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Viewing the 'Cutting Expenses' Category

Freezer Inventory #1

June 7th, 2014 at 10:05 am

When we moved our stuff out of Mom's freezer and into our own new huge chest freezer, I took an inventory of what was in there to help me with future meal planning. I still need to go through what we have in the small chest freezer and move a portion of it out, and what we have in the above fridge freezer in the laundry room and move all of it out, and the below fridge freezer in our kitchen, but I figured this was a good start and I could put it here and then compile my spreadsheet later.

I've broken it down into categories, and then individual types within each category.

Rabbit--
15 whole cut-up
2 quart bags of liver
1 gallon bag of bones for making stock
7 bags of belly flaps for making jerky
1 container of soup
2 gallon size baggies of homemade sausage patties
1/2 a cut up rabbit

Beef--
2 skirt steaks
3 quart bags of stir-fry meat
4 pounds of ground beef
7 rib-eye thin cut steaks
1 chuck roast
2 packages hot dogs

Turkey--
1 package of 3 extra large turkey legs
1 turkey kielbasa

Chicken--
7 quart size baggies of boneless skinless
3 family size baggies of chicken legs

Pork--
4 ground
3 packages of sausages
3 packages of bacon
4 chops

Lamb--
1 ground

Elk--
1 ground

Fish--
1 package of cod
2 pounds of shrimp

Rice--
1 baggy of chicken fried rice
3 baggies of brown rice

Vegetables--
1 bag of fire roasted onions and peppers

I'm going to try to inventory the 2 fridge freezers today. The small chest freezer will probably wait until tomorrow.

I want to get through some of this meat before we buy a side of beef and a side of pork later this year. We've got the chicken way down, but only because we are going to be butchering some in a couple weeks. We also need to get moving on the rabbit as we will be butchering again in about 3 weeks and then pretty often during the summer.[

A lot of the rabbit meat needs to be ground, mixed with a little tomato sauce and seasonings, and pressed into patties. I will also do up some meatballs and cook them and freeze them for future use. The meat is packaged well, but it is from February of last year so it'll get used up faster in a more usable form. Because of how we've packaged it there has been no freezer burn or drop off in quality, but I'd still like to get the older stuff gone.

With this inventory at my fingertips I can keep it handy and we can get eaten what needs to be used up and do far less grocery shopping for protein because I will know at a glance what I have and plan around it.

Yesterday was Not a No Spend Day

January 19th, 2014 at 02:11 pm

I ended up buying some things after all that I hadn't planned on. I decided that I needed to get 2 new pairs of jeans. I have been wearing my jeans to do farm chores and they are becoming too shabby to wear off the property.

Then DS informed me he had outgrown all of his underwear but two, and DD informed me that she had outgrown all of her socks. I got DS 3 4 pks of underwear because they were cheaper that way and DD 2 6 pks. DD needed a cheap bottle of conditioner and both kids wanted a new brush because they didn't like the one I bought to replace the broken one. I do like it though. It is way better at getting out tangles. So DD wanted a round styling brush and DS just wanted one like the broken one. I also bought a hair dryer because ours shot out sparks and ceased to work.

Fortunately it was all at one store and I had over $13 in credits on my store card. I also ended up getting $5 credit for my next purchase. I was able to ignore any further suggestions from the kids, one of whom wanted yet another pair of PJ bottoms and the other wanted a new sweatshirt and a shirt. None of those things are needs, though.

Oh, and I did buy a set of headphones, but DD is paying me back out of her allowance. Total spent was $130, with DD owing me $20 of that back.

DD gave DS a haircut last night. Someone called him a young lady when he was out with his grandmother so he decided it was time. It wasn't that long, maybe 3 inches, but it was long enough that it was curling so it did give a little bit of a feminine style, but he was wearing boy clothes so not sure how he got mistaken for a girl. DD has gotten quite good with the clippers. I only had to trim up a bit around his ears. So that saved us $15. It's not quite a buzz cut, but no one will be mistaking him for a girl with it, that's for sure.

