Every Day

How We Will Save Money in 2023 (Part 3)

Happy New Year’s Eve to you all! Hubby is happily watching the Premier League soccer on TV. I have all of my work done for today and dinner will be easy. So I decided to do another blog post.

Remember the other day I told you I got 3 large packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts from Top’s delivered to my home. I used my food saver to get all of those in the freezer. Well, I was feeling up to going out yesterday afternoon, so I went to Top’s to get 2 more large packages of the chicken breasts. Today is the last day to get the $1.99 lb. price if anyone has a Top’s near them.

I only got two packages because we already have a lot of chicken. Today, I trimmed them, cut them up the way I wanted to use them, and froze them in freezer Ziploc bags because they will get used up soon. We have 8 meals of breasts(I cut them lengthwise). We have 4 meals of chicken chunks that we use for casseroles, stir fry, or chicken fried rice. Lastly, we have 4 meals of chicken strips. We use those for fajitas or for Keto coated chicken strips(almond flour, crushed pork rinds, etc.) that we do in the air fryer. They are so good! The chicken weighed 9.61 lbs. at $ 1.99 a lb. for a total of $ 19.12. We have 16 meals ready to cook for the two of us. So each meat portion for the two of us cost about $ 1.20. Really cheap!

No matter what meat I buy, I cut them up the way I want to use them when I am freezing them. That saves me a lot of time when I am ready to cook. I am usually tired by dinnertime so this is easier.

This meat was a loss leader and that is the only way I will buy meat in 2023 unless I see a good price on a reduced for quick sale package. If I see a great price on meat, I will stock up depending on how much space is in the freezer or if I am up to canning it.

Yesterday while I was out I ran the errands in a circle. I filled the SUV up with gasoline. The price was $ 3.499 a gallon but I had enough points to get $ .70 off a gallon so I paid $2.799. I also picked up one of my prescriptions that was ready. Speaking of prescriptions, I am hearing that health premiums are going up in January. Has anyone gotten notice that theirs’ is going up? We know what the new Medicare premium is for both of our medical but we have not heard a thing on our secondary insurance.

Another thing we will be doing in 2023 is repurposing items. For example, my son mentioned that he had put a hole in his shirt. He was going to put it in my garbage. I told him no that I would cut it up for rags. I have an almost full washing machine, so the shirt will be thrown in and washed with our clothes. Then I will cut it up later today and put it in the bag that I use for rags. We use very few paper towels(I only use them for draining bacon) in a year because we have rags.

We have to bag our garbage for the garbageman to pick up. Garbage bags are very expensive. I do use them but I use everything else that I can also. The things we reuse are Amazon soft packaging, any bag that holds a food item that is large. For example, we buy granola that Hubby loves in bulk from an Amish company in Ohio. They double bag the granola when they ship it. The outer bags are very large and very thick so they get reused to bag garbage. I stuff any bag including the purchased garbage bags because that way I can buy less of them. Clothing and blankets sometimes come in thick bags so we save them. Any thick and large bag will get saved for reuse.

I also reuse glass jars that purchased products come in. I use them for bacon grease, to put food in the fridge or freezer, to hold beans, rice, popcorn, etc. We buy nuts in those big plastic containers. When they are empty, I use them for dry food storage.

We will use reusable items in our home as much as possible. Cloth napkins and microfiber cloths are a staple here. I also use a dust mop that I can wash the head and dusting tools that I use over and over again. We also use reusable batteries in everything that we can. I have reusable cloth sponges that I can wash in the washing machine. I cut up mail that is junk for scrap paper. They usually only have writing on one side. I save envelopes that come in the mail to put my coupons in for a shopping trip. We have a rug shampooer so we have never had to hire someone to do the wall to wall carpeting which is an off white in the living areas. It looks as new as it did 13 years ago. We dry dishes with reusable dish cloths. I buy one color for dishes and one color to dry hands. They get thrown in the washing machine every night and new ones get put out.

We do as much cooking from scratch as we can. It is cheaper than buying products that are made for you. We will be doing a lot of this in 2023. We will make our own pizzas, sauces, many condiments, soups, Keto ice cream, etc. I will show those things with recipes as we do them during the year.

As we use up cleaning products, we will make our own. We make our own laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent now and will continue to do that. I replaced jet dry with vinegar.

I am getting tired again so I will have to stop. Starting tomorrow, I will be posting every day with the things we are doing that day to save money so that we can continue to add to our investments and bank accounts.

I hope you will join me in the comments and tell us what you are doing. Remember, the less money you have to spend on things the better. This is going to be a very expensive year between food, gasoline, and utility costs. I think even more expensive than they are now. By sharing we all learn from you.

Every Day

Some of The Things We Will Be Doing To Save Money In 2023

First let me update you on the beds we did purchase yesterday. I had a doctor’s appointment and the mattress store was on our way home. Since I was feeling pretty good, we stopped. We purchased two Twin XL wireless adjustable beds that we can butt up against each other. We each got the firmness of mattress that we wanted. We are having some carpet work done in our master bedroom so when that is done, they will deliver the beds. I can’t wait! Mine was so comfortable and will be nice for watching TV in bed. These were our belated Christmas gifts to each other.

We have a lot of California King linens that we will no longer use so they will be passed on to one of our sons who has that size bed. I will be shopping for new linens online today for our new beds.

Now for what we will do to save some money in 2023 in no particular order. We will continue to save as much energy used in our home as possible. I watch everything I do as noted in prior posts. I think about every meal I cook and how to do it energy efficiently.

