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Frugal Accomplishments for the First Full Week of March

Royal Apricot in Bloom The Prudent Homemaker

I went through more drawers and cabinets. I straightened what I wanted to keep and added anything I haven't used in the last year to the garage sale pile. I reorganized my kitchen drawers in a way that makes more sense for how often we use things. It was such a simple rearrangement that I can't believe I didn't do it years ago; it only took a bit of time and some thought to make things more organized and future time spent in the kitchen more pleasant.

My mom also went through her cabinets and closet and added more to the sale pile. Our piano teacher gave me a bag of clothes and some shoes that she no longer needed which I added to our sale.

We kept a few items from my parents' stuff (including a staple gun, a clock, and some scotch tape) and two onesies from the piano teacher's items.

I had my garage sale for 2 days (Friday and Saturday). I moved up my sale a week as the weather was supposed to be warmer this weekend than the following weekend (by 10 degrees Fahrenheit). March, April, and October are the big garage sale months here as that is when the weather is nicest (come the first weekend in May, it is too hot to have sales). I wanted to have my sale early enough to use some of the money I earned to go to the many community garage sales in April (the HOAs here allow several communities to only have sales twice a year, most of which are the second weekends in April and October, but there are few communities who have theirs the first weekend and a few the third weekend).

Friday was beautiful and the sale was busy. Saturday was overcast (but still beautiful) but my garage sale was very quiet with fewer customers. I still made $310 between the two days (most of it on Friday). I'll take the rest that didn't sell and donate it next week (and get a receipt to use for next year's taxes).  I made enough to put some aside for future garage sale shopping in April (I shop with a list of needs and wants), purchase the two fruit trees I'm planning to buy this month (I'm waiting for them to go on sale for $25 each), purchase tomato plants this month, and put the rest towards other needs.

Daffodils on Table The Prudent Homemaker

I cut daffodils from the garden for the table.

I harvested Swiss chard from the garden multiple times.

My husband worked from home one day, saving gas to his office and back.

My eldest daughter attended a free performance with a friend.

I added water to my lotion bottle to get lotion from the bottom of the bottle. This gave me lotion to use all week (the bottle is too thick to cut open).

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants in my garden.

I took the dried fir needles off the branches I have been saving since December (from the free cuttings I had) and added them to the white garden under my rose bushes to help acidify the soil.

We celebrated a daughter's birthday at home. I made lemon meringue pies for dessert per her request using lemons from our trees.


What did you do to save money this past week?



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  • Marilyn in MD March 12, 2018

    Congratulations on a successful yard sale! I have had them in the past but never made anywhere close that that much money. Congratulations also on reorganizing the kitchen. A few years ago, I hung up a rod with hooks on my kitchen wall to hold my most frequently used kitchen utensils. I had bought it at Ikea but never got around to hanging it. My daughter came home from college, did a little cooking and came to me and asked why I waited so long because it was so convenient! I didn't have a good answer.

    We’ve had rather changeable weather in Maryland for the last few weeks – record high of 80 a couple weeks ago, snow last week that all melted by the end of the next day. My first crocuses and daffodils are blooming and they are a welcome sight. I’ve picked daffodils several times and don’t see buying flowers at the store until November or so. I’ve also been able to turn off my central heat most days, using just the gas fireplace in my office area when I am working. I just can’t wait until our weather warms up consistently enough work outside in the gardens and yard.

    I had my hair cut and colored by the same woman who has done it for over 20 years. She left the salon where she worked and is working only at home now. She called some customers to let them know and give us an option of coming to her house or the salon and a different stylist. I chose the house option (as did everyone else apparently) because I was going there for her, not the salon. She charged a little bit less at her house and since it’s all income to her, she’s not taking tips. As a result, my service cost $20 less than previously. I know some people will say I should do this myself but, uh, no. I don’t have that talent and I’m not going to frustrate myself by trying.

    I’ve been combining errands on Saturdays and am doing a big grocery shop one week and doing a smaller one two weeks later for perishables, such as fresh berries, veggies, milk, and eggs plus anything that is on sale. The trick will be to not eat all the “good/yummy” food during the first week and want to stock back up on those items. To that end, I am freezing a bunch of food. I used a $5/$25 and two $1 coupons at the Wegman’s location that opened last year. These are weekly coupons for just that store and will stop eventually but right now when I have enough items that I can get at only Wegman’s (Dole Dippers chocolate covered pineapple, their store brand peanut butter, etc.), I go there and use the coupons to buy what I need and stock up for the future to reach the $25 minimum. Combining errands has also worked to keep my gasoline use down. I’ve driven my car 136 miles in the last 16 days; when I worked in the office (rather than at home as I do now), I would drive 136 miles in 3 to 4 days.

