Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Late again!  Busy again!  It's overcast today and boy I'm feeling the weekend at this point.  Hard to get out of my own way today.

Note to anyone who has e-mailed me within like the last week.  I haven't really checked my e-mail except to do official paperwork things (I'll get to that in a minute), but I know I have some e-mails to catch up on and I will definitely reply to your e-mails as soon as I can (hopefully tonight or tomorrow).

I would have posted this post up yesterday, but I had both kids home sick.  The daughter's stomach cycled all weekend (poor kiddo even missed church with grandma, which she's been getting a kick out of going, so it was kind of sad to see her doubly depressed about not feeling well).  Alvah's eczema on his feet just made him miserable ALL NIGHT LONG on Sunday, so yesterday he was home with lots of moisturizer slathered thickly like jam all over his feet and then his feet were wrapped in plastic wrap and socks were put on over the plastic wrap.  After doing that all day, having a quick bath last night and deep cleaning every knook and cranny of his bed (he's allergic to mold and things, so I have to be REALLY careful to make sure things stay clean for him), he slept better and seemed okay going to school this morning.  Here's hoping.

We had a super busy week last week, but in a good way for the most part, so that was nice.  The biggest and proudest event of the week was definitely my daughter winning student of the month at school!  This was after the week before we got her mid-term grades and found that she's doing really well this year so far academically, so doubly proud of her!  We got to go to the school, have a pizza party with the other winners and families and had a lot of fun.  Armina even got some school swag to hang up in her locker and bring home with her.  She was, justifiably, proud!

The second biggest thing that happened this week was I took a bit of a financial hit, but I paid off the sleep center a month early.  I offended the gal in billing greatly when I paid the bill over the phone (so that we knew for sure the cents and everything were correct on the payment) and I told her that I expected a receipt saying in nice big letters "Paid in Full" and if I don't receive that within two weeks I'll stop in at the Valley office to make darned sure I get one.  I would not put it past an outfit like that to fabricate up another bill just to try and suck more money out of someone, so I am doing my due diligence to make sure that doesn't happen.  It's been a long two years, but I've never been so glad to see a bill paid off in my life.

And the third biggest thing that took up time last week was canning and food processing, so let's get to that and money saving things that happened last week.

1.  So, I found that I can add my rhubarb plant that was down in the yard that never produced much to the list of "The Breakening".  It doesn't even look like it popped it's head out of the ground at all this year.  I'm theorizing it finally just gave up as it never did grow well, no matter what I did to it, although we had so much rain this year it just might have plain old drowned.  At least I'll be able to split my rhubarb plant that is doing REALLY well in a couple of years, so if I can keep that growing well I'll be alright I think.

Once I realized that I wasn't going to get any rhubarb from that plant, I went and finally harvested the rest of the rhubarb (I left a nice smaller rhubarb plant growing there and mulched around it nice and heavy with dead leaves and grass to help protect it this winter though as I want it nice and healthy next year :) off of my monster plant.  I had a freezer full of rhubarb and every recipe I tried on the husband and daughter they didn't like, so I tried to think of something I needed that I could use the rhubarb to make.  And it dawned on me.  BBQ sauce.  I bought some East Coast style BBQ sauce which the husband and daughter both hate (I don't mind it at all, but it must just be me), so I kind of needed something to pad out my BBQ sauce stores.  There was a recipe I made a couple of times from the Ball book of Home Preserving for "Victorian Barbecue Sauce" and we did like it, but I had forgotten about it over the last few years as we didn't have enough rhubarb to make it.  Not so this year!  So, I made two batches of BBQ sauce.

I ended up with two jars breaking in the canner, two of my ancient canning jars I'd bought when my husband and I got married (those jars nearly got "Taps" played for them as they gave me SO many years of great service).  Fun fact, the reason I know they are that old?  I had put some commercial labels on the jars to note what they were all those years ago and those labels have NOT come off in nearly two decades...those labels are nuts!  My son was distracting me really bad when I went to put those jars in and I don't think I let them get acclimated to the hot contents enough before they hit the boiling water.  It was a mess, I lost two pints of BBQ sauce, but I got my act together and was more careful after that and got the rest done just fine.

