Thursday, February 4, 2016

When my mind is just too fried to think, I can still be frugal

Medical appointments wipe me out, mentally. I come home and feel utterly useless. I have learned to just not schedule anything else for the day, when I have appointments like yesterday's. But I can still be frugal, even after something that wiped me out.

1) I did not buy prepared food to eat while I was out.

2) I did incorporate a stop at Trader Joe's to buy our month's supply of bananas (and I got a nice sample and small cup of coffee for free).

3) I had packed and refrigerated a lunch for myself, the evening before, to reheat when I walked in the door. Nice! A hot meal, practically waiting for me.

4) I ditched more elaborate dinner plans and opted, instead, to make a homemade pizza (using frozen dough), an easy veggie medley of canned tomatoes, onions, garlic powder and frozen green beans, and a cobbler using up some frozen blackberries.

5) When I came in the door, instead of cranking up the heat, due to the chill I felt dressed in "going out" clothing, I changed into my warm stuff, fleece sweats and a fleece jacket. Then I crawled under the covers while I ate my warmed-up lunch. One of the after-effects from stress, for me, is being chilled to the bone.

6) I rubbed lavender oil (which I already had) on my temples and pulse points. This is very effective at helping me to relax.

7) And when I had my typical, post-stress, chocolate cravings, instead of going out to buy something like a candy bar, I stayed in, made some fudge sauce from cocoa powder, sugar, corn starch and water, and drizzled it over a sliced banana. Just as chocolatey as I could make it, and short-circuited that chocolate craving.

By the end of the day, I really felt like I had pampered myself. And why not? If we don't take care of ourselves, who's going to do it for us? Sometimes, it just isn't on someone else's radar that we need a bit of TLC after a stressful day.


The upside to doing all of this wasn't limited to saving money. But it also saved me extra fatigue from additional driving, making additional decisions/choices, and the general fatigue from being out and about for a longer period. Sometimes, home is the best place to be.

33 comments:

  1. Dear Lili,
    Sounds like you had a very rough day. Sorry to hear that. Sounds like you were alone without a support person which doesn't make it any easier. Hope the results are favorable.

    We are also in the midst of doctor appointments but we always go with two people. I am like you that we don't go out and get convenience food after the stress of the day but make wise choices just like you did. I have chocolate brownies in the freezer for that chocolate fix after a stressful day. Today we also have one of those stressful dr. appointments and I think our easy dinner will be deep dish pizza. Not entirely certain but I'm leaning towards that. Hopefully you will have a non-stressful day today. Relax.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      Yes, everything is now considered "good". About a year and a half ago, I found a lump, which was growing. It was biopsied, determined not cancer, but I had to go in every 6 months. The radiologist now says its stable, and there were no new spots, so I'm back to going in once a year. Very thankful.

      What I didn't write at the end of my post was taking such good care of myself yesterday during the day gave me the energy to really be there for one of my daughters in an emergency of sorts in the evening (she fell asleep on the bus coming home and wound up stranded rather far away). So a little pampering is really a necessity, when others depend on us.

      I hope your doctor's appointments (are these for your hubby right now?) give you the information you need and result in effective treatment and procedures. I think it's really wise to have a second person at the important appointments, someone who will have the presence of mind to take notes, ask the right questions, and remember stuff when the patient feels bombarded with all of the information. I was thinking that, myself, if I were diagnosed with cancer, who of all of my friends and family would be a good person to do that for me. Sometimes spouses are not the right person for that job. Thankfully, that's not my fate for now.

      Oh, good. I'm glad you have brownies in the freezer and an easy dinner in mind. I hope it goes well, today!

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    2. Thanks Lili for your concern too! Yes, we went to a orthopedic surgeon for hubby and he will get his hip replaced late March or early April which is a relief that he might feel better. Yes, the pizza was made and eaten as well as the brownies. I am super exhausted after a really stressful day.

