Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A Thrifty August Recap


TO BEGIN WITH:  I began the month of August by going back to work full time.  It wasn't planned, it just happened.  I woke up one day starving for normalcy.  I talked to my team at work and we agreed for me to try it out one day at a time.  If I get tired and need a break or an afternoon or a day off I take it.  So far, I've done just fine and will continue to take it one day at a time.  It is going well and I feel just fine.


With $49 still left in my checking account, $8 and a few coins in my wallet and a half tank of fuel in both my car and my truck I began the month.  On payday I paid ALL of our monthly expenses, topped up the gas tanks (oooooh, the price of gas!) and put $100 into my savings account.  Not a lot to save this time, but still something.  I had great success with grocery shopping last month and we are fully stocked and ready for winter.  I am super happy about that.  On my next payday, my first full time paycheck since May, I paid September's mortgage and put more into my savings.  It felt nice to finally get a full paycheck (with a little overtime) and it did wonders for my mental wellbeing.  I feel normal. J


NEXT STEPS:  I am pretty much taking life in general one day at a time and doing the best I can.  That is all anyone can do, quite honestly.  I've got some big things coming up and I'm finding it all pretty exciting, actually.  Not sure how much I should share yet, but as it feels right you will likely hear about it.  In the meantime I'm in full on preparation mode.


WAYS I SAVED $$:  I did my best to work with the funds I had available for my grocery shopping and stocking up for the upcoming winter as well as some other events that will be taking place.  We have been very good about waste and using what we have on hand to keep our spending in check.  I dumped the change in my wallet into my change jar.  I used part of one of my Albertson's gift cards to get more mileage out of our grocery budget.


WAYS I EARNED EXTRA $$:  I earned some more by selling items in my Etsy store.  I made more inventory, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and listed it.  I sold some of our extra eggs to a friend.  I spoke to a broker and have begun shopping around for better prices on our insurance which renews in October and November.


LOOKING BACK:  I am extremely happy with how things have shaken out this past month.  I was able to accomplish A LOT and I feel much better having been productive and more like my normal self.  I am very happy with my decision to be working full time hours again.


LOOKING AHEAD:  I need to be mindful to pace myself and not overdo things.  I don't need or want any setbacks.  Heading into the cooler months with the holidays fast approaching I feel better prepared.  I'm eagerly looking forward to the future and I'm super excited about all I have ahead of me.  It is going to be spectacular!


Monday, August 30, 2021

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


Sunday morning was cool and overcast.  By comparison to the past two months our weather has dramatically changed.  We scarcely use the A/C units anymore although I still open all the windows and our back door each morning and let the fresh air in.  I got my day started with hot coffee and some writing before I headed into the kitchen to put on a batch of beanless chili for my youngest.  While that cooked in our largest slow cooker I got my Sunday chores done and the laundry.  Once the chili was done I canned six pints and set a dish of chili in the refrigerator for my daughter.  Then I went back to my laptop for more writing, financial planning, monthly planning as well grocery and meal planning for next month.  I also read a book for a while. It was a great day.


I refilled our rice canisters with 10 pounds of rice I had purchased last year

Monday it was back to work for me and school for the youngest.  The oldest is back to college on the first of September but in the meantime she is working as many hours as she can at her job in preparation.  My youngest is working part time too and both girls are in super saver mode.  They are very careful and thoughtful spenders.  They make this mama very proud.


I highly recommend!

Last week I re-purchased a copy (used) of Your Money or Your Life and have been reading it lately.  I also purchased the updated version (also used) for my oldest.  It is still a great read and very much applicable.  This time around I was excited to see how many of the things suggested in this book I actually do and I am thrilled to see that I do A LOT of them.  My mindset with regards to my relationship with money and possessions seems to fall right in line.  I initially read this book ages ago but it has obviously made an impact on me all these years.  I find that pretty darn exciting.


I worked a full week and then on Saturday my intent was to relax and spend time in the craft room after I did my chores.  My chores ended up morphing into a project in the laundry room, however.  I ended up switching my washer and dryer around, re doing the venting and then did a purge and reorganize of the whole room.  It felt really good to get a project under my belt and feel capable and accomplished.  Plus!  I love, love, love how it turned out.  I have plans this winter to give the laundry room and our downstairs bathroom a refresh, but for now, just this little project being complete is very satisfying.  Oh!  And the cost to do this project = $0.


I turned this 3 pounds of ground beef into 7 pints of beanless chili

THINGS WE ATE LAST WEEK:  Swedish meatballs, beanless chili, nachos, spaghetti & meat sauce, pesto gnocchi.


So lovely!


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

Kitchen & Dining Room - Vacuumed & spot mopped floors.  Daily swish & swipe. 

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

Other - three large loads of laundry.  Vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & both entryways, cleaned mirror.  Cleaned our box fans.


We gave our box fans a good cleaning

THINGS I DID TO SAVE A SMALL BUNDLE OF $$:  I did not grocery shop last week.  We did not use our A/C units last week.


