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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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  • 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!

  • Becky @ Becky's Place January 10, 2018

    I love the breadsticks idea, too! Coincidentally, my husband and I went to OG for supper yesterday. When they came by our table and asked if we'd like more breadsticks I told them yes (although we were stuffed to the gills) and we ended up bringing all three home. They will be made into croutons this afternoon to have in our salad at supper tonight. Thanks for that idea!

  • Allyson January 13, 2018

    I love the POWWOW idea! Our local food pantry is similar, but it's nice that you can get such a large amount.

  • I have the same problem with seeds anymore. This year I am going to try hard not to buy any and just use what I have before they get too old.

    My list for the week can be found here...


  • JoannaT January 08, 2018

    Here's my frugal accomplishments for the first week of January.

    We had our extended family Christmas celebrations on New Year's weekend. Brought back leftovers from both sides, which were incorporated into breakfasts/lunch/dinners for the week: Pulled pork (froze some for future use), havarti cheese slices, banana bread, pecan and pumpkin pie.

    Used a Shutterfly coupon code plus free shipping to order part of next year's Christmas cards with a holiday photo for a discount. Went through Upromise for cash back.

    Organized my physical coupon storage; replaced the three-ring binder where I keep newspaper inserts in sheet protectors, which was falling apart, with a "new" binder (i.e., it came out of my home office storage and was one my daughter previously used for school).

    Checked gift card balances.

    Registered daughter for a week of summer horse camp; saved $100 by paying in full by end of December.

    Went to a movie on New Year's Day. I had ordered tickets and food online through my AMC Stubs membership (I rarely make any purchases without some kind of discount code/cash back option/loyalty card). Food is supposed to be delivered to your seat within 10 minutes of the time you specify. It wasn't, so I had to go out to the lobby and follow up on that, then carry popcorn and drinks back while trying not to spill them. I talked to the manager afterward (nicely) who offered me a refund on the cost of the food. (Also noted: even though I waited the full 10 minutes, which I had set for movie start time -- which is really "preview start time" -- they were still in the midst of showing previews by the time I got back to the theater, so I didn't miss any of the movie.)

    Put up the three free calendars I received. (One from my insurance company; one from National Wildlife; one from Unity.)

  • Marivene January 08, 2018

    *I ordered a free puzzle last week from Shutterfly, using a free gift code that was only good for 24 hours. I have learned to “make” my projects, then wait for a free code. I used pictures of Christ and the nativity that were free to download for a time on the LDS.org website. As a result, we now have a nice assortment of religious puzzles for our “Sunday box” for the grandchildren, that cost only the shipping.

    *I continued to collect curb side Christmas trees, with permission, to use to acidity some of my growing beds. I have collected 5 trees thus far, and there is one more that I am trying to contact the owner about.

    *I scattered the eggshells from baking & from making pickled eggs in the planting beds, to add calcium to the soil. I also continued to sliver the orange peels to scatter in the beds that need to be acidified.

    *I am nearly done knitting a white blanket for our new grandson to use when he is blessed at the end of the month. There are only a few more design rows, so I should finish the blanket in a few more days. I bought the yarn at the after Christmas sale at Joann’s for $1.99 per skein, which was less than half price.

    *I bought a nice turkey roast from the meat markdown bin for 60% off. These days, I buy nearly all our meat from the mark down bin, on the last day of sale, for over 50% off, then bring it home & freeze it. We also eat less meat, but meat is just so expensive, & this is how I cut the cost to less than half.

    *I have been cleaning out the things we no longer use & that no longer fit, & donating them.

    *I started working on our taxes. I do them using a tax preparation software, & find that if I work on it a little at a time, as the 1099s and the W2s arrive, I can usually have them done well before the tax deadline without a lot of stress.

  • SJ inVancouver BC Canada January 09, 2018

    Marivene - I've missed your comments here. Nice to see you back.
    Great idea about your Shutterfly projects and getting them ready ahead of time.

  • Marivene January 09, 2018

    Thank you, SJ.

  • Laurie in AZ January 11, 2018

    I buy 90% of our meat from the mark down bin also. The other 10% is purchased when there is a fantastic sale price. I never pay full price for meat, as I freeze what I get and make my meal plan according to what is in the freezer. We save so much that way!

    I have found Safeway to have the best clearance offerings.

