Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Salvage Shop

Yesterday I did a salvage shop as we were just about out of coffee.

 It had been a couple of months and I noticed prices there are rising, too.

 But I did manage to discover enough deals to make the trip worthwhile.

 Actually the coffee alone makes it worthwhile for us.

 My cupboards are now full again.

 Here is what I bought and what it cost me.

Flour tortillas (2)  $0.25 each
Crackers (2)   $0.50 each
Cereal   $0.99
Cereal   $1.00
Cereal.  $0.50
Ginger snaps (2)   $0.99 each
Cracker Barrel mac and cheese (3)   $0.75 each
Croutons (2)  $0.50 each
Golden raisins (2)  $1.99 each
Sauerkraut   $0.49
Spinach   $0.49
Coffee (2)  $2.99 each
Tomato paste (3).  $0.79 each
Coffee (14)   $1.99 each
Seafood broth   $0.75
Breakfast flats   $0.89
Natural peanut butter (2).   $1.99 each
Carb bars   $0.99
Croutons (2)   $0.50 each
Pickles (2)   $0.99 each
Dry roasted peanuts  $1.50
Evaporated milk (8)   $0.25 each
Pam (3)  $1.50 each
Canned beans (2)   $0.10 each
Enchilada sauce  $0.10
Mole sauce  $0.49
Tortellini  $0.75
Salad dressing  $0.50
Bay leaves  $0.99
Salsa (2)   $0.50 each
Mixed fruit ( 2)   $0.75 each

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Homemade Polenta In The Slow Cooker

I tried something new and wanted to share.  It turned out really well and was so easy.  It takes time but no effort.

1 cup cornmeal
3 cups boiling water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs butter

Place all ingredients in a sprayed slow cooker and cook four hours on high.
 Sure beats cooking on the stove with all the stirring.
You can serve as is but I put mine into a greased loaf pan and let it chill overnight.
 I then slice it, coat the slices with flour and fry until golden brown.
Lovely with maple syrup for breakfast or with spaghetti sauce for dinner.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

More Breakfast Ideas

Judi Strauss from the Charmed Kitchen has had some good breakfast recipes lately.

Mini Dutch Babies

Preheat to 425
In blender mix
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour

Divide the mixture evenly in a greased muffin tin
Add jam or jelly, about 1 tsp, to center of each
Bake 18-20 minutes
Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar

Irish Soda Bread Scones

Preheat to 425
Mix together
2 cups flour
3 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1/2 c raisins
2/3 c buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp caraway seed, optional

Once thoroughly mixed place dough in center of parchment lined pan and form into one large round.
Bake until tester comes out clean.  Cut into wedges.

Banana Fritters

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Oil for trying
1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon in bag for shaking and coating once fried

Drop by small spoonfuls into oil and fry until both sides are brown.
Make sure the oil is hot or the dough will absorb the oil and be heavy.
Makes a lot.  Can be frozen.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

April Personal Care and Household Expenses

1. Household:   10 spatulas and 6 storage containers  $15  Kitchen Supply Store
My spatulas had definitely seem better days and we needed more storage containers for the freezer.

2.  Personal Care:  spring pedicure  $25
      Winter is never kind to my feet.

3.  Household:  dishwasher detergent  $1.06  Dollar Tree

4.  Personal Care:  toothpaste  $1  Dollar Tree

Household Total:  $16.06
Personal Care Total:  $26

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Quarterly Entertainment Expenses: January -March


Amazon Prime to access tv with ROKU  $10


Free ticket to EVITA at the Playhouse with Angela

Amazon Prime TV  $10


Amazon Prime TV $10

Quarterly :$30 or $10/month

We have tried to go see a movie several times but have yet to make it.

We have however, been enjoying movies and audio books from the library, on an almost nightly basis.  And, the popcorn is cheaper.  :)
We watched The Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, and Bohemian Rhapsody among others.  I highly recommend them.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Quarterly Household and Personal Care Expenses: January -March

Here are the quarterly numbers.

Personal Care:$180.85 or an average of $60.28/month.

This is significantly over our $25/ month goal but future months should help lower the average since it was the skin care products that took it over.  Those will be good for the year.

Household:  $35.58 or an average of $11.86/ month.

This is just over our $10/ month goal.

On to less expensive quarters.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Frugal Things In April

1.  Bruce the cat shared his home for part of our vacation.  We stayed for free and he was loved and taken care of while his human was away.

