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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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  • Lilli January 08, 2018

    Dear friends, thank you for all the kind words. I have kept 2 pairs of socks on my feet and have kept the heating pad on them too. I think that if my pain level wasn't so high from my recent fall that I could deal with the cold better. I will be 54 in a week. I don't think of being old but my body disagrees with me. I need to be mindful of safety and not fall anymore. I think my car wreck 18 months ago has left me wobbly.

  • Tina January 08, 2018

    Take a tube sock, put dry rice in it, tie a knot in the end, then microwave for a couple of minutes, it stays hot/warm for quite a while. I use it for moist heat for my back, shoulder and other pains but my grandson loves to snuggle with it. Lol It is super cheap if you buy the off brand rice, 1 - 1 1/2 pounds of rice should be more than enough. You can also put it in the freezer to use as an ice pack.

  • momsav January 10, 2018

    Hi, Lilli! I wanted to mention our experience with kerosene heaters. For me, they were very unwieldy, with the base tray being so much larger then the top. I’m about 5’4” and had a heck-of-a-time moving the thing. The smell when it was distinguished was nauseating to me, as well. We’ve had two over the years. Last year, we got a gas buddy? It uses one of those canisters that you screw in. The canisters last about 2 1/2 hours. We like this set-up much better even though it doesn’t last long. It wouldn’t be the best for long-term.

  • Terri Deeds January 08, 2018

    This week I turned the thermostat down to 50 degrees at night and 62 during the daytime. I spent an afternoon inventorying the food in my pantry and freezers. I turns out that we have enough food to last a very long time, apart from fresh produce and milk. During my food inventory, I discovered that we had a massive amount of butter in our deep freezer. I used some of the butter to make homemade croissants for the first time. I made 6 dozen muffins from ingredients I had on hand, purchased on sale. I put over half of the muffins in the freezer to eat later. The heat from baking helped warm the house. I have been timing my showers to help avoid wasting hot water. I discovered that I can take a complete shower in under 3 minutes! I searched for my dishwasher manual online and discovered that my dishwasher actually uses MORE water when I run a "light" wash load than when I select "normal" wash, so I've been running my dishwasher on "normal" loads since. I started washing all of our clothes in cold water on the shortest cycle possible. I've been monitoring our daily electric usage online. This past week, I saved all of our laundry for one day and then I discovered that doing a week's worth of laundry more than doubled our electric usage. It turns out that we have a very energy inefficient clothes dryer. We did the math and figured if we buy an inexpensive energy efficient clothes dryer, it will pay for itself in electric savings in about 2 years. We are planning to buy one when my husband gets his next bonus check, in the mean time I started hanging laundry to dry indoors on a drying rack. I'm considering ways to hang some lines or drying racks indoors that won't look junky (we live in a rainy area, so outdoor lines aren't feasible). My cell phone has been having some trouble lately with the Bluetooth and GPS. I did some research online and found what I thought was the problem. It turns out that the part was inexpensive to purchase, but replacing it would be time consuming. I went to the store to see how much it would cost to repair it. They didn't want to repair it for me and were saying that I could get a new phone for $300 or if I insisted, they had a guy in another store who would do the repair for $200+ an hour. I balked and told them I'd have my husband fix it for me, since either way I was looking at spending several hundred dollars. I ordered a repair kit online for $20 and my husband spent about an hour and a half one afternoon fixing it for me. I watched the kids and made sure they didn't go anywhere near him while he was fixing me phone. It works perfectly now and we saved at least $200!!! I'm thrilled!

  • kim January 08, 2018

    You have a lot of great ideas! I need to be more vigilant about saving energy like you are!

  • Andrea Q January 08, 2018

    That's surprising about the dishwasher. Thanks for sharing that!

    How long has it been since you vacuumed out the exhaust hose of your dryer? Or had it professionally cleaned (or equivalent--you may be able to do it yourself with YouTube for help)? We vacuum our exhaust hose every six months and it always makes a difference. Last time, we took apart the sections in the attic and vacuumed as far as we could reach with the shop vac. It cut the dry time by 20 minutes on a load of towels.

    Except towels, I dry almost everything for 15-20 minutes and then hang it on drying racks and hangers. It's better for the environment, better for our clothes and better for our budget. There are a ton of great ideas for drying clothes indoors on Pinterest and on many frugal blogs and forums.

  • Terri Deeds January 09, 2018

    Andrea, we’ve owned our home for less than a year, so we’ve never vacuumed out the exhaust house. I never even thought of that, I’ll see if my husband and I can do that.

    I’m finding that with some items, I need to dry them for a few minutes to get them completely dry.

  • Lea Stormhammer January 09, 2018

    I'm going to second Andrea's recommendation! The second (and last) apartment we rented had a dryer that was SO slow. We called maintenance and they discovered that the entire pipe/hose/etc. was clogged as was the drum of the machine itself. A horrible fire hazard besides! It took them 3 hours to clean it all out!

