Friday, January 6, 2017

Cold Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/31/16 - 1/6/17

Baby it's cold outside!

   Oh what a week this has been!  We finally got the bill from the hospital when my husband had to go to the emergency room back in March of 2016.  Our insurance company paid their portion of it back in April and sent us the statement of what our portion was.  We waited for the hospital to send us a bill...none came.  We called about it and were told they were processing it.  Still nothing.  In October my husband went in to the hospital to ask about it but the person in billing was out so they left a sticky note on their computer to get back to us...nothing.  Guess what just showed up in the mail with a "pay upon receipt" notice.  Yep.  There went over $400 in one shot that was not in our budget.  The savings account took another hit on that one to make up the difference.  That left us with about $60 until my hubby gets paid mid month and I have a doctor's appointment with a copay of $45 next week.  Oh joy!  NOT!  Luckily my husband still had $20 to use for his bowling league fees this week and between the $6 left after that along with another $8 for next week's fees we will barely squeak by. We had planned on being able to buy more pellets for our pellet stove but after paying the hospital bill, did not have the money for that.  Luckily my husband's boss, who we buy the pellets from, let us get the pellets now so we don't run out and Jeff will pay him out of his middle of the month check.  We are very blessed by the company he works for!  Thank goodness we have a full pantry, refrigerator and freezer and a big supply of toilet paper on hand. 😉  That certainly helps keep the stress level way down.

~Winco had their Christmas themed Ziplock bags marked down to $1 a box and Pumpkin Bread mix marked down to .98 a box.  I bought several of both to help stock the pantry.
~Jeff and I rang in the New Year by hot tubbing and watching a movie on Netflix while we snacked on crackers, cheese and beef sausage.  Nice, low key, and just the way we like it.
~We found more treasures at the thrift store including lots of marked down down clothing for the new baby, Jeff, and myself.  I also found a really cute purse, a Brighton wallet, some more dvds for Bradley and Isaiah, and lots of Christmas gift bags for next year.  Jeff found a Rap Raplinger CD for me.  Rap is a local comedian from Hawaii that I grew up listening to and watching his shows.  :)

A small purse that has a removable strap so it can be a clutch and a Brighton clutch that I thrifted.

~I fixed and cleaned some wallets and handbags this week.  It did not take long at all and they look really nice.
~Sunday, Jeff and I gave each other haircuts, I trimmed the dog's claws and we did some cleaning around the house before settling in to relax.
~Kalua Pig is a favorite around here so I made a double batch so we could have some to start the new year ( a tradition) and I could freeze some for later.  I never did get any frozen because we had it for 3 more meals.  Oh well...that just shows you how good it was! ;) The pork loin roasts cost me under $4 for both!  When I added in the other items that I used for each meal it came to about $1.20 per meal for 2 people.
~My husband was writing out the checks to pay our bills and realized that he needed another check register.  Since we did not have any more that came with our checks, I quickly printed some free ones off the internet.
~I cashed in for a $25 Walmart gift card via Swagbucks at the reduced 2,200 points price.

Chicken and Orzo soup in the making.

~Monday found me in the kitchen making chicken salad for sandwiches and chicken noodle soup with the leftover rotisserie chicken.
~Jeff and I enjoyed playing Scrabble by the warmth of the fire.
~Lots of delicious leftovers were eaten this week.  It saves me time and money to cook larger amounts of food and enjoy them or even freeze them for other meals.
~We borrowed several books and movies from the library this week.  We finally got to see the new "Pete's Dragon" and "Finding Dory".

Movies and books borrowed from the library.

~I made another batch of homemade croutons with some of the leftover bread that was starting to go stale.
~Our pellet stove is great for putting out heat.  We use the heat from it to dry out our wet shoes and coats.  We simply place them near the pellet stove.  I also use the heat from it to help my bread dough rise.
~I got a free subscription to Sports Illustrated for my hubby and a Outdoor Photography subscription for my son Chris.
~We were running low on Garlic salt so I mixed up some more using salt and garlic powder that I always have on hand.

Homemade croutons to be used in salads and as toppers for soup.

