Monday, June 27, 2016

Putting on the frugal thinking hat

I had to really put on the frugal thinking cap this past week.

First I really really screwed up and left two of my computers and rolling brief case in my son's dining room. He lives an hour away....the good part of that is it was left in his dining room and not out on the front curb that I have feared I had done. More frugal to drive to pick them up than to replace them???? Still we had to go get them so I decided we would go ahead and run some other errands that wasn't suppose to be done until next month. SAVE GAS at least.

This is the garlic I harvest a week or so ago.It's cured so I can cut the stalks and trim the roots for storage . Then I will pull the next batch that is ready. Nice this year that it's ready a couple weeks apart instead of last year when I have over 100 heads come in at one time.I wasn't set up to cure that many at once and had to scramble to get it done.

I harvested and processed lemon balm, spearmint , peppermint, apple mint,, basil, thyme, oregano,garlic chives, chives, cilantro, dill, rosemary, green onions, cucumbers, lettuce and the last of the rhubarb and strawberries(unless they bloom again, last year they did).

NOTE !!!!! I might have zucchini this year!!!! YES REALLY, it's okay you can laugh because I must be the only person that can't grow zucchini. I might get one or two off the plant and then it dies....BUT this year I planted it in the north garden in the straw bales(experiment garden) and it's got blooms and little, little zucchinis LOL!!!!

We have ate out a couple times, but did think about the price and getting the best deal when we did. About 4 times we were gone all day, we do take water with us and usually drink only water at meals eating out.Some places will let us share a meal without charging extra, the ones that don't we automatically ask for a box and immediately put half of the meal in the box to go home.We had one meal I made in to 3 more with the leftovers.

Our health ins has decided to no longer pay for the injections I get in my back (birth deformity and I don't take pain meds for several reasons). Our first thought was pay cash (not frugal at all but this was already the last resort for pain relief so I could walk, lay and sit without pain,doctor is willing to accept the same cash payment as our ins was paying.). Then we decided to run with the appeal system. My doctor is already appealing from his side. They say it's not medical problem and then would accept a new MRI but won't approve a new MRI.Seems like every 5 yrs I have this battle. BUT my Dad has told me to adjust that when you get 65 it's a common battle. This will be one that if denied I will have to pay cash for. It's the only thing that keeps me pain free enough to walk,sit and lay.SO we figured it in our "future budget" along with increases because we know it will only go up.

So the thoughts circled can we afford to build our dream home on our dream land and pay this much out in health issues? What can we do NOW to provide for later? We had already planned $2000 (yes that high) for health based on what we were hearing from others that are retired and have some of the same issues, actually I doubled the amt, figuring on it going up.Which is the main reason Hubby hasn't retired out, No sense retiring out and then coming right back in part time as a temp to the same job to pay for ins.

So I started a list of things we can cut now and save more. Nonfood and Food was #1, using car,truck etc #2.Changing from what we use to what we can make do with #3. I would rather make do NOW then when we are in our 70s and 80s like my Mom and Pop was and having to go without.I am my Dad's child instead of Mom's. Dad is frugal, Mom and Pop were spendthrifts.

ANOTHER thought was transfer the money we save immediately to the savings and not letting it sit in the checking where it might get piddled away. We are very good at piddling away.

Dad gave me a new recipe that he has been cooking once a week for soup (cabbage,beans,corn, tomatoes and some times onion) that I haven't tried yet...I think it's because Nonna used to make bean soup, then add veggies the second day,pasta or rice the third and then serve what ever was left over stale bread the fourth. I ate that a lot during the summers since I pretty much stayed with her if I wasn't working.

We have a baby shower for that is for our upcoming great grandbaby  that is due in Aug. We decided to wait until William is born. Our grandkids are okay with that as this will be the first of  5th the generation and they figure they will get over loaded at the shower and at birth. Grandson mentioned diapers and wipes from Sam's club in a couple months, but the Mommy asked for a membership instead along with a breast pump.

