Monday, February 29, 2016

February 2016 Expense Report

This is a review of every penny we have spent in February. 
If there is a category that you don't see, it is explained Here .

Groceries                  $ 00.00              Food Only

Electric & Natural Gas    185.32             Heating Season

Cable TV, Int,Telephone  141.41             Rate Increase

Netflix                              7.99


UPS Shipping                   12.48            Gift

Medical                         450.87             Drs,Drugs and Ins.

Donation                       150.00             Fire Dept.

Gasoline                         12.90

Restaurant & Take Out     35.94

BJ's Membership              25.00             1 Year Membership

Household Goods            252.09             Non Food

Gifts                                  9.66 

Household Maintenance   378.17

Total Expenses             $ 1661.83

I am very happy to report that we spent absolutely nothing on food to cook at home this month. Not a penny! We ate from our food stockpile and went without anything we didn't have. We still have a large stockpile in the pantries and freezers so I am hoping to spend as little money as possible in March.

The electric and gas bill was unavoidable since it is winter. We have a larger one due next month but then I hope they will be on the downswing. We had a small increase in the cable bill.

The shipping charge was to ship my granddaughter's Valentines gift.

Our medical is way down this month because of fewer doctor appointments and no dentist appointment.

We  pay a hefty charge on our property tax bills to keep our volunteer fire department going. However, they had to replace a fire truck. They had already raised $400,000. but sent out a letter to  everyone in town asking for help to raise the other $150,000. So the $150. donation was sent to help with that. They are a great group of people who dedicate their free time to us. It was the least we could do.  

We did very little driving this month. Between that, prices being down and some gas points, we spent very little. 

We went out for a very nice dinner around Valentine's Day. We used $45.00 in gift cards but still paid $23.00 in cash for the bill including a nice tip. The rest of the money was for some take out.

We purchased a Groupon to buy the BJ's Membership. Our Sam's Club membership is expiring. BJ's was a better deal and is closer to my home. We will be taking the Groupon to BJ's to get our membership before it expires.  

Household goods was high this month because our vacuum cleaner died and we needed to replace it. We also spent  $30. on salt for our water softener.

Gifts were low this month because I used up some reward points.

Household maintenance was $ 29.85 for our Guardian alarm monitoring and $ 348.32 paid in advance for fertilizing and other treatments for our lawn care this spring, summer and fall.  We save 5% by paying in advance.

One category that is missing this month is haircuts. Neither one of us got a haircut this month. Hubby didn't get one and needs one desperately. I am growing my layers out so Hubby or a friend will just trim it for me. I will be coloring my own hair every other month with on sale hair color. My hairdresser just kept raising her prices every month so I decided she was a luxury I didn't need.

We are very happy with the low expense totals this month. We are going to try to keep them as low as possible in March also. It won't be easy because our yearly homeowners insurance is due. But we will do our very best!

We were able to invest $ 5,500. this month which makes our investment total for 2016 - $ 10,500. We are on a roll towards that $50,000. goal. It will not be easy to get there but if we stay commited to spending as little as possible, I am starting to believe that we can reach it. 

Have you added up your expenses for the month to see where you stand? If not, why not? You can't get to your goals, if you don't  have a clue as to how much you are spending. Then you have to commit to cutting costs to reach them. It's not easy but in the long run, it is the  best thing you can do to pay off your debt and increase your net worth.

I want all of you to be debt free and happily retired with money not being a worry.

     

Friday, February 26, 2016

My Favorite Go To Frugality Books

Hubby and I will be married 49 years soon. Along the way we have learned a lot about frugality. In the early days, we learned by frequenting the library. There was no internet which has now made it so much easier to  research whatever you need to know.

However, I still love the feel of a book in my hands so we still use the library. We have collected quite a library of books that we knew we would read over and over again. Even if we only look in the index for exactly what we need to brush up on.

We also both have kindles and read a lot of frugality books and cookbooks by using them. I love being able to look at depression era recipes when I am trying to save money on the food budget. I have also collected many depression era books for my library.

