Thursday, September 23, 2021

Thrifty Thursday: Thrift Store Finds

First, I sincerely want to apologize for the ginormous banner ad at the top of the blog annoying everyone who sees it.  Google made me make some changes to the blog code (advertising permissions and such) or my ad revenue would be cut off and now, no matter what I do to the code, what gadget I turn off, no matter what invisible entity I swear at, I can not get said banner to disappear (did manage to get rid of the various pop up ads that were taking over the screen when you pulled up the blog, though...I hope).  I will continue to work on it, but if it is still there when you are trying to read the blog...sorry...I'm trying.  I keep thinking of starting up like a Patreon page and doing some video tutorials on things like darning and such to hopefully help some folks, and things like this REALLY motivate me to try and figure out how to make that stuff work.

Anyway, here is a post I haven't done in a long while.  I actually have gotten a bit of a list of things I need to look for at the used stores, so we ended up hitting one of our local ones last week to see if we could find some of the things we need.  And, for the first time in a while, I actually found some stuff that I needed.

A pic of what we bought is up top, but I'll break it down one by one.  One of the main items on my list is trying to find some decent long sleeved shirts and sweaters in women's small to medium as those are definitely my sizes now.  All of my old sweaters and shirts are either really stretched out looking now (shirts) or are really just shot (sweaters).  So, I have some hoodies and one sweater that I am wearing now that winter is kicking off early here (much to my dismay we are set to have our first snowfall in the Valley tomorrow...too soon darned it!  Eagle River had their first snow fall earlier in the week, which was even worse).  When the weather started getting colder, I knew I had to start to look for winter clothing as the stores were going to sell out of stuff quickly.  Glad I did as I found a REALLY nice L.L. Bean, 100% cotton sweater (nice and heavy) for 4.00!  I love it.  Kind of nervous of the off white color (I have a tendency to stain things), but hopefully it'll last me a good long time and hey, at least it'll keep me warm!

The next thing I managed to find was a few tablecloths.  Unfortunately, they didn't have the size of the tablecloths listed on the tag and the original measurement tags were missing from said tablecloths, so I had to eyeball them to see if maybe they would fit the kitchen table.  Out of the three I got, one fit the kitchen table (the other two were a bit too narrow, but I'll use them for other things) which I'm showing here.  I really need some new table cloths as mine are getting really stained to the point I can't get the grease stains and things out of them (the son is hard on things), so it was good to add a new one into the tablecloth stock.  It is thin, but it gets the job done and will bead up liquids when spilled if you move quickly to clean it up.  Better than nothing for sure.

I also found a "king size" reversible comforter that isn't microfiber.  (the sweater and stuff is sitting on it in the above pic.  One side is grey stipes and the other side is blue stripes) I really don't like microfiber as it seems to just make you sweat, so I was happy to find a comforter that would fit my bed for 10.00 that wasn't microfiber.  It really is more queen sized than king sized, but that's okay because it does still fit my bed, so I'm definitely okay with it.  You can tell it is cotton with how well it wrinkles, though *laugh*.

Also, you'll look at the picture and think that my bed is exceptionally short due to the thing cutting off the picture on the left side, maybe?  That's actually another comforter I have folded up across the bottom half of the bed as I'm really trying to avoid turning on the electric heat in my bedroom until we have no choice in the matter (the kids have already had to turn their heaters on with how cold their rooms are getting at night).

So, there you go folks.  Not the most exciting "oooooo! Neat stuff!" type of haul I've ever had, but definitely some welcome finds to help make living a little bit cheaper.

How about you?  Found anything good at the used stores/thrift stores/charity shops of late?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

August/September Amazon Haul

 Note:  The Frugal Friday post will hopefully be on Saturday this week (we have plans on Friday so hopefully will be busy in a good way) and I'll give you a recap of the last two weeks and what has been going on around here.

When I asked if people would like to see what I'm purchasing on Amazon, I got a surprising number of people e-mailing me and asking me to share, so I wanted to post up what I got from Amazon for my August/September Subscribe and Save order.  My current Subscribe and Save delivery date is set at the last day of the month, for some reason as it used to be set in the middle, so while I ordered this stuff back in August, I was still getting some of this order in last week due to shipping delays and things, so that's why I put August/September.  I have another Subscribe and Save order for the end of this month set up, and I'm hoping this one goes better as last month a bunch of stuff got back ordered till November and things and I ended up cancelling a bunch of orders so I could go and get what I could at my local stores instead as I needed said items.

