Every Day

Trying To Save Every Way We Can

We both love shrimp. But the prices have been so high that I have stopped buying colossal($12.99) or large shrimp($9.99). When I found this 12 ounce package of raw medium on clearance for $ 5.72 a couple of weeks ago, I got one. We decided tonight to enjoy shrimp cocktails with a small side salad. We made our own cocktail sauce using ketchup and horseradish that we always have in the fridge.

First thing this morning, I thawed it in some cold water. It was raw so it needed to be deveined, cleaned, and had tails that needed to be removed. That was a pain but it was well worth doing the work myself. It only took me 1-2 minutes to cook it in the microwave so the energy cost was negligible. If the price goes up on the medium shrimp, we will just not buy it anymore.

There are so many things that I have stopped buying because the prices have risen too high. I haven’t bought coffee, soda, mayonnaise, any kind of plastic bags, aluminum foil, personal care products in weeks. I am making our coffee stretch by only having 2 cups a day. I was drinking 5. We have quit buying soda. We drink iced tea, hot tea, homemade cocoa, or lemon water. Sometimes, we just drink ice water with our meals. We are making our mayonnaise stretch by using less. We have some plastic bags and aluminum foil that I purchased before the prices went up. We have plenty of soap, lotion, body wash, shampoo, makeup, deodorant, floss and toothpaste. We are making them all last by using the minimum we can to do the job. We have quit using throw away razors or blades. We each have electric razors.

I am not buying any more paper towels. We are using rags for anything messy. I really appreciate my son, when he visited recently giving me a shirt that had a hole in it. I cut it up for rags. I am using cheap paper napkins to drain bacon which is basically what I used the paper towels for. The napkins are much cheaper than the paper towels.

We will be asking the dentist for two toothpastes and two flosses when we have cleanings.

We are making all of our own breading for meats, poultry, and fish from coconut and almond flour and one egg with a little cream mixed in. Then we either cook them in the air fryer or in a little avocado oil in the electric fry pan.

Tomorrow’s family breakfast will be scrambled eggs, bacon, and some sausage. My grandson does not like eggs but will eat pancakes. So I will be making him a stack from scratch. Since his 13th birthday was a couple of days ago, I will put a candle or two on the stack. We talked to him on his birthday and he was excited that my son had driven him to school instead of him going on the bus as usual. The reason he was excited is because he could ride in the front seat. He is almost 6 ft. tall and he couldn’t ride in the front seat until he was 13 years old. Yes, that is our nanny state. No height or weight requirement just age. Doesn’t make any sense to me!

We are cutting back on having bacon with our morning breakfasts. We have a lot of ham leftover in the freezer from when I cooked it after Christmas. We will be eating a slice of that fried up instead of bacon. Bacon is expensive so we will save what we have in the freezer for our family breakfasts.

Hubby and my son are going to be installing in the wall tomorrow the parts that Hubby purchased to hide the cords behind the TV on the wall. The only exception is that my son is giving us the HDMI 10 ft. cable that we need. I am so glad that this is getting done. I could not stand looking at the messy cords.

I am only doing one load of wash every 10 days or so now that all the bedding I am giving to my son and our other sheets are all done. It will be dried on racks and the shower rod.

What have you given up because it has gotten too expensive?

Every Day

Saving Money with DIY

While doing my monthly cleaning of the cabinet under the sink, I found that we had a water leak. Fortunately, I have a good mat under there to catch water just in case we have a leak. 

Hubby checked and found that the sink strainer basket was leaking. He tightened it up because it seemed loose. Then he dried all of the pipes that were wet. I checked a few hours later to see if  all the piping underneath the sink had stayed dry. Alas, it had not so Hubby said the sink strainer basket had to be replaced.

Rather than hire a plumber who would cost about $90. just to come out to the house and then pay for the parts and labor cost, Hubby said he could repair it himself. It would involve buying the parts and a special tool to be able to do it.

