Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Money Saving Recap for the First Part of April

Honestly, I couldn't remember if it had been two or three weeks since I posted last, so I just punted on the subject line.

Thanks to those who e-mailed me to make sure I was okay.  I just didn't want to post up an update until I had something good to post about.  I had depressing things to post about and I just didn't want to come across as too depressing, so I waited until some good things came around as well to post about.

The biggest bad thing that happened the last couple of weeks was getting a phone call and finding out that a really good friend of ours had died tragically.  We know his parents and we really like them too, so its doubly sad for us knowing what they are going through as well.  You always feel so helpless in situations like this, wishing you could help and make things better and knowing that it's too late for that and nothing you can do, or say, is going to help.  And you have to deal with those feelings on top of your own sadness.  It's rough.

Got the electric bill in the mail and I drained our personal savings down to nothing paying it and I still owe nearly 300.00 by the end of the month to keep caught up on the bill.  That was, and is, depressing to say the least.

Then the daughter brought home another cold, this one really nasty, and I ended up nursing the daughter a good portion of last week, the son through the weekend and I'm still nursing my husband and myself through it.  I even took the daughter to the doctor to make sure she didn't have strep as her tonsils swelled up pretty bad on her.  Bright side is she didn't have strep, bad side is that now I have two medical bills I can look forward to getting between the husband's doctor's visit earlier last month and the daughter's doctor visit last week.  I blame the son for spreading this one as he wasn't happy unless he was sneezing or coughing directly into mine and my husband's eyeballs when he was really sick. 

So, yeah, "sick and depressing" pretty much covered our lives the last little bit.  BUT, there is some good to report now, which is a relief.

The Small Business Association called and we have an appointment on Friday to go in and sign the closing documents on the loan they are giving us.  Knowing that we'll have funds available to get fix things and get the house back up and running more normally is a huge upper for sure. 

I also, in between everything going on, managed to get things done around here, so let's get to that.

1.  I have been trying to make dessert a couple of times a week for a treat and I found a recipe on Pinterest for a strawberry jello concoction with basically chocolate jello layered on top of the strawberry jello, but they called it "strawberry chocolate mousse".  I though that the title sounded better than the recipe they made, so I made strawberry jello and then layered it in some glasses and made actual chocolate mousse and put it on top of the jello in the cups.  It was actually decently tasty and looked neat in the glasses and the daughter absolutely loved it, so I'm calling it a success (seen up top).

2.  When I was at the used store trying to find some new table cloths as ours are starting to die on us, I was looking around and found a bag with some home made place mats in it for 1.50 for the bag.  The place mats were well made and I really liked the look of them, but they were too small to really use as place mats.  I looked at them and realized that if I sewed them together they would make a really nice table runner as the place mats were thick enough that it would be like having a pot holder type of mat all the way down the center of the table.  So, I bought the place mats, went home, took some embroidery floss from my stash and got to work sewing the place mats together by hand.  The table runner came out awesome and it works really well, saving me from having to put pot holders under every hot thing that I put on the table :).

I also like that the design is nice and Spring-like as our weather this Spring has actually been...well...Spring-like!

3.  Shopping has gone okay the last bit.  I redeemed a bunch of bonus fuel rewards last month to get some food items for free and I redeemed those along with some Monopoly freebies I won (the Monopoly freebies seen above).

With the fuel rewards I redeemed some bonus fuel rewards to get some free butter and some free sparkling water.  I was also online one day and found they had a coupon for a free thing of Organic mustard, which I took advantage of.

The tortillas were on sale for 1.49 each one week and I had coupons my mom had sent me for 1.00/2, so I got them for .99 per package, which was a good find.  And the wet wipes I had a personalized price on them for cheap and then had a coupon loaded onto my card for them as well, so I ended up paying a whopping 1.49 for the package of wet wipes (which I needed them, so that was pretty awesome).

I also went online and imputed all of my "Second chance" codes for Monopoly and got enough to get a 15.00 grocery giftcard (which I picked up and used toward shopping) and then I redeemed enough for a fuel reward, which I used to get the sparkling water (which was nice).  I can still redeem points for a 10.00 grocery gift card before the contest ends, which I'm hoping to do, as that will help a bit with shopping and every little bit helps right now.

