delicious. After dinner, he bagged some up and froze it for future meals. The rest will be our lunches for the next couple of days.

Here is the soup after it cooked and the macaroni was added. The only changes that Hubby makes to the recipe is to add Italian seasoning spice and leave out the leeks which he does not like. 

Hubby decided that he would make homemade Ciabatta Bread to go with it. He made it by hand. He made two separate loaves on two different sheet pans. Here is one of them while it was rising. The recipe told him to lightly flour them. He did but we couldn't figure out why. All it did was make the loaf a little flour-y. But it easily wiped off so that we could eat it. Perhaps you experienced bread makers can tell us why it said to do that.

Here is one of the loaves after it was baked and cooling. He just wiped off the flour on the outside before we ate it. He also added some rosemary to the top of the loaf before he baked it. This recipe is definitely a keeper. We loved this as you can see with our soup. 

The bread was still warm and with butter it was scrumptious. It was a very enjoyable meal made for under $1.00 per serving. We will definitely be making this once a month all winter.

Hubby was thrilled with the way his bread turned out. We ate about half a loaf so we have a loaf and a half left. I save my bread bags and twist ties for when I make bread in my bread maker. At first I thought we would freeze one loaf but on second thought I was sure that we eat it this weekend. I bet it will make great toast for our family breakfast on Sunday. 

Here is the recipe for the Ciabatta Bread . And here is the recipe for the Tomato Soup


I had so many doctor and dentist appointments this week that I have only had time to post twice. So I will be doing our frugal things list that I haven't done in a while tomorrow.

Do any of you have great homemade bread recipes that you use? Would you share them with Hubby?

Monday, October 22, 2018

It Pays To Always Comparison Shop

Taking the time to comparison shop always pays off even on the smaller items. We all know to comparison shop on the large items like cars, homes, major appliances, home repairs, insurances, etc.

But just how many large items do you buy in a year's time? Most likely not that many. The smaller things can sink a budget since we buy so many that they add up over a year's time. You see it in your yearly grocery shopping. If you just throw whatever you want into your cart at the grocery store without any preparation, you can spend thousands more than necessary. But if you take the time to meal plan, keep a price book, keep an inventory of your stockpile,  cut coupons, and keep an eye on sales and rock bottom prices, you spend hundreds of dollars less per year. The same is true when we purchase HBA items, over the counter meds, and cleaning products, etc.

We always take the time to comparison shop on everything we buy. So last week when our salt and pepper grinders (pictured above) bit the dust on almost the same day, we started the search for some new ones. Sure we could have just used cheap salt and pepper shakers like I have near my stove or grinders filled with salt and pepper from the store which I would have had to buy over and over again. But Hubby is very particular and likes grinders and I don't like buying things over and over again so I asked him to do a search for his favorite. Then I did the comparison shopping online.

He sent this link of blue grinders at HSN and this link at QVC. Those told me that these Kalorik gravity grinders were the ones he wanted. As you can see the HSN set was $38.24 plus $ 5.50 for shipping and the QVC set was $ 37.99 plus $ 5.50 for shipping. Then of course we would have 8% sales tax to pay but we would pay that no matter where we purchased them. I also hated the blue color which would not have looked well in my breakfast/dining room. But I figured I could look for other colors. HSN only had the blue but QVC had gold and red also for the same prices. I decided I liked the gold. 

I ruled out HSN because they did not have the gold color. If I went through my Ebates account and purchased at QVC, I would get 1% back or $ .38 which would bring the price down to $ 37.61 plus $ 5.50 shipping.     

I checked Walmart.com and they were $ 32.79 and free shipping or pick up. Then I checked Amazon and the gold that I wanted was $ 7.00 less than their red and blue. The gold was $ 27.39. I have a Prime membership so 2 day shipping was free for us. 

So I ordered at Amazon which was $ 15.72 less than QVC with shipping and $ 5.40 less than Walmart. I had a $5.00 Amazon gift certificate and $ 8.66 in reward points sitting in my Amazon account which I used. So my final price out of pocket was $ 13.73 plus tax.

Making these comparisons only took a few minutes and it was worth getting the cheapest price at Amazon and saving $ 5.40 over Walmart's price. Using my reward rebate money and the free gift certificate saved me another $ 13.66 out of pocket. It was a win- win all the way!

Do I compare and do the math on every purchase? You bet I do. It is so worth it and it adds up to big bucks in a year's time.

