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cdttmm
5-2-15, 11:54am
Post your monthly frugals here!

cdttmm
5-2-15, 11:58am
April was not what I would call an overly frugal month.

May will be better.

I'm continuing on my eat-one-pound-of-pasta-every-week quest until the pasta is gone. Today's concoction is...edible...but that might be all I can say about it. It's sort of a mac-and-cheese bastardization using spaghetti noodles (because that's all I have left!), lots of cheese, and the last of 2 microwavable packets of frozen mixed veggies that I bought quite some time ago. I think it's the veggies. They just don't help this dish. Of course, pasta + cheese is essentially perfection so why I added veggies, I do not know. Oh yes I do. I was trying to pretend I was making something healthy. And because they need to be consumed.

Aside from my eat all the random foods quest, I'm doing many loads of laundry and taking advantage of the sunshine to dry things on the line. Woo-hoo!

ileanto
5-2-15, 3:14pm
My goal this month is to get our food spending below $300 for the two of us, which I know for many is not a very ambitious goal. But, we've been spending about $350/month, and my goal is to reduce our food budget by $10/month until we hit $250. I intend to do this by:

1. Eating a lot of legumes.

2. Cooking from scratch all the time.

3. Growing vegetables in the garden.

4. Analyzing where exactly all our food budget is currently going, so we can see more clearly where we're spending too much. I think a lot of the excess is wrapped up in the 2 trips we took in the past three months, so hopefully this won't be too hard.

SteveinMN
5-2-15, 6:20pm
DW spent the day garage-saleing with a friend of hers for grandbaby things we'll want to have around (high chair, etc.). Good stuff from a rich neighborhood, so I'm sure that beat buying new-from-who-knows-where.

This one probably should be part of last month's frugals, but we still have them, so ... DW also tried a recipe for making our own dog treats. These came out like crumbly cookies, so she'll bake them longer next time. But our dog and the one we were sitting last week loved them, so she's encouraged to make more. Way cheaper than buying at the pet store. I plan to prep some cut-up sweet potatoes in our dehydrator, too. Also way cheaper than buying them ready-to-eat.

Lots of stock-up food sales, so we've been buying what we know we'll eat and freezing/pantrying (what? it's not a word? :)) it. We split some of it with my mom across the street (and vice-versa).

Next week, we till the garden and plant!

lessisbest
5-3-15, 6:34am
My goal this month is to get our food spending below $300 for the two of us, which I know for many is not a very ambitious goal. But, we've been spending about $350/month, and my goal is to reduce our food budget by $10/month until we hit $250. I intend to do this by:

1. Eating a lot of legumes.

2. Cooking from scratch all the time.

3. Growing vegetables in the garden.

4. Analyzing where exactly all our food budget is currently going, so we can see more clearly where we're spending too much. I think a lot of the excess is wrapped up in the 2 trips we took in the past three months, so hopefully this won't be too hard.

Ileanto-

Welcome to the forum. I hope you find information you can use to help with your food budget. As a comparison (and I realize mine is pretty extreme), for two adults I've spent $383.03 to date for the YEAR, and I have a refrigerator/freezer full, and enough food in our food storage room for at least a year (following the LDS food storage method). Here are some common tips. See if any of them help shave the dollars a little.

1. Snack food. Make your own from ingredients you have in your pantry.

2. Individual servings. Avoid buying these and make your own individual servings from less-expensive bulk amounts.

3. Beverages, including bottled water. How much of your food budget is going to beverages?

4. Not having a meal plan.

5. Check what goes into the garbage - wasted food is the most expensive we purchase. This is usually because there isn't a plan to use the food.

6. Purchase "ingredients" not convenience and ready made, and make your own "convenience" and "ready made" with ingredients. Example: If you normally purchase pancake mix, make your own with ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, etc.). The same ingredients it takes to make pancake mix can also be used to make any number or other things (cakes, cookies, quick breads, etc.) and make them cheaper (in nearly all cases) than ready made.

7. Purchase food in-season.

8. Purchase in bulk when it fits the budget, and at rock-bottom prices.

9. Overeating anything is wasting food & money.

10. Eat less meat and add a few meatless meals throughout the week. Breakfast for dinner can be a great money saver.

I teach foods classes, including budgeting and low-cost cooking, so I have a "million" of these ideas. ;)

Float On
5-3-15, 10:43am
Welcome ileanto!

I don't post in this thread very often but I always enjoy reading it and get a lot of encouragement and good ideas to keep trying harder to spend less.
For me it's buying less at the grocery store. I may make 3 trips a week instead of 1 but I have less food waste than I once did.

ileanto
5-3-15, 12:55pm
Ileanto-

Welcome to the forum. I hope you find information you can use to help with your food budget. As a comparison (and I realize mine is pretty extreme), for two adults I've spent $383.03 to date for the YEAR, and I have a refrigerator/freezer full, and enough food in our food storage room for at least a year (following the LDS food storage method). Here are some common tips. See if any of them help shave the dollars a little.

1. Snack food. Make your own from ingredients you have in your pantry.

2. Individual servings. Avoid buying these and make your own individual servings from less-expensive bulk amounts.

3. Beverages, including bottled water. How much of your food budget is going to beverages?

4. Not having a meal plan.

5. Check what goes into the garbage - wasted food is the most expensive we purchase. This is usually because there isn't a plan to use the food.

