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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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  • Marcia R. April 09, 2018

    When my kids were teens, one of them turned to me one day with a pan of oil that was burning. She was between me and the baking soda, so I told her to carefully set the pan down on the floor and she did it without spilling a drop and I put a lid on it. It made a lovely scorch mark on the linoleum, but I just felt so good about no one getting burned that it never bothered me for a minute. It stayed there in front of the stove until we redid the floor the next time around.

  • I grow lavender but it won't grow in the kitchen. My husband is sensitive to scents, but your reminder (which I knew but had forgotten about) makes me wonder if I could put a few drops of lavender oil on some paper and put it under the edge of the oven, where they seem to be.

  • Marybeth April 10, 2018

    Glad you are ok. A pan can be replaced. Love you idea for your son's birthday.

  • Athanasia April 11, 2018

    Libby, that is a very nice idea about the card countdown. Especially for some one who might live out of town or in a college dorm. Real mail is always so nice to get and he has tangible evidence of how much he means to so many people.

  • Margie from Toronto April 08, 2018

    Your photos are always wonderful Brandy and I am very jealous of your garden and your warm weather - I was still wearing my parka when I left for church this morning! It should start to warm up a wee bit later this week but just barely at normal - around 45F to 50F - no gardening here I'm afraid for another six weeks at least.
    - I had a day out with a friend at some greenhouses here in town that are open to the public and are completely free - beautiful flowers. We then had lunch out and she treated as I normally entertain her at my home but she prefers to treat others to a meal out.

    -I went to see "Come from Away" on Friday night - I get a yearly theatre subscription so this has been paid for for ages and because we get the subscription (and settle for the cheap seats) we see shows that normally cost in the $80 range for just over $20. We did eat out and it was a frugal fail as it wasn't very good.

    -Used up more of the litre of buttermilk that I have in the fridge by making a sweet soda bread (with the last of the raisins & currents) for the first time - it was delicious. I sliced it up and put 2/3 into the freezer or I would have eaten the lot! I'm going to make buttermilk salad dressing with the little bit that's left.

    -Went through the freezer and sorted out meals for the next week. I only need to buy a bit of veg to get through to next week when I'll do a stock up for both the freezer and the pantry.

    -I've been gifted with free tickets for a talk by John Cleese tomorrow night so I am looking forward to that. I'm taking a friend along and we've decided not to go out to dinner beforehand but will grab a fancy coffee afterwards.

    .Had a bad allergic reaction to some new shampoo this week (I have a lot of allergies & sensitivities) so I've decided to stick to baby shampoo from now on. I'll be passing along the shampoo that I had the issue with to a friend (have more in stock) so at least it won't go to waste. It's not the shampoo - it's a popular brand - it's just me so at least someone will get to use it.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week.

  • Debby in Kansas April 09, 2018

    Margie, I had several reactions to different cosmetics before I figured out that the allergy was actually the green dye in them. It took me until my early twenties to find the culprit!

  • Margie from Toronto April 09, 2018

    I am very allergic to Yellow Dye #5 so it's probably that - I'm usually very careful about reading labels but guess I got careless this time. I use a lot of products that are designed for babies/toddlers (soap/laundry detergent/sunscreen) so I'll just add shampoo to the list! :-)

  • Athanasia April 11, 2018

    Margie, oh my, John Cleese?! I used to watch his shows when they ran them on the public TV station in the 80's ...FAWLTY TOWERS and the MONTY PYTHON FLYING CIRCUS one. I hope you enjoy the show.

  • Gardenpat April 08, 2018

    This has been a crazy weather week! Snow, 70 degrees, snow, rain, snow, 60’s!
    But our chickens are still giving us 4 dozen eggs/week which we are loving!! We’ve been able to let them forage in our raised bed veggie gardens just to clear out weed seeds and bugs before we start planting much! The chickens and the garden benefit!!
    I got a box with 5 pounds of mixed salad greens for $1 which my husband used for his lunches this week and the extra went to my chickens! There were also 6 plastic clamshell containers with “living artisan lettuce “ that they sold me for $1 total! I picked off most of the leaves from the 6 lettuce plants to use in our sandwiches and then I put the lettuce plants in little glass jars for the roots to take hold. Then, tomorrow, I will plant them each into our veggie garden! Since the weather is still “iffy”, I will use my recycled plastic gallon milk jugs (with the bottoms cut off) as mini-greenhouses to protect them but since our raised beds keep the soil warmer, we can be successful getting these lettuce plants producing! I will plan seeds too, but this will allow us to start harvesting quickly while waiting for the seeds to germinate and give us more lettuce to harvest!
    I just made more of my “Softies” (the flannel Kleenex substitutes) for our online Facebook shop- HandmadeinOldeTowne. Hopefully, these will generate some more side income since we just got our hospital/doctor bills from my husband’s heart surgery this week! Our insurance brought the $90K bill down to “Just” under 7K that we owe but we will tighten our belts to get that paid off as quickly as we can!
    We have been eating almost exclusively from our freezer and pantry wth just some fresh produce that we bought! The only things I bought this week besides produce were 5- 8 ounce chunks of extra sharp cheddar cheese for 99 cents each as well as 5- jars of Prego spaghetti sauce for 99 cents each!
    I just dried another 5 pounds of diced carrots.
    I’m looking forward to a better week of savings!

  • momsav April 09, 2018

    Gardenpat, I always picture you hitting the floor, running, everyday! It seems you accomplish so much! (Like Brandy!) Smart idea with the lettuce!