~My hubby borrowed our son Chris' truck to haul home a ton of pellets for our pellet stove since it is our only source of heat and we were starting to run low.  We have lots of snow moving back in over the weekend and are having an arctic blast right now so we are going through the pellets more quickly than my hubby had planned for.
~Jeff used the $25 Walmart gift card that I got through Swagbucks to buy a huge bag of dog food for Caesar.  Jeff and I got to thinking about it and we have only paid for Caesar's food out of pocket 3 times in all the years we have had him.  The rest of the time I have used Walmart gift cards that I earn through Swagbucks to pay for his food.
~I hauled a quilt out onto the couch to cuddle up under since our temps are now going down into the negatives and the pellet stove is our only source of heat for the whole house.

Doofy cat making himself all comfy and warm in the quilt I threw on the couch.

~Our wonderful neighbor gave use some firebricks for Jaysn and Rachel's woodstove since their heat exchange unit went out on them.  This way they can keep their home warm without having to use lots of small space heaters.
~Jeff had some money put on his bowling alley loyalty card as a "thank you" for being a good customer.  He used some of that to buy dinner for himself at his Thursday night bowling league since he had to leave here early to run some things out to Jaysn and pick up some things at Walmart before league.
~Thursday night I made a "snack plate" with cheese, beef stick and mandarins for dinner for myself since Jeff was at bowling league.

"Snacks" for dinner.

~Jeff stopped in at the grocery store in the town where our Chris and Heather and the grandboys live when he was picking up their truck.  He got a package of salad and some salad dressing, both were on sale and needed items.  He paid under $2 total for both items!
~I pulled some of the leftover elk roast out of the freezer and made some mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans to go with it for dinner on Friday night.
~We had some gravy and roast leftover from Friday's dinner so I cut the roast up and combined it with the gravy to serve over rice on Sunday.
~I stayed home Sunday-Friday this week.  That saved not only gas money but also kept me out of the stores. ;)

More clothing for Steven and a shirt for Bradley and Isaiah to share.  We had to get camo stuff for Steven so he could match his camo crazy bigger cousins. ;)  All of these items were either .10 or  .24 each on clearance racks at 2 different thrift stores.

~We have tried to eat mostly out of the pantry, fridge and freezer for the most part this week.  I am trying really hard to save all the money we can right now and cut our spending drastically.
~I continue to work on my different points programs.
~We are loving the Roku we bought on sale at Christmas.  It has allowed us to stream Netflix, Youtube and some other channels like PBS, news and weather.  I can put on Doofy's favorite kitty tv videos from Youtube on the big TV and that calms him down so he is not sprinting around the house and knocking things over during the day when Jeff is trying to sleep.

   I hope to continue to keep our variable expenses way down this month by continuing to not have to pick up much from the grocery store.  I also need to stay out of the thrift stores...something that is going to be very difficult for me because my car just seems to be on auto pilot when I am in town and goes there without my even thinking about it. 😏 Yep, that is my story and I am sticking to it.  LOL!


  1. I'm sorry about the financial hit, ouch! We had the opposite thing happen years ago. My son cut his hand badly and got stitches at the ER. Somehow we paid the hospital bill and then our insurance also paid it later. I went to the hospital to get our payment back, and I'm thinking it was also $400, and they acted like I was crazy. I stood my ground and they did refund me after a lot of talking.

    It is cold cold cold here too. I think 5, but it is supposed to warm back up to bearable temps starting tomorrow. We Heat with natural gas and next month will be a big bill for sure!

    Hope you have a good rest of the weekend.

    1. Hi Rhonda :) I am so glad you stood your ground about your overpayment of the bill. It amazes me how certain entities will drag their feet to give you a refund for overpayment but will demand payment tight away after their own screw up.

      We are currently under a Winter Weather Watch for snow, ice and sleet starting later today and going through Monday morning. Our temperatures are warming up but I could really do without the ice. YIKES!

  2. That just stinks! I know all about medical bills. I say we will owe the hospital our first born grandchild since it feels like we will still be making payments that long from now. I hope not, but it sure feels like it! The cold tends to keep me in. That certainly helps with my spending. I ventured out yesterday to make an exchange and buy milk and bread. I was happy to get back to my cozy home.

    1. I feel your pain Wendi on the medical bills. It seems like we finally got to the point where we had our credit cards all paid off after years of buckling down when we had to up our limit so that we could cover my surgery this past Winter. We are also still paying on a loan we took out on my life insurance policy to pay for a breast biopsy 3 years ago. If my health insurance premiums had not quadrupled along with my deductible while my coverage actually went down, we could have had the biopsy paid off by now. I hope you are staying warm and snug in your home this weekend! Be blessed!