Where is the library? It's a huge bookcase that I keep in my pantry in the basement. It is just brimming with self-help books on frugality. I am going to be cleaning it out soon and either selling or donating the ones I need. I actually believe that I have more of these kinds of books than our local library. So perhaps I will donate them so others can enjoy them.

When we moved cross country 6 years ago, I reduced the number that we had by half and donated them to the library in the city we lived at the time. We didn't want to pay a fortune to have Atlas move them. They weigh a ton. But  a lot of them I did move and I think I am finally ready to let them go.

When I go through them I will pull out my favorites and just keep those. Pictured above are the ones that I know I will keep forever. They are my go to "Bibles on Frugality".

I use these books over and over again. When I have a large chunk of free time, I will read them again and again. This weekend for the first time in a long time, we have no company coming, no errands to run, and no major cooking or cleaning to do. So I will be spending the entire weekend reading. I will be starting with " The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn. It is my very favorite followed by "1001 Ways to Cut Your Expenses by Jonathan Pond. 
If you need motivation to cut your debt or save your money, these are two great books to start with.

Changing the subject, Hubby and I will  be having turkey sandwiches for lunch and homemade turkey soup for dinner. Overnight I made the broth in the crockpot. This morning I strained the broth and picked out the meat bits to go back into the broth. Right now the broth is cooling in a bowl in my freezing garage. About noontime, I will bring it in and  take the layer of fat off of it, add my veggies and turkey back in and cook it on high until I add the rice an hour or so before we eat. We are so looking forward to a nice bowl of soup. So these meals will bring our total to 4 for each of us from this turkey.

I will post again on Monday with our February Expense Report and how much we saved and invested this month. Enjoy your weekend!
       

Thursday, February 25, 2016

How To Eat Out For Less

Over the many years of our marriage, Hubby and I have eaten out many, many times. As we have aged, we eat out even less than we used to. The main reason for this is that most restaurant meals are not very healthy. Many restaurants load their sauces up with butter to add to the flavor. We also believe that our kitchen is cleaner than most restaurants and we know that our hands are clean when we prepare food at home.

That said over these years we have learned how to eat out for less. So today I will be  sharing some of them with you.

When we know that we are going out to eat at a restaurant, the first thing we do is look at the menu online. We can see if there are any specials on certain nights that might be a good deal. We also look online to see if we can buy a discounted gift card to that restaurant by using one of the gift card purchasing sites like Raise or Gift Card Granny. We look to see if there are any promo codes to make that gift card purchase even cheaper. We also keep an eye on Ebay and Amazon for discounted gift cards. Many times in December you can find gift card deals with bonus gift cards on the deal like I did.  We also look for any coupons to defray the cost at that restaurant. And since we are seniors, many restaurants will give you a discount or give you a card to  get a discount every time you frequent their restaurant. 

I love Applebees. As an example we purchased $100. worth of gift cards and got $20. worth as a bonus. Hubby and I each belong to their Golden Apple Club so we get 10% off our entrees every time we eat there. So it is a win- win. If you order To Go, you can skip the tip and have your drink or beer at home.

When we eat out, Hubby and I usually each enjoy 1 draft beer. Many times the draft beers are two for one so we only pay for one of the beers. Always watch for these kind of deals. If Hubby and I don't want a beer on that day, we will just each order a glass of water.

When we get to a restaurant, we always look for a menu board as you first enter. It usually lists the specials of the day and they can be great bargains. If there are any drink specials, they will usually be listed also. When the waiter or waitress comes to the table, always ask them if there are any specials that are not on the menu board.

So many restaurants entree portions these days are huge and are more than Hubby and I can eat. So if we are not real hungry, we will order appetizers for a lot less than entrees cost. Some restaurants will let you share a meal. But if we do order entrees, we always bring about half of it home for dinner the next night. 

Many of the restaurants we go to have a night where appetizers are served free at the bar. So it is a good time to buy a drink and enjoy their food offerings. 

