Friday’s Frugal Five

I’ve mentioned before that I wouldn’t really consider us “preppers” as much as I like to consider us as just being prepared.  Because of our homestead lifestyle and growing a lot of our own foods, having a stock pile tends to come with the territory.  I also try to shop in bulk to take advantage of better pricing which segways us into this weeks frugal five.

  1. Kroger had an awesome buy 5 deal on several items this past week.  Peanut butter being one of them, so I stocked up on 10 jars for .99¢ each.  (Goes great with the grape jelly I made) 🙂
  2. Kroger also had Dave’s Killer Bread in the buy 5 deal so I bought 10 loaves (for the freezer) at $3.19 a loaf.  I know this is still expensive for a loaf of bread, but we love this bread and consider it worth the price for Organic.
  3. A little while back I made some blackberry jam, but didn’t remove the seeds and while it had a great flavor, we just couldn’t tolerate the seeds.  Since I was in jelly making mode this week I opened all the jars, strained the seeds, ran it through my food mill, cooked it down with another box of pectin and re-canned it.  I certainly wasn’t going to waste it, so now we have some seedless blackberry jam we can enjoy.
  4. I have a bit of a confession to make.  I love cherry season and when they are plentiful in the grocery stores I can’t resist.  I buy them every week, and it can get a little expensive.   Monday I bought a big bag of cherries for the week and they looked good when I got them, but then by the next day they had gotten all soft and shriveled and did not taste good at all.  I called the grocery store and she told me to bring my receipt in and they would either give me more cherries or refund my money.
  5. Similar to number 4, this week when I purchased avocados, they looked perfect, not too soft and no bad spots, but when I sliced them open every one of them were at least 50% black inside.  Again the nice woman at the grocery store told me to bring my receipt and they would replace them or refund my money.
  6. Bonus – We had a rep visit us at work yesterday and brought in a huge box of Panera bagels that apparently no one wanted so I brought them home.  I know some people may snicker at this, but seriously why waste food?  Why?  The Z Man and I will enjoy them.  I can see some bacon, egg and tomato breakfast bagels in our future this weekend and probably toasted bagels with butter and grape jelly  😉

Including our daily frugals of drying clothes on the clothes line, packing lunches for work and still adding my quit smoking money to the pickle jar and breathing fresh air.

How about you, what frugal fun have you had this week?

Till next time,

Lori

Friday’s Frugal Five

I liked doing the $20 grocery challenge last month so I’m going to keep it going for the rest of 2016.  The goal is $20 a week for groceries and allow a $50 a month for “good sale” allowance.  The $50 will help out for those times I run across a good buy on things like the maple syrup last month.   The budget will be for food items, not to include health, medical, work related, entertainment or travel expenses.  I like giving myself little challenges each month, they tend to keep me in line which is never a bad thing.

Friday’s Frugal Five:

  1. The Z Man found me a stash of seed starter trays that I purchased several years back, so I was able to use them for our seedlings.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that they will do well this year and that we won’t have to resort to buying already established plants.
  2. I transplanted most of my indoor plants into larger pots using pots I already had on hand.
  3. Returned my books on cd and books to the library on time, and checked out more.
  4. This weekend will be a lot of organizing and planning for the upcoming busy months.  I look forward to the OT income from working longer hours, but if I’m not prepared that extra income can get sucked up into little emergencies because of poor planning.
  5. Lunches were from leftovers, dinners from the freezer and pantry, clothes dried on the clothesline, bills paid, and money in the pickle jar.  Still breathing fresh air and loving it!

How about you, what frugal fun did you have this week?

Have a great weekend,

Till Next Time,

Lori

March Madness Grocery Challenge – The Score

This is it, the last day of the month.  The last day of the March Madness Grocery Challenge.

As of last Friday I had a balance of $5.50 remaining in the MMGC fund, and guess what…  Go ahead, guess.  I’ll wait…  Did I make it?  What do you think?

Yes, I made it!  As of right now I still have $5.50

You know what the crazy thing is?    The crazy thing is that I didn’t think about it all week.  I wasn’t stressed about it.  I didn’t worry about it.  I just didn’t go to the grocery store.  That’s it, I just didn’t go.  No big deal.

At the beginning of this challenge I allowed myself $20 a week for groceries.  I also thought it probably would not be horribly difficult because the pantry and freezers were full.  Actually, had it not been for the gallon of maple syrup and the dinner items purchased when we were returning from our out of town trip, both of which I am completely ok with, I would’ve done even better.  The Z Man would interject here that (ahem) “we also haven’t had a loaf of bread in the house the entire month”   That probably has more to do with me wanting to make real bread instead of buying highly processed junk from the store.

What I take away from this challenge is that, if I’m being honest, I have a grocery store habit.  It probably stems from too much Food Network, but I truly enjoy cooking.  I enjoy the entire process of planning, shopping and cooking a nice meal.  There is something about chopping vegetables and putting them into a pot to cook, having the lovely smell of it cooking wafting through the house and then sitting down to enjoy that meal.  Well, for me, it’s more than just getting dinner on the table.  It’s nice.  It gives me joy.

On the other side of the coin, I hate the grocery store.  Even more so now that I’m researching better ways of eating because more often than not what you think you are buying isn’t at all what it really is.  Bread is not bread, cheese is not cheese.  It’s mostly highly processed ingredients that are unpronounceable and indigestible.