  3. IN the single digits here too, Debbie. We heat with a combination of wood and gas. It keeps things pretty cozy.

    Those medical bills will always get you. I always earmark $100 a month for medical, if we don't use it, it goes into our savings account for the times when we need more than the $100. If there's any left over at the end of the year, it's a bonus. But there rarely is.

    It's hard to stay away from the thrift stores. Especially when they have such nice end-of-the-year sales. I went way over budget on that this month.


    1. HI Jane, that is a great idea about putting aside money each month for the medical bill fund. Hopefully we will be able to get to that point where we have the extra hundred to do that. Right now just making all the payments to try and cover our existing medical bills takes that hundred plus a month.

      I had to giggle reading your comment about the thrift stores because I feel the same way. So many wonderful things get donated at the end of each year for tax write offs! Around here this time of the year and the end of May when the college students all leave for the Summer are amazing times to go thrifting! Be blessed!

  4. Debbie sorry about the financial hit. That happened here last month as we had to replace one of hubs bi-pap machines (we bought a reconditioned one). Insurance wouldn't cover this one, as it was a back-up. His health is more important than $, so I am ok with it.
    It was a big hit - but I am making up for it this month.

    So far other than bills - no spending here.
    Staying home sure does save us some money!!!!
    You keep pluggin' away girl - you do great.

    Your kitty looks so cozy!
    have a good weekend.

    PS - we are up to 4* so far this morning!!!!

    1. Cheryl, I'm so glad you got a backup machine for your hubby. You are right, our guys are worth it! ;) I think we are going to have to get a back up CPAP machine for my hubby too. Luckily we may be able to get one from my father. His insurance company provides him with a new one every 2 years so he has "extras" at home since the companies consider them disposable. We will just have to get a new mask and hose for it. Thanks for the reminder on that, I may have my son Chris bring one back with him when he and our youngest grandson go over to visit them in February. :)

      Good for you on no spending so far this month! The cold weather tends to keep me at home more and I'm ok with that. ;) We are expecting snow and ice starting later tonight and going through Monday morning. I'm glad that we have no plans to go anywhere.

      Stay warm my friend and have a great weekend!

  5. These weekly posts of yours are so encouraging. I, too, had snacks for lunch this week. My version was Ritz crackers, cheese and mandarins. Love it when citrus is in season. I also ate from the freezer last night - stew that I had portioned out and froze a few weeks ago.
    I feel your pain for the health care costs. Every time I hear about US healthcare, I just know I'll never be moving 'home' any time soon. The system here in Canada is far from perfect, but I have yet to hear anyone talk about that kind of debt. I ended up with lots of debt when I got out of University the second time and it was quite stressful. It took years to pay off, but I scrimped and did it. Now, it's a priority to not go into debt again. Not having debt has been such a blessing with this illness - one less thing to worry about.
    I tried Swagbucks once, I should get back to it. So impressed that you can get the dog food paid that way. And how blessed Jeff's employer is so willing to work with you about the pellets. Do you ever cook on your pellet stove? I read other blogs where they're able to use the top like a slowcooker and simmer a pot of soup. Just curious.
    Cold temps here as well. -3C according to the computer when I logged in. Snow potentially in the forecast every day for the next week. I actually prefer the snow to the ice. Cheers, SJ

    1. HI SJ, it sounds like you and I like to eat the same things. ;) I'm so glad you got your debt paid off, that is a huge blessing! Swagbucks can be a way to earn a bit more and it sure helps out with the budget. I have some videos running in the background right now that are getting me some points on it.

      Our pellet stove does not get hot enough to simmer simmer soups. If it did our poor Doofy would be a cooked cat since he likes to camp out on top of it. ;) We used to do that with out old wood stove though many years ago. I do use it to help with the rising of the bread dough though.

      Stay warm my friend!

  6. Looks like you've done a lot of hard work with cooking and finding bargains! It makes a nice read and encourages me to try to live on a budget. Very frustrating for the hospital bill to take so long! I think they should let the balance go for free if they can't get the bill out in a reasonable amount of time...ha! Once, years ago, I was waiting and waiting on a bill from a ER visit for someone in our family (nothing serious) and it never came. One day I get a call from a collection agency...I was so mad! So I had to call the hospital and get them to send me a bill. It's as if we have to help others do their paid positions! Andrea

    1. Andrea, I would have been livid if that happened to us! That was one of our fears and why we kept asking about the bill. I wish they would have just forgiven us the bill (and your's could have been forgiven too) after all the hassles.

