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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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  • Holly April 12, 2018

    The Goodwill stores in mid-Michigan never, ever seem to have wool sweaters for sale. I have a suspicion that they get better prices for them by selling them in batches to a place up north that recycles sweaters into pricy patchwork hats and mittens by felting them and then cutting them up.

  • Laurie in central NC April 13, 2018

    I've felted old wool sweaters, and blanket stitched two layers together for potholders.

  • Jean April 09, 2018

    Laurie, I also live in piedmont North Carolia. Our dock is huge and tough already. Do you use it for tinctures or cooking?

  • Laurie in central NC April 09, 2018

    Jean, lately I've been using the dock to eat with eggs, but in the past I did tincture some. I'm in Seagrove. Where are you located?

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks April 11, 2018

    Seagrove...I had distant relatives that were the Coles of Cole's pottery. Many fond memories spent at the Seagrove potteries during my childhood :)

  • Laurie in central NC April 13, 2018

    Lynn, I love living here, among all the creative folks. I also think it's really beautiful. One of my earliest pottery purchases, before I lived here, was from Cole Pottery. I used it for many years.

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks April 14, 2018

    There are indeed many creative people in that area. I'm sure that would be inspiring. I've got plenty of the Cole cobalt blue pottery (my favorite), along with their special red, plus pieces from other potters in the area in my collection. The nearby Why Not cemetery has become the final resting place for generations of our family. It's so pretty there in the foothills.

  • Annaliese April 11, 2018

    Laurie, I feel like I may of met you at a Christmas sale/bazaar at the big Church in Elon across from the college last December...If not, do you got out and set up at church stuff like that?

  • Laurie in central NC April 11, 2018

    Annaliese, the only show I do in December is Handmade Holiday in Asheboro. We're probably kindred spirits though :o).

  • Laurie in AZ April 08, 2018

    Your son is adorable! And once again, your pictures are beautiful!

    My frugal accomplishments:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Used up some carnitas from the freezer. Made carnitas quesadillas for dinner then Hubby took leftover meat with some pintos for lunch 2 days. He brought salad 2 more days and ate very cheaply the 5th day.
    • I took my lunch to work 1 of the 2 days I went in. I have been freezing all of my leftovers in serving size containers. This makes it so easy to put my lunch together for work. The third day, my boss bought me lunch.
    • Took my Dad out for our weekly lunch. Had a coupon for the restaurant for a burger and beer for $11. He likes to order a beer when we go out. I told him he needed to have a burger this time, which he was fine with. I had them split the bill, as Ibotta has a rebate for that restaurant, but it can’t be combined with another offer. I used that on mine. Still had money on a gift card, so total for the whole lunch for both of us including tip was $20.
    • Worked 16.5 contract hours.
    • Needed printer ink. Bought the refurbished instead of new via Amazon. We have Prime so shipping was free. Frugal fail, I forgot to order it via the Ibotta app.
    • Got a few other Ibotta rebates.
    • Took grandson to the library for free Toddler Time and checked out some books for him.
    • Found 2 very large pictures at Goodwill to decorate our new home. I went during ½ off day, so only paid $70 for both. These would easily have been $150 apiece in the store. I also got a candle holder and candle for $2.50 and 2 small decorative shelves for $2 each.
    • Cut roses off of our rose tree to display on our kitchen table. Really brightens up the room. You’ve inspired me to want more flower plants outside that I can cut and bring in, Brandy!
    • We hosted an 80’s mystery party and I only needed to spend $3 for a blouse for our costumes. And it is one I can wear again. We had a lot of food leftover, so we will be eating that for the next few days. We also bought rope and posts (theme was an island lodge and Hubby made it look like a gangplank on our front porch). We will use them in future also.
    • We needed a new bed so we went to a mattress store. After picking our jaws up off the floor when we saw their prices, we went to Costco to see what they had. We paid less than half of what the mattress store wanted.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  • KathyCA April 15, 2018

    Laurie, I’m sure you know, keep your mattress receipt. Costco has an amazing return policy when the mattress becomes worn.

  • Megan Z. April 08, 2018

    I made several meals from items in the freezer or pantry. I also refrained from going to the grocery store as I didn’t want to spend any money and didn’t need anything.

    I bought a jacket using a 20% off coupon. I also returned a pair of shoes to the store. I purchased the shoes online with free shipping but if I had returned through the mail would have paid $6.

    My husband and I got gas from Sam’s club while we were out shopping. We saved almost 20 cents/gallon. We also stopped at a Home depot we don’t normally go to. They had complimentary Starbucks coffee and tea so we each got a cup.

    While it hasn’t been warm here, we’ve not had the heat run most days so should have a low bill. I’m hoping the warm weather starts soon so I can plant in the garden.

  • Cindy in the South April 08, 2018

    I usually fix a ham dish of ham, pineapple, rice and cheese. I substituted figs for the pineapple, and it was fine. I made potato salad with the last of the potatoes. I had a package of hot dogs in the freezer, and I grilled them for lunch this next week. I used up the last of the cabbage head to make a coleslaw to go with it, and used up the last of my sweet pickles. I will have to pay taxes this year, so I am buckling down and eating out of my large food storage for the rest of the month. I dyed my hair and did my nails. I listened to blue grass, blues, and gospel music on the radio.