As for the MMGC, yes I stayed in budget, and we ate from the freezers and pantry.  That’s great.  But, that too all comes with a price of hard work.  It’s taken us several years to see our homestead flow in full cycle like it is now.  It’s also taken me a long time to learn the cycle and use it as it’s meant to be used, the benefit of the price we pay.  That is to say, it is time to start the process of breaking my habit with the grocery store.  Or have I already started it unknowingly with this challenge?

Putting in perspective this challenge and that what I’ve learned isn’t so much about the money but more importantly about why we do the things we do, and to understand that perhaps it’s more about the habit that can be changed, and recognizing the pleasure of doing it differently.

She Goes Up…  She Shoots…  And… She… Scores!!!

Till Next Time,

Lori

 

 

Friday’s Frugal Five

If you haven’t visited the Non-Consumer Advocate site, you should.  Katy is the creator of Five Frugal Things and is my inspiration for Friday’s Frugal Five.

I have a confession to make.  While the MMGC is going well and I’m staying within my budget, albeit by the skin of my teeth,  I have to tell you that I have been spending in others areas as if I had won the lottery or something.  In the past few weeks I have carried new item after new item into the house.  To the point where I have a guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Let me explain… for a while now I’ve been trying to switch out my (old) teflon cookware for stainless steel and cast iron, so about a week ago I purchased a new set of stainless steel cookware.  But, I did get it at 60% off, so that’s good.  Also, I have limited cabinet space in my kitchen and had been wanting to get a hanging pot rack to help with storage.  I found one that was 40% off, so I bought that.  Last fall when we processed our hog, I cured and smoked about 60lbs of pork belly into bacon, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not slice the meat thin enough to get a bacon texture.  So, I bought a meat slicer and I also got 25% off of that.  Hoping for a solution to my cabinet storage situation I purchased 8 large jars with $1 off of each to store things like grains and beans instead of just having bags laying in the cabinets.  I bought some half gallon mason jars and large mouth plastic lids for better storage also.  I bought seeds for our garden starters, instead of waiting and starting the gardens with established plants from the nursery.  Admittedly in the past we have not done well starting our own seedlings, and also admittedly these seeds were not cheap as I chose organic heirloom seeds.  I could go on I’m sure, but you get the idea.  The point I suppose is that I have been talking out of both sides of my mouth about being frugal.  Being frugal includes more than just what you spend on groceries.  Well, it absolutely should anyway, and in that regard I have failed.

I could give a suitable explanation for all of my purchases about having the right tools for the jobs (the slicer) or about trying to get away from toxic teflon (the cookware) or perhaps because I spend 75% of my home life in the kitchen and would like it to be better organized (the hanging pot rack and storage jars) and even the seeds in hopes that they will be successful (meaning not die) this year and will provide us with seeds for several years and in turn save money.

So, no more!  No more of the spending with out at least trying to find a suitable solution first.  Make do or do without.  Luckily I have not gone into debt for these purchases (thanks to the pickle jar).  I believe to some degree perhaps I’ve been treating myself with these purchases for quitting smoking.  Anyway…. full disclosure, clearly I’ve still got a long way to go in the frugal department.  Thanks for letting me share.  Now on to Friday’s Frugal Five…

  1.  With my new eating plan to kick the omeprazole (generic for prilosec) that I posted about earlier this week. I can’t have caffeine.  This doesn’t really rattle me too much because I’m not one of those die hard coffee drinkers some people are (not judging at all, the Z Man loves his coffee too) I do enjoy 1 or 2 cups of hot tea in the morning and some iced tea from time to time.  Why is this frugal?  I returned an unopened huge box of tea bags to the grocery store.  I also returned a bag of organic onions that were half rotten, limes that were hard as rocks and a couple other things which netted me $23 in returns.
  2. I returned an unopened bottle of agave sweetener because a friend told me that it could flare up my indigestion and heartburn more than just a small amount of unpasteurized honey, which I already have.  I’m not counting this in the MMGC because it was purchased for medicinal purposes along with the supplements.
  3. Bartered again this week with my friend which will get me some lovely dairy and grass fed beef.
  4. Made some yogurt this past weekend which not only is quite cheaper than buying yogurt, it taste so much better.  I also cooked and canned 15 quarts of homemade chicken stock.  Returned my book on cd to the library and picked up a couple more.  Checked out several books on kicking the omeprazole and healing the gut.  Interesting but not shocking how it basically boils down to no one diet fits all and so far, being early on in my research, I am finding a strong consensus of managing portion control, which makes perfect sense when trying to prevent GERD.  (more on all this later)
  5. The Z Man stopped and asked about a few trees that he has seen down in someone’s yard for quite a while.  He offered to clear it away for them, they are happy to have it gone and we are happy to have the wood.  He also used a $20 coupon at Advance Auto to get the break parts to make repairs to our truck.  Yea, he’s handy like that.  I’m such a lucky girl 🙂

We’ve been eating leftovers for lunches, making meals from freezer and pantry items, hanging clothes on the clothes line to dry, driving the speed limit to save on gas, combining errands with work schedule to avoid unnecessary driving.

As for the MMGC I bought some fresh veggies this week spending $28, but I did get the grocery store to price match the Aldi price for avocados for 59¢ instead of 98¢ each.  So, with my returns and the $10.50 I had left over from last week that leaves me with $5.50 left for the month.

Most frugal of all, we are still breathing fresh air from quitting smoking, and adding that money to my pickle jar each week.

How about you, what frugal fun have you had this week?

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter.  Thank you GOD for loving us!

Till Next Time,

Lori