Every Day

UPDATED: 2024 Budget: Rest of the Budget that I Can or Can’t Cut

We have certain things in the budget that are every day bills that we can’t really cut. We pay for cable TV, internet, and a home phone that we have deemed necessary for the moment. Hubby wants the cable TV because he enjoys it. Some things are entertainment for him that many people could go without. The bill runs about $ 192. a month but does include our internet and home telephone so I guess it is really not too bad. Since I believe they will have a rate increase this year, we are budgeting $ 215. per month. We have no other choice for internet here. The home telephone we use for our alarm system. I will be trying to negotiate a better price again with a telephone call next week.

We have to pay property taxes and school taxes every year. They are hefty. But that is the cost of being a homeowner. Our property tax bill for 2024 was just under $4900. Since our school taxes for September 2023 were just under $6000, we have budgeted $ 12000. for 2024. We based that on the fact that they keep reassessing us every year. We have no mortgage so we just go to town hall and pay them.

Healthcare is another thing that we can’t go without. Medicare is going up this year from $ 164.90 to $ 174.70 month for each of us which is an increase of $ 235.20 for the year. The total for that Medicare for 2024 is $4192.28 for the both of us. But our Medicare Advantage plan is going up $ 137. a month for 2024 which is an increase of $ 1644. a year. That really shocked us. That is a lot of extra money that we have to budget. The total for the Medicare Advantage plan for 2024 is $5040.

We spent $ 1306. for drug co-pays in 2023, so we are budgeting $ 1600. for 2024 or about $ 134. a month.

We spent $ 858. in medical co-pays for doctors, tests, etc. in 2023. Fortunately neither one of us was in the hospital this year. So this was a cheaper year. We will budget $ 1000. for 2024 for this.

So our total medical that we are budgeting for 2024 is $ 11,832.28 or about $ 987. per month. You know I often wonder what happened to all of that money that we paid into Medicare all those years we worked. If you could see what they actually pay doctors, hospitals and labs, it is almost nothing. And many times we have to fight to get them to pay it. So did that money that we paid in and that people are paying in each year, get spent on something else or is it paying for the people who administer the plan? It seems a shame in this country that the elderly, especially those living on social security, have to pay this. I don’t know how they do it.

Then there are dental bills. We paid $ 1242. for our dental insurance in 2023. That covers 2 cleanings and exams for each of us. It does not cover fluoride or varnish. It covers X-rays once a year. Then everything else we get 20% off. I go every 6 months and Hubby goes 4 times a year so he has to pay for 2 of the cleanings. They cost about $180. each. Plus we budget about $ 1500. for tooth repairs. His fees go up every January. Also the plan goes up just a bit every year. So we have budgeted $ 2950. for 2024. So for 2024 we are budgeting a total $ 14,782. for medical and dental just to stay healthy.

We also pay for pest control. We have voles in the area that can destroy our lawn so they are treated every 3 months along with treatment for all other things like spiders(which I hate), bees and taking down hives, and all other bugs. We just got notice of the third increase in less than 2 years starting in January. They haven’t told us what the increase will be however. This week when I am making calls, I will call and find out. There are only 2 good pest control companies in the area and we used the other one first and they were terrible. So we have to stick with this one. Right now we are paying $185.18 every 3 months or $ 740.72 a year. I would almost bet that it will go up $ 30.+ every 3 months. So we are budgeting $ 220. every 3 months for 2024 or $ 880. for the year. I will know next week so we will see how close we come to that.

We pay the town for water and sewer quarterly. We paid a little less in 2023 because we didn’t have to use the sprinkler system a lot because we had a lot of rain. But it usually runs about $ 341. per year. Since they have a rate increase, we are budgeting $ 360. for 2024. We can try to conserve as much as we can on this one.

Our garbage and recyclable bill comes on our January property tax bill which I should get soon. Since we have a new garbage can that we have to pay for and the prices have gone up, it will be higher than last year. We may also have to purchase another can and pay an additional $50. per year for that can. I will update this when I get the bill.

