Saturday, July 1, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (and Garden Update)

 Advanced warning.  I didn't get any pictures of the garden this week.  It's been pretty rainy and today while it was sunny (which is definitely rare this summer) my husband was out mowing the lawn and by the time he and the daughter got done with yard work (she even drove the lawn mower for quite a while!), the rain moved in, so of the garden didn't get done this week.  But hey, it'll seem extraordinary when you see the photos next week right?

This week could be symbolized by a coffee pot full of coffee like the one seen up top that I brewed up this morning.  We had two appointments this week, the allergist and the dentist for the kids, on top of summer school, running multiple errands and other things.  And then Thursday night the son decided not to sleep.  At all.  He took a half an hour nap from 11:00 to 11:30 at night.  I, dumbly, thought he was down for the night and so I got some house work done before going to bed myself.  I never got there.  Clark, bless him, actually got home from work, slept for three hours and then went with us to the dentist as I was pretty certain there was no way I was up to driving.  Bright side, no cavities!  That's always a relief.  The allergy shot got done with minimal drama, which was good as well.  But yeah, between the running and the son not sleeping well BEFORE his stint of 24 hours on 1/2 an hour of sleep, I was just beyond exhausted yesterday and today, even though I got seven hours of sleep last night (the husband woke me up at seven and I couldn't get back to sleep) I'm still really really tired.  Today I spent just getting as much laundry caught up as possible and getting my kitchen cleaned and things.  I ran into a bag of coconut in the pantry today that I looked the date and realized it needed to be used up, so I ended up making coconut lemon bars (it was a recipe on the back of the coconut bag, but instead of a coconut crust thing they wanted you to make, I made a graham cracker crust turned out pretty yummy!) and I spent most of the day just juggling housework while also keeping up with the son unit.  I can't wait till he crashes (please let him crash) for the night so I can hopefully get a decent amount of sleep tonight.  I can hope anyway.

But, yeah, in between everything that happened this week, believe it or not I was able to get some frugal things done!

1.  Grocery shopping went...well it went this week, although really I did do well with what I spent, but I just feel bad that I spent so much.  I ended up spending way more than I wanted to, but we were out of so many things because my son is going through an "eat all food and drink all preferred liquids" phase on top of me running out of garbage bags and a few other pretty spendy side line items.  I did pass on getting dish washing detergent and rinse aid, even though I was out of both, because I realized that I had bottles of dish soap still under the sink and replenishing the dish washing detergent and rinse aid would be adding about 15.00 onto my shopping bill and that I just wasn't going to do right now (home made stuff just doesn't work with our water).  Oddly enough, even though I spent about two times what I have been spending, I still spent less than my old grocery budget used to be for one week (which this was for two weeks that I was shopping for) and I ended up with a good load of groceries.  I even impressed my husband with how much I'd gotten on so little.

I was able to massively stack coupons this week with personalized prices or sale prices stacked with coupons.  Carrs had Hefty freezer or storage slider bags on sale for 1.49 each with a coupon you could either clip from the ad or load onto your card.  I loaded it on my card and also was able to load a coupon for 1.00/2 for the bags and had a paper coupon for one dollar off another two.  So, all totaled I got four boxes of Hefty freezer bags (quart sized as they didn't carry the gallon ones in a smaller count size so they weren't on sale...I know weird) for .99 each.  That'll last me quite a while :).

I also got a package of pork chops, six total, for 3.54 as they were reduced 50% off. 

2.  When we checked out at the grocery store, I ended up going over the minimum to get four times the gas rewards than normal (the minimum on my personalized price this week was 75.00).  So my husband was able to fill up his truck for work for about ten dollars less than he normally would have.  Woohoo for that!

3.  Also when I checked out at the store a coupon printed off for a free pint of ice cream.  I had to run back into the store for my daughter to use the bathroom (as we were running to pick up my son from school RIGHT after shopping due to the way the schedule worked out), so we ran and redeemed the coupon for the ice cream while we were in the store.  We got the last pint of chocolate (my daughter was thrilled *laugh*.

