Every Day

I Wanted To Let You Know

I need to take some more time off. I hope to be back posting after Labor Day.

Every Day

Run, Don’t Walk To Aldi’s

I don’t have time to do a full grocery blog post right now. I just got back from Aldi’s. I went up for the pound packages of the Organic Ground Beef that is on sale on the front page of their flyer for $ 3.99 a lb. which was a great price.

When I got there, most of their packages expired tomorrow. So I asked at the register if they would reduce the price. I got 6 pounds because that was the limit in the ad. They said yes and I got them all for $ 1.99 each.

The reason I tell you this is that the ground beef comes into the store stamped by the manufacturer with the date so bet is that your stores have that date too.

Every Day

Frugal Things The Past Few Days

I want to let you know that most of the things that I showed you that were leftovers in my recent post have been eaten or frozen.

So here is a new group of leftovers plus 2 other ingredients that I made into a couple of different meals this week.

I had leftover hot Italian sausage in the spaghetti sauce from the other night. I cut it up and used 1/2 of it on pizza along with some mushrooms also. Hubby likes the sausage. I love mushrooms. I also used an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce from my storage on the pizza because I find leftover spaghetti sauce too much on pizza. I make pizza on the artisan bread that I purchased at Aldi. Just add mozzarella cheese and seasonings and it is delicious.

Last night I heated the leftover spaghetti sauce after I took the rest of the sausage out and cut it up for another pizza which I will make soon. I added the sauce that was left in the jar too to the pan. Some of the mushrooms and the spaghetti were microwaved to heat them through.

Meanwhile I air fried two pieces of chicken after preparing them with the Shake and Bake. I added some mozzarella cheese at the end. So we had chicken parmesian on the leftover spaghetti and I added some mushrooms to mine.

All I have left is the sausage, some mushrooms, the tomato sauce for pizza. The leftover spaghetti sauce was frozen for our next spaghetti meal. We also have two pieces of chicken breast to use tonight. I haven’t decided yet how I will fix that. Depending on the weather, we may grill it and add BBQ sauce.

We did have a lot of Italian meals this week but we haven’t had them in a long time and we were craving them. Rather than waste leftovers, neither one of us care if we eat the same things made into new meals over and over again.

I had to run to the drugstore for a prescription yesterday so I stopped for a loaf of bread. That cost me $ 2.99 so now my grocery budget that is left for the month is $ 346.71.

Our lawn is so dry that we scheduled the sprinkler system to run every other day. But if I get up in the morning and it has rained overnight, I turn it off until the next day that it is scheduled for. I believe our water bill the end of this month will be much less than last year’s. Our system broke this year and we had to wait 6 weeks for them to come out to repair it. That is how booked up they were.

We only eat two meals a day and have been doing this for a very long time now. That is saving us money but honestly we didn’t do it to save money. We just aren’t hungry in the morning. Coffee is enough.

We continue to drive our 10 year old SUV. We take immaculate care of it and make sure to take it to the garage for necessities like inspections and oil changes. It only has 47,000 miles on it and has never had a repair. The only time it has been to the dealer is for recalls. Maintaining things that you own pays off in the long run. My son has done some brakes for us.

Hubby is cutting my hair again tomorrow. Finally all the color from my salon appointments will be gone. My white hair I like and so does Hubby so I will not be coloring it again.

I ran the dishwasher really full. I am using the auto wash setting which I find uses less water and electricity.

That is it for today. What have you done recently to save some money?

Every Day

My Journey To Keep My Grocery Shopping Under Control

We had the spaghetti with Hot Italian Sausage last night. It was so good. Since we have sauce and sausage leftover, I will make a pizza tonight using that and the Artisan flatbread I purchased today. I will also add some mushrooms for me.

I ran errands today to Top’s and Aldi’s. At Aldi’s I purchased three of the Artisan bread. Each package makes 2 pizzas for us. Since this is our favorite pizza crust and it is often out of stock, I put one package in the fridge and the other two in the freezer. Six crusts will last about 6 months for us. My total cost for this at Aldi’s was $ 10.77.