    You can bet when we bought our house we had everything cleaned first thing!

    Best wishes,

  • leanne January 08, 2018

    When we use the heater in the evenings I put 2 chairs in the lounge room put a broom across the top and put skirts, shirts tops, blouses onto hangers then hang them on the broom stick doesn't take long for them to dry out and very easy to unassembled in the mornings,

  • Terri Deeds January 09, 2018

    That’s s good idea. I found a couple places around the house that I can hang clothes on hangers to dry. They do dry better that way.

  • Marivene January 10, 2018

    I hang my underwear to dry over the doorknobs on the bedroom door & bedroom closet. I also use some metal over the door hooks that we purchased at Kmart & ShopKo in the bath section years ago. They are heavy duty & look nice, so I bought at least one for each bedroom, and a couple of spares. Later, I went back for more. During most of the year, there are two on each closet door (one facing in the closet & one facing out), and two on the bedroom door (one facing in & one facing out). I can hang something to dry on each single hook, but some of the ones on the closet doors are double hooks, with one hook below the other & I can hang two items on those. (At Christmas, some of the hooks get moved to hold wreaths on the outside of each of the bedroom doors, and on the coat closet & linen closet doors. I bought the wreaths years ago on clearance at 90% off after Christmas at our local ShopKo when we lived in Idaho.)

    I use those hooks to dry items at least every other day, & have done so since we moved into this house 11 years ago. They have saved us a fair amount of money in that time, besides adding a little moisture to our dry desert air. Did you know that flu virus can live a lot longer in dry air than in humid air? Just a little humidity adds a lot of protection in that area.

  • Amy January 11, 2018

    Marivene I didn't know that about the flu virus. Thanks for sharing the info

  • Love this idea! Wouldn't have thought of that myself. I have a wood stove I could put things by.

  • Libby January 08, 2018

    I love how you are using patience and what you have on hand to make a new hedge. Hoping for super growth this year for you!

    • Put a third wool blanket on my bed
    • Taped a piece of flexible Styrofoam packing material to bottom of front door to help block drafts
    • Put rolled up towels in front of outside doors
    • Wrapped bubble wrap around some pipes down in basement
    • Kept the heat up all day & night during the Winter Storm Grayson in case we lost power (thank goodness we didn’t).
    • Cooked Massaman curry with chicken and veggies and brown rice, made chicken broth with slow cooker, made apple crisp, baked peanut butter cookies, tried new recipe, Greek lemon chicken soup with spinach and rice, from a library cookbook, made homemade pizza
    • Repaired three Christmas decorations
    • Shoveled snow by hand – ugghh
    • Updated monthly net worth spreadsheet
    • Returned three small, unopened items to Michaels for a refund of $8.48
    • Washed plastic Ziploc bags
    • On Sunday, when it was -20, ate breakfast in bed  to stay warm
    • Made a pot scrubber using the net bag in which navel oranges were packed by loosely knotting it over and over
    • Made swag goal x 7 – first time I’ve ever earned a “winning streak” bonus.
    • Colored my hair at home
    • Hung laundry up to dry, which also helps hydrate the air since we have forced hot air heat
    • Spent a total of $7.35 at the grocery store for the entire week: lettuce, apples, and zucchini. All other food came out of pantry and freezer.

  • Jenny January 12, 2018

    We've been watching the news with the incredible US temperatures in the -20s and below. Praying for all you folk.

  • Rhonda A. January 13, 2018

    Hey, what about Canadians? We have -20s nearly every winter! No sympathy for us?

  • Jenny January 18, 2018

    Sorry. I pray for any one with temperatures below -20.

  • Melissa V January 13, 2018

    What ethnicity is Massaman curry? We are always looking for more ethnic foods to add in some spice :)

  • Laurie in AZ January 08, 2018

    Beautiful picture, Brandy!

