July 29, 2013

Finding more money in the Budget and Inventorying

Last week is a blur and I didn’t post as often as I wanted to post.  Here are some updates on our budget and saving more money each month.  Back in April I quit getting my nails done and finally after 3 months, my nails are strong, healthy and grown to a perfect length.  My nails are just at the tips of my fingers which is a perfect length.  I had been wearing acrylic nails for 12 1/2 years and it was time for my real nails to see the light of day.  Savings is $50 a month. 

Today I decided that I would cancel my membership at the Curves fitness center.  Savings will be $36 a month.  I made this decision after pondering it for several weeks and I decided that with my schedule and their limited hours that it was getting harder to get there to work out.  Also I am finding that walking outside and lifting weights at home is doing just as good a job of keeping me in shape.

I downgraded our Netflix account to 2 dvd’s being sent in a month.  We used to have unlimited dvd’s mailed in a month, but frankly I find a lot of dvd’s at the local library so I wasn’t getting my money’s worth from Netflix.  One time I had a dvd sitting on my kitchen counter for almost a month before I watched it.  We will be keeping the unlimited streaming of Netflix as that is something we seem to use.  The savings will be $3.00.  Okay, $3.00 big deal right?  Pennies add up and so do dollars.  In time I will probably cancel having the dvd’s mailed to us altogether for an $8.00 per month savings. 

We are also looking at our cell phone bill.  We have a shared plan.  After reviewing some recent monthly bills we have realized that we are not using the amount of gigabytes that we are paying for.  By reducing this to what we are actually using we will save around $20 a month. 

Total amount of savings for the above is $109 per month. 

So, little things add up and inventorying our resources has really added up to a big list.  I was going to post what I have in my pantry but I want to delay that until the next post.  Instead I am listing what I have stored away for toiletries, paper, laundry and hair care products. 

As with everything that I have inventoried, all products were bought on sale.  However,  it is in the following categories that I used the most coupons teamed with sales. That is why I have so much laundry soap.  When there is a sale for $2.00 a jug of liquid laundry soap and you have $1.00 off coupons, you stock up.  In one case there was a major sale in which I bought laundry soap for 88 cents a jug.  It was that sale that really grew my stockpile. 

Here we go:


 Bar Soap – 36 bars of ivory soap, 144 bars of bath soap, 8 bars of Oil of Olay, 15 bars of Dove and 4 bars of Castile soap.

I also have 2 bottles of men’s and 8 bottles of women’s body wash.

Lotion – 8 bottles

Shampoo – 13 bottles

Conditioner – 6 bottles

Ladies Razors – 36 razors

Deoderant – 28 sticks

Toothpaste – 4 tubes

Paper Products

Paper Towels – 62 rolls

Toilet paper – 276 double rolls and 56 single rolls

Kleenex – 2 boxes

Laundry Items

Octagon Laundry and cleaning soap – 7 bars

Fels Naptha – 3 bars

Laundry Detergent (jugs) – 59 jugs – 50 oz size.

Laundry Detergent (powder) – 15 boxes

Softener, Sheets – 5 boxes

Softener, Bottles – 6 bottles

Purex Laundry Crystals – 5 bottles

Borax – 1/2 box

Shout Pre-Wash – 2 bottles

Tide Boost – 1/2 bottle and 1/2 box of powder

Bleach – 1 jug

There is some measure of pride and comfort in knowing that I can provide for my family through sales, stockpiling and inventorying to make sure that everything is managed and stretched in order to save more money.  It is a skill that I have learned and probably is right up there with being one of the most important skills I have ever learned.  

July 23, 2013

Counting Your Resources

This month marks my 4th year of being home.  I have had a few little jobs along the way, the last was working at the local library for a few hours a week.  I quit that job to devote my time to being a grandma. 

Now my husband and I are facing our biggest financial challenge since I’ve been home – paying for the next 18 months of our youngest son’s college education.  We had enough money saved up to pay for his first two years of college and then we knew we would have to get creative.  We would prefer not to take out any student loans, but we may have to take out a small one.  In the meantime, we have to tighten our belts if we are going to avoid borrowing more money for his education.

The biggest way to save money, is not to spend money.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Well, honestly that is the best way to save money by not spending money.  So in an effort to not spend money, I have taken the time to inventory our resources.  You have to know what you have in your home (your resources) otherwise you end up spending money on food items you already have on hand (as an example). 

Beginning 4 years ago I became a person who stocks up on sales.  The summertime is the best time in our area to find meat prices at their lowest of the year.  I know that I can count on frozen vegetables to be at their rock bottom price in January or February.  When I have the money, I keep stocking up on sale items until I feel that enough is enough.

There are some decisions to be made when you are stocking up.  When is enough, enough?  Well my freezer was pretty stocked when they had an in store sale on 85% lean ground beef last week for only $1.99 lb.  Even though I already had plenty on hand, this was too great of a deal to miss out on.  I bought 40 lbs.  By reorganizing my freezer I was able to find space for it.  I know that I will not see that price on meat for a long time, if ever again.

It has taken a few weeks to inventory all the food in my freezer and pantry, toiletries, paper products, cleaning and laundry products.  Yes, it was time consuming BUT I now know all of the resources that we have on hand and I now have an idea as to how long I can make these resources last.  When I say make these items last, I am not going to sacrifice nutrition by only eating what I have on hand.  I will supplement our food resources with perishables as I go along.  I am also back to baking all of our bread products.

