Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. My mother watched our girls last Saturday while my husband, son,and I attended my cousin’s wedding. Our son was a groomsman and it was an adult’s only wedding. She sent us home with ham, milk, chocolate almond milk, grapes, cherries, watermelon, and cantaloupe. Our fridge was so packed I canceled our Green Bean delivery for this week.
  2. Our youngest caught a pukey virus. On the good side, we paid less money in babysitting and couldn’t spend money since I was a prisoner in the house with her.
  3. We had to buy a pink dress shirt for our son for the wedding, and I have already listed it for sale on Ebay.
  4. I also listed a few nursing textbooks for sale on Amazon.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. That pukey toddler, remember? I had to cancel all three work shifts, so my next paycheck is going to suck.
  2. I also had to cancel the free nursing continuing education class I was going to do at work.Ohio nurses have to do one credit every licensure period about changes to nursing laws. I can’t get in to another seminar before renewal, so I will have to pay for it online.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

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Frugal Steps:

  1. My graduation cap, gown, and hood were free of charge.
  2. I used an Amazon gift card from Swagbucks to buy my mother a Mother’s Day gift.
  3. My son had a class field trip to the zoo, and went as chaperone. I used our zoo membership to get in.
  4. We get our milk in glass bottles from the Hartzler Dairy. They are not homogenized (the cream mixed in with the milk), so there is a large plug of cream that has to be removed whenever you open a new bottle. I pull the cream plus out and save it in the fridge to use it for other recipes. One of my favorite Platejoy snacks is nonfat plain Greek yogurt mixed with a small amount of cream, fresh strawberries, vanilla, and a tiny amount of sugar.
  5. I went through Ebates to get 4% cash back when I booked our 1-night hotel stay on Expedia. We are driving up the night before my graduation ceremony. We got a suite that will fit the five of us for $90.
  6. One of our kids has 4 OT and PT appointments every month. Thus far, our new insurance seems to be covering those without any copays required! This is fantastic, since the PT may last all summer and the OT could be 9-12 months.
  7. I bought Reading Horizons, a dyslexia home study software based upon Orton-Gillingham methods (read a review here). It is 35% off, so I paid $129 instead of $199. Thankfully we get two student profiles with it, so both of our children with dyslexia issues will be able to use it and work at their own pace without paying extra.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Dyslexia tutoring: very pricey :(. We will hopefully be starting that soon.
  2. April and May were spendy months, especially taking care of our neglected landscaping, replacing the outdoor lights, and picking up organizational containers for the office. I’m only able to work 2 days a week in May and June and probably July, so my income is reduced as well. I put only $250 in my savings in May and nothing in the Christmas or travel funds.

How was your week?

 

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. Our youngest passed her strawberry allergy skin test. She still has to pass an oral challenge at the allergist’ s office, but if she does it will mean one less pricey Epi-pen to buy every year (never mind the weight of fear we will drop!)
  2. I baked two dozen cookies for PTO staff appreciation using butter I had bought at my stock-up price of $2/lb.
  3. I finished using my 3-massage package I bought at a 50% discount via Groupon.
  4. I took my 3 year old to story time at the library.
  5. We bought a summer Zoo membership using a discount code. We don’t always get a membership, but we knew both kids would be doing field trips there this year and I would be chaperoning. We also have plans to visit a Zoo in another city this year and a membership would allow us in there too. The cost of a basic membership without bells and whistles was less than admission and parking for all three trips. We plan to get good use out of it this year and go two additional times during Halloween and Christmas.
  6. I bought my MIL Mother’s Day flowers from 1800Flowers by going through Ebates (referral link) to get 12% cash back, using a 30% off coupon code, and using a gift card I bought on Raise.com for 23% discount.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. The past few weeks have been some spendy ones! I bought my first bike since I was 12, something we have talked about for over 2 years. We decided to go with a good local bike shop and I tried many, many bikes until I found one that worked with my petite height and crappy crooked back. With arthritis, my exercise options are walk, bike, or swim. I am looking for a used bike trailer, but the resale market costs almost as much as new!
  2. We bought some beach essentials at Sam’s, including a few chairs and a beach umbrella. We went to Lake Erie last summer and will go there again this summer. We also plan on going to Florida next year. Things that do not go well with arthritis: sitting on the ground for long periods. I swore I would never do that again. Now I have a low beach chair and an umbrella to shade myself. Did you know that sunlight stimulates the immune system and should be avoided if you have autoimmune disease?

