Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fiscal fast,day 18: A frugal mindset, talking trash, off the menu, car

A frugal mindset is consistantly thinking of ways to conserve, to resuse what you already have, before replacing it, or buying a replacement. I am constantly thinking of ways how I can do things better, with my bottom, budget line in mind. Case in point: this morning's cooking.

2, 2 lb loaves of homemade bread for the upcoming week. The cost of bread is ridiculous; I taught myself how to make it a few years ago, and now rarely purchase bread, unless it's on the marked down shelf or by combining a sale with a large, doubled coupon.

Today is trash/recycling day, and as usual, my recycling bags far outnumber the trash bags. The more I recycle, the less I pay, AND the earth thanks me. : )    Update: today's trash disposal fees: $5.40. Nice.

Earlier this week, I decided that I wanted to keep hardboiled eggs on hand, as a quick protein, and to help me reduce my bread consumption in the morning, thereby helping me with my continued weight loss. I am doing something right, as several have commented that I've lost weight. I don't own a scale, but have been placing too big clothing in a bag for donation, almost weekly.

 Instead of just pouring the hot water (from boiling the eggs) down the sink, instead I drained the pot over a dishbin in my sink. While I do not pay for water here, I do pay electric to pump it into the house, heating oil to heat the water from the boiler. I had a few pots to clean up after breakfast, just seemed a natural thing to do. Having lived without running water for 3, week long stretches these past few years (due to freak storms), I am very conscientious about water usage.
 After the pan with the eggs was removed from the stovetop, I slid the coffee pot over, to take advantage of the residual heat, warming up the percolator for a second cup.
 My hot, soapy water? That will sit most of the day. Perfect for a quick hand wash while cooking, a quick clean up after lunch. All I need to do is add a bit of hot water, as needed. I often dump the used water afterwards, down the toilet and give it a quick swish out clean. More double duty.
Soup for Saturday is a pantry stockpile eat down recipe: clam chowder using canned, chopped clams, some evaporated milk that has been lurking, a large onion, one of those gigantic, Russet potatoes recently purchased on marked down, sale priced bacon.

Update: soup in fact dinner is off the menu tonight. We ended up getting a freak snow storm (was supposed to just be rain, with snow showers, no accumulation) and I had trouble getting up my windy, ascending mountainous road. I started to go up the "bad" end of  the road, only to reverse into a driveway, turn around and go back down the road to the main road, then go around, through the center of town to attempt to go down the road, to my home. As I pulled into the center of town side, I phoned the police, explained that I initially got stuck on the bad side of the road, just made it through the center of town, only to find the road unplowed. Could a plow be sent as I am worried about getting stuck yet again. "Sorry 'Mam, surprise storm, plows are out, I can't predict when one will get there, could be 5 could be 30 minutes." Ok, we gave it a go. (Note, my town is AWESOME about taking care of snowy and icy roads). Sure enough just as I tried to go up the last hill just before my home, I got stuck, slid back onto a flat side street and we waited an hour for the plow. Tried again, nope-slid back to the side street and waited another 30 minutes for the salt/sand mixture to do it's thing. Still slipped a bit, but we made it home finally. Phew! All is well, no one is hurt, the car is fine, etc. So now I am pondering snow tires for this car. Granted, today's circumstances were highly unusual, but I don't want a repeat event. I have 1 1/2 weeks of driving before I am banned from driving until mid March, scheduled at this point to return to work end of March. I can risk not getting snow tires until the Fall, knowing that they are an anticipated expense, I can start setting money aside.


Softie said...

You really piqued my interest talking about your weight loss. Since you post a lot about your menus I know you eat real food with normal ingredients the same types as I purchase. We even both seem to frequent Aldi on a regular basis. I would like to know more about what you have done differently to lose weight. Decrease portion size I am thinking. But any tips you have I would like to hear. Thanks for your great blog!

CTMOM said...

