Every Day

January 2021: No Spend Month and Exercise Every Day Month

It’s that time of year again! Time for new beginnings for a year full of hope!

I will be doing a No Spend month along with an Exercise Every Day month starting January 1st. We are all different, so we each have to set our own rules.

But after the holiday season and an excess of spending, it is time to slow down and track every penny in our budgets. It is also time to rev up the exercise after all of the rich foods consumed the last couple of months.

These are the things we will be doing this month for our NO SPEND month. We have already set our budget for the year so that we know how much we have to spend in each category. We will be tracking every penny so that we know what we are spending and where.

We each have items in our budget that have to be paid such as taxes, housing costs, food, utility costs, healthcare, telephone costs, insurances, transportation costs, etc.

However, some of the costs such as food, utilities, gasoline, etc. we can reduce the cost. For example, I have been spending $500. per month on groceries. I will be reducing that amount to $300. a month this year. I believe it is doable since we have a stockpile to work from. If the total for the month comes in under that $300. I will roll that money into the next month. I realize prices are rising and have been rising for months now. But we can do things differently, like make bread, cook from our pantries, cook as much from scratch as possible, waste no food, shop at the cheapest market, and eat the proper portions of food at meals.

We can reduce our electric and natural gas bills by being conscious of how much we are using and using less where we can. Hubby and I rarely use lighting during the daytime unless it is a very dark, dreary day. We cook using the appliance that uses the least amount of energy. We fill our washing machine when we do a load. We use cold water most of the time. We keep our heat at 62 from 11PM to 7AM. During the daytime, we keep it at 68. It doesn’t hurt that it has been a warmer winter so far. Our December bill was $27. less than the December bill last year. It was how warm it has been along with all the other ways we reduce it. We did well because there was also a rate increase.

We save on our water bills by never letting the water just run in the sink. Fill that sink up 1/3 to a 1/2 of the way to wash dishes and especially pots and pans. Only fill your pots and pans with the amount of water you need to cook that item. Don’t overfill them because that takes excess energy too. We take Navy showers. We don’t let the water run while brushing our teeth.

We researched cellphone plans and determined that we are already paying less for what we have. The cellphone carrier we researched was Spectrum. What they don’t tell you until you ask is that you have to switch to their Spectrum cable in order to get the cheap service. We have a grandfathered plan which is much cheaper so we are keeping that. Eventually they will put everyone on the Spectrum plan but then I have the option of cancelling cable. But maybe you can find a cheaper plan for how you use yours.

We can control our gasoline costs by staying home. When we do fill up, I use gasoline points to defray the cost. I had $ .90 off a gallon last week.

We will be using up the weird food items in the house. You know the ones you thought you would use, but they linger on the shelf.

West’s birthday is this month so we will be buying him a gift but that is a necessity.

I have a number of things in this house that need to be sold so I will be doing that. If they don’t sell, we will donate them.

We will not be eating out, doing takeout, or buying fast food.

We will mend our clothes when necessary. New clothes will not be in the budget this month.

We have Netflix now for the winter entertainment. When winter is over, we will cancel it.

I will be journaling every day what we are doing in January. If you are doing a No Spend month, feel free to tell us what you are doing everyday in the comments. This way we help each other.

As far as exercising every day, I ride my recumbent bike and fast walk on the treadmill. If you don’t have exercise items, there are many You Tube videos that you can watch and exercise right along with them. You can also run or take a walk outside. You don’t need to spend money on a gym. If you are not used to exercising every day, it is a good time to start so that you have a healthier 2021. I try to do mine first thing in the morning and it sets the tone for my entire day. I feel better and it gives me a ton of energy.

My son and granddaughter are arriving today so I will be back on the 1st. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve and stay safe.

Every Day

Changes are Coming

I think most of you would agree with this statement. 2020 has been an awful year! I am happy to see it ending although I don’t know if 2021 will be better or not. We can hope and pray that this vaccine will work. Only time will tell.

I have to be honest and tell you that I have been in a funk lately and have not felt like blogging at all. But the New Year coming has given me renewed hope for a much better year. So I have shaken off the funk and will be regularly blogging starting on New Year’s Day. I will have a couple of more posts before then.

Before I tell you what I plan for January, here is a little bit of what has been going on here.

Most of our groceries have been delivered by Walmart +. That is working out very well for us. The drivers are usually on time and let you know when they will be arriving. I just open my garage door and they put the bags on the bench where we sit to put our shoes and boots on. As soon as they are gone, I bring everything into the kitchen and sort it out as to where it needs to be put away.