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. No eating out this week.
  2. I donated some of my stockpiled butter to the kindergarten PTO pancake breakfast.
  3. Our girl scout troop went hiking at a local state park and brought packed lunches to earn a couple of our badges. We had 12 kindergarten/1st grade girls and hikes 2.5 miles!
  4. I’m still in my 10 day free trial of Platejoy.
  5. The youngest is doing so well wearing big girl underwear that we cancelled our Subscribe and Save order of Pull-ups.
  6. I am chaperoning the 3rd grade field trip to the Zoo next month and we have at least two more planned excursions in the next 3 months with scouts and family, so I opted to buy the cheapest family Zoo membership with a 10% off discount code. It was cheaper to do this than pay for 3 visits with parking.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Not so much a stumble as a updating our budget. Our food costs are going up on purpose to buy fresh, healthy, and local foods.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I used points I accrued through 2020 Research to get $10 in Paypal cash.
  2. This week was spring break, and we opted for a staycation. Our expenses were the movie Moana ($20), and lunches at Chick Fil-A and Wendy’s ($40). We visited two local parks. Last night, my sister spent the night and we had dinner for 5 at a Lebanese restaurant using a Groupon ($24 for Groupon plus $12 extra). We stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream afterwards ($9). Today we had dinner with Grandpa and a cousin at Bob Evans, and I paid for the entire check. We had $40 in gift cards from an aunt and I spent $20 for the 8 of us. Our spring break was $123.
  3. I crocheted while watching Home Fires on the PBS Roku app.
  4. I used $33 in Extra Care Bucks and many coupons to get 50% off my CVS trip, plus I earned $10 in ECBs back.
  5. I took all 3 kids to the dentist, and the dentist sent them each home with 2 toothbrushes, a small toothpaste, flossers, and a couple toys.
  6. The Mister and I have worked tirelessly on the yard (especially him) and weeded all of the flower beds ourselves, transplanted some grass from around the beds to the bare area where our old tree was, and mulched all beds. We paid for 4 cubic yards of mulch and shared it with our neighbor.
  7. I baked two loaves of bread.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. I cut my hours down this week to have fun with the kids and catch up n yard work this week.

 

