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Viewing the 'Food, glorious food' Category

Paczki Day

March 1st, 2017 at 03:49 am

Before I moved to Milwaukee, I had never heard of paczkis, although somewhere in my dim memory I think my first husband talked about them. Are you all familiar with them? The usual pronunciation sounds like poonch-key. They're big jelly-filled doughnuts very popular around here on Fat Tuesday. That's been my only spending this week so far: $3.99 for six paczkis. I had half of one for breakfast, but found the dept admins brought in a couple dozen, so I relented and had a whole one. I think I'm in a paczkis hangover now. I rarely eat that much fat and sugar in one go-- I almost look forward to a leaner tomorrow and Lent.

In minor financial news I deposited another $25 insurance reimbursement and filed for flex reimbursements for DD's ortho and dental work. TIAA Cref is sponsoring some sort of seminar tomorrow for "America Saves" week, and I've registered for it. I hope to go after tomorrow's classes and office hours.

My major post-paczki triumph today was finding the new George Saunders' book at the library. They have a "hot" shelf, but you can't reserve the books. I'm looking forward to digging in this weekend.

Buried in grading. Absolutely buried.

Wintry Weekend

February 26th, 2017 at 03:40 pm

After a brief interlude with spring weather, we certainly have come back to winter. We've had snow the past two nights, though not as much as in MN.

A brief recap of the spending for the past few days shows I spent $15 on lunch with colleagues after our award ceremony. I didn't plan on going, but it was fun. I brought a few leftover--including the Italian bread--home for DD. I did make a vat of potato soup again from the easiest recipe ever. It lends itself to add-ins, so I threw in some leftover chopped spinach and some Boursin cheese from Christmas. I went to a old friend's 60th birthday party on Friday night, but had a bookstore gift card to tuck in his card, so no spending there.

Yesterday was more grocery shopping as the fridge was pretty empty--and my totals are back in the $60s, but we now have a very full fridge--especially with the batch of chili I made for last night. And in our ongoing effort to eat it all, I found a can of dark sweet cherries in the basement which went into a cake recipe from the Pioneer Woman site. It was good--if a bit too sweet for my tastes. We watched "The Theory of Everything" on DVD from the library. We somehow missed it when it came out--and I liked it a lot.

Today looks like it will be church, the ongoing laundry, and more of the endless paper grading. My evening class begins in another week, and while we'll be happy for the cash, I really prefer to work just one darn job. But my new syllabus has got some interesting different articles, stories, and films, so I'll enjoy it--if not the increased work load.

I'm looking forward to it being March--even if just for the morale booster!

Free, French, and Fun!

February 19th, 2017 at 11:03 pm

DD and I just got home from seeing a cute French film, Belle et Sebastien II. Our university is hosting a French Film Festival, and all the films are free. It's also free to park on Sunday. We did buy a good looking cake in support of a youth program in Haiti. All the Francophone countries are showing films so there's quite a wide range. As a bonus, DD gets French extra credit for going. I'm going to try to go to a few more while it lasts.

We did the weekly shop yesterday, but I blew the $50 budget buying another 99ct/lb turkey breast and more milk than usual--but we just about hit $70.

DD had a great time at the anime convention. We're going to have to get used to her being out later. We feel like old fogeys (sp?), but she has a much better social life than we do. We watched more of The Crown, and I graded papers.

On Wednesday I'm meeting with a nursing doctoral candidate looking for dissertation editing help. That could be a nice bonus. I'm not sure I need more work now, but I can put some other things on autopilot. No other spending to report--but am scuring the Target ad for other things we need.

Drum Roll? Nah.

February 15th, 2017 at 06:19 pm

After lengthy discussion, it seems clear the DH wants to take the regular job, not the contract with the possibility of it turning into a job. He's very slightly concerned he'll be bored, but he always keeps himself entertained outside of work. It also has the shorter commute--probably a minimum of 15 minutes each way --which adds up and is aggravating.The other folks keep calling him back, but I think he's decided. They don't need him though, until 6 March, which means we'll continue on a somewhat spartan budget for a while. I think the smaller paycheck compared to the other job is not much of a concern. He just needs to keep an eye on his spending. Lots to think about, but he's about to call them and accept.


