Every Day

Watching The Large Expenses

I have always said that watching the small expenses is extremely important. Those small ones add up to huge amounts in one year’s time. They can sink your entire budget.

But you also have to watch the large expenses. You may have a mortgage or a home equity loan and could find the money to pay a little extra on the principal each month. This will not only pay off your mortgage early but save you a fortune in interest charges. 

Saving up the cash to buy a new or used car will save you the interest that a car loan will cost.

Watching your grocery budget each month by shopping sales and menu planning will keep you from wasting many dollars.

But one of the largest expenses you have every year are your utility bills. They cost a fortune. It is a battle for us to keep them low. 

We just got our one month gas and electric bill. We  had frigid temps here this past month and I was expecting our bill to be quite large. It didn’t disappoint. The electric portion of our bill was $ 82.10 for 645 KWH. The natural gas portion of our bill was $ 177.24 for 198 CCF’s. Then the company charges us a $ .87 payment charge just to issue the bill and post the payment which I find ludicrous. But NYS allows it. So the total bill was $260.21 for 33 days with an average daily temperature of 24 degrees fahrenheit. It was one of the highest winter bills that we have ever had since we moved back to New York. 

Of course, the company gets a rate increase every year or two because we all know the price of everything always goes up. So between the rate increases and the cold temperatures in the winter and warm ones in the summer, it is an every day battle to keep these bills down.

The last twelve months have cost us $ 2216.33 in just electricity and natural gas.

You all know that we do our best to try to do everything to cut these costs. This winter, we added a storm door to our leaky back door. I closed off 2 bedrooms by closing the heating vents in those rooms so that they don’t cost a fortune to heat when no one is using them. I use cloth snakes against our basement doors to keep that cold air down there. I also put one on the bottom of our back door since we don’t use that door during the winter so it doesn’t have to be moved every time we go in and out.

And we try to watch all of the things that I have written about before: herehere, and here, .

I wish I could turn the heat down but Hubby is always cold. We keep the temp at 71 during the day in our home and even with that Hubby wears a sweatshirt jacket and sometimes a winter jacket in the house. He is always cold. 

I do a pretty good job on the electric bill by washing clothes in cold water and hanging laundry. If I use the dryer, I use my wool balls to save on that energy.  I also try to use small appliances as much as I can to save on that bill because they are cheaper to use. 

We keep lights turned off in the daytime unless it is a dreary day and we need them to read. I try to keep the energy saving shades down in the winter. I defrost my chest freezer when it needs it so that it runs more efficiently. We use power strips on some of our TV’s so I can turn them totally off at night. It is too hard to get everything plugged in that we have in the great room behind the cabinet so we don’t do that one.

When I cook. I try to keep covers on pans especially when I cook on the gas stove. There are so many things that I do that I can’t remember them all.

I hope I am not missing anything but I would love to hear how you keep your utility bills down. Could you please share with me and everyone who reads here how you do it by leaving a comment. I will be checking them during the day to get them posted right away so that they can help other people.


Every Day

Free Shopping

In case you haven’t noticed, I have been doing as little grocery shopping as possible lately. There are a few reasons for that. First, we are eating from our stockpile. Second, my diet will be changing drastically soon. And last, I am enjoying keeping as much money as possible of our budgeted grocery money.

This week and perhaps for many weeks to come, I have been doing “Free Shopping”. It’s fun and a challenge for myself. Have any of you just exclusively done this for a period of time? Perhaps your pantries were full and you wanted to use up what you had before it expired? Or maybe you just wanted to free up some money to throw at a debt or a goal?

I started doing this yesterday with a few rules. First, I don’t want to waste gasoline money driving around for a few things here and there. So I am trying to combine trips with other errands. This week, I have shopped at Walmart and Top’s. They are about a block apart.

Second, I don’t want to make many trips. No more than two a week unless I can stop somewhere on the way to an appointment, etc. Gasoline is expensive so I don’t want to waste what I am saving on filling up my tank.

At Walmart I purchased:

– 1 Forto Coffee Shot which was a $1.98 but I got back $ 1.98 from Ibotta

– 1-16 oz. Axe 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner which was $3.97. This was a $.03 moneymaker. I used a $ 2.00 MQ and got $2.00 back from Ibotta

– 1 Bic Flex 5 Hybrid Razor which was $ 5.97 and I did a mail in rebate for the full cost. The rebate form is HERE.  They have lots of choices to get the full purchase price back.

– 1 Count Command Hook which was $ .97 and I used a $1.00 MQ so this was a $ .03 money maker. 

The $.06 I made came off the tax which was a nice bonus. I was getting ready to add a cheap candy bar if it didn’t. 

At Top’s I purchased:

– 2 Oikos Oh Yogurt -$1.00 each and I used 2- $ .50/1 coupons doubled = Free 

– 2 Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt – $1.00 each and I used 2- $.50/1 coupons doubled = Free

– 2 Two Good Greek Yogurt – $ 1.00 each and I used 2 – $.50/1 coupons doubled = Free and I got $.50 back from Ibotta

– 1 Ollys Single Protein Bar – $ 2.29 and I used a $ .50/1 coupon doubled and I got $2.00 back from
 Ibotta which was a $ .71 money maker.

