Sunday, February 26, 2017

Frugal Happenings 2/26

Good morning.  Here we are at the end of another month.  Spring will officially be here in a few short weeks, and the world is starting to awake again.  I will do a picture day one day this week and all the rebirth!

This week we found out that four more acquaintances passed away!  OMG!!!  Getting older, sure does have some downsides and those downsides truly suck!
Also found our that our old neighbors of 25+ years (moved in Oct.) both have cancer, and he is now under Hospice care.  So sad.
I think I am done hearing bad news for the rest of the year.  This year has been crazy for sure.

ON A GOOD NOTE - we got new neighbors on both sides of us this weekend.  One side is a single mom with 2 kids (3 & 10).  They seem really nice and the 10 year old is excited about all the nature we have in our yard.  The other side is a young couple with a cute little lap doggie!  I was so afraid of getting someone with a big mean dog.  They seem nice - he has already told me that if ever I need help, to just yell.

We had a tremendous amount of warm weather this week.  From Friday afternoon to Saturday morning (less than 24 hours) we dropped 43*!!  Had 73* on Friday with rain - awoke to snow on Saturday!  Crazy stuff.  This coming week will be warmer again.
I saw the red winged black birds back at the feeder this week.  Such a pleasure to see here in the city.

My week:
  • Got all the spring door decorations up.  Used what I had on hand.
  • dehydrated 4 bags of marshmallows (there's a story - I'll tell later!)
  • Did a lot of yard work.  My neighbor 2 doors down wanted all the sticks and limbs I picked up - for his fire pit.  Saved me from putting them in trash!  RECYCLE at it's best
  • Stopped by the vet and picked up my sweet kitties' cremains.  We received a lovely card and laminated copy of the Rainbow Bridge in the mail from the vet.  They are so sweet
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Put a new battery in my watch - from the ones I bought last year 4/$1 at Dollar Tree.  The last one lasted months.
  • Stopped at Kroger while out and found Domino powdered sugar - 1 lb. boxes - for .39 each on clearance.  I bought 6.  Along with what I had, I am good for a couple years. (It's dated 12/2018 - but it doesn't go bad)
  • Removed ham slices from the freezer for easy breakfast and lunch eats
  • Also removed banana bread from freezer for snacking
  • Got to line dry some laundry!
  • No heat much of the week and aired out house a lot
  • An old co-worker stopped by one day and told me he started his own handyman business.  We were just talking about finding someone to help with some projects.  God sends what we need when we need it!
Meals and snacks
Leftover lasagna with a small side salad
Loaded hot dogs with chips and dip
Pork cube steaks and dirty rice
Enchilada casserole and salad (2X)
Pork chops, fried green tomatoes and breaded/fried onion slices
Leftover pork, tomatoes, onions and oven fries

Snacks/desserts were orange cream pudding, banana bread, a homemade sundae, real banana pudding (yum), pop corn 

How did your frugal week go?  Any deals or special projects? 
I hope you are getting to enjoy some of this wonderful pre-spring weather in your area.
I look forward to doing some spring cleaning this week.

May the sun shine upon your face and the wind be at your back.  I pray each of everyone has a blessed and beautiful week.
God bless

Thursday, February 23, 2017

NO Money Prep - Part 2 FORAGING

There are many other ways to save money and spend nothing on prepping.
FORAGING is huge among many, especially those wishing to not spend much money.  OK, I can hear you all now - "We live in the city - nowhere to forage".  WRONG!  There are many ways to forage in the city as well as the country.

First when foraging you might want to educate yourself on edible plants either by reading articles on the web, watching videos,  or reading books from the library.  Check you area, as there may be FREE classes offered at parks or your county extension office.  Maybe find a mentor!

There isn't a lot of calories in most foraged foods, except nuts.  They should be considered supplemental foods and most are full of vitamins.

If you start foraging to save money or to simply help feed your hungry family - you will never look at a weed the same way.  There are many that a very high in vitamins.
Dandelions, plantain, clover, roses, wild onion and chives, wild mustard, and even thistle are just a few of the plants you can eat and use for medicinal means.
Also consider nasturtiums, violets, squash blooms, etc.  DO RESEARCH!

Battered and fried dandelion flowers are good.  Cooked greens are full of vitamins.  I have even made jelly from the flowers. (You can also use wild violets as well for jelly.)  I have also used peony flowers to make jelly.
Rose flowers and petals are edible and they are pretty in a salad.  Rose hips (part left after flower falls off) is full of vitamin C.  Clover can be eaten in salad and the very bottom end of flower has a bit of honey like sweetness (would be wonderful if no sugar).  All parts of dandelions is usable.  Golly the  list goes on and on. 