Another example: I purchased a 13.44 lb. precooked ham for last Monday when my family came. Since they had had ham the day before, I didn’t use it. To heat the ham it said to cook it at 325 degrees for 15 minutes per lb. That would have been a lot of energy use. Since it was precooked and you could eat it cold, we made a plan. We did not cook it for all that time in the oven. It was spiral sliced so Hubby took all the slices off. Then we cut off some big chunks, and finally we had the ham bone with a lot of meat still attached. We each had a big slice with a side dish for dinner last night and some cantaloupe that I had cut into chunks for dessert. We heated the ham slices for less than 30 seconds in the microwave. They were perfect. I am so glad that we didn’t waste all of that energy cooking it in the oven. After dinner we bagged up a bunch of slices for dinners and for frying it up with eggs for breakfast or for making ham salad which Hubby loves. They are in the refrigerator. Then we froze the rest of the slices in portions and did the same with the chunks to use in casserole dishes. The ham bone is sitting in the fridge waiting for me to make ham and bean soup on Sunday. I will make a huge pot in my crock pot. The soup alone will make us 4-5 meals. If we get tired of it, we will freeze the leftover soup for other meals. The ham will get used up over the winter and I have calculated that we will get about 30-35 meals from it. I paid $ 1.49 a lb. for this ham. What a great bargain!

We never waste one bit of food. It is too expensive to put it in the trash. I carefully watch my produce and all of the other food in the fridge so that it gets used up. As an example, we had leftover corn and honey carrots from our family dinner last Monday night. They immediately got frozen to use up in homemade soup. I add all kinds of leftovers to this bag of them. When we have enough, I make soup with some of our homemade canned broth. I also had a large cantaloupe that was ripe. I cut it up into chunks and Hubby and I have been eating it for breakfasts, desserts, and snacks. If it starts to get too sweet, I will freeze the rest for smoothies before it turns to mush. Breakfast or brunch today will be scrambled eggs with leftover chopped onions, fried ham, and we will each have 1/2 of an English muffin that is left from having company. If we are hungry early afternoon, we will have a small bowl of cantaloupe chunks. Dinner tonight will again be ham slices and some broccoli. I will be soaking some great northern beans overnight on Saturday to make the bean soup on Sunday.

Grocery shopping is so expensive these days and prices are about to go up again. So this year, I am changing up my strategy a bit. I will continue to purchase by scouring the sale ads but only the really good loss leaders will be purchased. For example, Top’s had big packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts on loss leader this week for $ 1.99 a lb. I have not seen that price in over a year. They limited you to three packs so that is what I purchased. I took them all out of the original packaging, cut each breast into two breasts(they are so big these days) and froze those two pieces with my food saver. I continued to do the rest of them the same way. We now have 18 or more meals of frozen chicken ready to use. In our ads, the loss leaders are usually on the front page with the prices in red. The same goes for the back page with the produce. There are also many lists on the internet showing you what produce is in season which will be your cheapest prices. We will be eating from our pantries and freezers and adding the loss leaders to them. Any other products we have to have will be purchased on sale. If they are not on sale, we will go without until they do go on sale. Substitutions will be made where necessary. For example, if we run out of creamer and the price is too high, we will use evaporated canned milk, powdered milk, or powdered creamer. If you can tolerate black coffee go for it. I can’t stand it! If I can’t find coffee on sale, we will drink tea that I purchased on sale.

One of the biggest savings that I am making this year is on purchasing beverages. Soda(sorry Hubby) and flavored waters have risen too high for me. We do drink a lot of water but sometimes you just have to have some flavor. Skinny Syrups is where I buy my SF flavors for coffee. We love them. I always buy them by the case when they have a 50-60% off sale. Well, they have come out with the SF syrups to flavor water. On a before Thanksgiving sale, I purchased a case of them to try them. We love them. As with our coffee, the waters only take one squirt. This will save us a lot of money on not buying what is basically flavored water.

Another big savings for 2023 will be on alcohol. Hubby and I rarely drink it at home anymore. We have quite a stash for when company comes. If we happen to go out to Russell’s on a special occasion we might order a glass of wine but that will be it.

We use very little bread or rolls in our home. If we do decide to have some, it will be homemade. Bread and roll prices are out of control.

We rarely find marked down produce, reduced price meat, or other clearance items in our area. However I have contacted every store to find out when each day they might reduce those things. I have my answers for each store and I will make it a habit to shop at those times when I do shop and look for those items. I have never had a bad package of reduced price meat. We either cook it the day I buy it or freeze it immediately. Marked down produce usually still has quite a bit of usable fruit or veggies in those packages even after you cut out the bad spots. I do have a produce market that does mark downs all of the time but they do go fast. Now I know when to look for them.

I will rarely be buying cleaning products. I have a lot to use up and then will mostly make them myself. Hubby already makes our own shower cleaner and I make homemade laundry detergent. I also make our own garbage disposal cleaner. I use bleach to clean our toilets and we have a lot of that. We are about to switch from liquid hand soap to bar soap. I have about an inch of liquid soap left in a refill. I have over 150 bars of soap. I purchased soap dishes for them all a while ago.

I will be purchasing no makeup in 2023. I have plenty for when I leave the house. I don’t use it at home unless we have company. We also have many other personal care products to use up.

You all know that I was paying a fortune to go to the beauty salon every 6 weeks. Well, the last haircut I had I got was at SuperCuts. I was not thrilled with it after a couple of days. Hubby cut my hair for years and it was done beautifully. He is very good at it. I have finally convinced him to do it again. So this weekend, he is going to cut it and I am beyond thrilled. I purchased a hair color kit before I went in the hospital. I will be coloring my own hair next week. I will be looking for coupons to put a few hair colors on my shelf.