Something New for Us

January 3rd, 2014 at 09:23 am

Yesterday DH and I put 6.75 pounds of rabbit meat through our new electric meat grinder.



It worked great and the results were very nice. It looks sort of like ground pork, but not as fatty. DH cooked up some of it for cheeseburgers for dinner last night using his new 17 inch cast iron pan (which I can't even lift by myself). It was fantastic. I never dreamed rabbit burger would be so good. I guess I should have because it is great every other way we've tried it. So we now have a ground beef substitute. Although we will continue to use beef on occasion the organic, sustainably raised stuff has gotten to be $7 a pound.

We've got four more that need to be cut up. I am planning three of them for mostly grinding to burger and one to do up for stir-fry meat. We'll be boiling the bones for stock and canning up some soup with the meat that falls off the bones and the resulting broth.

We also have 8 more that have hit the 5 pound mark that need to be taken care of. We will probably do them this weekend, since it is supposed to be clear.

I've been learning to cook on cast iron. We pulled the 3 pans we were given as a wedding present out of storage and have seasoned them and started using them. We've had one pan too many flake their Teflon off. Even the nicer pans are looking worse for wear, except for the stainless steel ones. The cast iron is working great. It is truly non-stick. I love using it. I just wish it weren't so heavy. I need to eventually get a 12 inch skillet. I am already planning on getting the Dutch oven for my upcoming birthday in February. Maybe I'll get both.

I need to start posting my menu plans again. We have actually done very well. We've only gotten take out once as a family since DH came home on the 19th. DH and I did get Subway one day while we were picking up feed and didn't have the kids with us. Ouch. For the two of us it was just under $25. Although my sandwich gave me two meals, I did not realize they had gotten so pricey.

I can't eat the cheap stuff anymore though. The last time I had McD's I got sick. The last time I had Arby's (with a coupon) I got sick. I think it is because my diet is normally so free of high fructose corn syrup, which they both use in their buns, that I can't tolerate it anymore. In a way it's good I guess, because I'm not spending so much money on that kind of food and am more willing to cook at home. I have better uses for the money, too.

Random Thoughts on the House

December 15th, 2013 at 05:50 pm

I keep thinking about paying off the mortgage. We are so close now at under $8K and I really think it would be a good thing to do, just to have it done with. It would mean one more thing to cross off our list. It would be one less payment we'd be making every month. It would mean between $400 and $1000 (which is where my payments generally are, depending on the month) that could go elsewhere.

I am also thinking about having the water turned off at the house. Because there is no need for it now that it is winter and nothing will need watering out there until summer. We have so many rains in the spring that it isn't necessary. It is $72 a month to keep the water turned on. While the workmen were there it was necessary, but now it isn't. Also, with the water turned off we won't risk the pipes freezing or anything like that.

Another thing I will have DH do the next time we go out there is to turn off the hot water heater. The electric isn't that high out there, but we could cut the bill from $30ish to $15ish by turning off the hot water heater. Between the two things that could give us $87 a month to throw into our down payment fund.

The house has been shown a half dozen times and while it has been in the running for at least two people, it has not been the house picked. I think it is probably priced too high, but I hate to lower the price before it has been on the market for 3 months. When I see houses reduce the price too quickly after coming on the market it always looks like desperation to me.

Our realtors are supposed to be finding out from the ones who showed it what the deal is. If the people looking are finding it too expensive or just don't like the area or don't like the school district. There is nothing we can do about the last two, but we can drop the price if that is the sticking point. I just don't want to have to drop it too much if that isn't even the issue. It could just be as simple as they found something they liked better or that had more land.

I just don't want to end up as one of those people who has the house sit on the market for years. But considering we bought it for $65,000, I don't want to see it drop anywhere close to that, either. We've done too many improvements to the lot and the house that to not get at least $100K for it would feel pretty lousy.