2.  Self-catering while on vacation saves us a fortune:  about 75% off what eating out would cost!

3.  I found some yarn on Freecycle. 20 skeins in total!  Free!

4.  Mike and I went out to lunch and used a "bring a friend coupon".  We saved $9.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Quarterly Clothing Expenses: January -March


Sandy sweater  $5  thrift store
Sandy boots  $7. Thrift store
Mike slippers  $5 .Costco sale
Mike sneakers  $15  Costco sale
Sandy  7 bras  $57.98 plus 6% cash back from ebates .JCPenney sale
Mike 10 white t-shirts  $19.93  Walmart
Mike insole for boots  $1.96 Walmart

Sandy Total:  $69.98
Mike Total:  $50.89


Sandy 3  skirts from thrift store .$11.47 (Eddie Bauer, Talbot, denim)

Sandy Total:  $11.47


No purchases:

Quarterly Totals:

Sandy:  $81.45 or $27.15/month
Mike:  $50.89 or $13.96/month

The goal is no more than $25/month/person.

Sandy is just over and Mike is under.  Together, at $41.11/month on average they are under the combined goal.

I'll take it.  After all, it takes more to make a woman presentable in all situations.  :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Quarterly Linus Project Report and Yarn Costs for January -March


I made 8 afghans for babies this month. I bought no additional yarn, working from my stockpile.


I donated ten red newborn baby hats to St. Vincent for their February Little Hats, Big Hearts Promotion with the American Heart Association.

I made 7 baby afghan for the Linus Project.


I purchased 3skeins of yarn from a thrift store for $3.18

I purchased 12 skeins of yarn for $12 using the 50% off yellow sticker promotion and the 1% military discount.

I got an additional 22 skeins from a thrift store for $18.47.

I donated 10 Pet blankets to the local animal shelter.

I made 6 baby blankets for the Linus Project.

Quarterly Total:
21 baby afghan for the Linus Project
10 animal blankets for the animal shelter
10 baby hats for St. Vincent

37 skeins of yarn purchased for $33.65 an average of 93 cents/ skein.

Quarterly Buying and Eating


$56.40 Groceries
$11.21 Eating Out.
$67.61 grand total


$157.18 Groceries
$44.63  Eating Out
$201.81 Grand Total


$121.77 Groceries
$ 80.31 Eating Out
$ 202.08 Grand Total

The U.S.government says a frugal family should spend $11.91/ two person family.

For the first quarter of the year we averaged $5.24/two person family.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Buying and Eating: April 1-12

We are leaving for vacation on the 13th so I have only budgeted for twelve days this month.
$142.92 with a cushion of $599.83

What We Ate: leftover pasta carbonara ;potato bar, Brussels sprouts, yogurt with strawberries; garbanzo tiki masala, green soy beans, garlic bread; vegetable pancakes, cooked Apple's yoghurt with strawberries; cheesy crabmeat pasta, salad; nachos; ham salad sandwich with split pea soup; leftover ham loaf, leftover pasta with crab meat; leftover tiki masala; pepperoni pizza, curried potatoes

What We Bought:

Price Rite: oranges, butter (2), cottage cheese, eggs (2)  $8.65

Giant Eagle:  orange Coke . Free with coupon

dollar Tree:  lentils, beets (3),gnocchi ,mushrooms ,dill pickles  $6.37

Tops:  cheese (3), web-based morsels, bananas sugar, fl flour  $12.36

Aldi:  flour (2), butter (6), cheese (4), bleu cheese (2), spiral sliced ham 12#)  $36.60

Total:  $63.98

Eating Out:

Lunch with Ginger  $4.01
Lunch with Mike  $$17.16

Total:  $21.17

Grand Total:  $85.15

To Cushion:$ $57.77
New  Cushion Amount:  $657.60

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Menu Plan: April 1-12

Pasta:  leftover pasta carbonara; cheesy crabmeat pasta (2)
Potato:  baked potato bar; curried potatoes
Vegetarian:  vegetable pancakes
Beans:  Garbanzo bean tiki masala(2)
Regular Meat:  ham salad sandwich with split pea soup(2); ham loaf
Low Meat:  pepperoni pizza

Vegetarian:  5
Low Meat:  4
Regular Meat:  3

I like this balance.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

March Personal Care and Household Expenses

Personal Care:  Sandy haircut $11

Personal Care : Mike  haircut $11

Household : aluminum foil sheets (2)  $2.12 Dollar Tree

Household:  oxiclean laundry detergent $0.99 or approximately 4 cents per load after sale and coupon at Walgreens

Personal Care:  $22
Household:  $3.11

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Frugal Things In March

1.  $11 haircuts for Mike and I.  If I had waited a week they would have been on sale for $5.99 but I didn't know that until after.  Drat!

