Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I need to come up with like a "Money Saving Monday" (in this case Tuesday) tagline for this post, as it seems since my husband started having Fridays off that I never get to do the Frugal Friday post on Friday *laugh*.

No matter what, though, this post would have been late this last week.  It was so busy and so much stuff was going on with the holiday and everything that I'm just plain exhausted and really don't want to do anything.  Unfortunately, with the kids being home for four days straight, the house is a wreck and there are loads of dishes and laundry to do, so no rest for me.

And no, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you with the above photo.  The tree leans, probably due to the home made tree stand that my husband had to make for said tree and the fact that it was a 5.00 Target clearance tree to begin with  when we bought it years ago *laugh*.  Don't worry...it's secured to the wall behind the tree so it's not too leany...yes in reality it leans a lot worse.  So, I celebrate that it's PRETTY straight overall and won't fall over easy with it being tied to the wall and it being in a pretty hefty tree stand now (Alvah broke the old plastic crappy tree stand thingie years ago).

So, what went on this last week?  Well, the usual holiday stuff, of course.  Since it was Thanksgiving Thursday (for those outside of the US) I had a lot of work to do.  Wednesday I made pies so that I didn't have to worry about them Thursday.  I tried a new recipe for an apple pie cheesecake this year and then made a regular apple pie as well.  I was really disappointed in the apple pie cheesecake, so I am glad I made the regular apple pie as a back up plan. 

Thursday was the holiday, which we had a good dinner and a relaxing evening even with the daughter being a pill Wednesday and Thursday (for no reason that she could even pin down...always nice) and then Friday rolled around and the son woke up choking from all the stuff draining out of his head (stupid cold bug) and got sick to his stomach and that started the weekend of Heck when it came to his mood.  He wouldn't eat or drink much of anything all day long and he'd whine...constantly...from sun up to sun down.  About an hour before bedtime he'd realize he was hungry and thirsty, eat and drink a bunch, get into a happy mood and then crash for the night.  Repeat.  I was never so happy to bring both of the kids back to school yesterday, honestly, just to get them back on a regular schedule and give myself some much needed peace and quiet.

And then there was the nerve wracking and "not cool" addition onto our week.  We had moose move into our yard and not leave.  Five of them.  They were not afraid of humans, not afraid of loud noises and were completely scaring the crud out of us as getting out to the vehicles to get anywhere (or from the vehicles inside) was really, REALLY nerve wracking.  Our yard has become one solid chunk of moose poop the last week and we were pretty much under house arrest unless it was important or really light out (so we could see where the moose were) and even then it was a mad dash into the vehicles and away we went.  The son was NOT happy about not being able to go out and play, and I can't blame him, but safety was definitely the main concern.

The moose were still around last night, but the husband took the Animal Control officer's advice and put off some really loud noise makers at them and they ran off.  So far, hopefully *fingers, toes and eyes crossed* today the moose got the hint and maybe moved on.

Enjoy the really out of focus shot of one of the moose that was eating right outside of my den window.  Turns out the lens on my camera was dirty and I didn't realize it until I went to edit the shot of the moose.  And I haven't been able to get another good shot of the moose since I found that out because they mostly come out at night.  Mostly (yeahhh "Aliens" reference!  I knew I could fit one in at some point ;).

Despite all of that, though, stuff did get done (amazing as it sounds), so let's get to that.

1.  We went to my daughter's big combined holiday concert (which was kind of disappointing  as there was not much Christmas themed music at all) and got to enjoy the music put on by the middle school band, orchestra and choir.  I am impressed with how well the sixth graders are doing in the music program and was really proud of how well the daughter did, even though she wasn't happy about it (yeah, the bad mood started early in the week with her and just got worse until Thanksgiving was over).  It was free (of course :) and the people sitting next to us even abandoned their program so we were able to score a copy (they didn't print enough for everyone to have one).

