Saturday, January 20, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Man, I'm tired.  My son decided to suddenly give up sleeping for two nights in a row this week and then yesterday he was up early with an upset stomach (an all Dorito diet will catch up with you eventually, it seems), so I had a kid home from school who after the first initial volley with his stomach was perfectly happy all day, so getting things done was a challenge with him running around like a maniac.  Luckily I found this recipe for make ahead pizza dough and it was a HUGE life saver getting dinner on the table last night.  The recipe was super easy to put together, super easy to rise and was definitely a keeper.  I was able to make a big 1/2 sheet pan pizza and took a wad of dough and made my own knock off Pizza Hut style breadsticks with it (which the son ate TONS of and I am thrilled!  Definitely will be making that again!). 

So, yeah, so far, even with a supreme lack of sleep on my part this week, I was still able to keep to the menu plan (so far) and get stuff done.  So, let's get to the rest of the week! 

Right, so warning up front here!  You are about to view my shopping for this week.  This contains soda, which I know is expensive and unhealthly and believe me I read all nutrition labels so please rest assured that I am only buying this "wonder concoction of junk food" because I have a child on the spectrum and he will literally starve himself if I do not provide him his preferred "foods" (and yes, I use that term as loosely as it goes).

Right, so you have been warned.  Let's get onto the shopping trips!

1.  Shopping was done super carefully this week, which I ended up having to do because the son is blowing through food around here and I went to grab my husband a soda for his work lunch and realized that we were completely out (which isn't a big deal until your husband has to buy soda at the gas station and pay 2.00 for a refill...that paid for one 12 pack of soda, nearly above there).  We have found out recently that the son will drink the Safeway brand generic store cola, which is at least cheaper to get than Coke most weeks (and my husband likes it too, so I can throw them into his lunch in case he needs a caffeine influx to drive home without falling asleep), so I could get some generic soda and have it do double duty for both my husband's lunches and my son's "caffeine fits".

I ended up taking two trips to the store this week.  One I took on Wednesday (the photo above there)  when I had to go and get gas in the car and needed to get milk, so I figured I'd pick up a few things and use the 20.00 left on the prepaid card my husband gave me. 

My son's teacher had sent home a letter a few weeks ago asking if parents could send in some supplies they were nearly out of and since she asked for nothing at the beginning of the year pretty much, I decided to do my part to help out the classroom.  One of the things she'd asked for was freezer bags, so I had given her a couple of boxes of freezer bags from my "cheap stash" I had gotten from Three Bears a while back.  My bad in that I then did a ton of baking, most of which had to go into the freezer to use later on and I quickly blew through the last of my box of freezer bags, went to get another box, only to find that all I had were quart sized freezer bags left (frugal fail!!!)!  I stopped by Three Bears hoping to get a few more boxes of the cheap bags, only to find they didn't have any cheap bags in stock.  So, hoping for divine intervention (as freezer bags at the stores tend to be REALLY expensive it seems anymore) I decided to see what Carrs had while I was there.  Luckily I found that they had a cheapy brand of freezer bag now for 1.86 per box (regular price to boot!), so I grabbed two boxes of them to see me through for a while (and they are actually pretty good freezer bags, I was impressed).  I had a personalized price on sandwich bags this week for 1.99 and decided to get some when I realized that my daughter's lunch box doesn't accommodate more than one reusable lunch container at a time and she had requested some Goldfish crackers in her lunch.

I also got a gallon of milk (regular price) and two pounds of butter (2.47 this week with a max of two per shopping trip) as I needed butter and milk.

I had also blown through the last of my soy sauce (like that EVER happens around this place) when I made some terriyaki chicken in the pressure cooker a couple of weeks ago and I had a personalized price of 1.99 on a big bottle of the stuff this week (which was weird because, like I said, I NEVER run out of soy sauce around here), so I got that as well.  I didn't really NEED it right this moment or anything, but it assured I went over 22.00 (around) so I could use the rest of the prepaid card.  I wanted to make sure I would use all of it as we were getting nailed 2.00 per month in service fees for having money left on the card. 

All totaled after coupons, personalized prices and the rest of the gift card were applied I spent 1.71 out of pocket on that shopping trip.

I went back to Carrs today to pick up the kid's prescriptions that were running out around here and while there I went and grabbed a couple of freebies that Carrs offered me yesterday on Just 4 U. 

On the freebie list were a "oui" yogurt (which I had for lunch today and was pretty tasty!  Although, man the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in one little yogurt!  Yikes!) and a Arla cream cheese.  There were actually three different types of cream cheese available; original, strawberry and an herb containing one.  I decided to go with the original because really I can add strawberry jam to make strawberry cream cheese and I can certainly add herbs to cream cheese to make an herby one. 

And I bet you thought I forgot about the Tilamook cheese didn't you?  Nope.  I had a personalized price of 7.99 on the smaller block of Tilamook this week (which showed up in my feed this morning on Just 4 U, which irritated me a bit as I would have picked it up on my earlier shopping trip and to heck with the soy sauce, but oh well) and so I ran and grabbed that today as well and decided to use a 5.00 Safeway gift card I had toward the purchase.  So, today's shopping trip cost me a total of 2.99.   The entire shopping trip is seen up top there.

