Home > Archive: September, 2023
Archive for September, 2023
October 1st, 2023 at 02:18 am
I haven't done this in forever either. I won't update my medical fund, because right now it is fluid as we are using it to purchase things for our current medical expenses, but I will be opening up a non-fluid sub-savings account Medical Fund #2 to start saving for next year's deductible when I make my deposit in October for medical. So here is the list of the amounts of money currently in each fund or envelope.
I keep it in an envelope in the safe until it hits $1000 and then I start a sub account in the bank and turn it into a fund because I don't like to keep a lot of money in the house. Or I will do some things at $500 if it is something I will not have a reason to spend soon. I will still buy some garden things, like a couple of cattle panels this fall, so no reason to put garden money in the bank if it was at $500, which it is not.
$5600.00 Bathroom Repair Fund
$800.00 Winter Things/Snowblower Fund
$550.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
$58.00 Car Expenses Envelope
$780.00 DS's Computer/Phone Fund
$525.00 Bed Frame/Mattress Envelope
$361.00 Garden Envelope
$700.00 Christmas Envelope
$70.00 Hawaii Trip Envelope
$70.00 Electric Vehicle Envelope
$0.00 Gift Fund
$0.00 Fishing Expenses Envelope
$0.00 Summer Things
$0.00 Bulk Meat Fund
October 1st, 2023 at 01:40 am
I haven't done this in a long time, and I'm picking a paycheck from a three paycheck month that is missing all the regular deductions except taxes and retirement and one with a lot of overtime on it, giving us a little over $2K above a normal paycheck, but we purchased a lot of items this month on the Citi card that were much needed and DH had to get round trip plane tickets to Salt Lake City.
Those will get refunded eventually and to pay for his hotel in advance. His company card expired and he was supposed to get a new one, but he leaves tomorrow and the card didn't arrive until yesterday. In the past they haven't been all the quick with refunds, but they do pay any interest that might accrue. He's already turned the receipts in and he will have the company card for his meals at least and rental car while he's down there.
The refunded money will get plopped into the medical fund as DD has surgery coming up in January right as the deductible restarts.
Anywho, here is how the paycheck went out the door.
_500.00 Grocery Envelope
_200.00 Snowblower Fund
_500.00 Medical Fund
_150.00 Phone/Computer Envelope
__50.00 DH Spending Money
__50.00 My Spending Money
__60.00 DS Allowance
__30.00 DD Stipend
__20.00 Bed Frame/Mattress Envelope
_500.00 Bathroom Repair Fund
_150.00 Christmas Fund
$5,788.62 Total Money Out
September 19th, 2023 at 05:13 am
Okay, now that I've sent in my post on how I did during week one, here is my plan for week two. I've decided to take it easy on myself, because I still have this cold, or possibly a sinus infection, and it is dragging me down and I don't want to have to work too hard at making dinners right now.
Meal One: Beef Stew--Jarred beef, jarred potatoes, jarred carrots, low sodium beef gravy powder, low sodium beef broth, fresh garden green beans on the side
Meal Two: Fresh Spaghetti (shorter cook time), low sodium basil garlic spaghetti sauce, and frozen homemade turkey and lamb meatballs, salad on the side
Meal Three: Baked salmon (wild caught by us), corn on the cob, fresh garden green beans, baked potatoes
Meal Four: Pork chops smothered in homemade onion gravy, baked potatoes, and steamed cabbage
Meal Five: Chicken with Meditrranean Vegetables and Seasoned Rice
Meal Six: Steak with sweet potatoes and broccoli
Meal Seven: Extra Large Chicken Stew, 12 b/s chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces, with 4 large potatoes, 4 sweet potatoes, 4 carrots, 1 large parsnip, 1 large turnip, 4 stalks of celery, 1 onion, all veggies cut into bite size chunks, 2 packs of chicken or turkey gravy (low sodium) and chicken or turkey broth (low sodium) to make the gravy up. Cook in crock pot 8 hours on low. Serves four for dinner and makes several lunches for the week or for the freezer.
My son will be helping with peeling and chopping.
