Thursday, February 26, 2015

The View From My Window Today


We had more snow last night, so there was no school again today, and they've already called school off for tomorrow too, so I've missed six days of work in the last two weeks. One of the other subs & I were joking on Facebook that maybe we would get to work in March. :)

What's for Dinner

On Thursday I made what might seem like an odd combination for dinner. In my defense, I am it use it up mode since we have been snowed in so many days in the last two weeks, I've not been able to make a trip to the grocery store. So, I made a package of popcorn shrimp from the freezer, mashed up the last of the potatoes and served some beefy mushroom gravy over the top, and cooked five ears of corn I had on hand, cut them off the cob and served them with butter. Even though it was an odd combo, it was a big hit.


On Wednesday, (Prince Spaghetti Day) I made spaghetti for dinner. I sweated some onions and garlic in olive oil before adding some canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and red peppers from the freezer. I also add some spaghetti sauce seasoning that I pick up from Sam's Club. There was still some left after dinner, so that will probably be lunch today. 

Sam's Club 

Speaking of Sam's Club, I need to make a trip soon and also renew my membership. The savings we earn on OTC medicine there more than pays for our membership there each year. I already have a list of items I've been needing, so I can avoid any impulse purchases. 

How is your Thursday shaping up?

Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday ~ Snow Day

Snow Day today! This is the fourth day that I've lost work in the last week due to snow, and there is more snow in the forecast for Wednesday evening. I like snow, but I also need to work. I am grateful though that we have power. There were 300 electric poles broken in the winter storm on the Cumberland Plateau and authorities are saying it will be days before they get power restored to everyone. 

So, I spent the day in the kitchen cleaning and making things to have to eat this week. 


I made a Potato Bake recipe from the Low Cost Living - Self Sufficient website today. I like this dish because it involves plain and simple food. Onions, potatoes, vegetable broth and it tastes good and was very frugal to make since I used potatoes and onions that were given to us from a friend. I really like that website too as there is a lot of good information there on living frugally


I also made a Farmer's Casserole recipe from the Taste of Home website. I didn't like this recipe very much, but my family liked it. I used a small bag of ham that I had along with a small bag of grated cheese from the freezer. I used some green onions, eggs, and hash browns that were given to us, so this was a pretty frugal recipe as well. 

I also made some Carrot Raisin Salad from the Chick-Fil-A website. 


And, I also made one dozen muffins using two Crash & Burn mixes; an apple cinnamon and blueberry muffin mix. This is what is left after the crew came through for lunch.  :)

So, my theory today is cook one day, eat all week. LOL ;)

What have you been up to today?

Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday

  
Pictured above is the binder where I keep all the important papers, receipts, and owner’s manuals to all the appliances, electronics, and other important items I have purchased over the years. Each product has its own plastic sleeve to keep everything together. Keeping them in one place is a good organizational plan, which makes it easy to locate them if needed for any reason. Here is the sleeve for the new freezer. 


No School Wednesday through Friday 

The weather has been snowy, icy, and extremely cold here, so school was called off for the rest of the week here. We are iced in, so no plans to go anywhere. I'm going to stay home and do things around the house. We will probably venture out on Saturday for my daughter's library duty, which means we will have spent the whole week at home and spent no money. :)

Oranges



 This is my overabundance of oranges we've received lately. I have been eating them, but decided today to make some orange juice with them. When I was little, I used to love cutting a small circle in an orange and drinking the juice from it. Today I used my citrus reamer and made my own glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. It was so good and refreshing. 



Peppers



I also had an overabundance of peppers, which were given to us as well recently. Today, I washed them and chopped them and placed them into freezer bags and put those in the new freezer. 



Tea Kettle



I love my new tea kettle that I received for Christmas. It will hold up to seven cups, so tonight I made all seven cups of hot water, which went to boiling in under two minutes, which is such a time saver. 



With that I made up some jello cups using my on sale mandarin oranges (39¢ each) and some Crash & Burn Jello packets (31¢ each). I ended up with seven orange jello cups, two lemon with fruit, one plain lemon, and a bowl of fruit with strawberry banana Jello. Afterwards I still had enough water to make a cup of hot chocolate. 



Beans




I also put a bag of Yellow Eyed Beans on to soak for Thursday night dinner. I'll serve this with some potatoes cooked in the oven, smoked sausage, and fresh green beans. 

What's for dinner at your house today?
Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Saving Money on Entertainment

I have always loved Susan Branch books ever since 1992 when I found her book, Heart of the Home, in a little gift shop in Pikeville, TN where we lived for about eight years.

