Saturday, May 27, 2017
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update
If we can tough it out for this first year he'll get a wage increase and the benefits are really good at this job, so I really WANT it to work. I just don't know if I can make it work. Once the kids start school, since my husband will be working the late shift, I might be able to at least get a day job and leave him home to man the phones if one of the kids needs to get picked up early from school or something, but for the summer...I am really determined to get my den mucked out (the nice sewing cabinet we set up down there? Yeah, the main middle shelf collapsed and we found that the only thing holding up what should have been a microwave cabinet was little plastic tabs for adjustable shelves...so I have sewing stuff ALL OVER the place down there) and get to work making some reusable shopping bags of different types and embroidering pretty things on them. I think they'll sell decently well and they are at least useful. I'll go from there on expanding product lines.
I also have some leads on different things that might make me some money at home, so we'll see how that pans out as I look into the different companies. This kind of ties into some of the frugal things that happened this week, so let's get to that shall we?
1. I called and paid my phone bill this week right after we got paid and the gal who was running the payment for me skimmed my account and told me that our internet was costing us too much. I was like, "Huh?" and she said they'd just switched their plans on their internet and their basic plan now was 5.00 less per month than what we were paying now and the internet was actually FASTER and had more bandwidth available than we had now. She asked if we'd like to switch and I nearly jumped through the phone and hugged her after saying "of course!" So appointments are set with the phone company for them to come in and upgrade some cable and things on our end (free for us) next week. So, yay for a utility company that cares! Thanks Matanuska Telephone!
Double benefit is that if I find a job where I have to take calls over the internet and things for customer service positions and things the faster internet and better data will definitely help with that.
2. I was blessed to receive gifts of food this week. My friend contacted me and asked me if I'd like some bags of rice and things that were in her food storage that she wasn't using and I said, "Yes, please!" She gave me a big bag of rice, oats and beans. I am really grateful for the gift as it is all things we will definitely use. Thank you, Davina!
My mother-in-law also met up with us today and gave me a box of food she bought for us knowing how tight it is for us right now. All of it will be used and with a grateful heart. Thanks, Stacey!
My friend also gave me her freebies for Fred Meyer for the free almond creamer and the free Ritz Crisps, so I picked those up along with my free creamer today as well (thanks, Stephanie!).
3. Grocery shopping was as minimal as I could get it this week, which is why the food gifts were so appreciated. I ended up winning 5.00 through the Monopoly game, so I stopped off at Carrs and got my 5.00 cash before I went shopping and used that toward my total. At Carrs I got the bare essentials for the son to eat this week. We still have Doritos and Cheetos (which I placed in some sandwich bags and put into a big bowl so I only get him small amounts at one time...hoping to cut down on him wasting so much food this way, as seen in the photo there...it's working...kind of. The son doesn't like the fact that the chips aren't in their normal "big bags" but I think he's getting used to it as he was used to seeing them that way at school). At Carrs I got Goldfish crackers for him (1.50 per small bag this week), hot dog buns (.88 with in-ad coupon this week), Coke (1.49 per two liter bottle with in-ad coupon this week, limit of 4) and a few things I'm forgetting. Total spent was 15.00 after the 5.00 cash was taken off.
At Fred Meyer I got cat food (as their normal price on canned cat food is only .57 compared to .80 at Carrs), cat litter (because we were completely out...I honestly contemplated digging up some dirt and just using that for the litter, but it would have wrecked what was left of the scoopable cat litter in the box and I just couldn't bring myself to do it), lettuce (1.87 for a large head of it), hamburger (3 lb tube for 5.97), the free creamers and free crackers, Pringles (as a "please stop hitting yourself" reinforcer for the son) and a few other things that my daughter and I are spacing (so much for two minds being better than one *laugh*).
Total cost for groceries this week was 35.00, which is honestly more than I WANTED to spend, but with cat litter on the list I knew it wasn't going to be super cheap as no one had cat litter on sale cheap this week.
I'm going to be really tweaking the grocery shopping here in the coming weeks to see how low I can go on the budget without my son flipping out from his favorite foods not being around when he wants them. Here's hoping I can get it down LOW as I need it to get as low as possible right now.
4. Amazon Associate fees came in (I usually get some about once every six months, so it was a pleasant surprise) and I quickly used them to buy a food storage kit of breakfast foods (way cheaper than buying individual #10 cans of the things I wanted to get). I got things like cream of wheat cereal (a personal fave of the husband's), freeze dried scrambled eggs (not using those unless I have to as I remember well what powdered eggs tasted like as a kid...shudder), bacon bits, shredded potatoes (basically freeze dried hash browns), pancake mix and freeze dried strawberries. I was especially happy to add the freeze dried strawberries to the pantry as the way things are going around here, buying fresh produce to can is going to be iffy this year with the way the budget is shaping up (an understatement, that).
