Friday, March 11, 2011

Frugal Friday

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty; 
but the thoughts of everyone who is hasty only to poverty. 
Proverbs 21:5

Peering through the rushes. A metaphor for having peered through "cobwebs" and now having clearer vision in these past few years as to excess financial and other waste I engaged in for so many years.

As tax times approaches and efforts abound in this household to pay down debt, I continue to look for ways to squeeze a dollar. The more I save, and the faster I pay down debt, the more I can give to the mission field. In some ways, it seems to me I really overspent the budget this week but in other ways I saved a lot of money and I need to remember that the things I bought this week are not things that I would buy every week or even every month. I don't do these kind of posts very often but now and then I like to take stock of my week's spending and see what I've managed to accomplish. It's a way of holding myself accountable by posting it here.

Thursday at the grocery store I saved:

  • $1.10 on a spinach brioche (paid $1.10)
  • $. 94 on 2 boxes of baking soda (paid $3.56)
  • $3.50 on ready made meatloaf (paid $3.50.  I had a meatloaf sandwich for dinner, an orange and a glass of milk and cup of tea.  I wasn't up to cooking).
  • $.51 on a can of cranberry jelly (paid $1.78. I will be making roasted turkey thigh, stuffing and cranberry sauce for dinner tonight).
  • $5.42 on 2 boxes of beer battered fillets (paid $11.98 for 12 pieces. Much cheaper than fresh fish or canned).
  • $.65 on dry yeast (paid $1.64 as I will make some home made bread soon).
  • $2.00 on pane toscano (paid $1.99)
Savings:  Total savings $14.12 Total spending: $38.64.  (after tax)  I earned 3 stamps (and got one bonus stamp from the clerk for a total of 4 stamps). I'm saving toward a book of 25 stamps which will earn me a  $10. gift card toward future food purchases.  I'm actually 6 stamps short of 25 stamps for my second card.  I have just over a week to collect them. I might make it but I won't buy stuff at that store just to get a stamp. If I save 50 stamps, I get $25 gift card toward food purchases and that will be a big help.  I didn't buy any toilet paper today as it is still too expensive. Fortunately, I have enough for awhile. Hopefully it will be on sale this weekend somewhere.  I purchased 10 kg of flour earlier this week for just under $9.00 which is a savings of about $5.00 given the exorbitant increase in flour costs. I haven't purchased a big bag of flour like this since last Fall but this will enable me to make fresh bread now and then.

I also spent just over $30.00 the day before yesterday on fruits (bananas & lemons) and mostly veggies (snow peas, broccoli, purple yams, sweet potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, kale, baby bok choy and a few odds and ends.  No real savings here as I simply look for the produce that is less expensive and try to limit the higher cost items if I need any.

Sunday I went to the drug store and spent $86.54 (tax was almost $7.00) on the purchase of 22 items all of which were on sale. This is a very steep bill I know.  But as I said, all of the items were on sale and the savings was anywhere from 60 cents to $9.00 on each item so it was a hefty savings overall. Unfortunately, the way the bill is written, it doesn't help me reconstruct for you and list, the original prices and the savings on each item.

I probably won't need to get anything at the pharmacy again for quite some time except for maybe toilet paper if it goes on sale and my medications.  I did get a $20.00 gift card back for gas at ESSO. I gave the card to my nephew who is saving for a return to university studies.  My purchases at this store give me points toward future discounts on purchases. It will take me several more months by the look of things before I earn a $10.00 discount. Again, it doesn't pay to buy things just to earn the points, unless the store is holding a promotion to multiply your points. Sometimes they double points and once in a long while they give you 10x the points. This is a really great time to buy if you need the items because you quickly earn some money back on those things you need to buy.

Other frugal acts this week:

  • bought the smallest popcorn and drink at the movie theatre and took my own orange and water in my handbag).
  • saved energy (turned off computer each night, turned off all the lights when not in use, cut down on loads of laundry)
  • cut up a natural coloured twill sofa cover. I'm going to repurpose it as cushion covers for a number of European pillows I have and use as cushions for the sofa.
The cotton twill sofa slipcover after it was cut into pieces and washed. Buying this as fabric to cover cushions would cost me $22.00 per meter up the street.  I've saved myself from having to buy any fabric and I have meters and meters of it now.
  • did laundry with my home made laundry detergent.
  • read a book I bought at the thrift store.
  • worked on impulse control. It seems this week I've really had a lot of temptations for sweets and drinks.  Every time I went out to buy food and necessities, I had an urge to stop at Starbucks and get a coffee and usually that means a treat also (approximate cost $5.50), stop at a local diner for dinner ($10.00 for a cheap dinner) or stop somewhere for  a coke ($2.00) or a tea (anywhere from $2.50 -$5.00 depending on whether it was a regular tea or a fancy specialty tea).  I resisted each and every time. This is great progress for me and I figure I saved myself from spending about $25.00

