Thursday, December 3, 2020

Frugal Friday (Times nearly 2, again): Money Saving Weekly Recap


I want to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who follows my blog on Facebook.  Facebook changed their format about, what, a month ago or so (I'm not on Facebook much, so I don't really have a good time table here) and since they changed their format I've posted up links to my blog post from last time about, oh, fifteen times, and it has YET to show up on the blog feed on Facebook.  Facebook has been e-mailed and they are working on it, I guess.  I finally got Facebook working on my new cell phone, so I will try to link to this post and last time's post (I haven't been able to post as my blog either) together and we'll pray that something works here.  So, yeah, sorry we are experiencing technical difficulties on social media at the present time *sigh*.

We've been busy around here, so I haven't had a lot of opportunity to blog the last few weeks.  I was busy putting up Christmas decorations, wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree (more on that down a bit further), getting Thanksgiving out of the way and wrapping up our current concepts in homeschool.  We are now officially on Christmas break (I love homeschool for reasons like this :), so I will hopefully have more time to blog this month (as well as get some Christmas gifts made for my family).

Right, so lets get down to some nitty gritty on what has been going on around here.

1.  Our state is in basically voluntary lockdown at the moment, so I have been avoiding going anywhere, which is saving us money I suppose.  The downside of it, though, turned out to be wrapping paper.  Turns out after using the same rolls of wrapping paper for years, they all decided they wanted to run out at the same time.  I managed to make it work.  If you flip some of the boxes over under our tree at the moment you might find some creative patches of mismatched wrapping paper, but hey, if you look at them from above you can't tell, so I am calling it a win *laugh*.  We'll definitely have to purchase more wrapping paper next year, though.

2.  We had a nice, simple, Thanksgiving at home.  Besides the turkey the side dishes ended up being more simplified than in previous years for the sake of my diet (the family was insistent that I didn't need to make the dishes just for them :), so that saved us some money.  I have been busy and was just really tired before Thanksgiving so I got as much done the day before as possible to cut down on dishes on Thanksgiving and we didn't bother pulling out all of the "fancy" dishes that survived the earthquake like we did last year.  I did pull out our nice turkey platter and used our new roasting pan (which worked great by the way), but otherwise we went simple this year.  And it was a lot of fun and everyone had a good time, I think :).

3.  When the husband took his car in for a recall he found out that his fuel filter needs to be replaced.  Instead of having the dealership do it and pay them the labor costs (which wasn't cheap) he went online and ordered the fuel filter and will replace it himself.  Thank goodness he got the garage cleaned out so he'll be able to work on his car in the comfort of a heated building as it has gotten cold here.

4.  Speaking of heat, I got our electric bill and gas bill in for the month.  I'm not sure how much gas we are saving by putting the plastic panels up in the windows, but I definitely noticed a reduction in the electric bill from them.  I think the electric baseboard heaters aren't cycling as much with the plastic blocking the wind blowing in through the windows.  Normally this time of year our electric bill is up well over 300.00 and this month it was 279.00, which is definitely a savings.

5.  I did end up taking advantage of Black Friday sales this year.  The son needed a new winter coat as he's shooting up like a weed (I saw him next to his dad's nearly six foot frame and he's nearly as tall as his dad!), so I went on Land's End and took advantage of their 60% off sale for Black Friday to order him a new coat.  It's a small men's, so it should last him a while and it is rated at -7 degrees Fahrenheit for comfort, which is pretty good.  Hopefully it is will be as good of quality as I am used to with Land's End and will last him a while.

The other sale I took advantage of was Amazon had Puriya Mother of all Creams on sale for nearly half price on Black Friday.  I like to keep an extra tub of it in the fridge to put on the son's eczema cold (it seems to help kill the itch better), so I ordered a tub of the cream on sale as it saved me over 10.00 buying it on sale.  

