Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Update On Hubby and How Expenses Are Going This Month

I am not going in to visit Hubby until later because he is getting his dialysis which takes 4 hours. So I have some time to chat.

The good news is that Hubby's breathing is better so he has not been on a ventilator for 3 days. His kidneys have jump started and that is a good sign. He had a kidney biopsy yesterday and we are waiting on the results and hoping to find the cause of his renal failure. Now he has to get his strength back. He has been eating and drinking for the past two days and complaining about the food which I find is a good sign. He is joking with the nurses and teasing me. 

They discussed with him this morning going to a rehab facility to get his strength back. I was not there so I will go talk with them when I visit him. I am not in favor of this and since I am his healthcare proxy, they have to convince me that he needs it. If it can be done at home, that is what I prefer.  

I have been holding everything together. Visiting him anywhere from 2 - 8 hours a day. Paying the bills, keeping family informed every day, keeping the house picked up, keeping the laundry caught up(even hanging most of it), doing the investing, watering and trimming our landscaping and the lawn since we didn't have rain for 7 weeks until we finally had 4 hours worth last night. My son mowed the lawn twice already for me and my neighbor is going to do it this week.

My sons have been wonderful but my oldest had to go home on Sunday evening and my youngest is on vacation. I appreciate everything they have done for me. I am on my own and doing very well. Although I am extremely tired. I need a day off but each time I go to tell Hubby that I need  one off, he finds something for me to bring to him in the hospital. He comes first! It's a good 45 minutes plus each way and then the time that I spend with Hubby. So my days meld into one another. 

I don't have time to do an expense report for June. But I can tell you that I am investing $ 4500. today. Expenses like groceries were down but our restaurant meals went up greatly while my sons were here. I had to feed them and with all we were doing, I just didn't have the energy to cook so we were eating out 2-3 meals a day. I also have been spending $9. - $10. a day for parking near the hospital. The next few months will be rough because the medical bills will start pouring in. I am very thankful though that we can afford them. I will just cut back in other areas to pay for the medical and any services that Hubby needs and so that I can still invest some dollars in July.
 
My neighbors have started sending me dinner. I had the best stuffed shells last night and I have enough for dinner tonight. Anything I need they will do for me - food, lawn mowing, rides to the hospital, etc, they have offered. They have been wonderful.  Hubby and I are so lucky to live among caring young people.

This is Hubby's 15th day in the hospital and I can't wait to bring him home. I hope that will be soon.

Bear with me while I am taking care of him and all that needs to be done. I will be back blogging as soon as it is possible.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Update on Hubby

I see that the post on dollar stores that I had written ahead because we were going to be away posted as scheduled. I totally forgot about it. My mind has not been on the blog.

Hubby is now off the ventilator. Except for a raspy throat, he is happy about that.  When I was visiting him today in the ICU, he doesn't even remember what he has gone through the past 11 days. We still don't have a cause for his renal failure and we are all praying and hoping that it is temporary. We are hoping these last batch of tests that his Dr. ordered will tell us the cause.

I can't even remember what day it is most of the time. Fortunately, I am lucky to have two wonderful sons and their families. One or the other has been by my side 90% of the time since Hubby became ill. They have used vacation time to be with both of us. They both live a distance from us; one 4 and 1/2 hours away. The one who lives that far away is on his way here tonight to help this weekend. He just left here on Wednesday night after spending 4 days with me. Then the other son stayed. Having them here is such a blessing because they help me through the bad times and they wanted to visit their Dad even when he was sedated.

The hospital is a distance. It takes me 5 different intrastate highways plus city blocks to get there in a city that I am not familiar with driving. My sons taught me how to get there and back. I had to drive to the hospital for the first time alone today. I made it there with no problem. However, I got lost twice coming home; but I made it home. 

I want all of you to know how much your prayers and good wishes have meant to me. I think they have definitely helped Hubby. Now we have to get him well and strong again. He had his first meal today - applesauce and water. As they start letting him eat more and more, he will get stronger. Hopefully in a few weeks, I can bring him home. 

So I don't know when I will be back posting again. I can just promise you that when we get through this, that I will definitely be writing again.
 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Best Things I Buy At Dollar Tree

I love Dollar Tree. They have some great things and they have some that I would never buy there. 

These items that I will talk about today are ones that I have tried and buy there every time I need them.The only exception I show today is the puzzle books. I just spotted them for the first time.

Let's start with what I think is the best bargain. That would be the 2lb. bag of Pampa brown rice. It is an exceptional value compared to buying it at my supermarket for $3.99.

