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Home > Archive: January, 2005

Archive for January, 2005

End of the month grocery totals

January 31st, 2005 at 06:46 am

January was the first month that I kept a running total of our grocery receipts. We did stock up on a few items (I bought 10 bottles of Cranberry juice, 10 jars of tomato sauce, 10 lbs of potatoes and 15 rolls of paper towels just this weekend for $24), but I also had a no-spend week to try and even out our costs. It also includes 4 ready-made pizzas and a large bottle of red wine.

I was stunned to see that we spent $199! I had set my budget for $200! I'm so happy that I met our goal, although it did take a lot of planning. Now that I've met it, I feel the urge to beat it for February, which should be the easiest month as it's the shortest month.

I also bought two packages of dried beans. I've never soaked beans - I've always bought them canned (on sale of course). I plan on making a gigantic pot of chili with these.

We also made a massive pot of beef stew last night. This should last us about 3 days with enough to freeze. It weighed about 20 lbs! I bought a nice roast for $2.39/pound and added potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans and bouillon. So cheap!!

Semi-free chinese takeout

January 28th, 2005 at 01:15 pm

Well, last night was a bust.
My train was delayed by 45 minutes, while we all stood in the freezing cold with no information. I finally got home after a 3 hour commute.

Since my husband is the best, and knew I was starving, he picked up some chinese food before he picked me up! Mm..it was so yummy. Normally, I wouldn't been a little upset that he did that, but the train system has a policy that your ride will be free if they are more than 30 minutes late. Well, I submitted my rebate form this morning, and am expecting a $10 check in the mail.

We also received three unexpected checks in the mail - something I wish would happen everyday! Well, one was the last of our medical reimbursement payments, but the company had been playing games with us so we didn't think it would ever show. Thank god it did! We certainly need to pay off some of my college loans, and this will help get us there.

So Hungry

January 27th, 2005 at 01:18 pm

I'm starving right now, but I don't get home for another 2 hours. And then I have to cook dinner. Tonight it's pork loin that I thawed today, with fresh carrots, gravy and potatoes.

I'm so tempted right now to get a slice of pizza. I've been craving pizza all day, but I'll be good and wait. And let my stomach eat itself.

Just kidding, I'll have some more water and tea to trick my belly into thinking it's full.

It was one of those busy mornings (out shoveling snow again) so I only had time to grab a can of soup for lunch, and now I'm paying the price.

pantry dinner

January 27th, 2005 at 06:49 am

We had the leftover rice and frozen fish for dinner last night. I'm trying to go through the entire week without buying any groceries.

I finally started my grocery price book too. I figured out a few months ago that I only want to spend the following per person:
50 cents for breakfast
$1 for lunch
$2 for dinner.

This works out to $49 a week. So far we've been sticking to this budget pretty well. It also includes drinks and paper products. There are only 2 people in my house.

Whaddya think?

Reduced my car insurance

January 26th, 2005 at 07:20 am

I gathered all of my subway/train passes together last night and am mailing them to my car insurer. I get a groovy discount for this. We also got a a nice security feature on our new car which we were supposed to get a 35% discount. When our new policy came in the mail yesterday without that discount, you know I went straight to the phone!

They will fix it and add my train discount this week. I hope the premium gets cut way down because it went up about $30 a month otherwise.

For dinner last night we made a big batch of rice with frozen veggies. I brought some for lunch. With the other leftovers, we'll have it with the frozen breaded fish we bought with a coupon and sale. Super cheap meals!

Weekend update

January 25th, 2005 at 10:07 am

It's been so long since I wrote in my journal!
I have someone coming over this weekened to buy my bass guitar. That should bring in $200!
We bought a digital camera. We'll use it in our business - so it can be written off. I'm also thinking of selling some things on ebay, for which we can use this camera.
My husband got a temp job! We just needed something well paying for the spring. It pays well, but it will mess my commute up as he currently picks me up and drops me off at the train.
I figured out from the bonus I'm expecting in April, that I can pay off one of my student loans and buy a used car. Then we'll have 2 cars for two people.

Also this weekend, I spent a few hours on my wardrobe. I keep a large box in my main closet of items that need either handwashing or mending. Since it's been so dry in my house, clothes have been drying in a snap. I handwashed 4 sweaters and two tops.
I also sewed up some holes in 3 tops so that I can continue wearing them. I won't feel like I have nothing to wear anymore! (hopefully)

We also installed our new dishwasher. It was so simple, only took 15 minutes. Since we have a new, larger car we saved on delivery costs and installation! We saved $335, which is half the cost of the dishwasher itself. Oh, happy days ahead...

