I stuck to my list - now what???

mcpegNovember 5, 2007

Honestly did stick to my grocery list and still OUCH!

Only buying what is truly needed. Changing modern cleaners back to the old basics that are less toxic and cheaper (they also tend to go a long way).

Told DH we are eating down our small freezer before I stock up again - I don't want last seasons meats etc popping up next summer.

Seriously eating what is in the house and not what I fancy at the moment while doing the groceries (major pocket burner).

It's still expensive. I even look for new clothes at the thrift shops and for other items.

Oddly enough, now that we have made it to the other side of debt (it took us a good 8 years), I am really scared to let go of my hard earned new habits of being frugal and debt free.

Debt scares me and so does wastage. It's so easy to go there. I use cash or debit only. Credit card is saved for emergencies or holiday expenses (which is immediately paid off once home).

This is so frustration. Next year I'm turning more of my yard into mixed flower/veggie beds to save on some groceries.

Have I missed anything?

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Dress warm and turn down the thermostat...but I'll bet you already did that as much as you could with your Mom there.

I'm waiting on some wool socks bought off of Ebay.

A while back GF told me at one point this year, they had NO money...absolutely 'no' money, and had to eat what they had for a few weeks. I had to laugh at some of the weird things she put together for a meal. They made it though, and probably used up some things that needed used up.

I'm debating on going to town and buying one of those oil filled radiator style heaters. It's going to be cold enough these next few days, that I'm going to have to do something. I hate turning on the furnace...my propane is at 15% and I don't want to buy any for a while.

Sue...who hates going to town

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Every February,my husband and I defrost our freezer. Last time, we found so much meat in there we vowed to buy no more until it was used up. Got a little boring, but it's a way to save money.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 5:59PM
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Yep, thermostat is always turned down at night (better sleep too!) - turn up the heat when we need to take the chill out - usually keep it at 68 degrees during the winter. We do wear warmer clothes in the house during the winter.

Wool socks! I'm ex-military. Wool socks are a life saver - no kidding. Nothing worse than cold feet. If your feet sweat some would wear thin cotton socks and then the wool socks. Even when we were going through wet woods and our boots would get wet, those wool socks kept our feet warm. Also have invested in a couple of wool sweaters - another lifesaver when waiting on a bus at -30 with wind.

Always a good idea to get to the bottom of things - freezers, fridge, pantry.

As for having 'no money' - I've been there when in debt. Now I am trying to incorporate that into a weekly 'make ends meet' dinner. It's amazing the stuff I find around here.

Things we use on a regular basis we stock up on when a sale is on but we still have to watch our space.

I'm all ears for any other suggestions that I might have missed.

I freeze leftovers for interesting microwave lunches at a later date.

I recycle blankets to use instead of batting in my quilts.

Thanks for your comments.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 7:30PM
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Mcpeg another way to use those leftovers - My Dad used to make what he called "Slumgullion Soup." Use all the frozen leftovers and lots of ketchup and cook quickly. It is very tasty.

Chemocurl we have one of those oil filled radiator style heaters and we really like it. The propane is only going to continue to go up from now until May. Some people prepay, when the price is down in the summer, and have the company to hold the propane until they need it. Some companies have started requiring immediate delivery now though. So one might have to negotiate a little.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 2:20PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Well, I got the little radiator. It has a switch for off, 600, 900, or 1500 watts, and a dial for the heat setting...warm to hot. Even when I have it set to off, and the heat setting at the lowest, the light remains ON. Is that right?
I didn't think it put out much heat on the 1500 watt setting, but seems better at the 900 setting. I'm wondering if the light staying on is 'right' or not, and if the whole dial thing might be bad. I have emailed the company to ask about it. It is a Lakewood 6500.

I miss summer fill each year, and usually don't want to fill until I just have to. I'm hoping the 15% will last maybe until late Dec without it getting dangerously low if the temps stay mild. I use gas for cooking and the clothes dryer. I'm alone so I don't have to heat much area, and I like the bedroom cold anyway. I'm at that age where I have a built in heater much of the time it seems.

I cleaned the pantry today...had to pitch a couple of things, and I'll be eating up some odd combinations for a while to get the oldest stock used up. I really need to watch the dates more and pay attention to rotating stuff.

I'm waiting until the middle of winter to clean the freezer. I honestly cannot remember when it was ever done...if ever. I see lots of frost caked on the sides at the bottom. I'll box the stuff and put it outside until the freezer totally thaws.
Sue...an awful procrastinator

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 6:10PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

There was no subject line on the email, so I almost deleted it.

The light on is normal. The switch light is what we call a pilot light. It's an indicator to let the consumer know that the unit is plugged into a working outlet.
Your heater is normal.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 6:13PM
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I did the big pantry clean out a few weeks ago. Unfortunately we had a little mouse problem. But i am happy to say that has been solved. The bad part is your left cleaning the pantry which i would love to just trash everything. After going through it all i through away alot of food. I didnt realize that i had so much expired food. I need to stop buying things that i dont really use. However there was alot of food that is sold in group packages. So when you try a new recipe and dont like it, you may be stuck with the remaining ingrediants in your pantry.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 7:31PM
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Ninos, if you buy a group lot of an item and don't like it, could you drop it in a foodbank/charity box next time you go out rather than put it in the pantry at all? Just wondering.

