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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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  • Annaliese March 11, 2018

    A couple years back, the center I volunteer at was donated some ground cherries. I made jelly out of them and the kids said it tasted just like grape jelly. Make sure to pit them.

  • Athanasia March 05, 2018

    Margaret, I saw on a local cooking show a visit to a restaurant that grows it's own greens etc. They took pallets and nailed rows of capped rain gutters up and down. Those of course will not decay like the pallets. Pallets are junk wood and unless you know the provenance they might not even be safe. So this way they are only being used as the support.

    I am sorry you will miss out on your vacation, but with social media your family can almost make it seem like you are there with instant pictures and videos. Enjoy those and plan your next vacation while recuperating.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood March 05, 2018

    Thanks for the heads up re the pallets, Athanasia! I know some can be chemically-treated, so if I can't find one that I know is ok, I will likely stack large dollar store buckets of dirt with holes cut out, and a pole through the centre, to make a tall and inexpensive strawberry pot. I've seen the gutter idea and love it, but I'm not allowed to attach anything to the walls of my balcony (my wire trellis is glued-on and can be removed), and at any rate, my balcony is crammed (artistically, I like to think!) with a trellis on one wall, a metal bookshelf full of pots on the other wall, and pots lined up two deep or stacked on and under a metal-work bench, on the balcony side. The only space available would be half-covering the glass entrance door/wall, so either a moveable pallet garden or a stacked strawberry pot it is! (If there was a roof to my balcony, I'd be hanging upside down strawberry and tomato plants from it -- I really want to make the best and most artistic use of my space!) I have seen those rain gutter garden though, and think they're fabulous for small backyards with fences. And they can be made very pretty too! Thanks again!

  • Jeannie March 04, 2018

    Margaret, I am sorry you are unable to go on vacation with your family. Hopefully, your health issues will improve.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  • Margaret @approachingfood March 04, 2018

    Thanks so much, Jeannie. I will be fine in time, no matter what happens. And I'm super-thankful to have a husband and parents who appreciate each others company so much. I know they'll have a great time (my husband will tease my dad, my mom will laugh, and my dad will smile because my mom is laughing), and that makes me happy. :)

  • H March 05, 2018

    I have read many times about trades in food items. How do you do this? I would not know who to trade anything with

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood March 05, 2018

    Hi H! I use a local trading app (also on fb) called Bunz. But I'm pretty sure to local to my region in Canada. I've heard that there are fb no-waste and trade groups, so I suggest looking around on fb to see what is local to your area. Best of luck!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood March 05, 2018

    Hi H! I use a local trading app (also on fb) called Bunz. But I'm pretty sure to local to my region in Canada. I've heard that there are fb no-waste and trade groups, so I suggest looking around on fb to see what is local to your area. Best of luck!

  • Marybeth March 05, 2018

    Why do you have to pay $35 for a doctor's note? I've never heard of being charged for a medical note.

  • Stacy March 05, 2018

    I am guess that is the co-pay for the doctor’s visit needed for the note.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood March 05, 2018

    Hi Marybeth! Despite Canada's renowned health care, not all services are covered by our provincial health care coverage, with doctor's notes being one of them. I suspect that the rationale is that it's not medically necessary, just useful (or in some cases, necessary but not medically necessary) and therefore some doctors charge for them.

  • Marybeth March 06, 2018

    Thanks for explaining.

  • Jennifer O March 06, 2018

    Have them go see Big Elvis at Harrah's. it is a free show and quite entertaining.

  • mable March 04, 2018

    1. I had a laundry basket full of mending, so I turned on a movie and then another and finished all the mending. I don't like mending.
    2. A friend who is about the same size bought three pair of underpants that are called bicycle shorts because they extend part way down the thigh. She wore one pair for one day and decided she hated them and the company would not take back the two left over from the three pack she'd opened. She washed and bleached the pair she'd worn and then offered me all three pair. I said an enthusiastic yes! I love the bicycle style underwear, which my husband calls my granny panties. Good thing he loves me anyway.
    3. A local restaurant supply store advertised 10 pounds of frozen sliced and spiced chicken breast for $18. I have never seen the price of $1.80 a pound for boneless, sliced chicken breasts, already marinated with middle eastern spices. Luckily I had money left over from last month's food budget so we bought two boxes. 20 pounds is a lot but having that much meat at a reasonable price is a real gift from heaven.
    4. I ordered seeds for spring and the company sent me 10 packages, instead of one, of scallions. I called them and they told me to just keep them (they had not charged me for them, just for one).
    5. I received $9.97 from a class action lawsuit that I filed on about four years ago. I'd forgotten about it. Every penny counts, I can remember times when $9.97 would have made the difference between having food and not having any.
    6. Traded some of the scallion seeds for eggs with a neighbor who has chickens--a dozen eggs for five packs!
    7. Cleaned my kitchen cupboards, as in taking everything out to wipe down the inside shelves. I don't do this very often. Found a dozen cans of extra stuffed ravioli that I don't even remember buying. Not my favorite thing to eat but we are sharing a can for dinner every other night to get through them. They expired in mid 2017 but still taste as good/awful as usual. The price was still on them: 85 cents a can. Cheap eats.
    8. Went to a meeting where everyone buys a ticket for $2. At the end of the meeting, the agency takes half and the person whose ticket is drawn gets the other half. I don't gamble but this is a harmless fundraiser for a tiny agency. I won, for the first time, $24.

