Tuesday, 19 January 2016

How We Saved Money Jan 10-16, 2016

As I've mentioned, it is a goal of mine to stick to a tight kitchen and household budget in 2016. Reporting my spending here on the blog has proven to be a great motivator and really holds me accountable, if only to myself. So I'm going to make an effort to report each week on 1) how we saved money 2) what we spent on groceries and 3) weekly menu plan.

1. We have a humidity problem in our home (totally rare on the prairies as it is usually too dry here in the winter. The problem stems from the home being built elsewhere and moved here, onto a concrete basement that had barely enough time to cure before having a house plopped on it. The cement basement floor is poured after delivery of the home, resulting in a LOT of moisture that must go somewhere as the concrete dries out over the next few years). This is all fodder for a future post regarding Ready-to-Move homes (RTMs) but for now my issue is keeping a fan blowing on the glass exterior door that leads from our master bedroom onto a small deck. The humidity inside combined with the cold temps outside is a lethal combination that sees water drip down the door and freeze, eventually rotting the wooden door casing. Now to the point: we have 3 portable fans and suddenly all of them were seized up and wouldn't turn. The larger ones are used by the basement wood stove to circulate the hot air and warm the entire basement (and thus the floor of the main floor). Without these fans functioning my floors are cold and water runs down the glass door. Husband was able to dismantle the 3 fans and remove dust and grease the tiny parts so that things work again. I almost gave in and went and bought new fans as it is important to circulate the air here, but we have bought some time with our old fans instead.

The kids broke a blade off one fan last year. We kept the motor and cage part because the blades and stand from our other fan fit, so we have a back up motor. Both of them quit at the same time (they run constantly) but they are now back in action. To the right of the fans you can see the table that was fixed. Durned kids! LOL

2. My son (3) climbed onto my Duncan Phyfe coffee table and broke one leg off it before Christmas. Husband was also able to fix the leg, saving me from taking it to a furniture repair shop in town.

3. Cauliflower has skyrocketed to $7 a head here. The Canadian dollar is in a tailspin as is our oil-based economy. I am checking the "quick sale" rack in the produce department before I buy anything and got a perfectly fine head of cauliflower for 30% off. The cauliflower is still too expensive but nice to have for a stir fry. You can bet that I will be comparing bags of frozen next time I am in the store!

4. My mom's chickens are laying eggs like gangbusters and she has instructed us to quit buying eggs in town. Having free eggs will save us over $5/week, at least, and gathering eggs is one of my kids' favorite chores at the farm. Win-win!

5. (edited to add) I finally put our satellite TV subscription on a seasonal break. We have 180 days to decide if we will cancel it altogether. I should have done this a year ago and we have talked about it many times. This saves us $75/month--$900 a year!--and we were only really keeping it out of habit. I don't like to let the kids watch much TV (basically a show while I do outside chores) but we do have Netflix and they usually have a show while I make supper. That $75/month can now be used for groceries, bills or an emergency fund.

6. I'm returning to menu-planning and checking the flyer before I get groceries, and am sticking to a strict list. More posts to come!

Have you noticed an increase in the cost of food where you live? Have you been able to save any money this week?


  1. I can't wait for the post on Ready to Move homes! Very interesting as I know nothing about them but it is real estate related! And get more fans when you can or when you see them on sale. I find those ones always burn out when you need them most. Oh and for #4 - if it really does save you $5/week then take that $5 each week your mom gives you eggs and put it in a sealed pot. This way you effectively "spent" it as you normally would. Open your sealed pot later in the year and spend it if you want or save it or pay off some debt/mortgage :-)

    By the way I am rooting for you this year! These kinds of posts are motivating for everyone who reads them. This week I think I've spent more because of the various medications/health stuff. Next week will be better!

    1. Thank you, Pru, what an excellent idea to put the $5 in a pot and save it up. I'm absolutely going to do that! It should be roughly $260 by this time next year--great for the emergency fund or put extra on the mortgage. Thanks for the great suggestion!

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    3. My comment appeared twice so I deleted one :)

  2. Oh my gosh are groceries expensive now. Between poultry being slaughtered for disease, and drought and flooding affecting crops the cost of food is outrageous. I've had a smaller garden for a few years but this year I'll be growing and raising as much as possible for my daughters' households. I'll be going through my seeds this week to see what I have for salad greens to plant in pots.

    1. How nice of you to garden for your daughters, Robin. It's so rewarding to share what you grow, and you're right, the cost of groceries is getting scary. I don't know how people are affording to eat. I have the room to grow more so I hope to extend my growing season with hoop houses or cold frames this year. I will be watching your blog to see how it goes!