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Frugal Accomplishments For the End of March

Snow Peas in Colander The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested snow peas, Meyer lemons, parsley, and green onions from the garden.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

My neighbor brought over three boxes of chili mixes that had expired that she no longer wanted. I put all three kinds together to make enough for us for one meal, and rather than adding the 6 cups of chicken they called for combined, I added 4 cups of leftover black beans that I had in the fridge and 2 extra cups of canned diced tomatoes (in addition to the 4 required cups of diced tomatoes I needed to add).  I sent her home with some lemons from my trees.

I studied French using free online sources.

My husband and I had a date night at home.

I printed coloring pages from free websites for my youngest children.

I opened the windows and let in the fresh air at the end of the week when the wind stopped. Our outside temperatures rose 20 degrees Fahrenheit from Sunday through Sunday. It was 84°F (29°C) outside and 80° inside the house almost all day on Easter, but I didn't turn on the air conditioner (we started using our ceiling fans and were just warm for the day).

What did you do to save money this past week?



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  • Becky Pratt April 02, 2018

    Things have been a bit disjointed here for the last month.
    My daughter and her two children have moved back into the house. As happy as I am to have them here it does cost more.
    We are all trying to adjust to the changes.
    With that said we are trying to find new ways to lower bills (besides me saying..."Turn off the lights please.").
    I have been sewing and selling faerie costumes this month. I made an extra $100.00.
    The largest savings I had was buying fabric for $2.00 a yard. This was very good cotton fabric that sells for around $12 to $13 a yard here. Being a seamstress this is like gold in my pocket.
    I removed cable from one TV. The kids use the fire stick and other alternatives. My bill was reduced for one month before the cable company raised the price by $10.00. It is still lower than before, but I am considering removing cable completely.
    I am eating all meals at home (or from home if I am out). We did a festival and brought all of the food we needed from home. Festival foods are so expensive.
    There isn't much more to say at this time. I read and re-read these comments every month. I need all the help I can get right now to adjust to our new normal.
    Thanks for all of the ideas and help.

  • Maxine April 02, 2018

    Becky, my husband is retired and a TV addict. We were spending $120 month on DirecTV, which we could afford. However, we bought a digital antenna for the local channels and spending $35 month for DirecTV Now (almost the same lineup we had before--it's $50 if you want sports), $10.95 for Netflix and using Amazon Prime for $0 (since we have Amazon Prime for shipping). We also have taken free trials and canceled after a month. He has far more TV choices than he ever had with satellite! Streaming is TV of the future, and the sooner you climb on the bandwagon, the sooner you will start $aving. We have DSL and occasionally it stops for a few seconds to catch up, but it's no big deal. When we move in June, we will be able to get broadband.

    This was my week:
    (1) Once again, I stayed home 5 of 7 days. This saved gas, and--to some extent--money. I would have saved more if I'd stayed off Amazon, LOL. Which segues to...

    (2) DD lost her iPod Shuffle (which will likely turn up eventually) and I ordered a refurbished model for her, saving about 1/3. I also placed an order for two items and my new friend, the Honey app, automatically found the best deals for me, saving me about $9. Then, I used $14.28 in Amazon rewards, and finally, saved $1 (paid in Amazon Video credit) by choosing no-rush shipping. Total: $24.28 saved. I put an item on Honey's price drop list for 60 days and they've already e-mailed me of a $7 drop. Since I'm not in any hurry, I'm letting it ride for another month or two. It's easy to save money when you're spending, isn't it? When you aren't spending, not so much.

    (3) The girls were dragging and needed some support (two years since I'd bought a bra) so I took my gift card to Macy's and got a fitting. The bra was $40 and it was buy one, get one 1/2 price, and I spent $60 with $51.36 gift card applied. I came home and ordered two more just like them for $19.88 each, no sales tax, free shipping. Saving on 2 more bras: $40.24. See italicized comment above.

