Friday, November 20, 2015

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

This week was kind of up and down for me.  My son has been going to school grumpy and not wanting to work most of the morning so his teaching team came up with the idea for them to walk him down to class, instead of me taking him, and they would get him through taking his coat off and stuff quickly and run him to do some sensory seeking activities to get him in a happy mood.  This, so far, is working well for him, but I felt kind of bereft as walking him to class in the morning was an enjoyable part of my day where I got to wave bye to him and wish him a good day and talk to his teacher.  I know a good portion of my downed mood when it came to this was because I'm a helicopter parent by necessity so letting go, even when it is for their own good, is hard for me sometimes.  I know I'll get over it in a bit here and get used to the "new normal" but right now I feel kind of like I got barred from the classroom, even though I shouldn't feel that way.  Motherhood can be fun *laugh*.

My daughter was having issues with her stomach problems early in the week until the day she decided she wanted to get out of school and manipulated a poor sub nurse to get me to take her home.  After spending the entire afternoon in bed, after getting one heck of a lecture from me, and losing some privileges she thought should be rights, she's been a LOT better about not hopping down the nurse over every imagined slight.  Which is an upper for me as the last three weeks have been terrible with her getting picked up from school.

Money problems weigh heavy right now, yet at the same time I'm trying really hard to dig up holiday spirit for the sake of the kids as they both love the holidays (of course, I mean they're kids!).  It's just hard to set my worries aside for their sake.  But, I'm trying.

Christmas gifts are going well, so that was an upper to my week as well.  Soon I'll be able to focus on my husband and kids exclusively instead of worrying about extended family too, which will be a relief and ahead of schedule for me.  Usually December is just as hectic as November.  If all works according to schedule at this point I'll be done with most gifts before December starts, which means I can actually relax when it comes to making things in December.  Definitely a good thing.

Other ways I've saved money this week are...

1.  I shopped sales hard this week to get some things as cheap as I could.  I got two hams for 1.38 lb at Fred Meyer this week and got a turkey, while there and getting other things we needed, for .79 lb.  I went 20.00 over my normal grocery budget, but since I was below it the last few weeks I recouped the money I went over.  Next week is going to be a "next to no spending" week as we're pretty well stocked up at this point, so aside from getting things like milk and maybe eggs, I'm not seeing us needing much in the way of groceries.  Since we have bills coming in the next two weeks, not spending money next week can only help at this point.

2.  I got another coupon for a free container of juice from Old Orchard!  I was kind of surprised that I got it as only the first 1000 people to respond to their survey on a certain day got the coupon and I never get those, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that in the mail.

I also got my free issue of Better Homes and Gardens as part of my free subscription through Free Biz Mags (I believe that's their full name).  Sometimes they offer free magazines for just being a homemaker, and that's where I get subscriptions like these (coupon and magazine seen above).

3.  I went over to my mother-in-laws today to pick up a compact sewing machine I had bought years ago when my husband and I first got married.  This sewing machine was actually my first sewing machine.  Before then I had used my mom's sewing machine or a school's machine, but I'd never had my own.  My husband and I lived in a TEENY apartment, so I tried to buy everything compact, so I bought the sewing machine because it would fit in my closet space in a certain hole I made for one (yes, we were that tight on room).  I mended jeans and even made a fleece blanket with the sewing machine (well part of it as some of it I had to do by hand because the fleece was just too much for the little thing).

My mother-in-law had mentioned she still had it as I'd given it to her for my sister-in-laws when they were smaller after I'd gotten my nice "real" sewing machine, and asked me if I would like it back for my daughter.  I accepted as I think it will be a good machine to train my daughter on.  My sister-in-laws never used it from the look of it as my red bobbin from when I made the fleece blanket was still in it, but I'd kept everything in the box including the manual, so rock on me *laugh*.

I was going to have her help me make Christmas ornaments for the holidays with it,  but we'll see how the holidays go.  It's definitely nice to have it though, and a definite tip of the hat to my mother-in-law for throwing very few things away (thanks again for the machine, Stacey!).

4.  My husband and I did hit the used stores when we had some time together this week since the kids were in school.  We both saved money by not spending money on things we wanted that were out of our price range (which pretty much everything IS out of our price range right now) and instead if we couldn't pay with pocket change we didn't buy it.  Really I hated to walk away from things like Pyrex fridgies that I found at one used store, but at the same time I didn't need them and I felt good for being able to make that distinction, where a lot of people in the world can't.

5.  I mended two shirts this week and the zipper on my daughter's winter jacket (as seen in my Monthly Goals Updates post from Sunday).  These mends saved us a bunch of money by me doing it myself, even though messing around with my first zipper absolutely petrified me (yes, the jacket zipper was my first ever zipper install even though I have a ton of zippers...I was always so scared of messing it up).  I've made a promise to myself to mess around with zippers more to get better at doing them and so far I'm keeping my promise to myself.