Our water prices will be going up January 1 so I will continue to watch our usage by taking navy showers, using veggie cleaning water to water plants and outside gardens, only putting the smallest amount of water needed in a pot to cook whatever, reusing warm up shower water to clean or flush toilets, etc.

When our automobile and homeowners policies are up in March, we will shop around for a better price.

That is it for today. I will be back next week with more of what I plan.

Happy New Year to you and your families! I pray that 2023 will be better than this year.

How are you planing to save money this year?

Every Day

Here Comes 2023!

Whether we are ready or not it is coming. I sure hope it is better than 2022 but I think it is going to be another rough one. With Covid 19 ramping up in China again, we will not be seeing a lot of products from there in the near future. So I would suggest that any of you who do not have some kind of stockpile or storage of the things you use or need, start getting them. They will never be cheaper next year than they are now. As an example, Hubby has lost almost 35 lbs. since his heart attack in October. He needs some new long sleeve T shirts to keep himself warm in the house. What I am finding online is that there is very little variety in his size. I had to do a lot of searching to find something he would like and that was in stock. I was able to get him 5 in different colors at a reasonable price of $ 16.99 each. The days of buying his T shirts only at LL Bean are over. Before his heart attack, he ordered a couple of pair of jeans from them. at $ 60. per pair. He had worn one but one is still brand new with the tags. I will be returning that one.

Recently I also ordered another blanket for our king size bed. I had been complaining to Hubby for a while that our bed was not comfortable on my back. Since I was hospitalized and have all the nerve and disc issues, we are getting a new bed. We want one that has two different mattresses of firmness and that we can each separately put up the head or leg part when we need it. That kind of bed will only take twin linens on each side. So I will be returning the blanket. It is still in the original packaging and has never been used.

With the exceptions of clothes that Hubby needs because of his weight loss and our new bed, there will not be any other major purchases this year. Only real needs will be purchased. Any maintenance of our home will be a need and of course food, medicines, and gasoline are needs. But everything else will be considered a luxury. With my back issues, Hubby wants me to get a cleaning service to maintain our home. I am truly considering having someone come in and clean every other week. However, my back is starting to feel a little better. I go to the neurosurgeon in a couple of weeks. I will be finding out what I should and shouldn’t do. I will make a decision on the Maids at that time. In the meantime, Hubby is doing the cleaning and doing an excellent job.

I told you in a prior post that I was going to only spend $ 300. a month on food. I may have to up that if I end up having to get everything delivered. Those fees and tips for Walmart Grocery Delivery and Instacart really add up. It will all depend on how well I heal and what the doctor has to say. I am a very independent person so it is killing me that I may not be able to do certain things. I like doing my own shopping and actually seeing the products. But I do rely heavily on grocery delivery in the winter with the snow and ice.

Hubby and I rarely eat out because it has gotten so expensive. We will probably go to Russell’s, our favorite steak house, once or twice this year. I also used the Top’s gift card deal this Christmas to get $150. worth of Texas Roadhouse gift cards for $ 120. When we visit our son and granddaughter next we will use them. And of course, I am still working on the Panera gift cards that I purchased on that same deal 4-5 years ago. Gift cards never expire in New York. It takes a long time to use them because I only get bagels once in a while on the Tuesday deal.

If you haven’t set your budget for 2023, you still have a couple of days to do it. Hubby and I have ours all set. We know what we need for each category. Of course, we will change it if things change especially on food if we need to add a $100. or so to it. We are truly going to try to save as much as possible and spend as little as possible. Hard times are here so you need to save for them.

Our gasoline prices here are $ 3.49 a gallon. Yesterday when my son and granddaughter went home they filled up at the truck stop in Pembroke. He paid $ 2.62 a gallon. That is a huge difference. I wish that truck stop was closer to me. It is not worth using the gasoline to get there. But if we have to go that way, you can bet we will fill up there. So in the meantime, we use the car as little as possible and I fill up using Top’s gas points to get money off. If I don’t have points, I can usually get a good price at B.J.’s.

Since we receive Social Security, we are getting a raise in our January deposits. We know what those amounts will be after taxes(we pay Federal taxes on 85% of our Social Security). So we have included that amount in our budget. It will go to savings.

I am getting tired so I am going to rest now. There will be more on what we are going to do to save as much as possible in 2023 tomorrow.

Is your budget set? What are you going to do to save money?

Every Day

It’s Been A Long Holiday That Didn’t Go As Planned

My son was going to have us for Christmas. He lives about 1 and 1/4 hours from us. However, between my illness and Mother Nature’s wrath, we couldn’t get there.

It started raining on Friday which turned to ice and then snow. The temperatures dipped down to about 7 degrees. The windchill was about -1l We got so much more snow than Buffalo. The snow band sat over us for two days. The winds which gusted up to 71 mph were horrid and lasted 2 days. A State of Emergency was declared all weekend. No one could go on the roads. The blowing snow made it difficult for even an ambulance or anyone else to drive. Sadly a number of people died because they couldn’t get emergency vehicles to them in time.

It stopped Christmas morning. By that time we had about 5 ft. of snow on our front porch which the wind had picked up and deposited. The same against our garage and about 2 ft. everywhere else. Fortunately, we never lost our power. It blinked a few times one day but we never lost it.

Our snowplow driver showed up about 2pm and got all of the snow away from the garage doors and then plowed the driveway. At least we had a way out in case of an emergency.

I had nothing thawed for Christmas dinner. So I took a small pork tenderloin out to thaw and I made a hoisin sauce concoction for it. Hubby was happy and so was I. We had about half of it leftover so I froze it and a small dish of the sauce to make a meal in a week or two.