I was having problems with my nose, still have sutures from surgery that was in March that was supposed to dissolved, could have told the doctor they wouldn't. He did tell me after checking the issue that if I used a saline spray or did a saline rinse at least at night and fluffing my bedding and pillows weekly I would be able cut back on the allergy meds. By doing that I haven't had to take an meds all week, that saved $10.I was already fluffing, sometimes in the dryer with no heat and sometimes just hang it on the clothes line. I like the clothes line better because of the fresh smell.I tr

I been more diligent in turning off lights and power cords. Second month in a row that our electric bill has been at $100 instead of the usually $150,(landlords was over $200 and has the same size house and everything) EVEN with running the Central Air.I try to run the dehydrator at night as much as possible but sometimes I'm pushing load after load and end up running it through the day.

Hubby is riding the motorcycle instead of driving the truck to work. That has saved almost $100 this month.He doesn't ride the bike when there is thunderstorms in the forecast.

We went to Sam's club. I wanted to do some pricing while picking up diapers for a friend that is having a baby. Made several notes of what I stock up for holidays and winter and bought POM toilet paper....45 big rolls for $19.98.that's around 0.444¢ per roll when Cottonelle (our favorite) and Charmin (second favorite) is around $1.00 a roll. Hubby said it was like work TP....which means very thin...not sure it will save us any money if we use more but with the thought we can use twice as much and still be saving.We got dog food cheaper at Sam's. Bigger bag and for the same price we pay for a lot smaller bag.

We also went to Jungle Jim's International market and I priced condiments and rice there. CHEAPER there even with the price of gas to driving there especially if we go after making a round to the kids. Everyone is an hour away and Jungle Jim's is only 30 min past the kids.I also got some peaches for 79¢ a pound there and now have them dehydrated.Found my favorite tea and got a couple boxes for my girlfriend and myself. It was about half the price I used to pay for it when I could get it locally. I usually buy it as a "gift" for myself at Christmas and birthday and haven't been able to find it in over  a year.

Hubby did ask, said he was afraid to but thought of it, how long can I go on this pantry (speaking of food and not the non-food)with buying only necessities/perishables...Last time he asked that I stretched a 6 month pantry for a year. I just told him we would find out.

We have case sales (frozen food not cans) next month. I need to figure out if I have the room and what I want to fill that up with to place the order in the next couple weeks.

Any Frugal thoughts?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reading Brandi The Prudent Homemaker Saving Money

Once a month if not more often I reread through Brandi's site of The Prudent Homemaker.

Today I reread Saving Money. Brandi gives 41 suggestions of saving money. We do all but 7.

This afternoon I decide to really look at why we don't do that 7 and what do we do instead.

We have cell phones, we don't share a plan. Both plans are below $50 each. Hubby is a weather spotter and connected with Homeland security(unpaid both jobs), he needed a better phone than what he had for apps he needed and found a really good phone(made the grandkids green with envy because they paid 3 times as much for the same phone) at a provider and still was below $50 plan unlimited. I stayed with what I had and where I was...I keep a cell phone on me since I had a heart attack driving home to the boonies from the city....AND there was no houses around. I dry swallowed 3 aspirin that I do carry to get myself home to the phone.

We have a home phone because we can't have internet without it here AND the local fire dept/squad does home phones with their 911. Cell phones go through another trace. Already takes over 10 mins to get to us , don't need to add more.

1 car...we have a SUV, a truck and a motorcycle all paid off and over 10 yrs old(truck will be 20 yrs old next yr) We both can drive the bike. Hubby uses it for work weather permitting, the truck gets driven the most , good old work truck. we limit trips to town to no more than twice a week if that. The SUV is for when I can't walk right and can't climb in the truck or when we go to my Dad's because he no longer has a car and he can't get in the truck any more. We do acknowledge with age we will be giving up all 3 and getting a car that I can drop into.

We no longer resole shoes...ONLY because the nearest repair is 1 hr away from us 1 way. Cost is gas is more than the cost of replacing our shoes. When we move at retirement this will go back to being done as there is one within  10 miles of our son.

I don't go to the library. It's out of the way and an extra trip. I do borrow books from my one daughter as she is a reader like I am and enjoys the same type of books as me and I don't have to worry about an over due fine. That still saves money.

I stopped baking my own bread when it became the two of us...bread will mold faster when it's home made. I am looking at starting this back up since I have found a couple recipes that makes smaller loaves. We just aren't big bread eaters.

