Friday, November 4, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I'm not sure whether to say that it was a good or bad week on the money saving front.  I mean, having to pay my doctor visit and labs this week just sucked money out of the checking account so quick I had heart palpitations and a mini-panic attack, but another part of me is just glad that I had the money IN the checking account to be able to pay the bill to begin with.  So, I guess it's kind of a ying yang type of week.

There are definitely some good things that happened this week, though, so let's focus on those!

1.  I went shopping today armed with my Fred Meyer Rewards Rebate, which was nice and big due to the big rewards program they had going during the weekends and things over the last quarter.  I was also armed with some favorite customer coupons they'd sent over the last couple of months, so I went to Fred Meyer to see what I could get cheap and then I swung over to Carrs armed with personalized prices, E-coupons, regular coupons and everything that I wanted to get in their sales ad marked really carefully on a piece of paper. 

I have to say that I did pretty darned good overall!

I got the son his soda and chips at Fred Meyer as well as a thing of dried cat food (reduced because the bag was torn in the back) that I used a coupon on top of (final price was .69!).  And I got some red banded bananas (reduced) while I was there too.  All totaled at Fred Meyer after rewards rebate and coupons I spent 6.45. 

I then ran to Carrs.  Highlights of the trip were Frigo string cheese and meat combo pack for 1.49 on sale and I had a .50/1 coupon my mom had sent so I got it for .99.  I got a dozen eggs for .99 (I'm going to be using a dozen eggs to make eggnog for my husband for Christmas here as it takes about two months to "mature" so I was going to need more eggs then the dozen I have in the fridge right now).  I had a personalized price on tuna salad (which I needed for the kids), hot dog buns (for the son) and stock (I needed one more quart of vegetable stock to make my requirement for my turkey brine.  I would have made some, but I was worried I would haven't have time).   The tater tots were on sale with an E-Coupon and the Ore Ida frozen fries were cheap with a personalized price (the only type of french fries I can get my son to eat that aren't McDonalds or Red Robin originated).  I also got ice cream (had a coupon that made it cheap) and cat litter (on 5.00 Friday and also had a manufacturer coupon on it).  All totaled after coupons and discounts were taken I spent a total of 29.57 at Carrs.

So all totaled I spent 36.02 on groceries this week.  And I was even able to get things crossed off the list for Thanksgiving (cranberries, oranges and vegetable stock).  So woohoo!
2.  I got some freebies this week!  I was able to get my last two stickers (thanks to my favorite cashier for giving me so many stickers that others didn't want when he realized that I didn't just want the pan I had my eye on, but that I needed it, or I never would have made the January deadline for the giveaway I think) to get my new pancake pan for free =D.  I nearly skipped out of the store I was so thrilled.  I also got a coupon a couple of days ago for a free box of popcorn courtesy of Jolly Time popcorn to celebrate National Popcorn Month.  So yay for free food and free pans!!!

I am so going to write a nice letter about a couple of cashiers at Carrs and how nice they've been to me.   I won't go into details in case they might get in trouble (I'm not sure what the rules are for holding onto stickers people don't want and things), but I just want corporate to give them kudos for being such great people :).

3.  My friend was putting in a big seed order for her hoop house because when is a better time to order seeds than right when winter starts, right?  *Laugh*.  She asked if I'd like to order some seeds too and she'd pick up the tab on shipping and she also had a code to get a certain percentage off on seeds.  So, I put in an order for some seeds with her and got them this week.

I ordered some cool stuff.  I found a Swiss Chard that matures in a month and you can harvest it in the "baby" stage to use as a spinach like dish or you can let it grow to full maturity, so if I rotate my crops right I should be able to save myself having to plant spinach and chard and instead just plant this instead.  I also found a Rutabaga that is 90 days to harvest and a pole bean that you can eat as a green bean or let grow and use as a dried bean that is purple when mature (yes, I thought that was neat *laugh*).  And the best part?  70 DAYS to maturity!!!  So hopefully warm weather will set in quickly next summer to help the beans to grow as I'm really enthusiastic to give them a shot. 