September 18th, 2023 at 10:57 pm
Last week we started on our plan to reduce excessive food spending and food waste by using up all of our leftovers, not eating out, not letting food rot in the fridge before we got to it, and buying according to our meal plan, which allowed for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for the snackie ones. Also, the ingredients for making deserts are always on hand, you just have to want them enough to make them.
So, on objective one, we did use up all of our leftovers last week, so I am quite proud of that. That has been our second worst issue when it comes to food waste, whether it be from cooked food or takeout food.
We cleaned out both fridges before making a meal plan so we knew exactly what we had that was good and could be used. It wasn't a lot. Of course we had all the meat in the fridge, so we didn't even have to buy that at all. So starting with what we had, we then looked in the garden to see what we had to use there. And then I made a meal plan up that would use those ingredients up for the week and might use items in the sales ads as well for fruits and vegetables and other staples. We were out of nearly every kind of cheese we use. I have to limit my cheese use, but I found a brand of thinly sliced Havarti that is only 120 mg of sodium per slice, so I can use two slices on a cheeseburger instead of one.
But everyone else eats a lot of different types of cheeses, so I did stock up on that, and because I was going to be making breakfast burritos and egg muffin sandwiches. Grocery shopping went well, we stuck to buying for the meal plan. I stuck to the budget and that was while buying 70 pounds of organic carrots to can ($69.93) last week. We will be buying 100 pounds of yellow potatoes to can out of the next budget on Friday, but that will still cost less than the carrots, because they won't be organic.
So we stuck to our meal plan and we did not let food rot in the fridge. As for eating out, well that is something we did not do, though it came close, mostly because I kept falling asleep due to the cold medicine I was taking. I was falling asleep at 3:00 and sleeping until 6:30 or 7:00 for 3 or 4 days last week. So I started making stuff up ahead of time and telling my son when to put it in the oven and the Instant Pot so it would be ready at dinnertime and to just cover my plate and put it in the fridge and I'd warm it up when I got up. It worked out great, except the fish night where I didn't have him cook mine since I don't like warmed up fish.
So far I have not fallen into a cooking funk, but it has only been a week. I am not meal prepping except for breakfasts. I want to do lunches, too. I am not making freezer meals for dinners, yet. But all and all, things went really well for my first week. And since I have had a horrific cold, I think it is excellent progress. I'll post my next meal plan in a different post.
September 6th, 2023 at 01:36 am
Now that I've got a lot of meat in the freezer and only need to buy chicken which has been going on some pretty good cyclic sales around here, we can focus on better fruits and veggies during the rest of the year. I want to bring my grocery budget back down from $500 to $400 every two weeks and then I want to bring it down to $300, but with that extra $100 going for food to can or dry goods to put away, like pasta and rice and such. But another goal besides spending so much money is also to stop wasting money by stopping so much food from going out the door to our compost pile and garbage can.
Because the food waste has gotten to be a problem again and I'm wondering if we can get an organic waste garbage can and cut down our regular garbage can to every two weeks instead of every week. We already recycle a lot, but we do throw out some things we can't compost like meat scraps and some food containers we can't recycle, like when an egg cracks in a cardboard egg carton. And weeds can go in there, too, like morning glory that we don't want to compost, or the mowing with dandelion blossoms or thistle blossoms in it. Or any other weed flowers before they go to seed.
While we can afford these things currently, things don't seem to be getting better, and I really used to be good about keeping the grocery budget down and the food waste low and I'm not anymore.
I see the main reasons for this as the following:
1. I am not keeping track of what is in the fridge so I am buying more than I need of certain vegetables I already have at home. Particularly salad fixings and lettuce.
2. Stuff gets pushed to the back of the fridge, so people forget about their personal leftovers.
3. Stuff gets pushed to the back of the fridge, so I forget about family leftovers, like mashed potatoes or green beans or leftover pot roast.
4. I have quit meal planning.
5. I let myself fall into a cooking funk after my arm got messed up after my angiogram. I didn't want to and I didn't care. Takeout crept in.