6. Purchase "ingredients" not convenience and ready made, and make your own "convenience" and "ready made" with ingredients. Example: If you normally purchase pancake mix, make your own with ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, etc.). The same ingredients it takes to make pancake mix can also be used to make any number or other things (cakes, cookies, quick breads, etc.) and make them cheaper (in nearly all cases) than ready made.

7. Purchase food in-season.

8. Purchase in bulk when it fits the budget, and at rock-bottom prices.

9. Overeating anything is wasting food & money.

10. Eat less meat and add a few meatless meals throughout the week. Breakfast for dinner can be a great money saver.

I teach foods classes, including budgeting and low-cost cooking, so I have a "million" of these ideas. ;)

Thanks for the welcome!

I really want to get our food bill lower, but I don't think it will be as low as yours for a while! We are unfortunately still living in an apartment, so have we don't have a stand alone freezer, and my garden is two 4 x 8 plots in a near by community garden. Thanks for the tips, they are a great reminder. I guess I should say a bit more about what we do now (or try to do), and where the mess ups are.

We already do the basics of buying food in bulk and buying more of food when it's on sale and it's something we eat a lot of. We currently buy grains and legumes from the bulk bins, and oils, vinegar, and stuff like soy sauce out of the bulk dispenser. We do meal plans for the week, and buy for them. We have also cut down significantly on meat, eggs, and dairy, and live mainly on legumes.

What we try to do:

1. Cook everything from scratch. And I mean everything! I make sourdough, and pancakes, and all of our meals are at home. Where I've been slipping up: Buying protein bars because I'm finishing up grad school and felt like a dollar a bar wasn't so bad- until I realized that I could get 80% of the protein with out any of the sugar from 2 Tbs of peanut butter and come celery!

2. I actually nerded out and used excel to find the cheapest sources of protein, g/$. Turns out to be lentils, black eyed peas, and other legumes, so we eat many of our meals based on those. We cook all of our meals at home from scratch, and never buy single servings of anything- we're big fans of the bulk section. Where I've been slipping up: Eating out- we had a death in the family that required traveling to the opposite end of the country, and ended up eating out a lot and buying single meals, which we never otherwise do. And then spring break came, and we traveled to a big city and ate out waaaaay more than we should have. Goal for this month is to not eat out at all. Also, I've noticed I've started buying some things in packaged again, particularly olive oil and flour, which is an easy way to add extra cost each month!

3. We are both in our late 20's, and a tad overweight, but we're both pretty active. We are both cutting back on what we eat right now to lose the last little chub, but I don't think it's going to make a big different on our expenditures.

4. The only beverages we buy are dry teas, and occasional bubbly water when we're out of town. I'm going to keep drinking tea, but I'm going to try watering it down. As for the bubbly water- making sure we bring tea with us in the car will be a great first step.

I think the frustrating bit is that I know all of the things I should be doing, but then because of one thing or another, I end up not doing them! This month, I think the real focus is to not travel anywhere, not eat out anywhere, return to all-bulk purchases, and water down my tea!

rosarugosa
5-3-15, 2:57pm
Welcome, Illeanto! It's great to have you with us. I will probably learn more from you than you will from me on minimizing grocery costs, and I already shared your advice about the protein bars with my DH. :) We spend more like $500 - $600 per month on groceries, but I do include pet food, paper supplies, etc. I am a huge fan of seafood, so I've learned that having bags of frozen cod, scallops and salmon from Costco in the freezer helps us resist spendy seafood restaurant meals. It's not inexpensive eating, but it's less expensive that the dining out alternative. I've also found I am enormously disciplined about bringing a salad to work for lunch every day now that I have a system in place. I prep my lettuce on Sun and store it in the salad spinner, and I make my salads for two days at a time in the evening. If I had to prep lettuce and make a salad in the morning before work it would never happen! I think I am lucky because I totally love salad; it's only the labor factor that's ever been an obstacle.

early morning
5-3-15, 5:49pm
March and April were quite bad for us in several ways, and I've fallen into even worse spending habits. More groceries purchased, less planning, more eating out (expensive meals OR crappy junk - either way, it's bad...) and an increase on support spending for family. That, at least, should be done with this month. AND now that the health/life/death issues of DH's side of the family are settling down, my mother's dementia is getting worse. It never stops, does it? Ah well. I mowed her lawn today, for which she will make a donation to our coffee fund (to buy us a coffee-house treat. I won't mow for money, but I'll mow for coffee, lol...). I have clothes on the line, and they should get almost dry. My one lone hen has been contributing 5-6 eggs a week, which helps, as her food costs are very minor. The outside cats have been switched to a lower cost dry food for the summer. Its quality may not be top, but it's merely a supplement to their regular diet of small furry and feathered things, so they'll be fine. Rosa, I agree about food prep, I try to pack my lunch when I clear up after dinner, and I try to make sure I have left-overs for that purpose. Mornings are too tough to add lunch prep. I do have some trash food on hand for those days where there are no leftovers - faux Spam or frozen bratwurst, tinned fruit, potatoes (microwaved and mashed down with cheese and/or butter).
AND because the last few months have been uber stressful, I've found it easier to succumb to the lure of buying things for our house, instead of for the antique booth we have. On the plus side, I only like things that we could sell anyway, so money will not be lost, just sidetracked, lol.

rosarugosa
5-3-15, 6:20pm
Early: Sorry about the stressful times you are going through. I hope May is a better month for you.

early morning
5-3-15, 6:56pm
Thank you rosa- I find that I don't deal with stress as well now as I did when I was younger - and I am determined to make May a better month! BTW - I LOVE your name and your namesake rose, and was quite sad when my own refused to flourish. Rose, that is. :~) Roses and I do not mesh, except for the invasive multi-flora.:devil:

rosarugosa
5-3-15, 7:18pm
Early: I'm no rosarian, although I did have a nice rugosa for a few years. Now I just have my name, and some rootstock from a hybrid tea that we've been trying to kill off for 10 years or so!

