Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Frugal Activities

Well, this series was meant to be weekly, but life has been busy with a 9 month old and a 2 yr old! Here are some of my recent frugal activities this fall!

A couple weeks ago it got cold enough to finally turn on the heat. I always wait as long as I can, but when the house is 64 degrees before nightfall, it's a good sign it's time. We have enjoyed the cooler weather setting in, wearing pants, leggings, socks and light jackets! One of the ways we keep our heating bill down in the winter is by setting the thermostat to 68 degrees. It can get a bit chilly, but we bundle with blankets and sweaters. We put flannel sheets on our beds and dress the girls in fleece pajamas.

We filled up our car at Kroger and with our fuel points, we were able to get 40 cents off per gallon. We usually try to use a fueling station like Shell that will allow us to utilize our fuel points, but that only takes off 10 cents per gallon. Kroger's gas station is not exactly close by so it's always nice when we get a chance to fill up there.

We had a fall festival party with family that included a fire, chili and hotdogs, pumpkin carving and a tractor ride. This was on a family member's property, we had a lot of fun for free!

I baked 2 loaves of homemade wheat bread, one last week and one today. This bread is so much better than the most expensive store-bought stuff. I don't compromise on bread at the grocery, so this saves us several dollars each loaf. I plan on making more in bulk (such as baking 3 loaves at once) and then freezing slices for later. I also still plan to keep store-bread in my freezer for those emergency days!

I shopped at CVS and Rite Aid several times in the past month, using my store rewards to get many items we needed for very very cheap or free. I am trying to stay on top of couponing again, and I have my old Case-It binder where I store all my coupons newly organized and at the ready. I realized I needed to change my couponing strategy from what it was before - I used to keep the inserts filed and then clip the coupons when needed, but then I would never have them while shopping due to everything else getting in the way (last minute diaper changes, nursing sessions ect.). I now clip every coupon I think I might use and sort them in categories. I also changed my food section from alphabetical to categorical in the order I shop at the store. These two changes have helped immensely. I am saving much more than I ever have before at the grocery! I am now trying to shop in the evenings after the girls are in bed, so I can think more clearly and have my coupon binder open on the cart as I am shopping. Before I would take them with me during the day, with Snowflake in the Ergo and Peanut in the seat of the cart. I was always rushing in and out to avoid meltdowns. Keeping a well-stocked pantry has also helped make it easier to shop only when it is convenient.

Both Peanut and Snowflake are regularly in cloth diapers most days. I ran out of our all-natural laundry detergent and decided to make my own cloth diaper detergent as well as regular detergent. Both have been working quite well with no skin reaction yet from Snowflake. This really is saving us money since the all-natural detergent I was using costs $11-13 a bottle and is rarely on sale.

We ate out a fast food restaurant this past week and used coupons to help save over $8 on our meal.

I harvested the last of the tomatoes from my garden a couple weeks ago. I saved the green tomatoes in a case I am storing in our basement. I am gathering ideas for what to do with them (besides fried green tomatoes!). I plan on canning the 11 or so gallon-bags of frozen red tomatoes soon.

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