However, I did venture out to Niagara Produce the other day to purchase 10 lbs. of ground chuck and 3 very small filet mignons for Hubby and I to have for Christmas dinner. We will be alone and this will be our treat. I was surprised at how small they were and how expensive they were.

Part of the ground chuck is pictured above. I had already put up about 4 lbs. into ziploc bags and into the freezer. That meat will get used first so it won’t freezer burn.

The rest pictured I used the food saver on and froze it for meals in the far off future. We had only one pound of ground meat left in our freezer before I shopped. I usually buy my ground beef at Aldi’s but it has been way to crowded lately to go in there. This beef is good and was only about $.10 more a lb.

We had planned on having spiral sliced ham for Christmas. Our son called and surprised us to tell us that he and Alexa are coming for a visit on this coming Sunday for a few days. So I am saving the ham for dinner that day so that we can celebrate again with them. We are very excited that they are coming.

Now for 2021 plans. I am going to be doing two Challenges in January. It will be a NO SPEND month and an EXERCISE EVERY DAY month. Details will be forthcoming. These are the two challenges that I desperately need. Hopefully, you will join me if this is what you need.

Every Day

A Little of This and a Little of That

Since Hubby and I love to do drumsticks in the air fryer, I finally got up to Aldi’s this week and got two packages at $.79 a lb. The price came off the receipt at the end. This is the best price that I have gotten for these in a very long time.

Once I got home I immediately used the food saver and froze them into meal size packages.

On Thursday, I had a Walmart delivery. I was pleasantly surprised that they sent all of these things free. They were inside that snowman bag. Since we are getting low on floss, I was happy to get that. Hubby can’t wait to try the mustard. I tried the coffee this morning. I put the GV knockoff of Nutella away for when my granddaughter visits since she loves it. You have to love freebies!

Hubby and I have been taking it easy and watching a lot of movies and shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. We have been watching football games too. I have been trying to keep him off of his foot so that it will heal. It is getting there but I don’t want him to do too much too fast. So I have been doing all of the work and waiting on him.

He was craving beef barley soup so I made a pot last night. We will have it again tonight. I rarely measure anything when I make soup. It was just beef broth with chunks of beef, sliced carrots, diced onions and celery, and pearled barley. He loved it!

Since we have everything done for Christmas, we have been working on our financial plan for the New Year. We have a number of projects planned through out the year. If and when we can all travel again, we will be doing some of that too.

I have been planing out my blog posts for 2021 and listing the topics. I am hoping to teach you many more things.

Are you all ready for Christmas? Have you written your goals and plans for 2021?

Every Day

Frugal Things We Have Done The Past Couple of Weeks

These are the things we have done frugally:

  • We have stayed home since Hubby injured his foot. Since he did not want to go to an emergency room or urgent care, I did some research and spoke with a medical person. We came to the conclusion that he either has a minor fracture or a tendon injury. I have made him rest his foot and wear his orthotics in his shoes when he does have to move around the house. Ice and ibuprofen are on the agenda too. This is what a doctor would have told him to do. It is slowly but surely getting better each day.
  • I received a free $10.00 Amazon gift card.
  • I mailed a Christmas gift to my sister using my 5% discount at UPS. I reused Amazon packaging for it.
  • I wrote and mailed 27 Christmas cards using cards I purchased cheap after Christmas a few years ago. I will need to buy some more Christmas cards this year at the after Christmas sales.
  • I used Forever stamps that I purchased a few years ago for the cards.
  • We have cooked all of our own meals. No takeout.
  • We received a $100. gift card for Christmas last year for our favorite restaurant. It expires on Christmas this year. So it looks like we will have to order takeout or waste the card. I have to figure out how to keep the food hot while I am bringing it home. We live quite a distance from the restaurant.
  • I ordered some household items from Amazon and got $10.00 off my $40.00 order.
  • I have done quite a bit of wash lately using the HE’s. Everything was hung to dry except sheets, towels, and blankets. I dried those in the dryer using the wool dryer balls.
  • I made Hubby an apple pie because he was craving it and I have been spoiling him while his foot is healing.
  • I made a new tuna casserole that Hubby loved. I have also made macaroni bacon goulash, shrimp cocktails, Buffalo chicken wings, NY strip steaks, loaded hamburger nachos, stir fry chicken, and turkey soup for recent dinners.
  • We have been rotating the food in our pantry using the oldest first. I have also been keeping the inventory list up to date.
  • I ordered a Walmart + order to be delivered.
  • We have been keeping the heat at 68 during the daytime and 64 at night.