We continue to eat through the freezer and pantry. Here are some embarrassing revelations. Yesterday DH ate chili from the basement freezer that I have NO idea of its age. But he said it was fine and appears to still be alive. I really should be better about labeling. I'm much too sporadic. And I found a box of alphabet pasta in the far recesses of the cupboard. I'm relatively sure that we have had it for years. I'm throwing it in the latest batch of soup. If you don't hear from me, well, you'll figure it out. Dry pasta has a long shelf life though, right?

I'm home with this awful cold--drippy nose and miserable. I got as far as getting dressed and picking up my bag this morning before giving up and going back to bed.

In other minor financial news, I cashed $25 out of Swagbucks and found 2 cents in the parking lot yesterday. And I read a capstone project to keep that cash coming.












Four Jaunts

February 11th, 2017 at 11:37 pm

I've turned into such a homebody lately, but it was great to get out last night and today.

I went out with university friends for drinks and appetizers. Someone gave us a card for 25% off for educators, and the six of us made good use of it. Happy hour wine specials and absolutely fabulous crispy Brussel Sprouts with goat cheese and honey. Honestly, they were fabulous. We also ordered a plate called Middle East peace with hummus, babaghanoush and beautiful warm pitas. It was lovely and fun. Lots of worries about our jobs, but so good to get together and reassure and help each other. I paid way more than my share to help some of the others, but it was only $23.

Today I bought a hot pink desk chair off a local FB list for DD. She's been making do with a raggedy old chair that needs paint and a new seat cover, and this was adorable and $10.

Yes, you can see that I've been loosening it up a bit.
But not too much. We needed a little breather.

Today the three of us drove out to where DH's new job will be on the 20th. It is a bit far, but I'm really hoping for a car pool buddy for him. We then went together to the grocery store which is usually a recipe for disaster, but I think he's really gotten behind my stricter shopping. The local grocer had great loyalty coupons this week and we spent (drum roll) $44.16. Ok--we still have a few things in the freezer, but most of it was shopping with a detailed list, electronic and paper coupons, and attention to the special offers.

We got through Season 4 of Homeland last night and are #98 (no kidding) on the waiting list at the library for Season 5. I see an evening of work and Netflix ahead of us.

Soup!

February 10th, 2017 at 07:41 pm

Lately the moment we finish eating one batch of soup, I start another. Gone is the veggie soup; we're on to slow-cooker potato which smells fabulous right now.

DH is at his interview and will stop and take the pre-employment drug test on the way home. This is yet another interview for a job other than the one he's accepted. Worth talking to people, right?

CCF's list got me thinking about my pantry/freezer progress which has been pretty darn good. A couple weeks ago I bought 10 lbs of potatoes because they were 59cents for the entire bag. We like potatoes, but not that much, so we've been throwing them in soup and having the occasional baked potato with toppings for lunch. But I swear they're multiplying in the pantry. Today's soup used six of them. I also pulled out a jar of mincemeat. Put mincemeat in the lima bean category for me, but the old Brit loves mince tarts, and sometimes his mean wife actually gets around to making some. It seemed too putzy this week to make tarts, so I used the bar recipe on the jar and froze half. I only wish I liked them. I'm making a batch of brownies too with chocolate chips since I seem to have an abundance of them--particularly the mini ones that DD used to like in pancakes. The pantry looks much better, but I could and will work through it for another month or so. Lots of pecans to use, so maybe more granola?

I'm very slightly loosening the purse strings--drinks out with friends tonight and maybe a small Valentine treat for all of us. But though we've mostly managed to live on my salary, we still have ground to make up once DH starts work on the 20th. It's an ongoing mission.

Free Bagels and a NSD

February 2nd, 2017 at 08:53 pm

Bruegger's Bagels was celebrating their birthday this morning, and I popped in for three free bagels. I (really) ate one in the car on the way to the university but saved the other two for DD who loves their Asiago bagels. Such a simple thing but a nice little treat for still very-frugal me.
My non-frugal office mate scolded me for not going out to lunch with DH while he's unemployed telling me I had no bills. Excuse me? No mortgage maybe, but plenty of bills still.

