Saturday, December 10, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well as weeks went this one was kind of a mix.  I was able to not spend much money at all this last week, which was good because we didn't have any money to do anything with anyway (which is bad).  My husband came down with a really nasty cold Thursday evening, which was bad.  He managed to drag himself to work yesterday (which was good), but today he's spent the entire day in bed and not able to do much at all (which is good as it keeps him from doing too much, but bad in that he feels icky).

We've both really been trying to make sure he gets plenty of rest because we really can't afford for him to be down, for one, and for two we can't really afford to go to the doctor right now, so it's lots of rest, vitamin A and C and just general TLC as much as I can give him.  My daughter's concert for chorus is at the beginning of next week, so I'm praying he'll be up to going, else I'm going to be taking a lot of pictures and hoping that is enough for him to experience the concert.  And my only option at that point would be to leave my son home with him, so I'm hoping he's up to keeping an eye on him if nothing else.

I got a lot done when it came to Christmas gifts this last week and I got the Christmas decorations up.  And I got the house pretty much cleaned and was able to continue to clean it through most of the week, which was definitely nice.  Unfortunately I woke up with an infected toe on Wednesday due to an ingrown toe nail I didn't realize I had (gotta love a high tolerance for pain), so I'm kind of limping around in between epson salt soaks and I have a wad of band aids on my toe to cushion it after I took care of it.  I think it's finally starting to improve, so yay for that!  And bright side, it's like all the pain centers are focusing on my foot instead of my shoulder, so my arm hasn't been feeling too bad the last few days *laugh*.

I also managed to get some money saving things in this week, so let's get to those!

1.  I finished a Christmas themed table runner out of some vintage looking fabric I got at the used store for .25 and some fabric I already had on hand.  Even the batting was a scrap of leftover batting I had from other projects.  I thought it turned out so pretty.  I actually put it down on my coffee table in my den, but I couldn't get a good picture to turn out with the lighting, so you get to see it on the kitchen table *laugh*.   Seeing the photo made me realize that I REALLY need to throw out that pizza box in the's been there for a while after my husband brought it home from lunch one day and I keep forgetting about it.  Oops.

2.  I went shopping once this week (yesterday as a matter of fact), to Fred Meyer and Carrs.  Fred Meyer was out of the Planters peanuts freebie that I had an E-coupon loaded for, but I did get a free bag of Craisins.  I also found that they had a bunch of different spice blends on sale for 1.09 each (I think I got five total).  I got one of each they had, so now my entire spice rack is full of different spice blends that I can use to "mix up" the meals around here that I've picked up over the last few months (or made myself).  I was really happy.

Overall I ended up spending 80.00 on groceries this week, but 30.00 of that was actually set aside for Christmas things I needed to get, so I was able to get the ham for Christmas (beef is just too expensive this year) and a frozen lasagna (it was actually cheaper than buying the materials to make one and it's a tradition to have one around here on Christmas Eve :).  Overall it was more than I really wanted to spend, but I ended up with a huge heaping cart full of groceries after coupons, so I couldn't really complain too much and we really needed a LOT this week.  The biggest cheapie highlight was a .19 brownie mix after coupon from Fred Meyer.

By the way, does anyone know if brownies will freeze alright?  My husband could take or leave brownies overall, but I'm thinking my daughter with her love of chocolate will really like them, but I know we won't be able to eat them in one sitting, so I was thinking about freezing them individually for her lunches at school.  So I'm trying to figure out if brownies will freeze alright.

3.  I used some scraps of freezer burned meat to make a HUGE pot of stew tonight and threw in some veggies that were getting past their prime.  I'm hoping this will make at least four meals for us if I do different things with the stew and hopefully I can freeze a couple of bags for my "soup stores" in the freezer as well.

4.  I worked on Christmas gifts and used materials I had around here to make them (more on that later).  I've actually gotten quite a bit done so far, which is a nice change of pace.

5.  My daughter was given a pair of shoes by her best friend at school as they were too small for her.  My daughter has been happily clumping around the house in them even though they are about three sizes too big because they were a gift from her friend.  It's really cute.

6.  I made all of our meals at home this week, which definitely saved us money, although it did elicit some ire from my son who wanted to go get french fries a couple of times, but I didn't have the money or the gas to do so, so he had to deal without his beloved McDonald's french fries.  He survived by the way *laugh*.

7.  I was able to save some time this week as well.  I'll admit it.  I love wrapped packages under the Christmas tree, but I HATE wrapping with a passion.  So, when I knew I could get away with it, I let the over enthusiasm of youth take over and let my daughter go to town wrapping some gifts.  It was a win-win as far as I was concerned.  It made her super happy to contribute and it made me happy not having to do it  and I was able to concentrate on other things, like making dinner*laugh*.

