Just because we’ve had the coldest temperatures this week that I’ve ever seen here in Tennessee, that doesn’t mean that frugality was forgotten. As a matter of fact, every time I hear that heat pump come on, I’m reminded of how we need to be cutting back on the smaller luxuries now, in order to meet the higher electric bills that weather like this will surely bring! Although it’s been a challenge to keep warm, we’ve managed just fine, and now that temperatures are rising a bit, perhaps we can return to daily walks and go back to our ‘normal’ bedtime. We’re finding ourselves in bed a bit earlier each night, mostly in pursuit of staying warm. Even though last night was a ‘Three Dog Night’, we had to make do with the cat sleeping on our bed and the dog on her own bed. TVA has asked people to keep their thermostats at 68 during the day and to conserve on electricity in whatever ways we can. Conservation has always been the key to lower energy usage, as it is for living well on less in general. This week was really no different. Making pots of soup and homemade breads, along with oven-baked meals of typical winter fare such as Shepard’s pie, baked potatoes, Lasagne, brownies and zuchinni bread, along with breakfast-for-supper one night, we’ve eaten well, splurged on a take and bake pizza (using a coupon of course) one night, enjoyed company eating with us two evenings, and still stayed within our budget. I’m ever so thankful for a warm house and plenty to share!
Monday: Not knowing if Tuesday’s Zumba class would be canceled due to the weather, (it was) I took the time to make what are called “Dance Socks” to cover my shoes. They are mere circles of spandex that fit snugly around the ball of the shoe, allowing the shoe to slide easily on the wood floors of a dance studio. When my instructor offered to let me borrow a pair until I could buy my own, I was shocked when she said they sell online for $9 a pair. They work very well, but really…$9 for a circle of spandex? So…I looked through my overstuffed sewing tote and found a tube of spandex cuffing material that had been on the bottom of a teeshirt sleeve. I wrapped it tightly around my shoe and made a seam. Savings: $9 PLUS $3.99 for shipping. It works like a charm too. Check it out:
Tuesday: Even though the thermometer was hovering below freezing, the seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, onions and more that are growing under lights on the seed rack upstairs are getting large enough to transplant from their tiny 4-cell packs into larger 3″ pots. We save and reuse both sizes each year and never have to buy them. But we do take the time to bleach and disinfect them before each reuse, in order to keep blights and soil borne plant diseases from spreading. Because of the sheer numbers, this can take a while. So I hit on the idea of letting them all soak in the bleach solution in the bathtub. Voila! If you take your bath first, you can also kill two birds with one stone by simply reusing the bath water for this job. Savings? It’s been so long since we’ve had to buy planting or transplanting pots that I don’t even know what they cost these days. I just love reusing something that most people throw away-including the bath water 😉 Save those seedling cups folks and reuse them for your own seed starting needs!
Wednesday: We had not been out of the house except for brief walks since Saturday night, and we still had the second of those Aldi’s $10 off $40 coupons (that I’d told you about last week) set to expire on this day. Not! We scraped off the car and drove the mile to the store, and enjoyed the fact that there were only about 4 other people in there with us. We made it home with our stash just before the snow started falling again. Savings: $10- and the trip to the store relieved the cabin fever too.
Thursday: This was the coldest day of the week. We decided to walk to the community garden to see how things were looking there. I decided it was certainly cold enough to wear my latest thrift store find: a rather strange but very well made zip-up stocking cap that can be pulled up over my nose to almost meet the visor, for the grand price of 50 cents. It was brand new and perfect for such a day. Even though it’s no fashion statement (or is it?) I love it! Savings: What’s a frost-bite free face worth? priceless!
Friday: We are ushering at a Shakespeare production (Dr Faustus) at the college tonight, which will be followed by a reception (read: free food!) This gives us a chance to get out of the house after being homebound most of the week, be with friends, eat great catered food AND watch the performance. Savings: $40 for two tickets. Sweet!
We also played our monthly gig at a couple of nearby nursing homes, earning a bit of ‘mad money’, while having fun, and hopefully bringing some light to those folks that live there. Here’s a tip: If you can’t seem to get warm, GO TO A NURSING HOME! Because so many of the residents are immobile, those older folks just HAVE to have it warm, and boy howdy, you will warm up as soon as you walk in! (summer or winter) Play and sing for an hour and they may pay you too 😉
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