My son and granddaughter are on their way out here right now. The trip is usually 4 and 1/2 hours but it is snowing here and has been for about 5 hours. The Thruway was still closed this morning from Exit 36 to the PA border but it is supposed to open soon which will make it easier for my son to drive here. I don’t know what kind of snow they will encounter on the way out. So I am praying they get here safely. My son has a class to teach for his business in Brockport tomorrow so we always look forward to them coming out after Christmas.

I had planned on baking a ham for them for dinner tonight. However, my son called yesterday and he had baked a ham for he and Alexa. So I didn’t want to feed them ham again tonight. I took a large turkey tenderloin out to thaw and I will roast that and serve it with mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, corn, and honey carrots. I have ice cream and cookies for dessert. All of this will be easy for me and Hubby will help.

The 13.44 lb. ham will get baked later in the week to give us a nice dinner and I will use the food saver to make many meals with the leftovers.

Our Christmas with our other son has been moved to the middle of January barring any snow storm. He is going to have us and Katie’s parents and brother for the fondue dinner that we always have there because we all missed Christmas. He is even keeping the tree up. Katie’s parents live in NH and they couldn’t get there either. We will exchange all of the presents then.

One more thing: Walmart cancelled my delivery order that was supposed to come today. They did that on Saturday due to weather. It had all the special things in it to treat my son and granddaughter. I was very disappointed but understood it was because of the weather. Luckily, I was able to get a delivery from Top’s this morning with what I needed. Top’s was closed from Saturday until this morning. Wegman’s is still closed and I have no idea if Walmart has reopened.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I just wanted to check in while I had a few minutes before my family comes. Stay warm and stay safe. I will be back posting on Thursday to talk about the New Year.

Every Day

Our Electric and Natural Gas Bill for 32 days Was A Shocker!

I slept really well last night, so I woke up at 5am and have been trying to catch up on some paperwork. Now that I have my second cup of coffee for the day, I felt like posting about our recent electric and natural gas bill. It was a real shocker! You know that I always try to do my best to keep this bill down and close to last year’s even though costs have gone up.

Well, here is the breakdown of our December 20, 2022 bill which was for 32 days.. Our electric bill was $ 91.51 for 554 KWH. Our natural gas bill was for 133 ccfs. which they converted to 4 therms for billing purposes. The gas bill was $ 181.64. Then they added some fees and taxes which made the entire bill $ 274. 01. YIKES!

Now let’s compare it to the same bill for last year. The December 2021 bill was for 32 days also. Our electric bill was $ 74.27 for 517KWH. Our natural gas bill was 122 ccfs which also converted to 4 therms for billing purposes. The gas bill was $ 140.36. After the taxes and fees, the total bill was $215.59.

So our electric bill jumped only 37 KWH from Dec of 2021 to Dec 2022. We had company during that billing period but that is not much of a difference for that happening. Maybe a few TV’s or lights. Nothing spectacular. However the total electric bill went up $ 17.24. That tells me the electric rates are getting more expensive. Our natural gas bill for using the same amount of billed therms as last year was a total of $181.64. Last years bill was $140.36. So for the same amount of billable natural gas for the same number of days, we paid $ 41.28 more. Wow! These gas rates are going up rapidly and this is just the beginning of our high bills. There is a lot more winter left. The only things that we use natural gas for is our heating and gas stove. There is not much we can do but stop using the gas stove for the rest of the season. Cook in electric small appliances and cook a few meals at once so that we can just heat them quickly in the microwave. Our heat goes way down at night and does not come back up up to the 71 degrees that we keep it at until 8am in the morning. I am sitting here writing to you wrapped in a blanket because it only 64 in here. During the night it goes down to 62 degrees and starts increasing about now to get to the 71 degrees. I suppose we could turn the heat off but we would freeze to death. We could turn it down a degree or two but Hubby would freeze. I am just hoping we don’t lose heat this weekend in this snow storm because they are predicting massive winds up to 60 miles per hour which will probably take some lines down with trees falling on them.

We will continue to keep doing what we are doing to keep the usage low but we can’t do anything about the delivery and supply charges. So if you haven’t seen your monthly bill for November to December, get ready for it! The media and the government told us the prices would be up. They weren’t kidding. All of this could be stopped if the President turned our own oil pipelines back on and let them drill for more oil here. Their climate agenda is ridiculous. Solar will never work and will be so expensive that no one can afford it. There is not enough electric power in our grid to handle all of that. It will be a great big failure! In the meantime, we are all paying the prices for their incompetence. So get ready for 2023. Things are not going to get any better!

Every Day

It’s Been A Very Rough Year!

I have been in the hospital for the last 5 days. I just came home this morning. On Saturday morning, I was up early as usual. I was walking in the breakfast room and when I put my left foot down, I got the most excruciating pain starting at my hip that shot down my leg into my foot. I could not stand nor put any weight on it. I grabbed a chair and sat down. I yelled for Hubby who was sleeping. He got me some clothes and I got dressed with help. He went and found the walker that I kept from my knee replacements. His idea was for me to get to the car with that and he would take me to the ER. However even with the walker, I could not put any weight on it to walk. The pain was excruciating. He called the ambulance which took me to the ER which was very uncrowded. The doctor saw me very quickly and ordered X -rays. Fortunately, there was nothing broken. So they sent me for a CT scan. They didn’t see anything. They decided to put me under observation on the surgical floor. They doped me up on a lot of narcotic drugs for the pain. I had to stay in bed and could not get up. The PA saw me on Monday and gathered all the information and made sure I had the drug regimen. She actually added some drugs. They sent PT in to see me and that got me up on a walker. My leg and hip still hurt but I was able to walk about 60 ft. and back that day. The PA looked at the scans and came in on Tuesday and told me she knew what the problem was. I have L1through L5 in my back with bulges between the discs and they are all impinging on my nerves. She put me on a nerve drug. By the second dose, I had no pain. This morning I was walking without the walker. They referred me to a neurosurgeon and released me about noontime today. I am home but have to be careful of how much I do. The tiniest thing could set it all off again. I am very tired so I am going to bed after dinner. Hubby is making taco salads.