So Hubby ordered everything he thought he needed from Home Depot for curbside pickup. Within a few hours, the order was ready and Hubby went and picked it up. All of the items for the repair was just under $40. including the tool to make it easy to do. 

Alas, he forgot to order the drain tailpiece that goes into the pipe under the sink. So I went to the hardware store and got one which added $ 6.25 to the cost.

This afternoon, Hubby and I made the repair. It was relatively easy and it saved us a fortune. It costs about $ 90. just for a plumber to come to the house here and then Hubby estimates the parts and labor would have pushed it to about $ 200. – $225. total.

So by doing the work ourselves, we saved anywhere from $153. – $ 178. Plus the satisfaction we got from being able to do it was priceless!

There are a lot of things that we hire out now because as we get older we can’t do them anymore. But the things we can do, we continue to do. 

Doing it yourself will save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime. I know it has for us.

Being able to watch a you tube video on how to repair or replace almost anything is priceless too.

Fortunately, Hubby has done so much plumbing work over the years that it is second nature to him.

Do you repair your own things around your home? Please feel free to share with us in the comments.  

Every Day

Tuesday & Wednesday – April 7 & 8, Our Frugality

I didn’t write yesterday because I was busy trying to get the rest of the windows washed and all of the window tracks and sills cleaned. Just look at those dirty tracks from this past winter. UGH. We have well over 20 windows in our home and it is quite a chore to clean all of them every year.

They are a lot cleaner now. The best part, they are all done.

Not only that but I didn’t have much else to say besides meals and exercise.

Yesterday, we ate sausage and eggs again for breakfast, no lunch, and chicken fajitas for dinner. I had mine in a bowl with a little sour cream and Hubby had his in a wrap. We were all out of peppers both fresh and frozen so we just cooked up onions with the chicken.

I did the treadmill and the bike yesterday and today. I need to stay fit. Sitting around all day is not good for me or anyone else.

We also spent a bit of time in the yard both days. Hubby trimmed back some rosebushes and raked some thatch in a few areas of the yard. We planned on having a fire in our outdoor fireplace but, alas, it rained. It just feels so good to get outside in the fresh air.

Last night I started a list of all of the items that we use on a regular basis for food, household products, and health and beauty aids. Since I know how much we use at a meal and how many HBA and household goods we use in a month, it was easy to figure out how much we would need for a year’s supply of items. I am still working on this list and will do more tonight. I want a complete list to shop from and watch for sales on those items after our country gets back to normal. 

As soon as all of my stockpile is moved back into the pantry, I will know how many items I need to buy to have a year’s worth. I had a few Mormon friends back in Arizona and I learned well from them. Because of them, I had more than enough food to get through this crisis even if I didn’t get a pickup and a delivery for fresh items. It will take a few months to replenish things.

Let me update you on the basement pantry. The contractor I called was out of town and then the coronavirus happened. So since Hubby was waiting to have the contractor put up walls, I decided that we don’t need them anymore. I already have two large walls and the stairwell cuts off one side. It is all framed in but I really don’t need the sheet rock. So that will be many $$$$.’s saved. Hubby decided to prepare the floor for the carpet tiles. I had vacuumed the concrete really well and he had filled a crack in there. But he said he wanted to wash the concrete floor really well before he did the carpet. 

So this morning, after I finished the last few windows, Hubby and I washed the floor in the pantry. We just have to wait a couple of days for the floor to dry and then Hubby can lay the carpet tiles everywhere except under the freezer. We have to wait until our son is able to visit us again to move the freezer so that Hubby can do that. But that is only a few squares. I only have a 7 cu. ft. freezer. It will be much easier to move when it is emptier too. 

In between all of these things, I have put new sheets on our bed and washed the sheets I took off of it. I also did my normal daily load of towels.

You all know that we hire a landscape company to take care of our property for us. We paid them for all of 2020 already because we get a discount if we do that. Well they called yesterday and they are coming on Tuesday to do the spring cleanup. They told us that because of only essential businesses(they are considered essential) being able to work, they could not get mulch. So they would not be able to top dress our gardens. Hubby told them that was fine. 