I'm thinking of saving money at xmas, even though I'd like to change the style of my xmas tree. I want to go with a more tradition old style tree. Thinking of checking out the charity shops for small kids toys to hang. This will be a gradual project over the next year. Anyone have any ideas on this one? Think frugal!

We all seem to be pantry challenged. And the freezer I usually 'clean out' once the outside temps go below freezing - everything goes outside in big tubs and gets covered with blankets. I use a blow dryer to quickly melt the ice and can clean the freezer out in now time.

Thanks for the tips - I am taking notes!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Cleaning/updating a freezer is easy at any time of year.

Unplug the freezer, a couple of hours before you want to clear and clean it.

Bring cooler tubs used for picnics and get enough large cardboard boxes to hold slightly more stuff than is in the freezer, line the boxes with coats, blankets, sleeping bags, etc. if you choose.

But I figure that it's not really necessary, for it won't be out of the freezer long, and as long as there's a bit of ice remaining in each item when it goes back in, it's fine.

The insulation makes sense environmentally, though, as the stuff going back in fully frozen will mean that the freezer won't need to run as long to get everything back down to the proper temperature.

Maybe label them according to product - veggies, meat, baked goods, ready-to-eat, milk (if you live in the country and milk is an essential, some of that may save a trip to town (unless you just HAVE to go to get cigarettes) ... plus I like to buy some extra when, occasionally, it comes on at about half price: a few small chunkies as it thaws don't bother me, and a bit of shaking reduces them somewhat).

If some of the stuff isn't dated, you may want to write with felt marker an approximate date on it as to when it may have been put into the freezer. Having cleared off the ice and dried a spot on the item first.

You may want to inventory it, as well - if you don't have one, I recommend it. If you do, check each item against yur inventory.

After the stuff is all stored in boxes, cover each box with a coat, blanket, etc.

Clear off the frost, a quick way to do it is let the exhaust from the vacuum cleaner flow down into it.

Clean the freezer.

Let all of the liquid residues on the surfaces dry.

Replace the food, storing each kind of food in a different location.

Make a map of where all the stuff is, possibly a list of each item, and the date you think that it went into the freezer.

Where you have several items of one type of thing, make that number of boxes behind the name, with room for two dates in each box. Put the date that you think that each item of the stuff went into the freezer at the top of each relevant box.

When you remove an item for use, write that date into the bottom of the relevant box and cross it off if you choose.

When you add more stuff, make a new box at the appropriate location for each item, and put the date that it was added at the top of the box, leaving room in the bottom of the box for the date of removal.

If you have different sizes of the same item, you may want to have separate lines including name of product and size, then boxes for each size.

Simple, huh?

Have yourselves a great day or so before the weekend, then the weekend.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 2:59PM
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Another thing to do is to carry your coupons if you use them, carry a little cash, and keep an eye out for bargains anywhere. I was doing a survey in a Target store for my job and happened by an endcap with a special on jar gravy, about 30¢ cheaper than the sale price at the grocery store. Grabbed a half dozen and brought with me. They also had box potatoes and stuffing mix far cheaper than the grocery store. It was a temporary price reduction or something. I've seen things on clearance and you could have used a coupon with it. I'm not a big coupon user and realize that often they cost more but when used properly they can help a bit. But it goes to show that you never know when you'll run into a bargain. Plus you need to know your prices. OK, I saved $1.80. Big deal? No. Did I feel good about it? Yep.

And yes, I could make my own gravy at home, but when I come home tired, stiff and sore, and want something hot without too much trouble, there's the shortcuts to take.... one of which is to grab some frozen meatballs or meatloaf, dump in a jar of gravy, some instant spuds, a can of veggie and in a matter of minutes a "comfort food" meal that sure beats the drive through window.

Keep on huntin' dem bargainz!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 5:06AM
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chemocurl, I just wanted to say be VERY careful about letting your tank go too low. Friends of ours just about killed their furnace by letting their oil (not propane, but I bet the problem would be similar) go so low that the furnace was forced to suck the sediment out of the tank instead of actual oil. It was a seriously expensive problem to fix.

But you probably knew that already! :)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 4:23PM
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Chemocurl, you have mentioned a couple of times about tank fill. We can have as little as 50 gal. delivered without a delivery fee. We never order a fill, but only order up to 100 gal. Is that possible with you?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 6:48PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I do know that if I run out that the furnace pilot will go out, and the gas delivery man will have to light it, because he 'has' to light and check it...and there 'will' be a charge for that as well.

I just checked and it is still 15% and temps are mild and I haven't turned the furnace on at all yet. I can give it at least another few weeks or more, and then the bill won't hit for another few weeks.

Our propane gas company moved a few years back and changed a few things. They used to give a 10% discount if you paid on the spot...no more though. I don't think they will fill it to anything less than 80-85% (that is the max fill for propane) without there being an extra charge. They are trying to get the most bang for their buck from the delivery truck, and I can certainly relate to that.

I've just had so many unexpected big expenses these past few months...I hate feeling strapped....don't know when I ever felt that way. I'm expecting a ship to come in Nov 30th too, so that will help things, and I just thought of another ship I can check on.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 4:17PM
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