Home > Archive: October, 2020
Archive for October, 2020
October 31st, 2020 at 10:21 pm
Happy halloween all! All my little grand-gobblins will be out and about tonight. Ive received pictures of their costumes and theyre all so adorable!
I usually spend Halloween at home, with a toasty fire enjoying one of the scary shows. We live in the country and homes are at least 2 acres apart, so we dont get trick or treaters here, although I do have some candy in the fridge left over from when the hub was last home that I can hand out if anyone shows up.
I've been putzin around the house, continuing to declutter and have a fire in the wood stove. (My house was hanging around 60-61 all morning, so I thought it was a good day to warm things up.)
I've decided that 4 days is about how long I enjoy eating the same soup for lunch or dinner, or sometimes both. I am enjoying the beef barley soup that I made on Wednesday, but was not as excited about it today as I was on Wednesday. Its still very flavorful, so I froze the remaining and pulled out the leftover red bean soup for tomorrow and Monday. Looks like about 2 bowls left...may be able to get 3. I also pulled out half a chicken breast to thaw. Its huge, so I should be able to get 2-3 meals out of it when added with some quinoa and greenbeans. I had planned on restocking this weekend, but now that Ive done inventory, I don't need anything. I have all the fixins still for pinto beans and split pea soup. And I have plenty of ingredients for fresh bread, several cans of green beans, ample amount of quinoa, and a weeks worth of breakfast supplies(yogurt, blue berries, granola)....so I am opting out of going shopping this week. (This is a rarity for me, I must be getting more serious about reducing my food expenses!)
I sat down this morning and started caluculating cost per serving of things like coffee and other drinks, snacks, how much a round trip to town costs, etc. Its very enlightening. For instance, gas to run to town is about 3.45 per trip. Knowing this, I will start being more purposeful about those trips. I have very recently decided to resign from my job early, as in Jan 4th. This means, I will need to start frugal living sooner than thought. But thats ok- I am comfortable with this decision, and it needs to happen.
I hope you all have a safe evening.. Can you believe NOVEMBER is HERE??
October 29th, 2020 at 12:40 am
I have about an hour before I will be presenting online on emergency preparedness with my work team. I do not enjoy presenting and am not one of those who think the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I will be SO GLAD when this is over.
A few weeks ago, the hub and I went to dinner with friends to a steak house. It was quite the experience in that you only choose steak or chicken and everything else is served family style. (salad, bean soup, main meal and potato, fresh rolls and butter, and dessert) We both chose steak. I have never seen a steak that big - I believe the steaks ranged from 26-32 oz....wowza! After eating a small amount of mine, I cut the remainder into four healthy chunks and put it in the freezer. Today I used two of the chunks to make a beef barley soup. OMG. It turned out SO amazing. The recipe made about 10 servings, which I will eat with some homemade bread. Since the meat was made with leftovers, the barley and veggies were the only cost = I guestimate $3 for the ingredients. The bread cost about .50 to make. So in all, about .35 per serving. I also had some red bean soup still, so I am freezing that to have when I am ready for a change from the current soup.
I am LOVING calculating my meal costs and seeing how easily I can lower my food costs.
The car place called today and the repairs will either be less than $200 or fully covered, depending on what the issue ends up being. I am thankful it will be only $200 worst case. I am just ready to have a car again.
Well, time to get ready for this darn presentation. Wish me luck!
October 27th, 2020 at 03:18 am
DD3 traded back the hubs truck (aka the beast) for her car Sunday afternoon. So I am basically without a vehicle again until Saturday. I am fine with this. Today was a no spend day...as I am sure the rest of the week will be as well, since I have no way to go anywhere.
I enjoyed red beans and homemade bread today for lunch and dinner. Switched up the flavors a bit by adding a bit of hot sauce and parmesian for the dinner beans. I had a granola bar and some fruit for breakfast. Meals today, well under $4 for the day.
I sent my completed ballot to town with my neighbor to put in the ballot box for me.
Work will be VERY busy until November 30. Lots of end of the year deadlines are coming due..and I intend to hit every one of them!! Just makes for a higher level of stress until the end of November.
