Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Juanita Turns 200,000

 Miles that is...

Juanita being the Honda I bought in early 2021, like February or something.  I could look that up but I can't be arsed. 

Here's the blog post where I talked about it:

SO...yesterday I had extra running around to do after work, which wasn't frugal but crap comes up sometimes and there you go.

Headed to Moscow and noticed that Juanita was at 199,982 a bit south of my place (which is north of Moscow).  Cool.  By the time I left Moscow, where the aforementioned run-aroundery took place, I was nearly at the big 200k.

Here are actual before and after photos: 



Here's how she looks as of earlier this week
Note the new sticker...bit small but makes her look large and in charge

Closer view of the sticker:
I put one on each front door.  They look like the real agency stickers but smaller and with more 'sqatch.

I have had the vehicle for 19 months and put 34,000 miles on it.  That is an average of 1789miles per month, give or take.  About normal for me.  I used to average 30,000/year.  This would be 21,500 per year.   A few more on on the pick up, but with a busted odometer, no one knows how many.  

ANYWAY:  5000$ purchase price.  About 1200$ in tires and repairs (tune up earlier and brakes recently).  6200$ for 34000 miles...  Ownership and major repair costs as of now:  16cents/mile

IF she goes to 300,000 miles, assuming I will need more brakes and something else, and tires that would end up at about 7500$ total (because I did pads and rotors this time, rotors should last so next brake job should be less)  for 134,000 miles is 5.6cents per mile...nice!  We'll see if that happens.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Incidental Frugality

 I'm doing a month of "no industrial bread type products" as a diet experiment.  I do like my diet experiments...this one did NOT result in intestinal distress.   Suddenly-Keto...that one went bad on me. Oops!

Anyway, this month has been no industrially produced bread, wraps, tortillas, chips, pasta, etc.  No carby things from big factories.  I am buying a bit of bread and maybe a 1x per week sugary treat from local bakers at a farmers market.  As a result, the salt and the processed food are way lower.

As a side grocery costs are WAY down.

The grainy-carby things I have at home are whole dried hominy and chicos (corn stuff) from a past trip to Santa Fe, some wheat berries (the stuff that comes off the wheat plant before it is ground up into flour), and I recently added some millet because it was cheap and I wanted to try it.

I've been canning dry black beans with the hominy and/or chicos.  EXCELLENT!  It takes the same amount of time and butane to can 4 pints of beans an corn as it would to cook a meal's worth.  I end up with 4 instant meals.  So far I haven't even heated them up.  Just eaten right out of the jar.  I may try it with wheat berries too.  

Lots of lentils with wheat berries.  Cook up in about 30 min and then I take it to work the next day.

Breakfasts have been eggs.  Lately with grated carrot or kohlrabi thrown in and fried up together into sort of a hash thing.   Good.  

I bought a grain mill, manual and small, from thrift a while back and busted that out a couple of days ago.  Turned wheat berries into course whole wheat flour (it's not a great mill but it works and was cheapish).  I added some to a breakfast carrot hash and it made it into more of a fritter.  Then I mixed the rest up like a biscuit dough and slow fried it over a very low flame.  Brought it to work and it was a fine biscuit if a bit heavy.  I'll get better.

The possible amounts of fiber.  This is healthy.  And gassy.  Win win??  Not for my colleagues.  But I'm not hungry all the time.

It's making me eat mostly what I cook.  Think before going to a restaurant because there is crappy industrial bread everywhere.  And it's making me really appreciate the local bread makers, especially my favorite guy with his long ferment sourdoughs.  I'm only buying a bit since even artisanal bread is super salty. 

The few times I've eaten at restaurants I've gotten in the habit of going for salad, no croutons.  Then just ignoring any rolls or bread on the side.  Mostly it makes me think before I even go to a restaurant.   A brunch meeting for work was ok. I picked the veggie omelette and skipped the biscuit (those are usually gross anyway).  