A big shout out to the nurses and PCA’s that took care of me. They spoiled me rotten. They were always there when you needed them and pills were always on time. They truly treated me like they cared not ignored because I was old. They treated everyone like that. One of them made me coffee a couple of evenings and then this morning when she came into take vitals at 4am, she made me a cup and then at 6am another one appeared. You know who you are.

So many people complain but very few people write to compliment people.I am sending a letter to the CEO to compliment them along with some grocery store gift cards for him to disperse to them from me and Hubby. It is just a small gesture compared to the amount of time they spent caring for me. I hope to get that done next week. It is on the top of my list!

We have a huge snowstorm coming on Christmas weekend: freezing rain on Friday turning into 17 inches of snow on Saturday and Sunday. I just hope my snowplow guy comes. But we are not going to go to Rochester for Christmas dinner with my son and his wife and West. Too dangerous and I really don’t know if I will be up to it. So meanwhile I have all their gifts here and vice versa. My son does not think he will get out here until Saturday to trade them. I do not want him driving here in a dangerous snowstorm so we told him no. So Christmas Day will suck! However, my other son and Alexa will be coming out from the Adirondacks on Monday for a couple of days. I don’t think they will be affected by our storms because they are Lake Effect unless they have their own snowstorms. We are so looking forward to seeing them. Hubby will cook our ham that day for a belated Christmas dinner. I hope to get many meals out of that.

I will be back soon after my children go back next week and tell you about how we have had to change our grocery budget again and why. Plus telling you more about what we plan to do around here to make it easier on me. Plus many money saving ideas for 2023. Oh and my electric and gas bill came while I was in the hospital so I will break that down soon too. It wasn’t pretty!

I will be resting the next few days and not on here. So I wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! I hope we all have a much better 2023!

Every Day

Frugal Things We Have Done Over The Past Week Or So

It has been a rough week health wise in our home so I needed to do other things besides blog. Rachel, I am sorry that I was so late responding to your comment. I know you all understand. But between appointments and tests, we did manage to save some money by being frugal this week.

I was a bit late getting my Christmas cards written. I had a box of cards leftover from another year. But I ended up being about 10 cards short. I was going to pick up a box at Dollar Tree but then I remembered that I night have some in a Christmas box in the basement. I found them and I think I have enough for next year also.

I mailed those cards yesterday using forever stamps that I purchased two years ago. BTW, stamps are going up January 22, 2023 from $. 60 to $ .63 for a first class letter. You might want to consider buying some forever stamps before that date if you need them. I will be getting a 100 count roll. These increases have me thinking that the best way to do Christmas cards in coming years is to buy postcards. The stamps for those will rise next month too from $.44 to $.48. But they are a lot cheaper to mail than a first class stamp.

Hubby made a big crock pot full of his homemade Texas chili that his Dad taught him how to make when he was a teenager. It is all meat! He used 85/15 organic ground beef that I purchased a while ago on sale at Aldi. He used 2.5 pounds. It turned out so delicious. We rarely eat rice but you have to when you have chili. Tonight will be our third night eating it. Then we will freeze up the rest of it in meal portions. It can be used again when we are craving chili, to put on hot dogs, or over baked potatoes, etc.

We continue to think about how we can cook our food cheaper. For example, the meat and onions were cooked up in the electric fry pan then it simmered in the crock pot with all the rest of the ingredients for about 6 hours on low. Leftovers have been heated up in the microwave. The rice was cooked in a small rice cooker that uses very little electricity.

We continue to lower our heat at night to 64. I have the cloth snakes in front of the doors to keep any leaks of air outside. We haven’t had much sunshine except for one day, so the energy saving shades have been kept down.

Hubby decorated our front windows with wreaths with LED lights and we put the candles that are also LED in the windowsills. I had gotten C and D batteries for these months ago when I found a sale. We also considered buying 12 more candles to do all of the rest of the windows but after looking at how high the prices were on them, we said no. The ones we wanted were $38. for 4. Yikes! He and I decorated our little tree which we made a few years back from our large tree. I am allergic to real trees so we have used artificial ones for years.

Hubby also made some coleslaw which he loads up with apple and pecans. It made a nice lunch for many days.

Yesterday, I went out to run errands. I ran them in a 10 mile circle. I had to go to the liquor store for Christmas stuff. Then I went to Top’s to get a spiral sliced ham for $ 1.49 a pound. It was the same price as Aldi’s. Except if I hadn’t scanned the ad so quickly, I would have realized that I had to buy $30. worth of other groceries besides the ham. So when I got to the register, the ham rang up at almost $64. I was $17. short so I asked the front end manager if he would run back to the meat department and get me an on sale($4.99 a lb.) sirloin tip roast to get me that additional $17. He kindly agreed to get it. It took him a very long time but that is because when he couldn’t find a pre-wrapped for that price, he had the butcher shop cut one up fresh for me that was just a little over the $17. I was very grateful. But next time, I will pay better attention. However, that roast will get cooked until it is perfectly medium rare to slice for sandwiches. At $4.99 a lb., they are cheap cold cuts. I have a meat slicer that I bought back in the early 1970’s to use to save on food. Here we are again with prices out of control just like back then so it is getting used a lot.

