Friday, June 21, 2019

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (x3)

One of these days things will stop happening and I'll be able to get back to a regular blogging schedule.  Sigh.

My dad used to say that there was an old Chinese curse that went something like, “May you live in interesting times.”

Boy, am I feeling that right now.

Week before last started out pretty productive and I really felt like we were on the upswing, finally, when it came to life throwing us unexpected curve balls and was hoping that we could finally start moving forward and getting things done.

Then last Monday happened.

My husband was sitting at a red light on his way home from work when a fully loaded dump truck side swiped his car and damaged another car. Thank GOD no one was severely hurt as that truck could have literally driven right over the top of a smaller car (such as the one my husband drives). It's a miracle that no one was severely hurt, or killed, in the crash. Our car took the most damage and the passenger side of the car is pretty much gone, so it was towed to the same body shop that did our car when we got rear ended a few years back.

So, the last couple of weeks have been anything but productive on the home front. We've had calls from insurance companies, loads of paperwork to fill out for the police department and others, calls to the body shop to see if they have done any under body exploratory on the car yet (SO far it looks like the side of the car will need to be replaced and we'll need a new tire, but it's repairable, but we're not sure what damage might be hidden in the frame underneath when they start tearing the car apart to fix it, so we're in a holding pattern waiting for news), visits to the chiropractor for the husband (he sprained his neck in the crash) and other things. Thank goodness for full insurance coverage on a vehicle as Geico has been really good about everything.

On my part, I have been doing everything in my power the last bit to show my husband how much I love him and how much we appreciate him. I keep going back to how that accident could have gone and am just so grateful my husband is still here. We are both just kind of worn out feeling right now and tired of having to jump from one crisis to another, but I got the back up vehicle we have insured until we can get our other car back on the road so my husband has something to drive back and forth to work. We have rental on our insurance policy but they only cover up to 50.00 per day for five days and then you have to start fighting it out over the rental fees. Since we are going to be without a car for at LEAST two weeks as we wait for parts, I just didn't see the point in fighting about it when I can insure the car for about 100.00 per month, full coverage (which is a lot cheaper than 50.00 per day) and we'll see if we get our other car back or if it ends up getting totaled for one reason or the other.

So, yeah, monthly goals got pushed aside and shoved into a box marked, “later” until everything with the accident is taken care of and things. I'm still hoping to get a few more things on my “to do” list done, but we'll see how it goes.

On top of everything, my hips have really been giving me problems the last bit, especially my right hip. They ache during the day and when I lay down at night they start to really bug me to the point I can't sleep. This is one of those things where I'm pretty sure this was a self-inflicted condition which I knew would come to haunt me one day. Basically, I have a special needs son. For a long, long time he was a flight risk and the only way to keep track of him and to keep him calm when doing things like waiting for my daughter after the bell rang and stuff was to pick him up and hold him on my hip. When he was little it wasn't that big of a deal, but as he got older, and taller and I was carrying around an 80lb plus kid on my hip for quite a while, I knew that it would effect me later in life. But, I didn't see anything else to do at the time, so I willingly decided that I would pay the price.

I don't regret the decisions I made at the time, but now I need to go to a doctor and see what I can do to help it as much as I can. Hopefully I can stave off things like hip replacement surgery and things later by tackling the issue early. I can hope anyway. At the moment if I can figure out what to do so I can at least sleep at night, I'll be happy. Wish me luck there.

So, let's get into more frugal matters as I don't want the post to get too depressing or something.

1. We got our septic pumped! I was so relieved to get that done. We'd gotten a recommend to definitely do it after the earthquake to make sure the septic was in good shape and to pump out things that ended up going into the system post earthquake as well (like broken glass and things), so I finally just made the appointment and we got it done. Our septic tank looks to be in good shape and our leech field is doing well, so I was super happy to hear that. I also now know how much, approximately, it will cost to get the septic pumped in the future (about 200.00) so hopefully I can put that money aside to get the job done every two years (which was what the guy recommended with the size of our septic combined with the size of our family). Always good to have numbers to work with instead of dreading how much things will cost when you get them done.
2. I was on Amazon one day and was amazed when I pulled up my shopping cart to find that one of the “price changes” they notified me about was boy's underwear in my son's size for 2.00 per package of 7! And they were not add on items. You could only order a max of three, but boy did I do that as my son needed underwear. And the full order actually came, more's the miracle! Usually when I run into a deal like that, that is too good to be true, I end up getting sent like one pair of underwear per order and then have to get my money refunded and stuff. So, now my son is good for underwear for a little bit and I paid less for three packages than I would have normally paid for one.
3. My son's back pack started to fall apart, so I decided to see what I could find for clearance sales on Pottery Barn Kids for a new lunch box and back pack (as my son has been using an old lunch box of his sister's and he's not been overly happy about the pink lunch box with butterflies on it). I found some really great deals and went to check out and was really sad to see that the
“free shipping” that used to apply for those items to Alaska as well as the Lower 48 was no longer honored for Alaska and I was looking at 10.00 per item to ship them up here. I refused to do that and ended up going through LL Bean (I would have gone through Land's End instead, but I saw some of their back packs in Sears a bit ago and wasn't impressed with the quality) and getting a clearance lunch box and a back pack on sale. Even at higher prices it was still cheaper than Pottery Barn kids would have been. I'm sad that Pottery Barn did that with the shipping as I really liked their items, but such is life. The new back pack and lunch box are not the quality I remember from LL Bean growing up, but they'll do for a while. At least they guarantee their items for a year (which is sad that they don't do the lifetime guarantee anymore, but a year is better than nothing), so if the zipper or seams go I have some recourse to getting a replacement.

