Friday, January 22, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Tired of seeing pictures of groceries yet?  *Laugh* Sorry about that, but I've been mainly busy cleaning this week (more on that later) and I didn't get to do much satellite things, thus you get to see a pic of the freebies my friend gave me from the week of freebies Fred Meyer did last week.

So, onto money saving endeavors for this week!

1.  My friend gave me her freebies she'd gotten from Fred Meyer during their week of freebies (deja vu ;).  Thanks again for the freebies, Stephanie!

2.  I found a way to cut costs when it comes to my beloved coffee.  I have a coffee cone vs a coffee maker as I don't have counter space (for one) and I like the taste a lot better in the coffee cone system (for two).  Unfortunately, though, this goes through more filters then a coffee maker and I got through 2 TBS of coffee every time I make a cup.  I tried a permanent filter, but I have a colon condition that doesn't take sediment in coffee well, at all (learned that the hard way), so I have to stick with the paper filters.

So, I decided to boil more water and see if I could get two cups of coffee from the same grounds.  This has never worked if I tried to make a fresh cup after the coffee grounds had cooled and settled, but I've found this week that it does work if I immediately make a second cup as soon as I finish the first (I just quickly scoot the cone to another mug as soon as the first one is filled and continue to make coffee with more water).  This makes a slightly weaker second cup of coffee (and I think it gives me less caffeine, honestly, as I've noticed the difference), but it works and will cut my coffee ground and filter consumption in half.  So, win win!

3.  I have, triumphantly,  gotten my house FINALLY cleaned, got my laundry caught up and have started to implement a cleaning schedule.  So far it is working great.  So, be prepared for a post on how I did it as I learned a lot via trial and error this time around.

4.  My daughter got a slip for Christmas that she has officially decided to cling to as her nightgown.  Since she only has one nightgown now she's wearing it constantly, which it seems that a slip really isn't meant to take that kind of usage.  So, when folding it yesterday, I found that the shoulder straps were  all messed up from the seams letting go in the wash.  I mended them by hand and my daughter is none the wiser that it ever had an issue.

5.  I also fixed an elastic waistband on some jeans of my daughters as the waist desperately needed to be taken in for her.

6.  I have been unplugging anything that goes into "stay on" mode during the day (TV's and the like) to cut down on electricity.  I've also been turning off lights as much as possible. 

7.  Instead of turning on our overhead fluorescent lights in our den when I leave the house to go somewhere, I've started turning on our hallway light instead.  1 LED light bulb, I figure, is going to consume less electricity than a bank of overhead florescent lights.

8.  I've been turning down the heat by two degrees during the day and turning off the electric heat in the bedrooms.  I have an alarm I programmed into my cell phone to remind me to turn it all back on before I pick up the kids from school.  This warms the house up before the kids get home, but still allows me to save the electricity and gas during the day.

9.  I found ham for .99 lb at the store yesterday (this is in Palmer Carrs to anyone interested) as they are liquidating their overstock of Christmas hams.  I got a 10 lb ham and am going to slice it thin for deli meat with my electric knife, cut any odd shaped pieces off and mix that with Spam, grind it up and use it for ham salad.  And of course the ham bone goes without saying as that just makes beans so yummy!

I also got 3 lbs of ground sirloin (90% lean) for 7.48 on reduced.  I'm going to use that and mix it with my lesser quality hamburger I bought last week to make it last longer.

After buying said items and getting regular groceries I am, so far, 80.00 under my regular grocery budget.  I'm hoping I can keep close to that as I want to put 40.00 of that aside for the "Living off Essentials Challenge" and then put another 20.00 toward getting my cell phone recharged.

10.  Continued to take inventory of the pantry and organize it for the coming months.  Made a quick list of the few essential items I need (bread flour is at the top of my list right now).  I'll pick those up next week on my regular grocery shopping trip so once February rolls around I'll hopefully be prepared to not go to the store much.

And there you have it folks.  My money saving endeavors this week.  How did you do?  


  1. You have been doing really well! I noticed that one of the Walmarts I go to also had a bunch of hams marked down. I still have one in my big freezer and I am kicking myself for not picking up another.

  2. By any chance do you have Sprouts there? I go there for cheap, good quality fruits and veggies and awesome bulk bin items, but had never paid attention to the meats, because I thought they were high. I check yesterday and got boneless, skinless chicken tenders for $1.69 lb and roast for $2.99 lb. Hamburger meat is higher than that lately and these were not marked down meats, which are what I buy a lot of. Sad, but I was so excited over the tenders because I hate those giant slabs of chicken breasts.

    I am a tiny bit envious of your clean house. However, I am sitting here catching up on my blog reading when I should be cleaning. :). I am home alon though! Well, I am home alone a lot, but am usually working when I am, because I work from home.

    That FitKitchen meal in your picture looks good!

    My biggest cost savings this week was huge. Sadly, didn't compensate for extra expenses but when we got the estimate for the pump for our lift station (required because we are below street level and have to pump sewer up to the street), it was over $1800 and that didn't include the $108 original service call or the $500 installation. I googled the pump number and found it for $862 shipped. To be clear, I had provided the part number to the plumber, because we had to replace the other pump two years ago so I didn't feel bad about doing this. I called and talked to them carefully, because I need them to install it, but gee whiz, a thousand dollar difference! He said it was fine and they are willing to install it even if I didn't buy it through them. So whew! So at least we are out $1,000 less than we would have been.

    1. I wish we had a Sprouts, or an Aldi, or an Ikea (gee just went on a mental vacation there *laugh*), but we don't. Maybe someday.

      Usually in my experience with my husband being in the trades, if you want to buy your own materials to install they don't have problems with it. BUT if you have problems with said material, they'll warranty their work, but not the item, so it's give or take. Personally I would have done exactly as you did. That's some awesome savings right there!