Feel free to share in comments what you have done frugally recently.

Every Day

A Little of This and a Little of That

What I had planned to do today went out the window after waking up to our first real snowstorm of the winter. It is still snowing pretty heavily and I don’t know how long it will keep up. The weather forecast showed most of the snow going way south of us. But I guess they were wrong again. So unless it stops soon, I will be spending the day indoors. I had planned on going to Tractor Supply and Aldi’s but that will have to wait.

The only grocery shopping that I have been going out to do is to pick up meat specials, especially beef. A reader mentioned that beef goes on sale in December and I had forgotten that. In my estimation, this month may be one of the last ones to get beef at good prices, even though they have gone up in recent months. I may be wrong but remembering all of the cows that got slaughtered last spring when the meat processing plants closed for a while, I expect that beef will be in short supply and that prices will soar next year.

So instead of paying $ 6.79 a pound, I purchased these two roasts for $3.49 a pound. They are eye round roasts. They had bottom round, top round, eye round and sirloin tip roasts on sale for this price. I was a bit leery of buying them since the last time I purchased eye round roasts at Top’s, they were tough as could be. So I went and talked with the head butcher. I asked him which of these roasts should be the most tender if you roast them in the oven. I told him we like them medium. He said he would buy the eye rounds. He said to roast them at low heat and slice them thin. I hope he is right. Otherwise they will become stew meat.

For many, many years, I purchased eye round and sirloin tip roasts and they were always tender roasted. But the past few years, they have been tough. I wonder what is different. Does anyone know? Can anyone tell me what kind of roast they do in the oven that comes out tender? I would greatly appreciate your opinion before I buy any more.

Well, I guess I better go down on the treadmill before I start cleaning today. I hope you all have a great day.

Every Day

What Small Appliance Saves Me The Most Amount of Money?

Hands down it is my food saver! That is because meat and fish are the most expensive food products that I purchase. I rarely pay full price for any of those things. This is just some of the cooked meat that I vacuum sealed from the turkey that I roasted about 10 days ago.

I roasted another large turkey for Thanksgiving. Today will be the third day of eating it. With the exception of what we need for dinner tonight, I will be vacuum sealing the rest of the meat in portion size bags for future meals.

I bought 3 turkeys this month at $ .87 and $ .48 a pound. I already had one in my freezer from last November which was perfectly fine. When I don’t buy them near Thanksgiving they will cost me anywhere from $1.69 up to $ 2.89 pound in my area. Since I normally buy 16 to 22 pound turkeys, this is a huge saving for meat. With my vacuum sealer I know that I can preserve this cooked meat up to a year and it will be as good as the day I cooked it.

This is the second food saver that I purchased and I am still using it. My first one I bought when they first came out and it lasted me many, many, many years.

When this one bites the dust, I already have a backup. I bought one for a really cheap price on Black Friday in 2019. I have never paid full price for one of them. They have always been purchased on a great sale.

I buy the sealer rolls so that I can make my own bags. I find these no more expensive to make bags than buying Ziplocs which do not keep the air out of your food. Air is the enemy of your meats. That is why they deteriorate in freezer bags over time and get freezer burn. I have never had freezer burn in a vacuum sealed bag even if it gets lost in the freezer. I buy my sealer rolls at the cheapest prices at Walmart and Amazon. I only buy the Food Saver brand rolls when they have a huge sale and they are cheaper than what I can buy at the stores. When I buy them I buy them in bulk.

Buying whole pieces of meat like pork tenderloins, beef tenderloins, and whole salmon and cutting them up into portions will preserve them a very long time using this method. So if I see a rock bottom price on chicken, beef, pork, salmon, or other fish or meats I can buy 20-30 pounds and know that they will last in the freezer up to a year or more.

I can use my food saver to vacuum seal dry foods like pastas, oatmeal, beans etc. in mason jars for long term storage. I wrote a post about that here a while ago.

I know that not everyone has a separate freezer. However I did not have one all the years we lived in Arizona. All I had was my refrigerator freezer and it was amazing how much you could store in it using my food saver, I was still able to save many dollars on meat.

In 2021, I believe that we will see prices rise drastically on many meats because of food shortages across the globe and the animals that were destroyed because the processing plants closed for a bit. Add to that the inflation that is inevitable and we are going to see huge increases in beef and other meats. So buy it while you can at cheaper prices now and preserve it in your freezer. In 2021, I am going to track my meat savings to see what I do save in a year’s time.

