Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Frugal...Whatever This Is...Money Saving Weekly Recap

Just to warn you, this is going to be a kind of depressing post.  I have really tried to work my mood up from "darn this sucks" but I've been finding it difficult today. I even made myself cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and I'm still kind of depressed (you know it's bad when that happens as cinnamon rolls are a huge mood boost for me and always have been).

This has been a cruddy week so far.  Truly.

Things keep breaking around here (I officially passed tired of that trend about the second big thing breaking) to the point I keep wondering what universal force I stepped on the wrong side of to bring this stuff down upon the household.

This week, so far, my son's favorite glider rocker, which has taken much punishment over the years and is as old as my daughter (actually older since we bough it when I was pregnant with her) and has seen many years of rocking kiddos in it and reading bedtime stories to the kids when it was in their old bedroom, finally just out and out self destructed.  This time there really isn't any saving it.  It broke two main seat springs within a few days of each other and the back suddenly got really loose on it again and I found a cracked support on the back.  So, that just plain needs to go to the dump unless my husband can find some parts on it that he can possibly scavenge to use for other projec

Then yesterday the ice maker on the fridge just died.  No warning, no nothing.  Just kaput.  I spent most of last night and ALL of today, pretty much, trying to see if there was a way to fix it as the ice maker is one of the few appliances my husband actually out and out WANTED in our kitchen when we finally got a house and we've had one in our homes ever since.  And I have to say that they are nice to have...when they work.  I'm not having any luck fixing it (got the freezer completely defrosted, though, in an attempt to see if the water line was frozen...that didn't work either...the photo was when it was defrosting), but I did manage to get it to make a weird hissing noise and now it's leaking water into the ice cube hopper, so I might be having to turn the water off to the fridge by the end of the night.  Woot.

We are down to no money in the bank to the point just THAT would be depressing.  We should get paid tomorrow, but with all the bills that are due, my phone needing to be recharged within four days or getting shut off (glad Tracfone does stalk me about that, though) and everything else...primal scream therapy seems like a great idea as it is just frustrating (not to mention worrisome).  And in the middle of it all my son has decided that he's unhappy about life in general this week and has given me a pretty constant headache all week long (at least the Risperidone stops him from hitting himself in the face, thank goodness).

The garden is resembling a Monty Python sketch so far this year.  I planted seeds, nice cold hardy varieties that I had bought special last year and they didn't do great last year, but I figured I had the seeds I'd give it a shot.  Birds immediately ate them.  I managed to get a few seedlings popping up in my front garden bed, a moose ran over them and they just up and died after that...even my chives that I have worked so hard to nourish might be complete goners this year.  Got a few seedlings to pop up and put the pots outside to start to grow, my cat dug them up and left them for me with little cat trenches left in the flower pots (at least he brought home a dead mouse yesterday and left it outside, so my plants aren't the only things he goes after). So, yeah, I think I might build a few castles on a swamp next to see how far I get (Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail reference in case anyone was wondering).  Ugh. 

I have some sprouting potatoes.  I think I'm just going to go and bury them in the garden and just walk away.  They'll either grow or they won't.  And I'm just going to throw the free seeds I got around them as they start to grow and hopefully I'll get a bit of lettuce this summer.  Past that between the pests and the weather we've already lost two really tall spruce trees to what is probably spruce beetle damage and the other spruce trees on the property are looking beat on and I'm not sure what is going to happen, but cutting down a bunch of trees is looking to be in our future this year, so goodness knows what things lurk in wait for my poor garden.

I had to upgrade our internet last night.  My husband got a warning e-mail saying we were at 75% of the usage on our plan and when I checked we were actually quite a bit above that.  I've been monitoring our usage carefully to use up all of our roll over gigs before I would have to upgrade our plan (which I knew was in the cards with how much my son streams things on various apps and things, not to mention what the rest of us in the family do) and my laptop dying and having to reinstall everything about four times before it would catch, ate up the rest of our roll over gig cushion.  The result is that the phone bill will be going up 20.00 a month, but it was cheaper than paying overages every month.  We get twice the gig amount with the new plan and will have a faster speed as well, so there's that I guess.  I was depressed having to up another bill, though, with the dental bills and everything we've had to deal with of late.

And the final icing on the cake is getting a call tonight from the fraud alert people at Visa to tell me that someone had hacked my check card number and had attempted to purchase over 400.00 at Macy's website with it, which thank goodness that it got declined.  So, now my check card doesn't work as I wait for a new card number and I have to call the bank tomorrow to order a new card (which of course my check card is the one I use for paying bills online and stuff, so I'm going to have to change card numbers with EVERYTHING here).  So. my husband gets to go shopping with me this week when we finally get paid because I'm down to my last few checks and have about three stores I'm going to need to go to.  Sigh.

Anyway, let's run down the quick list of money saving things that happened this week.

1.  When I defrosted the fridge freezer today, I realized that the freezers had gotten low enough that I really saw no point in keeping all of them running.  So, I conglomerated everything down to the fridge freezer and the downstairs freezer and I just unplugged the little block freezer in the kitchen.  I'll use it for additional counter space for the time being.  I'm hoping that this will cut our electric consumption enough that it might help us wash the increase in the phone bill to hopefully keep things somewhat balanced.

2.  I spent a whopping 23.00 on groceries this week.  I got soda for the son, milk, cheap garbage bags (we were completely out) from Three Bears (1.86 per 15 flap bags) and some chewable Benadryl for the kid's allergies.  We didn't have much money to spend, so we made it work as well as we were able.

