Friday, July 30, 2021

A Thrifty July Recap


TO BEGIN WITH:  I began the month of July with $223 (amazing!) still left in my checking account, $10 and a large handful of change in my wallet and a full tank of fuel in my car because I went ahead and topped it up right away.  I had great success with grocery shopping last month so we were very blessed again to have full cupboards and the only need right away was for some fresh produce.  I was able to cover all of our monthly expenses with my paycheck on the 6th.  Once I paid the bills I was able to put a good amount into my savings account for the first time since my crazy heart attacks back in April.  Up until now I was only adding to my retirement accounts and the HSA.  Etsy sales covered our out of pocked grocery expenses and some other small items including paying off my tires I bought for the car in March and had them on a six months same as cash offer through Discount Tire.


Tires are paid off!

NEXT STEPS:  I am still working part time currently at a about six hours each day.  That seems to be working quite well for me right now as my doctor doesn't want me to go back full time yet.  In fact, likely not until November which will be a full six months of part time hours.  But the reality is right now I have no desire to push her on this.  Under the circumstances I think she is right.  I wear out really easily.  I am not happy about it, but maintaining my health is most important right now.


WAYS I SAVED $$:  I challenged myself to keep my grocery shopping pretty minimal and I think I accomplished that with no problem.  Like I said we are very blessed to have plenty in our pantry and freezers, as well as a well stocked prepper pantry too which is for emergencies (like the situation we are currently in).  We shopped at a thrift store to pick up some clothing items for my daughter for school and declared back-to-school shopping officially completed.


Vintage cookbooks & handcrafted greeting cards have been hot ticket items!

WAYS I EARNED EXTRA $$:  I earned some more by selling items in my Etsy store and on eBay.  I am so very grateful for those sales and appreciate the extra income so very much.


LOOKING BACK:  All in all I think we had a pretty good month and of course I have no complaints.  We've been blessed in many small ways and those have added up to some really big gains.  I am tremendously grateful.


Blessed with abundance

LOOKING AHEAD:  My intention is to continue to stay positive and roll with the punches and there have been a few of those this year.  I know that making wise choices with my money, keeping our expenses as low as possible and being careful not to be wasteful is the best thing I can do right now so I will continue to be very mindful with that.  I am blessed beyond measure to have the support of my family and close circle of friends.  The blog and the comments from my readers helps to keep me going each day as well and I cannot thank you all enough.


I am quite pleased with how things have gone this month and I am hopeful that August is every bit as successful as July has been.  So far things seem to be going pretty well for us and I thank God and pray every day that it continues to do so.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Dining Room

Our dining room is probably the easiest room in our house to take care of.  We use it every day, but we keep it pretty streamlined and clutter free.  Like most families the table is the stage for many things – online schooling, homework, art projects, financial planning, doing taxes, family meetings, conversations with friends and family, not to mention a lot of really great meals and loads of celebrations.  Our dining room is an important area of our home.


In our dining room is a table and four chairs and a built in china cabinet which houses a large part of my Pyrex collection as well as the glassware we don’t use every day.  Recently I did a little bit of a declutter and purged quite a bit from the dining room to make it even more streamlined.  I removed glassware and dishes we do not use anymore and I’ve got a few items in there that my youngest daughter wants for her own home (which is not very far off).  Everything else was boxed up and placed in our garage to take to the neighborhood thrift store for donation.


We make sure throughout the day, as well as at the end of the day, that we put our things away and the table is kept clear so it does not become a dumping ground.  Admittedly, this is one of those areas I really have to stay on top of or it easily gets out of control.  I include the table and chairs as part of my daily swish and swipe when I do the kitchen.  It takes less than a minute and makes a huge difference in keep it clean and tidy.  As part of my regular weekly cleaning I devote fifteen minutes, often less time, to cleaning this room and I keep track of what I do on my housekeeping checklist to make sure I get everything done.  Not a lot of effort is required and I really love that part.  Having everyone in the house participate in keeping things in order is key to our success as well, even if it means I have to nag a lot. 😊

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Prepping For Retirement


I'm about six months behind (plus some) in my progress of pretty much everything I had planned to do this year.  That's completely okay, but one of the things I've decided to get back to work on is my prepper pantry.  We've managed to maintain it pretty well this year, mainly because we haven't had the need to dig into it much, but with retirement looming up ahead it is time to really think about what direction I want this prepper pantry to go in.  And I've decided I want it to go in the direction that will best serve me in my retirement years.


