Saturday, January 14, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

You know as money saving weeks go, this one actually worked out to be a good one, although it started out so depressing.

First thing that happened was me getting a bill in the mail from my husband's doctor office.  Basically my husband didn't realize what was and wasn't covered by insurance when he went in earlier in the year and we owe for a nebulizer treatment and then the follow up visit the week after that he didn't realize that the insurance was an 80.00 copay no matter what you went in for, so we owed money toward that as well.  I'm not looking forward to the newest doctor bill that the one doctor's office he went to will eventually mail us as they were convinced we had a 20% copay on doctor's visits so charged my husband a minimal amount, so we'll owe them another 45.00 or so when that finally comes back from insurance.  But, yeah, I've got to come up with 76.00 this month that I wasn't planning on to get the doctor's office paid off (nice part, though, is that they combined what we owed them previously with the new bill, so I won't be late paying them the 55.00 we owed them from last month).

Then my electric bill came in the mail and I just about had a heart attack as with how cold it has been, even WITH turning off the electric heat as much as I could, with the holidays on the bill where the kids were home for two weeks...the bill was over 400.00.  I cried.  I'll admit it.  I went on Facebook and went on a depressive rant, not knowing what else I could do to lower my bill, and found out that pretty much everyone in the area is in much the same boat just because of how cold it has been.  Somehow it didn't make me feel much better, but at least I felt like I wasn't utterly failing at trying to get my electric bill down as low as I could.

Bright side, I have two more weeks in the month to come up with the mortgage and my husband had a full week last week, so at least things are looking up at being able to make the mortgage next month without a full fledged panic attack (I hope).

So, let's get to the money saving things that happened this week, shall we?

1.  I went shopping yesterday and hit major, and I mean major pay dirt and that was after finding a really awesome sale earlier in the week!  I ended up spending over my weekly grocery budget by about 40.00 or so, but it was worth it for what I got for meat.  I was starting to panic as our freezer was getting REALLY empty when it came to meat.  We were completely out of pork with the exception of three things of pork ribs and we had exactly two packages of chicken thighs left.  Past that the freezer had a lot of vegetables and things from the garden and some beef and the one turkey I bought for Thanksgiving this year.  And that was IT.  I knew that I had to run into some super awesome sales on meat or we couldn't afford to buy much and I actually did! 

First thing I noticed this week was that Carrs had milk on sale for 2.76 per gallon with a limit of two per shopping trip.  I ran in first thing Wednesday to at least get that as cheap milk was definitely something I could use.  We didn't have much money, at all, in the bank to last us to Friday, but I decided to stop by the meat and see if I could get anything decently cheap.  Heh.  I ended up spending gas money I had been planning on putting into the car that day (I still had 1/4 of a tank of gas till Friday, mind you) on a whole ham.  I noticed that they had a certain type of ham on sale for .87 per pound, but the slot was empty.  So, I asked the meat guy who was stocking some steaks if they had any of the ham left.  "Oh," he exclaimed, "You want one?  I've got one left!  I'll be right back!"  and he practically skipped to the back and came out carrying what turned out to be a huge, whole, bone-in ham.  He put it in my cart and then I, in a kind of panic (not wanting to let a good deal like that go to waste as the ham would work out to be about 17.00 for the entire ham), texted my husband and asked him if he had anything that would cut up a ham.  I figured, worse came to worse, that I could ask the butcher if they'd do it for me, but us doing it worked better with my "I have no time as this was supposed to be a super quick trip" schedule.  Luckily my husband said, "Sure, we can do that" and I somehow managed to shove my prize into the fridge, taking up an entire shelf in the process *laugh*.

My husband ended up using a brand new 12" saw blade and put it in his sawzall and we cut up the ham today.  I originally was going to just cut the ham in half and make two hams, but quickly decided against it as it would make HUGE hams, for one and for two whenever I make a ham we have a bunch of leftovers and I end up refreezing the meat, which makes it kind of watery and grainy when I cook it again.  So, I asked my husband to cut the ends off and make small hams and we cut 1" ham steaks from the center of the ham.  So, instead of 2 big hams we got 6 ham steaks and two hams out of the one ham, which will last us a lot more meals...and we won't burn out on ham having to eat one all week long or something.  The final cut up results are above (and bonus shot of my 10 boxes of canning lids that came in the mail yesterday *laugh*).

I then went shopping yesterday and the week got even better.  I went in to get just the essentials for the week when it came to feeding the son and I stopped by the meat section.  I found pork loins were on sale for 1.18 lb!!!!  I got three (wish, in retrospected I'd just shot the wad and bought more, but I was trying to be conservative with my money :) and they were about 4.00 a piece each.  Then I found that they also had giant bags of frozen chicken leg quarters.  10 lbs per bag.  For 5.00 per bag!!!!!  I got three bags.

Then in the reduced meat section I found packages of pork chops.  They were reduced and they were also on sale this week buy 1 get 1 free.  So I grabbed two packages marked that they were part of the sale.  When I went and checked out and looked at my receipt I found that the computer had taken the mark down on the meat (30% off of both packages), but had also deducted the ENTIRE full priced amount off of the free package of meat.  So,  two packages of pork chops (6 meals worth total for us) ended up costing me 4.00 after mark downs and sale. 