It's set at $129K for now, but I'm not sure that was ever a realistic number. I just thought people would haggle if they didn't like the number. I mean that is what we did when we bought it, we went back and forth several times until we settled on a number between what they wanted and our original offer. Sometimes I think people just don't want to be bothered with bargaining.

Processing Day

September 27th, 2013 at 01:05 am

We dispatched four of our meat rabbits today. From a live weight of 22 pounds, 11.7 ounces, we got 11 pounds, 6.3 ounces of rabbit meat and 12.3 ounces of livers, for a total of 12 pounds, 2.6 oz of food. They ate about $7 worth of feed, $1 worth of hay, and $4 worth of vegetables over their life, so it comes out to about $1 per pound. We could get a smidge more if we saved the hearts and kidneys, too, but we don't. They go to the wildlife center along with the heads and other offal.

I'd say the rabbits are paying for themselves and we are ending up with lots of good, low-fat, lean white meat in the freezer at a price that just can't be beat by anything but the cheapest chicken hindquarters and you can bet those chickens never saw daylight.

Phoebe gave birth this morning, another large litter with 8 healthy kits. We'll have a break from kindling for a while, as the next two rabbits to give birth are only one week pregnant, so have three weeks and four days to go. In another couple of months we should be able to have rabbit twice a week if we so desire.

I am going to can some rabbit meat this week and some rabbit broth for making soup later this winter, or possibly canning carrot, potato, celery, bits of meat, and onion right in the broth and can it as soup. I would also like to make up some rabbit nuggets for the freezer. And maybe some rabbit stir-fry kits, too.

That means I'll need to dig up some potatoes and get some organic carrots from the farmer's market or the no spray garden in town. I doubt anyone has grown celery here, it is kind of hit or miss in our zone, but I can get it from the store if needs must be. Organic though. It sucks up pesticides just like carrots.

It would be great to have enough soups done up to get through winter and spring, but that may not be possible yet.

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The repair around the skylights and the final application of stuff to make the floors look like shiny wood instead of dull wood, will get put on this weekend. We just need to find out how long it takes for the shiny stuff to dry. Then we'll go in with the realtor and see where things stand.

Odds and Ends

August 18th, 2013 at 10:37 pm

My daughter, son, and I made Korean pork dumplings (Mandu) today for the first time. It took all three of us as it is time intensive but less so with all of us working, (one person to separate the wrappers, one person to put the scoop of filling on the wrapper, and one person to seal the dumplings shut with egg white), but they were fantastic and well worth it. And it's a nicely balanced little meal with pork, mirin, dark sesame oil, bean sprouts, scallions, ginger, garlic, egg, and cabbage in a goyza wrapper. Protein, veggies, and carb in one neat little package. It should have had tofu, too, but I didn't want to dry tofu, so I left it out. I should have taken pictures. Ah, well, next time I make them I will take photos and post the recipe.

I liked them even better than the ones from the Korean restaurant in our town or the Hawaiian Barbecue franchise. I can make 100 dumplings for $10 (less if I'd not used free range organic pork from the ranch). They sell for $6 for 10, so quite the cost savings there.

I received a check from the food co-op, dividends for the year of $7.43 (I think) so I will deposit that into the Emergency Fund along with all the ones I have saved tomorrow.

I am hoping I can recreate my budget spreadsheets. I don't have a current copy saved outside my other computer, but I do have my 2012 budget and should be able to extrapolate from there. I think I can figure out what money was in which category of the Holding Tank from previous blog posts, too. From now on I am seriously backing up my spreadsheets onto a flash drive every week. I feel stupid for not doing that.

I think I can get through until payday Friday with only spending $30 on food. That should leave me with a bit of money to shunt into the Emergency Fund.

I've been having troubles with Swagbucks surveys. I get all the way to the end, hit submit, and then it goes Oops, we had a problem and it's lost along with all my time and points. Very irritating. I did get Swagbucks to credit me the 150 points for the one, but they said they'd only do it the once and only because I'd spent so much time on it. The survey companies they do business with really need to get their acts together. Fortunately I was able to make the daily goal without any surveys today. I didn't need the frustration.