Every Day

What We Have Been Up To The Last Few Days

My son and West came for lunch on Sunday. He had to go to Niagara Produce to pick some items up. He brought me this package of State Fair Sausage as a gift. His family loves it. The sausage has cheese, peppers, and onions inside it. These sausages are so big that one for each of us is the proper portion. I cooked two of them for dinner on Monday night and they were so delicious. I will be picking these up at NP when I go there.

Lately, my gas stove top would not light with the electronic ignition. When I needed to use a burner, I would have to light it. Hubby did some research and found that it was most likely a problem with the ignition harness. So he ordered one:

While my son was here, he and Hubby installed it. It took a while to take it apart to get it to where they could install the new part. But my burners are all now working like the stove is new. By doing it themselves they saved us all of the labor charges and the mark up on the part.

I only ran errands one day this week to conserve on gasoline. Our gasoline here is down $ .04 a gallon so we are paying $ 4.36 a gallon. But I am sure it will be headed up again. I picked up on sale pasta, eggs, bacon, and diet soda while I was out. I still buy Diet Coke for Hubby when I can find a good price in my area. I got a 24 pack for $7.99. When it is not on sale, he just drinks iced tea or water. The eggs were $ .99. The bacon was $ 4.99 and the pasta was $ 1.00.

I have been doing some organizing and cleaning around here this week. I have been using things that we already have in our home in the way of organizers, boxes, and cleaning products.

Hubby and I are wanting to put in another garden with a Japanese maple, some shrubs and some perennials in our backyard. We are also going to have some repair work done on our patio and a new wall built to protect our grill from the wind. We may have a new garden put in around our shed also. So we spent a day getting estimates done.

This week for dinners, I cooked the State Fair sausages, roasted chicken legs in the air fryer, made jambalaya with two jalapeno sausages and air fried some pork chops. Tonight we are getting fish fries from our favorite place just 5 minutes from us. We try to do this during Lent. We only order the fish fries, no sides. The fish are so huge that we don’t need sides and they make two meals for each of us. But the last couple of weeks they have been giving us French fries with them. They are some of the best French fries that we have ever had.

Well that is all we did to save some money this week. What have you done?

Every Day

Frugal Things We Have Done This Past Week

In the middle of this week our Keurig K Supreme Plus stopped working- no power at all! I was so sad because I love my coffee. I also was not happy because the one year warranty expired in mid- December. It made me wonder why so many things are breaking so quickly these days.

Being the organized person that I am, I knew that my last Keurig was in a box in the basement. It had started making noises which is why we purchased this one. So I grabbed it, cleaned it, and set it up so that we could have coffee.

I asked Hubby if I should start looking for a new one. He told me to wait to see if he could fix it. He started researching a fix and found one on You Tube that he thought might work:

It took him a day or so to work on it. It was hard to get the pot apart to where he needed to reset it. He got there and used a paper clip to reset it. But before he put it all back together, he plugged it in to see if it had power. It did. It is now working perfectly again on our kitchen counter.

I had researched online to buy another one of these pots and the lowest prices I could find was $168. at Amazon and $ 159.99 at Walmart. So Hubby saved us a fortune by doing a bit or research and work to fix it.

All of our meals except one were cooked at home including this delicious breakfast: Eggs, turkey bacon, a slice of homemade cinnamon bread.

I picked up some bread flour($ 3.12), canned Angus beef chili, body wash, foundation makeup (1/2 price at Walmart), potatoes, cucumbers, etc. at the best prices I could find this week.

We conserved our electricity and natural gas the best we could this past week and all month. I submitted the readings and I am awaiting my bill. I will let you know how we did when we get it.

I have made out my grocery list for Top’s this coming week. There was nothing in the Aldi ad or Niagara Produce Specials that interested me. I only need a few things at Top’s.

We are making homemade French Bread pizzas for dinner tonight using a loaf of French bread that I got on reduced price for $.77 at Walmart. Hubby gets the day off from bread making to watch basketball.

We got our second set of Free Covid tests delivered by USPS.

What did you do frugally this past week?

Every Day

Think Before You Cook

We were getting low on bread here because Hubby made French toast for breakfast recently. So yesterday he made a loaf of cinnamon bread in our bread maker. It is cheaper to make it in that machine rather than turn on our natural gas oven. We will have it this week for breakfast with our eggs.