The following break down won't match the picture above completely as I did grab a few things to act as "Stand ins" for other things I bought in the photo.  For instance I grabbed a can of mango slices to stand in for pineapple as the pineapple got buried at the bottom of a pile and I plain didn't want to mess around with juggling flats of cans to get it out.

Also, please note:  The following post does NOT contain affiliate links.  I'm just going to share links if available to what I purchased and how much I paid for said items.  If you would like to support the blog by purchasing through my Amazon affiliate link, you'll find it on the right hand side of the blog and you can click through to Amazon from there and do your shopping as normal and I'll get a small commission from Amazon (no extra cost to you to do this) for pointing sales their way.  If you do this, thank you so much for supporting the blog and I really appreciate it!

Ok, so here is a breakdown of what I got this time around...

Happy Homes Lemon Extract.  You will notice that on the table it is NOT lemon extract but imitation butter extract.  Yeah, the inventory sticker someone stuck onto the bottle said lemon extract, but they obviously sent me the total wrong thing.  The item was not returnable, but after a call to Amazon customer service I got a refund for the order and they told me to keep the butter flavoring.  So, yeah, that happened.  I didn't want butter flavoring, but that is what I got, so now I'll have to find different ways to use up butter flavoring.

Pillsbury Buttercream Flavored Frosting Pack of 8.  I had a hard time finding this locally and like to keep it in the pantry for a quick frosting base that I can just add like cocoa powder, or lemon extract and things to, to make different flavors of icing.  I got my 8 pack for like 8.94 after the Subscribe and Save discount, so it is more expensive now.

Ivory Soap, Pack of 30 (10 packs x 3).  This was a result of me being UNABLE to find Ivory locally, like at all.  Carrs didn't even have a SPOT on the shelf for it.  Crazy.  My husband uses Ivory exclusively, so I was definitely hunting around for it.  So, I ended up ordering soap through Amazon.  This should last us for quite a while, I hope.  I paid 20.40 for the 30 bars.

Crest Toothpaste, 8.2 oz containers, pack of 6.  These are up to over 4.00 for a tube here, so it was cheaper buying it in bulk through Amazon.  I paid 16.97 for 6 large tubes of toothpaste.

3 lbs Wild Soil Almonds.  These are peanut free almonds that I ran into and ordered.  I got mine for 16.89, though, so I definitely got mine cheaper than they are right now.  It'll be great having this many almonds come Christmas baking time.

Dole Tropical Fruit, 12 pack.  If you watch the price on these, you can get them decently cheap.  I got mine for 14.22.  I have one can standing in for the 12 pack in the photo (I got lazy).  These go for nearly 3.00 per can if I buy them locally, so it is so worth buying them on Amazon.  We actually eat this decently regular around here and I'll had a few maraschino cherries and (now that I have them in the pantry after getting them cheap) some mango slices and we have a really nice tropical fruit salad for a side dish :).

12 pack, Pillsbury White Cake Mix.  I honestly thought this was a misprint when I ordered it.  It was almost a "well I'll get my money back when I don't get the order in" as I thought for sure the listing was for one box of cake mix, not twelve and I was going to end up paying way too much for one box of cake mix and have to get my money back.  I actually did end up getting 12 boxes of cake mix for 5.44.  And yes, I actually GOT 12 boxes in and the expiration date is for December of next year.  I was jaw dropping shocked when I got the order in.  I have no idea why it was so cheap when I ran into it that day, but I'm well stocked up on cake mix now.  One box is representing the 12 in the picture above as I had already put them away in the pantry and didn't feel like pulling out all 12 for the photo.

Au Jus Mix, 6 lbs.  Yup, 6 LBS of Au Jus Mix.  Normally I get the McCormick bulk spices size containers (usually I get a pack of 2 and it'll last me a year) of Au Jus, but everywhere local stopped carrying it except in over priced small envelopes and Amazon wanted a fortune for the McCormick size I normally get.  So, I got a huge container of Au Jus for 19.60 after Subscribe and Save discount.  I officially won't have to buy Au Jus mix for probably forever and I'll even doubly use it in soups and things to add depth of flavor to dishes, but yeah...6 lbs.  That's a lot.  It cost me 19.60 after Subscribe and Save discount, which is where it is sitting today as well, so I'm thinking I got it pretty much regular price.

Jello, Coconut Cream Pudding Mix, pack of 24.  No where local carries this flavor of pudding at all anymore and we eat it quite a bit, especially when I make Mexican food.  Buying smaller sizes was not half as economical as buying it in bulk, so I bought it in bulk and got enough to last us two years or so.  I spent 20.60 after subscribe and save discount, which breaks down to less than 1.00 per box, which is a really good price for pudding mix.  I put one box in the pic above to substitute out for the full order as I had already put all 24 away in the pantry and didn't feel like trying to stack them all on the table :).  We've been eating a lot more pudding for dessert as it is such a quick and cheap dessert that doesn't result in a ton of left overs to eat, so this will get used for sure.

