Every Day

Frugal Things That We Have Been Doing

We did not have to replace the furnace when the new central A/C was installed on Friday. When they installed the new coil in the furnace, the firebox was in perfect condition so it did not need to be replaced. That saved us an additional $ 6,000. They were going to install a new thermostat but Hubby looked at the literature that came with it first. The one we had was a much better one. Many more programmable settings on ours. However since the new one came with the A/C, we have kept it in case ours dies at some point. It also came with a filter that we didn’t use since Hubby had just changed the filter recently. We just added it to our pile of filters.

When I was opening windows this weekend because the weather was so beautiful, I noticed that one of our screen’s clips had broken off. That makes it hard to keep the screen on. It has 4 but now we were down to 3. I asked Hubby if he thought we could get a replacement part. He went to the website of the company who made the screens to see if he could get them. He could and he was able to also get the rod that he needs to install them. So since we have a lot of windows in this house with screens, we purchased 20 of each of those items. Since they are made of plastic, the sun and weather are doing a job on them. So we will be prepared if any more break. The items plus shipping cost us under $17.00. That is a cheap fix.

Hubby was going to grill filet mignon one night for us again. We wanted baked potatoes with them. No one around here has the big baking potatoes. So I had to settle for smaller baking potatoes. Instead of heating up the house with the oven, I cooked them in the air fryer. Same temperature and time as my convection oven. But I baked 4 of them instead of 2. That way I can make a potato salad for a side later in the week.

I cooked fresh mushrooms for the fillets. I sliced them very thin so that they would only take a few minutes to saute on the stove. I didn’t want to use much gas. I do this with most sauteed onions and veggies too.

The potatoes were so dirty so I filled up a bowl with cold water and soaked and then scrubbed them to clean them. I used the cleaning water to water our hanging baskets on our porch. With our sprinkler system up and running now for the season, I will save water any way I can. I reuse shower warm up water and any other water that I can for more than one thing. Since our rates went up in the past year, it is important to save as much as we can on water.

They tested our A/C when they installed it. We have not had to turn it on yet. It was 78 here yesterday and was completely comfortable in whatever room we were in just using the ceiling fans. It will be be 84 today and 86 tomorrow, so we will see how long we can keep it off. We have all the windows closed in the house today and all curtains down on the sunny windows and the house has stayed at a comfortable 72. If the temperature goes up in here and becomes uncomfortable for us, we will turn it on. But I am trying to keep it off as long as we can to save on the electric bill.

Hubby is putting a second coat of the chemicals on the bent grass this afternoon. This should get rid of all of the rest of it and then he can use the Sun Joe to get it up, add top soil, and reseed. The landscape company wanted way too much money to do this for us. We are saving hundreds by doing it ourselves.

We have a lot of appointments this week so I do not know when I will get my grocery shopping done. Fortunately, I only have a few Memorial Day sale items to get to restock us at two different stores.

Hubby cooked chicken piccata the other night for dinner. We had all the ingredients except the capers. I was not about to make a special trip to the market to get them. So he made it without them and we just sprinkled a little salt on each of our plates. It was delicious. What is pictured fed the two of us.

How have you saved money the past couple of days?

Every Day

My First Memorial Day Grocery Shop

They had a few sales this week at Top’s for Memorial Day. However, I have seen the flyer that starts next Sunday and the sales are better. So I just picked up a few things yesterday that were good sale prices.

The Hellmann’s was $ 4.99. I was getting low on this. The Maxwell House coffee was on B1G1F so they ended up costing $7.49 for 2. The Triscuits were $ 1.59 after sale and coupon.

The 80/20 ground beef was on sale for $ 2.99 a lb. with the Super Coupon. So it ended up costing me $ 18.51 for 6.19 lbs. This will give us 12 meals which should be all we need for the summer. I portioned it out into 12 packages of about 1/2 lb. each. We only use it for hamburgers and taco salad.

The package of Sahlen’s Hot Dogs has 3 lbs. Those cost $ 10.99. We don’t eat a lot of hot dogs so they will last 6 months.

Lastly, the Oscar Mayer bacon was on sale B1G1F so it cost me $10.59 for the two packages.

My total for this week’s grocery shop was $ 54.16. We have been doing a lot of eating out of our freezers the past few weeks.

Did you get any good Memorial Day sales this week? Please share with all of us.

Every Day

A Little Of This And A Little Of That

I still have not gone grocery shopping. I am hoping to do that today. Our week that wasn’t too busy has turned into a very busy week.

