Thursday, June 11, 2020

Jump Start your Frugal Budget #1

Let's start a few discussions on jump starting that frugal budget again.  Many have recently had a loss of income and their budgets have changed.  Many have spent money recently that they may not have spent - had they not stayed home.  Many have been ill and just lost a grasp on things.
There are many reasons that folks are having to look at things differently and we all need a kick in the pants every now and then to get back on budget!

Today is about cleaning out those freezers and pantries and actually doing an inventory and seeing what you ACTUALLY have.
I was recently talking to a friend that had been laid up with an injury for many months.  Her hubby was doing the shopping for them.  It sounds like he did pretty well and she always had him a list - but when it came to putting things away - well maybe he needed a little help!  LOL
She is up and moving now and finding things that she didn't know she had.  Good time to clean it all out and inventory (which she has done).

Sometimes we get busy and come in from the store and just stick things in the pantry or freezer or frig and guess what???  They get lost in the shuffle.
There is nothing frugal about things going to waste. We need to be more mindful - and that is a huge help to the budget.

Go through your freezer and straighten it up and do an inventory.  It is wise to put like items together.  Chicken in one spot, beef in another, pork in another.  Frozen veggies /fruit in another spot.  It makes it much easier when you need something.  When you make an inventory sheet (use a notebook) - it might be wise to right it down as to HOW MUCH of each item and WHAT SHELF.  Life is so much easier that way.
I recently went through the freezer and found so many things I had forgotten about.  I found faux crab meat that had been in there for ages.  It was vacuum sealed, so still good.  I used some this week to make crab salad.  Tasted as yummy as the day I bought it.
KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE and USE IT!!!!!!!
This also gives you an idea of what you need to add to your stock.
I know in many areas people try to use up their freezer inventory in the summer, because of extreme weather events and loss of electricity.  I hope that works out well for them this year, as prices are increasing and supplies have gone down a little (I believe it will all work out  eventually).  
Come fall and winter we all need to be prepared JUST IN CASE - we have seen this year that we never know what might happen.  Do not get yourself into a panic mode - be prepared!!!!!

Go through the pantries - and sort things and inventory.  REMEMBER - "best if used by" does not equal expired!!!!!!!  Use the ones that are past date or close to date first!  I have actually found and used things that were a year or more past date and they are fine!  The stuff in those packages/cans doesn't know the date!!!!
Put like items together.  Have an area for baking goods, fruit, soups, veggies, canned meat, etc.  This makes life so much easier and nothing gets misplaced.
Don't forget to go through your cleaning supplies, health and beauty and medical - add when and where you can.  Do not get left behind.  Remember how things got a few months ago.

Clean out that frig.  It is so easy for half/partial jars to get shoved to the back.  Things get forgotten.  Take things out - wash it down - a put things back in some reasonable order.  Use up the older things.  Partial jars of dressing and such - maybe mix them together and come up with a new blend.  Use them in a recipe.  Use it up.
I have apples that are getting 'old'.  I peeled and used several this week in fruit salad and the remainder will be fried up with some butter and brown sugar for a tasty treat.  Don't waste food.

Hopefully you can grow a little something.  It may be lettuce in a window box or it may be a tomato plant in a pot.  Everything you can grow is a huge savings on your food budget and it is so fresh and healthy for you!
IF you grow a garden and can/freeze - inventory your home canned goods NOW!  Know how much you have of what.  Know what it is you need to work on this year.  No need to can spaghetti sauce if you have tons of it - make something else.

Get creative with your cooking.  Try new recipes and have fun - experiment.  Get out those recipe books - get online and find new recipes - get books from the library - ask friends and family for recipes.  Write down the ones you like (or mark the recipe book).  Organize your recipe files.



Our food is a huge budget buster or budget maker!  It can go both ways.
DON'T WASTE IT!  Use it up!!!  Make it do!!!  OR you may have to do without!!
Get your pantries and freezers in order.  Know what you have and use it.  Learn what you need to add.
Don't wait till the last minute and don't ever get in a position to panic.  
Let's be prepared.
Being prepared and organized is HUGE  for the frugal budget!!!!!


24 comments:

  1. Good ideas! We need to use our food for sure. We have an upright freezer and I put the oldest food on the top shelf no matter what it is and I make sure to make dinner from that. Then I start moving things up.

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    1. Good going. That is a good idea. No sense letting it go bad or freezer burn. Use it up!!

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  2. It's an ongoing process! Cleaning up the in door pantry is on my list as I have found things in the garage pantry that should be in the house but just got put away willy nilly when we moved in here. I have some real crab in the freezer that keeps calling my name every time I open the door so gonna make crab cakes and I have been wanting to make a couple of quiche, with spinach. So much to do so little time.