3.  We took my son to his speech therapy evaluation and I actually enjoyed talking to his speech therapist.  Since she was Alvah's old speech therapist from school last year (and about half of the school year before that) she knew where Alvah was at on communication and knew his personality and such.  She even offered to comp ABA therapy until insurance would pick it up in July because she knew Alvah and felt like he could definitely benefit.  She was the first speech therapist we've ever had who wanted to start Alvah out multiple times a week and was talking about doing hours of therapy between speech and ABA.  We talked her into an hour twice a week for the moment to hopefully help Alvah bond and told her that she was free to do some ABA things if he burned out on speech during that hour.  She was happy with that and I'm praying that he takes off in this environment.

4.  My mother-in-law gifted us with a half sized violin this week so my daughter can take orchestra in school next year.  My sister-in-law gifted us by giving my daughter some beginning lessons on care and how to tune the violin and things while my husband and I took my son to his speech therapy eval.  My daughter, so far, loves the violin and can't wait to play it.  I am being very cautious with her playing around with it until she has a few more lessons and care instructions under her belt, but so far she really seems to be enjoying it.

5.  I cleaned the house this week and started to get some major in depth cleaning done.

6.  I redid our ratty love seat this week.  So, so much better now without all the peelies!

7.  When the son's rocker died, I took our good rocking chair upstairs to replace it (he's not overly impressed with it yet, but I'm hoping it'll grow on him) and realized that I now had a big old hole in the den where the two rockers used to sit.  I am thinking of setting up a table to cut fabric on (saving my knees crawling around on the floor) and to do sewing projects on.  At least it'll be a good functional use of the space and I have a table in my laundry room I can use for it.

I'm sure there are other things, but I have a pretty bad headache tonight and am exhausted so I'm just going to call it good here and call it a night.  How did you all do this week?  Good I hope?


  1. WOW what a week. It seems when it rains it pours. I am so sorry you are going through all that. On the bright side - you made it!!!! Keep slowly trudging ahead.
    I have never heard of limited usage on internet before - it must be a thing where you live.
    Hang in there. It will get better!!!!!

  2. You indeed have had quite a week. I am sorry for your troubles. But you are strong and resilient so you will get through this.

  3. Seriously. Enough already!

    We have a similar rocking chair that lost the springs so we replaced the seat with a solid board instead. Not quite as comfortable, but I added a thickened cushion to make up the difference. If the back is cracked though, I can see why getting rid of it would be the thing to do. I love mine - I'm sorry yours has lived its useful life.

    Awesome on your son's speech therapy! We'll add some extra prayers that he thrives!

    What about moving your unplugged freezer and using the top for cutting/work space for sewing? Even temporarily, it might give you an idea of how much you would use a table there and what size you would like.

    You're doing a great job of looking on the bright side and making do, Erika. I wish we lived closer and I could share garden produce (I had all 18 bean seeds come up this year - and I live just far enough into town that a small fence keeps the critters out!)and a cup of coffee with you.

    Hope and prayers for a better week ahead!

  4. I am sorry you have had such a hard week - sending you a hug...

  5. Sorry it's been rough. We went through an extensive (years!) very difficult time. Everything breaks; no money to replace anything or buy anything new. During that time I somehow ran across an article that led me to the blog Becoming Minimalist. While I'll never be a true minimalist, it allowed me to look at things a different way and appreciate simpler times. I can now stop crying that my food processor -- which I used all the time! -- broke and instead can appreciate the new space I now have free in my cabinet. (My kitchen is much smaller than yours, so any space in a cabinet is a gift). Hope your son grows to love the rocker and you can just enjoy the freed up space moving it created. Bonus if it makes sewing easier.
    Bummer about the ice cube maker. For things like that, I try to appreciate simpler times -- i.e. at least ice cube trays can't stop working! Sometimes easier said than done, but I'm getting better.
    Now that we are starting to turn the financial corner, I find I don't want to replace any of the things, even though I used them all the time. Maybe someday when we have more $$, but for now I sleep better at night with $30.00 in the bank rather than a new cheap food processor, and even with $3.00 in the bank instead of spending it on a lowly spatula, lol.

    1. I really admire how you chose to handle your situation. It doesn't make it esseas or less frustrating, bust least reframes it so it feels a bit more positive.

  6. Oh Erika, I'm so sorry. I truly hope things improve soon.

  7. That's a pretty frustrating week. The next one should be way better.

    I used to have a table set up for cutting out, in our previous, much (3x) larger house. I absolutely loved it and it encouraged me to sew more often, as I just didn't love crawling around on my beautiful, but hard, wood floors.

    I think you are very wise to keep the freezer. You will probably fill it up this summer and fall. If your garden doesn't produce, maybe you can go u-picking, or maybe someone will have extra produce, or you will hit a good sale on broccoli, or another veggie.

    We are having a water crisis here in my town, and so it's causing quite a commotion. We have plenty. I had some stored, and bought more. I wrote about that on my blog:

    It's making me very happy for my deep pantry, which includes several cases of water.

  8. Did you even think about getting a part-time job while your kids are in school? Maybe just something small - enough to cover groceries? It might alleviate a lot of your stress. Not sure if that is possible with your son, but just a suggestion. If your husband works nights, he could get up in an emergency if your son had to leave school? Not judging at all - just thinking of ways to help your situation. Could you maybe even do something from home? Not sure what, but I know there are a lot of online jobs these days. I work a full-time job, but also a part-time job online from home. It pays for the "extras" that come up.

  9. I've never understood why people pay for garbage bags. I've not bought them in 37 years. We empty into the large container that our trash company requires and occasionally wash out the can. Why spend the money AND add to the plastic landfill problem?

    1. Our garbage men aren't always so careful. If there's loose garbage in the can, it goes flying out of the bin and all over the road. I'd rather use garbage bags to contain the trash and there's less mess. Also, loose garbage is a great incubator for maggots. No thanks!