We pay Guardian monthly to monitor our alarm system. That is $ 44.27 a month or $ 531.24 a year. We will budget $ 575.00 for 2024 or 47.92 a month.

Snow plowing cost us $500. for this winter. It went up $ 100. So we will budget $600. to pay in the Fall of 2024 in case of another increase. We have had a very warm winter and have had no snow so far this winter for him to plow. However, the cold front is starting to come in and I am sure there will be plenty soon. It is a good insurance policy.

We donate 10% of the money that we have to spend every year. That goes to our volunteer fire department which we also pay for through our property taxes, the Tunnel to Towers organization, etc., and various people who we see during the year who need help to buy their groceries or drugs. I will keep this amount private.

We have property in Texas that we own with 2 other people so we pay one third of the taxes for 2 city lots. Those were $ 74.94 this year. So we have budgeted $ 100. for 2024.

We paid $395. in 2023 for maintenance of our sprinkler system so we have budgeted $ 425. for 2024.

We have set aside $ 5,000. for gifts for family birthdays. anniversaries, and holidays for 2024. This amount changes depending on things like family graduations, baby gifts for neighbors, etc.

Our Auto and Homeowner’s insurance gets paid yearly in March. 2023 it was $ 1831. Since I am hearing from almost everybody that it is going up by 20-40%, we will budget on the 25% side which will be about $ 2289. or $ 190.75 per month. We will get our bill sometime next month and then we will know for sure. I will update this post with info when I have it.

Hubby gets the Buffalo News online. It costs us $ 29.99 a month or $359.88 a year. It goes up often so we will budget $ 395.88 for 2024.

We have other subscriptions. I purchased Hulu on the Black Friday deal for $ .99 a month. We will pay for the year and then cancel. So that is budgeted at $12.00 for 2024 for now.

We also pay for our WordPress subscription for this blog every other year. It runs about $100. for 2 years. It is due this Fall. So we have budgeted $120. in case of an increase.

We have Paramount + which we get free through our Walmart+. We pay $106. per year including tax for free shipping and delivery services. We pay for tips of about $100. per year. So our total for that is about $ 206. I will budget that amount for 2024.

We also pay $ 5.99 a month for Peacock. We are keeping track of how often we use this, If not much we will cancel it. But for now we will budget $ 80. for the year.

Hubby pays about $20. a year for Quicken. We will up that to $ 25. for this year.

I did not renew our Instacart and B.J.’s subscription for 2024 and I have no plans to.

We have budgeted for 4 new tires to purchase when our snow tires come off. That will cost us around $ 800. We also have $200. budgeted for oil changes this coming year. Plus we have budgeted another $1500. for repairs and $92. for our AAA membership. So a total of $2592. for 2024 or about $ 216. a month. Then we have to add on our inspection and registration of the car which is $ 37. a year for inspection and $ 81.50 for a 2 year registration. So that brings the total for all up to $ 2669.75 or $ 223. a month.

We have purchased our cars for many, many years with cash. Our car right now is a 2013. However, cars do eventually wear out. So for the past 10 years, we have budgeted $ 4,000. a year for a new car. We will continue to do that until we have to buy one. So we have again budgeted $ 334. a month for 2024.

The gasoline budget is one that we can control. We spent a little under $50. a month in 2023 or $ 600. a year. We have budgeted $700. for 2024. We don’t know if the prices will go down or up. I am betting up because of inflation and everything else that is going on here and overseas right now.

We spent about $ 400. in 2023 on beer, wine, and liquor. We have cut that back to $200. for 2024.

We will also budget about $8,000. to do one last garden outside and pay for the spring cleanup in the spring. I am hoping it will be much less than this or we will have to get estimates from a few companies. So we have budgeted $ 667. a month. Plus we just got the bill for fertilizing the lawn, so I have added another 450. per year for that. So a total of $8450. for all in 2024.