    (4) I stopped at Harbor Freight to buy a socket wrench set and small blue tarp. I pulled up the HF app and got 20% off the $6.99 sockets. Then the clerk told me if I took the next-smaller size of tarp, I could get it free with any purchase. Saving: $1.38 on sockets and $2.99 on the tarp = $4.37.

    (5) The loss leader last week was shank hams for .77 lb. with $50 purchase at Super One. I had a list and was all set to go there when I happened to drive by Winco, which is cheaper on everything. Their shank hams were .97, but butt hams--which have a lot more meat--were only $1.07 (the price difference is usually more than .10 lb). I did a little math and realized the ham at .77 would save me $2 at most, and I'd have to spend $50 at a higher-priced store to get it. So, I bought everything at Winco, and I think I saved ca$h, although I couldn't tell you how much.

    (6) DD, who is developmentally disabled, broke her glasses and they couldn't be repaired. The optician had ONE frame the lenses would fit...and it was $155! I explained that DD is on Medicaid and couldn't afford $155 for a frame (while thinking I might order new frames and lenses from Zenni dot com). He found a used frame that fit, and didn't charge us for it!

    I'm looking forward to spring! Oh, that's right, it's here! It snowed three times today.

  • Maxine April 02, 2018

    Forgot to mention, DH and I fixed the leg of our $15 solid oak coffee table. It has claw feet and one of the pedestals came apart. I glued it with Gorilla glue, he sanded off the excess and reassembled it. I had a stain pen and went over the seam and it is a completely invisible repair!

  • Holly April 02, 2018

    My grandnephew who spent several days in PICU after a life flight is back home and just fine. My sister now has an even lower opinion of the local consulting pediatrician who dismissed the baby's illness as simply RSV and suggested he be sent home from the local hospital's emergency department the day he took the life flight to the children's hospital than she had nearly a decade ago after the same doctor dismissed her then-toddler's multiple problems as asthma the same day he was diagnosed with heart failure due to a previously unknown ASD. Two major mistakes in the same family by the same doctor. Guess who is not the family's pediatrician. Thankfully, no long-term damage was caused by either mistake. All is well that ends well. My niece is scheduled for a big block of volunteer work while on maternity leave that is the last step before she becomes an RN. So it is a really good thing for her family's finances that the baby bounced back to health so fast.

    Mom's leg wound is on the mend too. It looks better each time I take off the bandage and flush it with warm water that I have temperature-tested on my wrist first. She is getting slightly better at keeping her leg elevated so the skin on the rest of her leg is looking less shiny and stretched. I have repurposed a Styrofoam cooler as her footstool. While it is not as high as the doctor recommends, it is far higher than her usual wooden one and is lightweight so she can easily reposition it. I think I will be making a fitted cover for it from fleece and add some padding (more height :)) to the top. I am grateful DollarTree sells inexpensive rolls of gauze. Mom has been stuck wearing velcro-adjustable slippers outside of the house because nothing else of hers fit. Yesterday, I asked her to try on one of my shoes. Eureka! Her swollen foot can wear my black leather 9W slip-on that is the same height as her black leather, quite a bit smaller, oxford. She might have two different shoes on her feet when we go to the store, but at least she now has an option other than shower shoes. If the edema persists, we will go adjustable sandal shopping. But since the swelling is going down, we have hopes she will be back in her usual shoes soon.

    We no longer need to buy coffee filters. I put the filter basket saved from a broken small coffeemaker in our Melita on-top-of-the-mug pour-over gizmo instead of a paper filter or we make coffee in a one-mug coffeemaker we bought at
    Family Dollar that included its own permanent filter and that uses ordinary ground coffee. This results in a tiny savings. But I like not having to have a tin full of coffee filters hanging out on the kitchen counter.