October 26th, 2020 at 02:47 pm
I've put on a pot of small red beans with a hamhock this morning for several meals this week. Such an inexpensive, yet healthy dish for the week. I should get 8-10 meals for about $4. Since the bread only takes 3 cups of flour and scant amounts of yeast and salt, I guestimate less than .50 a loaf. So, if I get 8 meals, thats .56 ish cents per meal! Not bad for something I really enjoy. I will polish off the last of my leftover prime rib stew for lunch today, and the beans will be dinner. I just love the cooler weather and a piping hot bowl of goodness.
Ive been sticking with lite vanilla greek yogurt (buy the large container), blueberries and a sprinkle of granola for breakfast. This averages just under $1 per serving.
I did pick up some crystal lite to have something other than water. However, I dont like the taste using the suggested ratio of powder to water, so I make mine much more diluted. Instead of 8 cups of water, I double the amount. Its not as sweet tasting, but still has a nice flavor. And I get double the amount!! Im sure there are lots of other ways to make flavored water that I would enjoy, but baby steps.
I dont use creamer with my coffee, but rather the pink pack sweetener (1 per cup of coffee) that I buy in bulk at Costco and only replace about every 5 years. I do enjoy a cup or two of tea, especially this time of year, but I make the tea bag (.16) last for at least 2-3 uses.
With snacks - bananas, grapes, string cheese and granola bars (my big splurge!) I am eating for much less than $5 per day. Somedays are even in the $3-4 range.
I just recently started this type of frugal meal planning to test how inexpensive I can eat when I am home alone. And so far, it is a success. I know I will need to cut our budget when I retire, so I am working on ways to test the waters now, so I will have a good plan when the time comes. I dont anticipate the meat and potatoes hub will want this drastic of a change when he is home, so I won't be able to scale the food budget back as much as when he is away for work. But, I am confident I can find ways even during those weeks to scale back at least a little.
October 24th, 2020 at 02:15 am
I continue to use up food I have here at home. I wanted something other than soup/stew for dinner tonight, so I pulled a 1/2 chicken breast out of my 10-1b Costco frozen chicken breast pack and defrosted it today. I spiced it up with seasonings and added some rosemary, thyme ( these were leftovers spices that I froze from the prime rib a few weeks ago- just learned I could freeze them!!), butter and lemon juice. Its baking now. (smells yummy) I am also making a cup of quinoa in my rice cooker with a chicken bullion cube for flavor. I could add some salad, but I am not feeling that hungry tonight. I have 2 slices of the homeade crusty bread I made earlier this week, but I will likely save those for tomorrow morning to enjoy with the last of my red grapes. I am enjoying learning how to live and eat more frugally!! What do you do to cut corners?
October 24th, 2020 at 12:19 am
Last Sunday, I ran to Walmart to pick up just a few supplies to get me through the week and on my way home, my car died. It would start, but then immediately shut down. Of course, the hub is on rotation in Alaska...so I rummaged through my car paperwork and found the roadside assistance information, that I honestly had forgotten I even had. (It was a free perk when I bought the car and never gave it a second thought, actually.) I called the number, and YES, the assistance was covered so I had the car towed to the dealer. On Monday, I got a call from the dealer explaining that they were backlogged, but that I had missed a recall which was likely causing the issue AND It would be at least 4 weeks before I get my car back!! UGH.
Now the hub has a manual drive pickup...its over 20 years old and is a beast to shift. Therefore, I am terrified to drive it. So I called DD3 and she said they would trade me and I could use their car, but it would be Friday (today) before she could come out. And here it is Friday, and I have been perfectly fine without the car.
I made the bean soup and some nice crusty bread, finished that and then make some leftover prime rib stew (yummy) and have started a second batch of bread. I had bought yogurt and berries for breakfast, and string cheese and protein bars for snacks, plus a big container of red grapes. I can still make it several more days with what I have on hand before the perishables need to be replaced.
This has been an unplanned yet eye opening practice run of life post retirement as I plan to limit driving to town, and eat homemade and frugally as much as possible.
A blessing in disguise I think. Especially if that recall and the repairs are all under warranty! Take THAT 2020!
October 24th, 2020 at 12:03 am
I MISS my community...what the heck! (testing)
October 16th, 2020 at 04:38 am
I had a package of red beans in the cupboard and a ham hock in the freezer, so the first bean soup will be red beans and ham. I plan to toss in a yellow onion, celery and carrots in the morning. I will also post the seasoning I add in my post tomorrow. The bean soup should last me all weekend, and maybe into next week.
