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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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  • 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 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.

  • Marybeth January 12, 2018

    My son is going to Switzerland this summer with my sister.

  • Lea Stormhammer January 08, 2018

    Wow! You did a lot of garden work this week! I'm a wee bit envious since we're warmer than we have been (right around freezing) but won't be able to get to anything outside until May-ish. I'll live vicariously through your photos until then!

    You mentioned picking tomatoes with a freeze. If it's a "light freeze", you can just cover the plants with a blanket, tarp, drop cloth, etc and then remove it once the freeze is past. We typically do this down to about 25F or so, especially close to the house or walls that can hold heat. Then the tomatoes can ripen on the vine and we don't have to have quite as many tomatoes ripening in the house! We do this with beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, etc. too.

    Not much frugal "stuff" going on past our typical weekly doing (eating at home, using reusable cloth napkins/towels/etc., and the like) but you can read what our family did this last week here:

    Blessings on your new year,

  • Our freezes here are usually light freezes. We pulled our plants. I will plant new plants next month in the garden and I will direct seed squash, cuucmbers, and beans. Peas make it through our frosts without being covered. I have several fall-planted snow peas coming up in the garden now.

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