Monday, October 6, 2014

Saving the Moola: September in review

This was one of our most frugal months ever, and I am loving how much dedication and determination we have for squeezing blood out of turnips!

There are many generous people at my workplace, and in September, I was given two donuts to take home to my family, a few free cans of soda and a lovely Mexican lunch provided by the bosses. Someone brought in extra goodies from their kid's birthday party, and I enjoyed a donut and brought home a caramel apple.

My work schedule shifted in a glorious way, and Jason now has evenings free to tutor and complete work as an independent contractor for mystery shopping companies. He completed one mystery shop with a big bonus and is setting up tutoring sessions for October.

One of our friends has three kids who are quickly growing up. She often gives us things her kids no longer use. This month, she gave us a bike, the sweet little chair pictured above and two big bags of toys and books. As a thank you, we gave her two jars of jam.

Speaking of jam, we canned a bunch of raspberry jam. Typically, we buy our raspberries from a particular vendor at the farmer market. This year, we tried a local orchard - the price per pint was cheaper there and the berries were just as good.

I sold two ornaments and put the money back into the crafting envelope. I sold 8 jars of jam and put that money back into the canning envelope.

We carefully watched our fuel usage for September and was under budget every week of September. We did spend some of the extra money in our gas envelope on eating out and some other random things, but we have a bit left. We are going to continue to be extra frugal with our regular fuel usage so when we travel further away, we have the money in this envelope to cover our extra trip. We have a couple of big out-of-town day trips planned in October and Christmas is coming when we visit relatives out of town, so we are doing this partly in anticipation of those events.

Our picture was taken for the new church directory. In return for having our picture taken, when the directory is published, we will receive a free directory and a free 8 x 10 photo of the picture that was taken.

A friend took Bug's 18 month pictures for free.

We were given many, many, many apples for free and used those apples to can applesauce. With Nana's help, we canned 7 quarts of applesauce and 2 odd-ball sized jars. We gave the 2 odd-ball sized jars to Nana as a thank you for her help; we also feed her beef stew and dumplings and chocolate cake for dinner.

There were many, many apples left over for canning; Nana took those, along with all of the peelings and cores from what we used, for her chickens. This saved us a bunch in garbage space and I was happy to see everything to go to use! Nana brought us a dozen eggs and a quart of pickled beets when she came to visit.

We received a big Subscribe and Save order from with gift cards earned online. The total retail value was $63.85, but our out-of-pocket expense was $0.

Our goal is one date per month (until the new baby arrives, then we will skip having date nights again until that baby is older). So far, we have had to spend nothing on childcare; instead, Nana is happy to come play with Bug while we have a date night. We also have other sources lined up to hang out with our girl for free. Nana came at the end of September, and we enjoyed a frugal night out - dinner at one of our favorite diners and browsing at Barnes and Noble.

I cut Jason's hair, which is a regular monthly occurrence.

My parents came over to visit one evening. I let my mom know we had only planned a snack-y dinner of eggs, bread, pickled beets and applesauce so she and my dad may want to eat before they come over. She brought two pizzas from one of our favorite local pizza places for dinner instead, and it was yummy!

In the summer, we purchased a bike trailer, and this has seriously helped us with our fuel usage. Every time we use the bike trailer instead of the car, we are easily saving $4. Since we share a car, Jason has to drive me to work if he and Bug want to use the car that day. They tend to stay in town since town has most everything they could want, and by bike, towing a tot, we are about 20 minutes from the furthest points in town. Since they can use the bike trailer any old day they want, Jason is actually getting exercise in more often, which he wants, and Bug is getting a ton of play time at the park and the library. It's a win-win situation.

Our garden is still growing! We canned another quart of tomatoes from tomatoes that ripened. While tending to our strawberry plant, which had not produced any fruit, I noticed some berries growing. That was an incredibly awesome surprise. I promptly plucked one and ate it; the taste is practically still in my mouth, it was so good.

We are working on potty training and cup training for Bug. When we are fully successful with both, we will save a ton of money. Cloth diapers take up a good amount of laundry space, and we use paper diapers at night and when we're out of the house. We're still several months out from being fully potty trained, but we have made good progress, this month in particular.

All in all, we definitely made it a point to have frugal fun this month and to utilize our envelopes for everything. Going into October, we have a ton of money saved up in our envelopes and I'm ready to celebrate our wedding anniversary and my birthday!

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