If you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary be sure to let the server know. Most places will give you a free dessert. It is always enough for Hubby and I to share. 

If you have children, go out to eat when your restaurant is having a kids eat free night. When it isn't free, ask for a kids menu because the meals are cheaper.

We like to eat out at breakfast once in a while because it is so much cheaper than eating out for dinner. We also do lunch rather than dinner many times. If you can swing the time, go when there are early bird specials. You will spend a lot less. 

If you want to save on fast food take out whether it be Subway or Mc Donalds, make a point of going only when coupons are available or when Subway is having a deal of the month like all classic subs are $6.00. If you have a reward card which gives you points every time you get food there, check to see if you have enough points to pay for the sub. When Hubby and I score a free sub, we split it for lunch.
Last month when I treated my grandson and us to McDonalds, I got a survey coupon on my receipt. I did the survey and two weeks later I picked up 6 free chicken McNuggets for lunch. We cut them up on a salad and added the 2 ranch dressings they gave us. Many times we just order off the $1.00 menus at the fast food restaurants.

Coffee I can't tell you about because I think we have purchased coffee at a coffee shop maybe twice since we got married. We drink our coffee at home or bring it with us in the car.

If we buy bagels at some place like Bruegger's or Manhattan Bagels, we make sure we have a coupon for buy 1/2 dozen, get 1/2 dozen free. We also like those kind of coupons when Dunkin Donuts offers  them.   

If you order pizza from some place like Domino's or Pizza Hut, use a money saving coupon or ask them if them if they have a deal that day. We have never ordered a pizza from a place like this since we came back 6 years ago to the NE. We usually have homemade pizza or on sale frozen pizzas using a coupon, that we keep stockpiled in the freezer. But perhaps sometime, we will call for a delivery in the future.

If your family goes out more than we do, buy an Entertainment Book for your area or sometimes your town or city will have their own local book. The coupons in these books save you up to  50%. 

But the most important thing to do to save money is to sign up online at your favorite places to eat. Many will send you coupons or deals. Always sign up for their birthday clubs if they have them. We have scored many a free entree that way.

We always keep our restaurant menus that we have collected and any coupons in a file folder that we can quickly look through.

Bon Appetit!  

P.S. I almost forgot to tell you that we are having leftovers of the turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy and broccoli for dinner tonight. So after we eat we will be up to two meals for each us from the turkey. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How Cheap Can A Meal Be?

When we are trying to cut back on how much we spend on food, the first protein that comes to mind  is turkey. It's delicious, healthy, versatile, and cheap.

So when turkeys were on sale for $.48 a lb. last  Thanksgiving, I purchased as many as I could fit in my chest freezer. This year that number was 4. I also bought 2 brand name for $ 1.19  a lb. I cooked one of those for Thanksgiving and one for another holiday when we had invited family. Even that price is cheap for my area for poultry.  Living in the Northeast, it is the cheapest meat that I can buy per lb. Once in a blue moon, I can find chicken legs that cheap but there is not much meat on the ones here. So I never buy them.

The cheap $ .48 a lb. turkeys have made many meals for Hubby and I this winter. We usually have a roast turkey dinner the first night. Then we have leftovers the next night. Then we have turkey sandwiches - either cold or hot with gravy. Then I take all of the meat off the carcass and make turkey broth overnight in the crock pot. My broth is made with the browned skin and as many bones as I can fit in the pot of water. 

When the broth is done, it is used to make a big pot of soup that we will eat from for a couple of days. My soup isn't anything expensive or fussy. I just add diced celery, carrots, corn kernels and rice to all of the meat that has fallen off of the bones while making the broth. If the broth needs more flavor I add a few low sodium chicken bouillon cubes. All of those additions are cheap. I make the soup really thick. I have been making turkey soup this way for almost 49 years. When I first started making it, it was out of necessity because of my low food budget. My husband loves it and so do my grown children and their families.  So I make it every time we have a turkey and I swear that Hubby can't wait until that soup is simmering. It's his favorite way to enjoy the turkey.