The company who we hired came out on Monday to check out our A/C. We have a leak. We had the man give us an estimate of what it would cost to find the leak. It was $1400. plus about $160. for the freon after they fix the leak. So $1560. + tax to fix it. Since our central A/C is 13 years old, we asked him what it would cost to replace the unit. The repairman gave us an estimate range but he said he would have to have a sales person come out to give us that. He came out about dinner time. That estimate was $6,000. + tax after giving us a cash discount. Plus there is a Federal Tax credit of about $1400. for 2023. Since this unit is almost at the end of it’s life, Hubby and I discussed what to do. The unit we have is a 13 seer. The manufacturers’ no longer make them. They have a few in stock but that was it. That sent up a red flag to us that if we replaced it with a 13 seer that they have in stock, how long would they continue to make the parts to repair them.

Since Hubby is an engineer, he discussed the seers of the units with the guy. Hubby determined that we would go with a 16 seer because it also qualifies for the Federal tax credit for 2023. It will be much more efficient than the one we have especially since the one we have Hubby had noted had slowed down last year. It took a lot longer to get the temperature where we wanted it. The price they quoted us was for the 16 seer. With utility prices up, an efficient unit is important to us. It will save us money in the long run and will be a selling point if we decide to ever sell our home.

It was important to me to ask the guy when they could install it. It is getting hotter here and we do not do well with humidity. They had one opening on Friday. I was relieved because we were thinking it could take weeks. So we have contracted for the new unit.

We are well aware that when they replace the coil in the furnace, they may find that the box is cracked. If that is the case, we will have to replace the furnace. That would be about another $6,000. plus tax. I believe there is a Federal Tax credit for the furnace if it needs to be replaced also. Hubby will be in the basement with the installers when they put the new coil in so he will know if it is cracked or not. We are praying that is isn’t. But if it is, we will do what we have to do.

I am often asked why we continue to be frugal. This is why. Things break and have to be replaced or repaired. If we had not saved our entire lives, we would be left having to finance these things and we hate debt! Debt brings stress and we wanted a carefree, stress free life in retirement. So if you are planning your retirement, account for repairs and replacements for your house and to replace your car when need be. The cheapest way to do that is by paying cash. You can usually get a cash discount if you ask and by not financing, you are saving all of that interest.

I also wanted to let you know that we got our electric and gas bill yesterday. Last year’s bill was $145.93. This year we used 11 less kilowatt hours in electricity and 1 therm more of natural gas due to the furnace being on longer due to how cold it has been here this spring. Hopefully it is now off permanently.

This years bill was $129. 24. A lot less but the bill was for 4 days less than the same 2022 bill. We have also been doing everything we can to keep our usage down.

Now I am off to the grocery store.

Every Day

Frugal Things We Have Done The Past Week

While we are waiting for the landscape crew to come and do their monthly stuff, Hubby has been doing the spring cleanup around here a little at a time. We do the April cleanup and save about $600. on that. The landscape crew will come starting in a week or so and weed, trim bushes, plant whatever we need, and mulch all the gardens. They will do this every month until November.

When my son and Hubby installed the bidet, they had to remove the shelving unit that was over and around the toilet because it would not work with the bidet. Hubby found a beautiful cabinet that was on sale with a shelf underneath that has three baskets and installed it up over the toilet. That gives us enough storage room. I had my son put the old shelving unit in the basement. It only had three shelves but it has rungs going all the way to the bottom so I can add some wood to add two more shelves. It will also make the unit more stable. This will give me room to store some cleaning products. I am also going to use an old dresser to store plastic wrap, baggies, aluminum foil, parchment paper, etc. Always use what you already have.

Hubby cut my hair again. He does a much better job than the Super Cuts people and is almost as good as my expensive hairdresser. I have let my white hair grow in and we both like it. So I am done with coloring and highlighting. All of this saves me $140. plus every 4-6 weeks. I think it would have been even more because she was about to raise her rates. This is a huge savings annually for us.

Meals this week were all made at home from scratch. We had taco salads, beef stew, chicken legs, shrimp fra diavolo, and ranch chicken in our instant pot one night. It only took 12 minutes and I have determined that the Instant Pot uses the least amount of energy around here. The meat was so tender too. Last night, Hubby sauteed hotdogs with onions in butter and I made a tossed salad.

Both of our very old Roku devices were giving us trouble. One of them was purchased in AZ 16 years ago. So Hubby found the Roku 4K Streaming Sticks online at a good price and installed them when they came. What a difference they make! We no longer have Amazon Prime. I got rid of that over 3 years ago. But this purchase was over the $25. you have to spend so we got free shipping.