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    1. You have had a lot on your plate since moving girl. You will get it all in order. Mmmm crab cakes sound good.
      You are retired girl - you got the time!!!! Sometimes we just have to make ourselves get busy.
      ENJOY those crab cakes!

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    2. PS. The crab came from when Butch went fishing last August and I picked it myself. I decided I'm going to have a crab salad for lunch. I packaged it 1 cup to a bag.

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    3. I can't imagine having something like that, that was so fresh. YUM. ENJOY!!!!!

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    4. We use catfish to make fish cakes with. The recipe was one that my husband found online. It uses the same ingredients as crab cakes and tastes better than any I have had in restaurants. I would think you could use most any type fish for the recipe to have mock crab cakes.

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    5. YUM - that sounds good. I use tuna instead of salmon when making those. I bet those taste so good - will have to try catfish sometime. Thanks for that tip

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  3. Such a great and timely blog post, Cheryl. I agreed with Laurie that it is an ongoing process. I keep items I want to use up at the front of my fridge, so I know to use it up first. Doing all of this helps all of us to save money :)

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    1. It sure does help save. It is always ongoing here too - sometimes I just let it get WAY out of hand. Trying to do better. I was working on another area of the pantry this morning.
      Thanks

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  4. You give such great advice, you should be teaching classes at a community center.

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    1. Aren't you the kindest person. Thank you for your sweet comment.

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  5. Reorganizing my pantry - and creating a small long-term one is something that I've done while locked down. It makes it so much easier to see what I need to work through before the end of the year = and where I have gaps.
    I only have the freezer at the top of my fridge (which is about 3/4 size of a regular one) so I have to be organized. I keep things in bins & baskets and friends are always astonished at how much I can actually get in there! I am actually headed in to switch a few things around later this afternoon - the weather will be a bit cooler over the weekend (it felt like 41C here yesterday with the humidity - well over 100F) so I'm going to do a bit of batch cooking. I'm going to do some pulled pork and a tray of chicken thighs so these, plus prepared items already in the freezer will take care of meals for the next couple of weeks.

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    1. You are on the money gal! Glad to hear you got things all organized. It surely does makes a difference knowing what you have.
      We finally cooled down today as well - it is so pleasant.
      Cooking ahead makes good use of the cool temps and your time as well.
      Sounds smart to me!

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  6. Timely advice, a friend just told my husband that beef has jumped another dollar a lb, since last week. I will be checking my freezer and pantry. Thank you for such good advice.

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    1. You better get while the getting is good my friend. We all need to stay on top of this. I haven't notice that kind of increase here - but I am closely watching
      Get busy checking!!!!

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  7. Before this (covid19) I took lunch to work every day. I made sure I packed leftovers to single portions to freezer. I never had to buy a lunch. But now I'm working from home and my children are studying at home/kind of homeschooling, so I make them lunch every day. So I don't eat my ready made lunches... I've started a new habit- I make something kids like but me, not so much. Those days I eat my freezer lunches. So it's a win-win, and I get slowly some free space in freezers.

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    1. Good for you on using up the leftovers. Keep an eye of the deals, just in case you get a lot of extra space in that freezer. Fall/winter will be here before you know it!
      Good job!

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  8. While you're cleaning out and organizing the freezer, don't forget to defrost it if necessary. A defrosted freezer will be much more efficient and use less electricity, thus saving money on the electric bill. Regular defrosting also will help the freezer last longer. Given how much the price of freezers has jumped this spring, no one wants to have to buy a new one right now.

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    1. Thank you - good advice. I had some frost built up in mine when I organized and I did not take the time to defrost. It wasn't bad - I figured maybe it would help keep things cold if something went wrong.
      It would be more efficient to defrost.
      Thank you!

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  9. It's amazing what you find when cleaning out and organizing cabinets, the refrigerator, the freezer and the pantry. The Urban Farmer did the shopping and putting away when I was down after falling. I've been slowly reorganizing as he has a tendency to put new in front of old, instead of rotating the goods. Bless his heart, I was glad to have his help when I could barely walk.

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    1. That sounds like the same kind of situation my friend went through. Wonderful to have the help, but just didn't get the premise of organizing! LOL
      Glad you are finding things, that hopefully you can use.
      Got to love those hubbies!

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  10. I sorted my 2 plastic containers. One has the smaller tuperware type storage and the other has all the lids, big and small. I also sorted out some of the canning jars we've emptied. I need to get the basements storage room organized for better storage of those. I plan to be canning more tomato products and relish. I have enough jam for another year.

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    1. Good job. I need to get my jars reorganized. I tend to just take them downstairs and no proper put away!
      More tomato products is a good idea - so versatile.
      Keep on plugging away!!!

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