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Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Two Weeks

There was no frugal accomplishments post last week because my computer died. I'm still waiting for a new one to show up. Thanks to my eldest son, I've found a workaround so that I can edit photos and posts until I have a working computer again (though it takes a lot longer, so I'm glad the new computer should be here by the end of the week!) Thankfully everything is backed up and I haven't lost anything.

I harvested green onions,garlic chives, Meyer lemons, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I covered more seedlings with jars to help them to grow faster in the garden.

I accepted two used garden pots for the garden from my parents.

Nightgown Detail The Prudent Homemaker

Flannel-backed satin nightgown

I sewed birthday gifts for a daughter using fabric I had on hand.

I mended a shirt and a dress. I replaced the elastic in three pairs of sweatpants for my youngest. I had elastic that I had bought in bulk on sale that I used to replace the worn elastic. I also replaced the elastic in a pair of dress pants for him.

I turned three long-sleeved blouses into short-sleeved blouses for a daughter. Short-sleeved blouses are more practical in our climate, and the long-sleeved blouses had been passed down to my fourth daughter with almost no wear because of that. Now she has three like-new blouses to wear. I added the buttons from the cuffs to my button jar.

I went through several drawers and cabinets in the house and ruthlessly decided on items to purge that hadn't been used in the last year. To make it easy for myself, I went through one cabinet or one to two drawers a day. I added these items to our garage sale piles. and started pricing items for my sale later this month. My mom also went through her house in the same way and added more things to my garage sale items. Several of my cabinets and drawers are now more organized, which is a great feeling.

Our piano teacher came to the house for lessons and saw our garage sale items stacked by the front door. She asked if she could buy items ahead of time. Of course! I sold her a game for $1. She also told me she had a bunch of items I could have for my sale that she'll bring by for me.

Eyelet Dress Bodice The Prudent Homemaker

Making the vintage-style eyelet dress bodice using the $1 bedskirt I purchased at a garage sale last fall.

I used the $20 gift card I earned from Target in February as a wedding gift for a couple who is registered at Target.

My mom takes a woman grocery shopping each week. The two of them give me all of their Monopoly pieces from the two stores in our area that are currently giving out game pieces (a promotional game). So far I have a couple of instant winners: a free donut or bagel and a free bottle of aspirin. Since my husband's office is in the same parking lot as one of these stores, I gave him the coupons; he can enjoy the donut and I'll add the aspirin to our medicine shelf.

I combined coupons, sales, and Target cartwheel offers to purchase the Easter candy for less that I will use to fill Easter eggs.

I gave two of my sons a haircut and my husband cut his own hair.

My eldest daughter was asked to work as a server for a wedding luncheon. Not only did she get paid, but at the end of the luncheon, the servers got to take home leftover cooked meat. She brought home a tray of cooked, diced chicken.

My eldest son watched the RootsTech conference online, where he was able to listen to several speakers as well as watch several online classes for free.


What did you do to save money these past two weeks?



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  • PJGT March 05, 2018

    Well said, Alaska Gram, this blog is like getting together with friends and I was amazed at how much I missed last week. (BTW, I have fond memories of visiting Anchorage from my teaching experience in Allakaket years ago).

  • Andrea Q March 05, 2018

    In addition to Kim’s idea, real butter only contains trace amounts of lactose; many lactose-intolerant people can tolerate it. All of my children were sensitive to milk, cheese, ice cream, etc in my diet as nursing babies, but butter was never an issue because it is almost all fat.

  • Marybeth March 06, 2018

    My husband has a dairy allergy and we eat tons of mashed potatoes. If we have company I do chicken stock with non-dairy butter. If its just us I do soy milk and non-dairy butter. I use these 2 ingredients as substations for milk products all the time.

  • Margie from Toronto March 06, 2018

    I also use vegetable or chicken stock to mash potatoes and they taste great so perhaps that is an option.

