1. Shopping: I spent $4.46 on my Youtube shopping haul (see below). Later in the week we again stopped at Kroger to pick up some Free Friday items that I didn't have time to look for during my first trip. Some of the employees had set up some free photo ops (see picture above!) that we took advantage of. Sometimes the little things make life a whole lot more fun.
There are a few ways we could have saved money on our patio dinner.
1) 50% could have been cut automatically on the meat, had we just used some from our freezer. As it was, the grill idea was spontaneous and we didn't have time to thaw anything out.
I do still plan on buying chicken for grill meals, because my free spent-hen/rooster meat is much more suitable for the Instant Pot or crock pot. However, we paid $1.79/lb. for the chicken breasts, and I know I can get thighs for $0.68/lb. at Walmart.
2) 30-50% could have been saved on the potatoes by purchasing regular brown potatoes instead of red ones. I wanted to see if the red ones tasted better on the grill. We didn't like the flavor of the grilled red potatoes as much as the peeled, grilled brown potatoes, so that will save money on future grill meals.
As we get more comfortable with the grill, I would like to have some regular "company" meal ideas that I can plan ahead for and fit into our normal grocery budget. Even if I can just do sides and dessert from pantry items, that would be a great start. There are a lot of ways to save when hosting a meal, but many of them get blown to pieces if the meal is a last-minute affair. Planning, even for unexpected things, is so important!
Total grocery spending for the month of July was $38.07. That's less than half of our normal budget, but spending typically drops during the spring and summer months thanks to free milk, eggs, produce and yearly "cleaning out the freezer". I know that the extra $40.00 from July will be spent in November when those fabulous Thanksgiving sales roll around and I purchase large amounts of butter, flour, sugar and other staple pantry items.
2. Garden: harvested cucumbers, calendula and lavender from the garden.
3. Made yogurt.
4. Line-dried one load of laundry.
5. Received an Ebates check in the mail ($31.00) and also returned some recycle-able cans worth $7.90. I really like Ebates (affiliate link) and pop cans because they are literally free money. If you're just buying household items it may take a while for Ebates rebates to add up, but I also try to get rebates whenever I purchase wedding/baby/Christmas gifts. What really adds up? My husband's business purchases. Two weeks ago he wanted me to buy a tool for him on Ebay (he doesn't have an account). It only took 30 seconds for me to go through Ebates before purchasing, and I earned $1.00 for doing so. I am going to try putting an Ebates widget on his office computer and see if my earnings go up at all. :)
6. Collected more cans on various walks. Like using Ebates, it only takes a few extra minutes during every 30 minute walk (that I'm doing anyway) to pick up cans. In MI, most of the pop and alcoholic beverage cans are worth $0.10 each. On an average walk, I can find about five cans. At four walks per week, that's an effortless $8.00 per month that I can earn. Which is pretty cool.
7. Got some free all-natural spa items! I babysat for a friend the other week and she traded me product (she sells Lemongrass Spa stuff) for babysitting.
So, that is really about it for the week. I spent a lot of time weeding strawberries, cleaning house and working on book marketing stuff. The weeding and cleaning hasn't paid off yet, but my book royalty earnings were the largest they've been all year. I'm not ready to give actual numbers, but... I made almost enough in July to buy the new Instant Pot I've been drooling over!
(Yes, I already have an Instant Pot, and I love it. But my 6-quart model doesn't make yogurt, and the much-wished-for 8-quart one does. Plus, IPs are like crock pots... it never hurts to have an extra one.)
How did you do last week?