2.  My sisters were really generous and sent us a really nice gift card for Amazon this year for Christmas.  I still feel kind of guilty about it, but I used a LOT of the gift card they sent to buy myself a new laptop.  I had added the laptop I wanted to get to my cart and "saved it for later" because we were going to put some small things the husband said he wanted onto the order.  Then checking my cart on my twice daily habit (I always check my cart on Amazon twice a day to see if anything bottoms out in price that I'm saving for later) I found that the laptop had fallen nearly 70.00 in price a few days later (turns out it was a part of Amazon's "Black Friday Week" deals).  I quickly got the items my husband wanted to get added to the order and placed the order for the computer.  By waiting I was not only able to save myself 70.00 on the computer, but the 70.00 more than covered what my husband had wanted to order with the computer, so double score!  I was even able to replace some of the movies the son had managed to damage in DVD format and buy them in digital format instead with some of the money saved as well.  It was definitely a welcome savings to be sure and now I don't have to worry about the son chewing on those DVD's anymore because he can just stream the movies on a tablet.

I have to say I'm overly excited about getting a new computer.  I hope it works well.  My laptop is over ten years old now and well...no matter what I do on it, it isn't happy about it.  I can't even load a wallpaper onto my desktop without the computer throwing a fit about it, so yeah...I pray the new computer isn't a lemon and works well for as many years as this one did.

3.  Other than getting some milk, eggs and a few small things that I sent my husband to the store to get on Wednesday morning on his way home from work, we didn't get anything in the way of groceries last week.  I'm definitely a "stay away from the stores around a major holiday if at all possible" type of person.

4.  My daughter and I sat down and talked about Christmas gifts and budgeting out money for them.  We are trying to help my daughter get caught up with math a bit and she's having problems grasping decimals, so I figured money was a great motivator when it came to learning these things.  So far, I can't say she's doing great at figuring out decimals, but she's definitely grasping the concepts of budgeting, figuring out gifts people can use and want, and managing to get nice gifts on the cheap.  With her permission I'll be sharing some of her gift giving on the blog as part of the "Frugal Christmas" series I'm planning this year (since I'm not REALLY making all of the gifts this year, I'm going to change up the series a bit and show, not only the gifts that I make and such, but also the gifts that will be being put under the tree that might not cost much, but will still be nice gifts...hard to explain, but stay tuned...it'll make sense in a few days when the series starts, promise :).

5.  We pulled out the wrapping paper we've had for years and the daughter wrapped her presents that she has done and put them under the tree (she's really going gang busters and totally beating us all *laugh*).  I bought the wrapping paper on Target clearance YEARS ago for 90% off and it has served us well for many years since.

6.  Which of course leads us to the fact that we put up our Christmas tree last week.  I haven't put up all of the kid's artwork that I've collected throughout the years yet (the son's mood was so bad I didn't want to overwhelm him) and am hoping to do that today, but at least the tree got put up. 

This year I was smart for a change.  I went into the storage van a few weeks ago when the weather was cold, but clear and manageable and we had a lot more light during the day then we do now (the light really starts to drop off bad about this time and get worse through December) and pulled out all of the Christmas decorations and put them in the house.  I was doubly proud of myself when the moose showed up as I can't IMAGINE how in the Heck I would have managed to get the decorations with them in the yard.  So, yay for thinking in advance!

7.  I rearranged the den and the living room to accommodate both the Christmas tree and to give me a place to set up my sewing table so I can get some Christmas gifts made.  I managed (with help from my husband) to get the boxes of videos that were stacked up in the living room downstairs into a corner of my den, so the living room looks a lot better now.

8.  After we were done eating Thanksgiving dinner I took the meat off the turkey and immediately threw the carcass into the crock pot with the drippings that were left over and some water.  I let it cook on low all night long (I did get up at 2 am with the son and added more water to the crock pot t keep it topped off).  I then turned it off in the morning, let it cool down so it would be cool enough to handle the meat, stripped what meat I could off the carcass and froze the stock in some freezer bags.  It turned out really well and it saved me from trying to find room in my freezer for a turkey carcass :).