Changing the subject, I hope you all had a great weekend. We did. Instead of my family coming for breakfast yesterday, they came for lunch and to watch the Bills football game which was very disappointing. But spending time with family is just the best.

Knowing that West was here, I baked some brownies for dessert. He loved them and ate quite a few.

My son helped us put all of the patio furniture and the grill in our shed. We have had some major wind the past few days which caused things to blow around. Hubby also brought the snowblower from the shed to the garage so that it is at the ready to use when need be. 

My son carried a box( 11 bottles of 750ml) of Jordan's Irish Cream SF syrup downstairs to my basement pantry for me. I buy it in bulk to get free shipping and this time I also got a free bottle.  We love this syrup in our coffee. I think we are now set for the winter. He also brought 3- 40 lb. bags of salt pellets down to our water softener and filled it up.

I made a quick trip to Top's. I never had a chance to take a picture but I can tell you that it was a great stock up trip. I purchased 18 eggs, 1 pkg. of Dixie Plates(great for holiday desserts), 8 boxes of General Mills cereal, 3 boxes of Scottie Tissues, 4 boxes of Nature Valley Granola bars, 4 bags of Luden SF Cough Drops, 1 box of Idaho Steakhouse Potatoes(free Catalina), 1 gallon of milk, 3 Wholly Guacamole(1 Free Coupon), 2 Suave Body Wash, 2 lbs. of yellow onions, 1 bunch of celery, 1 bag of baby carrots, 2 pkgs. of Thomas English muffins, 3 Tic Tacs, and 1- 8 ct. Arnold Sesame Rolls all for $ 39.84 after coupons. I got a $2.00 off my next shopping trip Catalina coupon from buying the cereal. That will probably be the only shopping I do this week.

I filled up the car with gasoline. Gas cost $ 2.979 at our gas station. Since I didn't do much shopping over the past month, I had only earned $.10 off a gallon. But every little bit helps.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Wind Is Howling

I have been listening to the wind howling for hours. It is gusting at 45-55 miles per hour.  We have skipped autumn this year. Two weeks ago we were in the '80's and now it is winter. They even predicted some snow on the weather forecast last night. I am hoping they are wrong.

Our heat has been on since the day after our last 80's day. I think that has been about 2 weeks. We were reviewing the past years electric and gas bills today and we have had a significant increase in the cost. Hubby says the yearly amount has jumped from October 2017 to October 2018 by $250. Most of the increase is a result of how hot our summer was which cost so much more in air conditioning. We are just under $2000. for that year time period. I realize rates have gone up also and now they are telling us that here in western NY, we can expect our winter heating costs to go up about 5% more. 

So all of this has me thinking about how you and I can save on our heating costs this winter. I am going to try to hold them down where I can.

We have a programmable thermostat. Hubby has it set for the heat to go down to 65 at night and then back up to 71 in the morning. Hubby gets cold easily so we can't lower it anymore. This makes it easy because it does it automatically. If you don't have one, you should get one. You can get one for $ 40. - $ 50. on Amazon.com.

This morning I will dig out our cloth snakes to put up against our outside doors and the basement doors to keep the heat in the house.

Our back door is not as tight as it should be so we will be purchasing a storm door this week and have it installed. That will keep the drafts out and off my back while I am eating at the table. 

Hubby changed the furnace filter when he turned the heat on. We will do this monthly.

I have the small heater that plugs in ready for company for one of the guest rooms. Because the windows in that room are almost floor to ceiling, it gets colder than the other rooms. We only run it about once or twice a year for a few days.

We are already keeping most of the shades and blinds closed day and night. The only ones we open are the ones where the sun is brightly shining in. We have shades that have a heat layer inside- like a honeycomb. The shades in the living areas let the light shine in. The room darkening ones in the bedrooms do not let the light in. But in the winter, we rarely open those. It is cheaper to use one LED bulb. 

Extra blankets have been put on the beds so that we can be warm at night when the temperature in the house goes down.

All of the baseboard cracks have been resealed and the house has been caulked outside.

We have our supplies ready to make hot chocolate.  Our supply of coffee and tea is stocked for the winter. If we catch a chill even when it is 71 in the house, the hot beverages usually warm us up.

I love to bake in this colder weather. So when I have time, I bake quick breads, muffins, donuts, cakes, pies, etc. I turn the oven off a few minutes before they are done. Then when I take my baked goods out of the oven, I leave the door open to let the hot air into the house. I always try to load my oven when I bake or roast meat and then I freeze some of it for the future. 

