Friday, December 23, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Merry "Nearly Christmas" to you all!  I'm planning on posting up a recipe tomorrow, but just in case I don't get to it, I wanted to make sure I got a "Merry Christmas" in there just to be safe ;).

Well, Santa was nice enough to grant me an early Christmas gift this year by giving me a cold.  Again.  So far I'm holding my own and am hoping I'm fighting it off *knocks on wood* but my husband is down with a bad sore throat tonight, so I'm hoping that he doesn't get worse over the weekend.  I'm not relishing the idea of trying to figure out how to pay for an ER visit since that's all that is going to be open this weekend (and insurance doesn't cover any of that), so prayers for good health would be appreciated right about now.

This week did see some money saving things going on, so let's get to that, shall we?

1.  Instead of spending a ton of money on different things for stocking stuffers, I hit the wonderful resource that is Pinterest and printed off a build your own snowman sheet, some Charlie Brown Christmas coloring pages and a couple super cute candy bar wrappers (I wrapped them around some Hershey bars we had in the pantry) and made one candy bar into a snowman and one into a penguin.  I also had gotten a really cute "Snowman Soup" (just a cute way to dress up hot chocolate) envelope template from a friend of mine sent to me (thanks, Paula) and I printed off a couple of those, attached a candy cane to each for a "stirring stick" and placed an envelope of hot chocolate from the pantry in the envelopes.  Totally adorable and it didn't cost me more than the ink to print all of it off as I took the hot chocolate from the pantry and the candy canes from the tree :).

Past that the kids are getting some fresh fruit in their stockings that I found in the 1.00 bags of reduced produce at Fred Meyer and are actually sitting the fridge right now...apples and oranges are always good :).

2.  I decided for my birthday that what I really wanted was a pair of slippers so I didn't have to wear my sneakers in the house all the time (due to a bad foot I can't walk in bare or stocking feet and I need something with a tread to go out on my deck to dump the garbage and things).  I added probably ten pairs of slippers that looked good to me on Amazon to my cart and waited until one of the pairs went for 9.99 and ordered them with a giftcard.  Sure the slippers are bright blue, but like I care if I'm walking around my house in bright blue slippers :).

3.  One of the electrical suppliers in the area gave my husband's company a huge basket of Alaska goodies and my in-laws split up the basket among the employees.  My husband's portion of the basket is seen up top.  I'm looking forward to eating the goodies for sure, and am really intrigued to try the smoked mustard.

4.  My daughter really wanted to give her friends at school gifts this year.  Normally I wait until we are gifted something to return the favor, but she has never asked to give gifts before, so I got a list of people she wanted to give gifts to.  She's got a group of girls she hangs out with all the time at school, so her list came out to a total of like four girls as well as her one boy friend she's had for three years now.  For the girls, I took the "Hello Kitty" Bath Kit I got on clearance after Christmas last year (if anyone of you remembers those, I give you kudos *laugh*) and opened it.  I then divided the contents into four different gifts, which my daughter was happy with.  Some empty parts boxes on my husband's part and some wrapping paper and her friends were thrilled with their gifts.  For 2.49 I'd say that getting four gifts from the one kit was pretty good overall.  My daughter's best friend also got one of the extra scarves that I made last year when I made my niece her dress scarves as my daughter's best friend is pretty girly in some ways, so I thought she'd like it (which she did).  My daughter claimed the other scarf for herself *laugh*.

5.  We spent last night driving around after dinner looking at Christmas lights.  We went back to the fairgrounds to see the "Light Up the Night" display (this time we followed the right entrance and went through it the right way *laugh*, although we did have to turn around and go back through the exhibit because they had closed the back gate to get out again).  We then went to a subdivision in our local area that has the entire neighborhood rigged with Christmas lights and they have you turn your radio to a certain Christmas music station and the lights move to the music.  It's a really impressive display and has become a tradition locally for a lot of people to go and see it.  We drove through some of our local towns and saw how they decorated the city centers as was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast.  I wasn't feeling great, so honestly I was happy when we finally got home, but I'm glad the kids had fun :).

6.  My friend gave me her freebies for the free cake mix and the free Tim Tam cookies, so I got those this week (thanks, Stephanie!). 

7.  Got our new insurance activated for next year.  I got the plan that was available up here next year and while it is about the same price we were paying for our current health care plan (MODA pulls out of Alaska at the end of the year) I know the deductible is higher and from what I see the coverage isn't close to great.  I need to make a point to make time to read the plan, though, so I'll go into next year educated about what we have going for us (or not).

