Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January's Frugal Plans

When our two youngest sons were about 5 and 7 they went on an errand to a corner store a few blocks from home. After they'd been gone longer than necessary for the errand I sent an older brother to find them. Lt. Lehi brought them home safely. I questioned the two boys about why they had been gone so long. Their explanation has become one of those anecdotes of family lore.
"Well, we were walking home and saw a giant pile of sand and accidentally played in it."
I accidentally spent more than I planned to on Christmas this year. Oops!

January is going to be a month of frugality to make up for it.

#1 I asked TopDad for just half of my usual household allowance, with the other half going to pay down the debt I accidentally incurred in December.

#2 I will be creating meals out of what we have in the freezer and pantry. The ONLY food I'll buy is fresh milk, cheese, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Plus some cat food when theirs runs out, and my vitamins as I run out.  I will be making all of our baked goods: bread, cookies, muffins, etc.

#3 I made a list of expected expenses related to birthdays this month and next, including shipping costs.

#4 I typed up a list of ideas for date nights to avoid spending money.

#5 I made a list of things I will not be buying in January: clothing, shoes, books, movies, music, haircut, perm, toiletries, etc. I will use up what I have, do without, make do, etc.

#6 I won't go shopping - no thrift stores, no Etsy, no Amazon Prime, no malls (not that I go there, but wanted to be inclusive), no shopping! No trolling for treasures!

#7 I'll purchase stamps (I'm old-fashioned and like to send cards and letters), and minutes for my phone only if I run out. (Which I'm not anticipating.)

This is what I'm planning for January. Some call it a Spending Fast; others call it a No Spend Month.

What I'm hoping is that I can permanently lower my budget and finish paying off the last of the total credit card debt before the school year is over at the end of May.

I welcome your support and/or suggestions.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Something Clever

I saw a pillow for sale (in a catalog, I think) and said to myself, "I can make that." So I did. For JET for Christmas. He loved them.

Big pillows, staged on my queen sized bed.

Rail Fence patchwork 

This one is similar to the one that gave me the idea. That one had even stripes, I made my stripes asymmetrical.

I used the same flannel fabric for the backs, a different side for each pillow.
The only thing I bought were 22" zippers to make the covers removable for washing. The fronts were made of pieces of denim from jeans that the boys and TopDad had worn, plus some brown from an old stained denim tablecloth. The backs were from some flannel that I've had so long I don't remember where it came from. The pillows forms I inherited from my mother.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Something Practical from PFCMom

I have some ground beef waiting to be repackaged from a ten pound tube into more manageable portions so I took a peek into the freezer to see what kind of room I had and was reminded that defrosting was long overdue. So I set about to get it done.

It is an easy, and quick job if you know the trick my mother taught me. I'll share so you can know too.

BEFORE

BEFORE - See how the frost is over an inch thick, YIKES!

I emptied the freezer after setting two pots of water on to boil.

When the water was at a good rolling boil . . .

I set the pan in the bottom of the freezer and closed the lid. After about 10 minutes I removed the first pan and put the larger pan in, and closed the lid.

After just twenty minutes of steam all the frost slides off with a plastic spatula.

Using gloves and a dishpan I gathered up all the frosty ice.

Then I wiped down the sides and sopped up the water, wringing it into the dishpan. Dry with a fresh towel.
After just 35 minutes work the freezer is ready to be restocked.

With some reusable shopping bags, and some brown paper bags (doubled and folded over twice) I sorted food and repacked the freezer so like items are together and easy to lift out to get to a bottom layer.
After 45 minutes of work it is done and I'm ready to move on.
Thanks mom for teaching me the fastest way to defrost and clean a freezer!

BONUS: How to clean pots (and other things) with hard water mineral residue.

When you have a pan (or a glass dish) that looks like this . . . don't scrub and scratch!

Use VINEGAR (either kind works) A couple of tablespoonfuls and a green (or white) scrubby rubbed gently and all the gunk is gone!

See? Gleaming and clean.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Glimpse


Opening Wedding Gifts the night before.

The Ceremony

The quilt I made for them.
We are not a photo taking family. I usually forget, or ask one of the chuns to take pictures and they forget or something. Anyway, this is about all I have until the official photos are produced by the official wedding photographer. It was a lovely time and we are so grateful for all the work our new in-laws went to making it a very special day.