Every Day

Things We Invested In That Have Saved Us Money

Over the many years of our marriage there are so many things that we have invested in that have saved us money in the long run. They are:

– Drying Racks/and or Clothes Line:  They save the cost of electricity.

– Laundry Egg: No detergent is necessary for most items.

– Dryer Balls: They cut down on drying time when we use the dryer. You do not use dryer sheets.

–  Pressure Cooker: It not only saves electricity over using the oven but it saves time.

– Oil Changes and Tune Ups for our cars: Regular maintenance is a huge money saver and allows us to keep our cars from 10 – 14 years.

– Convection Oven: This saves 20% on electricity over using the regular oven.

– Bread Machine: Let’s you bake a loaf for $ .40 – $ .50.

– Chest Freezers: These have allowed us to always buy meat, poultry and fish at rock bottom prices and not spend a lot of energy to keep them frozen.

– Toaster Oven: Many things can be baked and roasted for the two of us. It saves me from heating up the large oven.

– Reusable K cups: It is much cheaper to buy ground coffee instead of K cups. We make all of our coffee at home. No Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or Tim Horton’s coffee out.

– Microwave: Even if you only reheat things, it saves you money over using the stove.

– Cloth diapers: I used them for both of my children and I still am using some of those to dust with. 

– Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer: So easy to mix things up from scratch. But the best is the grinding attachment which allows me to grind cheap cuts of meat.

– Meat Slicer: It allows me to cut up roasts, turkey, chicken, and hams for sandwiches which saves on buying processed and expensive cold cuts.  

– Food Saver: This saves our stored and frozen food from getting freezer burned which saves money. I buy off brand plastic rolls for it from Walmart or Aldi’s because they are much cheaper. 

– Canning Jars: They are great for freezing food instead of using throw away freezer bags. 

– Many Different Tools: Hubby has saved us a fortune over the years fixing just about everything around our homes. He has fixed many large and small appliances. We have never hired a plumber or electrician. Yes, we did have Roto Rooter last year but that was to clean out a trap down near the road on our property. Up until we moved here, he did all of the maintenance on our cars. 

– Water Softener: We have had them installed in every home. They save us money on using shampoo, body washes, hand soaps, and bar soaps. We use a lot less to get a good lather. It also saves your pipes in your home.  

– Microfiber Cloths or Rags: They have saved me a fortune over buying throwaway paper towels.

– Rug Shampooers: We have owned two. They save us a fortune on getting our carpeting professionally cleaned. Stains can be taken care of right when they happen.  

– Shelving In The Basement: This allows us to stockpile at rock bottom prices. 

– Electric Blankets: These have kept us toasty warm at night and allows us to turn the heat down.

– Extra Blown In Insulation In The Attic: It more than pays for itself by saving on heat and air conditioning.  

– Classic Good Quality Clothing: It lasts for years and never goes out of style. 

– Quality Shoes and Boots: They also last you for many years. I am wearing a pair of sneakers that I have taken good care of and they are now 15 years old.

– Paying Off Mortgages on Two Homes Very Early: Saved us a ton of interest.

– Purchasing Two More Homes With Cash: No interest at all. 

– A Programmable Thermostat: It allows us to set the heat back at night and to come back to a comfortable temperature just before we get up. We don’t even have to think about doing it ourselves each day. 

– Our Roku Boxes: Allows us to watch movies so we don’t rent DVD’s. It also gives us hours of entertainment by watching You Tube videos which teach us how to fix things and many more things. 

– Purchasing Cars With Cash: Just think of all the interest you save. 

– Our Outdoor Grills: It saves us from using our stove and oven in the spring and summer. That way we do not heat up the air conditioned house.

I could add many, many more things that we have invested in that have saved us money. But I would love to hear what you have invested in that has saved you money. Please leave a comment and share with all of us.

Every Day

A Day In My Life

Rising at 6:15am always feels good knowing that I got a great night’s sleep(9 hours) and can get started on my busy day early. After my navy shower and letting my hair dry naturally, I made eggs and ham for Hubby and I for breakfast.

Hubby left to go to an appointment to have our snow tires put on the SUV for the winter. He booked the appointment for now because he is getting 50% off the price of the tire changeover.

