Friday, October 25, 2019

Frugal Friday

We made it to Friday...yeah! :)

This week I was able to work four days. As usual I packed lunch and drinks all four days. 

Over the weekend my daughter and I stopped at the Flowers Baking Thrift Store in Chattanooga. 

These are the items we picked up:

Pumpkin Bagels $2.49 
(50¢ each and made for a quick &  inexpensive breakfast) 

Dave's Killer Bread - $2.00 each 
(Made great grilled cheese)

Nature's Own Bread - 79¢ each

Sunmaid Raisin Bread - $1.39 each

This little bread outlet saves us so much money on bread products. It's always crowded when we go there too and for good reason. 

Tuesday night is movie night around here and Bailey received a free Redbox rental for her birthday. 

The movie we wanted to see wasn't available, so we rented A Dog's Purpose instead. This film tells the story of a devoted dog who discovers the meaning of his own life through the lives of the humans he loves. It was definitely worth watching.

Since summer has come to an end, Saturday Night has become our board game and soup night. 

This past Saturday I made Potato Soup earlier in the day and we played several different board games that evening. 

The games we played that night include the game of Sorry, Words with Friends, and Ticket to Ride New York. 

The original Ticket to Ride game is also one that we play regularly as well. In this game players connect North American cities by way of train routes. The game challenges you to get the best train routes before your opponent. 

Let me tell you that Bailey is a whiz when it comes to playing board games like this. She was an expert at the game of checkers at a very young age and has only gotten better and more skilled with age. She takes notes when we are playing and just about beats me every time with her strategic planning. 

Board games can be a lot of fun and these days there are YouTube videos out there to show you how to play certain games. It's how we learn to play some of the more modern games. 

As you may remember, we celebrated Bailey's 22nd birthday last week. 

Here is a photo of the Cherry Dr. Pepper cake I made for her:

I've not made a cake using a can of soda pop before I made this cake. I would have to do the math to see if the can of soda (28¢) would be cheaper than using eggs, oil, and water to make a cake. The soda pop made the cake very moist and it stayed moist for the entire week. 

We went out to eat on her birthday at her favorite Mexican restaurant. I think the food tasted even better since we hadn't eaten out in months. 

This week I found a nickle in the parking lot while I was pumping gas. Bailey found a quarter in the floor at Goodwill also. 

This week I entered and won a contest for the Joy of Cooking cookbook. It will be a few weeks before it arrives, but I'll be sure to take a picture of it when it does. 

One of our friends gave us two bags of apples and one bag of oranges this week, which was very nice. 

Tonight for dinner I'll be making spaghetti and using up several cans from my pantry and I'll be making Taco Soup for our board games on Saturday night. 

I hope you've had a great frugal week and that your weekend is relaxing and blessed. 

~ Living within our Means ~
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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

My Frugal Week

There is a shortage of substitute teachers in our school district right now, which has been to my advantage. Last week I worked every day for the second week in a row. This week we are out for fall break, so I'm grateful I worked every day the last two weeks. 

Last Sunday I made vegetable soup again for lunches throughout the week. We ate that for lunches until it was gone. As a result my pantry has seen a reduction in inventory, which is a good thing to use up those items. 

One night I made spaghetti for dinner, which also used up some random smaller jars of sauce we had on hand. 

This week I perused the grocery store sale ads online. Yesterday we ended up at Kroger and found two pizzas on markdown for $2.49 each and several yogurts marked at 39¢ and 19¢.  

We also found three organic brown rice spaghetti for 25¢ each. 

My daughter found two shirts and two pairs of shorts for me while thrift shopping this week. She says because she is consistent with her thrifting that she is able to find things that I might not find only going once or twice every few months. So, consistency is the key to finding what you need. 

Becky over at Frugal Measures was writing about that when speaking about finding dehydrators second hand this week. 

This week my daughter will celebrate her birthday, so I'm making her this cake: Cherry Dr. Pepper cake

 I bought her a special pillowcase for her birthday from Patsy at Pillowcases by Patsy who also runs the A Working Pantry blog. Bailey was thrilled with the pillowcase and I gave it to her early, so she could enjoy it all week. 

Our movie night this week consisted of one of the $2.49 pizzas while we watched Rainman on YouTube for free

We are going to enjoy our week on fall break and go out to eat at least once for a birthday dinner. I hope you have a great week. 

~ Living within our Means ~
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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Saving Money on Gasoline

My daughter and I both saw a noticeable decrease in our gas expenditures this summer due to the fact that we stayed home more this year than in previous summers. 

With less income we have less money to spend and that keeps us at home more than it normally would. And this simple fact has proven to me that one of the best ways to save money on gas is to stay home as much as possible. 

One reason my gas expenditure dropped a great deal during the summer months was because we were not driving back and forth to school/work every day. 

There are many ways to save money on gasoline. Some of those include: making sure your tires are properly inflated, taking advantage of grocery store gas programs, filling the car up with regular gas instead of premium, making sure the car is tuned up properly and using the right type of motor oil, and driving at constant speeds. All of these ideas will help save money on gas. 

Saving money on gas is not as easy as it sounds since we have no control over the price we pay at the pump. The only thing we can do to minimize our use of gas is to use less. And we can do that by walking to our destinations when possible, staying home instead of going out shopping for recreation or entertainment, among other things.

