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Frugal Accomplishments For the Second Week of March

Open Door in Spring The Prudent Homemaker

It was so incredibly beautiful this week.

I cut daffodils from the garden for the table.

We celebrated a simple birthday celebration for a child at home.

Snow Peas and Radishes The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested radishes, cilantro, snow peas, green onions, and Swiss chard from the garden.

We went through clothing, packing up cold weather clothes and taking out summer clothes, including doing what I call "The Big Swap" where we hand down clothing to younger sibling as well as pack up outgrown clothing to be passed down at some point. I also went through several items in my closet, and found that several of my blouses are now too large, but that several other items I own still fit just fine--only better! We put aside several large bags of outgrown clothing to donate.

Naptime The Prudent Homemaker

My husband cut two sons' hair.

I turned some old broken jewelry that I've had for many years into some new jewelry for myself.

I mended a few leaks in the drip irrigation.

We said yes to offers of a hand-me-down bicycle and a scooter from two different people.

The children hopped around on a couple of pogo sticks that my mom picked up at a garage sale for $3 each.


What did you do to save money last week?

Octavius walking The Prudent Homemaker

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  • Athanasia March 15, 2017

    Glad to hear your daffodils were none the worse. I suppose they travel chilled so maybe they were unfazed.

  • Margaret @approachingfood March 13, 2017

    Octavius is getting so big! Oh my gosh! And the kids must have really enjoyed the scooter and pogo sticks. Fun times!

    My own frugal accomplishments:
    - I made the DH a cake for his birthday, a no-bake cheesecake with a ginger snap crust and macerated strawberries on top. I bought the cream cheese on sale two weeks ago, I always have condensed milk in my pantry (which I buy on sale of course), and I used gingersnaps I had bought for a Christmas party but had ended up never needing. Since strawberries were on sale this week, I chose that as the topping. So no impact to my food budget, but still a very nice dessert to celebrate with!
    - For birthday décor, I printed out photos (just on regular paper) of the DH through the years, and strung them on a string in the living room, using the same mini clothes pegs that I use to hang Christmas cards with. These will stay up until we have family over to celebrate with us.
    - For additional décor/gift of sorts, I downloaded a free print from the datingdivas website, and had it printed by a local printhouse on engineer print sized paper. The template was ‘reasons why I am glad you were born’. Cutesy-wutesy romantic, but very us, and a cheap way to make a simple celebration seem a little bigger.
    - I re-used a paper bunting that I had made for our anniversary, as well as a cloth bunting I sewed a few weeks ago, and hung those as well.
    - One of the gifts I gave him was for me to make him a steak dinner, with sides of his choice. This is a big deal because I’m a vegetarian and I don’t cook meat, so it meant a lot to him. I wrote it up as a menu order card that he could check off (i.e. mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, steamed carrots or salad w/ homemade dressing). While the steak was not cheap, the sides were. I made freezer mashed potatoes last week, so I could just pull those out, and I still have carrots in the freezer that I processed myself in the fall. I put the menu order card in a nice envelope (my sister gave me a stack of envelopes when she was de-stashing her card-making supplies) and it became one more (semi-frugal) gift for him to open and make his birthday a little more special. I woke up the next morning to the sound of his delighted laughter as he opened the envelope I left out for him – was a truly lovely way to wake up!
    - I got a sample of vanilla bean flavoured whey protein in the mail. I plan to add it to my smoothies in the summer.
    - A colleague brought samosas to work. They weren’t all eaten, so the next day I ate the remaining ones as a snack dinner. Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal!
    - I dehydrated two pineapples. Dried pineapple is one of my favourite snacks!
    - A client at my work gave me a whole bag of cookie dough flavoured loose leaf tea! This made my day! It’s enough that I will be able to re-gift some, which makes me very happy.
    - I was trying to grow lettuce in my condo, and had planted some seeds in a good mixture of soil and peat moss, and had placed in the sunniest spot in the condo (to avoid ‘leggy’ lettuce). It started getting a little leggy anyway, and I wasn’t able to get my fan from storage to trick the sprouts into growing thicker stems, so I placed the container outside on my balcony on a warm day. Unfortunately, the temperature dropped while I was at work and killed the sprouts right off. #frugalfail But I consider this only a temporary setback, and will try again when it’s warmer!
    - I made a batch of iced tea from loose leaf tea gifted to me (not the cookie dough one) and sweetened it with packets of sugar and sugar substitute saved from a hotel stay
    - I borrowed a book from the library, that Brandy referenced in one of her posts once. “Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House”.
    - Made homemade tub scrub by mixing baking soda with dehydrated ground clementine peels. I find that baking soda is the best thing to clean my tub with, and the clementine powder adds in orange essential oil which makes it smell nice and give it a cleaning boost. I use the baking soda that I keep in my fridge to deodorize the fridge; once it’s no longer working as a deodorizer, I take it and add in ground clementine peels that I dry when I’m drying other things (like the pineapple that I made this week). Uber-frugal and chemical free! And I first learned about it when reading the comments in the archives of this blog!
    - Zested a lemon after squeezing it for the juice, and froze the zest.
    - Made a batch of seasoned rice and beans for burritos for the coming week’s lunches, and froze half. I use beans that my sister gave to me a few months ago, rice purchased from a bulk store, plus some tomato soup seasoning (closest I can get to vegetarian tomato bouillon in Canada) bought in bulk, and some taco seasoning. Super-cheap and tasty burrito filler!
    - Went on a dehydrating kick, and dehydrated some onions (so that I can make Brandy’s chicken-fried steak recipe some time, and also because I had some onions I wanted to use up), as well as broccoli that was on sale (I will grind the dried broccoli and add the resultant powder to meals & smoothies to help with my IBS issues), and celery (because I never buy celery since I usually only want a single stalk or so for a recipe; now I’ll have some on hand).
    - Found strawberries on sale for $3 for 3 regular-sized containers(!), so I turned those into jam to add to my homemade yoghurt for my breakfasts.
    - Made a semi-frugal fancy dish for Saturday dinner: Three Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta ( Frugal because it’s a pasta dish, not so frugal because it uses blue cheese, but still frugal because it doesn’t use a lot of it (cheaper than meat, for me). And super-easy too, which I love! I served it with broccoli slaw (, which I made using the leftover stalks of the broccoli that I was dehydrating.