4.  Instead of buying hot dogs at the store for Fourth of July, I went home after shopping and dug around in my freezer hoping I'd find a package or two of hot dogs.  I found some!  So, yeah for not spending money on something I didn't need to buy!

5.  When I ran out of paper towels upstairs, I decided I wasn't going to get another roll out of the few I had left to put upstairs.  Instead I pulled out the cloth napkins, pulled out a bunch of dish rags and things and told my family what to grab for what job.  I am reserving what is left of the paper towels for cat accidents (I'm sorry, but it's a personal thing...I just will NOT touch that stuff unless I'm throwing away the thing that touched it...too gross for me).  So far, so good.  It works when you are the only one who really knows where the paper towels are to help control paper towel usage around the home *laugh*.

6.  My mom gave me a lecture about not taking care of myself and sent me some new sneakers.  I was really touched by the gesture and really thrilled to get the new sneakers (thanks, mom!).

7.  I mended yet MORE holes in comforters this week.  And I've got to rebuild my son's favorite comforter here yet this weekend somehow (it's kind of mends on top of mends, but he loves the thing).
8.  I harvested a bunch of rhubarb and lettuce from the garden (re-showing the picture from the menu plan due to lack of garden pictures later *laugh*).  I froze the rhubarb and we've been eating the lettuce in salads and things.  I love having fresh produce this time of year!

9.  Turns out one of the bugs that we are infested with this summer is ticks.  Yes, fellow local Alaskans reading this...ticks!  People on some of my farming groups are showing pictures of the squirrels and the shrews and things that they are catching in traps and they are severely infested with squirrel ticks.  Our cat Prince has been having a field day this summer killing vermin indiscriminately, which was great, until he came home with two ticks this last week.  Seriously, it took me a few minutes to recognize a tick when I saw one as they are NOT something I've had to deal with since moving up here.  Between that and a severe bear problem that we're having this year all over the state (we've had two people in the state mauled to death by bears in the last month and a bear broke through a boy's bedroom window in Anchorage this week...we have a grizzly sighted less than five minutes from my house as well, so yeah...not a fun summer to be out camping or anything), the cats are under house arrest for now.  They aren't happy about it and are stalking me on a regular basis. 

Not buying it?  I'll prove it to you!

"Oh gee, human, you need to go out and dump the garbage?  You'll have to get through me to get there!"

"Hey, food giver.  Can I have freedom now?"

In short, they are driving me nuts.  But, it's the cheapest way to stop insect infestation and the best way to keep them out of harm's way for the time being.
10.  I was cleaning off the top of my fridge and came across a bamboo top that came with a big plastic bowl that my daughter managed to stand on and break a while back (which was a sad day for me as I really liked the was like heavy duty melamine too, which nearly impressed me when I saw she managed to break it).  I looked at the old top for a minute and had a light bulb go off over my head type of moment.  All I have are large cutting boards and it's kind of a pain to pull out a super big cutting board when you just want to say, cut up a loaf of bread or something.  So, I turned the top (which is actually pretty thick as it was meant as a stacking type of top for the bowl for picnic gatherings) into a small cutting board.  I find myself using it more and more instead of pulling out my huge cutting boards to cut up small amounts of bread, fruits or vegetables.  Pretty great repurpose if I do say so myself :).

As for the garden update...

Well the beans are growing despite something trying to eat the really young shoots as they come out of the ground.  The shoots, once they reach a certain height or maturity, whatever it is seems to leave them alone, so I'm hoping to get enough beans to survive to make a decent amount of beans later on. 

The peas are starting to flower and are growing like mad still.

The lettuce, despite having been heavily harvested this week is almost ready to harvest again.  Which is one of the reasons I LOVE growing lettuce in the garden.  It recoups fast!

I harvested a bunch of dill and basil from the Aerogarden this week.  The parsley is growing, but still WAY far behind the other two plants.  I'm really impressed with how fast and prolifically the dill grows in the hydroponics garden.  I'm harvesting it about once every other day so it doesn't burn itself on the growth light it grows so fast.  It's impressive!