    • Spent New Year’s Eve at home. Made a nice dinner and watched a movie I already own with the Hubby.
    • Used free coffee, tea and toiletries and washed Ziploc bags.
    • Turned off the heat in the house.
    • Had lunch out on NYE day and used a BOGO entrée coupon.
    • Leftovers for dinner including turkey noodle soup & salad; turkey enchiladas made with broken taco shells instead of tortillas and home canned turkey (bought at lowest price last Thanksgiving), enchilada sauce, salsa and corn all bought on clearance; leftover roast Beef & Gravy and peas; Ham steak (bought at Easter), Au Gratin Potatoes (bought on clearance with coupons) and green beans (home canned). Grilled pork chops on Friday and steak on Saturday. Last night I had a can of chicken noodle soup, as Hubby left on a business trip and I am sick. Ate dinner at home on our Trivia night instead of ordering at the bar.
    • Inventoried all my freezers (1 deep freeze, 1 top freezer on extra fridge and kitchen refrigerator freezer.) Since I was inventorying the deep freeze, I went ahead and defrosted it as well. Updated my freezer spreadsheet.
    • Cut up some older celery and carrots and put them in the freezer for soups.
    • Organized Christmas gift wrap and (reused) bags, tissue and bows. I should not have to buy any through next year.
    • Received a wine gift basket from my MIL. I saved all the shredded paper to use in gift bags in place of tissue paper in gift bags, the beautiful ribbon and wooden box.
    • Helped a friend pack up her house for moving. She gave me a small, foldable wood and iron table and 4 folding chairs, a brand new frame, a brand new set of 3 rubber balls for my grandson, a church key can opener (this had been on my list to buy), a candle and 2 decorative plates. She also paid for lunch.
    • Got some decorative Christmas items 70%-90% off as well as 2 cans of beef bouillon powder, 3 cans of tomato sauce and 3 cans of chili on clearance. The chili will be great for Hubby to put in his desk for those days when we don’t have time to pack his lunch. Also got some olive oil on clearance and there was an Ibotta rebate on it as well.
    • Hubby used a refillable water bottle every week and took his lunch on Wednesday (sandwich and leftover salad) and Thursday (free tuna my daughter had gotten from work.)
    • Took Dad out to lunch. Ordered the special instead of what I really wanted. It was chicken fajitas. I ate two fajitas only, then boxed up the black beans they came with and added the rest of the onions, peppers, chicken, pico de gallo and salsa and took home the serving of black beans and had that for lunch the next day.
    • Resisted the urge to buy some sox that were on sale. I have so many already and I only wear sox for 3 months a year.
    • Ordered some fitness equipment I wanted. Saved $1 by ordering one color over another. Used Ibotta, so I will be getting a rebate on it too.
    • Had 4 leftover breadsticks from Olive Garden from last week. I sliced them up, tossed them in a little olive oil and garlic powder then toasted them in the oven for about 10 minutes. This made a quart jar full of croutons.
    • Got organic broccoli and cauliflower on sale for 97c/lb. Blanched and put in freezer. 3# bag of gala apples were 99c, so I got one of those too. Also got 5-oz. packages of shredded cheese for 99c each and a free Lara bar. Went to the P.O.W.W.O.W. (Produce On Wheels Without Waste). It is the local program that rescues produce going to waste and sells it to the public through churches, etc. You get 60 lbs. of produce for $10. I got 20 Roma tomatoes, 5 eggplant, a bunch of chives, 5 green bell peppers, 20 jalapenos, 3# of green beans, 2 honey dew melons, 10 yellow squash, 3 spaghetti squash and 7 gray squash. They also included 2 rolls of paper towels. I gave my daughter some of the squash and tomatoes. I blanched and froze most of the remaining yellow squash and dehydrated the chives. I cooked and froze the spaghetti squash. I will can the green beans and jalapenos and dehydrated the eggplant this week.
    • Hit some more after Christmas sales and got a number of items we will need next year including 3 white elephant gifts, a gift for my son-in-law, a gift for my daughter and gifts for a couple of friends we see 3 – 4 times a year. The wives always exchange something small, so I have those gifts for 2 occasions and only spent $26 for 4 gifts. Retail would have been $80. Got some Yankee Candle votives for 75% off also. I will use these decorating my new home.
    • When moving I found that I had A LOT of hotel soaps that I haven’t used. I prefer body wash in the shower. I’m running low on liquid hand soap, I decided to put bar soap in the bathrooms instead. I found 2 cute small plates I already owned and put those in the guest bathroom (there are 2 sinks in there) and then found a small plain white soap dish while I was out shopping for $1.99 for the ½ bath. I just need to find 2 more small soap dishes for the master bath, but will look around at Goodwill for those. I shouldn’t have to buy hand soap again for years!
    • Used $5 reward at Walgreen’s on foot cream my husband needed. There was also a $2 in store coupon.
    • Saved $5 by paying our car insurance for the full year vs. month to month.
    • Hubby received a $100 Amazon gift card from his boss.
    • Signed up for a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card. We currently use my husband’s credit card for all purchases and pay it off each month. We are very disciplined to do this, so I am not concerned about getting another credit card. We got out of the debt hole many years ago and will never go there again. We will use this one for 3 months, as I will then earn 40,000 points plus $100 credit. I will use these points for gift cards for Christmas presents.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  • momsav January 08, 2018

    I love the P.O.W.WO.W.! I hope that comes to Mich. some day! I had a duh moment with breadsticks turned into croutons. I save bread ends for croutons or crumbs, chips crumbs etc. but it never dawned on me to make croutons out of stale breadsticks! If it was a snake....Thanks for the wake-up!

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