3.  I ended up cancelling my order for a comforter from Amazon as I sat and thought hard about it and decided that if I was going to put that type of money on my Amazon card, I'd better use it for something we really REALLY needed, so I ordered some laundry soap pods instead.  Not as nice or exciting as getting a new comforter, but I repaired a few more holes that had developed in our old ones and I figure it'll work out in the end.  At least our clothes will be clean this way.

4.  I decided one thing I could do that wouldn't take a lot of money was to start Spring cleaning the last bit.  One thing I decided that needed to be done was getting the china cabinet finished, so I cleaned the bottom out, reorganized it and managed to put a bunch of sheets and pillow cases down underneath and then I put the extra towels in a Rubbermaid tote for the time being and placed it in the hallway.  And then I pulled out my pretty things that hadn't been broken or destroyed in the earthquake, polished the silver and the pewter items and made the china cabinet pretty.  I have to say I get a thrill whenever I walk by it right now.  It's nice having something look organized and pretty after everything that has happened.  I was surprised and thrilled to find that my tea and coffee sets had actually survived the quake on top of my kitchen cabinets (how, I have NO idea, but I was still thrilled none the less), so I cleaned those well and put them away in the china cabinet as well.  With everything more accessible this way I'm looking forward to using the dishes more instead of them just sitting stored out of sight and out of mind.  The shots above and below are actually while the cabinet was in progress as the top shelf looks more "complete" now.  I did keep some things in the cabinet that just plain need to be in there, like the wet wipes and the prescriptions for the kids, but for the most part I thought it turned out looking really nice.

I polished the silver ware in the silver ware chest for the first time in forever and determined that we were actually going to start using it for special occasions and things.  My husband's grandfather gave us the silver ware years ago as a late wedding gift.  He and his wife had run a small antique shop and the silver ware he gave us was odds and ends of not complete sets that he had gotten throughout the years and he had put into the chest.  He was all apologetic for not giving us a proper set, but we've always been thrilled with what we were given as it was nice that someone thought of us and wanted to help us start up a "proper household" when we got married.  It was fun for me when I was polishing and cleaning everything as it made me research something I'd never researched before.  What different kinds of silver ware were used for.  For the first time I learned that there was such a thing as a tomato spoon and that we'd been using the wrong spoon for soup all of these years *laugh*.  I'm a huge domestic arts nerd, so I've been having a tremendous amount of fun reading up on all of the different place settings for formal and casual dining, what all of the different type of silver ware and serving pieces are used for, heck what kinds of different glasses you should use for different things and all kinds of fun stuff.  I've been thoroughly enjoying myself educating myself on all of it.

I cleaned up a bunch of stuff that was sitting on top of the cabinets in the kitchen and had gotten coated in grease and grime (since the kitchen doesn't have a proper hood to vent things, it's just a forgone conclusion that things on the cabinets are going to get coated, no matter how hard you try) and have been systematically working through the house cleaning out of the normal things and making them look nice again.  I polished the silver plated bowl/basket I had in the den when I noticed that it was getting tarnished and grimy looking and it's looking much better.  I started pulling books off of shelves and dusting them and trying to put them back into the book cases so that they don't look like they were just shoved back onto the shelves (which they were after the earthquake) and make it so people can find things again.  Tackling one small thing at a time has been working really well, honestly and it's giving me a sense of control over my surroundings again, which is a good feeling as I've felt like I've been living in this state of unreal flux and stress since the quake.  Part of the settling is due to the aftershocks getting slowly but surely less, the assistance money getting figured out so we can move forward and then the cleaning and organizing.  It's nice not to feel like I'm on the verge of a panic attack at any moment anymore, although I definitely have stress due to the electric bill and things, but I know we'll get through it one way or the other and that helps.

5.  Despite being sick I've somehow managed to put dinner on the table most days, which was definitely an accomplishment considering how cruddy we've all felt and it saved us money by saving us from eating out.

