Saturday, December 19, 2020

Money Saving Challenge for the Start of the New Year

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am still extremely concerned about the state of our economy with the whole Covid crisis continuing and with the beginning of a new president and staff in the USA.  I  don't see things getting better for quite awhile and I want to be prepared for anything that may come our way.  I am feeling an urgency to try and save as much money as possible so that we can pay our property taxes off near the beginning of the year and keep our home secured that way.  I also want to be able to have money in savings to pay for a trip in the Fall to see our Josh, Lauren and newest Grandson Tate.  My other year long goal is to have 3 months worth of expenses put away in a separate account (emergency fund).  In order to do this, we are going to have to slash our spending drastically and given that the pandemic is still keeping us at home for the most part, I see this as a good time to do all of this. 😉

   Jeff and I had another talk and we agreed that for the month of January, we would not spend anything other than what needs to go to our regular monthly and quarterly bills and as low as possible for groceries (we should not need much at all)  unless it was for a medical emergency.  Since we already stocked up on the wood pellets for the year, we will not have that expense for the rest of the heating season. Because we have a well stocked pantry, I think this is more than doable.  

   In February, our plan is to take $200 and put it in a grocery fund envelope and just spend from there.  Once the money is gone, it's gone.  By doing this, it makes me think long and hard about buying something because parting with actual cash is hard for me.  If I have money left over at the end of the month, I can use it one of two ways...I can either use it later to stock up on things we need by adding it to another months grocery envelope OR I can save it and use it for spending money when we go down to see Josh, Lauren and Tate in the Fall.  I really like that last option the best but may end up dividing the money to go to both options.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Tate's Magnificent Arrival!


   Our newest grandson, Tate Michael, made his glorious entrance into the world on Monday, December 14, 2020 at 7:22 p.m..  That was the exact same time of birth as his father Josh and the nurses at the hospital took to calling him "Daddy's little clone". 😉  He actually came on his due date without any induction needed and Jeff and I have joked that his mommy had it all planned out since she is a logistics officer in the Air Force reserves and it is also her job as a civilian working on base.  

   The picture above is Josh holding his son Tate when Tate was just hours old.  Josh is thrilled to be a daddy and said that Lauren, his beautiful wife and Tate's mommy, is the strongest woman he knows!  Lauren really is awesome!


   Tate's big cousins are all very happy to have a baby cousin but Steven was a little confused by seeing a picture of Tate after he was born and the clamp on his belly button.  Rachel tried to explain what was going on there, in terms a 3 year old can understand, and told him it would fall off when it dried out.  Apparently when Steven talked to his Auntie Lauren, he told her that her baby was broken. 😮 Good thing his Auntie loves him and understood why he thought that and he got straightened out quickly that no, his baby cousin was not broken, that all babies started out that way.  LOL! 😁   I'm telling you, you never know what these grandboys of ours will come up with next and they have no filter!  It's ok though, my mother (Tutu) does not have one either so they come by it naturally. 😛

   Jeff and I are convinced that this little guy will have a big attitude like his other three cousins on this side of the family.  The Sarcasm Gene runs deep and so far none have escaped that. It just makes life all that more interesting. 😉 Sadly Jeff and I will have to wait awhile to meet our little Tate in person due to Covid-19 rules and the fact that we want to be extra cautious and protect him from possible exposure.  For now we will get lots of pictures and even facetime as much as we can.  It is wonderful being able to see him that was too...but I just want to snuggle this little one so badly.  I have never had to wait to meet the other three. I met and cuddled them within hours of their births, so this is a new experience for me and for Jeff too.  I guess that will just make it all the sweeter when we do finally get to hold him.  Feeling so very blessed and happy to see Josh and Lauren become parents and for us to add another grandson to love to our ever growing tribe!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/11/2020 Plus Bonus Photo


Isaiah, Bradley and Steven

  I know...better late than never though right?  I wanted to be able to add a picture of the grandboys...this is the last time that Steven will be the "baby" since our newest grandson Tate is presently on his way...his Mommy is now in labor and we are awaiting news on his arrival!!!  We are so excited!  So above you will see the fun we had Sunday when we met the family at a beautifully lit park near where Chris and Heather live and right down the street from my cousin Jeremy's place.  They light it up for Christmas and this is the first year we have actually tromped through the snow to explore it. 😁  There were snowball fights, laughter, oohs and ahhhs and lots of fun.  Grammie even brought goodie bags fill with homemade candy and hot cocoa mix to enjoy once everyone went home and got warmed up again. 😉  Making precious memories amid the pandemic as safely outside as we can!


