Wednesday, September 30, 2020

My Thrifty Grocery Budget 2020 - September


I decided this month not to track every single item I purchased on my spreadsheet as I have been doing for ages.  It is a time consuming process, but definitely a good one when you are trying to curb spending and stick to a budget, especially a really tight one like ours.  Instead I cut back on my shopping trips, same as I did last month, and in typical fashion I did my best to purchase the vast majority of items on sale or marked down.  I did just fine and still had money leftover when all was said and done.


Our monthly grocery budget is a whopping $150.00 per month and I still had $53 dollars left after my final trip which was to go to Winco to stock up on fresh produce, a few dairy items, frozen veggies and a handful of pantry items.  A trip to Cash & Carry and Fred Meyer earlier in the month netted me some sales items to keep our freezer and pantry topped off.


We are fully stocked and winter ready so that is a huge relief for us.  I have started meal planning again which will enable me to make wise use of what we have on hand.  As we head into winter I expect to only need fresh produce and dairy items.  I will likely pick up a few loss leaders and take advantage of any great sales or markdowns I come across to bolster our supplies, but for the most part we are good to go.  I expect to keep our grocery spending even lower each month as a result.


As far as our non food items went I didn't buy much in the way of that either as we are completely stocked up.  I did pick up two of the four packs of canned cat food for the kitties and added that to their winter stock pile.  They were on sale for $1.58 each which is a super good deal on those.


$97.00 ÷ 31 days ÷3 people = $1.07 per person per day!!  Way under budget!!!

I got a really good buy on butter - $1.88 a pound!

I'm not sure at the moment if I will continue to track my spending like I did before or not.  Right now, since we are pretty much running in debt free mode it is kind of nice to know I don't have to if I don't want to and that we can afford to spend more on groceries now if we want to.  The flip side of that, however, is that some habits are just hard to break.


My big trip to the grocery outlet store

How did you do with your grocery spending this month?  Any difficulties finding what you wanted?  Any really great sales?


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Taking Some Time For Myself - Guilt Free!


I have a large list of things to be completed around our house.  This year I did not manage to get nearly the projects checked off the list I originally had planned, however I do tend to think I can get far more accomplished than I really can.  Add in pandemic restraints that affected not only the availability of supplies, but the cost of them as well, and I did have a few obstacles getting in my way.


Time is also a factor.  I work full time and it is common for me to work overtime, pretty much on a daily basis.  My job is hard and challenging.  It uses up a lot of my brain power and taps my emotions too.  Nonetheless I enjoy what I do, who I work with, the company I work for and I have a great boss.  For all of that I am incredibly grateful and know that I am in a fortunate position, especially as I've remained gainfully employed throughout everything that has occurred this year.


There are a ton of hobbies I am interested in doing and not nearly enough time to work on any of them.  I keep thinking that once I am retired I will finally have the time to do the things I want to do, but in the meantime I put a lot of pressure on myself to work on the "To Do" list and be as productive as possible when I am home.  I have to quit doing that.


While taking care of my home and being a responsible and productive person is very important to me so is taking care of myself.  Part of taking care of myself is to allow for some downtime.  Time spent doing whatever I want to do that brings me pleasure and allows me to rest and rejuvenate.  When the girls bought me a die cutting machine for my birthday I realized that I didn't want to wait three more years to take the time to use it, nor did they want me to.


Initially I felt guilty when I spent an entire afternoon learning to use it and making some greeting cards.  Then I felt guilty spending the money for craft supplies, more dies and a bunch of paper.  Then I felt guilty when I spent more time crafting.  I began to rationalize what I was doing by thinking I could make cards and sell them to offset the time and money I was spending.  Then I realized I was being ridiculous and told myself to knock it off.


Now I actually have scheduled time that I get to craft and do whatever I want.  Guilt free.  No agenda.  And both of my girls are encouraging me and thrilled that I am doing this.  It makes them happy to see me happy.  The other benefit to this time is that I am still getting things done around the house, albeit at a much slower pace, and it is helping me cope better with the challenges that come up at work.  Whenever I start to feel anxious or stressed I remember that I have craft time just ahead and I am able to push through.  I actually think it is helping me to do my job better too.


So what on earth am I going to do with all this stuff I am creating?  Well, I think the girls and I are definitely going to set up a little shop of some sort, either on Etsy, eBay or Facebook and sell these things, because honestly I really don't need over 100 greeting cards.  Yes, I have really made that many cards this month.  Pretty crazy, huh?  But, oh so much fun.  And I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about it either!


Monday, September 28, 2020

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


Rains on Friday and wind Saturday of the previous week did a lot to improve the air and move out the smoke so we awoke to a beautiful and sunny Sunday morning.  I was inspired to get busy and do quite a bit so I began by stripping the sheets off my bed, giving myself a haircut, showering and then getting dressed for the day.