ApatheticNoMore
5-4-15, 4:13am
I am a huge fan of seafood, so I've learned that having bags of frozen cod, scallops and salmon from Costco in the freezer helps us resist spendy seafood restaurant meals. It's not inexpensive eating, but it's less expensive that the dining out alternative.

oh I keep bags of frozen fish in the freezer as well (mostly salmon, once in a while I have some frozen halibut). This is mainly because I'm too busy and too disorganized. So if the night before I realize I have nothing for the next day's dinner, put it in the fridge to thaw ... it's good thawed in the fridge for the next few days - sometimes nearly a week but that's really pushing it, did I mention disorganized?


I've also found I am enormously disciplined about bringing a salad to work for lunch every day now that I have a system in place. I prep my lettuce on Sun and store it in the salad spinner, and I make my salads for two days at a time in the evening. If I had to prep lettuce and make a salad in the morning before work it would never happen!

no that would never happen! I usually do the night before (remove my ladybugs and worms and we're good to go :) - and grate cheese over the prepped lettuce the rest I add in the morning). But it's not fail safe and I if it fails I end up picking something up at TJs before work (the restaurants near work, oh gosh no, horrid worst case scenario chain restaurants, I kick myself endlessly when I have to resort to them). The salad spinner in the fridge might be fail safe, but it's big, the fridge is small (an apartment full height fridge), the whole idea of finding space for it would be the first step and would require a lot of organization.

Chicken lady
5-4-15, 8:55am
when the kids were little I always kept nut butter, honey, a loaf of bread and a knife in a bag in the pantry. Bottle of water in the fridge and cups in the car. If we were off to something in a hurry I knew I could take the bag and make them nutbutter and honey sandwiches. dd once told a friend they were raised on bread and water. Usually I also grabbed whatever fruit was on the counter - apples, bananas, pears....

Now sometimes I will just take bread and fruit to work for lunch. It's good bread. I make it. I also make chese and if the container is down to the last couple of ounces I'll grab that. dh says I don't eat food, I eat ingredients.

beckyliz
5-4-15, 3:26pm
Steve, I've started making dog treats recently, too. The first recipe I tried said to when the baking time was over (40 mins?) to leave them in the unopened oven for several hours. I think the key is low and slow. Your DW may have to put some more moisture in them? Both of my recipes call from PB; one for canned pumpkin also. Brody loves them!

Azure
5-4-15, 6:52pm
I came home from work early due to technical problems so I spent the time running errands. Combined a stop at Horrocks for sliced salami. $6.99 for 2 lbs. which is the lowest I ever see it. Went to the chiro then on to Meijer to return bottles & make a deposit into my youngests acct.

Called the trash service and got my bill reduced from $90 every 2 months to $75 every 3 months.

I also called and cancelled my upcoming massage. I have been getting one every month for the last 6 or 7 months and it has done wonders for the way I feel but I don't want to spend the money for the next few months. When I start back in the fall I will probably stretch them out to every 6 weeks.

A new Fresh Thyme market opened in the area last Wed. I went in to check it out on Thursday and bought a few things. I really like the store. The prices seem very reasonable. But I got home and discovered I had been charged twice for an item. So I went back on Friday to get a refund. I work in retail, I know how easy it is to make a mistake like that so no big deal. Except that it is quite a drive from my house. While I was there I decided to buy something for dinner. When I was checking out my $.47 of barley was somehow rung up as $3.47 of mango?? Called the manager over & he had a terrible time trying to refund me for the mango. Said I could just have the barley. But I was there for almost 10 minutes while he struggled with it. Saturday I was looking at my checking acct. on line and noticed that the original charge of $10 was there but there was no refund. I checked again today. No refund. I'm going to wait to see if it is there tomorrow. If it is not I will have to make another trip. With all my receipts and a copy of my checking activity in hand. So that is my not-so-frugal for the week.

chrissieq
5-5-15, 10:47pm
The woman I work for has asked me to stop on my way into work and buy her 2 lattes - reimbursed, of course! I had a Starbucks card that someone had gifted me and I don't drink coffee. So for 2 of those stops, I used the card and she reimbursed me in $$. A win, win situation all around.

On the days I work longer hours, they offer us dinner (I work in a small cafe). Nothing tastes better than free food!! Tonight was Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, beets and a mixed salad. YUM!!

I've been making a very basic dog treat - whole wheat flour, oatmeal, peanut butter and water - he is happy and I know that I have saved money and know what he is eating. I make them every 10 days or so and keep them in a glass canister on the counter so I can see when it's time to make another batch.

cdttmm
5-6-15, 7:11am
Brought my lunch to work on both Monday and Tuesday this week. And resisted going out or grabbing take out for dinner last night after a 2 Tae Kwon Do classes and an 8-mile run. Came home and ate leftover coleslaw and a quick batch of nachos (just chips + cheese). One day I'll learn to eat like a grown up. :D

Lunch is provided at work today. And breakfast provided tomorrow. Free food for the win!