    I saved a few dollars on printer ink at Office Depot. I had received an email informing me that I had $8 in awards that expired Saturday. But I didn't realize that I had to jump through a hoop to use the discount. I drove to the store in the rain and tried to check out. No discount. I attempted to use their wireless network via my new Norton VPN to show her the email. When that didn't work, I ate into my precious reserve of prepaid phone data and showed the clerk the email. No good. She needed the coupon code and I couldn't give her that without signing into my Office Depot account which I couldn't do at the store. I left empty-handed and ready to start a one-person boycott. I went home, reset my password, learned I could have the ink delivered for free, and ordered it with the $8 off. The clerk told me that, at least in the store, they price match with Walmart. But I haven't tried to get the price match and don't know if I can online. AftermI post this, I will try to get the price match by contacting customer service at OfficeDepot.com.

    We lease the water softener in the basement and the reverse osmosis filter by the kitchen sink. That isn't particularly cost effective, by a long shot. But it does greatly reduce hassles caused by the minerals in our well water. I had been very slow this winter about adding salt to the softener. The water level in the salt reservoir had gone way up and I feared it was broken or a valve hadn't been turned back on after we had the well pressure tank gauge replaced. So I arranged for a free service call. The man came and explained to me that is what happens when there is not enough salt in the tank-and the excess water causes the salt to be used even more rapidly than it normally would. Since he was onsite, he also replaced some worn-but-still-functuoning parts inside the softener so it will work more efficiently. He had four bags of regular salt on his truck. I asked to buy them to save recovering-from-a-bug me from having to lug 160# of salt down the stairs. He said they aren't the type with the iron-reducing additive. I said that wasn't a problem because I add 1/4 cup of Iron Out powder as the package directs with each 40# bag of regular softener salt. The additive costs no more than a quarter per big bag of salt when I add it myself versus $1.50 or more if I buy the softener salt with the additive already in it.

    I hope to take advantage of the free lunch participating Little Caesar stores are offering today between 11:30 and 1:00. Gotta go. Bye!

    I things go well for all of you this week!

  • Kim in Florida April 02, 2018

    The cashers can access your rewards without you doing anything!!! Maybe you had a new cashier. All I do is hand them my card or phone number if I dont feel like digging the card out. I tell them I want to use my rewards to pay for this. They access it and apply it.

  • Athanasia April 02, 2018

    Holly, what is ASD? I am glad your grandnephew is back home. It is so stressful when children are sick, for all concerned.

    Good thinking on the shoe substitution. It is also much safer for your mother to be wearing a shoe than a shower sandal. The elderly are at such a risk for falls.

    My mother in law used to have a problem with stasis ulcers and her doctor would wrap her leg with an unna boot in the office and that worked very well to clear up the issue.

  • Holly April 02, 2018

    ASD, Atrial Septal Defect, hole in heart wall. A diuretic quickly eliminated the heart failure in the toddler. His parents used the time they had to research options for closing the hole. They decided on a minimally invasive up-the-artery patch. Their little boy, who used to be at the bottom of the height and weight charts, soon ended up being a big kid, catching up in size within a year after the defect was fixed the summer before he went to kindergarten.

    The podiatrist had wrapped mom's leg with the Unna boot when a very big, but previously unnoticed, water blister broke. It worked so effectively that the dermatologist, since retired, the following week asked where the water blister had been before he could see it. A week later, we went to the podiatrist for another Unna boot. He put it on but he wanted her to wear compression socks instead of coming back each week. We bought the hose after her leg was measured by the fitter at the medical supply store. But we (I) tore her tissue-like skin the first time trying to put on the sock. We then went to the regular doctor who wanted me to use water to rinse the wound and gauze to wrap it with and for my mom to keep the limb elevated to reduce the swelling. I absolutely loved what the Unna boot did for her foot and leg. She still has weeping edema. I don't know if Medicare would cover the cost of the bandaging when the skin is intact.

    The $8.01 was not applied to my account at Office Depot before I got to the store. I had to go through some steps at home starting with the email for it to be usable. The clerk at the store had brought up my account using our phone number. I had asked her to get the manager (at the next register) but she was so very, very sure I had to have some special number that I didn't insist that she do so. I spoke with a customer service representative by phone this afternoon about the price match with Walmart.com. She said I just need to call back when I have received the ink to get the $4 off.