    We have a Sprouts grocery store opening up this week. They are new to this area, but looking at sales flyers for other locations, they appear to have some good deals. Anyone have any advice on getting the best deals there?

    I went to the mall on Sunday to use a coupon from Bath and Body Works to get a free small bottle of hand lotion for the car and walk 4,000 steps since it was a little cool outside. I now remember why I never go the mall. I was tempted to buy lunch but knew I had tons of food at home.

    I did a lot of food prep on Saturday and Sunday – cutting up peppers, celery, spinach, and lettuce for salads, shredding both mozzarella and cheddar cheese, making meatloaf using peppers chopped and frozen last summer, and teriyaki chicken more peppers frozen last summer, mushrooms that were just this side of not being good anymore, snow peas, baby bok choy, and using left over dark meat from a chicken I cooked last week. I also made cottage cheese rolls in the bread machine and used half of them to make overnight French toast topped with frozen strawberries from last summer and blueberries. I’ll freeze some of the remaining rolls and use the others with the tuna salad and Sloppy Joes from scratch using diced red peppers and onions that I froze last summer (noticing a pattern? It’s great having all these items in the freezer and not having to cut them up for cooking). I also made strawberry cream cheese (to spread on English muffins) and red pepper cream cheese (to stuff in celery for a snack). I wrote a menu plan to remind myself what I have in the frig and I froze a lot of servings since most items serve four so I know I’ll be eating well for the next few weeks even if I do no other shopping or cooking.

    I made my first ever lemon meringue pie from scratch and it was wonderful. I used Meyer lemons from Aldi’s and am just sorry I never tried this before. It will be on the menu a lot this summer. I gave half to my neighbors because it doesn’t keep that well after a couple days and I do not need to eat an entire pie.

    My neighbor got some free firewood because a hardwood log that was about 4 feet long with a diameter of 2.5 feet apparently fell off a landscaping truck and landed in the middle of the road, about 3 feet behind my car; fortunately, it did hit my car. Two guys stopped and helped her move it into her yard (I used the excuse of being older to avoid helping!) but they would not accept a small tip for doing so. Her uncle brought over his chainsaw and they cut it up in fireplace log size.

    Finally, in the February 20 comments, I mentioned putting a stressful concern of mine in my God box (something for God to handle) and it was heart-warming to see a few people respond to that, saying it was just what they needed and thanking me for posting it. I didn’t respond to the responses from Melonie K., Janet, and Allyson but I do want to say that I’m very happy and touched that it helped you. If anyone is interested in the idea and missed it, look on the first page of comments the 2/20 Frugal Accomplishments post.

  • Sarah March 12, 2018

    Sprouts’ sales run Wednesday to Wednesday, so Wednesday’s are double ad days. That would be great for your less frequent shopping! Just be prepared for it to be busy those days. They have fabulous sales on produce. I get most of my mine there. I’m in CO and they regularly have US (not imported like some stores) grass fed ground beef for $3.99/lb, which is an excellent price for grass fed.

  • Marilyn in MD March 12, 2018

    Thanks, Sarah. I buy organic chicken and meat, so I'm really hoping we get that same price on ground beef. It's currently $5.29 at our Aldi's and $6.99 at Wegman's (unless you buy 3 pounds at a time, when it's $5.89 a pound or thereabouts.

    I don't usually shop on Wednesdays, but I might start if the overlapping sales are good. Thanks, again.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. March 12, 2018

    Like Sarah, I buy produce and grass-fed ground beef at Sprouts. I also really like their bulk bins for grains, nuts, dried fruit, and spices. If you go on their website and choose your store location, you can also comparison shop before you even leave your home. They also have an app for coupons, but I've not yet tried that.

  • Marilyn in MD March 12, 2018

    Thanks for the info, Roberta. We have Wegman's in some areas of the mid-Atlantic and New England and Sprouts sounds similar but with better meat prices. I'm really looking forward to trying them out. Fortunately, they are only a few miles away. Of course, that could take 12 minutes to reach or 45 minutes depending on the time of day and traffic! I'll definitely be stopping in this weekend.