Fruit and nut trees are a wonderful find.  Notice if neighbors have trees and do not use the fruits.  ASK!  They may just say take it.  Check you parks and very wild areas for nut trees (pick off the ground) and even wild berry plants.  You can use fruit for sauces, jelly and jams, or for canning or freezing or dehydrating.

It is almost wild mushroom time in our area.  That is HUGE in the Midwest.  You do need to know what to look for - you don't want to kill someone!  I am not trying to scare anyone - but you DO need to be EDUCATED!!  Mushrooms can be froze, canned, or dehydrated for later use.

Learn to fish and hunt.  Fishing is a rather inexpensive hobby and can be a lot of family fun.  Free meat is always a plus.  Hunting takes a bit more but if you already have a rifle or shotgun or bow, you can follow the seasons.  I know this isn't for everyone (I'd have to be awful hungry to kill something), but many do it and it has been a way of life throughout history.  There is also trapping, which I have only seen on TV - so read up on your options. 

Blackberries and wild grapes grow in lots of woody areas.
If you have access to wild berries or nuts and you can get them in abundance - you might consider selling them at farm markets (using money for other items) or using them to barter for other goods.

At the end of growing seasons check with local farmers and see if you can glean from their fields.  Gleaning is picking up and using all the 'falls' that the farmer doesn't want or can't sell.  Yes, you may have to trim it up or even throw some away - but FREE is FREE.
Many times farmers that grow pumpkins and tomatoes have lots of product left in the field.  ALWAYS ASK - never just take anything.
Check with farmers after they have harvested field corn.  Leftovers can be ground and used as a meal.
Check with orchards - as many of them let you have the dropped apples for a very cheap price.
Always check farmer markets at the end of the selling day.  Many farmers don't want to take items back and will sell cheaply.

Save rain water if possible.  Figure out a way - even if you simply put barrels or buckets under downspouts (place screening over hole to use as a filter).  Rain water can water your plants - water your animals and can even be filtered and used for human consumption. (You do have to spend a bit on a good filter system if drinking).  It can be used for laundry, flushing, and cleaning as well.  You just need to be prepared for ANYTHING in these times.

It just takes a little looking outside the proverbial BOX!  If we all educate ourselves and start using what we can now - we will be fine if the bottom falls out.  There are so many ways to supplement your food pantry for free!
Never give up if you have no money to prep - there is ALWAYS a way!!!!!

Give foraging and gleaning a try.  You will love free food.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Salvage - Scratch & Dent

I keep hearing about folks who shop at salvage stores or scratch and dent shops for groceries.  I have always wished that we had a spot close by that provided that service.
The only time I have ever found seconds on groceries was at the little Amish store that I used to drive to in southern Indiana.  They had a scratch and dent section.

I realize that Odd/Big Lots and Ollies sell groceries - but often their prices are higher than the deals I get at grocery stores.
Between my closeouts and clearance at Kroger, Aldi, and Dollar Tree - well it's hard to find much better deals.

I got to checking on-line last week to see if there was anything in our area.  Well lo and behold I found a place that is just 10 minutes North of us.
I ran up there Saturday.  Now many of the items were very outdated - but others were fine.  They had a little of everything.  I will definitely go back and look again.

I asked the girl how long they had been there..........wait for it...........since 1939!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  WHAT????? 
I have lived in this city my entire life and had never heard of it.  They have been in the same place and selling the same type stuff since then!  Now for the big clincher - they are going out of business as of July!  Such is my luck!
She did tell me about another place not much further up the road, that I still have to check out.

There are several other stores in other parts of our state, but not much around here.  I would think that this would be a good business venture.  There are so many parts of all major cities that are 'food deserts' - meaning there are no groceries close by.  Many people only have convenience stores to shop at and those sell lots of junk food and for a high dollar price.
Salvage stores would at least put 'decent' food options in front of people for a nice low price.  That just seems like a win-win to me.

If you are interested in finding a shop in your locale - try checking into the attached web site.  It is alphabetical order by state.

I hope I did this right - so you can all access it.
It seems that many of the areas that have a high Amish population seem to have this type of venture.  Seems they know LOTS of things that we should all know and practice!!!!!

