Monday, July 4, 2016

Shopping Goals: July 2016

Well, "Happy Independence Day" to all other American's out there!  Fourth of July is a important historic holiday here in Alaska, of course, but it's also one that is kind of "meh" in the fireworks factor as when you have pretty much 24 hour sunlight this time of year it makes fireworks kind of disappointing to watch.  Now New Years Eve...that's pretty awesome to behold here *laugh*.  But we did celebrate today a bit.

I would normally have made salads and treats, maybe a patriotic Jello salad or something, but the rain has been near constant here the last little bit and the weather is matching our moods as my husband prepares to leave really early tomorrow.  So, we set off some poppers for the kids, I dug out the only lowly package of hamburger patties from the freezer to make for dinner along with some tater tots (a rare treat now a days) and we watched a new MST3K we downloaded with the kids.  As days go, it could be more celebratory, but it wasn't bad by any means.

Bright side, the garden should start to really produce this month, if the bugs lay off.  I should be able to start really harvesting the outer leaves from the Swiss Chard, hopefully some peas will be had and plenty of rat tailed radishes seem to be popping up on my plant so hopefully I'll be able to make some more radish pickles for the pantry.  The carrots and potatoes are growing, the garlic...well at least ONE garlic plant seems to be growing well...the others don't seem to be doing much, so I'm not sure how much garlic I'm really going to get this year, but we'll see.  And lettuce should continue to produce, as well as the herbs, to make salads from and, in the case of the herbs, also dehydrate for winter.

Shopping goals for this month are...ugh.  Yes, that's a proper term *laugh*.  I have a lot of things to buy for winter that aren't going to be bought with dividends this year, so it's a matter of figuring out how and when to make it happen in the coming months.  I have bulk things of bread flour and other pantry goods to get along with butter for the freezer, meat (somehow) and other things.  The clock is ticking and the money belt is tight, but no matter what these goals need to get accomplished, so "where there's a whip, there's a way" wait...wrong quote...great song from the old  "Return of the King" cartoon, though.  My dad used to sing it all the time when trying to get us to do our chores...wait...where was I?  Oh yeah, perseverance through adversity.  Yeah, that'll get done!

I have a list of things I'm getting on this month.  Some of it is canned fruit, to supplement what I already canned to last through winter (hopefully) and some things are just cheaper there than at the store so I ordered some.  I ordered pure maple syrup from them, for instance, as it is cheaper than my local stores were offering it for and my son won't eat pancake syrup, only pure maple syrup.  Things like that.

So, here's the list of things I'm hoping to get this month.
  • A flat of canned pears (used my associate fees to help make the cost around 5.00 for the flat, which worked out cheaper than I could get around here.  Thanks to everyone who has ordered through my Amazon associate links.  It helps :)
  • A flat of canned peaches (big cans).  These were really cheap one night, so I ordered them to help supplement my home canned goods.
  • Coffee
  • Maple syrup, 1 quart (this will be enough to last my son all winter, I hope)
Bulk Stores/Regular Stores:
  • Bulk sugar (got this over the weekend at Fred Meyer...I needed it for canning and was running low)
  • Bulk Bread Flour (bulk store)
  • Meat (wherever I can find it cheap)
  • Canned Green Beans (keeping an eye out for a good sale on those)
  • Honey (once again, hoping for making good money this month, or a good sale/clearance on honey)
  • Cheap produce (if I run into it)
  • Oatmeal (regular rolled oats) 
  • Maraschino cherries (I want to get a couple of big jars of them as I'll have all the other ingredients in the pantry for fruit cocktail this winter, making it so I won't have to buy cans of it for a while and my husband likes them as well).

And there you are folks.  My list for the month.   Here's hoping I can get at least some of it accomplished.


  1. You have mentioned several times urgency to get things for winter. Before I thought you just meant preserving summer things, but you mentioned things here that aren't summer things, so I was curious as to why. Is it weather-related or does work slow slow down or something? Forgive me if I am too nosy!

    1. No, it's okay. I don't mind you asking :).

      I tend to really worry about stocking up for winter around here as my husband is an electrical contractor, so he works in construction. Typically we'll go through a period of about three months of really slow work or even unemployment during the winter months, so having things stocked up is REALLY important during those months. Right now I'm about triply paranoid as a good portion of our supplemental income is shot this year with the dividend getting capped and then possible taxes getting passed and higher property taxes in our local area too boot. So, yeah, I'm really worried this year about how the long winter months are going to go.

    2. That completely makes sense now, and I would feel the same urgency. My income-related anxiety (because let's tell it like it is, it's anxiety for me :)) has been different. My husband works for a college, so his job is quite stable, but he makes less than he could in other industries. That has balanced out with my work, which is in IT, and pays well, but is much less stable. Many, many people in my field were without work after 9/11. I never lost my job (although was laid off once but they ended up keeping me and I was never actually off), but for YEARS never knew if I would go to work one day and have them say I was laid off. Two years ago I switched companies, and have a job with a company that is much more stable, but I'm working on a new venture, so there is definitely still risk, but they are a 100+ year old company with no debt, so it's in my mind much better than before.

      We order a lot from Amazon, because we live in a small town, and Prime is so convenient. I'll try to figure out how to use your referral link. I'm sure it's simple. :)

    3. My brother is in IT and switched jobs last year so he could be in a more stable position, so I get where you are coming from there.

      My husband and I keep hoping one of these days that our debt load will be low enough that he can go and work in a state or borough job. He was offered an electrician job with a school district, but we did the math and figured out it would make our bills, but we wouldn't be able to eat or get gas if he took it. We spent (okay I spent) weeks trying to figure out if there was a way to make it work, but until we can get some hefty payments saved up and slapped onto our mortgage and things to bring our debt lower (and get teeth completely done and paid off) we're kind of stuck needing more than the 20.00 an hour that he would have made.

      I don't have Amazon Prime right now. I keep hoping I'll be able to afford it sometime soon as the free shipping costs keep going up. I mean 49.00 to get free shipping...two shipments worth of stuff and Prime would have paid for itself. Thank goodness for Subscribe and Save for food items. I'd be lost without it!

    4. Oh and the Associate link, if you can see it (ad blocking software hides it) is in the right hand column of the blog and I just labeled it "Amazon Associate Link" to anyone who wants to be nice and order through the links :). Don't worry if you can't make it show up though, I can understand not wanting to turn a virus/ad blocking program off to do it. I do appreciate the thought no matter what, though!

  2. We had rain here as well in Pa yesterday. The morning was overcast and I picked up some free squash plants from a neighbor and popped them in the garden along with some free strawberry plants I got the day before from another neighbor. I had alread planted 4 different types of perennials from a third friend/neighbor so my garden was happy for the rain. We on the other hand were not so thrilled. We also ended up with a low key and vastly altered 4th if July celebration. We usually go to the pool for their 4th if July party. Our son loves the games: fastest down the slide, biggest cannonball splash... But he picked up a mild skin infection at camp (not washing well in the camp shower...boys...) so we stayed home. We didn't go to the baseball game since none of us wanted to sit in the rain. I did decorate some, and we did wander down to our city's celebration to get some food, but it's hard to hold/eat the food while holding an umbrella!! We had decided not to go back down for the fireworks because it was still raining but when our son heard them gong off he decided he needed to see them so we quickly walked the block and a half to the river to watch. Add a few Autisim moments to the mix and some parental meltdowns as well and there was our day.

    1. I so want to get both of my kids in for swimming lessons or at least have enough money to go to the pool often enough to teach them to swim. One of these days.

      It was raining so much last night that we did get smoked out a bit from people having bonfires in the area (probably to ward off the swarms of mosquitoes and no-see-ums) but otherwise even the local people cut down on the amount of fireworks this year. Usually our neighbors in the area set them off at any excuse for like a week around a holiday, but this year it was like an hour or so and that was that. No where we could really see them going off either. I'm kind of glad that we didn't have many though as my son spent most of the time with his hands clapped over his ears. He loved the streamers that came out of the poppers though and they are currently spread all over his room. That's on my clean up list for today *laugh*.

  3. Hi Erika,
    There's so much creativity running through your veins that I feel confident that you'll meet all if not most of your goals this month I'm in Pa too and boy did it rain. I felt sorry for the tourists who came here for the special events that we always have. We stayed home and watched fireworks on TV.

    Since it was raining I spent a couple of hours canning jam from the rest of the strawberries I found in the freezer. Some of my goals for this month are to wash the venetian blinds, finish a knitted scarf for a Christmas gift, weed the vegetable garden and lay down some bloodmeal fertilizer which seems to keep the critters away (rabbits, skunks, groundhogs), make some more microwave sweet pickles for the fridge, make menus for the next couple of weeks, got a good deal on celery so I want to dehydrate some of it for winter (99 cents) for soups, dehydrate some more of my herbs, and just some other general stuff. Dorothy

    1. Yeah, I haven't even gotten all of my goals for this month done yet. There's a lot of them. I always feel like there isn't enough hours in the day sometimes. Right now I'm trying to figure out which ones are the most important and cutting down the list to avoid burning myself out by the end of the month :).

      Great buy on the celery! I'm now officially out of celery after making the BBQ sauce, so I know I'm going to be shelling out for some this week. I usually use like one stalk fresh as no one but me likes to snack on it, so I'll dice some up to freeze to use in soups and things and then just dehydrate the rest. If you keep doing that every time you need fresh celery pretty soon you're golden on being stocked up well on it :).

  4. My sister in law married a contractor too, and for the first 12 years that I was in the family it was very much like you guys are. They moved from Texas to flordia then back for work, and winter months were hard for them too, no work. She eventually signed up for state help, and I remember being a little envious of how much she got each month for food when my other sister in law told me, it was more than the $65 a week we can spend on ours. I think it was around 125, I was gobsmacked. But I can relate to your worries of putting it by, teaching is sort of stable, but every year we hold our breaths because the salary gets smaller and a few years when I have to go back, hoping the pinch is less! Meantime kids don't stop growing, do they? No matter how you tell them!! I've been collecting some links for places with cute and inexpensive or problems near free gifts as add on for family, I'll email those to you one of these days when I get some free time. I made those word clouds that are so popular via and made prints at Shutter fly and wow...! I hardly spent a thing, even if you frame it and they are pretty awesome looking! Going to be gifts this year too.

    1. Nice! I try to do Shutterfly freebies and stuff when I can, but the shipping to get up here is kind of expensive (I don't know about anywhere else). To ship some prints costs about 8.00, to ship a mug is about 10.00 and so on. So, I call the photo stuff "cheapies" since it really isn't "free" *laugh*.

      I found a cool book while watching "Wartime Farm Christmas" that I really want to try and find at the library (probably best bet for me is going to be through inter-library loan). It's called "Practical Solutions in Toy Making" and was printed in the 30's in Britain. It shows how to make doll furniture out of match boxes and things and it looks really neat. I found a book "The Wartime Housewife" written by the gal who was helping Ruth create some of the toys in the Christmas Special (her name is Biff something, so it's pretty easy to remember *laugh*) and she's got exerts from the book in her book. I added it to my Amazon cart and will pick it up when I can and I'll let you all know how it is. It did give me some cool ideas, though to make on the cheap.

  5. Wow.....what a week last week...dh is finally home from hosp after a month and a half in hosp. We r doing antibiotics at home, and he has new meds to deal with too. I need to get on Christmas gift band wagon..I Have started some food baskets for my kids....getting food on sale cheap n puttinng in a laundry basket. Plan on canned goods this year too. I have made a list for my for grandkids. Most will b other thing... Still trudging along in the garden...bugs r getting cabbage n broccoli (what can i do?). Deers ate swiss chard n gr. Beans...putting fence up around that to deter them. Carrots r doing well..squash r better. One large plant died but 3 r flourishing. We finally got rain so that has helped immensely. Got corn n blueberries n put up in freezer. Hamb was $1.88 per pound so got about six so far to put in larder for coming glad beef is slowly coming down. We have our grand girls here alot so have to think about their little tummies too. VBS starts here next week n i am in charge of kitchen so all week evening meals r furnished for attendees n helpers..that helps the budget immensely. The budget took a hit with dh being in hosp so long n me having to stay with him so much...he was terribly confused for a few weeks. Pays to b a nurse i guess. Kep us in your prayers. Take faith Erika that there is a light at the end of the may seem nonexistent now or barely visible...but it is there n you willstand in its brightness soon. I have a do u know "when something is a good deal" on just looking at different items or r u emailed deals...or notification by a "deal blog"? Thanks in advance. Have a great week.

    1. With Amazon, it's so hit or miss and there's no way of knowing when something is going to be cheap. What I do is I make a list of things that I normally buy that I know I can get on Amazon and then just go on there every night and look those things up in the search function. I've hit some really awesome deals that way. Like I got a flat of big cans of peaches (the ones that hold peach halves) for 14.00 after a coupon code and my subscribe and save discount a couple of weeks ago. Once you find something on subscribe and save you want at that price, get the order in because you'll lock in that low rate for that month. Once the items get here for that month, I just go online and cancel my subscriptions as most of the items I have gotten have gone WAY up in price since I locked in my price, so I don't get unpleasantly surprised in six months. Then I just start the process all over again.

      Like the coffee I buy goes up and down in price during the month. It can go from 6.00 and something per brick down to 3.54 per brick (the price I wait for to lock in for that month). I'll wait until nearly the time my order would get charged for the month sometimes, but I've always been able to get it at the low ball price.

      It takes me maybe 5 to 6 minutes to search for things on Amazon and it pays off in spades in the long run :).

      With the bugs...if the weather isn't too terrible rain-wise I could suggest a good commercial pesticide, Sevin. My grandfather swore by it as you could apply it right up to harvest time, it kills invasive bugs like cabbage loopers and aphids, but is safe for birds (he loved his birds and wouldn't do anything to harm them). I've used it in my garden in the past (the powder anyway) and had good success with it. This year it wouldn't do me a bit of good because of all of the rain we're getting, so I'm just at the praying that I have a garden left here soon, stage. I set out a bowl of hard cider this morning by my swiss chard in the hopes of killing some slugs as they are turning my chard into swiss cheese the last couple of days, but I don't know how much hope I have at this point that I'm going to have a good chard year. At least I do have SOME in the freezer blanched and ready to go for winter. I might plant some more chard here and pray that once the weather starts cooling down that the slugs might get a bit more deterred, but I'm still torn on it as I'd rather plant root vegetables for winter storage.

      Sorry about your husband's long hospital stay. I'll send up some prayers for you guys as I know how hard medical bills are to deal with and recovering from a long hospital stage is really hard. Good luck and God Bless with that!

    2. FYI: Carbaryl, AKA Sevin, is illegal in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Iran, Germany, and Angola. A leak of MIC, used in the production of carbaryl, caused the Bhopal disaster, the largest industrial accident in history.

      Carbaryl is toxic to humans. It is classified as a likely human carcinogen by the EPA.

  6. If you divide up all the items you need to stock for winter over the next few months, I'm sure you will be just fine for winter. You are an excellent shopper, Erika. You will find everything you need in good time.

    1. Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do. Next month is going to be getting things like toilet paper, olive oil and things like that. I am working hard on figuring out a monthly budget amount for bulk items so I don't end up with a huge overage on things one month. This is requiring some mental math Olympics on my part as it's kind of hard to figure it all out, average prices and then divide up the list of things to make it work okay. I find it hysterical that I end up doing stuff like this semi-regularly as I always had problems with math in school and HATED the subject. I did okay in accounting, but wasn't a super star by any means (business degree in college), but in the real world I find that I am finding math skills I never knew I had *laugh*.

  7. Yep, math makes sense when it's something we need to use not just something being taught in school.

    We have to be like the little squirrels storing up for the winter. A little her and a little there. That's what I have to do too. Our winter work goes way down and I sure like to have stuff like TP on hand. lol
    Take care.