Thursday, April 11, 2013

Good To the Last Drop! Frugal Overdrive Continues

Image by M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013

Upon entering the kitchen last night I noticed the coffee pot was still about half full.  Long ago cooled, I poured the contents into my glass jar.  It was once a juice bottle our nanny (the one before last) used, and now it is my iced coffee jar.  Tucked into the fridge, I will pull it out later today for an afternoon pick me up.  Good to the last drop, that's my frugal motto.  Lesson -- end of the day coffee can still be used, just be creative.  I have also been known to freeze cold coffee in ice cube trays, which can be turned into a nice homemade iced coffee or shake.

We are nearly at the end of our first week of frugal overdrive.  And wow, we have had a great week.  Child care costs are gone.  My husband has a much smaller time frame in which to complete his work, and loves how efficient he has become.  Scoring two big wins in the evolution his business model this week, we are in good spirits.  Costs are down, way down.  Business deals are being made.  And when he has the kids he tackles household chores with his engineering focus....efficiency at its best.  Furnace?  Who needs heat during the day, he turns it down to 58 or 59.  Groceries are obtained by putting the kids in the jogger and running to the store.  Accomplishing not only his work out, but saves on gas.

Adding his focus to shopping and other errands allows me to easily make homemade meals.  Out came the bread machine, erasing the need to buy a loaf at the store (my preferred brand costing $4.29 each).  At home instead of running errands, I had time yesterday to let another soup simmer (green split pea) for lunch, and prep a dinner of meat sauce for pasta, spinach, and oatmeal bread in the machine.

Less running for me also means I have more time to think about expenditures.  As the snow melted I was reminded that we'll need much to cover the leaves I spread out front.  I knew the cost of the lawn service would be about $100.  Hmmm, I wondered, let's figure out how to save.  I remembered the City of Madison used to have mulch for free at a nearby park, but a neighbor said that had been discontinued.  So I Googled it; he was correct.  No more free mulch at Garner Park.  But, we can get up to 30 gallons free at a central location.  Can you guess what field trip one of us will take the kids on?  Watch for picture and details in the days ahead.  From $100 to basically nothing.  Assuming it works, it underscores the important of not being on a treadmill like existence.  Pause, reflect, wonder.  It will lead you to spend less!


  1. I used to get the city mulch when it was at Garner Park and was happy with it for garden paths and around trees. I did not put it in my veg garden as there is always the possibility some of it comes from yards where herbicides are used and I did not want to risk my precious vegetables!

    1. Good point! This will be for our front yard, evolving from grass to native plants. Veggies are bit too ambitious for us this year, but we love the idea.

  2. Please share a good recipe for the bread machine. I just bought one ($2.75 at the thrift store) but have not been too impressed with the results. Thanks!

    1. Sure, here is one for oatmeal bread:
      1 cup and 2 Tbsp milk
      2.5 cups bread flour
      3/4 cup oats
      2 tbsp brown sugar
      1.5 teaspoon salt
      2 tbsp butter (cut into four equal sections)
      2.25 tsp active dry yeast or 1.5 tsp fast rise yeast

      Add all ingredients in order, except the butter and yeast. Once added, push mix up on sides to create a well in the machine. Place a cube of butter in all four corners. Drop yeast into the well. Note, when I was first getting started I mixed the amount of yeast and type of yeast -- make sure you check the container to know if it is active dry or fast rising, it can make a huge difference.