Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times a lot)

First, I want to thank all those who checked in with me the last weeks to see how I was doing.  It has been a bit rough, so if you haven't heard back from me, I WILL try to get back to you and I'm sorry for the delay.

So, what has been going on?  Well, right about the time of my last blog post, I was starting to get sick.  I thought it was allergies, honestly, as the symptoms were kind of come and go like allergies.  But, it just kept going and slowly getting worse.  I had a headache for nearly a week straight, which then went into stomach upset for about a week (thankfully I was able to function while this was going on).  Somehow I held it together pretty well through Thanksgiving and then the weekend after Thanksgiving I went down hard.  I had full blown cold symptoms, lost my voice for three days straight, the whole shabang.  My husband even had to stay home from work one day because I honestly wasn't able to stay awake very well and desperately needed to lie down.  And boy did I sleep.  A lot.  After that it was just fighting horrible, and I mean HORRIBLE fatigue.  Standing up for more than a few minutes was really hard to do and I kept getting winded walking or just out of no where.  My mother-in-law was nice enough to pick me up a home COVID test because she was worried I had it.  It came up negative, so I just tell people I was down with "Not COVID" and leave it at that.  I honestly have no idea what I had, but I don't want it back again if I can help it for sure.  And to those out there who would be concerned, don't worry.  I went no where when I was sick.  Trust me, I wasn't up to going anywhere anyway.

The last week about I've finally gotten some energy and am feeling human again, so I have been working really hard to just get caught up on Christmas stuff around here.  I somehow managed to put up the Christmas tree and decorations the day after Thanksgiving, so at least I didn't have to try and do THAT while barely able to think straight when I was so sick.  But, yeah, Christmas cookie baking and decorating are definitely behind.  We managed to get the gingerbread house made and decorated, which I was happy to be able to do that with the kids, and we baked the cookies yesterday so today is making and putting on frosting and sprinkles.

So, yeah, it's been hectic now that I'm feeling better.  I have NOT forgotten about the different blog posts I have in the works, so stay tuned for that.  I also have a few gifts I'm desperately trying to get done and under the tree by Christmas, so stay tuned for that.  I'm honestly not sure if I'll get all of the gifts done this year as I'm just so far behind, but I figure I'll do what I can and forgive myself the rest.  Some years are like that. 

So, let's get to some money saving things we did the last bit.

1.  Well, this was an interesting frugal fail.  I went to the store before Thanksgiving to get regular groceries and a few last minute little things for Thanksgiving.  I knew I was going to spend enough to get a free turkey, so I figured I'd go and get next year's turkey like I always do and put it in the freezer for later.  Well, this is the sight that met me when I got to the meat section...

Now mind you this was actually a few weeks before Thanksgiving, so I was blown away when I saw that they were completely bare of turkeys.  

I found myself really, really grateful that I had a turkey in the freezer for Thanksgiving.  I feel for those who had to figure out something else maybe because they couldn't find a turkey :(.

Anyway, I knew I wasn't going to be back at the store before Thanksgiving, so as soon as I pulled out the turkey for Thanksgiving I just rearranged the freezer and decided to use the space freed up by the turkey to better store my frozen vegetables.  I decided I wasn't going to worry about not having a turkey for next Thanksgiving at this point.  I have a year.  I'll find something at some point.  And if I don't, we'll have something else next year and we'll be just fine.  Thanksgiving is being grateful for what you have and I was determined to keep that spirit this year.

2.  I took advantage of one Black Friday sale this year.  My daughter desperately needed a new winter coat as she's grown into a woman's size versus a kid's size now.  I HATE buying winter gear this time of year as you end up spending full price on it, but I knew it was necessary.  My mom sent us a check for Christmas (thanks, mom!) and I ended up using a good portion of it to get my daughter a new winter coat off of Landsend.com.  They had 60% off plus free shipping (the free shipping is what I definitely go for as shipping up here isn't cheap and getting worse every day), so I spent a good couple of hours going through pretty much every winter coat they had to find one that was rated for low enough temperatures for up here and got it.  My daughter is dwarfed by the coat a bit, but she'll grow into it and she attests to the fact that it is warm and comfortable.

3.  I was able to load a coupon for a free bag of French fries onto my Carrs card one week and we definitely took advantage of it as my son actually likes that brand of French fries (I'm still working on getting him to eat home made French fries).  I also cashed out one fuel reward (before the month rolled over) and used it to get two free cans of green beans.  Since we were running a bit low on green beans, this was a good way to start to build up the supply.  This month I actually got five fuel rewards as a birthday gift from Carrs that were good all month, so I used those to get a free bag of frozen fruit (we got some raspberries) and another free bag of French fries for the freezer.  

4.  In previous years I've ended up throwing away the turkey giblets because I would just not have a use for them and would end up throwing them away from the freezer later.  This year I was determined that I would not waste them, so I called my mom and got her recipe for cooking giblets off of her as I remembered she used to cook the giblets and make giblet stuffing from them.  I made the giblet stuffing once after being married, but it made so much that once I wasn't feeding a crowd, I kind of moved onto other recipes for Thanksgiving.  I made a very delicious broth from simmering the neck and giblets (thanks for reminding me how to do it, mom!).  I ended up eating the meat off the turkey neck (I like it and have since I was a kid *laugh*) and then froze the stock and the giblets.  The giblets I'll use in home made stuffing later on (yum!) and the broth I am planning on adding to a big pot of turkey stock I'm going to make from the last of the Thanksgiving turkey parts and then I'm going to can it in pint jars.  I haven't done pressure canning in a long time, but I have decided it it is time to get back into doing it for the sake of being more self-sufficient.  I have other things I'm planning on water bath canning (frozen fruit), but honestly I'm waiting till after Christmas to even start canning things as I'm still recovering from being sick and I have other things to do before the holiday.  So, stay tuned for that.

