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Frugal Accomplishments for the Beginning of April

Easter Daffodil Bouquet The Prudent Homemaker

I cut daffodils and nasturtiums from the garden to enjoy in the house.

Lemons and Parsley The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested Meyer lemons, parsley, green onions, snow peas, rosemary, oregano, and Mandarin oranges from the garden.

Octavius Picking Peas The Prudent Homemaker

I froze lemon juice from our lemons to use later throughout the year, and I dried parsley to use throughout the year.

I sowed seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers and zucchini in the garden.

I watched three episodes of Call The Midwife on Pbs.org.

I enjoyed reading a book that someone dropped off on my doorstep (a reader, I believe!). 

My husband received a $25 gift card to a restaurant for his birthday from my parents. The restaurant also has a free burger the month of your birthday. We had water to drink, combined the gift card and free burger with an inexpensive sandwich, split them both, and paid for the remaining sandwich plus a tip (for both) on the gift card for a date, using just under $11 on the gift card. We can then use the gift card a second time when my birthday comes for a second date.

We combined the lunch out with our trip to Sam's Club to save time and gas.

My husband worked from home one day.

I gave one daughter a haircut.

I shared lemons and Swiss chard from the garden with a friend. She surprised me with homemade pasta that she made using some Swiss chard.

We gratefully accepted some pinwheel sandwiches, fruit, and cut veggies that were leftover from a funeral.

We sprayed the house for bugs using spray we already had, rather than hiring a company to come out as many people do here. We found 5 scorpions in the last month (my husband found one touching his hand while he was cutting potatoes!) Warm weather means it's time to spray again, and it was 92°F (33°C) here on Saturday.

I dug and divided some iris that had finished blooming and had multiplied. I will plant the bulbs in new places in the garden on Monday.

I dug a peony root that has never bloomed. I figured I must have planted it too deep on accident (I had). While digging it, I accidentally broke it in several places. It had grown quite large and so should be fine being divided. I replanted two parts and will replant the remaining parts in the garden in several new places on Monday.

 What did you do to save money this past week?

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  • Lisa from Maine April 09, 2018

    I, more often than not, read everyone's weekly accomplishments but don't create a list for myself.I learn so much from everyone in this community and am always so inspired! I tended to keep a mental list of my frugal accomplishments instead. Writing my accomplishments for the last 2 weeks has really opened my eyes. I now realize I was doing a great disservice to myself and I feel this was my greatest frugal fail.
    I do not have to be accountable to anyone but I have been missing out on the community support that your blog creates especially since I do not have that support locally. I really appreciate what you have created with this blog.
    Putting my list in writing has put it in "black & white". Looking at the hard copy helps me to see what I do well and what I can improve on. I am strong in the planning stage...it's the follow up where I need to improve on. My goal for my listing is to set up my game plan for saving money.
    so getting off my soap box here is my list for the last 2 weeks:

    only went to town 1X each week combining errands & shopping. Saving on gas and impulse buys
    cut $30 each week in spending
    gave husband & 1 son a haircut
    1 daughter had an opportunity for a free trip to NYC through school. Only cost to her was for souveniers which she paid for.
    used up all leftovers in 2nd week--no food waste--which is a big win here
    husband brought leftovers to work all week and heated them in his truck. Also refilled plastic bottles for his drinks.
    I also ate leftovers this week at lunch or frozen diet meals leftover from work days
    In addition to our Easter ham I bought 3 additional hams for freezer at 57 cents/lb. Will stretch to eat one every 2 months in time for Christmas sales.
    had phone interview with unemployment office for determination of benefits
    Both our middle and youngest daughters had birthdays in the last 2 weeks. I had purchased the budgeted presents while I was still working. Our older daughter had previously won a local charity singing competition so we spent her birthday at the final competition (I also had purchased tickets for this event when I was employed). Since the competition was about an hour away from home I packed both lunch and supper for the family. The Charity found out it was her birthday so over 800 attendees sang happy birthday to her while she was on stage. She is shy so was embarrassed about it but hey, you only turn 16 once, so enjoy it. It was a wonderful event and the charity raised $20,000.
    My younger daughter wanted a lot of presents. I purchased a lot of smaller presents for the same budget amount and wrapped them individually in some Christmas wrap she had outgrown.
    Both girls had homemade cakes made with sale priced mixes from my pantry. I always use candles that are numbers. Once used I wash & keep in a container to use as needed. After over 20 years of birthdays I have all the numbers. I just replace as needed plus I can easily tell which birthday it is by the candle used.
    we used a gc to pay for gas for both vehicles
    I continued to heat the house with wood during the day and only oil late at night while we slept. The afternoons have been warm enough that I have even let the wood heat die down to use the sun to keep us warm thus saving on wood. We did have 2 days that we used only oil due to 1 foot of heavy snow one day and high winds the next. Our system will overheat if we lose electricity so we decided not to take the chance.