Hubby writes things down on a dry erase board on the side of refrigerator when he empties a food or cleaning item. I noticed yesterday that he wanted me to buy dish washing liquid because he had emptied a Dawn refill. It was so nice to go to the pantry and grab a new bottle instead of shopping for one. I bought a case of them before the prices went up after Covid began. They cost about double now.

Hubby got the hummingbird feeders put up for the season and made homemade sugar water with some red food coloring for them. It only took a day for the birds to come. So we are enjoying watching them every day.

I read my electric and natural gas meter last week so the bill should be coming today or tomorrow. We used just a little more of each than we did last year. However it has been very cold here this spring so we have had the heat on more. I will post about it when I get it. Since our utility company had a rate increase May 1st, I am not expecting it to be cheap.

Today, Hubby will be busy dealing with the pest control people. They come every three months and take care of spraying bees nests and all of the areas where they like to build, spraying around the perimeter of the house to keep bugs out of the house, etc. If we don’t have that done, we end up with spiders in the basement. I HATE spiders. So this is worth every penny we pay.

The A/C guy is also coming for our checkup to make sure the A/C is in good working order for the summer. We have a coupon to get that done for $ 69. I only plan on using it when it is hot and humid outside. But I want to make sure that is is running efficiently when we do use it.

I am hoping to get some groceries today. There are some good buys on meat and condiments for Memorial Day. If I don’t get out today, I will do it tomorrow.

Other than that, we did the usual: washed clothes in cold water and hung them to dry, kept lights off in the daytime, only ran the dishwasher when it is really full, and cooked our food in the cheapest appliance that could get the job done.

What did you do this past week to save money?

Every Day

What To Do If Your Hubby Loses His Job

I had a reader contact me recently. Her husband has lost his job due to cuts at his company. So many businesses especially the large ones are laying people off. Inflation has hit their bottom lines the same as it has hit all of ours as we try to maneuver through all of the price increases on everything.

My reader has a family of 4. They are in their early thirties, were middle income, and scrimped and saved for a number of years to build a down payment for their home. Their dream came true a little over a year and a 1/2 ago. They had a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home built. They landscaped it and had a very nice fence installed in their backyard because they have 2 young children.

They have been enjoying their home and were easily able to pay their mortgage of almost $3,000. a month including their property taxes. Until the Hubby went into work a week or so ago and was told he and 2,000 other people were being laid off due to economic conditions.

They are just devastated because they didn’t even see it coming. Now they are faced with what to do until he finds another job. She stays home with the children. They have slowly built an emergency fund since they purchased their home. Almost every bit of savings they had prior went to the down payment on their home. But that emergency savings won’t last long unless they make some cuts. And even then it won’t be easy.

They know with the economic downturn that it will not be easy to get a job that pays what he was making yearly. He has already started getting resumes out and has had one interview. In the meantime, he is looking for any job even part time to help pay their mortgage and basic expenses.

She specifically asked me “What would you do if your Hubby lost his job? What expenses would you cut?”

I will be honest that nothing like what has happened to her family has ever happened to us with the exception of Hubby only getting half pay when he didn’t have much sick time on a new job and became ill. But that only happened for a short period of time. But I will tell you when that happened we cut everything but our most basic expenses.

They are doing the right thing by looking for a job right away and also considering part time to get them through this time. I mentioned to her that she could do Door Dash or Instacart when Hubby is home to help out with the children. There are plenty of You Tube videos out there about how to do that. She is looking into that along with some other side hustles that she could do.

But let’s answer her question on what to cut. I would cut every expense that isn’t a basic one. Basics to me are shelter, basic food, insurances like medical, home and auto), a car and gasoline, utilities( electric, natural gas, propane, or oil, water and sewer, and trash pickup), internet and one cellphone. Since her Hubby is looking for a job, he needs his phone and the internet. But I would switch to a carrier like Mint Mobile instead of the higher cost one they have now. I would also check my homeowners and auto insurances to see if I could find a cheaper company. She says they are covered on medical and dental insurance for the next 90 days. Their co-pays are small. I would have everyone in the family go to the dentist and get cleanings and any work done that is needed.

I would cancel Cable TV, any home phone, and all streaming services that you pay for. You can get a Roku and get lots of free things to watch including You Tube. That will be your only source of entertainment during this time.

I would cancel any newspaper or magazine subscriptions( even online ones) that you pay for. Most libraries have these things. All other subscriptions like grocery and restaurant delivery services need to be cancelled. You can go to the store and buy your food and, in this situation, I would not pay to eat out whether that is coffee, fast food, or a restaurant meal.

