Sunday, April 22, 2018

Frugal Sunday: Money Saving Weekly Recap


This was a long, exhausting and frustrating weekend.  Emphasis on frustrating.  And exhausting.  And...ahhhh never mind!

I ended up with food poisoning the first part of the weekend, which my husband and I tracked down to some sauce that came with some frozen breaded shrimp we ate (luckily I was the only one who ate the sauce so the husband didn't get sick).  Last time I consume a sauce that comes with anything frozen.  That was a very long and painful Friday and I'm still dealing with the residuals of it.  Blah!  And at the same time the son came down with a cold, so he wasn't happy about life or anything in it the day I was feeling like death warmed over.  He's started feeling better today, at least.

Yesterday, despite still feeling like my stomach had been beaten from the inside and feeling utterly exhausted (I'm still tired today), I tried to get some housework done that desperately needed to get caught up on after being down Friday and was hoping to rely on some help from the other female member of the household.  That didn't go well.  I ended up having to do the dishes three times (don't ask), the vacuum got clogged twice on things that should have been easily avoided, I had to waste a can of tuna fish getting the cat inside, after he rushed by me when I was dumping the garbage, because the daughter was determined he would get mauled by the lynx if we didn't get him into the house...and yeah...the day didn't go well.

I did finally manage (third time's the charm) to get the dishes done (which I'm so low on dish soap at the moment I was super thrilled to get that chore done), the cat was happy stuffed with tuna, the daughter finally realized she was in trouble and started doing things when I told her to (and did them the right way) and the day finally drew to a close with me falling into bed, having not been so happy to see a pillow in a long time.

Luckily, today was a bit more productive.  I got lemon sugar cookies made (for dessert, snacks and for the husband's lunch treat) and oddly enough the ones I put sprinkles on the son is actually eating, which surprised me (and thrilled me a bit honestly) as they are a pretty strong flavor.

I went to make animal cookies/crackers for school snacks this week only to find that at some point my son had gotten into the container I kept the little metal cookie cutters in and had gotten soda in the container, so the cookie cutters were one big, rusty, mass.  The entire container went into the garbage, beyond all hope, while I battled a small bout of depression over cookie cutters (I know, it's dumb, but it's just one of those things, you know?) as replacing the cookie cutters isn't going to be in the budget for a while and I was just so tired of things breaking.

Like I said...it was a long weekend.  When wrecked cookie cutters make you to want to cry, you know it was a long weekend.

Anyway,  I'm soldiering on here.  So, let's get to the money saving things that happened this week.

1.  Let's start with shopping.  Shopping was as frugal as I could get it this week, due to the above mentioned money being tight (which hopefully that'll work out here soon once we get a few bills out of the way and once we get paid).  I scored big on freebies this week thanks to the Monopoly game, which was nice!

First, let's start with the main shopping trip.  Highlights are seen above.

  • I got half gallons of milk (whole milk, which I prefer 2%, but hey it was cheap) on reduced for 50% off, so I got a couple of gallons of milk for 2.38 per gallon.
  • Pork chops, value packs, on reduced 50% off and on sale, so got big value packs of pork chops for 5 to 6.00 a piece.  I was nearly out of pork in the freezer (I had one package of pork chops and a small pork loin and that was about it), so it was definitely a welcome thing to find.
  • One 2lb block of medium cheddar cheese on reduced 50% off and I had a personalized price on it this week, so got the block for 2.39!  This will make it so we can save the remainder of the Tilamook cheese for the son and we'll eat the other cheddar until Tilamook goes on sale (or if I can squeeze the regular priced logs of Tilamook, which are pricey, into the grocery budget).
  • Gala apples (I really like getting the bags of apples as the apples are smaller and work better with the daughter's appetite, and they fit in her lunch box easier) 2.99 (personalized price).  These are usually 5.49 per bag, so it was DEFINITELY worth getting one at that price!
  • Organic spinach salad, a small can of tomato sauce, a 100ct bottle of aspirin and a envelope of gravy mix (not pictured) free with Monopoly coupons.  I have to say the salad was the most exciting one for me to get on that trip :).

I checked out with my favorite cashier, who seems to be my good luck charm as I always seem to win more Monopoly freebies when I go through his line.  And, I hit pay dirt on the freebies with my tickets!
When we went back into town on Thursday to do a couple of errands, I stopped by the store and redeemed the other freebies I got.

  • 1 loaf of french bread (this was the most exciting one for me *laugh*)
  • 1 envelope of gravy mix (I am seriously stuffing a box full with these free gravy mixes at this point...I hope the food pantry likes them)
  • 1 cheese bagel (they didn't have any plain ones when I went in, so I grabbed it instead)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of corn

Out of like seven tickets, getting that many freebies was really nice.  When I wasn't up to making the menu plan item for dinner last night, I ended up pulling out a package of thin cut steaks from the freezer and I cut up the loaf of bread and made french dips for dinner with it.  It worked out great and there was enough left over to get my husband through lunch at work last night.  I was happy with that.

2.  I signed up for a free magazine subscription through one of the free magazine outfits (I THINK it was Mercury Magazines, but I can't remember).

3.  I signed up for a product testing thing through Kroger and am going to, hopefully, receive free pet food to try out and review.

4.  I turned off the supplemental heat in my bedroom for good until next winter.  I just threw another blanket on the bed to keep warm at night.  Between that and the two cats, I've definitely been warm enough at night.

5.  While cleaning out the garage my husband uncovered a tote full of kitchen stuff.  A LOT of it was stuff I've been searching for years to find, so it was nice finally figuring out what happened to it all (and I found my soap making crock so I can get that to Shani to make soap!).