Every few years Susan came out with a new book and I was just as thrilled when her Summer, Autumn, and Girlfriends books came into print. 
I've come to realize though, and even more so since I've began selling on Ebay and Amazon that these items do not hold their value. It is the old supply and demand problem where there is so much supply that the demand is no longer there. I'd say that is because they are mass produced. And the same thing can be said for today's movies, books, dvds, and music cds.

Many of these items can be found a short time later at yard sales for a fraction of the cost, which is good for us frugal people who try to save money on these things. Also, Ebay, Amazon, and Craigslist are all places where you can find these items inexpensively. 

You can even purchase some books on Amazon for one penny with postage costing $3.99 , so $4.00 for a book, which is often cheaper here than borrowing a book from the library via the interlibrary loan system, which makes patrons pay the return postage. I don't know about you, but If I am going to pay postage, I would rather pay the postage one time and also own the book.

Back when I was growing up, we had to wait a long time for movies at the theater to come to television, oftentimes waiting years for a movie to come to television. The same thing was true for hardback books. The waiting time for a hardback book to come to paperback was almost always over a year long wait.

Today though, books and movies are mass produced and because of that, many things we pay $20.00 for when it first comes out, isn't worth nearly as much in just a short amount of time. That Susan Branch book I longed to own and paid $20.00 for can be had for less than a dollar now on places like Amazon and Ebay and even our favorite used book store, McKays.

We don't have cable TV and so we have bought the old TV shows on DVD for entertainment. When those first came out, one season could easily cost $25.00, but nowadays you can often buy the ENTIRE series for cheaper than the price to buy each season cost just a few years ago.

So, what is the solution? Susan Branch has a new book out, but I've not bought it yet. I don't know about you, but I get tired of paying $20.00 for something and then a year or so later it can be had for much, much less, sometimes even less than a dollar. If I wait a year or so, I am pretty sure I can find and buy it much cheaper.  


All of this reminds me of the "do without" mantra. I remember what Amy D said about her sock one time having a hole in it. She said she could afford new socks, but she wanted to see how long she could make this pair last. Now, I definitely can do without a book or movie, but it is nice to have some things that bring pleasure and entertainment and these things fit into that category for me.  Even so, the "do without" mantra does save us a lot of money.

Belinda
Simply live by the rule of not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday


S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G Chili

Today has been a very productive day for me. I woke up early and started working in the kitchen and making a stock pot full of chili. I wanted to make this dish because it is cold and rainy here with snow and ice in the forecast. The steps outside are very icy and ice is hanging from the roof line and the trees. Chili will be good and warm to eat. 

On Sunday, I paid $3.54 a pound for two pounds of ground beef, so I wanted to make sure to s-t-r-e-t-c-h this as far as possible, so once I made the chili, I added one pound of cooked pasta (I was out of elbow mac, so used what I had on had) and I added a whole bottle of V8 juice and it almost filled my 12 quart stockpot. This will definitely last for a few days and what we don't eat, I will store in the freezer. 

Bounty of Celery

 

I mentioned in my last post that we had recently found a source for some free food. On Saturday we were given 15 bags of organic celery. I love organic celery because I can tell a HUGE difference in the taste between it and celery that is not grown organically. 


So, in my effort to use this bounty to my best advantage, I decided to clean it all, chop it up, and place it into freezer bags. In the end I had 10 quart sized bags of celery to add to my new freezer stash. This summer when finances are tight, as they usually are during the summer months, I'll have this to help see us through the hard times.

Along with the celery came these flowers:


And lastly, the mailman brought me a freebie from Twinings Tea.


We are looking forward to watching The Fosters on TV tonight. Hopefully the power will stay on and we will be snuggly warm under a blanket. I hope your Monday was enjoyable.  :)
Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekend Update

Freezer

As you may recall back in June we donated our upright freezer to a local charity for their summer feeding program. At the time they were asking for a freezer, our freezer had been mostly empty for a few months because of the price of food and I was struggling to keep it full and knew in my heart that it would serve a better purpose with them. 

Fast forward eight months and things have eased up here a bit financially, we have found several free sources of food and there have been several times that I've had to take the ice cube trays out of the small freezer on top of our refrigerator just to hold the bargains I had found that day. After doing without ice cubes at least twice in the last month, I decided to take the plunge and buy a small freezer just for the overflow. So yesterday we went to Lowe's and found one for $159 and it will be delivered today. I already have plans to put it to good use. 

