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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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  • Maxine April 08, 2018

    Rhonda, I've never canned chickpeas or dry beans, but some time ago I asked someone who does it all the time, and she does not cook them beforehand. I don't know if she soaked them. If I were you, I'd follow the instructions in the booklet. I don't generally mess around with pressure cooker instructions, LOL.

  • Celeste April 09, 2018

    I have pressure canned chickpeas and other legumes. I do soak them first (that also helps because they swell and you know how many can go in a jar), then add the chickpeas, fresh water and a bit of canning salt and process according to the instruction manual. I find that the heat of the canner finishes cooking the chickpeas.

  • Rhonda A. April 09, 2018

    I was able to buy a set of 3 pans with the paper lids for $4.50 at the grocery store (Canadian No Frills). We have a Dollar Tree here, but everything is $1.25, not a dollar like in the States.

  • Vicky in Ky April 08, 2018

    Rhonda, I’m not sure if your chickpeas are dried, but for all other dried beans, I have a simple method that works for me. I soak them overnight. Drain that soaking water off. Fill pot with fresh water over the beans and bring to a boil. Immediately drain again. Refill with fresh water a second time. Bring to a boil again and boil beans 5 minutes. Then fill your hot jars about 3/4 full and add clean boiling water (that you’ve boiled in another pot), within half inch of top. Debubble and adjust liquid, if necessary. Wipe off edges of jar, before adding lid and ring on and process according to your canner directions. (Usually 75 min for pints, 90 for quarts). I’ve done this with pinto, great northern, dried black eyed peas and dried Lima beans. Never had any problems. I know it may seem like a little extra trouble to boil and drain etc. but I really believe it helps with the “gassiness” of the beans. I’ve done this lots of times and they always turn out good. It’s so nice to open a jar and have them ready to eat in just a few min instead if hours or to make a small batch of refried beans that are better than a store bought can. I usually get about 4 pints from a pound of whatever kind I’m doing, (give or take). Hope this helps, good luck.

  • Andrea Q April 09, 2018

    Thank you for sharing this! I just got a pressure canner specifically for canning beans. Knowing that 1 lb = 4 pints is very useful.

  • Jenifer April 08, 2018

    Rhonda, I’ve never cooked mine - just soaked over night and pressure canned. No problems.

  • Rhonda A. April 09, 2018

    Thank you everyone for your helpful advice. I am using dried chickpeas I soaked overnight, which is a first for me all the way around. I was concerned that maybe chickpeas had to be cooked first. However, your experience has confirmed that cooking first is a personal preference, not a necessary step. I decided to go ahead and can the chickpeas without cooking and see how they turn out (I also left out the optional salt). If I find they cause excessive flatulence, I might try cooking them the next round. Hoping all my canning turns out OK...7 quarts of turkey broth, 6 pints of chicken broth and 7 quarts of chickpeas (plus I cooked about a pints worth of chickpeas when I realized I couldn't can it in the same batch with the chicken broth). Took 2 days to do it all, too!

  • Athanasia April 09, 2018

    I have always worried about using aluminum cookware, pans, soda cans etc because of the acid foods (like tomato) leaching aluminum into the food or beverage. Does it bother anyone else?

  • momsav April 09, 2018

    I do, Athanasia. I have to pick my battles, though. I use glass baking dishes for most cooking but aluminum pans for freezing things like meatloaf, lasagna. I did try to freeze in glass pans, remove it when frozen, then wrap in aluminum foil without the pan. (Does that make sense?) But, I was back to aluminum. Do you do something different? I’m not a fan of plastic, either. I got rid of my non stick pans years ago except for a griddle that I use about once a month. It seems that nothing is safe anymore.

  • Athanasia April 10, 2018

    momsav, I use freezer paper a lot. Also, I have multiples of glass casseroles and baking pans, just collected over the years. I either freeze right in the glass pan or I will lay freezer paper in the pan, let it hang over the edges, then when frozen, lift the contents out and rewrap totally in freezer paper. Then I can write directions, contents etc right on the outside of the paper. I buy the Reynolds brand 150 ft coated rolls. Smaller items like stuffed peppers or double baked potatoes I wrap individually then place into a ziploc bag to contain them.