    And that's it! Looking forward to reading and learning from everyone else!

  • Patty from the NW March 13, 2017

    Thank you for your posting.. enjoyed your recipes and the mention of the book referenced by Brandy.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood March 13, 2017

    Aw, thanks, Patty! Your comment made my day!

  • Rhonda A. March 13, 2017

    I'm so sad. I love strong tasting cheese, including blue cheese. The pasta dish sounds amazing. Unfortunately the rest of my family does not enjoy my love of strong cheese, especially blue cheese. So, I may never get the opportunity to try this amazing dish.:(

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood March 13, 2017

    You could totally just make a single serving, Rhonda, as it's a very easy recipe to modify, but yes, one does have to like blue cheese to enjoy it! :)

  • Athanasia March 14, 2017

    Margaret, it's easier to zest the fruit before squeezing, I think. You can even put the zested fruit back in the crisper drawer if you don't need the juice. It will keep just fine.

  • Margaret @approachingfood March 14, 2017

    Ooh, good to know! Thanks, Athanasia! I'll keep that in mind for the future.

  • Juls Owings March 13, 2017

    Beautiful pictures. Love Winter sitting with the baby.
    We went and paid for haircuts. I asked some friends that cut their own or spouses but they weren't willing to do ours and the kids live to far away. The daughter that would have is in the middle of moving and didn't know where her scissors were packed. We waited for the sale of $5.99 when it's normally $14.99. They gave us notice when the sale would be again.

    I enjoyed the warm weather but winter is back and we are expecting snow mid day. I enjoyed the warm comfort of my bedroom while watching the sunset last night.

  • Mariana March 13, 2017

    OMG look at this cutie! ❤️

    My weekly update is up as well:


  • Elizabeth M. March 13, 2017

    I love the name, "The Big Swap"! That made me laugh.

    My insurance broker sent a notice telling me my car insurance payments would be going down by $7 a month, because I moved my home insurance to the same company.

    I was pricing extra-strength ibuprofen, because at my doctor's recommendation I am moving up to one a of those a day instead of one regular ibuprofen to reduce joint pain. There isn't much difference in the price between the no-name and name brands in the regular strength, but there is a huge difference in the extra-strength - $5 for 72 instead of $20.50! This is $75 a year.

    There was a book on hold for me at the library in the next town over that was due to be returned to its home library if I didn't pick it up by Tuesday. I was planning to be in that town on Thursday, so I called and asked the library to hold it for two more days. They agreed, which saved $10 on gas, plus an hour of driving time.

    I got good sales on pork, "gourmet" soup, eggs, kale, and snap peas. There are a few other things on sale, but I am over-budget on food for the month, so I've decided to put the brakes on spending. I'll just hope that there are sales next month too.

    I got my car repaired. It started fine in cold weather, but if I drove someplace and only stopped for a short time, it wouldn't start went I came out. I would have to wait an hour before it would start again. Fine for going to work all day, but it stopped me from doing errands during cold weather. I spent quite a few one hour stretches waiting for the car to start again before I could afford to get the car fixed, though fortunately I was always someplace where I had someplace warm to wait. It turned out to be a wiring problem rather than a parts problem, so it cost much less that I thought it would to fix. Got free coffee and a piece of chocolate too while I waited for the repair to be done.

    It is a relief to have a dependable car. It is also great to have less joint pain. We have some warmer and sunny weather in the forecast after a week of very cold weather, so I'll be able to get a daily walk, which helps me feel well physically and mood-wise.

