Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pantry Challenge #3 ... 2016

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago we were running around in summer clothes and swinging on my new swing on the front porch, it is now much colder and tonight our temperatures are going down into the 20’s …. Brrrrrr!

I’m working away inside and thinking about my spring garden!

My to-do list from last time:

I’m continuing to work on this month’s marathon /preserving session

Can pinto beans

Can white beans

Make a batch of laundry powder (The last time I made it was in November 2013 … and it has lasted over 2 years!!!)   Done ... and I didn't have to purchase any of the ingredients needed to make it as they had all been purchased at various times in the past when I found them on sale!

Thaw frozen turkeys and can

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat

In addition:

I ordered non GMO heirloom garden seeds using the money I’ve been earning and saving from doing Pinecone surveys.

I used a Michael's gift card I received for Christmas along with two 50% of one regular priced item coupons and scored some great deals. I got a cutting mat for $9.50 ... regular $18.99 (mine was completely worn out); a pair of nice embroidery scissors for $4.50 ... regular price $8.99 (my dear husband checked out with this item so we could use the second 50% off coupon); a seam ripper for $2.49 and 2 packages of washi tape on clearance for $.99 each ... regular price $4.99 each.  I’m making an emergency sewing kit to carry in my purse and the embroidery scissors and seam ripper will go in it.  I even had a little money left on my gift card when I left the store!

I stitched up 2 draft dodgers using a single recycled valance curtain.  This will go towards my Vicky Challenge savings.

I also cut the same valance down and made a smaller valance for a smaller window with what was left.  This also will go towards my Vicky Challenge savings.

Speaking of my Vicky Challenge savings, here’s how they break down for last week:

Saved $24 using coupons when shopping at Micheals

Saved $21 when buying seeds using money earned by doing PineCone Surveys.  (I count this as a savings because if I were working outside my home, I would not have time to do surveys and the cost would have had to come out of our income.)

Saved $32 by making 2 draft dodgers using a recycled valance curtain

Saved $11 by making a smaller valance curtain out of the rest of the original valance curtain fabric

Saved $160 using coupons on prescription medicines

Save $40 by using coupons and taking advantage of sales on groceries

Saved $160 by making 2 years of laundry detergent

I saved $448 this week in The Vicky Challenge!  That’s more income than I could earn in one week after taxes and these kinds of savings are tax free!

I needed an ice pack this week so I made one and while I was at it I also made a cover for it as well.  It would have cost me $10 to buy a gel ice pack at the store similar to what I made so that raises my Vicky Challenge total to $458!!!

Last week's Vicky Challenge savings were $109, add this week's amount to that and I've saved $567 thus far this month.  I'm really enjoying seeing how much I save by 'working from home.'

I unsubscribed from several online sites that were offering to relieve me of my money on too many occasions with their great sales!

I continue to work on earning Swagbucks that will be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, am doing Pinecone surveys whenever I can and am working on earning points through Bing which I’ll also redeem for Amazon gift cards.  It all adds up over time and will be used to help keep our pantry stocked.

I took myself off to the library this week for book #3 in my attempt to read at least 25 books this year and checked out Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man. (affliate link).  A good part of it is comprised of letters written by those who lived through The Great Depression, you can almost feel the desperation in their letters.

To see other books I’ve read thus far in 2016 go HERE.  

Here is something I didn’t do:

I had a real battle with myself this week over a book that was on my ‘want’ list that I found on a really great sale.  I finally walked away without the book, but it took some serious discussion with myself before I did.

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week/month:

I’m continuing to work on this month’s marathon /preserving session:

Can pinto beans

Can white beans

Thaw frozen turkeys and can

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

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  1. This past week, on the Vicky Challenge, I saved $969.42!!! That's totally overwhelming to me!!!! By going online for less than five minutes, I was able to get from the manufacturer a savings card for all 12 months of 2016 that reduced my hubby's copay on Pradaxa from $60/month down to $5/month!!! That was huge ($660/year savings!!!) With another 10 minutes, we were able to negotiate with our internet provider for a $10/ month reduction! That's $120 savings!!! Amazon Prime was running a special membership sale this weekend for $73/year rather than $99/year. As it happened, my Prime membership was "pending" on my online banking on Thursday night and the sale began 24 hours later. I called Amazon and found that if I cancelled my Prime membership and hubby and his email started a new one, that we could get the "new member" rate- Cha-Ching! That was another $26!!! Getting gas in the car while running errands instead of by my house saved 18 cents/gallon!! Shopping sales, clearances and using digital coupons at my Krogers saved me another $104.66!!!

    And so it went!
    Making my own cream of mushroom soup from pantry ingredients, reducing food waste by repurposing into "new" food for my family--all of these things added up to that huge savings!
    The funny thing was, these were things that I normally wouldn't have thought much about- just part of my routine life! Starting to recognize the value a bit more these days!!

    While at Krogers, we took photos of some labels of various convenience foods to see if I could make a healthier, cheaper homemade from scratch copy! My first thing to duplicate were Rev Wraps- a tortilla wrap filled with meat, cheese, condiment. I used deli meat and cheese I had in my fridge and made 9 of the bacon ranch club variety within 10 minutes! That included making ranch dressing from the DIY dry mix that I keep my pantry shelf! The Rev wraps are just under $2 each but only weigh 3 ounces! I weighed mine and they are 8 ounces each! Son is quite pleased!