We try to only use our garage door when we go in and out. Less cold air comes into the house that way. The wind doesn't come into the house. We also stay home more in the winter so there is less opening and closing of doors. 

We have our supply of sweaters and sweatshirts at the ready. And all of our throws are near the sofas and chairs in the great room. 

We also continue to do whatever we can in the house to use less electricity and natural gas whether that is hot water, lighting, using the dryer less or not at all, running full loads of laundry and or dishes. We continue to use as many small appliances to cook as we can instead of the stove top or oven. If we can fit something to roast or bake for dinner into the toaster oven, we do.

What do you do to save on your winter heating bills?

         

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Best Laid Plans

I had planned on grocery shopping either Sunday or yesterday but you know what they say about the best laid plans. Hubby ended up in the hospital those two days. He scared the living daylights out of both of us. But he is home now and fine.

So today I got to go to the dentist for an appointment that I rescheduled from yesterday to today.  Then I was able to go grocery shopping. I purchased more than usual but that is okay since I didn't spend much last month.

My first stop was Aldi's where I purchased the above. I hadn't planned on going there but decided to check prices against my Top's list. Well I purchased more than I had planned to this week but I am stocking for winter.

This is my Aldi's receipt. The sour cream was needed for dinner tonight. It was such a good price compared to Top's so I got two. One for now and one for later. The chicken broth was $1.29 which is about $.70 cheaper than Top's. I use ground coffee in my refillable cup for my Keurig. I was down to my last can and saw this large can priced at $4.89 so I thought I would try it to see if it is any good. They have the best price on the northern beans and soon I will be making ham and bean soup.  

They had Honeycrisp apples on sale for $ 1.99 a bag and they are a favorite. The frozen  veggies were great prices compared to Top's and I am stockpiling for the winter. I only had one egg left in the house so I needed them badly. Aldi's large eggs are small so I only bought one then paid a little more for a dozen at Top's. We needed basil and the granola bars because I am almost out. I like stove top stuffing as a quick side when we have poultry or even pork and I had none left. We also are on our last bottle of tartar sauce and soy sauce.

So the total at Aldi's was $ 24.82. 

The next and last stop was Top's. I needed bacon and ham slices for Sunday breakfasts and I stock up when they have a good sale. The bacon was B2G3F. Then I bought 2 on sale ham slices. I used a coupon for get a $1.00 off any Smithfield breakfast item when you buy 1 bacon. I meant to get another flyer at the front door and use 2 coupons but I forgot so I lost a $1.00 there. I have so much on my mind right now that I am not surprised. They also had really nice chuck roasts on sale for $3.99 and that is a great price in our area. So I went to the butcher shop and picked two nice ones and had them individually wrap them for me. I would have bought more but I  am trying to make space for turkeys when they go on sale.

Hubby was out of his crunchy peanut butter and his quick meal meatballs. He loves these Rosina in a meatball sandwich for lunch. When I make spaghetti and meatballs I usually make my own. The meatballs were on sale for B1G1F and I had 2 coupons for $1.00/1 so I got 4 bags. Strawberries were on Super Coupon for $ 1.99. I bought the large eggs on Super Coupon for $ 1.29. Also the pasta sauce which I use for a base for homemade was on Super Coupon for $ .99. This week is chock full of appointments and we want to get up to the gym a few days so I picked up 4 Smart Ones for quick lunches. With Hubby in the hospital I did not have time to prepare lunches ahead for the week. We will fill in the other days with leftovers. 

Here is my receipt for Top's. As you can see the total was $67.00. So I spent a total of $ 91.82 this week.

I roasted a whole chicken over the weekend so we have a lot leftover that hasn't gotten eaten because of Hubby's hospitalization. So tonight I am going to make a big pan of cheesy chicken enchiladas. They should serve us for two or more meals. 

I am out of here to try to catch up all the things that got neglected the last few days.

If you are buying any great deals at the grocery store feel free to leave a comment about them.
 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

What If You Lost Your Income?

A company that has been in business for years in a town in our area announced today that they will be starting factory shutdown next week and will cease operations. They say they will only need 10 employees of the 150-175 they currently have for the shutdown. That is a lot of employees who will be out of a job next week. Even though the economy is good and workers looking for employment are in short supply, these workers will most likely find it hard to make the wages that they currently make. Finding that new job may force them to move.

So what should you do if you lose your job or even part of your income that you have counted on. I can only tell you what I would do if I was in those circumstances.