Lastly, I am opening up comments to anonymous. Let’s be helpful and polite to everyone. I do not want to have to ban anyone which I now have the capability to do.

Do you see meat prices rising in your area?

Every Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. There will be just the two of us! It is going to be so weird from other Thanksgivings but we will make the best of it. I am roasting a 20 lb. turkey and we will eat it until we are sick of it. Then the rest will go into the freezer. Me, I am looking forward to turkey soup.

I have to apologize to all of you who left comments the past few days. I got a new computer and we have spent most of this week trying to get everything transferred over from the old one. It would have been easy if I wanted to transfer everything but I didn’t. So I had to go look at everything and decide whether to save it to transfer or delete it. Pictures needed some organizing too. It was a lot of work. It is finally done. And I am glad because I was so tired of working on it. So I finally posted and replied to your comments tonight.

We also noticed that not all of my pictures transferred over from blogspot. I am going to try to recover them little by little.

Well I am off to chop up the onion and celery that I need for my sausage stuffing that I will make in the morning. I hope you all have a good evening and day tomorrow.

Every Day

Curious Minds Want To Know

A few readers have asked me what it cost to have my own website on Word Press. There was a cost of $20. for the conversion tool to import my blog from Blogger to Word Press.

I also needed to purchase my domain name. I really wanted the same name that I have been blogging under for a few years and I was lucky that it was available. That cost was $27.97 for two years.

Lastly, I told my son, my IT guy, that I wanted a SSL certificate. You can see the lock in your browser when you are on my blog. The license cost me $ 15.76 for 2 years.

So it cost a total of $ 63.73. It was worth it to me! Blogger just went to a new format and there are so many glitches and they don’t seem to care. I did not consider Blogger to be safe anymore.

Also there are so many more things that you can do with Word Press. I am not limited like I was on Blogger. I am learning something new every day. I will also be playing with the colors until I find one I really like. It takes a bit to learn something new but they have a great tutorial that really helps.

So those bloggers who are considering going to Word Press those were my costs. I consider them my entertainment for the next two years or more. Cheap entertainment at that. So far I am really liking Word Press.

Every Day

Frugal Things The Past Couple of Weeks

These are the frugal things that I am doing around our home these past few weeks.

This is the turkey that I purchased for $.48 a lb. this week. I put it in the oven before I ran some errands this morning. I did not stuff it because we are not eating it tonight. When it comes out of the oven, I will let it cool and put it in the refrigerator overnight. That will make it easier to slice and dice. Then I will food saver the meat up into portions for our future meals. I will also make gravy to freeze for future meals.

I will cook down the bones and skin in my crockpot to make chicken bone broth. Mine always tastes better than the ones you can buy in the store.

I have finished all of my Christmas shopping. I picked up the last gift that I needed today.

Yesterday I shipped two large Christmas packages. I wanted to get that done before the rush of packages after Thanksgiving. I used my AAA card to get a 5% discount on the ground shipping. That saved me $1.41. Not much but it all adds up!

I have finally finished my last grocery trip until the Spring. When we need fresh things, I will order it and have it delivered from Walmart. It snowed here two days this week. And even though it has all melted, I know the big one is coming.

I am working on writing my Christmas cards. I purchased them last year after Christmas on discount. I will be using Forever stamps from way before the last stamp increase.

I have watched about 5 episodes of “Little House on the Prairie”. It is full of commercials which is driving me crazy but I am handling it.

I made my last trip to the bank until after the New Year and maybe well into the year. I like doing this once every few months instead of monthly because it saves me a lot of gasoline.

We are opening the shades and blinds when the sun is out to help with the heating. At night they are all closed up.

I had been having a hard time finding tissues. I finally found Scotties today and even though they were expensive, I purchased the last four that I think we will need for the winter.

A couple of the buttons on my good winter coat were loose so I sewed them on tighter before I lost them.

I washed all of our lighter weight coats in warm water and soap before we put them in storage for the winter.

Our boots are all ready to go in the seating bench in the garage which is where we take them on and off if we go out. The brush and scraper are in the car for the winter and the snow tires are on.

Two of our bedrooms have been closed up for the winter and the snakes are ready to be put in front of the bottom of the doors. I will do that tomorrow.

I went to B.J.’s and got bacon, guacamole, Skinny Pop, cans of corned beef, powdered ranch dressing, and Hubby’s favorite Caesar dressing because the prices on these items are cheaper there. I did it on the same trip to the bank.

