Friday, November 1, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments for the end of October

Is it really November, already?  We must be having fun, because boy, the time really is flying!  Here are some things we did this past week to be frugal, save money and have a little fun.

Daughter won Tootsie Pops at the Harvest Festival!  Some of those will go in her Advent calendar.

I transferred a prescription from the pharmacy near our house to one that is near the church I attend.  The one by the church gives us $25 in store credit, loaded onto the loyalty card, for each transfer.  That will help with buying turkeys this year - they also have turkeys for .59 a pound from now to Thanksgiving.  In fact, I bought my first one, partially thawed it, then parted it out and wrapped the various parts.  I also made stock from the frame.  Oh, and this is how I save money on wrapping meat!

The Broncos won the football game on Sunday.  On Monday, Husband stopped at King Soopers and picked up the freebies associated with that - a donut and a 2l. Pepsi.  He also brought me the coupon inserts from the papers at his workplace.  No one else there wants them.

I did a bit of couponing and price matching and got this stuff for less than $6.  I used $12 worth of coupons and saved $1.40 by price matching.

Lindt bars - .23 each after $2/1 coupons.  Extra sharp cheese $1 each after $2/1 coupons. 
Romaine, .88 each price match and potato chips, $1  Total:  $5.68, and we covered
the basic food groups - lettuce, cheese, chocolate and chips.  (wink!)

We helped with the church's Candyland harvest festival.  This week we made paper gingerbread men for the gingerbread forest.  I have to tell you something sweet.  I said, 'I have to get these gingerbread men made for church', and I got out the butcher paper and started drawing, cutting, etc.  Husband came into the kitchen and commented that they were huge....they are about 3 feet tall.  Then he said, "You'll have to make them in sections, yeah?  There's no way you can get one that big in the oven."  I was so tickled!!  Alas, no, these are just paper ones, but I'm flattered that he thinks I could manage to make three foot gingerbread man cookies!  I am married to one sweet man. 

We dressed as kitties for the harvest festival, using things we had on hand.  I needed a tail, so I crocheted one from some yarn I had on hand. 

I've been walking outside as much as I can, because I know that pretty soon the treadmill will be my best option.  We are having nice weather still, so I'm soaking up as much of the great outdoors as I possibly can.  These days, I'm walking about 7-8 miles each week.

I've been working some, subbing at the library, which helps some with incidentals and having a little cushion in the budget.

I cut Husband's hair, and cut mine too.  Then, I colored mine with a color kit I won on a facebook promotion earlier this year, from L'Oreal.  It is, er, rather dark.  But hey, it's just hair, and it's kind of interesting.  Yeah, interesting.  It's also very shiny.  I don't know what they put in that conditioner that comes with hair color, but I want some for my kitchen floor!

I made some soup from odds and ends in the fridge.  Chicken and lots of vegetables, plus homemade stock.  It's really good!  I also made brownies, bbq chicken pizzas, croutons, chicken Cesar salads,  rolls, fruit salad, green salads and slaw.  Other meals were often leftovers, or other things we had on hand.  Making a menu saves me stress, because I have a plan and don't have to make a last-minute decision.  It also means that we utilize what we have on hand more efficiently, and that saves money.

After very much tinkering, tapping, dismantling, cleaning, re-assembling and a few tears (yeah, that was me with the crying) we have successfully repaired our tankless water heater.  One night when we were searching the owner's manual we came across the service bulletins posted online.  They contain far more information than the manual and helped us narrow down the problem.  We replaced what is essentially a solenoid that monitors and meters the gas flow to where the spark is present and...CLICK, CLICK FLAME - HOT WATER!!!  Words can't express how happy I am about this, because all the parts are on the expensive side and non-refundable.  Further, replacing the water heater would have been close to $1,000.  The part we replaced was about $50.  Happiness, much!  Every time I turn on the hot water, hot water comes, without one of us having to run downstairs, tap on the heater, wiggle's amazing what this has done for my general outlook!  I'm really proud of us for sticking with it and figuring it out.

We used the wood stove to keep the house warm.  We get our firewood free of charge, and it cuts down on our propane usage.  I used the racks to dry clothes too, which saves electricity.

I put up this nifty shelf in our bedroom, though I still have to fill/paint over the installation screws.  The pegs are actually part of our 'laundry system'.  There are lots of days that I will wear something around the house, then change into something more presentable if I have to go out. The clothes I was wearing aren't dirty, just not 'town clothes'.  Using these pegs keeps things out where I can see what's been worn, and then I can wear it again when the time is right. When Husband gets home from a hard day at work, his comfy clothes are waiting for him, too.  Daughter has a similar setup in her room.  It helps keep things from going into the laundry hamper when they don't really need to, which saves on water and soap and time and money.  I got the shelf second hand (paid for from the sale fund) and painted it black to match the mirror frame.  The paint was some we had in a cabinet, so there was no added cost for that.

OK, that about sums it up for October.  How was your month?  What did you do to save?  Leave a comment so we can learn from you!

Also, if you haven't heard, we recently started a really special project.  You can learn more about it here, here and there's an update here.  Thanks for stopping by!