Snow in the Forecast

The weatherman is calling for snow here this week. I have a little bit of rock salt on hand, but did pick up some ice melt while I was at Lowe's yesterday. If it does storm, I hope we do not lose electricity. That is one of the reasons I wanted to donate our large freezer. I had lost a lot of food at least three times for power loss in the last few years, and I was tired of it. The new freezer is much smaller and the if it happens again, the lose won't be as hard to take. 

Anyway, the snow is forecast for Monday through Wednesday. I am really hoping we don't get any snow. We have Monday & Tuesday off for Winter Break and then I am scheduled to work Wednesday through Friday. Any snow will put a kink in my plans as everything stops when it snows in the south. 

Valentine's Day

According to Len Penzo, $17,000,000,000 was the amount of money spent on Valentine's day in 2014. Now that is a lot of money! On Thursday, I saw all sorts of Valentine's Day gifts being delivered to students at school. I even saw two students receive one dozen long stemmed roses in the white boxes. As I recall, those are very expensive. 

Total spent on Valentine's day at the Frugal Workshop: $0

Life Lesson

One of the lessons my daughter has learned growing up is that money does not grow on trees. As a result, she is pretty frugal in her own right and has learned not to expect gifts on days like Valentine's Day and since she doesn't expect anything, she is not disappointed. 

She was with her friend shopping at Staples the other day and she was using a coupon for $1.12 off a purchase and her friend laughed at her for it. This is the same friend who overspends on things on a regular basis. I'm so glad that my daughter sees this at an early age because those lessons can be, for some people, painfully hard to learn and can sometimes take a lifetime to learn. 

Amy Dacyczyn always said that Americans need to spend less than they earn and by maintaining a consistent lifestyle, they will build the financial stability to withstand downturns while, it's likely, re-setting lifestyle expectations to what an income can support. 

Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday


We made it to Friday! :)

I worked three days this past week and as of today, we are out of school until Wednesday for Winter Break. I already have three days of work lined up for next week, and in fact have the whole month of February already scheduled.  

Last night I took my car and put it into the shop for some needed maintenance, so I am spending today at home and have plenty to do to keep me busy. I am fighting a cold also, so a day spent at home will do me good. I have tissues, cough drops, hot tea, and Advil to help me feel better. 

I made a version of Lasagna last night for dinner. I didn't have any lasagna noodles, so I made do with what I had on hand, which was elbow macaroni. Instead of layering it into a pan, I kept everything in a pan on the stovetop. I added in all the usual things, even adding cottage cheese in place of ricotta, and mozzarella cheese and parmesan to top it with. I didn't have garlic bread, so toasted some honey wheat bread and used butter and garlic powder. Everyone enjoyed it and we have plenty left for Friday night dinner, so I won't have to cook today. 

My trusty mechanic just dropped my car off for me. He is my BIL and he put in wheel bearings on both sides for me and didn't charge me for them, which was so sweet of him.  I made sure to load him up with all kinds of goodies to take home. 

I hope you had a good Friday and a great weekend ahead. 

Belinda
Live simply by not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday

Apple Peeler

The other day I was lucky enough to purchase an apple peeler for $10 from a Facebook yard sale group. I had to watch a YouTube video to find out how to use it, but I figured it out. I love this thing. The video I watched, showed a man peeling potatoes with his, but this didn't work for me. I was able to successfully peel an apple with it though. 


Breakfast & Dinner

Breakfast today was turkey sausage and toast with water to drink. I was the only one up for breakfast this morning, so time will tell what my daughter will have when she wakes up today. She was out with a friend last night and is sleeping in today.  

When she finally woke up I made pinwheels for her. These are made up of ham, cream cheese, and black olives whizzed together in the food processor and spread on flour tortillas. I don't cut them into pinwheels, but leave them unsliced, so she can eat them sort of like a sandwich. I made enough to last her for a few days this week for breakfast and or lunch. I reused the tortilla bag to save me a Ziplock bag. 


I made the cornbread last night for the dressing I made for dinner today. I was going to make mashed potatoes, but I wanted to use green beans as our vegetable today and I love potatoes cooked in green beans, so that will be our vegetable today. I also have some smoked sausage in the freezer, which will go well with that dish also. I am making enough dressing to last several meals, so some of that will be going into the freezer for other meals. 




All of these meals are simply food that I have on hand and am using up this weekend. No spent money on eating out this weekend.  :)

Today's Plans

Plans for today include getting ready for the four day work week coming up, so far I have three days scheduled to work. I will be doing laundry and laying out my clothes for tomorrow, fixing lunches for tomorrow, and getting my sub bag ready for the week. Getting these things done today will help relieve stress and anxiety in the morning, which sets the tone for the day and makes the whole day run smoother, a win-win situation in my book. 