5.  I mended another coat of my husband's.  I feel kind of bad that the mending pile has gotten so huge, so I'm trying to work my way through it and get things done.  

6.  I got a 5.00 check for doing some surveys online.  I turned around and immediately donated the funds to a tornado fund that the governor of Kentucky has set up.  I have managed to get together a couple of donations this season by doing surveys and other activities online.  It isn't much, but I am doing what I can.  I'm not mentioning this as a way to pat myself on the back or anything, please don't take it that way.   I'm bringing it up because you can do this too.  Like those who use apps like Ibotta or other money back sites for their normal shopping and things...maybe you could find a few dollars to take out of paypal and donate to your local food bank or other charity near and dear to your heart if you feel called in that direction.  

I was feeling really down this holiday season when I was sick and everything and looking at my budget getting tighter and tighter and more and more need from different places staring me in the face.  I really wanted to help, but didn't know how I could.  Using money back apps and things doesn't give much back to you, but it is a way to squeeze blood from a stone and let you help sometimes.  Just a thought :).

Oh also, you can sign up for Amazon Smile (not pushing it for Amazon's sake, but just mentioning it) and donate to a bunch of charities by just shopping through the Amazon Smile site.  Not sure if your chosen charity will be on there, but it is something to look into and it won't cost you a dime to do and will help out the charity you choose.

7.  I used a 15% off Michael's Rewards code to get a frame for my daughter for cheap so she could finish up a Christmas gift she's making.  

8.  When we ran out of blue baking sugar when making cookies, instead of running out and buying some, we just made some instead with some sugar and food coloring.  It worked perfectly and saved some money :).

9.  We really wanted to listen to Christmas music on the radio, but the radio reception at my house sucks.  So, I went and downloaded the IHeartMusic app and went and looked up their Christmas music station for free.  I then just blue tooth the music to my a little radio I have that doubles as a bluetooth speaker and it works fabulously.  My daughter loves it!

10.  I wanted something we could use for exercising this winter in the house, so instead of going out and buying something expensive, I went and dug around our storage van before the weather went super cold and found the stationary bike I had used when I was pregnant with both of my kids.  It a bit beat on, but still works perfectly well, so I hauled it up to the house (not easy, but I did it) and my husband managed to maneuver it through the garage and into the den, so we'll have it to work on this winter.  The kids are already getting on and using it for fun, so I'm doubly happy I did that :).

I'm sure there are more things that I'm forgetting, but I'll leave it there for now.  I'm just so grateful to be feeling somewhat human again :).  


  1. My dad always chopped up the giblets really fine and made a delicious gravy with them!!

  2. Happy to see you back. I check several times a week. I am always amazed that you can do so much with what comes your way. Sorry you were sick. Hang in there and glad you are feeling better.

  3. My brother-in-law had covid, 3 tests were negative before he got a positive and ended up in the hospital. Glad you're doing better.

  4. You probably already know this, but if you shop at Freds, you can designate a local charity to get some matching funds. It costs you nothing. We did the $150 shop at Safeway for the free turkey (I had been saving for months to be sure we had the money and open cupboard space to use for that many groceries.) They were out and I went to customer service and they agree to give me a note (not a rain check, that was not allowed) so I could bring my receipt in the next week when they had more free turkeys. I was pretty proud of my assertiveness!

  5. My Amish neighbor turns them into mince that she makes a custard mince pie. Thinly spreads the mince on the crust and puts the custard on top.

  6. I'm glad you are feeling better. I'm also pleased you can use all of your turkey. Around here after Christmas you can see loads of turkey carcasses spilling out of people's rubbish out for collection. There is always masses of meat on them. It looks like a lot of people just eat the breast and throw the rest. It makes me cross.

  7. Hello. I wanted to let you know that I am not able to click your amazon link from my computer. It just shows up as black type.

    1. Okay, I THINK I used some good old HTML to work out a way around it. The old link is one provided by Amazon and is placed in a frame of it's own, so virus scan or spyware software tends to wipe it out on a bunch of people's computers. I just did a straight link below it, so I'm hoping on your computer now it'll have the black type to show you where the Amazon section is and there SHOULD be just a link to Amazon/my associate link below that? If it doesn't show up now, let me know and I'll try to put it in it's completely own section.

  8. Very glad you're feeling better! Be good to yourself and don't overdo it; I don't think we give viruses enough credit for wiping us out and taking time to get back to normal. I had one a few years ago that had me exhausted for months afterwards.

    You've had a really good week despite being ill! I keep my old stationary bike upstairs in the bedroom. Using it too much has flared up my SI joints in the past, but I'm trying to get back into it and starting slow. It's great to ride while listening to podcasts or watching something, and it's a wonderful form of indoor cardio when we can't get outside (and double bonus if it burns some of the kids' energy!).

    1. Yup, I'm still slower than normal right now and some days I'm just not hungry and can't do much more than sit and not do much, but I am getting more and more normal days as time goes on. This virus really showed me who is boss, that's for sure.

      The stationary bike, so far, is a GREAT success. Both kids are just going into the den and riding it without me even suggesting it to them :). I will probably start to set up my laptop or something down there somewhere so the kids can watch a video while exercising, but I haven't gotten that far yet.