8.  I mended a few pairs of pants this week while I had my sewing machine out working on gifts.

9.  I've been getting things done despite being really tired as I've been giving my husband the bed and crashing on the loveseat upstairs to hopefully have him be more comfortable and my son hasn't been sleeping well either.  Getting stuff done sometimes was through sheer force of will, which is free, but hard ;).

So, there you are folks.  Some of my frugal adventures this week.  How did you do?


  1. Sounds like a pretty good week to me, Erika (other than the sick husband, of course). To answer your question, yes, brownies do freeze well. I have made brownies many times for my daughter's lunches, wrapped them individually with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer so they wouldn't get eaten by my chocolate loving family. I pop them into her lunch frozen and they are thawed by the time she eats her lunch.

    I'm glad you were able to make a big batch of stew this week. I think freezing it for a quick "survival" meal is a good plan. One of these days you will be so glad it was in the freezer!

    Can't wait to see all the gifts you made this week. I was able to sew 2 draw string shoe bags earlier this week and I'm hoping to make a couple more tomorrow. I made them from some of the fabric of a beautiful drapery panel that I bought for $2 at the thrift store. They are so pretty! I also sketched out a design on a dish towel that I found on Pinterest. Now I just need to embroider it for another gift. A couple weeks ago, I made 2 aprons from a thrift shop fabric shower curtain (using my existing apron to make the pattern) to use as Christmas gifts. They turned out really nice, too. I think my sewing abilities are really improving with all this gift making. Hope everyone likes their gifts this year. Oh, by the way, I loved your coffee mug and reusable drink bottle idea you previously posted. Might have to steal that idea for another year! Thanks for sharing.

    1. That's good to know about sticking them into the lunch box frozen as I'm TERRIBLE at remembering to take things like that out of the freezer to defrost the night before. I'm definitely going to do that :).

      Funny enough, I'm wondering if the stew is going to be stew or "chunky mixed veggies with beef" by the time my husband and daughter get done. They are just drinking the broth and leaving the chunks and I'm watching the liquid level go down in the leftover stew as I watch (with my husband's sore, swollen throat I can understand, though). I might have to make up some beef bouillon to rehydrate the stew for freezing ;).

      Just out of curiosity, what are shoe bags good for? Do you just stick dress shoes in them to keep them clean in storage? Or can you hang them up for something? I've not heard of shoe bags before :).

      I need to make some dish towels here soon. I found a TON of terry cloth I'd bought in bulk years and years ago for...some project that escapes me (something pre-baby, so that shows how long ago that was) and I hate to let terry cloth go to waste. It's not my ideal color choice for dish towels (light blue), but hey, when it's free and hanging around I'll use it *laugh*.

      I think my sewing skills are improving over time as well, especially with the gift making I end up doing. A couple of years ago I could sew straight lines and all (all learned in home ec classes years ago, believe it or not as my mom wouldn't let me TOUCH her sewing machine, ever), but had no idea about what would cause a bobbin to knot up constantly and other things. As I've self taught and gotten more experience, I'm getting better. Slowly but surely. It's a good feeling. Now I'll see how much as I truly know as I go to teach my daughter some basic skills after Christmas. It'll be interesting ;).

    2. Shoe bags can be used to carry your indoor or change of shoes with you. If you travel, the bags help to keep the dirt on your shoes from getting on your clean clothes. These will be given to my daughter's teach, principal and EAs so they can transport a change of shoes with them to and from school.

    3. Neat idea! Thanks for the clarification :).

  2. Erika, I freeze brownies all the time. In fact, my husband likes them better frozen. Go figure! I wrap them up with plastic wrap and then place them all in a plastic bag in the freezer. He takes one out when he wants a treat.

    I thought your runner matched the tablecloth really well :)

    My Mom used to let me address the Christmas cards. I felt so grown-up and helpful. I'm sure your daughter feels good about helping out.


    1. *Laugh* I can't say anything when it comes to liking frozen chocolate. I LOVE frozen dark chocolate and make a mess as I use my teeth to shave off pieces to eat (my husband is always amazed how much of something can get on my face...what can I say, I'm talented ;) and for years (before the peanut allergy with my son) I would buy Thin Mints from the Girl Scouts and I would ONLY eat those when frozen as they were awesome that way. Maybe chocolate just tastes better cold *laugh*.

      I might have my daughter help me on Christmas cards this year. I'll have to see what I have to make cards with, or if I have old cards sitting around the house and then I can have her write Christmas cards to the grandparents. She'd get a kick out of it and I bet the grandparents would too :).