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I used a 20% off coupon code, free shipping, and 3% back through Swagbucks to get the new outdoor lights for our home.
  2. We played outside at our neighborhood park and a couple new-to-us community parks.
  3. I got a massage using the 3-massages-for- $60 Groupon I purchased a couple of months ago.
  4. I have been doing yoga every morning using a YouTube video from the channel Yoga With Adrienne.
  5. I signed The Little up for preschool at the YMCA, and we get a discount every month thanks to our membership. While we were at the Y, I let her play in the indoor gym while I read a book.
  6. I had an email for a $2 Google Play credit.
  7. I baked bread today instead of buying it.
  8. We decorated Easter eggs today using a dye kit I bought on clearance after Easter last year for $0.25.
  9. We planned a rare family dinner out to the new El Toro Mexican restaurant near us, and used a coupon. We pretty much never eat out as a family of 5 unless we go to Chick-Fil-A or have lunch with my dad at Bob Evans. I cannot lie, I do not really enjoy wrangling and shushing 3 squirmy kids at a restaurant. It went reasonably well this time.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. It’s been a very expensive week! I had to buy a new 4-slot toaster since ours practically blew up, my son has grown and needed larger clothes, and while I was at Target I fell under the spell of the Eye of Sauron and bought a few clothes for the girls too.
  2. My mother has been getting treatment for skin cancer (just basal cell carcinoma, but still needs to be cut out) and I have reevaluated how I approach sun exposure. That means buying a broad-brimmed hat and two baseball style caps for myself. I NEVER wear hats unless it’s winter, so this is a new thing for me. I also bought SPF 50 face lotion and a fuller coverage swim shirt. I already have a few age spots starting under my eyes, meaning sun damage has already started for me, so I am going into full battle mode. That epic sun protection was pricey.
  3. I bought binders and dividers to help me organize the special education materials for my older two kids (aka The IEP Binders), and the Mister and I decided to buy our son an “experience” gift for his birthday-tickets to see Dan TDM live in June. Those were pricey but we want to encourage him to get out in the world. Going somewhere with noise and crowds in a big deal for our little guy.
This post contains referral links.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. No unplanned eating out this week.
  2. We tried out a new park today, and brought a packed lunch of PB & J, sliced peaches, and water.
  3. My friend Shannon came up from Georgia and brought me a couple dozen eggs from her chickens and a few eggs from her ducks. Thanks Shannon! Did you know if you use duck eggs in baked goods, the larger size yolk helps them bake up bigger and fluffier? We tried them in pancakes and it worked!
  4. I picked up four shifts this week. It was rough and it won’t be soon that I will do that again.
  5. My aunt bought us lunch out.
  6. We’re saving half the cost of our summer swimming lessons.
  7. Our 6 year old is wearing her brother’s old shoes.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. One of the kids will need OT and several tools were recommended for use at home. We had to purchase the game Twister and some Theraputty.
  2. I bought a few clothes for the girls at Target.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I did another CVS survey for $5 in Extra Care Bucks.
  2. I borrowed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the new Absolutely Fabulous movie from the library. They were both so horrible I was glad I didn’t pay a cent to see them.
  3. I earned enough Swagbucks to get another $25 gift card. I’m not sure what I’m going to get yet, so I haven’t redeemed it.
  4. The 3 year old has been in underwear all week! There have been a few accidents, but several days have gone by with her being totally dry. Our pull-up use has gone way down.
  5. I signed up for Green Bean Delivery using a $20 off my first order coupon code. I’ve been wanting to join a CSA. They will deliver produce, local meat, cheese, and milk to my door once a week. I will only have to hit the store for a few things every week now. They emailed me a $20 off coupon referral link that’s good until Tuesday, so if you want in on the action, email me at Jennifer@frugalsteppingsones.com.
  6. I scored a backpack for the soon-to-be preschooler on Land’s End for $10 and sprang for $6 to embroider it. She really wants to go to school, and that backpack is her incentive to stay dry during the day.
  7. We ate leftovers twice.
  8. The 6 year old and I saw Beauty and the Beast last night using the half price tickets I scored on Atom. We loved it!
  9. I picked up 3 shifts this week and will do an extra few hours tomorrow on Sunday.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Too busy and tired to get into trouble.
This post contains referral links.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I had not one but TWO invites from CVS to take a survey for $10 in Extra Care Bucks. That’s $20!
  2. My boss gave me a little reward at work and I was able to turn in those bonus points for digital rewards. I chose $20 in Vudu credits. I had $10 in Vudu credits that I haven’t used yet, so we watched Dr. Strange last night for my birthday and we might watch Moana tonight if I can get my school work done.
  3. CVS gave me a bonus $3 in Extra Care Bucks for my birthday. I also got a free entree from First Watch, $10 in Kohl’s cash, a free pore smoother from Ulta, 50% off my order from Land’s End, a free 8 x 8 photo book, and $20 off a Shutterfly order.
  4. I finished the Debbie Reynolds memoir and started reading Prairie Tale, Melissa Gilbert’s memoir, on the Ohio Digital Library. I’m not sure it’s going to keep me as interested as the last memoir. It’s starting a bit slow.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. It’s not our fault in any way, but we learned this week one of our children has dyslexia. We are fairly certain that one of the younger girls has it as well, though we can’t formally test for another year. Some urban areas offer free dyslexia tutoring but as far as I can tell, our county does not, and the closest city with this service only takes kids from certain counties. Tutoring in specific methods was strongly recommended to us; we can’t just hire a college kid. One Orton-Gillingham tutor charges around $60/hr, and 2 hours per week were recommended to us. Multiply that by 2 kids and that could be $1000/month! I’m waiting for a list with the local chapter of the International Dyslexia Association and the school psychologist, and hoping we find some that are in the $20-25/hr range, but until then I will be having a mild heart attack and wondering how we will fit that in our budget.
This post contains referral and affiliate links.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

This post contains referral links.

Frugal Steps:

  1. I earned another $25 Swagbucks gift card and opted to get a Hulu gift card. This ensures our Hulu is paid up through July and free.
  2. I filled my tank at Kroger using my fuel points and got $.80 off per gallon!
  3. My birthday is coming up, and CVS sent me an email for $3 in Extra Care Bucks.
  4. My mom watched the kids while I taught in a city an hour away. She also brought bread with her.
  5. I got a new free book through Kindle First. Every month Prime members get to choose a new free book from 4-6 options.
  6. My cousin will have an empty nest in the fall and is downsizing. She passed on our grandma’s dining room table, that was built in 1940, to us. We had to rent a Uhaul, but we didn’t want this family heirloom being sold to a stranger.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. I picked up Chick Fil-A chicken nuggets to share for my class carry-in, the Mister got chicken for the kids the same night, and we celebrated my last clinical day yesterday with subs. I still have a full week or so of grading plus project work, so I’m not sure this coming week will be any better.