12/1/08- toilet paper 1,05€
12/4/08-chicken bouillon, 3,85€
12/4/08-lettuce, 1 kilo of tangerines, 1,80€
Well there you have it! I have spent 6,70€ to get us by with 13,30€ left to spend the next 10 days. We continue to eat well and frugally.
We did spend money on some Spanish ham, manchego cheese and holiday candy: turrón and sent it to our friend, and mother tongue speaker, Ricardo, who has faithfully worked with us on the Aragonese NT. I also had to spend some cash on butternut squash because I was asked to make a cream soup for 45 ladies this Friday night. I’ll be reimbursed for this so I didn’t include it.
I’m saving money and it looks like I will have what I need for that ROAST BEEF I want to serve for Christmas. I’d like to have a Standing Rib Roast and will cost me more. My menus are planned for when the family comes… one of my favorite/relaxing things to do! Only 10 more days to go!
Our meals for the the next 10days will include:
macaroni and cheese with ham
and toasted sandwiches using the luncheon meat I have in the freezer.
On another note: last week when we returned from the village, I checked the garden and found that it had frozen in Madrid while we were away. All of my potatoes plants were dead so I dug them up to see if any were worth eating. Here is my photo of what I found:
Isn’t that just GREAT??? I had never grown potatoes before and I can’t tell you the encouragement digging this little guys up! I couldn’t have been happier. I’ll definitely grow them again and I have some “seed potatoes” sprouting in the garage now. In the articles I’ve read on the the internet, they say that seed potatoes should be purchased… well, these just came from our grocery store and did very well!
I was also able t pick these pea pods from my garden to add to salads. Very yummy.
I’m having a great time with all of this! Please leave your comments and tell us what you are doing in this challenging economy. Many Blessings!
In order to attain my goals in other areas, I have to work with the resources that I have. This time, my goal is to save most of my December grocery money until Dec.18th when our kids, Anita and Neil and grandchildren, Elijah and Ana come to see us. Jerusha will fly in on Dec. 21st. It’s a blessing to have our family with us during the holy-days, so I want all my resources saved for that!
Here are some facts:
My grocery allowance for each month is $400 USD. Now, here is where it can get dodgy; I have to convert that into Euros. Each month the exchange rate is different and I’m happy to say that even though it is not yet (did you hear the hope?) at parity, it’s improving. We’ll exchange at 1.26 this month which means I’ll have 317,46€ for my grocery money for the month of December. To put things in perspective, that same $400 USD over the summer was worth 243,90 €, so I’m feeling very pleased to get 317,46€!
I’ll budget 20€ of those Euros for the next 20 days leaving 297,46€ to spend when the family comes. In our house, we just can’t have it all. We save in one area in order to have enough in other budget areas. It’s a reflection of our priorities.
Now, to clarify… we are NOT going to eat on 20€! I am planning on using that 20€ where needed to complete what I already have. If you scroll down a bit on the blog, you’ll see that I have found some good deals on chicken, turkey, garbanzo bean flour, canned tomatoes as well as all the fruits I have canned. In other words, I’m going to try to have 20 days without spending! This is not a sacrifice for me, rather an adjustment to accomplish the greater goal of more treats for my family.
So NOW I begin… I have separated 1- 20€ bill for spending!
Here’s my plan for the 1st 10 days- PART 1:
November 28th (today)- Cream of Green soup (left over broccoli from yesterday, cabbage, spinach, onions & leeks), leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, sliced tomatoes & pumpkin pie
November 29th- Cream of tomato soup (last week I bought a big bag of tomatoes for only .99 per kilo), pan fried German sausages, mashed potato patties, carrots
November 30th- Navy Bean soup, fried chicken, french fries, sliced tomatoes
December 1st- leftover cream of tomato soup, macaroni & cheese with ham, salad
December 2nd- Cream of broccoli soup, fried potatoes & onions with leftover German sausage & eggs & toast
December 3rd- leftover turkey soup, meatloaf, **baked potatoes, broccoli
December 4th-potato & corn chowder, turkey tacos, re-fried beans, salad
December 5th- navy bean soup, *meatloaf sandwiches, sliced tomatoes
December 6th-Split pea & ham soup, turkey rice casserole, salad
December 7th-Turkey soup and *toasted ham and cheese sandwiches after church
* on homemade bread
** I bought a 50 lb sack of potatoes on sale in early November
- grits & eggs
- spanish tortilla
Our little 6lb. turkey ready to go in the oven (it fit into my 8×8 pan!), & 6 jars of cinnamon spice apples which I served instead of the cranberries sauce. People here just don’t know what cranberries are and use the word “arandano” which is a blueberry. I bought the apples on sale for .99 akilo last week. It’s a good thing I did because this week, they are 1,79€ a kilo. All was very yummy, but it would have tasted better with kids and “grands” sitting around the table!