Their greeting cards can't be beat for price. I have another baby shower to go to for my other next door neighbor. So today I picked up the shower card that I needed. They have every category of greeting card that you could want. Why pay $ 3.00- $5.00 when you can purchase them for $ 1.00.

I didn't realize that they had logic puzzle books there until today. Never again will I buy those, crossword, or Soduko books at the grocery store.

I love their plastic containers. I use them to gift cookies or cake. For $1.00, I don't care if the container doesn't get returned.

They have a huge selection of candy. So I picked up a bag of caramels that my DIL loves.

Security envelopes are dirt cheap compared to other  stores. We only use a couple a month but I like them at my fingertips when we need them.

The grandchildren love glow sticks so I like to have some for each of them on hand.

Their plastic or paper tablecloths are perfect for the gift baskets that I make. Since I use laundry size baskets, I stuff the bottoms with newspaper and then put the tablecloth wrapped around it. This raises the gift items up and makes the basket prettier. Enough tissue paper to do that would cost me a whole lot more money. 

This skin cleanser is the only one that I use on my face now. It cleans and removes make up beautifully.

Secret solid is my favorite deodorant. They carry it so I save money buying it there.

And lastly, they carry a significant number of storage containers. We use them all over the house to keep things properly organized.

There are many others too like wrapping paper, bows, tissue paper and gift bags. If you can think of any more that I haven't mentioned, please share them with us in the comments.   

I have checked my prices in my area but make sure that you check yours in your area to make sure that you getting the best price for your money.    

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Update

Hubby has been transferred to the best medical center in Buffalo. He never had surgery. He is too weak and they are still not sure what is causing all of the problems. But if anyone can figure this out, the Doctors at this hospital can. 

He is temporarily on dialysis and a ventilator to help him with his breathing. I am hoping they will take him off the ventilator today. When I get to the hospital I will find out. He is in the ICU so hours to visit are very restricted.

Anyhow, I will update you when and if I can. He needs all of the prayers that you can give him.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Update on Hubby

Thanks to everyone for your well wishes and prayers for Hubby. I am hoping you will keep those prayers coming. He is going into surgery today or tomorrow depending upon some test results that will be read this morning. It's been a horrible week of pain for him and not knowing what is going on for both of us.

Just wanted to update you. I am headed up to the hospital now so that I can make sure that I am there when the Doctor comes in and we can make decisions. Thanks again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

No Post Today

No post today. Hubby was admitted to the hospital. I am headed back there now.

Pat if you see this; go read your e-mail.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Frugal Things

Here is my list of frugal things that we have done in the past 10 days or so:

- Purchased a used game and an additional controller for our Wii for the grandchildren at Game Stop. I paid 1/2 the price of what they would have cost new. Now two of us can play at a time without switching the one controller back and forth.

- The majority of our meals have been from scratch. Most have been grilled outside.

- I made two loaves of wheat bread for sandwiches.

- Did three loads of wash in the HE washing machine with cold water and minimal soap. Hung the clothes to dry.

- I love having flowers in my home. So I very often buy a bouquet at Aldi's or Top's. But now that our flowers are blooming, I have been cutting them to bring inside. My grandson helped me cut these peonies today. I can't remember the name of the purple flower that I stuck in the peonies. We have already gone through iris and lilacs. My yellow roses are starting to bloom and then all the lilies will blossom along with all of our rose of sharon. With the exception of a hanging basket every year we buy no annuals. Everything in our yard is a perennial. That saves us the $ 80. to $ 120. that we used to spend on annuals every year.

- Instead of going swimming yesterday, my grandson was just as happy to run from one sprinkler to another for two hours. We have a sprinkler system which comes on in zones. So he would always have 3 sprinklers come up at a time. He thought it was cool to follow the zoned sprinklers around the house as they moved. Lots of fun for him since we had to water the lawn anyhow.

- He and I also golfed out on the lawn so that we could avoid going to the mini golf course. I wanted to keep an eye on Hubby as much as I could. 

- Hubby and he are bowling on the Wii as I speak. So much fun. Many years ago, before our grandchildren were born, my son won this Wii. They already had one so they gave it to us. Today the grandchildren get many hours of enjoyment out of it.

- We also have played many card games of War and 
Crazy Eights this weekend. Entertainment does not have to be expensive.

- I made two loaves of pumpkin bread to give as a  hostess gift.

- I cut two pairs of jeans down to shorts for me. I have very few shorts but lots of worn jeans.

