My goals...to be chaos and clutter free, to have the last 3 debts paid off and to rebuild the savings and to eat healthy.
My "support team" of family and friends of Hubby, my youngest daughter, my middle son, and my sister (of heart).
My "support team" of bloggers...
Brandy over at The Prudent Homemaker , she's my go to for frugal ideas and making the pantry last.
Dave Ramsey with his Debt Snowball Method which has worked for YEARS on digging us back out after losing 2 yrs of income.
Jessica Fisher ...lifeasmom and goodcheapeats for her pantry challenges , revive course and her personal planner that uses post-it notes...my favorite and it actually will work for me.
Marla and the Flybabies at Flylady.net... From Chaos to Clean in 2017 , monthly habits (Jan is shine the sink) and fling boogies etc. She has been there "for" me since 2001.
Taylor Flanery at Home Storage Solutions 101 for her declutter 365.
Ree at The Pioneer Woman...she's my go to for "man meals" so Hubby doesn't feel deprived plus I love Charlie.
Katie over at goodlifeeats.com for recipes.
Jaden at Steamykitchen.com, not only for recipes but for reviews of products she uses.
They are who I look to when I have fog brain.
This is from Jessica over at GoodCheapEats.com . She does a pantry challenge twice a year that I try to at least do 2 weeks of.
This year I plan to do a lot longer...like MONTHS...why? The goal is to clear out and restock after I've defrosted deep freezers and to wipe down and restock the pantry with the FRESH garden stuff that will come in this year.IT is also a goal to pay off the final 3 debts and rebuild the savings account. ALSO I want another dehydrator for this summer and this is a good way to save for that purchase.
This is not an easy task for me, I get the shakes when I see empty spots where food was. BUT I know if I don't focus on clearing it out every other year completely I will end up with food being wasted.I went hungry growing up. We lived where if we didn't grow it we didn't have it. When my parents divorced there was no meat on the table because Dad hunted and fished. We didn't buy meat at all.
I have rules...can only eat out twice in during the month...that might go to 3 times if we go see our parents as we take them out to eat when we do and that depends on my health and the weather as they live over an hour away and we don't see them every month.
I have a list of meals that is stocked that can be made within 20 min. That is about the time it would take us to drive to the closest fast food drive through and get back. I would like to focus back on eating out a something SPECIAL and being at a sit down restaurant.
I can get items needed off the basic weekly grocery list Hubby and I wrote out the other night. Basic vegetables (carrots,celery etc) apples and bananas (requirement of my diet due to health) and dairy and if needed baking supplies.Still we decided to go every 2 wks to the store as he can stop and get milk at the local little store on the way home from work. I chose to wait 3 wks this first time as I just stocked the frigs for the holidays. I do have a monthly basic list but it is mostly staples for baking etc and I stock it usually at Sam's club. I will limit grocery store shopping when I do it to either Aldi's or click list at Krogers (except for a milk run if needed and that will be the local IGA)...that keeps me (and Hubby as he ALWAYS checks clearance and markdowns) from getting the sales. Ads will be tossed before coming in the house. If I don't see it I won't want to get that SALE.
Menu MUST provide potassium, magnesium,Vit.D,Vit E,Vit.K,Vit A, B12,zinc,folate,calcium,iron and LOW fiber. Thank you to a new GI that caught that my Crohn's was not letting me absorb these.
SO here is the pictures of the two refrigerators and their freezers...just a start as I have 300 sq ft plus pantry and a butler's pantry and onions in an upstairs bedroom hanging in the closet and produce that needs dealt with under the bed and kitchen table and in crates in the mudroom.ALONG with Monty, 27 cf deep freezer (Montgomery Ward AKA Monty) Newbie (21 cf deep freezer, it's new) in the basement laundry room and Baby the 7 cf deep freezer in the mudroom....please be sitting when you finally see the pictures when I post tomorrow and Monday.
This is the mudroom frig and it's freezer. We used to use it for condiments when I was working as a personal chef and then it was beverages and now it is OVER FLOW of what ever I am processing...right now there is turkey broth and beef broth to can and still some baking items that are needed to finish the Christmas candy and cookies that didn't get done due to me being in the hospital right before Christmas. The cookies and candy are to be delivered by end of Jan.