It's hard work being a kid and a kitty

THINGS I DID TO EARN EXTRA $$:  I worked a small amount of overtime.


I cleaned, purged and reorganized this shelf unit

How was your thrifty week?


Friday, August 27, 2021

August $100 Grocery Budget 2021


Holy cow!  I had a great grocery month in August.  I haven't done a big haul this year because I've been pretty much in econo-mode all this time, but I needed to get stocked up for the upcoming winter and not only did I accomplish that, but I did it and stayed within budget too.  I began the month with $104.82 of unspent funds and I added the August budget of $100 to that for a great amount to get started with.  I also pulled out a $50 Albertson's gift card from my stash so I had a total of $254.82 to work with.


For the most part I only bought items on sale or markdown and I downloaded a boatload of digital coupons, both store offers and manufacturer coupons, onto my store rewards cards.  For items that I wanted to get that were not on sale I shopped at Winco for produce and a few pantry items.  I even popped into Wal-Mart just to pick up their two packs of cream cheese because they have the best price.  The grocery outlet and Cash & Carry helped me out as well as they had some great sales going too.


We made the rounds to the stores over two sales cycles.  On a Sunday we shopped from one set of sales flyer and then on that Friday we shopped the new sales flyers picking up everything on our list.  The planets aligned and the sales were just what we needed to top up the freezer, do some canning and meal prepping, and fill the gaps in the pantry.  We couldn't have planned it any better.  And!  We still had money left over for extra produce through to the end of the month which as it turns out we did not need.


Meat prices, well all prices really, have been higher than usual so taking advantage of special offers and sales was the only way we were going to get our freezer stocked up this year.  Fortunately chicken and pork was the deal to buy this month so we were able to do just that.  And at the end of the month we scored a really good deal on three pound chubs of 80% lean ground beef for $7.47 each.  Because I had downloaded a digital store coupon I was able to save another dollar off of that price making each one only $6.47!  I was pretty darn happy about that.  I still have some beef pot roasts on my wish list so I'll be watching for a sale and pick up a couple when it happens, hopefully it will, but in the meantime we are pretty much set to go.


It feels wonderful to be winter ready and know that we'll be heading into the holidays and colder months with higher heat bills and no concerns about groceries or blowing the budget beyond all repair.  It also feels really good that I was able to help my oldest daughter stock up her freezer and pantry with some meat and staples as well.  I feel very accomplished this month.


My total spent on groceries in August came in at $214.95!  I was over budget and will head into September with a deficit of $10.13 but I still have some money left on that gift card so I really don't feel too bad about going over.  I was not only able to get my own household winter ready, but to help my oldest to be winter ready too.  I am just thrilled.  

We are blessed once again with plenty and I am incredibly grateful for that.  Have you found some good buys lately at your supermarket?  What have you stocked up on recently?  How are prices where you live?


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Do You Need A J.O.L.T.?


Sometimes a situation or a task can seem so overwhelming you can't even get started.  A large project or a change in the process can be paralyzing.  Maybe it's your health or you are recovering from an injury that keeps you from tackling whatever it is you need to do.  Fear of not knowing for sure what we should do can also stop us dead in our tracks and make us reluctant to try.  In these instances maybe you just need a J.O.L.T.


Whenever I find myself struggling to get started the best thing I can do is Just One Little Thing.  J.O.L.T. it!  It has always amazed me how just doing one little thing will lead to another which leads to another and then my momentum builds to the point I find myself finishing that project or having that conversation or taking that step needed to change the direction of my future.  Whatever the case may be doing some small and simple can make all the difference in the world. 


We all find ourselves struggling from time to time.  Life throws us curveballs.  Changes happen.  New situations arise.  Plans go awry.  People are moody.  Traffic gets backed up.  Your boss implements a new software program.  Your favorite restaurant closes.  The world finds itself in a pandemic.  We lose a loved one.  We lose a job.  So many things in life can cause us to shut down and not know how to get started again.


I encourage you to get up and try.  Just one little thing.  And then one more thing.  Keep going.  You're going to get it done.  You're going to get through it.  You're going to be just fine.  We can do this.



Wednesday, August 25, 2021

$17 Grocery Outlet Prep!


I added some fun stuff to the prepper pantry in the form of chocolate chip and peanut butter granola bars, my daughter's two favorite flavors.  Our Grocery Outlet Bargain Market had some sixty count boxes for $4.99 each so I picked up two.  I divided them into batches of ten, five chocolate chip and five peanut butter, and vacuum sealed them in packages with the date on them.


Each bar has the nutrition facts on it and it is clear as to what they are so I didn't need to do anything special.  Now we have 120 granola bars added to the prepper pantry.  A couple of those makes for a quick breakfast or one for a snack on the hiking trail.  I think it was a really good addition.