Last stop was Top’s where I purchased 5 Shake and Bake. When you bought 5 you paid $ 2.99 each. I love using these for a quick meal in the air fryer for pork or chicken. Especially in the winter when we are not grilling outside. The cucumber was $ 1.00. The celery and carrots were on B1G1F and ended up costing me $ 3.49 for both. The half and half was $ 5.99 for a half gallon. I stock this ahead in my fridge because it has far out expiration dates. We use it in our coffee and for any milk that we need. We used to buy milk for pudding, cereal, etc. but it always went bad before we could use it up. So I quit buying milk and we use half and half instead for everything. It works well for us. Out total for Top’s was $ 25.43. My total for today is $36.20. I also purchased a 60 ct. box of eggs at Walmart this week for $ 5.18. So my total for the week is $ 41.38.

I started with $ 391.08 in my grocery budget less the $ 41.38 leaves $349.70 left for the rest of the month.

I am off to do some cleaning. I hope you all have a great day!

Did you get any bargains at the grocery store this week?

Every Day

Frugal Things We Have Done the Past Few Days

I had every intention of writing to you about our special day last Saturday. However our celebration turned into the entire weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, we celebrated our 56th wedding anniversary. Because we went out to dinner with friends last week, we decided to cook at home on both days. We had the same dinner each night which included a drink before dinner. Then Hubby grilled filet mignon each night for each of us. I baked a dozen potatoes in the air fryer so as to not heat up the house with the oven. We each ate one and one ear of corn on the cob each night. Dessert was cherry ices. With the exception of our son and grandson coming for breakfast on Sunday, we had a quiet weekend just enjoying each other’s company. We spent a bit of time outside in our yard because it was so beautiful outside.

On Sunday, I made scrambled eggs, French toast, many sausages and a pound of bacon. Our grandson is now a teenager and he can sure pack the food away. After breakfast, we played rummy.

It was a wonderful weekend full of good food purchased on sale, good conversation, and no cleaning.

On Monday morning, I made scrambled eggs and sliced up the leftover filet mignon and heated it through with some garlic and butter. We had leftover cold cut sandwiches and potato salad for dinner. Hubby made it from the leftover baked potatoes.

On Tuesday night, we had potato salad and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Breakfast was easy over eggs and leftover sausage and bacon from the weekend.

Breakfast this morning was a big slice of cantaloupe. Tonight I will be making spaghetti with Hot Italian sausage and sauce. We have not had spaghetti in quite a while and we are craving it.

I will be grocery shopping tomorrow for just a few things we need.

Hubby has been busy around here. The hinge on our bottom folding cupboard door broke. He found a hinge on Amazon at . Boy, it was expensive.

It turned into a bigger project than he thought though. The hinge is installed on the cupboard but it does not line up with the original holes. So Hubby will fix it as soon as he can get the stuff he needs to do it.

He also has been doing a great job keeping up with the weed whacking and dead heading the flowers. I have been pulling weeds as I see them.

Our lawn is lush and green again after having the sprinkler system repaired. Now it gets water every other day that it doesn’t rain.

I have done two loads of laundry this week using cold water. Some of the clothes were hung to dry and others were done in the dryer.

We should be getting our prompt from the utility company to read our meters in a few days. I can’t wait to see what difference the new efficient A/C does for our bill looking at the same period last year and accounting for the high heat we have had this time including some 90+ days.

What have you guys been doing to save some money?

Every Day

Our Journey To Keep The Grocery Budget Under Control

On Thursday, I made another turkey sandwich for brunch to use up the rest of a tomato, some turkey, and more lettuce. I also added two very small pieces of bacon that were leftover last night.

Hubby made himself some scrambled eggs with sauteed onions and a bagel with butter.

That night we actually went out to dinner which is a rarity in our home. We have good friends who we go out to dinner with every once in a while. As a thank you for them helping us out a few times this past year, we treated.

We went here to We had good food, drinks, and lots of laughs. It was a very enjoyable evening. This does not come out of our food budget but from our entertainment budget.