6. I quit meal prepping despite wanting to.
7. I quit doing freezer meals despite wanting to.
So, I am planning to turn this around. I am going to keep a large white board by the fridge that keeps track of the food in it and when you take one you erase the amount and write in the new total or 0. If you finish the last of a thing, you also write it on the white board grocery list, and alert me of that fact. With butter, milk, eggs, and bread, you alert me when we are down to half of the last thing.
Write down personal leftovers and family leftovers and cross them off as they get eaten. I am out of my funk so start meal planning. My arm is mostly working okay, so stop using it as an excuse unless it is really hurting and when it is tag in the son or the husband. They can make certain meals so make them even if it goes off the meal plan.
Do individual breakfast and lunch meal prepping with my son. Do some frezer meals for dinner so I have something when I feel awful or the day is going to be really busy.
Start meal planning again. When I was feeling like crap I spent a lot of time looking up new recipes. Some I've even cooked and they went over really well.
I've worked out several meals so far that I can do for a meal plan for this month. Some of them are new dinners, some I've only tried once but were approved, and some are much loved favorites. I was just bored and wanted to switch up the repetoire. Being bored with cooking is never a good thing, because you just kind of sit there and stare into space about what you want to cook for dinner and then the time to start comes and goes and you end up getting take out again.
Which is not something I want to do. We need to be saving money, not wasting it. So for the month of November, I don't want to do take out. I want to spend only our grocery money, not money on takeaway. I'd like to come up with enough meals for the whole month. Right now I've got enough for nearly 3 weeks. I want to get a month or two just written down so I can pull from them when I make a weekly plan. I know what I am making today and tomorrow so I don't go into a brick wall at dinner time and I am preparing my grocery list for the rest of the week by first looking through the two fridges to see what we have and whether or not it is still good or not. Going to Seattle for a few days when we did probably means a few foods went bad.
I'll also want to check the garden for zucchini gone wild and strawberries visiting crazy town and pick peppers and green beans. Because if we have free food growing in the garden that we can eat, of course we want to do that first before buying anything. The broccoli might even be ready by now, too.
Then I can actually fill up the meal plan properly. The plan is to do some meal prep kits for breakfasts and some for lunches and then have things chopped up for dinner, even potatoes, but they will be in water so they don't turn brown, so all we have to do when it is time to make dinner is assemble everything in the right order or all together or into separate cooking devices or into one and with directions anyone can follow so if I am out stuff can still get going on time.
If whoever is supposed to doesn't forget to, then we can run like clockwork and we can get stuff done at the right time to get us all on a decent eating schedule with decent food that should help us all lose weight, give my son and I a set time in the day to exercise, and time in the evening to work on getting the house cleaned up after me being down for so long. I swear, if I am not there to direct people the house just turns into a pig sty and it is time for a deep clean of everything. I guess Fall Cleaning. It's not technically fall but the weather has turned and the leaves are not green anymore, so I'm counting it. Time to get life back under control again.
September 1st, 2023 at 07:07 am
Well, technically I bought a steer after saving up for him for a year. And he fills up 2/3 of my ginormous garage chest freezer (the biggest on the market), and 1/3 of my mini chest freezer in the house. The rest of the mini chest freezer has what is left of the last beef we bought, mostly a grocery bag of hamburger, then round steaks, round roasts, bottom round, top round, eye of round, can you tell I don't like round cuts? I also found some sirloin tip roasts and all the soup bones. So those are setting on top of everything else to get used first. It's not a lot, just 3 grocery bags worth, which will go quickly with my family. The rest of the chest freezer is filled with what is left from our hog, a turkey, and a couple packs of chicken.
The steer had a hanging weight of 674 pounds. The cost to us from the farmer was $3.75 per pound, which came out to $2527.50. The cost from the meat company to slaughter was $135 and the includes the disposal fee of the waste products. The cut and wrap fee was .92 a pound. We did not get the organ meats this year, but we did get the tail for making oxtail soup. We did not get the tallow. We did lose some bone, but got the soup bones. So our overall weight that was wrapped was only 653 pounds, giving us a total of $600.65.