      Alice

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    3. Alice,
      try to find ways to take care of yourself tomorrow. I found I was tired even today.

      I am so glad your husband will get that hip replacement. That will make all the difference in the world, I bet.

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  2. I'm sorry you were so stressed. :( But you did a good job staying frugal and making healthy choices in those circumstances. Hoping all went well for you yesterday.

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    1. Thanks, Cat.
      The news is good. And now I can get back to my regular life.

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  3. Hi Lili,
    I hope the result of your doctor visit was favorable.

    Thank you for the reminder that it isn't always on someone else's radar that we need some TLC, and "if we don't take care of ourselves, who's going to do it for us?" I REALLY needed to hear that : )

    Jo Ann

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    1. Hi Jo Ann,
      Yes, good news. Thank you for your well wishes.

      It's really true. It isn't that others wouldn't take care of us, but often times it just doesn't register with friends/family how stressed of a day we had. So I think it's up to us to take good care of ourselves, and reach out when we think we really need it.

      Have a great day, Jo Ann.

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  4. It was smart to plan ahead knowing what you would be needing. If you're like me, you probably had some nervous energy to get rid of the night before also.

    The key now, will be to remember this day and to plan it on other days when things aren't so stressful. Maybe on days that you want to work on a fun project or maybe on Sundays.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      Oddly, my sleepless night came on Sunday night, and not Tuesday night. I think I lost so much sleep, Sunday into Monday that I was dead tired Tuesday night and slept pretty well! But I do try to keep myself busy right up until a big appointment, to take my mind off of worries. And I think that contributes to some of the fatigue.

      I've been working at dealing with stress in better ways, for the past several months. I've been making sure I get breaks during the week, and I think that is helping me. We've talked about migraines, some, and I don't know how much of this is hormones winding down or better stress reduction or just plain taking better care of myself, but my clusters have been farther apart for the last couple of months, and haven't lasted as long. So maybe this taking care of oneself has something to it after all!!

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  5. Good advice...as the world gets busier, we need to rely on ourselves more.

    Having more time these days, I'm starting to pay attention to every thing we do, big and small, and examine whether there is a cheaper, better way to do it.

    Yesterday, my husband and I cleared another shelf of work parts as part of our post retirement plans to convert our parts storage to a workshop area. Whe had so many assorted paints left over, some were so old the lids were rusted shut. First thought, was just get rid of these, but I told husband we should save these as much as possible (no odor then keep) and before we knew it we filled two 5 gal buckets with paint, keeping the darker shades separate from the lighter. The lighter shade can be used in our home interior. The darker shade will be used to paint the workshop walls. Saved over $200 in new painting cost and saved the environment from more waste.

    Another double think yesterday was to search our options where to buy treadmill silicone lubricant. Local stores never carry silicone lubricants specific for treadmills so I planned to order from Amazon for about $14 for a few ounces. On our last service, the technician gave my husband an extra packet, saying we have to use specific treadmill lubricants not any silicone. Well, we read the treadmill manual and it said we never have to lubricate because the belt is high performance and warns that lubricating will damage the belt coating that should be lifetime. So today, we're thinking of asking Sears or Proform what to do...assuming the technician has damaged the coating by applying silicone at least twice (once him and second time by my husband using the packet he was given), should we continue to lubricate, or stop. I'm hoping to stop, because those lubricants are so expensive.

    Also I updated my unit price list and found a number of price declines, industrial sized tomato sauce, Tang, 25# bag rice, bread flour (shipping cost down?), but price increases were bread loaves and muffins at Costco (for my dad), parmesan cheese (trying to recall at the top of my head).

    The time saver yesterday was eating leftovers. We bought lots of cucumbers again at the farmers market, so my husband made another batch of oriental salad dressing and azuki mochi rice in the rice cooker to augment the dinner leftovers.