2.  Making five different large batches of homemade soup each for about what a can or two of soup from the store would cost me.  And, I know exactly what is in these soups.

3.  Starting another batch of homemade vanilla so it has time to age before I need it.

4.  Getting $15  worth of free groceries by transferring a prescription to Giant Eagle.  By shopping the sales, I was able to purchase 10 bags of frozen vegetables and eleven cans of vegetables for 39 cents!

5.  Finding yarn at thrift stores for less than $1/skein.  I got 22 and they will keep me going for awhile.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Eating and the Meal Plan: March 16-31

Vegetarian: dahl;  Vegetarian pot pie
Pasta:  pasta carbonara
Potato:  corned beef hash (2)
Bean:  vegetarian chili; bean burrito
Soup: vegetarian vegetable soup (2); chicken noodle soup; fish chowder
Low Meat:  taco salad; pepperoni pizza
 Regular Meat:  Reuben sandwich; roasted whole chicken;  ham loaf

Final Numbers:

Vegetarian  6
Low Meat 7
Regular Meat  3

I really like how these meals turned out but I doubt very much if it is sustainable.  Mike likes his meat too much.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Buying and Eating: March 16-31

Remaining allotment  $297.16

What We Ate:  taco salad; Reuben sandwich;  vegetable soup; dahl, salad, homemade flat bread; chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad;  Vegetarian chili;  fish chowder;  homemade chicken noodle soup; ham loaf from the freezer, sauteed cabbage, noodles with garlic and cheese;  homemade chicken noodle soup; Vegetarian pot pie from the freezer; corned beef hash, winter squash, cantaloupe or yoghurt; Vegetarian vegetable soup and grilled cheese; leftover corned beef hash; bean burrito; pasta carbonara; pepperoni pizza

What We Bought:

Aldi:  red potatoes ( 10#),  onions (3#), sauerkraut  $5.76

Aldi:  crAckers (2)  $2.14

Price Rite:  cheese (3)  $2.97

CostcoCostco:    whole pepper corns, Tilamook cheddar cheese (2.5 lbs),Romano (1 lb), feta (2.5 lbs) $30.92

Trader Joe's:  peanut butter (5), shelled example (2)  $13.93

Total Groceries:  $55.72

Eating Out:

Breakfast with Cindy  $10.50
Breakfast with Dad  $10.83
Lunch with Joyce $15.50
Mike lunch $3.07
Lunch at Costco:  $4.32
Lunch to D.C.$7
Lunch at D.C .$7.21
Lunch from D.C.  $15.88

Grand of Eating Out:  $74.31

Grand Total of Both:  $130.03

$121.77 Grand Total  Groceries for the Month

$80.31 Grand Total Eating Out for the Month

$202.08 Combined Grand Total for the Month

To the Cushion:  $167.13

$599.83 Grand Total for the Cushion Year to Date

Friday, March 29, 2019


During the holidays fancy dips and spreads are often made and not completely consumed.

Below is what I did with two of my frozen leftovers.

.Shrimp Butter and Shrimp Spread became shrimp rice.

Buffalo Wing Dip Became Buffalo Wing Noodles.

I simply heated them with some evaporated milk to thin them and create a sauce which I then mixed with the rice or noodles.

Fast, simple and yummy uses for those Special Party Leftovers.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Beef Stroganoff Soup

A stick to your ribs soup with all the flavor of the famous namesake.

1/2 to 1 pound of browned ground beef
mushrooms and onions, sauteed
2 Tbs. tomato paste
32 ounces beef broth
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Stirred together and heated through

1/2 pint sour cream or Greek yogurt whisked in at the end to make it creamy

Serve over cooked noodles or rice.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Easy Italian Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

25 cent jars of roasted red peppers were to be had at salvage.  I bought two and used half a jar in this recipe.

 If you can't find a deal you can roast your own or substitute fresh red peppers for a similar dish.

This is a one pan dish I would serve to company.

Brown pieces of chicken  in a skillet.  I used breasts and thighs.

Add to the pan chopped roasted red peppers, minced garlic, salt and pepper, Italian herb blend, chicken broth and evaporated milk.  You can adjust quantities to your taste and the amount of chicken you are cooking.

Cover everything and cook until the chicken is done and the sauce has thickened.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with rice or noodles.


Monday, March 18, 2019

March 1-15 and the Meal Plan

We were still doing low carb for the first week.