The same night that I take all of the meat off of the carcass, I package it up into meal size portions, food saver them, and put them in my freezer for other meals.

In the future, I use some of the sliced meat to make turkey and stuffing casserole. Just make your stuffing and put it in a pan. Layer the turkey on top and then cover it all with turkey gravy and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes. This will usually feed us for a couple of meals. 

The diced meat is used to make turkey stir fry, turkey fried rice, turkey pot pies, and turkey ala king. You can substitute turkey for chicken in almost any recipe. At $ .48 a lb, it is cheaper than chicken in my neck of the woods. Even whole roaster chickens are $ .99 a lb. here on sale.

We pay $ 2.68 a lb. for 80% lean ground beef on sale. And believe me when I say that is is the worst ground beef that I have purchased. They barely take the time to grind it and there is no flavor. That  is why I buy roasts when they are on sale and grind my own ground round. I can control the fat and the size of the grind. But that is a topic for another day.

Over the years, I wish I had a dollar for every time that I have heard someone say I can't cook a turkey. I would be RICH! I have heard everything from "I  don't know how" to "I am not taking the yucky insides out of a bird". Well, if the insides gross you out that much, have Hubby do it. Most parts are in a bag. Usually just the neck has to be touched. It doesn't bite. Use rubber gloves if you have to. As far as not knowing how, follow the directions on the turkey wrapper and you can't go wrong. Or look it up on the internet. It's not that hard. The hardest part for me these days is lifting it in and out of  the oven to baste it. Hubby or one of my sons if they are here will do the heavy lifting on 20+ pound turkeys. 

The other thing that I have heard is I am not cooking a big turkey dinner. Well, if it's not a holiday meal, you don't have to. Many times I just roast an unstuffed turkey and serve it with gravy, potatoes, and a vegetable. Sometimes it is just served with a vegetable. Fussing is not a prerequisite to roasting a turkey.

The turkey I am serving for dinner tonight cost me $7.55 at $.48 a lb. It weighs 15.72 lbs. I have never really figured out exactly how many meals I can get  out of a turkey. I just know that it is many and that the cost per meal has to be really low. So I will let you know each night, what we are eating and when the turkey is gone, I will figure it out. I think we all may be amazed at how just how low the cost is. Tonight, we will have turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli for just the two of us.

Saving Money Any Way I Can

I bake a lot especially cupcakes and muffins. I buy those paper wrappers to put in my muffins tins because I hate scrubbing the pan if I just bake with no liners. The cheapest I can buy them is $ .50 for a small package after coupon. That price is rare. I usually pay $1.00. 

So when I saw this deal yesterday, I jumped on it.
$ 8.98 for 48 reusable silicone baking cups is a great price. It is probably the cheapest I have ever seen.

Not having to ever pay for paper cups again made me realize that these will pay for themselves in no time. Also in my quest to get rid of paper products and reduce my garbage, these were a no brainer.

So I wanted to make sure that any of you who have been looking for a way to save and need these, knew about this deal.

I am always thinking about how I can save more money and these fit the bill.

This is not my post of the day. There will be a rather long one that I wrote earlier. It will be posted later today. I am just waiting to take a picture. But I didn't want anyone to miss out on this if you need them.  
 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Another Lower Electric and Natural Gas Bill

We try really hard to reduce our monthly bills. A lot of them are fixed so that you can't do much to change them. However the electric and gas bill you can reduce with a little effort.

I just got my bill for the past month and  compared it to the February bill last year. Today's bill was $49.72 less than last year. That is a huge reduction some of which I am sure is the warmer weather this year.

But we try really hard to reduce it every month since rates keep going up. Some of the things we do in the winter are really easy.

We turn the heat down at night and use an electric blanket to heat our bed when we first get in it. Then we turn that blanket off.

We keep the shades drawn on all windows but the south facing. Those we open when the sun is out.

