Tuesday, February 26, 2019

On automatic frugal

Hubby came home from work, walked in and immediately asked if I knew I did automatic frugal?

I wondered where this was coming from but answered YES I know I do things automatically that is frugal. Why?

I guess the guys were talking at work about how high their electric bills and food bills are so he started with what we do instead of  doing 20 questions of what they are doing or not doing.

Except for the grow cart lights everything is LED.In time they will be also.

We turn off lights if we aren't in the room. If I am reading or mending on the couch and he is at the desk we have 2 task lights lit but as soon as one of us moves (like he shut off computer ) that light gets turned off.I have LED night lights at the corner where the front room and dining room join and another at the end of the bfast bar that shows down the hall towards the bedroom. Those pretty much with the Christmas strand light up the walk ways so he doesn't fall over Rascal... Rascal is BLACK and does NOT move when you step near him. We don't have dusk to dawn lights outside. We pay $10/ month for a LED security light that pretty much covers where we park or someone else parks. Our Amish neighbor said he likes where it's at as it doesn't bother them while sleeping.

We have a Christmas strand of LED lights as our night light in the kitchen to see the door we let the dogs out during the night. It's over the Hoosier which makes it nice as we can see the top of the stove also if we want to get tea out of the kettle. Hubby said it's enough for him to make a pot of coffee even though I have a small lamp in the corner between the coffee pots as he doesn't want to light up the whole kitchen.

We unplug or turn off power strips to computers and phone chargers. Printer is off unless we are using it. Coffee pot warmers are off. Our alarm clocks are our phones so we no longer have a clock plugged in to wake us up.

We have 2 generators so when we lost power this week we didn't lose anything in either refrigerator or the 4 deep freezers.

 I turn burners and oven off about 5 min before food is done, the heat is still there especially in the oven to finish the food.

I don't use the dry cycle on the dishwasher.

We use an oil lamp at the table. Our dining room does have a ceiling light fan but for just eating or sitting at the table talking we have the oil lamp or candle lit if there isn't enough outside light coming in. Found we slow down eating and it seems to help us relax even talking about stuff that upsets us aka taxes or kids that can't seem to get their lives together and keep making the same mistakes over and over and over. I can buy a bottle of fuel for my oil lamp for around $3 and it will last me 3-4 months.

I use an oil lamp here at the computer in the morning until there is enough light from the window beside me.

I open curtains for light, put sheers up in the summer so I get the light but not the heat. I close curtains at dusk to keep heat in during the winter. In the summer I have 2 south windows I close the curtains during the heat of the day.

I use the 50 lb dog food bag as a trash bag.I use plastic grocery bags for trash bags for the smaller trash cans.I will also use them for bones etc that would stink in the kitchen trash can  so I can take it out to the trash can outside to put in a sack later. When I run out of plastic bags, I get more from the kids as I have pretty much went to cloth bags for my groceries.I can probably go a year before I run out as I got bags from 3 kids and a granddaughter.

I wash plastic bags and foil and what few plastic food containers we get.

I wash the inserts to boxes (which is getting fewer each month) and use them as wax paper.

I turned the second bulb in my grow light cart to not have it come on as I only needed the first one on that shelf(I have 4 shelves and 8 bulbs that are not LED)

I use up the leftovers or put them in the freezer. I don't have a compost pile yet but will by time summer is over. I keep a "scrap, peelings"bag for broth in the freezer...goes with the cubes of fat I keep from meat.

If I am using the oven I do more than one dish.Which is why I haven't baked the pound cake since I haven't had to bake bread or anything else.

When the sun is shining, I am baking or using the dryer I turn down the furnace. When we leave I turn the furnace down farther.

If we feel chilly we get another shirt (shawl or sweater for me) or a throw blanket. We do NOT turn the furnace up. We have a humidifier and it's need replaced but it lasted through this winter. I will wait until I find one on sale before replacing it .In the summer we use fans and open windows. IF I turn on the AC it's set at 78. I have dehumidifier on the buy list.

We have 3 house phones. I do not leave the chargers plugged in except the one that has the answering machine. I just rotate which one in on that charger.

If I can use the microwave over the propane stove I use the microwave.Like yesterday when I made spag sq for my lunch. 12 min and I had lunch instead of the 30 min in the oven.

We don't hold refrigerator doors open ( that was Hubby's habit that took me awhile to get him broke of). I keep my freezers full even if I have to use bags of ice so they don't run as much.

I don't run water while brushing my teeth. I love my soak tub but I usually take a shower.Hubby showers only. I have to focus to turn water on with my right hand or I will turn the hot water on which is a waste because it kicks the instant hot water heater on.

I sweep the floors with a broom or dust mop and only use the vacuum every other week.I have throw rugs at doors that are industrial so I can easily sweep them with a broom and they look fine.

I used the drying rack and clothes line instead of the dryer. I use short cycle and full loads even if I have to combine loads to wash clothes. I use the dry sensor cycle when using the clothes dryer.

We tie in errands to other appointments. We check Gas Buddy for the cheapest gas around us. We use the car over the truck if we aren't needing to haul something in the bed of the truck.

I still send birthday cards. I buy them at Dollar General for 2 for $1. I pick up enough to do all the kids and grandkids for the year.

We have a to buy list that I keep on the frig , I check the sales weekly to see if what we need is on sale. Until it does we just make do or do without.

I have been looking for a better blender for over a year. My blender will not hold up to smoothies  or anything that is frozen.I was debating between 2 when Hubby ran across American Test Kitchen testing blenders. The best was one I had by passed due to price,Hubby said something to a friend about it and the guy had a coupon for anything Black and Decker that he was getting ready to toss. That put the blender down to our price range. The guy said for now on he is going to ask around if anyone wants the coupon before he tosses it.

We eat from the pantry. Last night I was so worn out if I hadn't had supper prepped and ready to bake I would have asked, begged for Hubby to bring something home or ate eggs instead of fixing a meal. I have also found that pepperoni (always have some sliced in freezer) cheese, crackers or bread and a sliced apple is enough for a meal as Hubby doesn't care so much for soup and is definitely gotten tired of it and casseroles in his thermos at work.

I bought shorts at Sam's club and then ordered a few more pairs on line as that was the cheapest I could find. Since I have worn the same shorts for over 20 yrs I hope these last as long. Better yet was I found they were on clearance from being $70.  I paid $5. I've been looking for the last 2 yrs and haven't found anything that will "flex" with my weight changes. I bounce 20 lbs depending on my Crohn's.