My grocery bill is coming in on budget so far and I'd lowered the budget considerably to make room for the increased gas costs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Good Lord! Food Costs!!!

 So I went in a regular grocery store for the first time in ages.  

And HOLY COW!   $9.19 for a 42oz (not even 4lbs) of quaker rolled oats.

I was going to drop some $$ for the tiny food pantry but not those $$.

Instead, I went to Winco, an employee owned chain with better prices.  Got bulk rolled oats for 1$/lb.  WAY better than those quakers at about $3.5/lb. 

What if I a) didn't have a decent income and b) didn't have access to multiple grocery options c) didn't have transportation to said stores???

I'd have to pay whatever was charged and apparently go broke.  Criminitly.

And watch those quantities on your food containers, and other packaging, for this nutso shrinkflation.  The container appeared to be the same size as the old 4lb one, which I also would not pay that much for, but must have had empty space.  I'm not spending my money to check the empty space quantity.

My weekly exercise of reviewing the grocery store flyers I can't seem to prevent from jamming my mailbox (my actual physical one) to see what I would be eating using the "dollar a pound all year round" guideline.  It can still be done.  If one had a freezer, and power and etc to keep it going, one could save a boatload stocking up on loss leader sales of meat (mostly chicken parts and pork) when it hits 1$ or less per lb.  There is usually basic veg (potatoes, onions, carrots) for that.  And a bit of fruit.  I also know that NOT in the flyer are the regular things like bananas that are generally under the price guideline and past-the prime fruit and veg at good prices.  The "reduced for quicksale meat also often hits that.

You have to work for it, but it can be done if you have some infrastructure.

Canned beans are close most weeks, dry beans usually, and given that they cook up to 2x the dry quantity, are always a better deal than canned (also no salt on the dry ones...) if you have a cooking method available.

Anyway, I'm sorry to those with fewer options, in food deserts, and in urban areas without decent stores and transportation. I will be seeing if my donating or activisming could address the issue in some small way.

Monday, August 1, 2022

SHRINKFLATION: I actually noticed it

 Even though I rarely shop "normal" stores like supermarkets and bigbox stores, instead preferring thrift, salvage (Ross, TJ, Grocery Outlet), and other options, I have noticed shrinkflation.

I check the clearance food aisles at Ross and TJ and I shop Grocery Outlet for groceries.  You'd be surprised what you find at Ross and TJ.  Like whole bean coffee.  I figure decent coffee for 5$/lb is doable for me.   Since I shop based on price per volume, I always check the amount listed on the package and in the case of bagged produce, I weigh the bags as there is quite a bit of variation.

Coffee is the case in point.  A while back, years?, I noticed that what looked like a 1lb bag listed 12oz as the weight.  That would be 3/4llb, not 1lb.  NOPE.  $3.75 is max for 12oz.   It has to be a full lb.  That is getting rare.  

This weekend at one of the discount/salvage stores I noticed 11oz bags of coffee beans.  Since I am shopping where merchandise goes to die, this must have arrived on "normal" store shelves months ago  Do let me know!

I await the 10oz of coffee beans in the 1lb size bag.  Cripes.

In June, didn't go in July, I found 2lb bags of coffee beans at Grocery Outlet for $9.99 so that met the 5$/lb price point.  I don't worry too much about the blend or roast at that price.  I do avoid flavored types. These almost always cost more and so far have never been the only option.

With prices going up, I bought a brick of "dollar store" type coffee.  It is well under the 5$/lb rate even in an 8oz, or is it 6?, size. We'll see if it is drinkable.

TP is another one.  I buy a regionally sourced off-brand.  It is under 5$ for 24 rolls.  Not fancy, soft, scented, lotioned, etc.  JUST TP.  I haven't bought any in a few months as I can store 2 packs at that size (thanks dead camper fridge that is still mouseproof!) so haven't looked at it of late.  I should keep the size label portion of the current pack and date it so in the future I can see if my TP rolls are shrinking.  At one point I calculated price per square foot but it was a lot of calculating.  I am rethinking "family cloths" (wipe rags) and rotating in newspaper now and then at least for #1s.   The savings is real now.  We'll see...

