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Frugal Accomplishments For the Third Week in January

Flowering Cabbage The Prudent Homemaker

In the garden this week, I planted seeds for lettuce, turnips, and flowers.

I harvested Swiss chard, beet greens, oregano, rosemary, and parsley from the garden.

We received some rain this week. In the past month, we've had some rain almost every week, and it's been enough each time to actually water the garden, so I've been able to keep from watering the grass  except for once (this time of year we're allowed one assigned day per week) and have only turned on the drip a couple of times by hand to keep my seeds wet enough to (hopefully!) germinate. I'm happy to see that water levels for Lake Mead (where we get our water) are higher than last year at this time from the rain, and I'm hoping with the rain predicted to come tomorrow that we'll see it grow even more. I'm grateful each time I don't need to water and also grateful that the rain is helping the lake rise.

I put out buckets to collect rainwater from the roof. I'll use these to water potted plants.

I gave my husband, one son, and one daughter each a haircut.

I enjoyed a video call to friends in France this week. It still amazes me that we can call without a per minute charge like what would happen on the telephone and that we can see each other, too! 

Completely by accident while looking up some information about something we had discussed, I found two new-to-me French learning sites. I spent a lot of time on them and especially enjoyed learning some new sayings (here and here).

I also learned several new French words, simply by looking up several in the dictionary to help our Facebook messenger conversations that we had both prior to and after our video call.

I made a double batch of laundry soap.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Amazon.

I continued to cook from the freezers and pantry.


What did you do to save money and find joy this week?




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  • Cindi January 23, 2017

    So wonderful that you are getting rain. Moisture is definitely a blessing. We have had a lot of snow this week, which will help our reservoirs -- and it means I don't have to water the trees.
    This week I sold some yarn I had listed on eBay. I baked bread and muffins, cooked all meals at home, and hung laundry to dry.
    I pruned my fruit trees and raspberry canes. After watching all those gardening videos from our state’s extension service, I’m hoping to increase my yields this year.
    We were almost out of Musher’s Wax (salve we put on the dogs’ paws before we walk them in snow and ice. It protects their paws and keeps ice balls from forming between their toes.) I was going to put it on my shopping list, then noticed the price I paid for a jar was $26. I went online and found a recipe to make it with ingredients I had on hand (beeswax, olive oil and coconut oil). I put lavender oil in it and not only does it work great, it smells wonderful.
    I visited the local humane society thrift store and picked up a pillow to use to stuff one of the pillow covers I made my MIL for mother’s day, a ball of cotton yarn to knit dishcloths, and some decorative heart ornaments -- $3. I put the ornaments on the wreaths on my front doors and at the entrance to the drive. I left the red ribbon from Christmas and wired on the hearts for Valentine’s Day.
    I filled out a survey for a free subscription to Real Simple magazine.
    Our dishwasher has not been working well, so my husband took it apart and cleaned it. He thinks that will help a lot.

  • Lisa January 23, 2017

    You have given me the idea to sell some of my yarn on ebay! I would like to knit, but I work so many hours and have decided that any free time I get I really want to spend in my sewing room.

    I have never thought about checking to see if our state extension has gardening videos. I would love that. Its really important to get information about your local area. I wish I could grow the things like Brandy does....

    Come by for a visit!

  • Mariana January 23, 2017

    Yay to free phone calls indeed!
    I gave my dad an iPhone that a friend gifted me. He is using it only over wifi so no monthly plan.
    We WhatsApp everyday! For free.

    My frugal update is up as well:

  • Elizabeth M. January 23, 2017

    A very frugal week, because there was just no money to spend.

    I had some good meals, though, from the pantry and freezer. I changed the way I make salmon fish cakes. I used panko breadcrumbs inside instead of flour and baking soda, and coated each fishcake with the crumbs as well. I also didn't peel the red-skinned potatoes before cooking and mashing them into the cakes. I got an extra serving from a small can of salmon, the potato skins mashed in really well and a nice crispy coating. I also made salads for lunch, using shredded pork and kale, both cut into small pieces, with a ginger sesame dressing (store-bought). I enjoyed them, though the pork was heavier than I would normally use in a cold salad. The salads were more sustaining that the romaine or spring mix greens I usually use with cold chicken.