Before you decide on anything make sure you read the ingredients list

I've long thought it would be really good to add some freeze dried options for even longer term food storage.  Freeze dried foods can last up to twenty five years until they are opened and have a good long shelf life even once they are open.  I did quite a bit of dehydrating last year and I love that I can put away dried foods in a much smaller space with a good long shelf life.  Meats, however are one of those items I feel would best serve me long term if they are freeze dried.  You get a lot of food in a #10 size can of freeze dried meat, or vegetables, or pretty much anything for that matter, so again you can pack a lot of servings into a much smaller space.  The #10 cans are expensive, but when you look at the number of servings inside they are much more economical than the smaller cans and the pouches.  I just want the basics - diced chicken, diced beef and ground beef.  I think that would be perfect to add to the other things I already have in my prepper pantry for good meal preparation and no need for a lot of space or any refrigeration (such as in a motorhome).


This year I was hoping to add some cans of freeze dried meat so that by the end of the year I would have two cans of each of the meat options I want.  Then once that was complete I would re-evaluate where I am to see if I want to add more or some other items altogether.  I've shopped around online quite a bit and will be placing my first order with a company with the best price and they offered free shipping.  And they have what I want in stock.  After all the pandemic shopping a lot of companies are still struggling to keep up with demand.  Plus they use PayPal.  In order to get "caught up" a bit I was able to place an order for four #10 cans of freeze dried meat - ground beef, diced beef, diced chicken and because of the discount they offered me for purchasing three cans I added ground sausage.  It ended up being just over $100 for all of it making one of the cans essentially FREE.  You all know how much I like FREE groceries!  The other three cans averaged less than $37 each which, if you've priced freeze dried foods ever, is a screaming good deal!!


Are any of you working on a prepper pantry?  Are you adding, changing, expanding or rethinking anything you've done so far?  I'd love to hear about what you are doing.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

July $100 Grocery Budget 2021


I think I did really well with my minimal grocery spending this month.  Of course it really helped that I had a $25 gift card to use at Albertson's so my out of pocket spending was really very little.  Most of what I bought was produce and a few pantry items we were running low on.  Nearly everything I purchase was at a discounted price too, either a digital coupon, on sale or markdown.


My Albertson's grocery haul, nearly all of it was paid for with a gift card

I did not spend anything on nonfood items as we are still really well stocked up.  That makes two months in a row of zero nonfood spending.


My largest grocery haul came from Winco and included a lot of fresh & frozen produce

My total spent for the month came in at $62.35 leaving me with a total of $104.82 of unspent funds so far this year that I will be rolling over to use if I need it.  The $25 nonfood budget that I did not spend went into my savings account.


We ate really well with loads of healthy food on the menu.  Did you find any really good deals this month?  Did you do any stocking up?



Monday, July 26, 2021

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


We were still in heat wave mode as we headed into the week.  I was able to get up early and freshen up the house by opening the doors and windows and turning on the box fans downstairs to blow it all around.  It felt lovely and cooled the house nicely.


This little thing is amazing!

While still in my pajamas Sunday morning I got outside and power washed the front of the house to get rid of the summer dust and cobwebs.  Then I did the porch, sidewalk and our entire driveway.  I pulled a pile of weeds, cleaned up a big pile of yard debris from our big tree and then headed inside for a shower and to get dressed.  It felt good to accomplish a project like that even if it did wipe me out for the remainder of the day.


Another week of tests and doctor appointments (I'd be lying if I said this wasn't getting old) and getting through my part time work week.  And then the weekend was upon us once again and I was glad.  My weekends are my salvation these days because I get a complete reprieve from all things medical.  Good news though!  I finally got back a test result that was completely normal!  Small victories.  I'll take it.