I'm not sure what my total savings are for the week. However, I can see that the new habits I started trying to form some time back, are now becoming second nature to me. I'm learning new habits and it feels good. I think these habits will stand me in good stead because food and other costs are only expected to go higher.

Wishful thinking about spring flowers.

I wanted to make a mention of the late night news Thursday about the devastation in Japan as a result of a powerful Sendai earthquake  (and now today there is breaking news that a quake 6.6 hit Nagano, Japan). Many other countries along the Pacific Rim were on high tsunami alert and even the coastal regions where I live were on tsunami advisory. I've heard from one blogger friend in Japan (see comment section) and thank God she is fine. I've also just read on the internet that the tsunami once it reached Hawaii was small.  Thank you God!! Prayers and thoughts continue to be with all those affected.  Love and hugs. xx


Jo said...

Penny your last paragraph about resisting impulses has remotivated me. I cannot go to a Starbucks here in the valley (lol!) but today I will have an orange instead of bread and honey for afternoon snack. Well done on all the savings. I know that you Americans say you're a nation of consumerism. But my,oh my, we in African are so very guilty of this. Here in Third world Africa and in South Africa too. I pray you're rejuvinated again. Bless you my friend. (((hugs))) Jo

Joyful said...

Hey my friend, I'm glad to know my post has motivated you. I'm still up because I am glued to TV watching the news on the tsunami. I did my taxes today and I have been dreading it but now that it is done and I know the damages, I feel a sense of relief and a burden lifted. I always like to know what I'm dealing with and the sooner the better so I can make a plan. Hugs and have a great day, Jo.

clairz said...

You are an inspiration, as always, and I hope you know that. You are teaching me that small steps can make the world a better place and that, yes, we can do something as individuals.

I usually read my email and favorite blogs before turning to the news, so your blog is my first indication of the tragedy unfolding in Japan. I must go and find out more about what is happening.

Thank you for everything this morning.

snowwhite said...

Thank you for your concern. The earthquake was huge and powerful. I am very sad it destroyed these beautiful cities. Fortunately Nara is far away from the epicenter. All of us are OK. I wish tremors stop as soon as possible and no more lost. Now I pray for people in the afflicted area.

Joyful said...

Clairz, I was delighted to find your comment. You made my day as it really is my hope and prayer that people will indeed see that little steps and acts that we take each day can indeed lead to positive changes in the world. Either the world right around where we live, or the world far away, as in the case of Kenya where I like to help.

The key is to do things with purpose and intention and love. I've updated my post above with a mention of the earthquake and tsunami. I had a mention of it on the earlier post but some people may not get that far. Have a wonderful day.

Joyful said...

Snowwhite, I'm so glad to hear from you and to know that you are fine! After I wrote you I looked up the location of Sendai in relation to Nara. I see they are far apart but with the huge quake and after shocks I didn't know how you might be affected. I continue to pray, as does much of the world, for Japan and everyone affected.

 gmirage said...

that flower sends me wishing for spring too. Wow on the savings, I think I need to learn from you!

The Professor's Wife said...

Sounds like you are doing great on the savings! Little habits truly do add up over time. I love how you want to get out of debt, not for yourself, but so you can help others - you are an inspiration.

Praying for Japan as well.

Joyful said...

gmirage, yes it is a pretty flower. I'm glad I inspire you to make some savings. Best wishes on your efforts. Let me know how you do ;-)

Joyful said...

TPW, thank you for your kind words. When I read savings efforts of people in UK or those of avid couponers in USA, I sometimes think my efforts are so puny, lol. But we have to do the best we can wherever we are at. I feel good about savings any dollars so I can stretch my funds. I am so blessed now to have time to stretch the dollars because when I was working I was simply too busy.

Joyful said...

Sounds like you are doing great on the savings! Little habits truly do add up over time. I love how you want to get out of debt, not for yourself, but so you can help others - you are an inspiration.

Praying for Japan as well.

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