I am pretty positive by now that I live in a time warp. I blink and *boom* two weeks (or more!) have gone by! Yikes!
These last few weeks have been so busy that I feel like I've lived about a month and half in the last two-to-three weeks! They've been good, but busy!
In the middle of all that we're still trying to stretch the budget until we get paid again - which won't be until the middle of September by our calculations. That means frugal is still the name of the game around here! Here are some of the things that we've been doing lately around here to save money and live more frugally:
* Ate almost all meals at home. Exceptions have been: The weekly potluck at church on Wednesday nights (we've brought food we already have in the house), a dinner out with a gift card for our 16th anniversary, and the coffees I bought myself with a gift card while on the other side of town. We also used a refund to treat ourselves to our favorite Chinese Takeout after our camping trip. I had grand plans for dinner that night but we were pooped and since we got a refund that would be more than the meal, we decided to go for it. The rest of the refund was put away for groceries over the next couple of weeks.
* We've been to the library 12 times in the last three weeks. We decided to see how many books we could read over our camping trip and then that continued with the children wanting to see how many they could read before the start of school.
* I used online sale promotions to order the rest of the children's school clothes (my son needed pants that weren't available through the swap at school this year). I got them for 30% off with free shipping and used a gift card to pay for part of it.
* We have been blanching and freezing the extra veggies from the CSA and the garden. So far we have beans, peas and broccoli. It's been a tough year for gardens this year so I have no illusions that we'll have a stuffed freezer but every bit helps! I also diced and froze the green, yellow and purple sweet peppers from the garden. My "pea" plants turned out to be beans instead and we have had enough for two meals of those.
* Made homemade breakfast sandwiches with homemade biscuits and leftover ham and cheese and fried eggs. We have enough in the freezer for two meals for the four of us this fall sometime.
* The children attended two weeks of VBS - one week at each of two different churches. They brought home some neat craft projects and I got some "free" time to work on my school work and class preparation. Both weeks included a program with treats and fruit afterward. I brought home a bag of shredded lettuce from one that was leftover from the morning snack (some type of salad).
* We attended my husband's graduation from his first phase of internship and enjoyed a really nice ceremony with treats afterward. It was super fun to meet his classmates and instructors.
* Took the children to watch a local parade and came home with a plastic grocery bag full of candy.
* Attended a free two hours of swimming at the place where our children take swimming lessons. It was their way of saying "Thank you!" to all the families who have swam with them over the past year. My husband taught the children how to do a flip turn while we were there.
* Used food we had for most of the food on our camping trip. I did buy a bag of potato chips (on sale), and a box of graham crackers (also on sale) just for the camping trip but everything else came from our regular grocery shopping we've done over the last few weeks or from our CSA or the garden or all three! Some things (like the marshmallows for S'mores) were purchased with that idea in mind several weeks or a month or two ago. I had also deliberately saved two boxes of Girl Scout cookies for the camping trip. I had bought a box of juice boxes earlier this summer that we took along and then we drank water for the rest of the time. I did have my morning coffee - made over the fire by my sweet husband with coffee grounds from home.
* Had friends over for lunch one day and made homemade pizza and a salad for lunch. The children played and I got to have a nice visit with the other Mom.
* The children had one of their cousin's over to play one day. They had a blast and allowed his Mom and Dad (who both work from home) to get some appointments/meetings taken care of without hiring a sitter. My husband took them to the local Splash Pad while I made dinner.
* Downloaded a couple of free ebooks for my Kindle for PC.
* Played a lot of card games and board games as well as charades. The children have been really enjoying this and I have to say I have too!
* Used our parks pass to go swimming, hiking and playing on the large playgrounds they have. We've done this few times and the children thoroughly enjoy it. We've had really nice weather which has been helpful.
* The children brought home candle holders from one VBS and I put them on the kitchen table with candles I already had and a spray of roses from the garden. It looked lovely and the children were so proud of their creations!
* We've been doing quite a bit of cleaning out as we moved John's things into his office for this next year. We donated several books and put lots of paper in the shredding and recycle bins. I decided to wear some things from my closet that I rarely wear and decide whether to keep or donate. So far I've donated everything - they either fit funny or I don't feel comfortable or I don't like the way they look on me. I'll keep that up until I've worn everything in there.
* Used a rebate credit to buy the rest of the mulch we needed for the yard. Finally done with that project! Yay!
I'm sure there's other things that I can't remember but that's the highlights. We've been trying to restrict the driving, dryer and light use, and have been continuing to wash and reuse plastic bags and other containers. Going camping always makes me come home and look at what I have and wonder why I have it. If I can live for a whole week without it, it might just be a candidate for letting it go!
What have you been doing to save money and live more frugally lately?