I bought a pair of garden clogs, I will have to change the insert as it hits the top of my foot with what is came with. I have high arches and high instep and wear a size 3 in children, 5 in women's. I've ruined 2 pairs of muck boots with squatting in the gardens. Have tried everything except flex seal (which is next) to patch the break at my toes. My "pain" doctor suggested them as his mother wears them all the time even after she quit gardening.

I did some more winter sowing. Goal is to not buy any plants for the gardens.

I trimmed the halo dogwood bush but made sure I didn't pull the sucklings so we can transplant them down by the pond. Hubby hates mowing that area and I suggested we "make" it like a bird haven. I have some wild flower seeds we can plant that is for bees and butterflies (since the pond is close to the garden I thought the garden would benefit also). As long as Hubby can get in to fish it and the neighbors to get ice and fish (they stock it), it shouldn't be an issue.

Hubby pruned the second apple tree the morning before all the wind hit. Guy at work told him he paid $100 for each apple tree he had pruned. Hubby offered to do it the next time for him for $50 after he looked at the trees.. I will go through the limbs and pick the ones that are the right size to cut for the smoker. It will also be a Christmas present for a friend down south.

A friend gave us thermos cups for Christmas. Hubby won't use his as he needs a handle on a cup to hang on to it so I am using it to put a cup of water by the bed so I don't have to get up for a drink during the night, nor drink a Sprite as I've been known to do.

My sister posted a meme on Facebook of getting rid of 1 thing daily during Lent for a total of 40 things. I decided to start early and chose to do 40 items a day. I have did 411 in 6 days. The paper clutter is just mind boggling. BUT I feel I will be through the entire house by Easter...that leaves the barn LOL.

I watch for sales for things I need for my gardens. I might have to suck it up a bit as we are down to soil for 30 grow bags and the trellis (which is going to be feed(cattle) panel and metal stakes that can be used for YEARS. I got bird netting on sale for the grapes and berries. I doubt if Hubby will cover the apple trees. I got row cover on sale to cover the brassicas and the cucurbits plants to keep bugs off.

I cut back on how much meat I fix each meal, Hubby hasn't noticed as there is more veggies and fruit on the table.

I did suggest to Hubby he drive my car to work instead of his truck but the very next day he was offered $ to stop and pick up something for a coworker that didn't have a truck. SO far he has made enough of "side" jobs that he hasn't paid for his gas to go back and forth to work.

GOOD... repairman for Sump pump is here.

Monday, February 25, 2019

wind wind and more wind PS Lana

We have survived the weekend of 50 mph winds. Had some things blow around, cover off generator after Hubby started it as we were out of power, tree limbs Hubby had cut out of the apple trees, some pots that were in the perennial garden etc. Cover off the garage in the box, boards and metal roofing over basement ramp took a nasty hit and will have to be totally redone. Hubby went out and made sure it was safe because the dogs do go down that way. Maybe tomorrow we will deal with it better.I listened to it BANG ALL NIGHT long for 2 nights now. Dogs paced, barked and paced more last night. Hubby and I have our butts over our shoulders to keep them from dragging on the ground after 2 nights with little sleep.

Amish neighbor stopped over this morning and advised me to not hang clothes out. He had to go get a couple diapers out of the tree after his wife hung them out on the line.They weren't damaged but she had to rewash them.Figured I would be fishing mine out of the pond. His ice slide got wrapped around one of the pine trees. Another something to fix on his to do list for this summer. Hubby said he would take a look at it when the winds calm down and see if he can fix it for neighbor as he is expecting more milk calves... baby calves that are still on milk and not grain feed.

I got up at 5:45, easing into my new routine. Not bad so far even with the lack of sleep. I'm pretty much on task. We did chose a couple things that are my priority for the day which are to finish Feb winter sowing (waiting for potting soil to absorb water in containers) bake pound cake (waiting for butter to come to room temp), so some cleaning in the pantry and start the spring cleaning.... Going to start in the south and north lofts. I will be timing each area so I know to plan for the fall cleaning

I used your recipe for biscuits except I had only dry buttermilk, I made the buttermilk and put it in the frig for the day until I made the biscuits in the evening. Hubby said it was a SCORE but I needed to put buttermilk on the grocery list as he wants to test it also LOL. I'm waiting for him to ask for cat head biscuits, he lived 2 yrs in Alabama. THANKS for the advice

Friday, February 22, 2019

Routines change...

It used to be that if my routine got messed up even a little I would end up sick the next day.

Then we bought this house and routines went out the door and it was more like survivor mode.It's no wonder Hubby and I both have been sick pretty much from Sept when we moved in until now.

Hubby asked for me to work out a routine that WE can handle as he is looking at coming out end of March from his seasonal work so he can get started on working on the punch list left for here. Plus he has a deep sea fishing trip in May with his BFF that is retiring out March 1st

I want to have the gardens set up the latest by mid April (prefer end of March but hey we live in OHIO so winter still hits in March and some in April) and the gravel in by end of April with the deck on before he goes fishing mid May.

We have a dogwood halo bush, grape harbor and apple tree that need trimmed. Hostas, daylilies, lilac, halo bushes and maple tree that need transplanted from now to March.

I was okay... when do you want this routine to start? I'm thinking since he is looking at stopping the season job end of March that would be when...NO , he decides March 1st....as in NEXT WEEK.!!!

I'm like "but you are still working for another month, how is that going to happen?

It's MY routine he wants changed starting March and then he can slide into MY routine... okay, since I am slow at changing routines and have next to nothing that I thought was working until he pointed out I do have things that are working but I need to "fine tune" that routine.

Hubby gets up around 4 and he puts dog food down and gets the dogs fresh water and lets them out and back in. He wakes me up if I am not already awake at 6. We have a cup of coffee together and at 6:15 WE open the curtains and he starts getting around for work and I start laundry. Neither of us eats bfast of a regular bases. He goes to work, I get dressed and continue with laundry. If I need to bake bread I will start bread at this time. I continue with laundry until it's all washed and on the line or drying rack. Baking bread when it's ready.While laundry is rolling I do emails, blog, Facebook (aka, check on the grandkids as they no longer even text it's all social media), pay bills. I have found if I do 2-3 loads a day, it is easier to dry if I have to use the drying rack,even if it means I do a load before I go to bed to put on the rack to dry over night.

Around 8-9ish I eat a light snack.

Then it's what ever....

11:30 I stop what ever and have lunch along with 90% of my meds. He would stop also.

12:30 I will do what ever...