6.  I mended one of my daughter's skirts.

7.  I continued to clean and organize things this week.  I managed to reclaim some space in my kitchen cabinets (the lazy susan cabinet is still broken) by conglomerating a couple of containers of things like corn starch together.  Yay for reclaiming  a bit of space!

8.  I took the son outside to play now that it is light outside when we get home from school in the afternoon.  He's been really enjoying it (not so much this weekend as I kept him inside to recuperate from his cold) and it doesn't cost me anything to do.

9.  With the sun starting to come back in a big way (it's finally getting dark at the moment and it's 9:44 pm) the sun is starting to super heat the upstairs of the house in the afternoon.  I've actually been able to open the deck door and let fresh air into the house (and the son likes to play around the screen door, so double bonus), which is always welcome after a long winter.

And, yeah, I'm going to call it good there as the son is refusing to go to sleep at the moment and is throwing a fit in his room because I didn't put on what he wanted to watch (I put on Thomas the Tank Engine at bedtime, so he's not happy that it's bedtime tonight from the sounds of it).

So, how did your week go?  Well, I hope?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

What's for Dinner: This Week's Menu


So, I have officially quit trying to do a month long, in depth, menu plan.  It just plain does NOT work for me, as much as I wish it would.  I'm just too flighty in my cooking methods, I think, or something.  I constantly find myself redoing the menu depending on what is on sale that week or redoing things because of what meat I found on reduced compared to what I thought would be on sale cheap, etc.  I am trying another way to plan out a month of menus, kind of, at a time, by doing a list of meals that we'd like to have that month (I take requests from the family members) and then supplementing with things I know will stretch what we already have or things that I would like to make that month.  So far I'm still kind of dialing it in a bit as I go, but I do like having that list of meals that the family likes to eat, so if I find myself one night staring at the fridge and freezer in despair, not knowing what to cook, I can pull out the list and by figuring out what ingredients we have in the house, I can make it work.

By the way, in the photo above, no that's not meat for the week or anything...I'll get more into that when I hit on my shopping for this week, but those packages are sitting there till I could break them up into freezer bags and store them :).

We are kind of bleeding money right now, so I'm trying to do fun menus with things I have around the house and stuff while being VERY careful with the funds we have as there aren't a lot to go around...at all.  We have new tires for the car to get, a vet appointment to get one cat their shots as he keeps trying to break out of the house now that he senses Spring is near (with another cat the wings to get done), a medical bill to pay for the husband that popped up (about 200.00), an orthodontist bill to pay for the daughter and potentially a pretty big dental bill...I'm bribing her to wiggle out the baby teeth that need to come out after learning to get them pulled is nearly 500.00 AFTER insurance and none of the pediatric dentists around here (including ours, unfortunately, don't take Care Credit, so I have to somehow cough up that amount really fast...that would hurt...a LOT!).

So, this week's menu is going to be kind of fun around here.  My husband found this video which he thought I would find interesting about a restaurant that serves the first class menu that was served on the Titanic the night it sunk.  I DID find it utterly fascinating, which led me on a research hunt (which was a lot of fun) to see what recipes were served on the Titanic to the second and third class passengers that night as well, and then it led me to research what meals were served on the Zepplins in their hay day (and the Hindenburg, of course) and also what meals used to be served on the different railway lines back in ye olden times (no tragedy offset that research for me, I just started going through all of the different vehicles of transport *laugh*).  And, of course, I threw in some 18th Century meals as well just because if I was going to have fun doing some historical meals, I might as well go all out ;).

So, here you are folks.  Our menu for this week (there are regular meals scattered in here by the way *laugh*).

Thursday:  Leftover stuffed pork chops, cantaloupe slices, salad 
Friday:  Home made pizza, bread sticks (for the son), garlic bread, salad with Italian dressing.  Lemon syllabubs for dessert (18th Century recipe that Townsends shared on a live stream :). 
Saturday:  Salmon with Mousseline sauce (I'm going to go with a recipe for Hollandaise that contains a LOT less better to cut down on cost and saturated fat, though and then use the portion of whipping cream listed there, albeit less to accommodate the fact that I'm cutting down the recipe, to add to the sauce), beef broth (I MIGHT try to clarify it to go for a consomme, but I'm not really sure how motivated I am to do that *laugh*), braised greens.  Rice pudding with stewed figs for dessert (technically a third class menu item from the Titanic, but it still sounds yummy, so I'm going to make it).  I'm going to cut that recipe in 1/2 and use evaporated milk instead of half and half (because that is what I got). 
Sunday:  Scotch Collops (use leftover beef broth/consomme to make gravy), corn muffins, leftover braised greens. 
Monday:  Chicken Lyonnaise (served on the Titanic and I also found a few references to a similar dish served on the Zeppelins, so it does double duty here ;), salad, rolls
Tuesday:  Spaghetti and meatballs, salad, rolls/garlic bread (depending on what I get made). 
Wednesday:  Grilled chicken breasts with Frankfurter Sauce (cut down on the portions a lot on that sauce recipe), roasted potatoes, sauteed green beans.  I found a recipe for a chicken dish with a "spicy sauce" on a Zeppelin menu, but when I looked it up online and researched it, most people say that Frankfurter Sauce is the most common type of sauce used in that instance, so I'm going to give it a shot and see what it tastes like :).

Other Desserts:  Leftover melon (cantaloupe), lemon sugar cookies (to make yet), ice cream, spice cake (to make from scratch if I can find time).

And there you go folks.  Our menu for this week.  How about you?  Making anything fun this week?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Frugal Sunday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

So, you're probably going to be seeing "Frugal Friday", "Frugal Saturday", "Frugal Sunday" etc until I can hopefully peg down a more regular blogging schedule as I try to jive my schedule for doing things with my husband's new schedule and days off :).