We hope not to have to buy any clothing this year. But just in case one of us needs some item or shoes, we will budget $ 35. a month or $ 420. for 2024.

We also have a miscellaneous category that covers stamps, cards, wrapping paper, shipping costs, printer paper, envelopes, occasional supplements, etc. We budgeted $ 1,200 a year for that for 2024.

We travel to visit family during the year. Those visits include many tanks of gasoline, Thruway tolls, gifts, out to dinner expenses, etc. We have budgeted $3500. this year for those.

Lastly, we have budgeted $ 6,000. in 2024 for home maintenance. This also includes cleaning products. This helps build up this account so that when we need furniture, appliances, or to replace our furnace or air conditioning which we did this year or to replace our roof or any other repairs. We have to hire some painters this year for inside and I know that we will hire a carpet company do some tiling for us and to shampoo all the carpeting and furniture in the house. It is time to get it professionally done. So this is $500. a month.

This may seem like a lot of money to you for two retired people. But I don’t expect that anyone would have the same expenses as us. It is to just show you what we are doing this year and how important it is to have a budget so that you know where every dollar goes. Without knowing where every dollar was going all these years, we would not be able to afford our retirement. Budgeting is what got us here. It keeps you in control and shows you over the years where the unnecessary spending is. We have been retired almost a quarter of a century and have only gotten increases at 62 because we started collecting social security. Many years since we got no increases in social security and the rest of the years except 2023 were dismal. Plus except for 2023, the primary medicare has increased every year. We have Hubby’s small pension but that has only increased $2000. over the last 22 and 1/4 years. You can imagine what all of this money purchased in 2001 and how it hardly purchased much in 2023 especially with the high prices on almost every thing. If you look at an inflation calculator, it will show you that if you purchased a $1.00 item in 2001, it now costs $ 1.73 in 2023. That is a cumulative rate of inflation of 73.5%. I also believe we will be in a world of hurt in 2024. Fortunately we saved a lot of money over the years by investing and saving. I took our money out of stocks and bonds about year ago. I guess I timed it right because they made $ 0.00 over the past year. All of it is now in high interest rate CD’s. But now you understand why we watch every dollar. If we want to continue to save, we have to.

People believe that they don’t have to budget when they reach retirement. It is more important than ever that you continue to budget and track every dollar. Otherwise you will end up broke. Everyone has to save to beat inflation over the years.

We will be taking the rest of today, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day off. We are exhausted from the last few weeks of company. Time to do nothing for a few days. So I will wish each of you a very Blessed New Year. Stay safe.

It’s time now for me to go frost the cinnamon rolls for brunch.

Every Day

2024 Restaurant and Take Out Budget

This is an area that we struggle with. Some years we rarely get take out food. Others we get it about 6 times a year. If we do get take out it is usually submarine sandwiches or wraps, Panera Take Two, fish fries, Arby’s, or KFC. These take out purchases occur when I am either sick or just plain worn out. Most meals are cooked in our home. It is so much cheaper to cook at home and tastier too.

This year I will try out the KFC copycat recipe that is here: .

I can make up this recipe ahead, freeze the chicken, and then quickly reheat it when I know that I am not up to cooking.

The fish fries this year have not been as good as other years and they have gotten much costlier. So now that it looks like I can get haddock at around $9. a lb. , I will make our own. Hubby has a great homemade recipe that he uses when we have haddock.

The rest we will get take out for.

Restaurants we only go to a couple of times a year and for the most part it is Russell’s which is one of the best steakhouses in our area. It is very costly but we love the food. It is the best prime meat that I have ever tasted and the service is top notch. It is worth every dollar that we pay. Once in a while, we take family with us. We have some gift certificates that were given to us by our son and DIL for Christmas so that will help defray the cost this year. We always go there for our anniversary. Their menu is here:

Sometimes, we go to a small family owned restaurant in town but that is usually it. We are not big on chain restaurants.

