Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 16, 2018


This was a week of bustling around, preparing for Christmas, going to the doctor quite a bit, having company over for lunch on Saturday, and having Jake and Michaela stay over here with us for a long weekend, ending on Tuesday.

On Saturday,  we wanted to attend the Christmas program at church, and our friends wanted to go as well, so we had an early lunch, then went to the program.  This meant that the food needed to be easy to fix, and easy to put away.  Our oldest daughter wanted to come, too, which meant that her special dietary needs needed to be met, as well as my need for no-gluten. There needed to be lots of it, since there were 15 people, counting us, and I needed to stay within my lowered food budget for this month.  Good thing I love a challenge and have a deep pantry!

So, what did we do?

We defrosted a turkey previously purchased inexpensively.  It was quite small, and perfect for this occasion.  Rob stuffed it with apples, cooked it on the BBQ, and we cut it up on Friday.  We also had part of a ham we were eating on, so I sliced off some nice pieces and set them aside and let the family eat the other bits during the week.  I also had part of a roast beef I had cooked earlier in the week, which was sliced as well.  All of those meats were re-warmed in the microwave, taking care to put a little liquid in with them and they were tightly covered.  Rob handled that. Nothing was dry, and everyone had choices.

I made twice-baked potatoes, home-canned green beans, corn, and cookies.  I also put some baby carrots and cauliflower pieces in a dish.  That was it.  It worked beautifully, didn’t cost much, and there was plenty.  In fact, we are going to repeat the lunch today at Family Sunday Dinner with the leftovers–win-win!

I cleaned the house.  I used items I had for decor.  I found paper plates and plastic cups and even some Christmas napkins out in the garage.  We put up a table in the living room and another small one in Patsy’s room to supplement the dining room table.  Usually, we seat extra people out in the garage, which is set up with a table and some chairs.  It was pretty cold out there, so with these tables, we were able to avoid that yesterday, and the kids were able to play games at the table in Patsy’s room as well.

We ate, visited, put perishable food away, threw away the plates, and put the silverware in the sink and went off to the program.  It really didn’t take long to clean it up that evening.  We had so much fun visiting with our friends, as we don’t see them much anymore since we live a little distance from them now, and the program was really, really well done and wonderful to watch.  The music was amazing, with a large choir, a children’s choir, an orchestra, and also drama with angels, Mary and Joseph, and shepherds with real sheep!  I’m sure glad I was not in charge of those sheep, but enjoyed watching the shepherds manage them:). To me, it really feels like Christmas when I can watch the Christmas story, shown in such a creative way, and I loved sharing the enjoyment with our daughter and friends.  One of their sons recently married, and he and his wife now live down our direction, and have been attending our church (super special for us to see them on Sundays) so the young couple were in the choir, and our youngest was on stage crew–so that was special, too.


I messed up the first tray of cookies.  There was not enough flour in them, and they crumbled up terribly when I removed them from the pan.  So, I crumpled them up even more, made some hot fudge/mint sauce, and will serve the sauce and cookies today over the ice cream that my aunt is bringing to dinner.

I have been buying the super good deals that have been offered at the stores with most of my grocery budget.  This week, my aunt clued me in to the fact that there were eggs for 79c/dozen at Safeway on one day only.  She got me the 2 dozen allowed on her card, since she had recently purchased eggs, and I stopped by and got 2 more.  Yesterday, I got the 5,  8-ounce shredded cheese allowed at Fred Meyers for 99c/each.  I got 5 Hot Wheels cars for 50c/each to set aside for my nephew’s birthday in January, and 2 boxes of coffee at 3.99 each.  (I could have had 5, but that was what I chose to spend). I did have to buy almost $25 of produce this week though–it’s pretty expensive right now, and  but I’m not cutting corners on that right now.  There were several free items I picked up, and one more that they were out of and I can hopefully get before the coupon expires.  I put a few more cents onto my Ibotta account, but most of my shopping was items that were store brands or items that there were no rebates for.   I’ve got about $60 left from the $250 I want to spent this month.  The budget I set was an average of $50/week, plus $50 to stock up on sales with. I am on track to easily manage it, I feel, but will go over if produce continues to be so high.  (I have a little more available, but would rather buy Christmas goodies with it if possible) We are eating home-canned and frozen items, using produce from the $1/marked-down rack when I can get anything there, and still burning through salad stuff, carrots, potatoes, etc. like crazy. Go, us!  The commercial that would rather have us eat peanut butter cups says, “Not sorry–Reeses”. I say, “Not sorry–veggies!”  I’m so proud of Rob for sticking to this diet for so long.  He gets weighed again this week.  Here’s hoping he’s lost some more:)