After I did the dishes, I put a load of laundry in the HE with the laundry egg. Then it was time to have some pumpkin coffee and check my email, blog for comments, and check my do list for the day. Normally, I would now prep dinner. However, we are having fajita leftovers tonight. I made a big pan on Saturday night because I was craving Mexican food and we have been eating it ever since. Hubby has a wrap and I just have some on a plate of lettuce.
When Hubby got home, I grabbed my list of errands and went out the door with my second cup of coffee in my to go cup. 

First errand was to get the SUV washed. It had been raining most of the past week so I had to wait for a rain free day. Last week I cleaned the entire inside of the SUV, so now it needed a bath. I will be getting it washed frequently at the car wash over the fall and winter. We need to keep the salt and grime off of it. It was a huge investment of cash(more than my first house cost) so we like to keep it in great condition. It only costs $10. to get it washed and every 5th wash is free with the coupons they give you. I have 3 coupons right now, so after 2 more it will be a freebie. 

That done, it was time to do an Aldi’s shop for a few necessary items. I always keep a quarter in the center console so that I am ready to get my cart. I grabbed my recyclable bags and in I went. I only got what was on my list. I did not browse.

Last stop was at the hardware store to pick up another package of 60 watt LED bright light bulbs. My son changed out the bad ones yesterday and he said I needed more since I brought the bright. He said they should all match. I have 6 bulbs in 2 ceiling lights in my kitchen. Hubby changed the other ones out. What a difference the new bright bulbs make! I am very pleased. 

After putting my purchases away, I hung the laundry to dry. Then it was time to catch all the ironing up. I did that while I listened to some music. 

Next I picked up, dusted and vacuumed my entire home. Then I cleaned the bathrooms.

Down to the basement I went and spent 40 minutes on the treadmill while watching some more You Tube videos. 

That left me about 2 hours to do what I wanted. Hubby was not interested in watching a movie, so I  decided to read a book on my Kindle. I get a lot of free books because I have Amazon Prime.

When the mail came, I had a bill to pay and some  gifts to wrap. While I was wrapping, I decided to do another Christmas item that had come last week. Now all of Christmas items that I have so far are wrapped and my grandchildren won’t know what they are. 

Next it was time to eat the leftovers for dinner. One more thing in the refrigerator used up and not wasted. The media say that people waste 30% or more of the food they buy. Not in this house. I always check the fridge to see what needs to be eaten before it goes bad. If that means we have salad or leftovers for breakfast, we do it. 

After dinner, I watched a live You tube video. Then Hubby and I watched the Sabres Hockey game. It was a very full day and I will sleep soundly, I hope.

I meant to post this earlier and for some reason I forgot to post it.

Every Day

Frugal Things This Past Week

These are the things that we have done frugally this past week:

– We were going to buy new containers for the garage organization. After looking through our storage in the basement, we were able to find all the containers that we needed.

– I cooked all of our meals at home this week.

– I purchased 5 Christmas gifts, paid for them with cash, and wrapped them. 

– I ordered two tops from Amazon. When they arrived yesterday, they were not as described so I am returning them to Amazon at no cost to me.

– After contacting Phillips about the LED light bulbs that were under warranty, they are shipping me two new ones. 

– I spent $ 13.34 on the grocery shop I posted about and another $.89 for a package of hamburger rolls yesterday afternoon. That is all I spent on groceries for this past week.

-I organized and cleaned the inside of the SUV. I replaced the almost empty Kleenex packets in the glove compartment and the pockets near the back seats. They were from my stockpile. 

– I unpacked two storage containers of clothes that were in the basement. I had forgotten what was in them. I found 8 tops that were in excellent condition that I had outgrown when we lived in AZ. They fit me beautifully. 

– We have very little wall space in our entryway. So it is hard to make a place for coats and shoes there. There is no coat closet. I do have a large basket that we throw our shoes in but that is about it. Since winter will be here before we know, we decided to make a place for shoes, boots, gloves, and coats near the entry from our garage into the house. We will be using that entrance all winter. We have a bench seat that we purchased when we were in Arizona. It was in our entryway there but there is not room in the entryway here. So the bench seat was put in the garage. Since the floor was done, we have not been able to take it from our second bedroom where we  stored it when the garage floor was done. It is too heavy for Hubby and I to lift. My son will be here on Sunday and help Hubby put it back out there. The seat lifts up on it to store shoes. It is going on the wall near the door. Next to it will be our boot tray. I will put our basket of gloves, hats, and mittens in a container on the end of the bench. Hubby already installed a coat rack on the wall near where those items are going. That was the only thing new that we had to buy for that area this week at a cost of $15.11.

