Friday, February 26, 2016
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap
Well, another week has come and gone on the money saving front. Luckily, by decreasing my grocery budget by so much I have been able to save some money, not much, but some. It always seems like as soon as you start saving money things happen that make you spend some of it, which is what happened to me.
I got dental work done on Monday. I'm not sure if it was getting the big fillings in my teeth, thus the dentist had to kind of rebuild the top of one of my teeth or the grinding to get the bite right, or (my theory) the Novocaine shot in my jaw, but my TMJ flared worse than it has since my nephew passed away back in 2004. I have had a constant pain in my ear, can't open my jaw all the way and had a constant migraine. Not fun by any stretch of the imagination. So, I finally called my dentist yesterday and asked if there was anything he could recommend to help as I'd been taking 800 mg of Ibuprofen every four hours for days just to function and chew alright. He prescribed me a muscle relaxant. Which was great until I had to pay for it. AFTER my insurance was applied, which thank goodness I had some, it was still 113.00 for a one month supply (and I'm only taking one pill at bedtime). Ouch!
It was great having the insurance though as that cut the price by over half for the pills. Without insurance, which would have been my situation a couple of months ago, the pills would have cost me 260.00. So yay for insurance!
And at least I'd saved some money, which made paying for the pills hurt, but wasn't devastating to the point of panic. Not ideal, but could be worse.
Anyway, now that I got to tell how I blew 100.00 in one shot, let's share how I actually saved some money this week.
1. My son's speech therapist has been having pow wows with the assisted technology gurus that she deals with and they have supported her that she should be able to get a dedicated device for my son with his adaptive communication application on it. She has to run him through a few more evaluations to make Medicaid happy, but I'm just thrilled that we might be able to get him a device with his communication app on it by the end of school. I am still saving money up to get him the app installed on his I-Pad mini we bought, but I've still got a ways to go because we have so many bills due in the next couple of months.
So, I went looking around and had a ball spending the majority of our giftcard (my husband bought himself some hard candy which took up the remainder, but it's not pictured because he kept it out in the garage).
I got myself a meat tenderizer! Remember how I kind of made due with a knife to tenderize cheap steaks the other day? Well the device above is what I was KIND OF trying to simulate. Alton Brown uses a bigger one yet, but this one will definitely get the job done on cheap cuts of meat for me and it fits in my drawers in my kitchen. I've heard these are really good if you are going to marinate meat too as the marinade will seep into the holes created by the tenderizer and flavor the meat throughout. Sounds good to me!
I also found a big ball of butcher's twine, which will come in handy when making meat rolls or steamed puddings in a dish towel or other cloth (since you need to tie the cloth shut of course).
And I also found a new spice rub to try. I've never heard of "tequila powder" but am curious to see what it tastes like. I'm really hoping this will taste good on chicken and veggies as that will be a nice new flavor to introduce to the chicken monotony *laugh*.
3. Instead of eating chicken strips and fries here for my daughter's birthday, my in-laws offered to take all of us out to eat at Red Robin. Red Robin is like one of a very limited number of restaurants we can eat at with my son's allergies, so we were more than happy to accept (since it's out of our budget for the time being for sure). The kids had a blast and got free balloons on our way out of the door and then we came home and ate birthday cake.
My daughter LOVED the bath set, thought the embroidery was pretty enough that she argued with me that she should be able to wear the nightgown as a dress (gotta love kids) and really liked the robes as well. My mother-in-law got her a couple of nightgowns, some underwear and some socks (as she put it with the underwear, "Sorry hon. Grandma's do that." *Laugh* the look of "really?" on my daughter's face was priceless though ;). Overall my daughter declared it, "The best birthday EVER!" which cracks me up because she says that about every birthday.