  • Jo March 05, 2018

    I had to laugh about the bike shorts because just today, I went out and bought two pairs to wear under dresses and skirts. :D

  • Becky March 04, 2018

    Ok, this is probably a silly question, but what do you use the aspirin for? I don't know why, but we've always used Tylenol and Aleve (or store brands) for pain killers. I do take baby aspirin daily, as the doctor told me to, but this is a higher dose. I won a bottle, too.

    My husband and I talked about having a small garage sale, soon, too. There are just so many things cluttering up this little house, and he has gone through some more things in the shop, so this may be the time as there is no rummage sale at church this year, as there was last year. I told him that even if we got $50 or $100, it would be worth it to me.

    People are giving me their Monopoly tickets as well, and I've bought a few super inexpensive items from that store(which is unusual because it's out of my way) because they have been having a little price war with a new store in that area so I got a few tickets as well. There was a $10/$50 on my app today, so I loaded it, and bought a few items for me, and a few for a dinner we are putting together for the college age at church, which we will be reimbursed for, which brought me up to the $50. (We got most of what was needed at Cash and Carry and the little still needed at this store and another, where prices were best for those items). Cases of water were $1.50 for 28 bottles, so I got the 2 allowed. I got 2--1/2 gallons of milk for 89c each, and 2lbs of cheese for $4.80 (will use on Tuesday, so will be paid back for that one--but glad to get a good deal for them, too.) I got all the free items, and the $5 that we could not believe we won. What I can't use, I'll share. I'm putting that $5 in the envelope that we will take camping next time we go towards a dinner out on our trip. That will probably be in June, so I have plenty of time to save change so there is enough for a meal. I try to do my grocery shopping on the weekends, and stocked up pretty good last weekend, so only needed a few items. I spent around $21 this weekend, and should have no trouble getting through the week. I turned down some items that were good deals, such as Oreos for $1.99, Ritz for $1.99, etc. As much as they would have been nice, we didn't need them, and I had plenty of other food people could eat.

    I'm still on track to stay on the budget I set for groceries, which is a little lower this month than sometimes (but not rock bottom), because I want to pay off the rest of my daughter's braces, plus a couple of other unexpectedly large medical bills that came in.

    We were blessed with some unexpected blessings. One was new kitchen towels from both my sister and my aunt. Mine have been walking off. (Nobody did it, though--- I asked and they have no idea where they went--oh brother:)!). I put pictures of some of them on my blog--some fancy, some plain.

    Today, when we were shopping after church for the above mentioned items, my husband went out to put our groceries in the car while I redeemed the $5 worth of tickets at customer service. A man randomly walked up to him and said he had bought 25 pounds of onions, removed the few he wanted, he was sorry a few were soft, but there were lots left and did my husband want them. Sure he did!!! Rob sorted the main part of 25 lbs of onions when we got home, put lots in the bucket for fresh use, set a few aside for my sister, and chopped and froze several baggies with any that were going soft or partially starting to "go"!

    I made coleslaw from cabbage that has overwintered in my garden. I also made potato salad from potatoes that were 99c/10 lbs last week in the price war, and eggs I got from Costco for less than $1/dozen. That made a great Sunday family dinner with the meat my sister had, and the ice cream from my aunt. Simple, because most was made yesterday. During the week, I made turkey meatloaf, pickles and pickled beets, salads, chicken-rice soup, garlic green beans from home-frozen beans, home-canned fruit, and a casserole from some kielbasa I got on sale a while back mixed with home-frozen broccoli, tomato sauce, rice, frozen peppers...I spiced it up with some Italian seasoning and put mozzarella on top. It was all really good. I popped popcorn a couple of times as well for snacks.

    While at work one afternoon, I helped my autistic niece make peanut butter cookies. We used their ingredients, I ate several, and enjoyed having cookies without having a lot of yummy cookies at my house, because I know I would have eaten many more:). Another day, I took most of the ingredients for a gluten-free blondie and we made that for a group of high-schoolers who were coming over there that evening. I wasn't sure they had all needed ingredients, so I took any I wasn't sure about. My sister needed a gluten-free snack, and it was a win-win activity for that afternoon. I'm excited that my niece is showing an interest in baking right now, as that is a good skill for her to learn. She wants to measure, dump, and pour, but not stir! It's a good step in the right direction:). Another new thing we've been doing is working on loading the washer. I'm so proud of her.

    The little plants in the greenhouse are growing well, which excites me. I never get over the miracle of tiny seeds becoming plants!

  • My husband says aspirin is the only thing that works for his headaches (I tried giving him other things but they didn't work). He almost never takes any kind of painkiller, so the one bottle of aspirin that I have for him really needs to be tossed as it is rather old.

    Aspirin is also good to have on hand in case of a heart attack, so I am happy to have some in the house just in case I would ever need to give it him or one of my parents.

  • PJGT March 04, 2018

    Adding an aspirin to vases of cut flowers is supposed to extend their life. Maybe you could use the aspirin you were tossing anyway and see if it works.

  • Florrie March 04, 2018

    My daughter said the heirloom tomato plant farm instructed her to add an aspirin and some crushed eggshells in the hole she digs when planting little tomato plants. I suppose that is meant to prevent soil diseases. I use expired aspirin for this.

  • Maxine March 04, 2018

    Brandy, let me add just a little more. Aspirin is an NSAID, like Advil and Aleve, but we--like your husband--find it much more effective. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory (inflammation is often the cause of pain). I am old enough to remember when aspirin was the only game in town. That changed 35+ years ago when researchers found that aspirin could be harmful to children (but not adults...most of whom can take it safely). Tylenol does not have anti-inflammatory properties. It is strictly a painkiller...and for me, not a very good one. Too much Tylenol can cause liver problems.

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