  • Libby March 12, 2018

    Brandy I’m delighted for you that your yard sale did so well. I know how much work is involved in having a sale and the outcome is not certain. :)

    • Earned 65 bonus Swagbucks from making daily goals in February.
    • Used the coupon database on Money Saving Mom and printed coupons to match up with items I was planning to purchase
    • Hand washed a wool sweater
    • Hung two loads of laundry up to dry
    • Bought $81 worth of vitamins for $7 OOP: vitamins were buy one, get one 50% off, then I had 4 x $1.00 off coupons, and then I used $50 of Walgreens reward points, which I had been saving
    • Lights started flickering at 5:00 pm on Wednesday with the Nor’easter snow storm. I filled up several containers of tap water and put in bathroom and kitchen for easy access in case we lost power. I have bottled water in the basement for emergencies but if we don’t have to use this supply it saves us money. Kept the heat up when I went to bed. We lost power at 10:30 pm. We were lucky that the power was only out for 12 hours. Temp in house was down to 56 by the time heat came back on. I need to figure out how to turn off the water supply and drain the water system and then how to turn it all back on in case this happens again.
    • Decluttered the cabinet in the hallway and found 4 gift cards worth $25 each – I hope they still have the full value and 55 unused USPS stamps ranging from 26-44 cents each, which made me feel a little foolish for not using them back in the day but grateful to have them now.
    • Hand shoveled driveway
    • Made swag goal x 2
    • Tried new recipe: crispy broccoli with lemon and garlic from smitten kitchen - delicious

  • Margie from Toronto March 12, 2018

    Aside from milk & eggs I only purchased grocery items that I would receive loyalty points for and actually needed. I also remembered to defer items on the loyalty point list from last week to this week when I'll have space in the freezer. I then used loyalty points already accumulated - $40 - to pay for 90% of the bill.
    I had a free lunch at church on Wednesday when I attended a lecture and service for Lent. I had a free supper the next night at church when I attended the planning meeting for the next 4 months worth of classes for my volunteer group. And then yesterday it was another surprise lunch provided after church (it's usually just coffee and treats during fellowship) but as yesterday was the AGM and they wanted people to stay longer to vote on items in the report they provided lunch. It meant that I could have a nice walk around downtown afterwards and not get home until 3pm. While it was still cold enough to wear my parka it was sunny so it was a pleasant walk.
    I've been eating a bit lighter this past week but still had some veg that was getting past it's best by Friday so I turned it all into a quick pot of soup by adding some stock from the freezer, cutting up the last two slices of turkey from the freezer, adding the last 1/4 cup of chickpeas in the fridge and finally a 1/4 cup of orzo to bulk it out a bit. Took 2 servings to my elderly neighbourhood and yesterday he told me it was delicious! There are still 2 servings for me. Since I had been eating more salads I didn't make the usual hot meals that I would have taken next door but I was able to find 2 meals already prepared in the freezer which I defrosted and took through to him.
    I had a lot of granny smith apples in the fridge that were getting to be a bit past their best so I peeled them, chopped them up and then cooked them with a bit of butter and sugar to soften. They already topped a bit of pound cake to have with a cup of tea last night and if I don't use them up in the next day or so I'll pop them into the freezer for later.
    I did buy 2 new dressy t-shirts & a dressy shirt (although they are new arrivals there were still some discounts) but I haven't bought anything along this line in nearly two years and I will need a couple of new things for going back to work (hopefully) and I know that I will get a lot of wear out of all these pieces and they will mix and match well with what I already own
    so I don't regret it. I've never had much luck at second hand shops (I'm short & round and never seem to find anything) so I just bite the bullet occasionally but I certainly don't buy much - it's usually a Spring and Fall outing - buy what I need - and that's it.
    I think you did really well at your garage sale! They won't start here for another few months - it's really a summer thing - and since I sold so much last year I doubt I'll do one this year. But there is always tidying up and re-organizing to do so who knows. Have a good week Brandy._

  • I haven't had a sale in four years, so it was time. The last few years we have donated items, and last year I donated enough items to have a sale, but I wasn't feeling up to having one then.

    Our temperature on Friday was around 22 C, so plenty warm enough for a sale, and a summer temperature in other places. Come May it is so hot that you will get burned touching items for sale at garage sales (glass, metal, etc.) and it is just too hot to sit outside. That's why most sales here are spring and fall.