9.  I helped to repair the handle on my husband's work bag (yay for leather needles!).  He's kind of hard on the work bags as he hauls tools back and forth to work and he's torn out a good number of bags doing it (he buys what he can find at the used store in the way of a duffle bag and just uses them till he destroys them) and the handle had separated around the "d ring" at the base.  The husband had tried to repair it as well as he could (I was busy trying to handle the son at the time) and then I took over and really reinforced what he'd done with more (hopefully anyway) sewing know how.  Hopefully the repairs will last a while as other than the handles kind of falling apart the way they did (for some reason they were barely sewn onto the bag, but had a ton of adhesive put onto them to hold them together...sewing them was sticky work and I had to clean my needle afterwards) the bag seems to be decently hefty.  Here's hoping!

10.  I used our "Shop Your Way" points as soon as they came in this month since Sears is doing so poorly we don't know how long it will be before our Sears shuts down.  I ended up stealing the point this month to get myself some socks as the son has discovered he and I are in the same size of socks right now and he constantly steals my socks...well then his eczema on the bottom of his feet itch and he runs the socks all over the carpet to itch his feet.  Result?  I have holes in pretty much all of my socks now.  So, I got myself 12 pairs of socks and a pair of ankle boots that were on super sale (which I felt guilty for buying them until my husband gave me a lecture about how I never buy myself things and if I was planning on wearing them to buy them).  I love the new socks and the boots, I have to say and we only ended up spending about 10.00 out of pocket after the points were applied.  It's nice being able to wear a bit dressier shoes than sneakers and having socks that are warm and not holey :).  I've been hiding the new socks from the son (sorry Alvah) and letting him have some of my socks that are still in one piece, but I don't worry if he wrecks them to do with as he will in my sock drawer.

And yeah, I have a ton to do yet today, so I'm going to call it good there and get to work.  How about you?  Have a good week?

Friday, November 16, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Whoever said, "Time flies when you are having fun" had no idea, I think how time flies when you are just busy and trying to do ten different things at one time.  Ugh!

Bright side, despite having sick kids all the while my husband and myself have been fighting this evil bug as well, I still managed to get some stuff done, thank goodness.  Thanksgiving shopping got done, a free turkey was had (with two weeks worth of shopping getting done at one time with the husband's pay schedule on top of Thanksgiving needs...we definitely qualified for the free turkey when it was all said and done), a freezer got reorganized, TEFRA paperwork got done and submitted (and now we wait for interviews and just generally wait for everything to go through) and plans were made for the weekly menu and tentative gifts were written down for me to make for the family.  I'm definitely tired, but feeling like something got accomplished anyway.

As for the money saving things that happened this week, let's get to that shall we?

1.  My husband and I stopped by Fred Meyer when shopping to check out beef roast sales (we have like no beef, other than hamburger, in the freezer at the moment) and while there we got the free thing of potatoes I had loaded onto my card from Freebie Friday.  In other news, since we went on Friday, I completely SPACED loading the McCormick's Grill Mates freebie onto my card and am still a bit upset with myself about that.  Blah!  At least I got the preferred mashed potatoes for the daughter for Thanksgiving anyway.  And for free.  Always a nice price point :).

2.  I think I skipped through Carrs this week when I discovered their sales as it was great stocking up prices for things.  I got Stove Top stuffing for 1.66 a box, Libby's green beans for .69 per can (max of 4 on the coupon, but still...woohoo!), cheap Coke (stocked up for the son for the next little bit) and I even bought some frozen pies (both pumpkin and apple) for 2.50 each as part of 5.00 Friday.  I couldn't pass pies up at that price...I mean I can't even GET pie filling that cheap, let alone an entire pie =D.  These won't be used for Thanksgiving, but instead put aside to eat as a quick dessert throughout the coming months when we want something easy.  I even got a value pack of chicken for .79 lb as they were having a manager special on it and I couldn't say no at that price.  The way the freezer sits at the moment we have pork and chicken with a FEW things of beef and fish to scatter throughout the masses of pork and chicken.  I'd like to be better stocked up on other meats than chicken and pork, but you can't complain when you can get cheap meat, no matter what it is.

3.  My husband and I went to Michaels for the first time this week to get some t-shirt transfers as my husband wants to help me make him some t-shirts for Christmas that he'll make the designs for.  I also bought some cheap t-shirts while there as they were on sale for 3.00 each to use the transfers on.  I used a couple of coupons that Michaels had given me, loaded onto my phone, and was able to get things for much cheaper.  As soon as I realized Michaels was going to be coming to the Valley, I immediately went and signed up online for their rewards program and things so I could get the coupons *laugh*.