I was really grateful to have giftcards at my disposal this week.  We still have a week and a half until we get paid, so I am trying to be really careful with money to make sure we have enough to see us through till then.  My goal right now is to save as much as I can out of the small chunk we have left in checking (after fuel costs for commuting and such) and when the husband gets paid next I'd like to take 1/2 of that chunk that we have left and put it into savings.  How much that will be has yet to be seen, but I'm hopeful it will be something!

2.  I decided not to buy coffee when I ran out this week.  I was tempted, boy was I, with how little sleep I was getting, but I instead switched to PG Tips that I have around the house (it's a type of tea) and have been drinking that instead.  It doesn't quite cut the mustard on the caffeine content front, but I've been making do with it, and double benefit is that I'm using up some old tea while I'm at it.

3.  I'm making progress on cleaning the house.  I got my son's room shampooed over three times now and still need to do it a couple of more times to get things that he has ground into his carpet out of it and get it actually clean, but I'm getting there.  Then it's onto the rest of the house.

4.  We might have a bead on a new to us truck.  A friend (well actually basically a surrogate cousin) of my husband's has a truck he wants to sell for about 5,000.00 after he gets a few things fixed on it, which I figure if we can't get a small home equity loan (our plan right now to get home maintenance done and things) to pay for it I know we could probably get a bank auto loan for that much to pay for it that way if needed and 5,000.00 is definitely in my price scope for a vehicle!  Hoping for the best on that one!  Wish us luck when we go to work with the bank on Monday, please!

5.  Trying to work out a menu plan for the next month (believe it or not), so I can work on figuring out needed shopping to get done and continue to do the "two big shopping trips a month" method of shopping.  So far it's getting there slowly but surely.  A HUGE resource for me in figuring out some cheap meals to make is I went and started planning more meals from The Prudent Homemaker's Strictly Pantry Menu.  I've also been hitting Pinterest a lot and finding recipes that I can adjust to our tastes (and income many recipes that contain expensive ingredients out there!).

6.  I was able to do some of God's work this week, which was completely free and allowed me to feel good to help someone else. 

When I went to the store earlier in the week I went through U-Scan when I checked out.  I just happened to glance down to find someone had forgotten to grab their 80.00 in change from the machine.  Knowing someone would definitely miss that and pretty fast, I turned it into customer service.  Then today when I went to the store I pulled in beside a car whose gas cap was open and lying against the side of the car.  Honestly, I thought for sure someone had stolen the person's gas, so I quickly moved my car (in case police had to go there), wrote down the make and licence plate number and turned the information into customer service and explained what I saw.  Not only did I find out that a very grateful mother had picked up her change from the U-Scan (it was the same lady at customer service and she remembered me so she wanted me to know that the money had found it's way into the right hands), but then when I checked out my cashier (one of my favorites) told me that he had gone out to check out the car I had turned in the information on and had happened to get there right when the woman who owned the car was getting into her car.  He quickly pointed out what I had seen to her and seeing it the woman gushed gratefully as she had just gotten done at the gas station before going to the store and had forgotten to close up her gas tank (which she had said was something she'd done more than once, which had me baffled when I heard that).  She was thrilled that it had been caught before she lost more gas as it sloshed out of her tank as she was driving down the highway.

So, yeah, never think that just because you are broke that you can't help people out.  Just keep your eyes open.  You never know when an opportunity might present itself.

7.  My husband and I stopped off at the used store earlier in the week to drop off a bag of donations and get some fresh air.  I saw that they had a certain color tag of clothing on sale for .25 a piece.  My son needed shirts (that kid grows like a weed), so I went looking for him, but not only did I find him three shirts, but I found myself a nice zip up fleece sweatshirt, a long sleeved top and a couple of nice dressier tops to wear during the summertime.  I even found a couple of small, commercial quality, baking pans that would fit into my pressure cooker to make egg bakes for breakfast and things.  I paid with a roll of nickels I've had in my purse forever (I was given them as change from the same used store months and months ago and had just kept them in my purse as giving 2.00 in rolled change at a store isn't normally something I think to do) and some change I had in my jacket from a return I'd made a while back at the grocery store.  So far my son is really liking his new shirts, so yay for that!

8.  I mended a few toys for my daughter this week, including a ball gown for her Barbie sized dolls so that her Ever After High princesses could look super spiffy for a ball she was putting on *laugh*.

9.  My husband started to weed out his old shirts from our closet this week and organized things while he did it.  I'm just letting him do his thing at this point and am glad he's tackling it.

And there you go folks.  Some of my frugal adventures this week.  How did you do?


