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Frugal Accomplishments for the Fourth Week of January

Meyer Lemon Meringues The Prudent Homemaker

I used lemons from the garden this week to make lemon curd, which I used to top homemade meringues, along with pomegranate arils. I'll be sharing this recipe later this week.

I dug up and moved several plants to help them to get better sun exposure/less sun exposure (some were burning in the sun and others were failing to flower). Moving the plants made it feel like I've put new things in the garden. (You can see some recent pictures of the garden over on Instagram.) I planted two bushes that were started by tip layering several years ago to the pots by the front door.

We have been working on making our raised bed smaller. About half of it was on the east side of the house. It wasn't getting enough sun, and we want the space for bicycles. I ran new drip irrigation to the remaining part of the bed (the old irrigation had become clogged with calcium and salt that is prevalent in our local water). As I evaluated the bed, I saw that I could install the lines closer than they had been before, allowing me to almost double the number of rows in the remaining space. My lettuce and green onions can grow closer together than they have in the past.

I planted seeds for lettuce, spinach, green onions, snow peas, radishes, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and pumpkins in the garden. We're expecting record high temperatures this week (70F/23ºC), and with our normal last-frost date only two weeks away, it's warm enough for warm-weather crops to germinate in the garden.

I transplanted parsley seedlings from where I started them in a pot in the white garden to several shady spots in the garden. Parsley will burn here completely in the sun come April, but will grow year-round in the shade.

I covered vegetable seedlings with jars to protect them from being eaten and to speed up growth. Glass jars act as miniature greenhouses in the garden, and I've found that the seedlings grow three times faster when covered than when not.

I updated my garage sale list. I usually print my list and take it with me. Now I have the list on my phone, so I'll have it with me always, and I can update it more often as I both find things and think of things we need. Garage sale season usually starts in March here (and is at its peak in April and again in October, when HOA's have their semi-annual community sales).

Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake The Prudent Homemaker

I made a crepe cake for my son's birthday (my children choose the meals for their birthdays, and this was his request). He asked for a crepe cake with lemon curd, Nutella, and whipped cream for breakfast. I still had heavy cream left in the fridge that I bought a few months back that was good (whipping cream lasts months, unlike milk) which was perfect to top the crepes.

I checked out and read four e-books from the library.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I made homemade hair detangler/leave-in conditioner. A small squirt of conditioner in a squirt bottle and water work just as well as Infusium leave-in conditioner.

I said yes to some free clothes hangers.

My husband cut my hair for me.

Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake 2 The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Unopened helps, but mine was actually open and still fine. The expiration date is usually 2-3 months out from when you buy it. This was past the date but still fine (you'll know if it is bad).

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 29, 2018

    Great to know! Thanks, Brandy!

  • Becky January 29, 2018

    Buttermilk keeps like that, too. It's good until it molds. I've kept it for a long, long time past it's expiration date.

  • Trisha January 29, 2018

    Your bartering and trading skills ROCK!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 29, 2018

    Thanks, Trisha! :)

  • I have been using that formula to help with tangles on my granddaughter's natural curly hair. It works great and very low cost. We on the final stretch of our No Spend January and I think we need to do this in Feb maybe March too! Just maybe we should watch our spending more! Here are my frugal ways this past week:

  • Cindi January 29, 2018

    Those desserts look so beautiful! And I am living vicariously through your gardening stories, since it will be months before I can do anything here.
    The really big money saver for us this week involved my husband repairing my sewing machine. I have a Pfaff 1475 that was made in 1998 that I love and use several times a week – sometimes daily. I love this machine, but it’s pretty much impossible to get parts for, and being computerized, no one in my half of the state will work on it. My husband repaired it once before, but when it stopped working this time, he feared the circuit board was damaged. I researched and found another machine and we agreed this was worth taking money out of savings for, so I ordered the machine on Amazon. Meanwhile, he took the old one out to his workbench and started messing with it – thinking he might sell it for parts on eBay. A few minutes later he came in and said he had discovered all that was wrong was a little gear that had jumped out of place. The machine works great again – and I was able to cancel the order for the new machine. I am so pleased and thankful!

    I made this recipe: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/mexican-lentil-casserole-149053
    to use up a bag of lentils. We generally do not like lentils, but I’m happy to say this dish was a big hit!

    We went skiing one day, using passes we purchased at a discount pre-season, parked in the free garage, and packed a lunch to eat. The resort has a very nice yurt that is heated, with picnic tables and cubbies for storing lunch bags – and we almost never see anyone eating in there. I don’t know why anyone would pay $18 for a hamburger in the resort restaurant (Yes – that’s the price for one burger.)