My last errand was to pick up Hubby’s insulin and his needles. The insulin is not cheap. That was a $ 60. co-pay. But our insurance covered the cost of all of the needles. I find that the alcohol preps are the cheapest at Walmart so that is where I buy them. I was happy to get home because it was so cold outside.

Hubby and I watched the Buffalo Bills game again on Sunday and we watched Yellowstone for our entertainment. We get Paramount Plus for free with our Walmart+.

What have you been doing to save a bit of money? Feel free to share with us in the comments.

Every Day

How I Do My “List” for Grocery Shopping and Purchasing

I prepared my “list” yesterday for my errands this morning. By list, I mean circling the good deals on the Top’s and Aldi’s ad. I don’t waste an extra sheet of paper writing out a list. I hate doing it on my phone. I am a paper and pen girl. Then I check the Walmart online site for the prices for the same items to determine if they are a good deal or not. I write Walmart’s prices next to the item in the ad. This was important especially for this ad because they had some B1G1F meat deals. Top’s raises their prices on the first item so I need to do the math at the store to see if they are a good deal. Some of the circled items were purchased and some were not.

I stopped at the Town Hall to pay our water and sewer bill on the way to the market. That way I save a stamp.

Next stop was the market. The pork tenderloins were on B1G1F. The price for one was $9.99. They are 22 ounces a piece. So I paid about $5.00 for each of them. The 85/15 ground beef was $ 6.19 a lb. I paid $ 14.79 total for the two packages which weighed 4.72 lbs. combined. That came out to $3.13 a lb. The Hot Italian sausage was on sale for $3.99 a lb. I got one package weighing 2.79 lbs. My total for that was $11.13. Today was senior citizen discount day so I got an extra 6% off my meat total and my other purchases. I love it when they have meat I need on discount day. It is the first Tuesday of each month. The last meat purchase was a new product to our store. That was a pound of beef crumbles that are frozen and cook up in about 7-8 minutes. They were on sale for $ 4.99 and I clipped a Top’s e-coupon for a $ 1.00 off so they totaled $ 3.99. These will be handy on a busy day when I forget to thaw some meat rather than have to do take out.

Hubby has not had Coke for a long time. It was on sale 3/$4.00 so I got him 3. The Ragu spaghetti sauce were 2/$3. after an e-coupon that I clipped. I also picked up 1 apple at $2.99 a lb. for a total of $ 1.29. I never thought that I would see the day I would pay that much for 1 apple but Hubby wanted it to make his waldorf coleslaw.

None of the rest of the items in the ad that I marked were purchased because they were either more expensive than Walmart or I decided that I just didn’t need them.

Top’s is running the Christmas deal on particular giftcards again this year. You can earn 1 point for each order of $50. or more. I had 2 points. The only card that even interested me was The Texas Roadhouse ones. I got 2 giftcards for $50. each discounted by $10. each for a total cost of $80. for both of them. When we visit my son and granddaughter in eastern NY, we will use them to take them out to dinner. I will get more of them when I earn more points before Dec. 24th.

I entered my receipt into Fetch and I got a $ .25 rebate on Ibotta for my receipt.

I had planned on picking up some Christmas cards too. I had 15 cards but I needed 21. But this morning before I left to go out, I went down to the storage area where everything Christmas is and I found another box of cards. So I am set.

On the way home, I stopped at the drugstore to pick up a $10. prescription. All of my errands were run in a circle to save on gasoline. However, I do have to go Aldi’s tomorrow for the $.69 a lb chicken legs or I may ask Hubby to do it since he has to go to the barber for his haircut.

How do you make your list? Any good deals this week for you guys?

Every Day

2023 Grocery Budget and How We Will Do It (Continued)

For those who have not read my prior post, read it before you read this. This is a continuation.

As I mentioned yesterday, our 2023 grocery budget will be $300. a month or $3600. annually.

I want to go back and talk about meat, poultry and fish purchases. These groceries are the most expensive you will buy. We used to be able to buy NY strip steaks, filet mignon, prime rib roasts, and ribeye steaks. Not any longer! I refuse to pay $25.00 – $35.00 per pound and up for these steaks. The roasts or tenderloins for filet mignon are $40.00 per pound and up in my area. That isn’t going to happen. The last time I purchased a tenderloin and had it cut into filet mignon was when the price had reached $18.99 per pound. The quality was horrible. I have not paid for these things since.

On a $300. a month budget, I will buy sirloin tip steaks when they are on sale for $ 4.99- $ 6.99 a pound. I still have some in the freezer from a sale this summer. But they will now get used for stew beef or cut up for beef barley soup. We do not eat steak unless we can grill it outside. Our grill is in the shed for the winter.

I will buy sirloin tip beef roasts at a good price like I did last week. They were $4.99 a lb. One was cut up into stew beef and the other was ground for hamburger. I buy like this a lot when the price is lower than buying the ground sirloin or the stew beef. If you have a butcher shop in your market, grab one or two roasts when they are on sale and ask your butcher to grind it for you. Most of them will. That is what I did when I didn’t have the grinder.

When ground beef is too high, I will buy ground turkey when it is a better price. Right now, I can get a pound at Walmart for $ 2.54 to $3.98 a lb. I use it just like I would beef. I make taco meat with it for our taco salads, Italian meatballs, meatloaf and throw it in casseroles.

We both love lamb chops from Australia or New Zealand. The price is $9.99 per pound and I won’t pay it.