2 pm I stop for tea and snack, maybe prep supper if needed.

3:30 I stop and shower, put laundry away if dry,(sometimes this is after supper) prep supper, talk to Hubby about his day from 4-4:30. Finish supper, put dishes in dishwasher, wash anything that doesn't go in dishwasher, put what ever we are eating the next day to thaw in frig. Watch the 6 news for weather report. Answer text from Daughter 4 or phone call from Son 2. One or both connect at this time of day as they are both single living alone and decided this is two fold, we know they are ok and they know we are ok.

6:30... decide what needs done for tomorrow.

7:30, run dogs out for potty party ,yeah if I yell that they all go outside without battle. I think Rascal was a house cat in another life.  Pick up dog food, give fresh water. Check emails, blog,and FB.

8 pm... Hubby zones out in front of tv for 1 hr (he puts it on timer) I go to the bedroom and do devotional, mediation, journal writing, kindle and then read whatever bedside book (something I have already read, new books make me think too much at bedtime or worse I read the whole book and not sleep).

10 pm SHOULD be lights out... it's been MIDNIGHT the last month.Even with turning the lights out I lay there, so get up , go sit and rock and watch the dogs sleep instead. Midnight... I go back to bed and go right to sleep.I think the change in my meds is affecting my sleep.

SO what am I going to change on the routine.

Morning routine and after supper routines work ...floating around the day doing what ever isn't... most likely because I am not sure what is most important(all of it is important LOL).

I'm going back closer to the routine I ran when I was raising my kids...just sleeping in a bit as I am NOT getting up at 4 am unless I must.

5:00 A.M. rise and shine... potty, start laundry, dogs, start bread if needed

5:15 COFFEE...

5:30 get dressed, open curtains,2nd coffee

5:45 start 2nd load of laundry hang laundry on line or rack,
 start baking if doing something besides bread, Bread on 2nd rise.

6:15 3rd coffee, bfast, prep lunch and supper

6:30 continue with laundry/ baking/housekeeping/ computer

8 am garden:plant,weed, harvest/pantry and freezers/punch list

9:30 water break, snack

9:45 garden:plant, weed, harvest/pantry and freezers/punch list

11:15 wash up for lunch

11:30 LUNCH

NOON process harvest/pantry and freezers/ housekeeping/ punch list

2 pm Tea time with snack,computer

2:15 process harvest, punch list

4 pm SHOWER, put laundry away, start supper,prep tomorrow's bfast, plan tomorrow's lunch.supper and snacks.Supper, Son 2/Daughter 4, dishwasher loaded and set, hand dishes washed

6 pm News WATCH WEATHER. mending, decide tomorrow' priority, finish processing harvest of the day/ cut dog nails if needed/finances/ work on sewing

8 pm dog food up/potty party/ dog biscuit/ put tomorrow's 1st load in washer to be kicked on in morning/ check calendar and make sure everything is ready for the next day.Lay out tomorrow's clothes.

8:30 devotional, journal writing, read

10 pm lights out

Hubby came home from work and looked this over and thought it looked good but I was going to want to change some stuff as he won't be coming out until END of April unless they let him go before that.... He wants to increase how much propane we buy by 2 tanks instead of the 1 tank I budgeted for. He also wants to buy some "spare tires for the commercial trailer he just bought. Asked me to REWORK the budget to add commercial tags for trailer and truck that is in June and I told him to take it out of HIS account not the joint and it would be fine. I don't count on anything in his account as it's the odd jobs he is picking up just like my account is. Joint acct is retirement money that pays the bills.

BUT with him working until end of April means there is things that he was going to do through the week that NEEDS done , that he isn't going to get to. I need to go back through the punch list and pull what I can handle doing by myself. I also need to learn how to run the mower on the tractor. I can drive the tractor but haven't done much with the mower on is or the fork lift and bucket. Need some practice on that because it looks like I just got the mowing part until May and that's 12 hrs each time WITHOUT trimming. Trimming is another 6 hrs.

The good thing is it's Friday. I need to make noodles this morning , do the floors and trim the halo bush this afternoon. Everything else is done for the day. I woke up at 3 when the weather alert went off and got up and worked through my list.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Winter sowing

Kevin Lee Jacobs does this (https://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/)

So I decided to try it.

First I bought a new mister...
I wanted something that I didn't have to keep refilling every 3-4th plant. This one also has a button that I can press and it does a continuous spray of a fine mist.

Next I got took an empty distilled water jug and put drain holes in the bottom and some on each side and a few on top.
Kevin used a heated screw driver, I used a drill

Then I cut the jug open leaving about 2 inches at handle to keep the two pieces connected.
I'm lousy at cutting LOL

Then I added 2-3 inches of potting soil and misted it so it was damp all the way through. Then I went and did something else to give the soil a chance to absorb the water before I planted the seeds. That's just the old me that doesn't want to plant is wet soil.

Then I planted it. This one I put brussels sprout in... about 5 seeds. Added enough soil to cover it according to the directions on the package
closed it , duct taped it (leave cap off)

Did 3 others, put them in a milk crate to keep them from being blew over and then tied the milk crate to the bottom of the fence to keep it from blowing away.

I figure in March I will start checking for "green"

What I planted
Broccoli raab
cilantro(which got knocked over into the sink so we'll see how it turns out)
snowbird pea
kookaburra savoyed spinach
red Russian kale
diablo Brussels sprouts
redarling Brussels sprouts
Philadelphia white box radishes

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Freezer burn and pantry for 2 yrs Lana asked about

Lana This is how I protect my food in the pantry to last 2 yrs

Canning ... I use NEW canning lids and check the jar rims for cracks.. Ball right now has a suretight canning lid that the seal is suppose to be good for 18 months after used and 5 yrs before used. I check ALL my seals once a month.

In the freezer I follow the advice of a family member that lived 30 yrs in Alaska and put their own food in the freezer as the stores were 3 hrs away one way and not accessible during the long winter (about 6 months at least according to him)

DOUBLE WRAP meat... first a plastic (I use press and seal) and then vacuum bagged. I've had meat NOT freezer burnt that was 2 yrs old. Freezer burn does NOT turn food bad, it just dries it out and has a "burnt" taste that can be covered with a tangy marinade or sauce (yep I actually tried it with a freezer burnt roast and it was good)

Veggies and fruit I flash freeze


I then put them in sandwich bags in the serving size I need and then vacuum bag them. Example is corn, I put 1 cup in a sandwich bag and 4 bags in a vacuum bag (1 month of corn for us). When I open the vacuum bag I only take out what I want and then I leave the rest in the vacuum bag and put the open vacuum bag in a freeze bag in the kitchen frig freezer. That corn is used in 1 month while the other 11 months stay in the deep freezer.

