Homemade Hootch

I've just recently started a new batch of fruit wine and it's been a while since I last shared the cost so I thought I would review this again. 

You can see that the cost is about $1.30 a bottle!!

The frozen fruit is the most expensive element.  I no longer count the wine bottles as they've all been re-used at least half a dozen times or more.  They don't owe me anything at this point.

This quick drinker is called Dragon's Blood and is Danger Dave's of the winemaking talk forums evolution of Lon's Skeeter Pee. It's a fruit wine with a lemon back that is ready in 2-3 weeks start to finish. It peaks at three months old so making it now will mean it's ready just in time for spring!

Any other wine makers out there?


Weekly Spend - February (week 2)

I fell behind in weekly spend reports for February so this is a bit of a catch-up.  Given our splurge on photography for Little Miss' birthday and the Costco shop - we're already over budget for the month.  Here's a look:

Let's go through this month so far -

Both vehicles needed fuel this month, plus a trip to the city has gas hire than normal this month.

Groceries are high due to the stock up at Costco.

This week was our splurge eat-out week.  We hit up the buffet at the local Indian Restaurant as well as a few too many stops at Tim Hortons and Dairy Queen.  I think we'll rain this in for the rest of the month.

Entertainment includes Disney Plus, Netflix, and a trip to the Hot Springs a few hours away.

Pets spend is three bags of dog food which will last for the next three to four months or so.

Clothes were for Jordan who just went back to work.  He needed some jeans, t-shirts etc.  His work is hard on his clothes.

Kids Stuff was largely explained in yesterday's Costco shop post.  It also includes about $1,400 from a photography session for Little Miss' first birthday.  Gifts include those pictures and a few picture frames.

Vehicle and Home Maintenance were also explored in yesterday's Costco post.  There is also around $55 spent at the local hardware store for a few items around the house.


Costco Shop

This past weekend we did a Costco run to stock up on a few essentials (and some non-essentials).  We have to be careful shopping at Costco.  It is easy to assume everything costs less - many things do but not everything.  It's also key to not spend on something that costs less if you won't use it before it expires.   I've gone through the receipt line by line to come up with the summary above.

Gas - This was the cost of fueling the vehicle after driving to Costco.

Costco - After going through all the categories this is the amount that was leftover.  It represents the taxes on all the items we purchased.

Kids Stuff - The kids needed bathing suits for this coming summer season. Little Man also needed socks and undies.  I also picked up for him a new book and a snorkel/flippers set for $25.   Little Miss needed diapers and wipes ($36 for the diapers and $23 for the wipes) - so this is included here too.  I also picked up a pack of three water bottles.

Groceries - These are some bulk items that are simply less expensive at Costco.  It includes frozen fruit, lunch snacks (yogurt, cheese strings), cheese, dumplings, baby cookies, coffee, syrup, trail mix, coffee, sugar, salsa, granola bars, icing sugar, dishwasher detergent etc.

Home Maintenance - Metal water bottles for Jordan and triple-A batteries.

Vehicle Maintenance - This is windshield wipers for both vehicles and a case of windshield washer fluid.

Pets - Three bags of dog food.

Medical - This is some back & muscle pills.

Clothes/Shoes/Hair - This includes jeans and t-shirts for Jordan.  He just went back to work and needed a few things.

Gifts - I printed some pictures and some are for our home, and some to give away to grandparents.

Alcohol - Picked up a bottle of whisky for Jordan and a few bottles of wine for the cellar.

phew.  That's it.

That's it she says.  It's a lot and it's what keeps the wheels moving.


January Wrap Up

January 2020 has passed already! 

Let's look at how we did.  Let's start with week five.  We had to fuel up the vehicle this week.  We were really good about avoiding eating out - and I think only bought a six-pack at some point.

Home Maintenance was just a few more odds-and-ends for Jordan as he was finishing up our to-do list before he heads back to work tomorrow after his paternity leave comes to an end.

Here is our summary for the entire month.  I'm largely happy with this.  I think I need to look at how we budget - because I budget monthly we are paid and manage most expenses weekly - so January had a fifth week but I didn't change the budget which isn't really reasonable.

Our total spend on groceries is the stand out item here - $1,365.  It's more than we spent on any one month last year.  It's also the least we spent on eating out all last year.

Combined, on average, we spent $1,261 (881 + 380) on groceries and eating out in 2019. The only other change that I can attribute some of this too is Daycare.  We're now packing lunches for the kids every week - which means buying (and making) a lot more snack foods for them. 

I've really enjoyed keeping an eye on our spend on a weekly basis so I'm going to continue through the month of February.  We'll see what we can do about that groceries bill.


Weekly Spend - January (week 4)

Okay!  Week four down - and we've landed a bit high.

Groceries had a spike because we did some extra groceries to have around 15 people over for Baby Girl's first birthday.

Little Man needed some special cream for his hands so medical was higher (usually it's zero).

Kids Stuff was 1/4 payment of a photography session that we booked last minute for Baby Girl's birthday.  I'll finish paying for this in the first week of February so the balance will show then.

Vehicle Maintenance was a surprise new battery for one of our vehicles.  The car hadn't been run for a couple of months and the battery burst in the cold streak that we had.  So that's annoying.

Looking at the total spend to date we are at 98% of the budget and still have the rest of the last week of the month to get through. So we most certainly will be over. 


Soup Stock Day!

It's Soup Stock Day!

Every month or two or three, I save scraps of carrots, onion, celery, and bones from Roast or Chicken so I can make a big pot of soup stock.  It's a great way to make your food budget go just a bit further - plus it is tasty.

Unless your four - in which case, my toddler will tell you that soup = yuck. Every time.

It's actually been a while since I've done this so I had quite a few prime rib bones saved up! 

I added mayyybe a tablespoon of salt to the whole batch, brought it to a boil then simmered for around 16 hours.

I first used my big strainer to catch the big bits of bones, and then ran it through my fine mesh strainer twice to catch and little bits.

My mom's trick is to then get the stock cold enough that you can scrape off the fat that sits on the top, keep this in a separate container and freeze both.

When you're ready to actually make soup - use the stock-fat for frying up all your vegetables. You wind up with less fat overall in the soup, don't have fat separating in your soup and add more flavour back in then if you used oil or butter when you are making your soup.


Caselot Sale!

I spend a bit of time lurking on Reddit's personal finance forums and there seems to be a lot of chatter about how much people spend on groceries.  So I want to spend a bit of time thinking about how our money is spent in this area, in more detail. 

I don't typically keep grocery receipts, but did for last week's big shop.  We only have two grocery stores in my community - so suggestions around going to your local low cost shop don't work for me.  We plan ahead, try to get to Costco every couple of months or so and we watch for local sales.  Here's a peek at what some of our local costs are.

If there is interest I can post this again as I get more historical information.  My mom and I both track sales in the same excel worksheet, so that if I can't remember what a good price is I can go back and look.  I've been negligent in keeping this up to date, but I am going to start doing this for a while again. 

...and no, we don't by strip loin steak very often but we did this trip so wanted to show it on the tracker. They were too thick and delicious looking to pass by.

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