We put insulated snakes made out of cloth at the bottom of both of our doors going into the basement.

When we cook in our oven or toaster oven, we open the door after we turn it off to let the heat out into the room. 

The majority of the time we enter and leave the house through our garage door which protects the house from the cold just pouring in.

We change the furnace filter monthly. We make sure that the humidifier is running. That helps the air to feel warmer.

Before the cold winter hit, we caulked all of the windows and made sure the seals on the doors were still tight. 

We try to have casseroles and soups that we can cook in our crock pot instead of using the stove. Roasts and turkeys are cooked this time of the year to heat the house. We often cook meats and rice dishes in our pressure cooker. We use the electric fry pan for pancakes and some dinner dishes. We compare to see which appliance uses less energy.

We keep throws in the  great room so they are handy if we get a chill. It beats kicking the thermostat up.

We eat more comfort foods because they seem to warm us up. 

We run the dishwasher during the day so the residual heat will help heat the house. At night time, we have the heat turned way down so it would be useless to run it then.

We never heat our basement even though there is heat run down there. All of those registers are closed.

I never let the utility company estimate our bills. They only read every other month so I read it on each off month and submit the readings.

We do most of our baking in the winter and freeze  quick breads, muffins and cookies for the spring and summer. The only thing we bake in the warm months is bread in the bread maker. I can do that on my patio table.

We shower less in the winter because our skin dries out if we shower frequently.

If you just think about the things you do I am sure you can think of many more. Why pay top dollar for some thing that you can't see or touch? Reduce those kwh's and therms and keep the money in your wallet.

I am still somewhat under the weather today and not sleeping well as you can tell by the time I am writing this. However, I have my monthly hair appointment for a cut so I am going to run a few errands while I am out doing that. I need to pick up a prescription and take some bottles back to Fast Cash. Then I am going to bring a club sandwich home from Applebee's for Hubby and I to split. I have one more Bonus Gift Card that I got free with my gift card purchase and it needs to be used up by the last day of February. We will see if the bonus card covers the cost or if I will have to use another gift card to pay the rest. The last bonus card we used was for $10.00.

By the time I do all this after being up most of the night, I'll need a nap. After that I want to do all the prep work for the dishes that I will cook to go with the 16 lb. turkey that I am going to roast tomorrow. That leaves just one more turkey to roast before the warm weather hits.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Few Extreme Frugality Things That We Have Done

Now you may not think these tips are extreme but other people will. So pick and choose what will help your bottom line accordingly:

- If you pay your monthly credit card bill in full, sign up for a card that will give you points to travel and then save those points to pay for your vacation or vacations.

- Bicycle to work. When I worked part time, I did this. If your work is close enough, you will save on gasoline but also get your exercise. If you can't ride your bike, carpool or ride the bus.

- Eat for Forty Cents a Day like Brandy does:
   Forty Cents a Day

- Buy second hand at thrift stores, curb pick (especially if you have a college near you and go the week they leave for the summer) and Craigslist.

- Learn how to do repairs and just about anything else by searching online. Lots of people have amazing videos to show you how.

- Grow a garden and eat from that garden all summer.

- For Christmas make all of your gifts. I did this a couple of years and may do it again. It was fun because you had to come up with something very creative for each person that they would love and you could make. Homemade gifts mean so much more to me.

- Use gray water or collect the water while you shower to flush toilets or water plants.

- Buy generics or store brands.

- Cook a big pot of soup or chili, etc. on Sundays and take it for your lunches all week. Now that we are retired from the  work world, I still make big pots of food and we eat it every night until it is gone.

- Make your own laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and cleaning products.

-Plug your TV's and computer electronics into power strips so that you can turn them all the way off when they are not in use. This will save you on your electricity bill.

- Turn your heat down to 62 during the day and to 55 at night.

- Make your own beer, wine or sangria.

- Make most of your clothes.

- If you don't know how to sew, you can still mend your own things when they need it.

- Make all of your own bread and rolls.

