Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

It’s been a while, that doesn’t mean I fell of the frugal wagon. Just super busy, even with nothing being open. My youngest is in the dorms at her college. It was such a bittersweet day. She had been waiting so long to go to college and it isn’t the experience her siblings had. I should be grateful that as a rule follower she won’t go to parties and will leave her mask on. BUT, I sure loved those college parties. I hope that she will be able to do that next year. Otherwise, fall is in the air. My autumn candles are out and on Sunday, the autumn decor will come out as well. On to savings:

  1. I know I have mentioned that I enter every single social media contest I can, for free stuff. I won again a few weeks ago. A $53 gift certificate to Milwaukee Pretzel Company. To say their pretzels are sublime would be an understatement. I am planning an Oktoberfest feast with the family, the pretzels will be the masterpiece.
  2. I have been canning and freezing as much as I can from the garden and CSA. I counted the jars yesterday. 134 jars of salsa, pasta sauce, tomatoes, relishes, jams, pizza sauce, pickles and fruits preserved. The freezer is packed solid with corn, peppers, carrots and peas. I probably sound crazy, but I am not confident in our food supply right now. Especially if Trumpkin wins again.
  3. My sister in law works at the farm that we get our CSA from. We did a little trade last weekend. We got a box full of red peppers and box full of corn on the cob.
  4. I used a coupon from Walgreens for 60% off a canvas print. I had a picture of my kids and parents developed on canvas and framed. I will treasure it always.
  5. We paid the final college tuition payment for our oldest. I am very proud to say that he will graduate in December, debt free. With the help of a 529 plan, generous grandparents and his consistent contribution every semester, he did it.

What did you do recently to save some pennies?

Uncategorized

A Morning Rant

I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that I have had it with this virus. When I was sent home from work on March 17th to start the safer at home orders enacted by the governor of my state, I never imagined that six months later little would have changed. In fact, from my point of view, things are worse. Far, far worse.

My family has been vigilant about following the guidelines. We wear our masks everywhere. In fact, my sister in law makes masks that are supposedly as effective as an N95 mask. If we are out in public, they are on. Restaurants. What is a restaurant? March 8 my family and I ate breakfast in a hotel restaurant after my parent’s anniversary party the night before. September 4 I ate lunch with a friend at a restaurant, we ate outside. On an incredibly windy day. I didn’t even consider eating indoors. We have not socialized, visited with family in a large group, gone to a theatre or museum. I know, we are all in the same boat. We follow the rules because we want things to return to normal.

I work in the public, so I see the people who don’t want things to go back to normal. I assume they don’t want a strong economy and a return to normal living because they refuse to comply with the scientific based guidelines that tell us this is what we need to do. Those people who claim that their personal rights are being infringed upon because they are asked to wear a mask in a public space. They claim a medical condition prevents them from such a safeguard. Seriously? If you have a medical condition that prevents wearing a mask, why are you exposing yourself to a virus that would make that condition worse? They demand college sports return. Newsflash, I have 3 kids in college. Covid numbers are surging on those campuses. I expect that my daughter who is away, in the dorms, will be home soon. Why would anyone demand the return of these sports when the virus can’t even be contained on a small, Midwestern college campus? Don’t even get me started on bars. I live in Wisconsin, the drunk capital of the US. People were acting like children when they couldn’t go to their local bar. It wasn’t until the virus shut everything down that I truly realized how incredibly selfish the human race is.

I miss my family. I miss my parents, I want to hug them and spend time with them. I miss my friends, so much. While I have seen my parents, outdoors, I have not really socialized. I know that soon, my visits with my parents will end due to weather. I miss live theatre. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the Milwaukee Rep to see plays. We get season tickets and enjoy 6 shows per year. That first show in the fall is something I look forward to. I often go with my mom and we meet for brunch before hand. I miss going to my church. There are no plans to reopen in the near future. The minister tries with Facebook live, but it’s not the same. I stopped watching several weeks ago, along with a lot of other people. Everything being on zoom and Facebook is just not the same.

I know I sound as selfish as the people I criticize for not following the rules, I admit that. However, I believe in science and the science has told us what to do to get back to normal. So, I am frustrated by those who turn a blind eye to science and reason. Things need to change or we are going to be dealing with this a lot longer.

Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Ugh, we are hemorrhaging money this week.  Between college tuitions, medical bills and the general day to day expenses of living, things feel tight.  We did have a few wins though that helped.