Before you lost your job or part of your income, I would hope that you have plenty of money saved in case of this emergency. But many people don't due to many different circumstances. Or if you knew far in advance that you were losing part of your income, you would have had time to save every dollar you could. 

First, I would apply for unemployment. Then I would update my resume. Next I would start searching and applying for as many jobs as I could. Any and all adult household members should be looking for jobs if they are unemployed. Even stay at home Mom's or Dad's can find a part time job on weekends or evenings.  

Then, I would cancel as many recurring expenses as I could. Cable TV, extra cellphones, or a home phone would get cancelled. Cancel all magazine subscriptions or any other subscription services that you have such as the newspaper. Then stop the gym memberships or any other memberships that you pay for. You can no longer afford these luxuries. 

Next I would try to lower other expenses like homeowner's and car insurance by researching who is cheapest but still has an A or B+ rating.

Check to see where the food pantries are. Can you get food stamps? If you have worked almost 10 months in a job, you probably won't qualify this year but perhaps in January you will. 

Figure out how you can maintain health insurance for you and your family. That is important. When family members were without a job many years ago they used COBRA to keep their health insurance for a couple of months till they found another job. COBRA is not cheap but it is important to not go without it. One injury or illness could wipe you out.

Stop all spending immediately except for necessities. Necessities to me would be food, mortgage payment or rent, house or car insurance, internet service so you can apply for jobs,  transportation or paying for gasoline to drive  to job interviews and the market, utility bills for gas and electric, water and sewer, medical co pays and insurance. You also need just one cellphone or home phone so that you can be reached by companies looking to interview you. Any spares need to be cancelled. The rest are all luxuries.

You shouldn't spend any money on clothing, entertainment, meals out or anything else. Christmas may have to be celebrated with just a family meal and no gifts. We did this one year when Hubby was hit by a car while walking from the parking lot to his office only 5 weeks after he started a new job. He had no sick time at that point and so we went without pay for a few weeks until he was cleared after surgery to go back to work. We had only had our new home a year so we didn't really have much savings at that point. We just told everyone that we couldn't afford to buy gifts that Christmas. We just had a small family gathering with a cheap turkey.

Every expense that isn't a necessity must be cut! I can't say that enough. Until you have another job, you spend not one dollar unless it is really necessary.

If your situation is such that you are permanently losing income, then you have to find a way to replace that income and pay your bills. If you have to downsize your home or find and apartment to live in, it is the choice you will have to make. If you have to find a part time job or a way to make up that income, then that is what you have to do.  

Even the amounts you spend on the necessities such as food can be cut with proper planning or couponing.

It isn't going to be easy but you know that when you get a job it will get better and you won't always have to be so thrifty.

Feel free to add in comments any other advice that you feel is important in this situation.

 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Our Easy Busy Day Dinner

We woke up to 40 temperatures today. It is getting cold fast considering we were 70 yesterday and 80's the day before. 

Hubby and I were craving soup. So this is my fallback soup that is easy. It basically a dump tortilla soup. 

Usually, I use leftover chicken from a rotisserie chicken or one I have roasted. However, I had no cooked chicken in the freezer. So I quickly cooked up 2 small chicken breasts.

Then I proceeded to put all of the ingredients I needed to make it in my dinner prep tray and stored it away in the fridge until an hour before dinner. 

Then I mixed it all in my big pot and simmered it for about 45 minutes so the flavors could meld together. 

At dinnertime, I served this tortilla soup with broken tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese on top. It is so yummy and the heat of the soup melts the cheese. 

With our gym schedule, I like easy more and more.

Yesterday was my "39 again" birthday. I had a wonderful laid back day doing whatever I wanted. Last night Hubby took me out to dinner where I enjoyed my favorite rib eye steak sandwich and French fries with gravy. The French fries with gravy have been a very favorite of mine since I was a teen.

I was happy to receive these beautiful flowers from my son, DIL and granddaughter. But my very favorite thing was a card that my granddaughter decorated and she wrote to me " I wish you a very long life!" That brought a big smile to my face.
   
Today, I helped Hubby push our great big John Deere riding lawn mower back into the shed. It wouldn't start when Hubby tried to mow. So we have made a call for service and they will come and pick it up on Tuesday and then repair it and bring it back to us. Hopefully it won't take too long since our lawn is long now. UGH!