I had very good classes today which is always fun, and best news of all, my adjunct university offered me a summer class. It's composition--not my favorite subject, but still. That means I'll have summer cash when my regular university salary is over. That gives us a lot more breathing room and we could probably make it even if DH doesn't get a job. But I think he will. Still, a relief.

Onward

January 29th, 2017 at 11:03 pm

Yesterday's grocery bill went back into the $50s, but I came home with plenty of meals. And the checker--a young man about 21--was impressed with my coupons. I love it when they say, "Wow!" I hope they don't coach them on that because I was happy to hear it. Our local supermarket chain was bought by Kroger about a year ago, and they seem to be getting better.

Here was yesterday's uberfrugal fun. DD needed a one-piece swimsuit for her swim classes which start tomorrow at school. Target seemed the best bet, but it's steps away from Costco. She HATES going shopping with me, but I told her we'd go to Costco, price bread flour, and eat a bunch of samples. We ate about a dozen samples, decided the big bag of bread flour was too big, and found a swimsuit there--avoiding Target altogether. So--free lunch, cheaper swimsuit,and a quick trip to the supermarket. And I thought of you all at the supermarket as I was buying edmame as right next to them was a package of what I would call lima beans but which were marked butter beans. The darn things are haunting me.

So, we had stir-fried chicken, broccoli, and pineapple last night with rice. We'll have fried rice tonight with quick dumpling soup and eggrolls. I saw the dumpling soup in an old issue of Midwestern Living at the library and it looked so good. I love having fresh ginger and cilantro around--especially in the and winter. I also made pancakes for brunch and a dozen extra for DD's breakfast this week. She pops them in the toaster and eats them plain. And I made a loaf of bread in the bread maker--long shelved in the basement to use up the whole-wheat flour. I have two opened bags of it in the pantry so we're eating it all.

We did spend some cash as I'm due for a haircut and color--actually a few weeks overdue. My local salon had a deal where if you bought a $100 gift card you got an extra $20--you just couldn't use it the same day. I'd already made an appointment for about 10 days out, so I'll have enough (almost) for two appointments. I touch up the greying roots myself, but the cut and color is something I am unwilling to budge on.

DH and I have decided to really clean out the pantry except for staples. It probably should be an annual event as we have lots of bits of things. I probably would NOT do it in January again, but we'll continue pretty much uberfrugal until he gets a job.

Still no sunshine here--it must be at least a week without sun and it's pretty darn cold.

Another NSD

January 28th, 2017 at 02:36 pm

We've been oh so darn frugal. And I'm pretty darn sick of it, but that's just too bad. Yesterday was a no-teaching day, but did have one long and trying meeting. Perhaps my tremendously stuffed-up head didn't help. Anyway, I've got a new opportunity at the university which I'll detail as it proceeds. It's not what I would have wished for, but it could be pretty interesting.

Yesterday I made turkey broth with the remnants of the turkey breast. We had three dinners and two lunches from that lovely thing--and now the soup to come. Since I have frozen potstickers, I think we'll go Asian and add some bok choy, edamame, and some red cabbage. I've got a couple Asian-themed meals planned for the NY celebration. There's a bottled stir-fry sauce and some water chestnuts in the pantry. Like CCF, I have rice that I'll make into fried rice. Looks like the weekly grocery trip will be on for today. I mostly need fruit and veggies as we're still plowing through the freezer.

Yes, the freezer still has a long way to go as does the pantry. I made bread from a mix yesterday, and we made a pizza from the remnants of the stuff in the fridge. I fried up mashed potatoes into patties for lunch with some eggs. The pizza was good, but not sure about my potato patties. But we ate them.

DD starts a swimming unit at school on Monday and needs a one-piece swimsuit. I guess that probably means Target. Just glad I don't have to buy one myself--especially after our uber-frugal (and uber-starchy) meals of the past month. I'll use the Redcard and should look for coupons before we head out.

I've started a new book, The Essex Serpent, which I'm liking, and have a day full of laundry, budget totaling, and course planning to do.

