Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Totally Saving Tuesday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

This recap is times what, two?  Three?

It has been crazy, crazy busy around here.  But, in good ways for the most part.

It has been a madcap dash to our local mail depot to pick up package after package as school materials have come in the last few weeks.  We invested in a mail pick up service down the road from where we live so we can just go there and grab packages as they come in and that has been worth its weight in gold already.  The amount of time I have saved where I would have spent hours in line at the postal annex with two bored kids has been priceless.  Best investment I've made in a lot of years.

I went in for our contact teacher meeting to hook up the kids with home school curriculum and we found the daughter "Beyond the Page" which is a much more interactive way to learn things (which when I saw it I went, "I want THAT!  She'll do so well with that!" and I have, so far, been right) and paired that with a math program (math doesn't come with the curriculum).  With the son, that was harder as none of the "out of the box" curriculum were a good fit for him.  So, I ended up with "All About Reading" combined with beginning letter books and practice sheets, making up my own science curriculum for him as I go along and "Life of Fred" for math combined with "Touch Math" (a multi-sensory way of learning numbers) and am just basically making up my own curriculum for him, including feeding therapy.  It's been rough here and there the last week as I started to get more things done to work into the son's curriculum and the daughter and I found a groove in which to start getting her schoolwork done (her curriculum finally came in this last week :).

I went and spent more money than I ever have before at Michael's to get craft supplies for the kids for various projects.  I did, however, buy everything with a purpose in mind, so at least I wasn't randomly going in and just buying stuff :).  I was able to get a nice teacher discount at the register, since I guess I am one of those now.  Still getting used to that.

But, yeah, I'm kind of numb when it comes to how much money I've spent the last little bit.  Even though, up here anyway, we get an education allotment being in home school and I can put in for reimbursements for a lot of what I've bought, I still feel numb.  Spending large amounts of money goes so against the grain anymore, that even when I have good reason it still feels like I'm doing something wrong.  Probably not a BAD knee jerk reaction to have.

So in other news, one thing that has been able to happen the last weeks in home school is we are getting out and doing a lot more with the kids.  We don't want the kids to become shut ins at home and want to make sure they get a decent amount of social interaction and exercise.  The son has been getting a decent amount of social interaction at therapy and stuff, but we still want to make sure the kids get out and do things now.  So, I got busy finding things we could do.

So far, we have...

1.  Hit up a free event at our local experimental farm.  They ended up planting 144 different varieties of potatoes this year and did a bunch of irrigation experiments to see if it would help scab (spoiler:  It did) and now that harvest time for the potatoes were upon them, they took samples of all of the potatoes to study but they had a bumper harvest that they decided to pass onto the community if people were willing to come in and help dig the potatoes.  I IMMEDIATELY went and registered for the event as passing up free potatoes?  There was NO way I was going to miss that :).

They gave us a bag when we showed up, walked us through how the potatoes were laid out and let everyone go and pull the potatoes from the mud by hand (as we are now getting plenty of rain) and just go to work.  It was a lot of fun and everyone was polite and in a good mood, despite us all getting rained on.  The husband grabbed the kids, neither of whom wanted to help me pull potatoes and he walked them around the farm until I was done filling my bag.

My haul is seen above after I let the potatoes cure for a bit and then brushed the majority of the dried mud off of them.  Believe it or not you are looking at about 10 varieties of potatoes in that basket.

I found out that the local experimental farm tends to have free harvest events for the community after they donate a bunch to the local food banks if you are willing to show up and donate your labor, so I'm definitely keeping an eye on their events from this point onward :).

2.  Took the daughter to a free club that parental volunteers put together at the home school for kids around her age.  It was a GREAT way to get the daughter in with kids of her own age and they played a bunch of board games, did some art, talked a bunch, laughed a lot and overall had a great time.  The club meets several times a month, so I'm definitely making a point of taking the daughter to it.

3.  Took both of the kids to a free gym day for home school kids at our local Sports Center.  The daughter especially had a blast, but the regular gym class that the gym was pushing would have cost a fortune out of the kid's allotments to join (400.00 a quarter), so we passed on it for now.  We figure if we have money left of the allotment later in the year and the kids are going nuts we might sign them up for a quarter and get them extra exercise, but for now we decided to pass.

4.  Scheduled my daughter for a free dyslexia and learning disability screening at my son's therapy place.  I had seen online that they were going to have them at their Halloween party later in the month and texted my son's therapist (as she's also the owner) and asked her if I could schedule the daughter for testing.  She offered to do it for free this week instead, so wish us luck there.  I was able to cancel independent testing I'd scheduled elsewhere that was going to cost us 500.00 to get done (and was like me trying to pull out their teeth to get ANYTHING done in the way of sending me paperwork, giving me calls back, etc).  So, yay for finally, hopefully, finding out how to help my daughter to learn better.

5.  I was having major problems reading and so I ended up admitting defeat and scheduling an eye doctor's appointment when it got the point I couldn't read things I needed to (like receipts to double check what I'd bought at the store and things).  While cleaning out bookcases and cabinets in the den I found an old pair of prescription sunglasses that the frames were nearly brand new and decided to take them to the appointment with me in case I needed new glasses.