I picked up a brick of yeast at Costco today. I read that you can freeze this after opening to stretch the usage life. So I will be making some crusty bread to accompany the soup this weekend.
I also picked up a $4.99 chicken and an 8 pack of canned mixed beans (pinto, kidney and black) at Costco. I plan to make some chicken salad for lunch and debone the rest of the chicken for future meals. Then, boil the bones to make another soup- black bean (mixed beans and chicken).
Stay tuned. I will post as I go!
I went through my jewelry this afternoon and pulled several necklaces to send to Goodwill. The donation bag is almost full. I also filled a toss bag, which is now in the trash. I will be dropping off the goodwill bag in exchange for a receipt, and will put the toss bag into the can in the morning.
October 14th, 2020 at 06:56 pm
We had quite a bit of leftovers from our trip. (Smoked prime rib, including bones as well as a healthy portion of steak) I cut the steak (it was HUGE) into 3 good sized chunks and packaged everything separately for future soups. With colder weather coming, soup is always a welcomed meal.
The hub is about to head back to work for 4 weeks, so I will use part of the meats to make beef/barley soup and prime rib stew. My goal this next 4 weeks is to see how frugally I can feed myself. Except for a few items, I have everything to make both soups. I also have a ham bone in the freezer for some pinto or red bean soup, and some chicken for black bean soup. I have a stock pile of cornbread mix and am itching to learn how to make crusty bread! The soups will make great lunches and dinners. Do you have a favorite soup?
I plan to get some yogurt and berries for breakfast and other fruit and use some of the carrots and celery (Ill be buying for the soups) as snacks.
Should be a fun challenge. I do have two meals out planned. A day with girlfriends this Saturday to a local winery, and a day with my daughters (lunch) at a nearby historical town. Otherwise, I am going to try to eat all other meals out of the stockpile. We will see how it goes!
The hub is burning a creosote log in our stove this morning. Not because we need to heat the house, but because it cleans the stove and pipe for the season. I just heard the air conditioner kick on, so he is turning that off and we will open some doors and windows. lol Now the stove will be ready to keep me warm when it gets a little colder out. I am really hoping to have a few weeks with no air conditioning or heating expenses - rather just dress in whatever layers it takes to stay comfortable.
He will also pull his dump trailer up to the house so I can toss the things that arent worth donating as my minimalism efforts continue. I had a couple more items in the donate pile, and my girls said they wanted them..maybe I am on to something here...
October 13th, 2020 at 04:00 pm
We had a fabulous time this weekend on our mini getaway with our friends. The weather was wonderful. We bought a prime rib on sale right after Easter and stuck it in the freezer for a special occasion- so we took that with us and the hub smoked it. It was wonderful! We played games, visited, relaxed and just enjoyed ourselves.
Yesterday I went to Kohl's to get a new pair of tennis shoes with the Kohl's cash I had. My old pair was at least 5 years old, worn and had cracks in the soles, which allowed water in- didnt want to go into our wetter season with that problem! New tennis shoes = free! Its funny, as I was unpacking the new shoes, I looked down at my old ones and thought about Amy Dacyczyn (Tightwad Gazette) and recalled how she kept her old shoes to use for dirtier jobs so that her new shoes stayed new longer...so even though I am decluttering, I will hold on to the old ones for that purpose...but if I dont use them within a reasonable time, to the trash they go!
Last Christmas I received an Amazon gift card so I decided to use it during prime days if the ereader I wanted came on sale. My old ereader died years ago, and since then I have been reading on my phone, which works, but was not ideal for the reading experience. I also had some Amazon points saved up, so the new ereader was FREE! I love to read and I can borrow books from the Libby app and read them for free on the kindle. Super excited for this freebie!!
All in all, a very fun, inexpensive last few days!
October 8th, 2020 at 05:56 pm
In preparation for our trip tomorrow, I started packing yesterday. Since we are still changing seasons here and we are heading to a colder climate for our trip, I needed to go through the dark recesses of the closet to get to the warmer clothes. Since I was pulling so much out, I went ahead and started piles to donate and toss to continue with the minimalist efforts. I ended up with a bag FULL of clothes to donate. (Some I sadly never wore, and never will- online shopping is not my forte) My loss will hopefully be someone else's gain!