    YHF

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    1. Hi YHF,
      That's just it, everyone is much busier than people once were. We're all preoccupied with something, so it's rally difficult to know when someone else needs something, unless they're just really blunt about it. And for myself, I don't like to worry family, needlessly, so I just work at taking better care of myself. My kids still need me from time to time, so I want to be my best for those moments. (See my above reply to Alice about one kid needing me last night -- was that a doozy. Good thing I was rested by that point, otherwise I might have had a freaking out moment.)

      Good save on the paint! And I hope you get good information from Sears or the manufacturer of your treadmill. Hopefully the small amount of lubricant won't have done any damage, and your treadmill will be just fine. But still, a bit of a headache and worry about your investment in a quality appliance,

      Those institutional cans of vegetables really save me a lot of money on groceries. For me, it's like getting a loss leader price every time I need tomato paste or canned tomatoes. I wonder how much price reduction on groceries you'll see with this current wave of low gas prices?

      Continue on, looking for ways to save!

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    2. One of the reasons I love reading blogs is to get some "missed" parenting love and support in my own childhood. You model so much love for your family. Your family, especially your daughters, are so fortunate to have you.

      ooops...parmesan cheese prices did not go up, it went way down, from $12 to $9 per 32oz jar size (two 16oz jars) at Costco.

      YHF

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  6. Good to hear that all went well yesterday, Lili. It's also good to hear that you were taking good care of yourself after a stressful day. You gave a good reminder that all need to do that.
    Mary

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    1. Hi Mary,
      Thank you. Take good care of yourself, too!

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  7. The thing that strikes me in your post today is that your frugal choices also were more healthful choices--chocolate sauce over a banana is way better for you than a candy bar!

    I was interested in your lavender oil use for relaxation--do you have other tricks up your sleeve for that?

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    1. Hi Kris,
      You know, I think that's true for a lot of frugal choices, they are often better for us. Less packaged junk food means more healthy snack choices. Home-cooking is often lower in salt and fat than take out. For our kids, fewer gadgety toys means more time doing things that either exercise the mind or the body. And then save the money for the spendy things which do improve the quality of our lives.

      Lavender oil is one of the gentler oils, but you do need to take care, and do a skin test before using a lot of it undiluted. You can also blend it with a carrier oil for skin application. But if you happen to have some at home, lavender oil is good for foot rubs. You just blend one drop of lavender oil with a few drops of any carrier oil (I use regular vegetable oil for foot rubs), and rub on your feet, including and especially the soles of your feet. Then put socks on right away. Part of the relaxation is in inhaling the oil while you rub, part is in the act of rubbing your feet, but I do feel much more relaxed after a good foot rub, like this. And when my feet are tired at the end of a day being on my feet, this is such a great treat for tired feet. I've also used lavender and carrier oil as a leg rub, for sore muscles. If you feel a tension headache coming on, you can apply a drop (with carrier oil if you're more prone to sensitivity) to the back of your neck, and massage it in. And I use lavender all the time in baths. I also use lavender buds in tea, added to black tea, and sipping slowly while inhaling the steam.

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    2. Wow, I think your first paragraph would be a brilliant post all by itself. There, I've saved you work! :)

      Thanks for the info about lavender oil. Good to know!

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  8. I, too, had a stressful doctor's appointment yesterday. For now, my dr. said I don't need to pursue surgery, but someday I will most likely need it. My hubby surprised me and met me at my appt., so he was there as a support person and a second set of ears. I did go buy myself a bar of dark chocolate :) after my appt. and then I went home. I didn't get much accomplished all afternoon. I was bushed, but I rallied and made dinner for the family. My two daughters helped, which was nice. So glad to hear you got the "all clear." Melissa

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    1. Oh Melissa, I'm sorry you will need surgery, even if not now, but someday. And I'm sorry you had to endure the stress of the appointment. Such a good husband to be there for you!

      So, is chocolate the universal cure for stress? It was my go-to treat yesterday, Alice was thinking about it for after appts today, and you as well! Medicinal chocolate! We should really petition to get chocolate bars covered by insurance. Every adult doctor's office should be giving out dark chocolate at the end of an exam.