Thinking about the eggs, I need to freeze a few dozen that are in the fridge. I will put one or two eggs in baggies and lay them flat in the freezer. The one egg bags are for baking and the two egg bags are for easy over or scrambled eggs.

For dinner last night, I decided to make a big pan of my grandmother’s recipe for Bacon & Macaroni Goulash. I purchased a 3 pack of bacon at B.J.’s Warehouse Club last week. It is the cheapest price I could find for really good bacon. It was $ 16.97 for the 3 pounds.

I cut up a pound of the bacon and added a cut up onion to cook them together. I used my large electric fry pan because it takes less energy than the natural gas stove top. I not only want to save money on food but I would like to lower my utility bills whenever I can also.

While that was cooking, I cooked a pound of cavatappi pasta in the microwave because that is cheaper than boiling water and cooking it on the stove top. I drained the pasta and added it and some spaghetti sauce to the onion and bacon. When it was hot, all we had to add was some Parmesan cheese and a side salad.

It was delicious and from the leftovers above, we will have a few more meals of it. We just have to dish up our future plates and heat them in the micro.

Moral of the story: Take the time to quickly think about how you are cooking each meal and with what appliance. I always try to do it the most energy efficient way that I can. Our last couple of monthly utility bills have been so high and I expect the one I get next week may top $300. Ugh!

As you can see, I also like to cook in large quantities so that I spend less time in the kitchen cooking different meals. Hubby and I don’t mind eating the same meal a few nights in a row.

I know that each time I do all of this that it is a little bit of savings. But all of those little bits add up to big dollars in the long run. And all it costs me is a little brain power!

Every Day

So What Would You Do With A Windfall In This Economy?

So many people are living paycheck to paycheck right now according to a survey I saw. Seven out of ten Americans are. This is devastating to them and to our economy. I wonder how many of them are receiving a tax return and a large one at that. Are they spending it as fast as they get it or are they saving it for a rainy day?

I don’t think anything is going to get better soon. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But I believe that 2022 and 2023 are going to be bad years monetarily so we are planning accordingly.

Inflation is killing us. When those of us who retired planned our retirements, we took into consideration what inflation would do to our money over the years. However, we didn’t take into consideration that inflation would be SO HIGH month after month. Everyday expenses are rising so rapidly. There are so many people around me living on Social Security alone and I don’t know how they are surviving. Are they going without food to pay for medicine or shelter or vice versa? It’s a very scary time.

Just as a quick example of inflation: We retired 21 years ago this year. The latest statistics which only go through 2021 show that our money has lost over 50% of it’s value since then. This year inflation is taking an even bigger bite. Fortunately we invested well so we still have a decent standard of living. However we can’t just sit back and watch it evaporate. We have to take action so that our money lasts. Does that mean that we have to cut back? Absolutely and everyone should be! Tough times call for action.

So what would I do if I got a $ 15,000. tax return or a windfall of that amount from the lottery or somewhere else? Yes, I have heard of people getting a return that large. Believe me when I say that would not happen in our household. I do not believe in giving the government a free loan for a year. So I picked this number out just randomly.

First, if I had no emergency fund, I would put $5,000. away for that. I would not touch it for anything but a true emergency. A vacation, a new TV or computer are not true emergencies! If your car needs major repairs or you need to buy a clunker because your car dies, that is a true emergency.

Your refrigerator or furnace needing repairs is a true emergency. A dishwasher or washer and dryer needing repairs is not a true emergency because you have other ways to do those things. I think you get the idea.

Then I would take the other $10,000. and pay off your highest credit card debt or other high interest loan. When you do that, put those credit cards away. Do not use them. Cut them up if you have to. If you have no outstanding debt except your mortgage, put the $10,000. on the principle to pay it down.

Since we have no outstanding debt, I would put some of that money into food. With food inflation being so high, you will make more money by stocking up now than if you put that money in the bank. Food will not be any cheaper than it is today. So buying some food ahead of when you need it is better than money in the bank.

I know that many people are having a hard time just paying their basic bills. You have to cut back. Basic food is much cheaper than junk food. If you have followed me over the years, I have shown you so many ways to save on almost everything. I will continue to do that in the coming days and weeks.

If you truly can’t buy much food, go to the food banks so that they can help you. But if you are spending your money frivolously, don’t you dare go to a food bank. Cut back and leave that food for people who truly need it.