This is the kitchen frig and it's freezer. SIGH. I do have containers in this frig that has some of it organized but it is definitely overloaded and stacked up.
Be back tomorrow with more pictures and the menu.
I loaded Mobisave, Ibotta and Checkout 51 to my phone for rebates. Already have around $20 in rebates.
I saved $90 in coupons and sales at Krogers not counting the fuel pts that we will use this coming month.
I found a place to get a discount for the supplement my GI doctor has ordered for me to take that is NOT covered by my ins saving over half and it's shipped from the mfg .
I transferred my Pinecone pay to cover the journals I ordered for myself.
I transferred my Swagbucks to Amazon to pay for our subscribe and save order.
I inputted my coke pts and also got a free calendar (had to pay shipping) as a gift from Coke and Shutterfly.
I got 4x4 picture magnet from Walgreens for 99¢ to give to my in laws for the frig. Its a "selfie" off my cellphone picture of Hubby and me. I will be mailing it to them this week.
We found LED Christmas lights to replace the ones we lost this year. We had priced them at $35 a strand before Christmas and paid less than $7 a strand AFTER. Being LED will help keep the electric bill down next year also.
I got next year's Christmas cards for 1/4 th the price.
I saved the ham fat from the ham. turkey fat from the turkey and beef fat from the prime rib roast. Now in freezer. IF I don't use it for flavoring I will use to for the birds
I "simmered" turkey carcass for broth, prime rib bones for broth and bagged the meat off those for meals like noodles or casseroles for the freezer.
I froze the leftover strawberries we were given after a party.
I dehydrated eggs.
I fixed appetizers yesterday since we were home and tired of eating all the "buffets" we were invited to. We will have what is left of that today. The ribs I was going to fix is going to be for tomorrow instead which means I now have 2 meals in the freezer that isn't going to be used this week.Not sure if that is good or bad since the freezers are filled to the brim and so is both frigs.
A storm is what I feel like I have been going through the last month or so. I now have a new GI doctor that is more into doing what works for me than just prescribing meds. She made some requests for changes in what I eat with the understanding I wasn't not to put us in any kind of problem financially or health wise (if it bothers me don't eat it) and keep her updated through email of how it is going. I will eventually have to have surgery. My ilium in too small (birth defect that was just caught) and it causing "back" ups when blocked and the pain meds I have taken decades for the back pain pretty much is what triggered the Crohn's. She changed the meds to something that should help more and added a supplement to add good bacteria to my gut...HOPE PRAY AND DANCE IN THE RAIN...
Meantime between coming out of the hospital, dealing with Christmas (still have 1 candy and 6 types of cookies to deliver late Jan) I used Kroger's pts and Wagner pts for fuel (lots of driving long distance since the kids and both sets of parents live over an hr from us and we visited a friend that was in to see her parents , she's from Montana.
I used the leftover prime rib to make broth and meat for beef and noodles (and probable a casserole).
I used the leftover turkey to make broth and meat for noodles (and a couple casseroles for next month).
I saved the wrapping paper of a couple gifts we were given to reuse next year.
We got ham for 97¢/lb. I got 2 and then Hubby stopped in a couple days later and got 2 more. We are giving one to his parents.
I found bulk food storage containers to replace what finally gave way including new ones for the brown sugar and powdered sugar to keep ants out. This past year has been a battle and I have had to throw sugars out due to ants...went right through the containers I was using that I thought were airtight...NOPE. The containers were on sale and I went through my Swag bucks so that is even better. I got free shipping also.
I found good thick work socks at Rural King for Hubby and got free shipping and used a coupon .
I ordered the new office supplies going through Swag bucks and got them on sale. I ordered enough I hope to make it to school supply time this summer.
We went over our 2017 budget and figured out we have a couple areas too tight due to increase of prices around here so we are figuring out where to shift that from without taking away from the increase in savings. My new meds is one of those costs.
I did gag gifts for the 12 days of Christmas for the kids and grandkids. Great grandson got toys and Christmas ornament of him, his dad and his great great grandpa.