I was also able to get some pints of just regular stewed rhubarb, canned up and ready to go for desserts later on (I got about 3/4 of a pint in the fridge since I didn't have enough to fill the jar completely.  I think I'll make some scones and I'll thicken the rhubarb and we can have scones and rhubarb pie filling with them for breakfast fare later in the week) and I got two quart bags full of rhubarb sauce (like applesauce, but with rhubarb) put up in the freezer to eat later in the winter as well.  Overall, from one harvest of rhubarb this year...I could not be happier.

2.  I also canned up the rest of the coleslaw.  Just in time, as a matter of fact, as the pepper was starting to show signs of age, which was sad since I'd only bought it about three days before.

I have to say that with the two pick ups and drop offs with school each day, the therapy schedule we have and swim lessons for the kids (as those are continuing) and things...trying to fit everything else in on the weekend is tough.  Worth it, but tough.

Putting all of the home canned goods I've managed to make the last couple of weeks up in the pantry, through, felt good and a bit relieving.  It was nice putting something back INTO the pantry for a change instead of having to throw this or that away due to mice.

3.    Shopping went REALLY well this week!  I had some awesome personalized prices on things this week and between that and 5.00 Friday (and getting my flu shot which netted me a 10% off coupon for my grocery trip), I got some really good deals that were on my list of "stock up" items that we needed, so that felt good!

I was able to get cooking oil for 2.50 each as part of 5.00 Friday, so I got four.  I found looking at the "sneak peek" ad for Carrs for next week (the ad starting tomorrow) that they are going to have cooking oil on sale again for this price, so I hope to get four more containers of oil.  That should last us quite a while, I hope, which is a good feeling.

The biggest awesome that I had this week for shopping though was I had a personalized price for 5 lb bags of all purpose flour for 1.17 each!!!  I got 30 lbs of flour for  just over 7.00 and was able to fill my second five gallon bucket with all purpose flour.  This should be enough all purpose flour to last us a year between it and the other bucket that is nearly full (if past experience holds true) and I was able to get it for less than I could have gotten it for at the bulk store.  So that was definitely a score!

I was also able to get a cantaloupe for 2.50 as part of 5.00 Friday.  Unfortunately the perpetual problem on melons definitely held true when I was picking one out (especially true when they are on a good sale):  You had a choice of either green or starting to rot it seemed.  I found one that was green, but still smelled a bit like cantaloupe on the end (a trick I learned from Good Eats that actually does seem to work), so I stuck it in the fridge and we'll have it for dessert tonight.  Here's hoping it tastes okay.

I also had a personalized price on Romaine lettuce hearts for 2.77 for a bag, which is unheard of cheap for those, so I grabbed a bag to make salads with this week :).

I was even able to get some beef on reduced for a change, which we haven't had much in the way of beef in the house for a while (MAN that stuff is expensive anymore), so I was able to get a three pound chub of hamburger for 9.00 and some change after discount and was able to get some thin cut steaks for less than 10.00.  I am slowly trying to stock back up on hamburger as really it's the one beef cut I can afford on a regular basis and I use it a lot.  So, it's nice being able to add some of that back to the freezer.

4.  We got a lot done this last week on our "this needs to get done before winter" list.  The husband got some of the garage cleaned up, we dropped off the big truck load of cardboard we had to the recycling center (who just asked for a 2.00 donation in return if you were able to do it, which we did), we got clunky-grindy out of the kitchen, cleaned up the floor underneath and the husband put in the new spiffy dishwasher (which has a stainless steel tub in it!  The display model at the store had a plastic one, so I assumed that is what we were buying, but ours has a stainless steel tub!  Yay!).  It's wonderful having the cardboard gone from the garage, having dishes come out of the dishwasher clean and seeing the garage look less cluttered.