Oh, and got some free goat's milk over the weekend from a farmer we've befriended. Yum. Goat's milk!

lessisbest
5-6-15, 1:02pm
1. Cut my own hair and paid myself $20, which gets added to our Emergency/Christmas Savings Account. It's a good way to add $240 to the account each year.

2. Gas for both cars - saved 60-cents per gallon using our store loyalty card. The only reason we had so many gas points was because the store had 4X gas points when you purchased gift cards, so we purchased a number of cards for gift giving.

3. Thankful for all the fresh greens and herbs from the garden.

Gardenarian
5-9-15, 5:15pm
We've been really splurging since moving. There's been so much to think about and to do (and so much money changing hands!) that hanging out the laundry just seems like a waste of our very busy time. I'm glad that we are finally settling in and I can get a little less spendy. Time to buckle down.

iris lilies
5-9-15, 10:09pm
Now that we are retired we have been working on getting and spending
little pots of money that have accumulated due to all kinds of situations.

I finally sent in the paperwork to claim $35 that the state of MO owes me from 25 years ago. We are cashing in a savings bond that we earned 25+ years ago for sitting through a time share sales pitch, and that requires paperwork. That should add $25 to our coffers. We drove a ways to cash in two gardening gift certificates, years old, for $50. We made a special trip to Target to use most of a $100 gift certificate.

I just received a gift certificate for iris, a sizable amount. Will need to make selections and place order within a few weeks.

This is stuff piles up, and you have to be vigilant to cash it out.

rosarugosa
5-10-15, 6:53am
I finally have a good frugal to report! The decking boards needed to be replaced on our small front deck and steps. They were really chewed up after 25 years of ice melt and shoveling snow. I was prepared to hire this out, since DH has been having so much back pain and we have more projects than time or stamina. But DH tackled it with the help of a friend, who loaned some of the tools we didn't have and used his pickup truck to get the lumber at Home Depot. We were able to get all the materials with gift cards from credit card reward points, so total cash outlay so far has been $15.00 for beer. :) Will also fill up friend's gas tank or something similar to thank him for his help. So this is a pretty huge savings compared to hiring someone to do the job!

PS: Job is done, spent another $15.00 on beer and put $20. in friend's gas tank. Apparently takes a lot of beer to replace a deck!

cdttmm
5-11-15, 8:38am
Went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron last night in 3D at the movie theater. Used a discount movie ticket I got from something at work so only paid $4 instead of $13. Skipped buying popcorn or other snacks. Got a free batch of homemade cookies from a friend as a thank you for teaching the Tae Kwon Do class last weekend when she had a conflict. Got a surprise payment of $150 for an event I spoke at last fall. Woo-hoo!

gadder
5-11-15, 7:24pm
May Frugals (largely brought on by paying rent and taxes this month, so i am way skint, but this may be a blessing in disguise):
- Inventoried my small fridge-top freezer - there's veg and perogies and half-pkgs of cheese and bits of leftover meats from waaay back, some of which I'm sure is still edible at least in soup form. A couple days meals at least.
- instead of outside entertainment, watch some of those flics I've been collecting the past many years (I still haven't seen the last episode of MASH [yee-gads!])
- so many fascinating-at-the-time garage sale books moldering on my shelves ....(so I have started Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road')

rosarugosa
5-11-15, 7:50pm
Gadder: I loved "The Road," hope you like it!
I got a $200 cash card in the mail today from doing some employer-sponsored wellness activities :)

cdttmm
5-12-15, 8:35am
It was the last day of class for 4 of my classes yesterday, so keeping with tradition, I brought in donuts from Dunkin' Donuts. It's the only time I buy anything at Dunkin' Donuts (unhealthy, over-priced crap, IMO). My students were very appreciative and it only cost me $21. I did break down and eat 2 donuts (and they were both terrible!), but I tried to balance out those poor choices by going by the conference room between classes where food was being provided to faculty as part of a day-long program audit. So I got some fresh fruit (mostly pineapple chunks and grapes since those are two things I don't typically buy due to the expense) and enjoyed a healthy snack midday.

Found the flash drive I thought I had lost. Good thing, too, as it contains all the videos for teaching one of my classes and I'm quite sure the publisher would have made me purchase a replacement.

Ate leftovers when I got home from work and before heading out to a Tae Kwon Do class. Didn't indulge myself and eat a second time when I got home later so I managed to save some small cost there. And it was probably better for me!

Procrastinated buying a plane ticket for my mother for her annual visit. Was looking like that was going to be a complete non-frugal as the ticket prices shot way up. But then she called and told me she needed to postpone her trip because my brother and SIL are preparing to sell their house and she offered to help them deep clean it, re-paint it, and stage it in preparation for getting it listed and hosting the open houses. I'll still have to buy a plane ticket, but at least I can now try to find one at a more reasonable price.