- I shined all of the shoes in the house that needed it.

- My grandson weeded the entire two patios of weeds that grow between the cracks. I offered to pay him but he said no. He said he was happy to do it for all of the games for the Wii that I had purchased over the past couple of weeks.

- We had a fire in the outside fireplace and toasted marshmallows.

- I updated my inventory of meat, shrimp and fish, in the freezer. It's easier to know what meals you can make when you know what you have.

- I desperately needed makeup so purchased it at Rite Aid today with a sale and a $ 2.00 off coupon.

- Cleaned our Jacuzzi tub with baking soda and water.

- Been walking most days for exercise.

- Made homemade lemonade and homemade iced tea.

- We had homemade strawberry popsicles.

- I made a bunch of blueberry pancakes that lasted almost a week for breakfasts.

- We have also been eating a lot of oatmeal with bananas or berries.

- I chatted with a friend using our free long distance.

- I used insecticide to spray the foundation wall of the house and the garage to keep the majority of bugs out. It is a lot cheaper to do it yourself rather than hire a service.

- I got a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card from Bing Rewards. 

That is about all that I can remember. What have you done frugally lately?
  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Intentional Spending Today

Hubby is feeling quite a bit better today so I went out shopping for about an hour. Thanks to everyone who wished him well in the comments. It was much appreciated.

I spent $39.43 at Top's to buy the above pictured boneless chicken breast at $ 1.59 a lb., 2 English muffins, sandwich buns, 5- 2 liter bottles of Coke on sale for $ .88 each and 2 puzzle books for Hubby which I will list on my monthly spending report as household goods of $ 10.80. The groceries came to $ 28.63. The chicken was a great price for this area, the English muffins were B1G1F and the soda was on sale for $ .88. I couldn't pass up getting some soda at that price for Hubby's guilty treat.

Then a trip about a block down the street to SWM where I picked up a 12 pack of Diet Coke cans, an 8 pack of Nestle Drumsticks, and a loaf of French bread for a total of $ 1.92 which was the bread and tax on all plus the bottle deposits on the cans. I had a Free coupon from My Coke Rewards for the soda. I also had a Free coupon from Nestle for the drumsticks. I had purchased a 4- pack a few weeks ago for my grandson and the cones were soggy. I let Nestle know and they sent me a Free coupon for a 4 pack or larger so I got the 8 pack. Since my grandson is spending the weekend with us, he will be excited about them. Sorry about lack of pictures on the stuff above but I was rushing when I came home to get things put away and make lunch for Hubby and I.


After lunch I went down to our local Niagara Produce. This place is remarkable because not only does it carry produce but it is a fresh meat, fish and deli market, has a greenhouse with all of the flowers and vegetable plants, and carries a few other products also. I would like to get to the point where most of my shopping is done here.

I purchased two containers of raspberries for $.99 each, 1 container of strawberries for $ 1.99, 1 container of blueberries for $ 1.99, 1 cucumber for $ .69, 2 beefsteak tomatoes for $1.33, a cantaloupe for $ 2.99, a fresh pizza for $ 7.99, 2 strip steaks for $ 14.78, a little of over a lb. of ground chuck for $4.13, deli ham for $1.85, and deli turkey breast for $3.75 for a total of $ 44.17.

Right now I need easy between Hubby and my grandson coming for the weekend. I saw a crowd of people around the pizzas. So I asked a few people how good they were. All of them told me they never get pizza anywhere else. They said they are delicious and very reasonably priced. So I decided to get one for our dinner tomorrow night. Both West and Hubby will enjoy it and I will barely have to cook.  Even their meat and deli prices are reasonable.  

While I was out, I paid the water and sewer bill that came yesterday at the town hall. It was for the last three months and was $ 52.67. 

I hope you all have a terrific weekend.   

Thursday, June 9, 2016

I Love Blogging But Life Happens

I love blogging and sharing my knowledge with all of you. However, family comes first. Hubby has had a bad back since he was 21 years old. The pain the past few years has been almost unbearable for him.

So the reason I have been missing in action yesterday and today was to take care of his needs.

We spent a lovely day together yesterday with no interruptions because he was a bit nervous about the medical procedure (ablation) that he underwent very early this morning. 

Everything went well but I will be taking care of him for the next few days while he recuperates. Then in about 2 weeks he undergoes another medical procedure. Hopefully this will make him pain free for the next year or two. I sure hope so because he has been through many cortisone injections that didn't work. It's painful for me to watch him have trouble even walking to the mailbox. He has good days and bad days. 