5.  Right this one is so confusing I felt like creating one of those wall boards with the strings going from one point to another to link it all together so you don't get lost.  Shop Your Way points.  They seem like a great idea when you get the e-mail promotion, but if they don't apply them right or the system misses appropriating those points?  Good LORD it's a real mess to get it right!

So, when we bought the dishwasher we got it on sale and if you spent 200.00 or more on appliances you were supposed to get 200.00 back in points, spread out over six months (which should equate to about 33.00 a month, give or take, to spend at Sears).  I kept checking our Shop Your Way account and saw nothing in the way of points being added, at all, for the dishwasher.  Finally, when I realized the dishwasher order was showing NO points being added to our account from the sale, I called Sears.  They were as helpful as a screen door on a submarine, so I e-mailed the Shop Your Way folks, explained my dilemma and waited to see what they say.  Got a response back saying that they had adjusted the account and the points should be correct now.  No such luck.

I go and check the account and realize that they had awarded us 25.00 per month, not 33.00 per month and adding up the points I found we would be short changed 50,000 points (the equivalent of 50.00).  I e-mail the company, again, and explain what I find.  A gal e-mails me back, apologizes for the flub up and says she had adjusted the account again and this time everything should be right.  Wrong.

Go and check the account and we're a month short.  E-mail them again.  Get another response which says the adjustment has been made and it should be alright now.  Wrong.  Go and check online and the amount they adjusted for that month is 833 points, not 8334 points (the latest person just added points onto the 25,000 points from the first guy to get to where we needed to be points-wise..confused yet?).  Back to the e-mail.

Finally get the 7501 points added onto the account early (since it was October that was all screwed up) and start to sigh in relief thinking, finally, that it's all over, until I realize that we're missing the 25.00 we're supposed to get as our second installment on our mattress and box spring purchase.  E-mail them one last time and they fixed that.

This was the most messed up situation to fix something that should have been easy to fix that I've ever seen in my LIFE!  I didn't have one person mess up, nope, I had like five, in a row.  It was nuts.  At least it's right now.  I hope.  Honestly at this point even if it was wrong I don't know if I'd know anymore.  It was that screwy.  I figure if nothing else we'll be close enough at this point.

After all of this Sears had BETTER have my husband's size in jeans in stock or I think I might resort to doing something I'll regret later *laugh*.

6.  Alvah has been in this super destructive mood the last little bit with no reason for it happening that we can discern.  Talking to his teacher it sounds like all the kids in his class have been that way, including one of them not even being mad and just throwing her laptop on the floor and breaking it yesterday (thank goodness Alvah was sick so I didn't immediately have to ask, "It wasn't Alvah, was it?").  But, at home, it's been a struggle keeping him out of things like medicine cabinets and things and then he just looks at one of his favorite movies to play right now, "Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie" last night and just seriously breaks the DVD clean in half.  I was dumbfounded and really upset that he'd do that.  Luckily for him, since he'll want to see said movie and not realize that breaking it in half would, you know, wreck it, I had found a spare one randomly at the used store last week and decided to pick it up "Just in case" as he's been so bad about randomly killing DVD's of late.  Since to replace that thing on Amazon is currently in the 40.00 range (seriously, what the Heck?), I was doubly glad I had picked up the movie for 2.00.

7.  Another thing broke this week on top of having a DVD broken in half by the son and the two jars.  My Polder remote probe thermometer and timer broke this week.  It's been dying for a while.  The screen would randomly flip out on you, the thing would just go dead at weird moments, would suddenly decide to count down a new time you hadn't programmed in, etc, but this week it went blank and didn't want to do anything but go blank as soon as you hit any buttons.  Tried changing the batteries twice and nope, nothing worked.

