Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Frugal Update

From last week's post, I told you about the van battery dying and having to get a new one. A friend was able to put a different battery in my van until I could get something else. On our way to Rob's house Saturday we got a different battery at Mills Fleet Farm. That battery cost me $77 which is about $50 less than in the town we live nearby. Rob put the battery in for me which saved me the money of a mechanic doing the same work. Since we didn't make a separate trip to the store, we saved that money too. I figured we saved additional $50-75 in gas and labor fees, but I did get Rob some Girl Scout cookies. Does that count as payment for labor?

I was able to get more apples on clearance for $.50/6. Last week's apples were eaten by the kids (mostly Dane). This morning, I sliced about 10-12 apples for the slow cooker to make applesauce for supper. I might slice some more up tonight for the dehydrator. We love our dried apples! Or turn them into apple butter...yum!

I have been doing a little more shopping than usual this last week. I got my tax refund about 11 days early so I have been restocking a house a bit and getting some things we need here. I have also bought a few birthday presents for Shali's birthday in March. The rest of the money will go to a quarter of beef and the new-to-me vehicle fund.

Hy-Vee sent some coupons out a while ago if you have a fuel saver card. I had a coupon for $.25 off a gallon of gas if you spent $50 on groceries. Since I was shopping some sales and restocking the pantry, I was able to take advantage of that. All in all, I got $.56 off a gallon of gas which saved me about $7.00 when I filled up on Friday. 

I got my utility bill for the month and got a huge shock. In the last year, my budget billing has gone from $276 to $311 to $381 starting next month! I know this winter has been unusually cold, but this is ridiculous! We are going to have to be much, much more diligent on our electrical usage. This whole house is electric so the bill will always look bad, but this hurts. 

I have already taken steps today with not using the clothes dryer and hanging laundry instead on the dryer rack. I will be putting up more clothes line in the basement to hang more clothes. I also washed both loads in cold water to not use the water heater more than necessary. The little things add up so we will be doing as much as possible to bring that amount down. 

Since the last cold snap has ended, the furnace has been turned down to 66 degrees. When it gets really cold (think 10 degrees and colder), I turn the furnace up to 70 degrees because this old farmhouse turns into an icicle. We may have to suck it up though and keep the furnace turned down. 

We have also expanded our use of homemade cleaners in this house. Since we ran out of toliet bowl cleaner in the upstairs bathroom and only have a little bit left in the downstairs bathroom, we have started using vinegar and baking soda for toilet bowl cleaner. Works like a charm! 

We have also been using the same ingredients for drain cleaner/declogger in the upstairs shower. That drain clogs up once in a while despite the use a drain screen and because I have three girls with long, beautiful hair. We use 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of vinegar and let it do its magic. If the clog is really bad, we follow up with a pot of boiling water. Does the trick!

I did download some books for free for the Kindle and sold a few more books on Amazon. We got a few freebies in the mail. Other than that, it was a good week!

Thanks for reading!
Erica

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