Good news:  My far sight is doing great and is remaining stable.

Bad news:  I needed reading glasses.

I decided to get reading glasses instead of bifocals because I can still read just fine to do things like drive, the only thing I can't do is read printed books without me having to find a sweet spot about two feet out from my body and that made reading fine print impossible.  I gave them my old sunglasses and asked if they could use the frames from those and they said sure!  AND they were able to make my new glasses at their own lab, so I only had to wait 15 minutes before I had my reading glasses in my hand.  Double bright side is that because I didn't need to pay the co-pay on the frames and only on the lenses I only ended up spending 25.00 on my reading glasses.  Definitely saved money!

6.  I took the kids in to get their flu shots.  They are covered by insurance so they cost us nothing and one more chore is done for the year.  Both of the kids did stellar at the appointment, which made me proud as the daughter tends to be terrified of needles.

7.  I ended up with a ton of bonus fuel rewards one week at Carrs and decided to use them at the pump instead of on food this time around as I have been doing a ton of running around to and from the home school and things.  I had so many fuel rewards from the bonus rewards (like I had 10x the fuel rewards if you spent 100.00 or more) that I was able to fill up my truck for a little more than 20.00!!!  I was thrilled!

8.  In other news, PFD's came in.  I used part of them to pay off the credit cards, pay for school supplies (things that I wanted to get, but didn't want to ask the school to reimburse me for) and used part of them to pay off my long standing dental bill that I've been paying on for YEARS.  It felt good to get at least one bill paid 100% off this year.

9.  I also used part of the PFD to get a few things we needed at the store.  Bright side is that due to the things I got earlier in the year I didn't need half as much as I would normally have needed.  I got pasta, some canned peaches (we were out actually out.  I only got 6 cans and will need to see what type of deal I can get on some bulk packages of cans), black olives and a few things like that, but overall we were pretty much stocked up on things.  It felt good to not have to spend a ton to stock up for winter this year, I have to say.

10.  I got the new love seat put together and got the old one ready to go to the dump, so that felt good.  Since the love seat ended up being white more than "cream" as they said it would be, I felt really glad that I bought a slipcover from Amazon (it was cheaper than through Target and had really good reviews) and put it right onto the love seat when I put it together.  The slipcover fits so well I swear it was made for our particular love seat so I went and ordered another one in a different color from Amazon so I will have a second one to put on the love seat when I am washing one of them (best possible way to assure that the new love seat stays in decent shape, I think).

11.  I found that I could listen to the soundtrack to "Poldark" through Amazon Prime, which thrilled me when I found out that a lot of the songs that were sung on the show were part of the soundtrack.  The daughter and I have been having a good time listening to the soundtrack during snack time and things while we are working on schoolwork.

12.  I've been watching horror movies and Halloween themed things since well...it's October and all and I got to see a pretty decent documentary on how we got some of our Halloween traditions and myths and just the general history of the holiday.  The daughter actually enjoyed it more than I did, which surprised me and made me happy that she was enjoying learning about things.

I also watched, "The Woman in Black" a horror movie starring Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.  I didn't dislike the movie, but having watched some truly spooky and just out and out scary horror movies in my time (might I suggest the classic, "The Changeling" starring George C. Scott if you ever want to sleep with the lights on for a few days *laugh*) the movie was so slow getting started I nearly gave up on it.

For fun I also watched, "Clue" a movie that I have seen tons in my time and I NEVER cease to laugh while watching.  The daughter especially loved Tim Curry in it.

13.  I used a coupon I received in the e-mail to get money off of some Christmas gifts from Land's End for the daughter and son and was able to get free shipping with said code as well, no minimum purchase.  I was really thrilled to get the discount and the free shipping as it really made the clothing and shoes I got for the kids (including some new winter boots for the daughter) decently cheap.

14.  I also took advantage of an online sale at Target.com that if you bought 50.00 in toys you would get 10.00 off.  Since I spent over 35.00 I got free shipping (I made sure all the items I bought qualified before buying them) and essentially got a 10.00 toy for free after the sale.  Since with our schedule and the fact that I have at least one kid home for the most part now (with the exception of club meetings and other outings) I figure buying Christmas gifts online was the best possible option, I am really happy to stumble across good deals when I find them to help keep the costs down.

15.  One of the things that our new home school is great at is doing various field trips, but with a lot of kids in our area enrolled in said home school, our local field trips tend to fill up FAST.  I was having no luck signing up for the ones that popped up when we first signed up with the home school, but once I got my e-mail through the home school and talked to the field rep who told me she always posts up field trips on first thing Monday morning in her e-mail, I am totally on it.  So far, I have been able to sign up for my daughter and my mother-in-law to go and see a stage play next year for super cheap compared to normal prices (the theater is doing a special showing just for the home school at an extreme ticket discount).  I'm super excited for my daughter as I know she really loves plays and the ballet and things and she will have a blast at the event :).

And there you go folks.  Some of the ways we've saved money the last bit.  I hope your money saving efforts have been going well too.  I DO have plans to get back onto a more regular blogging schedule now that we are finally getting into a decent rhythm when it comes to school, so stay tuned for that, hopefully really soon :).