On Friday, Hubby ate his leftover reuben sandwich from dinner for brunch. I pulled some deli roast beef and 2 kimmelweck rolls that I had frozen from the freezer to thaw. I cooked up a packet of au jus gravy and made a beef on a weck for brunch.

For dinner I ate my leftovers from the restaurant which was some turkey and stuffing with gravy, cranberry sauce, and a medley of steamed cauliflower, green beans, and multi colored peppers. Hubby finished the pork fried rice.

We have quite a bit of deli meat and rolls in our freezer from when we had company recently. I don’t like to freeze it for long so you are going to see lots of sandwiches until it is all used up. That is fine with me as I try to get my strength back from being ill. We also have a huge stockpile of paper plates and paper containers that are square that I got on deals. The plates were purchased at a low price just as Covid 19 started. So we are using up many of them. It is saving me from washing dishes so often and saving on water. I finally ran our dishwasher last night after 5 days because I had been using paper so often.

On Friday I went to Niagara Produce to get some fresh romaine lettuce for $ 1.99, green seedless grapes at $ 1.99 a lb, and some cheddar cheese for $ 2.69. I could have purchased the cheese cheaper elsewhere but it wasn’t worth the gasoline to drive there. My total was $8.92. Since my budget for July was $400., I now have $391.08 left.

Today is a very special day! I will be back to talk about that tomorrow. I hope you all have a great day.

Every Day

Instead of You Having to Reread My Previous Post, I am Posting Two Additions to it that I Forgot to Add

I had a nice container for bacon grease. I dropped it and it broke. So rather than buy a new one for $25. plus a hefty shipping charge, I am using a canning jar. I have many of them. If you look hard you can see the grease from the little bit of bacon I cooked yesterday. I will just keep adding my bacon grease which I strain each time I put it in here. I keep it on the lazy susan near my stove. I use it for many things like cooking eggs, with veggies, etc.

Sitting next to the bacon I cooked is my brunch. I was not hungry for much yesterday. So these few triscuits and aged cheddar cheese filled me up.

Next time I won’t rush when I am writing to you so that I could run errands. Sorry about that!

Every Day

My Journey To Keep My Grocery Budget Under Control

Yesterday, I took everything out of the fridge that needed to be used up soon. While I was doing it, I wiped down all of the shelves and rearranged some condiments. These are all of the things that I need to do something with before they go bad. Sorry there are two pictures that have some things overlapping. But I couldn’t get it all in one picture.

I will start with the lettuce. It is about 6-7 weeks old. I wash and dry my lettuce when I purchase it and put it in canning jars with a paper towel in the bottom. Then I food saver it to get all of the air out. It keeps about 7 weeks perfectly. It is now starting to get old, so we will be using it up in sandwiches for dinner and a salad in the next couple of days.

The half full wine bottle was a gift from family for Easter dinner. It is still good but it is one that is really dry and we don’t like it. So I will find some recipes that call for wine to use it up. I will do the same with the chicken, turkey, and beef broth. I may make some soups. The chicken is half full but the other two there is only about a 1/3 of the container.

I have put the strawberries in a freezer bag and they are now frozen to be used for smoothies or desserts.

The turkey deli meat was purchased to make quick meals while I have not been feeling well. The apples are getting wrinkled so I will chop them up and saute them with onions as a side for one of our meals soon.

The two yogurts are getting old so I ate one for a snack yesterday afternoon. The black olives are a few that were leftover from making tacos. They will get used in a salad.

The tomatoes will be used for sandwiches. Under the bag of tomatoes is one thick slice of ham. Hubby may make ham salad out of it to spread on crackers or we may fry it up to go with scrambled eggs.

The cantaloupe is not quite ripe yet but when it is we will eat slices for breakfasts and for desserts.

The pork fried rice I made for dinner two nights ago will most likely get eaten by one of us for lunch today.

I had a few pieces of bacon raw in the fridge. So I cooked it up yesterday afternoon.

