Sunday, February 19, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I nearly put, "Frugal...Whatever Today Is...Money Saving Weekly Recap", but figured that would be too long.

One of these weeks I'm really hoping to say, "This has been the best week EVER!!!"  Alas this is not that week.

First off, the weather.  We've gotten so much snow this winter I'm seriously wondering if we're going to have to start shoveling the snow bank on the side of the driveway over into the front yard so that we have room to blow more snow from the driveway.  This winter has been kind of nuts when it comes to the weather.  Go from freezing cold, well below zero, to snow.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  Yeesh!  A shot of our driveway from today is up top.  Notice the tire tracks? Yeah, I had to go out today.  The roads were a mess and it wasn't a lot fun to say the least, but necessary (I'll get to that in a minute).

So, the week.  Both kids ended up not feeling good, at all, on Wednesday (daughter stomach cycling on her, son had a headache), so they stayed home that day (which actually worked out well since the weather wasn't great and the roads were really terrible).  And they were off Thursday and Friday due to parent teacher conferences, so my whole goal of getting the daughter's birthday gift done for her birthday...well I'm down to the idea of doing an embroidered pillow sham on Monday, hopefully, to get it done in time for her birthday early next week, but we shall see how it goes. 

So far, the universe has been conspiring against me getting anything done for her birthday this year.  But she is getting other gifts, though, including the cat she got for her birthday this week.

I talked to my daughter a lot about getting a rabbit as my biggest concern was she would have to walk a pretty good distance across the yard to take care of said rabbit and also, unfortunately to play with said rabbit, which for a kid who loves the idea of animals but not really the reality (the honeymoon with the new cat is already wearing off as she ends up sharing her bed and hates the idea of a rabbit being across the yard...well I was worried the poor thing would just be bored out of it's mind and while I would take care of it, it didn't seem fair for him to sit in a hutch with no one to play with or to pet him and things.  I didn't want to put a hutch for a rabbit inside as my son has an allergy to them, so we talked a bit and she finally got really excited about getting a cat/kitten instead of a rabbit since she could "love him and squeeze him and pet him and call him George"...okay, maybe not the last part *laugh*.  While looking around for possible places to find a young cat or kitten to adopt, I ran into the fact that the local animal shelter was running a special on cats right now where you could adopt a cat (including vaccinations, micro-chipping, and lifetime license) for 27.00.  This is down from over 100.00.  So, I decided it might be nice to see if we could get her an early birthday gift.  So, Thursday we packed up the car and headed off to the pound to see if any animal "spoke" to the daughter (since this was going to be HER cat, period.  We talked extensively about her helping to take care of the animal, the animal was allowed to sleep in her room, etc). 

One cat immediately tried to climb through the cage to get to her and she decided she needed that cat.  I was kind of floored since the cat was supposedly 2 years old (after talking to the vet, we both think he's probably less than one year as he just got neutered and shows no signs of a male cat that has been in heat spraying, etc, which doesn't jive on the whole "he's two years old" thing, but who knows...some cats don't read the books) and there were younger cats, but she insisted.  She dubbed the new cat "Prince" and he's been pretty much hiding under my bed all day and then running all night since he got here *sigh*.
All seemed to be going about as well as can be expected when introducing a new animal to the household, but then "The Cattening" as I'm liking to call it, happened.  First there was Prince, who had an eye with some eye matter in the corner of it and kept watering on him when we brought him home.  Worried he'd gotten either poked in the eye at the pound, gotten a hair in there or some dust in his eye while hiding under the furniture, Friday night I took some water and rinsed his eye out.  And immediately the eye looked like it was bleeding from the corner.  I called the 24 hour vet down the road and they wanted me to bring him into the ER, but I looked at his eye and it wasn't swollen really bad, no pus, etc. so I figured it could wait until morning when they had walk in hours during the day at regular prices.

Wake up Saturday morning and the cat disappeared into the house somewhere.  Took me most of the day to find his hiding place (under the recliner in my bedroom), so he went to the vet today instead of yesterday.

Which Prince not getting to the vet yesterday worked out, actually.  Ginger, our 14 year old cat, had a vet appointment I set up on Monday as she was just plain not getting any better, but then Saturday she would drink water and immediately puke it up.  Straight water.  Not good.  So, she went to the vet yesterday instead.  Diagnosis (with lack of more intensive testing that we waived due to her being 14) is either a bowel blockage somewhere or lymphoma.  I'm thinking the later is the more likely problem as things have been passing through her pretty fast lately.  We're giving her meds and steroids for a few days to see if she turns around and improves (as lymphoma she can actually live a while quite happily with it if we can get the swelling and things down), but if she doesn't we are going to have to put her down.  It's not looking good so far, honestly, as she just won't eat anything.  She's keeping water down, but that's it and all she wants to do is sleep.  I'm thinking it's time to let her go.  And I'm going to move on now because I'm getting teary eyed.

