- I roasted a chicken on Saturday. I turned the bones into chicken stock and was able to get two dishes out of the chicken, which in turn became leftovers for lunch. I made chicken noodle soup and white chicken chili. I even sent some home with my son for lunch later in the week.
- I turned some overripe bananas into banana cake. I try to make a nice dessert on Sundays when we have family dinner night. I got the recipe from the cookbook Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge. I know, the whole hygge thing is really gimmicky. But, I like the desserts, candles and cozy pictures. Again, we had way too much leftover cake, so my son was able to take some home.
- I went through the refrigerator on Saturday and threw all the vegetables that were looking funky into a crockpot and made vegetable stock. Our CSA keeps sending odd looking Asian root vegetables. I am an adventurous eater. But sometimes, you just have to accept that no matter how you try, that particular vegetable will not work in stir fry.
- Went to a local treasure, Holy Hill, on Saturday to hike with my daughter. The price of admission is free and view is spectacular. Free entertainment exists, you just have to look for it.
- We had a little plumbing issue. My husband knows how to fix just about anything and was able to replace the leaking pipes himself. When you are able DIY, it’s the way to go in order to save money.
The weeks are going by so fast! Halloween is in a week. My son turns 23 in two weeks. My youngest comes home from college in 5 weeks for winter break. I can’t believe how fast it’s going.
I am already thinking about Thanksgiving. It will just be immediate family this year. I am thinking that a turkey breast will be the best route. We do not need a 20 pound turkey for four people. Not to mention, we do not have the freezer space. I do love the smell of Thanksgiving though. There is nothing else like it. I am going to spend the next few weeks putting my menu together. Knowing that my nest will be full for a few short hours. Masks will be required though.
Now on to our money saving wins for the week.
- We took advantage of another free library program presented on zoom. In the spirit of Halloween, the presentation was on paranormal events in the Milwaukee area. I have always heard that the Pfister Hotel has a ghost, I wanted to find out for sure. The answer is, nobody really knows.
- I have been taking advantage of grocery delivery. I just don’t feel comfortable going out and about again. I did for awhile. But, I live in Wisconsin and we are pretty much ground zero for this virus right now. Home and work are the only places I will go. On to the point of the grocery delivery. I use Whole Foods for delivery. I know, normally uber expensive. But, with my Prime membership, delivery is free and I buy sale and 365 brand. With the purchase of a 365 frozen pizza for $2.00, you get a $3.00 credit for a Prime video purchase. We plan on using that apply toward the Borat sequel tomorrow night. Any movie that puts Rudy Giuliani in a bad light is something I can get behind. I don’t even need a discount code. I compared Instacart and Whole Foods delivery and Whole Foods was about $10 less for the same food.
- I made a huge batch of apple butter in the crockpot. It made the house smell amazing. I might have eaten some of the apples before blending them into apple butter for a tasty afternoon snack.
- With my 21 year old daughter living at home, she has taken over some of the cooking. She is a vegetarian and choses meals that are plant based, saving us money. Honestly, she is proving to be a pretty good cook. I have been picking up vegan cookbooks for her at the library and she uses them to meal plan. We are both off of work on Thursday. On my day off, she does the cooking because it’s her day off. It allows me to catch up on other things without worrying about meal planning.
- We had our water pump recharged and will have our furnace checked next week. Maintaining these items by having them checked annually will save you money. We have lived in our house 20 years and the water pump is still going strong because we have it recharged every 18 months. We have our septic pumped every 6 months. It costs $165, but beats the cost of $25,000 to have it replaced without proper maintenance.
That’s it for us. What have you done this week to save money?
Time to go through our list of savings this week. Number one is something we have been working towards for literally decades. Here we go:
- We paid off the house! As of Thursday, October 15, 2020, we are no longer slaves to our mortgage. I got up early, drove to the bank to get that required cashiers check for final payment. The banker waived our fee and sent it overnight UPS for free. I honestly cannot describe the feeling of actually being able to say “the house is paid off”, but it’s remarkable.
