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Frugal Accomplishments for the First Week of 2018

Lemon Branches and Lemons The Prudent Homemaker

I worked pruning, weeding, and tidying the garden. 

I cut branches from the garden to enjoy inside.

I picked more Meyer lemons from our trees.

I dug and transplanted several new "bushes" from one place in the garden to another where I am starting a hedge. These only have one rooted stem, but it is well rooted and they should do well in their new place. After they have been growing in their new spot for a while, I will cut the single branch on each to force them to send forth new branches. It will take about 5 years for them to grow into a hedge.

I sowed seeds for larkspur, poppies, bells of Ireland, and lettuce in the garden.

I resisted the temptation to buy more flower seeds online. I put everything in my cart, looked at the total, decided it wasn't in the budget, and closed the browser. I have plenty of seeds to plant already.

I downloaded and read five e-books from the library.

I purchased the vitamins I had on my list at Target on sale, plus used an additional 5% off Cartwheel discount to get the price lower. I brought my own bags for $0.05 off my total per bag.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Sam's Club gift card. I'll use this towards my grocery purchases this month.

My husband and I used the last two movie passes we received for Christmas of 2016 to go on a date.

A neighbor threw out a men's bicycle in great condition. It was missing only a few bolts (it was in pieces). We rescued it from the trash. We will either use it (after getting new bolts) or use the pieces on our existing bicycles. (The sun disintegrates seats here, so a new seat is always welcome!)

My husband repaired our side gate.

My son replaced a broken valve connector in the garden.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water our potted plants.

We enjoyed tomatoes from the garden. The green ones I picked in December have been ripening, and they are wonderful! 


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Holly January 08, 2018

    2.64 gallons. Good to know. Thanks.

  • Lorna January 08, 2018

    Hi Holly and most welcome and that amount includes bathing, washing clothing and dishes, for toileting in grid down you would use a 20lt storage bucket with toilet seat on and lined with a plastic garbage bag and put on sawdust, peat moss etc between layers :) and dig a large hole to dispose of away from the house or your camp if it ever came to that.

    Oh dear now I am going back to the old outhouse toilets I had when I was a young child, nonetheless still good knowledge to have :o .

  • Holly January 09, 2018

    The one thing I learned from using a Colorado campground owner's absolutely pristine outhouse, the only toilet on the property, was how effective a small shovelful of lime is at reducing unpleasant odors.

    Even though I !live in southeastern Michigan, we live less than two miles from a hand pump in a state recreation area. The parks still have some old-fashioned vault or pit toilets.

    One of my earliest memories was on driving back from a state park campground store with disinfectant needed because an uncoordinated preschooler (me) had tipped over the chamber pot in the tent. Oops! And one of the funniest memories was at an "up north" hardware store where my dad was buying a replacement chamber pot after we had forgotten to pack one on a later trip. (Yes, despite me, we still went camping.) The clerk told my dad that the girl scouts has just been there to buy the exact same type of enameled red and white pot to use for cooking.

    I am feeling contented with running water, sunshine pouring in the window, and a 94-year-old mom who wants to get out of the house NOW to enjoy the thaw. I hope everyone, especially Brandy, has a lovely week!

  • Juls Owings January 09, 2018

    old outhouse is kind of funny as we just bought a house with a two seater outhouse. Hate it that it has to be removed because they built it over the septic tank and the Honey guy (LOL) can't clean the tank as required by law with it there. We were hoping to be able to still use it when there was no power...back to the hunter's toilet for that ;)

  • Rhonda A. January 10, 2018

    If you can keep the outhouse building, you could just move it to a better location and dig a new hole. Tha't what they did in the 1800s when the hole was full...fill it in, and move the outhouse over a new hole!

  • SJ in Vancouver BC January 09, 2018

    Wow, 2.64 gallons seems tiny. My hot water tank is 30.0 gallons

  • Lorna January 09, 2018

    Hi SJ in Vancouver that is per person in your household per day in emergency situations. Not a lot of water but if you use canvas bucket showers, small basin for washing dishes in etc it works for each person. Our hot water is a almost 60 gallon one which is also good as a water source in grid down situations.

  • Amy January 08, 2018

    Sounds like you had a very nice week Brandy!

    Frugal things we did:
    *Used our 80 cents/gallon to fill our empty gas tanks. The limit was 35 gallons per purchase. My husband had 6 5 gallon tanks to fill. He put the last 5 gallons in his truck so we could get the full 80 cents off. I had that many points because Kroger sent me coupons for double/triple/quadruple points that were reusable and still are through the end of January.

    *We have 3 birthdays this month. I have a set budget and have not gone over that amount.

    *I was able to only spend 1/2 of my budgeted grocery amount for last week. The other 1/2 will go into my grocery savings account. I use that money when I need to stock up and/or case lot sales and amazing low prices on things we use.

    *I made all meals at home and used up the last of holiday rolls, meat, etc. We had hamburger rolls, ham and swiss pasta, quesadillas and taco soup.

