Sunday, May 20, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

First, I had a couple of readers get in contact with me via Facebook and say that they couldn't see a way to contact me on the blog.  I'm not sure how Blogger appears to a lot of mobile devices, so sorry about that.  There is SUPPOSED to be a "contact" tab at the top of the page, but it appears that Blogger makes that invisible to some readers (thanks, Blogger), so if you need to contact me (or want to contact me) my e-mail is makedohomemaker (at) gmail (dot) com (put an @ at the "at" and a . at the (dot) and take out the gaps and there's my e-mail (sorry, spam bots will deluge the e-mail if I don't do it that way :).

I had one reader e-mail me and ask me if I had forgotten my monthly goals as she really liked to read them (thank you for liking to read the blog, by the way :) and I have to say that I'm planning on posting some "weekly" goals here this coming week and probably next week but monthly goals...darn it the month just kept throwing me curve balls and I just haven't even PLANNED on goals yet.

The first thing that happened requires a PSA (public service announcement), so please, take a seat and enjoy!

*Rolls reel to reel film from back of classroom*

*On screen, guy sitting at desk looking very business-like in true 1950's fashion*

"Hello!  I would like to take this opportunity to bring to light a great problem in our country that must be addressed immediately!"  *Film makes a "bong" sound and I flip the film forward after the second try*

*On film, man is standing up this time and looking very pensive*  

"The scourge that I am referring to is *dramatic pause*...people not cleaning out their pockets before doing the laundry!  This can, and does, cost families thousands of dollars every year!"

*Bong.  Film flips*

"So, remember folks, always check your pockets!"

Right, PSA over.  Well, almost.  A penny, literally, cost me 20.00 this week.  It was truly a one in a million shot that a penny would bounce out of the drum of the dryer, fly in such a way that it would land on the relay switches for the dryer, hit said relays and a piece of the dryer itself (thus making contact with ground) and my husband put it as he brought out the penny from the depths of the dryer, "Sparkin', Arcin'!"

I didn't even hear the "bang" that must have occurred when the penny  hit as the penny was definitely missing some pieces from the experience (seen up top because it came out looking kind of gnarly).  I did my husband's laundry in a hurry the day the dryer broke and I was in such a hurry I didn't check the pockets.  Next thing I knew the dryer wouldn't even call for flame.  Turns out (after my husband gave up a lot of hours of sleep the next day to tear said dryer apart and fix it) that the main thermal fuse had done its job beautifully, which saved me from a lot more costly repairs.  After the husband tightened things up and put everything back together, the dryer is actually working the best it has since we moved here, so it will hopefully help our gas bill (I was regularly having to dry clothes at least twice to get them dry and now once is good enough), but yeah...check those pockets folks!

The next curve ball I've been getting thrown is a really depressing one that is effecting all the gardeners up here this year.  The weather.  It is still awfully cold for this time of year, Spring isn't sprung so much as creeping in whether the weather likes it or not.  The trees aren't happy though, as demonstrated by the picture above.  The leaves come out green and immediately start turning yellowish.  The poor trees are not sure which season it is and I can't blame them, I'm confused too.

I've been taking soil temperatures and the soil in the garden is so cold if I plant seeds I sincerely doubt they'll germinate yet and it is still so cold at night that I'm not counting out getting snow still, so going and buying plant starts would be out even IF I had the money for them (which I don't).  Raspberry and rose bushes aren't even wanting to grow yet, so I'm not even sure if I am going to be able to supplement much foraging this year.  So, my monthly goals kept getting garden goals added and erased so much I punched holes through pieces of paper.  Not a great start on a monthly goal list.

Shopping goals have gone insane this last month as I suddenly realized how low I am getting on a bunch of things, but things are getting triaged as the kids decided to grow at the same time (hasn't happened like that in years) and so I'm going to have to start working on a higher grocery budget with summer being here and work new clothes and shoes into the equation somehow as well.  You know, mental gymnastics should be an Olympic sport *laugh*.  It'll get done, I have faith and a stubborn streak a mile wide :).  