– We put the storm door on our back door. That will keep the winter winds out of the house.

– We got another low electric and gas bill on Wednesday. Our heat has been on for about 3 weeks now and the bill was only $106. for the month. We only used 475 KWH of electricity which is low for us.

– Hubby took his bottle returns back to Fast Cash and I added that money back into our grocery budget. 

What did you do frugally this week?

Every Day

Grocery Shopping This Week

We are still working on the garage slowly but surely. I went to Valu Home Center yesterday to pick up 4 packs of LED 75W and 60W bulbs. One of the bulbs in our garage burnt out and with the dreary weather, it was making it hard to see out there. We also needed to replace one in the kitchen. Yes, they are all under warranty but it takes a while to get replacements. However, I will be calling the manufacturers today.

I hope all of you are having a good week. It is nice that Fall is finally here in the Northeast. The tree leaves are changing and it is so pretty. 

I did just a small shopping trip this week. We have built up quite a stockpile so didn’t need much. This is what I got at Top’s:

4 pkgs. of Mama Lucia Italian Meatballs – $ 2.99 each after $1.00 off Q’s

2 dozen medium eggs – $ .69 each

Total was $ 13.34. Hubby took back a bag of soda cans to Fash Cash and got $ 3.60 back in deposits which went right back into my grocery budget. 

I almost always make homemade meatballs. But I couldn’t resist the price on these meatballs. We have had Mama Lucia’s before and they are very good. The bags were 26 oz. each. Considering the cost to actually make homemade, these were a no brainer. They work out to $ 1.84 per pound and include all of the spices. But the best part is they will stock me for the winter and I can use our stockpile of organic ground beef for hamburgers, chili, meatloaf, etc. 

We go through eggs like water. I eat two every morning and Hubby loves egg salad for lunch. Between those things and cooking eggs almost every Sunday for our family, I can never have to many eggs. I like to keep about 3-4 dozen in the refrigerator at all times.

I promise I will be back with my frugal things post tomorrow.

Did you get any great deals this week? Feel free to comment and tell us all about it.

Every Day

My Absence

My absence is related to our garage project. The contractors finished up on Friday. However, Sunday was the first day that we could put all of the smaller things that were in our driveway(because the garage had been emptied to do the floor) back in the garage. Monday, I had to take Hubby to an eye appointment and then we spent the rest of the afternoon moving the large things back in.

As you can tell by the picture, we are now trying to clean things(our makeshift table to set things on to wash) and get some semblance of order back. 

I just got done putting some of the things on the shelves into categories so that I can buy the proper containers and label them. 

Hubby just went to Home Depot to get some supplies we need. When he gets back, we will continue by first folding up the large drop cloth that was over the items in the driveway. Once I figure out how many containers we need, I will go and get them. 

Here is a close up of the floor. We love it. We will paint the walls and ceiling next spring a light gray.

The car can’t go back in for another week. But that will give me time to give it a bath and detail the inside.

I will post when I can. I am beat doing this but it must be done for winter.

Every Day

Frugal Things This Past Week

These are the things we have done frugally this past week:

– Since we are paying thousands of dollars to have our garage floor repaired and epoxied professionally, we have decided to paint the ceiling and walls ourselves. This won’t be done now until spring when it warms up. But I know what color paint we want for them, so I am actively keeping an eye out for this Sherwin Williams paint to go on sale and for a coupon. I will buy it when I see a good deal.

– I purchased a new long sleeved top for just about $11.00 after a coupon code. Then I paid for it with rewards points. I have only 2 long sleeved tops for winter so I am looking for good deals for a couple of more. I am also looking for a sale on the jeans I love because the new ones that I purchased not too long ago are getting baggy on me.

– I spent very little at the grocery store this week. We are eating mostly from our stockpile. 

– I printed off nice storage labels online and as I use them in the basement, I am laminating them with the machine I bought very cheaply many years ago.

