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Archive for February, 2021

Pantry challenge progress

February 13th, 2021 at 11:56 pm

So far I have been using up the casserole I mentioned from my last post, a couple slices of leftover pizza from the fridge, a loose packet of instant oatmeal, and a fancy Asian ramen package from the back of the cabinet. Tonight I made a curry with potatoes, cauliflower, and rice. The potatoes are definitely approaching their use-by time so I see more potatoes in the future. The curry will make a meal for tomorrow too. I also found a box of chocolate popsicles crammed in the freezer for the occasional random chocolate cravings.

Pantry challenge

February 11th, 2021 at 11:13 pm

I am not doing a tradtional eat-from-the-pantry challenge, but I would like to focus on using up things I already have to rotate stores and avoid waste. Today’s grocery shopping included less overall food but was not super cheap because I took the opportunity to stock up on some longer-term items instead, like sesame oil (on sale!) and some spices that will last a long time. I will try to post occasional updates on what I’m making/eating. I did forget cornstarch and they were out of the coffee creamer I was looking for, so I will probably do a small stop for those things at some point before the next big grocery trip. (Notes- pescatarian/mostly vegetarian, and I do intentionally pay more for pasture raised eggs and oat-based coffee creamer)


Today’s shop:

6 pack of plain bagels- 2.00

2 dozen Happy Eggs- 9.38

Coffee creamer- 3.50

8 oz light cream- 1.39

Sunflower oil – 3.79

6 pack ramen noodles- 2.89

Sesame oil – 3.00

Bay leaves (dried)- 3.79

Garlic chipotle seasoning mix – 2.79

Garlic salt- 1.59

2 star fruits on super clearance- 0.46!

2 small yellow onions- 0.70

Ginger root- 1.29

3 lb bag mandarin oranges- 4.99

1.85 lbs tomatoes- 4.86

1.85 lbs mushrooms- 7.38

Total: 56.00 after round up donation


Tonight I am making this:  but with just mushrooms, leaving out the shrimp. I also added some carrots I had in the fridge. Already had rice, butter, dill, lemon juice, garlic, and stock cubes. I cut the recommended amount of butter in half.  The recipe will make leftovers for lunch.

I did not buy things I would usually pick up - frozen vegetables, tea, pasta. This should motivate me to dig a little deeper in the freezer/cabinets to use what I find

Debt update, taxes, and a surprise bargain

February 4th, 2021 at 08:33 am

My regular payment and extra payment posted to the student loan for February, and the current balance is $34,849.90.

Daily interest is down to $3.06/day. According to my tax documents, I paid $2,532.49 in interest for 2020. Ouch, but this would have been WAY more if I hadn't refinanced last January from federal loans at 6.8% to a private loan at 3.2%. At this time last year I was paying $11.59/day in interest. It is starting to feel like an end is actually in sight.

I have been doing some extra work that should be $500 before tax, but will be paid out quarterly (in a few months). 

Speaking of taxes, I suspect I will have to pay something, but am hoping it will be less than the $8K tax bill last year! I have been saving some extra cash for this year just in case, so if I don't owe a lot I may be able to move that over to debt. 


In other news, my laptop suddenly died, as in wouldn't turn on at all. I took it in and something in the charging mechanism broke, which they said would cost so much to fix it wouldn't be worth it. Being computerless was definitely not an option with multiple pressing work deadlines, so I went to Best Buy to look at laptops. I found a reasonable model that had what I am looking for there for $620, but they didn't have it in stock. Since I couldn't afford to lose a day of work time waiting for something to be shipped, I decided it was worth at least checking at another local store that carries a very small number of laptops and found the same model there on clearance for $420! It's not damaged, it was on clearance because they are making room for this year's newer model that is coming out. 

Library savings

February 2nd, 2021 at 05:32 am

I have been on a library reading spree in January using their ebook option through the Libby app. To buy the same ebooks on Amazon, I would have spent $105.83 in January alone!