If you are in really dire straits, take on a second job. While I was roaming around you tube, I found a woman who really knows how to do that. When they need extra money, she works for Instacart. If I was in need of money, I would seriously consider that. I know that gasoline is expensive right now but listen to how she does it. Here are the videos that she has put up about how to do it:

I hope that her videos will be a help to someone.

Every Day

A Little of This and A Little of That

It’s been a little over a month since I wrote a post. I have been dealing with a health issue so things have been busy and stressful. However, I got good news on Tuesday. I am in good health. So I hope to be on here a little more often and life is getting back to normal. I can finally get back on the treadmill and bike which has made me very happy!

Grocery shopping is taking a little more time these days. With so many shelves bare in the stores, finding things on my list has not been easy. Even Walmart seems to be out of things I need lately.

That said, I stumbled on a bargain yesterday and you know that the bargains are hard to come by these days. I found these 4 instant coffees at Aldi’s. They were on clearance in the ” Here today, gone tomorrow aisle.” I asked someone I know who works there why they were on clearance. He said the label was changed. They usually cost about $7.00+ but they were on clearance at $ 1.89 each. They are very handy to have when the power is out. We dealt with that a couple of weeks ago. We had power out on two consecutive days. I have a gas stove so I can boil water on it. So if you are in need of instant coffee, look for them at your Aldi’s.

With the exception of fresh produce, dairy and meat, I do as little shopping as possible these days. If I see a steal on sale at the market, I will go pick it up. Our Top’s ran a deal this week on Johnsonville Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage which Hubby loves. For every 5 that you purchased you got them for a $ 1.00 off which made them cost $ 2.99 each. At Walmart they cost $ 3.87. I picked up 15 of them. Each package makes 3 meals for us. Hubby loves Spanish rice so I make that and add 2 sausages sliced up into it. Then I hand him the hot sauce bottle and you would think I just cooked him a gourmet meal! It’s easy and with the peppers and onions that I put in it, it is all we need to eat for a meal.

With prices so high on so many things, we have decided to ration our food, household supplies, and gasoline. What I mean by that is that I am very conscious of what portions I serve. I make sure that we eat the proper portions for one serving whether it be meat, a vegetable or fruit, or a starch. We also have no food waste. Food is too expensive to throw in the garbage. Take your leftovers and either eat them on consecutive days until they are gone or freeze them for another day. I also take bits of meat and veggies that are leftover and freeze them in a bag to make soup when it gets full. If I have produce starting to go bad, I will freeze it for smoothies. If it is onions, celery, or carrots, I slice them and freeze them to go in casseroles, soups or stews. I am making as many of our condiments homemade as I can. We are mostly eating at home. It is so much cheaper. Even fast food is expensive! So we eat our “fast food” homemade.

Inflation is killing all of us! So you need to have your frugality kick in wherever you can! I got gas yesterday which was $ 4.40 a gallon. I had no gasoline points. UGH! But we are making that gas stretch as far as we can.

I run my errands in a circle and batch all errands together with any appointments we have. I am not a lead foot. I keep my tires filled with the proper amount of air. Any excess weight in the car has been removed. We are making our tanks of gasoline last as long as possible. I know that so many of you commute to work and you can’t avoid the high prices but you can do whatever you can to get a few more miles out of that tank of gasoline. For those of you who work from home, you are lucky. For those of you who have small businesses, I worry about you. It has been a tough economy for two years and it does not seem to be getting any better.

We are using up all of our cleaning products and finding ways to save on those when we need new ones. For example, I am now making laundry detergent using just washing soda and a bar of Zote grated. We are close to being out of dishwasher soap so I am making my own. I always use microfiber cloths to clean and save the small amount of paper towels that I use for draining bacon or something really messy. Keep an open mind on how you can cut down on these costs. I think about it every time I get to the end of a store bought product. We are getting close to being out of liquid hand soap. I have lots of bar soap so we are switching to that. There are so many ways to save money.

We were delighted to have company for an early dinner this past Wednesday. Friend’s of my son came to visit. I got to meet a lovely young woman and it was a fun time. I made a delicious dinner of chicken, salad, and wild rice. I baked brownies for dessert. We baked a casserole of chicken chunks, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, spices and crushed Ritz crackers for a topping. It was a delicious meal and we had it again yesterday for dinner. There is still enough leftover for lunch today. It turned out to be an economical casserole too!

How are you guys saving in these tough days? Please share in the comments so that others may benefit from your advice.