I will share over the next few days what I have in each category and the challenge will be on to see how long I can make everything last. 

The following is a list of items that I have in my large freezer and the freezer above the fridge in our kitchen.  Yes, it is quite a bit for two people but we do have family over to eat a couple times a week.  I enjoy cooking for my family. 

I was able to get everything on sale at rock bottom prices.  The only thing that I would like to add is some chicken hind quarters if I find a good sale.  There has not been a sale on chicken hindquarters for over 9 months.  By the way, I have never had a problem with freezer burn as I am very careful about double wrapping my meat. 


Beef Roasts – 3 roasts at 3 to 4 lbs.
Italian Meatballs – 1 lb.
Hamburger – 80% lean – 3 lbs.
Hamburger – 85% lean – 72 lbs.
Hamburger – 93% lean – 3 lbs.
Sloppy Joes – 2 pkgs – enough for 2 meals


Shredded Cooked Pork – 1 lb.
Pork Loin Roasts – 2 roasts at 3 lbs. each
Pork Cushion Roasts – 2 roasts at 3 to 4 lbs.
Iowa Chops – 6 chops
Pork Loin Slices – 12 slices
Pork Broth – 1 cup
Boneless Ham – 2 lbs.
Bacon – 5 – 1 lb. pkgs.
Bratwursts – 17 brats
Ground Pork – 11 lbs..
Smoked Polish Sausage – 3 ½ lbs.
Little Smokeys – 1 ½ lbs.
Ham Loaf – 5 lbs.
Ham Deli Meat – 1 lb.
Canadian Bacon – 2 pkgs.
Hot Dogs – 13 pkgs.
Shaved Ham – 4 lbs.


Bone in Chicken Breasts – 2
Breaded Chicken Patties – 3
Chicken Thighs – 10 thighs
Split Chicken Breasts – 2 packages
Boneless Chicken Breasts – 4 breasts
Ground Chicken – 3 lbs.


Ground Turkey – 2 lbs.
Turkey Patties – 12
Turkey Deli Sandwich Meat – 2 lbs.
Cooked Turkey Breast Slices (From a turkey I cooked last month)
Cut up cooked turkey meat – 3 lbs. (From a turkey I cooked last month)
Turkey Broth – 8 cups


Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – 20 – 8 oz. packages
Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese – 8 – 8 oz. packages
Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese – 2 – 8 oz. packages
Shredded Swiss Cheese – 1 ½ cups
String Cheese – 4 – 12 oz. packages

Fruits and Vegetables:

Mixed Vegetables – 7 – 1 lb. pkgs.
Corn – 10 - 1 lb. pkgs.
Peas & Carrots – 1 – 1 lb. pkg.
Peas – 3 – 1 lb. pkgs.
Broccoli – 2 – 1 lb. pkgs.
California Blend – 1 – 1 lb. pkg.
Green Beans -1 – 1 lb. pkg.
Hash Browns – 2 lbs.
Small assortment of vegetables – 1 ½ pkgs.
Tomato Paste – 11 – 6 oz. plastic containers
Strawberry Freezer Jam – 9 – 1 ½ cup containers
Whole Strawberries – 3 – 2 cup containers
Cranberries – 4 – 10 oz. packages
Raspberries – 1 cup
Bananas - 7
Orange Juice – 7 Containers


Unsalted Butter – 3 sticks
Oyster Crackers – 5 – 12 oz. packages

Instant Yeast – 1 lb. 

Tomorrow's post:  My list of what I have in my pantry.

July 22, 2013

A Tribute to a Wonderful Lady

When some people are going through a lot of difficulties in their life, they find that writing helps them.  For me, it is the opposite.  I am more introspective and I don’t feel like writing until the crisis is over and then I find the words flow.  That is why my blog has been so “vacant” for awhile. 

My daughter in law and her family have endured a lot of heartache over the past 18 months.  Last year her two grandparents died within a few months of each other, her paternal grandmother died in April of this year and sadly her mother died last week. 

Her mom was only 57 years old and had been battling cancer for a few years.  When the term “battling” is used, it applies to her life.  She did whatever it took to be there for her family.  She was one strong lady.  There was a wedding and 3 grandchildren that were born after her diagnosis.  This was also her second round of cancer. 

My daughter in law’s family is very, very close.  It is remarkable to see three daughters who are close to each other and have a great relationship with each other.  They have been close all their lives which tells you something about their parents. 

Then it is wonderful to see the closeness they had with their parents.  But it is their parents’ relationship to each other that is remarkable.  I have said over the past few years that their marriage was what marriage was meant to me – in sickness and in health, no matter what, they were there for each other.  They were each other’s best friend and their love was contagious if you were around them.  My daughter in law’s father was devoted to his wife.  He took care of her and they were constantly together, living their lives as fully as possible. 

I will miss my daughter in law’s mom as we were grandmas together.  It was also her remarkable mothering that gave me such a lovely and loving daughter in law. 

Life goes on, and it will eventually return to a new normal for my daughter in law’s family, but in the meantime life is a little hard. 

Tomorrow I will be starting a series on living off the resources that you have in your home starting with what I have in my freezer.