    This morning I made a small batch of hot chocolate mix, using cocoa, icing sugar and dried milk, to have until I can buy coffee. A little too sweet for everyday use, but a really great hot drink for every now and then.

    I am reorganizing my files. It is going to take some time. Also cleaned under the cushions of the sofa. Found some missing forks, pens, a dish cloth, notebooks and a container of deoderant (in the nick of time). No coins, though. (Too bad.) Looks like I need to put this in my regular cleaning routine.

  • Lisa January 23, 2017

    Elizabeth--I don't know why, but I have always felt comfortable when I had weeks like you experienced. Something about getting busy and being creative when there is no money to spend. I really feel most comfortable when I am being extremely frugal.

    You have reminded me that I enjoy making hot chocolate from scratch. I am going to go do that now! A simple pleasure! And I think people forgot that we didn't used to have ready-made hot chocolate mixes!

    Come by for a visit!

  • Elizabeth M. January 23, 2017

    Lisa, Thanks. That's exactly what my week was like.

    I was lucky, because I had been able to stock up in the last month or two so I could have some good meals. But I enjoyed having a few quiet days with no errands to run. I liked seeing what I could make with what I had on hand, and managed to improve on some of what I usually do. It was nice taking care of some things around the house too that I don't normally get around to.

  • Melissa January 24, 2017

    I love homemade hot chocolate and it doesn't really take any more time than a package of instant, plus it's healthier! I just put a heaping tsp. of cocoa powder and a heaping tsp. of sweetener (we like maple syrup) in the cup and add a cup of hot milk. Individual servings and so yummy!

  • Libby January 24, 2017

    That's exactly what I do - mix cocoa powder and sugar in the bottom of a mug, add cold milk, and microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds. Delicious and I know exactly what is in it. Made for a fast breakfast on the run when my teenager didn't want to eat anything.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 23, 2017

    Thank the good Lord for rain! After a 5-year drought, we're getting some much-needed precipitation too. :)

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Continued w/ the pantry challenge. The fridge looks pretty good, and a few of the pantry items are starting to go down, but the freezers are still very full. It can take so long to get through things with only three people. I guess that's a good thing, though.

    * Ate home-prepared meals all but two times (and one of those times was an Eagle Court of Honor which was provided by the family of the scout).

    * Hubs made more mulch for the garden.

    * Harvested lemons, green onions, and Swiss chard from the garden.

    * Made all of our bread (yay for bread machines!), cranberry-pomegranate compote (2X), yogurt, and trail mix.

    * Made a big pot of veggie soup w/ ingredients from the pantry, freezer, and garden.

    Joyful Activities:

    * Listened to lovely music on the CD player.

    * Read books from the library.

    * Went on long walks w/ Hubs and our dog.

    * Enjoyed interesting conversations w/ my 12yo son.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Sarah January 23, 2017

    Cranberry-pomegranate compote, that sounds delicious! Do you use dried or fresh/frozen cranberries?

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 24, 2017

    I use the recipe from Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule, which calls for fresh/frozen cranberries. It's easy and very tasty.

  • Laurie in central NC January 25, 2017

    I had both cranberries and pomegranate seeds that needed using, so after reading this, I knew I needed to try it. We both thought it was yummy! Thanks so much for sharing the info.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 28, 2017

    Glad you liked it. My family does too.

  • Cheryl January 29, 2017

    So glad you liked it! :D

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 30, 2017

    Your book is my "yogurt bible." :)

  • Sarah January 31, 2017

    Thank you so much! I'll have a look for that book:)


  • Lisa January 23, 2017

    I am really getting through my pantry. I want to use up things that have been lingering for a while.

    I love your "joyful activities". I am going to keep track of that too! I think that increases contentment and helps you to have a grateful heart. Really, taking pleasure in the simple things in life.

    Come by for a visit!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 24, 2017

    I've found intentionally focusing on blessings to be incredibly powerful. When I was going through my treatments for breast cancer I kept a gratitude journal in which I jotted down 1-3 things each day, and it really made a difference for me. I continue to notice the everyday blessings in my life (and I really need to get back to writing them down! :p).

  • Bless January 25, 2017

    I, too, am in So. Cal. and I, too, have recently undergone treatment for breast cancer, and I, too, keep a gratitude journal and seasonal joy lists! I wish you continued good health, gratitude and joy.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. January 28, 2017

    You too! :)

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