Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times...whatever)

First, I want to thank everyone who has written me the last few days to make sure I'm alive and to apologize for not getting back to you.  I'll e-mail you back as soon as I have time to breathe regularly again.

It has been crazy the last few weeks around here.  And, unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of good that came out of it.

Let's start with the top photo shall we?

Our small block freezer died and took a bunch of food with it.  That was not a good day.  The bright side to that train wreck is that I was eating down our freezers and had transferred most of the meat out of the small freezer into our larger standing freezer downstairs.  So, at least we didn't lose tons of meat.  Enough to make things depressing for sure, but not enough to justify a nervous breakdown.  I was able to save a few things from the near bottom of the freezer that were sitting on top of the bag of ice left over from when our ice maker died and we had ham for a few meals (since it was a whole ham it didn't defrost too much), my husband had a steak for lunch at work that night and we had tacos for dinner that night instead of the pork chops I had planned on.  We also had some Otter Pops in the freezer for when the husband or the daughter get sick as they like them for sore throats and since they were in plastic tubs we dumped the entire lot into the bathtub with some hot soapy water, washed them all really well and then dried them before putting them into new freezer bags and placing them in the freezer downstairs.

In the money saving department, I quickly decided to not replace the freezer and am just going with what else we have around the house.  I'd rather save the 200.00+ a new one would cost to save for the next thing that breaks.

In other news we are developing our own junkyard out on our back deck as things just seem to keep breaking around here.  I'm getting tired of it.

The other things that broke were my son's old rocker recliner and my husband's recliner.  Mind you they were both old.  We got the son's chair used and had repaired it multiple times, but it was still a recliner from the 80's.  The husband's chair we had bought new when my daughter was a baby, so it's over a decade old now and it has been used hard over the years.  The earthquake was just too much for the son's chair after it got an entire bookcase of stuff dumped on top of it and buried it, I think.  I thought there was only a main spring in the rocker that needed to be replaced but when I started looking at it I realized that it was one of many problems, including springs popping through the upholstery and things, so I finally realized we had to replace it.  I couldn't not replace it as the son has become dependent on that chair over the years for sensory stimulation.  So, we went to our local furniture clearance outlet and ended up getting two floor model recliners (it saved us even more money buying the floor models) that had a few small imperfections.  They don't match at all, but the son is happy with his rocker recliner that swivels 360 degrees and the husband has a recliner he can sit in with the kids again without someone getting hurt and supports his back, which he needs.  The son's new chair (seen above) I am counting as personal property replacement on the disaster loan, but the husband's chair was already splitting and having multiple problems before the quake, so that one I put on credit and am paying it off.  The husband took the old chairs to the dump last week as they were in too bad of shape to donate to a used store (we did ask them, though).

The next thing that has been going on is that the son came down with a stomach bug with staying power.  It's all lower intestinal problems so far, but I ended up sleeping upstairs for a good week out of necessity to be able to jump up when the son would need help and I'll be bedding down upstairs again tonight, unfortunately.  School starts tomorrow...I'm seriously wondering if the son is going to make it.  Not a good start to the school year.  Sigh.

Then there was my Prime Day order with Amazon.  I am so fed up with Amazon at the moment that I'm not ordering anything from them unless I absolutely can not find it locally, no matter how much more it will cost me buying it local.  Stick a fork in me.  I'm done.

Amazon shipped my Prime Day orders in one box...a big one I'm assuming as it had pillows, lights, toys and other things for the kids for Christmas and such.  The package hit the internal Amazon shipping lanes in Kentucky and then proceeded to disappear off the face of the planet.  I ended up having to call Amazon who then replaced nothing in my order, pretty much, because it was Prime Day deals and they couldn't match the prices on the replacements.  So, refunds again.

I then sat down and ordered things as close as I could to the Prime Day things I had gotten, trying to keep within the budget of those items as I didn't really want to spend more than what I had already spent.  And Amazon shipped me items that had been obviously opened, leaking (I ordered a small paint set for my daughter) and a mess.  I ordered a 12 pack of 1 subject notebooks for school on an Amazon warehouse deal as the price was good enough that I wouldn't have to go to the store for notebooks and would still get about the same price for the notebooks.  I got a pack of 8, not 12.  Refunds again.

After that entire sequence of events I'm just determined to get what I can locally for gifts this year and if I can't find it locally I won't be ordering it from Amazon.  I'm done with them unless I can't find it anywhere else and it is worth the gamble that I'll actually get the darned things I order in decent shape.

Oh and Amazon had me send back the opened and leaking paint set and the notebooks, which I could understand the notebooks but was baffled by the paints.  I didn't get my refund back until, believe it or not, the big box of Prime Day orders that was out in limbo finally hit the postal system and USPS sent the box back to Amazon.  As soon as they received that yesterday suddenly my refunds are going through.  Between that and the one Amazon associate I had to deal with trying to get my order replaced when it originally got lost and his attitude like I was stealing from them...I am ticked.  Pure and simple.

I've been burning the candle at both ends and that candle is broken into about sixteen pieces of late.  I'm tired and my son hasn't been sleeping well, but I'm still having to function like a human being.  I'm stressed and trying to get things done around the house so at least we are making forward progress on our disaster loan things we have to get done.  Doing that stretches my back in weird ways so I end up hurting on the nights when I'm actually able to get some sleep.  It hasn't been a lot of fun, but it's getting done whether it likes it or not.

For instance, I got the master bathroom repainted.  We sat down and realized that our home just has too many design elements from the 70's in it (which is when the majority of it was built) and we finally decided to just go with it instead of trying to make an old home look modern that would just end up looking weird in the end.