Life has been kind of crazy the last little bit and it's going to continue to be that way this month as I run from appointment to appointment all the while trying to squeeze time out of my schedule to get things done around the house that I need to get done.  I've got a vet appointment to get one of the cat's their shots this month, then I have a bunch of orthodontist appointments to get to, tire change overs to get done (we have to get winter tires off of the cars by May 1st), new tires to get for the car (which I'm sweating THAT bill and trying to figure out how to make it work out alright...at least the truck came with newer winter tires on it and he gave us the summer tires for the truck as well), a psychology appointment to go to for Alvah and sometimes I have two appointments in one day (actually that happens twice in the coming weeks looking at my schedule).  Yeegads!

So, yeah, let's get to the money saving things that happened this week so I can get to bed at a decent hour ;).

1.  My sister-in-law Facebooked me out of the blue and pointed out that I had unclaimed monies through the unclaimed monies site.  I went and checked it out and it turned out that I was owed 49.00 from an old credit card company, so I filed my claim and got the check this week, which I was really grateful for the extra money in the bank with it being so tight lately (thanks for telling me about that, Ana!).

2.  I got overly excited about a wooden egg this week (seen up top there).  My daughter has been going through all of her old toys and things and figuring out what she didn't want and putting it into the donation pile.  Well, I looked in the box the other day and was thrilled to see she had a wooden egg she was getting rid of!  I honestly don't remember when she got said wooden egg, but after making sure she didn't want it, I totally claimed it to use as a darning egg.  That thing will make darning socks a lot easier compared to the plastic play ball I have been using for years :).

3.  I made sure to use up left overs and worked really hard to stick to the menu plan this week.  Actually, I had it well planned out, I guess, because everyone seemed to eat what was on their plates without complaint, so yay for that!

4.  Shopping got done as soon as we got paid this week as we were running low on boy food and basically that is what I got, although there was some cool things I was able to get.  I got two big 32 oz containers of Tilamook strawberry yogurt that I am going to funnel into some tubes for the daughter's lunches for the next little bit (and to eat for breakfast myself with some granola on top :) for 1.63 each as they were on reduced 50% off.  I also got a couple of packages of thin cut pork chops on sale buy one get one free, so for both packages I paid about 6.00.  I was also able to get some reduced sodium soy sauce on sale this week and was able to stack the sale with a coupon so was able to get a bottle for 2.50.  Not too bad, I thought.

Funny enough, my husband had picked up a sandwich at Carrs one night for his lunch at work and had gotten two Monopoly pieces so he gave them to me.  I opened them and ended up with two freebies; a can of tomato sauce and another powdered gravy mix.  So, I redeemed those when I went shopping this week.  Out of the tickets I got this week I ended up with coupons for a free bottle of aspirin (which is iffy on whether or not those will be in stock when I go to redeem the coupon), another powdered gravy mix (we're going to drown in that stuff, I swear *laugh*), and a free spinach salad (which I hope they have when I go, as that sounds like a great free lunch one day :).

5.  My daughter's favorite nightgown started to just plain fall apart.  To assuage her sense of loss as I tried to fix it (so far I'm failing...it's a light weight nylon material that snags if you look at it wrong and it is giving me hives dealing with it!), I gave her an old free Harry Potter t-shirt that I got a long time ago when I bought "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" book when it came out (you had to be one of the first like 100 people to get one when you bought the book and I was one of the last people to get one and that was only like 1/2 an hour after the store opened in the morning...ahhh the crazy days of waiting for those books to come out *laugh*) and told her to use that as a nightgown in the meantime.  She has been so thrilled with the shirt and had been trying to figure out how to keep it a bit longer as she's come to realize that she prefers sleep shirts to nightgowns.  I told her to just keep the shirt.  I think I made her month doing that and hey, it was a free t-shirt, so I'm not out anything ;).
6.  I went to the used store with my husband earlier in the week when we were out running errands and I found a thing of high loft twin batting that I could use to make my son a new comforter.  It was only 2.50, so I gladly purchased it!  Now I'm one step closer to making a new comforter to replace one of the multitudes of comforters around here that are falling apart!

7.  My mother-in-law gifted me a pair of shoes that she had bought for herself but were a bit too narrow for her.  Turns out I'm the only female in the family with the same shoe size, so I lucked out and got a nice pair of slip ons out of the deal :).  Thanks, Stacey!

8.  I got the kids Spring pictures from the school (they send home a packet of them and if you want to buy some you keep them and send them a check and if you want you can send them all back and not buy them) and I found that my daughter's school picture this Spring was great to go with my son's fall school pictures which turned out wonderfully.  So, I went online and purchased my daughter's picture through the website and printed off both her's and my son's pictures on my printer at home.  Doing it this way saved me a TON of money (each school picture packet was priced at 50.00 nearly) and this way I know I'll have enough pictures to send to family and friends as needed :).

9.  With Spring coming up quickly I dug out the materials we didn't use last year to fight the spider mites when they hatch in the soil to prevent them from getting into the house in any great numbers.  I'm thrilled we didn't use the diatomaceous earth last year as that alone will save me a good 50.00 from having to buy the bags this year.

10.  I pulled out the spring/fall jackets for the family this week and started to look over winter gear for any tears or anything that need to be repaired before storing the jackets away for next winter.  Since I bought the kids jackets that were big on them last year I think we'll be good for another year before having to purchase new winter jackets.  Here's hoping anyway.  One nice thing was being able to actually slip on my fall jacket again.  When I had the bicep tendonitis and frozen shoulder for the longest time I couldn't even BEGIN to get that jacket on and off, so I have to say it's going to be quite a while before I'm not getting a thrill being able to slip the jacket on and off without extreme agony :).