Bean There; Done That

January 27th, 2017 at 04:58 am

Ignoring all the confusion and chaos around us, this blogger has sought to find the real truth behind the lima vs butter bean debate. This is what the always infallible internet has to tell us:

"Butter bean is a term that some use for particular types of lima beans; the only difference is in regional terminology. The lima bean is a domesticated legume with the scientific name of Phaseolus lunatus that gets its name from its place of origin, Lima, Peru. Some in the American South and the United Kingdom call particular types of lima beans “butter beans.”

Dried lima beans that are more flat and yellowish than the common rounded and green variety are often called “butter beans” in Southern States. In the South, lima beans and butter beans are considered to be two different types of bean, however, in their scientific name is the same and they are not two distinct species of bean.

The culinary terminology used in the United Kingdom differentiates between lima and butter beans more in line with the Southern United States distinction, where lima beans that are dried, larger, and light yellow are referred to as butter beans and the smaller green bean is called a “baby” or “junior” lima bean. These distinctions do not change the scientific terminology, and the two common terms used for the lima bean are often interchangeable regardless of regional or culinary preferences.


All of this marvelous knowledge comes from reference. com which cites the USDA. Scientific knowledge is important. Perhaps even more riveting than all of this is that I got my husband to eat about 25 percent of them in his lunch. Expect further updates tomorrow.

Januwearying

January 25th, 2017 at 11:20 pm

Still uberfrugal and today was a NSD. My classes went well despite oncoming cold. DH has had it for a week so I guess it's inevitable I'd get it.

Yesterday we got a refund of $147 from the dentist which went into the bank this afternoon. DH had a good phone interview and lots of other leads. I think things are picking up for him. We'd love to see a job offer.

No other news to report. No BBQ sauce spills. I should turn the turkey breast bones into soup and should bake some pumpkin bread. We'll see how much zip I have left.

And speaking of eating it all up, somewhere along the line DH bought a bag of frozen lima beans. Honestly, I'd have to be in some desperate straits before I willingly ate lima beans, and all the recipes I see for them have cream of something soup or ham bones or something like that in them. Anyone have ideas? Should I just combine them with canned baked beans and have him eat them? You're all invited over for a lovely ladies lima lunch.

Continuing About the Same

January 24th, 2017 at 11:39 pm

But with some hopeful lights. DH had another phone interview today that he thought went well. And someone from his small group at church forwarded his resume to some of his contacts.

I began teaching my Health Science Writing classes today. They seem like a nice and varied bunch, and the classroom is much better than my MW classroom. I also made a mug of tea in the office hotpot instead of picking up my usual coffee. It will do just fine.

My only spending today was on antiperspirant for DD's gym bag supply which I bought from CVS with ECB and a coupon. I also picked up some milk while there to get the ECB bargain. Total outflow $5.37 with $1 ECB. More leftovers for lunch punctuated by a big BBQ sauce accident. DH and I were eating leftover pork tenderloin on buns. He decided to shake up the BBQ sauce, but I had already taken the top off. Several cupboards, the kitchen rug, the counter tops, floor, and dog all got quite a spattering.

Such is January in Cheeseland.

Joy in Packerland

January 16th, 2017 at 05:19 pm

Sorry,NJDebbie,but there is lots of joy in Wisconsin this morning after that amazing Packer game. And we didn't even eat all the game time snacks because we were too nervous during that last quarter. But, they will be out for next Sunday's Atlanta game.

Except for the church offering, it was a NS day with new movie titles from the library and several new books--including--to my delight, the Colson Whitehead book that has received such raves. I love the library, especially now as we're being uberfrugal.

Speaking of uberfrugality, I may need to have one day with a little leeway. We're planning to head to western Wisconsin this weekend to watch the eagles feed on the river. It will be a good day for a lunch out. Maybe I can use the cash from the boot/skate sales.

Meal plan for the week is done. It's going to be a meatless Monday with a quiche for dinner--leftovers to DD's lunch this week. Taco Tuesday and spaghetti Wednesday as per usual.

We finally got the Christmas tree down, and I've chosen some unloved ornaments to go in the donation bag. I'm also making granola bags for my buddies without full teaching loads. I have lots of oats and dried fruit, so no outlays there. In other exciting plans, DH and I will clean the carpets, and I have meetings at school beginning tomorrow.

