Saturday, January 28, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

First, I just want to thank the e-mails I got asking how everything was going and if my husband was recovering okay.  If I didn't reply to you yet, don't despair.  I will.  I'll get to my week in a moment, but first when it comes to the husband's recovery.  So far, in that regard, so good.  Also, thank you to the couple of people who Facebooked me and asked me if I had an e-mail or something as I guess my "page" tabs don't show up on some phones or something.  If you want to get in contact with me please feel free to e-mail me at...

I just want to say, once again, how touched I am at my readers.  You guys are great and I really thrilled that I've been fortunate enough to make some great friends through this blog :).

Now...the week.

Well, I can safely say the week didn't improve after Sunday.  My poor daughter was cycling with her stomach till Wednesday and just in a lot of pain and miserable.  She went to school basically long enough to get her homework sorted and things a couple of days (she's an old hat at this by now so we always try to make it till 1:15 because then she's just counted tardy instead of missing 1/2 a school day on the records) and then I'd pick the kids up early and let her go home, get into a tub and let her soak for hours (it's typical with CVS that baths help alleviate the pain, so she prunes when she's cycling) and just try to take it easy.  Of course, doing this also threw my son's normal schedule off and he didn't have a great week at school as a result...well Friday he had a good day anyway.

My car started having a burning brake smell through the week sporadically, so my husband checked the brakes and found that the front brakes are getting kind of warm, so it's probably time for new brakes. Not what I wanted to hear right now, honestly.

Then my husband's second job that he took over the summer sent out his W2 supposedly, but we waited two weeks for it to get here and it wasn't here yet so my husband called and found out that somehow they had sent his W2 to our neighbor across the street's address.  So, my husband went over and asked him if he still had it, but he had sent it back to the company because with the weather the way it was and him being old he didn't want to kill himself getting the W2 over here.  Can't really blame him, but I'm desperate to get the taxes done so we can get our return in with how short February is time wise and things.  I swore when I found out this development.  Now my husband is going to have to go to the company directly, I'm pushing for Monday since he's got a dentist appointment in the morning to get his last two teeth that need to be done checked out. 

I paid the various medical bills that my husband's doctor's office had consolidated into one statement and sent to us a couple of weeks ago (they just added them all together after getting things back from insurance) because I knew I'd have to pay them by the end of the month.  And then a few days later I get a collection notice from some outfit in Maryland.  Called the doctor's office and it turns out that MODA is taking so long to pay the bills that they are immediately 90 days overdue by the time I even get a statement from them in the mail, so I get sent to collections by the computer immediately upon receipt of payment from the insurance company.  Having insurance sure has complicated my life, made things a lot more difficult and cost me a lot of money because of rip off artists taking advantage of the insurance system.  I'm kind of looking forward to going back to self pay right about now.  Seriously.

And then the last couple of weeks my husband just hasn't gotten the hours in that we needed (work is kind of frustrating right now with sporadic types of things going on and such) so the mortgage is going to have to be a few days late so we have money for gas and things next week.

And then today I found out that my son's speech therapist, who is also a really good friend of mine, got rushed to the hospital yesterday with severe abdominal pain.  Prayers would be greatly appreciated for her if you have the time and thank you to anyone who can pray for her.  She's a wonderful person who would literally give you the shirt off of her back before you even asked for it and I'm really worried about her. was a long and depressing week.

However, some good did come out of the week, believe it or not.

1.  I decided that one way to get out of the funk of the week was to focus on things I'd like to do later when this wonder that is "Spring" finally comes, so I went on Facebook and asked my friends (who I knew at least a couple of them had a good amount of animals at their places) if anyone had a good source for buying 3 hens, a rooster and a good cold weather breed of rabbit that was also friendly. 

I started doing some research into rabbits more and weighing it with all the people who said it traumatized them as a child when the rabbits were slaughtered and things.  I came to the conclusion with my daughter's stomach condition and how sensitive she is that killing rabbits with her around could end...well badly for her stomach would be an understatement.  So, I finally decided to just get one rabbit for a pet for her and then get some chickens primarily for the eggs.  And thank you to the person who reminded me that the manure from the rabbit could still be useful as well as I quickly realized free fertilizer is always a benefit *laugh*.

My friend who has a LOT of chickens (like 24) offered me the three hens and the rooster for free as she's downsizing her flock this year.  I am so going to hug her when we go and get those this Spring as that not only saves me money, but I also know that the birds can survive out in a coop in the cold winters and survive okay (my biggest worry was buying birds that would die in the weather.  I'd feel terrible if that happened). 