- When you get the new phone book, use the pages from the old one to wash windows and mirrors.

- Buy no clothes for a year.

- Wash out your ziploc bags and reuse but not ones that have had raw meat in them.

- Water down your hand soaps or use a foaming one.

- The longer you can keep the A/C off in the summer the better for your electric bill. If you have a hot evening, put your pillow cases in the freezer for a couple of hours.

- Reuse your tea bags for another cup and your coffee grinds for a second pot.

- Don't waste any leftovers. Be creative and turn them into another meal.

- Take navy showers. Some people I know even take cold showers. That one is a little hard for me especially in the winter.

- Give up soda. Not only is it expensive but it is very unhealthy. Drink tap water.

I am under the weather today and mostly resting. So rather than not post when I promised I would, I am leaving you with this list.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ten More Days To Go

I have ten more days to go on my no spend grocery store challenge. Can I do it?

Being totally honest with you, I wasn't sure at the outset that I could do it. But 19 days down and counting, I now know that I can. I love going to the grocery store to get a bargain. But I have realized a few things during this challenge.  First that it is a huge savings to stockpile but not if you don't eat it. Secondly, it is fun to see what kind of meals I can make with what we have. Third, that I don't need to shop as often as I was. There will always be another sale. And finally, it is a huge time saver. I have been getting so much done this month without having to make a grocery list, check for coupons, shop and then put it all away.

The bonus is that we are eating out of our freezer and pantry. The pantry items are being used before their expiration which is a good thing. The freezer needs to be emptied so that we have room for all of the great meat sales this summer and to put up all of the yummy fruits and vegetables during their peak season.

Our freezer also needs to be defrosted. It has too much ice in it which is not a good thing for keeping the electric bill low. 

So I will persist for the rest of the month. I thought that milk and some other items would be a problem. But when we ran out of milk, I just used evaporated and my dry milk. When we ran out of certain veggies, we just switched to other frozen veggies. Luckily we had purchased a bag of romaine lettuce with 3 heads the end of January. It has stayed nice and fresh and we have been making our salads with sliced eggs, carrots, onions and sometimes fruit. When the eggs were on sale for $1.00 in January, I bought 3 dozen and they have lasted us along with the dozen and half that we already had.

Since I have baking supplies, we have been able to make bread and rolls. We also have done brownies and crisps since we have cocoa and lots of canned  and frozen fruit. I will be making pumpkin bread for this weekend when my son and grandson come to visit.

I thought Hubby would be wanting a snack that we didn't have but he has been a trooper about eating what we do have. I think he is enjoying the hundreds of dollars that we are saving. He had a yearning for ice cream so I made strawberry ice cream the other night in my Vitamix blender. We both loved it.

If any of you are doing the challenge right along with me, I am sure that you are realizing the advantages. I hope you are saving  that grocery money.

Next month, I will be stocking on a couple of corned beefs and some legs of lamb. With St. Patrick's Day  and Easter coming up, they should be at their rock bottom prices. I can foresee shopping for some eggs and milk but not much else.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What Should We Buy At The Grocery Store?

What should we buy at the grocery store? Have you thought about the answer to that question? I have and my answer is as little as possible.

Do you think that is my answer because I am not grocery shopping this month? Well, if so, you would be wrong.

The reason it is as little as possible is because lots of items that are in the grocery store are cheaper in other stores.

Don't buy health and beauty aids or any other personal care items at your local grocery. They are cheaper on Amazon, in Super Walmart and Target, or at the dollar store. Unless it is a super good sale after coupon, these stores will beat your grocery prices every time.

Don't buy OTC drugs at the grocery store either. They will be cheaper at the same places.

Don't buy cleaning products. They will be much cheaper at SW, Target or the dollar store. You can also get a cheaper price at the warehouse clubs. Or make your own like I am learning to do. It is much cheaper and they are mostly chemical free.

Paper products will be cheaper at your warehouse clubs or Walmart. I buy 45 rolls of 2 ply toilet paper at Sam's Club when they run a deal for under $20.00. You can also get great deals at Super Walmart. 

