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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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  • Jennifer March 16, 2018

    Great tip!

  • Maxine March 15, 2018

    I'm not suggesting you buy rock-hard brown sugar, but if what you have at home hardens, tear up a slice of bread and seal it in a plastic bag or jar with the hard brown sugar. It will be soft by the next day. Leave the bread in with the brown sugar until it is gone, and it will stay soft. It's the moisture in the bread that does it. A couple of slices of apple also will work.

  • Elizabeth M. March 16, 2018

    I've used the apple trick, which gives baking a nice bit of apple taste. I'm very glad to know about using bread, though, since I am more likely to have that in the house.

    I don't understand how a shelf-full of sealed bags of brown-sugar could all be hard, though.

  • Marivene March 16, 2018

    Elizabeth, when the sugar in the store is rock hard, it just means it is old. It is still good. Once when we had just moved, the store here had a cart full of one pound boxes of brown sugar, hard as a rock, or 25 cents a box. I bought them all, took them home & opened enough to fill a larger Tupperware canister, then set a sugar disc made of terra cotta on top. By the next day, all the sugar in the canister was soft. You can buy the terra cotta discs for about a dollar each online. One year I gave two of them to all my children as an extra stocking stuffer. You just plop the disc in a bowl of water for a few minutes, dry it off & put it in with the sugar. Works great, & 25 cents a pound for sugar works for me!

  • Elizabeth M. March 17, 2018

    That would be a great deal! This was full shelf, all at full price. Someone had actually stocked the shelf that way.

    I would have thought that the sealed plastic bag would have kept the moisture in no matter how long the bags sat, but clearly that's not true.

  • I've noticed that beet sugar goes harder faster, as well as store brands with thinner plastic bags. C&H cane sugar can last a long time in our dry climate in the bag without going hard.

    I use a terracotta brown sugar bear in a plastic container with a lid to keep my brown sugar soft. It will soften hard brown sugar, too, as Marivene noted above. I prefer it to bread (no bread crumbs in my sugar) and it can always be resoaked and used again.

  • Holly March 12, 2018

    This morning I handed mom two graham crackers, one from the name brand box and one from the Walmart generic box. A half hour later, I asked her what she thought of the graham crackers. She liked the Walmart brand as much as the name brand. They cost $1-something instead of $3. Score one for current and future frugality! She eats a lot of graham crackers. If we are going to stick with the half of thrifty food budget, we can spend only $26 on food this week because of last week's splurges. Kroger has provided some free coupons, which will be helpful along with some weekly sales on things we want from the produce and dairy departments. We have many meat options left in the freezer. I will be making hot cocoa mix from items we have on hand and baking bread to stretch the $26. Mom has been drinking more fluids because of a doctor's instructions regarding an antibiotic she is taking and because we bought an herb tea, apple cinammon, that she really likes. The additional fluids are helping her feel better. We have to drive through snow showers to a specialist today. The route home will take us past a Trader Joe and a hispanic-oriented supermarket but I think we won't be stopping at either place. We will spend less overall if we only make one supermarket stop this week.

  • Jerri March 12, 2018

    Productive morning. That's what happens when I'm up before the littles. I made a loaf of bread (experimental so only one loaf this morning), a batch of muffins and a batch of cookies for lunches this week, fruit salad and pancakes for breakfast. I also cleaned out the refrigerator and saved egg shells and scraps for my neighbor's chickens. I had some fruit that was past its prime so I cut it up and bagged it for smoothies. The littles are taking a bubble, giving me a moment to breathe. We'll have a play date with some neighbors in about an hour. The littles enjoy the time away from the house and playing with the others their ages. I enjoy the company of another stay-at-home grandma.

  • Marivene March 12, 2018

    *Used home bottled chicken chunks, broth, carrots, green beans & tomato sauce with dehydrated cabbage, corn, onions & parsley to make a gluten free vegetable soup when my oldest daughter brought her son over for the big merit badge pow wow, & her husband came for a scout planning meeting. This was an easy meal that our oldest daughter, who has celiac, could eat - plus it is one of her favorites. I buy a package of GF rolls for her, & repackage them for the freezer so she can always have a roll or two with her soup, & I always have some in the freezer. Our youngest daughter came to see her sister, & they traded some clothes.

    *Set the small glass cloches out to warm the soil for a few days, then planted some lettuce.

    *Sprinkled crushed egg shells on the garden. The garlic is up & growing, & the parsley is coming up, too. The daffodils are about to bloom.

    *Checked to see if the dry needles could be stripped from the fir branches along the back perimeter. Almost, but not quite. The heavy snow we had a week or so ago kept them from drying out as fast as usual, but we needed the snow & I am grateful for it.

