Saturday, July 2, 2016
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update
Our governor, despite the will of the people and the legislature that was trying to do things right decided he was going to push his agenda through via executive order. So, dividends are officially capped, the budget is cut in areas he deems worthy and there are taxes in the works so that he can use all of the money from the PFD to fund a gas pipeline we can't afford, will fail miserably doing it on our own, and will spell ruin for the state.
It was an upper to get that news to say the least.
All I can really do about it on a personal level is continue to e-mail the legislature and just try and deal with the consequences of our governor's actions. The most notable one that is definitely going to effect us this year is the dividend being capped (and of course whatever taxes go through, which is still up in the air).
IF we get the full capped amount that the dividend is at, the dividends this year are already gone, spent to pay toward dental bills and the rest will be used toward winter tires for my vehicle. This is depressing as that means no chunk of money toward bulk food purchases for winter and no money toward Christmas gifts for the kids. So, basically, my job as a food preservationist has just become that much more important and my job as a home economist has become even more crucial. I'm currently stressing over trying to figure out WHERE I can cut anything, to save money, to spend toward things right now (reread it about ten times and it'll make sense. Promise. Drinking some alcoholic beverage might help ;). I know I'll figure it out, but oy!
Bright side, my husband started a new part time job this week on top of working for his father, so hopefully we'll see our economic situation improve. I'll be happy if that happens for sure.
There were some good things that happened this week, though, so let's get to those shall we?
1. We are REALLLLLLYYYYY tight on money this week, like to the point of choking tight, so I really shopped sales super careful to get the most for my money (I didn't post up a pic yesterday because there just plain wasn't a whole lot that was exciting. Except for the coupon I redeemed for free feminine care products, which I'm thinking a lot of people don't really want to see ;). I managed to stay within my grocery budget and still managed to get a few extra items due to coupons and things cutting down the prices. Like the free feminine care products, cheap ginger ale, cheap hotdog and hamburger buns, cheap bratwurst (2.00 a package after coupons and sales. I was able to get two at that price), cheap apples and oranges (personalized prices on those) and cheap breakfast bars for my husband. I was most excited about the bratwurst, I won't lie as it's a bit more meat in the freezer.
2. Speaking of being good stewards of money, last weekend we wanted to take the kids somewhere special, but at the same time we didn't have money to take them to like the zoo (which really depresses me sometimes). We did, however, have some giftcards to Cabella's (a sportsman and hunting type of store). One we got for Christmas and one my husband won in a raffle at one of the local electrical supply companies. I did something I normally don't do when we have any type of substantial monies available in gift cards or something. I asked if I could use the giftcards exclusively. He was okay with that, which was great.
I desperately hoped, even though I knew the chances were slim, to find underwear there as I REALLY needed some, but unfortunately unless I wanted 100% wool underwear which would have cost 30.00 per pair that was out (and being sensitive to wool that didn't sound like a good idea to me anyway). I did find socks, though, and they were on sale cheap too (6.88 per six pack of socks), so I grabbed those.
All totaled we had 50.00 to spend. I was able to get 2 flats of pint mason jars (1 flat regular mouth and the other wide mouth), socks, long lighters which will not only work on our grill but also on our furnace, some candy for my husband (his one purchase while we were there) and some batteries and I ended up spending 3.00 out of pocket after the giftcards were applied. Nothing really frivolous exciting, but all things I needed, so I was happy with what I got. Especially the mason jars. Those will (hopefully) come in handy in the coming months.
The best part, though, was the kids. They had a blast. Cabella's has a waterfall/fountain in the middle of the store and tanks with real fish in them, which once my son saw the fountain that's all he wanted to do for a while. They have big cushy chairs in front of a giant fireplace at the front of the store, which both of the kids loved. My daughter pretended she was a princess sitting on a throne while she was up there, which was super cute. They also have taxidermy everywhere which led to a lot of conversations with my daughter about various animals, where they live and what type of animal they are (carnivore, herbivore or omnivore). We had a lot of fun.
I did end up going to Target the next day and getting some underwear. I needed it for sure. Luckily I was able to find some on clearance along with some that were in a bonus package (8 pairs vs. six), so I was able to get off decently cheap.
Checked out the summer toy clearance while I was there and, once again, was thoroughly disappointed in what the store had to offer. I miss the days when Target first opened up here and we could get some awesome toys on clearance super cheap. I really, really do.
3. I had money that I put aside specifically to get my son a new mattress out of the money I made from rebuilding a website. Man did he ever need one...the mattress jingled when we moved it and had a permanent bow in the middle of it.
We went back to the same outfit we'd bought his last mattress from as his old mattress had survived tons of abuse from my son jumping on it and things over the years and still lasted five years. We went armed with the model name of the mattress in the off chance that they had the same mattress, and sure enough they had the "newer" version of the same mattress (the company changed the name of the mattress, but it's the same mattress). I know that the mattress is probably NOT going to last five years this time as my son weighs more, but we'll see. We took his old mattress and put it on the floor for right now, which is working out well as my son is jumping on that instead of his new bed for the most part. Win, win there.