  • Melissa in Washington March 13, 2017

    This week was spent preparing for baby #3's arrival in a few weeks.
    -My mom came by for a visit. We used her Costco card and stocked up on groceries so I won't have to do much in the way of shopping.
    -I pulled down the bin of newborn-3 month boy clothing that I have been storing for 4 years. After going through it and washing everything, I find I'm well stocked in pjs and shirts, but need a couple of pants.
    -My husband and dad switched the furniture of two bedrooms around and put up the crib, changing table, and rocker.
    -I made up 4 meals to use in the slow cooker and 3 pizzas and 2 pizza crusts, as well as making packets of dry ingredients for pancakes. Everything went into the freezer for later. I'll keep adding to these over the next couple of weeks.
    -Started knitting a baby hat from yarn left over from making a sweater.
    In addition to baby prep, I accomplished these things:
    -All meals were made at home but one.
    -All of the seeds I started indoors have sprouted and I'm ready to start planting outdoors, but we've had So. Much. Rain. that I'm afraid to put them out. I think they'd just rot or wash away. I'm keeping a close watch on the weather.
    -Printed out homeschool papers at our local library. They allow 75 black and white or 25 color prints from the computer for free each week. If I plan ahead, this allows me to save the cost of ink, paper, and wear & tear on our printers.
    Thank you everyone for all of your comments. I love learning what you're all doing.

  • Marybeth March 14, 2017

    My library allows 10 pages printed free a day. They also allow all school projects printed for free. It is worth the drive for me to print up the kids projects. They put it on a flash drive and I run it over. I go to the library often so I can usually drop something off or pick something up on the trip anyway. My daughter had to make a poster board with a ton of pictures from the internet. It would have used a ton of ink. Love the library

  • Melissa March 13, 2017

    Your baby is so sweet. I can't believe he is walking around already. Times sure goes by quickly! Enjoy~
    I have a little granddaughter turning one this Friday. She has been walking around for about a month but the last week or so she has really taken off and she is just thrilled!

  • Mary Ellen March 13, 2017

    Oh my goodness! Where did the time go! The baby has grown into an adorable little boy!

  • Rhonda A. March 13, 2017

    Oh my goodness, he is so adorable, Brandy! What a great picture of Winter holding her sleeping baby brother, too. Thank so much for sharing those photos with us.

    My frugal accomplishment this week are:
    *Meals made at home included chicken ranch tacos, hamburger helper with green beans, leftovers or chicken fingers plus white rice and choice between salad or peas, hot chicken sandwiches with mashed potatoes and corn and lasagna.
    *We had take out a couple times this week, which is unusual for us. I used gift cards to purchase both meals, making the meals almost free (small amount of cash was used).
    *The grocery store that I frequent the most is doing their yearly inventory. There were lots of items being marked down 50% off just to clear them out. I was able to buy 2 milk chocolate brownie mixes, 3 salted caramel brownie mixes, a good sized bag of chopped pecans, a bag of chocolate bars, 3 containers of ice cream, a bag of crumbled feta cheese with herbs, a bottle of Gatorade, and a box of crackers all on clearance for excellent prices. I also picked up 3 containers of apple juice for $0.50 each. We very rarely drink juice, but I use apple juice when making jam, so these have been added to the pantry to use later in the spring/summer.
    *I stocked up on 5 packages of pasta that was on sale at another store for $0.83/900g, 2 cans of tomato soup for $0.44/can and a jar of green pimento olives for $1.50/jar. If I remember correctly, there was a small olive harvest, so prices may increase. My mom's the only one who eats olives, but she enjoys serving them on special occasions, so this 1 jar should last for a while.
    *My daughter had a friend over on Thursday night, to start off their March break. We bought pizza as a treat for dinner (used gc - see previous comment), made cupcakes for dessert using a box mix and icing from our pantry and I pulled a bottle of rootbeer from the stash I keep for when we have company over.
    *I boiled more eggs than needed one morning and placed the extra cooked eggs in the fridge for another meal. I made an extra large batch of white rice to use later for fried rice. I also made an extra pan of lasagna and put it in the freezer for a no prep meal later. Doing this saves time, energy costs and makes for more convenient meal options.
    Simple and Joyful Life Moments This Week:
    *I went to my work this week to help, as a volunteer. I forgot to take my cell phone with me that morning, so I called my mom and asked her to answer it if someone called, just in case it was my daughter's school. When I got home, my mom told me my daughter, unaware I didn't have my phone, had texted me. She tried to answer, but had a hard time because she's never used a smart phone before.This is what the text read:
    DD: Mom
    DD: Can Clara have a sleepover on thur
    My mom: YoYy5
    DD: Um Wut
    DD: English pls
    My mom: 0 your
    DD: Stop screwing with me
    DD: Grandma?
    DD: 1 for yes a 2 for no
    I laughed so hard after reading this, tears were streaming down my face and I couldn't catch my breath! To add to the humour, my mom said she was afraid to press the space bar because it said "English" and she didn't know where the button would take her.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  • Pat March 13, 2017

    Oh Rhonda the texting looks like my messages with my flip phone many years ago!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood March 13, 2017

    Hilarious!!! So, so funny!

    And so nice that your daughter was able to have a sleepover! Great memories in the making.

  • momsav March 13, 2017

    Too, too funny! I've read this twice and busted a gut each time! I haven't a clue with the fancy phones, either. This looks like something I would do.

  • Chris M March 13, 2017

    I really did laugh.out.loud!

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