So, between that and a couple of packages of cod marked down, life on the meat front was good this week!  Now to make it stretch as much as I can :).

2.  A blog reader was nice enough to send me a copy of "The More With Less Cookbook" as she had an extra copy and I've been having a lot of fun reading through it, getting ideas, bookmarking recipes and the like.  She also sent me, in the same box, a "Fix it and Forget It" cookbook with five ingredient crock pot meals, which has been really neat to read through as well.  Thanks, Amanda!

3.  I mended yet another comforter this week (the holes don't seem to end with those).

4.  I found that the new pillows that I got for my husband and I with my family's gift cards just weren't a good fit for either one of us.  The pillows were fluffy and supportive, yes, but mine was overly fluffy and not supportive in the right areas and my husband likes his pillows nearly flat anyway, so I found that the pillows were getting shoved up against the head board and not being used.  Instead of letting them go to waste, I went up and checked the kid's pillows and found that I could trade out a couple of their really flat pillows with one of the new ones.  Both kids are very happy with their new pillows.  Double bright side is by trading out pillows I have a couple more kind of flat pillows that I can stack around my arms and try to stop them from hurting at night.

5.  As you probably gleaned reading the above comment I said, "arms".  The stupid bicep tendonitis has decided to try and spread to my right arm as well.  I was kind of in denial about it as the pain started like it did in my other arm, but finally yesterday both arms were giving me a LOT of grief and the loveliest part of it was when something in my arms pinched a nerve in my bad shoulder, which gave me a heck of a headache all week.  I refuse to be too inactive with all of this going on, though, as I know from experience with my left arm that if I don't use the arm and try to rest it the pain just settles in and gets worse, which is NOT going to happen with my dominate arm.  No way, Jose.  I can't let it happen.

I've been taking shots of apple cider vinegar with ground ginger and tumeric in them a couple of times a day  on top of ice and heat packs and my husband massaging me a couple of times a day. Thanks for the advice on the ACV shots, Dorothy!

6.  I was on Amazon and checked their daily deals and found a lightening deal on a laundry system that is supposed to work as well as laundry detergent (but doesn't require that you use any in the laundry), has lab reports to back up that, in fact, it does work as well as laundry soap, and it has a lifetime guarantee on it.  It's based around magnets of all things, but it made sense when I read about it as basically they'll attract anything with metal in it and will basically work as another solvent on dirt that way.  I ordered it as it was 20.00 down from 70.00 (I used the birthday check my mom sent me to pay for it) and had really good reviews from people (and the creators were honest saying that pre-treatment soaks for heavily soiled clothes and things WERE necessary with the system and weren't acting like it was magic, which was a nice change of pace from some other systems out there).  I am hoping that it will work for my son and hopefully improve his eczema.  Fingers crossed.  If I had a dime for everything I've ever tried for him that didn't work, I'd be rich right now, but if it does work it'll be worth it for sure.  And hey, it has the potential to save me money on laundry soap too, so double bonus.

7.  It snowed last night and today, which my daughter took great advantage of and went sledding today in the back yard.  She's hoping her best friend can come over tomorrow and go sledding with her and so am I.  We're hoping to have some fun in the snow because the weather report is calling for it to be REALLY cold next twenty below cold.  My electric bill is already giving me hives and the weather hasn't even hit yet *flinch*.

8.  My husband ended up getting sick to his stomach earlier in the week, probably due to eating gas station food as he was trying to save money on his lunch (he had to leave earlier than normal so I didn't have time to pack his lunch) and even though he wasn't feeling well, I just made him some plain pasta for dinner and made the regularly schedule menu plan item for that night anyway.  My daughter and I ate the manicotti and then ate leftovers the next night as well as my husband wasn't up to eating what had been on the menu.  Overall the menu plan will be 1 day behind schedule, but for the most part I've been able to stick to it pretty well this week.  The new system is working out really well for menu and meal prep, so woohoo for it working so far!  It has made it so I can function and get dinner on the table despite not feeling great at all the last little bit.  Organization will set you free ;).

9.  I am still watching "Full Steam Ahead" on You Tube.  Watching this one has taken me a lot longer than my previous binge watching of the farm series Alex, Ruth and Peter did just because I've been so busy with things around the house, but I'm enjoying watching it for sure.

10.  I cut up some old computer print outs to use as scrap paper.

11.  Spent more time reorganizing this week (more on that later).  It was free, allowed me to declutter a LOT of areas in the house (especially my "catch all" bedroom) and is making me feel a lot happier in my space because of it.  My husband is happy with the progress as well and he's actually helped neaten up a few areas to help me get room to vacuum and things.  So, yay for progress!

And there you are folks.  Some of the ways I saved money this week.  How did you do?


  1. Can you be sure to report back on that laundry thing if it really does work well? I am curious about it, in part for my son's eczema and also cost of detergent.

