Monday, August 10, 2020

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


It was a quietly productive week last week.  I was able to get quite a few little things done around the house during the work week and a couple good projects done on the weekend.  That always makes me feel good to be productive without working myself into the ground.  This past week I really paced myself and I'm glad I did.  It made everything I did much more enjoyable.


We've had a lot of hot days lately so I got up pretty early Sunday morning to get some yard work done before the heat of the day hit.  I had borrowed the hedge trimmer from my co-worker again to trim up the neighbor's hedges that were creeping over our driveway.  While I was at it I trimmed up the three little bushes in our yard and then I raked and swept everything up.  I am so appreciative for the loan of the hedge trimmer which saves me the cost of purchasing one or hiring someone to do the work for me.


Wednesday evening I had a date night with my youngest.  For the first time this year she and I went out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We shared an order of fajitas and brought home enough leftovers for two lunches.


I placed and received my Amazon order for more prepper pantry items.  Free shipping by using our prime account.  I was also able to get our kitty Jack's medicine from Amazon for half the cost of what the vet would charge.


Using craft items I already had on hand I continued to work on my day planner for 2021.  I also completed the little cowl neck warmer I was crocheting.  It will be a nice winter addition when it gets really cold outside.


Friday we enjoyed a family movie night watching movies from our own DVD collection.  While we watch the movie we also gathered up all four of the box fans we use in our house, took them apart and gave them a good cleaning which will help them function better and last longer.


Saturday morning I used some scrap fabric I had to complete a new sew storage project for Laverne.  I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.  After that I spent the better part of the day putting together a puzzle I had picked up at a thrift store a couple months ago for 99¢ and watching movies using our Amazon prime account.


I gave myself a haircut and it turned out pretty darned good too.  This is the second haircut I have given myself since the pandemic hit.  I am glad I got brave enough to give it a try because being able to cut my own hair will save me a ton of money over time.


I got some coupons in the mail from Fred Meyer.  One is redeemable for a FREE box of pop tarts.  I'll likely add those to the prepper pantry.

I helped myself to a book from the FREE pile in our break room at work.  Now I just need to find some time to read it. 

Routine Maintenance = vacuumed and cleaned all of our box fans 

Prepper Pantry = dehydrated cream, tomato powder, cheddar cheese powder.


My biggest project last week was to put our guest room back in order

Some of the 15 Minute Chores I accomplished to keep my home in order: 

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - vacuumed floors.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Dining Room - vacuumed & dusted, mopped floor, cleaned baseboards. 

Kitchen -  vacuumed & mopped floor, wiped down cabinets, bleached sink, cleaned microwave, range hood & stove. 

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted, cleaned tub, scrubbed sink.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Other - two large loads of laundry, vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & entry.  Tidied up, vacuumed and dusted our guest room and washed all the bedding.  Swept front porch, tidied & swept the garage.


How was your thrifty week?


Friday, August 7, 2020

Laverne Has Earned Her Stripes - Part 1

The exterior of my motorhome is in excellent condition with minimal signs of wear and tear.  Over the past thirty years however she has faded a bit and her outside was in need of a little TLC.


The drivers side W is cracked and faded

The passenger side W was in really rough shape

Miles of taping and masking off

Nothing quite like watching paint dry - LOL!


And more Whoa!

I've done a lot to the outside with some minor repairs and improvements.  All of the storage bins have been lined in painted plywood.  I added a shelf to one of the bins where the generator used to be making it into the water and sewer line storage area.  The shelf keeps the two items separated and allows room for additional items like disinfectant wipes and gloves.  Two very important items to have on hand for handling the waste lines.


The door to the water heater and trim around the water fill were painted prior

The stripes on the door

A little before & after

And some more after

I had also painted the door to the water heater and the plate around the water filler which had rusted over time and looked a bit unsightly.  And I cleaned and spruced up the porch light so it not only looks better but the light is much brighter too.