We have decided to set our eating away from home budget at $750. this year.

If you want to save money this year to build an emergency fund or some other goal, this is an area that most people could easily cut. Even with inflation so high, restaurant parking lots seem to always be full. Many would be shocked at what they spend in this category if they tracked every dollar.

Feel free to share in the comments.

Every Day

Bonus Post Today: One Of My Goals in 2024

Besides the big goal that we are saving for in 2024, I have another one that I have always wanted to do. Since I do most of our shopping whether it be online or at a physical store, grocery store, drug store, restaurant, or take out, etc., I am never going to pay full price for anything in 2024.

If I can’t buy it on sale, on clearance, with a coupon, or a gift card that I already have or is free to me, points that I have earned for gasoline, or on Amazon, etc., I will not buy it.

Exceptions would be a car repair or maintenance or a home repair or maintenance. We also have a home garden to finish up. The landscape company will do our spring clean up which is too much for us to do. I doubt that we will get a deal on that. Prescriptions, dental or healthcare is excluded also. Basic everyday bills that we pay are also excluded. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t try to negotiate them.

This totally goes along with my goal to spend as little as possible in 2024. I would like this year to be our best savings year ever. It will be hard since so many things have gone up in price and things like healthcare are going up January 1st. It seems like everything is going up. Soon my car and homeowners policy will show up in our mailbox and I expect that will really increase. And I am sure that the town will up our assessment again. But we are going to try our very best!

Anyone set any goals for yourself for 2024?

Every Day

Merry Christmas To All

I hope you all have Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year. With so much strife in the world today, I think we should remember that this is Jesus’s birthday. Take some time to pray for peace for the world.

For those of you with young children, I hope that it is as magical as I remember it all those years ago.

Enjoy your families and good food today also.

We have company until Saturday. But I will pop in with some short posts on our 2024 budget this week.

Every Day

2024 Budget Plan – Cellphone

When we lived in Arizona, my youngest son sent us a cellphone so that he could keep in touch with us. He had a 1 hour and 15 minute commute back and forth to work. He would call us on his commute every day and we would have a nice chat.

When we moved here he offered us a cellphone on his plan and we would be able to text him, call him and use the internet also. He only charged us $ 596. per year which we would pay in advance to him for a year. To be honest, the phone gets more texting use than anything. Hubby has been looking at cheaper plans the past couple of years. We looked at adding a cellphone via Spectrum but heard not so good reviews about their service. So we stayed on his plan.

The other problem was that he lives in a different area code than us so our phone number had that area code.

A couple of weeks ago we switched to Mint Mobile. They had a deal where if you purchased 3 months worth of service at $ 15.00 per month, they would give you 3 months free if you chose automatic renewal which we did. Their service seems to be as good as T Mobile was. So this year, our cellphone service will cost us $ 172.59 including taxes, surcharges, and fees. That is a huge savings of $ 423.41 for the year. Since we owned our own cellphone we did not have to buy one. And the bonus is that we have a cellphone number within our area code. So we have budgeted $200. for the year just in case of a rate increase or jump in taxes or fees.

Any small or large cut that you can make to your budget for the coming year will make a huge difference in how much money you can actually keep in your wallet to save or invest. If you don’t have an emergency fund use that extra savings to build one. The one thing I know for sure is there will always be an emergency when you least expect it. Be prepared!

I will be back posting a bit on our budget for 2024 next week when I get a chance. We have company coming today to exchange gifts and enjoy a charcuterie board that I am making for lunch. Tonight we will be watching the Buffalo Bills game. So I had better get moving!

