Friday, October 4, 2013

Freezer Cooking and Frugal September Update

Freezer Cooking

We have eaten all of our freezer meals.  We actually ate them all around the beginning of September.  I didn't take any pictures of the cooked meals but I'll brief you on them.  The crock pot barbecue ribs were good.  Everyone liked them but I still prefer my ribs boiled and put in the oven.  If I try them again, we may do a different barbecue sauce.  I used Kraft.  However, nobody liked the crock pot barbecue chicken.  Nobody.  Maybe I let it cook too long or sit in the pot too long, I'm not sure.  It also didn't have enough flavor in it.  The salsa chicken had to be the favorite of the recipes.  We served it on soft taco shells and they were delicious.  We used all of our meatballs to make spaghetti twice.  The kids like to eat the meatballs without the spaghetti.  We also liked the rest of the meals, the Italian chicken, pork chops,  and the cheesy chicken and rice.  All of these tasted pretty good.  You can read about my first experience with freezer cooking here.

Well if you remember I attempted to roll in a (more) frugal September in one of my attempts to reign in debt. Also it's like the last free month before all the holidays and events are popping up.  Of course, you can still implement frugal ways and I surely will be.  I'll probably share them. We originally had a goal to be 3/4 of the way out of debt sometime during my 30th birthday year which is in another year.  Well, there's been a struggle along the way between starting a business and other things but we still plan on being out not long after that.  Maybe an extra 2 years tops if things keep going smoothly.   

I have to admit that I've always been the "money one" or the "cheap one" as my husband likes to call it.  I'm more of the saver and he's more of the spender.  Going out with the kids, he usually asks me what the budget is then uses it as a "guideline" rather than a set amount.  There is a fair this weekend and he has already asked me what the budget is. lol  He's pretty good about everything else though. 

Frugal Bust
If you remember last month, I was blogging mostly from my phone because our modem wasn't working.  I knew it was going to cost me, so I was in no hurry to get it fixed.  The hubs finally got on to me about it.  Well, when I finally waltzed into Alltell hoping to get a new one (for free), I could have hit the floor.  It cost me $175 to get a new modem.  Somehow, I managed not to put insurance on the thing and had to pay retail.  Now at first I was like NO.  Then, I remember I'm contracted so I'd still have to pay for it each month anyway.  So I wasn't happy about that at all.

The biggest frugal change I did this month had to be turning my air off.  It's only been off for about 2 weeks.  In the beginning, I had no intention of cutting the air off.  I happened to be scrolling on facebook and see someone mentioning they were on the second day of no air.  I was like...hmmm.  Could we do that?  My husband is pretty good about participating in my wild antics but this is one thing that I was sure he was just not going for.  Remember, he's the hot one.  So the first day I turned the air off, I didn't tell him.  However, it didn't do me any favors that he went outside and played for hours with the kids and was about to "burn up" when he entered the house.  He looked at me and said"You turned the air off, didn't you?" and started laughing.  I told him he could cut it back on if he wanted to and I actually waited for him to do so.  He never did.  And then the weekend cold front came through and brought the cooler weather.  We've been having the windows up and it feels great.  We also use the fans at times but they are not always needed.  I am more excited to see what our light bill is going to look like next month.  I get a rush just thinking about it.  I would like to hope it would be about $50 that way I could use the rest to put towards debt.

These are some of the frugal ideas that I've been implementing in our house.  Most are things I've already done before but am on a crusade now more than ever to stick with them.

Cleaning/ Personal
Use coupons and make sure you check the sales ads to get the best deals.
Bleach and water has been my only cleaning solution for counters, toilets, etc. 
Vinegar and water has been my window cleaner
Baking soda is being used to vacuum the carpets and I've been adding a half a cup to the laundry to eliminate odor
Dish soap and water are also used.
Use foil in the dryer
I cut the mouthwash - We still have mouth wash but I decided to start using peroxide to rinse with.  We mix it with 1/2 water.
Vinegar, water and baking soda rinses for hair instead of shampoo.  ( natural hair)

I've been very strategic with shopping.  All of my meals are planned out and I make sure to utilize all ingredients in the house.
Use coupons when you can.
I'm making more things myself.
We are making sure to use leftovers.
Since the hubs is home mostly day to day now, I pack him a lunch.
We have meatless breakfast and lunches about 3 times a week.
We have always packed snacks for car rides, etc to keep from stopping at stores for drinks.
We have eaten out maybe twice last month.  Once was just Caleb and I getting together with the other moms from story time   Other than that, we don't eat out at all. I cook everyday which only adds to my hatred of doing dishes. lol
September's grocery total was 352.07 for a family of five.  I'm going to try and make that even lower.

We really need to cut down on our gas bill.  We almost spend more in gas than groceries monthly.  The main reason being that our church and my mom is in a different county.  We go to church for service, practice and Bible study about 3 times a week.  It's about an hour and fifteen minutes round trip.  I am also the main transportation for my mom so I drive her a lot.  We'll figure that out.

There are some great frugal ideas on Pinterest.  I have some pinned on my Frugal Home Board. 

Oh and if you are trying to get out of debt, surely someone is looking at you like you are crazy.  There always is.  Someone that doesn't understand your actions or reasoning behind them.  We have pretty much always lived a frugal lifestyle and it hasn't always been received the kindest way.  A lot of people act like we're crazy.  We're not extreme cheapskates but we're not extreme spenders either.  I'd rather live life a begger now so we don't have to suffer for it later.  I think that's wisdom.

Let those folks be.