Curad Adhesive Bandages, pack of 300.  We needed these as we were like out of Band-Aids and we use Band aids a lot around here with the son's eczema.  I like this pack off of Amazon because the quality is pretty good and the price is right.  A pack of 300 bandages cost me 8.49 after Subscribe and Save discount.

Dole Crushed Pineapple, 12 pack, 8 oz cans.  I got these primarily for using in baking and when I want to make certain Chinese food dishes and things.  I paid 11.27 for the 12 pack, so got it cheaper than it is now.  The mango slices are standing in for the pineapple in the above picture as they were kind of buried in the pantry *laugh*.

So, yeah, there you go folks.  My Amazon order for August/September.  I got the money for the order by saving it from my regular grocery budget (the one area of my budget I really have any wiggle room) and putting it aside for the order at the end of the month.  If you can find the room in your budget I definitely recommend buying a bit extra to add to your food storage right now.  With how crazy prices are, goodness knows how bad inflation is going to get, so it just seems wise to put up some extra now at lower prices than buying later at goodness knows what price.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Harvest Time!

So, you might be asking yourself where I've been the last...however long it has been...nearly a month really (I know I blogged my grocery trip, but that was still a bit ago).  Honestly, it's been kind of rough around here and I didn't have much to blog about in the way of saving money.  Like many in the world right now, I'm treading water financially as well as we can and just taking it one day at a time.  So, I started to compile a list of money saving things and when it got up to a decent amount, I decided I finally had a blog post *laugh*.    I DO have a list of things I want to do this month, finally have my Amazon order in (well most of it...some I had to cancel as it got back ordered until the end of time it seemed), got a new list of things I want to buy at the end of the month and such, so hopefully in the next couple of days I DO finally have things to blog about that aren't just me ranting and raving about prices, not being able to save money and just letting out a long depressed sigh at the end.  Heck, I didn't want to type it.  I sincerely doubted people wanted to read it.

So, let's get to the list of stuff shall we?

1.  Well, this last Tuesday was the last day of our CSA for the summer and I have to say I was really impressed with the variety of things we got this summer.  I wasn't able to put up as much for winter with the CSA this year, but like just within the last few weeks I got corn, plums, pears, red currants, garlic, onions (I definitely have enough green onions to hopefully last till next year in the freezer now...woohoo!!!), broccoli, zucchini, was an impressive variety of items.  We really enjoyed the corn (it is HARD to grow corn up here unless you have a greenhouse) and the fruit and I'm really looking forward to using the currants in some baking later on (I froze them for use later). 

2.  Speaking of the CSA and by process of association the U-Pick farm (since the CSA is put on by Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm, which is our local U-Pick farm as well :), they announced the date of their annual fall festival and as such their Special Edition day (special needs get in free as do their families).  I have already booked the day in my calendar as the kids LOVE this event every year and it is just so wonderful that the farm puts it on like they do :).

3.  Carrs started their own app independent of the Safeway app and part of the Carrs app is actually more freebies.  It seems they come out with a freebie for one day (Wednesday as that is when their ad rolls over) .  I've only gotten in on one freebie so far, but we did take advantage of the Pick Up and Go for Carrs that week, so we were able to get a free frozen pizza that day with the app.  My daughter and I ended up having it for dinner one night when my husband was working late, so it worked out perfectly :).

4.  I had ordered a toner through the homeschool for our laser printer and proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait.  I ended up calling the homeschool office after I got a "closed ticket" notification from the technology department as I was worried that my toner order would fall through the cracks even though they had assured me they'd contact me as soon as the toners were in.  I am glad I called as the head of the technology department called me back.  He was super apologetic and couldn't figure out why the ticket for my order had gotten closed (he was supposed to approve things before they got closed) and it turned out they had toners for at least a month.  To make up for the whole fiasco he gave me a toner for free!  That was a 100.00 savings for me, so I was beyond thrilled and touched that they would eat the cost of something like that to make it up to us.

5.  My son and I are currently studying waves and life under the seas and oceans this quarter in school.  We have taken advantage of a bunch of resources including free with Prime documentaries on Amazon, free worksheet sites and things.  It has really helped to add some more interest to his science lessons.

