October seems to be an easy month to tighten up spending. The summer heat has left and it is cooler but not cold so we should not have to run the A/C or heat this month. We don't have any family birthdays in October. The only holiday is Halloween, which we don't celebrate. We don't have any unusual bills coming due this month. My situation is probably different from yours but I know I am not the only homemaker that wants to spend less and save more.
I'll be paying bills today and then looking at our account balances. I've already got our normal spending cash set aside for groceries and our personal spending. My plan is to stay at or under our regular budgeted spending, not do any "extra" spending this month. Hopefully come the end of the month, our savings account will be larger while next month's utility and credit card bills will be tiny. I also hope to get started making and buying Christmas gifts.
So, here goes! I've been thinking what I can do to and have come up with these things to start
•The windows are open and letting in fresh cool air - I can still hear my neighbors A/Cs cycling on and off when I am out walking
•our dishwasher is not getting the dishes clean so I will be hand washing as I don't want to buy a new DW right now. I know some studies say that dishwashers cost less and use less water than hand washing but I disagree. I even did it and watched my bill for a month and it went down about $11 that month.
•cooking and eating all meals at home unless there is a really good reason to eat out
•continue to shop sales and use coupons wisely
•get started on Christmas gifts.
•Stay home! this is no sacrifice at all for me. I like to stay home. Hubby likes to do errands on weekends anyway so I will try to do my shopping and errands with him. That will save gas and wear and tear on my vehicle.
•re-read my TightWad Gazette Complete - I've got it out and leafed through a few pages last night
•my kitchen and household supplies are pretty well stocked. I don't want to totally deplete them because I think it is good idea if possible to keep a reasonable stockpile. But I will I use things on hand for meals and hopefully still continue to keep things bought on sale.
•baking bread at home
•my stepson and his wife got 2 milk cows last week. They brought us a gallon of their fresh milk on Tuesday, fresh farm milk with a thick layer of cream on top. Very good stuff!
•and the big "sacrifice" for me will be no or very little soda. I do love diet soda but I am only drinking one a day now and don't plan on increasing that and may even give them up all together. Iced Tea will just have to satisfy.
So, I hope some of you will watch me and some of you may want to join in. I am always looking for new ideas to save more and spend less. I am not afraid of hard work or getting my hands dirty or spending some time to spend less.
There will be more posts on what I am doing coming up.
We can have fun and be like the Proverbs ants getting ready for winter.Saturday,
Tightwad October Day 2
it is a beautiful early autumn day here and it makes it easier to be thriftier when we can leave the windows open with fresh air circulating through our home. I love fresh breezes, do you? I guess folks who suffer from allergies may not like open windows but I sure do!
- we had breakfast at home. Freezer biscuits with scrambled eggs, OJ and Jeff also had a slice of ham.
There were a lot of yard sales listed in our newspaper but I did not feel like going out so early - could not think of anything we really needed anyway. Can you believe it? I really did not want to go! So, no money spent on yard sales or gas to get to them.
We did do a few errands later in the morning. We went to Lowes to get the wood and hardware needed for shelves Jeff will build for our dining room. I had a $10 off $50 coupon and our total was just under $50 so I added some lightbulbs we also needed and was pleased to have a lower total and more things to show for it. We also went to Family Dollar so I could use their $5 off $25 coupon - I got 24 rolls of Charmin, 2 jugs of Tide, 1 box of dryer sheets, 2 jugs of Clorox bleach and a baby bottle brush. The bottle brush is made by Luvs and was just $1, I was surprised that Family Dollar had so many baby things at low prices. Then Jeff filled my vehicle up with gas at the station with the lowest price. I think it was $2.49 a gallon, how does that compare with your local prices?
For lunch, we ate from the fridge. Jeff had a sandwich and chips, I had leftover taco salad. There was one big piece of last nights pie & we shared that for dessert.
Tonight, we are going to a comedy play at our local community theater. It is just a few miles from our house so it is much easier to get to than driving to Oklahoma City or Tulsa. We will eat at home before we leave.
other thrifty doings
•cleaned out my coupons, discarding the expired ones. Many expire the end of a month. Cashiers are not amused if you accidentally give them an expired coupon and it make them slowly scrutinize any other coupons you give them.
•baking bread - I used a recipe with 6 cups of flour, then shaped it into 2 small loaves and a pan of burger buns. I will freeze one loaf and the buns to eat later in the week.
•used the free offer from Walgreens to get an 8x10 print of my granddaughter and will pick it up tomorrow - this offer has expired but they do repeat it every so often. I was wanting this print and it saved $3.99.
Fresh bread - does anything on earth smell better than this?
When I let dough rise, I cover it with a clean kitchen towel or plate, instead of using Saran Wrap.
The play we went to last night was lots of fun, it was called "A Tuna Christmas" about a very small town in Texas. It had 14 characters and they were all played by just 2 men who changed costumes and wigs often. It was so cute and we laughed almost the whole time. We went into the lobby to walk around during intermission and each got a soda - would you believe they sell them for just 50 cents a cup? When was the last time you bought a drink for 50 cents?
Frugal doings - plan your errands when you will be out anyway to save on gas and time - I get weekly emails from Walgreens that tell about their weekly sales. They come out on Thursday or Friday so it gives me a few days to look over them and see if there are any specials I want to buy when the sale starts on Sunday. I wanted to buy the mens Dove body wash that is on sale - 4 bottles for $15 with a $5 register reward to use next time. Walgreens is between our house and our church. So since I had my list and coupons ready, we stopped on the way to church this morning. I got the body wash and was happy to see that each bottle had a free travel sized bottle attached.
At Walgreens, I also picked up my free 8x10 that was last weeks offer. Next week, they are a having another photo freebie on Weds. only, for a free purse sized photo book. I will be doing that one for sure too. I don't remember the exact code but I will post it next time if any of you want to do it as well.
It may sound like I did too much shopping today and yesterday for it to be very tightwad. Everything I bought was in my budget and needed, and I probably will not buy anything else until next weekend.
•OJ, scrambled eggs and homemade bread toast
•chicken fried steak, fried potatoes and spinach - I don't mean deep-fried, I cook with nonstick skillets and use just a dab of oil on both the potatoes and steak. Cooking with lots of oil is expensive and uses too many calories anyway.
•I used some of the fresh milk and cream from stepson and made a small batch of homemade vanilla ice cream. I ate some, then froze the rest in small single serving sized bowls.
•supper will be leftovers or snacks
Meatless Monday - for supper tonight, we're having pinto beans. There are just 2 of us tonight so I soaked 1 cup of pinto beans overnight. Beans "grow" a lot when soaked, that is a 4 cup measure they are in and I think
they increased to almost 3 cups after soaking.
I prefer to cook beans in a crock pot. The crock pot uses a small amount of electricity and I think it cooks beans gentler so they don't break up as much. I prefer beans cooked with no meat but you could certainly add ham or ground beef or sausage.
For seasoning, I add a chopped onion, 1/4 t garlic and a t of cumin and chili powder, as well as some black pepper. Put the seasonings in the crock pot with about 4 cups of water for 1 cup of beans. Then cook all day on low, or about 4 hours on high. You'll know the beans are done if the skins break when you blow on them.
Add salt to taste after the beans are tender. Salt and tomato products can keep beans from getting soft so never add either one until the beans are cooked.
Jeff likes to top his bowl of beans with some raw onion so I saved little of them in a small tupperware dishes.
On the side, I will bake a half batch of cornbread in the toaster oven. I also made a big green salad that will last us about 3 days.
Beans and cornbread are about the cheapest main dish I know of. I think the beans and cornbread for the 2 of us cost less than 75 cents total.