I made $50 last night!

January 21st, 2005 at 06:24 am

We bought a new dishwasher last weekend, which was supposed to be in yesterday. We called to see if it was in, and they said yes, it had arrived the day before.
So we drove all the way to the store to be told that no, it's not here. "It's at a different warehouse and you can get it yourself tomorrow - we'll reimburse you for the mileage."

We didn't really have a choice, so we agreed to it. It's only 3 miles past the store we went to. They gave us $50 for our inconvenience and mileage!
Wahoo! Finances are such a rollercoaster. Sometimes you're up, and sometimes you're down.

Pasta sauce leftovers

January 20th, 2005 at 06:39 am

I came up with a new idea recently, of how to use the leftover pasta sauce we usually have.
I bought a bulk bag of yummy meatballs at BJs. I defrosted a few hot dogs buns, and reheated the sauce with the meatballs in it. Voila, meatball subs with plenty of sauce! I'm going to make it a habit to have the subs the next day for lunch whenever we make pasta, which by itself is a frugal meal.

It certainly pays to think ahead.

office goodbyes

January 18th, 2005 at 01:36 pm

There is a lot of turnover in my office. Everytime one of my friends leave, we do a goodbye lunch, or dinner and drinks out. Today it was coffee and cookies, but she's not leaving until Friday. I can forsee going out for drinks on Friday.
I don't want to be a brat, but all of these goodbyes add up! We usually chip in and pay for the person leaving, so its even more than I'm receiving.

I'll have to add this into my budget! Wowza.


January 18th, 2005 at 07:11 am

Also, in grocery land...
When I couldn't find a scratch and dent store nearby, I started looking under different names. I found a coop of retail grocers who have a warehouse open to the public.
It was a bit of a drive, but sooo worth it! This place was great. It catered to business as well as small families. You could buy 50 pounds of olives, or just a 10 oz jar of olives: i.e. products in all sizes.
I stocked up on marshmallows. They are never on sale at the grocery store, although they advertise the regular price once in awhile in their flyer. It pisses me off when the advertise the regular price as being on sale, so I haven't bought marshmallows in years.
Rice krispy treats, wahoo!

Major purchases

January 18th, 2005 at 07:07 am

We've made some major purchases in the last week. First, we bought a brand new car. Second, a brand new dishwasher with Christmas/housewarming present that we received two years late...Third, two new cell phones.
I know this all sounds extravagant but we got really good deals on everything and we needed the car and cell phones for my husband's new business.

By paying the same monthly amount, we've increased our cellphone minutes by 400 and can now talk to each other for free, which is the majority of our calls. We switched our main phone line to metered, so its only $16 a month new versus the $45 we had been paying. We also canceled dial up and switched to business DSL as we'd have to pay for each minute online and tie up the business line. We had to upgrade to new phones but are receiving $150 in rebates and I negotiated the chargers to be half price.

We drove across half the state to find a damaged dishwasher at the Sears outlet store. They only had 5 dishwashers! I couldn't believe it, they had at least 200 fridges, so we left emptyhanded - they had no stainless steel. We ended up getting a new dishwasher from sears which will come on Thursday. Now that we have a bigger car we can pick it up ourselves and save on the delivery/install charge.

Selling my stuff

January 14th, 2005 at 06:39 am

I've decided to sell a few of my things. It's not that we're so hard up that we need the money to eat - it's just that I want a particular student loan with an outrageous interest rate to be paid off. It's such a thorn in my side.
AND - I don't use the items anymore so they're just taking up space.
I intend to sell:
my amp
Fender bass guitar, in awesome condition
about 30 books

I'm also giving away my old entertainment center on freecycle. This will free up our 'junk room', or the third bedroom we don't use. I plan on adding a large desk from a piece of finished wood we already have, to sew on and also as a second desk. I do freelance writing on the side, so it will motivate me to write more if I have a specified place to write.

Turkey Sale

January 13th, 2005 at 11:14 am

I was sooo bummed out when I couldn't get any turkeys on (a good) sale after Thanksgiving. We bought 1 last year for super cheap, and enjoyed staying indoors having a nice turkey dinner in a snowstorm.

When I went to the grocery store two nights ago though, I saw them on sale for 49 cents a pound! for as long as they lasted, that is. So, I picked two of them up for a total of $10.
We have one in the fridge and the other in the freezer now.

