Saturday, January 7, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

This was a week where saving money was really easy, since we didn't have any to spend.  This coming week is going to be the same.  So, saving money was a necessity.  So, here's what I accomplished this week.

1.  My mother-in-law gave me a 25.00 Fred Meyer giftcard for my birthday, so I went in today armed with it, a list, and a plan to get off as cheaply as possible for groceries.  I had to get back to school stuff for the kids since they start back to school Monday and all, so I tried to think of ways to get off as cheaply as possible.  Overall, since I needed milk and things, I ended up spending 9.00 out of pocket on groceries this week (after the gift card had been applied).

While at Fred Meyer I also got my freebies I had saved up from Freebie Friday and a bonus free coupon that was on the digital coupon site when I loaded the tortilla chips onto my card for the snack bar (seen above).  The ranch dressing only had one day left on it and luckily they at least had the lite ranch in stock today, so I grabbed it.  Oddly enough I'm like, "Man, what do I do with ranch dressing?" as we're far from fanatics with it.  I've read recipes where you can use the powdered ranch dressing on potatoes and things.  Can you use the actual dressing on potatoes and stuff too or not?  Anyone know?

2.  I have spent a good portion of my time this week cleaning and reorganizing.  It's free, helps me feel good about the house getting more organized and it makes things easier to find (which is doubly nice).

3.  I started my baking today and got some cookies made.  They were sandwich cookies that required jam for the filling and half of the cookies I filled with fig jam, hoping that they would taste kind of like fig newtons (my husband loves those cookies).  And hey, it paid off :).  Tomorrow I will make chocolate chip cookies to put in my daughter's lunches and bread to send my husband into work with chicken sandwiches next week.

4.  One of the canning groups I am a member of on Facebook posted up a deal where Amazon was having a really good deal on canning lids (1.44 per box of wide mouth lids).  I used some of the giftcards my family sent for Christmas to get 10 boxes and some spring loaded tongs (the lids were an add on item).  That pretty much used up the rest of the giftcards my family sent, but it was worth it as I kept thinking, "Man, I'll so use those lids!"  And I will.  The tongs will definitely be used as well.

5.  I've been taking advantage of free Kindle books on Amazon to read things late at night when my son's not sleeping.  So far I'm taking advantage of just the free cookbooks, but am looking forward to expanding my horizons to other types of books later on.

6.   I cleaned out the rest of my cupboards in my kitchen that I have been meaning to clean out for ages and luckily managed to find some items that I had been planning to buy.  I managed to dig out a box of instant miso soup of indeterminate age that doesn't have an expiration date on it anywhere, so I'm HOPING the soup is still good, but since it's powdered I'm kind of hoping it's like Ramen noodles with the shelf stability of uranium about. 

6. I printed off some free "Finding Dory" coloring pages from Disney Movie Rewards for my daughter to color.  She loves the movie, so I thought it might give her something fun to do.  This break has been kind of disappointing on the fun front because after my daughter and the rest of us got over the colds we had the weather hasn't been very nice.  We've gone from getting snow (which is good since we wanted to go sledding in the backyard) to frigidly cold (which stinks)

7.  I mended a couple holes in some comforters this week.  Next week I'm hoping to get to the redoing the quilting of said comforters to hopefully extend their life a bit.

8.  I took the leftover fruit the kids got in their stockings for Christmas and made fruit salad to go with dinner tonight by mixing it in with some leftover canned peaches.  Worked great :).

And there you are folks.  Some of the ways I saved money this week (other than not going anywhere and such).  How did you do?


  1. Hi Erika. I've been reading your blog for almost a year now, I think, (the older I get, the more time gets jumbled in my head!) and I take so much inspiration from it! I saw you grabbed lite ranch because it was all they had back in stock. I'm not sure if all Fred Meyers have the same rules, but at mine if they fail to restock a Friday Freebie before it expires you can ask for a raincheck. I never knew this until a couple weeks ago when someone saw me scowling at the (still) empty shelf where Tim Tams are supposed to go. I was super happy to find this out, I looove my freebies! Just thought I'd pass it along in case you didn't know.

    p.s. I like using ranch to add some life to instant mashed potatoes. You don't need much though!

    1. Wow! Your Fred Meyer is awesome! I've asked at ours and they don't offer rainchecks on free items. Kinda stinks, but nothing to be done about it. They have offered me substitutions in the past, though which was nice. Thanks for the tip with the dressing. I'll definitely have to try that as we have some mashed potatoes that are REALLY bland around here.