4. I found some curtains at the used store that would actually span the distance across my window in my bedroom (we have windows that are like 3 feet high by nearly 6 feet wide, so they are difficult to fit). I had to buy four panels (which were each like 90” high...they pooled on my floor from my ceiling when I was measuring the length of the window, which was impressive to say the least) to make sure I'd make the length without coming up short and the curtains had large metal rings built into the curtains which wasn't going to go with my curtain rod. So, I knew I had some creative sewing to do. I cut off the metal rings on the top of the curtain panels and then sewed the curtain panels together by twos to make two larger panels out of the four. I then measured and folded the curtains over at the height I wanted as the curtains were kind of thin and I wanted to get as much insulation and light blocking capabilities out of them as possible. I then sewed a new top onto the curtains for the curtain rods to fit through and thought, “Yay! I'm done!”

Then I went to hang them up and realized that there were thin parts in the curtains, like they had been up against a heater or something that wore them down a bit on the liner side. I knew that the curtains would be weak at those points and wanted to mitigate against it, so I decided to sew in my own liner into the curtains. I looked through my fabric and found a lighter blue fabric in my stores that would work for the height and lengths I needed. I sewed the liner onto the back side of the curtains and then hung them up. I took my old curtain rod system apart. It was an old track system where you pulled the cord and it would open and close the curtains for theory, but it never worked well. I removed all of the track system hardware from the curtain rods and then hung them back up and just reused the rods, which worked perfectly.

I have to say that the finished curtains are not my dream curtains by any stretch, but they work, only cost me about 12.00 for the materials (the curtain panels were 3.00 each) to put together, they don't look like hotel curtains (which, I swear, the old curtains were old dark beige hotel curtains), they aren't falling apart (which the old ones were) and they do lighten up my bedroom a bunch, so I am happy with them.

5. For Father's Day my daughter really wanted to get my husband a gift. Instead of spending additional money (which we really didn't have) I suggested we make him cookies and a card instead. She was thrilled with the idea and my husband loved the gifts. We went out to dinner a few days before Father's Day to celebrate the day early (since my husband works nights and would be asleep for a good portion of Sunday) and used a gift card my Mother-in-law had gifted us to help pay for the event. We had a lot of fun.

6. The last time I bought a bulk thing of flour, I was thrilled and kind of surprised to find flour in an old fashioned cloth sack versus paper AND it was cheaper than buying the bulk thing of flour from our local bulk store. I bought the flour, emptied it into my bulk five gallon bucket for flour storage and then washed and dried the sack. The sack shrank significantly in the dryer, but it was still large enough to cut the seams out of it, hem the edges and turn it into a really nice flour sack towel to use for the kitchen. For about 20 minutes worth of work I thought it turned out really well!

7. I used up leftovers and started to work on a detailed inventory of my freezers to figure out what we needed to use up. I've been rotating out anything old and will worry about replacing them with newer stock when sales come up later. I'm overall pretty happy with what I'm finding in the freezers as nothing has been too terribly freezer burned, nothing has been super duper old and worrisome about how good of quality it is or anything like that. So, I'm glad that I'm getting better about using things up as needed to stop things from getting buried too long in the freezer.

8. I made menu plans and stuck to them, which it has been nice as I feel a lot less stressed about dinner when I have a plan of action in place. It has also helped with the plan to use up older stock in the freezer as well because I know what I'm having a few days down the road and am able to get meat in the defrosting drawer in the fridge (I turned my bottom crisper drawer in my fridge into a meat defrosting drawer. This keeps cross any cross contamination that might occur from meat juices contained to the drawer so I can just pull the drawer out, wash it and replace it without worrying about any meat juices getting onto other food.