  1. I hope it works out on the truck for you!!
    This week, I spent every bit of my grocery money, and part of next weeks at Walmart when I stocked up on the things you need occasionally, but are too expenive, like dishwasher detergent (Our machine really only can clean with cascade powder, so that's what I have to get) but while I was there, at 11 in the morning, they had tons of rotiserie chickens in the deli marked down to $2.31. I bought two, we've eaten most of one, I need to make sure we use them up, or I freeze the meat before it goes bad. Also bought sandwich meats, I don't do that often, but I had planned a sandwich dinner night, though I'm mostly not sick anymore, I am still so darn tired. I also picked up a few things for the little girl next door who has the flu, and was rushed to the ER when she passed out from dehydration. She spends so much time at our house, she's almost like one of my own. The other week I spent almost 3 hours getting the worst tangles I've ever seen out of her hair, because it was so bad, her parents were about to shave it. I'm hoping the poor thing recovers soon. but that took part of my overage as well!

    We had two dentist trips this week, and one more coming soon, but to my surprise, they were each a little less than poriginally estimated, so I'm grateful. It's also FINALLY not in the single digits, so the heating bill, though it will be AWFUL the next two months, should at least be not as awful.

  2. I think, with a special needs child, or even adult, you do what you can to make their life comfortable. Even if that means they get cola to drink. It could be so much worse, in my opinion. You done good and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
    That was very noble of you to return the 80.00! That’s a lot of money to forget! I’m not a fan of the self-serve for that reason. I’ve let money but it was change.
    Good luck with the bank! That will be awesome for you and your family!
    Brandy has great recipes, doesn’t she? I love her chicken fried steak recipe. It’s cheap and delicious and freezes well.

  3. I'm glad you found out they will drink generic soda. Soda is expensive when it's not on sale. Don't worry about the people who nag you about feeding your kid. If they had read your previous posts, they would know you are already concerned and are already working on improving his diet without their advice. You are so much more ambitious (homemade Christmas presents, lots of baking, actually cooking dinner most nights of the week) than I am that I am usually in awe of what you accomplish. Thanks for the good example. Michelle

  4. You seem to have had a great week. It is hard when kids don't sleep, I remember.

  5. Oh, I sure hope things go well for you at the bank. I will keep my fingers crossed and say an extra prayer. Ranee (MN)

  6. Two of my sons have moved back home while they are looking for jobs. It has been different having them home. They brought back all the leftover food from their apartments and I added it to my pantry. I had just gotten used to only shopping for two, now I am drowning in food! I decided to completely rework my pantry. They hauled everything out of one side of the laundry room, dumped it in the middle of the living room floor, and I started painting. Half way through I twisted while holding a case of tomatoes and pulled my back out, really bad. I spent two days in bed, not moving, then two days on the couch, and now I am moving very, very slowly.

    I refuse to go to the grocery store! I am cooking from scratch using up all the odds and ends. We have had some very strange meals. They are thrilled to have Mom cooking for them again and are loving it. They bought many things I would not have purchased (would not have paid the price) so I am trying new things.

    When they get new jobs and leave, they will load up from my pantry but I would like to send them fresh things. Right now we are eating according to what is about to expire or has expired the longest time. Very strange meals.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.

  7. I believe that an improved diet will improve your son's behavior issues. I know it is not easy to live with a child on the spectrum, but it seems you gave in a long time ago. It will make it that much harder to change his eating habits. Our concern is the health of our children, no matter what spectrum they are on!

    1. If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing....
      If you feel the need to criticise at least have the courtesy to leave your name.
      Lorraine, UK

    2. My nephew is autistic. He also is a picky eater. He dislikes meat of any kind; will only eat pasta with butter and occasionally WHITE cheese sprinkled on top; he dislikes most fruit and vegetables; he won't eat bread, but will eat a hot dog bun, (but without the hot dog of course). The list is extensive. His parents tried and tried to repackage the food; to force him to eat it; to cajole, beg and plead...all to no avail. They even took him to a nutritionist that deals with autistic children but not much was able to be changed in his diet. He's 11 yrs. old now, and his eating likes and dislikes are still the same.

      So my point is, Commenter, that unless you understand the complexities of dealing with an autistic child and the hoops the parents have to jump through to just get the child to eat Anything so they can survive, perhaps your comments should be limited to niceties instead of judgements.

      Pat, Canada

    3. Ditto on points about having kids with autism. I have a 24 year old who is a VERY picky eater. when he was little, he ate like us- everything. But as he grew older, his tastes changed. My point is- I would rather give him what he wants to eat and supplement with vitamins less having battles with him that I cannot win. His life is hectic enough and I want to make it easier for him. You're doing a great job, Erika!!!

  8. Other than not sleeping, it sounds like it was a great week! So true about not needing money to help others.

  9. My dear, I read your blog all the time. And I enjoy it very much. You have a husband with asthma, a daughter with stomach problems and an autistic son. You take good care of everyone.
    You live in Alaska, where where things are expensive,summer is short and winters long. You do the very best you can every day to care for your family
    With what you have. Your even try to grow your own food,only to get robbed by some marauding moose. Not once,but twice! And you have the best attitude.
    None of us can control our circumstances, we must take life as it comes. You do that daily with a wonderful sense of humor and an unstoppable inner strength. Thank you for sharing your daily life with us. And watch out for those thieving moose. Oh,if you have a p.o. box or address I would like to send you something.

    1. Could you e-mail me at ? Thanks :).