We had all of the round cuts made into hamburger this year, along with the usual meat that goes into hamburger and then had half of that made into hamburger patties, so we ended up with 86 pounds of hamburger patties, 4 to a 1 pound package, which had a fee of .80 per package or $68.80. And yes, I could have saved that fee and made them myself, I even have the press to do it, but you know what inevitably happens? I don't and we end up buying a bag of grassfed burgers, even though I have plenty of grass fed hamburger at home. So this year we decided to just do it and I am so glad we did, even if raises our overall price a bit. We eat burgers a lot, probably once a week to every 10 days.
So that brought the price from the meat company up to $804.56 and since it is a service, the state gets to charge taxes on it, even though food in its raw state is not taxed otherwise. Taxes came to $70.80. Bringing their portion to $875.36. Adding $875.36 to $2527.50 brought my total to $3402.86, which was $90.11 more than I had in my account, so I had to scrape that up. But I had $16.50 in my coin jar to roll and I had a $47 check refund and I took some cash out of the household envelope and then $3 out of grocery envelope and made up the rest with change from my purse. I would have just taken it all from the groceries if I needed to, but I wanted to see if I could drum it up if I could. If I hadn't done the patties I would have almost had enough. But I wanted those patties.
Anyway, so if I take the total of $3402.86 and divide it by 674 hanging weight it comes out to just shy of $5.05/lb for grass fed beef. If I divide it by 653, which would be closer to what we are actually left with, it would be $5.21 a pound. Even considering bone waste, which we don't really have, since we save all our bones for bone broth before we toss them, it would still be at the max $6/lb for grass fed beef. So I am very happy with that. It's not that far off from what we paid two years ago, despite having a bigger steer this year and it being 25 cents more per pound and the kill fee and the cut and wrap fee being higher. I'm really surprised.
We took the time to organize things. Roasts in one and a half compartments. Steaks in one and a half compartments, and those steaks alternating, sirloin, ribeye, t-bone, sirloin, ribeye, t-bone, so we don't do something like eat all the ribeyes first, then eat all the t-bones, then eat all the sirloin. We go through them equally. We took the weird cut steaks in the house, like tenderloin, flank, and skirt. It'll make it so much easier to know what compartment to go and grab from. We've kind of tried this in the past, but stuff has gotten mixed around too much so everyone has been warned not to screw with the system this year. It really will save a lot of time searching for stuff.
My next focus will be to take those soup bones from the last steer and make them into low sodium bone broth, which I will need for a lot of the new recipes I have been trying out. While I did find a good broth from Bonafide, it is expensive and I'd rather save it for making soup, not gravy or sauce. Then I will take the new soup bones and make broth with them, too. Just want to get it done and have the space because I have a bunch of tiny zucchini coming on that I will need to be shredding and putting in the freezer in about a week and a half.
It took my son and I 45 minutes to load it into the van, but we were also sorting the different cuts into different boxes and insulated bags. Then when we got home DH was off work. After figureing out what went in the house, we took the rest to the garage. It took about an hour to get it all back there, mostly because we kept having to stop and rest. It's one thing to be able to back right up to a loading dock and move stuff a few feet, it's another thing to have to walk 40 feet with 40 pounds of meat (DH) and 15 pounds of meat (me). But at least we got it done. And we were both exhausted.
My elbow from the side I had the catheterization on can't support any weight today without pain, so I'm back to that, but at least my hand is working fine. And it was worth it. That meat is going to last us a long time. Probably 18 months, since we have a lot of fish and pork in the freezer, too. We are low on chicken, but I buy that as it goes on sale. It is the only thing I don't buy organic or fish for wild.
Organic chicken is so expensive and I can't see paying $30 for one chicken. And I'm not set up to raise chickens anymore, nor do I have the energy or physical capabilities or desire. The best I can do is look for ones not pumped full of brine. Not the easiest of tasks. Maybe that's just something I will have to save up for next. 102 chickens will not come cheap and would require another chest freezer. So probably out of the question. But it would help us on our road to health. We all feel better when we eat truly organic or wild food, from farmers we trust, and our own fishing lines or prawn or crab traps, so when we can afford it the transition will be fully made.