Took Prince in today and he has an eye infection and the doctor and I talked a lot about various health concerns with a new male cat in the family as I have run into a LOT of different ones with males over the years between what I, myself, have gone through with some and what other people have gone through with them and she made some recommendations on food to feed him and different ways to stave off problems.  On top of our other cat developing stomach issues from the food she was eating we've come to realize that a higher quality of food is in order for the cats around here.  Luckily, while visiting pet shops looking for a pill gun and easily digestible food for Ginger, I looked and found that "expensive" cat food was still expensive, but the cheap cat food that has been crawling up in price over the years is suddenly not THAT much cheaper than the better quality cat foods out there (dry cat food wise here).  So, I am going to start getting the cats a better quality of food to help stave off some nasty health problems.  I'm trying them on "Nutri-Source" as that's what the pet shop people were recommending (and the vet had no complaints about the food either) and we'll see how the animals do (seen in the photo there). 

By the way, I'll take pictures of the new cat if he ever comes out of hiding long enough for me to get a good shot of him.

So, any cat owners out there have any recommendations on food (both wet and dry)?  The only one my vet said to avoid like the plague is Blue Buffalo as she's run into TONS of animals with problems after they had eaten that food.  Any opinion on Nutri Source?

Which between this and the snow blower shearing a bolt that my husband is having to buy parts to fix today, brings to mind the question of, "Why is it that when you get ANY money in the bank the universe makes it so you have to spend it?" 

So, yeah, it's been an interesting week.  But a few good things happened this week on the money saving front, so let's get to those in an effort to break out of the funk I'm in from this week.

1.  The tax return came in!!!  YAY!!!!  Which was serendipitous as it allowed me to be able to afford to pay for vet visits without immediately hyperventilating, so double yay for that!

I put a double payment on the Care Credit card pretty much first thing to make sure that we got that done and I put in a decent sized order with H2O at Home (I threw a quick party last weekend and my friend who is the consultant for it told me she'd sit on the order until the tax return came in so I'd get all of my discounts on the entire order I wanted).  I feel pretty good as with all of the discounts and things I ended up spending about as much money as I would have at the store buying regular cleaning and laundry products.  Luckily I had budgeted out for the order, so that helped take the "woah" out of it for me :).

I still have some things I'd like to get, but I'm fully willing to put in small orders here and there for the items now that I know shipping costs and things.

But, yeah, past those two things, and of course the vet, I am trying like anything to act like the tax return isn't there at all so that nothing gets spent recklessly (I even resisted the urge to get the grow light kit for the kitchen counter so I could plant lettuce and things until I could budget it out of our regular weekly income...yes, I was that good *laugh*).

2.  All I really did this week was stay home and clean as much as I could, so that definitely saved money.

3.  I dug out the couple of gifts I'd reserved from the "Christmas stash" of gifts for my daughter for her birthday next week.  I got her a Spring dress and a couple of toys.  I think she'll be happy with the haul (and hey, she got a CAT for her birthday, who is now gold plated, so she better not complain *laugh*).

4.  I made sure I had all of the materials for my daughter's birthday cake as she's kind of picky about these things sometimes.  She requested "Princess cake", which comes from Charlie and Lola and is white cake with pink frosting.  I have cake mixes and pink (strawberry at that) frosting in the pantry as well from when I got some for next to free to try out last year.  So yay for being prepared anyway :).

5.  Per usual, we ended up doing our shopping at Carrs this week.  The biggest finds were apple juice for 3 for 5.00 as part of 5.00 Friday, which I got three of those as it was Tree Top Apple Juice which is my daughter's favorite and I got roast beef for 5.00 per lb at the deli, so I got some for my daughter's lunches at school as she found she does like that.  I figured it was a nice treat for her, for one, and I knew she'd eat it, for two (found out she's been giving her friend Ian her tuna salad and things at school and I just about throttled her.  Ian seems to be always hungry, so I don't blame him, but I was NOT happy to find my daughter was giving away tuna salad that was costing me 2.20 per kit and eating the filler items in her lunch box for lunch.  Just...grrrrr).

Carrs/Safeway is doing the Monopoly game again this year and I normally get a ton of tickets because Coke is a "bonus ticket item" and things.  But, I never win anything.  I mean last year I even got crappy coupons if I got anything. 