Do you have any salvage stores in your area that you go to?  Do you get good deals?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Frugal Happenings 2/19

Good morning to all of my frugal friends!  I hope this finds you healthy and happy.

What a week!  I am very happy to say this past week is now in the history books.  It was difficult on many levels.
I went and said my final 'earthly' goodbyes to my friend Carol.
I said goodbye to one of my babies who took the journey over the Rainbow Bridge.
I spent time at the hospital this week with one of my adult nephews, who had a 5 hour spinal surgery.  He is now home recovering.
It has been a stressful week for sure.

Our weather has been lovely.  It has gotten warmer by the day.  We are to be on the 60's and 70's all week long.  I am sure there may be some harsh weather yet - but with each passing day we are closer and closer to spring.  I am loving the amount of daylight that we are now experiencing.
Daffodil greens are up about 4", lilies are popping through the ground, peonies are peeking out, the earth will be jumping back to life soon.
I am seeing more and more robins in the yard too.  That's a sure sign of spring in these parts!  We have been enjoying watching the finches take baths in the bird bath.  So cute!
The squirrels are a hoot!!!  They must have spring fever - as they are jumping, frolicking and playing like crazy.

Not much happening this week:
  • While out one day I did stop at the Christian thrift store.  I got 2 bags of stale seeded rolls for the birds and squirrels for FREE
  • I also bought a brand new looking pair of Lee jeans there for 99 cents
  • I found 4 bags of holiday marshmallows on sale 2/$1 - I will dehydrate this week (to use in cereal)
  • Have actually accomplished a little yard work
  • Saved the green cap from a jar of parm cheese.  Will re-use it on one of my Mason jars.
  • Just doing all the normal everyday things
  • DVRing some movies this weekend, as we have FREE premium channels again for 3 days.
  • Heat off most of the time, and doors open for fresh air.
Meals this week:
A very small pot of stew
Chicken casserole (made like tuna only using chicken) - 2X
Ate all leftovers one night - just odds and ends
McDonalds - (I bad) didn't feel like cooking at all
Poor man's Swiss steak with mashed potatoes - (big burgers smothered in veggie/beef soup)
Homemade lasagna

How was your week? 
Did you stay on the frugal bandwagon?   It is tough some weeks, as unexpected expenses come up - but that is why we are frugal the rest of the time!  Don't beat yourself up if you had set-backs.

Thank you all so much for your kind words this past week - you really lifted my spirits.
May this coming week be filled with blessings, health and happiness for each of you.

God bless!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rainbow Bridge

I am very sad tonight, as I had to make an incredibly difficult decision today.  Our sweet outdoor boy Teegy went over the Rainbow Bridge.

I finally caught him to take him to the vet, after he injured his foot.  I could see he had an infection, and he was in pain, you could tell.  The vet said his little immune system must have been compromised already (maybe feline leukemia - not sure), and the infection raged through his body.
I could have had his back leg amputated, but they didn't feel confident that even that drastic measure would save him.  They said the infection would eventually cause his death.

He was such a good boy going to the vet and all the while they examined him.  They had to drug him to totally clean his foot, so he was sleeping already when they euthanized him.  I got to pet him and hold him and talk to him and kiss him. 
We are having him cremated.
I have only had to make that horrible decision twice in my life, and would never wish it on any fur baby parent.

I know he is now healthy and not in pain anymore.  That is a comfort.
I sure will miss my handsome boy. 
We were blessed to have him for 8 years.

Run free and play big boy!
We love you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NO Money to Prep?

We all like to have a safety net in case the worse case scenario happens.  It can be anything.  Heaven forbid, but it could be a horrible family illness, sudden loss of a job, , unexpected weather events,  economic downturn, you name it.
There are many things that can rock our world.

If you have been fortunate, you have managed to save a little money for the future and you have managed to prep ahead with your food and household items.  If worse came to worse - you could survive, at least for a while.

Many haven't found themselves in that situation, and have no idea how they can prep, as they have NO extra funds.
Is there any way to put back $10 a month?  That would help.  How you ask?

If you eat out, go to a movie now and then, buy new clothes, etc. - STOP!
Lower your thermostat.
Turn off everything that is electric and not being used.
Line dry your laundry and do not use the dryer.
Work and hour over time if possible.
Re-evaluate your phone bill or other utilities.
Sell something.
Offer a service to someone for money - mow, yard work, baking, sewing, house cleaning.........
Save ALL change.