While I was there I found a thirty count box of Swiss Miss hot cocoa packets for only $2.99 so grabbed that as well.  I divided that up into six packets and vacuum sealed five packages of hot cocoa mix.  My girls really enjoy hot cocoa at the holidays topped with whipped cream  so I'll have plenty for several holidays to come.


I picked up two packages of peanut butter cookie mix because they were only 50¢ each as well as a couple jars of spices.  I like to pick up spices here and there as I find them for a good price and these were only 99¢ each.


I think that was a pretty good prepper haul for the $17 I spent on it.  Since I've already got the basics pretty much handled it is nice to shop for these little extras to add in that will make life a little nicer no matter what we might be facing in the future.  Regardless, I know I'll be able to make Christmas cookies and serve some hot cocoa no matter our circumstances.  I think that's great!



Tuesday, August 24, 2021

I Don't Spring Clean My Home Anymore


Over the past few months I've shared a lot more details with you on how I go about cleaning each section of our home room by room.  I've shared about my housekeeping checklist quite a bit too and I've handed out a lot of those checklists to a gob of you which I've been super happy about.  Plus I love hearing from you and chatting in our emails.  So fun!


As a result of cleaning my home the way that I do an unexpected bonus has resulted from that.  I no longer spring clean.  I don't have too.  Because I am cleaning things in smaller increments but on a regular basis spring cleaning is not necessary anymore.  Whooo hooooo!


I no longer have to spend days tearing things apart, scrubbing and cleaning, wondering how things got this dirty in the first place.  Stuff is just always done.  No more long sessions of time spent working hard and laboring to get everything back in order.  My house is already in order.  It is amazing!


It is also very freeing because I don't have spring cleaning looming in the distance.  And my stress is reduced because housekeeping got easier and faster.  When you are consistent and stick to a basic routine it can be life changing.  It has freed up a ton of time for me to do other things.  That is the best part!



Monday, August 23, 2021

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday was another hot day here in Boise but that did not stop me from getting up early before the hottest part of the day to work on a project I have been super excited to get to work on.  Once I get it done I will definitely do a post about it.  It may not be everybody's cup of tea but it sure is mine.  I'm so happy with how it is going so far.  I just wish I had more time to do it and get it done.  And if it was a tiny bit cooler that would be helpful as well.


Monday was the first day of school.  My youngest is now in her final year of high school.  She is a senior!  Even she was taken aback by how fast the time has gone as she posed at our front door for the annual "first day of school" picture.  I remember her kindergarten photo and she only reached the doorknob.  Just a tiny little thing she was.  Now she reaches my chin and I don't think she is quite done growing yet.  Maybe.  Anyway, it was bittersweet for both of us to take the last first day of school photo at our front door.  There will be lots of lasts this year.  And a whole bunch of firsts coming up too.  Oh my goodness!


In preparation of her senior year of college my oldest shopped the pantry and chest freezer and took home four bags of groceries.  I had already loaded her up with school supplies and a couple pair of jeans in July.  I have topped up her gas tank a few times for her in the past couple of years, but now that she has the Prius I probably won't need to do that very often.  I am really glad I am able to help her with some of these extra expenses.  We also got her scholarship application submitted to my work so she'll be getting that fairly soon.


Saturday was a fabulous day!  I spent the morning with my youngest and she drove us to Fred Meyer because they were having a really good ground beef sale on their three pound chubs of 80% lean and I had a digital coupon which saved me $1.00 OFF on each one!  That made them only $6.47 each!  Yay!!  We did have some ground beef in our freezer and I was prepared for that to be enough.  However with this sale I'm able to add to that as well as provide some for my oldest as well.  Also while we were there we picked up five jars of Kroger pasta sauce on digital offer for 99¢ each.  I kept three and will give my oldest two for her pantry.


The remainder of my day was spent in the craft room being all creative and relaxed.  It was the perfect way to close out a busy week and I was absolutely thrilled to have an afternoon and evening to spend doing just what I wanted to do.


THINGS WE ATE LAST WEEK:  Leftovers from the week before started off our week, creamy beef enchilada (sauce from the freezer) pasta, hamburgers & fries, grilled tuna sandwiches, grilled hot dogs, grilled cheese (I sense a theme here), breakfast burritos.


Proud "new car" owner


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

Kitchen & Dining Room -  Vacuumed & spot mopped floors, cleaned microwave.  Daily swish & swipe. 

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

Other - One large load of laundry.  Vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & both entryways.


THINGS I DID TO SAVE A SMALL BUNDLE OF $$:  I was able to call our insurance company and remove my oldest from my auto policy.  They will be issuing me a refund and I get a small reprieve on the next annual bill that comes due in November until my youngest gets her license and I have to add her on.  I will enjoy it while I can.


THINGS I DID TO EARN EXTRA $$:  I worked a little bit of overtime.  I received a tax rebate in the mail from the great state of Idaho.  Thank you very much!


How was your thrifty week?


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