Fortunately, Hubby bought 9 bags of mulch last year when Home Depot had it on sale. So the day after the landscape company does their work, we will top dress the gardens. The landscape company doesn’t charge us for mulch till they see how much we need so that is more $$$’s saved.

Today, I had scrambled eggs and an avocado for breakfast. 

Tonight for dinner we had something that I haven’t had in a very long time. Diet Coke and pizza! Yes, we have worked so hard this week that I went off my diet for this meal. I think I have had pizza once in the last 13 months and one Diet Coke in 3 years. So this was a special treat. The pizza was homemade. I made a tossed salad to go with it. It was all delicious.

Hubby and I watched “Gorky Park” for entertainment. We had seen it before many years ago in the theater. I also have been watching a new You Tube Channel. I am always trying to learn new things. So I have been watching “Different Russia”. It is very interesting to see how average people live there. 

Tonight is my usual Wednesday evening telephone call with my sister which I am looking forward to.

I hope you are all still healthy and safe. I hope you have a terrific evening.    

Every Day

Zero Waste Meal Planning

This is something that I have gotten very passionate about. I try to never waste one morsel of food. Can I do it all of the time? Sometimes, something gets away from me but not recently.  

Every night after dinner, I decide what we will eat the next day. It all comes from my stockpile of food that we have in the house. That is how I plan. I pull our menu from ingredients on hand. I rarely plan a menu and then go and buy those ingredients. The way I do it let’s us eat at rock bottom prices because I buy meat and other ingredients in bulk when they are at their lowest prices. Now that I have my Butterball turkey for Thanksgiving, my concentration will be on Shady Brook & Top’s turkeys this month because I will never get meat cheaper than $.48 a lb.

I start my meal planning by looking at what food we have in the fridge because that is the most perishable food. Produce can get overripe if you don’t keep track of it. I want to make sure that our produce $’s are not being wasted. For dinner, West requested grilled chicken that he could dip in honey mustard sauce. That is a staple that I keep for him in our fridge. He also wanted French Fries which will come from our freezer stash. I will make a salad using a leftover half a bag of lettuce, cucumbers, an orange pepper, some onion, and homemade teriyaki dressing that Hubby made for our teriyaki chicken salads last night. I will put some grapes that have the stems removed and have been washed in a bowl for anyone who would like fruit.  

Milk can go bad especially since we are not big milk drinkers. Now that Hubby is on my diet, I won’t be buying as much milk because he no longer eats cereal. However, when I see that milk is getting old, we make SF puddings to use it up. I have also thought about freezing it in smaller portions and just pulling out a little when we need it for something. 

For breakfast, I pulled leftover apple cinnamon waffles(first picture) that Hubby made from the freezer. I made scrambled eggs, some bacon(pulled from the freezer), and sausage. West, who is the only one who ate waffles(he demolished most of them), used pure maple syrup from our fridge on them. 

While I was pulling those things, I spotted the open jar of sauerkraut. I love eating a little of this just plain with my lunch.

I was thawing some shaved beef from the freezer and decided that it was not enough for those who might want lunch. So in this picture, you will see that I thawed another baggie of shaved beef to give me enough for West and I. Hubby doesn’t want lunch today. 

After the chicken is thawed for dinner, I will cut it in half lengthwise to make thinner cutlets which lets me portion control easier. After the three of us eat, there will probably be a little leftover to put on a salad in the next couple of days.

Tonight, I will go through this process all over again to make the meals for tomorrow. I always try to incorporate produce and leftovers into our meals first. Then I pull things from the freezer.

A recent article said that Americans throw out 40% of the food they buy. YIKES!  I can’t even imagine doing that. I would not want to throw my money away like that. Instead of spending the time to shop and throw it away, you might as well just burn it. That is essentially what you are doing.

This method keeps your food bills down and gives you extra money to spend on something else or to save for something you want or need. 

Do you menu plan from your ingredients?