    The free Little Caesar lunch was delicious.

  • Southern April 02, 2018

    Holly, Medicare does still pay for Unna boots when physician ordered along with ordered home health care RN visits. With a good home health care company, all visits (one per week for Unna boots) and medical supplies are covered 100%. No out of pocket with good company. Also, Dr. Scholl's makes some nice knee high compression socks that are soft and less likely to tear skin; assorted colors too.

  • Holly April 03, 2018

    Thank you very much for the suggestion about which brand of socks to try. With a little bit of paper in the toe and an extra innersole in one shoe, mom was able to wear both of my shoes yesterday with a pair of regular nylons. Matching real shoes. :) She walked around the outer aisles of the Kroger store with me. I had suggested first that she try the Amigo and then the bench by the cashiers. But she wanted to accompany me and use only her cane for support. Her left leg is slowly getting smaller as she is elevating her feet more. At some point, she likely will need a visiting nurse, especially in the middle of Michigan winters. But the longer she can safely make it out of the house for errands and visits to the local parks, the better off she will be. We have not been in a hurry to get a ramp installed off the front porch because we live on the edge of a town on the main road and a ramp sort of screams "disabled person lives here." I don't know if criminals see ramps and think "Don't bother, they're nearly always home" or if they think "Easy marks." I wish the building codes would require ramps where lot sizes allow so that a ramp in the front of a house would imply nothing about its residents. A ramp with handrails would make it easier for mom to walk to the car and back.

    Right now, she is lobbying for popcorn. She decided a while ago to not learn how to use my hot air popcorn maker. So I am the designated popcorn popper.

  • Patti April 07, 2018

    You can use plain popcorn and pop it in a lunch size brown bag on the popcorn setting. I usually put about 1/3 cup popcorn on the bag.
    Works great!

  • Rhonda A. April 02, 2018

    Wow, fresh produce already from your garden! We just received more snow this morning...definitely no gardening happening here yet. That was so nice of your neighbour to gift the chili kits with your family, and that you had enough pantry supplies to make a nice meal with them.

    We've had a very busy Easter weekend. DD has had lots of fun, frugal activities to keep her entertained. I think she's going to be awful tired when she returns to school tomorrow. Won't expect much work being done. Our family had the following frugal accomplishments this week:
    *Meals made at home included cheese tortellini with choice of red or white sauce (made 1/2 the tortellini into a freezer meal for later use), baked chicken smothered in cheddar cheese soup with mashed potatoes and corn/green bean/wax bean mix, beef French dip sandwiches (new recipe - see below) with salad, sloppy Joe's with herb roasted potato chunks and coleslaw, roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings and 2 homemade pies for dessert, and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.
    *Tried making frozen yogurt for the first time with our new ice cream Kitchen Aid mixer attachment we received as a Christmas gift. It didn't go as well as planned, but I learned quite a bit for the next time. Oh well...live and learn.
    *I tried yet another new recipe for dinner this week, easy French dip sandwiches (recipe link: http://cincyshopper.com/easy-french-dip-sandwiches/). I had bought some sliced roast beef luncheon meat on sale at a super low price a while ago, and froze it, but we never actually used it. To change up our dinner choices, I decided it was time to give this recipe a whirl. I did go out and buy a stick of crusty french loaf to make these (because I didn't plan ahead), but it wasn't too expensive. I also substituted Swiss cheese for the provolone, since we already had it on hand. Not sure why I waited so long to make these...it was amazing! Everybody enjoyed the meal, so I will be adding yet another dinner option to our family favourites meal list. Best of all, I'm pretty sure we have more of that meat in the freezer to use up.
    *Bought 3 packages of eggs when they went on sale for $2.50/18 pack (cheaper than my normal best price). We already had over 3 dozen eggs in the fridge. It was interesting trying to fit them all in the fridge! I made 14 hard boiled eggs in an effort to fit them all in. Three were used to make egg salad sandwiches that day for lunch. The rest were dyed for Easter by DD and her friend using an egg dying kit I had previously bought on clearance and tucked away. DD's friend took 6 eggs home with her. The rest will be used for breakfast or lunch over the next few days.
    *Made up DD's Easter basket with chocolate, candy and other treats I had picked up on sale (many of which I had bought after various holidays). I also made up some little baggies of the extra treats and placed them in a basket for the adults to enjoy. I gifted some to DD's friend as well.
    *Hosted a small Easter dinner with our immediate family, plus my MIL, brother and DD's friend. Most of the meal was bought on sale or from our pantry. We baked 2 homemade pies from our freezer for dessert, a peach and an apple. I plan to package up the leftover turkey for the freezer or I might prepare some freezer meals if I find time.
    *I brought up more home canned items from downstairs and noted we are almost out of poultry broth. I have a bunch of bones and veggie trimmings in the freezer ready to be used. So, I will try and make up more in the next week or two.
    *DD and a friend joined a free scavenger hunt at the zoo that was organized by the PHIT program. The idea is to encourage the children and families to get out and exercise with fun activities. The kids were given a sheet of questions about animal facts that could be found on the various animal information boards throughout the zoo. If they answered all the questions, they were entered into a draw to win prizes. Despite the rain, DD and her friend had lots of fun searching for the answers, some of the time by themselves, some of the times with our help. To our surprise, both the girls ended up winning a prize! DD won a reusable bag with a large metal reusable water bottle, sidewalk chalk and small container of bubble juice. Her friend won a reusable bag with a water pitcher (that has a diffuser for fresh fruit/veg to flavour the water) and a mini soccer ball. We also gifted DD's friend 2 reusable water bottles we had picked up for free and were not using, plus a water resistant jacket that no longer fit DD as she didn't have one.
    *We allowed DD's friend to sleep over, for some more frugal fun. The girls really enjoyed each other's company.
    *Gifted a few pantry items to my brother when he headed home after visiting for Easter.