8.  My son's speech therapist actually thought to ask him what he wanted for Christmas and he used his talker to answer!  I was speechless as he asked for something to "read" (he's been liking flipping through books lately, so his speech therapist is pretty sure he's got some reading going on and him picking that out on the talker reinforced it), something to "hug" him (I got him a big throw for Christmas, so score there), something to "hug" (plush truck will fill that need I think), some bubbles (I always have bubbles for him at each holiday, so that was covered) and some pretzels (his speech therapist got those for him and they are hidden as he was trying to eat them all before Christmas).  I wanted to cry as this was the first time my son had been able to tell me what he actually WANTED versus what I thought he might want.  Moments like this one really give me hope for his future and his being able to adapt to the challenges he's been given.

9.  When my son mentioned something to read, I decided one of the things I wanted to give him and my daughter was something to read in their stockings.  My son is getting a really cool construction alphabet book (which I bought with a gift card last month for him), but my daughter I wanted to get the first Harry Potter book for as she loves the first movie and we are really trying to encourage her to read more challenging books.  I looked at the used stores and the used book stores this last week and have found nada in the way of Harry Potter books, so I finally decided to just give her my copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" for Christmas.  I had bought myself a new copy when the original one I had started to fall apart (back before I had children I read a lot *laugh*) and my copy is still pretty new looking and hey it didn't cost me anything this way, too, so score.  So, here's hoping she likes it.  I then made some pom pom book marks (thanks for the link, Sheila!) to go with their books.  My opinion on the bookmarks?  They look really cute and are REALLY easy to lose yarn out of if you pull from one side or the other.  So, I am giving my son's bookmark a few days, tops, but I think the kids will like them while they last (and hey they took about five minutes to make).

10.  My daughter's teacher gave her a 5.00 gift card to one of our local bookstores for Christmas, so I'm looking forward to going and getting her a book sometime soon.

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


  1. I love wearing slippers around the house! They are a lot less work to put on than shoes, but have more insulation between the floor and your feet than socks do.

    Some frugal things I did: got free caramels and free bananas with a rebate. I looked for the free Tim Tam cookies, but Kroger was all out!! That can be so frustrating at times! I hope they will be restocked before my digital coupon expires. Also gave my husband a haircut and cooked leftovers. :)

  2. SO awesome about your son! That's crazy cool. I hope he really likes all the things he asked for and that he is really happy with his gifts! Your daughter too.

    You did really good this week. We didn't read our plan carefully enough and were shocked to discover we had a $2400 copay with our new insurance. Good news? We just hit our deductible. Bad news? We're starting a new year. ugh. Believe me, we're going through that thing with a fine tooth comb for this next year! Good for you for getting a jump on it!

    Merry Christmas to you too!

  3. Merry Christmas to you and your family!! I hope you feel better soon. Sooo excited to hear your son is able to communicate so well with his talker. It brings tears to my eyes. But then I'm laughing to picture you in your Smurf slippers. I have totally hideous slippers also but they were cheap and work well. For additional fun on Christmas morning you could do a candy cane hunt, like an Easter eggs hunt. I hid a box of candy canes in the yard yesterday for my son and his friend to find. Even at 12 and 13 they had a blast. It was a "free" activity as I already had the candy canes. I hung them all over the plac and they kept looking till they found them all.

  4. Merry Christmas! For your daughter, have you checked to see what digital books your library offers? We don't have a huge library but they offer a lot of kids books digitally and thats pretty cool.

    I hope you all start feeling better and can finally kick any sickness to the curb for the rest of the season!!

  5. Erika, that is so awesome about your son's communication. What am amazing early Christmas gift to you! They learn on their own time, but it will be amazing to see how he grows over the next few years! I think he's really going to love all his gifts.

    The gifts your husband brought home look like a great addition to your pantry. The salami looks perfect to slice thin into sandwich meat or to use on pizza. Regardless what you use it for, I'm sure you will make it stretch to them max!

    I'm a socks or bare foot person personally, but my mom just bought a replacement pair of "communal slippers", too. We leave them by the front door to use when anyone needs to go outside to the garage (our one freezer is out there). Doesn't matter what they look like, as long as they are comfy. A bright blue pair just might cheer you up in the dark days of winter!

    I love that you were able to make one gift stretch to make several little gifts. I sometimes actually look for gift items that I can break into smaller gifts, especially during boxing day sales. I've bought fingertip towels, perfumes, lip gloss/chap stick, stocking stuffer items (like small bubble tubes) and Christmas decorations as multi-packs in the past for this use. It makes it cheaper for giving gifts to extended family and all those school helpers. Sometimes I even used them for end of year gifts!

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year, Erika filled with lots of joy. From our house to your, have a very Merry Christmas!

  6. Hope you feel better. You did an awesome job with all of your gifts this holiday season. Take care. Merry Christmas. ...Vicky in Ky

  7. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I have enjoyed reading your blog this year and all you do to "make do", it's amazing really.

    I have had the cold that is going around too. I had the sore throat also, I just put mentholatum/or vicks on my throat every night and just self medicated, ibuprofen and aleve. Also used oscillococcinum it's a homeopathic remedy and I can say I'm much better today. It did last about 2 weeks.

    I hope you all feel better soon.