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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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  • Cindy in the South January 08, 2018

    It has been very chilly in the deep South, and I do not remember it being this cold for this long in years, which means a higher heating bill, and a higher water bill. I ended up in the hospital for a couple of days, which is not frugal, except that I ate there, when I was allowed to eat I went in thirds on the present for the grandchild, with the other grandmother, and the parents of the grandchild. I ate beans made from dried lima beans and they were good.

  • Becky January 08, 2018

    I'm sorry you were ill. Hopefully, you are feeling better now:)

  • Cindy in the South January 10, 2018

    Thanks Becky!

  • Gardenpat January 08, 2018

    this week I canned 36 pints of : Sweet and sour sauce, Spicy Asian orange sauce and pineapple chunks. My daughter found Hershey's baking cocoa (8 oz canisters) for 99 cents on mark down at her store and she is trading 10 of them to me for more sweet and sour sauce!
    I spent $26 this week on groceries- $4.98 total for 5 eight ounce blocks of extra sharp cheddar cheese, 1 free Larabar and Campbell's cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups for 25 cents each! I bought 48 CoC and 24 CoM!! That will be enough for a year for us! I bought $3.98 worth of fresh salad greens that would have been between $7 and $11 more if I bought them elsewhere!
    My iPhone battery needed replacing so my son took it to the Apple Store where they replaced it ($79) . Unfortunately, when I tried to use it when he brought it home, the "home" button no linger worked at all (it had been fine before!) He took it back the next day and they agreed that it was their fault so this week they will be getting in a new iPhone (a 5c like mine which I love,) for NO charge!! I am happy!
    We went over our list of four goals for 2018 in each of 6 categories and compared them. Now we have decided on the first two categories and will go over the next two categories tonight. Then Tuesday the last 2 areas!
    It's exciting planning for the month to see how we can move each goal along!!
    All meals at home, many using and recreating leftovers in fridge into new entrees!
    It's been fun living on our reserves here at home and not feeling the need to go buy more food! It is good for our budget too!!
    I made a quilt out of vintage 1930's nine patch blocks that I got from an estate sale and will now list it for sale on our business site-HandmadeinOldeTowne.
    I am working on an upholstery job for a client and hope to have it finished by the weekend! We finished and got paid for two more of our woodworking part of the business.
    We are happy without progress this week!

  • Becky January 08, 2018

    You make it sound so effortless..."I just made a quilt out of pieces I found at an estate sale." I'm sure it's lovely, and am amazed at how much quilting you get done!

  • momsav January 10, 2018

    Score on the cocoa!!

  • kim January 08, 2018

    This is my second post. I found rooting hormone for $1 on clearance at Walmart so I'm attempting to root out raspberries, gooseberries, currants and plums. I spent $5 for seed starter mix also. I hope something roots out! Our shop stays at 40 degrees with the heater so I will leave the cuttings in there until spring. I think it take 3 months+ for cuttings to develop roots. I tried unsuccessfully to root out cuttings from wild plum last winter without using hormone. I hope I have better luck.
    My 3 year old helped me and had a blast stomping through the snow to tske cuttings so if anything it was a good activity for her.
    I'm envious of you Brandy! I wish I could have such a large family!! Still pushing for #3 :)
    Do you find it gets easier when there are older children to help out with the younger ones? My 3 and almost 2 year old are so much work, I can't imagine more than 2 under 4 at a time!

  • Juls Owings January 08, 2018

    All my daughters had 4 under the age of 5 yrs old at one time. They all told me that the older 2 helped with the younger 2.

  • kim January 10, 2018

    That must be how it is manageable! My 3.5 year old is just starting to help a little with her younger sister who is almost 2. I contemplate another but feel waiting until kids are older would be easier...not sure!

  • Holly January 08, 2018

    I might have saved about $2000 by making two phone calls today. I woke up Saturday morning to no water. We had just had the longest coldest cold snap since 1979 so I wasn't sure if the problem was frozen pipes or dead well pump. I just knew the circuit breaker had not popped so there was nothing to switch to turn the water back on. A January thaw was coming so I planned on waiting until this coming Friday to decide who was going to do the replacement of the well pump if we still had no water. I had two estimates for well pump replacement from well experts from a month ago when the circuit breaker had been switching off too frequently. But then there was a stretch of two-three weeks when everything appeared to be fine. Saturday, I sent them emails letting them know why I had not followed up on the estimates earlier and asking the lowest cost guy if he included a replacement pipe like the significantly more expensive guy. Silence from the lower cost guy-maybe he is on vacation or doesn't check his email except on weekday evenings. I decided to get a third estimate this week and so (Phone call one) I asked my round the corner neighbor if they had a favorite well guy. They did. (Phone call two) I asked their favorite well guy for an estimate. He would not provide one without a $60 service call to come out and diagnose the problem. I asked if the $60 would apply to the replacement if we went with him. he said yes and I gulped and said come on over. He came over, got out his multimeter, and started testing. Our pressure tank switch was dead. It cost a total of $130 to replace it and give us running water again. Our well pump is old and might be failing soon. But for now, we have running water and one problem fixed.