~Jeff and I used the hot tub in the evening.  It was so nice to just sit there and soak in the hot water while looking out at the stars.

~We enjoyed a snacky type dinner with pear slices, mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers. Yummy!

~It was a 007 movie night.  We watched "View to a Kill" on YouTube.  Jeff really loves these not so much but I love him so I watch them with him...sometimes. 😉


~I printed off some recipes, a few legal papers and my Walmart gift card.

~Jeff fixed us a snacky dinner of crackers, cheese and sausage.  

~We watched some old Christmas specials on Youtube followed by the movie "Hang em High".  Jeff loves his westerns too.

~I baked 2 loaves of bread.

~Jeff got some BBQed pulled chicken out of the freezer to thaw for dinner on Monday.

~I worked my points programs.


~Going on half an hour sleep total so not a whole lot of energy but I did manage to make dinner.  Tonight is was pulled BBQed chicken (bought on clearance for $1.99 and then frozen to pull out for times like this) on hamburger buns, homemade potato wedges done in the air fryer and pickles on the side.

~Breakfast was homemade huckleberry pancakes.

~I worked my points programs for a bit but sadly missed my goal for the day.

~I called Walmart to see why they had not charged my debit card yet for my medications that were supposed to have been sent to me...good thing I did because they were still just sitting there.  They got them sent out later in the morning and hopefully they will be here tomorrow.


~I refilled all the hand soap dispensers with soap from the larger refill bottle.  I even swissed a bit of water in the larger container at the end to get as much of the soup out as I could.

~Dinner was fish sticks and fresh fruit.

~I finally got my printer ink refilled and printed off some things like recipes, gift cards, etc..

~Worked those points programs.


~The sourdough fairy surprised me with some starter today!  I named my starter Maude. Thank you to my neighbor Emily!  Now to dig out my sourdough cookbook and try this thing out. 😊

~Two more loaves of bread were made along with a batch of cookies. I used the residual heat in the oven after baking the cookies to help the bread dough rise since it was about an hour later that I decided to make the bread.

~Pizza and salad were dinner.  The salad greens were a bit droopy so I let them soak in cold water for about half an hour and it perked them right back up.

~Jeff and I watched some older sitcoms on YouTube.

~Heather finished making some thin blue line ornaments for me.  One is for me and has Chris's badge number on it and the other one is for a dear friend who also has a son who is a police officer.  I wanted to surprise her with it.  Heather was so sweet and gifted the one for us to me and I just paid for the second one.

~A few more samples were signed up for.


~I used some of the venison burger that Chris and Heather gave us to make burgers for dinner and also used the rest of it to cook up some "crumbles" to add to soups or casseroles.

~Jeff and I went out to look at the Northern Lights.  We did not see any but we sure enjoyed the stars and the Milky Way!

~Jeff and I made a list of things that we wanted to use my Walmart gift card for...kitty litter, cat food and some kind of medical wrap he wants to try for his knee.  I'm good with this because I'd rather use the gift card for things that we need rather than fritter it away on things that we don't right now.


~I made Yaki Soba for dinner using up some veggies and meat that needed to be used ASAP.

~The evening was spent making 6 quarts of both white and dark chocolate peppermint bark, 4 containers of peppermint hot cocoa and getting some of my homemade Tuscan Blend salt all packaged up for gift giving.  I may not be able to move in the morning, but other than packaging up the peppermint bark into smaller bags. I am done with my part of the Christmas treat making for the moment.  I needed to get these done so we could send some of them out in the mail by Monday.

