Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday, How a pantry saves money

 Having a well stocked pantry can save you so much money on your grocery budget.  We all have to eat right? Keeping a spare or two of all the foods you use on a regular basis, will keep your grocery budget to a minimum.  This is a habit I developed long ago as groceries were the only place I could really stretch my dollar.
I never had a budget for groceries, I only had bills to pay.  Once the bills were paid I would take what was left for groceries.  There was usually nothing left and also a few bills not paid.. So how did we eat?  The pantry and something we have always called the storage.  Now I am not talking long term storage like Wheat, I am talking about everyday meal things.  Items you would need to throw together a fast meal for a family.

I think the first thing one needs if you want to build a working pantry for yourself/ family is a list of meals you make on a regular basis.  Think about what your family likes. Think about meals that you have cooked in the past month.  Jot those down and determine what is needed for each of those meals.

Pantries consist of different sections.

1. staples or baking needs
2. canned goods, jarred items, boxed items, dry goods

3. fresh staples that keep well  unrefrigerated
4. fridge items
5. freezer items
6. paper/personal items

Each of these sections plays an important part in building a working pantry.

1.  Under staples and baking needs would be:
flour, sugar,soda,salt,baking powder, cocoa,cinnamon, pepper, brown and powdered sugar, molasses, corn syrup, corn starch, cooking oil, shortening, corn meal, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.

2. Canned food, jarred items, boxed items, dry goods
Anything your family uses from a can, a box,or a jar goes here.Canned soups, vegetable, beans, meats,fruits,boxed mixes, cake mixes ,rice a roni, again what your family eats. Jarred or bottled items  such as condiments, pickles, jams, peanut butter.  Dried beans,legumes, rice, cereals. Lots and lots of pasta.  
Canned goods that will be added to my pantry

3. Fresh staples unrefrigerated
Potatoes, onions,some fruits are my main items that are used often and when used regularly do not
spoil.  Hardy garden vegetable like squash also store well.

4.Fridge items
carrots, celery, salsa, sour cream, butter, margarine, milk, juice, cheeses condiments used in cooking. Fresh vegetables and fruits.

5. freezer items
meats,breads, baked goods, vegetables, baked goods, meals made ahead.

6. paper/personal items
toilet paper, paper towels, bags paper /plastic, tinfoil, wax paper, parchment paper,napkins, shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, dish soap, personal soap, feminine needs, razors, dental hygiene needs.

Once you get a working pantry established you should have most of the ingredients you need to make any meal you want.  This will take time.  Most people don't have the money to go out and stock a full pantry.  But you can slowly build one up a few items at a time.

Last week canned goods such as beans (all kinds) canned corn and green beans, tomato/chicken noodle soup were on sale at what I would say is the lowest they will go.  So I ordered several cases of things we will eat this next year.  My grocery budget for the week was $81.49 all spent stocking up canned goods, I also bought milk, and peanut butter.  This was  more than I usually spend at one time, but it was a stock up shop I won't need to go to the grocery store again until I run out of milk or (diet coke) :)               

Here is how the pantry principle works to your advantage.

      Mrs. Gunderson needs to feed her family dinner.  She doesn't have any ideas or much on hand so she runs to the local store.  Here she buys a lb. of ground beef, spaghetti noodles, a jar of sauce, a loaf of french bread, a bag of salad greens, a small jar of Parmesan cheese and prays there is still some dressing at home. Now this is all based on prices of house brands not on sale.  She doesn't have time to shop, it is 5 o'clock and her family is home and hungry.

ground beef  $3.99
noodles         $1.49
sauce            $2.19
bread            $1.99
salad             $1.99
cheese          $ 2.99  (will have left overs)

She gets home and slaps this together only to realize one jar of sauce is not enough, but she makes do.  Total spent for this meal with tax, over $15.00 and there was not enough sauce.

     Mrs. Gustafson needs to feed her family dinner.  She pulls a lb. of burger out of the freezer, grabs an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a can of tomato paste, a can of chopped tomatoes, noodles, spices,cheese, a head of romaine lettuce a carrot and what ever veggies she has in the fridge to doll up the salad. If she has time she can earlier in the day set out a bread sponge for two huge loaves of french bread, if she doesn't she can pull a loaf or a 1/2 loaf out of the freezer. 