  3. Wow, what a nice friend you have! That is so kind of her to give you her freebies from the grocery store (and I'm not tired of seeing your grocery freebies, either).

    Great job with staying on point with your grocery budget this week. That included finding some awesome meat deals, too! Sounds like your making an valiant effort to keep your freezer stocked with a variety of meats for February, which should help. I've been watching for inexpensive packages of sausages to add to my freezer (though I'm picky about what kinds). I find that one or two cooked sausages added to pasta, rice or on pizza for the family adds just a bit of variety to our meals without being too expensive.

    As for your coffee, could you mix the two runs from the same coffee grounds together to help balance out the coffee strength? Perhaps you could pour them into a teapot or something like that, then pour yourself a cup of coffee from the pot. Just a thought anyways.

    Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your nice clean house this week, Erika!

    1. I am very grateful for the freebies, for sure :). I think she might get tired of me telling her thank you four or five times each time she gives them to me *laugh*.

      When it came to the meat, I've been trying to send my husband to work with lunches the last little bit and he's been willing to do sandwiches, so I've been buying deli meat for the first time in years (it's about 10.00 to even eat at McDonalds for one person up here through the value menu. This is usually the "sticker shock" item for vacationers up here. They can't believe that eating out costs so much, but it does). It hurts, but is saving us money. But when I saw the ham, I couldn't pass up 10 lbs for the price of 2 lbs of deli meat on sale *laugh*. So, the husband is going to have to deal with ham sandwiches for a while ;).

      I have been looking FOREVER for good prices on sausage. Odd that pork went down in price, but sausage doesn't seem to. I mainly wanted to get some because a TON of really good stretching it types of recipes from my WWII British rationing cookbooks call for sausage and I'm pretty sure there really isn't a good sub for sausage in recipes.

      I've tried everything with the coffee to make it stretch further and doing it the way I am now is the only way I could find that didn't negatively impact my stomach. It's not too bad, though. The coffee is a little bit weaker and all on the second run, but it saves me from adding more milk to it like I do the first cup. So, I'm grateful of the savings, however minute :).

    2. If you grind the pork, you can use spices and make it into sausage. Cooperative Extension has recipes and they are available on line. In Fairbanks, Coop. Ext. sometimes holds an evening class on how to make sausage, so perhaps they have something like that in Palmer or Wasilla.

    3. That's a good idea. I haven't had much luck selling my family on home made sausage in the past, but if I use home ground pork (bits and pieces left over from cutting up roasts and such) and then mix it into a dish, would they notice? Might be worth an experiment or two. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Great job! I also need to come up with some $$ somehow out of the regular budget and you are inspiring!

    The "recipe" I had always heard for reusing coffee grounds a second day in a cone is: First time, use as you always do. Second time, add half the amount that you normally would to the "used" coffee grounds. It doesn't cut the grounds used down as much as your way, but it does reduce both the filter and grounds used and is supposed to make the same strength coffee. I used to do this, and may go back to it...

    1. Cool. Thanks for sharing. On days where I desperately need that full strength second cup of coffee, I'll definitely try this. Thanks again!

  5. Great find on the ham! I have two still in my freezer because I seriously overestimated how much my husband and I would eat when I last bought them, but it is hard to pass up good deals like that.

    Good luck as you continue to eat from your food storage first and foremost. That takes creativity! I wonder, have you considered add more meatless meals to your weekly food plans? I know that it can be a huge adjustment if you are accustomed to eating meat regularly and/or if vegetarianism is considered kind of an "out there" eating/lifestyle. :) But we save a lot of money (and, I think, eat a bit more healthfully) by eating around 50% vegetarian, more some weeks. Both of us were vegetarians for long periods of time independently before we met and got married, so familiarity with ingredients and the willingness to eat this way were already there, which I recognize is a huge component in making a switch. If you have a library card and a nearby library, I would recommend the following cookbook authors if you are interested: Deborah Madison (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone), the Moosewood Collective (all of the moosewood restaurant cookbooks), Mollie Katzen (Vegetable Heaven and the Heart of the Plate), Anna Thomas (the Vegetarian Epicure and Love Soup) and Crescent Dragonwagon (whose book I cannot remember off the top of my head, but it is huge and orange). I also really like the Budget Bytes website and the Good Cheap Eats website (neither are vegetarian) for inspiration when nothing in my cookbooks appeal.

    Best of luck!!

    1. We have, through the years, tried eating meatless meals multiple times a week. Unfortunately, if we do that, my husband's health starts to seriously suffer. His mood goes downhill, he gets colds much easier (despite taking vitamins), etc. We finally came to the conclusion that there was no way he'd be able to survive on a vegetarian diet.

      Now me, I can give up meat multiple times a week without any negative effects. Although, I have noticed that once I cut portions back that I do, indeed, start to seriously crave red meat and other protein, so I'm kind of glad we have the meat to eat. I've actually got about four vegetarian cookbooks in my stash for inspiration. Claire Criscuolo's cookbooks are pretty good and give some nice recipes for things like lentil soup and such :).

  6. I just read on another blog that Fred Meyer sometimes sprinkles coupons for completely free items in with the other digital coupons. Apparently there was a coupon for a free boxed cake mix and for free hot dogs, among other things.

    1. Yeah, I always seem to miss those *laugh*. I used to be able to stay on top of those during the hey days of coupons, but now a days I don't really stay on top of the coupon blogs like I used to and deals slip past me.

  7. Seems to me you did very well this week Erika. I used to buy hams and slice as you're doing. They were good value for the money. And then you've the ham bone to make a tasty soup with.