Every Day

Cutting Costs on Monday

We started our day off this morning by making our own coffee. We NEVER, EVER buy coffee at a drive thru. Yes, we have a Keurig but I make my coffee with a reusable cup using whatever I have found on sale. Buying coffee out is very expensive. It’s so easy to make your own. For a long time, I have made Hubby’s using Decaf K cups. Our stockpile of them is almost gone. So when they run out, I will be making his from bagged Decaf coffee which I stockpiled at lower prices when we made this decision. Using regular K cups is expensive and they expire quicker than sealed coffee. When we go out, we bring our coffee with us in a travel mug.

Next it was time for my navy shower. I catch the water in a bucket while it warms up when I turn it on the first time. This saves water. Utility bills keep going up so every little bit helps. For those who don’t know what a navy shower is, you wet down, turn the shower off, soap up and wash your hair, then turn the shower back on to rinse off. We have a window in our Master Bath that gives plenty of light so no need to turn any light on. When I am going to be home for the day, I use no makeup so no light needed for that or to comb my hair. I let my hair air dry. I don’t let the water run down the sink while I am brushing my teeth. I turn it off until I rinse.

After my shower, I squeegee all of the glass in the shower to keep the soap scum down. Then I use my homemade shower cleaner spray on the tile walls for the same reason. That way it can go longer without a deep cleaning.

About noontime we had our first meal of the day. Since we waste zero food in our home, I heated up some beef stew that I cooked a couple of nights ago. It just had beef, carrots, potatoes, and a little gravy. When I made it for dinner, I used the crock pot on high for 4 hours. Over the summer I purchased 4 strip steaks from the meat market. We grilled 2 and they were awfully tough. As I said before the quality of the meat has gotten poor along with the high prices. So not wanting to waste them, I used them as the meat in the stew. This made them very tender.

Today is my day to clean the bathrooms. I use bleach to clean the entire inside and outside of the toilets. I stockpile bleach to purify water in case we have a water outage. Bleach only lasts about 6 months. So when it is reaching it’s expiration, I clean the toilets with it to use it up. I used a bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles that I need to use up to clean the bathtubs, sinks, shower floor, and counters. Once that is gone, I will make homemade cleaner for them. Floors and baseboards were washed down with Pine Sol in my bucket with my spin mop. The mirrors all got done with Windex. All the cupboards were dusted before I did the floors. Towels were thrown in the washer to wait for a full load and new ones were put out.

I had so much energy when I got done that I decided to clean the Master Bedroom. So sheets have been stripped and new ones put on. Baseboards, lamps and bulbs, and furniture have all been dusted with my reusable duster. Drawers were straightened up and mirrors and paintings were cleaned. The walk in closet was very neat so it didn’t need any attention. Last, I vacuumed all of the carpeting.

Then Hubby and I watched NCIS LA that aired last night. He DVR’s any program that I want to see each week for me. Sometimes we just wait until Friday and marathon all of the shows. I hate commercials and he can skip over them when he replays them for me.

Then Hubby went to clean his office. Believe me, it needed it. It’s the one room that I don’t clean because he knows where he keeps everything.

I did our net worth statement which I do the 1st of every month. Then it was time to watch some You Tube.

Dinner was last night’s planned overs. I made two dinners of spaghetti and sausage. We just reheated it all in the microwave. It saves us time and money.

What did you do to cut costs?

Every Day

Cutting Costs Today

Since it’s easier for me to sit for short periods of time, I will post short blog posts each day about how we cut costs that day.

As you can see I taught myself to take pictures with my cellphone today. I never knew how to do it. So I did some research and I am learning. So I will not have to spend $250. for a new camera.

Pictured above is about 3/4’s of a butternut squash. I cooked it in the microwave which is much cheaper than baking it in the oven. There is enough here for me to enjoy it with 3 dinners. Hubby does not like it so I get it all. Actually the other 1/4 of it, I have cut into chunks to saute for dinner. While Hubby has spaghetti with Italian sausage for dinner, I will have the Italian sausage and sauce with the the squash as a side.

Hubby made another batch of homemade granola. We have tried many recipes and this one is the best by far. It gives us a little over 1/2 a container.

