Frugal Living

Sunday Savings

We try to keep Sundays calm at our house.
The tasks that I do are elective.
Today I decided to take an opportunity to save money.
My husband travels at least 3 out of four weeks every month.
We choose to look at the positive of the situation.
The advantages are that he gets to be in warmer weather
at least one week out of the month and
we save money in little ways due to his travel.
*JC drives a company vehicle that we don’t have to pay for.
*His fuel and maintenance on his vehicle are paid for.
*He brings home his leftovers including snack and soap remnants.
*His meals on the road are paid for so our grocery bill is less.

Something as small as soap remnants seem petty or crazy
but they serve a purpose.
Consider that my husband stays multiple places in a week.
He has a soap container that he puts the bars in to bring home.
I then transfer them to a shelf to dry.
When I have enough bars, I grate them into a container.
For every ounce of soap, I put a cup of distilled water in a pan.
Then I heat the water to just a boil and add the soap, stirring well.
I’m careful to leave enough room at the top for suds.
I turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 24 hours.
This is when I adjust the consistency.
If it’s too runny, I add some grated soap.
If it’s too thick, I add some distilled water.
Then I pour it through a funnel into a bottle to store it.
Yes, it’s cheapskate.

My husband also has a habit of snacking
and leaving just a little bit in the bag.
I have a Mason jar now that I put the leftovers in.
He doesn’t snack on sweet, just salty so it works.
Sometimes I’ll add some bread cubes and roast
it all in the oven for a few minutes with added spices.
This doesn’t happen nearly as often as the soap scenario.

Other ways we show our cheapskate stripes:
*We save the pickle juice and make salad dressing.
*We use the library for free ebooks and paper books.
*We listen to free audio books on Librivox.
*We bake our own bread in our $9.99 Bread Machine.
*We buy 25 or 50 pound bags of beans, flour, and popcorn.
*We buy vegetables and fruit without packaging.
*We eat simply: Whole wheat toast for breakfast, vegetable soup and/or beans for lunch, popcorn for “tea time” at 330 pm, and a nice dinner featuring beans, TVP, whole wheat pasta, Tofu, and vegetables. Fruit is for dessert. On Sundays, we enjoy bread crumb cookies for tea time.
*I buy my clothes and whatever household items I truly need at the thrift store.
*We keep the heat at 66 degrees in the winter and rarely turn on AC in summer.
(Gasp! We wear Sweaters, sweats, and socks with slippers in winters)
*When we buy, we buy better quality but not designer items.
*I can’t remember the last time we ate out at a restaurant.
*We make gifts for our close family birthdays and wish our friends well.
*We don’t buy each other gifts for every little holiday.

So, today I made bread crumb cookies, vegetable bean soup for lunch with homemade bread, the liquid soap to store, and still had plenty of time to write after cleaning and reading. Keeping life simple keeps me sane.

We are getting addicted to a more simple life. It’s not for everyone and to each his own, but we enjoy being less stressed and being able to have experiences.

Frugal Living, The Beginning, Uncategorized, Zen Routines

Money Monday

Mondays are pretty pleasant. It took a lot to get here but I took baby steps. I don’t generally go to work on Mondays unless my home care company has a needed shift to fill. Most of my work is done on Friday and Saturday so when that dreaded Monday comes for everyone else, I can sit back and relax.

In the past, I didn’t structure my free time so my mind would take over and I would get everything from hyperactive projects to sadness to take up my time. I finally got smart and learned to structure my time a bit so that I get things done and yet rarely stress about any of it. Today, for example, is Money Monday.

Money Monday is pretty easy because we do these steps for a Zen Life 365:

1) Put everything possible on online autopay. Everything from the Mortgage, Credit Cards, Utilities, Solar, Car payment, and phone service is put on a payment schedule online so we plan well for our budget.

2) We don’t carry cash. This makes tracking easier and we are instantly accountable.

3) We use Google Drive (Linked to our family email) to build spreadsheets and store receipts so that each of us can view the expense record from anywhere.

