1. Shopping: This week I went to our local Spartan Nash "village" store for couponing. You can see a picture of that haul below my Youtube video. I passed up several coupon deals because they were still too expensive to be worth buying (this is a frugal accomplishment in itself!).
Then we went to the Dollar Tree. I forgot how much I loved the Dollar Tree! You can see what we bought in the video below:
2. Gardening: harvested cucumbers and cut flowers from the garden. I also saved some calendula seeds to plant next year.
3. Cooking: This week was definitely a "cook to pad out the grocery supply" week. I made cheese, bread, mayo and cooked a batch of boiled eggs in my Instant Pot (affiliate link). I also used last week's Free Friday juice and some bulk gelatin powder to make jello snacks. Fun fact: you can still use months-old cabbage if it has started to get mold spots on the outer leaves. Just wash well and cut off the moldy part. The inside will most likely be pristine!
Are You Really Eating for $10.00 per Week if You Eat Out?
I like to be transparent with you guys about how often my husband and I eat out. It's something we really enjoy and can afford to do. However, I can imagine many pointed fingers accusing us of not "really" living on a budget because we eat out. Recently I was browsing a grocery forum where people were sharing their budget. One lady posted a low-ish budget. Another forum member asked if her if she was "supplementing" with takeout a few nights per week- as if she wasn't being honest about their spending. Sometimes people like this are just curious, but other times they are looking for excuses to justify their higher spending ("she only cooks six nights per week and I cook SEVEN!"). Oh dear, mommy wars at their finest.
Are Hubs and I being two-faced about our grocery spending? The reality is that most of my homemade dinners cost less than $0.75 per person. Breakfasts are far cheaper. If we really couldn't afford to eat out, it would be a simple matter of exchanging restaurant date night with an "extravagant" $3.00-4.00 in-home date night. Some great in-home date night ideas are grilling out (we currently do this every Friday, and it's just as cheap as my other meals!), homemade or frozen pizza, or some other favorite meal.
Many "newbies" at frugality have a simplified idea that cooking meals at home will solve all of their grocery budget problems. They start cooking at home more, but it's a lot of work and they are still spending twice as much as other ladies on the grocery forums. In order to REALLY save, you have to figure out which meals are cheapest for your area, and then find out how to get the cheapest ingredients for those cheapest meals. This is also a lot of work for people who are still learning, but it can reduce the grocery bill by another 25%. Making excuses will lower your grocery bill by approximately 0%.
4. Collected cans to recycle on various walks.
5. Line dried four loads of laundry.
6. Made a shoe organizer for our mud room. The organizer started out as an old (free) TV stand. It's kind of ugly and was inefficient for storing shoes, so we made some grid shelving for the bottom section. This works very well for holding different pairs of shoes as opposed to just having a pile of mismatched shoes shoved in the bottom. I'm also going to put up a little curtain on the front of the TV stand so you can't even see the storage, but that is a picture for another time.
7. Used coupons for toothpaste and toilet paper. These are both items that we prefer to buy name-brand, which make them suitable for couponing. I like Scott toilet paper because I think it gives the most value per roll. A lot of people like thick, paper-towel/kleenex-like toilet paper, but I really don't. In addition to being extremely wasteful, I don't like the lint fuzz it leaves all over. I can't speak for anyone else, but in my experience I use the same amount of sheets whether the toilet paper is thin or whether it's thick and fluffy. And what's more likely to plug up the toilet? Not Scott. Anyhow, that is my preferred brand and I was able to use a $2.00 off coupon at Walmart, bringing the price down to $0.61 per roll. I marked the date inside the last roll I put out, so now I can estimate how much money we spend per year wiping our tushies*. Because I'm a nerd like that.
Secondly, toothpaste. I could use the el-cheapo $0.88 Aim toothpaste all day long, but Hubs requested that we buy something else. Anything else, as long as it wasn't the el-cheapo stuff. So I used a $1.50 off coupon on a three-pack of Colgate toothpaste, also at Walmart. This brought the price down to $1.02 for an 8 oz. tube, thereby making the Colgate toothpaste CHEAPER than Aim by about $0.03 per oz. Total savings: $0.72 by couponing for toothpaste, while simultaneously fulfilling brand preferences. What a deal.
I think I am going to continue to use coupons for things like toothpaste, toilet paper, deodorant, etc. in order to save money. This will be especially helpful for the name-brand items that we like.
8. Made a table arrangement with (almost) free flowers from the garden. I have been wanting to do this ALL summer and just never got around to it! By a stroke of luck, I had sunflowers, delphinium and bells of Ireland blooming all at the same time, and they made a lovely arrangement. The only thing I paid for was the bells of Ireland seeds ($2.50 for a packet). I plan on saving some of those seeds from this year so next year's plants will be truly free.
9. Cleaned out my bottle collection (I like making sodas and other drinks) from beneath the sink and found some that could be recycled. I added these to the pop cans I collect while on walks.
10. Cut up several pairs of jeans to use for a braided rug.
11. Made laundry soap.
Whew! I think that's it. I had such a fun week making and doing frugal things.
Til next time,
*Have I heard of reusable toilet paper, AKA "family cloth"? Yes. Will I ever use it? I hope not.