4. The menu plan took really curvy roads this week. I had such bad headaches that I really didn't want to do things like stand and make cornmeal pancakes for dinner, so we ended up eating leftover chicken and the fixings for a few days straight, which thank goodness my husband was okay with that as we also ended up eating chicken sandwiches for lunch as well (creativity this week was NOT my strong suit unfortunately). I'm finally feeling better so I'm thinking a nice beef stew (cooked in the thermal cooker because...well it's a new toy and I want to try it out *laugh*) and big thick loaves of bread are on the menu for tomorrow night, but we'll see how nice my jaw is to me at this point. I'm praying the worst is behind me as my ear still hurts, as does my jaw (obviously), but the radiating pain encompassing the right side of my head seems to be subsiding, which is definitely a good thing. But anyway, by having leftovers to use we at least didn't spend a fortune eating out or buying frozen dinners this week. Always nice.
5. I watched as much as I could find of "Edwardian Farm" and really enjoyed what was available. I then have gone back and started to watch "Wartime Farm" again as honestly I really really like Ruth. She's always got such a positive attitude in the show, which I'm sure we get to see her at her best and all, but she explains things in such a wonderful way and I've learned a lot just from watching her work. And "Wartime Farm" of course is the period of history I'm the most interested in, so between that and the 1940's house I have fun :).
6. I got a couple of Amazon giftcards this week by cashing in Swagbucks and I got 20.00 for having my story published on One Hundred Dollars a Month. I have so far used part of this money to order my coffee for next month for free, have ordered a year's worth of vacuum bags (nine of them) for my Kirby (plus a replacement belt) for free (13.00 for the lot plus free shipping!), and I ordered several books including the companion book to "Wartime Farm". I would like to say that I LOVE the companion books to the BBC shows. They are as good, or better, than the shows themselves and are just packed full of information in my experience. I love the companion book for "The 1940's House" and am really looking forward to getting "Wartime Farm". I love getting new books anyway, but when it is in an area that I love it's all the better :).
And I still have some money left over, which I'm saving in case I need it to order food (honestly we're good on canned goods and allergy friendly dried fruits and stuff right now, so I'm not seeing me needing it, but if nothing else it'll pay for my coffee month after next as well). It's amazing how if you shop Amazon REALLY carefully and watch prices like a hawk how good of a deal you can score on things. For instance "Wartime Farm" the book normally is pretty spendy, but I found one seller who was selling it for less than a dollar on a new listing and quickly jumped on it. It's great when that happens!
7. I mended a door frame this week. We have hollow core doors around here which we keep hoping to one day replace (the list of "wants" never ends does it?) and the door frames are really cheap in that they are two piece floating frames. The one in my son's room never has sat level so the frame will pop apart and then the door won't open and close right. With a kid that will only sleep with the door closed and when you have to get into said room multiple times a night, without cursing a door that you have to force open, it becomes somewhat of a challenge. So, I took a pry bar to level the door up where it needed to go (as the frame separated the door fell a little) and then nailed the tacks back into the wood where they needed to go. I'm really thinking of saying to heck with aesthetics and sinking some screws into the door frame, but we'll see how long my patience runs *laugh*.
8. My friend asked if she could send me some coupons in the mail and, of course, I didn't turn that down. She sent me some really nice high value coupons on cat litter and even some freebie coupons for wet cat food and Propel water. I used both yesterday to help cut my costs down on groceries. It doesn't seem like much but that one bottle of water will stretch my daughter's current stores of flavored water to last through next Thursday, which stopped me from having to purchase a six pack this week (thanks so much for the coupons, Stephanie!).
9. After much calling and fighting I finally got a bill allocated correctly so that part of our dental debt is paid off and won't come back to haunt us. About four more parts to go, but progress!
10. Despite not feeling well this week I was still able to keep on top of my cleaning schedule. I was thrilled to get my gas bill in the mail and find that despite running our dryer once or twice a day (gas dryer, obviously) by lowering the heat during the day when the kids aren't here I still lowered our bill by 30.00 and this is after a rate hike last month. I was pleased to say the least :).
So, there you are folks. Some of my money saving endeavors this week. How did you do?