Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Frugal Hits and Misses: The August Report

I've committed to clocking up our successes (and misses) for you every month. Here goes for August.

Found some incredible fruit sales. Our peaches from the Palisade trip not only were fresh, but cheap -- about 65 cents a pound, versus the 'cheapest' price right now: about a buck a pound on sale in stores. (Normally, they're $2-4/lb.) We gave some to friends, and the girlies each got a box.  Now, nearly two weeks later, what's left is stashed in the refrigerator. I promised the Brick a peach pie, and want to make some peach dumplings, as well. As usual, I wish we'd bought one more box! This season just doesn't last long enough.
     Also, our local Safeway (Fred Meyer, to you East Coasters) has frozen blueberries on sale -- a 3/lb bag for $3.99. That's way cheaper than what I can get them fresh. Since I usually freeze some anyways, Safeway can do it for me this time. One bag's in the freezer -- at least two more are needed.

We did okay on groceries, too.  Fifty pounds of onions -- for $5. (Onions are normally a buck a pound around here.) Forty pounds of chicken wings -- $20. (These from the Fri/Sat store.) A bagful of zucchini and squash from neighbors. Our dogsitting people have been covering some of our food, too. Nice.
     Combine that with 77-cent 8 oz. packages of Swiss (I looove this cheese), half-priced bottles of black cherry juice (essential to keep gout at bay for the Brick), and some other clearance items snagged. I've been a happy camper in this area.

The beans are producing! And they're wonderful. We're finally getting more rain, too. The sad part: weather's cooler. They won't keep on much more.
     The tomato plants look great -- lots of blossoms. Just in time for cold weather. (sigh) I'll put our old greenhouse cover on the plants, but have little hope that they'll produce.

The chickens are fine...though we lost one of our old girls. They're barely producing enough eggs to fill the weekly 3-dozen order. I really wish they'd get back to work. Fortunately, Safeway's had eggs on sale. (99 cents a dozen)

Building up the savings fund again. Thankfully. The Cheyenne trip helped, but we're also dogsitting an elderly but feisty golden lab named Nitro. It means staying overnight at Nitro's house...but fortunately, it's only little more than a block away. The Brick stays at our house, and practices for our friends' wedding. (Ana and Jerred are marrying Saturday night -- and the Brick and I are playing and singing for it.) He comes over for meals and sleep. I stay with Nitro and company, work on appraisals...and try not to feel too lonesome.

Nitro in the flesh

Lessons learned from dogsitting: 
     *I enjoy it. Nitro's a good-natured 'ol boy, which helps. But he's 15, stiff on his legs -- and a reminder of where Abby, who's 11, could go in the future. I think I'll try for more jobs like this.
     *Regular messaging helps. Every day, I send a few photos of Nitro and a text on how he is and what we've been doing. It reminds Nitro's mom and dad that he's fat and happy...and he misses them. (Doesn't hurt me, either.)
     *Our decision not to have cable was a good one. Nitro's owners have cable, which we've been watching. How can hundreds of channels have so little to offer? Reruns, sales of stupid stuff and a few good movies and shows sprinkled in. Is this really worth $50 or so every month? (Although I have enjoyed catching up on Judge Judy, Law and Order and Naked and Afraid.)
     *Living in two houses is zany. Take a shower -- oops, your deoderant's at the other house. Where's the can opener? Call the Brick, and ask him to bring it over. Charley and Abs look funny at me -- why are we sleeping here, Mom?
    Meanwhile, there are dirty dishes and clothes at both houses. I need to tidy things up everywhere.

Dawn Patrol -- they kicked up a rabbit. Guess who got away easily?

No more birthdays. Okay, mine -- but I'm going to advocate for steaks grilled at home. We covered two meals out, which, along with several small expenses, effectively cancelled out the extra funds I thought were going to beef up the savings.

We messed up on bank fees -- and got nailed for it. My failure to transfer money meant that a long line of checks bounced. Fortunately, the credit union was persuaded to refund all but one. $30 down the tube.
     We also deposited an older check I'd missed earlier. The 60-day limit was noted on the check -- but I didn't think it was a big deal, because we were only a week off. Got a second $30 penalty for that one -- and we sure didn't get to keep the money, either.  (Did you know you can't do this, even if the money is in the holder's account?)

I didn't accomplish any of the goals I'd set.  I did keep us reasonably fed, in clean clothes, and with some income coming in. We also didn't spend much, if you don't count birthday meals and a doctor's visit for Charley. (Allergies were making him miserable, poor puppy.) Piles are everywhere, though, and we have lovely doghair drifts in the hallway. Next week means catching up on all that. (Oops, just got an e-mail...a friend is coming to visit this weekend. Maybe I can vacuum up the doghair -- quick -- before the rehearsal dinner.)

Meanwhile, there are appraisals to finish, clothes to wash and a dishwasher to load. 
     We'll go back to regular life next week. I hope. 

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