I was pretty busy throughout the week which left me fairly tired when I got home.  I got up early on Saturday morning while it was still cool and got the inside of my truck cleaned and vacuumed.  I always love a freshly cleaned vehicle.


Because I was a little bit behind on my housework I managed to get caught up by doing three fifteen minute cleaning sessions at various times throughout the day.  It felt good to be caught up and know my home was neat and clean once again.  I also decluttered the shelves in our dining room and filled up a box with items to donate.


THINGS WE ATE LAST WEEK:  Waffles (keto), eggs & sausages; steak salads (keto), cilantro lime chicken, grilled cheese sandwich (low carb), egg drop soup (keto), hamburgers.


I cleaned the interior of my truck


Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - Cleaned sink, washed rug, vacuumed floors.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Kitchen & Dining Room - Cleaned microwave, cleaned dining room shelves, vacuumed & spot mopped floors.  Daily swish & swipe. 

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

Other - One large load of laundry.  Polished wood furniture, vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & both entryways, mopped living room entry.  Swept garage & cleaned interior of my truck.


THINGS I DID TO SAVE A SMALL BUNDLE OF $$:  I washed out a few Ziploc bags to reuse.  I made foaming hand soap solution to refill our dispensers.  I did not do any shopping or grocery shopping this week.  I helped my oldest daughter with a small car repair in preparation of a trip she is planning to take.  I sent her home with three bags stuffed full of groceries from our pantry to supplement what she already had on hand.


Blessed with Etsy sales 😊

THINGS I DID TO EARN EXTRA $$:  I used a coupon that was sent to me by my Albertson's pharmacy to fill a new prescription and received a $30 gift card.  I sold some Christmas cards on my Etsy shop.  I was so thrilled about that!


How was your thrifty week?



Friday, July 23, 2021

Two Years Later - Refrigerator Repair


Our side by side refrigerator freezer is getting up there in years, but still chugging right along so for me it is hard to even think of getting rid of it.  And it's easy too, if something breaks, to start wondering if this is the beginning of the end and should one cut their losses and just go ahead replace it?  Or, fix it?  No one wants to waste time or money on a repair if the appliance is beginning to fail, right?  That was a dilemma I had with my stove a few years back, but as time has gone by the decision to do a repair rather than a replacement has definitely paid off.


Same with my refrigerator as it turns out.  One of the compartment doors on the refrigerator door failed one day, hit the floor and shattered.  I was bummed because I knew without the door that compartment (where we keep our butter) would essentially be useless.  That little door kept everything from falling off onto the floor.  So, with nothing to lose, I did a quick repair, which when done was completely ugly, but effective.  Of course I couldn't leave it ugly.  If you want to know more about what I did click here.


I may not have the latest and greatest in appliances but
they function and still look really nice

Now, just over two years down the road, how has that repair done?  Well, I'm happy to report it is still holding, still looks great and is still fully functional.  And no more issues have arisen either (knock on wood) so needless to say, I am very happy with my decision to fix it and not worry about what might happen next.  Sometimes a simple break is just that, simple, and not a sign of impending doom.  At any rate, the cost to fix it was nominal and I had the time so it made plenty of sense to fix it.  And to be quite honest, until just recently while scrolling through old posts I had completely forgotten about the fact that this had even happened.  I guess I did a better job than I thought.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Bedrooms & Bedding


I find the easiest way for me to keep my bedroom neat, clean, tidy and restful is to keep it really simple.  I don't have a lot of stuff in my bedroom - a bed, a side table with a lamp on it and a chair I keep in the corner, mostly for dΓ©cor and to help me organize (not dump) my clothes throughout the week.  There is no dresser in my room.


This closet organizer is perfect for optimizing space

In my closet I keep a minimal amount of clothing, shoes and accessories.  Several years ago I installed a closet organizer with hanging rods at various heights, shelves and three drawers.  All of my clothes, shoes and accessories fit within that organizer with room to spare.  I have no need for anything else.