This year I'm sort of amazed.  We picked up our free french bread that we won last week for sandwiches and than this week opening up my pieces I won a free thing of Barilla pasta sauce, a free thing of Chobani Greek Yogurt, a free donut or bagel from the deli, a free reusable shopping bag from Shutterfly (which I'll probably let slide as after shipping it sure isn't free) and a couple of good coupons including 2.00/1 Roasted Chicken (which will lead to a really nice cheap dinner one night for us and I always use the bones for stew the next day :).  So, woohoo for winning things this year!

Now I just need to win the million dollars.  Okay, so I don't need to win that.  1,000.00 would be nice though or some of the grocery gift cards *laugh*.

6. After shopping this week, due to my son going on a major food jag where all he'll drink is Coke classic out of the can (no two liter bottles for him, no way), Ore Ida or McDonalds french fries and things, I ended up spending WAY more than I had planned on for groceries.  I ended up spending 100.00 and I solely blame my son for that bill.  At least I got bonus fuel rewards for going over 100.00 through a personalized deal they were running and then they had a thing where if you spent so much they'd give you more bonus fuel points on top of that, so I ended up with .80 off per gallon of gas due to the rewards stacking up.  My husband took Jerry cans to the pump when he got gas in my car and filled them as much as the 25 gallon limit would let him.  So yay for cheap (relatively speaking since it started at 2.60 something a gallon) fuel!  And now we have a bit for emergencies, for the snow blower and things and for when we are tight on money and need gas.

7.  We have a really high chandelier in our stairway and my son insists that it needs to be on constantly.  It contains about 9 chandelier bulbs which have actually done really well over the years not burning out.  My husband bought a special ladder when we moved here that was on clearance in the inevitable event that he'd need to change the light bulbs in that fixture.  This week like all but three bulbs burned out within like a day of each other (of course because when it rains, it pours).  My husband and I really wanted to replace the light bulbs with LED's so he didn't have to worry about replacing them anytime soon and also for the savings on the electric bill, but we weren't sure how to afford it because normally 2 LED chandelier light bulbs run about 15.00 and that would be a lot of money all added up at one time.  So, I went to my go-to when it comes to financial "hail Mary passes", Amazon and saw what they might have for LED light bulbs and was super thrilled to find they had a 12 pack of name brand LED bulbs for less than 30.00!  This will be enough to not only get the stairway chandelier done, but also will give me enough to finish up putting LED's in the kitchen table light fixture as well.  So, that was a cool find to say the least.

8.   I had to pick up regular priced cat litter this week (versus the stuff I normally get on 5.00 Friday...they didn't rotate their sales right this time...bummer), but found that between a sales price and manufacturer E-Coupon I loaded that I'd only have to pay 1.00 more for cat litter.  It's not my preferred brand by any stretch, but it'll get the job done until the other stuff goes on sale.

And there you have it folks.  My adventures, in a nutshell, this week.  How about you?  Hope you all had a good week!


  1. The snow is beautiful but I'm sure you are tired of it.

    I buy cat food from They offer free shipping but I'm not sure to your state.

    When we adopted two cats, they hid in the basement for five weeks before showing themselves during the day. We knew they were eating, drinking, etc. but they were so scared. Hope Prince settles in soon.


    1. I'll check out, thanks :).

      The snow, I don't mind. Driving in it...I do mind. I'm just impressed with the volume and frequency we're getting it this year and how BADLY the road crews are taking care of it. Kind of mind boggling.

      Yeah, I'm sure Prince will settle in soon. He's already poking his head out earlier than the last couple of days, so hopefully he'll start interacting more. I'm just hoping the vet visit doesn't put him back in that regard.

  2. I too think the snow looks beautiful. We do not got get snow where we live, so I cannot even imagine what it is like to live somewhere that winter snow is the norm.

  3. We feed our cats Rachel Ray cat food. We had one that was allergic to grain. They have done great on this food. I did an order through I googled them a few time, then got a coupon with a big discount. Free shipping if you order a larger amount. I got food for at least four months. Dont know if I will order from them again but it worked for a one time savings. I enjoy reading your blog. You are an awesome Mom and wife. Barbara

  4. Our cats always just eat kit and kabootle. The white and purple stuff. Think that's what it's called.

    Our week. O.M.G. husband was trying to save $1500 by doing a complicated car repair. 14 hours over 3 days later? The van is still in loads of pieces unable to get it back together. Unfixed. Freaking out status is high. Playing it cool? I was. Til he mentioned in 2 years we are replacing a vehicle. We knew we would need to, I asked what he thought price wise. $25000. I nearly fell over. No way we can save that up. He's uncompromising, plus my car will need to be replaced a few years after that, and we just don't have the money for a car payment. I'm just kind of what the heck right now.

