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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 10, 2018

    There are some companies in my state that make hats and purses out of old wool sweaters. I have a sneaky suspicion that they have deals with the local charity shops to buy up all the wool sweaters they receive as donations because I find wood sweaters so rarely on the second-hand racks. I did score one cashmere sweater for my mom after two years of diligent searching at our nearby stores. I might start cruising the yard sales for wool sweaters in the spring.

    Dryer balls sounds like an excellent, thrifty use for recycled wool yarn. You'll soon have gifts for your grown children.

  • Lilli January 08, 2018

    I am overwhelmed with seed company options. I am on the East coast. Can anyone suggest a company. Prices are way more than I thought. I really need to prepare.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 08, 2018

    Lilli, for the most inexpensive options, you can check your local dollar store and also look for seed swaps in your city. Often larger cities will have programs (usually via non-profits) to hand out or trade or sell seeds inexpensively. And as Brandy recommends, heirloom seeds that you can grow and collect the seeds from are best, as it means you won't need to purchase them the next year! One of my friends has even successfully grown veggies from store-bought veggies: she bought green peppers (I'm pretty sure they were organic heirloom, as the store she bought from was a higher-end store), saved the seeds, and then regrew a whole bunch on her balcony the next year. I ate one of those peppers, and saved the seeds and grew seedlings myself! (My plants never did produce veggies, but I think that's due to the lack of direct sunlight.) Best of luck! With your skill at finding great deals, I'm sure you'll do wonderfully!

  • Andrea Q January 09, 2018

    Johnny's Selected Seeds or Fedco in Maine, High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Territorial Seed Co. I like Renee's Garden, too, but have a difficult time finding their seeds locally.

  • Becky January 12, 2018

    Pinetree Garden seeds tends to be a little more inexpensive, often because the packages are smaller than some others. However, when it comes to peppers, etc., I don't need very many seeds. Sometimes I order seeds from them, sometimes from Territorial, sometimes from Johnny's, and sometimes buy from other places, including the Dollar Store.. When it doesn't matter to me exactly what variety I'm getting, I'll gladly buy cheap seeds. When it does, I am happy to pay more for things.

    I have not been able to grow my own seeds the past 2 years (into plants, like peppers, tomatoes, etc.). I could tell a huge difference in the purchased plants I got last year, than the favorite varieties I like to start from seeds myself. My husband plans to build me a mini-greenhouse this year, and I'll be back to business. So, I'm ordering seeds soon. I need varieties that grow in a short summer, often cloudy, rarely super hot, etc., so it's worth it to pay extra money to make sure I have success and have large yields. Each person would have to talk to people who live in their area to find out what kinds grow well where they live, if they want to have success.

  • Melissa V January 13, 2018

    I second Pinetree Garden seeds - outstanding quality and very reasonably priced. They have both open-pollinated and hybrid varieties. If you stick with open-pollinated you can start saving the seeds each year which should eventually mean you won't need to buy anymore....problem is there are always new varieties to try :)

  • Marybeth January 08, 2018

    I love looking at seeds but like you I have so many that I really don't need more.
    -Made a big pot of chili. Did twice the amount of beans to stretch it out. No one said anything. Put it on a bed of rice. Froze half for future use.
    -Made your Minestrone soup with potato pancakes. They loved it.
    -Made sausage and peppers with peppers I froze from my garden. Put it on bread that my son brought home from work. Had an extra sausage so I chopped it up and tossed in into the leftover minestrone. My husband loved it.
    -Made potato and corn chowder. Called for bacon but have lots of ham so used that instead. Called for heavy cream. Didn't have any so used condensed milk. Tasted great. Potatoes and corn are still going strong from farm stand back in October
    -Used a gift card we received to buy a pizza. Still has enough for 2 more.
    -Made spaghetti with veggies that were getting older in the fridge. Used sauce that I canned over the summer. Ate bread that my son brought home from work.
    -Made pancakes, French toast and steel cut oats. Made extra to have as easy breakfasts before work and school.
    -Got asked to work an extra shift since someone else was sick. My manager treated me to lunch as a thank you.
    -Went to work even though it was snowing. Manager treated everyone to pizza for coming in. I got caught up on lots of paperwork since it was a very slow day.
    -My son brought home bread and pastries from work. He was asked to work longer one day as someone didn't show up. His manager gave him a free meal as a thank you.
    -Got paid a small Christmas bonus( for not calling out or showing up late that week).
    -Found $1.15 so far this year.
    -Used a $10 off coupon to get my husband a shirt. Spent $4 cash. Used $10 off coupon for another store and spent $2 to get him socks.
    -Took my daughter for her yearly physical. Its fully covered under our insurance.
    -Brought lunch to work all week.
    -Snow blower died half way through my husband doing the driveway. Son helped him finish it. Husband ordered a new part for $15 and fixed himself. It is running great now.
    -Cleaned out a closet. Have some stuff to list on EBay and some to donate.
    -Used lots of blankets to help keep the heat lower.
    -Spent $26.46 on groceries this week.
    -Had 3 no spend days
    -Hubby and I sat down and figured out our goals for 2018. Together we can do it!