Is it a part time job? can be but my pantry filled by my gardens or produce I buy at the Amish auction is a full time job year around, just more of the planning stage and making sure things work and are ordered if needed during the winter.

is the pantry saving me more than working outside the home.?

At one time this was all I had for a pantry. I started stocking can goods under the beds, couch, love seat, in corners behind doors, beside the love seat covered with a tablecloth as a stand,in the garage in rubber maid containers. Hubby was down to 3 days, we lost both houses, had no savings and the family and friends were putting food on the table because we had no garden.

BUT because Hubby's company had them working 3 days instead of just laying them off, we had HEALTH INS which good because I was laying on the couch dying...actually dying and my doctor was running hundreds of tests trying to find WHY. FYI... I'm allergic to blue dye and half my meds that were red had blue dye also in them along with the preservatives in the food I was eating took me down.

Two years later...

This was where I was at with my pantry. I was still working 11 days out of every month out of state as a private chef.  A combination of shopping Aldi's, growing a garden (in ground, square foot gardens, and over 2 dozen pots) and buying vegetables and fruit at the Amish produce auction was a full time job when I was home.

I went from spending $150 a wk for organic fruits and veggies to spending $10 a wk now days.

I plan ahead, we knew we wouldn't have a garden with buying the house in March (we actually offered at Christmas and it was accepted but the underwriter kept messing up the loan and our mortgage guy kept catching it). SO I put extra in the pantry 2017. NOW after moving, which was rougher on the pantry then I had planned as I have had several jars come open during the move.We are thinking the heat in the trailer caused the problems. ANYWAYS

As Hubby put it to a co worker that stated that when they checked into childcare so his wife could go back to work... she wasn't even going to earn enough at minimum wage to pay for the childcare and costs of going to work. BUT they need food on the table.SO Hubby told him how we did it.

If I was working outside the home at minimum wage which in Ohio is $8.55/hr
Let's say 7 to 3:30 (which is what Hubby is working right now) He gets paid for 8 hrs (no pay for lunch)... pay for 8 hrs / day 5 days a week is 40 hrs. That is $342 BEFORE social security, federal, State and school taxes are taken out.
Social security, and all taxes run us about 32% which is $102.60

  - $102.60
   $ 239.40 bring home for 40 hrs that equals $5.985/ hr bring home.

WAIT... I would have to leave at 6:30 and get home at 4 pm... which is actually 9 1/2 hrs so for 1 1/2 hrs a day I am not paid for times by 5 days a week is 7  1/2 hrs a week I would be gone but not paid for.

SO what would I be earning for the actual hours I would be gone (aka what I would have to pay a babysitter for if I had a child)

$239.40/47 1/2 hrs is $5.04 AFTER the taxes.... That's $47.88 a day...

WAIT !!!... cost of driving back and forth to work. If you are self employed you keep track of mileage and the gov't tells you what you claim for that which at this point is 58 cents/mile.  Hubby works 6 miles away so I will use that figure..

6 miles twice a day is 12 miles times 5 days a week is 60 miles times 58 cents/ mile ...that is $34.80 each week...so that's $6.96 a day that needs to come off the $47.88..

SO without childcare I would be bringing home a total of $40.92 a day of a 9 1/2 hr day which is $4.31/ hr

Can I save that or earn that staying at home.

I can 56 pints(16 oz) jars of green beans yearly. To buy it I would be spending 65 cents per 16 oz. (FYI most cans in store are 14.5 oz now days). That is $36.40 for green beans. I plant 20 green plants and get my 56 pints AND fresh eating for $1.30.

 I know that my cost for lids is 20 cents each (I buy in bulk) so that costs is $11.20

At this point I have $12.50 in the green beans..

Average age of my jars is 10 yrs.The last time I bought canning jars I got them with lids for $5/ case which is 12. I can usually find them for around $8.  I don't count my jars in the cost as I use my jars FOR DECADES. but just to add it in there, doing the $8 for a case that would be $37.33 divided by the 10 yrs I use the jar would be... that's $3.73 FOR all 56 jars

Bringing green beans to $16.23

The cost of the propane (I use turkey fryers for canning so I don't heat up the house) is $8 for the tank as I get mine refilled from my supplier which is a LOT cheaper than a trade in for around $20. I use 3 tanks for canning season (yes that is what we call it here). I use 3/4 of a tank for green beans. I can get 8 pints in my canner and it takes 7 loads. SO that's additional $6

Bringing green beans to $22.23

That is $14.17 CHEAPER than the store bought...and it's organic

I spend 30 min /day hands on to weed, harvest and process those 56 pints. That is 3 hrs a week I don't count the time they are in the canner as I am doing other things then.

SO if I were to count my 3 hrs a week $14.17/3 hrs is $4.72 /hr. ...would be my earnings

Now...if I worked outside the home I would be bring home $4.31...LESS than green beans.

Granted I would earn a lot less with tomatoes or peas.... but winter squash, onions, garlic, potatoes, and sweet potatoes which is even less hands on time and NO canning brings that "wage" up.

SO on average, yes I SAVE more by working full time in the pantry( garden turned to pantry) then I would by working a full time job outside the home.

You have to figure out if you need cash in hand (I can sell my extra produce at the auction or at the end of the road) or can the you just do the physical and keep from spending the cash.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Frugal each day


We ate from the pantry for all meals

I baked cinnamon raisin bread.

I did the laundry on cold wash, quick cycle, homemade laundry soap and hung everything either on the drying rack or shower rods.

We still are running across things that should have been pitched when we had the dumpster. We are breaking it down and keeping it under the weight limit and amount of bags we can have with the new service. Since we don't have a burn barrel, our Amish neighbor offered to let us burn the cardboard at his place.

Hubby worked last night so was home today when the Amish neighbor asked if he could get a ride to check on his brother (5 miles away , brother broke leg) Hubby made $10 for a 20 min trip.


We ate from the pantry for all meals.

I baked  Pullman bread ( https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/drink/ct-food-0227-pullman-bread-recipe-20150227-story.html )

Hubby worked all night plowing (again) so he ate his "lunch" for his breakfast as he only ate his snacks during the night. He doesn't like to eat a meal during the night since it can make his sleepy.

