Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I know it's Monday, so technically it's "Frugal Monday"  but it seemed odd to say Monday and then potentially have another post on Friday in the same week for some reason, dumb though that reason is.

Anyway, to get down to the point of the post.  Guess what?!?  More stuff broke!!!

I'm stuck in this weird Twilight Zone type of feeling right now and I'm not sure why.  There is this sense of unreality to how things keep breaking around here, panic about not being able to afford to replace and/or fix some of them and just a general sense of overwhelm right now. 

This week we added to "The Breakening" list...

  • The truck's alternator 
  • The carpet cleaner 
  • The downstairs sink drain
  • A ladle (luckily that is fixable I'm pretty sure as the handle just popped off)
  • More than a few articles of my clothes (it's kind of nuts how many items I had this week just plain give up and die on me, which was really sad because of a few of the items, especially some of my t-shirts, were super comfy and I really liked them).

We need to fix the truck somehow, which the new alternators can't really be rebuilt with a factory kit, so buying a new alternator is your only real option, which the alternator for the truck is going to cost about 200.00 to replace.  This next pay period is our "short" pay period due to the mortgage coming out of it, so not a good time for the truck to have any type of problem.  And then the one year raise came through for my husband, it wasn't much (every little bit helps, though, I'll be the first to look at that silver lining) and with how little we have in the bank after paying bills and getting groceries...it's rough on the morale.  My husband has, once again, been going back to the worry that maybe he'll have to quit this job, even though he really likes it, just because we can't really get ahead on what he makes.  And while I normally try to remain positive as much as I can about things, this week it was hard to argue much with his worries as I have them to.  We'll just have to wait and see how it goes I guess and pray for the best.  At least this happened over summer break so I don't have to worry about getting the kids to school.

I did manage to wrestle some good from the week, however, so let's get to that.

1.  I managed to KIND of fix the carpet cleaner.  It kept breaking suction when cleaning and would just start free wheeling and revving WAY too high.  I flipped it over, after realizing that I had to try and fix it somehow as with the son in the house, and I'm sorry the second idea I had to use the husband's Shop Vac with a lot of scrubbing with my scrub brush and carpet cleaner by hand just didn't seem like a viable option at the moment, and got to work trying to figure out what could be wrong with it.  Turns out a lot of the rubber gasket type of material around seals is going and then on top of that the brush housing is cracked.  After some experimenting I figured out that I need to keep the tank at least 1/4 to 3/4 full to avoid the carpet cleaner sucking air and breaking it's vacuum seal with the carpet and then I also have to make sure to use an entire tank of water at one time because if I park the carpet cleaner upright now the gaskets leak and the water from the clean water tank immediately starts to pour out onto the carpet.  So, it's an interesting tight rope I walk as I'm cleaning carpets at the moment, but I'm getting there.  Got the living room about 1/3 of the way done the last couple of days (which believe me with how bad the carpet gets with my son in the house, this is a good amount of progress!).

2.  Grocery shopping was minimal this week.  I got some milk, some soda and some chewable Benadryl and that was about it other than prescriptions for the son.  I did end up ordering some Curel Itch Defense lotion from Amazon along with my husband's acid reflux medicine (I cancelled and reordered when I realized that Alvah was nearly out of the lotion and they didn't have the small tubes on Subscribe and Save anymore, instead I had to buy a big bottle of the stuff as an "add on" item).  My husband had gotten a 10.00 Amazon gift card for taking the same survey for the study on autism as I had taken, so I stole the 10.00 to apply toward the order (I told him and apologized for it, but he was okay with it as he knew we needed the stuff).

3.  I used up odds and end in the fridge and freezer to help stretch meals this week and to make sure that things didn't go to waste.

4.  I mended some shirts of my husband's this week as well as a pair of his jeans.  I also mended a couple of items for my daughter.

5.  I cleaned and organized a lot this week, and I still have a ton of other things on my "to do" list to go.  I'll get more into those, hopefully tomorrow, in my Monthly Goals post.

6.  While sitting at therapy last week I started designing the first embroidered block for the quilt I want to make.  I am using material that I've used previously to make some of the squares, so am making sure to design the blocks carefully to cover up any stains in the fabric (which with the son, let's face it, there are enough of those to work around).  I'm using unbleached muslin for the embroidered square backgrounds (the super duty stuff I bought years ago will definitely be alright to use and wash a lot, but I have some thinner material that I am going to put fusible interfacing on the back of to make it a stronger fabric) and it's going to be quite the project.  I'm figuring on 34 embroidered squares mixed in with solid squares.  I'll get more into what the finished project's plan is hopefully in the next little bit here.  I am super excited about it :).  So far out of an old table cloth I made to use for the son at feeding therapy and the old couch slip cover I made for the cushions before I finished it with red covers a while back, I think I'll have a pretty good start on the quilt squares.

7.  When making the quilt squares to not only save time, but also to cut more accurately (at least it is supposed to be more accurate by my old sewing books) I tore the fabric versus cutting it when making the blocks.  And it worked!!!  I was thrilled when I had some perfect squares instead of my usual "how did that end of the square end up 1/4 inch shorter than this end?" type of outcome.  And it was much, much quicker and easier on the cutting hand :).

8.  I made my daughter a skirt with materials I had on hand.  I still have a couple more to make, but realized that I'm dangerously low on Guterman white thread and it's the only thread I use for an all purpose utility thread....Coats and Clark thread and my machine just lead to loads of frustration on my part and me wanting to send stern letters to the company on the quality of their product.  I was going to buy another 1000 m spool at Joann's this week, but then the truck broke and well...that got put onto a back burner fast and I'll have to work it into the budget somewhere in the near future.  I'm going to look through my thread and see if there are some decent old thread spools that I can use to make the last couple of skirts with.  But, hey, the first one turned out cute and my daughter has been pretty much living in it since I made it, so I THINK she likes it ;).