6.  I realized that Easter was quick approaching and I don't really have money in the budget to do much of anything for Easter candy and things.  Luckily, I had some things that a friend had gifted to me that I put aside for Easter presents and then I dug out the clearance Easter candy I had bought last year after the holiday and a couple of packages of Andes Mints that I had put away in a secret box in the pantry from previous holidays (the kids love the mints, but they seem to only be on sale for the Christmas holiday through Easter and then they disappear for the rest of the year, so I try to grab a couple of them and put them up for later on).  Complete the look with whatever basket I can find that survived the quake and voila!  Easter stuff is done for the year.

7.  I have been stalking our phone bill since we ended up upgrading to Smart TV's and things and I realized that with all of the things I'd ended up getting in digital format for the son we were eating up our bandwidth for the month EVERY month and eating into roll over gigs we had from ages ago.  When the gigs this month were getting low in the roll over category, I decided to upgrade us to unlimited bandwidth.  The cheapest unlimited plan was 10.00 more per month than our bill now, but I noticed that it was also slower than our current plan was.  I decided to take the chance anyway as most of our digital media things we buy I always buy in SD anyway (because I'm cheap like that) and see what happened as to upgrade to unlimited on our current plan would be nearly 60.00 more per month and there was NO WAY I was going to be able to afford that.  So far it's been working fine and when I called the phone company to see what kind of pro-rate I would have to pay for the upgrade, because I waited until the last day of the month when our bill was normally due with the credit we got for cancelling our old plan and then the pro-rate for the new plan kicked in we would only be paying an extra .33 for the coming month over what our normal bill would be.  I was very happy with that result for sure.

8.  With the warmer weather and the light coming back I was finally able to stop warming up my truck every morning before dropping the kids off at school (since it's and older truck it doesn't like to run cold in cold weather), which is saving me gas.

9.  With the warmer weather we've been having and the coming of more sunlight the upstairs in the house gets decently warm in the afternoons and evenings, so I have found myself being able to turn off a bunch of the electric heaters until late at night.  I'm praying this makes a difference in the electric bill this coming month as I need a break on it, I really REALLY do.

10.  I found a soup tureen at the used store for 1.50 "as is".  I looked it over and over again looking for cracks as the "as is" thing really worried me, but the body of the soup tureen was perfectly fine.  I took it up to the counter and it turned out that the "as is" was because the handle on the lid had popped it's threading component so the lid handle wasn't safe to use in it's current state.  I bought it as it even came with a ladle (honestly it's not my dream soup tureen, but it had a nice small profile on it and the ladle itself that it came with was worth more than the 1.50 as most nice tureens I've found at the used stores are always sans ladle) and when I got home I took my tack hammer and some cardboard (to use as a buffer between the wooden handle and the hammer) and with some precise and careful hammering I got the threading component nice and tight back into the handle of the soup tureen, screwed the entire handle back on and voila!  I now have a nice soup tureen to use for fancy dinners around here (or honestly just to serve soup from so that the ladle doesn't fall into the mixing bowl as I'm trying to serve soup for dinner *laugh*) and for 1.50 and a little work I sure am not going to complain.  I even managed to pay for it with pocket change, so that was also an upper.

11.  I started serious work on a more longer term menu plan, which is nice as it's giving me an opportunity to find sales to match up with things I want to make and/or give me time to find the things I might need in the freezer or pantry and it also gives me things to look forward to making in weeks to come.

And there you are folks.  Some of the happenings and goings ons around here.  Here's hoping things start to look up here soon in a big way.  I could use the break from worry and depressing news for sure.


  1. I'm sorry . When it rains, it pours! I know what one well. Hoping that is all behind you, and things brighten up!

  2. Good or bad all and any... we are here for you... internet friends.

  3. So sorry for the loss of your friend.
    Seems like ups and downs become the way of life. I know the downs are depressing, but SMILE at those ups!
    You did really well.

  4. I'm so sorry about your friend. Yes these events do make you feel helpless. I love your place mates and your china cabinet looks so pretty. Well done for accomplishing so much in spite of illness and other problems.

  5. I'm sorry about your friend. I never know what to do in those situations either.
    I hope things will get less stressful once you get the sba loan and fema money done so that you can get the chimney fixed. Maybe then your electric bill will come down. Good luck with everything. Michelle

  6. Are you okay? You haven't posted for a long time!!! Jill