-Laura at TenThingsFarm


momma-lana said...

October was not a frugal month for us with an unexpected trip out of town when my FIL died, etc. There is always November, right?

I did buy a half bushel of apples that were culls because they were too big for $5 and those were finally processed today. It was easy peeling and slicing since they were huge.

We were able to pay an extra $377 on our mortgage in spite of the extra expenses. We are very close to paying off our house.

I bought a number of stocking stuffers for cheap at Dollar General.

I bought all of our granddaughter's Christmas presents for great prices and then 15% off since I am considered a senior citizen at the store we shopped at! (over 50, hahaha)

Ordered our youngest son's birthday present from Amazon and had it shipped to him for free which saves us a bunch of money.

Brought home a nearly new TV my FIL had recently purchased that none of the sibs wanted. A real upgrade for us.

Bought a new dishwasher and refrigerator for cash that I had saved up over 13 months. Got a great deal on a floor model Bosch dishwasher and the fridge was on sale. We saved 5% by applying for a store credit card and we have already paid the bill in full. Bosch dishwashers are all they are reported to be. That thing will even clean a meatloaf pan without any pretreatment at all! It is amazingly quiet too. I am finally getting the hang of loading it. I saved up the money by saving all extra grocery, household and utility bill funds. It was painless. We are saving for a new fridge for the garage now because the old one we put out there is an energy hog.

Bought halloween candy for great prices and then had only one trick or treater. This will be great for the stockings.

Went shopping with my Mom while we were in Orlando and got some great prices on clothes at an outlet including Playtex bras for only $7. We packed in such a hurry that hubby forgot socks and T-shirt for the funeral though so I had to buy those.

That is all my tired self can think of!

Laura said...

You've been busy, Lana - not that I'm the least bit surprised. I hope November is a calm, quiet month for you and yours. :)

The water heater that I've mentioned here and there is a Bosch. Once we got the problem figured out, it's working like a dream again and we're so happy. If there is a 'problem', it's that they are less common and we couldn't find anyone to help as far as troubleshooting or repair, so we had to do a lot of research on our own. (If you ever have to search info on the dish washer for some reason, search for service bulletins - they are full of valuable info, and the ones for their tankless water heaters are all online.)

Sheila said...

I'm so glad you were able to fix your hot water heater! Hot water is such a blessing - I should think to appreciate it more than I do.

Momma-lana - I am so jealous of your dishwasher experience! We replaced our double-oven and dishwasher. We wanted Bosch, but the Lowe's (only source here for Bosch ovens) installer couldn't get anything to fit in the space and we basically just had a fiasco with them (bought an oven their installer said would fit, they brought it out, couldn't get it to work, etc). So we went to the local Maytag place and they did a wonderful job. We got a Maytag double oven and dishwasher. The oven I LOVE - it works so very well, and I bake a lot. The dishwasher is mediocre at best. :(

I think the most frugal thing we did this week was meet with a college counselor for our high school junior. My husband works at the local community college, so she can take classes tuition-free. She is actually already taking one, but we met to find out what things she can take that she will most likely be able to transfer to a 4-year university.

Big layoffs at my company this week mean an increased focus for us on making sure we are in the best financial shape possible. I work for a tech company, so layoffs aren't uncommon, but these were very close to me - people I worked with every week, so pretty close to home. My husband are going to reevaluate everything this weekend and make sure we are on the best track we can be. A job in my field is pretty unlikely where we live now, so my telecommuting job is pretty important. Being able to work from home is a huge blessing to me.

Have a great weekend!

momma-lana said...

Laura, Thanks for the tip for the service bulletins. We are definitely do it ourselfers around here.

Sheila, sorry about your dishwasher experience. Our Bosch replaced a Maytag and I am surely seeing much cleaner dishes. Only downside is that a cycle takes 2 hours. This will be a slowdown cleaning up after a holiday meal for sure.

The Moxley Family said...

I'm so glad you got your hot water fixed!

Here's my link

Laura said...

Sheila, we understand about the layoffs here too. My husband works in manufacturing - clean room, tech, and there are layoffs, work reductions, etc. We consider a prudent reserve to be a high priority for that reason. I hope things stay stable for you. Even then, it's good to have a plan. :) Our girl is only 8 years, old, but already, my ears perk when I hear about things like being able to take college classes in high school. You know...I used to work at the local community college. If that is one of the benefits there, it might be worth going back (if they'd have me - not assuming anything!) when she's about 15!

Sheila said...

Laura, the free tuition has been a perk for both community colleges he has worked at, so I think it is pretty common. We have to pay fees and books, but his college prides itself on low fees. My friend in Tulsa shared with me the fees there and the are a lot, so I would try to find out about that. My daughter's spring class tuition would have been $212 - for just one class! There are no fees for this class, but books look to be about $80. I need to learn how to save on those. I have seen advice about it, but need to try to put it in practice.

The constant layoff worry wears on me. It has been this way for literally years. But it remains the best thing for my family to stick with it as long as I can. I am such a planner, and it's the inability to plan that is so hard for me. I need to learn to lean on God rather than my own plans.


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