Saturday, April 15, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

This is the week that my husband and I decided we're moving.  Out of state, preferably.  We're thinking Northern Iowa.  My husband's father's family is from that area and was in that area for generations before his grandfather met up with a woman whose family had been homsteading in Alaska for a generation and moved up here eventually.  My husband was there as a kid briefly and really liked it and we've talked about going there from time to time over the years.  We called the Chamber of Commerce down there and found them friendly, kind and generous with the information and I was even able to get in contact with a couple that runs a therapy place down there for special needs kids and found out that Iowa seems to be an excellent state to be in if you have an autistic child when it comes to resources (and the couple was from Wasilla too, which I found really funny and took as pretty much a sign).  We're aiming for a year before we move as we have to get the house fixed up to sell, get my husband some experience under his belt with the airport job (which will look good on a resume), get my daughter through elementary school and get my son to a point where he'd be graduating out of the elementary ABA program and into regular special ed up here as well (which another thing in Iowa's favor is that their autism programs go longer in school).

If anyone is from around that area, drop me a line and if you've moved from Alaska to another state (it complicates things being this far North), please e-mail me at makedohomemaker (at) gmail (dot) com and give me some tips.

The straw that broke our backs this week was an incident that happened when we went to the store on Tuesday to get milk (the store was out of whole milk when I'd gone to get milk on earlier) and we had an incident in the parking lot with an unhinged lady...long story, but to skip to the ending the cops got involved when the lady called and started yelling at the 911 operator because we parked our cart in the wrong spot and offended her sensibilities (like I said...unhinged) and she was blocking our car so we couldn't pull out until the cops came and arrested us for cart mis-parking.  The cops agreed the lady was nuts and after telling her that what we had done was far from illegal, wasn't hurting anyone and that the store didn't care if someone parked their cart somewhere other than the inside of the store, stayed with us until she was out of sight for a good five minutes or so to avoid her following us home and starting something.  She was that nuts.  Basically the lady was either on drugs or she needed to be.

At that point my husband and I were just DONE.  We have come to realize that around here that most people with skills and any ability to get out of the state are leaving in a mass exodus right now (as the state is going to crap due to government mismanagement) and that we were going to be having more incidents like the one in the parking lot if we stayed here.  It's like the insane people running the asylum more and more up here and once the 30% income taxes start hitting on top of sales tax and no PFD, it's going to be impossible for most people to live up here.  And we'd looked at property to move from here to another area and property prices are even higher than when we bought this place, so we can't find anything worth buying for under about 300,000 with any decent amount of land.  Which we can't afford that.  So, leaving state is just the best option.  Scary as I have NO idea HOW we're going to do it, but I'm praying somehow we can save up the money we need and if we sell the house and some other things we might be able to make enough to get out of here.  If for no other reason than for better services for Alvah (still no luck finding him a speech therapist around here yet).  Pray for us, please?  I'm figuring if it's meant to be God will make sure things fall into place, so here's hoping it all works out.

Update on Shani is she still hasn't looked into treatment centers and unfortunately I can't do the last part for her as she needs to coordinate and pay for her travel and make appointments and thigns.  She's kind of acting like she's giving up and is just going to give chemo a shot up here, which from what I've read isn't going to work on her type of cancer.  So, I don't know.

At least the chickens are doing good.  For three year old hens (turns out that is how old they are...between two and three is what Shani was told), I have two hens that are laying one egg consistently a day and they started laying pretty fast...within a few days (the eggs I got this week seen up top).  Which makes me think that they really enjoy their new home, which makes ME happy knowing that.  One hen just randomly is laying one egg a week wherever she seems to be at the time (the other two always lay in the same nesting box so I know it's not them and the eggs she lays are SLIGHTLY bigger and has a slight tan undertone to them).   I'm not too worried about a pretty much freeloading hen at this point.  Since the chickens are all so old, we're probably going to look at culling them all this fall after they molt (thus stop laying) for the winter and starting fresh next year (if we're still here anyway).  I talked to a breeder and he agreed as the hens are getting old enough that they are going to cease to be cost effective to keep soon.  I texted Shani to ask her opinion (I didn't want to just get her chickens, take care of them six months and then slaughter them without asking her about it as it seemed not right to do without her okay) and she said she had gotten them not only for eggs but also for meat so if we felt the need to cull them to do so and enjoy the chicken.  My daughter was even okay once I explained that most times you only keep chickens for a year or so before you turn them into dinner and that it was best to not name them because of that.  She just got all excited over the idea of getting new chickens/chicks later on.  Hopefully wherever we end up we can get some more chickens as I've found I actually do enjoy taking care of them (I know, I'm weird).