We've had that fall nip in the air at night so I decided to go ahead and put the flannel sheets on the bed this time and once my bed was made I was off to Winco with my shopping list to pick up produce and a few pantry items.  I found a couple packages of meat on markdown that just happen to fit into my latest meal plan so I bought those as well.


Once at home I started a load of laundry, put away the groceries and then settled in for an afternoon of paper crafting while binge watching television series using my Amazon Prime.  It was the perfect way to end my weekend.


By Wednesday smoke had wafted back in and our air quality was really bad on Thursday.  I went outside and did one hour of yard work then headed back inside.  We got rain again late Friday night though so that helped immensely.


A couple of the cards I made last week

I washed out five ziploc bags to reuse and ended up using three of them again for food storage.


We stuck to our new meal plan and ate up leftovers so we minimized any food waste.  I gave the chickens a couple stale tortillas we had in the refrigerator as well as our kitchen scraps.


Ribs & coleslaw

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


Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - vacuumed floors.  Cleaned mirrors, scrubbed sink & toilet.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Dining Room - vacuumed floor. 

Kitchen -  removed, cleaned & degreased rangehood filter, cleaned rangehood & microwave. 

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  Cleaned mirror, scrubbed tub.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Other - one large load of laundry, vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & entry, cleaned mirror.  Swept driveway, front porch & garage, raked leaves.


How was your thrifty week?


Friday, September 25, 2020

Simple Christmas 2020 - Update #4


Three months from today we will be celebrating Christmas.  In some ways it seems crazy to be this close, however in other ways this has been a very long year.  Regardless, I am super excited for the upcoming holidays and preparations are under way.  We've even got a plan for Thanksgiving dinner already!


As far as our Christmas, we have dinner plans in mind as well, but have yet to firm anything up.  I'm pretty sure though, no matter what food we decide on, I pretty much have about 90% of what we will need already on hand.


Christmas gifts have been started and now that we are getting closer I should probably kick some of that into gear.  I picked up a few stocking stuffer items in the past month as well as firmed up a few ideas on some other things.  At least I have a plan and a direction to follow.


In the last month I completed all of the Christmas cards I started making in January, pulled the envelopes from my supply on hand and got them altogether and ready.  I even attempted a start on our annual letter, but I didn't get very far.  Our letter this year is going to be a little different than in years past, I think.  For the most part we don't have a lot to report.  Not unlike a lot of people I'm sure.


One thing I did do and got checked of my list is that I was able to pick up Christmas stamps when I went to the post office to pick up regular ones.  They are last year's leftovers but I don't care.  They're cute and they work so I'm good with that.


So that is where I'm at for the moment with our Christmas plans.  How about you?  Any progress?


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Another Two Week Meal Plan


I created a new two week meal plan for us and it is up on the side of our refrigerator, ready to go.  So far this has been working out pretty well for us.


My daughter requested hamburgers

Our last meal plan morphed into a three week plan as we had plenty of leftovers as well as extra items to create more meals with.  We ended up having a couple meals twice.  Maybe I will be lucky again and this meal plan will expand and cover an extra week.  We shall see.


Up on our next meal plan we have things like Beef Lo Mein, Tacos, Chicken Burrito Bowls, BBQ Pork Chops, Turkey Club Sandwiches, Buffalo Chicken and the old classic Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup.  I'm including some breakfast ideas as well as some investment cooking ideas too.  Ideas, not have tos.


I used my yellow marker on the last meal plan to cross off each meal I made
I will hang onto it to use for inspiration in upcoming meal plans

I seem to find myself getting back into meal planning much more during the school year and then slacking off in the summer and this year, despite it being spent at home so far, seems to be no exception.  Having leftovers on hand for lunches is just as important as if my daughter was heading off to school each day so meal planning is exactly what I need right now.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Trash To Treasure Cards


I think my favorite paper craft is to use old Christmas cards to create new ones with.  Especially older cards with lovely vintage images and snowy landscapes.  It really taps my creative spirit to look at a card and figure out how to recreate it and make it new again.


On the right is my box of deconstructed greeting cards

I love to sit with a stack of cards and my paper cutter and deconstruct them.  Often I will cut them into pieces so I can reuse certain components of a card to make others, while some I will use the entire picture to make a new one.  Often there are fun borders and glittery papers on a card to reuse as well.


It is fun to take an otherwise plain and simple card image and jazz it up with a fresh border, some glittery paper, a bow or some embellishments. 


How cute are these little chickadees?