4.  While at Michaels I saw three packs of Scotch Tape, but nowhere the scotch tape was could you find any type of shelf tag or price point.  So we took one of the three packs to the register and got a price check on it.  The stuff rang up at 6.00 and some change!!!  I said, "no" to that one and told the husband I'd get the tape elsewhere.  And loe and behold while shopping I was able to get 3 packs of store generic tape for 2.50 each...a LOT cheaper than the brand name stuff at Michaels!

5.  I went through what food I had left after the mice got through with everything (that's still so depressing) and managed to find a few things to donate to the food bank this year.  It won't be much, some Jello and a few freebie items I got from Fred Meyer and Carrs throughout the year, but I figure something is better than nothing.

6.  I started my list of gifts for the family.  I AM planning on doing the "Gift a Day" series again this year...it's just going to be later than I was hoping it would be.  So, yeah, watch out for that coming to the blog in the near (HOPEFULLY) future :).

7.  The husband has been helping me to clean out the garage and while he was cleaning he started pouring the tiny bits of oil that were left in different containers of oil into one container.  When I asked him about it (since it's not all the same type of automotive oil that he's saving) and what he would use it for he said the oil could easily be used to lubricate things that needed it, so he didn't want to waste it.  He's managed to recover about a quart of oil to use for that purpose out of all of the containers he had little amounts of oil left in.

8.  Confession time.  I raided the kid's Halloween candy we bought and grabbed some things of like mini-Sweet Tarts and things to use as decorations for gingerbread houses for Christmas.  It'll save me money and will work just fine and really I don't think the kids even miss the candy.

9.  Spent time this week working on getting the rest of the things that were stacked in the corner of my den that USED to be in the pantry and put those things back in the pantry as much as I could and still afford the cats an unobstructed access to the pantry.  I had to stack a few things in the laundry room, but I'm pretty much there, so I was happy with that.  Especially since I have to find room to set up the Christmas tree this week in the den, somewhere.

10.  I'd like to have a moment of silence for the loss of an old reliable friend this week.  My Columbia winter coat, that has served me loyally and well for many, many years (I got the coat as a Christmas gift from my mom in 6th grade) finally died this week.  The zipper completely split on me and there was no saving it.  My daughter tried to convince me to replace the zipper, but I showed her where the material on the actual coat was starting to disintegrate and I decided it was time to say goodbye. 

We went around to the used stores and I finally found a winter coat that I liked.  It was nice and heavy.  Not the material I would have chosen (it's got that faux suede feel to it that I know will get dirty and stay dirty), but it was nice and heavy and seemed like it would be suitably warm.  I paid 12.00 for it and got out to the car with it.  It was then my husband asked if I could wash it and I was kind of flippant saying, "I'm sure it'll be fine...".  Yeah, and then I found the care instructions and realized the coat is a 100% down coat.  So, no washing for the new coat. 

Anyone got advice on how to care for a down coat?  I've never had one before as those suckers are normally REALLY expensive and I honestly never thought I'd own one.  I'm figuring loads of Scotch Guard and waterproofing spray and yeah..past that I'm thinking I could get a dry cleaning kit and just refresh it in the dryer?  Anyone got any guidance on this one? 

And there you are folks.  My week in a nutshell.  How about you?  How did your week go?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Shopping Goals: November 2018

Okay, so the month is nearly half over before I could get around to this.  With the family being so sick since before November started and such, I'm definitely cutting myself a break for the reduced blogging schedule of late.  HOPEFULLY things start to get better, quiet down and improve around here.  It'd be wonderful.

When it comes to shopping goals, my shopping list has gotten longer and longer as the month as gone on.  Not ideal as the next paycheck the mortgage comes out of and I also am going to have to pick up the rest of the needs for Thanksgiving out of that paycheck as well (we get paid this week).  Unforeseen expenses have popped up (per usual, it seems) so money is going to be tight until further notice, so I'm going to be working on getting things checked off the list for as cheap as I can get it.