    *Our oldest daughter took home some of the books her father had sorted out. She will keep some of them, & the rest will go to her community center.

    *I used a 25% off coupon to buy a resin Easter decoration of the open tomb. It is so hard to find Christ-centered Easter decorations, & I was glad to find this one. Most of our Easter decorations are ceramic lambs found over the years at thrift shops.

    *Continued to knit on a baby blanket for a future gift.

    *I was sick for several days, & was glad to have a full pantry that included Gatorade & other clear liquids, so I did not have to go to the store at all.

  • momsav March 13, 2018

    Marivene, I misread your line about NEEDLES being dry as NOODLES. I thought that maybe the tree gave the noodles a bit of a fir taste. What my brain comes up with, I swear....
    Good idea about the Gatorade. I bought some bottled juices to have on hand. The flu has been treacherous this year!

  • Rhonda A. March 12, 2018

    Wow, great job on making so much money with your yard sale, Brandy! That should definitely help you buy needed items for the family, especially at the prices you find at other yard sales. The daffodils are beautiful on your table. Such a nice touch of spring in your home. I hope your daughter loved the presents you made her. They looked lovely from the pictures you shared last week. I hope you will share more photos of the final products when you get time.

    DD started March Break on Friday. Looking like a pretty busy week coming up for me! This past week, my family's frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included breaded fish with coleslaw and choice between sweet potato fries or onion rings (hubby made homemade tartar sauce), crock pot meatballs in gravy with mashed potatoes and corn, breaded chicken fingers/patties with veggie spring rolls and homemade fried rice, hamburger helper with carrots, homemade cream of broccoli cheese soup with garlic bread (homemade garlic spread on hamburger buns) and brownies, and ham steaks with mashed potatoes and cauliflower with cheese sauce.
    *I've been preparing boiled eggs and putting them in the fridge to use for a quick, easy and frugal breakfast protein or to make egg salad sandwiches or deviled eggs at lunch. I usually make a half dozen at a time, so the eggs get used up before they start tasting old. This week, my mom expressed how much she appreciates me doing this!
    *DD baked up a brownie mix as her "cooking practice" this weekend. I tried to have her do it on her own, but she asked for help. Not quite confident in her abilities yet, but she's getting there!
    *Stocked up on more pantry items with groceries this week, including 12 jars of crunchy peanut butter @ $1.25/1kg jar, 2 cases of bottled water @ $1.88/24 bottles, 11 blocks of cheese @ $3.77/450g, fresh cucumbers @ $3.77/bag of 5 cucumbers (they are "imperfects" which are fine with us!), 4 cans of generic brand cheddar cheese soup @ $0.57/can (we prefer this as our "cream of" soup in recipes), a bag of pearl barley @ $0.99/450g bag and my favourite deal...2 boxes of breaded chicken (strips & burgers) on sale for $4.97/800g box minus a $4 coupon/box, so I paid $0.97/box.
    *I had a complicated problem (involving a rather sketch business practice) with an order from Amazon. Had I not filed a complaint, I would have been out about $43 for a product that I sent back to them. Although they were slow to fix the problem, they have now returned $113 to my credit card to cover those costs plus extra as an apology for the inconvenience.
    *We had our taxes completed by a professional ($120 total for both of us). In our experience they are always very good at manipulating the info to maximize our refunds. Our tax return will be over $4000 between the two of us (about double what we got last year), so we're pretty happy! We plan on putting all the money into our "house down payment" saving this year.
    *This past weekend, I attended a seed exchange event put on by an organization in our city, called "Seeds of Change", that promotes healthy food initiatives and better food security for low income families. There were lots of local seed vendors present, but I chose to skip them for now. Instead, I went directly to the seed exchange area, where I was able to pick up several packets of vegetable/herb seeds to try in our garden we will be building this spring. Made sure to pick seeds that were open pollinated/heirloom so I could start to collect seeds to reuse each year. Cost per packet was a $1 donation. Also bought 1 package of rare heirloom pole bean seed, from the 1800s, to try for $2. Picked up the card for the organization to pass along to my work as well. It can be hard to find seeds from the 1800s to grow in our historic gardens! By the looks of things, this event was VERY well received, so hoping it will happen again next year. I'd love to slowly add new food varieties as I get my gardens more established. Really hoping for a good growing season this year!!!

    Looking forward to catching up with all my "frugal friends". You all inspire me so much every single week!