  • momsav April 11, 2018

    Thanks, Athanasia! I forgot about freezer paper! We bought half a pig last Fall that came wrapped in freezer paper and I never made the connection! I’ll have to add that to my list.

  • Jenny April 12, 2018

    I've had good luck finding all sizes of glass baking pans for $1 or less at the local Habitat for Humanity thrift store. This is a good price for me to grab them to use in freezer meals and also when cooking foods for others just in case the dish doesn't find its way back :)

  • Rhonda A. April 10, 2018

    If I had a bunch of bake pans with lids, I'd use them. Unfortunately, the cost of buying enough of them to use for freezer meals makes it not an option. I have seriously thought about it though. We do reuse the aluminum pans, but they eventually get destroyed and need to be replaced. I've never worried about the metal leaching into our food. If I worried about everything that reportedly could kill me or make me sick, I wouldn't eat, drink, breathe or leave my house!

  • Jenny April 10, 2018

    I don't use aluminum anything for cooking. For my freezer meals I cook in cornishware, either present or op shop and put appropriate sized portions into plastic containers for the freezer.
    I was always told aluminum could contribute to Alzheimer's disease in old age.

  • Jennifer April 11, 2018

    Someone that commented on my blog recommended reusing cereal bags to wrap things in to freeze as a no waste option with good results. I haven't used it yet but I plan to. We are on a cereal strike right now. My kids are burnt out on it.

  • Jenny April 12, 2018

    I keep cereal bags to reuse for stuff like flour and seasonings for dredging chicken pieces, making cracker crumbs, and also freezing. It's like a free resource if I've already bought the cereal! lol

  • Mandy April 08, 2018

    Last week was an expensive one. We are in the middle of a much needed furnace repair. This will be over $400. Myself, my husband and his mother are all on the same cell phone plan. This month I paid the entire bill due to my mother in law having hip replacement surgery and moving soon and not having money for her part. That was $200. I am grateful I had the money though.

    I made homemade soft soap, toilet bowl cleaner, fabric softener, liquid laundry soap, laundry crystals. I made banana bread twice and threw in some diced peaches that needed using up. We cooked and ate all meals at home using food we already had. I took my food for work from home as well. I spent less than $15 at Aldi to fill in a few missing necessities in the fridge.
    I borrowed books and movies from the library. I also downloaded some free audio books to listen to at work.
    I cleaned out and reorganised some pantry shelves.
    I sewed a hole in our comforter on our bed.
    Have a great week everyone!

  • Jess April 08, 2018

    I'm so jealous of your garden. I just want to plant mine, but we're expected to get an inch of snow here today. It snowed 4 inches here on Easter. It's rained so much, you wouldn't even be able to till the garden because it's too wet. There is standing water in some places .

  • Jess April 08, 2018

    Apparently, I hit send before I finished my comment!

    We spent $130 of our $200 monthly grocery budget today. But I shouldn't have to spend much more for the month. We got 16.25 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.49 a pound! We also bought 15 pounds of catfish, 10 pounds of cheese, 10 pounds of potatoes, a gallon ice cream tub, and everything else that we buy regularly.

    I added water to the hand soap to make it last longer. I also made a batch of laundry detergent. It costs me about $30 to make a batch, but the last time I had to make one was Feb 2017.

    My grandma gave me a soup mix packet that had been gifted to her. It was tortilla soup and she knew my grandpa wouldn't eat it. I made it and added some corn I canned from the garden last year, some crushed tomatoes, and some rice to make it heartier and stretch it longer.

    I decided to do without some things I thought I "needed" - like a bunny cookie cutter and some makeup.

    I traded some sugar cookies for some applesauce cookies with my grandma. That we got a little variety, but didn't have to have all the ingredients to make both.

    I paid some bills online.

  • Carole April 09, 2018

    Jess, I had a bunny cookie cutter when my children were small. and I used it to make Easter themed cookies for school parties and for various potluck around Easter time. Also at home. So maybe it's not a frivolous thing to buy. One time when teaching Sunday School, I made Easter baskets for each child and included a bunny cookie in each basket, so they are kind of frugal.

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