Low Meat:  leftover cheeseburger quiche; steak salad; chef salad; broccoli, chicken and cheese casserole; eggplant Parmesan

Regular Meat:  chicken breast with roasted red pepper sauce; Asian marinated pork chops; steak; leftovers; fish for Ash Wednesday (x2); fish for Friday

Soup:  meatless split pea soup ;  bacon lentil soup; Vegetarian vegetable soup

Regular:  7
Low: 5

Vegetarian: 2

 We need less regular meat and more vegetarian.  But Low carb always does this.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Buying and Eating: March 1-15

Allocation:  $369.21
Cushion:  $432.70

What We Ate:

Still doing low carb for the first week.
Leftover cheeseburger quiche; chicken breast with creamy roasted red pepper sauce; steak, sauteed mushrooms and onion, asparagus, salad; Asian marinated pork chops, stir fry vegetables and Chinese onion pancake; leftovers; fish and vegetables; steak salad and cheese bread; leftover risk and vegetables; Vegetarian split pea soup; lentil bacon soup, tvp chili, vegetable soup; chef salad; broccoli chicken and cheese casserole; eggplant Parmesan; fish butter beans, spinach, salad

What We Bought:

Stir fry frozen vegetables, asperagus, Romaine lettuce, cheese (2)  $10.45

Sam's Club:  maple syrup,  stuffed olives $18.26

Giant Eagle:  Coke Zero free with coupon

Aldi:  ice cream, yoghurt, saltines  $4.39

Price Rite:  coffee (5), salt cilantro, plum tomatoes, carrots (5#), cantaloupe (2), shredded cheese (3)$20.12

Tops:  eggs (3), cabbage,lettuce$3.91

Vitacost:  instant coconut milk, unsweetened coconut .$ 8.53

Giant Eagle:  frozen vegetables (10) , canned vegetables (11)  $0.39 after a $15 gift card from having a prescription filled was deducted.

Total Groceries:  $66.05

Eating Out:

Mike trivia night  $6

Grand Total:  $72.05

Allotment for the next two weeks:  $297.16

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

February Household and Personal Care Expenses

Personal care:  8  pack of his soleil razors normally $8.56, free with rebate

Household:  oxiclean laundry detergent (2) .  $2.10

We also purchased 5 bottles of Extra laundry detergent for 99cents each.  These will be donated to the animal shelter.

I find it I keep my eyes open I never have to pay more than 99cents a bottle for laundry detergent.  I have even been able too build stockpile.

February was a much better month budget wise than January.  For that I am thankful.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

February's Breakfasts

Most of our  lunches are dinner leftovers.  Very economical.

But breakfasts can become expensive if your go to is cold cereal.  If you buy it at $3.50 a box, with the box giving you ten SMALL servings, your breakfast is thirty five cents per person.

You can eat for five to ten cents with a little forethought.

You can have variety and save at least $100a year \ person towards a vacation or something fun.

To  give you ideas, here are our breakfasts for February:

1.  Homemade Pancakes from the freezer reheated in the toaster
2.  Homemade  Leftover coffee cake
3.  Eggs, and toast,  I found eggs at 89cents \ dozen or 7 cents\ egg
4.  Homemade leftover banana bread
5.  Oatmeal
6.  Blueberry pancakes
7.  French toast
8.  Fried potatoes and eggs using leftover baked potatoes
9.  Homemade blueberry scones
10.  Leftover pancakes
11.  Leftover blueberry scones
12.  Bagels, more expensive at 16 cents ( bought 6 for $1 at bread store) but a nice treat and quick
13.  Homemade cinnamon rolls made the night before
14.  Raisin cinnamon English muffins a great for Valentine's Day at 16 cents each
15.  Leftover cinnamon roll and English muffin
16.  Leftover blueberry scones from the freezer
17.  Grilled pbj
18.  Bagels
19.  Egg sandwich
We started two weeks of Low carb today.  It's protein heavy so costs  will go up
20.  Two fried eggs.  About 15 cents.
21.  Homemade breakfast sausage patties
22.  Protein pancakes using protein powder and cottage cheese, makes lots of leftovers
23.  Sausage egg and cheese omelette
24. Eggs and bacon
25.  Leftover protein pancakes
26. Homemade low carb granola
27.  We skipped breakfast.
28.  Leftover protein pancakes

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Frugal Things In February

1.  Getting a second, third and fourth opinion on some chimney work that needs to be done saved us over $1000.

2.  Making the time for a salvage shop.  We needed coffee and I can buy bags of Starbucks there for $2.99.  Quite a savings.

3.  Using gifted Rayban frames ( from my eye surgeon who didn't like them) for my new glasses and comparison shopping for the lenses saved us $350.