We don't unplug most appliances. I do unplug my laptop and the tv in the bedroom after Hubby gets out of bed (he goes to sleep watching the weather) ....but Hubby just refuses to work with me on this. I will have to say that our landlord's wife requires he unplug his alarm clock daily but she refuses to open the windows and turn off the AC...I really think this choice is weird LOL

We don't collect water from the is we turn it on and get in, our hot water tank is right below the shower., wait time is not there, two we don't live in town or I would probably insist on this even without a wait time since we are on a well here and would be paying for water in town. We do turn off the water while brushing teeth and have used rain barrels over the years for the gardens.I have a watering can that sits out also for rain.

Soup once a day, I'm lucky if I can get Hubby to eat soup once a month at this point. He does hard manual labor around furnaces that  have him in heat over 100° daily.We have talked about him eating soup instead of cold cereal before he lays down but he isn't willing at this point.I will say he used to farm, pigs and cattle and was raised with meat and potatoes 3 meals a day....he has adjusted a lot since we married to not having that. His favorite meal is what we call 123 pasta with very little meat at all in it.

What are your thoughts on saving?

The good, the bad and it always pours while staying frugal

When Hubby came home from work the other day and said "production is running every weekend until Jan."

We both knew GOD was letting us know we were going to need the extra income.

First, we got the refrigerator fixed, it is running fine and the rental one is going back tomorrow. We don't have a FB garage sale in this area nor is most of Craig's list for this area. We are the boonies LOL. I spent $33 including eggs for 69¢ a doz to replace the necessities that we lost in the frig and replaced nothing in the freezer.

THEN my back injections have been denied because the problems in a birth defect. Doctor's office is doing the appeals and told me it could take up to 4 months...mean time they advised me to get yoga (already do that at home for free), massage therapy and chiropractic care , neither that ins will pay for any more for me due to birth defect. Made a couple phone calls and found a Chiro that will accept cash payment equal to what he would get from our ins.Hubby's employer has a wellness (gym) center and they have massage therapy there that is about half the price of else where. I was trying to figure out where to rob Peter to pay this Paul when I went to refill my meds and found they are now generic and my doctor always marks that generic can be used so the price was 1/10th of the normal out go and actually the difference will pretty much pay for the chiro and massage.

Still appealing to get the other 2 bills paid, was told it might take 3-4 appeals including an outside appeal which is available through Hubby's employer for free.

I harvested thyme, oregano,basil, cilantro, garlic chives, chives, rosemary, lemon balm, choc. mint, spearmint, peppermint, apple mint,lavender, rose petals,flat parsley, curly parsley, strawberries, rhubarb, cucumbers, garlic scapes,lettuce and green onions.

We are eating from the pantry. Taking stuff we don't want (yard sales were we are at in the country doesn't do well enough to do anything) to our youngest.

AND why did I post the two pictures? We know we plan to move closer to the kids, grandkids, greatgrandson when Hubby retires. We plan to retire in 3-5 yrs...we decided after listening to other to start checking out house plans and houses because everyone said they looked of a couple of years.  We feel this is the model we want built. We will do some changes due to me being in a wheelchair before I die (wasn't suppose to ever walk to begin with). This really seemed to fit. We have talked to this builder about 20 yrs ago when we thought about building and they talked us into waiting, 5 kids in their teens, they didn't think we needed the size of house we were planning.

SO to stay frugal and stay on track, I took several pictures and a video of the model to look at and remember why we are going the extra mile to be frugal and save save save.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

June 9th, frugal week with a refrigerator broke down

Our first "meal" mostly from the garden. A nice salad of home grown lettuce,cucumber, garlic scapes,green onions,and strawberries topped with diced grilled chicken breast. YUM

Strawberries are coming in about every 3 days, about 2 cups at a time. Nice amount for the two of us to eat up but not to put any in the freezer.

I had a shoe insole come loose, since I wear a size 3 it's hard to find replacement insoles, so I put the insole back in as best as I could and used a hair dryer to heat the insole up , hoping there is enough adhesive to warm up and attached the insole back in.

I sewed a button on Hubby's pants.

I've dried rose petals for rose petal tea.

I've dried lavender for lavender tea.

I've dried cilantro,dill,basil,thyme,oregano,flat parsley,curly parsley,garlic chives,and rosemary.

I run the dehydrator in the late evening so I don't heat up the house.