So when I disappear, please know that I will be back. I am just taking care of Hubby and my energy needs to go there.

That said, I did intentionally spend some money today. I promised Hubby that when his ablation was done and he could eat that I would get him whatever he wanted at Applebee's. So I went and got lunch for us to the tune of $ 26.90 including tax and tip. We don't normally eat that much for lunch so we won't be eating much dinner. Perhaps a snack. This was definitely a need because Hubby did so well this morning and was craving it. 

I will fit in some posts when I can.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What Have You Purchased That Has Saved You Money In The Long Run?

Do you remember this post that I did a while ago:

Ditching the Throwaway 

Well I am going to expand on that topic today. Here is a list of things that I believe will save you money in the long run by owning them. 

- Pressure Cooker - Mine saves me time not only money. I can buy cheaper cuts of meat and cook them in no time and they will be as tender as if I slow cooked them for 8 hours. I use it to make cook batches of rice and then I freeze it in portions.
If I forget to soak dry beans overnight, I can get them ready to use in a recipe by cooking them in the pressure cooker in just minutes. This is also an energy efficient appliance. 

- Crockpot - This appliance will save you many dollars in energy usage over a year of oven use.

- LED Bulbs - I know I have mentioned these before but they are worth mentioning again. Change all of your bulbs in your home to LED's and you will see a drop in your electric bill.

- Vacuum Sealer - I have a Foodsaver and it has saved me mega bucks over the years because I can buy on sale items in bulk and freeze them knowing there will be no freezer burn.

- Shoe Shine Kit - We have owned one since we got married. Actually, Hubby brought it into our marriage. Take good care of your shoes and they will last you almost forever. We have some classic styles that are over 35 years old.

- Owners Manual For You Automobile - Hubby has  purchased one for every car we have ever owned. It has saved us a fortune in DIY car repairs. 

- Drying Rack or Clothesline - This not only saves money on energy costs but makes your clothes last longer. It's your dryer that breaks down the fiber in your clothes.

- Bar Soap Holder - These keep the soap from softening up and melting away. Just get a simple plastic one with the teeth that keeps the soap up in the air and dry. 

- Carpet Shampooer - We are on our second one. They do such a great job that I don't have to pay for carpet cleaning. I have had light cream carpeting in  our last two homes. When I sold our home in another state, the carpet looked brand new after 9 years. We have lived here over six years and people that have visited have asked me if my carpeting is  brand new. You pay a fortune for good carpeting. Take care of it and will last you for decades.

- Foam Hand Soap - I bought one filled and reuse it all of the time. I just add 1/3 to 2/3 water and reuse  it over and over. It saves a fortune in refill soap. You can also make your own liquid soap using bar soap.

- Mason Jars - These are cheap at Amazon or look for them at garage sales. I use them not only for canning but to store leftovers and to store bulk purchased items. They also are great for freezing things like homemade sauces. I rarely buy plastic wrap or plastic containers.

- Stand Alone Freezer - Just purchasing your meat in bulk at sales prices will pay for this item.  We have had two freezers in over 40 years so I would say that they definitely pay for themselves. 

- Electric Razor - Don't pay for shavers and blades that you throw away. Use one of these instead or at least buy a safety razor like Dorco.

- Silicone Baking Mat - This will save you from using foil. 

- Hair Cutting Kit - We saved $$$$'s over the years on haircuts for our boys. Hubby always cut their hair and for many years when mine was short, he cut mine too.

- Dental Floss and Electric Toothbrushes - These will save you on dental bills over the years if you use them religiously.

- Bicycle - This will save your health and save you gasoline if you use it to run errands. I used to bicycle a lot. Now I am afraid of falling and breaking a hip. So I replaced it many years ago with a stationary one for my home. I try to use it every other day while I am watching a mindless TV show.

- Any Home Exercise Equipment - This will save you many dollars over purchasing gym memberships year after year.

I am sure there are plenty more but my time is limited this week. So if you think of any that I haven't listed and want to share with the rest of us, feel free to leave a comment. 

  

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 4 & 5 Intentional Spend Challenge



I hope you all had a great weekend. We had a great time with family and it was very enjoyable.

On Saturday we paid two medical bills that came in the mail for a total of $74.44. We opened up the house and turned the A/C off because cooler temperatures are here. Lots of yard work was also done.