    1. I get the same panic attack when my husband brings up new car necessity. I feel your pain!

  5. Hi,
    You know those sodas are leaching the calcium out of his bones. Not judging, just saying. I know you have a rough time with this. Maybe you could slowly replace the sodas with something else. Maybe if it was appealing enough, he might eventually go for it. Just from reading your blog, I see that he has made a lot of progress in some areas. You do a really good job, considering the challenges you have. It seems a lot of people are having financial woes right now. It's really hard when you have two children with the daily challenges that yours have and a husband that seems to be sick a lot. There is always one person in the family that is the glue that holds everything together. I am afraid it has become your lot in life to be that person. On the plus side, your blog is great. The writing is good and interesting and you seem to be a born optimist and problem solver.

    1. We're working on the soda thing. I know it is absolutely horrid for him to drink, but so far we haven't had any luck replacing it with something else. We've tried sparkling juice and water, making a cola-like syrup out of healthier ingredients, adding home made tinctures to the soda to get nutrients into him, trying flavored water to work into juice...everything. Luckily he at least drinks milk at night, so he's getting some calcium intake. Right now I am hopeful that we might make progress in that area because he'll mess with a section of orange and lick the juice off of it. If I can get him to actually drink that I'll make fresh squeezed orange juice every day if necessary. Here's hoping!

  6. It seems as if all I have done this week is laundry--and sleep. I am having a psoriasis flare up which means messy medicines that get on clothes and linens. Plus DH not working overtime so he has been wearing street clothes. We also received January's medical bills from his weekly vitamin shots plus lab work that is done 1x a month. I guess I need to figure those into the monthly budget. Just when I got a credit card paid off. (sigh)
    on the savings front, we didn't need as many groceries as usual since Momma has decided she wants TV dinners instead of cooking. (I know they aren't a great option but it's better than her burning her house down because she forgets she's cooking or feeding expensive meats etc to the dogs because she really doesn't know how to cook any more.)
    We are using down our freezer since it really, really needs to defrost. My meals plans have all been arranged around those meats. It's been a lot of beef and pork since we are very low on chicken.
    I have been meaning to check out chewy. My babies have been on Iam's foods since birth (16 and 17 years ago) and now the back yard dog eats it too. I am having problems finding it in larger bags in my town so I hope chewy will be a good solution.

  7. Well, Erika, another week in Alaska! You have been hit with a hard winter in more way than one. The picture of the snow is gorgeous, though. I'm sure it doesn't have as much appeal to you as it does to me, since I rarely get snow. But, I'm glad you can still see the humor in life--I figure I either have to laugh or cry, and I'd rather laugh! I can tell you would , too.

    I'm sure getting another cat may turn out to be a blessing once he gets used to you. I'm sorry your other cat is doing poorly, I'm sure that's hard.

    I hope this week is a little better. Hang in there!

  8. Writing from Fairbanks: Chewy won't ship here. I happened to be going Outside by truck in October so I had a Chewy order sent to a friend in Oregon and picked it up there and drove it home. We were going out for medical care anyway and Chewy had a great "getting to know us" coupon plus free shipping.

  9. I'm surprised you took on another pet given how you have pretty much zero wiggle room in your budget. Fingers crossed there are no more vet visits in his future!

  10. Sounds like another interesting week for you Erica! Your new cats sounds adorable! My recommendation for pet food would be either MediCal Royal Canin Dental food or Hill's Prescription t/d food. They're veterinary only though, and not cheap, BUT they're great as a maintenance diet and prevent costly dental bills down the road (dentals with no tooth removals can start at $500 and end at $4000). If your male cat ever gets blocked (I'm sure you've had one like this with your experiences!) they'll need to be on a food with an SO index (struvite oxalate ) meaning that it will not cause blockages in the bladder due to struvite and oxalate stones. But while these foods are the best options, theyre not cheap and you need to find out what works for your family budget. Best of luck and congrats on the new family member!

  11. Your front yard/driveway is so beautiful! Have you ever considered submitting your photos to any of the stock photo websites? Seriously, that level of clean snow, with the trees, and even the tire tracks (showing humans are there) is so beautiful and unusual even for those of us who live where we get plenty. I believe you just register and upload the photos, and then each time someone downloads one of your photos you get a small amount of $. It's not a lot per photo, but since you're taking and uploading them anyway...just a (random) thought.

    Great that your son is messing around with an orange slice and actually tasting it. That's wonderful he's trying new tastes. Have you tried offering orange soda alongside Coke (not instead of)? If he ever -- eventually -- chose the orange soda sometimes, at least you might all get more sleep with the reduction in caffeine.