We reworked the budget that Hubby calls it the 2008 budget...that's when he went to 3 days a week and we had family putting the food on the table since we hadn't put a garden in . Not that bad, actually not bad at all when comparing to 2008 to 2010 just wanting a few things that are going to cost some money and not willing to pull a lot off the IRA with how the market is at the moment. Our original plan was not pull the IRA until 62, but we invested more cash in this house since we didn't get moved in 90 days as the contractor started but 180 days later of paying rent and mortgage and double utilities and had things that were missed during inspection. The only two things under budget was the gas we used driving back and forth and the food budget as I knew we would be eating out more than normal.

His first question was what else do you need for the gardens this year and how much $$ and do we have enough in the pantry (or will if the garden does decent) to go 2 yrs instead of 1.SO we are "test driving" the new budget for 2 months as we already are set to not pull the IRA until mid summer. I have already gotten or ordered stuff I will need in harvest season and have the list of what is left and price.

Hubby called around and got quotes for the gravel for the deck,driveway etc. Depending on the trailer he buys we might have enough saved between the two of us to get most of it done this summer.We already have a contract for job that we will need the trailer for in April. The Amish guy hiring Hubby said he had already talked to another guy that would rent his trailer if Hubby didn't have one by then. The guy just doesn't want the job as it's out of town and at least 12 hrs between driving and wait time.

Hubby turned off the heat lamp on water pump in pump house. It's not suppose to get that cold but if it does I can go back out to pump house and turn it back on. He is also not plugging in his truck.

Amish neighbor bakes sugar cookies and sent a dozen over, so I won't be baking cookies tomorrow like I had planned.


I think I am trying to come down with a "bug" sneezing, sniffling and having clammy sweats. Hubby is crossing his fingers when he passes me.

I did the laundry(table linen and kitchen towels/cloths) on cold wash, quick cycle with homemade laundry and hung everything on the drying rack and "sock" drying racks.

I sent our granddaughter a birthday card. I was told that I was the ONLY grandparent that actually sent a card in the mail and the grandkids think it's great. They know they are only getting $10 but they love getting something in the mail.

I filled out and sent the rebate form for Menard's 11% back.

I filled out the form for reimbursement for our health ins from our RRA.

I paid the bills. Still waiting on the ER bill. The bill should be around $300.

I sorted out the seeds I will be winter sowing tomorrow.

I cut all 3 dogs toe nails , not an easy job on my own but saved us $30 by doing so.

I make two pots of hot tea every afternoon, I reuse the same bag from the 1st pot and just let it steep a bit longer. Hubby has even started drinking it instead of coffee (Thankful for that as the tea is a lot cheaper than the coffee).

All meals from the pantry, except for the cookies the Amish neighbor sent over, which Hubby has them almost gone already.


Hubby worked over this morning so he doesn't go to work tomorrow. That saves 2 gal of gas LOL.

We did errands using the old truck (Hubby had to charge battery as it hadn't been started in 3 wks) bank, truck payment, TSC for dog food, Walmart for distilled water, Gas station for gas and kerosene and Save a lot which saved me $19.07 over what it would have cost me at Krogers.

I did 2 loads of laundry, drying rack and clothes line used

We ate left overs for a late lunch and decided we would eat eggs if we got hungry later. Probably won't since it was almost dinner time when we ate lunch.

We sat for a couple hours and talked about what we wanted to get done around the house this summer, whether he should do summer seasonal work where he is now or not. We decided not after I brought up what we NEEDED to get done and we WANTED to do. He did say he had 1 more job of hauling something for a co-worker and possible a occasional call to drive a cement mixer that is a manual as the guy does concrete and struggles to find a CDL driver that can do manual transmission. He has one job set for April as it is.

We also decided to get into a better routine during the summer so meals can be at a set time, which means LESS SNACKING.


Hubby finished his 40 hr week yesterday so he was off today. Supposed to be off until Tuesday morning but if we get any of the nasty snow or freezing rain Sun as they are saying he will be working before Tues.

We ate from the pantry, nice roasted chicken for dinner that will be leftover chicken wraps tomorrow and then into the broth pot.

I labeled the empty distilled gal. water jugs for winter sowing.

We have 55 things still on the punch out list we wrote when we walked through this house the first time ...and then added to after the contractors left and we realized we should have added a few more things.

Hubby trimmed back the one apple tree. Has another one to do.

I cut back the lilac tree. Definitely a work out that I am not used to.

I mended a pair of jeans for Hubby and 2 pairs of pants for myself along with buttons on 2 of my shirts and my winter cap repaired.


Laundry washed, homemade laundry soap, freezed dried on kitchen porch clothesline, drying rack held "unmentionables" LOL and "sock dryer" got socks.

Have too many eggs and know I'm getting another 2 dozen today. Just didn't get the baking done I planned.

I baked a loaf of bread.

I boiled 1 dozen eggs for Hubby's lunches ...then gave 3 of those to the dogs as Charlotte was sitting so nicely at the cabinet "begging" and could have snatched one while I was hanging clothes out as they all are tall enough to reach to the back of the counter.

I baked apple bread pudding.

I baked custard.

I did part of my Feb winter sowing.

I cleaned the frigs out.

Hubby came home from KY with a 32 ft flatbed trailer with wench.


The day of REST... sometimes hard to do with all that is on the to do lists but we know we need to REST so we don't get sick and don't burn out.

We enjoyed the few moments of sunshine there was.

We are thankful for the ice pellets we got instead of freezing rain.

We had Apple bread pudding for bfast, lunch meat wraps for lunch, custard for our snack and eggs and homemade bread for our dinner.

We did ball park figures of how long it takes me to do the following  in a week:

Cooking meals and snacks for the 2 of us(prep, eat, clean up and food from scratch) 24 1/2 hrs/wk

Garden (weeding, planting, harvesting) 14 hrs/ wk

Baking (hands on only) 4 hrs/wk

Laundry (hands on only) 15 hrs/ wk

Housekeeping  15 hrs/wk

Just those items are 72 1/2 hrs a week. That's 10 hrs and about 21 minutes each day.

That's not adding in processing harvest,sewing, working on the punch out list, dog care, personal care, pantry cleaning , deep freezer defrosted and it's food organized.Going through the boxes still left, clearing the barn and what I was going to use for a garden shed until we realized it had a NASTY odor when the doors had been kept closed.SO I need to move what little garden equipment out of it to the barn, which means I need to fix an area in the barn to MOVE the stuff to.

He asked me how I did it when I was a widow with kids, I got up at 4 am and went to bed at midnight. I worked 2-3 part time jobs and I multi-tasked like crazy AND I have paid the price of doing it with my health.