Every Day

2024 Budget Plan – Food

We all have spent a fortune on food the past couple of years. Inflation has caused some items to go up over 60-70%. We have dealt with fresh food that goes bad a few days after we purchase it. We have dealt with a slew of recalls that they tell you to just throw away. That sure is money down the drain. I personally have not thrown a slew of recalls away. That food is too expensive to just throw it away. Take it back to the store or call the manufacturer and insist that they replace it free of charge. Keep an eye on the recall list here: . There are many posted almost every day.

I have dealt with rotten meat and gotten my money back at the store. Don’t let the manufacturer’s of all of these things just pocket your money. I know it takes your time, but do what you have to do to protect your hard earned dollars.

Bottom line is that prices are so high now that I will do whatever needs to be done to not overspend my food budget again. It has been hard to stay below what you think or want to spend. I have gone over it many, many times. I am sure a lot of you have too.

So I have set a monthly budget of $ 534. a month for the two of us in 2024 and that will include any extra meals that we make during the year for our sons’ families or when we have company. This is how we came up with that figure. We went here: and looked at the thrifty plan for our ages. That gave us a total of $ 502. per month for us. Then we added $ 32. more per month as a little buffer for inflation. Hence the $ 534. per month.

We chose the thrifty plan because these government plans are extremely high. Also we do have some food left in our pantry and freezer that we will be using up in 2024.

We also tend not to waste any food. It is too expensive to not use it and just let it rot. We always use up or freeze leftovers for future meals. Twice a week, I check my refrigerator to see what needs to be used up before it goes bad. Then I make a plan to have those on 1-2 leftover days for brunch or dinner. If I have a lot of lettuce that needs to be used up, I will make tacos, taco salads or serve a side salad with a meal. Every veggie that needs to be used up will go into those salads. This year I am also going to make sure that I am not buying too many fresh vegetables and fruits at one time when I shop. I know how much we use, so one to two weeks worth when I shop is what I will buy.

We eat a lot of eggs so I buy the 60 count box from Walmart. The prices have started escalating again because of the bird flu again so I have been buying and freezing eggs to get ahead of the price increases. I just put one egg in each part of an ice cube tray, freeze them, and put them in a Ziploc bag. That way I can pull out one or two to thaw each time I need them. I try to use them up within 4 months for freshness but you can keep them and they will last a year.

I am not renewing my Instacart which expires this month. I found I didn’t use it enough to make it worth it. B.J.’s is expiring the end of this month too. I will make one more trip there before it does. I only need a couple of things. Then I will wait for 6 months or so (after the winter) and use a coupon to get a membership for $ 20. or $ 25. again. The one delivery service that I use a lot is Walmart+ especially in the winter. It just renewed the beginning of this month. I don’t like driving in snow and ice. In my area, Walmart is the cheapest for most things unless they are on sale at the more expensive grocery stores. They even beat Aldi’s on a lot of items. So I check Walmart online whenever I am planning to buy an item at Aldi’s to check the prices. I do not include my memberships or the driver’s tips in in my food budget. We budget those in a category called the Cost of Food Delivery.

I am also planning on using some sources for food that are farther away from where I live. But they will only be used when things are at rock bottom prices and I have other errands in that direction. I have to make my expenditure of gas worth it.

I could write a lot more but you will see the things I do during the year to save with posts that I put up.

Have you set a budget for 2024 for food?

Every Day

2024 Budget Plan -Utilities

We have been working on our 2024 budget plan for a few weeks now. With inflation as high as it is, we have three main categories that are our largest expenditures: Food, Utilities, and Cable TV and Streaming Services. Today, we are going to talk about utilities and how we are planning on lowering them.

This purchase in the picture is our latest attempt to do that. You all know that I have accumulated a lot of small appliances over the years. They are always more energy efficient than using the natural gas stove top and oven. This new oven will replace a number of other small appliances especially my toaster oven, air fryer oven, and rotisserie. So besides saving energy, it frees up my cluttered counter space. And as we are trying to live a simpler life, this will definitely benefit us. Sometimes, you just have to spend money to save money.