My real "experimental" plant for this coming summer is one my mom insisted I get as her grandmother always grew it.  It's called Salsify.  It's a root vegetable, kind of like a carrot, but the kicker is that the root tastes like oysters, so it's great for a mock oyster stew and other "seafood" applications, but you're actually eating a veggie.  Since I love the taste of mollusks, but am not a big fan of the grit involved and really with high cholesterol I'm not really thrilled at the idea of consuming too many of them (that and the quality of mollusks up here ain't great at the stores in my experience, believe it or not), this plant really intrigued me, so I am going to give it a shot.  My mom said it's super yummy, so if she's wrong I can blame her ;).  It's got a lonnnnnngggg growing cycle (16 to 25 weeks), so here's hoping I can work the soil early or maybe start them inside?  If they aren't ready by the time the snow flies, the roots are supposedly really hardy and you can leave them in the ground until the following April, so this will be an interesting experiment for sure.  Might I just say that I love heirloom varieties of seeds?  Not only can you collect the seeds to use for another year, but also there are so many different varieties of plants that you can find now that it's just cool.

I shared some of my seeds with my friend and she "bought" the seeds from me to try so all totaled I spent 5.00 on the seeds, which the seeds would have cost me probably about 15.00 if I'd ordered them by myself.  So, I was happy with the money saved there.

Oh in case anyone is interested in where I got the seeds from, I got them from Victory Seed Company.  The seeds I ordered were...
  • Salsify
  • Rutabaga (Swedes) "Nadmorska"
  • Swiss Chard "Barese"
  • Pole Bean "Bergin" (purple at maturity)
  • Bush Bean "Gross Brother's Vermont Cranberry"  (65 to 85 days to maturity)...I wasn't sure which I wanted to grow...bush or pole, so I got seeds for both.
4.    One of our blog readers (thanks, Jeannie!) gave me some advice on my Shopping Goals post when I talked about not wanting to mill wheat with my manual wheat grinder as it was killing my arm and she suggested using a coffee grinder.  So, today I pulled out "old faithful" (my little Braun coffee grinder) and slowly but surely ground about a #10 can's worth of wheat.  The wheat came out pretty coarsely ground, but the coffee grinder did the job.  So, yay for having whole wheat flour to mix in with baked goods!  I found that all of the flours I'd gotten with my "variety pack" from Amazon are bread flour blends too, so yeah, we're set on whole grain breads for a while.  Looking forward to giving the flours a try.  Hopefully they'll make lots of yummy bread for us to eat this winter :).

5.  By shopping around for where to get my ultrasound done, I'm going to be saving about 700.00.  See, comp shopping works, even on medical things!

6.  I joined a couple canning groups on Facebook to see if I could get any good inspiration on things to can later on and I found a recipe for canned coleslaw through one of the members.  A couple of the admins on the pages are people who work or have worked for the cooperative extension services in their areas and they said the recipe is safe to can, so I'm really intrigued with this one as people said it's really yummy.  Cheap to make and can too!  I'm going to try making it as soon as I have some jars emptied out.

7.  I started weeding out things from my closet in my master bedroom and getting rid of things that don't fit me anymore or I just don't see myself wearing in the next 10 years or so.  My plan is to empty said closet out, go through everything and then move my husband's and my dressers into the closet, one on either side of said closet.  That way we'll both have our dressers in the closet and a small area to hang up clothes as well.  This, I'm hoping will help curb my husband's want to hoard pretty much everything including clothing (he takes up about 85% of our closet space right now and I share the other 15% with the kid's out of season coats and things...and no I'm not kidding) and will also declutter our room a bit, which has so much furniture stuffed into it between it acting as a bedroom and office space that it kind of drives me nuts.

8.  I was going to buy some soup on sale at the store this week, but instead I made some soup yesterday and somehow found holes in the freezer to stick it in.  It's not quite as convenient as canned soup because I'll have to defrost it, but it was cheaper to make it with materials I already had than buying it.

9.  My diet is going well and I've so far lost six pounds.  The double benefit to dieting like I do, where I cut down carbs and cut sugar WAY down, is that I find myself craving water instead of sugary beverages more so it's definitely cost effective to do :).

