In our household, frugal living is easiest in the summer. Since I am an early riser, morning chores are my domain with the assistance of Keira, the cat. Our first task is to unload the dishwasher which dear hubby (DH) has run earlier in the morning. (DH usually does not retire before 2:00 AM). Running the dishwasher late at night or very early in the morning results in a cooler kitchen during the day and a lower electric bill. Keira then receives a kitty treat (purchased on sale, of course), I start the tea kettle, and we do our daily beverage check.
We have 2 glass pitchers (one inherited and one purchased at a garage sale). One usually contains homemade ice tea and the other a drink mix. Once the water in the kettle has boiled and the water is ready to pour, I use tea bags purchased from the bulk food store to make the ice tea in the first glass pitcher. The tea bags are way less costly then the ice tea mixes or ready made ice tea in bottles sold at the grocery store. The drink mix used in the second pitcher is an "end of season" purchase from last year. We wait until the mix prices are discounted 50 - 80 percent and then purchase enough to last through next year's warm summer months. Some of our boxed name brand mixes cost less than a dollar. Ice tea and a strawberry/kiwi drink mix will be cold and ready for consumption in a couple of hours. Water bottles are checked and refilled if necessary, also.
Our next task is to decide on the dinner menu. Since the temperature will be close to 95 degrees, a salad seems to be a good dinner choice. Based on our refrigerator/pantry inventory, we decide on a Mexican Salad with tortilla chips. The peppers, tomatoes, and onions for the salad will come from our backyard garden, and we'll go across the street to the neighbor's and pick up some salad greens. We have a sort of "garden club" with two of our neighbors. Since we are all "empty nesters" who are deluged with garden produce during the summer, we each grow different veggies and share our gardens' bounty. Neighbor Eileen grows lettuces, green beans, carrots, and herbs and neighbor Laura grows herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Hmm, maybe some fresh picked cilantro will spice up the homemade sour cream and salsa salad dressing. I'll be sure to pick up a few cilantro leaves when I pick up the lettuce. I'll leave the choice of beans (kidney or black, purchased on sale) for the salad for DH's input later. We generally eat meat free during the week, saving the weekends for poultry or fish. Dessert will be strawberries (purchased from the local farmer's market) with a dollop of whipped topping.
With drink prep and menu tasks completed, our next activity is scheduling errands and/or other tasks. I have a coupon for a discount on a three card purchase at the card shop located in the mall. Since it expires tomorrow, I'll walk to the store and see if I can find three cards for upcoming birthdays in the ninety-nine cent card section. Afterward, I'll stop at the pharmacy to pick up DH's prescription medications. we try to use the generic equivalent whenever we can to save money. My trip will result in a three mile walk, giving me a little exercise and saving on gas/wear/tear for our twelve year old car.
While DH is doing a ten mile bike ride later in the day, I'll take an aerobic dance class. My class is free, since I volunteer eight hours each month to do administrative jobs at the dance center.
Time is a great gift; and with a little time and talent, one can trade or barter for many things. Your talent can be a simple one. For example, we look after our neighbor's home (basically their cat, flowers, and lawn) during the summer while they are away their lakeside cottage. In turn, we use their cottage free-of-charge for a week. Our only cost for this inexpensive vacation is gas and groceries.
This evening, there is a free concert in the park near our home. That will be our evening entertainment.
Well, time to wake up DH and complete a few household chores. He left his garden pants in my "To Do" basket for mending. There's not much left of those pants; guess we'll soon have to go to the thrift store to pick up another $3.00 pair of pants for him. On my way to our bedroom, I turn on all the ceiling fans and make sure that the curtains and blinds are tightly drawn to keep out the summer heat. Yes, with a little ingenuity, care, and attention to detail, summer living is truly easy the frugal way. Enjoy your summer!
By Cheryl from Livonia, MI
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This is a great entry! I love your use of DH, so sweet. I too, find frugal living in the summer much easier. I have tomatoes, cukes and herbs. I wish I had a few neighbors who'd join in. Sounds like you really have a great system.
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