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, March 28, 2014

Finances On Friday

I went on my dairy run this week and since I had to get a few non-food items (like dogfood, baby wipes and toilet paper) I went to Walmart.  Two things shocked me.

#1~ While in the cheese section I noticed that the big five pound block of cheese I discovered at Walmart just a few weeks ago was raised $2.00 in price from the last time I was there.  JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO.  $2.00!!

So that was pretty discouraging.  I know that food inflation is a definite problem (and will likely get much worse!)- but that big of a jump in such a small amount of time?  Wow.

I am going to have to really think about how I can combat these inflationary food prices this year.  I hate to expand the garden further (I feel overwhelmed with garden chores by September every year.  To think about adding TO that is daunting...)

~ and ~

#2~ So much of grocery stores is pure JUNK.  Like delicious, yummy, tastes SO GOOD junk.  Jellybeans.  Aisles and Aisles of them. 
Chips- oodles and oodles of them.
Soda- tons and tons of it.

Isn't it kinda ridiculous that there is one baking aisle that includes EVERYTHING you could possibly need to bake breakfast, lunch, dinner, breads, cakes and granola bars and yet there is one whole complete aisle JUST OF CEREAL that you can do nothing with except put milk on it and eat it? 

This is weird, my friends. 

Really weird.

Sometimes I glance at other peoples' carts and do you know what I almost NEVER see in them?  Milk.  Here I am with a cart FULL of milk (five gallons because that is all my fridge will hold) and most carts don't have ANY.

I  must admit- being among the jellybeans and Triscuits and ice cream makes me REALLY, REALLY want them. Like, bad.

 I know that it is just junk...but I kind of want it anyway. 

This is weird too.

    Here are some of my financial efforts for the week...
  •  Quilts, comforters, sheets and jeans went on the clothesline to dry!  Wa-hoo!
  • Made vanilla extract
  • Made a double batch of yogurt

  • Baked all of our bread needs including a lovely marble loaf.  (Purdy.)
  • Attended a (free) knitting class at the library
  • Worked on the cable purse (for knitting class) and Corynn's Easter dress
  • made two batches of (dehydrated) apple chips
  • were given a bunch of clothes and books this past week from friends so I...
  • sorted the bags out into 'keep', 'sell' and 'donate' piles.  I try to get things sorted and make these piles right away and then put in their proper places to avoid getting overwhelmed in clutter.  This sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.  ;-)
  • Boiled  more sap down into maple syrup... (we hit the 1 gallon mark this week!)
  • Took the family to a $9.00 super-awesome, very tickley car wash because I told the children we would after Matt took me to one last year and I excitedly told the kids about it.  They begged for many months to get to go to one until we finally did it.  Cheap thrills.  (And I still have goosebumps on my neck!)  I know~ simple pleasures for simple people.
  • Cut my own hair using this video as a tutorial (loved her right handed trick!):

  • Roasted a turkey (discounted from post-holiday sales) which helped warm up the house on a particularly cold day today.  Used the giblets and neck to make broth to freeze.  This turkey will be stretched for many meals (Three so far!)
  • Made stuffing using bread cubes I had dried previously.  Cut up the turkey liver to add to the stuffing.  Gave the other 'goodies' to the animals to eat.
  • sorted our potato bin.  Got rid of any nasty ones  and set aside some of the very tubered ones (for the garden this year).  Put the rest back in the much-nicer-looking bin for eating.
  • Also sorted out our onion bin.  I admit, I have avoided it ever since I found a few nasty ones on the top this winter.  I bought a huge bag of onions at the store and pretended to forget about the small garden ones rotting up the basement.  Turns out, there are still quite a few beautiful ones to eat.  And I won't be grossed out getting them anymore.  ;-) 
  • was given two leftover used phone cards to use for making any long distance calls.  I never make long distance calls (my poor family have free long distance so they get to call ME if they want to talk!) but just in case...these will be handy.
  • used homemade dishwasher detergent  (Two drops of liquid dish soap and the soap dispenser filled with baking soda.  That simple! And it totally worked!)
  • ordered a 50# bag of cornmeal and 50# ofsoft white wheat berries.  (It was amazing how quickly my wheat berries dwindled when I began making ALL of our bread!)
      The cornmeal cost $21.00 which equals out to be .42 per pound compared a
 24 oz Quaker CornMeal tub from a grocery store for $1.79 which equals $1.19 a pound.
  • Bought two hams for $1.28 a pound.  I hope to find a few cheaper ham sources the closer we get to Easter but I am happy to get meat for less than $1.50 per pound too. I missed my window on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year so I wanted to be sure I got some ham from Easter sales.
  • called phone company to see about lowering our (outrageous) phone/internet bill (that was one of our Booze and Budget goals for the month- talk about waiting until the last minute!)  I found a $7.00 service fee that they took off, was told that we've been getting a 10% credit discount per bill and she gave me $20.00 credited to our account just for inquiring.  Not exactly the savings I was hoping for long term- but it helped and the $20 credit was a nice gesture.  I will seek out some other alternates for phone/internet and see if it would be worth moving to another company. 
How about you?  Any frugal efforts this week?