It air fries because it is a convection oven so things cook faster. It broils and bakes. I cooked our homemade pizza for dinner last night in the air fryer rack which you see in the top of the oven part. It not only got done quicker than in the regular oven or toaster oven but the crust was nice and crispy. It will also do a 16 inch frozen convenience pizza. What really amazed me is that it took only 1/2 the time to preheat than my large oven does. I know that makes sense but when we were weighing the pros and cons for buying this, I didn’t think about that.

I could get a small piece of meat or a small casserole in my toaster oven but I could not cook a large roast or small turkey or whole chicken in it. I can get two chickens at a time done in it and cook up to a 15 lb. ham. A 12 x 15 casserole dish will fit in it. Eleven of the cooking functions are preset to make it easy for me: air fry, slow cook, bake, toast, broil, roast, warm, turbo convection, wings, pizza, and grill. This will replace my indoor grill also.

We have looked at this appliance for over 6 months now. It was not a hasty purchase. When I was looking at it back then, it cost more than I paid for it when I ordered it. Plus the only color I could find at that price was red. Not in my kitchen because I have mostly stainless steel appliances. So when Hubby saw it was on sale for less than when we looked before and they had the stainless steel, we pulled the trigger and ordered it. And I know I will not regret this purchase.

I believe I will never have to turn on the big oven again except for a very large turkey. I also think we are going to save much more money in the long run than we spent to buy this which was $ 219.98 + tax. Hubby and I don’t exchange gifts for Christmas because we buy what we need when we need it. But we are calling this our early Christmas gift. The best part is Hubby unboxed it and washed all of the pans and trays and the inside and outside of the oven. That was a bonus for me! So it is now in full use.

I am not going to show you all the ways again that we try to save on our natural gas and electric bill because I have done that many times on here. Just search the tags for saving on utilities or natural gas or electric.

Bottom line, we will do our very best to save on our energy bills even though we have had a rate increase and an increase of $ 2.00 each for our electric meter and gas meter. Winter bills are very high here because we live in a very cold and snowy climate.

We spent $ 2145.60 in 2023 for our natural gas and electric bill . We are allotting $ 2250.00 in our budget for 2024 but hoping to spend less than that with all of the things we do to decrease it. That works out to $ 187.50 per month.

There will be a number of posts over the next 16 days showing you what we are doing with our 2024 budget. They will all be titled 2024 Budget Plan.

Every Day

Frugal Things The Past Few Days

These are the frugal things we did recently:

  • Purchased a ham on sale for $ 1.49 a lb. at Tops
  • Purchased a rib eye roast for $ 9.99 a lb. which is one of the cheapest prices I have seen in a long time. Aldi’s had tenderloins on sale for $7.99 a lb. but they did not have any. The cashier told me that they were gone right after the doors opened this morning. They only had a few. I did not feel like making another trip this week to see if they get them in. The rib eye will be for the holidays and the ham we will be used over the winter. Both pieces of meat will get stretched as far as I can stretch them after the holiday making soups and casseroles from leftovers.
  • Purchased bra hooks and eye replacements to mend 3 bras. The bras are otherwise in good shape. I did not want to spend $40. each to replace them. The hooks and eyes only cost me $ 6.70+ tax because I used $ 6.00 in gift cards to help pay for them.
  • Hubby told me he needed underpants. Instead of going out to buy them at outrageous prices at J.C.Penney’s, I grabbed a package that I had put in our stash of underwear for him that I purchased there before the prices started to go up. I paid $19.99 for 6 pair. The same pack right now costs $34.00. It always pays to buy ahead especially with inflation.
  • Mended a sweater.
  • Hemmed two pairs of jeans.
  • We have made easy dinner meals: soup and an English Muffin with butter, Parmesan coated chicken with macaroni and cheese( 2 meals), cheeseburgers and French fries and a pizza.
  • We did treat ourselves to take out lunch from Panera Bread on a day that I was running a slew of errands. We each got a Pick Two and I paid with one of the gift cards that I purchased 4 years ago. I now have only $ 8.96 left on those cards. So I decided to purchase 1 $ 50. Panera gift card at Top’s with a Christmas bonus point that gave me $ 10. off of it. That will probably last us a year or more. I mainly use it for the bagel deal on Tuesdays when Hubby has a craving for them.
  • My son and grandson came for breakfast and we played rummy for a couple of hours afterward which is cheap entertain. I love rummy!
  • I ended up buying one more Christmas gift which I got on sale for 37% off.
  • I am changing over to Mint Mobile for our cellphone. I got a deal for $15. per month for the next three months and then 3 months free. Then I will revert to the $15. a month plan for the future. I was paying my son $ 596. a year for our phone on this account so this will save us a lot of money. We really only use the cellphone for emergencies and calling or texting family.
  • Hubby and I have both used our dental plan recently which pays for our cleanings and X rays. We also brought home a big bag of dental goodies. It is always nice to get these items free.
  • I uploaded my receipts to Fetch which gave me 1500 points for a Rite Aid receipt plus other points from grocery trips.
  • I am working on our 2024 budget which I will be sharing with you in future posts.
  • I made and baked a cherry pie. Those cherries from the tree in our yard that we froze taste so good in autumn and winter.
  • I have only done 1 load of wash this week using homemade detergent in cold water and hanging it to dry.
  • The Medicare hospital bill that they denied has been taken care of. The woman there told me they made a mistake and the correction had been made. She sent me copies of all of the paperwork. That saved me thousands of dollars.
  • I delivered 3 Christmas cards to my neighbors after the mail came today. I usually mail them but most of them haven’t since we lived here. They just put it in the mailbox. So this year I decided to save the $ 1.98 and just put them in their mailboxes.. BTW, get your stamps soon because they are going up to $ .68 each from $ .66 each on January 21, 2024. I will be getting a roll of 100. We seem to be able to make them last for 2 years or more.
  • My son and DIL are not going to have their usual Christmas fondue on Christmas Day. They are going to have it the weekend after New Year’s. So they will be coming out the weekend before Christmas so that we can all exchange gifts. So I picked up a whole bunch of meats, cheeses, and beef jerky to make a charcuterie board for us all to munch on. I will add black olives, stuffed olives, and nuts along with some pork rinds for crunch. The meats and cheeses are on sale this week at Aldi’s for great prices.
  • We continue to keep our heat at 64 at night and 71 during the day. When there is a sunny day, I open the shades and blinds when the sun is on them and close them when it is not.

That is it for now. As I stated I will be posting about our 2024 budget by the end of the week. It is going to be very tight because we are saving money for something that is very important to us in 2024. One post will then turn into many.

Please feel free to leave a comment and share with all of us what you have been doing to be frugal.

Every Day

Use What You Have And Don’t Waste Money

There is nothing I love more than using recipes from old cookbooks. This recipe is from The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Cookbook published in 1962. My sister-in law gave me the book for a bridal shower gift. This is not my original copy. Mine fell apart from using it all the time. When we moved here, I figured someone out here in Buffalo would have a copy they were selling and sure enough I found this one. It is in much better shape than mine was although the binding is coming apart. So I may take it to get it rebound. That is how much I love this book. We have used many, many recipes from it. I think the reason is because most of the recipes use simple ingredients, are easy to put together, and taste so good.

So tonight, we are having this dish. But for the first time, I am not following it exactly. I am not going to bake it at 300 degrees for 3 hours. I am going to cook it in the crock pot to save energy. But I will use the electric skillet to brown it and then transfer it all to the crock pot and add the other ingredients.

I did not have a round roast in my freezer so I thawed a chuck roast which I will cut into pieces. I always have flour, salt, and pepper. Since we eat a lot of bacon, I save my bacon drippings to cook with so we have those. The only other ingredient that I will substitute is the cooking sherry. I don’t have it but I do have red cooking wine.