  • Jo March 06, 2018

    Ghee (or clarified butter) is often tolerated well by people who can't tolerate lactose. Easy directions to make it are on the internet, or it can be bought commercially, which I hear is even more allergen-free than the kind made at home. I have some lactose intolerance, but find I can use raw dairy products without the issues of lactose intolerance, although that doesn't work for everyone.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada March 05, 2018

    My biggest frugal win this week came from being extra attentive with my shopping. First, I wrote out a shopping list and went on the 10% off day at the local grocery store. As I put items into my cart, I wrote the price of the item on my list which is something I've rarely done in the past.
    When I got home, I compared my shopping list with the prices to the receipt. I had been overcharged by $5 on an item. I went back to the store this afternoon. The store refunded the entire price of the purchase: $14.99. The price difference was because the label on the shelf was from last week's sale. The computer was changed but not the shelf price. I'm really glad that I paid attention and went back today. If I had waited until tomorrow which I was tempted to do, the store might have taken the shelf label down.

  • Shirley March 06, 2018

    Once I remember when a price rang up wrong, according to the shelf listed price, I told the cashier, so she had one of the young guys check it out. He came back and said ""No, that's right." I said "Really?" as the reason I got it was the price I had seen. He said, "Come, I'll show you." That should have been a clue right there! Sure enough it was the computer price. Hmmmm. I think he was one of the people who are supposed to keep such things updated and did a quick switch so he didn't get in trouble.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada March 07, 2018

    That's interesting. I did take a picture of the shelf price before I went to customer service, glad I did after reading your post.

  • Marybeth March 05, 2018

    Brandy, so glad you are back. When you didn't post last week I popped over to Facebook. Thank you for posting there otherwise we would have worried. You are very reliable about posting so unfortunately we worry when you don't. This list is for the last 3 weeks. Mid February break happened here and I was very busy with work and spending time with my daughter.
    -My son has been keeping us well stocked with bread, bagels, pastries, muffins and cookies leftover from his job. They let him bring anything leftover at the end of the night otherwise it goes in the garbage. Son and the other employees take lots but some still ends up in the garbage. I have been giving stuff to family, friends and co-workers as my freezers are full and if I eat it all I will gain a ton of weight.
    -Every time I go to Aldi lately I have been finding carts in the lot. I always return them and take the quarters. It all adds up.
    -Coin jar was full so I brought it to the credit union. They have a free coin machine for members. I had $57.38. I deposited it into our saving account.
    -Family and friends have been very generous. A friend gave us 4 bags of veggie chips that she got for 10 cents each. BIL gave us some beer leftover from a party they had.
    -We watched Greatest Showman and Black Panther at work for free with my employee passes. Got my free popcorn and shared it with family. Brought our own drinks. Gave 2 of my passes to my nephew so he could go see a movie with a friend. Got 2 promotional t-shirts at work for different movies. A friend offered me hers as she wouldn't fit into. I asked my family if they wanted it. My nephew said yes.
    -Made my own Valentine cards for Hubby. Used old heart shaped tins and leftover valentine's from when the kids were younger for them. Made us a very nice dinner at home.
    -Got shampoo/conditioner samples in the mail. Also got a visa GC from P&G after I called them in January about a problem I had with a product.
    -My son likes very strong coffee. I reused one of his pods on accident and the coffee was fine for me. I have deliberately done it several times since. All of the grounds are going in my garden and the pods I have been saving as seed starters. They are perfect and already have a hole in them for drainage. I will start my seeds indoors later this month.
    -My husband had a big work meeting one night. When he was leaving he noticed that all of the leftover food was sitting out. He asked about it and was told to take some. He told the other 2 people still at work to take some too or it would go in the garbage. He came home with a full tray of sandwiches. Tuna salad, chicken salad, roast beef, turkey, ham, grilled chicken and grilled veggies. I didn't cook all weekend which was great as I worked all weekend. I brought and extra to work for a co-worker that is having some financial issues. We had a nice lunch together.
    -Cooked most meals. Did get a pizza one night(Lent) but I used a coupon as it was a new place and they had sent them out. I had worked all day so it made my life a little easier. I had budgeted for it ahead of time.
    -Found lots of change
    -My son got meals at work 3x because they asked him to stay late so they feed you if you stay.
    -My husband did a big install so his job picked up dinner for him since he worked till 11pm. He brought home the leftovers.
    -Got a medical book at GW for $3.25. It was originally $40.
    -Had a leak from our bathtub into our basement. My FIL is a retired plumber. He came over during my daughter's school break so she was able to let him in. My husband and I were able to work. He fixed it with supplies he already had.
    -Worked a church event. Came home with 3 trays of leftover food and a case of beer.
    -Sold several items on eBay. Shipped in used packaging. Listed more items.
    -Cooked my last pumpkin from October. Froze 22 pounds.
    -Came in under grocery budget for February
    -Made 2 salad dressings and put them in old jars.
    -Got 5 boxes of expired tea from my job that they were going to throw out.
    -Brought food to work/school, hung laundry, batched errands, mended items, shopped sales, used coupons, ate leftovers and all the other day to day things.
    Have a frugal week everyone!