Hubby always makes it with pure maple syrup. This time he used dried blueberries and cranberries. It is so delicious. I have some once in a while on top of plain yogurt which I make in the Instant Pot. You can use raisins for a cheaper recipe. We use dried blueberries, cranberries, or cherries. It costs us less to make it than to buy a good box of granola.

I did a load of wash in cold water and hung all of my lingerie and good tops to dry. The rest was dried on the EcoDry cycle.

I ordered two different bottles of OTC drugs that we were very low on. They were cheaper at Walmart than on Amazon by a lot and they will be here tomorrow and the next day. This saves me on gasoline and time.

Since we no longer get a newspaper delivered, I printed some coupons that I wanted online. I also looked at the market flyers online and have made a very short list for Top’s and Aldi. I will be going on Tuesday since it is 6% Senior Discount Day. With prices so high, every little bit helps.

Hubby and I will be watching the Buffalo Bills on our television in a few minutes. I think you can see the game better and it sure saves on buying a ticket.

We had some croissants that I did not want to go bad, so I froze them.

I stopped myself from going to Walmart for 1/2 price Halloween candy. today. I thought about it but we have enough candy here for the grandchildren after Halloween. I know if I had gone I would have spent $40. – $50.

I think that will be it today. I am off to the game. What are you doing today to cut costs?

Every Day

Going Bare Bones

This is not going to be a savings on utility post today. Instead I want to tell you that we are cutting our budget to the bare bones for the next couple of months and why.

You all know that we are retired so we have a fixed amount of income every month. This amount comes from many years of savings and investments, a pension, and social security. So we know how much we have to spend and we try not to spend it every month so that we continue to invest and save. Many of our friends spend down their income each month now that they are retired. We still live as frugally as we always did. We don’t waste our money but rather we buy when we have a need and just a few wants. It is still a joy to watch our savings and investment income go up month after month. It is a joy to know that we have enough to live out our lives and be comfortable. It is a goal to leave our family an inheritance like we never had.

As I have told you before, I grew up poor. I didn’t know it at the time because there was always barely enough. But when we got married so young, I knew we had to make every dollar count. There are times when we tighten our belts and times when we loosen it. 

Right now it is a time to tighten it! Even though we have the money we need in savings and investments, we want to save the money we need over the next few months out of our monthly amount so that we don’t have to touch those savings and investments.

We already started building that up over the past couple of months but we have not gone bare bones. Now we will and I will tell you why.

You all know that we charge some expenses every month on two major credit cards to reap the rewards. One stipulation that we have for the use of credit cards is that we never pay interest. When we get our bill every month, we pay it in full when it is due.

The past couple of months, those credit card amounts have gone up because expenses have been higher. I needed a large clothing purchase because of my diet, we have some household projects and repairs in the works, we had some travel and associated costs with that, and we had about $3,000. in dental bills out of pocket. It would have been more if we hadn’t purchased a dental discount plan which was $1147. for a year. Last months credit card bills totaled over $2900. which were paid in full. This month’s credit card bills totaled over $4600. I have sent in the payment for the largest one which was over $3600. The other credit card will get paid when it is due in a few days. We continue to pay no interest.

We have school taxes due again in September. They will be just under $5,000. We save all year for those but I would like to be able to not withdraw from those savings to pay them if possible. Time will tell if we can do it.

We have dental appointments again this month. I do know that Hubby needs some major work so we will have more high bills. 

We want to save over a $1,000. for large rock bottom food purchases at Thanksgiving to restock our freezer. You all know that certain items go to rock bottom once a year and Thanksgiving gives us many of those prices.

We continue to eat from our freezer and pantry stockpiles so that we will have room to stock up on those sales. Since we have enough food to eat only from the stockpiles the next couple of months, I will not be buying much food. Matter of fact, every food purchase on my lists will be scrutinized and crossed off if I deem it unnecessary. 

In November, I want to stock up on turkeys because we love turkey, it is on my diet, and they are at the cheapest price all year. Plus you all know that it is a great time to stock on canned soups, stuffing, and lots of other items. Christmas will bring great prices on hams which I will also stock up on. My goal is to eat a lot of $.49 to $.99 a lb. turkey and under a $1.00 per lb. ham next year. That is the cheapest meat I can buy. I know some of you can stock on $.39 a lb. chicken quarters. We don’t get those prices here in the Northeast. 