  • Marybeth April 11, 2018

    It sounds like both of your daughters had lovely birthdays.

  • Laurie in AZ April 14, 2018

    I keep a running list of my accomplishments so I can post them to this blog. Once I started doing this, it was incentive to me to do even more, as I wanted to add to my list!

    Thank you, Brandy, for providing this forum of sharing and inspiration!

  • Douai April 09, 2018

    March has been a better than average month for my saving and stretching. I’m still wasting money but not as bad as I used to.

    We got several free items from the grocery store Monopoly game which amount to $25 savings. I also won $5 from the Monopoly game as well. I took surveys and got a $2 off coupon to Dollar General that I used. We saved $7.50 on gas from earning rewards with our grocery store. Our mortgage company sent us a check for overpayment which we sent to pay down debt. We were able to transfer some debt to save on interest cost. I admit that I have been overwhelmed lately with our finances and am stressing a lot more than I know I should. Transferring some of our debt will help ease the burden. I have also been researching ways to stretch our dollar even further. We are eating cheaper meals, less meat and trying to get a garden going. If anyone knows how to increase the ph of soil naturally (I can’t buy anything right now) I’m listening. My seedlings start growing but stay thin and don’t develop into strong plants. I’m really new to planting still and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.

    Thank you for sharing your stories. I seem to always learn and be encouraged every week.

  • A lower interest rate will definitely make it easier to pay off your debt faster as well as save money! Good for you!

    Is your soil very acidic? Lime is usually what is added to make soil more alkaline. I don't know another way to change that. Are you sure that you are having a ph problem? Perhaps your plants need something else in the soil.

    We have the opposite problem here with very alkaline soil and water.

  • Douai April 10, 2018

    I bought a dodad that mesasures the soil wetness and ph. I am trusting that it is right. It says my soil is at a 2. I will add some lime and see. I think I have a bag that I bought last year sitting somewhere! When I prepared my soil last month I added what I thought was good compost, some of the bead fertilizer and mixed in some grass clippings. Really I’m trusting the tester I bought but maybe things aren’t doing well for another reason. I’m such a newbie that I need gadgets to help me figure out what is what in the gardening area. Thanks for answering! I appreciate it!

  • Andrea Q April 11, 2018

    pH ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Most plants like 6 to 7 pH. If your soil is really a 2, that is very acidic...similar to lemon juice and vinegar, which will kill plants.

  • Cindi April 10, 2018

    If you have access to wood ash (from a fireplace, fire pit, or woodburning stove) that can help raise soil ph. Also, composting your vegetable scraps and using the compost in your garden can help bring the soil to a more neutral ph. Composted manure is also a good addition (if you have anyone around you who keeps animals you might ask for manure. If it is fresh, you'll have to let it break down before you put it in the garden.) If you have poor soil it can take a while to develop it into good soil.

  • Douai April 10, 2018

    Thank you for your suggestions! I may be able to get some manure from a neighbors family that farms as well as some ash from my next door neighbor. Thanks again!

  • Mable April 10, 2018

    Make sure they don't feed their farm animals on land that has had herbicides applied in the last two years. The poisons can remain active even when passed through the cattle's stomachs and, even if aged, can stunt or kill plants.

  • I did remember a solution for lowering pH. You can add crushed eggshells. They add calcium and make the soil more alkaline (which is why the local gardening classes here speak against using them, as our soil is already too alkaline).

    Lime is high in calcium and magnesium. Epson salts add magnesium to the soil.
    You can rinse out milk jugs and add that little bit of watery milk to your garden.

    Coffee grounds add nitrogen, but they acidify the soil.

    You can use food scraps buried in the garden to help the soil as well (trench composting). This will add organic matter.

    Are there worms in your soil? If you are not finding worms, then you need to add some. Depending on where you live, you may be able to dig them somewhere and add them to your garden. They will need those food scraps to have something to eat. Where we live, there are no worms, so I had to purchase them for the garden.

  • Douai April 10, 2018

    I have plenty of egg shells to use! And coffee grounds. Thank you for everything! I don’t have any worms as these are raised beds and all the reading I have done states raised beds get hotter than the ground. Living in zone 6b means we have hot summers. I was worried about cooking the worms! I also read that for gardening we should use certain worms and I left off feeling confused on how to proceed. Thanks again for all the advice!