4.  We made the effort and took the time to send in a rebate for a med our cats are on.  Result ?  $30.

5.  Using a rebate, we got 14 pounds of cat litter, a $16.99 value, for free.

6.  Using another rebate I got an 8 pack of bic soleil razors for free.  I saved $8.56

7.  Using a coupon, I purchased a $7.84 bag of cat food for free.  I will donate it to the local animal shelter.

Monday, March 4, 2019

February 16-28 and the Menu Plan

We have a week of Low carb represented so we are protein heavy.  But it works for us.

Low Meat:  tortilla pizza, tuna pasta bake (2) potato,sauerkraut and kielbasa casserole (2), eggplant Parmesan with meat sauce (2); Philly cheese steak tortilla pizza; turkey broccoli casserole and green beans

Regular meat:  sliced pork with mustard sauce; Philly cheese steak wrap

Eggs:  eggs Benedict; cheeseburger quiche

Low Meat:  9
Regular Meat:  2
Eggs:  2

Final numbers:
Low Meat:  11
Regular Meat:  2

Things are skewed due to the low carb diet.
But all things considered, I'll take it.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Buying and Eating: February 16-28

$212.68 remaining allocation

What We Ate:  tortilla pizza and chips; tuna pasta bake, butternut squash with cumin, Parmesan wine supper bread; sauerkraut, potato and kielbasa casserole; leftover tuna bake;  leftover sauerkraut,potato and kielbasa casserole; pork with mustard sauce, sauted garlic spinach, salad; eggplant Parmesan with meat sauce,   spaghetti squash, sauted zucchini, garlic cheese tortilla; Philly cheese steak wrap, salad; eggs Benedict and salad; leftover eggplant Parmesan; Philly cheese steak tortilla pizza; turkey broccoli casserole and green beans; cheeseburger quiche

What We Bought:

Aldi:  Roma tomatoes, strawberries blueberries, zucchini  $4.93

Giant Eagle:  Chobani yogurt  Free with coupon

Price Rite:  eggplant, cantaloupe, butter (2). $4.92

Save a Lot:  Brussel sprouts (lb), onions (6 lbs)  $4.97

Aldi:  water, cherries,(2), low carb bars (2 boxes), mozzarella cheese, Swiss cheese, provolone cheese, cottage cheese, feta cheese, bleu cheese, sour cream  $28.62 (a Low carb diet shop)

Price Rite:  canned beans (4), cucumbers (2), green and red pepper Wesson Oil (2gallons)  $8.63

Aldi:  mushrooms (2), whipping cream (2)   $4.88

Total for Groceries:  $56.95

Eating Out:

Lunch with Ginger  $8
Lunch with Joyce $15
Mike lunch $1.63

Total for Eating Out:  $24.63

Grand total for second half of the month:  $81.58

  Totals for the Month:

Groceries:  $157.18
Eating Out:  $44.63
Monthly Grand Total:  $201.81

Amount to Cushion:  $131.10

New cushion amount:  $432.70

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Salvage Shopping

We were in need of coffee so we made a trip to salvage.  We came home with coffee and several more things jumped into the cart.  Here is what came home with us.

Coffee, ten at $2.99/bag and four at $1.99/bag for a total of $37.86

Croutons, two bags at 79 cents each

Cereal, five boxes total.  Four were 25 cents each and one was 99 cents;  two are raisin bran which will be used for making muffins

Low Carb Tortillas, one was 75 cents and one was 99 cents

Evaporated Goat Milk for 10 cents to make fudge

Refried Beans, two at 10 cents each; great for quick meals

Kraft Mayonnaise, four at 25 cents each

Pudding Mix, three at 25 cents each

Tabouli Mix for 65cents

Matzo ball soup, 49 cents

Grits, 50 cents

Bisquick, $1.50

Tea bags, one hundred for $2.99

Macaroni and cheese, organic, six boxes for 25 cents each

Chopped apples, four small containers for 65 cents

Ketchup, 75 cents

Tomato puree, large, two for $1Total

Tahini, two pounds for $1.50/pound

Evaporated milk, four cans for $1

Breakfast bars, four boxes for $1

Wine vinegar for 99cents

Total Spent  $62.52.

Some nice bargains there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

February 1-15 and the Menu Plan

Here is what we are for the first part of the month and how it aligns with our previously decided upon menu plan for this year.