   Praying that my next post will be to share our newest grandson Tate after his glorious arrival at some point tonight!  Look for that one in a few days...we have to let the proud parents be the first to share the news of their first it should be!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Just a Few Frugal Doings this Week 12/4/2020


   Nothing too exciting going on this week frugality wise.  It has been a rather difficult week.  A dear friend died, and the mother of several other friends (all brothers) also sadly passed away.😢 Another dear friend is struggling at the moment with a horrible situation beyond her control and my heart just aches for her.  I wish there was more I could do for her, but sadly, other than offering her a listening ear and lots of prayers, there is little I can do.  Throughout it all though, I am trying to keep my eyes on the upcoming birth of our 4th grandson and trying to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in my heart and in our home.  Now, onto the frugal doings.


~I ordered a Christmas gift online on sale for Lauren and had it sent right to their home to save on time and postage.  I saved over $200 due to the great sale they were having!

~I tried out a new throw together experiment making cheeseburger was a winner! 

~Two loaves of bread were made in the evening after Jeff went to work.

~I also whipped up some more homemade pancake mix and was so glad I had an extra can of baking powder in the pantry since I ran out in the first can.  Keeping a well stocked pantry is a lifesaver!

~Outdoor Christmas lights were turned  off at 10 p.m. per Jeff's request so that we do not run up the electric bill too much. ;)


~I cashed in some of my Swagbucks for a $25 Walmart gift card.  We get our prescriptions and many other items through there so this will definitely be put to good use.

~We called my mom today since it was her birthday!

~I made Portuguese sausage and homemade biscuits, along with some eggs, for dinner.  I save half of the biscuits and sausage for another meal.

~Jeff got another huge 50 bag of flour divided between two large food safe buckets.  Within the last two days I have gone through 16 cups of flour between my baking and making pancake mixes.

~I worked my points programs.

~Leftovers were eaten for lunch.


~I cashed in my Choice Hotel award points to make a donation to Operation Homefront.

~I found the perfect gift for Chris for Christmas on sale and got an additional discount on it by finding and applying an online code.  I checked with Heather first and she said he would love it!

~Leftovers for dinner.

~I worked my points programs.


~Jeff made us grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner (it was a rough day for me with a dear friend dying and another dealing with a huge blow to her family).

~I ordered Jeff and I new phones online via StraightTalk since it works well in our area and our current Tracfone plans do not.  I got us each refurbished phones (savings of $60 per phone) that have the CDMA systems that are needed for out here and the lowest priced unlimited talk and text plan available since that is mainly what we use our phones for anyway.  This way we can keep in touch more easily and not have to limit our time talking to one another.  After I get the phones activated, I will do an autopay for the accounts so that it will give us an even further savings and I will not have to remember to keep refilling our service. Our service will run us about $68 a month for 2 lines...not bad!

~I again worked my points programs.


~When Jeff got home from work early Friday morning, we showered and then headed into town, hot coffee in travel mugs, to do our grocery shopping at Winco.  We needed some bulk items and they are the cheapest there.  By going so early in the morning, there was barely anyone in the store making it safer and quicker to get in and out.  We had our list all made ahead of time and stuck to it except for a few treat items that were on sale and will make for some fun snack type dinners. Oh, we noticed that Winco's brand of coffee cans are being downsized tremendously while the price for the smaller cans is going up.  We found the last 2 cans of the bigger size that were also $1 less per can and got those.  IF they had more than the 2 that were on the shelf, we would have bought more.

~I got refills on my prescriptions and they are being sent to the house via Fed Ex.

~I am also so thankful that I had made sure to get previous refills of medications that I use on an "as needed" basis because they have been very needed lately.  One of the bad things about one of these certain medications is that it makes me really sleepy so I made sure to plan for not having a big to do list (other than making dinner) for the day.

~Dinner was turkey that had been previously frozen several months ago cut up and simmered in turkey gravy served over instant mashed potatoes, stuffing and green beans.  Yes, it was like having a more traditional type Thanksgiving meal since we had the lamb chops for Thanksgiving.  It was delicious!

   May all who are reading this be blessed!