6.  I stayed home a lot this week, mainly due to therapists being sick (pink eye) and son not doing great in school so I wanted to give him a couple of full days there to get more acclimated to his new schedule/routine.  Staying around the house helped me to keep on top of house work a bit better and allowed me to save money by keeping out of unnecessary stores.

7.  Instead of buying some Christmas themed fabric at the used stores for a table runner, I decided to wait and see what I could dig up around the house in holiday-like colors.  I am glad I did that as while digging through my fabric I found some Christmas themed Peanuts fabric that I had bought at Jo Ann's last year on clearance for 90% off and I even got more off still because it was end of the bolt (I remember all of that because it was some ridiculously small amount for the fabric after discounts and I was really pleased).  I'd gotten it for the price and the fact that my son loves Snoopy, but wasn't sure what I would do with it.  Now I know ;).

8.  My husband and I made sure to eat left overs as much as we could this week for lunches so that nothing would go to waste (read:  Lots of ham sandwiches, which we both enjoyed ;).

9.  I repaired a toy of my son's that had broken from him over winding it the wrong way.  I was able to take it apart and re-screw the handle that he'd managed to unscrew in his zeal.  I took some super glue and glued the handle on this time, where at the factory they had just screwed it on, so that he won't be able to unscrew it again.  He tried to screw it the wrong way once, but when it didn't react the same way he stopped and played with the toy correctly.

10.  I have been enjoying watching some shows on YouTube and Hulu this last week for free.  I've also been really enjoying listening to some good old fashioned CD's while cleaning and/or working on Christmas gifts.  I'm getting to an age where I really am preferring to listen to music vs. watching TV a lot of the time, so this was a really nice experience for me and saved energy consumption (running a CD player vs running a DVD player and the TV for instance).

11.  I got my gas bill in the mail and by turning the heat down at night and turning it down by two degrees colder than last year, so far the gas bill is coming out about 50.00 less per month than last year.  Due to REALLY cold temps the last couple of weeks and me being forced to turn up the heat a time or two, I'm not sure how much this will hold with next month's bill, but I still feel pretty good about having any savings at all because the gas company has raised their rates right along with our electric company.

And there you are folks.  Some of the ways I saved money this week.  How did you do?


  1. Excellent job on walking away from the unnecessary items at the used store, Erika! It is very easy to use shopping to sooth yourself when you're feeling anxious about finances. I know how hard that was for you to do (I've been there), so pat yourself on the back on a job well done.

    I know that you are always on the lookout for inexpensive fabric. Have you ever considered recycling clothing for some of your projects? I have a rather large stash of clothes that we no longer wear, but much of the fabric is still usable for small projects, or for piecing together quilt style for larger items. For example, a red or green plaid shirt could be recycled into a table runner for Christmas with a simple embroidered Christmas design to make it more festive.

  2. My biggest problem with recycling old clothing is that with my husband's and my clothes, I mend my mends and mend those mends. By the time they are thrown away or torn into rags...well there isn't much left of them to speak of.

    I do cut up jeans as much as I can as if you take off the legs in one piece you can make some excellent storage bags for toys and such out of them, or just save the bigger pieces of fabric for patches for other pairs of pants and stuff.

    With the kids clothes...yes...that is one area where I really should consider recycling them more and reusing them. I just hate to do it sometimes as I'd rather donate the clothing since it's still in such good shape and support one of the local thrift shops (lots of good Church charity comes out of those shops to help people :) and also to just pass the clothing along to someone who could really use it for cheap.

    I do have a small stockpile of old clothing of the kids that were some of their really favorite things to wear and I keep telling myself one of these days I'll make a quilt for the kids out of them or something, but as of yet they're sitting in box *laugh*.

  3. The worn fabric could still be useful. We make rag rugs on the looms at my work (the pioneer village) by ripping fabric into strips and sewing them together to make a fabric yarn. Traditionally, rag rugs were made from the extremely worn out fabric that was not usable for any other purpose...yet it still was useful for a floor covering.

    I realize you probably don't weave, but you can use fabric "yarn" to crochet with. Worn or stained fabric will work just fine. It doesn't all have to be the same fabric either. We've made yarn where we mix 2 or 3 different fabrics, alternating between them in a pattern as we sew them together (1 strip of one fabric, then 2 of another or whatever you want), or sometimes we just make random fabric yarn where we have a basket of whatever and sew them together. It will produce something much like the team spirit yarn you tried, only you have more control over producing it. You can use this yarn to make things like pot holders/trivets, placemats, table runners, purses/bags etc. There are tutorials on-line on different ways to make the rag rug yarn if you're interested. I'd be happy to find you a link if your interested.

  4. Just hit Pinterest and got some ideas ;). Never peak my interest in a new craft. It can be deadly *laugh*.

  5. I love new crafts that don't cost much to do. That's why I love sharing this idea. It is perfect for those of us who are trying to be careful with our spending, because it can be made from recycled things we already have.