  • Heidi Louise March 12, 2018

    It is frustrating to go to sales where the sellers don't notice what the sun is doing to their merchandise! Melting candles, video- and cassette- tapes, plastics, and over heated wool sweaters sitting in full sun will not sell. My Mom always had very successful sales, and some was because she would get up often and "merchandise" the tables, condensing and putting like things with other like ones, etc. She also said that things should be stacked just a little, like two or three picture frames or plates, and a bit crowded, because people would pick one up to see what was underneath, and be more likely to buy after having made that small effort.
    I go to a lot of sales and appreciate clean merchandise, from non-smokers, with no strong smells, with no pets underfoot, where the families have planned how the children can help or be kept busy otherwise. My, this makes me sound grumpy! Yet I will spend more at those places.

  • Becky March 12, 2018

    We got a couple of really nice days this weekend. Just seeing sun made everyone so cheerful and didn't cost a dime:)

    I worked a bunch of extra hours. Later in the month, the kids I work with are going to be on vacation, so although I will have a much smaller paycheck in April, the extra hours will help even things out and it won't be as small as it would have been.

    I made turkey-rice soup from some turkey we had cooked and frozen a while back. I also used some of it to make turkey enchiladas, and used up the last 6 corn tortillas that were languishing in the fridge. I let the fridge get quite empty and then washed it out thoroughly. I planned to not shop much this week, and instead just save the grocery money, but somehow on Sunday, when cooking, I realized I was out of all kinds of odd things, as well as usual things. Worchestershire sauce, A1 steak sauce, water chestnuts, mustard, maraschino cherries???? So many things that are only bought once a year or so, and all out at once???? Strange. So, I went ahead and took the grocery money and used it. While I was at it, I tried to buy enough produce and dairy to last 2 weeks. It worked pretty well to skip shopping last weekend, except for a small handful of items. I am not in the habit of shopping on Sunday night, and was amazed that Winco was actually out of both pineapple chunks and 1/2 and 1/2, so I still need to grab those. My grocery month is over mid-month, and I will refill the grocery envelopes when I get paid then. I was thankful that I had been shopping carefully for the past 3 weeks, and had the money to really fill things up again. I am very aware that Worchestershire sauce and A1 are not needs, neither are some of the other things I bought, and if I had not had the money in the envelopes, I would have skipped them for now. But, I like to keep on top of the pantry when I can, so am grateful that I could do it this time.

    Yesterday, we hosted family Sunday dinner. The other day, my sister who usually hosts made me feel really good with a comment she made. She said they have saved a ton of money since we moved here 2 years ago, just by copying how I shop and cook at home more. She's a really good cook, and a great shopper, and always has been, but she said she just needed the encouragement. She has also told me that eating as a family on Sundays has saved them so much money. My husband and I usually take their autistic daughter for a Coke after attending 1st service, then head over and finish up dinner while they help with the teens 2nd service. They often have meetings in the afternoons as well, since they are so involved with the high schoolers. So, they used to eat out almost every Sunday. The cost was enormous. She's so glad she's not doing that any more, and it made me feel really good that I was part of the solution.

    I've been tending my baby plants in my greenhouse, and have done quite a bit more transplanting. I've been able to use green onions from the garden a few times. They overwintered and are growing a bit now.

    We drove down to the beach for an afternoon. I just don't always remember that we live so close to the ocean, and it doesn't have to be a big project, or expensive to go down there. I had some money I had been given a few months ago, and used that to take everyone out for dinner. Otherwise, we just enjoyed looking at the water, the seals on a dock, and the sunset. It wasn't warm enough to play in the sand, and we didn't have time anyway, but it was fun for everybody even without that.

    I put a picture of the seals on the docks at Newport on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/weekly-update-saving-money-march-10-2018-star-wars-food-edition/.