Happy MLK day! We're spending some time today to act on his words: "The time is always right to do what's right."

Long Weekend

January 13th, 2017 at 10:00 pm

We're still eating it all. Last night I made a pot of vegetable soup that has CSA veggies from the freezer, cabbage and celery root still from the CSA and assorted little bits from the veggie drawer. Not magnificent soup, but hearty. Then today I baked Rachel Ray's chocolate chip banana bread using three bananas rescued from the freezer. DD liked it, but it was too sweet for me. However, it will all get eaten.

DD also got paid for her church babysitting gig today. She's happy. I'm encouraging her to save some of it. She also babysat for them Monday night, so will look forward to that.

Oh, and I took a new photo for DH's Linked in profile. It looks pretty good. He's busily applying for more jobs now. I cashed $25 out of Swagbucks. Back to working on my other classes and finishing cleaning out my England class files.

I need to find something fun and frugal to do together. And of course, the Packers' game is Sunday.

Sleep Inducer

January 11th, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Yep, that's my blog these days. I have another couple hours of organizing my conference talk and am ruing my choice of the hour-long option rather than trying harder to find other participants and do a panel.

Guess what we ate for lunch? Leftovers! I pretty much always eat leftovers for lunch, but somehow serving them to DH makes them seem pretty mundane.

It's Wednesday which is always spaghetti night here, and we've had freezing rain. Perhaps my mood can be ascribed to not being out of the house since Sunday. But I'll be at the conference all day tomorrow. Or the mood could be blamed on it being the first January since 2012 that I haven't been headed for London. Let's not even discuss that.

No spending. Indeed nothing but working.

Quiet Day

January 11th, 2017 at 04:32 am

I spent all morning working on my upcoming conference talk. I still have lots of work to do on it, but the bulk of it is laid out. DH went to an early networking meeting and applied for a few jobs. We spent nothing and ate leftovers. I'm really boring, but I did get half my class admin stuff ready for next semester--spending hours--as usual on the details of the syllabus and learning platform. I got an e-mail offer from a textbook publisher to take a quick survey on their classroom simulations for a $10 gift card which should arrive next week. Still waiting for the Chicago seminar reimbursement and the accuracy checking money from another publisher.

I'm still cabin feverish, but it's so icy here I don't see myself going out until Thursday. It took me 10 minutes to walk to the end of the drive and back for the mail.

So Tired

January 10th, 2017 at 01:29 am

That's what I get for trying to do too much. But we had a lovely lunch--lasagna, bread, salad, warm sprout salad, wine, mimosas, flan, brownies, and pears. My dessert-bringing pal failed to bring dessert, so I made an orange flan, but someone else brought brownies and pears. I cooked, I cleaned, and now I want to go to bed at 8 p.m.

In the interest of eating it all, we will be eating leftovers of all of the above this week. My DH got invited out to lunch by a former colleague today. Total spending on assorted flan ingredients= 2.12. But I'm now out of eggs, so hope I can get to Saturday's shopping without buying more.

Slightly Over on Grocery Spending

January 8th, 2017 at 04:47 am

I hoped to spend only $50 this week, but I've got girlfriends coming for lunch on Monday, so today's grocery spending was $57. That included extra milk, lasagna ingredients,and everything possibly needed for the week as well as some notable bargains. We too continue to eat it all as my DH is still plowing through the bean soup for lunch while I had the last vestiges of the NY ham, and DD had leftover chicken soup. Dinner featured yet more delicious eating it up--this time the CSA veggies. The glazed CSA butternut squash (yum) had wild rice, cranberries, onions from the CSA. I subbed two aging clementines for the required OJ. We had that with pork tenderloin on the last of the CSA pears and apples. We still have lots of leftovers.

I also moved a treasure trove from the basement freezer upstairs. Honestly, except for some fresh fruit and veg, we don't need food for a good month. I'm looking forward to drawing it all down. Really, I dream of an empty downstairs freezer.

