Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Frugal Week

Hi friends,

I hope you all had a great week. I have had a busy and productive one. It was a good week.

I started the week with making a baby quilt for my soon to be great-niece or nephew who will be born any day now. It is exciting awaiting the arrival of a new baby. The quilt was sent off in the post and arrived yesterday.  Since I did not purchase any new materials and had all the necessary fabric, thread and batting on hand, this was a very cost-effective gift.

Early in the week I visited a new to me university in the city. It is a small, private American university. I went there to ask questions and gather information for a friend of mine who is contemplating attending there. I was very impressed with what I learned and the fact that the university seems very responsive to real needs of students.  I do think though that the cost of tuition is a bit prohibitive.This little outing was very interesting for me and brought back my own excitement about being a student so long ago.  Other than the cost of the bus ride ($3.50 Canadian) it didn't cost me anything for the outing.

The night before my meeting at the university I received a coupon from  Michael's Craft store for 50% off a regular priced item.  I am adding large balls of yarn to my stash in different colours.  I don't need the yarn right away so I am going to buy 1 large ball of yarn every now and then.  The usual savings I would have on one regular priced item is 40% off.  This time it was 50% so I saved $6. (Canadian) off the total cost.  I also bought  6 small balls of cotton (at a savings of  $3.00). Altogether I saved $9. on yarns.  I'm hoping to make something different with the balls of cotton to be unveiled later if the project is a success. Normally I make cotton dishcloths and I really enjoy making them. Now and then though it is nice to make something different and add to my repertoire.

Yesterday I spent $14.30 (Canadian) on veggies, fruit and a small bag of pita bread (celery, carrots, romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, bananas, pita bread).  The romaine was about $.50 off and the pita was only $.99 cents.  Though I am now trying to reduce my carb intake (no more bread baking, sigh), I haven't had a sugar spike when I make a veggie/pita (whole wheat) sandwich so now and then I buy the pita at this good price. At the supermarket it is about $2.50 for the same bag.

Today I purchased a few roma tomatoes ($1.49 per pound) and a small head of green cabbage ($.69 per pound) for an additional $5. (and a bit of change) spending on vegetables this week.  I haven't had any mandarin oranges since the winter and so I splurged to have for snacks.  Good thing the oranges are smaller ones.  I've also managed to find small bananas on my last few forays to the produce market. Having smaller oranges and bananas is a good thing because I have to watch the sugar intake.

I do use a lot of veggies and I like to have a variety of them each week. I also like to have a variety of fruits though bananas, oranges, apples, lemons and limes are the staples. It used to be that veggies and fruits were the least expensive things to buy in my neighbourhood.  But these days nothing is inexpensive.  I just try to scale back and buy those items that are not so expensive or are on sale in any given week.
An example of healthy soup made with fresh produce.

Last week in the produce store the zucchini was $1.59 a pound.  Today the same zucchini was $1.79 a pound.  I've noticed that since new owners took over at the neighbourhood produce store, a lot of the prices have increased considerably.  The quality however has gone down. A lot.  The new owner is now charging virtually the same prices as the chain supermarket across the street.  But the supermarket has much better produce.  For example, the small, shrivelled lemons on offer at the produce store were 3 lemons for $2.00 (Canadian).  The supermarket across the street has much bigger, fresher ones and you pay about $.89 each.  You couldn't get 3 for $2. but you can get 2 large and plump ones.

The other day my friend was shopping at the same produce store.  He felt he was overcharged so he got them to re-do the tally and discovered he was overcharged by $10! That is a significant over charge. They blamed it on the new cashier who was just learning the ropes.

Basically, it really pays to shop around.  It also pays to keep your eyes open for changing prices at your favourite stores. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the cashier and to put things back if you find the prices are too high.  At the larger supermarkets I always try to watch the cash register and have saved myself a lot of money this way.  Often the inventory being scanned has not been reduced in the system so if you don't catch it you may be significantly out of pocket.  If you know the prices you can always tell when you are paying too much. I speak up immediately (before I leave the store) and have the problem corrected before I leave.  This saves me a trip back to the store to sort things out later.

I save all bottles and containers that have a recycle fee attached. Whene I have a shopping bag full of bottles and cans, I take them to the supermarket for a refund.  They limit the amount of recyclables they take at any one time but it works for me since I can't have too many piling up in my small kitchen before they need to be returned for the deposit.  Usually the amount I get back for a full bag is around $1.40 Canadian and this week was no exception. I'm given a chit for the refund which I can then cash out when I go to the check out counter.

This week I also made $2. on a scratch ticket sent to me for my birthday.  This is like found money since I didn't have to do anything to get it but scratch the numbers.

I was also able to save several dollars on a donation of airtime to a Kenyan friend. Sending money to foreign countries can be costly, especially when multiplied many times over the course of a year. I never know when there will be a discount off the fees but when they do happen, I try to take advantage of them.

When I went to the pharmacy last night to pick up my medication I did some browsing around the store to see if anything I needed was on sale.   Just before I was going to pay for the items I checked my email and discovered that I could use a coupon that would earn me 16,000 (a  monetary value of about $20.).  I collect points so I can buy staples such as toilet paper, eggs, milk, butter and coffee and whatever else I may need.  What do you think I did?  I mentioned it to the pharmacist that I had points if I waited until Saturday and and she kindly offered to have someone put back everything I had taken off the shelves. I said I would be back Saturday. I did go back and I ended up earning 34,000 (16,000 of them I will get in a few weeks). That is like a dollar value of around $55. and will come in handy for use later.