– I washed sheets and clothing with the HE washer and laundry egg. The clothing was hung to dry and the sheets were dried with the wool balls. 

– I have purchased two more Christmas presents so my list is getting crossed off little by little. I used some of the $200.+ that I found in my dresser drawer to pay for them.

– I purchased Tim Horton donuts for breakfast one morning for West and Hubby to eat. I used a coupon that was worth $2.00 off. West was here for 4 days this past weekend.

– We bowled on the Wii. West beats me most of the time. It was fun and cheap entertainment. My son won the Wii many, many years ago. Since he already had one, he gave it to us. We have had lots of fun using it.

– We ordered pizza one night from Domino’s per West’s request. I did a deal they had online.

– Now that the heat is on, Hubby has programmed it to 63 at night ( 10PM – 7AM) and 67 the rest of the day. We have sweaters and sweatshirts to bundle up in.

– I read another book on my Kindle.

– For some reason Better Homes and Gardens has been sending me a free magazine each month. I never ordered it. So I enjoyed that this week. 

– I have been purging and organizing which so far has cost us no money. 

– Having a part of a loaf of bread that got hard, I made bread crumbs.

– We have been eating up our produce in salads for lunch. 

– I sewed a button on a sweater. 

– Meals have been quick and simple.

– We baked two loaves of pumpkin bread. 

What have you done this past week frugally?

Every Day

My Grocery Shop This Week

I did a small shop on Sunday for some needed items and a stock up on ground turkey and ham slices.  We use the ground turkey in place of ground beef once in a while for a leaner meat. The ham slices are for our Sunday breakfasts. I alternate them with bacon and sausage.

This trip was done at Top’s:

4 Ground Turkey -$ 2.88 ea. = $11.52 – used (2) $.75/2 Q’s that doubled = $ 8.02 or about $2.00 each

5 Hatfield 8 oz. Ham slices on B2G3 Free = $ 7.98 or about $1.60 each

1 dozen eggs – $ 99. with Super Coupon

1 Head of Lettuce -$ .99 with Super Coupon

My total was $ 17.98.

Did you get any good stock up deals this week?

Every Day

What’s Going On At American Dreamer’s Home?

We have been very busy this month. I have been doing a bit of purging and fall cleaning. So far I have purged and organized my kitchen towels and dishcloths. They are located in a drawer just to the right of my sink.

I also keep my very long handled scrub brushes in that drawer so that Hubby can reach them easily when he is doing dishes, scrubbing potatoes. etc.

I purged my microfiber cloths and organized them. They are in the drawer under the kitchen towel drawer. Various cloths for various jobs.

I have also purged a utensil drawer, our nightstands, our bed linens, our board games and DVD’s, our bathroom vanities, and my spice cabinet which is right next to my stove. 

But the biggest thing going on around here is that our garage floor is being repaired, cleaned, and painted with an epoxy paint. We have contractors here for at least three days.

They spent one day grinding down all of the rough edges, cleaning the floor, and repairing the concrete with more concrete in the places that needed it. That had to cure overnight. The floor is only 9 and 1/2 years old but is chipping in spots. We believe it is because the builder’s contractor poured the floor in January and it froze before it cured. Not much we can do about that but have this work done. This is what it looked like the first day when they were done. 

I will have more pictures as we get to the finish line.  

Every Day

My Cash Budget

The way we use our cash budget has changed over the years. A number of months ago, we changed the amount of money that I get in cash each month at the bank. It will stay this way until, if and when, prices go up and we feel we need to make a change. We are buying more and more organic meat and other organic products. As our supply of meat and pantry items dwindle, we may need to up the budget because of these items but so far I have not had to.

For anyone who is new or doesn’t know, we feed just Hubby and I annually. My son and grandson come almost every Sunday for breakfast and sometimes lunch. Sometimes, they come along with my daughter in law for dinner.  My grandchildren visit and stay here sometimes. Then occasionally, our other son, my daughter in law, and granddaughter come and stay for a few days especially for holidays. Our extended family come and stay sometimes. We also have friends over for dinner occasionally.

My budget encompasses all of our food eaten at home, food eaten at restaurants or take out, cleaning and paper products, personal care items, and gasoline. 