I went for 5gallon buckets at various hardware stores now and didn't buy any.  7-8$ per bucket.  Last time I bought them they were $3.50ish per bucket.   So, I did not buy any new buckets.  I am going to sort through what I have and glue up some of the old ones with glue I have.  Those that are beyond gluing but still bucket-like, will get the tool-toting duty.  Those that are glued and water tight can be non-potable water toting type tasks.  Glued but not water tight can haul dirt-like things.  Those that are still in good shape will get rotated in to laundry and other duties I consider high-end.

As for Shrinkflation with buckets...some of the "5-gallon" buckets are 4 gallon!  This is fine, but ends up with a non-standard height or lid size and mess up my system.  Also, less hauling/storage capacity for the price.

Friday, July 22, 2022

I Fixed A Thing!

 Which is hard because I don't know how ...

(there is a scene in the movie "Happy Texas" that would be perfect here but I can't find a clip)

I had a twin window fan.  Then, at thrift I bought a "new" one. I tested it in the outlet at the store BEFORE I bought it.  Then stuck it in storage and got rid of the old one that was starting to malfunction and smell funny.

A couple weeks ago things got HOT so I dug out the 'new' used fan.

ALAS it didn't run!  Didn't click.  Not slow.  NOTHING.

So, crap.  I put it in the car to throw out rather than have a dead fan taking up room.

There were no fans at thrift so I checked stores thinking it was late in the season and the fans would be marked down.  They were.  To 30$!!!  Uh, no.  I got the thrift fans for a max of 5$ each.  

So, fortunately I'm forgetful and had forgotten to chuck the 'new' fan.  I got it back out of the car and took a look at it while a video ran in the wee shed one evening.  After taking out about 2 dozen tiny screws (and wisely putting them in a bag) I saw a wire just hanging in space by the switch and the switch dealie also hanging in space.

I stuck the wire in the obvious empty hole and plugged the fan into the solar inverter. IT WORKED!!!  WOOT WOOT.

Dug out the glue.  Picked one that looked like it would work with plastic (could not find electrical tape, may not have any).  Using toothpicks as wedges I glued the switch dealie into the receptical that seemed meant for it.  Then jammed the dangly wire in the obvious hole (I had unplugged the fan) and used a couple of toothpicks as wedges to hold things in place for a couple of days while it dried.  And I was busy.

Tested again...still worked.  

Removed toothpick wedges.  Put all the screws back (no left over parts!! That's a first) and voila.  For about 15 minutes of hands on repair, I saved 30$ on a crap discounted fan from Rite-Aid (the cheapest one I saw...I boycott walmart and amazon so I do concede there may be cheaper new fans, but I won't by them).  

The hourly wage for that repair would extrapolate to 120$/hour.  That's worth the fix.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Saladify July

 I like my monthly themes even when I fail at them a bit.

This month is salad every day.  Yesterday, I had 2.

I don't like to cook a ton in the summer in the wee shed because it heats up.

Alas this summer, the weather is working against solar cooking most days I am home.  The garden is late but greens are coming on.   This morning I spent about 2 minutes picking some greens including wild greens like clover and golden rod.  FYI: old mature golden rod leaves are TOUGH.  I got tired of chewing.  I threw in some catmint (really mild mint), walking onion leaf, and good king henry leaves from the raised bed.  2 minutes.  Easy. 

I had left over dressing from a trip to the Edgy Veggie salad truck yesterday (those salads are big and good...and no more costly than any other lunch out).  A friend with me went to a cheese steak food truck.  They are delicious, but we were on the way to give a talk in the heat outside...salad worked better.  I wasn't bogged down with half a pound of salty meat.

Anyway, it's going fine.  Need to pick younger wild greens or get stronger jaw muscles though!

Friday, June 24, 2022

For Me This Day Will Live In Infamy

Human Rights in the US have been rolled back.