We also have many birthdays in the Fall leading right up to Christmas. I want to build a large fund for those gifts. And we will have property taxes to pay in January of about $4700. We had an increase in our assessment for both property and school taxes. With new building in our housing development, those assessments will continue to go up. Our town reassesses every year or two. 

So I will keep you updated on the many things we are doing to keep our everyday costs low. I would like the credit card bills to be just bare bones the next couple of months. And I really mean I will cut them to the bone!

If you have goals that you are saving for whether it be for a house, college fund, retirement savings, Christmas gifts, charity giving, etc., join me in making a goal to do what needs to be done. If your income has been reduced or you have been laid off from a job, join me in going bare bones and doing what has to be done to stay afloat. 

What are some of your goals for the next few months?

Every Day

Your Most Important Fund

Different people save for different things. They have Christmas Club accounts, vacation funds, a home fund, and many many others. But the most important fund that you should have before all others is an Emergency Fund.

Emergencies rear their ugly heads especially when you least expect them. The washer breaks or the dryer stops working. The furnace needs a repair or the A/C dies. You car needs a repair or you have a leak in the house and need a plumber. There are so many things that could happen that you need that Emergency Fund. 

So many times people have said, “But I can’t afford an emergency fund, I have too much credit card debt or a multitude of other excuses.” 

You can’t afford not to have an Emergency Fund especially if you are in credit card debt. Let’s say the dryer stops working. You have a few choices. You can try to fix it yourself by googling what the problem could be or looking for a You Tube video to watch that would show you how to repair it. You still may have to pay for an expensive part. You can call the service people to come and repair it. Or you can hang your laundry to dry until you have enough money to fix it. But no you want it fixed right away so you call the service repair people who cost you $85. -$90. just to come out to the house plus the cost of the repair.

Since you don’t have the money to pay for it you put it on a credit card that you already owe $4,000. on. That credit card you pay a bit more than the minimum payment every month. Your interest rate is
11% or more. So now you owe more on the card and if you don’t pay the repair off when your bill is due, you pay interest on that portion too. 

Have you learned your lesson and started an emergency fund? No you just hope that you don’t have another emergency any time soon. So 2 months later, the furnace stops working. You call someone to repair it and put that repair on your charge too. Do you see the vicious cycle that you set up for yourself? 

No matter how much money you have coming in or how much you owe, you have to save an emergency fund. Then when something breaks, you hopefully have the money saved to pay for it.

So how much money should you save? It depends on your situation. But when we first started saving for one over 50 years ago, we saved $1500. It was not easy back in the 60’s but little by little we saved it. Then we never touched it except for an emergency. If we did need it to repair something, we replaced whatever we had to spend as fast as we could. Back then, we only made 4 figures. Today you should be able to put more than that in an emergency fund. I would save $5,000. or more and hope that you don’t have to use it any time soon while you are saving up.

We finally built ourselves up to a year’s expenses in case Hubby lost his job. Then we started saving for buying our cars and bigger things. Once you start doing it on a regular basis, it just builds and builds. Then when you have a true emergency, you don’t have the stress of how to pay for it or have to put it on a credit card. 

Even if you are living paycheck to paycheck, social security to social security or pension to pension or are in credit card debt , you should be able to build that fund. I don’t care whether you can only put $5., 10., up to $50. or more a week into that fund, you have to start today to build it.

You have no extra money, you say to me. Well, then you have to either make more money or cut your expenses. It’s easy to cut your grocery budget by $5. or $10. per week or more. Just shop carefully, forego junk food or desserts, buy cheaper meats or do away with meat for a # of meals, and use every morsel that you purchase. Don’t throw food away. There are so many ways to save on food and other items that you need. But I will go into many of those ways over the next few months. I think you get the idea. 

Do not use that emergency fund that you are building for anything but a true emergency. And going to the movies, buying a cup of coffee out, going out for a drink or to a restaurant are not emergencies. They are wants; not needs. 

Please start doing this over the next week and do it every week thereafter. It will take you awhile to get it built to where you want it but it is the right thing to do for yourself and your family. 

I hope you all have wonderful weekend.