Late last night I got an email from a colleague at work who is also a beekeeper. She's having terrible trouble with her hive this season after a bear attacked it and so she's offered it to me free of charge. It will likely be an annoyance to move it from her house to mine, but free honey bees are free honey bees! Plus the learning experience of moving an established colony is one that I look forward to. Still waiting on some details, but hopefully it will all work out!

early morning
5-12-15, 10:28pm
So far this month I've managed to hang out all of the laundry. I mended a pair of shorts, two pairs of work pants, and 3 pairs of undies, so I should be good for the summer. Bought a super-cute pair of shoes I can wear for work this summer for $2, and a long housedress that I will wear as a nightgown when I go off to conferences etc - I generally take a ragged T and a pair of shorts but this covers more and looks nicer and was a whole dollar out of a clearance bin. I may go back and get a couple more dresses - my daughter pointed out that they could be cut off and turned into cute shirts.

lessisbest
5-13-15, 5:07pm
-Added earthquake coverage to our home insurance policy and increased our deductible. Even though we added more coverage (earthquake), the cost will go down by nearly $300 a year. I already have the additional amount for the deductible in a savings account. WOO HOO!

-I've been making water kefir using real water kefir grains for 2 weeks and find it's going to be a great beverage for hot weather. A fizzy soda-like product, but one that's actually good for you. For the second fermentation I flavor it with leftover citrus peels. I'm still experimenting and am sure I can make a number of flavors.

cdttmm
5-14-15, 6:18pm
Got a free hive full of honey bees last night! It sounds like my friend will want them back next year when she returns from her sabbatical, but that's fine. In the mean time, I get an extra colony to tend to, plus whatever honey they produce, and I will likely be able to split the colony once this season and again next spring before I return them to her so it's all good. Plus, it means that her colony will add to the drone population in the area, which means more genetic diversity for when my colonies raise new queens. More genetic diversity is a definite plus so this is turning out to be a win-win-win kind of situation. To top it off, she was so grateful for my help that she has promised me a dozen eggs from her chickens next week. Woo-hoo!

Ate up the remaining bananas that were getting to the overly ripe stage. Yes, I could have turned them into banana bread or banana muffins or some other tasty goodness, but I'm trying to limit the sweetened baked goods around here considering that I ate donut holes that a student brought to the office yesterday and a giant blueberry muffin that the Barnes & Noble cafe sent over with our book order at work. And then there was the end-of-semester culinary arts festivities that involved my eating ice cream, lemon tarts, pumpkin squares and a variety of other goodies. No lack of free food yesterday, but I wouldn't have necessarily called most of it healthy or necessary!

Had a potted plant on the deck that blew over during one of our windy days and the pot cracked. Re-potted the plant with a pot I found in the garden shed versus buying a new pot at Home Depot to match the other potted plants on the deck. The "found" pot doesn't clash with the other pots so I can live with the fact that it's not "perfect." Besides, I don't have time to go to Home Depot this weekend just to buy a pot. :~)

Thinking about participating in the book club at work this summer. It's hosted by the College library, naturally. They read mostly fiction, which is not what I usually read. But it could be fun to try something different. Plus the library always buys food for the meetings. And we know that it's really all about the eating for me. :|(

Stacy
5-20-15, 8:41pm
I'd like to join in if that's okay. My focus in coming back to this forum had been decluttering and creating less trash, but now I've just made a budget and I need to add frugality to the mix. This upcoming fall, I'm going back to school to finish up a degree I started a few years ago, and tuition has gone up about 40% since that time. Yikes! So I'm going to be combining thriftiness with hopefully some side work to make a few extra bucks. I've already been pretty frugal all my life, some years better than others. There are lots of things I can still cut back.

So, my plans to save money include:
Buying groceries in bulk and splitting them up into usable portions myself. This is something I've been doing anyway to a certain extent. We have a small chest freezer which needs to get filled anyway.
Learning to make just enough food for a meal, so there are no leftovers. It's hard to get my husband and son to eat leftovers, and my son (22) will be moving out in August anyway.
On that note, making simpler meals that can use up ingredients we have in the fridge.
Cutting way back on luxury items, especially those that automatically charge a monthly fee, whether you use them or not. (Audible, for instance).
Less wine. That's a big one for us.
There's a ton of other things that I've been justifying my spending money on. I'm going to have to start being more mindful of every purchase.

rosarugosa
5-20-15, 9:33pm
Welcome back, Stacy. The more the merrier!
DH & I did something very different for us tonight. We went to a free talk at our local library on notable trees in the town. The woman giving the talk is someone whose lectures we attended at the Arnold Arboretum over 20 years ago, so it was cool to get to see her right down the street for free. I had to nudge DH along, but he thanked me afterwards because he enjoyed it and there were homemade cookies :) So it was free frugal fun with cookies, and exposed us to some possible opportunities to get involved in our town (it was sponsored by the tree committee and we're quite interested in horticulture). Definitely a win.

Tussiemussies
5-20-15, 11:13pm
I need a lot of new clothes for this summer so I was very pleased that llbean was having a sale and I had earned a ten dollar gift card from them. I saw a blouse I had previously liked that was about fourty to forty- five dollars so with the sale price and my gift card it was ten dollars with their continuous free shipping. It came in two days and it is so pretty! That was a great frugal find!

rosarugosa
5-21-15, 5:37am
Good score, TM! I bought a few things from them this spring and I was very pleased with most of them. There were two that didn't fit well, so I was also pleased with the free return shipping policy (I have an LL Bean visa).

Stacy
5-21-15, 1:41pm
My day started off on a low note. I found that my checking account was overdrawn and my credit union had to transfer money over from my savings in order to cover it. If I had caught that yesterday, I could have transferred the money myself and saved the $5 fee. It's not much, but it's $5 I could have kept.
On the other hand, I feel lucky that I'm in such a good credit union. A couple of banks I had accounts with in the past would charge $39 for each item on the overdraft, so I could end up with three of these before I even knew it. So I guess it could be worse!

