Saturday, February 10, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, this has been an interesting week for sure.  Got dental bills paid off (woohoo!!! Still thrilled with that :) and transferred money into savings to pay for the car insurance that will come due in March and money to cover closing costs on the home equity loan (if it goes through okay...fingers crossed!).  Sure we're now broke again, but it feels good to have those costs covered.  Went and had to run back and forth to the bank about five times (so it felt like) to fill out paperwork and things to send things to the underwriter and an appraiser stopped by. 

The son was sick a couple of times due to sinus issues (or something...he just was acting like he plain wasn't feeling well a couple of times last week and developed a cough), so I tried to juggle him on top of trying to get stuff done.

Family far away went through issues that had me a worried mess. My half sister was in a car wreck last week where the only victor was some black ice and a couple of trees.  She's really lucky that she handled the situation as well as anyone could, was following the speed limit (which thank goodness was in a residential zone so she wasn't going fast) and that help showed up quickly to help call 911 for her (her phone was dead it turned out when she was able to find it somehow in the wreck).  And really she's just lucky she's alive (airborne car, two trees, airbag didn't name it).  Top that off with a bad allergic reaction to Vicodin that they gave her for pain (that landed her in the hospital again) and I think I lost the right to complain about how my week went for the rest of my natural life. She's is in a lot of pain and things and looks like she is going to need physical therapy due to back injuries and things, but she's here and still breathing, of which I am grateful for.  I'm praying for a speedy recovery for her and not too many medical bills to panic the life out of her (she has the ACA insurance, so goodness knows how great that is).

Then my mom went through cataract surgery (first time she's ever been under the knife for anything, so she was actually more panicky than I was after having had two Cesareans in my time) and right after the surgery she got the flu and has been dealing with recovery from that (and she still has one more surgery to get through this week).  So I spent a lot of time on the cell phone texting and on the home phone talking to keep in touch on how things were going with my half-sister and my mom (no regrets at all, mind you!).  I am grateful for the unlimited long distance I have on my phone at times like this as it allowed me to talk as long as I needed to without panicking about the phone bill.  I did manage to clean and things while talking with a phone to my ear too, so a nod to my grandma and mom who did that with a corded phone through a decent portion of their home making days (I have to say I love my cordless phone and the freedom of movement it allows as I still remember getting wrapped up in those cords a LOT as a kid as you turned to check on something on the fridge or something *laugh*). 

The quest for speech therapy continued without luck, but it was worth the effort to try.  I started to recover the house from the mess it was after the son was home sick a couple of times due to sinus issues (it amazes me how, even when feeling poorly, that kid can just trash the house).  So, yeah, it's been a week for sure. 

In the midst of good and bad going on, though, money saving events took place, so let's get to that!

1.  Well, let's start with shopping since that is the one thing I thought to take pictures of this week.  I went to two stores this week.  Fred Meyer and Carrs.

Fred Meyer e-mailed me on Friday to let me know about a ton of freebies that were available to download, so between what I already had loaded onto my card along with a best customer freebie and some bonus freebies, I had like seven items I could get for free.  I figured that was totally worth a trip to Fred Meyer. 

Unfortunately, like about 8 out of 10 times I go to Fred Meyer,  four out of seven freebies were out of stock (and I wasted a lot of time looking for them, just in case) and they don't give rain checks on free items.  The biggest find that trip was that they had pink lemonade mix on sale for 2.49 per container I found when I checked.  I had a 1.00/1 coupon loaded onto my card that could be used up to five times and than I had some paper coupons I could stack with the E-coupons.  All totaled after coupons were applied I was able to get the lemonade for .49 each (and checked another item off of my shopping goals for this month :).  I only got three because that is how many coupons I had to get it cheap and it should last us for a while.

I also got the free Sweet Tarts hearts that were the freebie Friday item this week.  While I was checking out the lady in front of me handed me a coupon for another free thing of Sweet Tart hearts, so I ran back and got another box of them and added that to the freebie pile.  I was surprised to find that they were okay for peanut allergies when I checked the box.  It was great finding a Valentine's candy that my son can actually have (no cross contamination with peanuts) and he might actually eat (as he likes Sweet Tarts) and also getting a little something to make the daughter's holiday a little brighter as well.

I also managed to find a free Epic bar and a free Sparkling V-8 Energy drink.  All totaled I spent 1.51 at Fred Meyer (I might be a couple of pennies off...I paid cash and I can't find my receipt).

Carrs has started their monopoly game again this year and I'm already loving it!  I went in earlier in the week to grab a couple of 20 packs of Coke as they were on sale for decently cheap (and we were out of soda, which is not a good situation with the son) and a few minor items and since everything I end up buying in the way of "Alvah food" ends up being bonus ticket items, I ended up with 15 tickets for not a lot of items.  I opened the 15 tickets to find coupons for free powdered gravy mix, for a free powdered spice packet, a free Greek yogurt, a free small can of tomato sauce, and a free package of Oreo thin cookies.  I also got coupons for .50/1 RC Cola coupons (and a bunch of them at that!).  Then I went and checked the Safeway app while at the store (looking up the details of a coupon I couldn't remember just right) and found that I had a coupon for a free thing of Mountain High yogurt waiting for me as well (32 oz size too!!!).  I found after I checked out I had a personalized price on the Mountain High yogurt this week too and so I ended up with 1.50 of overage on the free yogurt (I LOVE it when that happens :).