    This week I was about 2 minutes too late to catch meat mark downs, but they were putting out loads of slightly dented cans at kroger so I got some of those. I don't usually get lucky enough for mark down meats, so it doesn't bother me much anymore but wow you had a haul!

    At walmart, their Christmas got marked down to 90% off, and they had a bunch of boxes of cereal my oldest likes for a quarter, so I bought 4, and left the others for someone else. I was proud I passed on a,lot of,other stuff that was a good deal, but I couldn't think how to use or gift.

    I went looking for sweaters, and had no luck, so I guess that saved money lol! I did buy 2 sweatshirts for my youngest. He has only 2 he will wear,(character ones) and his coughing is so much worse when he doesn't want to wear one, and I don't want to keep turning up the heat to make him warm, so I bought a size up so should fit him next fall too, and,figure the $16 for the two will make up the difference in heating.

    There are some great layer cassarolles in that more with less. The apple, sweet potato and sausage is amazing, so is the 6 layer cassarolle with ground beef. My two favs. Been too long since I made them. I love reading their philosophy in the beginning of the book. They have another one I got from our old library but had such haunting stories of 3rd world countries where parents had so little they actually chose which child to starve to death I vowed never to read that one again. That was 10 years ago and its still so horrible and stays with me I think about it at times, and I,am always so thankful that's not a choice I have to make.

    1. I bookmarked those recipes after your recommend. Thanks!

    2. Oh and trust me I'll report on how well the laundry system works. For good or bad :).

    3. You can use activated charcoal for upset stomach or food poisoning. Take 2 every 4 hours until it goes away. You can buy it at any drug store. I buy the bottle of capsules, It is cheaper. Your husband may have got food poisoning from his gas station food or restaurant food.

  2. Wow, those are some amazing deals you found on meat, Erika! Sometimes it pays to spend the extra money when meat is on sale. In the long run, it will definitely save you a bundle and give you so many dinner options to choose from. Great shopping!!!!

    This week I was able to try 2 new meal ideas. The first was a "breakfast bowl" which my daughter absolutely loved. The bowls consisted of baked herb potato chunks as the bottom layer, then bacon (could also use ham), then scrambled eggs, topped with a little grated cheese and hollandaise sauce. You could even add sauted veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms), cooked broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus, chopped fresh tomatoes or green onions, salsa or chili sauce if you'd like as well. Definitely making it again.

    We also had good sized container of leftover rice in the fridge this week. So, tonight I tried making fried rice for the first time. It seemed complicated, but really turned out to be rather simple. Tasted awesome too! Against my better judgement, I decided to follow the recipe, which suggested 4 cups of rice, plus 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of veggies, to make enough for 4 servings (I had to make more rice to do this). Now we have a pile of leftover fried rice in the fridge! Next time I will definitely half the recipe.

    We had a winter storm roll in this week. My daughter went back to school for 1 day then promptly had 2 days off. I waded through the snow with my slippers to get something from the garage freezer, then thought I wiped my feet well when I came back in. I was mistaken. I ended up slipping on the floor and bruising my tailbone in the fall. I can definitely relate to the pain your having in your arm...only mine hurts every time a bend over or try to sit down. I never know how much I need to bend in a day until now!

    I will have to remember to watch "Full Steam Ahead". You've mentioned it twice now, but I keep forgetting to look for it. I LOVE those series with Ruth, Peter and Alex! Thanks for the suggestion.

    By the way, I'd love to hear your feedback how the new chicken recipe turned out! Do you recommend it or was the recipe a bust? Anyways, good to hear your week went relatively well (despite the bills rolling in). Hope this week is wonderful too!

    1. The chicken recipe just ended up being too much. It ended up being heavy and sweet (which I know cream would have done the same thing, if not worse, than the evaporated milk). The tomatoes made the dish sweeter still, the parmesan cheese weighed down the dish further. I might mess with the general principals a bit, but I won't be making it again.

    2. Thanks for the feedback. Maybe I will pass on trying the recipe.

    3. You might want to just do a basic alfredo sauce type of recipe and then add a dash of tomato sauce for taste and color and a few leaves of spinach for the additional layer of flavor and call it good. I honestly think that would work pretty well and taste better :).

    4. Oh, I forgot to mention this. I just tried a new recipe that turned out really tasty. It's called "chicken ranch tacos" and just happens to call for bottled ranch dressing in the recipe. Everyone in my family actually liked it, which is a rather hard thing to accomplish at our house. Here's the link to the recipe if you'd like to try it:

  3. I'm not sure what happened here. If another comment shows up, feel free to delete it.

    My week was pretty frugal because I have been fighting the flu and we had another ice/snow event. I put what I did on my blog:

  4. What is the recipe for the apple cider vinegar, ginger and turmeric? I have a friend that has RA and I have nerve damage due to deformed spine and would LOVE to try it.

    1. I've just been adding a couple of tablespoons of ACV into an eight ounce glass of water with a 1/2 tsp of powdered ginger and tumeric and then I'm adding enough sugar or honey to make it palatable and drink it. I'm doing that twice a day. It seems to help with the inflammation, so I'm trying to keep it up.