Saturday, June 20, 2015
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update
Our temperatures here spiked into the upper 80's for most of the week. Now, I realize that to those in the Lower 48 that doesn't seem bad, but by Alaska standards? That is HOT!!!
Unfortunately, my house also, for some odd reason, retains heat better than an oven on my upper floor, so the first day it hit the lower 90's in some areas, the inside of my house was just intolerable even with the ceiling fans and going at full blast.
My husband ended up trading out labor for an air conditioner with my in-laws, so he hooked that up and between the ceiling fans and the air conditioner we were at least able to abide in our upstairs this week. My poor electric bill I don't even want to think about, but it had to be done.
Today, finally, temperatures are down to a more reasonable level and it's looking like it's going to rain, which we have fires burning in Alaska right now, so any of the drops from heaven? Greatly appreciated.
We also ended up spending money sending me to the doctor. Since about, geez, March or so, I've had a post sinus drip cough, mainly at night, that has been driving me nuts and making it miserable to get to sleep at night. I'd cycle between the cough and the occasional head cold until this last week where, on top of boiling, the kids and I got really nasty head colds. Every time I coughed it started to hurt my bronchial tubes. I do not mess with chest colds, at all, as my family has a bad tendency to get a heart infection from them and bad things happen, so I went to the doctors to get it taken care of before it got worse. 200.00 poorer now, but at least, hopefully, I can get rid of the sinus issues and the cough once and for all.
So, anyway, let's get onto the good parts of the week when it came to saving money shall we?
I harvested loads of lettuce from the garden this week, as well as oregano, rosemary, lots of parsley, chives (so thrilled to be able to harvest some of those!) and thyme. I really never get tired of being able to harvest lettuce all summer. Soon I'll be able to actively start harvesting kale and processing it for winter.
1. I can safely say, with the exception of the grocery store yesterday and the doctors, we went no where this last week unless it was me taking the kids for a short drive to sit in the car air conditioner, so we didn't spend money on much at all. Even juggling two sick kids yesterday while shopping I was able to get out of the store only spending 50.00, after not really being in the store for nearly two weeks, so that was an upper on my end. Now, did my sick addled brain forget things? Yup, but we can live without them for another week.
2. Even dealing with the easy bake oven that was my house, I was able to cook our meals at home. We had a lot of salads this last week. Pasta salad was made early in the morning to make sure it didn't heat up the house later in the day. The garden's abundance of lettuce was used to make steak salad and the crock post was used to make chicken to put on top of salad another night. It worked out. Now I'm eating the left overs for lunches during the day too, which is a double bonus, for me.
3. Despite having no energy due to the antibiotics wholloping me or my cold taking what little energy I had out of me, I was able to get a few things done around here. I made another table cloth so I could get rid of yet another one that was badly stained. I was able to find four cloth napkins buried in my pantry while looking for some refried beans, which was great since I'm trying to make napkins and place mats for the kitchen this week, so that will save me some effort.
4. Instead of trying so hard to keep the house clean (it always goes to the status of a post war apocalyptic scene when I'm sick), I focused what little energy I had to do one small chore a day. Even if it was loading a load into the dish washer to make sure we had dishes ahead for dinner that night, or cleaning the clutter off the table every night so we had a somewhat clean table to eat off of come breakfast time. I scrubbed a toilet one day in a few moments of free time while waiting for the daughter's bath to fill. I organized the tons of things in the den that are going to be used in a future garage sale to get them out of the way when I had to clean a mess the cat had made so I could vacuum later. I vacuumed every other day if I could manage it.
Sure, the husband thinks the house is a wreck because all he sees is the mounds of dirty dishes in the sink and the mess underneath my kitchen table that my son left, and I can't blame him, but at least the house will clean up pretty fast once I am 100% back on my feet. I'm feeling well enough today to hopefully tackle the laundry to get caught up on that and get my kitchen back in order. That will do wonders for the house.
5. I've been, once again, shopping from my pantry as much as I can. I'm trying to use up some of my home canned items to make room for canning season when it kicks off in a few months, so that has helped to inspire me a lot.