4) Receipts are scanned with our TinyScanner app using our smartphones as soon as it’s in our hand. The rule is that we don’t leave the parking lot until it’s done.This work done right away means that we don’t have to worry about keeping physical receipts including the mess that goes with them.

5) Every Monday I sit down with a cup of tea in the afternoon and enter our expenses into our monthly spreadsheet. This takes just a couple of minutes because we prepped well enough and because we don’t spend nearly as much as we used to.

This year we have goals to pay off our credit cards and one of our vehicles. We are saving money by eating frugal vegan meals and by avoiding needless little shopping trips where we would be tempted to buy more than we need. Instead, we stocked up on what we need and have more time to spend at home as a family together.en

Cleaning, Frugal Living, Rituals

Zen Fridays

Fridays used to be busy at our house. Then I changed my thinking. They have a routine that has become joyful.

I get up early every morning because it’s my peaceful, quiet time for coffee and reflection. Then the teenager sits with me for half an hour before we eat breakfast. Breakfast is simple fresh fruit. I stay in my loungewear to take him to school. On the way back I buy fruit and vegetables for the weekend. When I get home I put vegetable soup in the slow cooker and cut up finger vegetables for home and work. This is when I prep for the boys’ meals while I am at work. I make sure there is freshly made bread on Thursdays. I’ll make another bread like tortillas or cornbread too. While I work in the kitchen I listen to an audiobook. While soup and bread are cooking I clean bathrooms and floors. Then I put the soup in Mason jars and let bread cool. After a quiet lunch I shower and put on makeup. My hair is a wash and finger comb with gel so it’s about 30 seconds work. Right before I go to pick up the teen, I make phone calls for appts and reconcile the monthly spreadsheet for expenses to date while I have a cup of tea. My Thursday plan makes it a pleasant day because all I have to do is grab my backpack and food bag to go when we arrive home after school. I’m lucky that I work all of my hours in one go from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.

Frugal Living

My Frugal September

So far this week jeans have been bleached in the laundry by accident and I realize that I am down to the last pair of my favorite eyeglasses. It was time to sit down and shop. I have been trying to limit spending not only for the budget sake but for the reasons of my becoming a minimalist. I am lucky that I have some favorite places that have been consistently reliable. So shopping was quick and painless. I bought only what I needed by shopping right before we  were paid. This makes me shop very frugally. If I shop on payday I tend to be more liberal with my spending because I think I have more money to spend. It makes sense in my world.

Jeans: I dislike extreme fashion trends so I buy jeans that are middle of the road classic and affordable. The ones that fit me well and meet all of that criteria are

Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda Jeans

I buy them at Costco online because they are never more than $14.99 and they carry the tall sizes as well. Sometimes they have them at my local warehouse but rarely the Tall sizes. I also want to shop as much as possible online so it worked well.  Today there was a $5.00 off coupon for each pair so final cost for two pairs jeans = $22.11 . Not bad.

I have bought my eyeglasses for years from Zennioptical.com . They have glasses starting at $6.95 a pair. If you get upgraded lenses, coatings, etc there is an additional cost. Even with add-ons ,these are much less than a local vision company. They charge one low-cost shipping fee of $4.95. I ordered three pairs of glasses at $6.95 each with no additional extras. These are prescription glasses that I use daily since I ditched the contacts. The Final cost for three pairs prescription eyeglasses = $25.80 Not bad there either. Done.

For the next 15 days:

My buying schedule for bulk items this month:
Black Turtle Beans 25 lbs = $19.00
Old Fashioned Oats 25 lbs = $15.20
I’ll buy these both on the 15th as planned.

Soy Milk 2 cases $26
Bulk Coffee 4 lbs $28
Pasta Sauce $4
Frozen Strawberries $10
Bananas $8
Carrots $4
Sweetener $8
Vegan “Meats” $50
Vegan Pizza $16
TOTAL= $154 ish

We have enough vegetables from the garden,pasta,and spices etc to make whatever dishes we dream up for the next two weeks.

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