  • Laurie in AZ March 06, 2018

    Good for you getting all that food that would've been thrown out! I'm always surprised when no one else wants stuff like that. I take it any time I can get it!

  • Marybeth March 07, 2018

    I hate to waste food, and it was delicious! There were over 200 people at the church event. If think 10 people took home stuff. Some of it was never even opened. I'm happy to be the one that took it home. I brought a tray with me to work the next day and my coworkers ate it all. I did keep all of the beer though. I rarely buy it but my husband will happily drink it.

  • K March 05, 2018

    That vintage bodice looks absolutely lovely! Can't wait to see the final product.

  • Amanda March 05, 2018

    I’ve been using dried beans instead of canned. I realized tahini paste (for three batches of hummus) was the same price as premade hummus, so I’ve been making that from scratch. I switched to all generics. I’ve been getting better at telling my kids no when they ask for extra treats that we really shouldn’t indulge in every day. I mended a pair of leggings for my middle daughter. I made applesauce with clearance apples. I made 7 months worth of jelly for my pantry. I’m working on making a good sandwich bread (not there yet).

  • momsav March 05, 2018

    Brandy! Happy to hear the computer issue has been resolved. I’m at a loss when mine acts up. And, I don’t run an awesome website!
    I used less water this month so the bill went down by 10.00. I hope to keep this up every month. When it’s an estimated bill, all bets are off.

    I made brown sugar, watered down the dish soap and lotion, walked with friends and exercised at home and got two books from the library to read rather then order them from amazon or eBay.

    I’ve watched Sherlock on Netflix and a few documentaries on yoootuuube

    When I needed garlic toast, I used old hamburger buns and made my own garlic butter. The extra butter was frozen for another meal.

    I cleaned the baking cupboard and donated several items that I knew I wouldn’t use.

    Making my husband’s boxed brownie mix, I pulled 1/4 cup of the dry out of the box and replaced it with a 1/4 cup of a hot chocolate we don’t care for. The oil is replaced with puréed pumpkin. I’ve saved the 1/4 cups til I get 13, the amount of a full package and start all over again.

    I didn’t have enough ranch dressing for a chicken dish so I added the end of a container of Caesar’s dressing and my husband said it was delicious!

    The Dollar Tree had organic, fire roasted tomatoes 2/1.00 so I bought 4 cases. I also bought several cases of soups at Aldi’s on my last trip. While there, the Meijer next door had gas for 45 cents cheaper then our town. Needless to say, I filled up.
    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  • sue March 05, 2018

    I'm always impressed by your sewing skills Brandy.
    I went to the local salvage grocery store and found blueberries for .83 a pint and strawberries for .66 a pound . I picked up 12 blueberries and 6 strawberries which I cleaned and put in the freezers. I also found turkey Italian sausages for .99 for a 19 Oz package. I removed the casing, fried it up and packaged it up to use for pizzas. I also picked up the free stuff at local grocery store and used the chobani coupon for a free 2 pkg of smooth yogurt. Have a great week everyone!

  • Amber Van Tuyl March 05, 2018

    I want to put in mine even before I have to chance to read everyone else's, or I am going to forget. Last week a friend from church posted on our facebook group that she had paid for a mosaic workshop for herself & her sister, but her sister had to cancel. She couldn't get a refund so she wanted someone to go with her. I thought it sounded like fun we attended an all day workshop on Saturday. Muffins and hot coffee, tea, or cocoa were provided when we got there at 10am. After a little instruction we were allowed to choose our projects. I was a little concerned when I saw the projects were priced $70-$100 for the materials, but my friend said she had pre-paid so we got started :) The instructor served a light lunch at 1pm and we worked until 4pm. We even went back a few days later to grout our projects. I am really pleased with my project. I am not usually artistic, so it was really fun to try something new. As a thank you to my friend I made her a little gift basket that included a book that we had discussed while we were working that I had more than one copy of and a loaf of banana bread out of my freezer.