When I had looked at the ad I knew I was going to go back Friday for some 5.00 Friday items, and so I did (and the shopping trip is seen above there) and used my freebie coupons while I was there.  To break down some of the couponing and bargain awesome here...

  • Three packages of powdered Au Jus Mix.  On sale buy 2, get 1 free.  Used free coupon on one of the packages I ended up buying.  Total price:  1.18 for three packages Au Jus Mix.
  • Two packages of Sloppy Joe seasoning and one package of Fajita Seasoning mix.  On sale buy 2 get one free, used coupon on one of the items I ended up buying.  Final price:  1.18 for three seasoning packets (I did have to go to customer service to get this to apply right in the system as the computers weren't liking the fajita mix as part of the sale, it turns out, but she fixed it for me :).
  • Tony's Pizza (4) on sale for 2.50 each as part of 5.00 Friday.  Used some 1.00/1 coupons my mom had sent me on two of them.  Final Price:  8.00 for four pizzas (these are for nights when mom plain isn't feeling good or we're looking for a quick meal).
  • 1 Box Penne Pasta:  .39.  I had a personalized price on pasta this week (not as low as I wanted for a stock up price on angel hair pasta, though) and it was 50% off due to a munged box, so it took the 50% off of my personalized price.  
  • RC Cola on sale 1.49 per bottle when you buy 4.  Used .50/1 coupons on bottles.  Total price:  3.96 for four bottles (the son likes RC Cola, but it's normally more expensive than Coke is even, so I RARELY buy it for him).
  • Crisco vegetable oil on sale for 2.50 per bottle as part of 5.00 Friday (2).  Total Price:  5.00.  I just needed oil.
  • Chicken tenderloins, frozen.  5.00 as part of 5.00 Friday.  Had a personalized price on the item, resulting in 1.49 additional getting taken off.  Total Price:  3.51 (I would have gotten more but they only had one bag left in the freezer and I couldn't find the stocking person to request more).
  • Teriyaki Sauce on sale 2.49.  Used a 2.00/1 coupon I had.  Final Price:  .49 (this will be used for a quick teriyaki starter later).
  • Oven Joy Bread on sale 1.67 per loaf as part of 5.00 Friday (I got this as the son will sometimes eat this in lieu of hot dog bun tops and this is cheaper).
  • 1 thing Kraft Parmesan cheese 7.99 (personalized price...the son refuses to eat the Parmesan cheese, the good stuff, I ordered from Amazon a while back, so yeah...back to the green can for him).
  • 2 lb container of grapes 5.00 as part of 5.00 Friday (this is a good deal for Alaska this time of year for sure as grapes are about 4.99 lb on sale right now).
  • 4 cans of tuna fish .79 on sale this week with a coupon.  I just needed tuna fish so I decided that was a good enough deal for me.
  • 1 bag of gala apples 3.49 (personalized price).

So, all totaled after freebie coupons, other coupons and personalized prices and things were applied I walked out spending a total of 44.82.  Add in the Fred Meyer trip that day and I spent less than 47.00 on everything and I also got two gallons of milk on sale at Carrs on sale for 2.99 each this week, so I spent a total of 53.00 on groceries last week.  I also got a stack of Monopoly pieces that I managed to get another couple of coupons for free items the next time I go to the store.  Since the soda and stuff I had gotten earlier in the week actually went into my "restock up" budget (which is basically the "stock up on son food" budget) I took out of our last paycheck due to going so long in between pay periods, I think I did pretty good overall.  I'm hoping that we'll have enough soda to last at least a couple of weeks (which would be nice with the way the son blows through it), so hopefully I can cut the grocery budget the next couple of weeks (since my husband gets paid next week, but we have to worry about the mortgage payment coming out of that paycheck so the last couple weeks of the month are usually the tightest).

2.  My husband bartered a haircut for himself for a jar of home made raspberry jam with my sister-in-law. 

3.  I got the notice for the cat's upcoming rabies vaccinations being needed.  Instead of worrying about doing it pronto, I got a quote on how much a basic exam plus the shot would be from the vet and I will take them in one at a time in the coming months before I have to worry about them going outside this summer.  Not ideal, but definitely better than watching money fly out the door all within one week.  At least the cats are healthy this time *knock on wood* so I'm hoping for a routine visit this time around.

4.  Kind of a frugal "darned if you do, darned if you don't" situation.  Swagbucks has been messing up my computer worse and worse as time has progressed and this last couple of weeks have been awful.  I can't even search through Swagbucks without something freezing my system up and things.  Since my laptop is old and I don't have the money to replace it, I ended up removing Swagbucks from my computer.  Sure, it completely stinks when you can't earn Amazon giftcards that way, but when it comes between that and killing a computer?  I'll take the computer.  The computer is running much better now when online, so I'm glad I did it.