  • Polly Wog March 12, 2018

    Hi Rhonda,
    Heritage Harvest Seed is out of Carman,Manitoba. They specialize in rare and endangered heirloom vegetable, flower and herb seed. Unfortunately they only ship within Canada.All their seed is open pollinated, non-hybrid, non GMO, untreated, natural seed.
    They have huge varieties of tomatoes and beans amoung other seeds.
    Best wishes,
    Polly Wog

  • Rhonda A. March 12, 2018

    Thank you for the info, Polly Wog. The organization that I bought the heritage seeds from is called Pollination Canada (www.pollinationcanada.ca) and has many different companies/individulas connected to it across Canada. I remember she mentioned that many are out of Quebec. All of the people involved are dedicated to preserving these rare heritage seeds. It sounds like you have an interested in this. I'd encourage you to look at their website!

  • Rhonda, we actually had two daughters' birthdays in the last couple of weeks. When everyone is feeling better I will be taking pictures of them in their new dresses and sharing. Right now everyone is sick.

  • Rhonda A. March 12, 2018

    Oh my, sickness at your house must be horrible, with so many it can run through. I'm sure you have your hands full! I'm looking forward to seeing the photos once everything settles down and you have the time. Thanks for letting me know.

  • Cassandra Donahue March 12, 2018

    Would love to have your crockpot meatball with gravy recipe.

  • Rhonda A. March 13, 2018

    Well, it's actually a kind of cheater recipe, Cassandra. I put frozen meat balls in the crock pot (just enough for the number of people eating), and make up enough of our favourite powdered beef gravy to just cover the meat balls when dumped in, then cook on low until meat balls are cooked through. We're pretty simple with meals at our house. Having said that, you could definitely make your own meat balls, and add in homemade beef gravy if you have it. A mushroom gravy would work well, too. I used to make it the meat balls with Diana's Sauce (a BBQ sauce apparently only available in Canada), but DD refused to eat it. Both hubby and DD like the meat balls in gravy, so I switched. By the way, there is usually enough gravy with the meat balls to put some over your mashed potatoes as well. Made with BBQ sauce or gravy, this is a perfect dish to make if you are feeding a large crowd or for pot lucks too.

  • Annaliese March 12, 2018

    Great sale, Brandy! I remember living in LV years ago and there were some great yard sale finds. Sitting here in central NC waiting for the snow to come. It has been sleeting off and on for a couple of hours. Hubby came home early since he works in Raleigh area and they are only having rain. Leftover hamburger/vegie soup and pimento cheese biscuits are for lunch. Doesn't look like I will be going to work tonight- thank goodness for PTO!!
    Here are my frugal ways for last week:
    -Stayed at home and worked shifts at night= saved on gas.
    -Gifted 3 1/2 qts of chicken, mushroom and rice soup (re-gifted some to one of my MIL), 6 tangelios, 1 apple, extra cooked rice, bag of potato chips (for Jayme), several premade, pkg cinnamon rolls (re-gifted to Jay's work) and our bill paid by a manager at a restaurant we are loyal to,
    -Made homemade pizza again for supplies already in house to watch ACC Tourney.
    - Sold 3 items on Ebay.
    - March is a big bday month in family so I have been buying gc's from Swagbucks and collecting points to account. Most have an extra point deal on them. Saving points to get a Walmart gc for a big stock up sale.
    - Super Double Coupon week at one of the stores here- Got a lot of FREEBIES: a bag of fancy chocolate covered cookies, 3 containers of yogurt, 1 pkg of cream cheese, a big bag of salad mix with dressing and on ins, 6 bar box of frozen strawberry pops, a Lindt chocolate egg, a Cliff bar, a dozen of brown eggs, 4 boxes of fancy tea, a pkg of fancy hotdogs and a box of Truvia sweetner.
    - Collected points and rebates from phone apps for future gc's and pay outs.
    -Eating lots of soup, salads and sandwiches. Mostly putting leftovers together or using what is in freezer and pantry.
    - Looked up recipes to start to dehydrate extra veggies from the 5 lb box I get every other Saturday.
    - Cut up some damaged towels into dish clothes.
    *** Not so Frugal but a Must!** We got my Mustang back with the new, better engine and clutch back home after 5 months and 2 engines from Ford later (the ones installed before had oil leakage problems.). They gave us another 3 year warranty on it which is a good deal. We got our tax check in the same day and we paid off this bill- had $45 left. Ah well, we have a dependable car available now!!
    Have a blessed week!!

  • Sarah in Maryland March 12, 2018

    I feel like I didn't make many accomplishments this week as it was just so busy! I did make 6 curtain panels for our front room (I still have another 6 to do).

    I made homemade barbecue sauce instead of purchasing.

    I recorded all of our spending.

    I threw 2 birthday parties (my son's 13th and my mom's 50th) fairly frugally and was able to return some unused items (got back $48).

    Now, I'm in rest mode before our baby is born.

  • Marybeth March 13, 2018

    Sounds like you did a great job to me.

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