  • wyoming gal January 08, 2018

    My husband made very tasty lasagna for New Year's Eve. We watched Silverado at home for entertainment - our New Year's Eve tradition.

    For my birthday we drove to "the big city" which is Billings MT to see "The Darkest Hour" (Excellent), do a little shopping and eat dinner out. The frugal parts were buying my birthday gift on sale (towels) and going to the matinee. The theater was really understaffed so the wait for refreshments was so long and they are so expensive! (5.79 for a small soda) So I ate the orange in my handbag rather than buy snacks.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore January 08, 2018

    - We had 16" of snow on Thursday with high winds and freezing temps until Sat. Saved money by not going out.
    - On Tuesday went to ShopRite - having their can-can sale. Bought Heinz baked beans cans for 79 cents each - regular price is almost double that. Progresso soups for 88 cents a can less than 1/2 reg. price.
    - Fresh produce & fruits very expensive here but still buy them since important to our health and we like them.
    - Ate most meals at home. On Wednesday had lunch with two friends (we have lunch together several time a month & we each take turns choosing restaurants) at a local diner where the coffee was not included in price of the meal -we paid $2 each for a cup of coffee so in future will avoid this place and go to diner that includes the coffee/tea in the cost of the meal (and their prices are the same for the food).
    - Not frugal - thermostat at 70 day & night due to bitter cold/wind. Don't want pipes to freeze.
    - Paid extra on the mortgage
    I enjoy reading all your posts. Have a good week.

  • Lisa January 08, 2018

    We workimed on our 2018 goals and took a big step by completing one the first week of 2018.

    We are now debt free except for our mortgage!

    Come see the. Rest of the story at frugalhappyhome.com

  • Marybeth January 09, 2018

    Congrats on paying off your debt. Great way to start off the year!

  • Hilogene in Az January 09, 2018

    Congratulations on becoming debt free!

  • Jo January 08, 2018

    I have no doubt that your garden will look beautiful nonetheless!

      Our low spend January is going well food-wise and we are using up a ton of older foods and leftovers. All but one meal were prepared at home and my husband took lunches to work most days. One day he decided to buy lunch from his allowance. I ate the meal I had packed for him so no loss there.

      The air-conditioner was turned on for a total of 6.75 hours and we let the ceiling fan in the bedroom run for two nights.

      I fixed some Christmas baubles that our cats had played with. The baubles were only missing the strings so it was easily fixed.

      I am much less tempted by grocery specials now that I am not working anymore and have to make a special trip instead of stopping on my way home. But last week I spotted a deal too good to pass up and my husband picked it up on his way home.

      I combined all my errands and made sure to bring my reusable water bottle. I bought a frying pan at over 60% off. We had been in desperate need for a new pan for a while but kept putting it off until we found a good deal on a high quality pan. I also happened to come across a massive clearance sale at my sister's favourite store and found her the perfect birthday present at 1/3 of the usual cost.

      I took some time one night to wrap all presents and write all birthday cards that could be taken in our luggage and given to my relatives when we go for our big trip this year. Doing this will save a small fortune in postage as the fees have been raised yet again... All presents were wrapped in saved boxes, bags and ribbons.