  • Jennifer O January 08, 2018

    Glad the holidays and their spending is over so things can get back to normal.
    Took the dogs to get free nail trims at the pet supply store. Attended a free movie and a Zumba class at the base. Had a free Chiropractor appointment due to my monthly prepay and missed appointments due to the holiday closures.
    Had a few days off work due to the freezing temperatures. Stayed home and ate from the fridge/freezer and binged on Netflix. Kept the heat at 65 at home , cooked things that took a long time, baked bread and ran a cleaning cycle on the oven to warm the house up a bit more.
    Nearly froze to death chaperoning a basketball game at my school. The gym’s heat was broken, it was 22 outside, and I was at the door selling tickets. Coach took pity on me and brought me a cup of hot cocoa.
    Had friends in for Sunday dinner (it was my turn). Made a meal for them primarily out of my freezer and pantries; they provided wine and a salad. Splurged on some fresh berries to make a light dessert that was loved by all.
    I need to finish my Christmas sewing and bet the last box mailed out. I know I’m late, but better late than never.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada January 08, 2018

    What pet store does free nail clips? Is it a national chain?

  • Jennifer O January 09, 2018

    Pet Supplies Plus does this twice a month. It is a chain, but I don't know if the free nail trims are just our location or a chain-wide thing.

  • SJ inVancouver BC Canada January 09, 2018

    Thanks Jennifer O. We don't have that chain here. That's a great service and my favorite price, free!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 08, 2018

    Yay for a new-to-your family bike! Do your kids have to provide their own bikes when they go on their missions? (We're not LDS, so I don't know how that works.)

    I'm glad to say I'm back in the groove of writing things down, so here goes.

    Frugal Efforts

    * Ate mostly home-prepped meals. (We did eat out after church on Sunday, and Hubs bought a salad at work one day. Otherwise we ate at home/took packed lunches.) This continues to be a challenge for us. One goal for 2018 is to improve significantly in this area for both financial and health reasons.

    * Participated in the pantry challenge hosted by Jessica at GoodCheapEats. Planning for this, and the accountability resulting from daily postings, has helped with the above point.

    * Paid bills online. Postage is going up again this year (maybe it's already gone into effect?), so I'm glad I have this option.

    * Hubs "rescued" a wooden trellis a neighbor had out for the trash. He'll use it in the garden for peas or cucumbers.

    * Printed out and analyzed the annual spending reports (both 2016 and 2017) to find more places to trim the budget. While there are definitely some areas of waste/poor choices, I was pleased to see that in many areas we had actually cut our spending in 2017. That was encouraging.

    * Made split pea soup, minestrone soup, whole wheat bread, "breakfast" bread, rosemary focaccia, ranch dip, pizza, orange chicken, and tacos.

    * Son collected recycling items to raise funds for his Eagle project. When we took them in, he made $82.

    * Hubs took son to various businesses to ask for gift-in-kind donations for son's Eagle project. Son received lots of support.

    * Son printed up some free sheet music.

    * The weather has been unseasonably warm here, so we opened up windows and doors whenever possible and kept the thermostat set for 68F otherwise. It's also been really dry, so I expect we'll be back on drought restrictions later in the year. Our habit of collecting warm-up/rinse water continues.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  • Roberta,

    Not every missionary uses a bicycle. I used public transportation as a missionary. If a bicycle is needed, it is purchased in the area.

    Home Depot in our area has a specific budget for donating to Eagle Scout projects. My eldest son had his materials donated for his project.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 09, 2018

    Thanks for answering my question. :) Most of the kids we see in our neighborhood are on bicycles (perhaps because our public transportation isn't the greatest here in the suburbs). Did you do your mission in France?

    The manager at Home Depot was on vacation when the guys went; we're still waiting for him/her to get back. My son doesn't need too much (mainly a couple of bags of cement), so we're hoping for a positive response. My son was really nervous about asking people to donate things, but his confidence has grown with the positive responses he's received. The biggest expenses for the project are plants (which the partnering organization is donating) and food/drinks for the volunteers (and he has gift-in-kind donations for that as well). We've found people are generally willing to help out when they know it's for an Eagle project.

    How is your second son doing on his project?

  • I was a missionary in France and Switzerland.

    My second son has his project approved and now needs to get supplies.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 10, 2018

    One set of my great-grandparents emigrated from Switzerland, and I'd love to visit there someday. It's totally out of the budget now, so I have to be an armchair tourist.

    Glad to hear your son is progressing on his project. It's such a great learning experience for boys.

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