I started thinking of a good way to redo the 1/2 of the barn that the hutch that my mother-in-law gave us is jammed into so it would fit the chickens, but also give them room to move around and such.  I think I've got a plan and I think I can dig out old furniture from our storage van to recycle into nesting boxes and a ramp and things for the chickens, so they'll have a nice spacious coop and I am hoping to be able to fit the rabbit hutch in there as well to keep it out of the wind, but I'll figure that out later as I'm not sure of the personalities of the animals involved at this point :).  My husband is also optimistic that he can use the raw materials from the hutch I was given to help build a rabbit hutch and coop areas that fit better in with our space.

2.  To help me battle the depressing state of things, I swear, seed catalogs came in the mail this week!  I had requested them a couple of months ago, so I was thrilled to get them in the mail (seen above).  It's like Christmas for adults I swear *laugh*.  I looked through and started circling seeds and plants that had short growing seasons and I knew we'd eat and also found a couple of new plants that I had no idea would grow in my zone.  I found a couple of different berries and things that I am hoping to be able to afford at some point in coming years.  I'd also like to get some fruit trees, clear the land around here, build some stone walls and make a beautiful kitchen and English garden type of atmosphere in the backyard and a few other animals and build my husband the big shop he's wanted for years.  And I'll find a pirate ship buried in the backyard loaded with gold coins to help pay for it all.  Ha!  One can dream can't they?

3.  I finally have, so far, been able to watch about 1/2 of "Edwardian Farm" on YouTube.  Every other time I've tried like three parts were unavailable to watch and it was kind of hard to get into as it came off disjointed.  I'm so far enjoying it a lot more than the first couple of times I've watched it because of this :).

4.  The new laundry system came in the mail this week and while I was kind of blown away with how small the magnets were (probably like an inch across and and an inch and a half tall) they stick to the drum of the washer well.  I've been using a small amount of laundry soap to help break up dirt on my husband's clothes and things, but so far they seem to be working pretty good.  The particulate matter they're picking up from the water is already apparent, so here's hoping they continue to work.   I'll keep you updated.

5.  The foam mattress cover I ordered from my family came in this week too.  And I am SO SO glad I got it!  Boy is it ever helping my quality of sleep with my arms and it really seemed to help out my right arm in particular.  It's a bit stiff now, but the masses of pain I was in are gone from that arm and significantly reduced in my left arm and I think a lot of that is just due to the fact that I was able to sleep a lot better and let my arm nest into the mattress instead of trying to figure out a way to make my upper arms kind of float with a pillow propping them up or something so they didn't hurt constantly at night.  My left arm was actually doing a lot better, but I've been stretching it out a lot playing with my son and things and I think I've been overdoing it a bit because of that, so last night I was kind of sore and miserable with that arm.  But that was also without the aid of Ibuprofen that I've been able to wean myself off of the last few days, so I'm not complaining too much.

6.   It warmed up this week!  We actually saw into the 40's one day a couple of days ago and it was wonderful.  Yesterday the temperature went back down into the 30's and it's snowing again today, but at least we're not looking at highs in the below zeroes or in the single digits.  Got my gas bill and it was as depressing as my electric bill.  I noticed that the price on natural gas is nearly 1.00 per cubic foot.  My jaw just about dropped off my head when I realized that.  The gas bill was well over 200.00 with how cold it has been, so I'm looking at 800.00 just in utilities this month.  That sucked.  Hopefully the worst of the cold weather is over, so I'm just going to be optimistic about it and pray the worst of the winter temperatures is over.

7.  I managed to get housework pretty much caught up this week, despite the sporadic school schedule and things, so that was good.

8.  The menu plan this week got blown to kingdom come with everything that happened, but about 1/2 way through the week I decided to start planning out next week's menu for the sake of having it done and hopefully working well by the time Monday rolls around.  This week's menu was kind of an odd mix of things.  We had BBQ chicken one day, french dips a couple of days, leftovers one night, Alfredo Chicken Helper one night (my "punt" meal from the shelf by the china cabinet") and stuff like that.  It was better than eating out, but not terribly exciting, so I'm hoping to do better next week.

And yeah, that's my week in a nutshell.  How did your week go?


  1. Totally with you on the seed catalogs! Which one do you like? I'm looking to order some short-season berries this year and I'm having a hard time deciding which company to order from.

    I'm also curious about the mattress topper. I bet something like that would help my hips!

    Glad you were able to salvage a bit of the week and HURRAY for free chickens! That's so very, very cool!

    Warm thoughts this week!