So, yeah, onto the other money saving things that went on this week!

1.  I was on Amazon and surfing around looking at stuff (because I'm terrible like that) and found a bunch of stuff that were add on items that I decided I could put into one order and get.  The biggest find was a six pack of Simply Pure (or something similar) Pillsbury frosting mixes were down to a six pack of them for 2.00 and some change.  I ordered four packs as I am hoping that the frosting (which you add butter and things to) would be close enough to the processed crap in taste that my son will eat it, but also get some nutrition in him (and since there is no leavening in it the powdered mix lasts pretty much forever).  Got two of the orders in supposedly yesterday only to find two envelopes in the box, not the 12 I was expecting.  Contacted amazon and the frosting mix is back ordered with their supplier, so I have no idea if and when I'll get my missing envelopes or if I'll get my other orders.  Ugh.  At least it was cheap to begin with, I guess.  I also got a razor with refill cartridges for 2.00 and some change after a 3.00/1 coupon they had.  So, yay for at least getting a cheap razor :).

2.  I went to Fred Meyer yesterday and got the freebies I had saved on my card.  One was the new line of Jell-O that is coming out, which is with simple all natural ingredients and what not.  I checked out the flavors and most of them there was no way my family would like (I mean Strawberry pudding just didn't seem like it would go over well), but I picked chocolate caramel in the hopes it would taste like chocolate.  We shall see.  I also got a free bag of Sour Patch Kids (sour gummy candies) and put those aside for the Easter basket tomorrow, so yay for free Easter candy!

3.  I went to Carrs hoping to get the freebies I had coming there from the Monopoly game.  I had a coupon for free salt, free aspirin and free crackers.  Only to find that Carrs was out of all of them.  Hopefully they'll get them back in before the game is over.  I did get a coupon for a free pound of pasta yesterday, though, so I'll at least be able to redeem THAT one, so yay for free pasta anyway!
4.  I harvested some lettuce from my hydroponic garden this week, which was nice because our winter is definitely holding on this year, although thank goodness things are melting pretty quickly now.  We're about a month behind on Spring compared to the last few years right now, unfortunately, and by the sheer amount of freezing temperatures we're still getting at night, I'm really wondering if the garden is going to do very much this year the way the weather is going.  We shall see.
The hydroponic garden, though, is actually doing really well.  The amount of lettuce I can harvest at one time is just enough for side salads for the family for one night (an average amount is seen in the bowl there), but I have found that the lettuce recoups pretty quickly (seen above a few days after harvesting some for salads).  I doubt I'll regrow lettuce in the garden, though, as I can't see it being cost effective with what I'm paying on power with the light compared to the cost of lettuce at the store.  Next time I'm going to just plant herbs instead as those I can always use and things like Basil don't like to grow outside here, so it'll be nice to have some of that to harvest.  And a box of herb pods came with my aero garden, so my next harvest won't cost me anything to plant.

5.  I got eggs to color for Easter (I didn't want to use my first fresh eggs to make Easter eggs, I know I'm bad) for free after spending 25.00 at Carrs with a coupon this week, which was cool.  Now, though, between that and the eggs I got from the chickens and a dozen I dug out of the back of the vegetable drawer I forgot I had (don't ask me why I put my eggs in the veggie drawer...for the life of me I don't know)...I going to be using up eggs in the next few weeks for sure.

6.  I mended a t-shirt that was losing it's arm due to a loose seam. 

7.  We ate at home all week without eating out once, which is rare for us with my son and his "french fry food group" diet.  So, yay for saving money that way!

8.  I enjoyed the free resource of naps this week trying to recoup from my cold.  It's still straggling on a bit, but at least I am starting to feel human again. 

9.  It's been warm enough to open up the deck door and the windows this week to start letting in fresh air.  It's been in the 50's during the day some days, which is wonderful after the long, cold winter we had!  Fresh air is not only free, but definitely welcome.

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


  1. Wow, your lettuce looks great! I'm curious, did you get a hydroponic system, or just use a grow light with water/nutrients? I've wondered before if some of those countertop hydroponic/aquaponic units are worth it.

    1. I got one of the three pod Aero-Gardens and just used the kits they sell for them on Amazon. I'd probably go for the six pod if I was going for any lettuce in bulk, but they do work and actually not a lot of work.

  2. Can I just say, I am glad you are moving? Good help for your son, the ability to garden longer, and easier, much cheaper heating bills, more jobs available, better housing costs, I could go on, but from reading your blog it does seem like some things are good there, but on a whole, like the cost of living...could be better.