SO what is the advice I would give... actually keep track of the time it takes you to do what you do at home, time you spend running errands or other people. MAKE SURE you take DOWN TIME for yourself.

Blessed Be

Monday, February 11, 2019

Frugal moments

I made biscuits and they were actually decent, not up to Southern standards but decent.

I made rivel soup from potatoes, onions, flour from the pantry and the free eggs we get each week.

I had a couple onions going bad so I cut them up and fried them with bulk sausage that we can either add eggs to for a meal or make gravy with it.

I tossed what leftovers was in the frig with pasta and called it dinner.

I baked bread.

I did laundry on quick wash, cold water, homemade laundry soap. Hung everything either on kitchen porch clothes line, drying rack or shower bars. I used my "sock drying rack" to also dry dish cloths.

We turned the furnace down to 55 when we leave. Good thing yesterday because Hubby forgot to lock the basement door and the dogs let themselves in  through the basement but that meant the basement door was open along with the door to the 1st floor from the basement for 6 hrs. (Neighbor saw them go down right after we left and didn't come back out until right before we got home.  No heat vents there and it was 22 degrees out. Thankful the collapsed garage in the box cover was still across the basement ramp so it helped keep the cold out. Hubby left if so if the dogs didn't want to go to the kennel in the barn when we are gone but the porch (which is where they prefer to hang out) was getting rain or snow they could go down under the cover and be out of the weather also. I locked the basement door.

We saw Dad, first time since I got down sick, he is doing really good. My brother texted me while we was there that he was down with his IBS so I let the staff know Brother wouldn't be stopping by. He usually spends Saturday evening with Dad. He is better today so it going to stop this afternoon. Then we went to Walgreen so I could use the points off my card and get Vit D which they had on sale and I am almost out of. Since Hubby's parents live within 2 miles of Walgreen I suggested we do a pit stop and check on them. They are doing okay. We went on to Menards since they are having the 11% rebate going on, got garden stuff using the last rebates we got. We should get the new rebate back in time to buy filters for the house.Then Hubby suggested since I felt decent and Valentines and our anniversary was coming up that we stop at the local restuarant and have a meal. He paid out of his money. I brought home my leftovers.

We know we will need ice for when the asparagus starts coming in so instead of turning off the ice maker or just dumping ice I am bagging it and putting it in the white space of the freezers, helps keep the freezers from running so much also.

Hubby worked over the weekend and threw our routine off a bit. He is trying to decide whether he wants to do seasonal work for the state this summer or not.

How was your week?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Spending the day with 4 Amish ladies

I played taxi driver for my neighbor and 3 of her cousins. Their driver had cancelled on them due to flu and they had appts...chiro and massage appts with a stop at Aldi's on the way back. They are going 50 miles to have these appts as that is the only lady chiro in the area. I enjoyed the time even though I really need to learn German as they would forget and get to talking in German, they try to be respectfully of speaking English around Englishers.  We were gone from 10:30 to almost 5 pm.

We talked about being frugal...which they don't call it that, to them it's respecting their resources. We talked about getting meals on the table quickly and when it's already been a long day of child care, laundry in wringer washers and clothes lines and gardens with preserving the harvest. We talked about routines. We talked about getting it done and still having time to rest.

I'll start with meals as I know my neighbor's husband is a meat eater... he has made that comment several times that he wants meat at all 3 meals and he makes sure he provides meat so his wife can put it on the table. All the husbands AND boys take care of chores..aka feeding and watering animals BEFORE breakfast which is usually served around 7 am. Wives and daughters gather eggs. (Because I asked what happens if you have no sons or no daughters...then it's the oldest child does chores and the second oldest does eggs.)

Breakfast might be oatmeal or homemade granola with canned fruit and an egg or like "meat eater" have sausage with it. Very little bacon is used as it's not something pigs produce a lot of.

Lunch is at noon pretty much across the board, or 1 pm during day light saving time as they don't do that time change. It's canned meat, canned potatoes, canned veggies or fresh from the gardens and some kind of dessert. Dinner or I should say supper as it's at 6 or 7 pm AFTER chores is the same as lunch...NOTICE CANNED MEAT and CANNED POTATOES. Casseroles are very common, Soups are common year around especially on laundry day but steak, pork chops, meatloaf isn't. With canned meat and canned potatoes they can have a meal on the table in 15 minutes. Since I am not in to canning meat so much I figure cooking a good supply of meat and putting it in the freezer in "meal" size will help.I do that will my turkey and hams , used to do with the hamburger as just hamburger for pasta,sloppy joes,  mushroom joes and taco meat. We don't eat that mix much anymore but I think I will go back to precooking my hamburger. When the gardens are producing what ever is ripe is what is ate. They ALWAYS have cake,pie, cookies and canned or fresh fruit in season for snacks. They burn those calories with the manual labor they do.The ladies decide what they are fixing the night before right after dinner. They know what they will be baking the night before. Not waiting until that morning or right before a meal is the biggest thing that helps keep the meals on the table without frustration.

Baking... Monday and Saturday at least, but most bake also midweek. Baking is done when the stoves (wood burning in this area) are already heating the water for the laundry to be washed not "wasting" the heat. They will bake the bread,cakes, pies and cookies at this time along with making noodles and using the top of the stove to help dry the noodles so they can cut them rather than leaving them hang or lay all over the house to dry. Especially nice in rainy weather. The young lady that used to live here showed me last summer how to do it on the stove and what to check for to see when it was dry enough to cut, maybe 2-3 minutes. She said since I don't have a wood burning stove to use a skillet to lay the dough on. They do one piece of dough as a time. Their cook stove is also the one that heats the house. Some have more than one stove. Our neighbor has 3, a kerosene cook stove for summer, a HUGE cook stove for winter and a smaller cook stove in the laundry room which I would have called a summer kitchen as it's a 20 by 20 ft room that she also uses for canning so it doesn't heat up the house in the summer.

If they are baking a casserole , the whole meal goes in the oven.Winter squash and sweet potatoes , casseroles are used a lot during the winter for the veggie since the stove is heating the house.Stove top meals during warm weather.