I had 2 incidents this week where they over-charged me at the grocery store.  I was able to catch it by paying attention, and got both of them corrected.  One time was for $7 and the other $3, so I saved $10.


I made a lot of burritos and froze them.  The filling mixture is cooked brown rice and quinoa, pinto and black beans, cheese, a tomato and a jar of the home-canned taco sauce I made last summer.  I found these tortillas at a scratch and dent store for 50c/package.  I filled them, and wrapped them in foil and froze them.  Now Rob has something to quickly make for Patsy for dinner on nights when he is just over-done from the day and I’m still at work.  I made lots and plan to gift a few at Christmas time to one of our sons who would love to have some frozen burritos to eat in a hurry.

Patsy did stage crew for the Christmas program.  She needed black clothes.  We looked through all the clearance choices at Fred Meyers and found a plain, long-sleeved t-shirt type black dress.  We decided she could wear that with leggings she already had, so I got away for only $15, since things were marked 1/2 of the clearance price that day!

I hope your week is not too hectic, and that you can have some peaceful times so you can reflect on the true meaning of Christmas amidst the busy, busy week you probably have ahead of you.  That’s what I hope to do, as well.  Merry week before Christmas!


18 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 16, 2018”

  1. I love your creative use of the crumbled cookies. You reminded me I was overcharged last week too, and forgot to put that in my post. I bought bulbs at 75% off, but was charged the regular price. I had to wait a few minutes to have it corrected, but saved $22.47 plus tax. It’s good to pay attention.

  2. I hope Aldi will come to your area sometime soon so you can get the great produce deals that we have by shopping there. We buy tons of produce but I can’t imagine having to do so at the regular grocery store. Yay for Rob for keeping on with the diet! And yay you for making your grocery budget work!

    My biggest deals of the week were 5 big 24 ounce boxes of Kelloggs Frosted Mini Wheats for $4.50 total with iBotta and coupons. Canisters of oats for 70 cents each and Aldi had spiral hams for 95 cents a pound. We have plenty of ham on hand now. We got two free Chick fil A sandwiches, 2 free big cookies and two free big lemonades this week. We mailed Christmas cards to the grandchildren in Germany and made that one ounce stamp count by adding stickers and coloring pages we printed for free. I find these last days before Christmas a great time to pick up some deals on Amazon. I got a pair of New Balance running shoes for me for $16.66 reg $65. No, I don’t run! Years ago my podiatrist told me that New Balance running shoes are an excellent choice for every day footwear. I also picked up a 5 pack of t shirts in gray for hubby for $12. Hubby won a $4 gift card code for Dominos pizza so we had a lg 3 topping pizza for only $4.71. That was a real treat. We had to buy a new toilet seat and those are crazy high priced but I found an add on one on Amazon for $10 off so only $7. We got rid of our big highchair recently because it was so big and heavy so I found one that straps onto a regular chair in the Amazon warehouse for $25 which was a great deal. There wasn’t a thing wrong with it but a badly smashed box. We are set for the grandbabies for years to come now. It also comes apart into a booster. I bought one piano roll for the player on ebay for $6.75 with shipping. Reminder to self to look for them later on after CHristmas when they are cheaper.

    We worked hard at getting things done for Christmas so this week will I hope will not be so much work. I don’t want us to be exhausted when the kids start rolling into town on Saturday. We finally had to just say no more looking at houses until after Christmas is over. It really eats up the time.

    I hope you can put your feet up and enjoy the season this week! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    1. It sounds like you are running to me! What a busy week:). It sounds like you are prepared for the kids to come, though, and will really be able to enjoy the time with them.

