2018: Week 1 overview.

I’m still trying to find my rhythm with this blog. How often to post? What format to use with photos? And I still haven’t figured out how to successfully embed a photo from flickr, so that’s been frustrating. If you have any tips for me, I’d be ever so grateful. Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate posts Five Frugal Things every week, and I really enjoy those posts. Maybe I’ll eventually do something like that. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

FOOD
I spent a total of $33 on groceries. We continue to eat down our pantry and freezers, using up what we have as much as possible. It was a week of generosity from friends and neighbors. One friend gave us a large head of cabbage, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken, and pork. I don’t see us having to purchase meat for several weeks now, so that is a huge help. Another friend gave us a dozen eggs from his own chickens – yay, eggs! We eat a lot of eggs at our house – cheap, versatile protein.

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Rummaging through the pantry, I found five packets of instant miso soup which I took to my office for quick lunches. I brought leftovers to work for lunch every day this week.

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Didn’t do a ton of cooking this week – at least, not full meals. We still had lots of leftover Hoppin’ John that my husband made for New Year’s, so that was reheated and enjoyed with hot sauce. I made bratwurst and onions to go with my husband’s homemade sauerkraut – much appreciated after an evening of clearing a blizzard’s worth of snow from our driveway. Discovered we’d run out of brown sugar while cooking that dish, so I whipped up a new batch using regular white sugar and molasses. Made a good-sized batch of tuna salad with walnuts, apples, and the last of the dried barberries. Also roasted some carrots and maitake mushrooms, which were then reheated as side dishes or eaten cold in salads, and made mashed sweet potatoes, which I plan to use for cottage pie in the coming week. Onions were BOGO at the supermarket last weekend, so I pulled out our largest cast-iron skillets and caramelized a big batch, which I then spooned into muffin tins to freeze into individual servings to use as needed in future meals.

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Friday night’s supper was a frozen pizza purchased on sale ($5.50), because let’s face it, even if you love to cook, sometimes you just can’t bear to cook.

NOT BUYING THINGS
Resisted the temptation to buy a box of wine on my way home from work on Friday. But I didn’t need the extra calories, or the extra expense. So I saved us $20 right there. Also resisted a powerful urge to purchase materials for sashiko, a Japanese technique for mending clothing. It’s gorgeous and functional, so it pushes all of my buttons. But rather than hopping in my car and driving to the big-box craft supply store to buy all the things, or ordering them online, I will slowly acquire scrap material for free during the coming year, and use my Amazon points to get needles and embroidery thread for free. Patience can save you a ton of money.

A neighbor gave me a bag of used clothing: two light fleece jackets, five pairs of socks, one pair of jeans, and one pair of men’s dress slacks. I kept the socks (warm!), jeans (to mend other jeans using sashiko), and one of the two fleece jackets. The rest I donated to our village’s thrift store (proceeds go to a community food bank), along with a couple skeins of acrylic yarn I’m not using.

ENTERTAINMENT
Checked out Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale ebook from the library. I’ve been reading it while curled up on the couch by our wood stove for most of this very, very cold weekend. It’s a really excellent book, and one I’ve been meaning to read for years.

REUSE/RECYCLE
I sorted through all of our plastic grocery bags. All without any holes will be used for our cats’ litter box. Any with holes I cut up and made plarn (plastic yarn) which I then crocheted into a cat bed. Well, maybe a quarter of a cat bed – it’s not finished, but I’ve used up all the holey bags we had. I’ll continue to work on this project as we acquire more plastic bags. This could take some time, as we usually bring our own reusable ones – but somehow, we still manage to acquire plastic bags here and there.

NETWORKING
Discovered a Buy Nothing group for our area! This group didn’t exist two years ago, when I considered starting one myself. In the end, though, I decided I just didn’t have the time and hoped someone else would start it – and yay, someone did! My membership request is still pending – hoping the group is fairly active.

And lastly, our son turned 19 this week. It’s tough for a kid to have a birthday so close to Christmas (not to mention, it’s tough on his parents’ budget), so years ago we started a tradition of celebrating his birthday on July 4th – his “half birthday.” But this year he asked to have dinner at his favorite Chinese restaurant, and we said sure. So that was $60 we would not have normally spent. On the plus side, the portions were huge and we brought home so many leftovers that I didn’t have to cook for a day or two.

And that’s it! All in all, not a bad week for the budget. What did you do to be frugal this past week?

 

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