Friday, January 13, 2017

Frugal Friday

I haven't done a Frugal Friday post in a very long time.  My life has been so busy and I'm finding that unless I plan ahead, being frugal won't happen.  The biggest downfall area is in the kitchen because if I don't plan we end up going out to eat or buying last minute, expensive convenience foods.  Even though some days it seems as if I don't have time to breathe, let alone plan, we've been doing pretty well.  My food bill has gone up some but that's because Stephen is home from college and he can pack away the food! :-)

Over the past few weeks, here are some ways I've saved.

$ Other than one purchase of some Valentine's Day fabric, I have not bought fabric or craft supplies.  I am working hard to use what I have and make do. 

$ One area for me as a shop owner that could add up is window displays.  When I first opened, one of my vendors gave me a huge box full of Christmas decorations and I was able to use that to decorate through the first week in January.  I have an aversion to having to center everything around one day (Valentine's Day) but that is the life of owning a retail store.  So I managed to come up with a window display from items I already had and a bit of creativity.  It's not perfect, but I think it turned out cute.

$ As always, I cut my guys' hair. 

$ I use up every bit of what I make - leftovers for lunch the next day, a bit of broth gets used in something else, bread that doesn't get used is made into bread crumbs and frozen for later use, bits of veggies into stir fry meals.

$ Last night I came home from the shop and opened the refrigerator door.  It was looking bare because I need to go grocery shopping.  I was out of meat, there were only a few veggies, a hunk of parmesan cheese, a can of diced tomatoes and 2 lbs. of pasta.  After realizing I had a bit of pepperoni in the freezer, as well as eggplant that I sliced and froze this summer, I came up with a plan.  I SOOOOOOOOOOOO wanted to call and order a pizza or something but instead within 30 minutes, I came up with this dish.  Everyone loved it and it cost next to nothing to make.

$  I received my first electric bill from the shop and it was high!  The place isn't very well insulated (you can feel cold air coming through the outlets - lol) and it's hard to keep it warm.  But I'm going to be proactive and do some things that hopefully will lower it.  One thing is to wear warmer clothing so I can keep it turned down a bit more.  Also I'm putting long curtains on the back window which will help a bit.  My landlord also came and installed another baseboard heater so hopefully that will warm it up quicker.

For the winter months I've also cut back on my shop hours. We live in a very snowy area and many shops close for the winter.  Just the other day, I saw a diner was closed until spring which makes me think given the low amount of customers I've had in January that I could have taken the month off!  That would certainly save on the electric.  However, it's a work in progress and I need to see the pattern before I make any major decisions.

$ Because it's been slow at the shop, I'm working on other venues for sales.  I'm updating my Etsy shop and I need to set up my website shop so people can purchase there as well. 

Anyway, frugal living is certainly an ongoing and constantly evolving process.  But I feel good when I can keep our costs low.  Our main goal is to pay off debt and so that involves the tightening of belts!

I hope the small things I do encourages you as well!