      I hope your house search pays off soon. I well remember what a time-sucker that was for us. When we were looking, I remember driving back all the way from the beach (less than 2 hours, but still…) to look at promising houses, because the market was so hot in our area that we could not wait to look at things. Still, it took several months before we were able to get one at a price we could afford, that would work for us at all. We had to compromise a bit, but that’s not surprising!I know you will find a good one. In the meanwhile, it’s great that you can just take a break and enjoy the family for a little while. Have a great Christmas!

  3. Those burritos look good! And go you guys on the veggies! That’s awesome! I was just sitting here working on my budget right before I read your post. I’m over in several areas (unsurprising since I’ve been gone so much 🙁 ), but I was able to shave some money from other areas and I think I’m ok. However, I have a trip to Costco planned today, so we shall see. 🙂 I am just so glad to be HOME that every day seems like a celebration. After church yesterday when my husband asked about lunch and I said I could make some cheese quesadillas for us, my husband said, I’m so glad you are home! Little things are a cause for celebration. I loved your description of the program and your time with friends. Those are the BEST things of all in life.

    1. I’m so glad you can be home, too! That would be the best thing for me, as well.

      Costco is such a budget buster for us, that we rarely go. It’s so easy to put a few extra things in the cart that we can really use, and every one of them is $10-$20 and next thing we know…it’s an extra $100. Yikes! So, good luck striking the balance of getting all those things that will really save you money in the long run, and too many things:)

      That Christmas program was so good, that Rob watched the whole thing over again last night when he took Patsy to do her backstage job. I was watching Jake, doing our routine, or I would have gone as well. I’m super glad I went Saturday, as per plan, so everyone got to go at least once. Have a wonderful week getting ready for Christmas.

  4. So far this month, I’ve only shopped at Safeway on their monthly 10% off day I’ve been getting by going to the nonprofit grocery store and also the weekly food bank. I just had to stop shopping and not spend anything extra. The dog and I have both had extra prescriptions come in the last two months. And that just toppled my budget — well that and my electric bill. My apartment is heated 100% with electric baseboard heat and this time of year the bills really jump up. Very fun to read your post and follow along with all you’re doing.

    1. That sounds like an awful way to heat an apartment–so expensive. I’m sorry it is so much, but I’m very glad you have a heater! Medicine is one of those things….it’s wonderful there is some to fix what ails us, but it costs so much……I’m glad, once again, that you can get what you need there, as well.

      Good job on keeping your grocery budget down so well! My worst thing is going into a store and seeing all the wonderful deals (and they really are this time of year) and not going overboard! I find it works well to just avoid the store like you are, if I don’t want that to happen:). I even stopped myself from looking at ads a few times, in case I saw any really, really good deals! I’ve resorted to sending someone else in to get exactly what I want before, but that’s not working real well right now, because poor Rob can’t walk very well and he was my best “go-getter.” So, I have to be disciplined:(

      I hope this week before Christmas is a good one for you, and that Santa brings you lots of seeds in your stocking for those gardens you love to grow!

      1. Yes, the electric heat is pricey. And I’m on the ground floor with a cement slab below the carpet and vinyl. I learned in my first winter that the floors would just be cold. But, in the summer, this apartment is fantastic in our ‘heat’.

        Broke down yesterday and went to the other big grocery store for this week’s deals. I wanted to spend $20 and spent $22 so felt good about that. And ended up not getting something I had planned to get – packs of tea that I thought were BOGO and were actually Buy2Get1. I decided not to spend the extra $6. I felt good about that.

        Today I’m going to pick up my turkey hamper from the nonprofit grocery store. I ordered it in November and it was $39. It’s for the turkey and all the fixings for the dinner for 4. I bought one last year and it was a fairly good deal although I thought feeding 4 was a stretch.hahaha. It’s a little bit of a fund raiser for the nonprofit as well so even it it’s not fantastic deal, I’m fine with that too.

  5. I love how you can come up with a wonderful meal to feed a crowd on a budget! The show you went to sounds lovely! I hope you and your family and loved ones have a very happy and blessed Christmas.

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