Great double couponing meant free yeast, some odd frozen cauliflower "tots" from Green Giant, Hormel lunch meat, and tortilla chips ready for tomorrow's Packer game.

NS Yesterday but Cabin Fever Today

January 5th, 2017 at 06:00 pm

All my family is home now; child sniffling on the couch, husband rooting around, dog happy that everyone is home. And it's very cold here with negative numbers for the wind chills. As directed by the Frugalwoods folks, I'm clearing out the pantry. I've got bean soup on the stove with bits of the NY ham and tomatoes and chiles from the pantry. I've made some wild rice which will be stuffed into the remaining CSA butternut squashes.
Every bit of laundry is done, and now I either/all need to face the office, the Christmas boxes, the basement, and school planning. Or escape to Costco with a friend for an hour or so. I honestly think it will do me good to get out, and I raise my right hand and promise to spend no more than $5. We need milk and spreadable butter. I spent nothing yesterday. I made my SB goal. I should go out.

The UberFrugal Begins

January 1st, 2017 at 08:11 pm

We had a lovely NYE. Rather than sacrificing our rather modest tradition of pizza, a movie, and a jigsaw puzzle by the fireplace, we went ahead with it. We saw the Dev Patel movie, Lion, which I recommend although the more cynical among us may find it sentimental. In my current mood, I thought it was very good.

I did some bargain grocery shopping on double coupon day yesterday, and the freezer is well stocked. Lots of pasta bargains, the usual chicken breast markdowns for the dieters and some freebies.

In an unusual situation at our church, they had no volunteers for the nursery this morning, and they sent out a call for paid help. DD was interested, so she made some spending money, and I tagged along. They tried to pay me as well, but that's silly, and I refused. Through both services we had one very charming little boy who played with toy cars on the playroom rug. We came home and made pumpkin pancakes which were delicious, I must say. We've now used up the non-carryover part of our flex spending, we gave some time to church, and (!) I sold my ice skates for $12. I hate to admit it, but I think my 50+ years of skating are done. My fear of falling has overcome all the joy I used to get out of skating. I'm happy to have them out of the basement and happy to have the $12. Now to find some more crud to declutter--especially if it brings in some cash.

Unemployment Claim Filed

December 30th, 2016 at 05:08 pm

This has been an interesting morning. DH and I filed his first unemployment claim. I'm a little amazed at how much the state already knew about him. The form seemed to fill itself. He's updating his resume now. I've never claimed unemployment, and he found the process much easier than in the UK where unemployment is means tested.

I have more returns to do today. DD has been a great help, particularly yesterday when we returned some things to Target. She got me out of the store without buying a thing. Target is horribly tempting, but I resisted even the after-Christmas sales.

I also have $100 of flex spending that won't carry over to next year, so I'm planning on marching everyone out for a flu shot this afternoon. And I'm signing us mentally up for the Uberfrugal Month Challenge. One thing that has already struck me is lunch prep. DH is an easy person to feed; he'll eat all sorts of leftovers, but we've spent 16 years with him getting a free lunch at work every day. I see many more pots of soup and rice and beans in our lunch future.

So, today's goals are:
finish the returns
flu shots
list three things for sale

Low- Cost Fun

December 29th, 2016 at 04:59 am

My dinner group did a soup swap tonight. Seven of us and families gathered at a friend's house, made enough soup to sample and containers for everyone to take home.

I brought some wine and crudites; others brought cake, popovers, hummus and crackers. It was a lot of fun and we have enough different kinds of soups to keep us going for days. I also filed some reimbursements for my flex spending and thought about returning some Christmas gifts, but I sort of ran out of oomph. Anyone else exhausted by Christmas?

Really? It's Been Over a Month?

October 7th, 2016 at 12:27 am

Ah, yes, it has been over a month since I've posted. Between DD's 5:45 alarm and a full load of classes, I'm pretty beat when I get home. Things are as busy as usual at the university, and overall, my students seem fine. I've managed to finish up the summer's freelance work, keep teaching my evening class, and get a very few things done.

I could easily spend $8/ week on coffee, especially between classes. I've been holding my office hours in the library coffee shop which only adds to the temptation, so last night I unearthed an old electric kettle for my university office. My office mate and I have decided to do either instant coffee or tea there. We both feel a little broke.