Low Meat :   moo shu chicken; taco salad; taco pizza
Regular:  bbq pork sandwiches;  hamburgers
Vegetarian:  curried pumpkin soup, dahl and rice, vegetable pot pie
Pasta:  Italian beans and greens, cheese manicotti; spaghetti with      Buffalo Wing sauce; tuna macaroni salad
Rice:  creamy rice and Shrimp with peas
Potato:  baked potato bar
Soup:  bean soup and sandwich; beef stroganoff soup
Egg:  0

Low Meat:  3
Regular:   2
Vegetarian:  2
Pasta:  4, two vegetarian, one low meat, one regular meat
Rice:  1,  low meat
Potato:  1, low meat
Soup:  one regular meat, one low meat
Egg:  0

Final Analysis:
Vege:  4
Low Meat:  7
Regular Meat:  4

Doing better but would still like at least one less low meat and one more vegetarian.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Buying and Eating: February 1-15

$333.48 monthly allocation  with a cushion of $301.60

What We Ate:  moo shu chicken and Asian chopped salad; bbq pork sandwiches, chips and green beans; curried pumpkin soup and Dahl with rice;  Italian beans and greens pasta and garlic bread;  creamy shrimp rice and peas; baked potato bar; cheese manicotti;  bean soup and grilled bologna sandwich; hamburgers, salad, baked sweet potato;  taco salad; vegetable pot pie; taco pizza with popcorn;  pasta with Buffalo Wing sauce, carrots;  beef stroganoff soup; tuna macaroni salad, Parmesan Wine Supper Bread, apple sauce

What We Bought:

Salvage:  croutons (2), cereal (5), coffee (14), Low carb tortilla (2), evaporated milk (5), refried beans (2), mayonnaise (4),  pudding mix (3), tabouli salad mix, matzo ball soup, instant grits, Bisquick, tea bags (100), macaroni and cheese (6), chopped apples in syrup, ketchup, tomato puree (2 large),  tahini(2#), breakfast bars (4), red wine vinegar  $62.52

Price Rite:  green pepper, red peppers (2), onions (3#), butter (4#) cheese (3), eggs (6) $20.96

I'm already more than last month.  Time to put on the brakes.

Giant Eagle:  French bread pizza  49 cents with coupon

Aldi:  cheese (2), French onion dip ( sub for sour cream) 99, diced tomatoes with garlic and basil (to use in salads ( 3) , Parmesan cheese (2)  .     $10.16

Tops:  potatoes (5#), bakery rye bread, lettuce  $4.57

Bread Store:  cinnamon raisin English muffins, everything bagels  $2.02

Total Grocery:  $100.23

Eating Out :
Thai lunch with Mike  $20.57

Total Eating Out:  $20.5.

Grand Total:  $120.80

Total Remaining Of Monthly Allocation:  $212.68

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Remaking Candles

We have a non functioning fireplace in our living room.  I like to burn candles in it.

Since candles never seem to totally consume the wax, I have been left with a supply of leftover wax.

Christmas only added to the supply.

Recently, I received a $5 coupon from Michaels.  I used it, and a 40% off coupon to get twelve wicks for $1.47.

I'm now melting down the leftover wax to make new candles.

I feel quite frugal at the cost of candles these days.

Just an fyi, I always buy my candles at thrift stores and never pay full price.

Friday, February 8, 2019

January Household and Personal Care Expenses

January:  A mixture of expensive and inexpensive but all frugal in my book.

Dollar tree personal care:  shampoo  $1

Aldi household items:  aluminum foil, plastic wrap  $4.22

CVS:  household items 8 oz. Dawn,Tide 100oz. 69 load laundry detergent,
using a 70 cent sale, a 25 cent coupon and a $5 store special coupon the total is 73 cents, an 89% discount.  Yeah!

Costco:   Household  led light bulbs  6 pack  $7 sale

CVS:  personal care distilled water (2)
 minus coupons  $2.53 saved 85 cents

Personal care Hair Cuts for Mike and Sandy  $22 for both

Sam's: household bags for recycling, enough for six years  $25.42

Philosophy:  Personal Care   exfoliating face wash and face cream  $135  enough for a few years, expensive but doesn't upset my skin and since a little goes a long way, it lasts a long time

Personal Care:  $ 158.85 including two hair cuts and a few years worth of facial care.

Household:  $30.37 including led light bulbs and at least six years of recycling bags.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Frugal Things In January

1.  Using up items from the stockpile.  My freezer is FULL!

2.  Fixing the kitchen sink faucet with items we had on hand.

3.  Making homemade cherry liqueur and almond liqueur with brandy and vodka  to use to make homemade cocktail cherries.

4.  Using the last Costco coupon to get twelve pounds of chicken, two whole, for just over $3.00.

5. Staying out of the grocery stores so I wouldn't be tempted to add to the stockpile rather than use it up.

6.  Fixing the frames of my glasses with super glue.  They only need to last a few weeks until I can get new ones.

7.  Sourcing two items of clothing from a thrift store saving money and Mother Earth.

8.  Using a $5 coupon, and a 40% off coupon at Michaels to buy wicks for making candles.  Final cost was  $1.47 for 12 wicks.  I saved a total of $6.60.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Buying and Eating: January 16-31

$330.55.  That's how much we started the last two weeks of the month with.  There was no cushion.  But since we are eating mainly from the stockpile, we should have plenty at the end of the month to start our cushion for the year.

