Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Week’s Thrifty Moves

Salvaged wrap, bags, bows, gift boxes & tissue
from Christmas morning.
My last post for 2012 …sniff, sniff.  Oh how quickly the time passes. 

The Sunday paper held nothing of interest for me last week so it ended up in the recycle bin rather quickly this time.  Nice not to be overly tempted to go shopping. 

I made a double batch of pumpkin pie spice and refilled my spice jar. 

I made two batches of buttermilk dressing filling up two pint jars. 

While we opened our Christmas gifts on Tuesday morning I collected all the reusable bows, bags, tissue paper and gift wrap and stashed it in the gift wrap tote.  I also acquired a couple gift boxes for clothing, which is great because I was completely out of them.

On Wednesday I stopped at the dollar store and picked up two rolls of Christmas gift wrap for half price and two packages of tissue paper to re-supply the gift wrap tote.  I now have plenty of wrap for several Christmases to come.  Total spent on these items was $3 plus tax. 

Thursday I headed to Bed Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon and a $25 gift card I had received for my birthday back in September.  I didn’t know what to use it for until it occurred to me that they sell kitchen knives – duh!

I was able to get a really nice Cuisanart sontuko knife to replace the one I broke in half at Thanksgiving.  This one is a little heavier duty and I made sure it was full tang so I won’t have to worry about it snapping in half, hopefully.  The coupon saved me $4 off the regular price and I still have funds left on the gift card for something else. 

Because Petco is in the same parking lot I popped in real quick to use a coupon I had printed online for a free can of cat food.  I grabbed the food and the girls checked out all the pets they had for sale.  I did have to pay the sales tax but still a great freebie. 

We pretty much abandoned our meal plan last week because of an overwhelming amount of Christmas leftovers.  We polished off clam chowder one night, shrimp pasta alfredo the next, stuffed mushrooms and rice pilaf after that and then used a leftover pork chop in pan fried noodles on Saturday.  The leftovers also provided us with lunches.  So delicious and no food waste! 

I started an afghan using yarn leftover from previous projects.  I’m making granny squares. 

Our chickens blessed us with 12 eggs this week and one was another double yoker.  You go girls!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

For 2013

In the new year I wish for you the following: 

·         To have the ability to remain positive in your thoughts and actions.
·         To focus on what you have instead of what you don’t.
·         To abandon all bitterness and resentment.
·         To forgive those you feel have done you wrong and move forward.
·         To have simple joy and moderate prosperity of your own making.
·         To strive every day to be a better person.
·         To accept help when you need it and give help to those in need.
·         To be consistently guilty of random acts of kindness.
·         To follow the Golden Rule daily.
·         To eradicate your anger and frustration.
·         To make new friends and foster better relationships with current ones.
·         To count your blessings every morning and thank God for what He’s given you.
·         To be honest and sincere.
·         To keep your heart open.
·         To share your feelings with those you are close to.
·         To spend more time enjoying your life.
·         To prioritize and achieve your most important goal(s).
·         To stress less and laugh more.
·         To remain healthy in mind, body and spirit.
·         To read more, learn more and do more.
·         To make better choices and sound decisions.
·         To be truly happy from deep within. 

I printed this out, taped it into my day planner and penciled a few notes.  There are several points here I know I could stand to work on.  I can only imagine how much better my life would be if I was able to master this list. 

I plan to strive for this.  Any thoughts?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Budget Final Totals

I am really pleased with how our Christmas turned out this year and even more so with the final tally. 

First of all, I am so proud of my girls.  They had each set a budget of $5 a piece to purchase gifts for each other and $10 for gifts for me.  It was neat to see the thoughtfulness they put into their gifts for each other.  It was important to each of them to get something nice that they would really enjoy and use. 

This is what I ended up doing: 

For the girls I made them each pajamas and an extra night gown for my oldest as she had passed down most of her nightwear to her younger sister.  The cost of these pajamas was literally $0 because a friend of mine gave me the fabric and my mother had given me the thread, trim and snaps I used.
Night shirt
Pajama bottoms & T-shirt with butterfly applique
Pajama top & bottoms for my youngest
I also made each of my girls a hand knit hat.  The cost on these was less than $1 because I used leftover yarn and yarn that I had purchased from the thrift store. 