Routines help save you from frustration and gets most of it done and that's how they put it. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday and Saturday are laundry days. Baking is done on the same days. Bedding is washed middle of the week. Housecleaning is done on Saturday though if they have some thing that needs cleaned during the week they will do it. Houses are "spring/fall" cleaned from top to bottom usually right before when they have church service at their house BUT other family or friends will come in and help clean the house and prep food that is served that day. Some mend/sew on Tuesday or Thursday. All iron the afternoon or the day after laundry day.Floors are swept every night after supper.Dishes washed after the meal.Everything is put in place when no longer being used. They don't get something and then decide where to put it, BEFORE they get it , they figure where they will be keeping it. Sunday is NO work beside chores for taking care of animals. Church is every other Sunday and visitation with family and friends is encourage for the other Sunday. Meals are prepared the night before, dishes are to be done as normally done. Soup and sandwiches are common. They don't use condiments like we do. Might be the lack of refrigeration?

Kerosene lamps are used for task lighting only. Curtains are pulled open for light, and closed as soon as it gets dark during the winter or half closed during the summer to keep the heat out.They sew, iron, and read at windows. In winter they might do those things at the kitchen table where there is a lamp lit until they go to bed. They get up anywhere from 4 am to 5:30. Bed is usually around 8-9 (exception is teenagers and young adults).

They don't have summer clothes and winter clothes. They on average have 5-9 outfits.

I asked about trash... oh yeah because no one has trash service. They ONLY thing they could think of that they had to deal with was the lids off their canning jars. Some use reusable one, others put holes in the lids and hang in the gardens to scare off birds, some recycle. Others find an English neighbor that will allow them to "share" their trash service. They all compost and  all have burn barrels(allowed in this township.)so paper stuff is burned if they don't use it to start the fire in the stove and dump the ashes in the gardens. and since they can all their own meat, veggies and fruit and get their staples mostly from the bulk store....they just don't have the "trash". They don't use paper towels (cloth rags) they don't use paper napkins (cloth napkins) they don't use paper tissue (cloth handkerchiefs), they don't use paper plates,plastic silverware or paper cups. Everyone has a water bottle.(Most drink water, juice or herb tea, very few drink coffee or "black" tea).

After supper, dishes are done (wash water heated while they cooked the meal), they or the one of the kids will sweep the floors and then they sit and read from Bible, talk of the day, wife might do mending while this is going on but pretty much the day is done, the hour or so before bed is one of slowing down and stopping.

They do get a kick out of me hanging laundry on the kitchen porch clothesline in freezing or rainy weather, seeing the oil lamp lit early mornings and during supper. How dark our house looks compared to other Englishers in the area.I swear the one looks like they turn every light on and never close their curtains. How big my pantry is for Englishers as the neighbor has helped us moving things around down there. They all are looking forward to seeing how I garden.

They either grow their own seeds/plants or buy from one of the other Amish that do.Most buy it from the ones that grow is as they don't have grow lights ;)

They miss fresh salad during the winters. I figured that with what I saw what they all bought at Aldi's... lettuce, lots of iceberg lettuce, lots of bananas, cool whip, canned fish,cream of mushroom soup(that was the one having church service next), and the 2 younger ladies bought pizza for their supper that night.

TO follow this up, Hubby and I talked about respecting our resources, routines in the house especially with the garden work going to be starting and him looking at working seasonal work for ODOT this summer AND working for the Amish. We talked about getting meals on the table to cut the "what are we going to eat when we should be sitting down to eat".

Blessed be

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Battling Crohn's

I am thankful for my GI and her office that have went the extra step of not only monitoring the meds they prescribe,  probiotics, and prebiotics. They also researched what foods I can eat to help replace my med. In 2012 when I found out I had Crohn's there was no diet that they could really offer. It is definitely a disease that is very personal. BUT through the years I have tracked what triggers me and what doesn't. Certain bottle waters will trigger me. SO it's easier to look at what I need to eat and if I can eat it.

By time I got off the phone with the office I and the PA that was working with me was laughing. It's real close to the Mediterranean diet. Which is a frugal diet for the most part.

They gave me a list of prebiotic  foods which isn't a big effort on my part

onions, leeks, garlic radishes,carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, sweet potatoes and dandelion greens are already in the plans for the gardens. Apples, we have 2 trees. Didn't do well last year but I can always pick up some from one of the Amish neighbors. I already have flax and chia seeds,oats, barley,cocoa powder and as of last night I have bananas.

The list of probiotics was a different story.

Greek yogurt. I used to make in the oven but this gas stove doesn't have a switch to turn on the light. I priced yogurt makers but really I hate to spend money on something that only does 1 thing. I settled on a 2 qrt crock pot using my swag bucks to pay for it. Seems to be the right size for simmering soups for the 2 of us when not in use for yogurt. I paid $16 ON SALE last night for 3 lg containers of Greek yogurt. I don't prefer Kefir but might be sucking that one up.

Cured meat...hum... MY NONNA would be happy, pancetta, pepperoni, proscuitto, corned beef, kielbasa, summer sausage (we are usually given deer summer sausage) etc. I grew up eating cured meat, cheese and bread for lunch when I was with her. It can be expensive but as long as I use it as a condiment like Nonna did, it can be in the budget.

Oats and Barley...have

Fermented foods...that sounds easy but it's SALT BRINE or RAW VINEGAR brine, not cooked with weak aka store bought vinegar food. Still my girlfriend mentioned refrigerator pickles/veggies and using raw vinegar with the mother to make it( also ordered from Amazon using swagbucks) My Nonna used to make kraut by the bowl full with salt and then refrigerated it to eat after it sat around for a month or so at room temp.

Sourdough bread... SIGH, neither of us really like sourdough bread. I know I could also make muffins, pancakes, waffles, noodles, tortillas, crackers, pie crusts etc besides bread.

They asked if I could include spinach, kale (greens) and collagen...no problem as I am growing the greens and have the collagen already bought .

Wine. I've been told to drink it for my heart failure... first time I have been told to drink it for my gut.

Berries and cucurbits (cucumber, summers squash, winter squash family will be in gardens also) I don't have the berry bushes at the stage of getting a harvest so I will have to find people growing extra but I do that yearly anyways as we both love berries, just need to have more than I usually freeze.. There is a farmer's market in the local town that someone might be selling some when they start harvesting this summer.

I don't want to kill my budget and stress out (which triggers Crohn's) over what I have to pay to get in my diet. On the other hand, if I don't get it in my diet I'll be paying the hospital bills instead.

I decide to make what used to be my standard bfast... a porridge type of oats, fruit, chia seeds and yogurt that sits over night in the frig and then a smoothie after dinner when I usually crave chocolate, I can use cocoa powder which helps also.

