Thursday, February 18, 2021

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times Nearly 3)

It has been crazy around here.  And not in a good way.  What happened to delay blogging this time?  Covid.  Covid happened.

We aren't sure when or how Armina got exposed as we have been really careful about limiting trips out of the house and using all of the precautionary things that the CDC recommended, but the germs got through somehow.  For her the bug hit like a stomach bug that lasted for about two weeks where she was miserable and with four days of her being really sick, living off of ginger ale and sleeping a lot.  She's feeling better now, thank goodness and so far *knock on wood* the rest of us haven't caught it yet.  But, I've been busy taking care of her and in between deep cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms, repeatedly and very often, to try and stop the germs from spreading further.  All the while we were under quarantine protocols and the son was going kind of bonkers from the change in his normal routine.  I'm just grateful it wasn't worse and that the daughter seems to be recovering just fine, but's been an interesting two weeks.

While the husband was stuck at home on quarantine, though, he did get busy.  My sister-in-law had called and offered us her old washer and dryer as a friend of hers had given her much newer machines and she wanted the old ones gone.  Her washer was much nicer than mine in the features it had on it, and it turns out that my washer was miserably small.  I had always thought that I was doing six loads of laundry per day just because I had a special needs kid, and sure, that was part of it, but it turns out that my old machine when compared it to my sister-in-laws was REALLY tiny inside.  I had my husband look up my washer's model number and things and we found out that my washer was basically an apartment washing machine.  Makes sense, really, since the previous owners were an old retired couple with no children living with them, so what did they need a full sized washer for?  But, yeah, as soon as I realized that my washer was sitting at just about 3 cubic feet capacity, I decided that fixing it was out and just getting a new washer was in.  So, my husband switched out my washer for my sister-in-law's old one and got it all hooked up.  I love how I can get my laundry done in half the time and only have to run it once compared to most things that I was having to run twice to get completely clean in the old washer.  The, new to us, washer also spins the laundry a lot better, so I am only having to dry the clothes once compared to twice with the old washer as it wasn't spinning the water out of the clothes right since the earthquake.  

The new-to-us machine does have a mixer valve problem that my husband is going to have to fix (I can run cold or hot water, but it will only do warm for a very short period before switching to all hot water and I have to babysit it to get it filled with warm water), but overall I'm really happy with it so far :).

Shot of the new washer is up top.

2.  When my daughter wasn't feeling good, but wasn't really really sick, I got some stuff done around the house.  I had my kitchen carts next to each other for a while now, but the daughter kept whacking herself off of the wheat grinder.  I felt bad that was happening to her, so I decided to rearrange the carts to hopefully work better and make it so she didn't get hurt on the carts all the time.  So, I finally rearranged them with one in the corner by the door (where they were before) and was able to get the wheat grinder handle out of the way of whacking anyone this way.

I then moved the microwave cart over by the sideboard (kind of limited in how I place the cart due to the heating vent under the cart that I didn't want to put a lot of weight on, so I had to face it weird to straddle the vent instead).

The new system seems to work well and the daughter isn't walking around with a constant bruise on her arm, so I'm calling it a win :).

3.  Since we were under quarantine, I ordered our weekly groceries online and had my husband pick up said groceries at the store and he had them just drop the bags in his trunk so he didn't expose anyone to anything. I had a coupon loaded on my card for a bunch of bonus points for going over 100.00.  Since we were out of a bunch we managed to go over the amount and were able to get .80 off per gallon for gas as a result.  It resulted in me being able to fill up my truck for a lot cheaper than I would have otherwise.

4.  I sat down with my husband and made a plan for food stuffs and other things for the house.  Everyone up here is panicking about our supply lines getting cut off (there has been a couple close calls of late thanks to the federal government) and what we are going to do for food if we do with everything going on.  Even our governor came out and said we needed to become independent up here and we needed to do it fast or we could be in serious trouble.  So, we are trying to source things as much as we can locally to not only support local businesses, but just to feel safer in our supply lines.   Hopefully, if the state government gets on board, maybe we can see some real investment in state agriculture and things, which we desperately need up here.

So, related to the new "master plan" we figured out, my sister sent me a check at Christmas to use toward a new washer (if we ended up needing one and could FIND one with the appliance shortage and all) and/or for household stuff, so we had put those funds aside to use for that purpose (I promised her, so I tried really hard to use it for what she wanted me to use it for).  Since we got a new-to-us washer for free, we decided to set aside a little of the money my sister sent to use toward parts to get the new washer working well and then we used the rest to order a pork pack from our local butcher.  We picked it up before the quarantine hit, which was a blessing as trying to figure out the logistics of having someone else pick it up would have been a nightmare.  Having meat in the freezer has been a tremendous sense of security for us the last year (after we bought the beef pack last year) and just having that security that we had food in the house was worth spending the money.  We decided that pork was a good route to go to stock up the freezer as pretty much everything you can do with chicken you can do with pork, so it seemed a better use of freezer space than having both chicken and pork in the freezer all the time.