Our state budget woes continue, and while I have a full load scheduled for spring semester, she doesn't. Last fall I sort of fell into the habit of stopping at the grocery on the way home to fill in for the week and pick up lunch. But that's off my list too--either lunch from home or lunch at home almost every day. Thankfully with two classes each day beginning at 8am I can usually go home--unless there's meetings or other appointments.

I've transferred some cash that was sitting in Paypal into my online savings. Most of the cash was from Swagbucks which I let run in the background while I'm grading papers. I spent nothing today and picked up the CSA veggies--some of which went into the spinach, broccoli, red onion, red pepper quiche. We also roasted some carrots with thyme--delicious. I feel very boring, but seem to be on track.

One Big Chunk

August 22nd, 2016 at 07:46 pm

To deal with DH's upcoming pay cut, I have been nosing around for more bargains. Here's what I've done, starting with the minor.
A large pot of soup for lunches and tonight's dinner successfully using some wilting veggies.
Less expensive back-to-school shopping than anticipated. DD is fine with much of what she has. We can buy more to supplement as the school year progresses.
A Costco trip that filled in some gaps
A cheap Hotwire motel for next week's Minneapolis trip.
and my large triumph--a truly bargain flight for DH's trip to his nephew's wedding in October. He's going alone as mid-semester trips are impossible for DD and me. I'd been looking for weeks for a good fare between Chicago and Heathrow and struggling to find anything in the strict timeframe under $1000. We'd used consolidators before without any problems, and since he's flying alone, I thought, "why not?" The ticket has gone through, he's flying AA for under $600. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. If you have a consolidator horror story, please don't tell me. Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

And on the income side, my grades are in for my summer class, learning platform and assignments ready for tonight's new eight-week class, freelance project bill ready to be submitted. I still have loads of freelance work, but it can wait a few days.

DD and I are off to visit my brother and fam in MN tomorrow. Hanging out at the lake seems like a good way to wind up the summer.


Challenges and Successes

August 19th, 2016 at 06:40 pm

My DH's employer called yesterday and asked for a meeting. He's an IT contractor, so meetings are rarely good as they know he'll be off the clock to meet. The company where he's been working is facing their usual sporadic financial challenges, and they want him to take a $1/hr pay cut. There is really no choice, and frankly, the $1 didn't sound awful--but it does add up to almost $2000 a year.

At the dog's physical therapy appt this morning, I realized again how much we pay for her anti-inflamatory. I did a quick check and found I can buy it online for $55 cheaper.

Now for a place to find that other $1945! I don't think I can work more. My full time 4/4 teaching load is plenty, and I'll have an adjunct class until mid-December. I'll try to crunch the grocery budget a bit.

The CSA really keeps us fed through the summer. We had the most brilliant panzanella salad last night using some drying up Italian bread and a load of veggies. Maybe we'll try a credit card offer or two?

Some In, but More Out

July 28th, 2016 at 05:24 am

We started out the day with some more vet spending. The round of vaccinations, heart worm treatment, etc ran a cool $225. I came home to a $200 rebate from our health insurance for our CSA membership which just made it into the checking before we headed to the graveyard of no-spending: Target. DD needed a new phone, and we slightly upgraded her current pre-paid phone. It's mostly from her birthday cash, and she's v excited. As current phones go, it was cheap--well under $100. I'm a bit shocked at how many of her friends have $500 phones. But she understands our attitude towards things like that, and never complains.
While there, we also bought the graphing calculator required by her school which was on sale for $89.

On the way home we stopped at grocery as it's double coupon day, and I needed a few things for dinner. Our local grocery chain has been purchased by Kroger, and it appears they're eliminating all their own brand organics. I was WAY too excited to find most of those items tucked away around the store for 75% off. Oh my word, I got $4 granola for 75 cents, cans of chili beans for 35 cents, organic applesauce for 75 cents--it was pure delight. I loaded up the cart. We checked all the expiration dates and bought a few extra things for food shelf donations. We spend $65 and the register tape (never completely fair) said we saved $98.