I felt like I needed another moment of silence for something that died as that timer/remote probe has been used at LEAST once a day for five years straight, most days it was actually used multiple times and now a days has been being used for the daughter to count down minutes for her violin practice and reading time and things as well.  It is seriously one of those kitchen items I can not live without I use it so much.  I ordered a new one from Amazon when I realized that it was quickly dying on me and was super lucky that the day it completely died was the day the replacement one came in the mail.  By the way, if you are looking for a good, reliable remote probe thermometer and timer you can get a Polder for about 17.00 on Amazon, it works great and is a really good value for the money.  No associate links involved or anything (obviously by the lack of links in the post), but a shameless plug for a product I love.

8.   I got a random packet of paperwork in the mail with no cover letter from the State of Alaska that was, from what I could tell, to prove that the son was still disabled, but I couldn't figure out what it was for (thought it might be for TEFRA and the son's insurance, thought it might be something we had to fill out for Medicaid for ABA therapy...I had no idea).  I was utterly confused on what the paperwork was for since TEFRA doesn't start renewal processes until this month, so I called my care coordinator confused as all get out on what it was for and left a message asking if she had any answers because I was baffled with the lack of a cover letter.  She called me back and explained about how confused EVERYONE was when they'd get the paperwork, explained what it was for (basically you have to prove your child is still disabled to get services through the state...got to love working with the system) and told me when I was done to not mail it in to the state, but instead to send it in to her electronically, she'd attach all the back up source material and send it in electronically to the state so we would have it all time stamped (I only had till the 10th to get the paperwork in via the letter I FINALLY received in the mail on Saturday).  I did exactly that and was happy that I had someone who knew what they were doing to read it over, make sure I had answered the questions correctly and could send it everything right to keep the trains running on time.  Yay for care coordinators!

9.  After I got done canning I spent all of yesterday cleaning the house (which looked like about five tornadoes hit it after a weekend of me being busy canning and the son running around) while juggling the kids at the same time and somehow managed to make it work.  Cleaning.  It's for the most part free (okay, so cleaners can run you some money and things, but you get what I mean...it's really 99% labor) and it feels so GOOD when it's done.  For the five minutes you can enjoy it before someone makes a mess again *laugh*.

And, yeah, I'm going to call it good there.  I'm sure there is more, but I'm battling a headache today (lack of sleep I'm sure) and my brain is about the consistency of pudding right now.

So, how did your week go?  Well, I hope?


  1. I got tired just reading this - ha!

  2. My goodness, the exchanges you had with the Shop Your Way people!!! I'm not sure I would have bothered as long as you did, so good for you on being persistent! What a mess. The dishwasher looks fantastic, though.

    I'm having similar problems trying to fit everything in in the small chunks of time I actually have to get things done. My daughter is in preschool for 1.5 hours three days a week, which means I'm running back and forth to and from the school there, and my son is doing scenery for the fall musical, which means *he* has to be picked up when he's done, and I have to pick my husband up from the train when HE gets home, so I don't have a lot of large chunks of time to DO things at home (which explains why my kitchen table is still covered in five butternut squash). It's a little frustrating, so I hear you on that.

    Congrats to your daughter on student of the month, that's a big deal!

  3. Wow! What a nightmare with the shop your way rewards people. Such an easy fix took way too much tine and effort. I sometimes wonder if customer service people are even paying attention sometimes. The dishwasher looks really nice though!! I'm sure that will make life so much easier!!

    I'm glad you got those crooks at the sleep center paid off. Good riddance, I'm sure!!

    You did so much this week!! I am so behind, our house looks terrible. Can't walk on the floor without stepping on things horrible. I don't know how my kids do it :(

    I'm a wee bit nervous, my peanut allergy son came home excited, he had had a mystery oreo at snack time and loved it, could we buy some regular. I was nervous, because you had warned just plin ones were safe, and took to google to check and see if I cohld find out anything, and I couldn't, well, tht evening, he got an upset stomach. He has always gotten those randomly, which makes me wonder if it was food allergy related? No idea, but gave him a probiotic which usually helps. No more problems, until this morning, upset stomach again. He said he felt fine, so it was a probiotic and note to his teacher and wondering if they will call. He's had this stomach upset off and on his whole life, so no idea if its mind food allergies from that oreo, a stomach bug or what. Just going to sit here...worrying. sigh. At least I'm at work and that helps keep me busy!! After hearing about your week I am so grateful you took the time to help this worried mom out with allergy suggestions.