Ebay Sales

I sold two things on Ebay this week and made $29.67 after fees and one book on Amazon and made $5.09, which have both went into my emergency fund. Having an emergency fund gives me peace of mind and security for when something goes wrong, so I will have the funds available to deal with it.  

Shopping for Entertainment?

My daughter went with a friend after her library duty, which meant I didn't have to wait on her to pick her up yesterday. I usually hang around the library and read, but yesterday I thought about going shopping, but in the end decided against it (other than the few grocery items I picked up and blogged about yesterday). There is nothing that I absolutely need, and I don't want to go shopping for entertainment. As you may recall, one of my goals for 2015 is to avoid consumerism and add to my savings as much as possible. There are things I would like to have, but do I really need them? No, I can do without them and make do with what I have on hand. I would rather see my bank account grow than spend money on something that is not a necessity.   :)

Netflix, Teaching Children about Money

I watched part of Season 4 of Parenthood on NetFlix this week. For some reason, Season 4 of Parenthood cost more than Season 5, so I decided to watch it on NetFlix. My monthly subscription is $8.00 and my daughter pays me $5.00 because she wants it more than I do, so I made a deal with her. I let her work it off by doing small chores at home. We keep track of this by using an inexpensive spiral notebook. I first learned about this idea from Len Penzo in his blog post, "Using a ledger to teach kids Money Management Skills".  We've been using this system for a few years now and it has worked well for her. She is 17 now and has her own checking account with a debit card and she is very disciplined in keeping track and how she spends her money. 

That wraps up our day for today. 

How are you spending your Sunday?

Belinda
Simply live by the rule of not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday

Work Week

I've been very fortunate to have worked every day the last two weeks. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work because sometimes there are dry spells and breaks from school when I don't get to work as much. 

Price of Beef

The other day I thought I had the day off and happened to be in the grocery store (I was called into work right after I left the store) where I found one package of Angus beef patties on markdown. This was a four pound package for $12.59. Normally the patties cost more than plain ground beef in a package, but not this time. This package actually worked out to $3.15 a pound, which was a good deal. Even the packages of plain ground beef with yellow mark down stickers were $4.54  a pound.  




I wasn't in the mood for hamburgers and using it as hamburgers would not stretch it as far as using it in other ways, So I decided to break them up and brown them with plenty of onions, garlic, salt and pepper. 




Afterwards I ended up with over 8 cups of ground beef. I put half of this into my crockpot and made chili, and I put the other half into a freezer bag and placed it in the freezer for another meal later.  




Here is the chili in the crockpot all hot and ready for when people are ready to eat. 



After I made the chili, I got started on Sunday dinner. I chopped up some onions and celery and sauteed them in butter. I put them in the refrigerator for later. I'm going to be making some dressing for Sunday dinner, so it will be nice to have this step already completed. I also have a lot of potatoes on hand, so I will definitely be making some mashed potatoes to go with our Sunday dinner. 



Amazon Sales

I sold a book on Amazon this morning, so I packed it up and dropped it off at the post office on my way to drop my daughter off at the library for her volunteer duty. I have found that it is easier and cheaper to sell books on Amazon than Ebay, so from now on I will list all of my books on Amazon. I have sold four books on Amazon since I started just a couple of weeks ago. It's simple and easy to do and it is like getting a little bit of income without really having to do much to earn it. And like I say, every little bit helps. 

Paperback Swap Update

Paperback Swap will begin charging members to use their service this month, so I have decided to end my membership with them. I have used them for about six months now and I felt like the selection of books to choose from was poor and were untradable at McKays, so with the announcement that they will begin to charge a yearly fee or transaction fee, I have made the decision to end my membership with them. 

Errands

After I dropped my daughter off at the library today, I went to Cooke's for some buttermilk ($1.19), toilet paper ($3.00), crackers ($1.19), salmon pouches (44¢ after coupon), and a free 12 pack of Coke ($3.33). I checked the crash & burn section, but did not find anything. I need to make some cornbread for the dressing tomorrow, which is why I needed the buttermilk. 

Today's Funny...

At 6:15 this morning I heard someone knocking on the back door. I was a little freaked out until I realized it was Big Kitty laying up against the door scratching and thumping the door. So, it was actually a cat burglar. hehehe ;)

Big Kitty
That's all the news that's fit to print from here. I hope everything is good in your corner of the world.  :)

Belinda
Simply live by the rule of not spending money you don't have.
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 - 2015.