Saturday, March 5, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, this has been kind of a mixed bag week when it comes to saving money.

I went over budget on groceries because I had to, plain and simple.  It was funny though.  I was kind of freaking out about how much money I'd spent and my husband gives me the "You've got to be kidding" type of look and says, "Wait, isn't the amount you spent around what your normal weekly grocery budget would be?  Really, I thought we did good for 150.00."  After thinking about it for a moment I was like, "Yeah!  I mean I even got meat for that amount!"  It's nice to get a good change in perspective sometimes.

Unfortunately, the groceries are where the having to spend money thing started.  Went to put on my son's shoes for school yesterday and on a whim, since he's got a few pairs of pants this week that ended up being high waters by the end of the week, I checked his shoes to see where his toes were.  Now mind you, I had bought him shoes that were big on him the last time we got shoes, hoping he'd be in them for at least six months.  No cigar there.  His toes are at the end of them.  So, we're off to the shoe store today to get him sneakers and gym shoes.  I'm praying my daughter is still fitting in hers *fingers crossed*.

Then my husband's insoles went on his shoes. All at the same time (no really, he showed me), so that was 35.00 we weren't planning on spending going out the door all at once.  We had to get a car scanner thingie for reading warning codes so we can try and figure out what is wrong with my car (this way we can read codes on the fly).  Overall, a kind of depressing weekend on the spending money front.

But, I did manage to save money here and there, so let's go over that shall we?

1.  I did manage to get strawberries (yay!!!).  I was impressed with how patient my husband was as I stood there looking at strawberries containers for 15 minutes or more trying to find ones that didn't contain rotten moldy strawberries.  I finally settled on ones that had some bruises and a bad spot here and there, but overall seemed to be in decent shape.

Since I was going to the store for strawberries, I grabbed some .50 off coupons I had from Drischoll's.  I never remember which store sells which brand when it comes to strawberries and such, but I had them, so I grabbed them.  If you sign up for their newsletter Drischoll's will send you a .50/1 coupon (or it might be .55/1...I can't remember off the top of my head) for your birthday.  It's a Smartsource style of printable and somehow this year I just could not get that darned thing to print.  So, I wrote to them and asked them if there was anything they could do, so they sent me 2 .50/1 coupons in the mail instead (which was nice of them, I thought :).

So, I got two things of strawberries for 2.00 a piece after coupons were applied.  None too shabby really.  My daughter has already eaten one pound of them for dessert last night (as seen above post washing and slicing).

2.   While I did spend money on groceries this week, at least I got a good amount for my dollars.  I had to go to three different locations to do it, but I did it *laugh*.

3.  I took a Fred Meyer survey to get additional fuel points and then went and used them on top of rewards points to get .20 off per gallon of gas.  We also filled up in Eagle River, which somehow is always cheaper than filling up in the Valley, so I was happy to fill up my tank for 28.00.

4.  I mended a few of MY socks this week.  I keep putting off doing my own clothes when it comes to mending and finally realized that I really just needed to stop doing that and take care of myself too.  So, I darned two pairs of socks that desperately needed it.

5.  I ended up making a giant pot of beef and vegetable stew based on a recipe by the Galloping Gourmet (I'll definitely post up that recipe here with the pantry "tweaks" I made as it was so good my HUSBAND even liked it!!!).  This ended up throwing my meal plan through a bit of a loop as it made a lot more than I was expecting, so we ended up eating leftovers for lunch and dinner a couple of times throughout the week, but it worked out well overall and I'm really glad I made it!

6.  I mended a hole in a sweater of mine (one of my least favorite chores) with a tiny crochet hook my step-mom sent me.   I did a good enough job that I can't even tell where the hole was until I flip the sweater inside out (I was proud of myself on that one).

7.  I got behind on folding laundry this week due to lack of sleep or a cranky son (or both) and having to run unexpected errands and such, but overall, I still kept on top of WASHING clothes, vacuuming and dishes (I'm a load behind today after being out all day yesterday, but I'll be caught up by dinner, so it works).  Feels good to be able to clean the house in an hour or so and have it done if I'm fast and not busy (which is unfortunately where I always seem to get behind).