So far I already have a turkey in the freezer for Thanksgiving, cranberries and a couple of other small items, but still need to get a decent amount of stuff.  Thankful I have the turkey done already, though :).

So, here we go.  This month's shopping goals.

Regular Stores:

  • Seedless navel oranges (2)
  • Potatoes
  • Herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
  • Frozen green beans
  • Dried cranberries
  • Instant mashed potatoes (I have a free Idohoan pouch waiting at Fred Meyer from Freebie Friday, so I wan to go and get that...the daughter doesn't like home made mashed potatoes).
  • Cream Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • American Cheese
  • Ketchup
  • Garlic
  • Onion Powder (used up the rest of mine)
  • Cheyenne pepper (once again, completely out)
  • Ice melt (we got like 1/2 an inch of freezing rain Sunday, so I used up the rest of our rock salt on the driveway)
  • Scotch Tape (for wrapping presents and putting them under the tree when I set it up later in the month...the tape has "mysteriously" disappeared and I'm pretty certain my daughter was involved with all of the craft things and such that suddenly popped up around her room)
  • Christmas sprinkles (I'm going to need to make a double batch of sugar cookies this year as both kids have decided they like sugar cookies now on top of my husband)

Wanted, but not needed items:

  • Additional turkey for freezer (turkeys are just so cheap this time of year that I would like to get another turkey to cut up and put into the freezer for use later or something)
  • Additional cranberries for freezer (I like to keep them around for canning cranberry sauce, to make cranberry orange bread and other uses...I'm a cranberry fan :)
  • Beef Roast (for Christmas dinner...waiting for a super sale on that.  If we don't get a really good sale on them I'll just try to figure out what the family might like instead)

And there you go folks.  My shopping goals for the month.  How about you?  What do you need to get this month?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, this is really, really late following the other post that was really, really late.  Good reasons for it though, so read on!

First up, be prepared as the recap of the past couple of weeks is probably going to be a lot longer than the actual frugal recap part of this post.  Why?  Well, reason number one is we've been sick for the last two weeks, nearly straight, so I don't have a ton to report.  It's like we couldn't kick the cold we've all been suffering from.  We'd feel good for a few days and then wham the cold symptoms would come back.  Alvah woke up Wednesday this week with a TERRIBLE cough and suffering so badly that I took him to the doctor just to make sure his lungs were clear.  Honestly I was half expecting antibiotics would be needed.  No, we learned something that was actually a bit more depressing than finding out your kid needs to be on antibiotics. 

Turns out that there's a new virus running around.  Our pediatrician, when the first wave of sick kids came in with cold symptoms that had lasted more than three weeks, got worried and ran a bunch of kids in for a barrage of tests to try and figure out what was going on.  The test results came back the same on all of the kids.  They had an adrenal based virus and everything else came back clear.  So, what is the fun that comes with this lovely virus?  Well, how about cold symptoms that don't go away.  For two to three MONTHS! 

So, we're thrilled as can be with the news.  Really.  Sigh.

I just wanted to pass the news along to everyone, though, because if this is running around up here that means that if it's not in your area it's heading your way. 

So, yeah, we've spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks with the son home sick from school feeling miserable on the bad days and then when he was in school (or even when he was home) I have been super duper busy with tons of stuff to do (all the while TRYING to fight off this thing).  I've had tons of paperwork to do for the school and for TEFRA renewals (tis the season) and stuff, so trying to do that while feeling kind of yucky has been a challenge.

Whenever I've had a second I've spent it in the garage trying to get it cleaned out so we can put vehicles in it instead of it just being full of stuff.  I've made decent progress and was hoping the husband could help me with some of the stuff I'm not sure what to do with, but he's been fighting the cold/virus the last couple of days so not a whole lot has gotten done on that front (he's trying though).  It's frustrating as it seems like we just can't get things done without something getting in the way anymore.  I still need to get winter tires put on my truck and haven't had a chance to do that either.  Ugh.