Make your food at home from scratch using basic fruits, veggies, beans, rice, potatoes, and the correct portion of meat. Buy your food where you can get the cheapest prices. Drink water from the tap. Make your own bread using sourdough starter and rolls from scratch. If you have stockpiled food during this inflationary period, use it before you buy more. When you no longer have food, use the food banks. Use the store apps to get free food. Plant a few veggies now to help with future food.

Pick your appliance to cook your food in depending on how much energy they use. My natural gas stove becomes a decoration from May until October. Be mindful of how much energy you are consuming at all times.

Use up what paper products, household cleaners, and personal care products that you have especially if you have stockpiled. Many cleaners are much cheaper to make at home. The only paper that is a necessity is toilet paper and perhaps some printer paper.

Do your own yard work. Water only when really necessary. Count on the rain. Water your flowers or bushes using water that you have saved in the shower or sink when you are running it to get warm. Use a bucket to do that. In case you end up having to sell your home, you want to maintain it.

Hang your clothes to dry instead of using your dryer. Don’t use A/C except when it is brutally hot. They live in an area that has cold winters and not so humid or hot summers. If you do use it, set it to 78. If you are not on the budget plan for your energy bills, change to that until he gets a job. Keep all lights off in the daytime. Turn off computers and TV’s when not in use.

Pay your mortgage, homeowners and auto insurance, and medical insurance after paying for food. That is if you are really serious about keeping your home and health. You will have to decide what to do about your medical insurance when the 90 days are up. I would look into a Christian medical sharing plan.

Buy nothing unless it is an absolute necessity. Grow some food in containers. Every little bit helps. Pop tarts and cold cereal and snacks are not a necessity. Eggs, toast, oatmeal, homemade muffins, pancakes and waffles, homemade brownies and cupcakes will work and be cheaper. Meatless meals are cheaper than ones with meat. Eating out is not a necessity. Any form of entertainment that costs money is not a necessity. Get out the board games or cards or read a book. Buy no clothes or shoes unless the kids grow out of something. This time of year look for them at garage sales.

Use your car as little as possible to save on gasoline. Make good use of Gas Buddy to check gasoline prices in her area. Use any reward points that you can to help defray the cost.

If you have any gift cards just sitting in the house, now is the time to make good use of them for necessities.

I would let relatives know the situation and tell them you will not be exchanging gifts until things get better. I would turn down any birthday or other parties where you are expected to buy a gift.

I also told her to reread many of my posts because they will give her many ways to save money.

These tips are not only for losing a job but for anyone who has lost part of their income whether it be a spouse who is no longer working( cutting the income in 1/2) or just plain inflation that has radically upped your cost of living. Many seniors are doing a lot of these things so that they can afford to live on their fixed incomes. Many seniors in my area are only living on Social Security. That has always been difficult but with the high cost of everything, they are barely scraping by now so they have cut all wants out of their budgets. I have watched so many of them stop paying for prescriptions because they can’t afford them. These are dire times.

For an example, two seniors who retired with $2900 a month 20 years ago would need $4758. in today’s dollars to live with the same standard of living. Sure they have gotten miniscule raises except for this past year but most years they got way less because the cost of medicare went up every year or a just tiny raise. It is very difficult to live on SS as your main source of income. If you are getting close to thinking about retirement, make sure that you account for inflation in the future years by saving a large nest egg or you will be in a not so fun situation. Inflation is rampant these days and our government is fudging the inflation figures( just got look the numbers the government puts out each month and then go back and look at the prior months and you will see that they quietly change them). We all know what the real figures are because we do the shopping. Some prices are coming down but most are still rising. I was hoping things would straighten out this year but I think things are going to get worse this year and next. I don’t see an end in sight. I majored in accounting in college years ago and have been tracking these things. Just my opinion, the picture isn’t pretty.

So these tips are what I would do. I hope they are helpful to her. I also pray that her Hubby will get a good job soon and that they won’t lose their home. But if they need to sell it, sooner is better than later. Right now in her area, the prices people are selling their homes for are quite high and selling quickly.

Anybody want to add to this in the comments feel free. She can use all the advice she can get.

Every Day

Happy Mother’s Day To My Readers Who Are Moms

Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to all of my readers who are Moms or Grandmothers. I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Hubby will be cooking for the two of us. I have requested that he grill us some filet mignon. He will do baked potatoes with all of the toppings along with some broccoli which is my favorite veggie. It is supposed to be a nice day so we will enjoy eating outside on the patio. No eating out for us. Not only is it expensive but we find holiday food and service just never seems to be up to par. So we gave up going out on holidays a long time ago.

These gorgeous flowers were delivered this morning for Mother’s Day from my son and granddaughter. I will enjoy them immensely. My other son and my grandson are taking us out to breakfast to celebrate on a different day so that they can spend Mother’s Day with Katie.