And I was able to fit a whole hog meat pack in the freezer through the wonders of adult Tetris skills (I had them slice the hams into steaks to make it easier to stack them), so yay me *laugh*.

5.  I repaired yet another hole in a comforter.  I have decided, after many, many, many darns to the comforter (which is my favorite one for my bed, unfortunately for me), that it is time to admit defeat and so I'm going to look and see what I can find for outer fabric for said comforter and then use said comforter for batting in a new comforter (the batting in said comforter is holding up fine, the outer fabric is just worn and dying on it).  So, hopefully I can figure out some way to save what is left of said comforter.  Here's hoping.  

6.  My husband went through his large store of t-shirts a bit (when he worked in the field he would go through t-shirts like mad, so we always had a large supply) and picked out ones that had shrunk and would fit the son.  Which worked out well as Alvah keeps shooting up like a weed, so it has been hard to keep on top of his growing spurts.

7.  My husband and I refilled our small containers of hand sanitizer from a large container we bought before quarantine last year.  By refilling the small containers we have saved a TON of money over the last year and the large container is still going strong.

8.  My husband took an old container of spray foam insulation he had and started to fill in the many gaps around the doors in the garage that we have had since the earthquake.  Some of them were bad, like you could see daylight shining through them bad, so it was a real relief for him to start working on getting the garage better protected from the cold.  We can definitely tell a difference in how much the garage heat is coming on after he did that, so I'm hoping that we might see a reduction in our gas bill because of it as well.  We'll see next month.  Fingers crossed.

9.  I ordered a large roll of double fold bias tape to make tie face masks for my husband for work.  This will allow me to make a decent amount of masks at one time for him, which is good and buying in bulk definitely saved me some money.  Since my husband is in a mask 8 hours a day at work and we wash them a LOT, I definitely need to make him more.  The tape should be in this week and I can hopefully get started making more masks for him.

10.  I repaired a separating sole of a shoe with "Shoe Goo".

11.  I sat down with my daughter and figured out what she wanted for her birthday cake (her birthday is coming up at the end of the month) and we planned on what she wanted for her birthday dinner as well.  Luckily, I already got her birthday gift, so at least I don't have to worry about picking up something and then realizing I can't because of quarantine.  Planning ahead definitely saved my bacon this month :).

12.  My daughter really liked some of my old CD's, but said CD's weren't available to listen for free on her tablet, so I just unplugged the portable stereo, grabbed my old CD binder and gave everything to her.  She is absolutely thrilled to have the stereo in her room to listen to music and I'm just "borrowing" it when we want to listen to music while doing schoolwork.  I really don't mind as my laptop has a CD player in it, so I can just go back and grab a CD if I want to listen to it and the daughter can feel grown up having her own stereo to play in her room :).

And there you go folks.  Some of the things we've been up to the last three (nearly) Fridays.  Hope you are all well and hanging in there.


  1. So happy daughter has improved and happy no one else has gotten ill. Girl you sound like you have prepared well. Good for you. Prayers for continued good health.

  2. I am so sorry your daughter got Covid. Thank goodness she is recovering. I will keep her in my thoughts, and that is awesome news on the washing machine you got.

  3. You accomplished a ton for what was happening around your family!
    I have lived here 50 years and have watched millions and millions get squandered on agricultural investments that went belly up, including grain farms and dairy farms. We have shown over and over that large scale farming does not work and small scale farms have to charge more than the grocery stores do even after the grocery stores factor in transportation. There was more food self sufficiency in the old days because people gardened a lot more and they were not as choosy about foods. They ate carrots and potatoes and cabbage and other things that do grow well here and did not whine because the avocados were too hard/too soft this week or there were no strawberries in December. (I am most certainly not implying that you are doing these things, only that our population has gotten pretty spoiled...) I for one don't want to see more money pumped into farms that fail within 20 years.

    1. Yeah, my husband's family has been up here for five generations. His grandmother's family was one of the original homesteading families up here, so I understand where you are coming from as my husband says much the same things.

      Biggest thing I'd love to see is just a loosening of some regulations so that farmers can do things like raise goats in peace and get more cold hardy breeds of animals up here as well as putting more money into the experimental farm so that they can develop more vegetables that will grow up here in our growing season to give us a bit more self sufficiency in what we can grow and put up for the winter.