Speaking of school, we have managed to stay on time with our lessons (that can be a real challenge with Alvah's eczema and horrible sleep schedule) and it turned out that he really actively enjoyed reading the Jungle Book.  Since Kipling is one of my favorite authors (and has been since I was a kid), I was really thrilled that he enjoyed it so much :).

6.  We decorated the house for Halloween this week as the weather has definitely gotten colder and leaves are starting to turn and fall from the trees.  All the decorations we used were from previous years that we pulled out of storage, so not only does it change up the house a bit, but it didn't cost us anything to do :).

7.  When the weather started getting colder, I pulled the tomato plant inside to give it as much time as I could to ripen the many tomatoes it had before the plant died off.  It worked great and it finally started to actively die this week.  I harvested what was left along with the rest of the "outside garden" this week.  

I have to say I am REALLY impressed and thrilled with how many tomatoes I got off of one tiny plant.  I am definitely going saving the "Red Robin Patio Tomato" to my gardening necessities for next year (hopefully I can find them again).

8.  My food dehydrator didn't survive the earthquake well, it turned out.  I wasn't sure how it or my Food Saver would fare (Food Saver won't even power on after getting water in it from the 2" of standing water that was in my laundry room, it turns out *sigh*).  Instead of going out and getting a new dehydrator, I decided to hang up my herbs the old fashioned way and dry them.  It worked well as I put them right above our heating duct from the furnace.  The herbs that didn't do so great was the basil and the rosemary, but the sage and parsley more than made up for it.  I have a ton of parsley preserved in ice cubes in the freezer, have a ton more dehydrating and we ate a ton fresh.  Can't get better than that.  It was the same with the sage.  I am super super happy to have both of the herbs to put up in the cupboards to use over the winter :).

9.  You know, speaking of the garden, with the crazy weird growing season we had this year I am super duper happy how well the garden did.  I finally went and harvested the rest of the garden today as we have been getting pretty significant drops in temps at night and things.  The cabbages are smaller, by a bit, compared to what I would get out of a in-ground garden...if the moose didn't eat them...but they are nice and heavy for their size and I am so happy to have real cabbages come out of the garden this year instead of what was left of them after the moose and slugs got to them.  

I harvested my last head of lettuce, which the other ones I harvested lasted nearly a month (no joke) once I cleaned them and put them loosely in containers with paper towels in between, so I'm hoping the last head will last us at least a couple of weeks.

Now the chard, man the chard I'm BEYOND thrilled on how well it did in containers.  I was expecting it to be dwarfed and not grow well, but instead I got managed to get two harvests in this year by planting a new seedling every time I ripped out an old one, and both times the harvest was really good!!!  I am going to have a decent amount of greens put up for the winter, which, to me, is wonderful, as any extra nutrition, especially yummy tasting nutrition, we can get during the winter is a huge deal to me.

On the other side of things, raspberries and rose hips were a definite no-go this year, unfortunately.  They both succumbed to rot or mold before we could harvest many of them.  My mother-in-law's raspberries shared that fate, it seemed, so any raspberry jam I am getting this year is going to have to be bought in.

10.  I managed to find room in my freezer for my ice cream maker bowl and am going to start making ice cream, hopefully tomorrow.  With my son's peanut allergy, we have to be careful what brands of ice cream we get and unfortunately more and more it is the really expensive brands we have to go with.  With the cost of the ice cream combined with more and more product shrinkage, I decided it was time to just start making ice cream.  It's cheaper.  My ice cream maker is ancient, so I might have to invest in a new one soon as the ice cream bowl seems to not stay frozen solid for long enough to really make the ice cream...well soft serve ice cream consistency if that makes sense.  I always end up with ice crystals anymore as the bowl just doesn't seem to work as well as it used to, but for now it'll work okay I think.

11.  One of my goals of late is to get the den to a point where I can get things out of the way for home gym class in bad weather.  So, I managed to put a folding camp table in the den that I can break down easily and folding chairs and then I'm working on getting things better organized and out of the way of the "main drag" through the center of the den so we'll have it to do yoga and other exercises.  One of the things I wanted to get out of the way was a set of drawers I'd bought for homeschool materials.  I decided to put them upstairs over by the living room window.  I then put a tray I had on it (the top of the drawers has indents so you can stack more than one system on top of the other) and placed a small lamp on the new "table".  This will be wonderful this winter as the living room doesn't have an overhead light in it and it gets really hard to read or do sewing and things in the living room during the winter with the lack of daylight.  It will definitely help to light up the living room better.

And I am going to call it good there as I have a ton of housework and stuff yet to do today.  Hope you've all had some luck keeping above everything going on and are doing well!