The best part about it, though, is that the local outfit we bought the mattress from sells mattresses for like 1/2 the price of other outfits, so for little over 100.00 we were able to get a good quality mattress. Always a nice feeling.
4. We spent minimum amounts of money this week, spending only what we really needed to spend (with the exception of going to Cabella's), which saved money.
5. I mended some shirts this week and still have more to go. Oddly, it seems that all of our t-shirts (my husband's, mine and my daughter's) are all getting holes in the same armpit on the same seam. These shirts are all different ages and makes. Just kind of cracks me up that it worked out like that.
6. I took my daughter to the dentist earlier in the week and got her filling replaced. The dentist didn't even need to numb her out (yay) and it took like a total of eight minutes. My daughter got a prize for being so good and she chose a slap bracelet (which totally brought back memories for me). Unfortunately, my son decided to chew it into oblivion within a few hours. I feel terrible about it, as my daughter really liked the bracelet a lot. So, making my daughter a new bracelet is on the agenda for this week. I'm hoping to figure out something she can wear, but my son won't chew and wreck (which is why jeweler's wire is out), but I know I can figure something out for her and I have plenty of materials around the house I can use.
7. I used a #10 (big coffee can size) can of tomato sauce to not only make home made pizza last night, but am turning it into BBQ sauce (it's reducing now :) for the pantry. The tomato sauce only cost me 2.00 and some change when I bought it, so no matter how much BBQ sauce I get out of it at this point, having made pizza with it too, it'll have paid for itself. And, bonus, I won't have to buy BBQ sauce for the pantry for a while.
9. I had an empty can of sugar from my food storage (a big coffee can type of can) and finally decided I was tired of the utensil system I had set up by my stove. I had a crock thing I got for like 6.00 from Pottery Barn online a while back, but the thing was just too small and I ended up having two other mason jars set up nearby with my whisks and spring loaded tongs in them (small kitchen, lack of drawer space and things make it so I end up having to store things like that on my counter as it's the only place they'll fit). So, I placed the coil of garbage bags in the crock and placed it over by my bookcase in the kitchen and then just moved my utensils into the empty can instead. It's now big enough to accommodate everything, was free and since it was a can that held food before the label even kind of goes with a kitchen theme (so I left it on). The system works a LOT better this way and nothing was wasted :).
And now onto the garden update (with a bit of frugality in gardening thrown in)...
A shot of the garden is above there. The peas are insane! I've never had peas grow this tall in Alaska the entire time I've been here and I've grown them more than a few times. I had to go and scrounge around my husband's scrap pile and grab some conduit he'd demolished from some jobs to use as poles to trellis up the peas some more and they are ALREADY over the tops of the 6 foot poles. I'm trying to figure out how to bend them over and tie them to the trellis in the hopes they'll grow sideways in their vining little ways instead of up higher. I mean even if I could even find trellis to go higher right now, I wouldn't be able to harvest the peas at any higher height, so I've definitely got to make them fall in line here. Bright side, I have blooms on the peas everywhere, so hopefully I'll get a decent amount of them this year :).
The chairs in the picture, by the way, were some freebies I got years ago at one of the used stores. They didn't want them because they were dirty (seriously) and so I grabbed them for the kids. We have used them on and off for the kids to sit on, but now the kids are older they are a bit big for them. So, I keep them to put planters on, or in this case, grab and turn into some shade for the garden plants when the heat starts climbing and with all the sun we get toward the summer equinox. Sometimes it helps to stop the plants from bolting so quickly. Sometimes.
I harvested ginormous amounts of lettuce from the garden this week. I'm praying that the weather starts to cool down a bit here or I am not sure how great my swiss chard is going to do this year. I have a couple of stalks that haven't gotten big at all and are already bolting (seriously???). I figure I'm going to thin those out and make them for dinner at some point this week and hopefully the other plants continue to grow and do okay without bolting on me.
The red lettuce is already starting to shorten to bolt as well, so when that occurs I'll rip it out, sow the soil with some compost, and start planting more cold weather hardy seeds in preparation for a fall/winter garden. I'm thinking I'll plant turnips, but I want to check my companion planting guide to make sure everything jives right. I made the mistake last year of planting a potato plant next to a tomato plant. Turns out tomatoes put out such a deep root system that they just choke off a potato plant's ability to produce many potatoes. So I ended up with very few potatoes last year. This year I was more careful, so I'm PRAYING the potatoes produce a good bumper crop and my other root vegetables do well in the coming months. I really need them to do well *fingers crossed*.
I was able to harvest a BUNCH of sage and thyme this week as well. The herbs are seeming to love the wetter summer we are having this year. I've never seen rosemary this happy before. I'm hoping to maybe rip the plants out and put them in little planters to keep them going inside through at least part of the winter (with how little light we get it can get kind of hard to keep plants alive during the winter) as they seem really healthy this year and just might survive the transplanting without issues.
So there you are folks. Some of my frugal adventures this week (more on my goals post tomorrow). How did you do?