And there you have it folks.  Some of my adventures this last week.  How about you?  How did you do?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Monthly Goals: April 2018


I really need to get more on the ball when it comes to making the monthly goals out.  I mean it's nearly half way through the month and I'm just NOW writing these things down on something other than the mental pad of paper I have in my head.  Not a great way to get things done.

The last few months I have been floundering on getting a list of goals done, mainly because life has been...well kind of crazy.  I keep hoping that life will settle down and kind of mellow out, but it just doesn't seem to be going down that road, so I have just been working on getting anything done that could pass as constructive.  It has actually worked decently well and I've slowly but surely been making progress getting Spring cleaning chores done around the house, although I still have a long way to go.

For instance this last month (and a half) I have managed to:

1.  Get my kitchen kind of reorganized, although that is still a work in progress.

2.  Get the wood furniture in the living room washed down with Murphy's Oil Soap and resealed it all with wood oil.

3.  Grabbed all the things that were in the living room in a big pile on the coffee table and elsewhere that really needed to be down in my "office area" in the den instead of in said living room and got it all moved where it needed to be.  Also weeded out things that I didn't need anymore (old receipts and the like) and started to reclaim space doing so.

I'm still having a hard time getting used to all of my stuff being in one spot downstairs and working downstairs (which means I am doing work once the kids are in bed and things inevitably), but it makes the living room look so much nicer I'm determined to keep it the way it is.

4.  Weeded through a lot of stuff, primarily in the kitchen area, and got rid of things I didn't need.

5.  Continued to organize the china cabinet to work as a utility/linen cabinet instead of a china cabinet. 

Doing that has made it so much nicer to access things upstairs, especially towels.

6.  Ended up having to replace the phone, my camera and my hand mixer, but managed to make it work.

7.  My husband, while the car was in the shop getting fixed (we got it back this week, yay!) started to weed out things in the garage and start to organize things better out there.  We haven't had the garage organized well since we moved in, pretty much, as the garage inevitably had to house things that used to go in my husband's office at our old place, so it's nice that he's been able to find time to start going through everything.

8.  We got a new to us truck and had all the paperwork craziness that goes along with doing something like that.

9.  Got new glasses (picked those up this week as well and am THRILLED with them!  I can see and read again =D.  I haven't been this thrilled with a new pair of glasses since the first pair I ever got as my eyes were straining THAT bad with my old script.  So, yay for new glasses!!!).

10.  Found out my husband has high blood pressure and have been working on getting that under control with diet,  He's now solidly in the "elevated blood pressure" category and doesn't need to take the blood pressure meds regularly, so we're making progress!

And yeah, I'm sure there are things I'm missing in that list, but anyway...there was a lot going on in the last little bit.

When it comes to goals this month, I'm hoping to focus mainly on sewing as I had to put off a bunch of it while waiting for my glasses to come in.  Now that my left eye has stopped hurting as it got used to being able to see clearly again, I've got a lot to catch up on. 

I was hoping to add some garden goals to the goals for this month, but we seem to have started to revert back to more typical Alaskan winters the last few winters, so we're still hitting the low twenties at night, or lower.  While it is warming up during the day the last week up into the upper 40's to mid 50's, there is still plenty of snow piles on the ground, so I'm not seeing garden goals happening until at LEAST next month and maybe into June. 

The garden this year is going to have to be a pretty simple affair mainly because of moose activity last year (thus they KNOW WHERE I LIVE *dum dum dum!!!!*) and because I don't have the money to spend on plants again this year (and honestly any money I can save I'd rather put toward the U-Pick farm instead later in the season), so I'm down to what I have for seeds, essentially, on things I can grow.  So, I'm figuring growing greens is going to be my best bet.  Chard, kale (not a favorite by any means, but it seems to grow well) lettuce and the like and just see what I get out of it.  I've fought the animals and the bugs so hard the last few years in a desperate attempt to glean as much food as I could from the garden, that I don't know how much I really want to fight things this year and how the weather is going to be this summer is still anyone's guess, so yeah...it's still up in the air, but at this point I'm not making any elaborate plans on things to grow.

Anyway, before you have to read the great American novel here, let me get onto the goals for this month :).

Sewing Goals:

  • Work on love seat (this WILL get done by the end of the year.  I'm determined *laugh*).
  • Fix husband's work shirt
  • Make a couple of skirts for daughter and for myself
  • Make template and make a couple of new table cloths 
  • Make new shower curtain for kid's bathroom (I just want a back up one so I can wash their shower curtain more regularly...it's white and gets dingy from the iron in our water pretty fast)
  • Make new comforter for son (this depends on if I have a couple of twin sheets I can put together to make one...we'll see what I have in my materials :).
  • Start work on embroidery projects and other small projects to sell.  I am trying to get some things done so I can make some additional income.  We are going to need it as the price on things up here is going to go up, either through taxes or due to things like environmental regulations kicking in for truckers, thus shipping costs are going to go up...either way we are going to need some extra cash coming in.  And if things get really bad and we have to move sooner rather than later, I'd like to at least have that option available to us, so once again...money.


Cleaning/Organizing Goals:

  • Take recycling to recycling center
  • Take donations to used store
  • Go through son's closet and get rid of old toys that he doesn't play with and then reorganize things so he can play with toys in his closet more readily.
  • Wash down walls.
  • Move furniture around in son's room to wear the carpet more evenly (and get anything that is in the carpets out of it by a lot of shampooing)
  • Continue to go through master bedroom closet and get rid of things that are no longer needed and organize what is left.