So, yeah, one of the lessons of Amazon. If you see something cheap that you need? Get it before the price goes nuts.
I got some more raspberry jello as my daughter found she loves it and it is cheapest on Amazon (it ended up being like 2.54 for six boxes after I ordered 5 or more items on Subscribe and Save. They max you out at one bunch of these though, which was disappointing as I really wanted to get like 3 units worth, but ah well). I got some strawberry jello as well as my daughter wanted to try it and it was cheap...right around 3.00 for six boxes of jello. Didn't realize until it got here that was sugar free, but if we can't stand it, the food bank will appreciate it.
I also got some raisins as the bag was less than 3.00 one night and I wanted raisins to use in cookies and such, so that was a nice find. And the box of pasta was .89 the same night, so I ordered one of those.
After the additional 15% off from Amazon for buying 5 or more items on Subscribe and Save I got everything for less than 10.00 (I honestly haven't added all of the small amounts up yet having been sick, but I'm thinking it was around 8.00 for all). Not bad for items that I'll use. I was especially pleased with the BBQ sauce as that went down to .74 a piece after the 15% was taken off!
A quick note to those not in the know about Subscribe and Save. Once you sign up to receive an item you don't HAVE to stay subscribed after you receive it. Amazon lets you cancel items, which is good because they don't grandfather prices in on Subscribe and Save (wish they did as I'd keep getting tons of stuff from month to month if they did that). So, like the above items? I know the odds are they are not going to go for those type of cheap of prices again, so I'll go online today, go to "Manage Subscribe and Save items" and cancel my subscriptions so I have the power to find those items cheap again when I need them if they are cheap, but I won't have to worry about paying 8.00 for a bottle of BBQ sauce come 6 months from now.
And, yeah, honestly that's about it on the money saving front this week. Now a quick update on the garden.
Some items weren't happy with the hot temperatures. I ended up watering my lettuce plants twice a day and the one lettuce plant that is out constantly in full sun I had to place one of my children's lawn chairs in front of to give it some shade as it was literally baking in the sun. That worked and the it came back to life with minimum lettuce chips resulting on the leaves.
The tomatoes on the other hand LOVED the hot house conditions this week. It was kind of crazy how quickly the plants suddenly sprouted fruit from blossoms I was worried I was going to lose a week ago (seen up top). The fruits are now going strong and I've been carefully pruning the bushes to stop additional suckers coming out under where the fruit is sprouted, to help the plants put energy into growing the fruit. I had read a lot of contradicting reports on whether pruning back tomato plants was helpful or not, but decided to give it a try. So far? I'm impressed with the results. So we'll see how big the fruit gets this year.
The pineapple sage plant came back with a vengeance the last little bit, which was great as I honestly wondered if I was going to lose it with how bad of a start it had in the garden this year.
I transplanted the Basil plant into a pot and moved it inside. The crazy fluctuating weather was just too much for the plant to handle, I think, so I moved the one part that was still alive inside. It took a little bit, but the plant is doing much better. I'm not quite sure what to do with it at this point. Part of me wants to transplant it back outside in a bit to try and let it expand, but another part of me worries that two transplants in a season will just finish the poor thing. I'll probably just keep it inside and see how it goes. So far my plant chewing cat has left it alone, so it's all good so far.
My chocolate mint plant is now spreading better as I took some advice from Brandy and started burying the chocolate mint offshoots. I had been surface burying them, but I wasn't burying them deep enough to root well I don't think, so I buried them well with surrounding dirt and the plant is doing much better (come canning season I'm going to be loving this advice, thank you Brandy!).
Oddly enough, the crazy fluctuating weather has also helped me see a reduction in the insect attacks on my plants, probably because they have grown so much that any bug attacks I see aren't endangering the plants at the current time. This, to me, was a wonderful find as it saves me time and effort from having to make insecticidal soap to spray the plants. I've seen the occasional aphid on my tomato plants, which I kill and am watching them carefully, but right now it's not too bad *knock on wood*.
And there you are. My frugal accomplishments for this week. How did you do?