Frugal Accomplishments – Week Ending 21 January 2018

During the month of January, I’ve been participating in a Pantry Challenge as well as a No Spend Month. These two are somewhat flexible, and I’ve adapted things to our family by cooking from our pantry first, but still purchasing groceries, but avoiding most other purchases and food at restaurants. Since receiving the news of the government shutdown, I’m really glad I participated in these challenges – from the sound of things, my husband’s next paycheck may be quite short, so I guess the challenges will continue into February!

That said, here’s my list of frugal accomplishments for the third week of January – shared thanks to inspiration from Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker.

  • Charged my cell phone with the Goal Zero portable solar panel my folks gave me for Christmas several times this week.
  • Daughter started GED course at the local college; our $50 fee covers her student ID and whatever books she needs, plus she was given a free binder at orientation.
  • Replaced the emergency food in my truck – my son and I split one of the meals previously stored in it for lunch one day.
  • Free fun: everyone watched movies and slept in the living room Friday night as a treat for my son.
  • Rotating our stored drinking water and getting myself off soda again by drinking the bottled water we had on hand.
  • Made a menu plan of dinners from what is already on hand.
  • Used homemade dishwasher detergent for all loads.
  • Placed an order on Walgreens.com for cold & flu supplies – applied a $1.25 coupon to a 6-pack of paper towels; bought cough syrup on sale + combined with a purchase of other cold supplies to get extra reward points for spending $25 on cold supplies; used $10 in reward points toward payment; received free shipping for order over $35.
  • Have been drinking herbal iced tea (from bags in food storage) and seltzer (purchased at the commissary, but still less than soda) in addition to plain water to cut my soda intake.
  • Went on a free field trip with our homeschool group.
  • Purchased Girl Scout cookies in bulk (budgeted for when I committed to the purchase from a friend’s girls back in December) and put most of the case in a hidden spot to draw out how long my family can enjoy them.
  • Ate oatmeal six mornings and pistachios for snacks – odd as that may sound, it is my attempt to regulate myself without paying $50 for a special high fiber breakfast supplement I had been drinking last year. The oatmeal was already on hand – some my husband bought, then realized he bought the wrong cut, and stopped eating – and I purchase the pistachios at the farmers market once a month for snacks. Even the banana slices and maple syrup I added to the oatmeal were already in the pantry/fridge; since one container of the shake mix lasts two weeks, I’ve already saved myself $25 for the week (and this fiber plan is *ahem* working fine LOL).
  • Budgeted for husband’s 31 January paycheck and had plans for paying extra on the car principal again – then got the news of the government shutdown. REdid the budget to account for *not* paying extra, but will track how much I would have paid in the hopes of paying it later if his check is short and back pay comes in later.
  • Checked out print books and DVDs at the library, as well as Overdrive e-books. The books and DVDs already watched are by the front door to go back while dropping my daughter at the college, so we won’t miss any return dates. (And the drop box is on the way from town!)
  • Husband made hard “boiled” (baked) eggs in the Sun Oven and we backed a dozen chocolate chip cookies in it from supplies on hand.
  • Dried towels on the drying rack instead of in electric dryer.
  • Used passive solar to warm the house during the day (and blinds/curtains to retain heat at night). Last night we got below freezing outside, but the house stayed 64F and the heat (set at 62F) never came on. Woot!
  • Son went to the neighborhood park with a friend and had a free playdate.
  • Downloaded several free Kindle e-books.
  • Husband found a YouTube channel about ranching hosted by a couple who live in an area we are considering for retirement; we’ve learned a lot about the animals, the machinery, and the area in just one day of viewing various episodes on the channel.
  • Received an envelope of coupons from my mom; took out what we can use and have the rest set aside for a neighbor.
  • My daughter road to a stake dance and to church with neighbors; the dance was the youth winter formal, so she wore a dress that her father bought her for a New Year’s formal during holiday visitation.
  • My husband has been in classes and was given a meal card, so he ate lunches at the mess hall instead of driving home for lunch all week.
  • My daughter carried a snack, sandwich, and water bottle to class instead of asking for fast food on the way home.
  • Bundled up with a blanket, hot cocoa, and the dog on a chilly morning (when I was the only one truly cold due to my health issues) and didn’t turn the heat up!
  • Let a friend with a new baby know about a neighbor giving away part of a box of diapers – no savings for me, but a good savings for her family and it made my heart happy. 😀

December 2017 Goals

How did November go for you? Did you accomplish some of what you hoped to? You can see my November list here, with updates. Now, on to December! I’ve decided to shorten my list this month, so I’ve only put a couple of items in each category. It can be a bit discouraging to have a long list of things and only get a portion of them done; I’d much rather look back on each week and have the potential to ADD things that I did instead.

PANTRY & PREPAREDNESS:
Sprout seeds
Sort & scan vital documents to USB drive
Write preparedness curriculum for kids’ 2nd semester (This started as a social studies unit study, because Continue reading

November 2017 Goals

How did October go for you? Did you accomplish some of what you hoped to? I got a few things finished and a few things I straight took off the list. You can see my October list here, with updates. Now, on to November!

Pantry & Preparedness:
Use Sun Oven as much as possible (we are finding it’s a trial and error process – but it’s fun and free fuel!)
Charge & program our HAM radios (Still learning how to program them, but they are charged!) Continue reading

Menu Plans ~ 23 Oct 2017

Linking up with I’m an Organizing Junkie this week for Menu Plan Monday – working from my pantry and freezer as much as possible this month!

Monday: Gnocchi and green beans
Tuesday: Vegetable chowder and toast
Wednesday: Mac & cheese with peas
Thursday: Sandwiches and pears
Friday: Cous cous with Bombay potatoes and fruit
Saturday: Pizza (frozen)
Sunday: Lamb chops, peas, and mashed potatoes