The last item is a bag of condiments from fast food over the past year. Eating fast food is a rarity for us so there are very few in that bag. But they will get used up for meals soon.

Some of the lettuce, the tomatoes, the cooked bacon, and the turkey deli slices all got used up in sandwiches on toasted rolls last night for dinner.

We also had some bananas that were getting very ripe. So Hubby made his delicious banana salad for each of us for dessert to use some of them up. The rest I will throw in the freezer for making banana bread this fall. It is too darn hot to turn the oven on now.

Now that I am feeling much better, I am hoping to run some errands before it gets to be 94 here today. I hope you all have a great money saving day.

Every Day

Are You Tired of Overspending Your Grocery Budget?

Today is your lucky day! I have been busy while I have been ill so you get a BONUS post today!

I have asked this question of family, friends, and neighbors and I keep getting the same answer. Yes, we are sick of rising prices and having to spend so much more for the same products we purchased just a few weeks ago. If you shop at Walmart and/or Aldi, it seems their prices have really risen of late especially in my area. I see increases at my other stores but not as much because I always just buy mostly the loss leaders sales. The only prices that seem to have come down in recent weeks here are for eggs and butter. What are you guys seeing in your areas?

Over the past 2 and a half years, it has been very difficult to work within a budget for food. Would I like to go back to what I was spending back then? Sure I would but with inflation that is never going to happen. Even if they finally figure out how to get inflation back to about 2% a year, these prices you see now are not going to go back to what they were. It makes it so difficult for families to stay within a reasonable budget.

Well what is a reasonable budget today? Here are the USDA’s amounts for May 2023 which is the latest:

Many months I have spent more than these figures. It all depended on what we wanted to eat those months. Hubby is always adding to my grocery list things for complicated(lots of ingredients) recipes. One of his hobbies is finding recipes he wants to try and then I buy expensive ingredients( think spices) that only get used once. I need to find him a less costly hobby. I am guilty of going to the store with a list and coming out with more than what is on the list. How many times have you guys done that?

The other problem at least in this home and I would bet in all of your homes is you don’t eat what is already in your refrigerator, freezers, and on your shelves. Yes, I keep a pretty good check on leftovers, produce, and meat. I try to alternate my shelf food by eating the oldest first. We have very little waste in our home. However, I go to the store almost every week and buy more food because there is a great sale! How many of you are doing this? How many of you are stockpiling food for a disaster like a collapse of the economy, war, hurricanes and tornadoes just storms that take the power out? Do you have enough? What is enough? Three months, a year or two?

Well, I have decided that we have ENOUGH! This cycle of buying food every week has to stop. If we need it that is fine! But if we are just buying more each week just because it is on sale, I need to stop. Anyone else feel the same way?

So on July 1st, we came up with a better way to control our spending on groceries, etc. And we are not paying attention to what the government tells us we need to spend! I am tired of putting out money on overpriced products and watching the large corporations earn record profits every year while so many families are just trying to eat. The only way to get these prices to come down is through supply and demand. So I am going to do my part to lower my demand and buy fewer products. Over the past few weeks, I have already refused to buy products that I deemed way to high in price.

We have set a budget of $ 400. per month for the two of us. This will include all food, cleaning products, and personal care products. Our OTC medicines get lumped into our prescription budget. I will not spend one penny more and we will not starve. We will start incorporating what we already have into our meals. We will never waste food. Hubby has agreed to stop hunting for recipes and I will cook as simply as I can not only to use up what we have but to save on utility costs. I am actually hoping to save some of that $400. a month to build up some money for when it comes time to replenish on the sales.

Soda and junk food is out! We will finish what we have and I will not be buying more. They are empty calories and so very expensive. I drink water now and so does Hubby. We also drink iced tea and coffee. That soda and junk food money can be used for real food like fruits, vegetables, and meat. We will have treats but I will make them here in our home. Popcorn has lots of fiber, is cheap, and a 50 lb. bag lasts a very long time. The best part is that you can control any butter or salt.

I expect you guys to hold me accountable. I will show everything along this journey. I will show you all of our meals, what I purchase at the grocery store, how I use up leftovers, etc.