  • If you have a pH of 2, do NOT use the coffee grounds because they will only make it more acidic.

    Worms can live in raised beds (regular garden worms, not red worms for composting) in hotter climates than 6a. I live in a zone 9a and we have 116° summers (and hotter, most years). It is 90° here today. You can buy worm castings to add to your soil, but having worms is a sign of healthy soil, and they help add nutrients to your soil as they break things down. I bought worms at my local garden center. However, in your case, I would work on making the soil more neutral before I added worms.

    A pH of 2 is EXTREMELY low. Acid-loving plants like blueberries and azaleas still want around a 4.4. If your soil is that acidic, the plants can't take up the nutrients. You definitely need to change the pH to make your garden able to grow. Most plants prefer a neutral pH (6.5 to 7), which is much higher.

    On a positive note, berries should do well in your area, once you've upped the pH a little :)

    Wood ash will quickly change the pH; lime can take some time. This explains: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/newsdetail.cfm?NewsID=12505

  • Maxine April 12, 2018

    I suspect that the pH is NOT 2. Either the doo-dad malfunctioned, or Douai used it improperly. I would call the county extension service and ask a Master Gardener what is the usual pH in the area. Douai's soil may be a bit higher or lower, but this would be a good starting point. I would not start adding things to the soil until I was absolutely sure of the pH.

  • Pauline in Upstate NY April 09, 2018

    Hello, dear friends (that is how I think of this community I’ve never met),

    A couple weeks ago, someone asked Brandy how she got so much done. Part of her reply had to do with taking a vitamin B-12 supplement, and a couple people responded that they did, too. Based on that, I perused the vitamin shelves at the grocery, saw bottles of B-12 that were 500, 1000, or 200 micrograms, and I bought the 500 mcg one. I tried it for a week, and the effect was *impressive* — I had so much energy, and I got so much done! But then I realized that the RDA on this is actually something like 2.6 mcg so taking even 500 mcg was a huge dose. And there were a couple of nights I had trouble sleeping (though this could have been just life stuff going on). Anyway, I felt uneasy with this and decided to stop it for a few days. Now I have resumed it taking a quarter tab each day (125 micrograms) to see how I feel with that. May I ask those of you who are taking it how much are you taking, and did you start because you had a known deficiency of B-12 or just because you wanted more energy?

  • Laurie in central NC April 09, 2018

    Pauline, I take B100-Complex, which includes B-12 at 100 mcg, because I've been a vegetarian for over 30 years, and it is hard to get B-12 from non-animal sources. I've never been told I have a deficiency, but am just trying to be proactive. I do have lots of energy most of the time, but not sure if it has anything to do with B-12, or other causes.

  • Cindi April 10, 2018

    I also take a B-complex. I used to write articles for medical magazine. Once I was assigned to write about B vitamins and I learned that most people over age 50 (I know Brandy is younger than that, so this doesn't really apply to her) have trouble absorbing enough vitamin B from food, so taking a supplement can help. I do find I feel better when I take it.

  • Pauline, I take extra B-12 as well as extra iron to prevent anemia during pregnancy. My midwife has intructed me to take it. I take a multi-vitamin that contains both, but that is not enough. I take several additional sources of iron as well as 1000mcg of B-12 each day while pregnant. If I forget and miss three days, I can really see a drop in my energy. It's important that I keep my hemoglobin numbers up so that I can safely deliver a baby, and both iron and b-12 help with that. If I don't take them, my hemoglobin numbers dip too low; I had issues with this in previous pregnancies with a different midwife. This midwife has been very dilgent about making sure I take these; in fact, she will be checking my hemoglobin levels again today.

    Your body does expel extra b vitamins in urine (your pee will turn flourecent yellow) so you should be able to see that. So I don't worry if I have more than I can use.

  • Rhonda A. April 10, 2018

    Pauline, I had gastic by-pass surgery a few years ago, which means my body is not able to absorb vitamins properly now. I must take a regime of vitamins every day and will for the rest of my life. My regime includes taking B-12, 1200mcg every third day, as suggested by the gastic by-pass medical team.So, if the tablet you have bought is too high of dose, you could try taking it every second or third day, instead of cutting the pill and taking every day. I mark it on the calendar, so I can check each day if I need to take it or not. Just like Brandy mentioned, if you forget to take it, you WILL notice your energy levels dragging. Just another thought, anyways.

  • Melonie K. April 09, 2018

    I recently realized that I missed posting at the end of March - oops! So I've got a bit of a long post over on my blog now, to share for both weeks. Happy April, all!


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