And, yeah, that's definitely enough to try and get done this month.  How about you?  Got anything you need to get done this month?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Shopping Goals: April 2018


Well, when it came to shopping goals last month I DID manage to get some boiling potatoes when they were on sale for St. Patrick's Day, which was an upper.  I still haven't gotten cooking oil in any great quantity and I do need it, so that is going to get transferred onto this month's goals.  Tuna salad started to not be quite a priority as the son moved away from eating it all the time and has moved onto angel hair pasta with olive oil and Kraft Parmesan cheese on it, so I've been making a pound of angel hair on Sunday night to see him through the week's worth of school lunches (and making the daughter spaghetti from same pasta a couple of times a week for her school lunches as well).  Right now I'm doing OKAY on pasta, but I'm probably going to end up having to buy a big bulk box of it from Amazon in a few months if a nice sale doesn't pop up on pasta soon (and we have money to take advantage OF said sale if it should occur).  I got a small box of garbage bags (well full sized box but not super sized box like I usually like to get) to see us through till I can afford more, but I know that is going to be coming up in the "need" category here soon as well.

The grocery budget seems to be morphing more and more into getting more fresh produce now that more of it is coming into season, which isn't a bad thing, but makes sideline items like cooking oil a bit harder to work into the budget, but I'm hopeful I can figure it all out.

I had originally had a list of salt free or salt reduced items to get, but started weeding that down considerably as people started chiming in on tips for reducing salt in the diet (thanks for those tips by the way, all :).  I did have a couple of herb blends that I really wanted to get as they sounded really good from Amazon, but cancelled those due to money being tight and I started really reworking my list to encompass things we needed versus things I would LIKE to get.  So, I came up with a few things I use in cooking all the time that are decently high in salt and tried to figure out how to at least get rid of  the excessive salt from those items.  So, the one thing I ordered from Amazon earlier in the month was some salt free bouillon (seen up top) to use in different dishes as I use bouillon a LOT in cooking.  This way I can salt it myself to get the sodium more down where I would like it to be.  And then as time goes on I'll just replace things as we run out of them with salt free or salt reduced items and try to work around things till then (rinsing canned veggies before cooking them to eat, etc).  I'm hoping it will work out okay.

As for the rest of the shopping goals, well they are pretty minimal due to the lack of funds this month.  So, here we go!

Shopping Needs (regular store):

  • Cooking oil (if good sale pops up)
  • Garbage bags 
  • Frozen fish (as I'm going to use up all of ours this month on different dishes)
  • Bone in chicken (if a good sale presents itself as I'm down to just some whole chickens in the freezer at this point)
  • Apples (to make apple sauce, but only if funds permit unfortunately.  We are down to the pear apple sauce I made last year, which is tasty, but shows we are running out of apple sauce period)
  • Eggs (done)
  • Lemons (done)
  • Tuna Salad (just a few boxes at a time to get son through school lunches)


Shopping Wants:

  • Reduced sodium soy sauce
  • Reduced sodium ketchup
  • Reduced sodium tomato sauce


Amazon:

  • Zegerid (on order and paid for, just waiting for it to ship)
  • Salt free bouillon (done)


And yeah, that's my list for this month.  How about you?  Got anything you need to get this month?

Money Saving Weekly Recap


I would put "Frugal Friday" on the post subject line, but I am honestly thinking this is going to become a post that occurs at some point during the weekend.  With my husband's new schedule, he has Fridays off, so I'm really going to focus on spending more time with him when I can, so I DOUBT this will be getting done on Friday (not that it was really getting done on Friday for like the past however many months anyway with how crazy life has been).

Life has continued to be a bit crazed this week, although my husband switched to his new schedule this week and also took his second furlough day (he has to take two days per year without pay as part of the labor contract with the state, all employees do...it's weird, but it's the way it is) on top of it so he had four days off.  It was wonderful!  I got to see him during the day and we got to spend time together and relax a lot...with the exception of my ever present eye strain headaches making me kind of miserable by the afternoon, it was nice. 

We got a call from the body shop who came in low bid on fixing the car that our car parts were in to fix the car, so we dropped the car off on Tuesday.  Which dropping it off on Tuesday morning worked out well since that was the first of the four days my husband was going to have off (he dropped it off after work and I drove in and picked him up after dropping the kids at school), so being down to one vehicle worked out okay and we just drove the truck around the rest of the week.  He did have to get his pickup running today so he could drive that in to work tonight, but hopefully he'll only have to do that tonight.  Hopefully we'll get the car back tomorrow or Tuesday and then worrying about getting it fixed and the logistics on how to make that work will be out of our hair.  Yay!

The daughter's stomach was in a bad state all week pretty much, probably due to standardized PEAKS testing going on, on top of her allergies and her teeth and everything else.  She had to miss school on Tuesday because of her orthodontist appointment (I refused to pull her out of school for a long appointment in the middle of testing...that would just be a mess), so had to make up tests on Wednesday and by Friday her stomach was a complete cycling mess.  I had to pick her up early from school, like before noon, and she was utterly miserable all day with her stomach.  Luckily, I hope, she's feeling better and hopefully now that testing is out of the way she can start to feel a bit normal again (just in time to go in for multiple orthodontist appointments in the coming weeks, but yeah...we'll get through it).

And so, yeah, I think you are caught up on the rest of the week at this point, so let's get to the money saving things that got done this week.

1.  Well, money due to glasses and licensing on the truck and everything is downright non-existent this week, so last week I made sure to be careful with the money we had left in the bank.  So, I stayed home a lot and went shopping carefully (I did end up having to get a bit more shopping done this week due to needing produce and more eggs).  I planned out the menu to get us through till payday and picked up what I needed.  It went okay.  First I got a bag of lemons which I felt was a better way to get enough for everything I needed them for.  I needed some for sauces I'm planning on making (more on that later as it's actually a kind of fun menu plan I'm working on in the coming weeks :), some for fish dishes I'm going to prepare as well as for doing things like making lemon syllabubs (a dessert recipe I ran into on one of the "18th Century Cooking" live streams). 