8.  I mended a sole on one of my sneakers with Shoe Goo.  I love that stuff.

9.  I started going through my cookbooks, per usual, and started bookmarking meals and desserts to try in the coming weeks.  It helps me to stay on task and also helps to keep cooking interesting, which is important to me :).

10.  I was worried I was going to need to buy chicken, but while trying to organize my freezers a bit better (and hopefully save my feet from harm) I found a bunch of chicken that had gotten buried underneath some bags of frozen vegetables.  Which means I'm a bit lower on frozen veggies than I thought, BUT also means that I'm not as low on chicken as I was worried about.  So that was good to find.

So, there are some of the ways I saved money this week.  How did you do?


  1. I agree with your husband, you did do well on your groceries this week. Meat is expensive, but you managed to get quite a bit to put in your freezer...more than a weeks worth for sure! I'm glad your daughter is enjoying her strawberries, and that you had coupons that saved you $1 on the cost.

    I've been busy this week in the kitchen. I decided to pull some very old, freezer burned chicken, a bunch of frozen chicken bones, some veggie peeling/scraps and some bits of veggies out of the freezer and made a huge vat of chicken stock. Not only did it make room in the freezers, I was able to freeze 8 baggies with 2 cup portions of chicken stock in each, plus used some for a pot of cream of cauliflower and cheese soup which used up frozen cauliflower from 2014 (I also made homemade bread to go with it). My husband made up 2 large packages of chicken breasts into chicken souvlaki, which resulted in 5 family sized portions for the freezer. Finally, I filled the dehydrator twice this week with apple slices and made 2 batches of fruit leather. I'm rather proud of the productive week I've had!

    1. I am waiting patiently for my daughter to get out of her braces and then I'm really going to start introducing the fruit leather more. I mean she LOVES fresh fruit, but sometimes it's just not available, so it'd be great to have fruit in the freezer and just being able to pop it in the dehydrator and make fruit leather in the middle of winter. Not sure if she'll go for it, but it's worth a shot!

    2. My suggestion is to not buy any fruit roll ups for a little while before introducing the fruit leather (if you ever buy them). Fruit roll ups have a lot of sugar in them, so are much sweeter. You can add sugar to the fruit puree, but I feel like that is defeating the whole purpose of making a "healthy" snack.

  2. Hi Erika! I've been to your site a couple times through the Prudent Homemaker comments and appreciate you sharing. I would love to learn how to darn socks. We have so many that just end up as rags when they get a hole in them.

    Have you considered growing strawberries? From my experience they are super easy and only a few dollars to get started. I'm not sure if you have room for a garden where you're at, but supposedly they grow well in pots. I am going to try container strawberries this year even though I already have some in rows.

    Thanks again for sharing your accomplishments!

    1. Here you go on the darning front. I have a basic tutorial up on how to darn socks here...

      I have never had any luck growing strawberries. They'll vine out and take over the universe, but they won't grow actual fruit except for a lowly strawberry here and there before we have the first frost and they die on me. I ordered some alpine strawberry seeds this year, though, after reading Brandy's experience with them as they remind me of the wild strawberries that used to grow in Maine when I was growing up. So, I'm kind of hoping they grow well in some pots this summer. I'd love to be able to cut some costs on strawberries :).

    2. Thank you for the tutorial! Can't wait to try it. :)

    3. Might not net you the prettiest darns in the world (darning is judged from how invisible your darns are, from what I understand), but it works!

  3. I got a bunch of groceries this week, as well. I also did really well at using up a bunch of items from the freezer and cupboard. We got our camper back from the repair shop and used a couple of older items from there, as well. I did a lot of cleaning and organizing in the camper, getting it really organized and ready to take out pretty soon. A bunch of the groceries were for the camper as we tend to use more convenience items while camping. I also got tilapia for buy 2 bags, get one free--so 6 pounds total, for about $16. (or maybe $14--can't exactly remember right now) That's a little over $2/lb, which is good for fish around here.