      These appointments are so fatiguing, aren't they? I'm just a mess afterwards for several hours. If I just take care of myself for a few hours, I can then get everything together again to take care of the family.

      Take a few extra moments for yourself, today, if you can.

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  9. I also had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I need to have a follow up on a troubling result of some of the blood tests and am scheduled for a test in two weeks. Not what I expected to hear. So I am keeping busy, probably too busy, so I don't worry. I was exhausted yesterday afternoon like you so I had an easy supper of a sandwich and salad made of lettuce, grape tomatoes and avocado. It filled me up and it was quick and easy to fix. I spent the morning on my craft projects and then went shopping and to the post office. My arm is sore from doing to much so I'm fixing a corn, potato, and fish chowder tonight using out of my freezer. I have to get those emptied because I have 40 pounds of organic strawberries coming the end of this month. I'm glad everything turned out ok for you. Have a great day.

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    1. Oh dear, we have an epidemic of medical needs! Susan, I will keep you in my prayers. Keeping busy in the next 2 weeks will be a help with worries. But also, try to do things which will relax you, distract you or make you laugh, as well. I was online looking for funny cat videos the other night, just so I could laugh for an hour. It helps.

      40 pounds of organic strawberries! Where are you getting those this time of year? I am just imagining all of the delicious strawberry treats you will make.

      Take care of yourself, Susan.

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    2. We are getting the strawberries from The Fruit Club. It's a co-that has become available up in our area the last couple of years. They have one fruit or two fruits a month. The Fruit is always announced several weeks ahead of time so you are able to get your order in and then a truck will deliver to your area and you have to pick it up during a certain time limit. This month it is strawberries from Florida at a price that is less than I can buy in our stores up here. Most of them will be put in the freezer and later used for jelly or other recipes.
      Did you know that if you soak the strawberries or any berry in a 10to1 ratio of vinegar for a few minutes, then rinse them and dry you will destroy all the mold spores and will be able to keep the berries in the refrigerator longer for fresh eating. They will keep up to two weeks this way. In fact that's what I do to all my fresh vegetables and fruits and you would be amazed at how long they last. Have a nice evening.

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    3. Thank you for your prayers and yes I will keep busy and try to stay worry free.

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    4. Thank you for your prayers and yes I will keep busy and try to stay worry free.

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    5. Susan, I'll try that with the vinegar and water. Thank you for the tip!

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  10. It must have been stressful doctor day yesterday. I had one
    too. :( I am going for more test on Friday. I am believing for a good report. It still is stressful. Just praying for that peace that passes all understanding. I also came home mixed up some chocolate with coco power coconut oil and sugar and dipped an apple in it. I do think chocolate should be given at these types of appointments.
    I am glad your daughter is home safe and sound.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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    1. Hi Patti,
      Not you, too! Oh my! I suppose we should be grateful that we live where we have access to good medical care. But it does seem to be epidemic, here! I will keep you in prayers for your test tomorrow (saying a prayer in my head as I type).

      Oh yum! Your chocolate treat sounded delicious, and healthy!

      Thank you, about my daughter.

      Take good care of yourself!

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    2. Thank you Lili. I am grateful for the prayer.:)
      Have a blessed night.
      Blessings,
      Patti

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  11. I love bananas with chocolate syrup. I don't need any ice cream. lol

    I hope you were less stressed after relaxing like that. We love to diffuse lavender to help us sleep at night. It really does seem to help. :)

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    1. Hi Belinda,

      I wouldn't turn down the ice cream part, but chocolate sauce on sliced bananas has long been a favorite of mine!

      Do you diffuse lavender with reeds? I've been thinking about that. I just need a way to diffuse the lavender oil.

      Have a great evening, Belinda!

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  12. Hi Lili,
    I had not been able to comment the last couple weeks but wanted to let you know that I am glad you got good results form your appointment.
    Rhonda

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.