I also got a cantaloupe (on sale for 2.88 this week at Carrs each) with a plan in mind.  My husband knows how to make cantaloupe boats from watching Captain Kangaroo when he was a kid which needs cantaloupe, pound cake (which I made myself) and ice cream.  The pound cake kind of crumbled when we made them tonight, but everything tasted good *laugh*.

And I got some lettuce (I found that the three pack of romaine hearts is actually a good way to get lettuce, so I've just been buying a bag of those will see us through salads for a few weeks) and a few other things (like chewable Benadryl for the son for when he needs it).  I spent 34.00 on groceries, but I still felt pretty good about it as the I now have so much produce my produce drawer is literally overflowing into the rest of my fridge.  Happy circumstance, that.

The only freebie I got this week was a free soda that Carrs had on Just 4 U one day.  The husband and daughter both liked the ginger ale.  I didn't like it...I am pretty picky about my ginger ale and like it to have a nice ginger bite to it and I thought the soda was too sweet...but like I said I'm picky (seen up top after the daughter and husband tasted tested a few small glasses).

2.  I was hoping to get some salt free seasoning blends off of Amazon this month as well as a 6 pack of Mrs. Dash salt free teriyaki sauce, but after checking the bank today I decided against buying anything but absolute necessities.  So, I cancelled everything (even things I kind of flinched at as they were really good prices when I ordered them) and used the 10.00 in Amazon gift cards I had from My Coke Rewards to apply toward the husband's Zegerid.  With the salt free teriyaki sauce...I figure I'll go to the store when I have the money and buy some salt reduced soy sauce and make my own.  It won't taste quite as good (I still haven't found a good recipe for teriyaki sauce and I've looked for a lot of years and had ordered the Mrs. Dash marinade off of Amazon because I couldn't find it anywhere locally), but it'll get the job done.  And this way I'm only parting with 8.00 out of the bank for the Zegerid instead of the 30.00+ I had on order before with subscribe and save.  Every little bit helps at this point and really the Zegerid was the only thing we really NEEDED versus wanted to get.

3.  My husband broke the mug I had made him for Christmas from the kids last week and was really depressed about it as he really loved the mug.  I told him to just hang on a bit and I'd wait for a free mug code to come up with Shutterfly and I'd make him a new one (since Shutterfly bought out Tiny Prints and that's who I bought the mug through last time).  And loe and behold, a free mug code popped up that expired today.  We had to make the mug white to get it for free (the other mug I made him was black), but working together my husband and I came up with a design he thought was cool.   It was worth paying the shipping to see him happy knowing a replacement mug was in the works for him (and I had a code that I'd applied to my account to get so much off of shipping and it actually WORKED with the free mug code for a change...I was happy).  I took money out of my anniversary savings to pay for the shipping (which I've been able to save so little I had enough to cover the shipping, but not much else, so hey at least it went to a good cause *laugh*).

4.  I decided it would be fun to make Spring themed sugar cookies with the kids this week (sneaky way of letting the kids have a ball and also at the same time giving me cookies to put in the daughter's and husband's lunches for treats), so I dug around in my cookie cutter box and found an egg shaped cookie cutter and a butterfly cookie cutter and we had fun making and decorating cookies (and in Alvah's case eating his body's weight in sprinkles ;).

5.  I continued to clean this week and managed to get some more organizing and things accomplished.  It felt good to get things done that didn't cost me anything to do, but also made things look better around the house (more on that in the Monthly Goals post...I'm hoping to finally get the shopping goals and the monthly goals up tomorrow by the way :).

6.  I took naps and lied down when I needed to instead of just powering through things with the way my eyes have been giving me headaches.  It seems odd to mention doing that as a way of saving money, but by giving my eyes breaks when they would start making my head swim or start to pound, I've been able to avoid taking TONS of Ibuprofen this week, which definitely has saved me money and stopped me from taking more pain meds than I probably should have.

7.  We are finally seeing the return of the sun in a decent amount, so I've been opening the curtains as much as possible and letting the natural light in and turning off the lights during the day.  I've also made a point to start turning off the electric heat during the day as well now that it's gotten a bit warmer out.  The electric bill is definitely thanking me for doing that.

8.  I moved my "work center" (read: Erika's massive mess of stuff) out of the living room where I tended to do blogging and financial stuff and finally just put it downstairs, at my desk, where it should really be.  I need to get into the habit of doing work downstairs, but it'll be worth it in the end having everything I need in one place.  And hey, another bright side to that is that we officially have a coffee table in our living room again instead of a big pile of books, bills and other stuff with a laptop balanced on top, which is fantastic!

9.  My husband broke down an old VCR that had stopped working and stripped out every part he could use from it.  He also fixed an interactive solar system game (which the daughter has been having a blast with) that was given to us broken years ago (the electronics work he does now has definitely expanded his knowledge base) and he fixed an old DVD player that we'd bought used but didn't want to play anything and got it unjammed and hopefully working and he also fixed my daughter's DVD player when it stopped working all of a sudden.  I fixed a few toys for the kids (the wonder that is super glue!) and replaced batteries in a couple of toys that needed it.  I also fixed a hole that had developed in a sweater (which gave me a headache, but I got it done!) and cut a patch from my old jeans that tore out to fix my husband's denim work shirt he wears in the garage (just waiting on new glasses so I can see to get that done).

10.  I gave an enamel coated pot that I used to use all the time when we lived in our old house, but that just did NOT work with my current kitchen (I know it seems odd that a pot would fall out of favor like that, but it did) to my mother-in-law who could use it.  It felt good to get it out of the kitchen and taking up unnecessary room and also passing it onto someone who could use it at the same time :).

And yeah, I'm going to call it good there as I REALLY need to get to bed.  How about you all?  How did your week go?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

And a happy belated Easter, everyone!