9. My Amazon card statement came in and I found that I had a decent amount of reward points available to spend. Instead of putting it toward my card balance (which was actually turning into a nightmare trying to get it to apply), I went and spent the money to buy my husband an anniversary gift and a birthday gift. I let him pick the gifts from his wish list, so he knows what he is getting, but we ordered him some tools he has been wanting to get for around the house and for different side projects at work and things, so he is happy. I was even able to order him a book I've been wanting to get for him that he doesn't know he will be getting and I spent next to nothing out of pocket to get them after the rebate was applied. Now I can concentrate on getting the bill paid off in the following months.

10. I have been teaching my daughter more domestic skills around the house and have been really happy with her progress learning to do things like laundry (she already knew how to fold, but is finally big enough to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and start a load of laundry in the washer and such), taking care of the cats, doing the dishes and things. The side benefit of teaching her these things is that the house is cleaner and I'm not so exhausted all of the time trying to do everything that needs to be done. And I'm grateful.

I'm still hoping to start her on sewing and cooking this summer as well. It's been rough trying to teach her things when she was smaller as Alvah took up so much time and energy, so I am glad that she's picking up the skills quickly and we're moving forward at a good pace :). My husband keeps trying to convince her to let him teach her how to fix a car, change a tire and other skills that would definitely be beneficial to know, but so far she's fighting him as she has always hated getting too dirty and the idea of messing around with a car just puts her into full rebellion mode. He has, however, gotten her to start driving the lawn mower and mowing the lawn, so he's sneakily getting her to at least start in on pre-driving skills.

11. Carrs has been giving me some major bonus gas reward point opportunities, like spend 90.00 in one shopping trip and I get 4 rewards automatically types of things on top of just plain giving me four times the fuel rewards for a week on shopping trips. As a result on our big shopping trip for two weeks worth of groceries we ended up with like 14 fuel rewards in one week. I cashed in, I think, like three of them and got a free 24 pack of water, which went into the emergency water storage. I cashed in a few more to get 3.00 worth of free produce. Which, combined with a personalized price of .61 on bananas last week and some personalized prices on melon and things, resulted in a pretty decently cheap produce bill.

12.  I made a frugal recipe my mom taught me to make when I was a young kid one day a couple of weeks back when the weather was set to be hot and I knew no one would want me to turn on the oven.  Behold!  Krab Meat Salad!  I'll try to find time to share the recipe in the next couple of days if I can.  This is one of the few recipes on the planet that calls for imitation crab meat (thus the "k" versus "c" in Krab) I think, but it really is a great recipe to have for hot weather.  The few times I've made it for friends they have all raved about it, so I think my mom did a good job creating the recipe *laugh*.


  1. I googled Alaska no fault laws and it says if someone was negligent they may be liable for damage. I hope you and/or your insurance company goes after the guy that hit you! Here you are in a boat load of problems through no fault of your own. I am glad your husband survived relatively unscathed. I always tell my husband I love him when he leaves for work/play/etc etc.

  2. You truly are inspiring. I am amazed at your tenacity.
    So glad your husband(or anyone else was seriously hurt or killed). God is so good.

  3. I love the flour sack towel you made! So thrifty and retro :)

    So glad your husband is mostly okay. How terrifying.

  4. What a lovely attitude you have. So glad your husband was not too badly hurt. Somebody hit my car while it was parked a few years ago and although thankfully a neighbour saw the accident and noted the registration number and description of the car and driver, it was still a palaver filling in forms etc. I had a courtesy car but it was so new with lots of gadgets I was nervous driving it. The communications about the accident seemed to go on for ever.

  5. You remind me so much of myself. It's always something! My husband drives dump truck and has owned his own in the past. They pay a LOT in insurance for instances like that...fight for them to pay any expenses you incur!

  6. if you haven't went to the chiropractor for your hip please due...then go to the doctor. My 46 yr old daughter put her's off for a couple years and ended up losing part of the bone in her thigh also because it died due to the damage in her hip. right when she was laid off and already struggling to keep her home. I know it's tight and rough... but really please at least find out what is wrong with it and plant out the steps of dealing with it. You can't help your family if you are laying in the hospital like she was.. PRAYERS for you and yours

  7. So glad everyone was OK in the accident! Scary! For your hip try taking collagen. Buy a powder that you can put in smoothies or coffee or hot chocolate. Take it every day. It is tasteless and gives you lots of protein. You can get it in pill form as well. Marge

  8. If you want cheap oatmeal baths.....take an old sock and put in about a cup (or more) of oats. Tie the top shut and let him play with it in the bath. The more he plays with it the more white the water will become. You can use it about4 or 5 times before throwing it away. I did this all the time when I had eczema. Also, check out the book the eczema diet. I know he has food issues, but something in there might help. That is how I got cured my eczema. I still have to watch certain foods. Good luck! Marge