10.  I had an image I really wanted to put on a t-shirt for Christmas for my husband, but knew we weren't going to have the money to get new ink cartridges anytime soon so I wasn't sure what to do.  I ended up getting a coupon code for a free mug in my inbox and I had a credit with the company from an earlier order (which was a long while ago so I was surprised it was still in there) that had gotten all screwed up, so between the coupon code for the free mug and my credit I was able to get a mug with the image I'd wanted to put onto a t-shirt for my husband and I got the shipping for free too.  It's not quite a t-shirt, but I think he'll like it all the same.  Here's hoping this order isn't screwed up (this is the first time I've ordered from them since the last order came in all screwy, so we shall see).

And there you are folks.  My frugal adventures this week in a nutshell.  How did you do?


  1. I think the mug will last longer than the shirt so it may work out better in the long term.

    1. Yeah, I thought about that last night. Another point in the mug's favor is if my husband gets a shirt he really likes he doesn't wear it. Instead he saves it to wear to somewhere he considers special. So really the mug will see more use :).

  2. I got in on a mug deal too awhile back and got it for one of my sons for Christmas. It has pictures of his boys (our grandsons) on it. I know he will love it!

  3. Hi Erika,
    I have been reading your blog for a while, but have never commented before. I think you are doing a great job in a difficult circumstance and want to encourage you to keep up the good work!

    I have canned coleslaw in the past using a similar recipe from the "More with Less" cookbook. I even used pretty much the same method as the post you linked to, without adding the green pepper. It turned out great and it was so nice to open up in the middle of winter when the price of cabbage, etc was higher.


    1. Ann,

      Thats one of my favorite cookbooks!! How awesome someone else knows about it too!!!

    2. Good to know it works okay without the green pepper, as I don't think I would really like pepper flavor in my coleslaw. Thanks for the tip and thanks for commenting!

    3. Love that cookbook! I have made the coconut-custard pie every month for the past 3+yrs for our weekly town luncheon and it's usually the first to go. I really like that the recipes use very simple basic ingredients.

  4. Have you tried grinding it a 2nd time to see if the wheat gets finer?

    This week, I did get some deals, though I spent more than I ought I am sure. Today, I lucked out at the halloween 90% off at trget. I almost didnt go, because I thought it would be tomorrow. At my sons school, each year they ask parents to "adopt" a child to buy clothes and stuff for. I asked for two, one for me, one for my mom. We had assumed it would be school age kids, and had a nice little stockpile. I got the ages yesterday, and its a 2 year old boy and 2 year old girl. So, I have hardly any toys at all, but at trget, for 10 cents got finding dorey books, coloring books and stickers, I had some teddys in my gift stash, and more books so I am going to hit walmart when I dont have my kids, and see what I can find for around $50, and mom is going to get a few things too. I saw amazon had toddler shopping carts for $13, might get each one as a big sized gift. My kids always loved their carts. Not sure. I was sooo ready for school aged with all this cute stuff, lol oh well!!!

    Oh! I did get free eggs this week! The store that used to do the free turkey isnt this year, so inatead, week 4 of my 6 week free or $5 off coupon was for eggs, any brand, any size. So I got my free 36 eggs. Lol got the biggest they had!!! It was free!! They had them marked down too, if I could use them all I would, but we are overflowing on eggs. Next week is butter. Hoping to find a lot.

    1. Yeah, I tried grinding it again and coarse is as good as I can get it with my coffee grinder. I am thinking because it's older and has ground a lot of different things in the past (including nuts and things) that the grinder blades are just kind of dull. But, hey, at least it's flour :).

    2. If you have a food processor you can "blend" your wheat flour in that to make it finer. I run mine through the food processor or blender before I bake yeast breads with it to help the bread rise better. I love reading your blog! You are an amazing lady.

    3. Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely try that. If nothing else, I can make graham crackers with the flour I have, I figure *laugh*.