Stacy
5-21-15, 1:46pm
I'm going to spend the next few days writing down everything I spend money on, just as they recommend in YMOYL. I need to develop a little mindfulness when it comes to spending, as you can guess from my above post. :|(

lessisbest
5-21-15, 4:23pm
I'm going to spend the next few days writing down everything I spend money on, just as they recommend in YMOYL. I need to develop a little mindfulness when it comes to spending, as you can guess from my above post. :|(


Do you use cash, credit/debit or a mix of the two? I have a cash amount for food ($125/month for two adults), and a weekly cash amount for "walking around money" which I also use for everything that isn't food. Hubby has the same amount. That's the first way to control spending - use cash in hand. By choice, I don't use credit/debit cards except for occasional on-line purchases and gas for the cars.

We add our leftover "walking around money" to our British tea pot at the end of the week (we've dubbed it the Bank of England), and when we agree we need to purchase something unexpected not covered by our weekly cash amount, we use "Bank of England" money. If there isn't enough in the tea pot, we don't make the purchase. Example: Hubby needed to replace a battery on his Prius yesterday, to the tune of $265.81, and he covered it with cash out of the "Bank of England".

Another tip.... I only "shop" (other than groceries), every other month. May is a shopping month so I've been making the rounds and taking advantage of sales to restock necessities on my list. Next month I won't be shopping. This is an excellent plan for saving money, gas, and wear-and-tear on the car.

November is a shopping month, so I have all the Christmas gifts done before December (a no shopping month). I have to keep lists of things we need/want, and you'd be surprised how many times we really DON'T need them after the urge to purchase them is over. Going to the library is a good place to go instead of shopping. ;)

I also keep a "Wait And See List". When you think of something you want/need to buy, write it down, or take a picture of it. The cooling-off period of having to wait until a shopping month before acting on the purchase will help control a lot of unnecessary spending. We also have a 48-hour waiting period for any purchase over $100, and both be in agreement if it's over $100.

It's not until you feel like you require less that you will be happy with less. Spending without a plan isn't a good plan. Being frugal means you can spend when you want to, but you don't. Avoid the temptation and stay away from the stores to learn self-control, and don't give into lifestyle creep. When you do shop, shop to save.

kib
5-21-15, 4:27pm
"It's not until you feel like you require less that you will be happy with less."

Brilliant!

ETA: I meant that in the complimentary British way, not the sarcastic American way. :)

cdttmm
5-24-15, 9:28am
Bought cat litter yesterday with a $5 off coupon, plus canned dog food (with a buy 1, get 2 free coupon) and canned cat food (with a buy 1, get 2 free coupon). We needed cat litter, but didn't need the canned food as it's not the brand our pets usually eat. But I figured at that price it was good pet emergency food! It's Purina Pro Plan brand, so it's decent quality food. If it had been the cheap crap, I wouldn't have bothered.

Selah
5-24-15, 12:30pm
I reactivated my account with a company that hires independent contractors to do mystery shopping visits to various businesses who request them. I mystery shopped four gas stations and two home improvement stores, so I should get a check for about $60 in a month or two. I like the company I work with...I worked for them for years back in Nevada and Florida, and I'm glad they're still in business. Fortunately, too, they have a lot of clients in my area so there are lots of opportunities for work.

cdttmm
5-27-15, 7:49am
I've long considered trying my hand at the mystery shopping business. Care to share which company you work for, Selah?

Only a few frugals to report over here. Free breakfast one day at work last week and again yesterday. All unhealthy baked goods, but I probably would have ended up buying something equally unhealthy when I got hungry anyway. I've been doing a poor job of bringing lunch and snacks with me to work this past week and this week. It's largely because of the schedule I'm teaching on right now. The alternative high school program that I teach for at the community college is doing a 2-week intensive semester so I'm teaching a beekeeping class in the mornings and a PE class in the afternoon. The money is great, but I just wrapped up a very challenging semester and really need a break from teaching right now. Hence, my poor planning with bringing lunch and snacks. Fortunately, it's only 2 weeks and the main cafeteria on campus closed at the end of last week for a break before summer classes start. I wasn't sure what I was going to do for lunch yesterday and then a conference on campus had leftovers from their lunch and invited me and my students to partake of the leftover sandwiches, chips, and cookies. Fortunately, you don't have to ask me twice when it comes to free food and I suspect my students were grateful for the treat as well.

I'm installing two beehives on campus today as part of the beekeeping class. I was going to buy two hive stands at ~$80 each and then decided that I can most likely make do with cinder blocks and scrap wood.

Got 15 free tomato starts from the farm where my dearly beloved works. They always have extra so it saves me from having to start my own or buying them. I'll need to buy some herbs for the herb garden because the dogs finally dug a large enough hole to kill a few plants this past year.

livsglad
5-27-15, 8:04am
Being from England I love that your money tin is in a teapot named Bank of England. :)

Starting small. No longer buying supermarket eggs in favour of local and cheaper. The only down side is they come in paper bags and given that I need my fridge more than ever for fresh stocks I wanted to keep the eggs on the counter top. Headed straight to ebay to look for 'cheap egg storage' then gave my head a shake. I know have a job to clear out all old cosmetics that were in a lovely wicker basket in my bedroom because now that wicker basket houses my eggs and looks beautiful in my kitchen. The old cosmetics? Don't need 'em! I will be donating unopened to the charity shop in town, use up whatever I can and discard any thing awfully out of date.