    Thanks to the book discussion here last week, I have a long list of books I want to read. I stopped by the library after church yesterday (it is around the corner from the church) and checked out a couple to start with.

  • Jenny January 29, 2018

    Yummy looking crepe cake Brandy. I think that would be my choice of birthday cake as well.

    Its been stinking hot in Melbourne, Australia. Over the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we were hitting temperatures of 39c/102f. Normally the heat of the day would dissapate overnight, not this time. Most nights were above 30c/86f. And the humidity. BLAH. Melbourne does not usually get humid, its more of a dry heat. Yesterday it rained and the temperature remained over 30c. Any way all this weather meant that I bought nothing, because I spent the weekend indoors. However the fan was going for most of the weekend, and the fridge door opened regularly for frozen ice sticks.
    I don't want to think about my utility bill.
    I think I have found a cheaper hair dresser so I will go to her on the 21st February and see. She operates out of her home.
    The week ahead looks good and busy with work and church. And it will be cooler, thankfully.

  • Jenny, your temperature woes made me giggle. We have months in the summer here at those temperatures and higher (45ºC ). Air conditioning is mandatory here, and it runs all night. Ceiling fans are also extremely important. While my heating bills are very low in winter, my electric bills are high in summer. It is pretty normal to run the air conditioner from April through October here.

    Now, those temperatures without air conditioning would be very difficult. Since you didn't mention air conditioning, I imagine it's not common where you live.

    I find that during those months, I really prefer to wear a lightweight dress to help me keep cool.

    We also keep water in the fridge so that we always have cold water to drink.

  • Rhonda A. January 29, 2018

    It just amazes me that you are "spring planting" at the end of January. That is months away for us! I hope you will share a post on your sons birthday. You have such amazing ideas for gifts and celebrations, so I hope you will share at least a little bit about what you did to celebrate the special day. The birthday crepe cake and the amazing lemon curd meringues too so delicious. I'm looking forward to seeing the post on lemon curd as well.

    I will be sharing what I learned from my lowered January grocery Bgdget next week, as we still have a few more days of Januray. In the intrim, our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included chicken baked smothered in cheddar cheese soup with white rice and broccoli, chicken bacon ranch pasta, make-your-own pizzas, breaded chicken burgers/strips with potato wedges and coleslaw, meatballs in gravy with mashed potatoes and green/waxed bean mix, savoury bread pudding with ham, smoked un-ripened mozzarella (bought on serious discount a while ago and frozen) and spinach, and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn.
    *We've done extremely well at eating up most leftovers for lunches the last couple weeks. Preparing freezer meals when the recipe makes too much is really helping with this as well. The frozen meals will be a time saver later as well. I am pleased with the minimal food waste.
    *In our continued efforts to teach DD how to cook easy, healthy and inexpensive meals, she tried making something new for breakfast this week...a fried egg sandwich. She learned how to caramelize onions and fry an egg, then assembled the sandwich with grated cheese and spinach on a toasted bagel. I explained to DD this sandwich was very economical and could easily be eaten at any meal. DD LOVED the fried onions so much she then made a cheese & fried onion quesadilla for lunch! I'm thrilled she is really embracing learning to cook.
    *Made a pan of Applesauce Snack Cakes (recipe link: https://www.chef-in-training.com/2015/04/applesauce-snack-cake/) to use up the applesauce I made from apples that had frozen in our garage fridge. Felt good to make something yummy from apples that many of people would have just thrown out! Baked the cake while cooking the roast beef, saving energy. They were so good, only a small amount remained from the 9 X 13 pan by the end of the day.
    *DD had snow days on both Monday and Tueday this week. Exams then started on Friday. She only has 2 exams this coming week on Tuesday and Wednesday. School then starts back with the new semester on February 5th. Hoping the next semester goes much better than the 1st one!
    *Our phone, internet and cable all went out on Monday and Bell couldn't send out someone until the next day. We pulled out some of our old DVDs and watched those in the evening for cheap entertainment. It was nice to watch those movies again as it had been a while.
    *Bought 2 new, good quality bras on sale for $15 each. Used a gift card (Christmas gift) to pay for most of it ( I chose to pay around $3 OOP to keep an even remaining $ balance on the card).

    Thank you as always for everyone's inspiring comments. Wishing you all a wonderful week!