For the 12 days I did
1st= pear fruit cup (Dollar tree)
2nd = plastic turtles (Amazon on sale and used Swag bucks to pay for it) along with dove candy from Odd Lots.
3rd =feather's from JoAnn fabric black Friday
4 th = note that said messages was left and 4 positive messages written out by hand
5 th gold rings made from gold pipe cleaners
6th 6 tsp of dehydrated eggs
7th 7 tsp of Dead sea salt (swans were swimming in the Dead sea LOL)
8 m packages of Swiss miss hot cocoa except for my granddaughter that doesn't do any choc and she got shelf stable milk. She put it in her emergency supply since they have their own place.
9 lady's dancing needed candy canes that was given to us from a friend that didn't need any more for her own gifts
10 lords leaping for joy over 10 brownie cookies
11 pipers piping...they were preschoolers that "pipes" were made from drinking straws
12 drummers drumming...kids got a hoot out of it. I saved ever popcap I could including asking a friend to save hers so I could make "drums" out of the caps and hot glued a circle of linen paper on the cap and 2 small match sticks for the drum sticks...kids thought it was funny I used what was my TRASH for their gifts and then got to thinking about how many pops I had to drink to give each of them 12 drums ( over 200 until I admitted I had taken caps from them that they didn't realize what I was doing. I do coke points so that's what they thought I was doing LOL
I used paper from my late mother to wrap and only bought tape.
I could have done a lot better on the cost of the candy and cookies.... I didn't buy choc like I usually do so paid the price even with it on sale. Didn't make the run to Sam's club like I usually do and the costs showed it. Something I will have to change to handle that outlay this coming year.
We have to go visit Hubby's parents yet (tomorrow) and we have a neighborhood party tonight to take something to.
THEN it's take down Christmas , rest and start the New Year with new goals .
My week started off good with being frugal. I got eggs at Kroger's for 99¢for 18, 2 lbs of xxx sugar for 99¢ and did that while going to the bank so it wasn't an extra trip.
I cooked up the 3 lbs of sausage we got for buying 2 lbs of ground chuck to make 3 meals of sausage gravy and 4 meals of sausage hash with sweet potatoes and 3 bags for pizza or calzones.
Amazon let me know my Subscribe and save amt was going to be about 1/3rd off what the sale price was when I ordered.
Our health ins offered a free magazine of our choice for a year and then offered up to 5 more for $2.00 for a year of our choice also. I got the Saveur for free (Retired personal chef) and the other 5 was Food and Wine, Real Simple,Kiplinger's Personal Finance,Bloomberg Business and Reader's digest. I will be sharing this with family after I read them.
I downloaded the Walgreen's app and Google Fit and connected it to the Veryfit I wear. So not only am I now earning points to keep my health ins costs down and providing info for my doctors. I am earning points at Walgreen's.
Hubby and I went over our 2017 goals to make sure we were on the same page and starting it out to have good results.
THEN I WAS IN HOSPITAL....
I have Crohn's. I've had it all my life just didn't have the name for it. Two years ago with a lot of push from my doctor I went to a GI specialist. I was in remission and had been for 2 yrs but was having kidney stones that due to what the Crohn's was doing.
GI doctor puts me on remission meds and I was okay, not better but not worse until this past fall.
Since Sept I have been in twice due to blockage. My original doctor left state and I scheduled an appt for the doctor I will be seeing that specialize in women's digestive...but I haven't seen her yet so I got the doctors that was on coverage at the hospital that flipped when they saw the meds I had been on....the meds I am/ was on was for colitis not crohn's....hum. I have a cyst on my liver, not cancer or life threatening and I have hiatal hernia. So now I am taking 18 pills a day to deal with the damage while the entire GI office is talking about my case trying to figure out what to do with me next as I am allergic to 95 % of the drugs that are for crohn's. At least this time I didn't pass a kidney stone or get an kidney infection. I usually do.
I have 7 appts between now and Dec 31st so that's more gas money going out. My primary doctor shifted my follow up appt with him to the day he knows we come to town anyways so I'm not making an extra trip then . The GI office it trying to work it out that I use my "meet my new doctor" appt for the follow up to save me gas money also.