Also hanging on to my jam jars for any produce coming along that can be made into jams or curd. Taking on an allotment this afternoon and would like to have a stash of jars ready for the next year or two. I do have raspberry canes that are flowering at the moment so fingers crossed. I don't hold out much hope for my blueberries this year though as very little in the way of flowers. I have 2 stalks on the rhubarb.

Like I say I am just starting out but looking forward to spending my days gathering, producing, making good, making do and enjoying simple things. :)

Stacy
5-27-15, 6:09pm
Do you use cash, credit/debit or a mix of the two?
I use cash, credit/debit, checkbook, and an account with a food vending service at work. It's very convenient when I haven't had a chance to pack a lunch and I need to buy a sandwich, but far too convenient when I'm tired out from work and crave chocolate. Also, I ought to be better organized and make a sandwich at home the night before.



It's not until you feel like you require less that you will be happy with less. Spending without a plan isn't a good plan. Being frugal means you can spend when you want to, but you don't. Avoid the temptation and stay away from the stores to learn self-control, and don't give into lifestyle creep. When you do shop, shop to save.
Good advice. I do have a budget, but it's probably more generous than it needs to be. $400 for three adults for groceries, which actually can be reduced, because we've been doing a lot of splurging on things like wine and delivery pizza. Also, I have $100 a month for unforeseen household expenses, but now that really doesn't make much sense, because it usually ends up being things like cat food and litter, and shampoo, etc. Those expenses can be anticipated. Also, $80 a month for spending money for me. That money tends to get absorbed into other things, but what I could actually do is to see how much I can avoid spending and then save it in the piggy bank for something in the future.

Stacy
5-27-15, 6:22pm
Not much to report here! I've been writing down every purchase, and it has been a really eye-opener. I couldn't believe how much junk food we buy. My worst spending comes after a day at work, when I'm overtired. So no stopping at the supermarket on the way home, even though it's conveniently on the way. It's too tempting to not stick with the list.
So today, I have the day off, and I'm making a meal plan for the week, trying to use up some of the food in our freezer before buying anything else. Then I'll go shopping. If I'm clever enough with my meal plan, maybe I can skip the grocery shopping altogether. The more I can avoid going into the grocery store, the better. It's not the way I prefer to spend a beautiful sunny day, anyway.

lessisbest
5-28-15, 5:41am
May frugals got shot all to heck when my cousin came and stayed for 3-days. He eats more than hubby and me combined, and didn't understand the concept "light dinner" on Saturday night because we also have popcorn later. We did a lot more driving while he was visiting and used 1/2 a tank of gas - (which is as much as I would normally use in two-three weeks). Hubby got poison ivy (probably during our visit to 4 cemeteries decorating graves) and it was $18 for ivy scrub, but he looks a lot better. Last time he had it he used two tubes of ivy scrub. We have a three-hour trip (one-way) to a wedding on Saturday. Luckily we don't need new clothes for the occasion, but I did purchase a much needed new pair of shoes. It's a good thing June is a NO SHOPPING month - the ultimate way to be frugal.

Stacy
5-28-15, 12:16pm
May frugals got shot all to heck when my cousin came and stayed for 3-days.
Ah, houseguests. They can blow anybody's budget. My water bill would always go way up when people came to visit. My brother would take 30-minute showers and my mother would take 45-minute showers. Why is that even necessary? My showers are 2 minutes long, unless I feel like luxuriating. Then I stretch it out to three.

Yesterday we ate leftovers for dinner which is the most frugal dinner of them all, but it happens a little too often. I need to start scaling back my recipes. Our son will be moving out in August, and he only eats dinner half the time with my husband and me anyway. I also want to make more easy meals in which I can throw in ingredients I have on hand. Things like stir-fry, stews and skillet meals. I never got around to making my meal plan last night, but now I'm thinking that I'll make one for the next month. I've done that before and it was great to get it taken care of all at once. Whatever I can do to keep myself out of the stores seems like a good idea to me.

cdttmm
5-31-15, 6:59am
Last day of May! Figured I would report a few other frugals that have come along lately. First, got thank you gifts in the form of a pair of stemless wine glasses and a nice Parker pen. Also got a new water bottle and a set of blank note cards. All of these were for various volunteer activities that I did for my alma mater. The stemless wine glasses are great considering that the only wine glasses we own are some I bought at the thrift store a decade ago for $4. And I like nice pens so that was a welcomed gift as well. I figure one can never have too many water bottles and blank note cards make great thank you cards or birthday cards so these gifts were an all-around win!

Split one of my beehives the other night, we'll see if I'm successful as I had some difficulties with this split. I suspect that the original hive is still going to swarm so I hung up a homemade swarm trap in a nearby tree. I'll be really happy if both hives take and I catch a swarm, although I have no idea where I'll put yet another hive... Beekeeper problems!

Been trying to eat at home as much as possible, but that has not been the most successful endeavor these past two weeks. I need to remember to be better prepared meal-wise when I'm teaching intensive classes. But I did remember to drink the last of the milk before it went off and eat up the remaining bagels that I bought last weekend so at least I didn't waste food in addition to buying some lunches at school the past few weeks.