    As usual, lately, the thing that saved us the most money was all of the friends and family who have come this week to help us. If we had to pay someone to do all this.....I can't even imaginge. I've also been cooking here at home even =when I'm soooooooo tired.

    1. Thea savings on free labor can't even be measured sometimes, as far as I'm concerned. I know how exhausting moving is, so I really really feel for you right now, especially juggling all of the anxiety with money and things on top of just being physically tired from moving.

      2.00 per pound of fish is definitely a good deal! I can get AROUND there if I get fish 50% off on reduced with sale prices, but not very often. I love it when it happens though, so good for you!!!

      Good luck with the moving and everything. Take care!

  4. I agree with your hubby, you did really well on groceries, especially where you live. I haven't done a lot of stuff to save money this week as I haven't gone out of the house much last 3-4 days. I did manage to start going through my stockpile room and found 10-2 pound bags of pinto beans that I had vacuum sealed in bags 2 years ago and put them in a big plastic tote container. I soaked 4 pounds of them over night and the next day I pressured canned them to make refried beans as we eat a lot of tacos and burritos around here. It was my first time making refried beans and they turned out really good **pat myself on the back**
    I also found in another tote a bunch of rice and when I say bunch, I mean BUNCH! Lol. They were also vacuum sealed. I brought a bunch of that upstairs so that we can use it in burritos and other meals. I went through one of my freezers and found 3 big butter bowl tubs with frozen spaghetti sauce in them. I had spaghetti sauce on my grocery list, so now I can mark that off.....looks like we'll be having lasagna tonight with some garlic bread I also had in my freezer that needs to get used up. My son is a very picky eater, with a horrible gag reflex. The textures of many foods will make him gag and sometimes vomit, such as corn, any kind of pork, seeds on breads and he will only eat Hunts spaghetti sauce in a can....lasagna is one of his favorites which will make him so happy! This boy inhales lasagna lol! This is pretty much my savings this week. Not a lot of stuff but I did find some forgotten foods that I had.

    1. Amazing isn't it? How they won't or can't eat a certain thing (like corn), but they'll inhale lasagna, which is a huge mixture of textures? I mean Alvah won't touch anything mushy at all, won't touch any vegetable or fruit or meat you show him, but he'll dig right in and finish a can of Bumble Bee tuna salad like nobody's business and that has meat and vegetables in it. Just crazy :).

      Nice finds in the food storage department! I make crock pot re-fried beans with black beans and they are super easy too. I just make them, divide them into freezer bags to freeze flat and store them in the freezer and pull out as needed. Works like a charm :).

      I would LOVE to find that kind of a stockpile of rice I'd forgotten about as we go through a LOT around here *laugh*, but glad you'll have that store to draw from. Always great to "shop from home" vs having to pick it up from the store!

    2. Why didn't I think of using the crockpot, then freezing?! Ugh. I always have to make things harder for myself lol! Aren't kids funny though? My son is also not a huge veggie eater. I made homemade chicken and noodles last night which he will eat. Since he has been very little, he is used to seeing little specs of green seasoning things in my broth and he has no problem with it. Years ago I started dehydrating fresh spinach and then I will crush it up and store it in a mason jar. I throw that in with the broth and he has no idea he is eating spinach, he thinks it's the seasonings that I have always used lol. A mama has to do what a mama has to do to get some much needed nutrients into a child :)Funny thing about the rice hubby and kids aren't big rice eaters. I had bought it several years back as it was part of a REALLY good sale and times were really hard for us as we were trying to come up $15000 for my hubby's dad's funeral at the time, with that being said........they are about to become huge rice eaters, they just don't know it yet lol!

    3. *Laugh* I totally get it with the rice. My daughter doesn't like it, but my son would live off of plain white rice if I'd let him (cooked or more gross uncooked, he doesn't care) and my husband and I like it. Instead of rice for a side dish some nights, just to save the rice for my son, I'll make my daughter butter and bread instead of the rice. Still decently cheap for a side as the rest of us are eating rice and she'll actually eat her bread, thus saving food waste *laugh*.

      I do the same trick with kale and throw it ground very fine into different meals so my daughter gets the dark leafy greens. Like you said, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do ;).