Make the bed every day

You all know I make my bed first thing when I get up.  Every day.  Once a week I dust, vacuum, change my sheets and tidy up my bedroom.  It takes me less than fifteen minutes because there isn't much in there for one thing and I don’t allow things to accumulate and get cluttered.  It is quick and easy.  And because my room is always neat and clean I feel like I get a much better rest at night when I sleep.


No dust bunnies here!

As part of my housekeeping checklist I make sure things are given a deeper clean as needed.  At least twice a year I like to turn my mattress and that is the perfect time to pop up the boxspring and clean underneath my bed.  I time it on the same day as I wash all of my bedding, my pillows and the mattress pad.  I prop the mattress and box spring against the wall, vacuum the area beneath the bed, wipe down the bed frame with a damp cloth, replace the box spring, put the mattress on (turned) and then vacuum the mattress.  Done!


Pillows, bedding & mattress cover all washed up
Stella always supervises

I wash my pillows with hot water and bleach along with the mattress pad and then tumble them dry while the sheets take a spin in the washer, usually with any other laundry that happens to need done.  While my sheets are in the dryer I run the blankets next and then my bedspread and pillow shams.  I do it in this order simply because that is the order they go back onto the bed.  I just pull them straight from the dryer and put them on the bed right away.


Pillows & shams get washed

Once my bed is made up it is a simple task to dust the side table and lamp, vacuum the lampshade and organize the items I like to keep on the table, usually just some books and my eyeglasses.  Lastly I vacuum the carpet and I'm all finished.  Quick, easy and super clean.  No marathon project here!


Awww..... So lovely

On another day I'll wash the walls and the ceiling.  You can do this by hand with a damp cloth or a pad mop works well too.  Just some warm water with a touch of dish soap is adequate because all I'm really doing here is removing dust and cobwebs.  I may not do this every quarter, however because to be honest once or twice a year is plenty especially if I vacuum the walls and ceilings in between. I wipe off the outlets, light switches, doors and door knobs more regularly and my closet doors are mirrored so they get cleaned each quarter as well.  Again on a different day.  No need to try and do it all at once.  I have other things to do!


My large capacity front loaders make washing bedding really easy

My daughter does her own room so I don't have to worry about that one (thank goodness, it is all teenagerdom) but I do keep up the guest room in much the same way.  I find I can do both rooms simultaneously and it doesn't take much more time.  Mostly I'm waiting on laundry to run so I have other things planned to do while waiting, but the actual time spent working on those rooms is pretty minimal and that is how I like it.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Revisiting An Old Post - Honey Oat Bread


While I am not the big bread consumer I once was I still enjoy baking homemade bread for my family.  A fresh loaf of bread is the best smell ever.  And if you are going to eat bread I feel the best thing you can do for yourself is to bake your own rather than to purchase the overly processed stuff sold in the grocery store.  I also know that time is not always available to do that.  But if you do have the time and want to bake some great tasting bread here is a wonderful recipe to try.  Here is another one for good measure.  I hope you enjoy it.


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

15 Minutes Of Solid Cleaning Each Day


I you can spend just fifteen minutes of solid and intense cleaning time each day you will be amazed at how much you will be able to get done.  What helps immensely is that I am consistent with my cleaning routines, but even more so is that my house isn't overfilled with a bunch of crap.  Regular decluttering sessions pay off in huge dividends when it comes to keeping and maintaining our homes.  Flexibility is also key.  If I'm too busy or feeling unwell and don't get my cleaning done then I can do two or three sessions on a different day.  As long I do that I can stay on top of things, but even if I can't get all seven of my cleaning sessions done in a week I find that there is always next week and I'll be caught up soon enough.


I'm pretty particular about my home but even still I'm not going for perfection.  I'm going for good enough to keep me happy.  I do what I can, when I can, the best I can at the moment.  If you can do that, then you've done a great job.


Less is definitely more!

Tips that make my fifteen minute sessions successful - make everyone in the family pick up their own crap (I'm not the maid), do a walk through at the end of each day to make sure they've done it.  Enlist a helper , or helpers, if you need to accomplish more in fifteen minutes than time will allow.  Kids and spouses are always more willing to help out if they know they only have to work for fifteen minutes.  You may have to do two or three fifteen minute sessions each day until you get things under control but eventually you will find you'll be able to maintain it with just one.