|$1,000 to start an Emergency Fund|
|Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball|
|3 to 6 months of expenses in savings|
|Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement|
|College funding for children|
|Pay off home early|
|Build wealth and give!
Invest in mutual funds and real estate
Last weeks baking/cooking day:
I made 2 kinds of cookies: White Chocolate with Almonds and Chocolate with Cranberries. White chocolate, cocoa and cranberries from the USA… thanks to Jesseka, Rebekah and Joye)
Spanish Tortilla (potato and egg omelet)
Roasted potatoes (while to oven is on baking… might as well throw in some other food to cook!)
Oven fried chicken wings (wings are my favorite piece on the chicken)
Cream of sweet potato soup (I bought fresh sweet potatoes which are only available 2 months a year)
Pilau Biryani Masala using beef (got the spices while in Pakistan)
Sweet potato casserole (frozen and saved for Thanksgiving)
Broccoli with pine nuts (that you Jesseka for these pine nuts… they are a TREAT)
This food will last us for several days. The tortilla is for breakfast or supper.
All done in a few hours with food to eat, money saved and more time in the office!
Many Blessings, Bobbie
In these interesting and challenging days, I guess we are all looking for ways to save. Here are 10 of my “moves” to reduce spending.
1.) I have 1 or 2 baking days a week. I make the bread for that week; muffins or nut breads for breakfasts; I even make up and cook a couple batches of pancakes. While the oven’s on, I roast potatoes, stick in a casserole like macaroni and cheese or pop in some oven fried chicken. This saves electricity/money by baking everything at once, and I have meals for most of the week. Since we eat our “big” meal at 2pm, for supper we might have pancakes and eggs or leftovers. It also saves me a lot of time and heats the house (I leave the oven door open after the baking is done to take advantage of the heat, if there are no little ones visiting)
2.) We turn off our hot water heater every night and only turn it on to shower and on baking days. Because we have to call the diesel truck to come and fill our gas tank, we watch the levels very carefully. We also only turn on our heat in the house when we have family or friends over. John and I don’t mind wearing sweaters or sitting on the sofa with a blanket. Our dishwasher and washing machine have water heaters built in to the appliances.
3.) We monitor our expenses in a notebook. I keep a notebook with a page for each of the following: Diesel fuel, electricity bill, phone bill and water bill. I know exactly what I spend each month and why the costs have gone either up or down and we make adjustments accordingly.
4.) We always travel with food. Every time we go to the village, I pack a meal. It can be as little as a sandwich, or a Tupperware of pasta salad, or even a meal with chicken, potatoes and a salad. If we’re out running errands, there is usually some small snack in the car so we won’t need to buy something while out. Longer trips which take several days (like going to conference in Germany this March) include our picnic hamper that our kids Jesseka and Greg gave us many years ago and a single hot plate that we take with us to cook food in a hotel room. I keep a sauce pan and a small skillet in the hamper with a jar of olive oil, salt and utensils. We can have an egg or fry up a hamburger or even open a can of beans or stew. We eat better, and cheaper. Those of you who have traveled with us on trips, know that we eat well.
5.) I buy on sale and stock up. When any vegetable, meat, or fruit is on sale, I stock up, can, freeze or make jams & chutneys. We always seem to have variety on hand.
6.) We do all of our errands in one day, organizing the route. This saves us gas and time. We always try to be home for lunch at 2pm. We only use the car 2 or 3 times a week.