     While the hamburger is thawing in the micro wave, she dices the onion and minces the garlic, and blooms them in a pan with a couple of teaspoons of oil,  buy the time the burger is thawed, she has started a pot of water well salted to boil.  She adds the burger browns it and when the water is boiling, she adds the noodle to the pot.  Then as she is bringing the pasta back to a boil she adds the can of tomato paste to her onions, and burger,  she browns the paste,  adds the appropriate amount of water and the can of tomatoes and spices to taste. Her bread is in the oven or she has sawed the loaf she pulled out of the freezer in 1/2 and is thawing it in the micro wave.  She chops up some romaine, peels and slices a carrot, adds a few cucumber bits and a few pieces of fresh tomato. Dinner is served.

ground beef  $.99 bought on sale as she happened buy the meat counter
noodles         $.50  bought on a loss leader sale
sauce paste   $.39   "  "      "  
tomatoes      $.50   "   "     " 
lettuce          $.50  bought in a three pack for $2.99 she uses 1/2 a head
carrot/veg     $.25 this is a high estimate
bread            $.50 home made but even if she bought a loaf the meal would still be only $6.13
Parmesan     $.50  purchased on sale with a coupon in a large container.

Cost of meal $4.13 and there was plenty of sauce. If she was really organized and smart she would bake two large loaves of french bread and freeze one.  She would also quadruple the sauce and freeze ahead for 3 other meals.  If she canned her own tomatoes and grew her own lettuce she could save even more at certain times of the year.

     I can assure you  that in the time it took Mrs. Gunderson to drive to the store, park, run through said store,stand in line at the check out, drive home and open that jar of sauce  Mrs. Gustafson will be sitting down with her family.

If you want to save money and stretch your budget you must have a pantry.

Mom's awake and I am off to the races.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while in the negative.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday, Money saving Madness!

    Good day to all of you on this crisp clear fall morning.  The sun is shining and it is beautiful outside.  This is God's way of saying, " Life is grand".  I wish I could spend more time outside in this glory,but alas one must work.

     We had a busy weekend, between sewing and cleaning and daughter,husband and baby.  It was so much fun seeing the grandson.  He is so funny and cute.  After I finished a few things in my shop I cleaned the entire house.  I did not deep clean.  I really tried not to get too over involved in the cleaning.  I did not have a give the mouse a cookie melt down, which as you know is apt to happen when I start anything.  I really tried to control myself.

This is a picture just outside our frontroom window.  The oak tree is ablaze.  I just love this tree.  Actually I really do love trees.  I even suffer from tree envy.  Hubs will not let me plant any more trees in the yard.  "sniff"

Soon the Halloween things will be down (I just turn the pumpkins) It seems hard to believe that October is almost over.  I purchased the two pictures at an artists shop in Fredricksburg.  I just loved them.  I remove pictures and replace during the holidays.  Keeps the room from getting overwhelmed.

     This last week was so hectic mostly with sewing and mom's A-fib spell.  But I stuck to my money saving ways.  Here are a few things I did this week to stay frugal.

1. Cleaned and decluttered my summer and winter clothes (too much leads to waste)
2. Cooked all meals from scratch at home except for one meal .  Which was expensive but made mom so happy so worth it.
3. When daughter called to say they were on there way in and asked if we had eaten, I quickly grabbed two bags of my homemade spaghetti sauce out of the freezer and thawed them in hot water.  Then I threw together a triple batch of rolls.  One dozen made into french buns, and two dozen cinnamon rolls. Before we would have gone out.
4.Stuck to only buying loss leaders at grocery store. We spent $67.13 on groceries this last week.
Two roasts with 50% off stickers.  4 whole chickens at .67 a pound.  Cod marked 50% off, apples and grapes and .69 a pound. Then a few needs like celery, milk etc.
5. Made three dinners and desserts for a bed rest mom, all from scratch with pantry and freezer ingredients.  Bless others
6. Used 50% off coupons on everything at Jo Ann's.

7. Traded for another jar of honey.  This now makes a gallon of honey this year. Honestly,  I do a little mending job and the guy brings me a quart of honey. I feel like I am taking advantage of him.  I use honey when I make bread.

8. Pulled all of the harvest from garden.  Still have some potatoes in the ground, but when I clean the garden I will find them.  We will have squash for months.
9. all food scraps from cooking went to chickens who are only giving us 2 eggs a day now.
10. Went with mom to her church pumpkin patch and bought a very over priced pumpkin but wrote it off as a donation to church.  As much as I have complained about pumpkins I will actually grow some next year.  I will use it to make pies and freeze what is left over for later.  Still cheaper than buying canned pumpkin.
11. touched up my own roots to save on a hair color.

     What have you done this week that is frugal?  Did you do anything unusual?  Not like eat bugs unusual, but different to save money and not waste?

Tomorrows post is on the pantry principle.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday, Finally!

