1. Shopping: I didn't do any shoppping this week, except I bought some lard for a recipe (and now that I think of it, I probably have some lard in the freezer). We ate a lot of freezer food.
One little shopping tidbit I've discovered recently is utilizing expiration dates and not buying stuff like milk and yogurt every week. Until recently, I was haphazardly buying milk wherever we were shopping that week. However, by purchasing certain items at certain places, I can shave spending little by little. Consider the scenario below.
One Month of Milk Shopping:
Week 1) 1 gallon Aldi brand @ $1.60
Week 2) 1 gallon Kroger brand @ $2.00
Week 3) 1 gallon Walmart brand @ $1.70
Week 4) 1 gallon Kroger brand @ $2.00
Total milk spending: $7.30
Week 1) 2 gallons Aldi brand = $3.20
Week 3) 2 gallons Walmart brand = $3.40
Total milk spending: $6.60 (savings of $0.70)
Week 1) 2 gallons Aldi brand = $3.20
Week 3) 2 gallons Aldi brand = $3.20
Total milk spending: $6.40 (savings of $0.90)
I can do the same thing with sour cream, yogurt, and other perishable dairy items we buy. Purchase enough to last until the item expires; not buy a new container every week. I love shopping Kroger for reduced fresh produce, reduced bacon, and other "Manager's Special" items, and I think Kroger has great sales. However, if I need to buy something on a shopping list, at retail price, it is better to do so at Walmart or Aldi. That is why staggering my shopping trips- one week here, one week there- is probably a good idea.
Also, I have discovered that if milk is close to expiring (a day or two before), I can extend the life of it by making yogurt or cheese. I'm not 100% sure why this is, but it might have to do with re-heating the milk. At any rate, the cheese or yogurt will last at least another week that way. So the milk that I bought on February 15 will probably last a good three weeks, in one form or another.
2. Returned aluminum cans: after the massive can hauls of last week, we had to empty the recyclables box. After all was said and done, we made $12.30 off of the cans. I left the plastic and glass bottles at home, so this was JUST the aluminum cans.
3. Started vegetable and herb seeds. Last year I tried buying a fancy seed starting tray, and it didn't work much better than my homemade versions. So this year I saved some plastic cookie containers (the ones that snap closed) and I will be using those as miniature greenhouses to germinate seeds. Some of my wormwood seeds are already beginning to sprout!
4. Pruned fruit trees. I also saved some of the cuttings, hopefully to start new plants in gallon jugs. Then I used some more cuttings to make a spring centerpiece for our kitchen table.
5. Watched free Amazon Prime movies. I know, watching movies is more wasteful than frugal. But at least they were free! We also played a new-to-us game this week that we got for Christmas. It's called "Score Four", and is actually a vintage 3D version of Connect 4. The game is easy and quick to play. It would also be a great travel game, I think.
Because I do so much canning, and because of my various cooking tools, the pantry was overflowing into the storage room and even under the bed. With the new cabinet, I was able to move ALL of the canned food and kitchen implements (dehydrater, both canners, etc.) into the kitchen where they actually belong, and now we have more space in the storage room.
So yay for that project being done! While not exactly "cheap" (the wood and hardware cost about $100.00), the cabinets were custom built to our own specifications and to fit our apartment, matching the existing cabinets that were there. They are very sturdy and will last for years- definitely not Ikea cupboards. Custom cabinets done by a professional would not even be an option for this apartment; we will be moving out in a few years, and don't want to invest too much money into it. Hubs built the set of cabinets in his free time, so labor costs were minimal. He keeps saying he is in construction and not woodworking, but I think he did a fine job. If you want to be frugal, marry someone with a lot of skills!
I have had a lot of fun slowly making our little house into a home. Home decorating and interior design are NOT my strong suit (um... that's why you never see pictures of my house), but I think anyone can learn, and I am trying to, little by little. It's fun.
Til next time,