Oh, and a side note, since a few people have asked about it, yes the new blog series is coming here.  I'm hoping to start it next week.  Just tweaking the first couple of post ideas :).

So right, now that I've bored you to death (heck, you even had to sit through a film reel ;), let's get onto the money SAVING things that happened this week!

1.  Let's start out with grocery shopping since that was the part I kind of went nuts thinking over and over again about.

I am trying to conserve what little money there is the rest of the month since the husband will need two tanks of gas before pay day (this whole "nearly three weeks between pay, two pay periods in a row" thing is getting old), so I wanted to spend as little as possible at the store this week.  I was lucky enough to receive some coupons from some friends of mine, so that definitely helped and then Carrs had an awesome sale yesterday with 5.00 Friday items, so I took advantage of that as well!  So, let's get to it!

I went to three stores this week, Fred Meyer, Carrs and Three Bears.

First up there was Fred Meyer.  My friend got in contact with me and told me that I could have her freebie Friday items from Fred Meyer for the free Yankee candle votive and the Lindt stick and she also had a friend who was moving and had given her her freebies as well, and my friend passed those onto me.  So, I got another blaze Doritos, three votive candles (these will be used in combination with some nice votive holders I found in storage that I used to keep on the mantle in our old house for decorations for teacher and therapist gifts for my son come Christmastime), and three Lindt sticks (which will be given to my husband for Father's Day...if you read this!).

I also received an envelope with some coupons and some of the coupons were for 2.00 off your next shopping trip, which equaled out to 8.00 when it was all said and done.  I stopped by customer service before I started shopping and asked if I could use them all in the same transaction and they said sure, so I went and got some potatoes (3.99), a watermelon (2.99) and a head of lettuce (1.89).

After coupons I paid out 1.14 after tax and such.

 I headed off to Carrs next.  I had some freebie coupons given to me and was able to get some freebies that day.  I got two loaves of French bread (one went onto the table and the other one into the freezer) and some more free gravy mixes.

I was happy about one thing in particular.  I was checking out and mentioned that I had some freebie coupons for aspirin and the stuff was back ordered.  The pharmacy manager was willing to give me a rain check for the aspirin, but the store won't take the coupons past the end of the month when the coupons expire, so I complained a bit.  The cashier told me that they had been given the power to substitute different items for the coupons and just told me to go back and find a similar count and price item and they'd substitute it out for me.  We are nearly out of Ibuprofen, so I went for that as it was the same price point for the same count bottle.  I was thrilled they could do that as honestly I'd prefer the Ibuprofen to the aspirin anyway :).

Later in the week I really didn't have a choice but to buy sugar and rice as I was down to empty on both, so I ran to Three Bears to pick those up.  I took one look at what they were charging for sugar and went, "Nope" but did get a 25 lb bag of long grain rice.  We go through tons of rice around here with the son, so bulk is really the only way to go.  We prefer the medium grain rice, but it was nearly twice the price point of long grain rice, so I got 25 pounds of long grain rice for 12.99.  With sugar, I went to Fred Meyer and just bought two four pound bags for like 1.86 each to see us through for a bit until I can afford to buy more sugar in bulk (I bake a lot).

Later in the week I ran to Carrs to get the son some more soda (blah) and redeemed some more Monopoly coupons that were given to me.  I was thrilled with the free frozen veggies as those can definitely be used, the bagel got frozen with the other free bagels to use for different purposes as the year goes on (they came in really handy last year :), I got one more bottle of Ibuprofen substituted out for the free aspirin coupon (yay!) and a free bottle of vitamin water (which will make a nice treat for something different to drink for the daughter as she's battling the son's cold now).

My friend also told me that I could use her Carrs coupons for pasta and the canned tomatoes and when she pointed out the 5.00 Friday part of the Carrs ad to me (honestly, I was trying to not see if there was any really great deals in there as I didn't want to spend anymore money this week), I had to go and get some stuff.