Embellishing cards has been on a whole other level for me lately since the girls bought me a die cutter for my birthday this month.  I purchased some dies from Amazon and have used them quite a bit to make a lot of snowflakes to embellish my cards with.  I can use glittery or pearl card backs and fronts to make some of my snowflakes as well as my scraps of glitter paper and scrapbook paper.  Very little goes to waste.


Inside of the card, if I like the sentiment and it hasn't  been written over, I will often cut that out and matte in to use inside of a new card.  There are so many pretty and inspirational sentiments on cards it would be a shame to toss them.


Once one of these cards is complete it would be difficult to know first thing that it was created from an old card because they turn out so pretty.  I don't think most people recognize that, but they would know it was artfully handcrafted and lovingly given.


This may look like a mess (and it is) but it's my creative nest 😊

While some people might think this is a way of being a cheapskate I would have to say they are a bit misguided in their thinking.  Especially if you consider the time spent and the addition of the pretty supplies added to make this card special.  Crafters that upcycle greeting cards put a lot into their creations.  They are a labor of love.


That pretty much sums it up

More than anything re-creating these cards gives me a great deal of pleasure.  I can escape into my creative space and focus only on the task at hand leaving the rest of the world outside for a while.  Anytime someone is creating, especially a gift for someone, it is a beautiful thing.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


Once again I found my week rushing by in a blur.  My work week was a bit rough and kept me hopping Monday through Friday.  By the time I clocked out Friday afternoon I was more than ready for the weekend.  It was time to head for home and decompress.


Organized chaos!

Last Sunday morning I was up early with a hot cup of coffee and at my craft center working on some more Christmas cards.  I am having way too much fun and so happy to have this project to be working on right now.


Our two week meal plan morphed itself into a three weeker which couldn't have worked out any better had I actually planned it that way.  My daughter and I had more than enough good meal options and plenty of leftovers to carry us through the week once again without any additional work or planning.  Our favorite meal last week was a simple bowl of egg drop soup along with egg roll in a bowl.  We are easy to please.


I got all of these for $15.25 from a seller on eBay

I did take a break for some retail therapy and perused JoAnns, Amazon and eBay for the best buy I could find on Christmas themed scrapbook paper as I only have a few sheets left in my stash.  Hard to believe after all these years but I am actually using it up.  I found a great buy on eBay and got it ordered.  I also received my order of stamps I got on ebay in the mail on Wednesday.  I am super thrilled about these and all the ways I will get to use them.


My Cash & Carry haul

I decided to use my extra hours I had worked toward some much needed time off and instead of overtime pay I opted to clock out early on Friday and start my weekend early.  I was super excited to get home and get crafting.  In order to have a clear weekend I ran to Cash & Carry to get the items I had on my list before going home and changing into my comfy clothes and getting to work on more cards.


When I got home my latest Amazon order was waiting for me on my front porch.  Inside of it was a package of hair snakes I'd ordered.  Crazy thing to be excited about, but I used one of them to clear the bathroom drains and was able to save me a costly plumbing bill.  Our bathroom drains have been slow and getting worse ever since this pandemic began so I had yet to make the call to have a plumber come out or to ask my friend who is a retired plumber to give me a hand.  But once I was able to figure out exactly where the clog was I hoped a hair snake would do the trick and it did.  It was a super gross task, but very rewarding to now have our sinks draining properly.  We are super happy! 


Many of you have encouraged me to sell some of my creations and I am honestly thinking I just might.  My daughters are encouraging me as well so we are looking at some various options for a selling platform that won't be too costly as there isn't much of a profit margin on handcrafted greeting cards.  I will keep you posted on what we come up with.


Prepper Pantry = soy sauce.


I have a Jack in a Box

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 floor, dusted shelves & chair rail. 

Kitchen -  vacuumed & pot mopped floor, cleared and reorganized refrigerator shelves. 

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Other - one large load of laundry, vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & entry.  Swept front porch & garage.


How was your thrifty week?


Thursday, September 17, 2020

The 60 Second Hustle


Another tool I keep in my arsenal that helps me to be productive or stay on top of things is to employ what I like to refer to as the 60 Second Hustle.  If I know there is something I need to work on or take care of I will do this, especially if it is something I don't really want to do.  I find the best time to hustle on something is when I am reheating my coffee in the microwave.


In sixty seconds I can gather up and take out the trash plus replace the liners, I can empty the dish drainer in the kitchen sink, I can pack my lunch, I can clear some clutter, I can straighten up the junk drawer or a shelf in the refrigerator, I can fill up the washing machine and get it started, I can transfer a load from the washer to the dryer and get it running, I can sweep my front porch.


I am always amazed at how much I can accomplish before the microwave sounds off.  And the reward is a hot cup of coffee when I'm finished.  Give the 60 Second Hustle a try and see what you can get accomplished.  And let me know too.  You may do some things that will inspire me as well.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...