I still have a ways to go - I will soon be able to weed out all my work shirts, which will free up quite a bit more space. Since we have no plan to return to the office, I may go ahead and bag those up! (why not!)
I recently had blood work done and have received the results. Comparing them to 2 years ago, things dont look too bad, although there is definitely areas to improve. When the hub is gone, I eat much healthier, but when he is home its more meat and potatoes, which is his preference. I will find ways to change this. He can still eat as he likes, but I will be more purposeful in what I do and don't eat. This is huge for future financial wellness as well as health wellness, and just needs to happen.
I just have to say, I enjoy reading others' blogs but lately there arent as many as there used to be. I love sitting down with my coffee in the morning and catching up. To compensate, I am looking back at everyone's blogs to catch up on what I missed last year. I guess I am just trying to say you are all like dear ol' friends who I enjoy staying in touch with. I look forward to your new posts and responses! Thank you for the camaraderie!
October 7th, 2020 at 08:46 pm
I transferred our savings account to Discover at the end of the year last year because it was paying 1% and my credit union was only paying .05%. I was excited for the little increase the $ would be making....
Since then, it seems like each time I log in, it has dropped... .90, .80. 70 and today it was .60% Its still multiple times what I would make at the credit union, but c'mon!
I remember when I started in banking, checking accounts paid 5% and regular savings paid 7%!! Granted, inflation was crazy and home mortgage interest was around 12%. (I know I just aged myself, but being I am near retirement it wouldnt be too hard to figure out I am getting a little long in the tooth!)
Back then, people could count on CD interest to supplement their income...the end of the quarter was always busy with retirees coming in to wd their interest! But those days are long gone- both money wise and technology wise (ha)!
Now, I am NOT an advocate for savings rates to go back to the post deregulation period, but this is just sad!
I am not skilled at investing, but maybe its time to learn.. I AM open to suggestions at this juncture. I guess I should be thankful I don't have to PAY to have a safe place to keep my money!!
October 7th, 2020 at 02:29 am
I mentioned in a previous post that we rented a large home to take all the kids and grand kids to in early December, which will be our gift to everyone.
I also wanted to get each of the grand kids a little something to remember the trip by. So I went online to Kohl's and their Big Super-soft throws were on sale for 50% off, or 14.99. By the time the Kohl's cash and rewards was added, (which I will use for friend gifts, and stocking stuffers) each blanket was $9.14. NOT BAD for a nice throw for each child. Last time they got these, they loved them...so I am confident they will be a hit again this year.
The main master bath in the rental has a ginormous soaking/Jacuzzi tub. So I am creating a "spa experience" for whomever would like (kids, adults, etc). I ordered some facial masks and bath bombs and will pick up some sparkling cider to top off the special-ness. I know all the girls and some of the little boys will really enjoy being pampered and taking a turn in the tub. I found great deals on Amazon and all of the masks and bombs cost under $25 total. (Remember, there will be 15 kids there throughout the week, as well as all the adults- so this was a bargain!!)
The last thing I need to get is gift bags for each of the blankets and my little gifts are all done!
I'm sure getting excited!!
October 6th, 2020 at 09:51 pm
I ordered a cover for our 5th wheel today to protect it from the elements going forward. I should have done this much sooner, but at least I have done it now. It cost $230 (free shipping) and the potential savings it will ensure makes it a very worthwhile expense.
We purchased the 5th wheel a few years ago after wearing out our previous trailer. Our goal when we bought the 5th wheel was to have something that could become our Plan B for living arrangements or at a minimum, provide a comfortable travel experience. We spent the extra money to get one that will stay comfortable in very cold weather, has washer and dryer hookups, and a king sized bed. We have paid it off and stocked it with all our living supplies, so now it just costs us upkeep and insurance. (I will note that an additional expense that we are planning is the truck to pull it with. The hubs current truck does great but it is 21 years old!!)
The last couple of years we have not been able to use it as much as we would have liked, but starting next summer, we will be able to use it as often as the hubs schedule allows, which is at least 3 weeks each rotation!! I am super excited about that!