    We spent the weekend with our nephew. His mama got him a super cute Star Wars cookbook to bring along. We made several recipes. By the end of the weekend, we were just giving everything we cooked a Star Wars name. He had so much fun with his Star Wars Cooking weekend. I put pictures of the foods on the blog as well. Part of the time when we watch him, we are paid as PSW's for him. Part of the time is auntie and uncle time. I really try to make sure that he gets enriching, mind-building, skill-building experiences during the time I'm being paid for, as that is the intent of the job, as well as helping him with his personal care, etc. So, he was a little miffed at me for not letting him watch as much tv or play the Wii as much as he wanted, but he got a little time on those things, and I shooed him outside to play croquet a bit, gave him a few chores on Saturday, had him "help" uncle in the shop for an hour, and read out loud a lot. We are now far into "On the Banks of Plum Creek," the 3rd in the Little House series. Last fall, his school teacher asked that chapter books be read to him to develop his mind more. That job fell to me and we are on our 5th or 6th book now. It's just part of our routine on my regular work days, and he is now wanting it other times as well. It's working!!! There were a couple of times when he said, "Auntie, I need you to read some more. I just HAVE to know what's going to happen next to Mary and Laura." Those were rewarding moments. He's really making strides! I am very blessed to be able to have this job. There are moments when it is very hard, don't get me wrong--he takes an enormous amount of attention and care, but there are others when I feel like I'm being paid to have fun.

  • momsav March 13, 2018

    Becky, What a nice post!

  • Becky March 13, 2018

    Thank you, Momsav!

  • Marybeth March 13, 2018

    Don't know if you have a Dollar Tree nearby but I have been getting A1 there lately. It is a 5oz bottle. I email and call the company and tell them how much I love their product. They send me coupons. They are for any size. Dollar Tree also sells Worcestershire sauce and maraschino cherries. I don't eat water chestnuts so I don't know. Mustard is cheaper at the supermarket on sale so that's where I buy it.

  • Becky March 13, 2018

    It never crossed my mind to look there for A1 or Worchestershire! Or cherries! I only had to pay $1.58 at Winco for the cherries and thought that was good, so that would be a savings, if the size was comparable. These are things we don't go through very often--I might buy them once a year, or even less for some of them, so I really don't know what's a good deal on some of them. I tend to stretch out some of these items, as well, such as water chestnuts--the recipe I had thawed meat for was Asian meatballs, and used some ground pork I had had for way too long, and it called for 2 cans, but I only used 1 and they were really good. One of the reasons I was caught off guard was because some other family members had used a few things while I was at work, over the months, so I was just assuming they were there, when they weren't. Because I rarely use those things, I had assumed they had gotten pushed back behind things. That's ok. I've very grateful for any help I get with cooking from anyone around here at any time.

  • Athanasia March 13, 2018

    Becky, you might be interested in the website littlehouseontheprairie.com They have a newsletter that gives you updates on the actors from the show, crafts and recipes inspired from the books, festivals around the country related to the Ingalles/Wilders and Little House in general. I used several of their crafts last year in my summer reading club that had a pioneer theme.

    I too enjoy reading your posts here. I am glad you are getting so much family together time in your new location.

  • Becky March 13, 2018

    Thank you. Family is very important to me, so that does make me happy.

    I will check out that website. Sounds fun!

  • Melonie K. March 12, 2018

    I've just finished writing up my own list on my blog and have realized I need to get out the door to an appointment - oops! So HAPPY MONDAY to all, and I look forward to reading everyone's accomplishments when I get home. :D


  • Elizabeth M. March 12, 2018

    I bought 5 lb of chicken drumsticks and and 6 lb of onions in a two for one sale. Half of the onions (1 bag) have gone into cold storage in my back hallway, which will be cool for another couple of months.

    I am trying the store brand of baking powder, which was $1.50 less than the name brand. I imagine they are the same, but I don't do anything that sensitive with baking powder for it to make any difference.

    Brown sugar is cheaper for me to buy than make, but all the bags in the store were rock solid. I decided I could find some molasses in the back of my fridge and make my own this time.

    A meeting I attended had a dinner served afterwards. The group was more sociable than usual, so it was an enjoyable supper followed by an interesting speaker for a short period. I brought home a bottle of lemonade, which I had with my meals the next day.

    I had done some clear-out in the house and had extra bags of garbage, beyond what fits in the weekly garbage pick-up. I was going to take the bags to the landfill, which costs in gas and a per bag charge. Instead I left them in the back hall for the week, and they were picked up this morning.

    I found lots of free TV shows on the online version of CBC. I've been watching The Durrells and Burden of Truth. I selected the version with ads, which is free.

  • PJGT March 15, 2018

    I make my own baking powder out of baking soda and cream of tartar. Very easy to make and no aluminum nor additives. And one less thing to store

  • Elizabeth M. March 16, 2018

    I must price that out. The container I bought will last me the year, I think, though!

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