All of the above cost me 10.00 and some change.  And I also got 10 more boxes of pasta (not seen as I didn't have room on the desk) to fill out my stores for a while, which cost me 5.00.

The pasta was on sale for .50 per box as part of 5.00 Friday.  .50 folks!  And my friend gave me her 1.50/3 coupon!  So, I got three boxes of pasta 100% free!!!  Thrilling doesn't even begin to cover that!

Next up was the tomato sauce, which was also on sale for .50 per can (canned tomato products were on sale as well as canned beans.  Wish I'd had a bit of extra cash to get some beans, but the pasta was definitely more important with the son) and I have dried beans, so I'm not super out of those.  I was able to utilize my friend's 1.00/4 tomato coupon to get 4 cans for .25 each.  This was a great find as I needed canned tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes (I would have gotten all crushed tomatoes, but by the time I got to the store the pickings were slim).

They had value packs of chicken on sale for 5.00 each.  I got the biggest thing of chicken thighs I could find to add to the freezer.  I would have loved to pick up more of them, but money was tight so I stuck with one.  And the milk was on sale for 2.99 with an in-ad coupon.

So, yeah, I spent more than I wanted to on groceries this week, but minimized the damage as much as I could to the checking account by being careful and shopping sales (and by having some awesome help from friends.  Thanks!).

2.  My daughter's grade went on a train ride field trip the last day of school, which was really expensive to go on (100.00), so my daughter got the last day of school off.  We dropped my son off at school and my husband and I took my daughter to one of our local book stores.  My daughter had received a 5.00 gift card from her teacher last year as a farewell gift so we dug that out and went to see what we could find her to read this summer.  She got a free book (the first book in a series about flying horses and things...she'll love it) and I got to chat with the book store employees about what books we were reading at my daughter's age.  It was a fun outing that we finished with an ice cream cone before picking my son up from his last day of school (till summer school kicks in anyway).

3.  We obviously fixed our dryer this week when it broke.  My husband fixing it saved us a ton of money, I'm sure, and I'm grateful it was a relatively cheap fix part-wise.

4.  Despite not feeling great (I'm still trying to fight off the son's cold, I think as I keep fighting fatigue and my tonsils swelling up on me...luckily Benadryl has been helping, but it hasn't been a lot of fun) I was able to get through the week meal-wise.  Times like this I realize how much smoother things go when I have a meal plan written down to refer back to, so that's on my agenda this weekend.

Biggest hit meal-wise this week was I made a taco casserole (the recipe from the Campbell's site in case you want to look it up), but used low fat cheese (and used less than the recipe called for), the "Healthy Choice" cream of chicken soup and I doubled up on the beans to make the meat go further.  I ended up using some of the Blaze Doritos in the casserole as they were so hot none of the family liked them to eat out of hand (I just omitted the canned chilies and things in the recipe to compensate for using the Blaze Doritos).  It worked out great, made a huge 9x13 pan full (which, oops on my part for not realizing how much it would make until it was all mixed up) and I've been eating it all week for lunches and things (the husband ate his fair share too, luckily it didn't mess with his blood pressure too badly).

5.  I sewed some buttons back onto some of my son's shirts (he goes through periods where he'll eat them off).

6.  I glued a handle of a ladle back together.  Not sure if it'll last, but here's hoping.

7.  I washed and fluffed my son's pillows this week.  I've found that this not only makes him more comfortable at night (as he spills a lot of stuff on his pillows), but also helps the pillows to last a lot longer before having to either recycle them or throw them away.

8.  Through some connections my mother-in-law has we might be able to get the son in for free swimming lessons in a nice heated pool and my mother-in-law is working on getting my daughter enrolled as well, which is wonderful as I have been trying to figure out how to get my daughter swimming lessons for YEARS.