 I also got $.25 back from Ibotta for submitting my receipt.

I also submitted my receipt to Fetch Rewards and got 1000 points. Fetch Rewards is so easy. You just upload all of your receipts. You get credit for those and for things that are certain items that you may have bought. If you would like to sign up and give me a referral credit, use my code which is: JQ5QH. I would be most appreciative.

That’s all the shopping for this week so far. Please feel free to share with all of us what you are getting free this week in the comments.

Every Day

Frugal Things This Past Week

While we have been a bit house bound the past few weeks, these are the things we have done frugally:

– I have done very little grocery shopping. I did a quick trip to Aldi’s for fresh strawberries, creamer, peppers, and frozen veggies. I spent $8.85.

– I did our Federal and State income taxes and filed them. One week to the day I filed, we received our Federal refund. We got $1500. more this year (we owed a bit last year) due to President Trump’s tax cut plan. We have never gotten as large a refund. Everyone that I have talked to here is telling me that they are getting larger refunds than before. That is not what the Governor thought would happen in NY. I quickly invested that money once we received it.

– Hubby’s snow boots have pretty much worn out. He found a pair of snow sneakers on sale at L.L. Bean for $119. regularly $ 149. I thought I had gotten a coupon code a few days before but in my haste to order, I couldn’t find the e-mail. A few minutes after I ordered them, I found it. So I called L.L. Bean to give them the code which was for 25% off. They told me the code had expired at midnight the night before. I asked the representative if they would honor it. She sent me to customer service and a very nice woman there refunded the $32.31 which was 25% off plus the tax. As I have always told you, it NEVER hurts to ask. All they can say is no. But I have found that most of the time, they say yes.  

– I purchased a very pretty bracelet for my granddaughter for Valentine’s Day. I used credit card points to pay for it. I am giving my grandson an equal value amount of cash. It is very hard to pick things out for him and he enjoys shopping for himself.  

– I have cooked all of our meals from scratch and from the stockpile with the exception of one. Hubby took me out to dinner last night since the two days of ice we have had finally started to melt. I was craving prime rib and some peanut butter pie. I had my prime rib with some French Fries and gravy, tossed salad, and garlic toast which is great for dipping in the prime rib au jus. I was too stuffed from dinner to eat dessert. So I had them wrap a piece of peanut butter pie for later in the evening. 

– I have been taking this house bound time to reorganize our home with an eye towards getting rid of anything we would not want to move. I know that we will have a move sometime, either sooner or later, in our future. I actually have been the one pushing Hubby to move and he really was not keen on the idea. However, I caught him online looking at homes in the area we were thinking about moving to last week. I have been doing that for a few months now to get a feel for prices and what we would want.

– I filled up our SUV using $ .30 off per gallon in Top’s gas points. I paid $ 2.19 a gallon.

– Hubby used the DVR to save all of the Harry Potter movies that were on cable last weekend here. He wants to watch all of the movies starting with the first one. It was the cheapest way for him to watch them. This way he can watch them at his own leisure. 

– We have been doing whatever we can to keep the gas and electric bill down knowing that with the two weeks of really frigid cold we had during this billing cycle that the gas bill will be really high.

– By staying home except for 1 trip to the market, dinner out,  doctor appointments and medical tests, we have saved a bit of gasoline by not doing the usual running around.

– I downloaded some free books to read on my Kindle. It’s too cold to go to the library.

– For entertainment we have been playing cards, watching movies, doing jigsaw puzzles and I have been learning things on You Tube.

Please feel free to share with all of us what you have been doing frugally lately? Did you get any good deals? Tell us in the comments.

Every Day

How We Did On Our January Goals

We did pretty well on our January goals. Some are coming along slower than others. Some are rapidly progressing. Here is how we have done:

– Clearance shopping- I only bought some bagged salad. There is not much clearance in the stores right now.

– We have been buying a lot less junk food. We haven’t gotten rid of it all yet. Super Bowl Sunday we had some dips and chips, chicken wings and baked potato skins.

– We are reusing all of the plastic bags that come into our home. I keep them in empty Kleenex boxes. I have a large stockpile at this point. The reason is that we recycle everything that we can, use the garbage disposal for food, and donate so we have very little garbage. The microwave installers were nice enough to take the old microwave and all of the packaging for the new one.

– Our net worth increased from January 1st to February 1st by $7200. which was savings from December and January even though we paid our hefty property tax bill. So we feel good about that. We are well on the way to having the best savings year yet.

– We have not been going to the gym since I am preparing for surgery and that is keeping us quite busy.

– I have lost 4 lbs. this month.

– I have been doing great staying away from the Microsoft Solitaire. I played just twice.

– I am steadily working on organizing our photos.

– I have not been watching any news. I look at the news once a day online. We will watch the President’s State of the Union tonight.

– I have been spontaneously blogging which is helping me organize my time for projects and appointments.

– We only spent $ 139.02 of our $300. budget this month. We have been eating from our stockpile.

I am hoping for a good month in February also. 

It has been a hectic month around here even though we haven’t gone out much. I always hate January and February because it is so dreary and cold.

Please share with us how you have been doing on your 2019 goals by leaving a comment.