Personal care encompasses OTC cold medicines, cough drops, sinus medicine, pain medicines, makeup, shampoos, deodorants, body washes, bar soap, hand soap liquid, lotions, shave cream and razor refills, toothpaste, toothbrush heads for our electric toothbrushes, and floss, etc.  It does not include prescription medications. 

I use a lot of all purpose cleaning products, dryer balls instead of dryer sheets, my laundry egg instead of detergent, vinegar for both cleaning and as a rinse aid in my dishwasher. But I also need dishwasher detergent, dish liquid, and garbage bags. One way I save on some of these things is to buy in bulk which brings the price down for those products.

I also pay for my hair salon monthly appointments which cost anywhere from $ 42. to $ 140. including tips depending on what I am getting done. That covers haircuts and shampoos, hair coloring, highlights, and waxing my eyebrows. 

Also included is a tank of gasoline every month which is usually the amount we use.  Gasoline for trips do not come out of my budget. I keep my gasoline purchases low by earning points at a local supermarket that give me money off of gasoline. If gas is cheaper elsewhere even taking into account the points, I will buy it there. That only happens infrequently at Speedway and our cash station. But every time I need gasoline, I always check whose price is better. 

The monthly amount that I get each month is $ 500. to cover all of these budget items. I use coupons when I can. I also use Saving Star, Fetch, Ibotta, and Checkout 51. Any rebates get added back into my cash budget whether I receive them in cash or gift cards to Walmart. Any bottle or can deposits that I return for Hubby’s soda or my sparkling water that I get once or twice a year from Amazon gets added back into this cash budget. My monthly budgeted amount that is left over at the end of the month just gets rolled to the next month and added to the next month’s cash of $ 500. That way I build a balance over time to make large purchases when I see rock bottom prices.
With the exception of Hubby’s haircuts and incidental items he picks up at Home Depot, etc. with his cash(no one wants to charge a nut and bolt here and there), all other expenditures are paid for with our checking account or charge cards which we pay in full every month when they are received.

Do any of you use cash for certain items each month? Please share with everyone in the comments.

Every Day

Grocery Shopping This Past Week & Miscellaneous

All of my shopping was done this past week at Aldi’s. This is what I purchased:

Peppers – $2.49

Peanuts – $ 1.69

Macadamia Nuts – $ 8.99

Mushrooms – $ .99

2 Cream of Chicken Soup – $ .49 each

Taco Shells – $ .89

Sweet Pickles – $ 1.39

Half & Half – $ 1.55

100% Pure Maple Syrup – $ 13.89

Red Grapes – $ .99 a lb . = $ 2.65

3 “Girl Scout” Cookies – $ .98 & $ 1.36 & $1.48

1 Cinnamon Crunch Granola – $ 2.69

1 Coconut Chia Granola – $ 2.69 

1 Large Eggs – $ .99

Total for this order was $ 45.90.

On Wednesday when they had their meat on special, I shopped for these:

2 – 4 lb. packs of Organic 85/10 Grass Fed Ground Beef – 4 lbs. for $ 17.96 = $ 35.92

1 pkg. of Cheddar Cheese Slices – $ 1.79

Total for this order was $37.71. Total for the week was $83.61.

Someone asked me if I am still following my diet. I am. The “junk food” you see is for Hubby and West who is coming to visit this weekend. Hubby shopped at Aldi’s with me for the first time ever. He hates grocery shopping but he lived through it. He thought Aldi’s was confusing and too crowded. Quite a few of these items were put in my cart when I wasn’t looking. I wanted to make sure we don’t run out of ground beef this winter. Hubby loves to make his chili recipe.

We have been very busy working on a special project. Fall always seems to be our busiest time of the year. Just getting the house ready and stocking for winter takes some time. Our landscape crew will be here for the Fall cleanup in our gardens later this month. The sprinkler system people will be here to blow out the lines. The pesticide people will be here  with bug control and vole control. At least all of these are done for us. But we have caulking and weather stripping to do. Contractors will be here all day Monday and Tuesday working on our special project. And in the meantime, I am purging the house again. Anything that hasn’t been used in a year is finding a new home. 

I hope you all have a beautiful Fall weekend. We will enjoy it and have fun with West. Be back on Monday with a post on how we handle the budget these days.

Did you stock up on a good deal this week?