Anybody have a favorite homemade soup recipes that you would be willing to share in comments? I make chicken or turkey rice, ham and bean, and this tortilla soup all the time. I could use some new and easy ones for the winter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Simple Ways We Save Money Every Day

There are so many simple things that we do every day to save money that many people new to frugality may not realize. I became aware of this when a friend came over to see my stockpile. I showed her why I buy powdered lemonade in bulk. She asked me why I didn't tell her about that a long time ago. I have been doing these things for so long that they are second nature to me now. But it was an aha moment that made me realize that not everyone knows about these things.

So I have been compiling a list for all of you. Here they are:

- Almost all of our meals are eaten at home. It's healthier and cheaper than fast food or eating out in a restaurant.

- We drive as little as possible. When we do drive, we do a lot of errands at one time. Now that we are going to the YMCA, we run many of them afterwards. We run them in a circle to be as fuel efficient as possible.

- I take Navy showers. Wet down, soap up and rinse off. I turn the shower off while soaping up. This saves on water and natural gas to heat the water. When we are at our swim classes at the YMCA, we shower there.

- Most of our laundry is hung to dry. I use EcoEggs to wash our clothes instead of detergent.

- Last night I cleaned our dishwasher using powdered lemonade. It is so much cheaper than the dishwasher cleaner you can buy. They both have citric acid. I have been using it for years and it does a great job.

- I use vinegar instead of Jet Dry as a rinse agent in my dishwasher.

- I cover my pots on my stove to keep the heat in so that our food cooks faster. I use a burner that is perfect for the size of the pot.

- I turn off the oven 5 minutes before things are done.  Afterwards, I leave the oven door open to let the heat out into the room.

- We rarely buy bottled water. We drink filtered tap water.

- I don't drink soda. Hubby does but he has been drinking more and more homemade iced tea lately than soda.

- We have given up most snacks except for popcorn, tortilla chips, and potato chips. Both kinds of chips are used in meals.

- I buy 99% of Hubby's clothes from LL Bean. I wait for sales and use coupon codes when possible. The clothes are classic and wear like iron. They last a long, long time.

- We wear casual clothes 99% of the time. Lots of T shirts, shorts and jeans. I buy mine on sale with coupons from either Kohl's or J.C. Penneys. If we are doing something in the yard or washing the car, we wear old stained clothes. I do the same to clean.

- I haven't purchased floss in years. Between the samples the dentist gives us and a stockpile of Reach that I got for free after coupons, we are set for years. The dentist also gives us toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash. 

- We use every free sample that we get. Right now I am using travel size shampoos from our last Disney World trip to take to the gym with me for when I shower. 

- We never wear shoes in the house. Our white carpeting looks new and it is almost 9 years old. We shampoo it ourselves rather than hire a company to do it.

- I clean my toilets with cheap Equate dental tablets and a brush. Put it in and let it dissolve and wash the dirt way. Right now I am using all natural toilet cleaner that I got for free. 

- I use a pump bottle in the shower to dispense shampoo. It prevents me from pouring too much.

- We purchase our razors and blades from Dorco online. They are cheap, work as well as name brands like Gillette and the blades last so much longer. I also like the fact that any blade fits any razor head.

- We don't let the water run while washing pots and pans or dishes in the sink. I fill the sink a little ways on one side with soapy water and then the same with rinse water on the other side.

- I use cold water to wash clothes unless I have an exceptionally dirty load. That rarely happens though.

- We check the furnace filters once a month to see if they need changing. On the advice of my furnace people, I use the cheapest furnace filters from Home Depot or Lowe's. They advised that the more expensive ones block air flow.

- Anything involving money, we take care of right away. We don't procrastinate. For example, we got a survey from our school district yesterday. They gave us a code to take it online. They want to charge us $ 35.90 more in our school taxes next September so that they can give a discount to a certain class of people. I jumped online very quickly to vote no. They wanted to know why I voted no. I advised we pay a fortune now with no kids going to school there. I also told them we are senior citizens on a fixed income and we don't get a discount. I don't understand why the school is pushing this discount. They had us vote on the same issue a few years back and it was voted down handily. Now instead of a vote, they want you to go online and vote. How many people will throw that stuff out from the school and not look at it? You can bet the class of people it involves will all vote yes. I am going to be furious if this goes through but we only get one vote.

- We keep our home clean and organized. That is the best way I know to take care of/and find our things so that we don't have to replace them. 

- We wash our own car in the driveway except for winter time. We go to the car wash then.