  3. I love how everyone freezes brownies! I usually just put them in a glass Pyrex rectangular flat dish, freeze with a layer of waxed paper between the 2 layers, and put the plastic lid on the Pyrex and stick in the freezer. We just pry out what we want.

    1. That's a neat idea if it turns out the kids love brownies or something (it's been a long time since I made them for them to try) so we'd have a bulk pan of them. I can imagine that helps to stop them from getting buried in the freezer.

  4. Your table runner came out beautiful. I freeze brownies too. When making them in bulk I've frozen them in large coffee cans with layers of foil inbetween and any random boxes that are lined with heavy duty foil and layers of foil inbetween. They only thing is that it's hard to keep the family out of them because they like frozen brownies.

    No shopping was done this week and I mostly worked on Christmas gifts and some baking. I hope your husband is feeling better and that his cold can be contained and not go through the family. Dorothy

    1. I'm so glad everyone freezes them. I was worried that they'd defrost mushy since they are so fudge-like to begin with. Any idea how long they'll keep in the freezer? I know some baked goods they say to only keep a month and things, so it would be good to have a time table idea :).

      I need to get working on baking. I was hoping to get some done this last week, but ended up working on Christmas gifts instead (which hey, not complaining about getting things done) when my foot decided to betray me. I was hoping to get some baking done this weekend too, but have been fielding the kids for the most part because my husband can't help being down and out. Kind of frustrating, but at the same time it can't be helped, so I've just been doing as much as I can on the sewing machine and things quickly to get gifts accomplished while I'm fielding the kids.

  5. Brownies never last past day two in our house!! LOL I will never be able to try freezing them.

    Ive not been able to fet the peanits either. And I was excited, for holiday baking.

    I don't mind wrapping, its the gift tags though, so a few years back, I stopped doing them. Each person has all their gifts wrapped in one paper. And no one finds out what it is until Christmas, so they can shake all they might not be theirs!!

    1. Not knowing what gift is yours...that's kind of evil, but I like it *laugh*.

      I wouldn't mind doing one wrapping paper for each kiddo around here since it would be pretty simple to do that, but it's the extended family gifts that take forever. My gosh I think I spent three solid evenings wrapping gifts, and no I'm not kidding. I forget how many people we really have in this family until I have to wrap everything. Everyone in the family is getting something this year, not just the kids, so that what...about tripled my wrapping load. Not sure I'm ever doing that again *laugh*.

      Bright side I only have a couple more extended family to get done making gifts for and then I can concentrate on any residual things I want to make for my the hubby and kiddos. So, I might get a few days off before Christmas ;).

    2. I commented on your last post but curious as to why your extended family exchanges gifts given several of you are strapped financially. Especially gifts for those 18+. It seems like a lot of time, stress, and $ that's sorely needed elsewhere.

    3. Erika, we use mainly gift bags for our gifts, instead of wrapping them in paper. I buy the bags, tissue paper and ribbon during the after Christmas sales and keep any that we receive for reuse, including the tissue paper! It saves a lot of time and is better for the environment than using paper that just ends up in landfill. I still do wrap some gifts in paper, but very few.

    4. Lake Livin Im not Erika, but we have had leaner times than others too, but I am one of those who will always, always give gifts. We have 37 extended family, 6 coworkers, and 29 students we buy for at Christmas, though I did count a family gift as 1. Some we spend more on than others, but somehow, I feel I would be so sad if we didn't do something for each of them. Shopping year round, and being careful and keeping an open eye out allows us to do that. I love to give, to me, thats a part of sharing the spirit of Christmas.

    5. When it comes to giving gifts...I always try to give the kids in the family something. Mind you we are still up to 16 extended kids in the family come early next year, so I'm not sure how long I'm going to be able to keep that up on top of my own family. So far, I've been able to find inspiration on what to give, so we'll see how long that lasts.

      Normally I don't include the adults, but this was a really rough year financially and most of my husband's family has helped us out one way or the other so I wanted to say "thanks" this Christmas to them. My mother-in-law is also on the "thank you" list. So next year the adults might not be getting anything or I might just be switching to family gifts to cut down time involved. But, I'll worry about that when I get there :).

    6. Rhonda I used to do that too! I love gift bags! Then my son started eating them and tearing them apart. That's when I switched to wrapping as I guess wrapping paper doesn't taste as good as gift bags. I am hoping to make some different sizes of cloth gift bags this year, though, to cut back on waste (and cost) next year :).

  6. Another family that freezes brownies. They taste good frozen also. Love the table runner, nice job. I hate wrapping too. We are watching football with me putting gifts in the boxes and dh wrapping. Maybe tonight while watching tv I'll do stocking stuffers. No boxes and my terrible wrapping will not matter. Cheryl