    4. YEA! Somebody somewhere finally followed my advice. If only I can get my sons to do the same.

  5. First of all, great job on keeping the grocery shopping under budget, Erika! Wow, $0.69 cat food and cheese/meat lunch items for $0.99...just amazing. Plus I can't believe the cost of eggs where you are. I bought eggs a few weeks ago for $1.88 and that was CHEAP! Normally I can buy them for $1.99 and up. Second, those are some AWESOME freebies! I'm so glad those cashiers were so kind and shared those extra stickers with you, so you could get the frying pan. Plus you got a Christmas gift for free, too! Your blowing my mind!

    As for the seeds, what a great friend! I'm glad you were able to get some more heirloom seeds for such a great price. By the way, I think we have grown the purple pole beans at the pioneer village I work at. They turn green once you blanch or cook them, and taste just like regular green beans. The canned coleslaw looks interesting, too. Might have to try this, since we can't usually eat a whole cabbage head before it goes bad. My mom and I love coleslaw.

    I'm glad you were able to freeze some homemade soup for quick meals. Just a FYI, I sit frozen items in hot tap water to quickly thaw them. It doesn't even have to be completely thawed for soup...just enough to pour it out of the bag or container and into a pot for warming.

    As for me, well it's been a fairly good week. My husband and I went to an auction this week. We were able to get 2 good sized boxes of various sized canning jars and even some new canning lids for $2.50 total! I now have lots of empty jars to fill. I'm glad too, as I have been finding more things to can each year and always seem to always be low of jars.

    My mother decided to make homemade fruitcake this year for Christmas. The recipe she use made so much we had to use our large stockpot to mix it all! It ended up making 2 large bunt cakes, which I cut into quarters, then packaged up 7 of the pieces with my food saver for the freezer (left on piece out for "sampling"). We half joked that we will be eating this cake for several years to come! I also found cranberries on sale for $0.99/bag (normally $1.99/bag) so I grabbed up 2 bags and froze them as well. They will be perfect for baking with, as I already have some canned cranberry sauce I picked up for $0.50/can earlier this year.

    Those are the two highlights of the week. I'm so glad you had a good week. I hope this week is even better!

    1. Wow! I'm having jar envy! I am having a jar shortage right now, although I think I dug up enough to make the canned sauerkraut so I'm all thrilled with that anyway. But, yeah, if I find any other canning recipes I want to do, I'm doomed until I empty some i think because what the used stores want for jars right now is pretty high and jars everywhere else aren't on sale anymore.

      Thanks for the tips on the beans. I saw that they said there was a purplish tinge when they are in the green bean stage, so I was curious as to how they would come out if I blanched and froze them or canned them. Definitely good to know :). Also thanks for the tip on defrosting the soup, too. I'm definitely going to give it a shot as whenever I defrost something like soup in a plastic bag (in the microwave) I'm lucky if I don't melt said plastic bag into the soup a bit and end up with a mess.

      Woah on the fruitcake. I've never found a recipe for fruitcake I like, unfortunately, although my aunt had a Polish Pound Cake recipe that was a cross between a HUGE pound cake and a fruitcake that I LOVED and it was made in a giant bunt pan...your comment brought back some really nice memories for me :). Wish I'd gotten her recipe for that. Knowing how far fruitcake goes, though, you might be eating that much for a couple of years *laugh*. That's a LOT of fruitcake.

      Wow on your price on cranberries. Up here they are normally 3.00 per bag and they don't really go on sale cheaper than that and they sell out FAST this time of year. Which is why I got my bag this week as I know how hard they are to find closer to Thanksgiving. I am hoping to get a few more bags of cranberries to put in the freezer, but I'm only going to do that if I can find room in the grocery budget for it :).

    2. Canned Coleslaw. My brain must have been really fried last night *laugh*.

  6. Hi Erika, I enjoy reading your blog and you are an inspiration when it comes to being frugal! I am wondering if you would share the canning groups you joined on FB, I belong to one but one can never be enough!

    1. This is the group on FB I belong to.....

    2. Sure one is called "Canning" and the other one is called "Crazy Canners". I'd try to link to them for you, but Facebook doesn't want to pull up for me right now :).