I keep my cleaning supplies pretty basic

Schedule some regular decluttering sessions to thin out your possessions if you have too many and even if you don't.  Make it a rule that tables, countertops and sinks are to be kept clear.  Schedule your laundry days so you only run one load each day, if possible.  Our laundry days are Sunday and Wednesday with Saturday as an extra day in case we need it.  If you are a larger family you may need to run a load every day.  Keep in mind, the fewer clothes and linens you own the less laundry you will need to do.  It's true.


My daily schedule

I do not include washing dishes, doing laundry, wipe & swipes, cooking or projects in my fifteen minute sessions.  I have a weekly schedule to keep track of which areas of the home I plan to work on daily and use a checklist to keep track of what I've completed.  There is no point wasting time doing something again if you already did it.  Right?


We aren't minimalists but we keep it fairly simple

I have been sharing more in depth of how I do things in order to give you some ideas.  I hope this has been helpful.  I'll continue to do this in the coming months, but if you have any questions feel free to ask.  A lot of you have already contacted me to ask about a particular area you are struggling with and I love that.  I don't want you to be slaves to your homes or constantly feeling unhappy or discontent with the state of them.  Our homes need to be our sanctuaries not a source of stress our unrest.  Happy, clean, clutter free homes are the best.  We can do this.


Monday, July 19, 2021

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


And the heat goes on……  Isn't that a song or something?  LOL


My daughter loves to make sushi

Still plagued by triple digit highs I wanted to make sure I got up early enough to get the windows open and blow in some cooler air.  I appreciate our A/C units so much, especially right now, but there is nothing quite like the cool fresh natural air that comes in the early mornings.  It cools down the residual heat in our home from the day before, freshens things up and just feels so good.  By 8:00 I was at my favorite park walking our greenbelt along the Boise River.  I walked from that park through another and onto the Anne Frank Human Rights Center before circling around and heading back.  After our hike the day before my legs were pretty tired by the time I made it back to my truck.


On the way home I stopped in at Winco for fresh produce, a few pantry items, deli meat and some frozen berries to keep in our freezer for when we run out of fresh ones.  I was super excited to find Keto hot dog buns on the shelf.  Now I can eat an actual real hotdog.  With relish and mustard!  And chili dogs!  My life is now complete!


In spite of the heat I started a long awaited mini project.  I will be sharing that with you once I am done, but it may be a little while yet.  I'm taking my time and doing it in small chunks so I don't wear myself out.  What I will tell you is that I'm enjoying the process and I'm in love with the results so far.


Look what I found!!! 😁

The rest of the week was spent going to work, getting yet another medical test done, doing some financial planning, getting some good news on the financial planning front, some in depth talks with both of my daughters, a little laundry and housework, hanging out with the kitties, hanging out with the chickens, repotting a very pot bound plant from work and visiting with my friends.  Then it was Friday.


The girl and I packed a picnic supper, headed off to our favorite park once again, sat in the Boise River and enjoyed ourselves immensely.  There were a lot of people floating the river on rafts and having a good time.  We ate our picnic, then strolled through the MK Nature Center before heading back home for a popcorn and movie night.  We watched Fatherhood on Netflix.


THINGS WE ATE LAST WEEK:  Leftovers from the week before, grilled hotdogs, grilled hamburgers, homemade sushi, ham sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, ham & cheese omelets, salads.



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

Kitchen & Dining Room - Cleaned inside the refrigerator, vacuumed & mopped floors, cleaned baseboards.  Washed and ironed kitchen curtains, cleaned windowsill & wall.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - Cleaned sink, vacuumed & dusted.  Daily swish & swipe. 

Other - two large loads of laundry.  Vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & both entryways.  Mopped front entryway.


THINGS I DID TO SAVE A SMALL BUNDLE OF $$:  I washed out a few more Ziploc bags to reuse.  My daughter acquired a free loaf of bread at work which we tucked into our freezer until we need it.  We watched a movie at home and popped our own popcorn.


How was your thrifty week?



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