Grocery stores don't always have the best prices on meats. Zaycon Fresh many times has meat and poultry prices that beat your grocery stores. Many of the warehouse clubs also have better prices. I  actually have a couple of meat markets in the area that beat my grocery store's prices. If you buy in bulk, like a 1/4 of a cow or 1/2 a pig, you can get great prices. So make sure that when you are buying meat that you are getting the best price. Don't always assume it is the grocery store.

Produce is usually cheaper at Aldi's. If you have  a produce market they also may have the best prices. Always buy what is in season. 

Eggs, butter, cheese, and milk are usually cheaper at Aldi's and your warehouse club. Sometimes you can buy eggs and milk from a local farmer cheaper.

Bread is always much cheaper at an outlet store. If you don't have one, then make your own.

Baking supplies are cheaper at Aldi's, SW, and your warehouse clubs.

Fish and shrimp are cheaper at your warehouse clubs. Aldi's has great prices on shrimp.

I buy so many items that don't have coupons and  good coupons are few and far in between. So I find that I don't coupon that much anymore. That said, I can go to any of these stores and not worry about  coupons. But I do always check my price book. Your prices in your area are different from mine so some of the choices I make to buy certain items may be different from yours.  

Always check your prices. Just don't buy everything at your local grocery store without doing some research.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Keeping It Simple

There is one thing that we have been working on  around here the past month or so. It is that we are keeping things simple. 

With me organizing every inch of our home, I don't have time to make anything over complicated. Yet I want to still be frugal. Hubby is busy working on another project.

The most important thing that is being kept simple is mealtime. We didn't want to spend any extra money to do that or buy processed or take out food.

So we are eating either oatmeal with fruit, smoothies, toast with peanut butter and homemade jam, pancakes and eggs and toast for breakfasts. The eggs are eaten no more than twice a week. It is also helping us eat down our freezer since that is where most of the homemade jam and fruit that I put up last summer resides. I am making our bread for toast which is easy in my bread maker especially since I  have homemade mixes already in baggies on my pantry shelf. So it is just a matter of dumping and adding the liquids. I have homemade pancake mix at the  ready also. The eggs we have been cooking in the microwave. I want it simple so that I can dive into my organizing first thing in the morning. 

Lunches are either healthy snacks, a salad, or an easy sandwich made from leftover chicken or turkey.

Dinners have been spaghetti with homemade sauce(in our freezer) with no meat for Hubby. The spaghetti is cooked in the microwave and the sauce is reheated there. I have spaghetti with some frozen broccoli, olive oil and parmigiano reggiano cheese that I grate. We also throw together large pots of soup that last for days. Pictured is the taco soup or tortilla soup( whatever you want to call it) that I threw together for tonight's dinner. It's just a matter of dumping a can of whole corn, 16 oz. of black beans that I had precooked and stored in the freezer, homemade chicken broth, a can of diced tomatoes, taco seasoning to taste, leftover chunked chicken, and a can of green chilies. We serve it with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, or tortillas with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top. Most of the time for dinners we eat a 5-6 ounce portion of meat, poultry, or fish with a salad or frozen vegetables. We add fruit like applesauce to our meals sometimes or have frozen fruit thawed for dessert. On Friday nights, we have been having a quick frozen pizza which I stockpiled a while ago.  When my organizing is over, I will get back to making something fussy on Sundays but otherwise we are going to keep it simple.

Simple will not only save us money because we are not buying a lot of expensive ingredients but it will be a healthier diet. The time it saves is worth a fortune to me. When I dive into a project, I go all in. If I didn't keep meals simple, I wouldn't have time to blog right now and I like talking to all of you. 

When my organizing is done, I have a million other projects on my list. I thrive on being busy. Hopefully spring will be here soon. As I look outside at a foot of snow, I wonder. However, when spring gets here I have gardens to work on and gutters to clean, etc. 

So if you are looking for more time and more money, keep it simple!