      I was finally brave enough to make my own jam! We had too many apricots given to us so this was the perfect opportunity to try. We also still had a free lemon lingering around and my MIL gave me some glass jars. It was a mixed success, as I burnt a good portion of the jam and only yielded 2 1/2 glasses which then set like a brick... It tastes delicious though and I know where I went wrong so will try again. It took me several days to scrub my burnt pot but boiling water and dishwashing liquid finally did the trick.

      My husband and I spent Saturday visiting his aunt and uncle at their caravan park. We all had a great time on their jet ski and enjoying the sun. We brought soft drinks and some of the free apricots and also paid for hot chips for lunch which was very economical. They rounded the lunch out with some salads and sweets and sent us home with leftovers. They also gave us a new plastic tub for our garden waste as they had borrowed our old one and the handle broke.

      I gave away a book for free on FB and the lady who picked it up surprised me with a Ziploc bag full of herbs from her garden!

      We had a weird cut-out in our living room wall where the old owners had put their stereo and sound system. We finally built a door for it from a cheap piece of plywood, some nails and leftover paint and it looks so much better.

      We kept up with our usual frugal habits which is easier at the moment since I'm not working.

    Whisking everyone a great week!

  • Jo January 08, 2018

    Wishing everyone a great week, not whisking. :D Altough, if I could whisk together a magic potion that guaranteed everyone a good week, I would!

  • Mari from the Jersey Shore January 09, 2018

    This made me smile, Jo. Thank you

  • Jo January 10, 2018

    Thanks, Mari. I had to giggle too when I noticed the typo. ;)

  • leanne January 08, 2018

    This week I made a few meals using frozen Christmas leftovers. We have had a heat wave here so instead of buying small glass bottles of soft drinks I washed and reused making up different cordials which were nice and cold in the fridge. I was given a $25 store card and small gift set for Christmas from my employer which I picked up today, I got a free loaf of bread from a bakery with their loyalty card and I got 2 free products from another company for using their loyalty card.

    In the kitchen ive made 8 jars of apricot jam with another batch to go I have figs ready to use and hope to have time to do a batch of strawberry jam as well, I made a chocolate cake and we have been eating left over shortbread biscuits which were dirt cheap after Christmas. By juicing and freezing our food wastage is zero for this month. I made chicken stock with our leftovers and frozen scrap veggies and peelings. Spending on food last week was only a few dollars.

    I picked up a few more gifts for birthdays Christmas and Valentines day at about 75% off so I was happy with that. I bought Christmas decorations online to have engraved for Christmas they were much cheaper than this year 2016 cost me $25 for 3 engraved decorations last year they jumped in price to $42 for 3. I got a much better deal for 2018. I also picked up beautiful Christmas Tee Shirts from 0 to mens 4xL marked down to 50 cents at a department store. I managed to catch up on a few online surveys earning a few dollars and I am really happy on my start to 2018. My target is to find $2000 by August and so far I have $248 banked and more in the coin jar to bank.

  • Elizabeth January 09, 2018

    1. Bought only a little groceries this week and nothing else
    2. Found a lot of freebies and combined sales/coupons to buy a good amount of things to donate for my $5 weekly challenge.
    3. Used my own blend of thieves oil to help my son get over his cold...way cheaper than premixed varieties
    4. Stocked up on cheese for $0.99...thanks to Kroger!
    5. Sold a product on teachers pay teachers. I haven't sold any for awhile due to the holidays so I was excited:)

  • Marisa January 09, 2018

    I decided to do the same with seeds. I am going to be patient and find less expensive sources for seeds, plus I do have some.
    Made 5 minute artisan bread with Herbs de Provence with herbs we purchased in France last year.
    Converted Brandy's Lemon poppy seed and another Chocolate chip muffin recipe into bread so I could get them done more quickly. We have 4 athletes in the house that are always eating.
    Cooked all meals at home.
    Finally discovered the trick to growing sprouts so now we have sprouts growing at home. My husband said they were the best he has ever had.
    Hubs repaired a pair of cycling pants
    Cut and colored my own hair
    Made cashew milk from cashews, then with the leftover nut meat, made pesto and cream cheese.
    Using up alot of what we have in the freezers
    Hubs taking a lunch I made for him everyday.
    Using the electric car as much as possible as it is much cheaper than gas.
    My son's basketball academy gave us a discount and we gladly accepted.

  • Holly January 09, 2018

    What is the trick to growing sprouts?

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