Friday, October 17, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments, Mid-October

Hi!  Waving at you from my quiet little country life!

We have had company this past week, so this week has been different from many.  For one thing, we spent last weekend out of town at the International Balloon Festival and Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We went with my in-laws, and had a very nice time.  We stayed in a small, family-owned motel that had good ratings and good prices.  The staff was very nice and helpful.

One of the statues at the Motel.
The motel had breakfast included in the price of the stay, and that saved us some expense, since this was also one of the most affordable options.  There were hard-cooked eggs, pastries, fresh fruits, yogurt, oatmeal, cold cereals, bagels, bread/toast, cream cheese, peanut butter, typical breakfast beverages, and one of those pour and flip waffle makers.  Plenty of variety and everything was in good supply.  They also had a small swimming pool, which thrilled Daughter to no end.  She really enjoyed getting to go swimming the two times that we fit it in.

We took along snacks in a range from healthy to junky, along with drinks, and ate out once a day instead of twice.  While it would have been possible to make sandwiches and other foods and avoid restaurants altogether, that was not what was intended by my in-laws, who also footed the bill, so we enjoyed their generosity and didn't fret about it.  We are still us, of course, so we still drank water instead of soda in some places, shared meals where it made sense, etc.

You could also get green chile added to the grilled cheese bacon donut.  We skipped it altogether.

The main event, though, was the festival.  We went to several sessions, but because of weather, and some events not getting the green light, we were able to re-use our admission tickets each time.  That saved a lot of admission, and we still got to see some balloon glow, a really nice ascension, an incredibly long fireworks show and several balloons up close.

Back at home, a neighbor that trades pet-sitting with me took care of my rabbits and hens.  A dear friend watched Taffy for us too - I think she deserves some sort of Puppy-Whisperer Medal of Honor!

While we were in Albuquerque, we went to Trader Joe's and picked up a few things to try.  They just opened one near where we live, but the crowds there are going to be intense for a while, so we just got the things we were interested in while we were on our trip.  I am on the fence about this store - it's 'neat', but the prices on many things seem high to me.  Time will tell whether or not we become loyal customers.

I planned for one souvenir, and brought home this wee nativity.  It is less than three inches tall, and I really like it!

Our trip was Friday to Sunday, but my in-laws were with us until the following Thursday.  We spent time at home, and also made a day-trip to Denver during the week (we had lunch at Ikea).  We ate most of our meals at home, and often, breakfast and one other meal per day, then an evening snack for those who wanted something.  I made breakfasts to order (truth, I was using up things from the fridge, so I'd say, 'Who wants fried potatoes with their eggs?  Who wants rice?') and we were able to utilize leftovers as the days went by.  Husband picked up fried chicken one day and I made baked beans and slaw (and rice and kimchee) and an apple pie to go with.  Another day I made crockpot barbecued pork shoulder, steamed broccoli (and we had enough rice already prepared to serve with that meal), plus a peach dump cake. The whole trip was pretty relaxed and easy-going.  It was great to spend some time with them and just be together.

More people means more laundry, more showers, etc., but we did the things we always do.  Laundry was hung to dry, towels were hung to dry after showers, etc.

We got a coupon in the Sunday paper for a free month of membership at Sam's.  This will give me a chance to get in there and pick up a couple of things we like from there.  A membership just doesn't seem to be cost-effective for us, so we are happy for this opportunity.

I have been preparing some things in my spare time for Daughter's upcoming birthday and birthday party.  Her birthday is the coming Saturday, with the party on Sunday, and we are almost ready.  I will put together a separate post to share the things we are doing (by then, will have done) to celebrate her turning nine years old!

I hope you had a great week.  I'd love to hear about the ways you saved more, spent less and made do.  I'm eager for your comments, so I can learn something new!


  1. I love your little nativity! I'm not sure how I feel about our last weeks' spending. We finally broke down and bought a snow blower. We have about 100 feet of driveway, and about half of it is fairly steep, plus we have a parking area and a deck. We still will have to clean the deck by hand, but we have spent as much as 4 hours with 4 of us (husband, me and two teens) clearing snow before and we just cried uncle this year. It has to be cleared so husband can go to work and kids can go to school, even though I work at home and can stay home. Because of the steepness, we found one that Lowe's had on clearance with track wheels (like a tank). I asked if we could get any further percentage off. At first they said no, but a few minutes later the manager called the guy helping us and asked if we were still there and said to give us $100 more off, as they had two of these discontinued models. I put it on a credit card with 5% cash back, so I feel like we got as good a price as we could (and I have already paid the card off - we don't carry credit card debt), but I still wish we hadn't had to spend that money on that. Now I'm just hoping that it won't snow at all! Ha! I hate snow!!!!!