    My other accomplishments are (as usual) centered around the food budget. Whole chickens were on sale for $.88/ lb at the grocery store in the shopping center where my kids take martial arts on Tuesday evening. Tuesday was the last day of the sale and after 5pm any unsold items are marked 50% off, so I purchased 8 for $.44/ lb. I usually cook 2 at a time; we eat one for dinner, I pick off all the meat from both. Usually I can get 2 more meals out of the meat and then I cook the carcasses in the crockpot with the contents of the veggie bag that I keep in the freezer (usually onion skins, limp celery, carrot ends etc) for chicken broth to use in soups.

    The other big sale item was the 50% off beef sale. On $5 Friday this meant 2lbs of tri-tip for $5 (or $2.50/ lb.) This was the price for the whole untrimmed in the bag or the prepackaged trimmed & marinated. The packaged/ marinated tri-tips were not marked, and they were buried under the other pre-packaged meat. They still had their $8.99/ lb price tag on them. Once I found them I requested the meat department re-price them. I took all 9 packages. The packages were between 1.5-2.5 lbs each. I grilled one for lunches this week on sandwiches, in tortillas or on salads. I am looking forward to having these in the freezer for Summer grilling. Several other cuts of beef that were on sale were not available at the time so I got a rain check for London Broil @ $2.39/ lb and beef chuck roast at $2.49/ lb. Usually my preferred price for boneless meat is $1.99/ lb, but I haven't seen beef at that price in many years. The rain checks allow me to get the sale price over the next 90 days, so I don't have to make room in my food budget this month, but I can use them one at a time.

    My 20 year old daughter is back home after 2 years at college due to health issues. She is enrolled in a medical assistant program at our local community college and they require her to wear scrubs for several of her lab technique classes. Friday morning is my usual errand day so we combined our usual errands (library, groceries, post office, etc.) with checking out the offerings at 3 different thrift stores. She found 2 pairs of solid scrub bottoms (which she needed to hem because she is 4' 10") and 4 different scrub tops to mix & match. All were around $5 each which is more than I like to pay for used clothes, but certainly less than the $15-$30/ piece that could be found on various websites and/ or professional uniform places. They were also better quality than the ones we saw at Walmart for around $10/ piece.

    Husband and youngest daughter spent Friday night & all day Saturday at a youth conference for the youth of our church. At the end of the conference the leaders were asked to take home the extra food. None of the other leaders wanted any of it so husband brought it all home. There was a large Costco pizza, 2 cases of bottled water, 2 unopened veggie trays, a case and 1/2 of bottled water, 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies (also from Costco) and 48 individually wrapped granola bars in a giant pink plastic bucket. The person who brought the granola bars and the plastic bucket didn't want them. I used the cauliflower & broccoli from the veggie trays to make a big pot of broccoli, potato & cheese soup because I knew my kids would eat those things fresh the way they will eat the carrots, celery, peppers & snap peas. Those veggies have been lunches & snacks with homemade ranch dressing (made with plain yogurt) and homemade hummus. I was asked to bring treats to the kids youth choir activity on Sunday and the Costco cookies worked well for that.

    My daughter who is going to school is also working 2 jobs, so on Tuesday/ Thursday she will work one job from 4am-9am, have classes from 9:30am-3:30pm and then work her second job from 5pm-11pm. I have been trying to keep things that she can grab for quick meals or snacks. The wrapped granola bars will be a treat for her to take instead of buying something.

    Middle daughter is learning to manage some things for herself and has found herself with library fines. She has signed up to volunteer on Saturday to clean the library & repair books for fine forgiveness. I just hope the lesson sticks.

    I had some topical flea prevention medication left over from our 59lb border collie who passed away in 2016 that I didn't think I could use for our 7lb toy fox terrier. I did a search online and I discovered the correct dose for the smaller dog and I used an empty syringe (no needle) to measure and apply the correct amount. With the 3 monthly doses I had left for the bigger dog lasting about 3 doses each for the little dog I will be saving a considerable amount of money.

    Our youngest needed a consultation with the oral surgeon. He has to have the same oral surgery that his oldest sister had about 10 years ago. At the time husband's work didn't pay for dental insurance, now they do. Instead of the surgery costing $1200 it will cost us around $500.

  • Marybeth March 07, 2018

    Good for your husband for taking home all of the food. Sounds like you are putting it to good use.