    *The only piano teacher I am able to find for my girls is my mom! She lives about 25 minutes away. We decided to take December off from lessons and then we have all been sick the past two weeks. So I saved gas money by not driving down. My mom doesn't want to be paid, but likes Amazon gift cards. I give her a $25 one every month. That keeps her stocked in new books - which she then shares with me. The girls love spending time with Grandma too.

    *I did some small repairs around the house so that my husband didn't need to do it. I'm not super handy but I can tighten screws and change light bulbs. The light bulbs were purchased several years ago on clearance.

    *I needed more clothes hangers. Our store had a package on sale for $1 but they were out of stock. This same chain has a larger store 1 mile away another direction. I went there and they were in stock but for .19 cents more. I showed them my store ad on my phone and they gave me the $1 price. I bought 2. I had other errands in that direction so it didn't add to my driving.

    *My son wanted a bag to hold his new scriptures. I was pretty sure I had purchased this for him a few years ago. He couldn't find it. I went to look and found it behind his headboard. Dusty - but useable. :)

    *We have all been sick with colds and stomach bugs. I have spoken to many doctors over the years about the best things to have on hand and paid attention to what works for us. The basic things we need aren't expensive and can easily be kept in stock. I was very grateful to have these things on hand and not have to run out to the store for anything. I also used to get very confused on what to buy and wasted money some years on lots of different remedies. Just simplifying and using the same stuff has worked well and saves me so much time, energy and money. When my son called from college asking what he should do for his cold, I told him what he needed to get. Much cheaper way of doing things and it works!

    *Stopped by the library for books and also re-read books that I have at home.

    Thank you to everyone for all their great ideas. I just love reading what everyone else does to be frugal and careful with money. Thank you for your inspiration. I hope you all have a wonderful and happy week.

  • Penny S. January 09, 2018

    Amy, please share what products you keep on hand to fight colds and stomach bugs. I am always interested in finding new to me health ideas. Thanks, Penny S.

  • Rhonda A. January 08, 2018

    Brandy, that is such a pretty blue and white vase you used for your floral display! Nice find on the discarded bike as well.

    Thankfully DD and I have both recouped from our cold quickly and felt much better by the end of the week. Our frugal accomplishments for the first week of 2018 included:
    *Meals made at home included homemade lasagna, shepherd's pie (used up leftover roast beef), garlic chicken wraps (only used 1 Costco sized chicken breast for 4 people), pepperoni stroboli, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with flavoured rice and corn, and hot turkey sandwiches (used leftover Christmas turkey from freezer).
    *Prepared homemade lasagna for dinner one night, and made a second small pan at the same time for the freezer. Also the recipe for the stomboli made 2, so I placed 1 in the freezer for a future meal as well.
    *Flavoured rice is rather expensive, but DD prefers it to white rice. So I tried mixing 1/2 white rice and 1/2 flavoured rice, then prepared per instructions to cut the serving cost and extend the flavoured rice further. The rice still had the flavour, just not quite as strong. Thankfully, DD didn't seem to notice.
    *To help teach DD some necessary life skills (following a recipe, measuring, and using the oven), I had her help me make a batch of blueberry muffins to use this coming week in her school lunches. It was a battle to get her to help, but she did it! I think she is starting to feel a bit more comfortable with using the stove.
    *On New Years Day, Hubby and I went to the theatre to watch the newest Star Wars movie. I had previously bought movie passes (which included popcorn and drinks) when I noticed they were on sale on at Costco just before Christmas. I knew hubby would want to go over the holidays, so this made our outing even cheaper! DD was invited, but she declined as she was still not feeling well.
    *I attended a meeting which included a free light luncheon. I attended another meeting, and won a small prize.
    *Stayed home most of the week, as the temperatures were cold enough to discourage unnecessary outings.
    *Was so thrilled to discover the second season of "Better Late than Never" had started. I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine and there is no better cure than this show. The show features William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman, along with their younger side kick Jeff Dye, who go in vacation together...and proves that men never actually grow up. One of the funniest show I've ever watched, hands down!!! (Note: For those interested, the first season should already be available on netflix, hulu, etc. and is only 4 episodes long...perfect for binge watching on a cold winter's day!).

    Hope you all have a lovely week!

  • Linda Higgy January 10, 2018

    Rhonda, check out Brandy's recipe for chicken rice. As good as the brand kind but cheaper and you can make a larger size.

  • Rhonda A. January 11, 2018

    Thank you for the idea Linda. I have tried a similar idea before and DD was not a fan. Because she is on the Autism spectrum, she is very particular about food taste and texture. She is very good at detecting differences between brands of food, too. I tried a cheaper Walmart brand flavoured rice, but she didn't like the taste and she refused to eat it. I couldn't taste a huge difference, but she sure could. If it doen't meet her approval, there is no point in forcing the issue.