6.  My brother sent us an Amazon gift card for Christmas.  I used it to buy clothes, mainly for myself I'm sorry to say.  It has been years, and I mean YEARS since I bought myself clothes brand new (with the exception of like sneakers), so it is kind of a weird feeling to be getting new clothing in the mail, not for the family, but for me.  I've lost enough weight that my old clothes are fitting odd and the used stores don't have much that I've been able to find that isn't all stretched out and such (I think a lot of people gained weight this last year), so new it is.  I'm praying everything fits alright so I don't have to return things.  I comfort myself that the fitting rooms everywhere are closed anyway, so even if I went to the stores I'd still be guessing and having to return things if they didn't fit *laugh*.

7.  Our bed frame fell apart.  And no, I'm not kidding.  The son sat on our bed and it just collapsed.  

The bed frame has been giving us problems since the earthquake.  It was an old frame given to us by my husband's grandfather years and years ago, and it had these lock nut things that went around the frame to hold the thing in place and then we just screwed it to the headboard my brother-in-law gave us later on.  Well with everything collapsing onto the bed in the earthquake the locknuts bent and wouldn't stay where you needed them so we were always fighting with this or that cross frame collapsing and having to be repaired.  I honestly think, after taking the bed apart, that the frame was over half of our problem with the bed giving us back aches and things as all the cross frames were shot and just would not stay put.  I threw the old frame away and put the mattress and box frame on onto the floor.  Since it was lower than it used to be, I went and grabbed our old mattress out of the den (yes, it is still sitting in the den *sigh*) and put it onto the pile of mattresses and box frames.  It ended up coming out the perfect height that way and so far it's a lot more comfortable than it has been the last month or so. 

The husband has decided he's going to build his own frame for the bed and make it with drawers under the bed.  If this gets done I'll be thrilled as any new storage, especially for sheets and things, is always appreciated around here :).

8.   I sat down and talked to the family about Christmas dinner.  I normally try to buy a really nice rib roast for Christmas, but we just plain don't really have the money for it this year and, I explained, we really don't need anymore beef in the house as we still have a bunch of beef in the freezer.  So, I asked, if we could just cook the few fillet steaks we have in with our beef and make a "fancy" dinner with the filet mignon steaks instead of worrying about getting a beef roast.  The husband and daughter didn't have a problem with that idea.  So, at least I don't have to worry about that added expense this month, which honestly is a relief as prices continue to climb and money gets tighter.

9.  I have been really enjoying Townsends on YouTube (been a fan for years, honestly).  Right now we are watching him read "A Christmas Carol" on his YouTube channel, which is really enjoyable as he's MUCH better at dramatic reading than I am and so the daughter is enjoying it a lot more and not getting caught up in what this or that word means *laugh*.

10.  We put our noses to the grind stone the last few weeks and managed to get our schoolwork buttoned up for this month as of yesterday.  So the kids are officially on Christmas vacation for the month and we are officially half way through the school year.  I am feeling a major sense of accomplishment in that :).  I have lots of fun activities planned for the kids this month, including (hopefully) making Christmas cookies tomorrow (the first batch.  I want to make sugar cookies and then make some gingerbread cookies for the son as well).  I'm determined that even with the just plain crazy this year has been that the kids will get to enjoy themselves this holiday season!

11.  I needed new cutting boards.  I had bought some cheap ones from Amazon a long while ago, which worked OKAY, but were wearing out and honestly I never used the smaller sizes of board as they were too small to be of much use.  Instead of ordering new ones, I remembered that my husband still had some heavy duty commercial grade cutting board material that he had bought to make a platform for my son's race car bed out of (it doesn't mold like the particle board that was in it originally did).  I asked him if he could cut me a few cutting boards out of the material and gave him the sizes I would like.  He was able to use the scrap pieces of cutting board material to cut me a few new cutting boards and I am GREATLY appreciating them as they work wonderfully!  And it didn't cost us a penny, which is right in my price range :).