·         2 sets of leggings from Fred Meyer’s clearance rack $3.99 each
·         A T-shirt I turned into a pajama top for my oldest was $2.25
·         “Used-like new” DVD set of Season 7 of The Closer for my parents $17.98 from Amazon
·         2 new book sets for the girls from Amazon $41.30 (my biggest purchase)
·         Stocking stuffers came in at less than $8
·         Clarinet accessories from Amazon for oldest daughter, less than $5
·         Yakisoba noodles for youngest daughter (she loves them), less than $3
·         Twilight DVD, another DVD set and a Phase 10 game from Santa $0, used a Target gift card.  Santa is thrifty too!
·         Coupons for time with Mom - $0 (Priceless!) 

After all was said and sales tax was included my final total spent out of pocket came in at $83.02!  The items I purchased from Amazon with my credit card were paid off right away when the bill came due.  After family and friend’s gifts there was more than enough under the tree and the girls seemed very happy with everything they got. 

Additionally, as you already know, I purchased a Christmas tree for $19.99.  I spent $10 at the dollar store on some d├ęcor to decorate our chicken coop, a pair of reindeer antlers for a Christmas concert and some candy canes for a fun craft project.  I also picked up a few craft supplies at Jo Ann’s for less than $6.  Most of those items will actually be used next year.  I already have a head start!  I did not include these items as part of the $100 Challenge. 

I am super excited about next year too, because I plan to do the same challenge again and see if I can get even more for my dollars spent.  So much fun ahead!  I can hardly wait to get started.

Footnote:  I took $3.18 of my leftover budget to purchase 2 rolls of clearance gift wrap for 50¢ each and two packages of tissue paper at $1 each bringing the total spent to $86.20.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grocery Wrap Up – December And Year End Totals


Due to a lot of savvy shopping, the better part of a $50 Walmart gift card and a lot of coupons stacked with coupon doublers I was able to acquire quite a bit of food this month and stay inside my budget, well I did go over by 47¢, but I am completely okay with that.  Most months I come in under so it’s a wash.  My non-food total this month came in at $24.28. 

The vast majority of the items I purchased with the gift card and coupons went toward stocking up my pantry.  All my stock up items are marked in blue.  I am very happy with where we are sitting as we head into a brand new year and a brand new budget. 

This is what I bought with my December budget of $125.00:

Breakfast sausage (16)
Store Coupon
Clam chowder (10)
Store Coupon
Spaghetti sauce
Store Coupon
Green beans (12)
Store Coupon
Mushroom soup (4)
Store Coupon/Coupon
Store Coupon
Milk - 1/2 gal (4)
Store Coupon
Orange juice - 1/2 gal (2)
Store Coupon
Crackers (2)
Baking chips (3)
Less Bag Refund
Flour tortillas (2)
Sugar - 4#
Cream cheese
Romano cheese
Tater tots
Potatoes - 5#
Red potatoes - 5#
Canola oil
Canned tomatoes (4)
Crushed pineapple
Asparagus soup
Peanut butter
Bean sprouts
Coconut milk
Olives (2)
Whipped topping
Mandarin oranges (2)
Corn dogs -16ct
Tomato sauce (2)
Double coupon
Italian sausage
Double coupon
Canned chicken (2)
Double coupon
Less Gift Card
Milk - 1 gal
Double coupon
Cranberry juice
Double coupon
Chocolate milk - 1/2 gal
Double coupon
Less Gift Card
Double coupon
Weiners (2)
Double coupon
Double coupon
Less Gift Card
Sugar - 4# (2)
Store Coupon/Double coupon
Pineapple chunks (3)
Double coupon
Canned chicken (2)
Double coupon
Cake mix (2)
Store Coupon/Coupon
Chocolate chips (3)
Store Coupon
Brown sugar 2# (2)
Store Coupon
Soy sauce
Less Gift Card
Milk - 1/2 gal (4)
Store Coupon
Brachs chocolate stars
English muffins
Tortilla chips
Half & half
Frozen spinach
 $ 125.47

So how did I do all year?  After tracking my expenses I took the grand total and divided it by twelve for an average monthly amount which came in at $122.33.  Amazingly enough, it is $1 less per month than it was in 2011.  Not bad for feeding a family of three plus ending the year with a very well stocked pantry and freezer. 

I did some research and the average amounts most families our size spend are between $500 and $600 per month.  Some were as low as $300 and as high as $1000 (gulp!).  They do include their non-food purchases in these totals, but still, if I had to do that every month we would be in some serious trouble. 

How did you end the year with your grocery budget?
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