7.) I make our own prayer cards, labels and stationary using vistaprint.com and pay only for postage.
8.) I keep a notebook with all the categories needed to run the household (different than tip#3). For example, there is a page for car insurance, one for Christmas fund, birthday fund, computer fund, etc. Not all the categories can be funded each month, because there simply may not be enough to go around, but it helps us by adding a dollar or two from each paycheck to cover our expenses. I also have a detailed accounting of all “deposits and expenditures”. I use an ING checking account for this. All the funds are together, but I know the value in each category because of the pages for each in my notebook.
9.) I’m selling unwanted or seldom used items around the house. A grandson has helped me sell some things I have taken back to the USA (over a year ago) by using Craigslist. I’ve tried here but Europeans are not accustomed to buying like this. I want to continue to work on this area.
10.) I pray for inspiration, wisdom and help from the Lord. This is actually my greatest and most effective way to save money. I actually feel encouraged by partnering with the Lord in this challenge. When I’m most in need of help, a treat comes in the mail, or a good idea crosses my mind. Last week, neighbors came over with a box of candy (the expensive kind that we would never buy) and a bottle of wine (not the cheap stuff) wrapped in stacked Christmas motif boxes. These gifts were given to me because I teach their 2 children English once or twice a week and I certainly haven’t expected any gifts! The wrapping will be saved for re-wrapping gifts, the wine will be served to friends and family on a special occasion and the candies saved to share with our children at Christmas time.
More of our photos: the photo at the top was last weeks muffins and bread.
Canned jams and pickles, a 5 kilo sack of garbanzo bean flour I got on sale for only 4,99 € and industry sized canned tomatoes. Once opened, I’ll divided and freeze for future use.
*for a better look at the photos, just “click” on them
I wanted to tell you that my garden is growing very well. So far, we are eating radishes (well, I am, John doesn’t care for them) and all of our salads are coming from the lettuce I grow. I snip off just enough each day to make our salad. Did you know that radish greens are eatable? It’s been raining so I’m saving on water too! One of the simple pleasures I have is returning from a week of work in the village to see how much my little garden has grown.
Canning: I have done much this year already and and plenty of jam. The olives are done and I’m looking forward to getting some apples on sale to make apple sauce and pie filling.
Bargains: I bought a ready made pizza on sale at the Lidl (German store) for only 1,40€ after the 30% mark-down. I put on some mozzarella cheese, and parmesan to it’s skimpy presentation and John and I had a fairly decent supper for a good price.
Blessings: We have received some really great blessings from friends. I honestly believe that the Lord is providing for us in this special way. Here are some of the recent blessings from Joye, Debora and Sue:
Jerky, TP, toothpaste, candy, bath soap, pretty smelling bath things, dried cherries, deodorant, 8 cans of albacore tuna, spices, office supplies, lip gloss, tea and more!
I am excited to think of all the recipes I can use that albacore in! I am so thankful for these gals and the wonderful surprise of packages in the mail! It’s a real treat!
Tom and Jeanne sent me the money for my ticket to France!!! Wasn’t that the nicest blessing? I hadn’t seen these grands, or ANY grandkids since they came for Christmas last year. They are so cute and it was the loveliest of treats to be with them. The flight is only 1 hr and 20 mins from Madrid.
Ways I save:
- I have purchased dried beans; pinto, red beans, white and black beans. I then pressure cooked them separately, divide them in baggies and froze them. I thought at my .49¢ (euro cents) a jar was a good price for the cooked beans, but I can get 6 portions of beans for the price of 2 if I buy them dry, cook and freeze them.
- Today I once again used my pressure cooker to cook 1 lb (about 500grs) of stew beef. This small amount will stretch to make 3 meals: ♥Shredded beef tacos for today+re-fried beans and salad.♥Nachos (with fried tortilla chips I make, lettuce, salsa, beans & cheese) for Sunday and ♥rolled tacos+ Mexican rice+salad for Monday♥Plus, the added bonus of about 3 cups of really nice beef broth to make a soup.
- I saved the juice of the pickles I canned last summer and added 3 hard-boiled eggs to it. In 3 or 4 days, these I will have delicious “pickled eggs”.
