Friday, December 2, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

On the money saving front this has been a pretty productive week, which was good because money is really REALLY tight right now due to the super short month last month and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and all.  I'm kind of looking forward to hibernating through December for the most part, staying at home and working on Christmas gifts and baking.  It'll help save money and keep my holiday spirits up.

We awoke yesterday to winter being officially here in the form of snowfall, which the kids got a HUGE kick out of.  And for once, today, we're getting a decent amount of snowfall and for a change we don't have to go anywhere this weekend, my husband is having to worry about snow blowing the driveway to get to work and we're saying, "Let it snow" and worrying about cleaning it up before Monday.  It's a nice feeling.

I'm hoping to take the kids out to play in the snow tomorrow, although the weather forecast was calling for the temperature to start to massively tank here this weekend, so I'm hoping we get the chance.  I'm praying that the lows in the negative fifteen category by Sunday are exaggerated, as my electric and gas bill will not love that.  At all.  For now though, the snow sure is pretty falling outside (seen from my deck door above there).

When it came to money saving things this week, though, it's been pretty productive in a lot of ways, so let's get to that!

1.  I spent a good portion of the week just plain cleaning around the house, trying to prepare to get the Christmas decorations up this weekend and working on getting the couch done.  And for a change, I am happy with all I'm getting done!  So, hey, it's cheap and it makes you feel better about your house when that happens :).

2.  Grocery shopping went well this week, although today I spent more than I wanted to.  I was hoping to spend about 20.00 and get out of the stores, but my husband went with me (my arm, in the dropping air pressures, is hurting pretty good and so he went with to help lift things and to drive).  And as any woman knows there are two universal givens.  One is to never start a land war in Asia and only slightly less known is "Never go shopping with a man when meat is on sale" (Princess Bride reference there for those curious).  I ended up walking out of the store with a big container of pork chops that were on sale as my husband LOVES pork and it was on sale relatively cheap.  I know it'll last through three meals, so it was worth the 15.00 we spent, but I still wasn't planning on spending it.

In other shopping though, I went to Fred Meyer and picked up some of the freebies from their 25 Days of Merry going on earlier in the week and then went back to pick up freebies and the "son food" today for next week.

Freebies and general good deals on groceries are seen above.  I went to Carrs and Fred Meyer.  At Fred Meyer I got the free Starburst storybook that was part of the Merry day deals and the free Dove Ice Cream bars (which my husband, daughter and I ate carefully one night this week for dessert, making sure the son was elsewhere so he wasn't exposed to anything potentially dangerous).

Also, remember how I really wanted to get some puff pastry, but figured we couldn't afford it?  I was thrilled with this one.  One of the deals on the Merry Day deals was a coupon you could load for 2.25/1 box of puff pastry and they were on sale for 4.49 per box at Fred Meyer this week.  So, I got cheap puff pastry =D.

Carrs had sugar on sale for 1.49 a bag with an E-Coupon, limit of 2, so I got my two bags.  I also had a coupon for 2.00/1 Kraft dehydrated marshmallows things that my mom had sent me from some mailer or peelie or something, so I used that to get some cheap marshmallows for hot chocolate for the kiddos.

The Gatorade drink was a freebie with an E-Coupon at Carrs and the tuna salad we just needed and I had a personalized price on it to get it for 1.89 per container this week, which was the cheapest I could find it.
At the store today, I also got the free BBQ sauce from Freebie Friday today and the free Kraft Snack Trio as well (seen above).  Okay the snack trios.  Who in the world would pay 2.00 or upwards for one of those things?  You get a tiny bit of cheese, a tiny bit of chocolate or other sweet and a tiny bit of dried fruit.  Seemed more than a little steep to me.  But, I'll eat it because it's free, of course ;).

Overall I spent 73.00 on groceries this week (ouch), but 9.00 of that was garlic stuffed olives for the son (I nearly have a heart attack when I have to buy those) and of course getting the pork chops for the husband.

3.  I managed to finish my couch with materials I had around the house, so redoing the couch cost me nothing but time, labor and about a pint of blood sacrificed to the furniture reupholstering Gods (pictures of that to come).

4.  I mended a couple of my shirts this week, in between other sewing projects.

5.  My son has been having problems with the eczema on his hands bothering him, so I switched out his gloves for another pair to see if that would help, making sure they were more cold weather friendly.  I always keep a good store of gloves and things for the kids around, always making sure to pick them up cheap when there are sales during the summer months at lawn sales or at the used stores.  This came in handy this week as I was able to just grab another pair of gloves out of the box instead of having to run and buy them full price from the stores.

6.  My husband and I spent a lot of time this week watching old shows and movies on the internet, which was fun and free.

7.  I made meals at home this week, which saved us money.  The son was even nice about eating the store bought french fries versus his beloved McDonalds french fries.  He even tried an orange today at school!!!  That is  HUGE deal as he doesn't eat much resembling food.  And one day he even ate half of his tuna salad at school too, so my husband and I are feeling pretty good about things this week!