12.  One of the things I was able to sign up for this school year was the Doodle Crate through the Kiwi Crate company (Kiwi Co) for my daughter.  This was taken directly out of our school allotment and counts are part of her art grade.  She had gotten aa soap making kit as one of her boxes and we saved it to make during the month of November (we made the candles and the soap as part of our "pioneer crafts" fun unit I put together for the kids).  My daughter gifted most of the soaps in with family Christmas gifts (along with most of the candles we made) as gifts from her and Alvah, which I thought was very cute and we had a lot of fun exploring different melt and pour techniques.  

And there you go folks.  Some of the things we've been up to the last few weeks.  I hope you are getting things done and that life isn't too hard for you right now.  I hope you are all having a good holiday season so far!


  1. For something fancy with steaks, I like to make a cheap person's version of beef Wellington. YOu fry the steak for a few minutes on each side and then encase it in puff pastry and bake. It looks so fancy when done! The more expensive version includes chopped mushrooms and onions, very finely chopped, on top of one side of the steak but mushrooms are expensive so we usually skip that. The soaps look like a fun project.

    1. I actually had the one lowly package of puff pastry I had in the freezer fall on my foot last night when I was pulling out things for dinner, so I am so going to steal your idea for Christmas dinner. Thank you :).

  2. Showed up on my FB today. Hope you have a wonderful Dec.

  3. It’s like you’re on another planet. Although I enjoy reading your posts, you could not be more out of touch with mainland moms. The struggle is real.

    1. Thanks for the honesty. I could not agree with you more. My husband has a job and has HAD his job through this entire mess as he's an essential service working at an airport. While I've watched debt creep up this year, I did not have to use my stimulus money to pay my back payments due on my mortgage and pray that I could continue to live in my house. I have food on my table, a roof over my head and I didn't have to scramble to somehow figure out how to homeschool my kids when until just a few months ago I was working full time. Homeschooling was a hard decision for me to make and I'm normally a stay at home mom. I can not imagine how hard it is for those who got it thrust upon them and told to just deal with it.

      My life has been hard in the past, more than once. I HAVE been where a lot of people are now. We have been a single income family since my kids have been born, so when my husband was out of work, WE were out of work. There was no insurance, no sick pay, no holiday pay, nothing to really help fill gaps when work wasn't there. I've worried more than once I was going to lose my house and didn't know where our next meal was coming from. There were some times where we were only able to eat and keep the lights on due to the kindness of others. So, to say I feel empathy to what others are going through is an understatement. I sincerely wish I could do more for everyone who is hurting so, SO badly right now. I do what I can for others with the resources I have, but my limits are vast, unfortunately.

      I could not blame ANYONE who looked at my blog, realized that I wasn't close to their chapter in life at the moment and just went and found another blog to read. I completely understand why people would get mad reading my posts when their situation is so much different than mine is and why they would want to go read a blog where the person on that blog fits their life situation and mindset better. I am out of touch with what a lot of people are going through. I'll readily admit that. I won't pretend to be something I'm not and try to make it seem like everything is worse than it is for the sake of people reading the blog or coming across like I just need attention or something. I always tell people I don't have time to be deceptive in my life or in my blogging, and it's true.

      I wish there was more that I could do, but hopefully, at least, reading the blog might give some little light here and there to give you some ideas on how to continue to hang on. Take care.

  4. You are not out of touch. You got the most important job. You are domestic engineer. The pay sucks but the benefits are a blessing. I enjoy reading your blog because bring back memories of living in one income and when my kids were younger. You appreciate the small and simple things in life. Somehow I miss that when my kids were little. You are doing great.

  5. I enjoy your blog and I think you do amazingly well. You have had some health problems yourself and have kids with health issues too. You are giving them a great life and make the best of what you have.

  6. You are not out of touch with everyone else. Far from it. My life is very different from yours in that my husband is disabled from cancer, I am a small business owner (home daycare). We struggle financially like you do, we need to make some home repairs like you do, and as a matter of fact, need a new bed like you do. Our bed frame broke too, decades old. I love your blog, your money making ideas, stories about your children (our grandson has some special needs too). Keep on blogging, it's nice to read your blog, I feel less alone in my own struggles.