Oh and by the way we DID finally see a snow plow.  The day after election results were final and we got a new governor in office suddenly a plow went down the highway in front of my house plowing mainly bare pavement by that point and today, after the warmer weather today had finally started putting some holes in the ice skating rink that my road had quickly become we had more plows go down our road than I saw on our road all last winter.  It was ridiculous.  They not only tried to plow us in with a ice wall (I swore they were trying to build the Great Wall of China out of ice they went up and down the road so many times) at the end of our driveway but then they'd go down the road, spread salt and sand, and then go down 20 minutes later and PLOW THE SALT AND SAND UP!  I've spent a good portion of my day staring flabbergasted out my living room window.

Which leads us into our list for frugal things that happened the last couple of weeks!

1.  We did the ultimate free thing that makes a difference in your life and the life of others.  We voted.  I stayed up way too late that night waiting for our polls to close and votes to be tallied to make sure the state wasn't going to continue down it's current path or worse.  Hopefully things will improve up here now under the new leadership.  I can pray.

2.  When cleaning the garage I realized that the small window we had was going to be uncovered when I got everything out from in front of it.  I didn't want to leave the window uncovered (crime up here is really bad due to a really BAD law called SB91..see above about new leadership being desperately needed) so I went into my fabric stores, found some thicker fabric and took some thumb tacks to make a make shift curtain for the time being.  I'm hoping to make a small curtain rod out of something and put up a bit better curtain in the future, but for now the curtain looks pretty good (I'll try to take a picture for next week's post :).

3.  I made sure to purchase things on sale when we went shopping last week and was happy with how little was spent when it was all said and done.  The guy who was in line behind my husband and I even congratulated me on how much money I saved.  I actually found it kind of funny as that hadn't happened to me since my super couponing days *laugh*.

4.  We made a big batch of Halloween sugar cookies, which the kids had a lot of fun decorating the cookies (and also eating the cookies *laugh*).  The kids are finally old enough and the son loves the cookies so much I'm thinking that I'm going to have to make a double batch of Christmas cookies this year :).  I can't believe how thrilled I am that my son will actually EAT home made cookies...sure only sugar cookies at this point, but I'll take it!!!!

5.  Instead of buying chocolates for Halloween (which is REALLY expensive if you go for peanut safe chocolates), I instead melted some chocolate chips (I buy some at the store that are safe for the peanut allergy) in a make shift double boiler (I use my 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup as it fits over one of my pans perfectly and just melt the chocolate in that while it sits over the simmering water in the pan) and poured the melted chocolate into Halloween chocolate molds I already had.  The kids have enjoyed them and it saved me a TON of money making the chocolates myself.

6.  I took down the Halloween decorations and while I was at it I went and kept up the ones that would work for Thanksgiving.

7.  I, while cleaning the garage, had to put stuff out in storage, so I cleaned up the massive collapse we had in the storage van.  All it took was my time to get it done and I felt good about it as the Christmas decorations and tree were stuck behind the cave in, so it will definitely save me time later getting it done when I did (and while it was actually somewhat light out, so I could see better too).

8.  I added water to a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of hand soap to make the bottles last a little bit longer.

9.  I took a small amount of credit (it was less than 2.00) I had with Amazon and bought my daughter a Christmas gift with it, as I found a seller that sold a piece of jewelry I had been wanting to buy for her with free shipping (even to Alaska) for super duper cheap compared to other sellers AND they had a good reputation on Amazon with thousands of reviews so I figured they were safe to order from.  I quickly found out why the gift was so cheap through them.  Turns out that the gift got shipped out from China (wasn't overly thrilled at that, but by the time I realized that it was shipping from China it was too late to cancel the order or anything).  The item was so cheap to purchase and was taking so long to get here that I figured that it might not come at all.  The item took over two months to get here, but it did INDEED get here last week.  Took me by surprise when it came.  I'd actually forgotten I ordered it by the time it came in (oops).  So, yay for one Christmas gift being out of the way for super cheap (I'd say what I got her, but she reads over my shoulder from time to time so I don't want to wreck the surprise *laugh*).

And yeah, I'm calling it good there as I am really running down here, the son crashed early (best possible thing to help him build up some type of resistance to this thing) and before the sinus headache comes back I'm going to bed.  How did your last couple of weeks go?  Well, I hope?