    Seeing your blog totally reminded me...I have to go do the easter baskets lol! It's been a VERY long week, we had family in for a few days, and not the sad to see them go variety. Best get to my baskets! I got the sour patched too, but my kids won't eat them so sending them my husband's classroom.

    1. I agree with Sarah. I think a move might be a really positive thing for your entire family...on so many levels! I know it may seem scary and overwhelming right now, but I think it will turn into a really good adventure for all of you.

  3. Hi Erika, Just wanted to say Happy Easter and let you know that you and your family are, and will remain on my prayer list. It sounds like your plan to move is a good idea.

  4. Hi Erika - I also was glad to hear you are planning on moving. My husband and I contemplated moving to Iowa at one time also, as he has family that live there, but when my Dad offered us to buy his house it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. I love Iowa - You should be able to find a place to live that is very affordable and compared to living in Alaska, prices of food etc will be significantly less. (although prices keep going up everywhere) The best thing to do before hand is to declutter as much as you possibly can. Moving costs can be a nightmare. My husband and I drove from Minneapolis MN to Palmer Alaska in 1995. It was a great experience. Driving seems crazy but it can be done. I believe U-Haul is available in Alaska so it would be possible to do the move yourself, if you wanted to try that route. I'm excited for you and hope this year of preparation goes well and brings you closer to your dream. You won't be so far away from me then. My husband and I live in a small town about 55 miles north of Minneapolis MN. Happy Easter and take care. Ranee

  5. Youngest daughter was the third generation on my husband's side to attend Iowa State University. She loved Iowa and said if it weren't for the cold winter she would move there in a heartbeat (she's California born and bred). I think you've got that cold thing covered. Praying that you find Iowa has what you're looking for. I can tell you the people are friendly, the education system is great, the soil is fertile, and, since it's in the lower 48, shipping isn't usually a problem. I hope you find you identify with Field of Dreams where Shoeless Joe asks "Is this heaven?" and is told "no, it's Iowa."

  6. Now that you have made the decision ~ Sell everything, but what is absolutely essential and go. U-Hauls get pricey fast between gas, distance, and time. I am sure it will be disruptive both in job security and change being unfriendly to your son. Hurry before the crazy house is built next door. (Before it chases all the neighbors away and drops the property values.) You will miss the mountains.
    SMS in MI

  7. What an exciting decision to move. I am in neighboring Illinois, which has the same type of financial mismanagement as Alaska, and people are leaving in droves with a fair number going to Iowa. Iowa is not as favorable tax-wise as Indiana, but still much better than Illinois. The cost of living is crazy low in Iowa compared to the Chicago area (and probably Alaska), which means job salaries are also much lower. Don't get scared off by that, though, as the lower cost of living more than makes up for it.

  8. I, too, agree with everyone else. A move sounds like a great idea, plus you will not be hurried and can plan carefully. It will be a major change but you are up to it, I believe. The world has gone crazy; people are cracking up all around. It is getting scary.

  9. I agree with SMS in MI. I say sell everything and buy used once you get to Iowa. After all, you'll have a completely different layout/space, etc and it will cost a fortune to move it all that far. The $ you make from selling everything can help finance your move. Also, if your husband gets the airport experience under his belt, perhaps he'll find a job in IA that will pay a bit towards his relocation.

  10. Sorry to digress. I wonder if you have read Dorcas Smucker's blog. On her April 17 blog she talks about making weighted blankets for kids with autism. Somehow they help these kids relax and sleep. She tells how to make them. She is a Mennonite lady. Her blog address is: It's called "Life in The Shoe".

  11. I drove down from Wasilla to NC about 10 years ago. My advice, get your copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, any legal document from the state of AK now, extra copies. If you are driving, get passports started now, they take a while. If you are taking pets, keep documents and check for the customs issues for pets for driving through Canada. Uhauls can be a fortune, if you can get a used trailer if you are driving, I got mine on Craigslist. I had AAA make a driving route with maps made up and it was great. Make sure to request pet friendly hotels, if needed. Before moving, make sure to inform your bank that you are traveling and your intended route, otherwise they could pause or hold your card somewhere and you could be "stuck." (I forgot and was on the phone for a few hours in Montana) Check your vehicle insurances and medical insurance and inform them of the moving. Start saving now, for unexpected road expenses. Also, some things only found in Alaska, stock up, maybe have a good friend who is willing to send you those things when you get a craving (Taco Loco and Kaladis Coffee for me!). And sell all you can, as everyone says. Also don't be surprised, I've been in NC and now in PA and grocery prices and cost of living are not much different in than AK, and I lived in Anchorage, Wasilla and Nikiski. Good luck!