    Looking forward to catching up and learning lots from everyone. Hope you all have a great week ahead!

  • Rhonda, it is going to be 31°C here today, so produce harvesting is definitely happening! Things bolt in the garden this time of year!

  • Jo April 02, 2018

    It's nice to hear that your daughter had so much fun with her friend this week. :)

  • Holly April 02, 2018

    I HOPE things go well for all of you this week!

  • PJGT April 02, 2018

    I had a week of break where I didn't go anywhere except to the doctor for a regular checkup . It was not as productive as I would have liked, but was very frugal. Lots of rest and snow! Easter Sunday went well with my inlaws and we brought home leftovers. My MIL bought my son a unit specific AFROTC sweatshirt. This made me very happy as he was going to be the only one without. Life didn't used to be like this and I do, at times, get discouraged. I just keep going and count my blessings. Being naturally frugal and having this community to share the small victories with are two of them!

    It snowed again today. Just wondering when spring will finally arrive. Your photos are so encouraging.

    I found a few coins, used some leftover meat for the dogs' food (we have one really finicky dog who we've had to take to the vet for not eating!), found some needed items at the thrift shop.

    Today I finally finish all of my annual (and past due!) doctor and dental appointments. Aging is interesting as I'm blessed to be super healthy...just trying to catch up and keep up with preventive care. Now to replace my glasses and have a dental implant.

    My MIL gave us a huge bag of broccoli. I think I'm going to try drying it as we have not turned the freezer on and do not intend to. It's really useful to store dog food away from the rodents and, with only two if us, we do not need the chest freezer. We use my son's college dorm fridge/freezer in our cabin and only have just turned the hand-me-down fridge in the garage. The freezer no longer works in that fridge, so I use it for rodent proof storage as well.

    Have a fantastic frugal week!

  • Becky April 02, 2018

    We had a very productive week around here, as my husband was on spring vacation from his job at the school, and the kids had no school (homeschooled ones and public schooled ones alike). My husband and I had a little get-away at the beginning of the week, and we enjoyed it very much. Then, we plunged wholeheartedly into projects.