 Dress back with key hole
 I just seem to forget how much time creative sewing takes.  Alterations are one thing. but when you add to a garment it is time consuming.  I FINALLY finished this dress at 1:30 in the morning last night.  I thought I would never get done.  Many wedding dresses for a long time have been strapless. A strapless dress is easier to make and to alter, but not every one can wear one with ease.  This bride (who is beautiful) is very thin but also busty.  Now she could have worn this dress fine the way it was, but her bust was out on a platter so to speak.  (this is something I have never had to deal with, sigh)  She was uncomfortable.  So big mouth ( who will remain anonymous) suggested an illusion neckline.  This would allow the front of the dress to be pulled up tighter and make her feel more secure. So I had to dig in my wedding dress stash and find a lace that would match the color and start cutting out motifs. 
Dress front     

     This dress also needed to be shortened .  That means the lace off the bottom has to be carefully removed in pieces and brought up on the dress.  Very time

consuming and delicate work.  But it is done!

     Daughter #2 called and said she was coming down with her husband and son as son-in-law has a slew of new uniforms that need to be altered.  My house is a wreck and I mean a wreck. So I need to get my butt in gear and get to cleaning said wreck.

    I still have a large dog/fox costume to cut out and another formal to hem and another that needs major work, but they will have to wait until I have a clean house.

     Crap I hate stress cleaning it always leads the mouse to a cookie.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday, plenty of sleep needed

     This was me last night.  I actually got over 10 hours of sleep.  That was after three days of less than 5 hours a night.  I was dragging. 

     The shop was crazy busy yesterday.  I need to take mom to some places yesterday and that used 2 hours of my time.  I don't mind as she has to get out and get things done also.  But I had so much to do.

     Today I have to finish a wedding dress and get another super hard formal done to stay on track.  I also have a fox costume (just the body) to cut out and complete.  Then there is a black formal gown that needs to be altered before Halloween that will be a bear to do.  I feel bad as my house is such a wreck and even though I have cooked every day I have not cleaned up.  Hubby has been trying to help, which is nice.

     I can do this I know I just have to really stay on task.  The good nights sleep will help tremendously.  Last night after my last client left at 8:30 pm I felt like I was in a fog.

     We are taking an older couple from church out to dinner tonight.  We have not taken them out in over a year.  It will be spendy but that is okay, charity never faileth plus I won't have to cook or make a mess of the kitchen and right now that is worth is to me. Also we will take mom and maybe she will find something she likes to eat as everything I cook is too something.  Poor darling.

     I feel so rested and good right now, like I can take on the world.  Well I know I can take on a wedding dress!  So here I go....

Have a great and productive day staying positive while in the negative.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thursday, Looking at the numbers

     So I am looking at my progress And I am getting excited for next month.  I usually don't like to look forward too much as I feel when you are in debt you live too much for the future and don't enjoy the now.  The now is important.  It is so easy to wish away time for a better day.

     But look at those #'s I will break $50,000 on the house with this next payment!  I am getting closer.  With the studio cc paid off by a loan from mom, I can really get rolling on my debt.  My concentration right now is the house loan which stands at over $$8500.00 and the Studio loan at $13,500.00.

Both of these loans take about $850.00 a month out of our budget.  The House loan stands at about $350.00 a month.  If I can get that paid off in the next year I will be able to add that to the budget to pay off the cc loan.

     I cannot believe this is happening.  Just freeing up money to snowball to the next debt really works.  It is exciting to see it go down, down, down.  Even though it is a slow process it is happening and I am so happy about this progress.

     My goal to save $3000.00 is 1/3 of the way there, and when that is accomplished I will pay off another bill, and keep going. I hate to say that paying off debt is exciting, but it is so nice to see it gone.

     All of the money saving and frugal ways although each is small are paying off.  I am blessed with work and I have a goal.  This can be done.  I just have to be careful and stay on track.  Pray nothing breaks down that HAS to be fixed.

     I need to take mom to a few places today and I have a lot of sewing to do.  I am ignoring my house except for meals and a quick pick-up here and there.

Things to be done today:

1. some laundry Nope
2. take mom to get new glasses and to the bank Done
3. hem 4 pairs of pants Done
5. replace 2 zippers Did one
6. mend a pair of pants Nope
7. Alter 4 pageant dresses, they are smaller alterations Done
8. alter a bridesmaid dress Done
9. cut out and place lace on a wedding dress (bride will be here after 5)It was ready for fitting
10. Rip and baste a very hard formal (client here at 8 tonight) nope
11. Make dinner done
So among other things, like life, I have a major load of work to accomplish today.  By doing the work I make money.  When I make money I can pay off debt.

Have a great and prospective day staying positive while you are in the negative.