  1. I have a friend who is in marketing.  She asked me to do a phone interview regarding COVID.  Super simple and I scored an Amazon gift card.
  2. I used the gift card to buy a Brita water filtration pitcher.  By doing this, I can cancel our water cooler.  We are currently paying $125/month for drinking water.  I have had enough of that.
  3. I took my daughter and son off of our auto insurance, effective 8/15.  Our auto insurance didn’t go down much, but our Umbrella policy was cut in half!
  4. We needed new smoke detectors.  My husband used the birthday coupons he received from our local hardware store to offset the cost.  Two detectors for $8/each.
  5. I canceled the print edition of our local newspaper. We rarely ever read it. Waste of money.  Waste of resources.

What did you do this week to save some money?

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Family Life

Meal Plan July 27-August 2

This week’s plan is going to incorporate as many vegetables as possible from our garden and our CSA box.  This is my favorite time of year for food.  The fresh vegetables that are available are such a treat.  We have reached that “I am overwhelmed” by zucchini stage, so that is nice.  However, based on what happening in the garden, we will be feeling that soon.  Below is our week ahead for meals.

Monday July 27 – Coconut Lime Chicken

Tuesday July 28 – Chicken Salad and Buttermilk Dressing

Wednesday July 29 – Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Corn

Thursday July 30 – Ratatouille and fish

Friday July 31 – Vegetable Quiche (I will use whatever garden fresh veggies we have)

Saturday August 1 – Pork chops, corn, tomato and cucumber salad

Sunday August 2 – Husband’s birthday celebration! Steak, tomato and cucumber salad, potato salad, corn, cake and ice cream

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Household

Meal Plan July 20-July 26

I need to get back into the habit of planning our daily dinners.  I don’t bother with breakfast or lunch because we tend to fend for ourselves for those meals.  My husband makes a batch of chili every two weeks and eats that for lunch.  I tend to eat leftovers and my daughters are old enough to figure it out.

Monday July 20 – Pesto tortellini with shrimp, kale salad

Tuesday July 21 – Halibut, cucumber tomato salad and roasted potatoes

Wednesday July 22 – Zucchini quiche and salad with whatever is ripe in the garden

Thursday July 23 – Marinated Chicken, vegetables and probably more vegetables

Friday July 24 – Grilled pork chops, vegetables, couscous

Saturday July 25 – Cheese, crackers, olives, fruit, veggies and hummus (it’s supposed to be hot!)

Sunday July 26 – Hamburgers, brats, coleslaw and potato salad

 

What is on your menu this week?

 

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Frugal Living

Frugal Fridays, A Few Fridays Late

I have been enjoying all the summer has to offer, from the comfort of my backyard.  We continue to hunker down, for the most part.  I do go to work and my girls work as well.  But beyond that, we spend most of our time in our own little cocoon at home.  Waiting for this storm to pass.  We have had some frugal wins over the last several weeks,

  1. I wrote my very last check to our daughter’s singing teacher.  She will really miss her, but she is ready to move on and college is going to provide her that opportunity.
  2. Our last energy bill was $100 less than last month.  That will even out the fact that next month’s will likely be $100 more.  We gave in and turned on the air conditioning.  It has been warm!
  3. My daughter needed dental work and our dentist was not open due to covid.  Our dental plan requires us to use one of those franchise dentists.  I called our old dentist and got her in and then call the insurance company and got an authorization to use that dentist because ours was not open.  What would have been a $400 bill cost us $25 because I picked up the phone and asked.
  4. I gave in and got an Amazon credit card.  We earn 5% and I was able to get a kindle for my daughter’s birthday for $50 with the credit it gave me.  The trick obviously, pay it off every month.  Which we will do.
  5. My husband replaced the brake pads on our daughter’s car for $110.  She paid him for the parts and he supplied the labor.  Doing things yourself, when you can, saves so much money.

Our daughter goes to college next month.  We are going to miss her so much.  She won’t be able to come home until Thanksgiving, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID.  It is going to be a really hard 3 months, but we will adjust.  Letting our kids go can be so hard.  I plan on really enjoying the next month with her at home.

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Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Good morning from sunny Wisconsin.  It has been an absolutely gorgeous week.  Summer is finally here.  Our gardens are bursting already, the bees have been very busy and the chickens are doing what they do best, wander around aimlessly.

We continue to stay close to home.  I know that the Trumpster has declared that if we would just stop testing, the virus would disappear (honestly, you can’t make this stuff up).  But, that doesn’t seem like rational science to us, so we are going to continue to hunker down.  I have resumed running errands, always with a mask and social distancing.  I also go to work, but the library director has made sure that we operate safely at all times.  I feel safe at work.

We had some frugal wins this week.  Here is our list.  What did you do to save some cash?