  2. Sounds like a great week, Erica! Re: the ranch dressing, I use it in pasta salads, and it tastes great! I mix ranch dressing, cooked pasta (rotini or fusilli is great for this), crumbled feta (I'm sure shredded cheese would be just as nice), chopped red pepper and chopped blanched broccoli, and it super-delicious! Here's the official recipe:

    1. Debbie in the U.P.January 8, 2017 at 10:04 AM

      I use ranch dressing with chicken. Rinse the chicken, pat dry, dip into the dressing, coat with (homemade) bread crumbs, and bake for about 45 mins. My husband loves this! It's my go-to dip for fresh veggies, too. It's also great as a replacement for mayo on sandwiches.

  3. I'm not a fan of Ranch dressing at all. But I try to keep it sometimes in case we have company since Ranch seems to be popular. My husband will eat it on a salad if that's his only choice, but he puts it on his baked potato instead of sour cream. So that's a thought for you. You did great this week organizing and I agree that an organized house can make you feel better. Have a great week. ...Vicky in Ky

  4. Great job with grocery shopping this week, Erika. It's really hard to stay on task with such a super tight budget, but you always impress me with your ability to do so. So jealous of those freebies you are able to get, though.

    Although we do like ranch dressing, I understand your dislike of the flavour. I didn't always enjoy it, either. We use ranch dressing as a dip for pizza crust and veggies or as a topping on sandwiches and wraps instead of mayo. But, if you don't like the dressing, you probably won't use it that way. So to help you out, I did a little searching on line. Although the product you have isn't Hidden Valley ranch, the Hidden Valley Ranch website ( has a bunch of recipes that use ranch dressing in them. You can do an advanced search with specific products, to eliminate those that are for their powdered dressing packets. I thought you might like to look through the website yourself an choose some recipes that your family might like to try.

    I would have been just as excited about the canning lids as you are! I have found some on sale at the end of the season for a great price and bought a stash to use over time. Feels so good when you pull out your canning supplies and you don't have to run out to buy lids. Great use of that gift card for sure!

    What a great idea to use fig jam to fill the cookies! I never would have thought of using it for that. Hope your husband enjoys the treat in his lunch. My daughter loves chocolate chip cookies too, so I'm sure they will be a hit in her lunches. I made up a brownie mix from my pantry for my daughter's lunches this week. I cut them up and individually wrapped 5 squares for easy grabbing in morning. The left over squares will be used for Sunday dinner dessert.

    My daughter loved Finding Dory as well. Her first movie "obsession" was Finding Nemo when she was a toddler...we watched it so often we knew every line by heart. My husband and I just watched Finding Dory with my daughter this week for free on Kodi Exodus. She saw it twice while it was in theaters, but not with us. Great movie! Oh, and if you can find the movie "Trolls" for free, we watched that one this week and my daughter really enjoyed it as well. It's a real girly kind of movie, perfect for your daughter.

    Glad you hear you had a productive and relatively uneventful week. All the best for another good one, Erika!

  5. I use ranch dressing on roasted potatoes. Basically chop the potatoes and onions and add dressing mix well. Place on baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 then uncover and finish roasting until brown.

  6. I think you do an amazing job no matter how frugal you need to be. You come up with some great ideas for meals, you're creative and were able to make many Christmas gifts and you patch, mend, repair with the best of them. And I know I didn't mention, the gardening and the canning, whether it be home grown or a good deal from somewhere else. I don't know how you were brought up - if frugal was the only way you know, or if you developed it out of necessity, but I think you are fantastic! Most everyone I know has to be frugal to some degree or another and can always find ways to stretch their pennies from your posts. Thank you and I look forward to every single post. I hope this year is easier for you and your family. A lot of people had a rough 2016. You all deserve a break. Take Care. Ranee (MN)

  7. I love that you get to use the Friday Freebies. For whatever reason, our computer and phone are messed up and they won't down load them! Yikes! I need to take some time and figure it out! Everyone drinks ranch around here, so not sure what I would do with it other than serve it on salad.

    What a great deal on canning lids. I need to buy a lot this year. I usually wait until Bi-Mart has a sale, usually in the spring. I don't know what they will go for this year, but it is usually the cheapest price around here.

  8. So many comments on the ranch, so I won't echo.

    This has been a frugal weekend for the simple fact it snowed, so we had to stay home. No lunch out, or unnecessary spending, so thats good. Because I do have to be mindful the rest of the month. Unexpectedly I bought some things on clearance for upcoming gifts, plus clothes for my growing like a weed son, that I'm low on money. The plus side is that I got most everything he needs, and cute stuff too at the used kids store and goodwill. Goodwill I lucked out and found next size up dress slacks, one with the tag still on it.

    This week I hope goes well. Its been full of stressors. With church callings, ugh. And family. But oh well. Thats life.

    Im going to get my chips freebie thusday, hope they arent out!!