Patience is a virtue

double whammy = coupons and sales

January 11th, 2005 at 06:35 am

Frozen fish is 50% off this week. I had a 40 cent off coupon (which was doubled), which in addition to the half off sale meant I got a package for 65 cents. When I cooked some up last night, I found another 40 cent coupon inside!
I'm going to open all of that brand's packages I have tonight, and then buy more packages this week for a double whammy!
We usually don't have fish because it's too expensive, so this will help round out our diet, and it's just as cheap as eating an all-veggie meal.

You gotta love the sale/coupon combo.

Multi-task cooking

January 10th, 2005 at 09:52 am

I usually make a large Sunday meal because I actually have time to, on Sundays.
Yesterday, it hit me that I could spend just a bit longer in the kitchen but make many things at once. This would save me time, energy since the stove wouldn't need to preheat on other days, and aggravation in the middle of the week when I'm too tired to cook.
By planning it out, I made:
banana bread
foccacia from scratch
Pasta e fagioli soup

It only took me 2 hours too! (the foccacia had to rise for 1 hour)
Now that my husband is home, he'll more likely munch on these instead of eating pre-made, processed food.

I did something I never thought I'd do

January 10th, 2005 at 09:47 am

I bought a brand new car this weekend.
And it was frugal!
Unfortunately we had to finance it, but we got a GREAT rate. That's the only reason I went new, was to get the great rate. The hubby got a new very part-time job last week, which will more than cover the car payment.

I successfully negotiated $500 off, and caught an error of $1400 (that we would have had to pay) by double checking the figures. They did their math wrong THREE times! You just can't trust these guys.
We bought a great security system which will pay for itself in the long run since we'll get a 35% discount on our insurance. It's a peace of mind issue, and it's a recovery system so we wouldn't completely lose the car if it was stolen.

We're picking it up tonight!! So exciting...

Snowed In

January 7th, 2005 at 06:52 am

I already had the day off yesterday, but everyone else had to stay home due to a snowstorm. No school!

We made a yummy breakfast of coffee, OJ, scrambled eggs and sausages and hash browns that both were buy one get one free.
I had a can of tomato soup for lunch that was dented, so I only paid 60 cents.
I made shepard's pie for dinner, which we always have leftovers for lunch - it's already in the fridge here at work! The ground beef for that was on sale about a week ago, which I had frozen.

My hubby got a little job today to help pay for a new car we need for the business he just started. There isn't a huge committment, so it works out great.

so naughty

January 5th, 2005 at 11:28 am

I went out for lunch with friends today. I feel really guilty, especially since my husband went out too (but with some of my family). Side note - the fire alarm went off in the middle of it - I've never had that happen before!

The electrician did all his work in the kitchen yesterday. At $60 an hour it sounds like a lot of money, but he's so worth it. He always installs fixtures and appliances for us when he doesn't have to and has great ideas. What a pal.


January 4th, 2005 at 08:54 am

Also...one very important cabinet we added was a large pantry. I was able to move up all of the food we bought in bulk that was in our cellar, into this pantry. We have tons of crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and coffee that I bought on great sales.

It will be easier to make meals this way.

kitchen renovation

January 4th, 2005 at 08:52 am

Wow, it's been a long time since I've had time to visit my journal here. It's been really crazy.
I have an unexpected house guest right now, which is tough for the wallet. She loves to shop and is always in debt, so she's hard to please. I know she was expecting to go out for dinner last night, but oh well. We had pasta and homemade cake, and it was good.
BTW, I got cake mix for 60 cents in the dented cart at my grocery store. Everytime I go to that store, they have dented cans of the tomato soup I like, so I always get 2 for 45 cents each. I add leftover rice and its a meal for 2 for 90 cents!

We're in the midst of renovating our kitchen right now. We painted the vinyl floor instead of replacing it, and it looks great. We didn't have any upper cabinets, so we added several. The electrician comes today to wire in a disposal and range hood. We'll buy a new stove and dishwasher next week. My mom gave me a late housewarming present of CASH for the dishwasher.
It will look so nice when it's done...all stainless steel.

Also, we got a great deal on granite tile for the countertops. We had been planning to buy some granite at Home Depot - 5 square feet for $9 and change. That's a great deal. Of course, when we went to make the purchase, they were sold out.
After some investigating we found out that the granite was clearance so we had to drive an hour to find more. Apparently contractors were buying it all up since it was such a good deal.
We had to make 2 trips but it was worth it!
I'll let you know how it comes out...

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