9.  We introduced my daughter to "Bewitched" this week.  My husband looked it up on the internet for her to watch and I mentioned that I had bought the 7th season (I didn't know it was the 7th season by the way...I just remember I'd bought a disk set *laugh*) on DVD at a used store, still sealed, years ago for super cheap (it was like 3.00 or less since there was a sale going on for movies at that time).  So my daughter has been having a blast watching "Bewitched".  I have to say that I've been enjoying it too as that was one of my favorite shows I used to watch the reruns of as a kid.

10.  For Mother's Day, I had my daughter draw both her grandma's a special picture (she actually thought of the idea too, which I was proud of her for),took a picture with my phone of her holding up said pictures for the grandmother's and texted my mom hers and my mother-in-law I e-mailed  copy of hers to her (she has an older phone that doesn't accept pictures).  Both grandmas loved their gift, my daughter was tickled they liked the pictures and I felt good that I was able to give both grandmothers something special for Mother's Day that I could deliver on time :).

And there you go folks.  Some of my frugal ways this week.  How about you?  How did your week go?  Well I hope!


  1. I love Bewitched! I Dream of Jeanie too!

    Sorry you had another rough week, at least you had a few positive things! I would looooove to have tha tmany grocery freebies! Awesome!

    It's been a weird weekend here. My 10 year old had gotten out of the shower and dressed, and I was cutting his hair when he suddenly fainted, like eyes rolled back hit the floor faint. Scared the heck out of me. The peditrition on the phone (after hours) said watch him, and if he's ok, bring him in Monday. So I'll be calling them tomorrow morning first thing. He seems ok, but has gotten Dizzy once yesterday, and twice today. I'm so worried, hardly been able to sleep. Hoping it was just a combination of a tiny bathroom, steam in the air and lack of oxygen, plus too many hair goos sprayed, but he's never had tha thappen before. Don't know.

    I hope your next week is good, I'm glad you posted, I've checked back a few times but figured you were busy as usual!!

  2. all my garden starts, which are still in the house.. have gotten long and spindly.. the ones that have survived this long anyway... not all of them have.. and not sure i won't loose more before we can actually get things out.... it's so hard to judge when to start seeds up here... some years, if you don't start them in Feb, they won't be ready.. but other years, you really should have waited til March or even April... and then either way you hope they will survive til September without freezing and dying just before harvest... if nothing else though... peas and potatoes will go out and maybe do ok....
    if the moose don't eat them...

    1. Yeah, peas are out with the moose this year. Lettuce and dwarf chard are in and I was hoping to plant some thyme, but the seeds didn't germinate, so I was going to maybe buy a plant, but my soul is too cold. My gas and electric aren't happy this summer either. Keep hoping for a week of sun, but so far it's not looking good.

  3. I buy my plants because I really only buy two regular tomato plants and one grape. They have been on my front porch for over two weeks waiting for it to stop raining. We are trying one barrel of potatoes to try but if we get a wet summer everything is going to rot. I have literally no luck in growing food. Cheryl

  4. I'm glad you were able to get the substitutions for the aspirin. I did get the low-dose substituted for 2 of the bottles I won, which was wonderful, as I take one of those daily.

    It's so hard to stay in budget when there are good deals at the store! I didn't see those good $5 deals this week around here, but I wasn't looking very hard. I knew I wanted the free car charger from Fred Meyers and was pretty sure I couldn't trust myself in 2 stores with good deals this week!!! So, I chose Freddies and didn't really examine Safeways's ad very well:)

    It's crazy that your kids are out of school already. Ours don't get out until mid-June. It's even crazier that you can't get summer weather, but makes sense since you are so much farther north then I am here in Oregon. We have had sunnier, drier weather than usual and I'm finally getting yard work done and the garden is in.

    I hope you have a good week.

  5. What great friends you have! Nice husband, too, fixing the ailing dryer. How nice that it works better then before the penny!
    I’ve started my Summer job so i’ve been too busy to spend much money. We have a nice stockpile so that helps. I did go to our local IGA for free milk when you buy four cereals for 8.00. We rarely get decent coupons for cereal but the price wasn’t too high so I bought four. My husband eats a huge bowl almost every morning. Other then that, holding the course!
    Good luck with all you have going!