Boneless chicken breasts in my area are now $ 2.88 – $ 3.49 a pound. I will pick up a large package or two at those prices and either can it or freeze it. But my preference for chicken is to buy either whole ones, drumsticks, or thighs. Thigh meat is so much more flavorful than the breasts. I can usually get them for $ .99 – $ 1.39 a lb. We love the drumsticks done in our air fryer. Most of the time, I can get them for $.89 – $.99 a lb. However, Aldi’s has a 5 lb. bag of them on sale starting Wednesday for $ .69 a lb. You can bet I will be there when the store opens. These will go fast. Hubby used to love wings. But they have gotten too expensive and he loves the drumsticks better with wing sauce. If I am very busy out of the house, I will pick up a rotisserie chicken for $ 4.98 at Sam’s Club or $ 6.99 at Top’s. I make sure to pick every bit of that meat off the carcass and use it up. Then I save the carcass in the freezer until I have enough of them to make chicken bone broth.

Fish except for canned tuna and some frozen shrimp has not been purchased in quite a while in our household. I bought a whole salmon earlier in this year for $ 8.49 a lb. and many whole haddock at $12.99 a lb. I love the salmon and Hubby loves the haddock. I cut them up into 3-4 oz. portions and froze them. We still have some left. When you food saver them they keep at least a year if not longer. I continue to buy canned tuna when I see a sale because Hubby loves tuna salad. When I was a kid, I had tuna salad for lunch more days than I can remember. I hated it and do to this day. I love shrimp but will not pay more than $9.99 a lb. which is what I pay now. If it goes higher, we will not buy it. I can get two meals out of a pound.

I do buy bacon, sausage, or ham for our family Sunday breakfasts. Bacon is so expensive that I have started buying the pound sausage rolls because they are much cheaper. My family likes sausage better than bacon anyhow. I do have a number of pounds of bacon in the freezer right now so we will finish them up. We like ham too fried up for breakfast. I am hoping that the hams go on sale for Christmas. The cheapest price I have seen is $ 2.54 a pound at Walmart. I am hoping they go cheaper. But if they don’t, I will buy one or two. My son and granddaughter are coming the day after Christmas for a few days. I want to cook one that day. I like to slice up the leftovers with my meat slicer for other meals and for cold cuts. Cold cuts are so expensive that I have stopped buying them. I slice my own from hams, turkey tenderloins, and chickens.

If I find a good price on hot dogs I will buy those too. But it is not something that we eat a lot of.

So as you can see most of our meat and poultry will be ground beef, sausage, bacon, ham, hot dogs, ground turkey, the whole turkeys I have in the freezer and chicken this coming year. If the prices continue to rise, we will cut back on those by either using less meat or by going without. There are other options for protein like cheese, eggs, lentils, or beans.

We are still buying eggs but if the price gets much higher I will not buy them. I have many dozen frozen in the freezer and I also have powdered whole eggs. Instead of eating eggs everyday, we have been making pancakes and waffles every few days. I like oatmeal too and that certainly is the cheaper choice.

I watch the Niagara Produce specials every 10 days or so that the prices last. When they have produce or meat on sale, it usually beats everyone else’s price. They also mark down soon to expire meat early in the day which is when I am usually there. So I watch for those stickers. I never seem to hit the markdowns at Top’s or Walmart. I will have to find out when they mark them down.

I compare the prices of all Top’s sale items that I am interested in to the Walmart prices online to see if the Top’s deal is really a good price. Many times it is not. I do the same for the Aldi’s sale items. I actually will try to go to Aldi’s first to see how their prices compare to Top’s and Walmart’s.

The first Tuesday of the month that Top’s has their senior citizen discount of 6% is when I go there that week. Saving 6% is a big deal in this economy.

We do have a Sam’s Club membership but it is 45 minutes away from me. I usually just get items shipped to me from there that are cheaper than anyplace else. I can check their website for those prices. Perhaps when the weather gets better in the spring, we will go there for a quarterly shop.

I have a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime. I only signed up for it so that we could see the Buffalo Bills game last Thursday night. Twitch is quirky which is where Hubby has been watching the games on Thursdays. However after I signed up, the local station said it was going to be carried here. I plan on cancelling it before I have to pay for it. I check their prices against Walmart’s but most of the time Walmart is the cheapest. Meanwhile I am taking full advantage of the trial.

Ibotta and Fetch are my favorite grocery rebate apps. I use Fetch faithfully to get Walmart giftcards. I also have a cash back credit card that I use to get groceries. Those points add up to get me cash to buy more groceries or to just deposit it in our savings.

We do not get a newspaper but I do get some ads in the mail on Thursdays. The other ads that I don’t get I look at on Flipp and decide if it is worth a trip to the next town to get anything. This week I will be in that town for something else so I will definitely be looking at their ads.

Sometimes I get a coupon flyer with the ads. Most of the coupons I throw out because they are not things we use. Occasionally I get one that we can use. I also use the online coupon sites for coupons. I do clip e-coupons on the Top’s website.

Feel free to add things that you do to keep your grocery prices down or to ask a question by leaving a comment. We all learn from each other.

Every Day

2023 Grocery Budget and How We Will Do It

Inflation has really taken a toll on our grocery budget the past couple of years. I would bet that it has also taken a toll on yours unless you are in the top 5% of income. But I suspect that none of my readers are in that top 5%.

Our family consists of just Hubby and I. So our budget has to cover all of our meals as well as any family or friends who we entertain during the year. We rarely go out to eat but when we do, it comes from our entertainment budget not our grocery budget.

What does our grocery budget include? It includes all food and beverage, cleaning products, and over the counter health and beauty products. It does not cover our prescription drugs.