What We Ate:  hotdogs and beans from the freezer, cheesy cornbread, spinach salad, corn; curry and lentil pancakes from the freezer;  homemade falafels,hummus, and flatbread with steamed spinach with garlic; ham steak, butter beans, broccoli rice, cornmeal muffins;  sliced turkey from freezer, homemade cranberry chutney, baked sweet potato, roasted Brussels sprouts; leftovers and macaroni and cheese; chicken and rice casserole, mixed vegetables, strawberries; turkey and gravy over stuffing, roasted carrots;  augratin potatoes and ham;  Chili and tortilla chips; broccoli soup with homemade bread; broccoli and rice crepes; savoury vegetable bread pudding with sliced peaches;  lite pasta carbonara; vegetable soup from the freezer with turkey avocado sandwiches;  curried potatoes, dahl, lentil pancakes

What We Bought:

Aldi:  cauliflower rice, blueberries, strawberries, cucumber, egg noodles (2)  $7.64

Save a Lot:  avocados (3) $1.17

Giant Eagle:  belvita  free with coupon

Tops:  beef broth (32oz), goldfish, eggs (3doz), potatoes (5lb), bananas (4lb), garbanzo beans (3 cans)  $11.02

Giant Eagle:  Bubly flavored water  free with coupon

Aldi:  cream cheese (4), Asian salad kit, English muffins, cherries (2)  $9.12

Groceries Total:  $28.95

We didn't eat out this two Week period.

Monthly Totals;

Groceries $56.40
Eating Out  $11.21

Grand Total for the Month  $67.61

Amount to Cushion  $301.60

Thursday, January 31, 2019

2019 Menu Plan

The new Dept of Agriculture thrifty plan numbers are 40 cents per day less than what was allowed in 2018.

That comes out to $146/year less.  Nothing too difficult to deal with.

 I like a challenge and I like beating the numbers.

So, for those reasons, but mainly for health reasons, I am going to try to incorporate more meals with less or no meat.  As we age we just don't need as much.  What's good for us will also be good for our new budget.

So, for meals I will be focusing on:
rice, pasta or potato based
bean based
egg based
low meat

How did we do in January?

Vegetarian     6
Rice, pasta or potato based .   8
Bean     2
Egg .   1, because they are so expensive
Soup.    2
Low meat     4
Regular     8, because sometimes that just happens

Next month I want fewer regular and more of the others.  We will see how it goes.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Broccoli Rice Four Ways

At the beginning of the week I made broccoli and rice for a side dish using peeled broccoli stalks.

We enjoyed it but since I seem to be unable to make a small pot of rice, there were plenty of leftovers.

 So my mind went to how to make it over so it would be eaten and we would enjoy it.

I added some chicken, cheese and cream and made a casserole.  Yum.

The leftovers from the casserole I split in half.

 One half I used to make crepes.

The other half I used with some homemade broth and more peeled stalks to make soup.

Four meals just by using a little creativity.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Celebrating Without Extra Shopping

I serve appetizers on New Year's Eve.  Here is what was on the table this past New Year's Eve:

Cheese ball and crackers
Brie with Apple butter and almonds
Shrimp with cocktail sauce over cream cheese
Shrimp butter and crackers
Shrimp canapes and crackers
 Buffalo chicken dip and crackers
Meg's cheesy things
Potato skins with French onion dip

This was the menu because I had all the ingredients in hand and I had been able to purchase them on sale or when salvage shopping.  I made half recipes of each and estimate my total cost for the evtening to be just about $12.  Not bad for a festive evening.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Frugal Things in December

1.  Sending Christmas cards bought at the end of season sales last year.

2.  Reusing gift bags and tissue paper from last year.

3.  Scaling back Christmas buying to simplify and to better enjoy the season.

4.  Decorating with well loved items and avoiding purchasing new items.

5.  Using our artificial Christmas tree Mike purchased 44 years ago, before we were even married.

6.  Downloading only free books onto my kindle.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Buying and Eating: January 1-15

Under the new thrift plan amount we have $11.91/day for our family of two or $5.95/person/day.  For January that means we have $369.21 to cover all food costs.  We have no cushion as we start the new year.