- I keep saying, use your library. Our library has started offering “Make Its” to do at home. The cost is free and they provide the supplies to make a craft at home. Last night we made cute Halloween candle holders. All I needed to supply was 2 glass jars and a paint brush. Instruction was done via Zoom. It’s not the same as in person, but beggars can’t be choosers and I need to start participating in life again.
- The bees produced honey! Not enough for us to sell, but enough for us for the year. Fingers are crossed that next year will produce enough to sell to more than a few people who have asked.
- I took advantage of Amazon Prime Days. I bought a hydroponic garden to grow lettuce and tomatoes this winter. I am not a fan of winter tomatoes, shipped here from South America. My hope is to be able to have fresh tomatoes to at the very least put on salad. It was on sale for $85. I had $10 in prime dollars from Whole Foods and $10 from the purchase of a $40 gift card. So, the total for me was close to $30.
- I love those corny fall signs that everyone is selling, but I believe they are overpriced. My husband made one for me with the CNC machine in the basement. I love it.
The holidays are quickly approaching and I am trying to figure out how we are going to do that with social distancing still being the safest way to go. I hate the idea of missing out on these special occasions without family. I am thinking maybe doing it via zoom. That might be our only choice.
I am beyond worried about the election. No matter who wins, I predict that there will be social unrest in the US. Every time I think we can’t go any lower, we do. I am going to take advantage of early voting in my state next week so that I can avoid the lines and people on election day. Please vote if you are in the US. This is the single most important election in my lifetime. The world will be watching. We can decide if we want to preserve our democracy.
What did you do this week to save some pennies?
Here is a list of things we have been doing to save money the last few weeks.
- The garden is closed. I spent weeks upon weeks either blanching, chopping, freezing, canning or dehydrating this year’s bounty. I have heard a lot of people say that they did not have good luck gardening this year. I honestly think this was our best year yet. I currently have about 170 jars of preserved food and a freezer full. I am grateful to the soil and sunshine that made this year such a success.
- Last week, one of our chickens disappeared. I was concerned, as we have just a few coyotes around and once I actually found a fox sleeping under a tree in our yard. My husband on the other hand refused to believe the worst. A couple days went by and Frog (that’s her name) reappeared for a meal only to disappear again. This went on for a couple more days. Finally, Eric decided to really give the yard a thorough look over. What would you know, Frog had built herself a nest under the electric meter and she had 21 eggs! She was brooding, hoping that she could mother some little chicks of her own. Since we don’t have a rooster, that was never going to happen. With the predator wildlife all around us, she needed to go back to her coop. She was either the luckiest chicken ever or she was definitely living on borrowed time. So, with some ingenuity and courage, Eric moved that girl back to the coop and brought the eggs inside. She is pissed to say the least and has been ranting and raving for a couple days. The other chickens, who have spent the last 2 years tormenting her, are a little scared and huddled together in a corner, just letting her do her thing. Moral of the story, we got nearly 2 dozen, organic eggs.
3. I signed up for the 2021 season for Sitka Salmon Shares and saved $50 by committing early. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge savings, but it is money saved for something I was going to do anyway.
4. I got my flu shot. Flu shots are free with most insurance and worth the effort. I know some people don’t believe in them. I on the other hand am a firm believer. I opted out of the flu shot once in 2003. I spent Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve that year on my deathbed vowing never again. I get that shot like clockwork, every single year.
5. I cashed in some credit card points as statement credits. It’s amazing how fast those points add up and how much money they can become.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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?
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,
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?
- I bought a flat of strawberries and made some jam and froze the rest for future use.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
What did you do to save money this week? Here is our list of money saving things that we did.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We signed up for a complimentary subscription to Starz. We have seriously gotten addicted to Outlander.
- I finally ventured out of the house to Walgreens and took advantage of several buy one get one free specials.
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.
1 cup of sourdough starter
3/4 cup warm water
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1tsp baking soda
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!