Monday, March 11, 2019

Money Saving Monday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Okay, so I didn't make Frugal Friday again.  In this case, though, I definitely had a couple of good reasons.  One was kids being home sick, again, my daughter with an allergic reaction to something that made her eye swell up on her and just this virus that won't let go making the poor son (not to mention my husband and myself) miserable.  Next up was FEMA stuff.  My husband and I managed to, thank goodness, make it to the FEMA location closest to us on Thursday when the kids were in school (like the only day last week where both of the kids were well enough to go to school) and we spent all morning pretty much applying for FEMA assistance and getting a low interest loan through the Small Business Association into the works (they work hand in hand with FEMA to make very low interest loans available to people in a disaster so you can fix things and such without having to deal with credit card interest rates and things).  Thursday afternoon (I kid you not) I was out picking up the kids from school and my husband got a phone call from the FEMA inspector saying he would be here on Saturday to inspect the house.

Friday rolls around and the SBA gave me a call first thing and walked through the damage over the phone with me so they could get the application progressed for the loan and then I spent the rest of Friday working to get the house in order for the inspector to come on Saturday so he'd have clear view of things that he needed to look at.  Saturday morning we got the FEMA inspection done and my husband went to the doctor as his asthma has been flared terribly by this cold virus and he was having some major problems breathing (he ended up with a new inhaler, prednisone and a cough suppressant out of the deal) .  Yesterday we spent trouble shooting the oven to try and see what was wrong with it (my husband narrowed it down to it's either the temperature sensor, which we're going to replace first, or something major, so we'll see how that goes) and this morning I got online to find we'd been approved by FEMA already for about 3000.00.  Not as much as we were hoping for as that's going to make replacing the chimney tight to fit into that budget (hopefully it will somehow be possible at any rate), but at the same time we're grateful we got anything at this point.  Something is certainly better than nothing and every penny we receive is one less penny we have to spend out of pocket to get back on our feet.  So, at this point, at least all inspectors have seen the chimney that will need to see it and we can finally start moving forward to replace and/or fix things and get the house back up and running normally again.

So, yeah that brings you up to date on general life stuff that has been going on since my last post, so let's get to getting caught up on the frugal front for the last two weeks or so.

1.  The son got to go on his yearly ski trip again this year.  The ski trip is through Challenge Alaska that is run by volunteers to help the kids ski and things.  Alvah was coming down with my nasty cold virus that day (we didn't really know it at the time) so he was grumpy on and off, but the husband said he had some fun at least.

When they brought up the upcoming ski trip the son's teacher asked parents to maybe donate some food for the trip as the teachers who were in on the ski trip thought it would be nice to feed the volunteers at the ski lodge.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do on that one as we didn't really have a lot of ready made food in the house and I was still feeling pretty cruddy and didn't want to bake something special.  But an opportunity presented itself to make my life easier.

I was visiting the Carrs/Safeway Just4U site randomly one day to see what new coupons might be available and found one for a free thing of sesame rice crackers.  I had to pick up prescriptions for the son the Friday before the trip (while running a bunch of other errands), so while I was waiting I ran and picked up the free crackers and sent those with the husband and son on the trip.

Earlier that same Friday my husband and I did some errand running.  I stopped off at the Franz outlet to see if I could get some cheap hamburger or hot dog buns for the son to eat and I found a huge bag of hamburger buns for 1.66, so I picked those up.  Those lasted the son quite a while, so I was happy with that purchase for sure.

I got a bunch of freebies the last couple of weeks for things that I needed or could use and I was ever so grateful for it.

First up I was super happy to find that Carrs had a bunch of different gas reward bonus coupons last week for grocery shopping.  They had a 2x gas rewards coupon you could load onto your card and then they offered me 4 gas rewards if I spent more than 100.00 in a shopping trip (which was inevitable when I do two weeks of shopping at one time) and then I had 2x gas rewards for a bunch of different purchases from a bunch of different departments.

By stacking the coupons carefully I was able to use some rewards for two free boxes of pasta, redeemed one reward for a free thing of ice cream and I STILL had 10 gas rewards by the end of it to get 1.00 off per gallon of gas.   I was a happy camper for sure.  While checking out a lady offered me a printed off coupon from the register for a free thing of orange juice as she wasn't going to use it and I got that as well.

My friend Facebooked me and told me she was sending me some coupons and I was thrilled with what she sent me.  She sent me a coupon for three free things of wet cat food and a coupon for a free bag of dry cat food and she gave me a coupon for a free 24 pack of bottled water.  I needed ALL of that, so I was very, very grateful to get those.

I ended up back at the store later to get more milk, so while there I redeemed the print coupons I had from the Monopoly game for free products.  I got two free bagels, a free box of water crackers, a free Refreshe Ice beverage and a free block of cream cheese (cream cheese not shown as I forgot to include it in the photo).  I have found that this Monopoly game the printed free coupons are just not very abundant, but I'm grateful for what I've gotten between the online code redemption and the printed free coupons.  I went and redeemed all of the codes I had today (which was a huge pile of codes to input) and am just saving all of the points I get to see if I can get up enough for some grocery gift cards before the sweepstakes ends.

Also last week I ended up picking up meat as Carrs gave me some awesome personalized prices on it.  I got some bottom round beef roasts for 3.88 lb (I know I'll have to cook those to death to make them tender, but still totally worth it at that price), hamburger for 2.87 lb (which the two huge value packs I bought aren't shown as I didn't have room on the counter at the time to include them) and pork loin chops for 1.47 lb.  The pork chops were an especially cheap find as I found a value pack on reduced for 50% off on top of that price so I got a huge package of pork chops for little over 2.00.