Then it was time to get started on the biggest exterior changes and that is to refurbish her worn and faded striping.  I know that once I am done with this project it will really make her shine.  Her outside will match her insides and she will be absolutely gorgeous.  Even more than she already is.

I could leave it just like this as it was already a huge improvement

It took a lot of man hours, patience and several feet of painter's tape as well as a few cans of Rustoleum spray paint to get this job going.  But definitely worth the effort.  I got started the weekend prior to the 4th of July weekend and I put a lot of time into this those first two weekends.


But, I just had to do the Minnie Winnie

I decided the exterior changes would be subtle as I didn't want to make too drastic of a change.  I chose to do the brown stripes in Espresso which matched the original color spot on.  The rust orange stripes however got a makeover with a little pizzazz with Metallic Copper.  Boy does it ever look pretty when the sun hits it.  Just the right amount of sparkle.


I started with the passenger side.  The most time consuming part of the projected was to tape of the Minnie Winnie decal.  Three hours and two beers later I had it taped.  I went to bed that night and got up the next morning to spend less about two minutes to shoot it with a coat of Metallic Copper.  Waited ten and then gave it a second coat.  I came back after about fifteen minutes to remove all that taping and WOW!  Worth every second I invested.


With the passenger side stripes completed I have moved onto the front and rear but I'm going to save that for another day my friends.  And once the weather cools down a bit Laverne will get a bath and four coats of Turtle Wax as I complete each side.  She is also going to get something else, but again you will just have to wait to see what it is.  I'm super excited about it too!


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Food Management - Ways Of Saving $$

With the current state we are in prices are steadily rising at the grocery store.  Couple that with the occasional shortages on certain items and shopping for groceries can often be downright frustrating.  By the time you get to the register to check out the last thing you want is to be shell shocked by the total bill and to feel anxious about your budget.


In spite of everything I've still been managing to keep our budget in check, but I do have to work a little harder in order to do so.  I plan a lot more than I have for quite some time.  I scour the ads thoroughly to capitalize on sales and loss leader items.  I search through scads of digital coupons to help me shave off extra money from the purchase price and I take advantage of free offers and special pricing offered to me by the stores because I have one of their rewards cards.


Along with a strict budget and careful shopping I am making sure that I get the most mileage out of the food I buy.  I bulk cook even though it is just three of us.  We use the leftovers for another supper and to keep us in lunches throughout the week.  I don't waste anything.  I cook up chicken and turkey bones for broth, save the bacon fat for cooking and save the beef fat to make suet cakes for our chickens.  We give our stale bread and kitchen scraps to our chickens and what they can't have ends up in our compost.


I regularly clean, sort and reorganize our pantry, the refrigerator and both freezers.  This allows me to routinely keep tabs on what is in there and rotate items so nothing expires or freezer burns.  It also keeps it fresh in my mind what we have on hand so I can add items we are low on to the shopping list and not buy what we have plenty of already.  It is very easy to over buy something simply because you aren't sure that you have it in the first place only to discover you already did.


Additionally, I meal plan, meal prep and I investment cook in order to make the best use of the food I have on hand.  Meal planning and prepping is geared to items I already have so I don't need to make a special shopping trip.  I keep a perpetual shopping list running at all times so I replace items as they are used in order to keep from running out and again not have to make a special trip to the store.


I hope this information helps you as you continue to navigate this topsy-turvy world we currently find ourselves in.  I'm not about to tell you I'm an expert or anything, but I will happily share what I do to save money and manage our resources as best I can.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Prepper Pantry - How Much Do I Need?

How much do I need to stock?  When I initially got started prepping last spring the goal was to add a six month supply of extra food to our pantry.  For everyone that number is going to be different based on size of your family and your eating habits.  In order to know how much we would need to stock we literally sat down and did the math with each item I purchased.