So, the master bathroom got to be painted burnt orange.  I know, it sounds odd (and might look a bit in the pictures), but the orange looks really good in there!  It goes with the floor well and the real upper to the color is that the light in the bathroom has improved about 18 bazillion times.  Don't worry.  I'm not going to go crazy with avocado green anywhere.  I swear *laugh*.

While I was painting I repaired the shower.  I had to adhere tiles that had pretty much come off the wall by the bath tub there and then I dapped/caulked around the tiles after I stuck them back to the wall so that the tiles would be protected from mold.  The sheet rock was cracked along the baseboard and the paint had started to come off from the wall in a few places, but I managed to repair it and make it look pretty good I think.  We still have to hang up new hardware in this bathroom, but overall I'm happy with how it turned out as there was a lot of nails to put back into the walls  and a lot of cracks to deal with.  I REALLY need to remember to take more before and after pictures just for the sake of having a record and making me realize how much I really did get done in each room, but hey I remember to take a couple of pics of the kitchen before I started on it (that's my newest work in progress)...

Sneak peak of one of the cracks.

Anyway, I think that gets us somewhat up to speed when it comes to our lives around here.  So, let's get to a few things I did to save money the last, what, three weeks?

1. I made the mistake of washing the kid's shower curtain again.  Every time I did that I'd forget that the thing would shrink EVERY SINGLE TIME you washed it and this time it got short enough that I wasn't too keen on putting it back up.  So, instead of going out and buying a new shower curtain and rug, I went and raided my closet to see what I had put away for spares.  I found a tan bathroom rug (that is now downstairs in the master bathroom) and the old striped shower curtain I had in my master bathroom for a while.  So, I put the shower curtain up in the kid's bathroom (sorry for the pic with all the wrinkles in it...they steamed out pretty fast with everyone taking showers upstairs while I painted the bathroom downstairs) and then took the dark grey rug from my master bathroom, replaced it with the larger tan one, and put the dark grey on in the kid's bathroom instead.  I think, overall, everything works okay together and I didn't have to spend a dime to get there, so I'm happy.

2.  Carrs had blueberries on sale for 5.00 per two pound container.  Since blueberries were one of the things I lost in the freezer dying, which depressed me, I was happy to find them for that price and got three containers.  I now have enough blueberries for a while to make things like blueberry muffins with, so that was a good purchase.

3.  Carrs had a bunch of different things you could buy with gas rewards this month and they had given me four times the normal amount of gas rewards one week so with our two week shopping trip I got like 11 fuel rewards.  I cashed in some of them to get a free gallon of milk, a free pound of butter (which I needed both) and 7.00 worth of meat (which I got some chicken and steaks on reduced with it) and still had enough fuel rewards left that my husband was able to get a decent amount off per gallon of gas.  We were running really low on meat, so I was really happy to add more back into our stores.

4.  I watched a bunch of free programming on the internet, including going back and watching some episodes of "Victorian Farm", which was a nice distraction from a sore back as I was trying to sleep on the love seat in the living room when the son kept stealing my makeshift bed I made on his floor.

5.  As the son has battled the stomach bug, instead of running out every time I think he might be better and getting new toothbrush heads, I instead have been just sticking the heads in boiling water to sterilize them.  Since they are nearly brand new I figure this will be a good way to get us through without reinfecting ourselves until he's officially over it and I can replace the toothbrush heads for sure.

6.  The daughter's Kindle stopped playing Prime videos for some reason and we tried trouble shooting it with Amazon to no avail.  I finally talked it over with the daughter and we just reformatted the Kindle back to factory defaults.  That fixed it and stopped me from having to buy, yet another, new Kindle.

7.  I cleaned out my e-mail and managed to get the thousands and thousands of junk mail messages out of the e-mail.  It's nice being able to log in to the e-mail to a whopping 30 mail messages you have to go through and delete off before your inbox is clean again.

8.  I had my daughter go through her school supplies from last year.  We cleaned her old pink erasers really well, got binders relabeled and checked lead levels in her mechanical pencils and things.  I doubt we saved a ton of money doing that, but we did save some money, the daughter is happy with how things look and I'm happy we saved some pennies.

9.  I read some books through the Gutenberg project for free.

10.  When trying to figure out colors for the rooms in the house I went online and found that Sherwin Williams had an online paint simulator where you could see what the paint would actually look like on walls when it was done.  After the upstairs bathroom I was happy to find it and was curious to how accurate it would be when I did the downstairs bathroom, but am happy to report it worked well and the paint came out looking like it did online.  I'm going to be curious to see if the rest of the paints come out with a similar level of success as the master bathroom.

11.  My vacuum cleaner started having some major issues the last week and I was really worried I would have to go and get a new vacuum somewhere.  My husband stopped by the Kirby store in town and found that we could get ours serviced and get all of the replacement parts that we know we need right now 150 to 200.00.  Since a new vacuum would cost that or more and I'd have to gamble on the new vacuum not dying on me in a year or so (I have TERRIBLE luck with store bought vacuum cleaners.  I even ended up getting refunded for a couple under lemon laws my luck was so bad) and this vacuum has lasted about a decade with constant use and abuse, I'm going to gamble on getting the Kirby serviced and pray that it will fix it and bring it back up to snuff.

I am sure there is more in there that I plain forgot as I'm writing this as things are nagging the back of my mind, but I passed tired about two weeks ago and my brain is pretty much shot by this point.  If I remember some other things I'll snap some pictures and do some recaps, but for now I'm going to call it good and try to get the daughter to bed since she has school tomorrow.

So, yeah, I hope you guys have had a decent run of time since the last blog post and have great things to report :).  How did your three week stint go?