I will be saying good bye for good this time. For years, DH and I have tried to help other people through volunteerism, money, and now I have tried through this blog and the first blog which is linked on my sidebar. It is time for us to take care of ourselves ,our health, and our privacy. So this will be my last post.
I wish you all luck with your frugal endeavors. Keep working toward your goals and you will see the fruits of your labor. All my best to you and your families.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Monday, February 3, 2014
Maggie left this comment:
How do you go about planning your menu for the week? I don 't plan for the week. I know what I have stocked and what is in the freezer, and decide on what sounds good for that day. Now, if I only had someone to cook it! lol
But her comment got me thinking. Many people probably plan differently. I used to do like Maggie does and just pull something out of the freezer every morning and plan my meal for the day.
But with the Back to Basics, I wanted to do it a little different and really be prepared for the week.
So I sit down with my freezer inventory lists. I also have my pantries contents handy and know what it is in my stockpile. Then DH and I discuss what we would like to eat this week.
Next I try to come up with healthy reasonably prices meals that are within my menu budget guideline for each week. We have 2 soup nights, a pizza night, a meatless night and 3 meat type meals a week. The meat type meals might be a roast, chops, chicken breasts or a skillet or casserole dish. I love casseroles or skillet dishes because I can use less meat. Meat is the most expensive part of any meal. But we do have roasts or turkey breasts and chops once in a while. In the summer, we have steak too although with the prices going up so high, it might be less come cookout season.
Other than that, I just try to incorporate some fruits and vegetables into the meal. Sometimes we have rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes. We do have dessert but only a couple of times a month.
By having the menu in my planner, I look at it every night during my night time routine. I check what we are having the next day and thaw anything that will be needed. On Saturdays, I move any meat that is needed to the upstairs freezer in my kitchen. I do any chopping of veggies for the week that day also.
When I plan the menu I make my grocery list in my planner. I write down anything that I need to buy that week for the meals on a note pad, so that I can just tear the list off and take it with me. Of course, first I look to see if I have any coupons I can use.
I hope this has answered your question Maggie. If anyone has any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment and ask them.
I will be back tonight with my dinner post and some info on what we did yesterday since Sunday is a day off for me.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
We had chicken fajitas for dinner tonight. They were delicious. The chicken breasts were purchased at Aldi's for $ 1.49 a lb. a few weeks ago. If I didn't have chicken I could purchase it this week at Aldi's for $ 1.59 a lb. It goes on sale tomorrow. So the 10 oz. of chicken cost us $ .93. I used one onion for about $ .20. I purchased the red peppers last summer for $ .39 each and froze them in strips. I use them for fajitas, stir fry, and on pizza. There was about 1/2 a pepper in this dish for a cost of $ .20. The olive oil to cook the chicken was minimal because it was only 2 Tbsps. so maybe $.25. The Fajita seasoning was a packet that I got for Free after coupon quite a while ago. We used 2 soft tortillas that were $ 1.29 after coupon for the package. The package has 10 so the two tortillas cost $ .26. I also cooked a box of frozen broccoli that cost $ .60 after coupon. So the entire dinner cost us $ 2.44. DH and I ended up both drinking ice water. We actually have enough left for two fajitas for a lunch this week. West is here for an overnight but his Dad brought a Happy Meal for him when he brought him.
I estimated that breakfast cost us $ .68 since the sausage were free after coupon and the eggs were on sale for $ .99 for a dozen. Lunch was about $ 1.40. So we spent $ 4.52 for 3 meals for both of us today. We ate no snack today because we were full from our meals. We have enough leftover out of that money for 1 lunch this week plus there was enough broccoli left for another meal.
So did you eat a Back to Basics Meal today?
Saturday : Breakfast: 2 Breakfast Sausage each, 3 medium eggs for Scrambled Eggs( split between the two of us ), 1 slice of Whole Wheat Toast each, 4 oz. of Apple Juice for DH,water for me, Coffee
Lunch: Peanut Butter on Apple Slices, Carrot Sticks with Homemade Dill Dip, Water.
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas with 5 oz. of chicken ( each ) cut into strips and cooked. Then add pepper and onions and stir in fajita seasoning and water. Cook until it makes a sauce. Serve in tortillas. Broccoli on the side. Beverages will be water or homemade iced tea.
Snacks: Choice of Celery or Carrot Sticks with Dill Dip, Cheese Slices and Saltines,handful of Dry Roasted Peanuts.
Sunday : Breakfast: Homemade Pancakes with frozen thawed Strawberries and /or Maple Syrup, Apple juice or Water, Coffee
Lunch: None because of Super Bowl Party Tonight
Early Dinner: Macaroni Goulash made with homemade Spaghetti Sauce, Whole Wheat Macaroni, a Few Slices of Bacon chopped up, and Sliced Onions served with Green Salad with homemade Italian Dressing
Not So Healthy Snacks for Party: Buffalo Wings, Chips and Dips, possibly Jalapeno Poppers
Monday : Breakfast: Half of a Grapefruit with Stevia sprinkled on top, Whole Wheat Toast, juice or water, Coffee
Lunch: Tuna Salad with Tuna, Diced Celery and Onions, and Mayonnaise on Saltine Crackers, Iced Tea or Water
Dinner: Homemade Beef Barley Soup with Beef, Celery, Carrots and Barley, Homemade Popovers
Snacks: Choice of Apple slices, Carrot or Celery Sticks, Cheese and Crackers
Tuesday : Breakfast: Banana Muffins, Apple Juice or Water, Coffee
Lunch : Tossed Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing
Dinner: Leftover Beef Barley Soup, Saltines
Snacks: Choice of Apple Slices, Whole Wheat Toast with Apple Butter, Mandarin Oranges, and Cheese with Crackers.