For January, an effort will be made to eat from our abundant stockpile.

What We Ate:  smoked pork shoulder, sauerkraut, spicy black eyed peas, spiced peaches, pecan pie;  homemade fish and chips, Brussels sprouts, pears; pork fried rice and Chinese onion pancake; leftover appetizers;  Mexican pizza and homemade guacamole;  tuna noodle casserole, peas, homemade rolls; Mongolian beef, stir fry veg and rice;  leftover Mexican pizza and guacamole;  pulled pork, carrot and potato pancakes,steamed broccoli;salmon quiche from freezer, broccoli, baked sweet potato; ham loaf, baked potato, green soy beans; fish with a caper-lemon sauce over stuffing, steamed broccoli;  beef stew from the freezer over pasta with blueberries from the freezer;  couscous casserole from the freezer, mixed vegetables, fruit

What We Bought:

Save a Lot:  salad mix, fresh spinach (2)  $2.77

Vitacost:  almond flour (lb), erythritol sweetener (3lb)  $20.98  low carb is coming back to hopefully deal with the  holiday extras  :)

Giant Eagle:  protein bar  Free with coupon

Costco:  two whole chickens ( 6 pounds each). Originally  $11.70 used an $8 coupon for final cost of $3.70

Total for Groceries:  $27.45

Eating Out:
Lunch with Joyce  $11.21

Total for Eating Out:  $11.21

 Two Week Total:  $38.66

We have $330.55 for the remainder of the month.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Year, New Food Budget

The government, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that food costs have gone down so people don't need to budget as much as before!?!

 The thrifty plan, which did allow $12.31 \day for a family of two people our age, or   $6.15\person \day, now allows $11.91\day or $5.95\person \day.

 That is a drop of 40cents\day or 20 cents\person\day.  It doesn't sound like much, but it does add up.

 For the year, we will be working with $146 less.  That might be make or break for some families.

Remember, for us, this covers groceries and meals out.  But, I always like a good challenge.

Let the games begin.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2018 Buying and Eating Final Numbers

2018 is behind us and here are our numbers.

We were working on a budget of $12.31/ day or $6.50/person/day.  This is the number the government suggests for a thrifty meal plan.  The money had to cover groceries and meals out.

For the year we spent $2222.74 on groceries and $766.64 on meals out.  That breaks down to $$42.75/week on groceries and $14.74/week on meals out.  The combined total is $57.49/week or $8.21/day and $4.11/ person / day, about two thirds of the allotted amount.

We ended up with a cushion of $948.39 of unspent money this year.
Last year's unspent money was $483.08.

Because we have a full freezer and cupboards, I feel comfortable not carrying over this amount into 2019.  Instead, we will start the year with no cushion and build one as we go through the year.

Instead, we will spend the cushion  to help fund the Alaskan cruise we are taking with our children and grandchildren in June.  Now that makes staying under budget worthwhile.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Buying and Eating: December 16-31

For the last two weeks of the month we had $170.45 left of the monthly allotment.

What We Ate:  hotdogs and beans, apple cranberry sauerkraut, cheese bread on rye;  shepherd's pie, cottage cheese and fruit; pizza and chips; leftover smorgasbord; homemade pot pie and salad; Christmas visit to D.C.; Chili and cheese bread; cheese and spinach manicotti; ham and bean soup with homemade breadsticks; turkey in gravy over stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, peas and carrots;  pierogie casserole, mixed vegetables, bananas;  appetizers for New Year's Eve

What We Bought:

Price Rite:  bisquick, bleu cheese dressing, cucumber (2), Buffalo wing sauce, cheese (3)  $8.19

Aldi:  sugar (12#), flour (15#)brown sugar (4#), butter (6#),   $21.31

Aldi:  pretzels (4-33% off), bagels, broccoli crowns (2), raisins, peanuts, almonds ( low carb is coming), maraschino cherries (2), French onion dip (2- cheaper than sour cream), cider ( for vinegar)  $ 22.71

Aldi:  pie crust (2), morello cherries (7), limes (6), avocados (2), gourmet olives (5)  $24.71

Total for Groceries:  $76.92

Eating Out:

Mike lunch  $3.07
Pat's birthday lunch  $24.63
Mike's Birthday dinner. $21.71
Lunch in D.C.  $20.14
Lunch coming home $4.09

Total for Eating Out:  $73.64

Grand Total:  $150.56

To Add To The Cushion:  $19.89

Cushion Total:  $948.39ytd,   $1431.47 over two years