Monday, December 29, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments 12/22-12/28

It is that time of the week again! This has been a busy week thanks to Christmas parties and getting ready for our Spring homeschooling semester!                                                                              

We attended my husband's unit Christmas party. The tickets were $20 per plate for a sit down style dinner. I wasn't overly thrilled with the price but it was a mandatory attendance situation so I went with it. While we were there my number was chosen to pick a prize from the Christmas tree. I won a free photo shoot for our family! I have been saying for months that we need new pictures taken but have not been able to afford to have them professionally done. I am pretty excited about this opportunity! Also while we were there a friend of my husbands won a 5 pack of free skating tickets and was unable to use them so he donated them to our family. I am sure the children will be over the moon for this outing!

As we were leaving another friend of my husbands insisted we take the wrapping paper that was leftover from another game. Apparently it was destine for the garbage if we didn't take it home with us. We had run out of paper here at home and I still had quite a few packages to wrap so I was very excited about receiving the free paper. I was able to wrap all of our remaining gifts with the free paper and still have a half a roll leftover for next year!

As I mentioned we are working on our Spring homeschooling semester prep at the moment. The biggest financial outlay came in the form of buying Sonlight Core B for our oldest two girls. It is a core curriculum that covers a years worth of History, Language Arts, and Bible through the use of living books.  We finished our History curriculum just before we took our winter break so I needed to get a new curriculum in place by January 5th when we start back. The Core retails for $459. Ouch! No matter how much I loved the curriculum I couldn't afford to pay that kind of money. Just the thought of it made me ill. I began looking for a used option and found a complete set for $200 plus $15 shipping. We decided to go for it and used our homeschool sinking fund to pay for the books. When we received the package I found that we were 3 books short. I contacted the seller who couldn't remember ever even seeing the books when she used the curriculum. I decided to look into purchasing the books used via amazon and wasn't happy with the price ($4 per book). I figured it was a long shot but I asked on our local homeschool facebook group and found two ladies with the books that were more than happy to let us borrow them for the weeks we needed them! I am crazy excited to get started!

The next "hole" in our Spring semester was a new handwriting book for our 8yr old daughter. We have been using Handwriting without tears but the costs of the workbooks ($11 with shipping) was adding up very quickly. I guess it is a blessing that the girls love them so much they insist on finishing the whole thing in one sitting. It however wasn't a blessing to my budget. While piddling around on Facebook I found a code for a free copy of Cursive Handwriting Practice From The Bible.  I am good with free! I am not sure if the code still works but you are welcome to give it a go and see: BIBLEFREE.

While looking at the handwriting practice sheets listed above a popup appeared offering me a free copy of Elementary Writing Plan: From Handwriting Practice to Writing Essays. Why yes, yes I will. I have not had a chance to read through the book yet but from a cursory glance it looks interesting and helpful.

This week I have also been using my swagbucks account more regularly in the effort of earning amazon gift cards to put towards the purchase of our January Science book and an external CD drive for my laptop. I somehow managed to buy a laptop without a disk drive which isn't cool when you need to play CD's for school assignments. For those who have not heard of swagbucks it is a site that issues points for doing surveys, using their search bar, and watching videos. I installed the swagbucks apps on my phone and then simply let them run while I am busy doing other things. At the end of the day I earn 126 points just from letting my phone run the apps! If I have time to do surveys or otherwise interact with their site I earn more points. Once I have 450 points I can trade them in for a $5 amazon gift card. If I chose to save the points up a bit more I can also exchange them for a  $25 paypal gift card! In the last week I have earned $15 in amazon gift cards. I plan to earn one more amazon gift card in the next day or two and be able to purchase the Science book and disk drive for free. I then plan on saving my points towards 2 of the paypal gift cards with the intent of using them towards the twins next level of workbooks. I know it isn't exactly a landslide of cash but every little bit counts and you can't beat getting paid to simply let apps run on your phone while you are going about your life!

Speaking of going about your life we managed to run out of dishwasher tabs this week with nothing left in the budget to buy new ones. I can, and did, do the dishes by hand but lets face it I am addicted to my dishwasher. While cleaning out my laundry room I found all of the ingredients for making our own dishwasher detergent. I had purchased the ingredients a few years ago to make our detergent and then forgotten about them in the hussle and bussle of having our 6th child. I figured now was a good a time as any to get back into making it.

Our recipe:
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing soda
1/4 cup Epsom salts
4 Tbsp Citric Acid

Mix well and store in an air tight container. Use 1-2 Tbsp powder per load.

That was our week at a glance. I would love to hear about your frugal accomplishments!

1 comments on "Frugal Accomplishments 12/22-12/28"

Terri Cheney on December 29, 2014 at 8:07 PM said...

I love how often you were blessed with free items for your homeschool curriculum. Also excited to see the dishwasher soap recipe. I have almost all the ingredients on hand and can certainly pick up the missing item cheaply. I have water that tests 'very soft' so will try a small batch first to see how it does in our dishwasher.


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