There are a lot of ways to add $10 a month to your income.  Start with $10 a month - then try to come up with $10 a week.  Work at this slowly - it can be done.

I know $10 a month doesn't sound like a lot - but it sure will help with prepping.
FIRST and FOREMOST when you are just starting out - DON'T worry about nutrition!!!!
I know that sounds odd - but think about it.  If SHTF and you are hungry - is food!
Once you have basics put back - then you can start adding more nutritious foods.

Start out buying at the dollar stores.
Buy dried beans and legumes.  Buy rice and or pasta.  These will keep you full.
Consider buying  bags of flour, sugar, a pound of salt, dry milk, oats, and perhaps large cans of tomato products.
Consider growing a garden in the warmer months. (At least something).  You could possibly sell garden surplus to others - you could can or freeze or dehydrate food for later.

Put the items you purchase with these funds back - place them in another place other than your normal pantry (maybe a tote).  These are your emergency supplies!  Now you will want to rotate them out once in a while - but try to replace and keep them for emergencies.  NOTE- try to freeze your flour and dry goods like rice or pasta for a few days.  That will kill any insect eggs (yes our food contains them).

So the moral of the story is to NEVER SAY CAN'T!!!!
You CAN prep - you CAN save - just start out small.  Take baby steps.  It will come together.
No matter your income level, you can prepare for more uncertain times.  You will be able to provide for yourself and your family.
Will you be living the high life?  Probably not - but you sure as heck won't go hungry!

Hard work and persistence will get you there.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Frugal Happenings 2/12

Good morning to all my friends!  I hope this finds you well and happy this Sunday morning.
I am well, but I have had quite the blah week.

Our weather has been all over the place.  We have had 4 days this week that there was no heat on all day, doors were open and temperatures were very spring-like.  Tuesday it got to 67* and was sunny - Wednesday we had highs in the 20's and snow!  LOL  It sure has been a crazy winter in Indiana.  Sounds like more of the same this coming week.

My Teegy kitty (outside male) somehow hurt his foot this week.  I am supposing maybe a defending his yard action, and he has pretty much been in seclusion.  He won't let me look at his foot (I can see there are no open wounds), and I would never be able to get him to a vet (he is semi feral) - so I just let him rest.  Poor baby.  He is getting a tad bit more active today.

G got to feeling poorly this week, and had stomach issues.  I have felt like I need to be near by, and I have had to stay quiet, as he has slept  tons.  He is doing better now, and is finally starting to eat again!

I got a phone call on Friday that one of my sweet long time friends passed away suddenly.  I can't imagine not having our "hummingbird sighting" phone calls, and not meandering through her beautiful flower gardens.  She has left a beautiful family, lots of good friends, and a beautiful flower garden for her neighbors to enjoy for years.  Carol worked very hard to beautify her little corner of the world, in a very down trodden area.  It was infectious, and others started following suit in the neighborhood.  She was so active in her church, and worked to feed to homeless.
She left a great legacy - hopefully we can all continue it in our own way.   I feel privileged to have been able to call her my friend.

Not much going on  - so the week was pretty darn frugal.
  • A neighbor threw out a wooden kitchen chair that had a broken seat.  I went and claimed it.  I will repair the seat and paint in a bright color to use as a plant stand in the garden this summer
  • 4 days no heat - air out house
  • Did my own mani and pedi
  • Colored my hair at home with supplies I had on hand
  • I did run to Aldi.  I had another $10/$40 coupon.  I got some fresh items we needed, then used the balance to add back into my long-term pantry.  $32 spent.
  • Haven't fixed many meals this week - so just piecing on this and that.
  • Been re-reading some of my 'living frugal' books this week and watching 'frugal living' YouTube videos
  • Just doing all the normal every day stuff
  • Only left the house one day - so very little gas used
Meals this week:
Super Bowl - wings, pizza rolls, and pickle cheese spread and crackers
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and homemade biscuits
Meatloaf and oven fries
G sick - so no cooking for 3 days
Chicken noodle soup

1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese at room temperature.  Dice up 3 dill pickle spears, Chop up 1 - 2 oz. package of chipped beef (or your fav type).  Mix all together and add a dash or two of garlic powder.    Serve with crackers.    YUM!!!!!!
This is definitely a do over!!!  We both loved it.

What have you been up to?
Any good deals or fresh ideas we need to know about?  Check in and say hey!

God bless you all in this coming week.  I appreciate you all so much.
Take care and stay frugal my friends.