Terri said...

Holy cow, that's all there is to homemade dishwasher liquid?????!!!!!! I'm definitely trying that. Who woulda thunk it?

I'm going to take a look at that video too. It drives me bonkers that I save money on everyone's hair in the family but my own. Not sure if I can do it though since mine is short and layered but I'm going to watch it.

Thanks for the inspiration, Rebecca. Our weakness here is chips and it's hard for three teenagers and young adults to get the idea that they don't have to be a staple! lol

Have a blessed weekend. Terri

Bonnie said...

Impressive! And you are SO RIGHT about grocery shopping. I've managed to pretty much cut out cereal (except for the Husbands crappy sugar cereal. But a big bag of that lasts a few months since he only eats it on his day off which is Sunday), no crackers (save for special occasions i.e. a trip to our "local" Amish community), no bread items, and no junk food except for 1 bag of pretzels a week. We get 2 gallons a week of raw milk, and since the kids only get to drink it a few times a week at breakfast, that lasts us fine. (We almost never drank milk when I was growing up since it was expensive even then for a large family, and I kind of followed suite without realizing it.)

My few items are a compilation, but here goes:

*Found bridesmaids dress for a wedding I'm in this June on clearance, with tax and shipping it came to about $52. Regular price was OVER $140. I'm hoping to sell it on consignment after the wedding.

*Using up leftover baked potatoes, sausage and ham in tonight's scrambled egg supper

* Saved our Sunday school lesson plans for the kids to draw on the backs of

* Am slowly going through all of my fabric planning the girls much needed Spring/Summer wardrobes. It'll be an interesting one to say the least. (Can you say patchwork?)

* Realized that the property next to us is FULL of scrub non-flowering dogwood that will be PERFECT (I think) for wattle fencing, pea and bean trellising and possibly even tomatoes stakes.

I'll have to watch that hair cutting video, mine needs trimmed something awful! (I'm guessing you're pleased with how yours came out?)

yes to homemade dishwasher detergent! Mines different, but SO much cheaper!

stephaniegiese said...

I just started using that exact same dishwasher detergent "recipe" last week and I was socked by how well it worked!

I'm not sure why, but I feel the need to defend Trisuits. They only have 3 ingredients: wheat, soybean oil, and salt. Granted soybean oil is not the healthiest kind of oil, but they are still better than a lot of processed junk food. We use them to make mini pizzas for the kids for lunch sometimes.

But, you are right, of course. It is WAY cheaper to just make your own bread, crackers, etc. at home.

Courtney said...

I saw a few weeks ago how much prices had gone up. I nearly choked when I was getting butter out of the dairy case at Sam's. Do you know when you will see milk in people's carts? When there is threat of any bad weather. Then, for some reason, there will be PLENTY of milk in poeple's carts! lol

Karen said...

I always look in peoples carts it is a weird thing. I often think maybe there is a sales on something they see and I don't know about. I will have to check for the milk. I never really noticed the milk unless it is WIC you can always spot those carts because of the other purchase they are making too. Not to mention the young kids hanging from the carts.

love you cooking this week!

Rhonda said...

Your bread is beautiful!

And yes I have noticed cheese prices are up dramatically. I think beef is doing the same thing too. There are always new challenges for us budget minded homemakers :)

Anonymous said...

Note to commenter Karen: MYOC

Anonymous said...

