Friday, March 13, 2015

Frugal Friday (Money Saving Weekly Recap): Lessons in Perserverance

It has been just a terrible week around here for my morale. Truly.

My grandmother had a mini-stroke early this week, as I told you all earlier.  Well, she then got put in a recovery home where she then managed to fall out of bed and break her hip.  So, they put her in for emergency surgery on her hip, which they thought actually went really well.

Until she failed to come out of the sleeping meds on time.  And they found she had no strength in her left side when they tested it.

As of yesterday, grandma they found had a bad stroke on her left side.  They found this out by the bleeding finally starting to come out on the CAT scan yesterday, which means that the stroke was deep in her brain.  Her brain is swelling, she's not responding to anything at this point and she's being put on hospice.  Basically, she's dead, but the doctors are waiting for her body to realize it.

On top of that my husband had a bad tooth and went in last Thursday to find that he was going to have to have a root canal on the tooth.  That bill is going to be 1000.00.  This morning he awoke to the other side of his mouth so painful that he couldn't touch his tongue to one of his upper teeth without feeling physically ill.  So, another emergency visit to the dentist was in order.

Final diagnosis was an abscessed tooth.  He had to have it pulled.  Between meds and the extraction that put us about 700.00 down out of the miniscule savings we've got from our tax refund.

And he needs new brakes on his truck, so that will be another 2 to 300.00 for parts.

On top of regular bills.

Do not get me wrong, I'm glad that he went to the dentist and got his tooth pulled.  Heck, I insisted on it as I was worried about an infection being that close to the brain.  But, the money.  God, the money.  I want to cry I'm so depressed right now.  I'm so tired of obsessing over money every waking moment of every single day that I could just scream.

But *sigh* life moves on and we're forced to cope whether we like it or not.  So, here's some money saving things I've done this week.

1.  I refused to let life get me down too far when it came to my shopping goals for this month.  Despite having reduced my grocery budget by 2/3 the last two weeks I managed to do some of the goals so far.

Instead of doing an Amazon Subscribe and Save order for oats, drinking chocolate and toilet paper, I improvised.  I had all the ingredients around the house to make my own hot cocoa mix, so that's what I did.  Once I had made the batch (some of which is seen in the pic above), I mixed in what was left of the precious drinking chocolate (one of my few guilty pleasures) to up the chocolate flavor on the hot chocolate.  It actually came out rather well and I now have two sizeable containers full of hot cocoa to use for later (which is actually a larger amount than the drinking chocolate I would have bought off of Amazon).

For oats, I found that Carrs had 5 lbs of quick oats for 4.99 regular price.   The company passed the test for allergen cross contamination, so I went with those instead of the bulk order from Amazon.  I'm still about 3 lbs short of what I would have gotten from my Amazon order, but I still saved a good amount of money doing it that way.  I also was able to work the oats into my 50.00 per week grocery budget, so I didn't have to spend extra money from savings or something to get it done.

The chicken stock I wanted to buy just wasn't going to happen with my current grocery budget (it's like 14.00 for a bulk thing of chicken stock), so I improvised when I realized my husband wasn't going to be home for cornish game hen night.  I poached the game hens in a big stock pot with lots of water and veggies, deboned the chickens after they had poached for a good long time (a couple of hours) and then continued to boil the bones for another four hours until the bones just crumbled when I took them out of the pot.  I got 5 quarts of chicken stock doing that and I froze them in 2 cup (1 pint) portions for use later on.  I managed to find freezer space, whether my big freezer liked it or not.  I then made bread and used the chicken meat to make chicken salad and we've had that for lunch all week (both my husband and I anyway).  It worked out well, actually, and I got a lot more use out of the chickens this way instead of just roasting them.

Toilet paper has been a bit harder to accomplish.  I normally get a big bulk order of toilet paper off of Amazon and it will last us six months, but my daughter caught colds, we were out of tissues and my daughter BLOWS through the toilet paper when she uses it for tissues, so we were a lot more down on toilet paper than I thought we should be at this point.  Instead of doing the bulk order, however, I have just been picking up one four pack of Angel Soft toilet paper a week and figure if I can hammer some money out of the budget I'll just stock up on 5.00 Friday at Carrs one of these weeks.  It won't be as cheap as Amazon, but it'll do.

I was also able to get 2 #10 cans of tomato sauce from Three Bears on my 50.00 grocery budget too.  They are normally pretty cheap, so both cans cost me about 5.00 total.

2.  I cooked all of our meals at home, which really hasn't been that hard as of late as my husband has been working long hours three days a week.  So, honestly, I've been drinking a lot of tea and eating a lot of bread and jam for dinner (we call this cheap filler where I come from).

3.  I had bought a quart of heavy cream to eat over my oatmeal in the mornings when it was cheap on dairy markdown at the store, but true to my luck, my fridge decided that it didn't like the way we had the top shelf of the fridge situated or something and the cream froze.

I didn't know what to do with it once it defrosted.  I opened it and the fat bits has separated partially from the milk, so it was almost grainy tasting.  It wasn't really fit to serve over oatmeal that was for sure.

Finally, in desperation partially as my husband is going to need soft things to eat the next couple of days and the fact that the kids really needed a treat after the amount of waiting around I've made them do at the store while mom worked her phone calculator the last bit, I made some ice cream with the cream.  I used a recipe for an ice cream maker free ice cream (recipe coming really soon on that) because I didn't have room in my freezer for my ice cream maker bowl and because it called for you to whip the cream before putting it in the freezer, which I figured could only help the cream.  I prayed as it whipped that the cream would whip so hard that the fat globs wouldn't be as apparent in the cream and that the cream would even whip (it took longer than normal cream for me takes to whip, but it did whip).  I made chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors, so that we can all have Neapolitan ice cream tomorrow.  It might be fat-grainy (maybe we shall see as it's in the freezer right now), but it at least tastes good so far.

I've done other things around here, but I won't bore you with too many details.  Overall, at least even through the depressing things that have been happening, I did, indeed save some money and accomplish some things

I pray your week has gone better than ours has and that you're all doing well!


  1. Erika, I admire your attitude and creativity . Sending you good thoughts for a better day.