  • Melissa V March 06, 2018

    I grated a bunch of hotel soaps that were given out at the food pantry and made about a quart and half of liquid soap to refill all the empty pumps at the sinks.
    We used a $5 off coupon and a buy one bag get a small bag free of dog food. Both bags of dog food also had coupons on them for free cans of dog food - those went into the BoB for the pets.
    I have continued to bring home all of the bread ends and produce bits from work for my poultry (quail and ducks).
    We used 3 coupons for free Chobani yogurt - which came in very handy as I just got done with a round of antibiotics.
    I came down with acute bronchitis due to getting a face full of smoke off the meat smoker at work. I toughed it out for a week but ended up at the urgent care on a Sunday. Thankfully, since this urgent care is in the same building as my primary doctor, it didn't cost me anything out of pocket except for the prescription cough med that wasn't covered. I have inhalant type allergies and have to wear a mask now whenever I do things as simple as change the cat box litter (we have 7 boxes for our 5 cats - and I'm the only one who does it!) or any type of sanding or cleaning out my bird's coops. Needless to say, I am no longer taking meat off the smoker for the time being!
    I used reclaimed wood to make a raised stand for 5 of the cat boxes. As I get older, it is becoming harder and harder on my back to keep up with them so this will make things easier for me (I won't ever be without a cat if I can help it :) )
    I planted the bulbs of the green onions that I had trimmed the green stems from for cooking, out in my greenhouse. The chives are already growing fast and I have planted broccoli, peas, lettuce and bunching onion in there as well. I used empty plastic coffee cans for pots and just drilled some drainage holes in the bottom. I also used reclaimed wood from the kid's swing set and made 2 beds underneath the shelves as well.
    Hubby managed to find and then fix one of the legs of his drone that he uses to take photos for realtors - it got stuck in a tree in our front yard and we had to use our truck to break off the branch to get it down. At least it was in OUR yard and not at a job site! He thinks the power lines running over our front yard interfered with the signal from the controller.
    My hubby picked up a free leather sectional that fits much, much better in the family room. The recliner is also much more comfortable for his back. I am hoping to reuse the wood from the 30+ year old sectional for building and will save the good foam for upholstery projects.
    I mended 2 pairs of jeans (when you have large thighs, the inner thigh areas of jeans wears out long before the rest :/ ), put elastic in another pair, mended one shirt and cut down another 2 that had gotten far to large for me. I am almost done with the pile of projects!
    Hubby found a person who does vehicle repairs as a side business to do the ball joints on his truck. It was about 1/3 the cost of what the repair garage had quoted him.
    I managed to find another can organizer and a basket to match ones I already have for the pantry.
    The birds are all starting to sing their Spring songs :) The Sand-hill Cranes flew over us once last week, the Canada Geese are all making their way back to the area and the Red-winged Blackbirds are singing in the swamp by work but I haven't seen a Robin or Bluebird yet - and after days of welcomed sun and warmth, we woke up to snow today LOL - Michigan weather, where you'll get all 4 seasons w/o a 24 hour period!
    Have a great week everyone!

  • Heidi Louise March 06, 2018

    I suspect that is the first Frugal Drone Repair comment ever made on this site....
    What proportions of water and soap do you use when making liquid soap from bars? Thank you!

  • Melissa V March 06, 2018

    *I really don't know exactly what amount of each there were - maybe a 1 cup of soap and I just dumped a couple cups of hot water on it and let it get gooey and then whisked it, adding more boiling water as I went until I had the right consistency.
    *Drones are still very new to the general population - racing drones are for the young to fly....way too fast for old eyes but the drone he uses is made for taking good photos and videos. He has a pilots license already (not current, but you never lose it unless the FAA actually takes it away) so getting a commercial drone license was not difficult for him. There have been some "bumps in the road" with the rules and regulations but he has followed all the rules so he can call the control tower at the international airport and is allowed to fly with in the 5 mile radius (until some idiot ruins it by trying to fly into a plane.....). We have had the police called on us once but the officer just informed the person that as long as WE were on public property (this was a business), we were allowed to fly the DRONE anywhere we wanted......and as he went to get into his cruiser, he told us "by the way, the sidewalk is public property" LOL Like I said, he follows all the rules (and has watched many videos of interactions with law enforcement) so we don't run into any problems.

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