These are some ways that I save money on gasoline and make it go farther: 

Tune Up Car. A tune up allows your car to run more efficiently, which results in more miles to the gallon.  I had my car tuned up in February of this year and immediately noticed a one mile increase in my gasoline consumption.

Drive Slower. The slower you drive your car, the less gas your car will burn. Driving at 55 miles per hour will save you two miles per gallon over driving 65 miles per hour.

Begin driving as soon as the engine is started. Modern engines don't require as much time to warm up. The engine actually warms up more quickly once the car is operating.

Reconsider Air Conditioning. Running your air conditioner will use up more gasoline than simply using the air vent, but I have to say I doubt we could go without air because we live where it stays humid from March through November.

Combine Errands. This one practically goes without saying. Combine all of your errands into one trip and take the most efficient route to complete them. We drive 30 miles round trip to make a trip to town, so when I combine errands I am saving myself a great deal of money.

Maintain speed limits - Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour. For every five miles per hour you drive over 60 miles per hour you will be paying more for your gasoline. 

Use cruise control to maintain your speed on the highway, which will improve your fuel economy. 

Pay Attention While You’re Driving - minimize braking by anticipating traffic conditions. Be alert for drivers in front of you who are slowing down and for red lights. Letting up on the gas can help minimize the need for braking.

Keep Tires Properly Inflated - It's important to have a proper tier gauge in order to check your tires unless you have one of the modern cars that tell you the tire pressure.

Without a tire gauge, the only way to check the tire pressure here would be to pay $1.50 to one of those machines at a gas station and hope that it works.  I've been to more than one that does not work.

There are no full service gasoline stations and our Sears Auto Center, where I bought my tires and could get a free tire pressure check, closed down last spring, so having my own tire gauge is the best solution.

Avoid Jackrabbit Starts and Stops - Avoiding these will help save on gas and also prolong the life of your brakes.

Remove excess weight from the trunk. An extra one hundred pounds in your trunk can reduce you fuel economy by up to two percent.
Avoid packing items on top of your car. A loaded roof rack or carrier creates wind resistance and can decrease fuel economy by five percent.
Avoid unnecessary idling - I know in the hot summertime it’s easy to want to leave your car running while you need to wait on something, but that will cost you more in gas money. It not only wastes fuel and costs you money, but it also adds pollution to the air. Turn your engine off it you anticipate having to wait any length of time. 

Don't buy Premium Gasoline. Len Penzo conducted an experiment where he bought premium gasoline for his automobile for 30 days. Turns out he averaged one mile per gallon less than when he used lower octane gasoline. You can read about Len's experiment here.

Buy 100% Gas. I keep records of my purchases of gasoline and have found consistently that when I can find and purchase 100% gasoline that I can get more miles to the gallon on a tank of gas. Sometimes 100% gasoline is hard to find and sometimes it costs more. In our area it costs about 10 cents more per gallon over 85% ethanol, but the increase in price is worth it to me because I can get more miles out of a tank of gas.

Use Reward Perks. Does your grocery store offer fuel reward perks?  The Food City and Kroger grocery stores here offer fuel reward perks for customers. I have written about them before here if you want to read about this program.  Your savings per gallon depends on how much you spend in grocery money, but every little bit helps. I know I personally have saved as much as 25¢ per gallon by using this program. 

What are some of the ways you save on gas?

~ Living within our Means ~
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Saturday, October 5, 2019

My Frugal Week ~

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Even though fall is upon us and the leaves are falling, we are still having summer like temperatures here. This week broke several records with two days reaching 100 degrees this week. Last night at 7 o'clock it was still 90 degrees here. We've been running our air conditioner as if it were summertime.

This week I was able to work everyday, which will be wonderful on payday. As usual I packed my lunch and brought water every day. On Sunday I made vegetable soup, which I brought with me each day. It's cheaper and easier than buying lunch out each day. 

To save money, we've eaten all of meals from home this week and I've been making more plant based dishes both for financial and health reasons. With the heat this week we've been having a lot of salads for dinner, October beans, baked sweet potatoes, and plenty of raw vegetables like baby carrots, peppers, and cucumbers.  

I took out my produce drawers this week and washed them well and returned them to the fridge. One apple in there had a bad spot and leaked juice all over and was a sticky mess.  I'd been meaning to clean them out anyway, so this was perfect timing. Getting rid of the bad apple helped save the other apples from the same fate, which saves money. 

My car alerted me that one of my tires was low on air pressure this week. Lucky me, I was subbing in the auto shop at school the day that happened. (what timing!) One of my friends pulled it into the shop and filled the tire for me. 

Last weekend we earned extra money for pet sitting three dogs. 

This week I've watched several YouTube videos that taught me something I needed to know. I'm blessed and grateful that we have such a great resource right at our fingertips. 

This week I watched This is Us on Hulu. We only pay 99¢ each month for our subscription, which was a end of the year/holiday special last year. Hopefully they will offer the same deal this year.  

My daughter and I are planning a trip in November, so she can attend the wedding of a friend. We've been saving money since she first heard about it and we are looking forward to the time away.

On Friday I took my car to the tire shop to get it checked out for our trip. They rotated my tires and filled them up, and aligned the front end. It was also time for an oil change, so I had that done and had a new air filter put in, so the car is ready for our trip in November. 

How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~
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