I'm sure there's more, but it's after midnight and the son and daughter haven't let me sleep more than five hours a night all week long, so I'm pretty tired right now and am going to call it good there.

How about you?  Your week go alright?


  1. The skirt you made for your daughter is so cute! I am excited to see how you new quilt works out.

  2. I understand what you're going through as my husband and I (and kids) had a long spell of hard times. It seemed that once we managed to get through one situation, another catastrophe hit. It was so draining, but I trusted that the good Lord would step in and turn things around for our good. And that is what happened. Mind you, my timing and His was different - I would have preferred things got better faster than they did :) but it did get better.

    You're doing so well to keep seeing "the bright side" in every situation. We used to comfort ourselves by focussing on how fortunate we were to have the basics: (eg) a roof over our heads; food in the fridge (maybe not always what we wanted to eat, but at least we weren't starving); clothes on our backs (although they were getting threadbare); hot water; hydro, friends, family. When I narrowed it down to being thankful for "the basics", it made everything else that was going wrong in our lives easier to bear while we were waiting for better times - and that took nearly 10 years.

    And I found that by doing things that didn't cost much was diverting and brought a simple joy into our lives. Things like having a picnic - cheap but fun; checking out local parks that had animals for the kids to watch for free; movie night at home; making copycat take-out food (because we definitely could not afford to eat out); making those extras that we could not afford to buy like marshmallows, popsicles, ice cream etc.; letting the kids do karaoke; having a simple date night at home with the hubby; gaze at the stars....etc. These things lift your spirits and make life enjoyable in the midst of your "battles".

    You're doing so well. Keep hanging on!! It's going to get better.

  3. Oh, your daughter is just adorable! Great job on the skirt! Where do you keep your sewing machine? Mine lives in the basement, which isn't the nicest place for sewing, and also it's the dumping ground for all the stuff we (my husband!) didn't unpack when we moved three years ago, so it's a massively unpleasant space. But I've got plans to spruce it up, and I even tackled one box today...

    My goodness, you guys have had a time of it lately! :( Crossing my fingers that things start to turn around. You've been one of my favorite bloggers for quite some time, you're always such an inspiration, and I hate that things have been so rough for you lately. :(

  4. What a darling skirt! I wish I could sew! I'm sorry it's been so rough. I hate the idea that your husband might have to give up a job he likes for one that makes more money. My husband gave up the job he loved, to take a lower paying one to let me move back with my family . It's been both a blessing and a strain, and I,still feel guilty about him giving up a job he loved so much. I'll be praying things get better. Maybe it's all leading up to a sign it's time to leave there?

  5. We, also, have been trying to concentrate on the positive. Our daughter graduated, and the ceremony was extremely nice. Then, we had a huge open house party to celebrate with her on Saturday. The week was not especially frugal, but I knew it wasn't going to be cheap ahead of time. In fact, I fed the family beans in various ways for a week because I knew I would buy major groceries this week. And, I did. We made the food for the party, and accepted help from family members who offered to make and bring various things.

    During the busy, happy events of the week, we found out that my husband does not have a job for fall. For the past 2 years, he has been on one-year contracts for the school district. Last year, they renewed the contract in the spring. This year, they did not. There were several Instructional Aids in the same boat, but it's still not fun to be one of them. We are fine for summer, as we already had a summer job lined up for him, and had the 12-month paycheck schedule. But, in fall......no job. Or, I should say..different job. And, in the summer....no insurance. So, I'm working on that little project..making calls, etc. I still have more to figure out. I do say the God has given me peace about this. My husband has already put in applications, and has an interview Thursday. (He finishes the year, and tomorrow is his last day). I'm not holding my breath--it took 80 applications and 10 interviews last time to get the job he has! I feel confident that he will get the job God wants him to have. It was not welcome news:(

    I have been picking up extra hours at work, since my niece is off of school now. She's autistic, and I work with her. I also work with my nephew, and tomorrow is his last day, too.

    I love the skirt. It's so cute. The good thing about thread is that it's not very expensive. The bad news is that your vehicle is on the fritz and you have to drive to the store to get some. I'm sorry that happened. My car developed a problem this week as well. It overheated, and ran out of coolant. Rob talked to our mechanic, and as long as I put antifreeze, or water when I run out, in the container. I've been doing this every time I go anywhere. And, the brakes are now so noisy it's getting scary. Thursday, we have an appointment with our friend, the mechanic. I feel I will have to leave the car there for a while, and hopefully, he can fix all the issues. We are going to be so broke!!!!And, we already are, so......another matter for prayer.

    That's pretty much the week.

  6. Oh dear, Erika! Yuck. Hopefully you can find a less expensive fix for the truck or something. Sigh.

    Tight budgets seem to be the norm right now - we got 2 more medical bills in the last two weeks - total $1600. We also have another 4 large bills to pay between now and the 25th. And we had to have the plumber in - absolutely necessary as we couldn't run any water! SIGH. I had been putting off some smaller expenses hoping to have a little more wiggle room in the budget - ha! Either way, I'm glad the garden is starting to come in - we need everything we can get!

    I love your daughter's skirt - the print is so cheerful.

    More long-distance prayers,

  7. Hang in there Erika!
    I love the mega-watt smile on your daughter's face. There's no doubt the skirt is a big hit!
    Please remember that I keep you & your family faithfully in my prayers.