  • Cindi April 08, 2018

    I love the picture of your little garden helper!
    I cut daffodils from the yard to enjoy in the house.
    We received a surprise rebate from the electric co-op at our former residence, and used the money to go out to breakfast one morning. Otherwise, all meals were cooked at home. I made one meal’s worth of pulled pork stretch to two meals by serving it over baked potatoes one night, and as a toppings for nachos another night. I baked sandwich bread and French bread.
    The snow peas I planted last week are coming up. I have tomato, chard, and broccoli seedlings under a grow light in my spare bedroom, and peas, broccoli, lettuce and arugula are coming up in the greenhouse. Onion sets I ordered were delivered and I planted them. I also planted carrot seed. The rhubarb is also coming up.
    Last year I bought an LL Bean linen shirt at the thrift store for $1. It was marked down because it was missing a button – but spare buttons were sewn into the inseam, so replacing the button was no problem. I love the style of the shirt, but the color – pale yellow – wasn’t very flattering to me. So I used a coupon to buy a bottle of apple green Rit dye at JoAnn’s and dyed the shirt. It turned out lovely and I will get much more wear out of it now.

  • Beautiful daffodils! Really scary about the spiders. Glad you are money spraying for them yourself. It's too cold here for deadly spiders, thank goodness! We might get a warm up next week. Here are my frugal accomplishments: http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/04/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-4815.html

  • They are actually scorpions, not spiders. Both scorpions and spiders aren't killed by spray, but you can kill their food, which helps. We've never had this many scorpions at once, and never in the kitchen. Dollar Tree sells blacklights so we may end up getting one and going scorpion hunting at night to find them (they glow under a blacklight).

  • Athanasia April 11, 2018

    Brandy, hunting scorpions with a black light in one's house sounds like the plot of a horror story to me :(

  • Vickie April 15, 2018

    I can't imagine hunting scorpions! I'm glad you are braver than me though and taking care of it.

  • Rhonda A. April 08, 2018

    I so love the colours of the first photograph, with the yellow daffodils against the pretty blue and white dress. Your son looks very deep in thought looking at those fresh pea pods in his hands. Pretty cute helper you have there. I'm so glad we do not have scorpions where we live. It's bad enough having ants in our house, but scorpions...no thank you!

    Our week was relatively busy, but quiet enough that I was able to do a few thinks I haven't had time to do in a while. This week, our family was able to save money with the following accomplishments:
    *Meals made at home included cracked out turkey and rice casserole (using leftover turkey) with corn, ham steaks with mashed potatoes and cauliflower with homemade cheese sauce, turkey shepherd's pie (used leftover turkey and cooked veggies from Easter dinner), cheesy pasta with broccoli and rhubarb coffee cake for dessert (new recipe, see below), homemade lasagna, breakfast sausage "piggis in a blanket" with peas and coleslaw, and breaded stuffed chicken breasts with flavoured rice (mixed white rice with flavoured rice to strectch the more expensive flavoured rice) and grean beans.
    *Added 1 package of leftover cooked turkey to the freezer for later use. The rest of the leftovers were used in 2 different meals this week.
    *After reading some comments about rhubarb being almost ready to pick in some areas (definitely not ours), I decided to pull some frozen rhubarb and make this coffee cake: http://www.givemeneither.com/rhubarb-coffee-cake-recipe/. We make a similar cake at my work, in the wood stoves that is delicious. This recipe did not disappoint...sooo goood!!!!
    *Bought more aluminum casserole pans, so I can make more freezer meals. My mom prefers to only cook extremely easy/convenient meals. By having the freezer meals ready to bake, I'm hoping to avoid the family revolting over the limited variety of menu items. I made 2 pans of lasagna one night, cooked 1 for dinner and added the 2nd uncooked pan to the freezer. We now have 2 pans of frozen lasagna for her to pull as easy meal options, once I start back to work next month.
    *Since we are currently low on poultry stock, I pulled all the chicken and turkey bones, plus the bags of veggie peelings/scraps and cooked up 2 stock pots full on Sunday afternoon (one chicken stock and one turkey stock). After straining the stock, I placed it in our cold garage (our daytime highs are just above freezing right now) to allow the fats to solidify. I also set up a pot of dried chickpeas to soak as well. Monday, I will skim the fat off the poultry stock, then do a big pressure canning session to jar up the poultry stock and chickpeas to use throughout the summer.
    *Took DD to get her hair cut Easter Monday, since stores were open but it was a school holiday. Her last hair cut was just before Christmas and was definitely needing a trim (she refuses to let me cut her bangs). DD decided on her own to get her long locks cut shoulder length, as she was finding it difficult to maintain her longer hairdo. It looks super cute, but is cut in a style that will continue to look good as it grows out, too.

    I have a question that I'm hoping someone can answer relatively quickly. I'm canning chick peas tomorrow (Monday) for the 1st time. All of the blog posts I read up on how to can chick peas say you need to cook them before pressure canning them. My pressure canner booklet, however, only says to cook them if you are trying to speed up the soaking process for the dried chick peas. Is the cooking an unnecessary step, since they get cooked in the pressure canning process? If anyone can answer this, I'd really appreciate some expert advice. Thanks!

  • Bobbie April 08, 2018

    I have no clue about the chickpeas, but I was going to say that I discovered our Dollar Tree has aluminum pans (including lasagna pans) for $1 each- I was ecstatic- I also like to fill the freezer. Our Walmart sells them for like $3 each, so it's a nice savings. Just thought I'd mention it if you didn't already know!

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