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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Frugal Living, Recipes

Sourdough Waffles

I had some leftover sourdough starter and being a person who hates to waste food, I decided to make some waffles for this rainy Sunday morning.  They aren’t pretty, but they sure were delicious.

Sourdough Waffles

1 cup of sourdough starter

3/4 cup warm water

1 cup flour

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1tsp baking soda

cooking spray

Whisk together starter, water and flour.  Add whisked eggs and stir.  Add salt, sugar and baking soda and stir together.  Cover and let stand for about 20-30 minutes.  Heat up waffle iron and grease it.  Pour a ladle full on your iron and cook until golden brown.  Made 4 waffles for us and they were delicious!

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Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Happy Friday friends!  I woke up at 5:45 this morning to a relatively sunny sky and the birds were chirping.  Summer is coming!  Our heat is turned off and the windows will be wide open today.  I LOVE this time of year.

We had some frugal wins this week.

  1. When my daughter started middle school, I put $25 in her hot lunch account, in case of an emergency.  Monday morning, I woke up to find a $25 deposit into our checking account for money never used.  She did in fact use some of her money. But it appears that her brother who graduated in 2016 and sister in 2017 did not use all of theirs.  So, after everyone graduated we got our money back.  I know, $25 isn’t much, and it was forgotten.  But, it was a nice extra surprise.  Proof that my kids really did not like hot lunch.
  2. I used reward points this month to apply to credit card payments.  Those rewards were over $100.
  3. I perfected my bread recipe and made jam.  My daughter made a grilled goat cheese and rhubarb jam sandwich.  She told me it was the best sandwich she has ever had.
  4. We will be staying home now, more than ever.  The great state of Wisconsin lifted the safer at home measure with absolutely no guidelines.  So the drunks, who put Wisconsin on the map, flooded the bars on Wednesday.  Those of us who followed the rules, will now have to start this entire thing over.  Yes, editorial comment mixed in with the knowledge that hey, now we can save more money.
  5. We got word that my senior won another scholarship for her fall semester.  We won’t know the total until the scholarship ceremony.  Every cent counts.

What did you do to save this week?

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