5. The lettuce died off in the aerogarden (no joke, it literally just like died and rotted at the base after it wilted and the pieces just fell off...I was expecting it to bolt...weirdest thing I'd ever seen) so I cleaned it up and planted herbs in it. So far the dill and basil have popped up like they are supposed to, but the parsley is definitely not up yet. I'm going to give it another couple of days and if it doesn't pop up, I'm going to plant some thyme seeds in the pod and see if try two works better than try one.
6. I'm finally getting an egg a day again (knock on wood) with two hens being back to normal. I think they are both laying every other day, but managing to rotate it so that I get one egg a day. I'm still trying to break the last broody who is determined to sit on air, or ice cubes, or whatever, but at least she's gotten less evil so I can push her off the nest without getting pecked and she's at least eating and things, so she's not losing weight (broody hens can really tear themselves up refusing to move from the nest). So, here's hoping she snaps out of it here sometime soon. The eggs are definitely coming in handy with the amount of baking and things I've started doing around here. I've been using up straw that I had left over from when I chicken sat the chickens last year to help pad out their bedding in the coop and nesting boxes and they seem happy with it, so I yay for saving money that way.
7. I managed to pad out three pounds of hamburger into a lot of different meals. I split the package in half and used one half to make taco meat, which we had tacos for dinner two nights, my husband had tacos for lunch at work one day and we had taco salad for lunches today to use up the rest of the taco meat. The other half I made into hamburgers for dinner one night with a left over hamburger (which I made with the others and withheld from dinner) for my husband to bring for lunch the next day. I still had about 1/4 of a lb of hamburger left, so I used that with some little odds and ends of left over beef roast to make beef stroganoff one night. Using pasta to REALLY pad out the dish a lot we were able to get enough to all have a good sized portion for dinner and then my husband and I had the rest for lunches the next day. Not bad for a 10.00 sale value pack of 80% lean hamburger I'd say.
8. While I was sweating profusely worriedly shopping today, my husband took my son for a drive and stopped off at one of our local used stores where the owners are really nice and know that I collect vintage Tupperware. My husband was juggling my son and stopped and talked to the owners for a little bit and explained why we hadn't been in in a long time, and they smiled and said they had a present for me. They handed my husband a bag with a set of vintage picnic Tupperware salt and pepper shakers. I couldn't believe they would give me something like that for free and was really touched they thought of me :).
9. I used some organic yogurt I had in the fridge and a quart of discounted milk I bought (it was a dollar and some change) to make home made yogurt (photo seen up top). I found years ago that yogurt can be used for a lot of different things. One of my favorite uses is straining it and using it as a replacement for sour cream on baked potatoes and things. We almost prefer it to sour cream and it has probiotic goodness that way :).
And now for a quick garden update...
So, I drafted my husband's help and we went and dug up some tarps from the garage to cover the garden, mason jars covering the lettuces and all, the first night. Then I went looking around hoping I had some plastic from when we got new mattresses or something to cover the seedlings as much as I could so they could get light and things when covered up (think REALLY poor man's green house) and I found the plastic that I had saved from when I got my son's new mattress and used that and the old little kids chairs that I've used on the garden more and more over the years to make a quicky green house. The lettuces are also protected under the tarps and things by a second layer of protection with the mason jars just to be safe from any cold air seeping through the plastic (since it's not exactly air tight or anything). I think I might lose a couple of the lettuce seedlings that were kind of sick looking when I put them in a ground, but I have about six of them, at least, that are looking good so far and I THINK I have some seeds starting to pop up. I am going to use the containers that I just emptied putting the seedlings in the ground to plant more lettuce seedlings and things in the garage. Hopefully this system will keep everything safe and healthy (I take off the tarps during the day to get them air and light and water them and such) and growing and stop the cold from killing things off (this summer so far is looking pretty cold and miserable, so we'll see how it goes). We are supposed to have nasty wind tomorrow on top of everything, so the garden is looking like more and more of a fight this year. So far, at least, I'm holding my own against the weather.
I am hoping to be able to afford a nice big roll of thick plastic here and then if I can do that I'll tear apart some old box springs and things to get the wood I need to make some mini-greenhouse frames...actually I wish I had disposable income to spare since I finally found a greenhouse that will ship to Alaska from Amazon that is actually decently affordable, but if wishes were fishes we'd all eat for a lifetime :).
And yeah, so there you are folks. Some of the frugal events of the past week with me. How did you all do?