8.  I took a survey with Fred Meyer one day to get more fuel rewards, which definitely came in handy when I went and had to get gas earlier this week.  

And there you are folks.  Some of our frugal adventures this week.  How did you do?


  1. Wow, what a gorgeous photo of your backyard!

    And it sounds like you had a good week! I managed to get some Christmas baking done. I also managed to eat an entire loaf of rum-basted fruitcake. It was so rich and delicious and fruity and nutty and I couldn't resist and didn't want to. So it is gone, I have gained a pound, and we shall never talk of this again.

    But back to my baking, I'm getting together all my non-baked Christmas cookie tin fillings, like chocolate dipped oreos and Ritz crackers sandwiched together with peanut butter and dipped in chocolate and decorated. They are the BEST eaten frozen from the freezer. Better yet, don't ask me how I know.
    So far for my Christmas tins, I've made candy cane bark, chocolate dipped Ritz and pb sandwiches, polar bears on sticks for the kids (dipped ores on a stick with some garnishes), and cranberry walnut chocolate fudge. I still want to add in caramel corn, and almond toffee candy and then I'm done the cookie boxes. Then I start on the gifts to friends: large canisters of my homemade and Christmas themed granola, with I will be giving with monogrammed dish towels.
    Making all these gifts instead of buying them, will save me a lot of money, especially as I bought any needed ingredients on sale (although I had a lot of them on my pantry. And once those are done, then it's time start on gifts for colleagues as well as those of the DH. Everyone will get a little cellophane package of a couple if cookies (shortbread and meringue, likely). And the best bit? I expect all of my Christmas baking to cost only $50. This covers everything for Christmas gifts for everyone except my sisters, parents, and the DH. And I love baking so win-win!

  2. The picture of your deck is beautiful. The weatherman says we have a chance for snow Wednesday, we will see. I love the freebies. I have never seen freebies around here. I have been doing a lot of knitting for Christmas this year which will help with the Christmas budget. I haven't started my baking yet but have made cinnamon almonds in the crockpot and was thinking of making some nut brittle tonight when I get home from work. Have a great weekend and hope you get to play in the snow. Paula in Kansas

  3. Those are some amazing freebies and deals this week, Erika! Looks like some great lunch items and stocking stuffers in that mix, too.

    I've been busy with work this week. In fact, I'm working 6 days total this week, including this weekend at the Christmas by Candlelight special event. The good thing about working is that I'm making money instead of spending it. Well, sort of...I am buying Christmas presents for my daughter, which is costing a lot (teen years = costly gifts), but I think I pretty much have those done now. Just a few gifts to make and something for my mother and I will be done with Christmas gifts. Yay!!!

    So far my biggest frugal accomplishment this week are my grocery deals. They included a large bag of clearance clementines, a slightly smaller but still good sized bag of clearance apples, and a bag with 3 clearance cucumbers all for $1/bag, 5 boxes of cereal for $1.50/box, 4 containers of ice cream for $1.77/2L container, 2 loaves of cinnamon raisin bread for $0.97/loaf, a box of vanilla pudding for $0.25, a 24 pack of yogurt cups for $5 and 4 packages of flavoured rice for $0.77 each.

    I've also been taking my lunch to work, which always includes a insulated travel cup with ice water, every single day. Some of my lunch items included chicken and cheese wraps (made from leftover cooked chicken), leftover homemade soup, and leftover rice & sausage. Taking leftovers saves me a lot of time in the morning, it's nutritional and it saved me lots of money!

    That's my short list of frugal adventures for this week. Looking forward to seeing some of your Christmas gifts you've made this year. Always inspiring to see those. Have a great week!

    1. I relate to the expensive gifts thing, although for me it's buying gifts for my husband. He's gotten to a point where the things he tends to want give me heart palpitations in price *laugh*. This year he's getting super practical gifts that he needs with a few little fun things mixed in. I got him the free mug I designed (which came out nice, thank goodness), a wallet, some socks, a new watch (just a Casio work watch for 15.00 on an Amazon deal, but I think it'll live a-okay) and a belt (found brand new at the thrift store earlier for 2.00). So not super exciting, but it gets the job done *laugh*.

  4. You had a good week, Erika!

    Here's hoping the gloves help your son's hands heal soon. I'm sure he's pretty miserable. But SO exciting that he tried an orange and did so well eating his tuna! That's super exciting!

    We had a quiet week here - I had a massive head cold and slept most of the week - but I'm hoping to get back to making gifts this week. I've gotten all of the shopping done and now need to start on the sewing/crafting parts! Today? Gifts for the teachers with the children - tree ornaments and I'm hoping for some fun coasters that I found directions for too. Ornaments for sure though!

    Thanks for sharing your accomplishments this week. And I hope you get outside to play a bit in the snow - that always makes the holidays more cheerful, in my book anyway.


    1. I feel for you. I'm finally starting to feel human after the strep and the head cold and everything. Hope you feel 100% soon!

  5. I really enjoy reading your blog! I can SO SO relate to shopping with husbands. Last week we left the store with two huge turkeys that I hadn't planned on buying... total of $30.00!! It WAS on sale, but that's still $30.00 that I hadn't planned on spending.