Hubby ate all the leftovers but forgot the pan of tomatoes and a bowl of orange peel so those had to be tossed. Not actually a bad loss considering I went down in the middle of the night.
SO today I started bar cookies instead of the others and will do what I can about finishing getting Christmas wrapped up before Friday when we deliver.
It's nice to be home for Yule,Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing day.
This is one of the pans of tomatoes I have stored under the bed to turn red that I just cooked up for juice. The pan on top is a 9 x 11 cake pan just so you know how big the sheet pan holding the tomatoes is.
I still have one pan of this size with partially turned tomatoes and another of mostly green tomatoes
This is the last of the bell peppers that was stored under the bed to turn also. I dehydrated them.
I am writing down daily what we are doing to be frugal.It helps keep us focused on saving.
I turned in my coke caps and got a reward and then used the coke caps to make "drums" for the 12 days of Christmas gifts for the kids and grandkids.
I cashed in my swag bucks and my Survey pts to pay for our Subscribe and save at Amazon which saved us $49.33 this month( not including what I cashed in to pay for it) for what is a necessity for the house.
I did a pre-order of Nora Roberts Island of Glass and got is for half of the price when it came out.
I ordered the prime rib (the only thing Hubby asks for at Christmas, it was a tradition from his grandparents that are no longer living). I found it at a butcher shop for $3.00 less a pound if I pre-ordered it.
I returned a glue gun to Walmart that didn't work instead of just tossing it . Yeah,a bad habit I got from Hubby who also has a bad habit of not putting things back and then going and buying more when he can't find it.We are working on that this spring when we clean the garage out.I tape the receipt to what is being returned and put it on my purse.
I turn the printer off after using it. Our old one shut itself off after 30 min but this one doesn't. I give my empty ink cartridges to the local school. They use them to get things so they don't have to increase the taxes to cover more stuff.
I shut my laptop down after I use it and then shut the power strip down that it is plugged into . I found one I don't sit and waste the day on social media and two the electric bill dropped.
We had a few Christmas lights die so we replaced them with LED lights. I also picked up LED light bulbs for the closets we forgot about when we replaced the other bulbs with LEDs.
We are using Gasbuddy to find the cheapest gas instead of just going to the one gas station. We check the area we are going to be in and what is around us at home.
We used Speedway card to get 3¢ off a gal.
We used Wagner's card to get 19¢ off a gal.
We used Kroger's card to get 70¢ off a gal.I do the survey to get extra points.
We moved our daughter in one trip (instead of the 3 we feared) with the help of one of her friends that had a trailer twice as big as ours. She had a couple bookcases and some stuff that would fit in her car left. As it costs about $40 to go down and back that ended up being an $80 savings.
We dropped our electric bill another $15 compared to last year.
A friend gave us some candy that they won't use so we will add that to the gifts we give the family.
If I am using the oven I will put a tea kettle of water on the burner over the exhaust and heat my water for tea that way. Takes a while but a slow roast or a turkey in the oven can keep me in hot water for the afternoon with no extra cost of the burner or microwave. Even a short amount of time will take the chill off the water as our water is cold due to coming from a well.
We are using "scrap " paper for notes and what ever that we get from expired coupons, envelopes and back of letters in the mail.
We ate home except for 2 meals. One meal Hubby's HAM radio group paid for and the other we got the special for pizza that provided meal all weekend. I think we are tired of pizza.
Hubby turned down Directv offer again. Even though it would not cost as any more that what we are spending for the home phone and internet the offer was only good for a year. We have already went through the " let's make a deal" more than once. We will just stay with our antenna.Don't really miss anything except Alabama football and his buddy will text him the scores as he lives down there. We are in OH.
We went to the grocery stores for sales. We got cake mixes (girls use them for cookies since they don't buy flour...I can't imagine not having flour) to give as gifts since they were under a dollar. We got smoke sausage for $1.59/lb . We got sausage for $1.92/lb and ground chuck for the same price.I got butter for $1.99/lb and lg eggs for 59¢ a doz. I got a turkey for 68¢/lb and pork loin for $1.39/lb.Depending on the freezer space I will pick up another turkey and a couple hams. I will get pork roast at New Year's. I got a rack of ribs the other day for 99¢/lb. One rack is all we need through this time of year.