My lunch can be cured meat okay...Italian pepperoni (yes it's what I've ate most of my life)with mild cheddar cheese (instead of my standard colby) and I can sourdough crackers or sourdough pita bread (instead of my townhouse crackers).

I could be like my Nonna... coffee and toast with orange marmalade jam for bfast. Cured meat and or cheese and bread , 4 oz of wine and glass of water for lunch. Biscotti and tea at 2. Salad, 1 cup of soup or 1 cup of pasta, 1/2 plate of veggies and a little serving of meat with bread followed by fresh fruit and maybe some cheese and 4 oz of wine and glass of water. Woman lived to her  late 90s and had no health problems. Died in her sleep.

I remember the first week I spent with her. Early mornings spent in the gardens, fresh veggies daily, evening walks around her 10 acres of property as she walked the fence line every evening no matter what the weather was. She taught me to make bread and the difference between being frugal and miserly . Bean soup on Monday with fresh bread, tossed veggies and more water day 2 of that bean soup. Pasta or rice and more water day 3 and day 4 it was served over very stale bread. Friday what ever she decided, usually a pizza of fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese or parmesan  cheese. Saturday she baked and we would have eggs for our meals. Sunday after church...  Salad of what was ready in the garden , 3 beans salad or carrots and raisins during the year when there was no garden, spaghetti with meatballs, fried chicken with 3 or 4 veggies, wine and pitchers of water, bread, fresh fruit and cheese for dessert. There was NEVER leftovers and we ate for HOURS. 

Blessed be

Monday, February 4, 2019

Where do I start?

It's Monday and automatically I started the laundry before my first cup of coffee with Hubby before he left for work.

Our Trash company called Saturday to let me know they could offer me $3 off a month if I went to quarterly automatic payments that's the same as 2 months free DONE.

The furnace is off and the kitchen door propped open for the dogs to run in and out because that is all they want to do with this warmer weather and to air the house out without me freezing. The laundry is on the kitchen porch clothes line. I even got a couple throw blankets washed and out on the line ad things are drying so well today.

Hubby probably only has another 4 wks left to work depending on the weather so we talked finances especially when he knows his 401k*which is what we live on* is losing money AND I can no longer get the medication for my Crohn's. Company moved it out of U.S to Italy and changed ingredients which took out what I needed and put the cost way above what I can afford to pay even if they had left the ingredients in. They also just lost a lawsuit to the person who actually developed the ingredients in the original formula so it's looks like they won't be selling it anyways. I have 2 months left of the old formula, my GI has worked out a diet that should help keep things steady once I adjust to eating it. Not a bad diet to deal with, I just need to add smoothies into my diet, not something I do but I can get a lot of the live bacteria I need in a smoothie which will help with not having to eat 8 meals a day. I will have to start making yogurt...I used to use the light in my oven to make yogurt but my gas oven doesn't have a light switch nor do I have a 2 qrt crock pot. I have looked at a few at Amazon but haven't decided yet. One to two cups of Greek yogurt each day is going to be expensive to buy. Certain vegetables I will need year around. We looked and decided to buy a 4 shelf grow light with humidity tent to not make do with trying to rotate what plants I was growing under 1 grow light I do have. I got 20% discount, free shipping and cash back through ebates on the order. Hubby figured it it allows me to grow "greens" during the off season we will save $40 at least weekly. I will have to plant more vegetables than I planned to have what I need during off season.

We sat with the 5 different retirement funds in front of us. Talked to 2 different finance people that have NOTHING to do with our investments so they aren't getting anything out of it and figured out that we are still OKAY. We don't have to go to work to pay our health ins which we have seen MANY have to do within a year of retiring. We don't have to go back to work to make the mortgage or the truck loan. We do have to EARN the extra's so not to deplete the retirement. One retirement will be closed out this month, we had called it the house fund and that's exactly what it did even though there wasn't enough to buy the house out right and the improvements like installing running water and electric and appliances etc. It's losing money anyways so it's going over into the emergency fund/ medical funds.

Right now our goals are:

To have 6 months of emergency funds. 50% 2/4/2019

To have 5 yrs of medical funds. Since that seems to be a big one of those our age having to go back to work for or going without meds etc we decided that to be the second goal to emergency funds. We are at 22% 2/4/2019

To get gravel...which allows the deck to be built and the driveway redone as it's not in good shape. I have the $$ 100% for the deck but if we do it all at once I have 10% of the total.

To improve house, awning over French doors on deck, 15 new windows that don't let drafts in, more insulation, siding put on, etc. Windows replacement are estimated at $4800, insulation is estimated at $3000. And siding is estimated at $6000 (siding is WOOD).  I rounded it up to $15000.We are at 0%.

To have the truck paid off 2 years early 0%

To NOT claim Social Security until 67 being the earliest with work to make it to 70. Two years ago it was claim at 62 due to paying health insurance and that was the only reason we would have to claim it that early.I got that backed up to 65.Every penny counts.

We are going to town today after Hubby gets off work (I am not driving due to blurred vision thanks to meds) to FIRST see my Dad, then Menards, 11% rebate plus we have rebates to use to buy distilled water and furnace filter. Then to grocery store to get what is on my new diet that I don't have and can't make do without ...AKA Greek yogurt.

Friday, February 1, 2019

ON budget...well actually under

with even forgetting a category... didn't have anything for house maintenance. Yeah really, I guess we were like, hey, it's like new house LOL. The day I realized it wasn't in the budget was when I picked up furnace filters and had no where to input the amount and we both wondered why we didn't have that in the budget and walked around looking to see what else we forgot.

We did nothing but the normal things of being frugal this month, I have used the dryer when I was down on Crohns or the temp was horribly cold or the rain/snow wouldn't let me use the clothes line on the kitchen porch. Hubby asked if I wanted a clothes line in the UNHEATED basement... Nope, already asked the Amish lady that lived here how that would go and she strongly suggested another drying rack.

We came in under budget due to some being cheaper (aka electric was down) and some not happening at all. My $550/month budget for groceries was $187.24.

The taxes I thought we would owe... I was a little high so we have that amount completely.

I used last year's gardens budget to buy fresh seeds and the items to make soil blocks, weed barrier etc. I still have enough left to pay for the cattle feed panels (16 ft by 50 inches tall) to use for "trellis" and metal stakes to hold it up.More soil for the grow bags, worth saving both our backs.

AND with coming under budget,  I am now going to talk to Hubby about cutting it again ON purpose and ways to bring in a bit more cash flow that isn't pulling from the retirement which lost over 2% last month. My savings earns more than that.