  7. Oh, Debbie, so sorry to hear about the delayed hospital bill! Glad you had the money in savings to pay it off, though. But I wonder, if you didn't have savings, could you have called the hospital and asked if you could have paid it in installments?

    Sorry it is so cold, but glad you were able to get your pellets in so you can continue to keep warm. Your husband's employer is very kind to allow you to pay him later, in installments. What a blessing!

    Yes, do stay home and keep warm, and give those thrift stores a wide berth! Although, those deals can't be beat!

    Take care of yourself and have a lovely week.

    1. Hi Bless :) This particular hospital does not accept payments. You have to pay in full. We do have another hospital that is in network that we can go to that does accept payments though. If needed, we will go there next time. We are indeed blessed by hubby's employer, they are wonderful and have bent over backwards to give him time off when I have had medical procedures or surgeries done, even covering his shifts themselves.

      Be blessed my friend!

  8. Lousy timing on that hospital bill, but at least it wasn't last month. We got hit with a $450 car repair last week. Since we haven't built up enough in our emergency fund after being unemployed, it had to come out of the paycheck. Fortunately we figured it out. Unfortunately, it didn't leave much to get by until he gets paid again. We're doing with what we've got. My husband has been playing at it today and having fun.

    You've done amazing things this week as usual. I hope to get busy being frugal after I get some more cleaning done.
    God bless you and help you stretch every dollar!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Hi Laura, sorry about that car repair bill. YIKES! I had no idea your husband was a blogger too. He did really well with the apple oatmeal and the pancake...they look delicious. I will be following his blog from now on also. :) You and he make a great team with you both being so creative and frugal! Be blessed my friend!

  9. You might check with your bank. My bank gives free check registers and even plastic checkbook covers on request.

    1. That is a great idea! I will check the next time I am in. :)

  10. So glad we do not get hospital bills here in Canada. I read so many blogs where people have medical debt. How stressful that would be. You had a great thrifty week in spite of the hospital bill though :).

    1. Hi Theresa, it is stressful but you do what you have to do. From what I have read and heard from friends in Canada, we have more choices here in the the USA of which doctors we can see but it does come at a higher price for us. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  11. Yikes! That would be very devastating to get a large bill like that! i'm glad you found a way to work it out.

    I think you are getting the same winter storm we are here in Oregon--the ground is covered with 4 inches of snow here--AGAIN--and that's very rare here. Plus, freezing rain tomorrow, they say. I'm staying home:)

    I did Swagbucks once before we moved, but I'm probably not even signed up anymore because my email and address has changed. It is amazing you can earn so many.

    1. HI Becky, yes, we are both getting hit by the same storm. The freezing rain has started here today and I am so thankful we do not have to go anywhere. There have been so many accidents, some with fatalities, due to this storm. My dear friend's daughter has to drive back to college over in the Seattle area today and I am praying that she makes it ok. I wish she had gone back a bit early last week before the roads got so bad.

      I think you should start up on Swagbucks again. If you know your password, you could go in and edit your account with your new email and address. I have been able to do that in the past when my email has changed. I look at it as every bit helps. :) Be blessed!

  12. Hello Debbie,
    I can understand a hundred times over on the medical bills. I just received a $700 bill and it was an awful experience and the dr was even wrong and would have caused much more damage if I took the medicine he wanted me to. I went to a second DR. and found the real issue. Again paying $$ for that too. Ugh.

    But praise God you have a smart pantry and freezer. That is something I am trying to start. I used to be so good at always having a stocked pantry and freezer. When we went into ministry full time our meals and dynamic changed a lot and my pantry stocking skills begin to change. Now, we are no longer in full time ministry and I am trying to get our pantry built back up. It really makes a difference when things like this happen.

  13. OH Chrissy, I am so sorry! I am glad you got a second opinion! I do hope your pantry is stocked enough to get you through this rough financial patch. I know that having a stocked pantry sure helps ease my anxiety issues. I did not realize that you were not longer in full time ministry. I knew that there had been some issues but I just assumed (wrongly) that you moved onto a different church. Be blessed my friend and I hope you will find lots of bargains as you rebuild your pantry.


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