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Not thinking about money

June 11, 2008

I haven’t been thinking that much about my money lately.  I have my budget and I’m working towards meeting it, and recording each purchase I make.  The markets are up and down (mostly down) the economy makes me worry, gas prices are high, and I worry about my job.  But for the most part, I just live my life, and the money mostly takes care of itself.  This must be a benefit of having a plan.

My weakness this month has been groceries (already, again) but I’m making an effort to eat what I have.  Despite my ban on groceries, I stopped by a new store the other night, but only because I was in the neighborhood (which is at least $5 from my neighborhood) and I wanted to see what it had to offer.  It is a health food store of sorts, with a lot of organic products.  I was mostly interested in their bulk food selection.  I didn’t get much (less than $5) because I didn’t really need much, but I was impressed with the bulk bins and will be back someday, with a better plan.

I did purchase $1 worth of pastry flour, thinking it was something like bread flour and wanting to give homemade bread another go.  It isn’t the same thing, not at all.  However, I found a recipe to use it in since I had the other ingredients on hand.  I don’t really recommend this quick bread, but if you happened to buy pastry flour and don’t know what to do with it, it is not bad.  I also bought wheat bran (another $1) because I’ve been itching for some bran muffins.   I’ve made these before and they were good.  I did some Googling and found you could substitute a concoction of regular milk and vinegar for buttermilk, so I have all the ingredients I need for these too!  (Except raisins, which I dislike.)

I’m still not entirely convinced that all this home baking/cooking really saves me money.  Every bread I’ve tried has failed so far, so I am going to try actual bread flour.  Yeast isn’t exactly cheap either.  I need to find some yeast in bulk, those packets aren’t cheap.  I should make sure they aren’t expired–maybe I have an excuse for my failures!  At least I know exactly what went into my food, even if my pizza crust failed to rise.

Next week when I’m craving something sweet, I’m gong to attempt some Chinese steamed buns (Mantou) to eat with sweetened condensed milk (not the fried ones).  I had them at Dim Sum once, and I looked up a recipe–there is almost nothing to them.  They certainly aren’t a healthy dish (though here is a version that claims to be), but I can have them as a desert.  I am making them partially out of nostalgia–I ate them on study abroad in Hong Kong. The cost of some condensed milk is small price to pay for a happy memory.

In other food related news, someone on my blogroll (forgive me, I can’t recall who) linked to Lynnae’s list of recipe’s for a month.  She has selected quite a few recipes that are frugal and uses beans heavily.  There may be a few new meals there to try out.

By the way, my dad gave my car a listen, and said I should take it to a muffler shop first, because he thinks it is in the exhaust.  If it is the muffler, it will be much cheaper at a muffler shop.  If not, I will take it elsewhere.  He said I may simply need a new muffler (~$100) or it could be the catalytic converter (~$1000) or anything in between.  I’m hoping for a muffler.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Michele permalink
    June 11, 2008 9:26 am

    Hi Stacking Pennies: I was wondering if you might let us know the name of the store you went to? If you don’t want to post it for privacy reasons (too close to where you live?), I definitely understand, but maybe you wouldn’t mind emailing it to me? we live in the same city (I’m pretty sure) and I’ve been trying to find a good place to buy foods in bulk (with not a huge amount of success). Thanks!

  2. June 11, 2008 11:41 am

    I always get frustrated when the money is taking care of itself and I’m just recording expenses, etc. I find that when I have a plan for my money (e.g. save this much, pay off this much debt), I’m impatient for it to just finish already. Payday becomes much less exciting when I already know it’s going straight to my ING account or toward student loans or something.

    Thanks for linking the month of recipes… I hadn’t seen it, but now I see some recipes that I’d love to try!

  3. tom permalink
    June 11, 2008 12:29 pm

    I think it’s awesome that your budget and plan has gotten to a point where you “set it and forget it”. I’t’s just like a 401(k). All you need to do is some “maintenace” whenever there is a change, but other than that it seems you’re well on your way!

  4. jay permalink
    June 11, 2008 1:06 pm

    Pastry flour is great for pie (quiche) crusts!

  5. karen permalink
    June 11, 2008 4:46 pm

    Are you under 80k miles? A catalytic converter is a major emission system part and has a warranty of… 8 years and 80,000 miles.

  6. June 11, 2008 8:11 pm

    @sarah – I get like that too sometimes. In fact, I’ve been known to update my progress bars ahead of actual pay day. hehe. I can’t stop myself from planning!

    @tom – thanks! I hadn’t used a formal budget before so it took a few months to shake out the kinks.

    @Jay – thanks for the idea!

    @karen- I’m not sure, I’m right around 80k. I have no idea if that is it, but I’ll look into it if that is what they tell me. 😦

  7. June 11, 2008 8:56 pm

    I am a little bit in love with the gadgets or widgets or whatever is tracking your savings and worth profiles. sigh. In another life I spend my free time doing geeky things about tracking my investments. Very cool.

    It strikes me that there is a blogger out of NYC who has really detailed price breakdowns on her recipes, but right now it is escaping my mind what the blog is called. you can probably search for it. If I remember I will bring my early-memory-loss-self back and let you know.

  8. tom permalink
    June 13, 2008 8:26 am

    You should check this out:

    I think you’ve mentioned shopping at many of these stores or at least a few. This website links directly to your grocery store savings card. You go online before going shopping and add any coupon you need to your card. When you check out with those items, the coupon savings is automatically applied to your bill. That is awesome!!!

  9. June 13, 2008 8:29 am

    @tom – thanks! I do shop at ralph’s (they are on every block!) though I prefer Trader Joe’s. I’ll check it out.

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