Washed a load of laundry and hung it outside to drive yesterday. Still been using the dryer for some stuff, but I figure every little bit counts!

Anybody else with end-of-the-month frugals to share?

lessisbest
5-31-15, 7:45am
My cousin took us out to a "famous" place for a chicken dinner while he was visiting. They serve a family-style dinner (no menu items): platter of fried chicken, coleslaw, cottage cheese, creamed corn, relish plate (sweet pickle slices, canned peaches and cinnamon apple rings) and we brought home all the leftovers, which included 2 really large breast portions, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 legs. Enough fried chicken for at least 4 meals.

cdttmm-
We have 6 lines in an unfinished room in our basement where we hang our clothes ALL the time (which is enough space for two loads of laundry). It's a myth that you save money by hanging clothes outdoors. You save on electricity, but that's not the only cost factor to consider. Your clothing will last much longer by hanging them indoors to dry than outside. Fabric colors fade in the sun, which also destroys elastic in undergarments. The sun and wind whipping fabrics also reduces the life of them. So try setting up an indoor drying area. We have a ceiling fan/light over our indoor clothes lines to aid the drying. We also have a 6' clothes rod on one wall that holds everything that normally is hung on hangers. We use wooden hangers or plastic TIDE hangers (no wire hangers), to dry those items on, so they go right from the basement to the closets.

rosarugosa
5-31-15, 9:00am
May was not a frugal month for us at all. We were on vacation this past week, and we were incredibly self-indulgent about restaurant spending. It's not that we didn't have the money, but we have finite resources and the money would have served us better elsewhere for the most part (needed home improvements, for example).
We go back to work tomorrow, so it's a good time for us to get back on track financially. I can foresee one occasion in June where we'll probably go out to eat with a group of friends in conjunction with a social activity, and DH is having a surgical procedure, so take-out for dinner could be justified on the day of his surgery. I'm going to challenge us to avoid any additional restaurant expenditures and to stay under budget on groceries.
I did bump up our auto-savings by a modest amount this month, so that's a good thing. We also did biometric screenings for my employer which will yield us a (gross) incentive of $600. in a September paycheck.
Here's hoping for better things in June!

early morning
5-31-15, 2:25pm
May wasn't frugal for us, either - in fact this whole year so far has been rather expensive. Not fun expensive - no vacations, no new capital purchases, no purchases that should save money, just a bunch of crap happening, and a DH who feels more responsible for helping his youngest brother than he should... AND I got a ticket last week, GRRR. Have to pay w/a money order, so I bought one and now, reading the fine print, I'm thinking I may owe more for court costs, although it's not directly stated on the form I have to mail back - the ONLY amounts listed are the fines. So I'll have to call tomorrow, and maybe get another money order, yuck. Oh well, no one's fault by mine!

We've had some small good things - DH's youngest brother gave us his snow blower (no house, no snow to blow... >:() and a few other items. Used a $5 off coupon yesterday at the dollar store stocking up on necessities- the coupons are only good on Saturdays and usually I stop during the week so as to not make a special trip into town. I don't have Mom duty today, saving 40 miles round trip.

lessisbest, does your "famous restaurant" have a white fence, perchance? :)

Stacy
5-31-15, 11:24pm
May was more of an eye-opening month in terms of seeing how frugal we weren't being. I've always thought of myself as frugal, but when I'm not paying attention, money slips away. One frugal thing I've started is hanging up my clothes at the end of the day to wear again if they don't have any visible dirt on them and the amount of cat hair on them are at acceptable levels.
I realized that I couldn't make a meal plan for the month because my CSA boxes start arriving June 11, and I'll have to go by what those have in them. My CSA is reasonably-priced, and it gets me to eat a lot more veggies than I would otherwise. Best of all, I've already paid for it, so my grocery bill should be a lot lower starting in a couple of weeks.
Here's to being more mindful about money in June!

SteveinMN
6-2-15, 10:21am
No, it wasn't a frugal month for us, either. I mean, there were some frugals -- a few sales, a few considered non-purchases, several no-drive days. But most of the month was a testament to the concept that you trade money for time; we did much more of that than usual.

I've also realized that, now that we have more money coming in each month, it's become easier to shrug and say, "well, then" when it comes to spending money. Getting together at a restaurant for dinner with friends is fun. It's something for which we do set aside money -- but not for as often as we've done it lately. We need to remember either to offer to cook it ourselves or go pot-luck (more frugal) or to find the $$ elsewhere in our budget.

Same kind of thing for spring planting. In past years we either lived with what already was growing. This year we went to the nursery and spent (non-crazy amounts of) money we hadn't spent in years past. I'm not sure how much of that is budgetary freedom and how much is demand left unresponded to for the past few years.

I suspect June will not feel much better. I know my car needs some service. We have some bigger-ticket home fixes to make. My 8-year-old MacBook is finally BER and I'm thinking buying the newest one is the best bet for making the through the next 8 years. And sometimes expenses just have a way of showing up... *sigh*

kib
6-2-15, 12:41pm
It wasn't a good month for saving money here either, but I did come up with one thing, when we go to a restaurant we go with limited cash. I check the menu ahead of time so I know what a reasonable meal should cost with tax and tip. This way we're not "what the heck'ing" our way into a $40 bar bill or appetizers or desserts we don't need, and there's more of an incentive to split things.