Needless to say, this was an investment that we want to have for years to come- so purchasing things to help extend its life expectancy is vital to us..and $230 is a small price to pay on this one.
October 5th, 2020 at 03:33 pm
This weekend, while not as productive for my decluttering goals, was a very good one.
DD3 got the keys to her new home and so the weekend was all about moving. Since I am dealing with sciatica, on Saturday, the hub and I took the baby so mommy and daddy could pack.
On Sunday morning, the hub and I took a drive (back roads to a little historical town.) It was BEAUTIFUL. We stopped at a bagel cafe and had bagels and coffee. The cafe is in an old brick building with creaky wood floors that was built in the 1800s so lots of character and charm. Then, we went to a local discount store where the hub likes to get his bullets. However, they were out of all the bullets he wanted. This is a recurring theme, it is harder and harder for him to find them locally.
In the afternoon, I took DD3s baby to DD1s house where we entertained her so that all the heavy stuff could get moved to the new house. Then we met up at DD3s new house for pizza. Her new house is really nice. They sold their starter home to move to a much safer neighbor hood and much nicer home. (As they were moving from the old house, there was a murder investigation 3 doors away while the victim was, partially covered under a sheet in the front yard). (YIKES) So glad they made this move!!
Needless to say, the weekend flew by, and I didn't make any progress on the home front.
This week and next are 4 day work weeks for me. I am taking Friday off, and Monday is a holiday. We are taking a little mini vaca with our dear friends to a resort about 3 hours away. We rented a 2 bdrm house and will spend the weekend visiting, playing games, sitting in the hot tub and just enjoying some downtime.
As for financial this weekend, the hub got a new pair of jeans from the discount store ($32), we had bagels and coffee at the cafe ($17 with tip) and we bought the pizza for the moving gang ($55).
How was your weekend?
October 4th, 2020 at 09:08 pm
The hub and I have not dined out much since March. Instead, the hub has really practiced and dialed in his smoking and bbqing skills and techniques. I have done the same with my baking and cooking skills. Needless to say, we have ate much cheaper, healthier and conveniently from home for months.
We live out in the country. We are about 30+ minutes away from most restaurants. So, in order to eat out, its at least an hour travel time (there and back) then seating, ordering and waiting... 2+ hours plus gas to go out to a $50 or more meal that we can make at home for usually a fraction of the cost.
Second, its just not the same quality anymore when compared to what we can make at home. After eating home cooking exclusively, eating out just doesn't taste as desirable anymore.
And finally, it's more risky, we have to wear a mask, and because they are limiting the number of diners- the wait time is frustrating.
I used to LOVE going out to eat, but our last two experiences have made me rethink if its really the same "treat' that it used to be, and honestly, its just NOT.
Is anyone else finding this to be true?
The silver lining of course, is that we are eating more frugally and healthy, which will align with retirement budget oh, so much better!!
October 1st, 2020 at 06:04 pm
Feeling a little like a pin cushion this morning after getting blood work and a seasonal flu shot. But CHECK MARK, those are now out of the way!
My job contracts with a dedicated clinic that serves the staff of 3 local businesses. It's really nice in that normal and routine things (non-narcotic drugs, shots, blood work, routine visits, etc) are completely free for staff. Things like controlled drugs, xrays, MRIs, etc must go through normal insurance/ co-pays.
Unfortunately, after the end of this month, my job is no longer contracting with this service, meaning I will need to find a new doctor and will go back to co-pays on everything. Its been so nice while it lasted. We also have the option of tele-med. Ive not tried that, but will give it a go and see how it works. In November, I will be added to the hubs insurance plan (since I will be leaving my job next year), so I may wait until then to find the new doctor.
The hub's job is currently on a 4/4 rotation, so he works four weeks and then is off for four weeks. This started post covid shutdown, and may soon return to 3/3 or 4/2. But, until then, 4/4 means we can go almost a month without a paycheck from his job. This is why I budget the way that I do. He will get a partial week paycheck tomorrow, and then another, smaller one, on October 30. Before we were financially able to fund our budget a month in advance, it always felt like we were juggling to keep up. Our silver lining for the stay home order and the hubs unemployment for those 3 months is that we built our savings and now have less financial anxiety!
DD3's baby, 10 months, has started to take a step here and there. She is so stinking cute and growing SO fast.