    Your bbq sauce sounds great, though I'm sorry the jars broke. My jusband makes a bbq suce he loves, I ought to can some one day. His is pretty simple, tomto sauce, brown sugar and vinegar, I think, but good! We looove our bbq sauce, but he IS a Texan!

    Hope your week goes smoothly, it's awesome you found someone to help get the paperworkhandled. Nice when that happens!

    1. Regular, Golden and Double Stuft Oreos (no birthday ones or anything like that, though) are fine for the peanut allergy, but I haven’t run into a store generic yet that is safe. I used to send in safe food for him and told the teacher about his allergy, how he’ll stop breathing if he consumes peanut and worried when he was gone. I’ve had a couple teachers who didn’t take it as seriously as I would have liked and I had to request things like a peanut free table for him, but his current teacher has been wonderful. I’d call the teacher, try to figure out where the cookie came from, make sure the person handling said cookie hadn’t handled peanuts (if a safe type) and if all that comes back okay I’d go with either environmental allergies coming out in an upset stomach (it happens) or that he just had stomach troubles, which is pretty common in kids with allergies (overly sensitive system and all).

    2. He meaning Alvah, obviously. Man, need more coffee this morning lol!

    3. Hah! My tired mom brain totally understood you. I'm glad your son's current teacher is wonderful about that. I will have to see what I can find out, but I am excited to hear about the golden oreos, I hadn't found anything about them. Thank you!

    4. Alvah was excited too. He loves his Oreos, Golden or otherwise lol!

  4. We have had problems with Shop Your Way too, but nothing as extreme as what you went through. Have you tried lavender essential oil on Alvah's feet for the eczema? I'm sure you've been asked this before, but I wanted to toss that out just in case. Try to get some rest, you've earned it!

  5. Erika, sounds like things are finally starting to turn around for the better.

    I'm sure "relief" over getting some more stock in the pantry is huge. Great use of the rhubarb for BBQ sauce. I wouldn't have thought of that! Mind you, I've never thought of canning BBQ sauce before but you've inspired me to add it to my list for next year (as well as your canned coleslaw). Thanks!

    My week(s) haven't been very frugal this year at all. We're moving and the expenses involved in that have been an eye-opener. We haven't moved in 28 yrs. so some of the processes has certainly changed in nearly 3 decades. Although we knew it would be costly (renovation costs; lawyer fees, mortgage broker fees, real estate commission etc.) we never accounted for all the other hidden costs, like paying for an appraisal ($400 Cdn.); home inspection ($400 Cdn.), feeding family who've helped us do some renos that my husband was unable to do himself; renting a storage unit for 6 months (($1062 Cdn.); moving costs of buying extra boxes; renting a moving truck (approximately $500 Cdn., but the exact price will be established the weekend we move November 3-4); feeding family and friends who will help us move that weekend will be pretty high because we'll have to provide takeout instead of home cooking for those 2 days; my daughter will be attending a new school that requires uniforms so that's another expense that I've never encountered before; having to pay for the closure of our present utilities then hook-up fees in the new house etc. etc.

    Then once in the new house, there will be some other expenses as we have to build an extra bedroom and construct cold cellar shelves. Some extra furniture in the way of more beds and dressers will be needed. But the painting will be done in the Spring just to give me a break from all the home renos this year.

    Oh my goodness! What a year this has been! I'll be glad once my world stops shaking and starts to settle down and we can get back to SAVING money instead of SPENDING money. It has just slipped through our fingers like water eventhough we've tried our best to be frugal about it. Okay, I'll stop ranting now :) C'est la vie!

    Happy Thanksgiving to any Canadian readers out there (our Thanksgiving will be on Oct. 8th).
    Have a great week everyone!
    Pat, Cda.