      I remember when I moved here years ago and how I was kind of shocked at the poor quality of produce during the winter months. I adapted pretty well having grown up in Maine when I was a kid and being used to living on cabbage, whatever veggies you could grow in your garden and put up during the winter, potatoes and storage apples over the winter months. I'm not really sure if we didn't have the produce available down there or if the prices were just that prohibitive during the winter, but I just kind of rolled with how things went
      up here over the winter and just dealt with it without too much of a hiccup. It seems that a lot of people don't seem to do that so well.

      You are right. We have gotten spoiled up here. It amazes me when I go to the store in the winter and see things like lettuce that still looks like it is okay for salad, grapes (sure I don't buy them this time of year because the cost is ridiculous, but they are there) and other items that just plain weren't HERE for a long time during the winter months. I still go back to the old habits during the winter when it comes to buying produce here, though. Cabbage, carrots, potatoes, storage apples and sometimes (if I can find it) lettuce are about what I end up buying just because I know those things will be at the store (although this last year that might or might not hold true it seems) and will be in a price point I can afford during the winter.

      We do need to grow more ourselves and put up our own food for winter up here more. I wish we could figure out some type of program that would pay the people to put in a garden (and fencing to protect said garden...darned moose *laugh*), a greenhouse and even help people pay for things like a backyard chicken. We NEED that type of self sufficiency in this state and people really need to learn those skills and realize that living up here is uncertain when it comes to supply. Sure, it's great that there were bananas when I went shopping yesterday, but who knows if they will be there next time (not to mention what the price will be). A lot of people up here right now just do NOT seem to get that part of living here and don't keep much food in their homes and things and then things fall apart for them if a truck is late. Scary stuff.

      What it boils down to, for me, is that we need to get something going that isn't oil or fishing up here as those things are always on the verge of going belly up. We need to expand what makes the state run and we need to make sure we have food and other necessities to make the state tick over from day to day without relying on that next shipment of stuff from Washington coming in. Not sure how in the world we can accomplish that, but MAN do we ever need it.

      But, yeah, ramble over, I need to go and pull sourdough bread out of the oven *laugh*.

  4. I am so sorry your daughter got Covid, but I am really glad that rest of your family did not. Your freezer looks very well stocked! I am sorry to hear about the uncertainty of life in Alaska, though it was interesting to read. You mentioned in your comment above about people not keeping their pantries stocked or being prepared with food storage. We are very lucky where we live in Melbourne, Australia. Our climate is mild and I can garden year round (though lack of water can be a problem) and we have access to plenty of fresh foods at reasonable prices. A week ago the number of Covid cases here began increasing and we went into hard lockdown for 5 days. Only 5 days (though there was always the possibility it could be extended). Supermarkets here stay open during lockdowns, and they introduce product limits to stop people over shopping and ensure there is enough for everyone. What amazed me was the number of people panic buying in the hours after lockdown was announced and before it came into effect. This was our 3rd lockdown in Melbourne. And we all know the virus is still out there and that there is the possibility of further lockdowns to keep the population safe. One of my daughters works in a major supermarket, and she said that after the lockdown was announced, people raced to the supermarket and filled trolleys full of groceries to buy. She said every checkout was open, there were queues down all the aisles and it was difficult to move around the store. She felt claustrophobic from the large number of people in the shop. What gets me is that having been through this before, and knowing the potential for it to happen again, people still aren't prepared. What is so difficult about having a week or two worth of food and other items at home, to be prepared, so you do not need to panic buy? Apart from the relatively small number of people in the population who simply do not have money to stock up a little, there is no excuse for people to be racing to the supermarket and buying trolley loads of groceries when a five day lockdown is announced, especially bearing in mind that the supermarkets will still be open for business during the lockdown. What goes on in people's heads that they do not prepare? Your situation in Alaska is more difficult than ours in Melbourne, Australia, but the unprepared mindset appears to be the same. Why don't people prepare??? I do not understand.
    I also thought it was interesting to read your comments on people wanting fresh foods out of season, and people not being happy with simple foods. During one of our earlier lockdowns when many supermarket shelves were temporarily stripped bare as a result of panic buying, people were complaining because they could not buy their preferred brands of items. The sense of entitlement that too many people have, that they should be able to buy what they want when they want it, astounds me. And the lack of gratitude for having nourishing food to eat, although it may not be exactly what you want. One of the interesting things I find reading blogs about the lives of people in different countries around the world is that although our life circumstances are different, people are generally the same.

    I hope that you and others like you who plan ahead and prepare will always have the foods and other necessities for your families, and that you are able to find ways to become more self-sufficient in your state.

    And I hope your daughter fully regains her health and that the rest of your family stays well.

  5. I start to get worried when I don't see a post from you in over 3 weeks. Hope everyone is doing okay and just busy. Ranee (MN)