Wednesday : Breakfast: Homemade Yogurt with Homemade Granola, Juice or Water, Coffee
Lunch: Egg Salad on Lettuce, Crackers
Dinner: Tacos with Ground Beef with Homemade Taco Seasoning, Shredded Lettuce, Salsa, Taco Sauce, Diced Onions, Diced Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream
Snacks: Choice of Apples and Peanut Butter, Mandarin Oranges, Cheese and Crackers, Raisins
Thursday: Breakfast: Oatmeal, Apple Juice, Water and Coffee
Lunch: Leftovers from Dinners, Water or Iced Tea
Dinner: Homemade Pizza with Pepperoni and Peppers and Onions, Fruited Jello
Snacks: Choice of Raisins, Nuts, Apple Slices, Grapefruit
Friday : Breakfast: Blueberry Muffins, Apple Juice or Water, Coffee
Lunch: Choice of Canned Soup in Pantry
Dinner: Homemade Rice and Beans, Corn and/or Broccoli, Peaches
Snacks: Choice of Carrot or Celery Sticks with Dill Dip, Apple Slices, Nuts or Raisins
I have everything in my stockpile except for the bacon, romaine lettuce, tacos, and the red beans. I will shop for those tomorrow after checking the ads. I know the lettuce is out of season so it costs a little more than when it is in season but DH loves salads so I make it work.
I do have some stockpiled Fajita seasoning that I will be using in my Fajitas tonight. If I didn't I would be using this recipe to make it: Fajita Seasoning Mix . Here is the Dill Dip that I make for the carrot and celery snacks pictured above. I will post each dinner as I make it and let you know any recipes I used. I will also price out the best I can what it cost to make it.
Please feel free to share what you are making for your meals today in your quest to go Back to Basics this week.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Now lets get down to the January budget numbers. As you all know we have been retired for over 12 years now. All of our monthly income comes from retirement funds. We have many different vehicles that those funds come from. Because of good planning all the years we have been married and making sure we saved something every week even if it was a small amount, we are in pretty good shape. We were in much better shape when we retired before the stock market crashed in 2007 and 2008. But that is done and over with and there is no sense in crying over spilled milk. As I told you before because of inflation our money is worth 33% less than when we retired. I know many of you are in the same boat. Because of all the expenses we had last year, we decided to make this a frugal spending year. That is turning into a great decision because I am seeing prices go up on everything and we need to really tighten the belt.
A couple of things affected how much we could save this month of our allotted monthly income. We had a very high vet bill that we chose to pay out of this income and we had very high property taxes. Yes, I live in the state with the highest property taxes in the nation. We save a certain amount every month for taxes so we have an account we can pay both the property and school taxes out of. However, because we were careful in the fall with all of our expenses, we were able to pay the property taxes from our checking account and not take it out of the tax account. The earnings on that tax account will give us more income in future months. We also had no huge dental or medical bills this month except for our insurance premiums. That has been nice considering we had a very bad year for those in 2013.
With out going into all of our outgo and monthly bills that basically are the pretty much the same every month, I will show you what we didn't spend in our cash envelope categories this month. We had allotted $ 200. for food. As of today we are $ 2.55 under budget. The gasoline budget was $ 65. We only spent $ 29.75 through careful planning of trips and just not shopping much at all. We had $45. for haircuts and came in $ 6.00 under budget. We have $ 40. a month for miscellaneous which includes eating out, clothing, etc. We only spent $32.10. And we budgeted $ 100. in spending money for the two of us. We only spent $ 55.00. We also received $ 191. in rebates and gift cards this month. So those will help us with expenses next month. The budgeted amounts worked out so well that they do not have to be adjusted for February. The cash envelopes will stay the same. Since the month was also about saving on utilities, I also have to tell you that our monthly gas and electric bill came in $20. less than the same period last year even though we were so cold this year. I am hoping we do the same for February's bill.
Before I tell you how much we had left of our monthly amount that we could spend, I want you to remember that the monthly income is from retirement accounts saved and earned over a lifetime. So if you couldn't save as much, I don't want you to be frustrated. Everyone will have a different amount saved every month. The idea is as long as you are saving every month or paying off your debt every month, you are pointed in the right direction. I also want to remind you that now that our children are grown and on their own, we only have expenses for DH and I. I certainly could not have saved as much each month when we had children at home. Also remember that our home is paid for and we pay our credit card bills in full every month. So were able to put $3200. back into investments for the month of January. I also purchased a $ 50.00 Disney gift card to start putting aside money for my trip next year. I don't know if we will have unexpected bills like the vet bill next month. Only time will tell. So I will have to wait and see if we can save as much again next month or not. But it is a good start on replacing the money for the car and all of my dental bills the past two months. I will update you the last day of February again.
I hope you all stayed within your budgets this month and perhaps even saved a little or a lot for your goals. Without going into income and a lot of detail, please share with us how you did in January by leaving a comment.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
We have a very small Walmart but I figured I could probably get most of my list there. So, off I went bundled in a heavy coat with a hood, my gloves, and boots. The wind was whipping and the blowing snow was hitting me in the face. It was awful.
What made it even worse was that they only had three of the items on my list. They had dish cloths, the clip flags that I use in my planner, and a large Command hook to replace the one that broke on the back of our Master Bathroom door. I was lost without being able to hang up my bathrobe. I had an employee looking for a salt shaker but after 30 minutes she couldn't find any in the entire store.
In my quest to get organized around here for Back to Basics, I couldn't find what I needed. I left vowing to never step foot in that Walmart again. I sure hope the Super Center that is opening next summer is better.
DH already has the hook up. The rest of the list I am going to see if I can order from Amazon. I should have just stayed home and ordered everything from them since I have free shipping. I have learned my lesson.
Do you have good luck at Walmart? Is it just me who doesn't?