5.  My daughter and I made butter today (she didn't take the boredom and repetition of churning well...go figure *laugh*) and I placed it unsalted into the fridge.  My plan is to make some little specialty butters out of the butter to use with dinner as I think she'll get a kick out of that.  I saved the liquid from making the butter and plan on using this "buttermilk" in  baking or something.  Anyone have any tips on what you can use it for?  I figure if nothing else I can add some lemon juice to it and make it into like the more modern equivalent of buttermilk.

6.  I used powdered milk (reconstituted) in baking and cooking this week to save the more expensive fresh milk for human consumption.  I'm always pleased when I remember to do that as I just plain forget a lot of the time and reach for the gallon of milk in the fridge because it's right there and easy.

7.  I asked my son's teacher about Valentine's for my son's school party this year and I found out that we didn't need to buy them for my son's class at all because they were going to make cards as an activity.  I took my son's box of cards from last year that had some missing and asked my daughter (who used all of hers last year) how many children were in her class.  Turns out we're going to be about four kids short with the box of Valentines I have, but I figure I'll scan and print out a couple more Valentines and call it good. 

8.  I saved leftover bits of bread and dried them out, smashed them up and added them to my bread crumb container. 

9.  I washed and reused my son's bottle liners.  I've been doing this daily and am amazed how much use I can get out of a couple of bottle liners before they get worn enough that I throw them away.

10.  My husband and I watched a few movies we've been wanting to see that were movies we thought we would have to pay for to see, but turned out we could see them for free as part of our Amazon Prime membership. 

11.  Our electrical rates actually went DOWN for a change!  I was thrilled when I saw the reduction of 2.7 (or was it 2.9)% on the bill as the last few years it seemed like our electrical rates just kept going up about four times a year.  It was definitely a welcome sight!

And there you go folks.  Some of my adventures this week.  How about you?  How did your week go?


  1. For a week that started out horrible with the car crash and illnesses, you really did an awesome job turning it around. The savings at the store were fantastic.

    I also can't do Swagbucks because it clogs up my computer.

    Jeannie @

    1. Did you know, you can open swag bucks as a window and then search through there. I just keep the swag bucks page open on my computer at all time to use as a search engine. Works perfectly! (I actually couldn't download the official bar to install and this was my workaround. Works perfectly! )

  2. Prayers for your family members. So glad things weren't worse.
    You got some great deals this week.
    Prayers for a good week ahead.

  3. Erika, maybe you could make some buttermilk biscuits to go with one of your meals (instead of bread, used as a yummy breakfast or snack option, or to add to your daughter's school lunch. As for using powdered milk, it has become a habit now for me. Whenever I cook or bake, and the recipe calls for milk, I immediately get out the powdered milk. You just have to make a conscious effort for a few weeks to help you get into the habit.

    I have a suggestion on the 4 extra valentines your daughter needs. If she has 4 good friends, she could make special homemade valentines especially for them, using craft supplies you have on hand or created and printed from a free website. I'm sure her friends would appreciate her efforts.

    1. Rhonda, that is an awesome idea! Thank you! I am definitely going to have the daughter do that! She’ll have more fun and her friends will appreciate it more! Thanks again :).

    2. I especially like to use powdered milk in bread recipes calling for milk. One recipe I have uses 3/4 cup each of water and milk. I just put 1 1/2 cups water in the measuring cup and add 3 T powdered milk as the milk replacement. It definitely saves me from buying milk as often because I bake A LOT.

      I also make almond milk to use in smoothies as the replacement for milk. A cup of almonds makes about 6 cups of nut milk and it costs approximately 50 cents for the 6 cups - cheaper than a litre/quart of milk I'd say. The kids also like to use it over their morning oatmeal, or to eat granola as their cold cereal for breakfast. Again, saves $$.

      Pat, Cda

  4. I like that Lemonade! I got quite a bit last May for the .49 you did and have been using it up and hoping for another sale! My 10 year old is starting to eat a lot so any deals I can find are amazing!

  5. You've had a crazy week! It looks like you are going to sail right through with flying colors, as usual, though! Still, I know it's hard, no matter how easy you make it look:)Hang in there!

    Once in a while, when I remember, I mix up a quart of powdered milk and put it in a canning jar with a lid. I put that in the fridge, and that reminds me to use it in cooking. Like you, though, I forget a lot. But, when it's mixed, I'm more apt to grab it and use it in a soup, etc.

  6. Any chance you have mobile vet clinics near you if that is all the cat's need no point in paying for an exam as well. SPCA or Farm supply type stores usually have them as well. Good Luck!

  7. I love the monopoly game also, however I got free coffee pods and we don't drink coffee. Oh well save them for a gifty.

  8. What great deals you got ! I too made butter with my grand daughter last week, we used a quart jar and shook it.She didn't like how long it took but was amazed that she actually made butter. I made a coffee cake with the leftover buttermilk.Pancakes and biscuits are very good too.I find that where I live powdered milk is very expensive so what I've been doing is buying 3% milk and diluting it half with water.It tastes much better than buying 1% milk because it still has the milk fat in it,I also freeze half.

    I use mine in bread but this has other ideas also.

    Glad family is "okay and recovering"

    Blessed Be