I scanned all of my recent grocery receipts into Fetch to get reward GC’s.

And as usual, we are careful about how much energy we use in the house.

I continue to work out on my treadmill and recumbent bike here in our home.

That is it for now. What have you guys done frugally the past few weeks? Feel free to share with all of us in the comments.

Every Day

A Day In My Life

I now have 4 turkeys. One was left over from last year. I have gotten three this month. Yesterday I went to Top’s and picked up this 16 lb. one for $.48 a lb. I wasn’t going to get another one but Hubby thought it was too good a price to pass up. So it is now thawing in our refrigerator. It will be roasted on Thursday. Then all of the meat will be sliced or cubed and I will vacuum seal the packages in meal size portions and put them in the freezer. It takes up less room than a whole turkey. This turkey will be used in place of chicken. Buying under $1.00 a lb. turkey is a no brainer when chicken costs $ 1.99 and up a lb.

I purchased English muffins yesterday when I got the turkey. They were on sale for B1G2F. I have not made egg McMuffins in 21 months. So this morning, it was our breakfast of choice. I cooked up 2 sausages for each of us.

Then I cooked the eggs. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. When everything was ready, Hubby came and put his together and melted his cheese.

I started to put mine in the microwave to melt my cheese and got distracted. My egg flew off and hit the floor. What a mess! So I just had sausage with cheese on the muffin. So a few months from now, I will try again.

After cleaning up the egg mess, taking my shower, making our bed, and exercising, I decided to do all of the breakfast dishes, clean the stove top, clean the sinks, and clean and polish the counters. These are things that I do everyday in the morning. These are the three products that I use. I love Weiman products. I use the gas range cleaner, the stone cleaner and polisher, and the stainless steel cleaner when I do the fridge and dishwasher.

The stovetop is clean now.

Remember when you clean this to take it apart. A lot of gook gets trapped under the black part and if you don’t clean it, it will smell. I put the plug for the garbage disposal and my sponge in the dishwasher each time I run it. Since the virus came, I have been running the dishwasher only on the sanitizer cycle.

Now my sinks are nice and shiny., The vinegar gel does a great job. Notice the black line at the top of the right hand sink and where the stone meets behind the faucet. Hubby recaulked everything a couple of months ago and he forgot to get waterproof caulk so food is discoloring the caulk. It is driving me crazy so he is going to remove all of the caulk, get the waterproof one, and redo it.

Also I purchased this holder for my scrubber and sponge recently. I hate it because it gets in the way when we wash pots and pans. I want these two items handy but I don’t want them in the way. I refuse to have them just sit up near the faucet. Have any of you found a product or solution to this problem that works well for you?

I polished and cleaned the counters and my small appliances this morning.

Before I moved into the dining room, I threw a load of laundry into the washer. I also lit the candle on the kitchen breakfast bar. It smells so good. It is sugar cookie.

The dining room was my room to clean today. It is now all done. Then I tidied up the great room, the guest rooms and cleaned my bathroom sinks and toilets. It feels good when my house is neat and clean.

Hubby wanted some popcorn for lunch while he watched some boxing that he had recorded. So I obliged and made him a bowl and took a tiny bit for me to eat while I watched an episode of “Little House on the Prairie”. I only watched a couple of these shows when they first aired in 1974. Now that the series is on Amazon Prime, I am going to watch all of them. So I have been viewing a few a day.

After watching my show, I decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies. Hubby loves them and we have not had a sweet around here in a long time. We like big cookies. So one a day is plenty. The second pan just went in the oven. Hubby says they are delicious.

For dinner last night, I roasted two turkey tenderloins. We had 1/2 of one sliced up with turkey stuffing and homemade gravy. I also had some green beans.

We used the other 1/2 to slice up and have it with the leftover gravy and stuffing along with some cut up fresh tomatoes for dinner tonight. The other 1/2 of the cooked turkey tenderloin will be used to slice up on Chef’s salads tomorrow night. Then the last 1/2 will be used for club sandwiches on Wednesday for dinner. Four meals from two tenderloins that cost $6.99 is a great deal.

After doing all of the dishes and running the dishwasher, I wiped up the counters, wiped down my sinks again, put new kitchen towels out, and vacuumed the kitchen floor. I don’t have any meals to prep because of all the leftovers we have for the next couple of nights.

Tonight I will watch some You Tube shows and another episode of “Little House on the Prairie” while I fold the load of laundry that I did today. Hubby always watches Monday Night Football and will also watch the spaceship dock tonight at the space station.

I hope you all had a wonderful day!