- We use our outdoor fireplace in the Fall and Spring. We collected leftover wood from when they were building homes in here. We are still using it. Now they will be building again soon so I will be collecting it again. 

- I keep an online inventory of our stockpile and freezer contents so that I always know what we have and can make meals from those items. 

- I also have updated my price book so that I know where to buy items at their cheapest.

- And the biggest thing we do everyday is track our income and expenses. You can't save money unless you know where your money is going. Do this for just three months and I think you will be shocked at what your expenses are.

That is enough for today. I will post more another time.

What are the simple things that you do to save money every day? 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Why Do We Save So Much Money?

So many people have asked us why we save so much money especially since we retired. There are many reasons. Inflation is one of them. We don't ever want to worry about going without as our money depreciates. If we need a new furnace, car, roof repair, appliance, etc., we want to never have to worry about paying for it.

If our car dies tomorrow, we want to be able to walk into the dealership the same day and plunk down the cash for a new one. The same with anything else that needs replacing. 

If we need dental work, we want to know that we can afford it. We want to be able to pay our medical insurance and bills.

We have moved twice since we retired. We want to be able to move again to a condo or townhouse when the time is right. Right now, we pay someone to maintain our outside property. So we will buy something where everything is done for us for monthly maintenance fees. When we get tired of the big house and want to downsize to a condo, we want to have the cash to do that. 

We want to be able to give nice gifts to our children and our grandchildren. We definitely want to leave them a nice inheritance.

We wanted to do things like join the YMCA to be able to use the machines and go to the Aqua Fit classes. We did that even though the cost was more than I was told. When the old Y closed in the city, the new YMCA in our town costs us $48. per month instead of the $37. I was quoted when I called the old place. We are loving it but I have to admit it takes a lot of time out of our week. However we are doing it to get fit and we are worth it.  


When I went to Dick's for a new gym bag and swim shoes this week, I didn't have to worry about where the money would come from to pay for them.

If we want to go out to dinner or a night out on the town like last night, we know that we have the money to afford it.

You see when we first got married, we saved for a nice life for our family just like you do.  But we also saved for the future because we knew that life is short and the future and retirement would happen rapidly. It did in a flash. 

I am always amazed at people who say that they are going to spend all of their money before they die. How do they know when they will die? No one does.

So if they spend all of their money by the time they are 80 and live to 100, what do they do? Live in poverty? That is not my idea of living a good life.

So I think I have answered that question that I get asked over and over again.

The moral here is that you should save and save. Not only for the things you want now but for the future. You can live a good life while married, while raising your families, and then when you are retired. It's all in the planning. If you fail to plan, your retirement either won't happen or you will run out of money before you run out of life. 

With that said, I am trying to juggle life this past week and this one. We had so many appointments last week and we do this and then tried to fit in days at the Y that something had to suffer and this blog was it. Hopefully as I get better at doing it all, things will get better.

How do you do it all?    



   

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

September's Grocery Challenge Results

Now that September is over, so is the Grocery Challenge. I will let you know how I did for the month and you can add your results in the comments.

I had a total of $106. to spend for the month; $25.00 per week and about $6. for the last 2 days. Most of what I purchased I put in my posts with a few exceptions of things we needed that didn't make it into a post.

I spent including tax a total of $ 37.48 for the entire month. So I guess I did pretty well. We mainly ate from our stockpile which served us well. The extra $ 68.52 will be used for the October budget. That will be all the less money I have to take out in cash for the month.

So please feel free to add in comments your results for the month of September.

It is another really busy week here. We started working out at the YMCA yesterday. It felt so good and I enjoyed it immensely. Hubby is too. I didn't know how he would make out because of his bad back but they have a lot of machines that work well  with back issues. We are also enjoying fitness classes. So that is eating up some time every day.

Today, I had another dental appointment. They are making me an entire new permanent denture. The first one was awful and didn't fit. The dentist has made me a custom tray for the mold. They are making the metal base of the denture this week and I go back to make sure that fits. Then it goes back for them to make a wax mold and I go back to see if that fits. Then finally the permanent denture. I have been at this since May 1st. I told the dentist that I feel like part of the family now since I see them so much. Actually I can't wait for it all to be over with.

After our appointments, I dropped Hubby at home and went on to Top's. It is 6% Senior Discount day. I only picked up things that we have run out of that we use all of the time. My total bill was $32.12.

I am doing laundry now and soon it will be time to make dinner. I hope you all have a great evening.