Thursday, July 28, 2016

Christmas Cards

It is fun to receive Christmas cards in the mail each year.  I have saved some from the past two years so I can update people's addresses.  For two years they have been sitting there waiting for me to do that.  Today I finally accomplished it and got everything updated and recycled most of the cards.  Do you have a working, updated Christmas list?  If you do, it will be easier for you when you are ready to send cards or emails to everyone for the holiday.

Do you have old Christmas cards?  Now is the time to recycle them.  There are charities that are grateful to have your old cards.  St. Jude's Ranch for Children takes them, for example.  If you choose not to recycle them or use them for crafts or to make Christmas cards to send this year, think of donating them.  The address is:

St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV  89005

Grocery List for the Week $50 Grocery Challenge and What I Actually Spent

As you know, I recently went through my cupboards.  I wrote down some of the things I need to replace and put them on my list for the week.  I checked the fridge and freezer and cupboards and decided on menus that would use some of the things I had already.  After making the menu plan, I looked up the ingredients I needed and added them to the list.  I then add basics like milk, juice, cheese or eggs if needed.  After I write the list, I go through and write down how much I think each item will cost.  I try to make sure I am estimating on the high end, so I will have plenty of money to do what I need.  After that, I am ready to go shopping.

Here is my list:

1.0  Quick oats, 2 cups in bulk
1.5  Oat bran, 2 cups in bulk
1.0  Salt, 1/2 cup in bulk
5.0  Organic dried cranberries
1.5  Sunflower seeds, 1 cup in bulk
1.5  Carrots
4.0  Italian Sausage at butcher block
3.0  Cherry tomatoes
1.0  Orange for juice in salad dressing for one of the recipes
1.0  Bacon for 2 meals, salad bar
2.0  Cream cheese, 2
2.0  Whipping cream
1.5  Sour cream
3.0  Red Wine Vinegar
1.5  Corn on the cob
1.5  Bananas
4.0  Cherries
1.5  Buttermilk for pancakes, muffins, or whatever
5.0  Other produce on sale or reduced

Total:  $45.00

I still have five dollars to stock up on anything I want on sale.  At first I had zucchini and yellow squash on the list, but our garden squash is almost ready so I can use that instead of buying it.  I was going to buy fresh parsley, but I used dried instead since I had it on hand.  I don't have an expensive cheese that is called for in one of my recipes, so I found a clone that uses cream, sour cream and cream cheese instead.

I went shopping today, and this is what I spent:

 .50  Cucumber
1.18  Apples, reduced 2 packages at 59 cents each
2.60  Pineapple
1.18  Yogurt 2 at 59 cents each
 .51  Quick oats
1.02  Oat bran
 .41  Salt
4.95  Organic dried cranberries
1.41  Sunflower seeds
1.19  Carrots
2.27  Cooked sweet Italian sausage
2.29  Tomatoes
 .58  Orange to juice for a homemade dressing
 .24  Bacon from the salad bar
2.78  Cream cheese 2 at 1.39 each
1.89  Whipping cream
1.20  Sour cream
2.55  Red wine vinegar for a salad dressing
2.49  Gallon of Milk on sale
1.00 Corn on the cob, 2 ears
1.04  Bananas
1.79  Cherries
1.49  Avocado
4.99  Rotisserie Chicken
 .54  Pepperoni

Total:  $42.09

Instead of buying cherry tomatoes, I bought slicing tomatoes because they were about 1/4 of the price.  I bought a gallon of milk instead of a half gallon because it was a good price and was the amount I estimated for milk.  I bought half as many cherries because I wanted to buy pineapple.  I bought a chicken because I had some extra money and froze over half of it in the freezer in four bags for meals in the future.  I bought less sausage than planned because I really just need it for flavoring.  I still have some money left for the week.  There are some great sales, but I think I will freeze part of the meals this week so I can have meals for next week and spend some of the grocery money on the sale items.  I will go shopping next Tuesday to take advantage of some sale for this week.

By having a detailed list and estimating the amount I think I will spend, I weigh produce to make sure it stays in the estimated amount.  With the buttermilk, I can make biscuits, pancakes, etc. I saved the cranberries and one of the cream cheese packages until the end so I could skip them if I went over.  I had plenty of money to buy them.  Notice I am using the meat more for flavor and not giving anyone a large portion.