One of us (including the dogs) has an appt every day this week so I plan to cook up some root veggies tomorrow that can be reheated to go with the protein of the day is. Will spend things up.
I know I will be having to buy gas for my car at least 4 more times this month. I usually only have to do once a month.That was figured into the holiday budget.
I am still working on the 2017 budget as we know there will be a change in health insurance (some of it will save us $180/month) but I figure there will be a down side somewhere.
We still have a hospital bill that is outstanding...kind of...the hospital is trying to get the ins to pay MORE because it was a necessity so our bill will be less. I hope we get that bill soon so I can get that done with for this year's taxes.
I am baking the cookies and making the candy for delivery to our kids and grand kids (and great grandson is too young) for this weekend. I am also finishing the gifts.
Since I wasn't going to deliver until closer to Christmas I dragged my feet about having the stuff to do it.SIGH
I went to Aldi's to do the bulk of the shopping, substituted somethings to keep the price down before finishing at Kroger's using my digital coupons to get the rest.
Found sweet peas and mixture of peas and carrots in freezer section of Kroger on sale. I got 5 of each as we use 1/3 of the bag per meal and I serve it twice a month. Neither of us like peas all that much. I use the peas and carrots in fried rice and pot pies.
I have Chinese food in the freezer I will be pulling out tonight so fix so we have leftovers. I made 123 pasta last night with extra sauce. One I won't be tempted to order out since I am in cookie and candy mode and two, I have my back injections on Friday morning and was warned there would be at least 4 injections and I would have pain due to the inflammation that is there. SO I would probably be down 3-4 days instead of 1-2. BUT then I should be fine until late spring. That is my norm.
Saturday, Hubby will be delivering the stuff and helping our one daughter move. SO I will be on my own and need to "fix "myself meals...definitely leftovers.
I put plastic on the windows in one bedroom. I have all the winter curtains up now. I put a wool lap blanket rolled up at the bottom of the staircase that goes upstairs(not heated).
I close the curtains in the evenings and open them when it's daylight. We don't turn on all the Christmas lights until evening. Out door lights are on a timer.I don't have the tree up yet due to stopping to do cookies and candy.
We are looking into doing Click list at Krogers (input order online and pick it up in parking lot) or continuing with Aldi's. Might be , this is the sale but I don't want to go in because we pick up other things. LOL
I just made the bulk of the list as I will be finishing the Christmas candy and cookies to deliver to the kids this coming weekend.
regular choc chips
mini choc chips
brown sugar ( I will be completely out when done)
Crisco (for sugar cookies )
Butter (I will be completely out when done)
Eggs (I will be completely out when done)
some odds and ends to finish cookies and candy for delivery
I will order the prime rib roast for Christmas Eve.This is the only thing my Hubby asks for all year.
I would like to get a couple more turkeys and a couple more hams.
I might get (depending on money) some things to make some special items like sugar plums for stocking stuffers
I need white vinegar and apple cider vinegar but it is for the pantry not to use right away.
To have the last of the house winterized by Dec 4th.
To have the house done decorated for Yule and Christmas by Dec 5th.Hubby celebrates St Nick's day.
To have all the gifts, cookies and candy done by the 18th and delivered.
To see Hubby's parents and my dad.
To see a friend that is coming in from out of state that has spent this whole year fighting breast cancer.
To not stress out over the amount of medical appts I have this month. Keeping in mind that our ins is paying for it this year and they won't be paying as good next year.
To start and complete the afghan for my great grandson.
To do some sewing beyond mending.
To eat...yeah really , after 50 some years of only eating one meal a day and a high calorie snack and living on coffee ...I am focusing on eating and eating healthy,
To walk the dogs three times a day
To eat from our pantry. I know of three times we will be eating out. One a company party( no costs to us), another with our son when he comes to visit at his request (favorite restaurant) and once with my Dad who will want to go to Bob Evans for his sausage gravy and biscuits. I would like to hold it to that though I could see another one in there depending on time of travel and meeting our friend.