Yes, we do tend to eat real food with some junk thrown in. I do watch my portions, don't often have dessert, am careful about caloric beverages. A typical work day:
bfst: cup oj, 2 cups coffee with cream and sugar, 2 pieces of toast with margarine/jam or a thin coating of peanut butter
lunch: homemade soup, seasonal fruit, tea-nothing added
water throughout the day
dinner-see my blog: usually meat, a starch, a vegetable or 2. I don't eat a lot of meat when I do serve it, 2 slices of chicken breast for instance. I drink 1 cup milk @ dinner, then move to plain tea. Normally no dessert

bfst: cold/hot cereal; Sunday's I often make pancakes/waffles or bacon/sausage (1ce each during the month) with eggs. OJ and coffee again.
Lunch-leftovers, homemade soup
Dinner-Soup on Sat, Sunday is big meat meal-see blog for examples.

I've noted that if I don't have protein in the morning, I am hungry sooner. I have tried taking a cup of yogurt for a mid morning snack, as well as hard boiled eggs. Both have helped with hunger pains. I have bfst by 6:30, lunch is usually around 11:30, dinner by 7. I dont' like to eat past 8 p.m.


Anonymous said...

I am glad you made it home safely. I hate driving in snow and ice but since we are expecting another bout of cold and snow next week I know its coming.

Anonymous said...

I would try to hold off on snow tire purchase if you can, gives you time to research which ones are best for Prius, stash cash for them and maybe find a great deal. Like you said you'll be on no driving restriction for a bit of winter.

Precious said...

So glad that you made it home safely in the snow.

Yeah on your weight loss.

Your frugal ways are wonderful. Love that you consider the garbage. I thought I was the only one that did that. Less garbage, less garbage bags I have to use. I also use every large shopping bag that I get.

Softie said...

CT Mom,
Thank you for answering my question. Your eating plan seems very sensible and realistic. The two main items of note to me are portion size and being very good about your sugar intake. I hope you continue with the weight loss! Thanks again. I really enjoy your blog.

CTMOM said...

I'd also add that post divorce, my stress levels have dropped enormously. Still have some, but there is alot less. Another point is that we tend to eat plain, unprocessed, home made foods without the mystery ingredients, HFCS etc that manufacturer's put into their foodstuffs. Less is more, as far as I am concerned, regarding ingredients in my food.

CTMOM said...

Lifelong New Englander here, while I don't like it, I know how to drive in the snow. More worried about the other drivers than myself, KWIM? Case in point, as I got stuck the second time on my road yesterday, slipping and clearly not able to make it up the last hill to my house, there was a Toyota (?) mini suv behind me. I immediately put my emergency flashers on and started backing down the hill, obviously to back into the flat, side street. Mr SUV decided to do the same at the same time. @@ He started slipping sideways, almost not making it into the side street, where he promptly turned around, presumably to return home. I am on the fence with snow tires: was this snow covering ice issue just a freak situation (again my town is beyond awesome about caring for the roads) or will this be an issue with Winter driving a Prius? Hmm . . probably best to invest in snow tires and be done with it. Years ago, I had them on a second hand Mercedes Benz station wagon, and they made a difference (notorious for fishtailing in Winter). I won't be driving for the bulk of the worst season of Winter (end Jan thru mid March) so I can probably get by this year, and save in the meantime, research tires, be prepared for a purchase come Nov 1st.

CTMOM said...

DO you have snows on your Prius?

CTMOM said...

Since I pay per LB for my actual trash, the less I have to drive over to the transfer station=more savings for me. On average, including the $2.15 (?) monthly cost for my transfer station sticker, I spend $10/month for trash. I had 2 tall kitchen garbage bags of trash yesterday, and 6 of the same of recycling. The attendant even commented about how much I stuffed into my little car. I should have told him that I actually could have put more in there. : )

Theresa F said...

Winter tires are awesome. I used to scoff at them, saying all seasons were good enough. One year I decided to get winter tires and will never go without them again. I live in the snowbelt of Canada, and live in the country. I have some bad drives during the winter(my son plays hockey and we drive all over the place) and they make it a breeze.

You will never regret getting them.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't have them on my Prius. I drive about 500 miles a week and even with last years crazy blizzard I didn't have any problems. I had to have them on my minivan though - that thing was a beast in the snow - very skiddish