On Sunday, my son and grandson came for breakfast. They brought a dozen Tim Horton's donuts and my son refused to accept any money for them. They were a special treat that we only do once every six weeks or so because they are almost pure sugar. BTW, my grandson had so much fun with the Wii racing game that I purchased. 

I also spent $122.28 at the grocery store to buy much needed shrimp, fresh fish and clams, rhubarb,lettuce, celery, strawberries, grapes and some chips and corn chips for Hubby. We had steamed clams again since the clams were on sale. I stocked up on the shrimp and rhubarb. I froze all of it. We love strawberry rhubarb pies. I already had strawberries in the freezer from last June's local crop. So I cut  and froze the rhubarb on a cookie sheet. We will have many pies this summer. I did make a stop at my favorite garage sale also but they had nothing I needed.

This morning I had to deal with a $ 472. medical bill that came in the mail for medical supplies from last October. The bill said I owed it. Fortunately I keep good records and I put my hands right on the same bill for that day that had been paid in full by my two insurance companies. Turns out that Medicare made a recent adjustment so the company just sent me a bill for the entire $ 472. Well the adjustment was for $ .80 that the company that billed me actually owes to my secondary carrier because the original $ 472. bill was overpayed. That is being straightened out and I will get a corrected bill for $ .00 and the company is reimbursing my second insurance company for the $ .80. Why can't companies get intelligent help these days? The bill was in error and if I didn't have my faculties I might have worried about that bill all weekend. So it pays to keep good records and question bills when you know something can't be right.

I am letting you know that we have a very unusual busy, busy week ahead. If for some reason I don't post, please know that I will be back asap. 

I hope you all had an intelligent spending weekend.

Friday, June 3, 2016

June 3rd Intentional Spend Challenge


Hubby and I spent the morning cleaning and trimming the bushes outside. There is so much to do in the yard in the Spring and since it came late we are now playing catch up. But it also gave me an opportunity to smell our gorgeous lilac bushes that are just loaded with flowers this year. Hubby cut a bunch last evening and they are in a vase gracing our breakfast bar. This season gives us so many flowers that we can cut and bring inside. Our white, yellow and purple hyacinths are in full bloom also. And our peonies are blooming now too.

I had oatmeal with fresh blueberries for breakfast and Hubby had boxed cereal with a banana. Lunch was tossed salads. Dinner will be leftover pasta salad and some fruit for dessert. 

I spent today $8.99 for this 5 port charger. I have been watching this item for quite some since we have wanted one for traveling. Also pictured is a coupon for a free 12 pack of any Coke product that I got from My Coke Rewards. More free soda for Hubby.

$ 8.99 is all we have spent intentionally today or will spend today.

I hope you all had a good intentional spending day also. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 2nd Intentional Spend Challenge

Today is the day that we were planning on intentionally spending $ 75.00 to have our driveway sealed. The same elderly man who has done it for years is doing it. He does a great job. I think he is older than Hubby. But Hubby has a very bad back so it would be difficult for him to do it. Besides Hubby says it would cost him more than that to buy the sealer at retail prices. However, it is raining here so he cancelled. He will give us a day's notice when he reschedules.

I am actually happy that it is raining today. We have had to water every other morning since the sprinkler system was repaired. We badly needed the rain. 

This morning I made Italian dressing. It seems my bottled supply has run out. It's easy using the dressing in this recipe:

Italian Dressing 

I wanted the dressing to go on pasta salad for dinner. I have been craving it. So I made it this morning and it is in the refrigerator getting nice and cold. I don't use exact measurements. I just cook whatever pasta I have at the moment. This morning I used up pasta from 4 different boxes that each had a little in them. While that is cooking, I diced up a very large local fresh beefsteak tomato(from Niagara Produce). I bought this a week or so ago. I am assuming that it was grown in a greenhouse.

Then I sliced up a can of black olives, cubed some pepperoni(purchased in a huge long stick from BJ's), and some cheddar cheese. Then I added some Italian Dressing and mixed it all. We again added a little dressing and mixed it again just before we ate. This has to be one of my very favorite summer salads. Dessert was a slice of watermelon leftover from Memorial Day.We have plenty of salad left for other meals this week.

We did have leftover BBQ chicken from last night's dinner but that will be used tomorrow night.

Today's mail brought a Wii game and two Mario Kart racing wheels for my grandchildren. Both of the grands have outgrown most of the toys that I have here. So I needed something besides board games for them to play with. Since the charges for them hit my credit card today, I consider them purchased today. So the only money that I have intentionally spent today is $ 34.63 for those items. Buying little treats for my grandchildren are a necessity in our home.