We will see how this comes out. If it doesn’t taste as good as when I roast it in the oven, I will try to cook it in the toaster oven next time.

My mouth is watering just thinking about serving this on rice for dinner. I will try to remember to take a picture when we eat it and show it to you in another blog post. We should be able to have this for at least two meals.

I try to use what I have when I cook all of the time. I don’t always have all the ingredients so I substitute. I definitely don’t run out to the store for a couple of ingredients and waste time and gasoline. If I have a substitute on the shelf, I would much rather use that than spend money on the proper ingredient.

When I was a kid, my grandmother was the cook in our home. She made a roast almost every Sunday. Usually it was a roast beef or a pork loin with whatever vegetables she had on hand at the time. I never really learned how to cook from her but I do remember her using up all of the food. She and my grandfather had a young family during the Great Depression and they never wasted anything. She knew how to stretch a roast into other recipes like beef stew, or beef or pork chop suey, etc. Nothing ever went to waste! So over the years, I have done what she did. I try never to waste a bit of food and to serve the proper portions. For a meal, we would be served a small piece of meat, a small piece of potato and a couple of spoonfuls of whatever vegetable was in season. There were rarely seconds.

We also rarely had any kind of treat. A quart of soda that my Mom would buy would last at least a week for her, my sister, and I. And she would not buy it every week. Once in a while, she would make a dip(Catalina dressing mixed with cream cheese) to go with a bag of potato chips or make popcorn on the stove. We sometimes would share an apple or an orange. And ice cream was a treat that I looked forward to but that didn’t happen often either.

There wasn’t a lot of money when I grew up, but there was always food made and served with a lot of love. The difference between then and now is remarkable. 99% of our food was made from scratch back then, most people weren’t fat, and people really knew the value of a dollar. Today we have an obesity problem, convenience food is the norm, and people waste food and money without even giving it a second thought even going so far as to put food and their wants on a credit card that they can’t pay off each month. If you have to put food on a credit card, go to a food bank. Quit buying wants!

Because of this we have a credit crisis in this country today. Both our government and so many people are collapsing our economy by their frivolous use of credit. Most people didn’t have credit back when I grew up. If they wanted something, they saved cash for it. We would be so much better off if we lived like our ancestors and saved cash for our needs and our wants. Don’t use your credit cards unless you can pay that bill off each month.

Our government tells us everyday that things are just fine. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. Things are not fine. Our government is trillions of dollars in debt that we have to borrow from countries that don’t like us. China has started to sell the debt that they bought from us. China, Russia, India and some other countries are no longer using the dollar to buy things. The value of our dollar is going down every day. Soon it will be so inflated that we will be paying $10. for a loaf of bread(not me, I will be baking my own) or $ 15. for a gallon of gasoline.

Please don’t waste food or your money because bad times are coming. I don’t believe that we have seen the worst yet. I follow a person who has dealt in commodities for many, many years, and he is predicting a bad recession globally by 2025 which will go into a depression that could last 7 years or longer. He believes it will start around April of 2024 when the stock market will crash. At first I took his word cautiously but I am seeing more and more bank CEO’s warning us and many economists too.

So I will take them at their word and you should too. I have no debt but if you do, get it paid off as fast as you can especially your home. During the great depression, many people not only lost their money but they lost their homes. I have been beating this drum for years but I don’t know how many people have listened and it is just scary for me knowing that this will happen to people.

The only other advice I can give you is to stop spending on anything except food and other items that you will need to keep your home and car in good running order. If you can find some room, stock up some food and medicine. Don’t waste any of it. If your furnace or any other appliance needs some repairs do them now. If we do go into a recession or depression these things will become extremely unaffordable.

I apologize for getting somewhat off topic but my heart told me that I need to warn you. If you would like to see the video from the man I follow here it is but I will warn you that it is not for the faint of heart: