Friday, October 14, 2016
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap
This has been kind of an off week. My son had kind of a rough week at school, which led me to basically sit on pins and needles waiting for calls from school about how he was doing this week. Why he was in a bad mood? I'm not really sure. I suspect because he got picked up early a couple of days last week between flu shots and his sister's stomach acting up, but this week he didn't get picked up early at all and I wonder if the longness of the week started to wear on him? Bright side is that there have been a couple of days this week where he has actually verbalized a LOT more than before in the way of words. He called me "mom" three times in one evening (normally as close as he gets is "mama") , tried as hard as he could to say "Coke" when I kept telling him no on the talker about wanting soda too late at night and he even said "night, night" while shaking his head and grinning like he was getting away with something. It was an upper to hear for sure, but with the way his school days were it didn't lead to a lot getting done around the house.
I went and got my blood drawn at the health fair one day (which luckily my son didn't melt down until the afternoon that day and his teachers were able to handle it) this week and had an experience. The gal who was taking my blood pressure after the blood draw proceeded to crush my left arm three times with one of those automatic blood pressure cuffs that always feel like they are trying to take your arm off (you know the ones). This was after I asked her (nearly begged her) to not take it on my left arm due to my arm issues and the fact I'd just had my blood drawn from that arm as that was the only spot the nurse was able to find a good vein to draw from, but she had refused saying she couldn't get a good blood pressure from your right arm. Then she took a manual blood pressure. She then proceeded to lecture me that my blood pressure was high and that I was obviously not exercising enough and my diet was obviously bad and I was in per-hypertension. Honestly, after waiting in line for two hours to get my blood drawn, getting a decent amount of blood drawn too boot, and fasting for 18 hours all I wanted was something to eat and some pain killers for my now TERRIBLY throbbing arm, so I asked her what my blood pressure had been expecting it to be terribly "panic inducing" type of high and worrying I'd have to go and get in to see my doctor quicker than I thought (which I've never been that high blood-pressure-wise in my life, but there's a first time for everything).
No joke my blood pressure was 121/83.
When she wanted to take my blood pressure again I told her nicely that if she put that cuff on me again I wasn't going to be responsible for my actions as the agony was starting to set in and at that point I was just done with the entire process. So she then started to lecture me about health changes I needed to make to get my blood pressure down...note...this did not help my blood pressure. I finally stopped her mid-sentence, told her I'd had my blood pressure checked twice in the last month and it had been fine both those times, due to the amount of pain I'm in my doctor explained to me my blood pressure might be higher than normal and to be prepared for it, and told her I would be seeing my doctor with the results and if someone was going to lecture me I'd prefer it be MY doctor, thanks. She shot me some severely dirty looks, but I walked away without her having any bodily harm done to her, so I felt pretty good about that (as my arm was throbbing in time with my heartbeat and I could barely move it at that point).
Anyway as a result of that abuse my arm has been killing me since then, so I have been forcing myself to do a load of laundry and a load of dishes every day and finally forced myself to vacuum the upstairs yesterday despite the pain just to keep my shoulder moving so the frozen shoulder doesn't get worse (bicep tendonitis OR the frozen shoulder clearing up would be great, really). I can barely lift plates up to put them into the cabinet, let alone getting things like sewing and things that would require me to lift my arm for any length of time, done. Annoying to say the least.
But anyway, the blood work for a full female health screen blood panel was 150.00 at the health fair where if I'd gone to a cheap lab it would have cost me at least 300.00, so hey, at least I saved 150.00 *laugh*.
So onto other money saving things!
1. While at the health fair I hit some other exhibits after getting my blood drawn, most notably was the pain ease outfit that was right outside the blood draw room and was giving away bottles of water and protein bars. I, and others, drank bottles of water while waiting in line and I pocketed the protein bar, which I dug into as soon as I was done with the blood draw stuff. Some other finds was a pamphlet from the Autism Resource Center that has a library you can borrow from that they run, which might very well come in handy, some free pens and a couple more free granola bars and a free thing of fruit leather. It helped to tide me over until I could get something more substantial to eat.
I also walked away from the loads of free pens people had up for offer as I already have a ton around the house and didn't need anymore.
2. Shopping trip recap (part of which is seen above...the other picture didn't turn out as I think I turned off the camera too soon after taking it).
I spent a total of 72.00 on groceries this week. This was over what I wanted to spend, BUT the reasons were this (read: Darn I overspent, but I got such good deals I'm sorry, I'm not sorry). I found that my daughter's flavored water was on sale, unadvertised that I could see, for 2.00 a package, so I picked up 4 (that's nearly 1/2 the normal price) as that will last us quite a while in school lunches. The other find was our local bulk store Three Bears, when I stopped in looking to see how much milk cost (I ended up going into town when I saw what they wanted for a gallon of milk) I was walking by the meat section and saw an end cap with HUGE logs of frozen hamburger in them. 10 lb logs to be exact. The hamburger was 73/27 quality, but the logs were only 16.00 and some change for the ENTIRE log! 1.60 per pound for hamburger??? I was SO there. If I'd had more room in the freezer and more money I would have bought more. My plan is to mix the high fat hamburger in with ground turkey or pork (you know, lean meats) and using it that way. Either way, I'm THRILLED to have found a deal like that on beef!
So when it came to the rest of the shopping I went to Fred Meyer and Carrs this week. I FINALLY found the "Hummus Made Easy" kits at Fred Meyer so I got that. My friend gave me her freebies, so I got those too while I was there (the Airheads, double Belvita Bars and the other Hummus Made Easy kit). I'm kind of looking forward to trying the Belvita Bars and the Hummus Made Easy kits as they look interesting and would normally be outside of my price range to try.
I was going to go to the European Market to get yeast today, but I found carts full of discount bread items at Fred Meyer and just got a loaf of bread there instead as I just finally admitted that making bread was going to hurt to do with my arm so bad (even kneading it to put it into bread pans didn't appeal at ALL right now) and I didn't want to do it if I could get out of it. For the like .83 the bread cost it was worth it.
The hard rolls were on clearance as well for 1.79. These are going to be made into meatball subs for dinner and lunches (if I can find room I'll probably freeze some of the rolls to use later). The hamburger and hotdog buns are for my son for lunches and dinners and such (he'll only eat the tops of them and I turn the rest into bread crumbs and stuff). I also got a 24 pack of wet cat food with flavors my cats actually like for 6.67 on clearance. It had some dented cans in it, but they were all okay when I opened it. I added it to my cheap cat food I already had for some variety as the cats are glaring at me every time I open the same flavor of cat food for the third time in a row. I also got a bag of Luvsome dry cat food as I had a 1.00/1 E-Coupon loaded for it and I was out of dry cat food (it was 3.00 and some change after coupon).
I also found some unsweetened Baker's Chocolate for 1.69 per box (they were dented). I got two for holiday baking and other things as they are one of the chocolates that are safe for my son's peanut allergy.
All totaled I spent 18.53 at Fred Meyer.
At Carrs I went and got some sale items that were cheap with coupons. I got a 64 oz thing of Sunny D for 1.29, or something close (I don't have my receipt in front of me for exacts on change there), not seen as it was in the second picture that didn't come out. I got Goldfish for 1.49 per bag with in-ad coupon (it was cheaper per ounce than the big containers were at the current price for the big thing of them), big things of string cheese for 4.99 with in-ad coupon combined with manufacturer coupon.
Right so tangent/off topic from the shopping trip at this point. The string cheese is going to be used for dinner in the coming months and I wanted to share this trick as it is SO simple and so tasty! Remember the manicotti noodles I ordered from Amazon? Well, take whatever baking dish you want, size up how many manicotti noodles will fit and then cook the manicotti noodles to package directions. Drain and cool and then pour a small amount of your favorite tomato sauce (or pasta sauce period I guess) into the bottom of the baking dish and spread around. Place the manicotti noodles into your baking dish, but stuff each with a piece of string cheese as you go. Top off the manicotti with the rest of your tomato/pasta sauce and more cheese to melt over the top (I buy the small blocks of mozzarella when they go on sale cheap and just keep them in the fridge for ages to grate up for something like this). Super easy and believe it or not super tasty! I had gotten the idea from a recipe off of Money Saving Mom that she linked to years ago if I remember correctly. The original recipe called for ground meat, lots of add ins and things though and by doing it with just the tomato sauce on top I find it makes a really good meatless meal to make. No matter how many times I make it for people (for funerals or new babies, etc) they always ask me for the recipe as it's a crowd pleaser.
I also got some Pillsbury orange rolls while I was there as they were on sale for 2.50 each. These keep in the fridge for quite a long while and it is kind of an easy breakfast to pull out for something special. These ones I got with my eye on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings to serve, but we'll see if they last that long.
I got my son some Golden double stuft Oreos for 2.49 as a treat for his lunches. Since he only eats the center out of the Oreos, I tend NOT to buy them unless they are on sale cheap.
I also, for the first time in a long time, had to get paper towels. I got Brawny paper towels as they were on sale for 5.00 for a big pack of them for the 5.00 Friday this week at Carrs. Worked for me.
3. Today saw my husband having some tales of frugality. First he got free lunch at a counter day at one of the local electrical supply outfits for him and his crew (the supply houses tend to have counter days from time to time with free lunch things like hot dogs or brats or something for their customers). Then tonight we had saved up money to go to Red Robin (versus my son's usual demand to go to McDonalds for his weekend fries run) for dinner. It turned into a waiting fest as my husband went in and seemed to take forever, but I could see how packed the restaurant was so we waited in the car as I kept telling my daughter to be patient (we get take out and bring it home for the sake of my son's processing issues). Finally my husband came out and proudly told the tale of how the restaurant had taken forever to get his order done, but didn't have him pay when he put in the order so he waited around and waited around, all the while being patient and polite. The gal who took his order originally finally came over with his take out bag and handed it to him and he explained he hadn't paid yet, so she went searching for his ticket, but couldn't find it. She looked in the computer and couldn't find a record of it. She called her manager over and they couldn't find it either. So finally they apologized for the wait and just told him to take the meal for free and they'd figure sort out their end later. The saved money will be put to good use later when we have to take my son out for french fries when he's sick or something (I literally have a "son French Fry" budget envelope).
I did take 20.00 of the money we saved by that happening, though, and placed it into the grocery budget to fill the gap from the money I overspent this week on that end. I'm hoping in the coming weeks to not need much and just live on what we have as my husband is actually staying rather busy right now and thus it might give us an opportunity to pay off some of the dental bills and hopefully save a few bucks. I can hope anyway.
4. I definitely rested this week. I haven't been sleeping well at night at all so cat naps during the day seems to be the only way I'm getting any good quality of sleep with my arm. I can not WAIT until this condition improves I'll tell you what. At least I'm getting mobility back slowly but surely, so I'm saying that's a silver lining if nothing else.
5. I actually am ahead of the game and have my meal plan pretty much hashed out for next week. Woohoo!
6. While at the used store last weekend my husband scored me a fondue pot straight out of the 70's! I loved going to fondue parties at one of my friend's houses when I was a kid, so the wonderful memory nostalgia was totally there for me. For 2.00 it was definitely worth getting and I'm looking forward to doing some cheese and hot pot fun in it sometime soon.
7. I called the sleep center in Anchorage and explained our plight when it came to the bill and told them how upset we were that my husband had been told repeatedly that everything was going to be covered and don't worry about it because we wouldn't have to pay anything. She said she'd look into it and warned yesterday would be the earliest I'd hear from her, but so far I haven't heard anything. If I haven't heard from them by the middle of next week I'm going to call and push the issue a bit. We'll see how it goes from here.
8. I washed my son's pillows this week. Buying machine washable pillows is one of those things that just pays for itself nearly immediately with him as he leaks milk on them, so it felt good putting clean smelling pillows back on his bed.
9. Frugal fail of the week was finding a unmarked bag of ham of undetermined age or origin in the recesses of my freezer door hiding under some margarine. I saw it was kind of freezer burned, but hoped it wasn't so old as to TASTE like freezer burn, so I defrosted it and was going to fry it up to go with french toast one night. Right so it tasted weird once defrosted but we hoped frying it would help. Note: DON'T DO THIS with freezer burned ham! Eeeeeewww!!! It tasted so bad I ended up throwing away the pieces I'd fried. I tried, with the tiny bit that was left in the bag, to mix it in with scrambled eggs the next day for my lunch. I was able to choke it down, but it really tasted a LOT like freezer...a lot of cajun seasoning was added to make it edible (but it worked).
10. Frugal win of the week I have to say was just plain walking away from things that I really didn't NEED but were really inviting to spend money on impulse-wise. Like the marked down coffee creamer I walked by three times before saying, "No" and going and getting a 1.49 thing of half and half instead so I could have it in tea, coffee, or use it in cooking if I needed to (yes, I bought myself 1/2 and 1/2 as a treat. It's been stressful and I needed a treat for myself). Or the marked down flavored instant oatmeal that still wasn't that much of a steal but looked good for a quick breakfast. I have oatmeal at home and can add my own stuff, so I just walked away.
11. I went online and found myself a Peanuts wallpaper from "It's the Great Pumpkin" to decorate my computer screen for free. I love the fall scenes at the beginning of the special, so I got one of Lucy and Linus in the pumpkin patch. Love it :).
And there you are folks. Some of my frugal adventures this week. How did you do?