Sunday, January 4, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments - Easing Into January

Daughter and I have been coloring together - these images are
free printables from Karla Dornacher.
Happy New Year!  May 2015 be full of blessings for everyone, everywhere!  Here are some things we did this week to spend less, save more and make do.

I'm slowly, very slowly recuperating from winter break.  I was sick with one thing and then another, the entire 2 weeks.  Nothing frugal really - just an update!  Thanks to those who have prayed for me and wished me well.

I made a double batch of homemade laundry soap.

We borrowed books and media from the library.

We had some very cold, below zero weather.  The wood stove really helped keep our furnace from running all the time.  I have been wearing a shawl around the house when I am chilled, especially since being sick has made me less than reliable as a judge of room temperature!  I got the shawl a few years ago at Goodwill for $1.99.  It is really cozy and warm.

Husband changed the oil on our car.  Because we use synthetic oil on our car, it saves us about $40-$45.

pretty pretty puppy!
I groomed our pup Taffy.  I expressed her anal glands, gave her a shampoo/condition/blow dry, cleaned out her ears, clipped the fur tufts between her toes and trimmed her nails.  I asked around - for a dog her size, total cost for all this would have been about $35-$40 in our area.  She looks really pretty, smells really great, and feels really soft!

I gave Daughter and Husband each a haircut, and trimmed my own bangs.

Husband cashed in Swagbucks points for a WalMart e-gift card. When we get these, they offset cash in our grocery budget.  Every little bit helps.

I priced matched most sale items to save fuel and time.  Some of the good deals this week included avocados for .50 each, limes for .10 each, roma tomatoes for .48/lb., broccoli for, eggplant for .48 each and fresh pineapples for $1 each.  Bacon is on sale for 2.50 a pound at a store near Husband's work, so he will pick some up one night on his way home.  We will continue to watch for a good price on beef.

We made a menu and I did a fair amount of cooking from scratch.  I made tamales!  It made almost 4 dozen for less than the cost of a dozen in our area.  Many of them are in the freezer for future meals.  I baked bread too - I had signed up to take a snack for the children at Sunday school - I took sliced bread, and there was still a loaf for us to enjoy at home.

My computer is determined to show you this picture tipped on its side.
I have done all I know! :)
We are in the process of weeding out and organizing our unfinished basement, so that we can, eventually, turn it into a finished basement.  Staples had plastic storage bins - big ones - for $3 each.  They also had the cardboard 'banker's boxes' for $7 per 10-pack.  We got six totes and a pack of the cardboard ones.  I used a $5 off $25 purchase coupon to save even more.  We also picked up 5 reams of printer paper that will cost us 3.19 (for all five) after rebate and with sales tax.

We took in paper, plastic, glass and metal for recycling.  It does not cost us anything and is better for the environment.

I used a 50% off coupon on an item I wanted from Michaels.  I have been looking for it used for about six months, to no avail.  I paid the remaining cost with a gift card I received for Christmas.

In closing, I would like to ask for your prayers, if that is something that you do.  We, and many of our neighbors, are in the midst of meetings and hearing about topics that will affect the area where we live.  It's a few rural folks vs. a multi-billion dollar company who may well have politics on their side.  This has been on ongoing project, since mid-June.  Truth be told, I will be glad when the hearings and meetings are behind us.  So...however things go, please pray that I can weather it with grace?  Thanks.

Meanwhile, how are you doing?  Have you started the new year with lots of frugal fun?  I'd love to hear what you're up to - what's working, what's not - leave a comment and let me know!


  1. I am so glad you are starting to feel better. So many have been sick. I have treated multiple family members for viruses in the last few weeks. I am so thankful for my essential oils stash.

    Our long awaited project of replacing our gutters with Rainhandlers will be installed beginning Tuesday. We had planned to take the remaining $900 for installation from savings but I was able to find it in the budget thanks to low gas prices and almost no clothing purchases for many months. I am very happy about that and the fact that our 2 story house will no longer require my husband to be up on the roof to clean the gutters. The new Rainhandlers will stop water running down the walls of the house and rotting siding and doors and windows. It seems we can never keep up with replacing bad wood and siding.

    We have done little grocery shopping lately and are eating what we have. I am proud to say that I did not over buy on holiday goodies that sometimes get wasted. We had an almost free lunch with our Chick fil A calendar cards. The January freebie almost pays for the calendar for the entire year. I used up some taco meat that had been reheated twice and frozen by mixing it with half a jar of leftover queso and a big spoonful of salsa. It made awesome nachos. I hope to have some grocery money left from January by using what we have instead of shopping. I need to rebuild the home repair budget because we have more work to do.

    Low gas prices allowed us to travel 530 miles each way for Christmas and we were still using November's gas money! We had planned to make a little trip for New Year's Eve but decided to stay home because we were just too tired for another trip. Money saved although it is budgeted.

    I picked up a few half price items for next year's gifts and a birthday. I keep a small notebook in my purse with lists of gifts bought so that I don't double buy. It is really helpful. I also bought several deeply discounted items for the grandchildren's Easter baskets from the last minute online deals before Christmas.

    Before Christmas we had HVAC service out on our upstairs heat pump. A very young man showed up whom we had never had out before and we felt a bit doubtful but he spent 2 hours diagnosing and resetting everything about the unit and it is working right for the first time in many years. The service call was well worth the $85 we were charged. It will be very cold this week and I am glad to know it will be working correctly and not switching on the heat strips when they are not needed.

    I need to call the piano tuner this week but that is in our regular budget as well. I really need to get back to some regular playing. I have gotten rusty over the years of no longer playing at church. I really enjoy being in the congregation after over 30 years of being up front. I started playing for church when I was 11.

    That is not fun when you are dealing with issues surrounding your property. Friends of our went through that and then ended up moving out of state. A car dealership went in right behind their old house. I cannot imagine having all those bright lights in the windows all night and that squawking loud speaker all day. I will pray that all goes well.

    Have a good week everyone!

    1. Thank you for your prayers, Lana. I hope the Rainhandler installation goes well and takes care of things for you guys! It is so windy here, and it's high prairie...our gutters are kind of self-cleaning, hee hee.

  2. I don't recall if you're from Michigan or not, but the residents of the U.P. are in the midst of having to pay for an electrical plant at Marquette's Presque Isle for their electrical use since the mines are pulling out. it will put a large burden on the people up here. I understand very well all about politics. If they were smart, they would convert that plant into a biomass plant to save money.

    1. Thanks, Debra. I am out west. Michigian is beautiful! :)

  3. Just found your blog this week - enjoying it very much - hope you continue to heal - and stay warm! We are expecting a big cold front down here in Southeast Texas too.


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