Have you ever used Freecycle?  You can post offers to get rid of your no longer needed items or you can post want ads.  I usually post things to give away but a few weeks ago I responded to a give away for a bunch of unused fabric. The lady who was giving away the fabric kindly brought it to my home today because she had given me the wrong address when I went to her home just over a week ago. She is moving so she is working hard to declutter.

I'm keeping the larger pieces at the front of the photo. The other two piles will go to my friend.

I was able to sort through all the fabric today and decided I will only keep the largest pieces of muslin. I intend to give the coloured cotton and smaller pieces of unbleached cotton, to a friend of mine.  She's told me she will be organizing a bazaar to be held in the Fall just in time for Christmas gift buying. I told her I would donate a lot of yarn for her other friends to make things to sell and also give her some things I've made. I know she would like to make some quilts too that's why I want to give her the fabric but if she changes her mind I will donate the fabric to the thrift store.

I unearthed these quilt pieces this week while I was sorting a few things.  I should sew them together soon.

Besides sorting through my fabrics and seeing what fabric I could keep of the  new stash, I've been sorting through papers. This is one of my least favourite jobs.  But it saves money for it keeps you home when you could be out spending. It also helps to go through old bills and statements to compare expenses over the past year before you through things out. It helps to see where you can tighten up spending.  A lot of companies now charge a few extra dollars a month to receive a paper bill. I really detest that because I prefer paper bills which I can sit and compare with other paper bills over time. I've just discovered that my telephone provider is increasing fees by $2. a month and another $2. a month for paper bills.  Now I will have to call and make sure I  get invoices by email.  I also need to see where I can shave costs from the communications bundle I already use to save costs on internet, telephone and television. I was overcharged for some television costs so I need to deal with that too and have a few other things to discuss with them. By the time I am done I may find it cheaper to move my telephone service but I try to avoid making service provider changes if I can get some good service from customer service representatives and save a few dollars here and there.

I'm a paper keeper.  I keep all kinds of receipts, statements and documents. Problem is I don't have time to keep it all sorted. Slowly I am getting to that point. I'm working on a system that will work for me and still allow me to get rid of much of the paper I've been keeping for far too long.  It is a long process. Once I'm finished with the paper clutter, there are still many photos, books and crafting items to reduce. For the latter I like to try and use up as much of my craft items as possible and then see what I no longer want or need before donating it. It is also a source of pleasure and relaxation but only to a point. If there is too much clutter it is no longer relaxing and it has been at that point for some time.
All in all I had a frugal week. 
Every little bit of savings day after day and week after week does add up.

Whatever I'm able to save helps me to help Elvis (see right side bar) and others in Kenya.

What was your best frugal practice for the week?
What do you do with your savings?


jabbott said...

When I make savings I by treats for my self and others.Sounds like you have had a very busy week of organising, don't forget to take a break ♡

Ceil said...

Wow Joyful! You've had a very busy week! Congrats on using your coupon to get more yarn, you really saved a lot. it's so great that you can recycle your material for a good cause too.
What an inspiration you are! I hope I can be as organized and frugal as you.

Denise said...

You have been a busy little bee my friend.

Cynthia said...

Great bargains! I do the same thing with knitting projects - buy the yarn skein by skein as I have a coupon. It makes a big difference in the total cost for sure.
I just try to save on daily necessities so I have some money for travel. So I guess you'd say travel is what I do with my savings.

Joanne Noragon said...

I am amazed at the recycling of quilting scraps among quilting friends. When they are tiny and wrinkled my granddaughters press them and cut them smaller for charity quilt patches.

Joy said...

Yes Joyful - "take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves" was a quote I regularly heard when growing up and it stays with me. You've certainly done well with your savings this week and I have to say the new owner of the small produce store won't last long in business if he continues in the way he's going right now!
My best saving this week was probably the 40% off one item at 'Spotlight', which was, of course fabric, for a dress!
It sounds like you're managing to have better control over your blood-sugar-levels, I'm very pleased to hear that! Keep well, and happy savings! Blessings, Joy xo

Joyful said...

Hello Joy, nice to see you again. You are certainly right about the new store owner. Right now I have him on trial to see if he will improve. If he does, I will stay with the store. If not, I'll have to look elsewhere. This is the 3rd new owner of the establishment since I've moved to the neighbourhood. The first one was here for many years before me so I was shocked when they sold and moved on. The next family started off shakily but made huge improvements. Again I was surprised when they moved on. This new guy probably needs some adjustment time too. So good that you've got 40% off your fabric. That kind of savings always make buying worthwhile. xx

Joyful said...

It's wonderful to recycle isn't it? I'm glad to hear your granddaughters do their part for charity too. You are raising them well.

Joyful said...

Thank you Cynthia. I think travelling is a good end goal. I'd like to travel myself soon. I hope I can do it ;-)

Joyful said...

Yes, I have my friend! Buzzzz, lol!

Joyful said...

HI Ceil, it has been a busy week. It didn't feel so terribly busy while I was doing it but when I ended the week I was very tired. It was the paperwork that put me over the edge. It always does. How can you tell it isn't my favourite part of things. Nonetheless I feel so good when it is done! Blessings to you dear Ceil!

Joyful said...

Sounds good Mrs. Abbott. A treat for ourselves and others is always such a blessing. Thank you for the reminder to take a break because I did overdo. I still have lots more to do so will try to take it at a better pace. I do need to get through the paperwork asap though because right now it is cluttering up my living room. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend. xx

Mereknits said...

I love the snippets of your frugal week, I think my week was costly as I had to repair my serger and buy a new sewing machine. But all in all I will get years of use out of them so that is a bonus.
Hugs to you and love your new free fabric,

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