It's been an interesting day; I'm sure enjoying having DD home. We spent part of the evening watching the convention and the rest reading her required book for Honors English in the fall.

Scavenging Payoffs

July 8th, 2016 at 02:06 am

Much to my delight, the prepaid Visas earned for our health assessments arrived this week. It was a nice $300. However, my DH seems to feel he should be able to blow that $300. I, of course, disagree. We agreed that we both could have $25 from our cards to spend on whatever. And I spent all but $5 of mine today on the dog's post-operative therapy. Bleah. But I guess it's paid for and not on the credit card.
Our CSA box is keeping us jam-packed full of veggies. I made a big pan of stuffed shells with spinach filling tonight, and we still have loads of things. Last week's box had brilliant strawberries and garlic scapes which I've had lots of fun with. Pole beans will be the challenge of the weekend.

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with Vanguard today, and am again very impressed with their customer service. I still had some stocks rolling around in an old IRA, and we got that all transferred. Looking at the statements led me into doing some retirement calculations. Thanks to some major years of contributions when I was younger, I think I can do 100% income replacement right now. That's with Social Security and that's just me--not my DH who has been lax. He's been a contractor for years without a 401K match, I nag him all the time about restarting IRA contributions, but he HATES finances. I'm going tot have to take over his as well as mine. There's UK money, but not a ton, and there's been no progress on his dad's estate. We actually sat down and talked this through tonight--which is tremendously satisfying for me and boring as heck for him.

Other things accomplished this week has been some minor decluttering and the opening of a new savings account purely for the $200 bonus in 90 days. But all of that is done.

Cheap Weekend

May 16th, 2016 at 03:16 pm

One way to have a cheap weekend? Tackle house tasks you've been putting off? My Dh is done with his spring class, so he's now available for many chores. He's started cleaning the basement, I spent some time dejunking various spots and we had a fabulous time yesterday digging out creeping bell flower. If you want to know exactly how fun that was, google it.

Our big evening out consisted of $5 tickets to DD's school musical. She ran the stage crew. We have several more evenings of that kind of fun ahead of us as the band concert and spring sing are happening soon. And there's plenty more garden work to keep us busy--despite the SNOW flurries we saw Saturday.

We've been getting by remarkably well on freezer and cupboard stores with just a few trips for milk and fruit and veg. Our Meatless Monday menu looks like it'll be a Southwestern bowl burrito.

Happy weeks to you all!

Small Potatoes

April 28th, 2016 at 07:28 pm

My first blog entry since coming back to the grey,cold Midwest is indeed full of small potatoes. I'm digging out from a mountain of unopened mail, events and a house that both need some organizing.

In budgetary matters, I'm working our way through a mountain of food that is the usual response to my DH's trips to Costco. We just happen to have 20 sleeves of Oreos, 36 containers of applesauce, and enough Mandarin oranges (?) to feed most Mandarin speakers. While I'm happy to use up the applesauce and oranges in DD's lunches, some of those Oreos are going to the university tomorrow. Our learning platform has been down half this week, and many of my colleagues need a cookie.

I've made a swift $25 off Swagbucks that is assigned to DD's French camp fund, listed some things on FB lists, and taken a couple of textbook surveys totaling $30 in Amazon gift cards.

This weekend's fun includes taxes. I've filed for an extension, but need to face the music soon. Yes, real life is grand.

Finally Friday!

October 16th, 2015 at 09:58 pm

And a chilly Friday it is. I've been cooking up a storm today--making coleslaw, chili, and baking pumpkin bread before turning to the broccoli and cauliflower cheese tonight. We have SO many CSA veggies that need to be cooked up, it was about time. But yesterday was the last weekly CSA box for the year. We switch to every other week until they end at Thanksgiving.

Overall, I've loved it. It's made me try tons of new vegetables like celeriac and kohlrabi, and we certainly eat everything they've sent. Special bonuses have been the honey and maple syrup. As an added incentive to do it again next year, I've just discovered my health insurance offers $200 back on a CSA membership, and as we paid $600, that's a great deal.

I think I've been cooking to avoid grading papers, so I'd better get back to it! Happy weekends to you all!


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