    1. Well, I ordered a bunch from different companies since the whole "growing from seed" thing is new to me. So far I'm really impressed with "The Territorial Seed Company" as their shipping costs seem good and the amount of seeds and things you get are pretty good as well. I think they'll even ship bushes and things up here (Canada is mentioned and Hawaii but not Alaska...curious to see if they lump Alaska in with Canada...sometimes we have that problem up here), so if I can't find things like sea berries locally I could go and order some from there, maybe. We shall see.

      But yeah for sheer variety of product, I'm definitely impressed with the Territorial Seed Company out of all of them so far. The Victory Seed Company, though, has oddball things like Salsify that other places don't carry and they carry different heirloom seeds, so it's kind of like what you want to buy more than anything. I know that is as clear as mud, but I tried *laugh*.

      The mattress topper has definitely been helping my hips too (had looser hips since having kids as I'm sure a lot of other women out there do). Amazon has a bunch of different options for toppers available, but I'd definitely go with something 1.5 inches or above in thickness. Mine is supposedly 1.5 inches thick but has five "body zones" to help make your body comfortable. It works, but the 1.5 is measured from the tops of the ridges on the mat, so the majority of the topper is more like 1 inch thick at most, so I'd definitely say the thicker the better in this case :).

  2. Sounds like an absolutely crazy week! Glad you've survived :)
    I ordered seeds from this year. I follow a number of Youtube subscriptions that absolutely love his seeds. It is just $ .99 each packet. There are also 10% discount codes out there. I followed Tangi the Caver's Wife link to obtain a discount. Her link was:

    Love, love that you'll have chickens, and free to boot! Yeah.

    I love my chickens. I am adding to my flock once my guys build the new kit house I bought last fall, and I'll need to add on to their run. I have an area fenced that used to be a second chicken run area but it needs to be repaired and a cover netting put up. The hawks will have them for dinner if I don't.

    Hope your coming week goes wonderfully well!

    1. Huh! I'll have to check out .99 per packet of seeds sounds like a winner to me!

      I'm overly excited about the chickens, I have to admit. I already have the waterer and the feeding center I want in my cart on Amazon *laugh*. It'll be nice getting eggs and having some outside companions.

  3. Man, I just want you to catch a break already!!

    Lake Livin'

    1. Me too, honestly. Weeks like this are tough on the morale. Keep hoping something will give and go well for a while. I have faith though, so here's hoping the Good Lord sees to answer that faith with reality.

  4. Hi,
    Can't they put you on levelized billing for your utilities where you live. We did this many years ago and don't have too many surprises about what our utilities are going to be. It makes it easier to do a monthly budget. I really like your blog.

  5. I live in Fairbanks, so know about cold climate gardening. If you area interested in berries that produce year after year with little tending, try honeyberries. Blue like blueberries but longer. Taste great, unless you get anxious and try to eat them before they are completely ripe:). They were bred in Siberia. Also called haspberries. The UAF botanical garden has raised them for years, with great success. You do have to get two, for pollination purposes. Really, I have grown them for about six years and with two bushes get more than enough to eat and some to can.

  6. Erika-I am so glad the mattress topper is helping some.
    Our week has been spendy yet frugal. I HAD to get a haircut. DH's hands shake too much for him to get near my head with scissors and since I only have vision in one eye, I can't do it myself. So I just figure 3 to 4 haircuts a year into the budget.
    I got books thru the library. Got the free macaroni and free refried beans from the grocery and we used 70¢ per gallon discount to fill both vehicles this week. Meals have been from home until today which is our date day. We shared a small pizza and even brought almost half of it home.
    Our biggest fail was having to do a small load of clothes so we could wash DH's work socks after the backyard dog stole them out of the laundry basket of clean clothes.

  7. my stomach does cycles with my Crohn's...yes killing animals would trigger hers. My younger dog got hurt the other day, I was down 2 days with my stomach and he was down 2 hrs.. I ordered my seeds and just got them in..was like opening Christmas/birthday presents. Our electric bill was $140...almost double of where it's been but with electric heater,dehydrator,humidifier, Christmas baking and Christmas lights I wasn't upset. Last year it was over $250.We spent the money and got LED light bulbs as we have over 150 lights on this farm. Our propane ran $1.50 this year. I am thankful we prepaid the 900 gal we use per year and had the price set as I have had several tell me they didn't and was paying over $2. I got mac for 49¢ a lb...stocked up big time LOL
    Blessed Be Juls

  8. Is the Edwardian Farm similar to the Wartime Farm? I'm almost done watching all of the episodes of it. I hope things improve for your family and you. It seems like it rains; it pours. Love looking toward spring time too and figuring out our gardens....