I also picked up a bunch of fresh produce cheap as well.  I had a cheap personalized price on bananas, so I got some of those (seen in the pick above there), had a cheap personalized price on grapes and blueberries (which I got some of each) and I went shopping on 5.00 Friday so I was able to get a cantaloupe for 2.50 as they were on sale for 2 for 5.00 as part of the sale.  It was a good week for grocery shopping for sure :).

Right and I think that pretty much gets us up to date on the grocery shopping front, so let's move onto other things.

2.  When I was cleaning for the FEMA inspector, I looked at the couch in the den and realized that the slip covers I'd made for the couch cushions were breaking down and looking pretty awful.  I didn't really expect the slip covers to last, honestly, as the material I had used was pretty thin stuff, but I tried to think of a quick fix to make the couch look better.  I then had a thought and went and grabbed a twin sized fitted sheet I had in my fabric stores (I had liked the sheet color as a potential fabric to use in a quilt) and just tucked in the couch cushions like you would a twin sized mattress.  It worked really well, actually, and made the couch look ten times better than it did.

I started thinking about it and I might look at the used stores for different colors of fitted sheet to change out on the couch for new decor options and things.  Since I can get a fitted sheet for like 2.00 it's a pretty inexpensive way to do things.  I don't know how well this would work on a piece of furniture that you might use a lot as I'd think the sheet might shift around too much, but for a couch we don't really use very much I think it'll work just fine.

3.  Our cat scratching posts were looking terrible as the cats had managed to unravel the jute rope that was wound around the pillars from scratching it so much.  I looked at the scratching posts and realized that they had just hot glued the rope to the posts and then looking at the way the rope was wound and where it had broken, I didn't even bother to reglue the rope.  Instead I took the rope, wound it both ways around the posts and then tied it tightly into place instead.  It worked really well and the posts look SO much better for the 20 minutes or so of effort :).

4.  I emptied the material out of my sewing cabinet and stored it in a few Rubbermaid totes I had around the house and in a few other areas.  I then took one of the shelves that had come with the cabinet and put it back in and then reorganized everything and put office supplies in the cabinet.  I am hoping to drill a hole in the cabinet so I can fit a power strip in it and then I can put the tablets in there to recharge at night and maybe even store my laptop in there.  I'd love for things to be nice and tidy and put up at night, but we'll see how it goes.  Overall, I was happy with how the reorganizing went there.

5.  Speaking of which by putting the office supplies in the cabinet I was able to make the space around my desk look a LOT less cluttered and nasty.  I took the printer and put it on the bottom shelf of the shelves I had by the desk and then put some unbleached muslin on top of the shelf as kind of a tablecloth.  I probably should have tried for a bit better look to the cover, but I was happy with it as I'm hoping it'll act as a dust cover for the printer, which will help me to keep the printer clean and in good shape.  The bottom shelf allows enough space that I'll be able to run it on the bottom shelf as well, which will be nice having it out of sight when not in use.  \

While neatening and cleaning the last couple of weeks (I'm getting started on massive amounts of Spring cleaning) I went through my desk and got rid of a TON of old bills and things that, as anyone knows, can just start to pile up on you, and organized things a lot better.  Like I have artwork the kids did going back to preschool and I wanted to keep it, but wasn't really keen on keeping it all in my desk (as there is a lot of it), so I ended up storing a bunch of it in the plastic drawers you see in the sewing cabinet.  That way it's protected AND I get some of my desk drawers back.  Win, win.

6.  I cleaned out the bottom shelves of my china cabinet and got rid of everything that broke in the quake.  I then started cleaning and decluttering the top cabinet.  It's still a work in progress, but I'm happy with it so far.

7.  I redeemed rewards on my Amazon store card to get some money off of my bill (which I then paid off the remainder of the balance afterwards).

8.  I watched a free webinar on eczema that I'd been trying to find time to watch for a while.

I'm sure there is more, but I lost my list I'd been keeping track of things on, so I'm going to call it good there.  Despite being sick still I've definitely been busy around here and it feels good to get stuff done.  I hope you all are getting things accomplished as well :).


  1. I use twin fitted sheets on the bottom cushions of my couch. I will also fold a twin fitted sheet in have to fit on the love seat. I also use twin flat sheets for the recliner and the backs of couches.

  2. I'm so glad the FEMA application and inspection were done so quickly. Sending you best wishes for everyone to kick the germs to the curb and that the chimney can be repaired for $3K.

  3. I'm glad you got the ball rolling in regards to FEMA and really hope that the chimney repair goes smoothly and much cheaper than you're expecting!

  4. What a busy gal you have been. Spring cleaning - ICK me too!!!!
    Good shopping.
    Congrats to you guys on the FEMA award - you are so right - every bit helps. Hopefully you can find someone to work with you on price.
    Take care - hope you are all feeling better.

  5. You've been busy, Erika!

    I'm so glad that FEMA came through quickly. When I was a kid our chimney (against the outside of the house, but only for the furnace pipe, like yours now is) was boxed in a wood matching our siding, rather than bricked. That might be an option for you to look into - much cheaper and we didn't have to worry about regular repair on the masonry. Most people didn't even notice it because it was the same as our siding - I always thought that was pretty funny!

    Great job on the grocery scores! Particularly the meat. So nice to fill the freezers back up again!

    Have a wonderful weekend,