  • Gardenpat April 11, 2018

    That’s high praise, momsav! Thanks! I find that I’m waking up by 5:30 every morning so I adjust my “working hours” to make the best use of that time! I can plan out my day and then, often, I will start working downstairs in the kitchen making and preparing meals, mixes, etc ahead! That little bit of quiet time really is worth it to me because it saves me time and money in the long term with the convenience of “ready-made” in the freezer, fridge and pantry shelves!
    I suspect we all have those “magic” times that are perfect to invest so that we reap the benefits later! For some it might be early morning, others mid-day. Others late night. But whatever the optimal productive time is for you, then use it to your advantage!
    Because, as I tell other people, i’m Basically lazy and cheap so if I am doing it, then anyone can!!
    Thanks, momsav for your kind words! They brightened my day!!

  • Heidi Rahe April 08, 2018

    momsav-- I learned about Louise Penny books from the "what are you reading" post on this blog a while back, and have thoroughly enjoyed them! Our library has them all so I could read them in order, (which I don't think is necessary but helpful for the character development), and have only one left. New one comes out in November.
    I agree with you about recycling. We are fortunate to have free curbside pick-up in town, and as trash can stickers only go up in price, we make good use of it.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba April 08, 2018

    * Mom and I ate at a co-op buffet (versus a restaurant) to save lots of money and our digestive systems. :)
    * I combined several errands to save money on gas.
    * We used food we already had on had to feed company and to make a soup for a potluck.
    * We unplugged the computer at night.
    * I prepared my husband's lunches for him to take to work.
    * Instead of driving to an appointment, I arranged for it to be over Zoom, thereby saving time and money.
    * I stayed home most of the week.
    * I purchased most of our food for two weeks in one shopping trip to save money on multiple store visits and money on gas (and time too).
    * I was glad to make cough syrup for myself and for a client with what I had on hand at home.

  • Ellie's friend rom Canada April 08, 2018

    I discovered how invaluable friends, true friends, are as each jumped in to do a different chore to ready my home for my return after my 8 week absence. Dusting, tidying, floor washing and today one sneaked in to put her extra sheets on my new bed. i am trying to figure out what to stock my fridge with that i can cook easily with 1 hand/arm. I will ask a friend to loosen jar lids for me. Another friend discovered bread made in peanut free facility (made in British Columbia). and so I will be able to have toast and sandwiches for the first time in years. Luckily I still have frozen sour cherries in the freezer as well as blueberries, slices of cooked meat, etc that should be easy to use.A friend will pick up apples at $1 per pound. I went way over budget on having the sidewalk and driveway shovelled but what can one do when it is a historic record snowfall year?
    There are still 3 feet of snow outside! Brandy, as usual your photos are superb and little Octavius is so charming!

  • Holly April 09, 2018

    I am glad you are home. There are a number of gadgets for sale on Amazon com for one-handed jar opening. You might want to check out your options.The tool I like needs two hands unless you were to hold the jar between your knees or in a vise but I have only failed to open one bottle in my adult life with it using it with two hands-and it was a bottle of old nail polish whose cap broke off. https://amzn.to/2IG9NGb

    I am not signed up with Amazon to get anything for referrals. It is just that this is one of my favorite kitchen tools.

    Mom and I are keeping on keeping on. It has been such a long winter. No major frugal saves but no major frugal fails either. I managed to make it to age 60 without ever roasting a whole chicken. No longer. The one we bought on sale was simple and delicious. We had chicken and gravy on mashed potatoes for a second meal and a bean and noodle chicken soup (standard soup vegetables of onions, carrots, and celery) for a third. The leftover soup will be our supper tonight, our fourth meal from that chicken.

    Brandy, I loved this week's photographs.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada April 09, 2018

    hi Holly,

    thanks for the suggestion! I'm not sure about using it with only one hand but it sure looks useful for afterwards. I am staying at a friend's for a few more days but then I'll be back home. I bought her a ham for $24 and we had 12 meals from it. thanks again!

  • Laurie in AZ April 14, 2018

    There is a quote by Dorothy Parker, "Infinity is a ham and 2 people." Ha! Now that it is just my Hubby and me, I believe it!

  • Margie from Toronto April 09, 2018

    Definitely get the jar lids loosened but put a note on the fridge or cupboards so that you remember - I learned that the hard way!
    Also - get someone to open a carton of milk for you or pour milk into smaller, easier to pour containers - you can't pour a 2 litre container with one hand and the bags tend to fall out of the holders! (Bagged milk is a Canadian thing)
    I had time to prepare so had a lot of individual meals in the freezer but perhaps some individual freezer meals (I know it's processed food but it will be easier for you given that it's an emergency).
    Ask a friend to slice up things like cheese or veggies for you - anything prepped ahead of time will make life a lot easier. Anything that can be portioned up so that you can just put it in the oven or microwave would be good i.e. quiche, meat pies or even things like chillies or stews that have been portioned into single servings - it's lifting things that are heavy and cutting that is awkward. Also - if you can eat it with a spoon it makes life a lot easier. Good luck - hope you get well soon.

  • Athanasia April 10, 2018

    Hmmm, you can buy milk in a bag here in U.S. Midwest....I can remember back at least 30 years. You can pick up a pitcher at the store it slips into.

  • ellie's friend from Canada April 10, 2018

    Hi Margie,

    thanks for all of your suggestions! I have individual sized portions of cooked meat in my freezer. We don't have bagged milk here (that's mostly an Eastern Canadian thing, I think). I think I'll ask for opening cans and jars to be added to my homecare list.

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