Final February Frugality

The bad:  Yesterday I went downstairs for a loaf of bread and discovered that the freezer had been turned off, likely by toddler fingers the day we were moving things around.  It was almost a total loss.  About 25 pounds of chicken pieces, a box of Hot Pockets, several pounds of bacon, and some packages of vegetables.  The chicken was in plastic bins so the freezer wasn’t swimming in fermenting meat juice and that kept the cleanup to a minimum.  I salvaged the freezer jam since it was in sealed jars, and also two cases of butter and some nuts since they were not contaminated.

The good:  JB helped me to cook up the beef that I picked up on Monday.  We added the remaining onions from the storage room since they are really starting to sprout.  We’ve really made the most of the onions that I purchased last September for ten cents a pound.  I’ve probably thrown out only a dozen or so bulbs over the last three months but several more had recently gone soft.  The beef is now packaged in one cup packages and freezing solid in the cleaned out freezer.

The try, try again part:  The 20-year-old White sewing machine that I bought a few weeks ago sort of sewed that apron and then refused to function again the next day, so I am going to get rid of it.  But today I finally made it to the other thrift store in town.  Guess what?  They had a new – in the box new- sewing machine.  It wasn’t a name brand (ever heard of Rex?) but how bad could a new inexpensive sewing machine be?  I offered the clerk $20 for the Rex machine and she accepted.

Research said that the Rex machine was available about 10 years ago on Overstock for $150.  That qualifies it as a CHEAP sewing machine.  I have seen machines for about that price at the craft store and at WalMart and although I don’t think at full price one would be a good investment, I decided to attempt one more $20 bill to obtain a reasonably functional sewing machine.

Once home I unpacked the Rex machine and opened all of the little bits and pieces.  The instruction manual was there, as well as a bag of attachments and some sewing machine oil.  I got it threaded and tried it out.  The gears barely moved.  We took the cover off and JB applied oil to all of the working parts and it seemed to do a little better.  Having seen the insides I understand why it only cost $150 bucks new; it’s clearly not made for heavy use.

I also pulled out my Featherweight Singer 221.  When I tried to use it the other day it was all loopy and breaking the thread every few stitches despite everything I tried.  I looked up some You-Tube videos to see if I could find a solution.  Sure enough, I had the bobbin in backwards again.  It’s still skipping stitches and sounds a little rough, so I think it might need some TLC with the oil as well, since I have rarely used it for a number of years.  But I was able to hem a worn towel with the Singer and used the zigzag stitch on the new Rex.  Perhaps one day I will have a nice sewing machine that can do a few embroidery stitches, like monograms.  I can dream…

The financial statement:  Since my last post my total expenditures have been 50 cents for a toy for Leo at the thrift store and $20 for a sewing machine.

I have only driven my car twice in the last week – once on Monday to an appointment and again on Friday to a foster care meeting.  We have been able to heat with wood a lot and I have been keeping the thermostat to 67* most of the time.

Today I got my American Express Costco rebate check.  It was $130.00 for 2015.

February looks like it will end up this way:  

  • Groceries $153.90
  • Other $198.49

I ended up $40.39 over my total February budget of $312.00 if I throw my $20 mad money against the deficit.  If I deduct the cost of JB’s razor (since I don’t really feel that belongs in my household budget category) then we are only $5.39 over budget.

  • January 2016 – $572.12
  • February 2016 – $352.39

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