More spendy times

15 Nov

The children needed new jeans and pants. #1Child was adamant about NOT getting them at the thrift store. Off to Target. 6 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of leggings, $120. Oh well, now they’re equipped for the winter.

#1Child was ranting the other day about how “you never want to spend your money, you have all this money and you don’t want to spend it.” I stopped, took a deep breath, and said calmly, “Why do you think I have a lot of money?  What makes you think that?”  I was honestly curious. #1Child either could not, or chose not to, answer.

Food waste: some leftover white rice that went bad. Most of two pears that went from ripe to putrid overnight, literally. I chopped off the good bits and threw them into the bag in the freezer where I’m keeping other miscellaneous fruit leftovers.  And I don’t know if this counts, but I was making croutons under the broiler and burnt them, so had to throw out the charcoal blocks formerly known as bread AND the baking sheet that had caught on fire.  Whoops.

Food save: I made yogurt with the half gallon of milk I got for 99 cents because it was going to expire the next day. #1Child refused to drink expired milk, even after I explained the difference between sell-by and use-by dates.

A friend just gave me a bag of long-sleeved Ts.  They all fit and look great. 

I managed NOT to buy shoes, even though they were on sale. I don’t need shoes.  I took my shoes with the broken strap to the shoe repair place and had it fixed for $9. I would have had them fix the broken purse strap, but they wanted to charge $25. Since I got the purse at the thrift store of $3.50, I passed on that, took it back home, and used krazy glue. So far, so good.

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Spendy times

5 Nov

The car needed over $4K of work.  On the other hand, I couldn’t buy a new car for $4,000. And now it runs great. I hope to keep it at least another 5 years.

Food waste: Leftover rice noodles. No one eats them! Ever! I suggested to Other Adult that we cook fewer rice noodles next time. OA said, “They’d be good if I fried them. But somehow I didn’t think of that.” I repeated that we should just cook fewer rice noodles in the future. Also, and this really chapped me, I bought OA some pork chops. OA is the only one here who really likes pork. And the pork chops sat in the fridge until they went bad. That’s the last time I go out of my way to get OA meat. Honestly!

I did take a canteloupe that was getting soft, pureed it and turned it into canteloupe bread ala this post:  http://asugarhigh.blogspot.com/2010/06/cantaloupe-bread.html

It was fine, but the recipe says two loaves.  Yes, two dwarfish loaves!  That amount of batter would have made one decent-sized loaf. I froze the second one.

I also started a bag in the freezer for leftover cut-up fruit, mostly from the children’s lunches. When I’m in the mood I’ll defrost it and turn it into fruit muffins.

Most excitingly, I went to my first food swap today. After worrying myself into making two different items, I arrived to find that there were only 3 other attendees, two of whom were the organizers.  Still, it was a start.

Broken promises

28 Oct

I’ve fallen off the Unprocessed wagon by eating white rice and pasta. *hangs head in shame* Also, part of a sugar cookie. I made a batch for the children’s Halloween party tomorrow (the little guests decorate their own cookies. put the kids to work!).

I joined Real Mom Nutrition’s pantry challenge, where you spend $50/week on groceries and eat your pantry supplies, and then went grocery shopping and spent $70 at Sprouts and $40 at Vons.

Also, my car needs “$1200, $1300 easy” worth of work. Curse that heating and cooling system! However, it’s STILL cheaper and environmentally than buying a new one — right?

Remembrances of thrifty finds

23 Oct

procrastinating and reading the Non Consumer Advocate blog.

http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/2010/02/its-all-in-the-jeans/

She asks about great/favorite thrift store finds.

When I was in college I got a pair of shoes for $1. Sturdy, thick soles, I wore them for years. At the same store I got a warm jacket for $2. Nothing had prices; you just hauled your finds to the nice elderly lady at the front and said, “How much?” and waited with bated breath while she looked at the shoes and said, “Well, they’re in pretty good shape.  How about … [long pregnant pause] a dollar?” which she said as if she were expecting you to cast down the shoes in outrage.

Last summer, I got a long teal silk coat with the tags still on, originally priced at $120, for $5. I need to have it taken in but it is beautiful.

Once I found my mother a purse, of the exact brand she exclusively favors, with the tags still on, for $8; it retails new for $60.

#1Child found ice skates for $8 the same day that #2Child found Barbie rollerskates for $2.50. I have trained them well.

Repurposed food

23 Oct

Forgot to say that I took some neglected breakfast cereal (Uncle Sam’s depressingly righteous and un-tasty flakes, some stale Cascadian Farms chocolate O’s) and tossed it into the latest batch of breakfast cookies, where it worked surprisingly well. Since we were out of honey I used some molasses and maple syrup.  They who eat the breakfast cookies didn’t seem to notice a difference.

Had some fava beans in my salad today because they were about to turn.

Quark! and a spendy weekend

23 Oct

I made quark from Ashley English’s recipe in _Home Dairy_, which is such a user-friendly book that I am entertaining thoughts of getting my hands on goat milk and making feta. Her quark recipe uses yogurt and cultured buttermilk interchangeably as the starter. I used yogurt, since I had it, but it would be fun to try buttermilk. #2Child tasted the quark and pronounced it “yummy”. It’s thick enough that we could use it to sub for cream cheese, which would be great.

We bought some non-food items at the farmer’s market. I was getting a couple of little things ($2/each) for friends I’ll be seeing this week whom I haven’t seen in years. Since the children were with me, well … at least we supported local vendors. Total there was $10. Then in the afternoon we went to Target.  AUUUGGGHH!!  No toys were purchased, hooray, but we did pick up some small things for the Halloween party and #2Child changed her mind about the costume so another $8 was invested there because I don’t think we can get what she wants at the thrift store.  What can I say about it, it’s Target, you can’t get out of there for under $100 if you’re accompanied by children, even if you don’t actually buy them anything in particular.

There are at least 5 separate opportunities to wear costumes this year, however. I don’t recall all this hoopla about Halloween when I was a child. We certainly didn’t wear costumes to school or have school parties. Okay, end crotchety-old-ladyness.

Then we made the mistake of going to a “pumpkin patch” by the mall. Pumpkins were insanely expensive, so I negotiated with the children. But they wanted to go to the petting zoo and #2Child also wanted to ride the ponies. We spent $20 on tickets, they went to the petting zoo, #1Child had had enough. We could have saved $10. And yeah, I know, we could have saved $20 by just not going there at all. While #2Child used up the rest of the tickets #1Child went with Other Adult to the mall bookstore and read for free.

Yesterday we went to Trader Joe’s for pumpkins. 4 pumpkins at $3/each, plus 4 mini gourds at .69 cents. Yay.

The car needs more work. Curses.

Almost no-spend day

21 Oct

On the plus side, all I bought today was some stamps and some groceries, including some items scavenged from the clearance rack. Stupidly, however, I forgot to use the 20% off coupon I had lurking in my wallet. I’ll wait til the next big meat sale to break that out.

Oh, and I guess I bought a car battery. 😦