  • Margie from Toronto January 08, 2018

    I envy your time in the garden - it finally hit 0C here today - the warmest it's been in about a month! Have to say - I was getting a bit tired of Minus 22C even without the wind!
    Last Tuesday I had a couple of girlfriends over for lunch rather than going out. I made stew, mashed potatoes & veg - and then pound cake with strawberries & cream for dessert. The only thing I had to buy was some wine and the frozen strawberries - everything else was in the fridge, freezer or pantry.
    On Wednesday I grouped a lot of errands and a tiny bit of grocery shopping, plus a social outing all on the one day so I bought a transit day pass instead of using individual tokens/tickets saving at least 3 fares.
    Thursday I was invited to lunch at a friend's apt. and I was able to regift her a box of fancy teas (I prefer strong, black tea while she loves all kinds of herbal ones) so I was able to take a hostess gift which I knew she'd appreciate.
    Friday I cancelled a social engagement as I wasn't feeling well so saved he cost of a dinner out.
    Sunday a friend offered to take me along to the grocery store - I hadn't planned on going back until this week but with the car I was able to buy a lot of heavier vegetables than I could manage on the subway. We di have brunch out but even with a generous tip I only spent $12 out of my monthly allowance and I'm still on track to stay within my $60 allotment for groceries this week.
    I also took the time to inventory my fridge, freezer (just the top of my fridge) and pantry. I did have to throw out a couple of items that had expired but it probably only amounted to about $4 and I managed to catch a number of other items that will expire shortly so I moved all those items in to the kitchen so I use them within the next week or so.
    I also used some rags that I'd cut up from some old towels to clean the pantry rather than using paper towels.
    Did a batch cook of chicken, rice & greens when I got home last night using items in the fridge and the pantry.

  • Juls Owings January 08, 2018

    I did not order seeds. I did keep the catalogs so as I start landscaping the new house I can look for fresh ideas.

    We stayed home mostly this week, sighed with relief because we felt like we did nothing but run since Hubby retired Dec 1st.
    Our offer on the Amish house we looked at was accepted. It's an hour away so our realtor is doing most of the leg work for us so we don't have to drive an hour one way, get information someone needs from the county and then drive back. It's a 2 minute phone call and a 5 min round trip for her to get it. We needed the septic cleaned and tested and she made the phone calls to get us the best price, ends up the guy is a neighbor sort of as he is on the road west of us but his house is almost directly behind us so he isn't charging a travel charge like he usually does. Sort of a Welcome to the neighborhood thing. The Amish neighbor saw some people messing around the place late last night so he went over and checked out what was going on. Guess the people checking the well didn't follow their boss's (our contractor)orders to test the well Monday morning (respectiful as the Amish keep Sunday as GOD's day) so this morning the Amish neighbor stopped in and told our realtor and she dealt with it. The two guys got their waged docked AND had to go apoligized to the neighbor and seller for being disrespectful. They did know better as both have worked with Amish.
    Rest of what seems very little of frugal is here.http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/01/jan-frugal.html

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 08, 2018

    Congrats on the house and property -- it's beautiful!

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks January 09, 2018

    It is lovely. So interesting to see the pump--and outhouse! Congrats!

  • Margie from Toronto January 08, 2018

    That should have been $60 for the month for groceries NOT per week - buying only what I absolutely need this month!

  • Holly January 08, 2018

    $60 is an impressive goal because groceries cost more north of the border.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada January 08, 2018

    Margie, I can't imagine only spending $60 per month on groceries in Canada. I spend $200 per month. I get very basic thins and it is only for a single person. What do you buy for $60 per month?

  • Margie from Toronto January 09, 2018

    That $60 is only for January Ellie :-) I have a lot of meat and HM meals in the freezer (just top of the fridge) - fruit & veg and cheese in the fridge and lots of dried and canned items in the pantry so I am concentrating on using those up this month - or at least making a dent. The $60 is for dairy and fresh fruit & veg. I've got about a 6 month supply of toiletries and cleaning supplies on hand so no need to buy any of those items either.
    As a couple of you have noted - our prices are considerably higher north of the border - I cannot even imagine getting things for the prices that many of you in the US list as normal.
    The USDA frugal weekly amount for a single woman my age in $37.50 US - about $46 Cdn at the current exchange rate and my normal budget (including non food items) comes in at around that amount - roughly $180 to $200 per month.
    For February I'm hoping to manage on about $120/month as I'll still have meat in the freezer and dried and canned items to work through. Again, I anticipate spending mostly on dairy - a bit of bread (I'm on low carbs) - fruit & veg (fresh & frozen). By March I'll be back to $200/month.
    My hope is that every few months I can concentrate on using up what I have and lowering my monthly bill - I'll either put the saved money aside or buy gift cards that I can put aside for future emergencies. I was forced into an early retirement so money is very tight at the moment although I'm hoping to find some part-time work soon. I believe you are in a similar situation Ellie so I wish you luck in 2018.

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