Here’s another rambling story of things that I did this week to save money. For starters, though, a fail: I frittered away $50 on TWO different fast-food dinners. Both times I was out doing things with a bunch of kids, and it felt like the best way to finish what we needed to do before getting on home. We ordered off the dollar menu, drank water, shared fries, etc. But feeding 8 people adds up, especially when most of them are hungry teens. Looking back, I’d rather have spent that money on something more lasting.
I’m thinking I need a stash of errand-food — stuff that’s really easy to grab out of the fridge at home, toss in a cooler, and take along when I know errands are going to take awhile. We almost never buy anything individual and snackish, so granola bars, cheese sticks, yogurt cups, or peanut butter cracker packs would still be a treat, but at a much lower cost to the wallet. The trick would be to hide those goodies at home, so they wouldn’t be gobbled up before we needed them.
Now. On to the successes of the week.
- Made three loaves of Harvest Grain bread and stuck one in the freezer.
- Resisted the urge to do fast food for dinner yet another evening when the kitchen was torn up. Instead I cleared a space on the stove, warmed up soup (yay for double batches!) and served it with bread and salad.
- Now, on to the reason the kitchen was torn up. This week I’ve been staining our 90’s honey-oak kitchen cabinets a deeper, richer color. I am sooo excited about this project. The stain was $16 for a pint. I applied it with old socks, and that little pint literally did the entire kitchen. To make this project even more exciting, months ago, when doing our bathroom stain, I bought drawer pulls and knobs enough for the kitchen, which my husband is going to install this weekend. So this will be a really affordable facelift. Hoping to be able to show it to you next Wednesday. Fun!
- I took the time to look at the booklet sent by our bank about their merger with a new bank. I think our accounts won’t have monthly charges, but it seems I need to look for a new bank for most of the kids’ savings, as it looks like they would be charged $6 a month unless they keep above a $1000 balance, which isn’t realistic for several of our kids. Treasure Valley folks– any suggestions for kids’ accounts?
- After looking at MANY thrift stores, we finally found a prom dress for my daughter at a nice consignment store that was having a 40% off sale. The dress was literally new with tags (original price $179) but thanks to the sale, it was $55. It looks beautiful on her and will only take a tiny bit of altering (by moi– wish me luck.)
- I sent off a baby gift for a friend’s daughter that consisted of things I’d sewn from my newly organized fabric stash. Very fun! I also finished sewing several more purses that I cut out last winter. Thinking they’d make a fun gift for a wide variety of ladies.
- I’ve been working hard to not waste any of the veggies from last week’s Bountiful Basket. Most challenging has been THREE large heads of lettuce. The BB lady said they had a couple extra lettuces and offered them in my box, so of course I accepted. We used most of the last head today, in Thai beef wraps (recipe below). Along with the usual grated carrot and minced onion, I also diced a zucchini really small and mixed it in with the ground beef, which makes it much more bearable to the ones of mine who don’t love zucchini. I’ve shared the recipe before, but included it again here, in case you want to try it. I’m always pleased at how happily kids eat their veggies when I serve this.
- big bunch of chard, spinach, or lettuce – probably a pound or so
- 2 carrots, grated or minced
- 1 onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
- soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to taste (about 1/4 cup?)
- Wash chard or lettuce leaves, shake off extra water, and set aside in a bowl. Shred carrot, onion, garlic, and any other veggie that you desire using a food processor. Cook ground meat in a large skillet with a little slosh of sesame oil, if you have it. If you are using ground turkey, you will probably need a tablespoon or two of oil as you cook it.
- Once meat is cooked, remove from pan and cook chopped veggies in the remaining oil until soft.
- Return hamburger to pan and mix with veggies and a good slosh of teriyaki sauce or soy sauce (probably around 1/4 cup). Add a cup or two of cooked rice, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for a few more minutes, til ingredients are well mixed and heated.
- Serve by wrapping leaves of chard or lettuce around several tablespoons of meat. Let people take their own lettuce and their own serving of meat/veggies and wrap right on their plate.
How did your week go? I enjoyed reading the frugal accomplishments from the Prudent Homemaker earlier this week and I’d love to hear yours too. Would any of you like me to add a linky to these frugality posts? That way those of you who blog could easily share the links to your frugality posts, and it’d be easier for everyone to hop around to see what others are doing. Let me know what you think, and if there is enough interest, I’ll add a linky next week.