Sunday, April 12, 2015

Frugal Win/ Frugal Fail

We've done a few things to save money this week with success, and some things didn't work out. A Frugal Fail is not so much a reason to beat yourself up, but encouragement to identify ways to fine-tune your plan.

You can't change what you can't see!

Frugal Wins:

1) I baked 4 loaves of bread by hand, for a cost of $2. Artisan bread that is free of our allergens usually costs $4.99 per loaf. Two of my loaves equals one of those loaves. This saved us a whopping $8.

2) We had a 2 inch hunk of bread left that had gone hard. I ran it through the food processor to make half a cup of bread crumbs, which I store in a bag in my freezer. (Did you know you can make cookies from bread crumbs?)

I also cut my loaves on the same plate, and brushed the bread crumbs into my freezer bag. When I was a nursing student, I worked a second job as a caregiver for the elderly. This is a trick I learned from a lady in her 90s who had lived through the Great Depression.

3) Planted basil, parsley, cilantro, sunflowers, and morning glories with my daughter indoors. I plan to make a kitchen herb pot. I also potted a basil plant we bought at the store. Things are starting to sprout! April 15th is our last frost date for the outdoor flowers, so we should be able to plant them next week.

4) Packed three lunches for my husband this week. He usually eats out 5 lunches per week, so this is improvement. This saved us $21.

5) I used a 20% discount code to renew our Zoo membership. I upgraded our membership, since I will be staying home and bringing my mother. My mother will be retiring and on a fixed income, and I don't want her to have to pay to get in, so this will cover her as a guest. We will also be going more often.  This pass usually costs $199 for a year, and I paid $159. This saved us $40.

6) Used my Kroger fuel points to save $0.30/gallon on gas. I also completed the feedback survey on my receipt so far twice this month, which gives us 100 fuel points, or an extra 10 cents off per gallon. If I do this every week, it will save us an extra 20 cents per gallon over the course of the month.

7) Cancelled our standing Amazon Subscribe and Save orders for cereal bars and other snacks. I'm going to make them at home. I baked 2 dozen oatmeal raisin cookies this week for snacks. This will save us $20/month.

8) I am making homemade applesauce and homemade yogurt today. I am making a gallon's worth for about $3, which includes a cup of plain yogurt for a starter and $2 for a gallon of milk at Kroger.

I make the yogurt in my slow cooker, but I strain using a chinois my chef brother gave me to get it Greek style.

9) Kept my grocery budget $86.55 this week! That is 69% of my maximum weekly grocery budget of $125. This works out to $0.82 per person per meal.

10) We used our gift closet for a birthday party where our son was invited.

11) I cancelled our monthly donation to St. Jude. It's just not in our budget. We will continue to donate yearly, but in a smaller annual amount. This will save us $20/month.

12) We nixed juice boxes for kid lunches. My son is content with water. I am sending an old Medela breast milk container with half juice/half water for our daughter, and she is happy with that. This will save us $12/month.

13) I took the plunge and signed our 4 year old up for 3 morning a week pre-K through the YMCA for next year. Class is at the church around the corner (a 7 minute walk!), and we get a discount for being Y members. We love the current preschool, but we can't afford the $99/week price for three mornings. The YMCA will cost us only $146/month, a savings of $250/month. By walking every nice day, we will save gas money as well, and get some exercise.

14) The heating element went out on our dryer. My husband figured out what was wrong, bought the part for $70, and fixed it himself. It took a late night, but it saved us $150 in labor costs.

Frugal Fail

1) Worked very late on Friday and we ended up ordering pizza for dinner. We did use a coupon code, but there goes $25! This happened last week too- can you see a theme?

2) I didn't plan well for yesterday's dinner. We had gymnastics for my daughter, a swimming lesson for me at the Y, and my son had a birthday party in the afternoon. I didn't get to hit the stores until late, so I picked up chicken nuggets and tater tots for dinner. It was cheaper than takeout, but it was $7.50 added that shouldn't have been necessary. Shall we call it a fail/win?

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