Sorry about the huge amount of time between updates lately.  It was a busy month last month (unfortunately) and then this month started out with yet more things happening around here.  Combine that with my eyes bugging me more and more lately to the point my eyes are tired about five minutes after I get out of bed in the morning and I have a raging headache by the afternoon due to eyestrain and...well...sitting and trying to read type as I blog just wasn't high on the old priority list, unfortunately. 

Bright side, I went to the eye doctor yesterday.  My eye health is good and my eyes have been bugging me so bad the last few months especially because my eyes have actually gotten better, for the first time since I first got glasses when I was in like second grade, so that was an upper.  Downside is that my eyes are straining to see through my glasses right now, bad, so I'm kind of miserable and it's going to be about 10 days or more until my new glasses come in.  I decided to just purchase new frames as my insurance would cover up to 120.00 (or something close to that) for frames with a low deductible (like 25.00 for lenses and 25.00 for frames).  I got an anti-scratch coating on my lenses, so that cost me about 30.00 extra on the glasses (which is totally worth it when you have a special needs kid who will randomly grab and throw things for kicks), but 80.00 for a new pair of glasses, I thought, wasn't too bad.  I'm going to take my old frames in as soon as the glasses come in and get new lenses in those for a back up pair of glasses and I'm seriously thinking about doing the same with the other pair of frames I bought a while ago as new glasses have this tendency to break on me (which is WHY I always seem to end up wearing the pair of frames I bought in college years ago...titanium frames were totally worth the investment) and this way I will hopefully be covered should something happen to the new glasses (I'm paranoid what can I say).  Eventually I'll have to get my prescription sunglasses redone, but I'm just going to deal with hats and things in the meantime (the current script I have in the sunglasses is even STRONGER than the script I have now due to a foible by the last eye place I went to.  I tried to wear them the other day and they seriously made me ill to wear them).

The daughter had a bad Easter.  For the first time in YEARS (at least five) she came up to me and said her eye was bugging her and I realized that her eyelid was swelling up on her.  This is a weird, random, thing that has happened over the years (the first time was the day I brought Alvah home from the hospital, which created a meningitis scare among other worries...it was not a fun day) that they suspect is due to allergies, but they can't really pin down WHAT allergy does it (although tree allergies are usually the one they bet on or her dust allergy flaring bad for some reason).  Underneath her eye will look like she got bit by a bug or something and is swollen up a little bit and then, as you watch, the spot gets bigger and bigger and if you don't get Benadryl and Zyrtec down her STAT her eye will be swollen shut in no time flat.  It doesn't seem to spread beyond her eye (either eye is susceptible), but it's scary (and uncomfortable for her to experience for sure).  So, she's on Zyrtec until after Break up and Spring are over and done with for the year as that is the one thing that seems to take care of the problem long term.

Then she had a tooth that I'd been asking her to wiggle out because it looked like it was cracked and things and sure enough the baby tooth did come out that day in multiple pieces, so she spent most of the day wiggling out pieces of tooth.  And while looking to make sure she had gotten all of the pieces of tooth out that night I looked in her mouth and gasped when I realized she had a tooth on the bottom of her mouth that was coming in pretty much sideways and twisted too boot. 

So, we were off to the orthodontist today for an evaluation.  Turns out that there might be a bit of space to be had on the bottom teeth if we put in a spacer to hold existing molars still and then pull the last two baby teeth that are left on the bottom (the teeth that will come in are actually smaller than the baby teeth in width, so we'll gain some space when the permanent teeth come in), so we're going to do that before worrying about straightening the teeth that are there now (the orthodontist is hoping that a lot of the teeth will straighten themselves out if they have a little bit more room to maneuver and then we'll worry about straightening what is left.  I was sweating paying for it as they quoted me over 600.00 for this stage of the game (which in itself isn't bad, mind you, but I have 600.00 that we are going to have to put onto Care Credit for my husband's last molar by July, so I was looking at what aggregate costs would turn out to be), but it turns out that our insurance actually considers things like braces as dental implements, which are covered by our dental insurance, so our costs went from 600.00 plus to 103.00 after insurance.  I'm thrilled as we don't have to pay till May 1st (when the dental spacer mechanism is actually installed) and I very well could be able (if all things go well) to cash this stage out.  That'll be a first for dental anything, so yay for that!  I'll still have to worry about sweating out the dentist's bill for pulling the teeth (since the ortho doesn't do that), but at least I can cash out one bill, which is sure better than none.

Between having to go and get dissolving Zyrtec tabs to last the daughter for a while, paying for my glasses and getting gas in the truck and car (since we only got the truck with 1/4 of a tank of gas we knew that we were going to have to fill it up decently quick) we are pretty much dead broke for the next few weeks.  Not an ideal situation to be sure, but we'll make it. 

I am working on monthly goals and things by the way, it is just taking me longer than I would like with everything that has been going on around here. 

So, let's get to the money saving things that happened the last little bit, shall we?

1.  Grocery shopping went well this week, although being so far in between paychecks we ended up needing to get quite a bit to make up for it.  I decided to do a kind of aggregate shopping budget for this month and just try to get as much as I could out of the first paycheck of the month (as that's usually the check with the most left over for day to day expenses).  I spent 150.00 out of my 250.00 a month grocery budget over the course of this week (now mind you that is for two weeks groceries right there).  When I opened up my Monopoly coupons for the shopping trip I was THRILLED with the amount of freebies I got and the variety (it was nice winning something OTHER than free gravy mix for a change, although as you can see I got plenty of that too)!  Freebies are seen above there.  So I got...