Anyone else tired of all of these high prices?

Every Day

Home Equity Loans

I know I have talked many times about mortgages. But I have never spoken about home equity loans.

A home equity loan (HELOC) is a loan against the principal on your home. Some people take this type of loan to do improvements in their home. But I always wondered what would happen if the economy crashed or there was a recession.

You may have a mortgage and a home equity loan at the same time. The home equity loan is then your second mortgage. Usually the banks will allow you to borrow up to 85% of the equity in your home between your mortgage and the HELOC. A HELOC is a revolving form of credit with a variable interest rate. The rates are usually higher than a mortgage rate.

The new reality of the housing market is a recession which I believe is coming creates uncertainties for borrowers. Remember back in the Great Recession, banks froze previously approved lines of credit. You are seeing banks now limiting the credit lines on your credit cards and increasing interest rates. Can your lender do the same with your HELOC?

Your lender can legally freeze or reduce your HELOC if the value of your home declines, your income declines, or your credit score drops. Here is some good information from Citizen’s Bank about a freeze or reduction:

Many people take out a HELOC to consolidate credit card debt because the interest rate on the HELOC is usually lower than the interest rates on their credit cards. That is the advantage.

The disadvantages of taking out a HELOC is that it is a secured loan against your home. The lender has the right to take whatever you put down as collateral. With a HELOC, that is your home.

Nobody pays off their credit card bills and takes out a HELOC with the intention of ever getting into debt again. But too many people do not develop good financial habits and just continue using their credit cards. Then they end up with credit card debt and HELOC debt. If they continue along this path it may become more than they can handle.

My opinion on this is that there are other ways to pay back credit card debt than putting your home at risk. The one that comes to mind is to consolidate your debts onto a zero interest credit card then do everything possible to pay your debt off within the zero interest period. You can also work with a reputable counseling service to consolidate the debt and pay it of over time. But while you are doing this, cut up your cards. Keep one for emergencies. I mean a true emergency which is not a vacation, dinner out, going to the movies or Starbucks or any other frivolous thing that comes your way.

I know times are hard right now but getting further into debt is not the answer. If you can’t pay for food, use the food banks. That is what they are there for. I know this is a touchy subject. People will say that you should buy food first but if you are truly in a bad way using the food bank is okay. Spend your money to pay your mortgage and/or HELOC or rent so that you have a roof over your head. Use your car to go to work, to a doctor’s appointment, and the food bank. Then park it so that you can save on gasoline.

Continuing my opinion, taking out a HELOC loan against your home to pay off credit card debt is a very bad financial decision. I’ve been alive a very long time and over the years I have seen too many people buying their first home and then using it like a piggy bank. They take a mortgage and then a home equity loan. They pay them off and then continue that pattern their entire lives. There are seniors who still owe mortgages or home equity loans because they did this. When your income has been reduced in retirement that becomes so stressful! Eventually the dam breaks!

If you took out a HELOC to fix up your home and know that you can make the payments, that is not a problem. But think twice about taking out a HELOC to pay back credit cards. It is a vicious cycle that can ruin you financially.

With our economy teetering and inflation rampant, I would be very careful about making any financial move unless it puts you in a better position. Don’t be the one who ends up making all the wrong decisions and regrets it later.

You all know that I advocate you paying off your mortgages early and that goes for HELOCS too. We have had quite a few of my readers who have done this. They can tell you how freeing that is. It is so nice to own your own home and not have to worry about anything but repairs, maintenance, and taxes. Many more of you are on the way to being mortgage free. Congrats to you all!

In my opinion, the best thing you can do in this economy is work on paying off any mortgage/ and or HELOC that you have. Just make sure that if you are paying extra on them, that the extra amount goes directly to the principal and that you are not prepaying interest. If you don’t advise them, they will do what they want. What we did way back when we had a mortgage was to make the payment and then give them a second check advising them on the check that this is to be applied to our principal only.

Good luck to anyone who is thinking about paying these off early!