Are you ready for a challenging year? Ready or not, it looks like we’re going to be facing one with the recent financial changes that have occurred in our expenses and income.
The situation looks like this … with the increase in the cost of our health insurance and the decrease in our income we are able to pay our bills but have nothing left for groceries. Our grocery money will have to come from selling things, any extra money we can earn, gifts, etc. Our well-stocked pantry is going to be put to good use while we pray and seek answers to our situation. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that we have it.
Let’s get 2015 started!
My to-do list from last time:
The last time I actually had a to-do list I was in the midst of canning up a 25 lb bag of pinto beans. I also had purchased two #10 cans of tomato sauce that I planned to re-can in pint jars. So how did I do …
I did not get any more of the beans canned.
I re-canned 7 pints and 2 quarts of tomato sauce plus had a little over a cup left to freeze.
(Note: The monies used to purchase items mentioned below were gift cards or given to us for Christmas … yes, we used our Christmas money to buy food. We prayed before we went shopping and as we were shopping each time we went … God is faithful and we feel like our prayers were answered!)
We couldn’t find a ham at a price that we could afford this year for Christmas, so we went to the freezer part of our pantry and pulled out one we purchased last year on sale for a little over $7. (Regular price was $32 and some change!) It was delicious!
We purchased 4 lbs of sausage while at Sam’s Club which has the best price for Jimmy Dean sausage in our area. I divided the 4 lbs into half pound increments and froze them. I added 16 half pound serving size packages to the freezer part of my pantry.
We found Russet potatoes on sale for $1.48/10 lbs. This is a really good sale so we purchased 10 bags and I started canning them. Thus far I’ve added 53 quarts of potatoes to our pantry. (We were back in the same store the next day and these same potatoes were $3.98/bag. Same potato, same size bag … very different price!)
We found Libby’s pure pumpkin, 29 oz cans, on clearance for 3 cans for $1.91 (One 29 oz can is close to $3 each in our area.) We purchased 24 cans and added them to our pantry. I have been looking for just such a deal as this and was thrilled when we found it. The ‘best by date’ on each can is sometime in 2017 … they’ll be used long before then!
I purchased cough drops on sale for $.49/bag (25 pieces per bag). The regular price was $1.69/bag. I added 4 bags of cough drops to the medicinal part of our pantry.
I’ve had a large casserole dish filled with cayenne pepper drying naturally on a window seal for several weeks. It was completely dried when I checked it last week so I vacuum sealed it in 2 quart jars.
I strained up another batch of cider fire.
We purchased 25 lbs hog jowl for our New Year’s Day meal and to freeze for later use for $1.49/lb unsliced (it was $1.99/lb sliced). Last year we were able to purchase it for $1.19/lb sliced. We brought it home and my husband sliced it using the meat slicer we were given last year similar to this one. In addition to having it for a meal, I was able to freeze 26 additional packages plus 4 packages of bits and pieces for seasonings for future meals.
We found ground beef on sale for $2.03/lb and purchased 20 lbs. We brought it home, divided it into 1 pound increments, vacuum sealed them and added them to the freezer part of our pantry.
In other news:
I pulled out our oversized 2015 calendar that I got at The Dollar Tree for $1 back in the fall and added birthdays, anniversaries, other special days and appointments already scheduled. This calendar stays on our refrigerator door throughout the year (I put magnet strips on the back of it.) … it is our command center and the thing that reminds us where we need to be when!
I completed a Pinecone survey. I’ll cash in the points at a later date.
I continue to work on earning swagbucks that I’ll turn into Amazon gift cards.
I started making a ‘sewing’ to-do list for 2015. There are so many things I want to stitch up and I’m hoping that having a go-to list will help keep me on track.
I used up another Yankee candle this holiday season so I washed and cleaned up the jar. I plan to fill it with q-tips for use in our other bathroom.
I stitched up these raggy baby burp cloths using flannel from my pantry of fabrics purchased on sale in the past following these instructions. They were super easy to make and stitched up really quickly. I made 4 … one that I will wrap up with pretty ribbon/wrappings and send to my brand new granddaughter for Valentine’s Day (My other two grandchildren will also be receiving something made with grandmommie’s hands for Valentine’s Day.) The other three burp cloths will be added to my gift trunk awaiting an occasion to gift them. I need to stitch up some for a little boy too!
We went out and did a little ‘the day after Christmas’ shopping and found some things for half price – to 75% off that we will give as gifts next year. I’ll be noting what we purchased, who we purchased it for and what we paid for it in my Christmas notebook. The gifts will then go in my gift trunk.
I cut out 12 inch squares from the white muslin that I used to make a pattern for the santa suit I recently stitched up for my husband. I am scalloping the edges using my sewing machine and then embroidering an initial on each. These are a practice run, when I feel comfortable with the process I will do the same thing using linen from the dress I wore to my oldest daughter’s wedding. The linen handkerchief, when completed, will be gifted to my oldest daughters’ daughter as a keepsake to be used on her wedding day.
One of my spiritual goals for 2015 is to write out the book of James. I pulled out one of my $.50 composition notebooks that I purchased on sale during the ‘back to school’ sales in August, made a title page, entered the date I started it and got started.
I finished writing out the book of Proverbs and started a ‘read through the Bible in a year’ program.
I downloaded some free fonts from www.dafont.com and used them to make the title page for the book of James I’m writing out, mentioned above, and for the lettering on the handkerchief’s I’m embroidering.
I ordered Ruth Soukup’s new book Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life and am anxiously awaiting it’s arrival. I have several books that I want to read before the weather starts warming up and gardening and yard work beckons!
My routine of walking for 3o minutes 5 – 6 days each week has been interrupted by being sick. I had great success with my ‘getting healthier’ goal last year and I’m anxious to get back to it and continue on in 2015. Want to see what my 2015 goals are ... go check them out here.
We started collecting change for our 2015 Christmas fund. There’s probably not going to be much to add to it until our financial situation is resolved, but we’ve started it … who knows, we may be pleasantly surprised!
I made my oldest granddaughter a diaper bag and blanket for her baby doll for Christmas. Her mommie sent me a picture of her with the diaper bag on her shoulder and the blanket in it. My daughter said she wouldn’t put it down; it made me feel so good!
Here is a question I received …
Question: Can you share your recipe for cider fire?
Answer: Here is the one I use …
Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Can collards from our garden
Continue canning pinto beans
Continue canning potatoes
Freeze shredded cheese we purchased in bulk
Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?
It's going to be a challenge to keep my pantry stocked while having to rely on it to feed us in 2015 ... I'll be sharing our journey through the financial setback mentioned above ... don't miss an entry ... subscribe by email or to posts on the sidebar!