Some people think this is weird, but I am always mystified that people waste so many things. When I cook corn on the cob or open a can of corn or cook frozen corn, I save the "juice" and make jelly. We don't call it corn jelly at our house; my 8 y.o. son named it "Faux Honey-Apple" -that's how it tastes. 2 cups of liquid makes about 3 half pints of jelly. Why dump it down the drain? Same thing with maraschino cherry juice, canned peach juice, pineapple, etc.

When I open a can of tuna, I save the juice to pour on the dog's food. She loves it, and it is good for her. Again, why wash perfectly good, edible tuna oil or juice down the drain?

Think before you drain or dump.
Is there another purpose for what you are about to throw out?

People may chuckle at this now, but believe me when food prices (and dog food/cat food) go high enough, they will be rethinking their skepticism.

Rebecca said...

Terri- search on youtube for "how to cut (the hair style that you want)" and see what you can find. I have never searched youtube for a tutorial without finding just what I need. It is an amazing hat o tricks.

Bonnie- well done on the bridesmaid dress! I was just lamenting the fact that I will probably never be in another wedding since all my friends are married and the next generation is now up to the alter. Sniff. I am getting old. Wattle fencing?! YES, PLEASE! The haircut worked fine and dandy. Worth the effort. Can't wait to see the wardrobes. Do blog please. ;-)

Stephanie- it was because of your post last week that I found it! So thanks!

Courtney- glad to know I am not the only one noticing these things.

Karen- don't judge the WIC carts by kids hanging off! I have kids hanging off but we don't use WIC. We just like the challenge of navigating carts through teeny aisles among many people while monkeys swing from carts and want to show you everything they see. Yeah- SO FUN shopping with monkeys---er, children. ;-)

Anon #1~ Sorry. I am a cart watcher too. Just like I am a people watcher. I like observing things and people. Since I am out in the country every day, all day, with nothing but butterflies and children fluttering about- I positively LOVE looking around and observing people and things when I am back in civilization. It doesn't make me a bad person. it just makes me interested.

Anon #2~ I do the same thing with tuna and canned meat waters and dog/cat food. I also try to use the sugared water of canned fruits for things (I usually add them to smoothies).

I have never thought about making a jelly from the juice of canned corn though. That is INTERESTING.

You are absolutely right. We have all been so spoiled, we have forgotten how much can be done with how little. Thanks for the tidbit!

...they call me mommy... said...

Annie and I were admiring your marble bread!! SOOOO pretty! :)

Abigail said...

I've often thought I should hang a sign on my chest saying, "Nope. Not on WIC!" when I'm out shopping. :) My cart typically has at least six gallons of milk, a stack of cheese and butter, bananas, potatoes, and a mountain of other "WIC-approved" items that serve as ingredients in our from-scratch meals. Oh, yeah, and the six children climbing on and crowding around the cart like little, noisy ducklings...

This insight has made me more aware of assuming things about those I watch, too, because, like you, Rebecca, what's the fun of being on a rare trip out-and-about if you can't engage in some friendly people-watching? :)

But that silly story is not why I came to comment. Oops!

Does that dishwasher detergent leave residue buildup on glass after a week or so? I'm curious. I haven't had the best luck with homemade dishwasher detergents so far, even with vinegar in the rinse, and have just stopped using my dishwasher for the last several months. I think it may the dishwasher, though, and not the detergent, because it's not properly cleaning even with storebought detergent. (I've cleaned out the dishwasher arms, too, to no avail.)

Good think I have some human dishwashers to help out. I pay them in milk and butter. ;)

Abigail said...

An hour later, I had to turn the computer back on and hunt this post down to clarify. Hopefully, I'm so late to the party that no one will even read these, but I didn't mean to cause offense by sounding snooty or condescending regarding WIC. My parents accepted that help for a time when I was growing up, and I have several friends in dire financial straits who do, also. Long ago, my husband and I made a decision not to, for many reasons, and God has graciously provided all our needs and more.

I'm sometimes tempted to wear that sign because of people like the co-worker of my friend's father. He's the father of many children, and the co-worker (wrongly) assumed that he had all those children in order to "milk the system" for all it was worth, and thus to benefit himself. I want people who see me out with my large family to know that the rewards of the children are the children themselves and not any material goods we can "get" because of their presence in our lives. That's all. :)