    I filled out a survey this week, too. It was the one on the McDonalds receipt that you get a buy-1-get-1-free Bic Mac for completing. It was my first time ever filling out a receipt survey.

    Did you know that it is fairly easy to make your own puff pastry? I use a cheater's method called "blitz puff pastry". There is a tutorial you can follow here:

    The most expensive ingredient is a pound of butter. So depending on how much butter costs (between $2 and $4 where I'm at), it can be much cheaper than using the regular puff pastry. You can also freeze the dough and thaw when ready to use.

    1. Yeah, I've looked into making puff pastry before, but butter is SO expensive around here that 4.00 is actually a pretty common sale price for it. Sometimes you can run into a super sale for 2.50 per lb of butter, usually a couple of times a year and usually with a limit on it (like we had one before Thanksgiving at Carrs for the 2.49 butter, but it was a limit of 1, so I got my one lowly pound of cheap butter). It seems, really, that it's better to just wait for a sale on the puff pastry and get it cheap than instead of buying the butter and making it yourself. BUT, if I ever run into super cheap prices on butter, I'll definitely give it a shot :). Thanks for the link!

  6. I enjoy the comments about the weather as I wonder about the Alaskan winters. I imagine they are very harsh, and that people are homebound often, but perhaps that is not the case. I suppose it matters just where in Alaska one is located.

    1. Actually, I think I'm a rare one who prefers to stay inside during the winter in Alaska. For the most part, Alaskans are pretty active during the winter, especially when it snows. They are out doing winter sports in the winter and summer sports in the summer. You start to get a new view of "harsh" when it comes winter after living up here as the state shuts down for nothing pretty much, so you just learn to do everything despite the weather. Right now, I'd say we're getting into the harsh category as today, after getting the snow yesterday, the wind has picked up hard and now the temperature is starting to tank, so I'm figuring tomorrow it'll probably be REALLY cold with a wind chill, so we're figuring on going 100% no where and just hibernating in the house. Hopefully all the snow won't blow away before we get a chance to play in it :(.

  7. I absolutely LOVED the picture of the snow falling. It was so beautiful.
    I just had a frugal fail. Today is the first Saturday of the month so I went to Goodwill's half off everything day. Normally I get up early and get there when the store opens early. Today I just could not get out early but when I arrived the parking lot was half empty. Strange??? When I got up to the door I saw a sign that the sale had been changed to half off of only clothes, not shoes, scarves, purses or anything else in the store. What a disappointment. What are these people at the corporate offices thinking? Today is the first Saturday of December and the place should have been packed like last year. I had gone to get Reese some nice pants to wear for his new job in January so I got those and left.
    Years ago they hired a new upper executive person who thought GW should be run like a department store and so raised the prices. I stopped going for years because Wal-mart was only a little higher and their stuff was new. Eventually I heard it had changed back to being good deals again so I started going again. It appears they must have hired a new marketing person who does not understand this is a thrift store. Oh well. When their warehouses are full to the roof with merchandise, they will figure it out. I am just bummed and want to whine.
    I suppose it is time to look for other options.

    1. Jeannie,
      Have you tried a Salvation Army store? The Good Will's around are much like what you've just described. The closest Salvation Army store to us is 25 miles but definitely worth the trip. Dorothy

    2. Funny. We don't have Goodwill up here, but we do have Salvation Army and all of the things Jeannie was saying about Goodwill totally fits the Salvation Army store we have *laugh*. Value Village is another "big" chain and it kind of all over the place on price. Sometimes you can get good deals there and sometimes you kind of stare at the price and go, "Really? You've got to be kidding me!?!" We don't go there very often as for the most part it seems like the prices fall on the side of "high".

      Sorry Goodwill pulled some shenanigans, Jeannie, especially right smack in the middle of the Christmas shopping season. That really stinks :(. Hope they change stuff back to normal soon.

  8. Aldi's was loaded with great buys this week. Ham at 89 cents a pound, fresh cauliflower, which is nearly $4 head in other stores was $1.19 there, as was broccoli on sale, lots of canned goods for 49 cents per can, flour 5 lbs for 99 cents and 4 lbs sugar $1.49 no limit, 12 oz bags of chocolate chips $1.49 where at other stores around here they're $2.50. Suffice it to say I'm stocked, having gotten 56 items for a total of $90. Hadn't been to the store for 2 and a half weeks so definitely within budget. Looking forward to seeing your Christmas gifts. I've been super busy working on mine. The snow scene looks beautiful and I hope you were able to go out with the kids and have some fun. Dorothy

    1. Wow! Those were some awesome deals, Dorothy! I would have stocked up too at those prices!

      We didn't get outside today, unfortunately, due to the wind picking up the and temperature dropping hard, but we did get the Christmas tree up today, so the kids are happy with that and distracted by the shiny lights ;).

  9. Erika, Your week sounded pretty good to me! I also got some of those Free items from Fred Meyer loaded to my card just need to get to the store.
    Have fun in the snow!