Saving Money–April 2, 2017


We packed “car picnics” several times.  I usually put several food items in the little cooler and put it between the 2 front seats of the van, when we are driving that, and just hand food around as we drive to our destination.  I can think of at least 4 times I did that during the past week alone, saving a minimum of $100 ($25 x 4), and that would be for fast food–not even a regular restaurant.  That could easily run $50 – $60 per time, bringing the savings up to over $200.

We drove the van a lot last week, as the little car was in the shop.  We drove up and got it back on Friday, and it has no more wobbly bearing in the right front side, brand new back brakes (I guess they were really awful–not safe anymore), and the transmission issues from before are all fixed (some cable needed tightening or something).  Also, it doesn’t sound like a ghost is howling in the engine any more.  I guess the alternator went out and the alternator clutch was burning cherry red inside–our good friend and mechanic, Bob, took a picture of it glowing.  I though that there was an awful, new noise that developed on the way to the shop, and I just kept driving and praying and being thankful that we were ON OUR WAY to the shop when it started.  I think that one of the nicest things is putting the car into the hands of one of Rob’s best friends and knowing that he was going to fix it, fix it well, fix everything that needs fixing and nothing more, and not over charge us.  In fact, many, many times in the past, he has vastly undercharged us.   We gratefully paid what he asked, and it wasn’t inexpensive, but I still think he gave us a really good deal this time as well because there were quite a few things that needed done.  I drive so much, I wear things out, so we prefer to get the cars maintained regularly.


Rob hitched up the van to the trailer and we went down to the coast for a few days.  We decided to get away on a little vacation while he had the time off from work/school.  We used our park pass, so the campground was free, and I was far enough along on my “getting it ready” project that it wasn’t too much work.  I did find a few more things that I need to stock in there, though, so I’ll keep on with that project.  I loaded up a few freezer meals I had made a couple of weeks ago, some groceries and clothes, and we were off.    It was pouring rain, and many campsites were actually flooded and the people could not build a fire if they wanted to because their fire pits were under water. Ours wasn’t, but things were super muddy. We were fine with that.  We have a cozy camper.  I was so tired, I slept a ton, read several library books, watched multiple movies, etc.  I did not even go down to the beach.  We took the girls to the outlet mall and we all picked up a few sale clothing items (except Rob, because they took the only big and tall shop out of there, poor Rob).  We ate out a couple of times, but mainly ate simple meals from the camper.  We only roasted hot dogs and marshmallows once, when the weather cleared off a bit.  We bought seafood in a store and cooked it one evening, since we were at the beach, after all, and Rob’s 2 fishing expeditions were not successful.  He pulled up a few crabs on his crab fishing pole, but they were females.


Patsy and I did take one short hike during one clear evening.  There is a trail in the campground we were in.


We enjoyed the flowers and stream we hiked along.

My aunt gave us some food before she left for her vacation– including a few eggs, celery,  and baby carrots.  We ate them on our picnics, and I hardboiled the eggs and we ate egg salad sandwiches, egg salad and plain eggs dipped in salt and pepper for a couple of days.


We finally got a couple of sunny days.  Patsy and I worked in the yard for several hours.  We transplanted some daffodils from this flowerbed to the front.  We planted some dahlias my sister gave me in the section to the left of the little white fence, and a few out front.  We have hours and hours of yard work left to do, but it was good to get started.

Rob went and got our tillers from my sister’s farm where they were stored.  He did one trial strip in the garden and feels he can get into it before long, if it stays dry for a few days.  Then, I can plant cool-weather veggies.

I was happy to spend so much time with Rob during the week, and really glad to get caught up on my sleep.  I was able to get organized a bit for the week ahead, so I’m ready to go–back on my busy schedule!

12 thoughts on “Saving Money–April 2, 2017”

  1. Your guardian angel must have been riding along with you on that trip to the garage, Becky! Yikes! Glad you have a good mechanic. Sounds expensive. Happy you had a nice vacation. Sometimes just getting away from it all is all the vacation you need.


    1. Yes, Rob learned years ago that I just won’t stop unless he takes me somewhere else:) So, just being in another location causes me to sleep and sleep and sleep… I feel more human again.

      I am feeling so blessed that the car broke when it did. The other stuff we were having done was scheduled, some routine, not critical, etc. That alternator became critical on the way to the shop. Amazing!

  2. So happy you and family got to enjoy a mini vacation. SO nice to catch up on sleep too.ha
    Proud you got the van fixed .. Sounds like it was in need for sure..and nice to have the friend
    who helped you and fixed it.
    Have a great week.

    1. It was actually the Rav4 that got fixed. The van is going to need some major work, too, but it’s going to have to wait a little while until we recover from this batch of car repair! Isn’t it funny how things break in groups? Kind of funny anyway:)

  3. Glad you had a good week off and your car is fixed! Two and half weeks between us and our getaway and sleep. We own a house on a lake in partnership and have not been there for 6 months. We need sleep and to get away from the crazy schedule we are on with cardiac rehab and naps and work.

    Your car picnics look yummy. Food in the car is always so good and I can’t say why but it is akin to the food out camping to me. But, we have not been camping in maybe 20 years. After we bought the house on the lake 16 years ago I decided that I liked the bathroom right across the hall. 🙂 Camping would definitely be nicer in your camper than our tent!

    1. I have also passed the time in life where it is much fun to hike down the campground in the dark and often rain, flashlight bobbing, trying to find the outhouse:) I love our camper for saving me from that! We also tend to camp at non-traditional times, so it is usually rainy like it was this past week, so the roof over my head is also a big deal to me. And the heater. And the comfy bed and couches. And the fridge. I could go on and on about how much I love my camper:)

      We did tent camp 2 summers ago for the first time in years, and it was fun because the weather was so warm and balmy, it was a full moon, we were with good friends in a place where the camper would not easily be pulled to, or parked into and I had a big, comfy air mattress.

      A lake house is actually a wonderful thing. I am sure you enjoy it as much as we enjoy the camper–it just stays put and you don’t have to pull it anywhere, which would be nice at times!

  4. Yay for camping and getting away!!!! We are on spring break this week and are supposed to go camping on Wednesday. BUT, we are suppose to get some bad weather (tornadoes) on Wednesday and I have a sick dog that may need to go back to the vet for more tests. So we will see if we actually get to go. I’m praying we will! Sleep and reading are on my wish list!

    1. I hope you get to go, and it is good weather! I always say I’m going to sleep a lot, but rarely actually do it–I’m a bit of a busy beaver. But, this time, I really did!

  5. I’m so glad you were able to get away and got caught up on your sleep Becky. I always sleep better near the beach. I think the sounds of the ocean sooth me. 🙂 Be blessed my friend!

    1. I think it was the sound of rain–dripping, dropping, pouring, pounding…….it is soothing, especially since our days of tents are over! So soothing:) Thanks!

  6. Your camping trip sounded so nice! the pictures are beautiful! Patsy and your gardening is very nice also. Your food looks fresh and healthy. Fast food just leaves you feeling a bit yucky and with the cost of eating out, and for knowing what is in your food, I am for packing food also! Andrea

    1. When I eat out, I often get sick, also–sometimes really, really sick, so it’s not something I care to do very often:)

      I’m so excited about gardening this year! Rob did some tilling this evening while I was still at work, so I’m eager to see what I can do in the morning–he says there is a little area that I can probably plant some early veggies in, but the rest will need more tilling before it’s ready. A great start, hopefully tomorrow!

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