Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Living la vida frugal

Fairiemama posted about cutting costs, and reminded me that I wanted to do that too. Some of my efforts are more successful than others, but we are definitely trying..I'm sitting at the desk wrapped in a blanket because my heat is on 62. I don't even remember a time when my heat was on 72. I have visions occasionally of the scene in Dr. Zhivago, the winter before they go to Varykino, when he's out stealing the wood to put in the stove for heat. I do have wood for my woodstove, so I don't envision having to steal wood. Which didn't stop me from throwing fairly small windblown sticks onto the woodpile. Or hoping that a big tree might blow down so I could cut the tree up. But anyway, heat is a big one.

My other major project is trying to plan ahead for meals so I can make fewer shopping trips. Sometimes this works. Sometimes not so much. I print out outlook calendars and work a month ahead of time. We make pizza on Sunday nights. I make the dough from scratch, use a 35 cent can of hunts tomato sauce with basil, oregano and garlic for sauce, and a package of monzerella cheese for $2 or so. Jupiter eats the leftovers for supper on Monday nights. Mostly at the moment she wants to eat pizza and fried rice. The trick with the fried rice is making the rice ahead of time so it's cold when I need to make the fried rice. We eat out rarely now, and if we do, it's McDonalds. No more trips to the noodle restaurant or the Thai restaurant. I eat plain oatmeal for breakfast instead of regular cereal or instant oatmeal. I'm trying to convert Jupiter over to regular oatmeal that we flavor ourselves, but she's attached to her instant stuff. I'll keep trying though.

Coupons. I'm doing coupons with a vengeance..trying to combine them with the sales to get really good deals. I had $12 in coupons my last big trip to Walmart. I cut them out every Sunday and they're always with me when I shop.

Over the summer, I made jam. I have about 24 jam jars in the freezer now (taking up all the space so I can't fit anything else in there) that I made this summer. So I think the jam situation is good for the year now. don't know if it was truely a cost saver or just stocking up ahead of time. And I gave my garden a true effort instead of just planting some seeds and waiting to see what would happen. And when we carved the jack o lantern pumpkins, I saved ALL the seeds from the pumpkins to roast for snacks. And I saved seeds to plant NEXT year. This is new. I also saved seeds from a butternut squash I bought at the store to try next year. Will it work? I don't know.

Mostly, I cut out unnecessary car trips. It takes all my gas budget to drive to work and back (though I bought gas yesterday and only spent $19!! YAY!!!!!) If I happen to go to Portland, we do ALL the Portland errands instead of breaking them up. I don't drive up to Conway or to NH to go shopping like I used to do. And even a trip to the Mall is much rarer than it used to be. Otherwise, we stay home, or in our town. And I don't cook as many of the ethnic dishes I like to cook. It's back to basics for us, for the most part, unless it's a good sale. Turkey is .47 a pound until Thanksgiving, and I'm going to get an extra and roast it for sandwiches and things. (can't put one in the freezer. It's full of jam still.) Over the summer, we did free things like playgrounds and state parks (I bought the state park pass with my tax refund and it travels with Jupiter, so whoever she is with can take her to the ocean or the lake.). This winter, it will be sledding and the pool at the local college. I bought a punch pass to get a discount..and if the right people are on the desk they only punch it once for both of us. I wonder if I can get them to give me the schedule......

So that's how we're cutting back around here...time to go to bed with my heating pad and a book. Oh yeah...I don't buy as many books. (this one is hard. I love books.)

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