Our refrigerator went out and we lost over 2/3rd of the perishables (shredded cheese with poof up the bag when it's had too much heat) and  half of what was in the freezer by time we figured out it wasn't going to be fixed right away as the parts were hard to find and we got another (Thank you Rent a Center that allowed us to rent for 2 wks) frig to transfer to which was smaller, a lot smaller than we had.

Hard hit as I had to use June's grocery money to fix the frig (repair man warned us to save up because it's going to die probably within a year)and rent the other frig. I plan to limp us until July without robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Taking some advice from Brandi over at The Prudent Homemaker, I scrubbed out the frig while it was down while waiting for parts to come in . For what ever reason a nice clean frig even broke down made me feel better than one that was sitting there needing a wipe out and broke down.

I called a doctor's billing to find out what was going on, we haven't gotten the bill in 3 months and the office said it was still pending ins and ins said it's paid. Ins didn't pay all of it and the billing office was appealing the lack of payment instead of just charging us and then having us appeal it...NICE .

I also had to call another doctor to find out if my procedure was preapproved and the answer was NOT yet....sigh, the ins did say it's in the final round and the hold up is because the procedure is changed from what I've had done the last 4 yrs...last year I didn't have to have preapproval...change in all ins (not just mine) in this procedure.

Hope you all have a frugal week.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Frugal time

Rambling Rose is what my Dad calls this, I just wished whom ever planted it had not put it right against the corner of the house where the rain down spout is and no way to put a trellis or anything behind it. Still both dogs will walk between it and the bush and past it to walk through my just started perennial flower garden.Miss Kira will lay it the garden.I think she decided that instead of stopping to smell the roses she was stopping to lay in the flower garden on top of my irises. 

I picked Sweet Williams, irises (that someone smashed with her body) and lavender for flowers for my table. I dried some lavender to tea and sachets.

I harvested and dried basil,chives,garlic chives, rosemary, dill,flat parsley, curly parsley and spearmint.

I harvested 2 different lettuces,cucumbers,rhubarb and a few strawberries.

We have saved enough to no longer pay bank fee so that money goes to the savings now also.We paid off one bill in full so we are down to 6 (not counting possible medical bill if the ins doesn't pay any for my procedure for my back).IF we don't have replace a truck or car we are on task to be debt free before Hubby retires in 3 yrs

I have repaired and washed soaker hoses so they are working another year with Rascal's "help" which was "Mom bend over and throw this ball,okay, Mom wash the ball instead of the hoses" . SMILING

I transferred my earnings from surveys to gift to my grandson and his lady that are graduating.

We are running a room AC that my son gave us (newer and bigger than what we had) for the bedroom when Hubby sleeps days (get turned on when he goes to bed and off when he gets out of bed). I leave the windows open, close curtains against the sun and run one fan that is mainly for our 2 black dogs , they hog it even if I had it on for myself. We turned the central air on over the weekend as the landlord wanted to make sure it was running correctly. Dogs loved it. We hated the thought of what it was doing to the electric bill though when the humidity is up I know I will have to use it some.

We are using the grill most nights. Yesterday I used the charcoal side as a smoker, have been given lots of wood chips for smoking. Bought a pork butt . Took less time than I thought, glad a friend told me to check temp of meat at 3 hr mark no matter how long it said it would take.  We had it last night and will again for another meal and then the rest will be packaged and froze for those night neither of us wants to fix anything.

I have used the clothes line for the last 2 weeks solid.

My Dad is slowly clearing out his house so when he dies my brother and I won't have to deal with so much. He gave me a car load of canning jars, a water bath canner that can double as a stock pot, canning rings and lids he bought last year (he didn't even plant his 9 tomato plants this year),a corn jabber (how they planted corn in the old days) and an antique hand cultivator. We go back up this week to get a gas grill he no longer uses for our youngest daughter.

We went to Kroger's on the weekend ( I usually shop Thurs.) so we can get double fuel points for what little we do get now days as warm weather is eat from the pantry and garden time.

I put the button back on Hubby's pants.

We bought a beverage igloo (clearance) and now fill it with ice (we have to buy ice, no room for it in freezer since I "lent" the extra frig to son) and the filter pitcher water. Found we are drinking far less of anything else and just drinking the water. It's sitting on the corner of the kitchen table so we pass it when heading to the frig or coffee pot.

Have was your week?