I have not been posting our frugal accomplishments recently because....well to be quite frank we have not been very frugal. I let the stress of everyday life step in and derail our efforts. I have been making a conscious effort this last week to be more frugal so I thought I would return to keeping track of our accomplishments.
This week we turned our thermostat down from 72 to 68.We keep it at 72 during the summer but when winter comes we find it hard to turn it down lower. It seems to take us a while to adjust to the cooler temps in the house. I systematically turned the thermostat down 1 degree at a time throughout the week and no one seemed to notice. I have been wearing a sweatshirt in the house more often and have been putting warmer clothes on the two littlest ones at bed time since they do not use a blanket. I know what you are thinking "68 is not cold" I agree no it isn't it is just taking some adjusting on our parts. I plan to keep dropping the thermostat down this week till we reach 65 during the day and 60 at night. We shall see how everyone reacts. Our 4yr old twins are used to running around in t-shirts and shorts year round inside so it is taking some getting used to for them especially. We have natural gas heat so not crazy expensive by any stretch of the imagination but every dollar saved really does matter in the long run. Right now our gas bill is going up by $20 every month due to the colder weather outside. This last few weeks it has been in the teens and twenties, I am not looking forward to this months bill at all!
We started using YNAB once again and I have been making sure to reconcile the account every night before bed. I have found that if there is more than a day or so to add into the software I get overwhelmed and have no interest in catching up so I put it off even longer and it gets even more overwhelming.....you see where this is going. So I have been making an effort to add every transaction in via my phone at the time of purchase and then to sit down in the evenings when it is quiet and reconcile it all with the budget. This has been working really well for me so far and making things much easier to stay on top of.
I also pulled out my cloth envelope system and filled our envelopes up with the cash budgeted per category. We did have some hiccups with this this week. I pulled the cash out for gas for both cars this week thinking it would be simple enough to pay with cash. It is....if you remember to bring the cash with you. It seems my husband doesn't remember he needs gas until he is already halfway to work and all he has on him is the debit card. So he pulls the money out for gas from the debit card and I have already pulled the same money out in cash for the envelope....so we overdraw that budgeted category. So then I have to get creative with moving money between budgeted categories. Not cool. I have better things to do with my time. So we are going to cash for MY gas budget and debit for HIS gas budget in the future. Hopefully this will help with the confusion and make my life easier.
I stayed on track for our variable budgeted categories thanks to the benefits of cash only, you can't spend it if you don't have it. So our grocery, household, clothing, homeschool, etc categories all came in at or under the budgeted amounts.
Here around the house we ate all our meals at home even when I really REALLY didn't want to cook. I even managed to pull together a meal with just an hour before we had to leave for girl scouts. I so wanted to stop and get Mcdonalds on the way. It would have been so much easier. I held strong however and made a large pot of chicken and dumplings. The kids love them and it was really easy to do while the kids ran around trying to get dressed and find their shoes.
We raked the leaves outside on top of our perennials in an effort to insulate them for the coming winter. I figure for an afternoon of effort I have insulated the plants a bit, gotten free compost and weed suppression in the spring. The neighbors did look at me kind of funny as I was piling leaves knee high in my flower beds. Oh well they thought I was crazy anyways for having 6 kids and homeschooling what it one more thing added to the list?!
I did some thrift store shopping this week which is always a thrill for me. I needed to find yoga type pants for our 8 yr old who has some sensory issues with anything on her bottom half. I looked quickly on khols website the other night while waiting on the girls at girl scouts and found with the sales going on I could get 4 pairs of pants for $50. Yeah.....um.....that wasn't in the budget. So I stopped by the thrift store to have a look at what they had. I found 4 pairs of yoga style pants for $1.99 each. As I was walking out I saw a rack of snow boots. I am not going to lie I almost did a happy dance in the aisle and I might have thrown a few elbows if anyone had tried to muscle in on that rack while I was sorting through them. Luckily everyone recognized the crazy lady I was and stayed far far away. I needed 5 pairs of snow boots and I had planned to buy them on black Friday via payless. I expected them to run about $60. I found 4 pairs of boots that would fit 4 of my children, each marked at $3.99-$4.99 a pair. SOLD! All in all with our military discount I paid $21 for 4 pairs of pants and 4 pairs of snow boots. That is a savings of $90-100 depending on how much shipping would have been on the pants and boots if I had bought them retail. I don't normally buy shoes used. I do feel that new shoes are a necessity for everyone since shoes do breakdown with wear and can can cause pain and other problems over time. Snow boots and dress shoes are my exception however. They get so very little wear that even used they are in practically brand new condition. I still need to find a pair of boots for our oldest daughter but I am quite happy to have my list cut down from 5 pairs to 1 pair.
So those are our frugal accomplishments for this week. Nothing ground breaking up every little bit does add up. I would love to hear about your accomplishments this week!