    I plan to add some more dry mixes to my pantry this week. Currently, besides the cream of mushroom & cream of chicken dry soup mixes, I have French onion, Ranch and Italian dressing mixes and taco seasoning. I want to expand that because they make it so fast and easy to substitute for the super-processed, high salt/high sugar/high preservative ones in the store!

    Thanks for being so encouraging and supportive!!!

    1. gardenpat, what a great week you've had. You've given me some ideas to try, I love the way you're thinking outside the box, thank you for the inspiration!

  2. I'm taking part in the Vicky Challenge and have no totes my savings in Annabel's blog. It is very interesting to realise how much we save our families by working in our homes. I finally cleaned out the pantry and re organised it. I threw out very little, which surprised me. What. Did throw out was some James I made last year and didn't put through the water bath. The jams had grown some interesting moulds. So I cleaned out the Yukky contents and scrubbed the jars ready for the next lt if jams. Mangoes and passionfruit are all ripening at an amazing rate. I have made mango chutney, mango passionfruit jam and passionfruit cordial. The cordial is delicious mixed with soda water. Nothing like a lovely cold drink on a hot day.

    1. The Vicky Challenge has revolutionized my thinking on the savings from working from home as well! Sounds like you have lots of fruit to turn into jams and your cordial sounds delicious! Thanks for inspiring us with your comment!

  3. Dear Patsy,
    That was a good week! You are right, $448 after tax would be a lot of work hours. It is a good income! Its amazing how it adds up. I have already learned heaps doing this challenge and it pushes me to be willing to try new things, learn new skills and look at things differently!
    Thank you for linking to the challenge also. I picked up a few more ideas from Vickys list too.
    Many thanks! Have a really good new week. (with lots of savings!) Love

    1. Annabel, I am so thankful to you and Vicky for the Vicky Challenge, it is literally opening my eyes to ways to save that I had not thought about. Many are things that I already do but just had never thought of them as savings and you're right, this challenge does spur you on to learn and try new skills that adds up to more savings!

    2. Over the years, as a stay at home mom with 11 children, I would often meet people who would ask what I "did" ( as a job/career) or "if" I worked. After hearing that I stayed home with kids, they would pass on to someone else in the group to meet that was "working". Hubby has always (for 45 years) been super supportive and tried to anticipate their response by saying something to the effect that I worked much harder at my job than most of them or that with what I saved at home, it was more than his salary or many others.

      I always appreciated that he looked at it that way, but until this challenge, I had never quantified daily/weekly, etc just how much I saved in my normal "work" day! So far, in these first 17 days of January, my total is over $2200!!! Staggering!!!! And hubby and I are so excited and grateful to see how these numbers just keep adding up on simple things!

      So, Patsy and Annabel- thank you so much for the Vicky Challenge! It has opened our eyes!!!

  4. Patsi,
    I had a very slow week, but I usually do in the winter since I am more housebound so I concentrate on house things like decluttering and scrubbing places that I have overlooked like inside of drawers. I hurt my foot very badly Saturday so I had to either scoot around on my butt or sit so I worked on a few gifts for my gift trunk, sorted papers, and wrote a few hand written letters that I needed to get sent out so not a stellar week for my savings book, but as I say that is the ebb and flow of things some weeks the numbers won't be big. I am very glad you are enjoying this challenge keeping track really does open our eyes to where our pennies are and are not going to. It helps us to see the value of even the smallest things and also appreciate the labor that we put into things. It goes to show all of the contributions we can make within our day and although we may not have lost a silver coin in a sense we are calling on each other to rejoice in the finding of it.(Luke 18?) Even if I don't have anything stellar to share I will be cheering everyone on! Have a great week Patsi!

    1. Oh no Vicki, how did you hurt your foot? What did you do to it? I'm so sorry! What did you add to your gift trunk?

    2. Patsi,
      I stepped down on the edge of a thick mat the ones that are about 2 inches thick that you wipe your feet on and the side of my foot went off the edge of it and turned my whole foot inways and left a big air bubble in the vein of my foot. I can't move my little toes and my foot is black and blue. I actually went to the store today and then shut it in the truck door! Not my week! LOL I have been working on crocheted snowflakes and I made my DIL a recipe book from a school notebook I got when school supplies were on sale I made it pretty and added the recipes for things my son likes to eat and a few that she asked me for like how to make homemade noodles. I may go back and add other things later like home remedies and gardening tips.

    3. Vicky, I am so sorry! I truly hope you are getting better, it sounds painful. I love the recipe book idea. Please stay in touch and let me know how you are doing. Take care dear friend.

  5. That's a good long stretch out of one batch of laundry powder Patsy! Awesome job all round for you this week. Mimi x

  6. Great job. It is amazing isn't it what we can do to save by staying home and not working. Love to read all you do.
    You are an inspiration.

    What did you finally decide to stuff the draft dodgers with?


    1. Cherly, I used brown rice that I put in snack baggies. I stuffed a baggie of brown rice, then a plastic grocery bag into the draft dodger and kept repeating until it was full but not stuffed. It worked beautifully and I had everything on hand so I didn't have to purchase anything!


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