    1. Some things are worth the expenditure!

    2. You know, we do our best to use the money we are blessed with in a wise way. It sounds to me like that's just what you have done, by figuring out what you need, asking for discounts, etc. I hope you don't need it often, since you don't like snow! :)

  2. Looks like you had a great week! I have tiny nativity envy!

    We went on our little 2 night vacation to Virginia. The funds to cover the cabin we rented on came from leftover eat out money that we have a cash budget for each month. When we get the new cash we put the leftover in an envelope of savings money for a special outing. This was well worth it as the leaves were at their best and we just had a great time. It was only 3 hours from home which is just far enough to be a new place and not a long and expensive drive. We ate 5 out of 6 meals at the cabin using food brought from home. We went to the Blue Ridge Parkway Music Center which was nearby and free. They had a museum about the old mountain music and local musicians have a jam session there from 12-4 everyday. All free and very enjoyable. We took in a bluegrass concert for which the tickets were only $5. It was a blast with many down front dancing and just having a great time. We did a lot of rocking on the porch and even saw deer in the yard the first evening. The landlord supplied us with eggs from her chickens, wine, cheese, crackers, coffee and cream and sugar and microwave popcorn. We hope to save enough for a repeat of this trip next year. We may get a larger place and split with some bluegrass loving friends of ours. That will save us all some money.

    Today we took a short drive up to our 'local' mountains and bought apples. Culls are $5 a half bushel. We are set for weeks. Our son will be up that way next month and we will ask him to pick us up another $5 bag then.

    We put about 50 pots of flowers and plants into the garage for the winter today. We have a 4x6 foot section of wood fence that we have put wheels under to store the plants. On warm and sunny days we wheel them out and water them. Next spring I will cut them back and fertilize them and they are off and growing again. I have found that cutting them back now will kill them. When we first started this I thought that they would be less stressed with less foliage but it is not the case. Some of my geraniums are at least 10 years old now. This saves us a great deal on plants for our deck every year. I also overwinter an azalea tree, bromeliads, purple cone flowers and New Guinea impatiens and some tropicals that I don't know the name of. Some years it gets too cold in the garage for the impatiens and I lose them but it is worth a try. I cut all of the basil and put it in a glass of water for use over the next week or two. There were some basil seedlings under the big plants so I took those out and put them into a small pot for my kitchen window sill. A few other tropical type plants are in the house for the winter. I still have about 30 pots to empty and store but what can be harmed by cold weather are inside now. I also have a fountain to empty and cover in the next few days. It pays to take care of what we have to save money on more next year. Later we will put outdoor furniture into the screen porch.

    The speaker in our TV have started to buzz so hubby ordered some new ones for about $20 as his research shows that they are simple to replace and it is worth a try. I hope it fixes it!

    I earned Swagbucks for $40 more in Amazon cards. I have over $400 banked from Swagbucks now. It may come down to replacing the TV with it if the speaker replacement does not work.

    I entered all of last weeks expenditures into my budget ledger as I do every Friday so that I know where the budget stands. As we get close to the end of the month I need to know where we stand. I am doing quite well on the grocery budget this month.

    Have a good week!

    1. know, we recently bought Hubby a tv - an out-of-box deal at Costco, and the speaker on it is not spectacular. I wonder if it would be hard to upgrade/replace? It's not that it's buzzing, just that you can tell they are not great speakers. Something to consider!

    2. If we have to replace this one we will definitely get a Vizio. The sound on those is fantastic.We have a small one upstairs and the difference in sound quality is huge. The buzzing one is a Sanyo. We inherited it from my FIL after he died last year. He had only had it for 3 months and the sound was never good but the sound is so bad now that sometimes we cannot understand what is being said.

      BTW-things I buy at Trader Joe's-vinegars and specialty oils like toasted sesame, dried fruit which is absolutely the best anywhere, bagels which are nearly as good as the bagel shop, whole wheat flour, cut flowers when I have a need for them, I always have a want for them :),sometimes I buy a nice cheese there for something special, peanut butter cups as a treat-they are SO good, in the fall they have maple leaf sandwich cookies that are amazing, it is the only place to get some pastas in my area, wine-great prices, spices, when they have popcorn it is non GMO. I think that is it. I only go about every two months because it is always mobbed and it is 22 miles from home.


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