  1. I bought a flat of strawberries and made some jam and froze the rest for future use.
  2. We have been eating a lot from the backyard already.  Lots of salads, pestos and eggs.  Our CSA has already started to deliver and I have been very good about making sure that we eat everything from the box.  I haven’t thrown anything away yet.  I did give the kohlrabi to the neighbor.  Because kohlrabi is gross.
  3. I have been making sun tea with my backyard peppermint.  It takes a lot of mint to make a tasty tea, but it’s worth it.
  4. We have started having Sunday dinners with my son, his girlfriend and my daughter’s boyfriend again.  Sunday afternoons spent on the patio with a cool cocktail and an early dinner.  We have a lot of laughs and it’s free.  Last weekend we played some card games as well.
  5. It has been warm, but we have avoided turning on the air conditioner by keeping the drapes closed in our bedrooms and running the fans.  We are not opposed to turning the air on if needed.  But, because it has been getting cool at night, we haven’t seen the need.  Yet.

It was a really good week around here.  After months of feeling blah because of the world situation and feeling a little claustrophobic, things turned around.  I don’t know exactly what tipped things in the right direction.  But, here we are.  Happy Friday friends.

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Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

What did you do to save money this week?  Here is our list of money saving things that we did.

  1. Our first CSA box will be delivered today.  It’s a good variety of vegetables that will get us through the week.  We have our greens and asparagus from the garden that will supplement the CSA veggies.  The cost of the CSA is $30/week.  We will buy very few, if any vegetables from the grocery store now until the fall.  I will make exceptions for tomatoes and avocados.
  2. Our seafood box from Sitka Salmon Shares came on Thursday.  This is not a frugal buy, but so worth it, in my opinion.  Sitka Salmon Shares provides quality, sustainably harvested seafood.  It is delivered to your door from fishermen in Alaska.  They send enough every month that our family has enough to feed us seafood once a week for an entire year.
  3. I won a seafood seasoning spice mix from an online contest.  Enter those contests!  I win stuff on a semi regular basis.  It’s always fun to get those packages in the mail.
  4. We signed up for a complimentary subscription to Starz. We have seriously gotten addicted to Outlander.
  5. I finally ventured out of the house to Walgreens and took advantage of several buy one get one free specials.
Books

Book Review-The Audacity of Hope

Since the president of the United States has decided that a worldwide pandemic is the time to create more distractions for the American people, I felt that reading The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama would be the perfect antidote.  It is no secret, I love Barack Obama.  I think he was a great president.  He is eloquent, well educated and appears to be a very caring man.  When he led the United States, the world respected us.  The United States was a leader.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

I don’t like to use my blog for politics, as I know it can be a polarizing topic, especially in these times.  BUT, the last couple weeks have been, for lack of better words, a shit show in this country.  I have yet to even figure out what Obamagate is.  Since Trump cannot actually give us a clear definition, he doesn’t know either.  Face masks have become some really strange political symbol that has resulted in murder here.  But, the most shocking thing, Trump suggested people ingest bleach, yes bleach, to treat COVID.  What the actual F—?   Anyway, here is my Goodreads review of The Audacity of Hope.  After reading it, I felt that yes, there is hope that once this over, we will return to normal.

Five stars! The Obamas deserve nothing less than five stars on anything, in my opinion. But, that set aside, like Michelle, Barack has a gift for writing and speaks with eloquence. His ideas in this week, while they predate his presidency, are as relevant today as they were in 2008.

I listened to this on audio. I felt a odd sense of comfort hearing his speak. He is a man with empathy, great intelligence and aware of his faults. I miss the Obamas in the White House and the sense of safety I felt when he was our president.

Disclaimer: I will not respond to and will delete any disrespectful comments.

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Books

Book Review-The Red Lotus

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This was a timely book to read during the COVID pandemic. I won’t give spoilers, but the story is about a potential pandemic due to  biological warfare. The book was released on March 17, 2020.  I wondered while reading what the author thought about the timing of it’s publication.  I know that for myself, I had been told we would be off work for the foreseeable future and that home would be where I needed to stay.  It was a bit of an eerie read from that standpoint.

Alexis goes to Vietnam, with her boyfriend, Austin for a bike trip. While there, Austin dies and questions arise as to why they were really there. It becomes clear that a bike trip was only a cover for something very sinister. Austin is not what he appears to be and neither is his inner circle. I found myself questioning every single person Alexis came into contact with upon her return home. No one is above suspicion.

Like always, Chris Bohjalian has a fascinating story to tell. The Red Lotus, like The Flight Attendant, has a flawed female protagonist that you find yourself liking, in spite of her bad decision making. Five stars!

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