Take rice for instance.  While right now I rarely eat rice my daughter eats a fair amount and if we were ever in a situation where I needed to I would certainly be eating it more regularly.  So we sat down with a calculator and determined how many of servings of rice we would likely eat in a week and multiplied that by 26 to figure out a six month supply.  We did that with pretty much everything and once we had acquired that much I decided to go for a year supply and began a gain.


Most preppers will tell you a two year supply is best practice.  Some will say more and some will say less but most say two years and that is what our end goal is going to be.  That means I will need to employ a variety of different food storage methods in order to obtain that much usable food and I've done that with freezing, canning and store bought canned goods, dry and dehydrated foods, vacuum sealing, etc.


There are quite a few items I've stocked that I don't normally buy simply because they are shelf stable.  So I have to be okay with modifying our diet somewhat in order for this to work.  While right now I try to steer clear of foods with a lot of sodium and preservatives, in the event of an emergency I know I won't be able to be quite as picky.  I can tell you right now that if I am hungry I'm not going to turn my nose up at a granola bar or a pasta packet.  Instead I'll be grateful that I have a granola bar or a package of pasta.


So my advice to you as far as how much you need to put up is to do the math.  Figure out the size and number of servings you would eat of that item, determine approximately how many times a week you would eat it and multiply it by the number of people in your family and then the number of weeks you are stocking up for.  Then go for it.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

It's Not Too Late to GYST In 2020

In spite of this crazy year we are having I have managed to make a boatload of progress in my endeavor to get my shit together this year.  I know that I am very fortunate and blessed to be in the position that I currently find myself.  I am truly, truly grateful for that.


When the pandemic hit us back in March I was fearful of what might happen and of losing all of the progress I was making up to that point.  However, I've been staying the course and persevering.  All the while we are literally living like paupers having cut all of our expenses to the bare bone.  I've had a lot of practice living like that so for me it comes pretty easy.  For others I know it can be a struggle, especially when it is suddenly forced upon them.


I've always found that when faced with hard economical times it is best practice to cut my expenses back as much as I can and stop spending.  When I do spend I spend the very least amount I can get away with.  And I save every dime I can.  Even when I was on unemployment in the past I still figured out ways to save.


This year, same as last year and the years before, I've taken advantage of every opportunity that has been offered to earn extra money over and above my regular paycheck.  And I'm not too proud to take a job that some might think is beneath me.  I've been selling things I no longer need or have too many of as well.  Every little bit adds up and it really helps.


In mid March I paid off my car because even though I had a 0% no interest auto loan I didn't need that money going out each month.  When my stimulus check arrived in April I put it into my emergency fund.  At the end of May I refinanced my house, taking advantage of the new lower interest rates which drastically reduced my monthly payment.  Doing this allowed me to pay off all of my debt in July and secured my home so I would be able to better stay afloat should I find myself without a job.  One never knows.


I have been steadily using my overtime pay exclusively for stockpiling food and household essentials.  We started a prepper pantry and I've been dehydrating, canning and freezing items I find on sale and markdown.  I load up digital coupons and clip paper ones to shave off even more from my total bill each time I shop.  We are only purchasing clothing to replace what we need at this time.  We don't eat out or do take out.  Our one vacation was a camp trip using our regular fuel budget to buy gas, food from our pantry and camp equipment we already had.


I'm still completing projects around the house.  Using up the things we already have in our garage and supplementing those we don't with gift card purchases.  When I'm out of money I stop until I can acquire another gift card.  My girls gave me one for Father's Day so I can get more supplies when I need them.  Maybe, if I'm lucky, I will get another gift card for my birthday or have enough credit card rewards poinst to go toward another one.  Somehow I can always figure out a way.


While everyone's situation is different and I know many people have experienced a job loss or may even be facing eviction or foreclosure at this point I hope I am able with these posts I write to share enough of what I am doing to help out in some small way.  To inspire someone to dig down deep and figure things out and to think outside the box.  To really figure out a way to make it work.  And as always, when someone emails me with a question or asks for advice I am always happy to help out if I can.


It is not too late.  We just have to persevere and keep on trucking.



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