We have a pantry that we have stocked up a bit over this year because of inflation. Knowing that inflation would keep going up and suspecting that prices will sky rocket right after Christmas, I would buy a couple of cans or other items each time I would grocery shop. That gives us a little bit of a hedge on inflation especially since we live on a retiree’s fixed income.

There have been months during 2022 that our food budget got out of control. There was even a month that I spent over $900. I would guess that many of you have gone over budget with these rising out of control prices.

But I do not want to do that in 2023. So I will be doing whatever is necessary to stay within budget. We have finished our budget for next year and our grocery allotment per month will be $ 300. or $ 3600. for the year. I believe that amount is doable no matter how high the prices go. To be totally honest with you, I am also starting the year with a $100. Amazon giftcard and $ 50. in Walmart giftcards. All of the gift cards can be used for necessary things we might need like OTC drugs, health and beauty aids, and/or food.

How will we accomplish sticking to this amount of $300. per month? First we will stick to doing portion control of our food. As I have said before, Americans including me eat too much food. So we are back to eating the way we did in the 1960’s and 1970’s. My grandmother always cooked up the proper portions for our meals. Obesity was not a big thing back then because we didn’t overeat. Just think how much money you will save by serving a 3-4 ounce portion of meat instead of a whole steak, or two hamburgers, etc. This is our portion for all meats, poultry, and fish. It is no bigger than the size of a deck of cards.

Then we have a half cup, a cup, or two cups of vegetables. If I serve leafy greens, we can have 2 cups a day. If I serve any kind of raw vegetable, we can eat 1 cup. The same goes for tomato or V8 juice. Eight ounces is enough. When we have cooked veggies, I serve 1/2 cup.

If we have rice or pasta, our portion would be no more than 1/2 cup cooked. If I serve potatoes, our portion is the size of a small potato. One half of a bagel or a slice of toast is what we will eat when we do bread. Since we don’t eat a lot of bread, I make a loaf when we want some and freeze it in slices. We eat our hamburgers bare or in lettuce wraps so I don’t need buns.

For cheese, we eat 1 ounce or the size of two dominos. For Keto ice cream or yogurt, we eat 1/2 cup.

We rarely eat fruit because it is not good for diabetics. If we do, we eat berries and just a small handful.

Sometimes, we only eat veggies and a protein portion for dinner. It depends on how hungry we are or how much exercise we have had that day.

I think you get the idea. But we are older adults so we don’t need as much food as younger healthy extremely active adults. So check out this site to see what your portions should be for your family:

I have also dug out some old cookbooks that I will be using for our meals. Many years ago a reader of my blog sent me a depression era cookbook. I don’t remember who it was but I am thanking her again. I also have some old cookbooks from the 1960’s and 1970’s. One of my favorites is the Child’s Hospital Cookbook of Buffalo. My SIL gave me this one for my bridal shower. It got so worn from being used that it fell apart. After cutting out a couple of our recipes that we used all the time, I threw the book out. That turned out to be a big mistake. After we moved here, I was able to find a good condition used copy of it online. I immediately purchased it and have been using it a lot ever since. I also have the Living on a Dime Cookbooks that you can purchase here:

I bought her first book, Not Just Beans, twenty years ago which is basically the same as her Dining Volume 1 and I have Volume 2. The reason I like her books is they are basic recipes that don’t use a lot of ingredients and they taste good. The less ingredients you use in your meals, the cheaper your meal will be.

I do have some Keto cookbooks that I use occasionally and I have a lot of local women’s club and school cookbooks that I have collected wherever we have lived. My MIL had a lot of cookbooks from after WWII that I inherited and use.

We now eat meatless meals at least once or twice a week and we will continue that. Meat has gotten very expensive so we eat a lot of salads with a cut up egg for protein. I realize eggs are also expensive but one egg is still cheaper than a piece of meat.

Dairy has also become a major issue in our area. Heavy whipping cream is almost impossible to find and so is half and half. When I do find it, the price is ridiculous. So we will be resorting to using powdered creamer or canned cream if the prices continue to rise. I buy eggs in the 60 count box at Walmart. But lately, I have been not able to find them. So I get them where ever I can find them the cheapest. We rarely buy ice cream except for family holiday meals. I make Keto peanut butter ice cream occasionally. It is not an every day thing.

We will buy fresh vegetables that are in season or on a fantastic sale. We do buy lettuce, carrots, onions and celery because we eat a lot of salads and soups. My stores have not had any lettuce for a couple of weeks until I found it at Aldi’s(finally) this week. I was beyond delighted. If this happens again,we will buy fresh spinach or bagged salads on sale. I always check the fresh price of veggies against the frozen price. Many times the frozen is a better deal especially at Aldi’s.

I always buy our meat on sale. When there is a good sale on chicken, I have been known to buy 20-30 lbs. and freeze it in portions. The same goes for ground meat, lamb chops, pork, any kind of roast, and fish. When you buy it in bulk on sale, you never have to pay full price for it. If I run out, I won’t buy that particular meat until it goes on sale again. An example was when I purchased two extra turkeys at Thanksgiving at $ .58 a lb. I hadn’t purchased whole turkeys since last Thanksgiving. Those will give us a lot of meat this winter.

Ever since we got married well over 50 years ago, I have always stocked my freezer and pantry with sale items. Then I have made my meals from what I have stored. I never plan a menu plan and then shop for it. I really don’t like making menu plans but have done it occasionally especially if I know that we have a busy week. The only exception is holidays and then I still try to buy my needed items on sale. Otherwise, I decide the night before what we will eat depending on what we are craving and just take it out of our freezer to thaw or our pantry. Knowing what I have on hand, I can peruse my cookbooks for a recipe.

This post is getting very long so I will continue it tomorrow.