  • Rhonda, it was a very simple birthday, and it was after dark before we ate dessert (homemade cheescake, made with part cream cheee and part homemade greek yogurt since I didn't have more cream cheese). I gave him simple gifts: his own large jar of green olives, some Legos bought last year at a garage sale, and three used paperbacks in excellent used condition that I purchased using Amazon credit. He was very happy and the simplicty of the whole celebration was very nice.

  • Margie from Toronto January 29, 2018

    Rhonda - you have my sympathies regarding BELL. They knocked out our neighbourhood last Monday as well - I am now on day 8 without my landline and my superintendent is going mad with all the techs in and out! I have been waging a Twitter war with them since last Thursday - a tech is supposed to show up between 5 and 7pm tonight. But of course our building intercom is linked to my landline - can't I just watch out for him??? NO! I'm disabled and not standing down in the lobby for 2hrs hoping that he actually shows up! I've given them an old cell # and I hope it works.
    That is such wonderful news about your daughter and how well she has taken to cooking - congrats to you both!

  • Becky January 29, 2018

    It's awesome that your daughter is taking to cooking so well! What a great skill to learn.

    I hope that this next term is better for your daughter, too.

  • Laurie in AZ January 30, 2018

    I freeze leftovers in single size containers also. It really does help with no waste!

  • Ann Lee S January 29, 2018

    Oh that crepe breakfast looks so delicious! I'm sure your son enjoyed it, and I totally agree with your simple treatment of birthdays ... what could be more memorable than those crepes? I've watched parents spend hundreds of dollars trying to impress with birthdays, and those children are certainly no happier for it. I hope you are feeling well, ann lee , bc Canada

  • Gardenpat January 29, 2018

    This has been a good week! I ordered 40 pounds of Zaycon chicken breast on a 99 cents/pound promo! It will come in mid-March and I should have freezer space by then!
    At my produce market I got a box with 15 pears and 6 big apples for $2 and canned the pears into 5 quarts of cinnamon pear slices for my pantry! I continue to use the 11 pound bucket of Greek yogurt I got a week ago for $1.99! I have now made 3 quarts of caramel apple yogurt as well as more muffins! I used my $1/5 pound container of cottage cheese to make some blackberry scones this morning. The blackberries were rotated from my freezer!
    I sold 3 dozen eggs this week. Our hens are still giving us 7-8 eggs a day from the 8 of them!
    I grilled up a container of chicken strips from the freezer and made 20 chicken snackers! Hubby even helped by making the honey mustard since we were out! I used a tiny bit of the 3 pound bag of shredded lettuce that I got for $1 in them as well as one of the big tomatoes I bought in a 10 pound box for $2!
    I made this quilt top (68" square) using scraps I had and just decoding a photo I had of a single block so no OOP cost!! https://pin.it/xiuru5bpn4v4gb
    I bought 8 pounds of strawberries for $1/pound and froze them in quart bags.
    We continue to do the usual frugal things- washing and reusing ziplocs, batch cooking, freezer meals, decluttering.
    It's been a great week for us!!

  • Laurie in AZ January 30, 2018

    Beautiful quilt!

  • Marcia R. January 30, 2018

    The quilt top is wonderful. Hard to believe it was all scraps to start with. Great frugality as well as beauty.

  • I January 29, 2018

    I have an airmiles offer to put $10 of gas in the tank and get 20 airmiles back(worth $2 or 20% off so why not). Still waiting for my free $25 bread price fixing gift card x2-one for me and one for DH. Also another Can grocer who wasn't involved(Save on Foods) is offering one too, to their members, so signed up for that. My Shoppers Drug Mart points will convert to PC grocery pts on Feb 1 as both programs are merging. So Feb grocery budget should be mainly covered for free through pts and free gift cards-which will be a nice change. Continuing to use up things in the pantry and fridge-yesterday I accidentally bought whipping cream instead of table cream so I am glad to read it lasts a long time.

  • Terri January 29, 2018

    Brandy, what do you use your fresh parsley for? I once had a massive amount growing in my garden and made chimichuiri sauce, but I'm curious what others like to use it for. I'd love to give your lemon curd recipe a try. It's one of my favorite things, but it costs so much in the store. How do you find your whites fare after using homemade detergent so long? I'm thinking of giving it a shot again after my laundry detergent stockpile is depleted and I've heard people complain that it makes their whites dingy. I can't remember why I stopped making it and I don't think I used that long. It might have been when we moved cross country that I fell out of the habit of making it.

    I've started blogging about my frugal accomplishments at my new blog, The Frugal List. https://thefrugallist.wordpress.com/

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