- I snip off the tops of my onions from the garden to make “scallions”. I use what I need and dry the rest for future use.
My trip to France: I had a fun trip to France to see Anita and 2 grands, Elijah and Ana. It was relaxing but the weather was rainy the whole time. We got out of the house a couple of times but then, I went to see them, not have fantastic weather.
Please leave you comments! I love to hear from you.
There has been some good sales on produce here and I’ve taken advantage of some of them. Here are some examples:
It’s a lot of fun for me and a nice hobby that also saves me money.
Here is the broccoli and carrots photo that I tried to load last time. These have to be frozen because I don’t have a pressure canner.
What else have we done? Well, we are trying to sell some household items. We always appreciate your prayers in these matters.
I did stock up on a sale of chickens so I won’t be buying any meat for a while. Also I saw in a flyer that sweet potatoes are now in season ( we can only buy them a couple of months a year) and are only 1€ a kilo! I plan to stock up. I won’t be able to can them due to me not having that pressure canner, but I will store them in a cool place and look on-line for some tricks. My freezer is full.
Can you send me your money saving ideas? I’d appreciate any wisdom I can get.
Thank you for your prayers for us! Aren’t these interesting times? We feel sometimes that we have so many challenges & trials but even in the midst of those, we know that in the Lord there is always hope. I continue to find ways to save on the ‘ol grocery budget. Some budget items have been lowered, while others have been raised, like house and fuel costs. Here are some of the “new moves” we have made:
- we’re now unplugging the water/house heating unit during the day (it’s a diesel fuel tank we have filled) and just turn it on for our showers at night/ wear sweaters in the house.
- we try to run any errands only once a week
- John fixed the dishwasher! This saved us at least 100€
- the garden is growing… we are hoping for a “crop” soon
- eating a lot more legumes
- eating less meat
- buying ONLY the 30% off meat and poultry (that is out of code the next day)
- I bought enough broccoli on sale last week to last about 4 months. I will blanch and freeze it today after I give my English class to the neighbor kids (ministry, not a job)
Bummers of the week:
- the heating system needed a new part that cost us 100€ ($145)…ugh
- this is a bummer/blessing: a couple in our church is getting married and the customs are different here. We each give the money for the meal that is held after the wedding ceremony at a restaurant ( at least 60€ for each person… this is a 5or 6 course meal) + we add the money for the gift for the couple on top of that. Weddings are great…. but boy are they expensive in Spain. My friends are all talking about going out to buy their new outfits and getting their hair done the day of the wedding. I will wear something I already have, and do my own hair! We all have these “unexpected expenses” that we deal with.
We hope that you are seeing victory in your lives and are feeling hopeful.
* I tried to upload some photos but I am getting an error message. I’ll try again later.
Remember the last posting where I said it would an interesting week because we had so few vegetables? Well, here is what our neighbor, Juan brought to us yesterday. Click on the image to enlarge.
WOW,eh? chard, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. The Lord is so generous to us!
Yesterday I made Kolache, pronounced: Ko-latch-ee (a treat from former Czechoslovakia), using the jams I have made.
These will serve as breakfasts for us and for guests when they drop in.
Here are some good ideas from an internet site:
Not Just One, but Ten Ways to Save
- Bring your own pop to work instead of using the machine. √-don’t buy soda in machines, rarely at the market unless we have guests.
- Combine several errands and save it in gas.√- do this already!
- Give up a convenience item like bag salad, cleaning wipes, or snack packs.√-don’t buy these
- Eat leftovers for lunch.√- check! We do this!
- Hang a load of wash.√- we do this… no choice, we don’t have a dryer
- Rent a movie instead of going to the theater.√- we have our own DVD’s from gifts & I have also purchased some on special. We don’t go to the theater.
- Play with the kids at the park instead of going to an attraction that charges entrance fees.√- doesn’t apply
- Repair something instead of replacing it.√- John is very handy. Our dishwasher won’t drain now… we are hoping for a cheap solution.
- Make what you need instead of buying it (cookies, home decor, birthday cards or gifts).√- probably all but making are own gifts…
- Buy a used item instead of a new one.√-not buying at all!
Do you have any that would benefit us all?