And the weather report is calling for more rain.  We're up to about five sunny days this summer so far.  Kind of depressing and bad on the energy levels for sure.

And there you are folks.  Some of my frugal adventures this week.  How did you do?


  1. Instead of buying dish washer rinse aid I fill the compartment with white vinegar. It is a much cheaper alternative and all natural.

  2. Wow! Great job saving money this week. I'm pretty sure you can substitute vinegar for the dishwasher rinse aid. I do, and use with homemade dishwasher tabs. I found the recipe on "My Abundant Life" blog that Belinda lists under Australian blogs. The tabs and vinegar rinse work great for me, but I don't have "hard" water.
    Scary about the bears mauling people, especially breaking in the boy's window.
    I hope the rain breaks and you get lot's more garden produce. Take care, Ellie

  3. How is your husband adjusting to night shift? How is the new shift affecting you and the kids? I am really impressed that you are able to function at all with so litttle sleep. I hope the sleep situation evens out for you and your son soon.

    I agree with the vinegar instead of Jet Dry, and I've used baking soda with just a couple of drops of hand washing dish detergent in my dishwasher before with very good results. Just a little bit of dish detergent doesn't make too many suds. You could also set the dishwasher to pots and pans and just use baking soda. I'm sure the extra hot water cycle would help clean the dishes. I just don't see how you will have time to hand wash the dishes.

    I'm curious about the lemon bars. Was there cream cheese involved? I have some graham cracker crumbs that need using up... I will do a Google search.

    I smith finished teaching summer school and look forward to relaxing as much as possible during the month of July. My garden is growing well. I just picked several tomatoes today.

    1. With the night shift he's adjusting. He has bad days here and there, but overall he seems to do okay. The kids...well Alvah definitely gets cranky if he doesn't see dad enough, but for the most part he's adapting.

      The lemon bar recipe I used is this one, but I used a graham cracker crust instead of the one they have as I had graham cracker crumbs to use up...

    2. Thanks so much for the reply and the link to the recipe! I'm glad things are going as well as can be expected with the new schedule. I don't think I could ever work nights!

  4. Our tomatoes are doing really well--we have been enjoying lots of bacon and tomato sandwiches-yum. Our blueberries have done better than anticipated- we had a late freeze here in Ga. and it impacted the blueberries and peaches big time- so I am pleased with what I have picked and been able to freeze. I also got the coupon for the free pint of ice cream (glad it was free as I can't imagine ever paying $3.99 for a pint of ice cream) and I picked up the birthday cake variety. I could only eat 1/2 cup- was it ever sweet!! Thank heavens we have a great neighbor ( he is our Mickey) and he always delights in any foods I give him. I have been cleaning out as I have decided to embrace a minimalist lifestyle. I have just a couple areas in our home and I will be thru with the clean out process. I already feel so much freer. Hope your son sleeps more this coming week- have a Happy July 4th.

  5. I also got the ice cream coupon, so will use it next week. We have over spent the last few weeks so I am going to Crack down and make them wait in the car next week lol. My in laws are coming to visit for a week along with their one stillman home. He's 34 and eats like a horse. So going to see what I can do to make everyone happy with meals. My MIL won't eat any meat but red, my FIL has recent blood clots so can't have greens, and my BIL only likes to eat protein. We hardly have meat, it's so expensive so it will be interesting!

  6. You can cover your comforter with 2 flat sheets. I picked 2 up at a thrift store and sewed them around the edge of the comforter. It works great. I think I spent 4 dollars and about 2 hours

  7. I just wanted to tell you that your children are beautiful! And to be safe from those bears!!

  8. I can't tell you the lengths we have gone to, especially my mother, to keep re-making my nephew's blankie. I've re-backed it with flannel one time, retaining the front. Then, a couple of years later, my mom actually recreated the designs on the front, sewing them over with new fabric and sewing that on top, taking care not to fix the top where he has chewed it into strings--those are important to him! It's a whole project just keeping that blanket in one piece, especially since he chews on it so much:)