    I did hours and hours of cooking and cleaning in preparation for Easter at our house. Most of the extended family was away on vacation, so I hosted this time. I was especially glad that a cousin was able to come that I had not seen for quite some time.

    I saw that it was going to start raining again, so did 2 sessions in my garden. I only had a short window of opportunity where it was dry enough to till with our tiny tiller so I could plant. My husband got me started the first time, and I figured it out the second time. I tilled in some steer manure from bags in both small places I tilled to enrich the soil. I hardened off my cabbage and broccoli plants I'd grown in the greenhouse and got some of them planted. I also planted early veggies such as carrots, beets, artichokes, snow peas, spinach, 3 kinds of lettuce and potatoes. I was so glad I did because it started raining a day earlier than expected. Everything will get nice and damp and come up without much attention from me at all. Later, we will till up the rest of the garden with the larger tiller, which tills deeper.

    My husband decided to have a garage sale, despite the fact that I had 2 appointments on that day. I helped him set up, helped in the middle of the day, but he did the bulk of the work. He hauled a lot of items down here in the van that he had stored in my brother-in-law's barn when we moved a couple of springs ago, and were between houses for that entire summer. He had brought some more another day, and now that barn is cleaned out. Thank goodness. He sold a large item by listing it on Craig's List on the same day so people could come look at it during the garage sale, and also sold a couple hundred dollars worth of little things. I added some junky household items and one of the girls cleaned out some clothes, but most of the money earned was from his stuff. He offered to take me out to dinner with some of this "found" money, but we both decided to hold off for another time. We were both exhausted!

    Grocery shopping was expensive this week because we were hosting Easter for many people who had special eating needs, and it was very nice for my Mom to help pitch in with cash for that purpose, as she couldn't be here to help cook it. My aunt brought the huge basket of plastic eggs she saves from year to year, filled with lots of candy, as usual.

    I had let the fridge get quite empty before our little get-away, so I needed to restock veggies and dairy. I think I went to the store 4 times this week! Unheard of!!! We also celebrated 2 family birthdays on Sunday, and while the gluten-free, dairy free, egg-free cake looked lovely, it turned out awful! Thankfully, there were some cookies and an apple crisp as well, and those got eaten!

    I have a picture of the cake on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/weekly-update-happy-easter-2018/

  • Laurie in central NC April 02, 2018

    The picture of your peas makes me want to run out to the garden, to check on the progress of ours. Yours are way ahead of ours, but I'm hoping to get some in a few weeks. We just arrived home, after a short trip to celebrate my husband's birthday, so it will be fun to see what's new or grown in the garden in our absence. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/03/hillbilly-hummus-frugal-accomplishments.html

  • Patricia Koernig April 02, 2018

    Laurie, I am unable to post comments on your blog, put wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading it. Be well!

  • Laurie in central NC April 09, 2018

    Thank you for your kind words, Patricia. It's very nice to know you're enjoying it.

  • Was Wyoming gal, next who knows? April 02, 2018

    This week I retire from my full time career position. I have worked full time for 41 years. Much of that time I have been a human resources manager/director/vice president, etc. (I was a part time worker and SAHM for one year of our 42 year marriage and I had summer jobs and part time on-campus work when I was in college.) I will no longer be responsible for fixing the problems with my hair on fire. (Woo-hoo!)
    I am very healthy and looking forward to new adventures. My husband and I are going to work in an east coast National Park for the National Park Service, seasonally. He starts a bit before me, so he has already started the cross country drive. I will leave in one more week.

    So, only this time, I will suggest to people that are scared about being able to afford retirement a few things. Participate in the workplace retirement plan as much as you can, and always to get the "match". Start as early as you can possibly afford. Invest in building your skills. Value an employer that helps you further your education. Pay off your mortgage. Buy your vehicles with cash as soon as you can. Don't forget to have fun, travel, make family memories. Pay as much of your kid's college educations as you can afford. The world is getting to be a tougher place to make a living without an excellent education. Be open to change.

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