    Expenses were higher this weekend because of the well problem. We ate take out two nights. I had to wash clothes at the laundromat, and bought disposable plates, cups, and bowls, aluminum foil, oven baking bags, wet wipes for people and hard surfaces, cases of bottled water, jugs of water, and a seven-gallon water can. I have a second seven-gallon water container waiting for me at Walmart. I think I will return the foil, baking bags, and hard surface wet wipes since they have not been opened. I think I will still pick up the second seven-gallon water container because it will be a good addition to our emergency supplies. I purchased it with Swagbucks.

    The gallon of water per person per day commonly suggested to have on hand for emergencies is very low if you plan on doing ANY dishwashing. I was able to wash a trayful using snow to start, about three cups of water to wash the dishes with a soapy rag, and a small teakettleful of boiling water to rinse. It takes about 2.5 gallons of water to flush a toilet once and, believe me, you will want to flush it a second time immediately if you are trying to flush it just once a day. Plan accordingly.

    Because of the cold snap, I researched best winter room temperatures for old people. I found a British review-of-the-published-papers paper. No cooler than 68 at night and no cooler than 72 during the day. Being cooler can increase blood pressure and stroke incidence, and increase breathing difficulties for asthmatics and COPD sufferers. So, mom wins the battle of the thermostat in this house. It will be 70-71 at night and 73 during the day with a space heater set at 75 and aimed at her on whenever she wishes. My room is a bit cooler because I keep the vent and the door closed. Fewer strokes, practically priceless.

  • Holly,

    The emergency drinking water amount of 1 gallon per person per day is just the amount for drinking. It's not for washing or anything else. We have water that we can drink as well as non-potable water stored for flushing the toilet and other needs.

  • Holly January 08, 2018

    Brandy, we only had nine gallons of borderline potable water (and a 24-pack of older bottled water) and four 24-packs of drinking water on hand at the start of Saturday morning. A 24-pack of half-liters should keep the two of us hydrated for at least two days, maybe three. Knowing what I know now, I will view seven gallons of nonpotable water as a day's supply if we are continuing to use a flush toilet. Two gallons will suffice if we go the portable hassock route-laundry not included. (And even if we go the hassock toilet route immediately for a long-duration event, we will want at least five to ten gallons on hand to clear out the toilets after we realise there is a water shortage.) I will be keeping 20-21 gallons in three containers, seven one-gallon containers (to use and to refill the larger containers under certain circumstances), and at least four, more ideally ten, 24-packs on hand going forward. We live near the headwaters of three rivers and have many ponds, swamps, and lakes nearby. A life-threatening water shortage is not high on my list of worries. But we were oh so glad and relieved when I ran upstairs to flush the toilets!

  • Rhonda A. January 08, 2018

    Holly, I just recently read a suggestion for storing non-potable water to use for cleaning, etc. during emergencies. It suggested using empty laundry soap bottles. I buy the big bottles of laundry soap that have a tap on them. These would be useful, as they have a nice handle for carrying and you could sit it on your counter with the tap over the sink to use as needed. Though I would pass along this frugal idea for storing water.

  • Holly January 08, 2018

    I like your idea. We usually buy our laundry detergent in the 40 loads for $1 bottles from Dollar Tree. But I might buy the next two bottles elsewhere to get the dispensers. They sound like they would fit on the counters much more nicely than the squat 7-gallon water containers would. Thank you. Using Wet Wipes to clean our hands got old really fast.

  • Andrea Q January 08, 2018

    Glad you were able to save so much with a few phone calls!

    You can flush a toilet with as little as two quarts. Google for directions.

    Newer, low-flow toilets use half what traditional toilets do. Because we pay for water, we replaced the most used toilet in our home when it was having issues (rather than fix it, which would have saved us money in the short term). The new toilet was $300 installed a few years ago. That might be something to consider if you run in to toilet issues.

    Similar to Rhonda's suggestion, you can also store water in gallon vinegar bottles. I use a fair number of those for cleaning and canning. When buying drinking water, it is usually cheaper to buy gallon jugs than the smaller bottles, and so much better for the environment, too. I find the gallons easier to store, as well. We have a combination of 5-gallon jugs, gallons and then non-potable small random containers.

  • Lorna January 08, 2018

    Hi Holly and I thought I would offer you some advice on water storage per person as my husband was in the Australian Military. The government supplied their field troops 10lts or 2.64 gallons per day and this would be a more accurate figure of what to store per person in a total grid down situation say after a cyclone, flood etc. This amount would give you enough water to do all of the things you mentioned for each person in your household and what we store here.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC January 08, 2018

    Most people have non-potable water in their hot water tanks. Turn off the power, attach a hose to the tank and open the spigot at the bottom of the tank as if you were draining it for maintenance.

  • 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!

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