  • 1 bottle of 100 ct. aspirin (not shown because I forgot to grab it before taking the picture)
  • 1 container of sour cream (8 oz)
  • 1 box of water crackers
  • 1 box of aluminum foil (25 sq. ft)
  • 1 free thing of tissues
  • 4 free things of gravy mix.  Powdered gravy is on sale buy 2 get one free.  Had tickets for three free ones, so on two separate days (so I could use the sale to my advantage) I got two free gravy mixes and got another one free due to the sale and then another day I just got the one additional free (along with the aspirin...I was there picking up some melon to eat for dessert one night and picked those up while I was there).

So, yeah, we'll see how we do for groceries for the rest of the month.  I'm hopeful I can make things spread out and hopefully not spread us too thin on the money front.  Here's hoping anyway.

2.  I got a new hand mixer this week.  I finally received some 5.00 Target e-gift cards from My Coke Rewards from promotions back in...geez a while ago (I want to say October or earlier).  I printed the ones I got off and used two to get 10.00 off a hand mixer, so was able to get one for 6.00 and some change.  Honestly?  I'm not overly thrilled with it compared to my old one, but it works and the price was good, so hopefully it'll serve me well for a long while.

3.  I also got my 5.00 Amazon gift cards from My Coke Rewards and I used them toward my shopping goals for this month (mainly some salt free things to help with diet...I'll get more into that on the shopping goals post).

4.  I repurposed some binders we had around the house that I'd had like old print outs and things in that weren't really important.  I gutted the binders and started to get financial things more organized.  still a work in progress, but I'm getting there.

5.  I took advantage of something completely free this week in the midst of chaos.  I rearranged the corner of my kitchen that was super cluttered with all of my flour and other storage containers.  I ended up rearranging things downstairs (I'll show more on that later) and made it kind of a "meh" downstairs (bookcases got rearranged and things), but hey the corner of the kitchen looks great (seen above there).

6.  Speaking of that corner of the kitchen, my son decided to eat a corner of my calendar that was hanging on the wall and then the cat was enjoying trying to climb it to get to the metal grommet where the hole to hang the tack was and was knocking said calendar off the wall (thus how my son managed to get a hold of it and eat a corner of it).  I decided to try and find a new and cheap calendar to hang up in the corner of the kitchen.  I've been watching the live streams that Jon Townsend is doing for "18th Century Cooking" on YouTube (after the fact as I am always busy when he's doing them and all) and he mentioned that they had a calendar available on his company site .  I LOVE "18th Century Cooking" so I went and checked it out and found that the calendar was super cheap (.01 to be exact), so I ordered one (doesn't look like they are available any longer, unfortunately that I can find).  I LOVE it!  It goes with my kitchen so well, shares with me some great recipes from the channel and inspires me to try recipes I haven't made before (like the Kush from this month...I want to try that one of these nights as a side dish :).

7.  I haven't been able to read as much as I am accustomed to on the internet (and off) with my eyes being the way they are, so I've been having fun watching some old favorites online (like Wartime Farm and things) and also exploring other new programs like Downton Abbey, which has been enjoyable to watch.  My husband found a really cool anime called that we get to watch for free with Amazon Prime (or should I say "included in Amazon Prime since Prime is far from free), "Girl's Last Tour" about two girls who might be the only humans left on the planet in a future winter wasteland in the aftermath of war (I won't give away the plot too much, so I'm just giving an overview there).  It hits some pretty heavy themes (life, death, what is empathy, why are we here and so forth) but in a really enjoyable format and I find the voices of the girls very soothing to hear (you have to have closed caption abilities on your TV to watch the show subtitled, though, to warn you).  Only the first season of the show is available right now, but I'm really looking forward to seeing more in the future (and enjoying the last couple of episodes when my new glasses come in and I can read small subtitles without issue again).

8.  Our local borough (we don't have townships up here or other forms of locality, we have boroughs and they are big...don't ask me why, but that's the way it's done) decided it is going to implement a plastic shopping bag ban (honestly with all of the other troubles our state has at the moment AND our borough I was more than a little irritated that they focused on THAT, but okay) and it's going to kick in here sometime soon.  I wanted to be prepared so I was planning on making some shopping bags to have in the car to go shopping with, but haven't been able to start due to my eyes (threading a needle right now just is NOT going to happen).  Bright side it's giving me plenty of time to think about exactly how I want to make the bags, so hopefully the design I come up with will be a good one (and luckily I do have some materials around here to choose from).  At least we'll still have paper bags around in the meantime (I THINK the ban kicks in this month from what a cashier was telling me, but I can't confirm that for certain in case someone local is reading).

9.  I requested a free magazine subscription through Freebizmags this week.

10.  Due to the husband's new diet I realized I needed to redo the menu plan for this month completely (there was a lot of recipes from online that I found had a lot of hidden salt in them and things), so I went around to the husband and the daughter and asked what they would like to have for meals for this month.  By picking their brains I managed to get a good start on the menu to mess with for the month.  I'll cross reference what they want with what we have in the freezer and things and see what I can make happen.

11.  I found myself addicted to eating the edible pea pod soup for lunches this week (my lunch for one day seen above...I was REALLY hungry that day as you can tell by the small piece of lemon cake I had for dessert *laugh*) and I ended up finishing up all I had in the freezer.  I'm going to read through Julia Child's "The Art of French Cooking Volume II" again here soon and see what it would take to make some more pea soup, maybe with frozen peas (since I'm kind of out of pea plants at the moment *laugh*) and freeze some more of it as that stuff was super yummy and really helped my energy levels during the day when I had it for lunch.  And hey, soup made from pea plant remnants made side dishes for at least three meals for the family and a good two weeks worth of lunches for me.  None too shabby for a part of the plant most people would have thrown away or turned into fertilizer for their garden.

And there you are folks.  My week in a nutshell (with a couple of days added on).  How did you do?  Have a good week I hope?