What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, October 25, 2013

Finances on Friday

 ....In which I try to keep my head in the financial game by thinking on (and acting upon) ways to save pennies, make pennies and stretch pennies.

Well.  I was wrong.  We DIDN'T start a fire on the 22nd.  We lasted until today.  This very morning.

I woke up and crawled out of my warm bathrobe and into my chilly clothes first thing.  I made a cup of steaming chai tea.  Matt says (right before leaving for his roasty toasty car to head to his roasty toasty office) "Ahh- it feels pretty warm out this morning.  You'll be fine without a fire."  I said (in my head) "Yeah- says you, the man with the heater during the commute and a nicely heated office to work in.  But, whatever.

The children woke up.  The tips of my fingers were numb.  The biggles did animal chores with the lure of a hot cuppa tea on their return.  I made everyone steaming bowls of cinnamon oatmeal with raisins and tea all around.  I thought about what I could do to keep the oven on all day.  I re-seasoned all my cast iron at 350` for 1 hour.  I stood by it with the oven door opened just a crack every now and again.  I planned on baking some soft pretzels for snack time.  But still it was cold. 

So I started the first fire of the year.  October 25th.  

Now the house reeks of a newly painted woodstove starting for the first time for the year and an oven full of seasoning cast iron. 

We will be stinky but warm!  :-)


Wood heat is a huge money saver.  We do not buy wood, we cut it and split it ourselves from our own land.  So it is free.  In one sense anyway.  It costs us something, but the cost is in blood, sweat and tears.  (Hopefully just sweat and tears.  Blood is never a good thing.) 

One small woodstove in the basement doesn't quite cut heating a big two story house to "cozy"....so we are never really WARM.  But I am thankful for it, immensely so.  As with all matters of saving money, you have to sacrifice some things.  One of our sacrifices is a 65 degree house in winter.  (sniff)  At least, though, we have a place to retreat and thaw out our fingers whenever they need it.  And plenty of blankets for our beds.  ;-) 


And my financial efforts this week~

It seems like this past week I spent more money than I saved.  I spent a lot of money!   But I will call it "strategic spending" because the money was for worthwhile things that end up saving in the long run.  Besides, I don't mind spending money on things that matter.  It is the trickling of cents down the drain for worthless things that I am trying to rein in.  At least these were worthwhile purchases.

~ We received (and paid for) our 1/4 beef cow.

~ I put in a bulk food order at a nearby mennonite place.  Before I did this- I compared prices with Sam's Club.  I ordered the better deals from each place. 

~ I did our monthly grocery shopping trip.  We went to Aldi and Sam's Club and got everything we will (hopefully) need for the month, except a months' worth of milk. 

~ Even though I REALLY, REALLY wanted to buy candy corn while out on the town (a major weakness of mine)- I didn't.  (CONQUER!)  But, I totally intend to when it goes on clearance after Halloween.  ;-) 

~ I also will not be buying any costumes this year because at the end of Halloween last year I bought a few at 90% off to add to our dress-up bin.  We will raid the dress-up box and or make do with what we have.  No.  I don't have any idea what the children will be.  Thanks for asking. 

I am already planning a post-Halloween shopping trip to score some deeply discounted candy and costumes.  Exciting!

~ I went through our freezers to clear some space for the beef and to make sure nothing will get buried and overlooked (and wasted).  I put the oldest things all in one freezer to be used first and used up quite a few of the oldest things throughout the week.   Some of the things I used up:
  • older turkey broth and turkey bits (for turkey gravy on toast for lunch.)
  • bread dough (pecan rolls for breakfast and snack one day)
  • apple cider (for breakfast drinking, cider ham glaze and apple cider caramels)
  • ravioli (for lunch)
  • ham (for Sunday dinner, scalloped potatoes and ham and for tonights ham and "pineapple" pizza)
  • two half used bags of frozen broccoli (veggie side for dinner)
  • four bags of shredded zucchini (for zucchini soup with a twist for dinner and muffins for breakfast)
  • italian spicy sausage (for Zuppa Toscano soup)
~ I boiled the ham bone for broth.

~ Saved the ham fat/bits/bones for dog/cat treats

~ I did some photo work in exchange for a free date in the future.  (yay!)

~ Matt rebuilt the barn haymow, with lumber he sawed himself from trees on our own land.  

~ Matt made a door for the barn, with the same.

~ Matt bred our jersey cow himself, saving vet fees.

~ harvested from the garden all of the turnips, beets, and (can you believe it?) MORE jalapenos.

~ froze turnip greens, turnips, beet greens, many jalapenos

~ I filled out an application to be a reviewer of homeschool resources.  I don't know if I will get the opportunity but I did try-and that counts for something.  I hate how every year my homeschool budget only covers the basics- math, science, history, grammar and never has anything leftover for FUN resources.  Maybe, just maybe, this will be a good way to round out our homeschool with fun stuff?!?  (I hope, I hope)

~ harvested the last of the apples from our tree

~ sought out a free shipping code for necessary (and gift!) online purchases and saved $40.00 of shipping costs  (Company: ChristianBook.com.  Free Shipping Code: 412963.  Good until: October 28th!)

~ I ordered some additional school books for this year AND quite a few for next year while CBD was having some sales.  First, I price compared their prices with rainbow resource and Amazon for each item.  I did the same with a few audiobooks for Christmas gifts.  CBD won each time.

~ gratefully received a three huge zucchini, some radishes, sage and parsley from neighbors. 

~ I canned more applesauce.

~ brought in my rosemary so I can have it to use throughout the winter

~ gratefully received a 50# bag of red potatoes (Thanks Mom and Dad!!!)

~ was given a big bag of clothes from a church friend (Thanks, Mary!!!)

~ washed and reused ziploc bags and foil

~ fed kitchen and canning scraps to the chickens

~ I wrote several letters instead of making phone calls.

~ I started to write out a Christmas gift list.  'Tis the Season, after all.  Homemade Christmases especially, require a bit more thought and time and preparation.  I actually should have started a long time ago.   

Have you made any Christmas gift-giving plans?  Making any presents?  I'd love to hear about (and maybe steal) them!

How was your week? 
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