I just wanted to quickly tell you that we got the decision on our assessment. The assessor lowered our assessment from $506,000. to $470,000. So I feel Hubby did a good job showing the assessor why the assessment was incorrect. So we have agreed to the new figure.

Lastly, I had a reader contact me because her husband has lost his job. You can just imagine how devastating this is to them and their children. So I have promised her that I would write a post on what to do financially if this happens to you. It will also help anyone whose income has gone down or just isn’t covering the bills since inflation reared it’s ugly head. I hope to have that ready to post tomorrow or Monday.

I am curious. What are you doing for Mother’s Day? Please leave a comment and share.

Every Day

Frugal Things We have Done the Past Week

These are the things that we continue to do to save a little money here and there:

  • Received a $6.00 rebate in the mail. That will be put into our savings.
  • We continue to use cloth napkins for meals.
  • We are using these containers instead of paper plates. I purchased them a while ago at Sam’s Club. We will use them over the summer when we cook outside. They are so much cheaper than paper plates:
  • I returned a part that Hubby didn’t need to Home Depot.
  • It has been cold and rainy for about a week here. The fertilizer people came during that period to do our lawn. I was happy because we didn’t have to water our lawn to wash it in.
  • We ate all homemade meals at home. Not buying expensive fast food or restaurant food when we can make better and healthier food at home.
  • One of the meals that lasted a few days was chicken soup made with our home canned chicken.. It is so much tastier that store bought canned chicken. Hubby made Keto breaded haddock one night. It was so delicious.
  • The only groceries I purchased this week at Top’s were 2 packages of 85/15 ground beef on BOGO sale. Each package was about 1 and 3/4 lbs. and ended up costing about $ 3.25 per package. I had not been buying ground beef at Top’s for months because it tasted so awful. I figured I would try it again when I spotted one of the meat guys bringing more out to stock the meat case. I asked him if it has been just ground. He said yes. It was delicious.
  • We continue to eat just two meals a day and one snack.
  • I made hummus this week from canned chickpeas and some other ingredients. It is much cheaper to make my own than buy store bought.
  • We continue to waste no food. I don’t like throwing dollars in the trash.
  • Made our own pan fried potatoes rather than buy frozen French fries.
  • We had two meatless salads this week.
  • I darned a pair of Hubby’s socks.
  • Hubby purchased chemicals and the sprayer that he needed to get rid of some bentgrass that has crept into our lawn and spread. It is light green and ugly. The landscapers wanted $700. to get rid of it for us. Hubby applied it today. When it is dead he will clean it out. Put in new soil and plant new grass. The whole job will cost us under $125.
  • Our sales tax is 8%. The county which is a few miles south of us is 8 and 1/4%. We have no tax on food in this state. So anything that is not food I try to shop for in our county.
  • Our heat is off today and the windows are open to air the house out after a very long winter. We should be in the 60’s the next few days. The sky is blue and the sun is finally shining.
  • I forgot about 6 Walmart gift cards that I have earned on Fetch. I will be spending that money on my next delivery order.
  • I try to ignore advertising that is everywhere to get you to purchase things that you either don’t know about or don’t need. Hence, I watch no TV and click through the commercials on You Tube. Hubby DVR’s the shows we like from the TV and we fast forward through the commercials.

What have you done to save money recently?

Every Day

Saving Money and Time in the Long Run

I few weeks ago I started hearing rumbles about another paper shortage. People online were reporting shortages of toilet paper and paper towels in their grocery stores. So I started researching and found there was the beginnings of a shortage. I thought here we go again.

So I told Hubby that I was considering purchasing a bidet for our master bathroom toilet. He laughed and said that he had been thinking about the same thing. So I asked him to research exactly which one he wanted to buy and let me know. Then I would look for a better price. He sent me a link for the one he wanted and it was $299.+ tax. I found it on for $234.98 including tax and free shipping. I also earned $ 11.00 in reward points and got 2% back from Rakuten.

Yesterday, Hubby and my son installed it. This will save us money in the long run on toilet paper.

It features a heated seat, heated warm water with 5 temperature settings, and a dryer. It has many different spray settings and an ECO one to save on power. So far we are loving it. It has an on and off button so that we don’t have to waste power when we are not using it.

Now I don’t have to worry about trying to find toilet paper ever again which will save me time and I won’t have to lug those big packages home.

The one other paper thing that we do use is printer paper. We are down to our last 2 packages. I ordered a 10 ream carton of the Hammermill paper that we use on sale with free delivery.

Today is my errand day so I will be going grocery shopping, making a return at Home Depot, and picking up some prescriptions at the drug store.