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Frugal Accomplishments for the Third Week in March

Iris in Ginger Jar The Prudent Homemaker

I cut daffodils, nasturtiums, and iris from the garden to enjoy in the house. I shared more photos earlier this week in my Spring Home Tour.

I opened the windows to air out the house.

I traded Meyer lemons from the garden for two dozen eggs.

Leeks The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested leeks, Meyer lemons, snow peas, Swiss chard, parsley, arugula, and green onions from the garden.

I mended a pair of jeans and a coat sleeve.

I turned a toddler bodysuit that had torn by the snaps into a shirt by cutting it off just below the leg holes and sewing a narrow hem.

I figured out a solution to a need/want using something else I already had, rather than buying something new.

I decided to not purchase more maternity clothing for hot weather, though that had been part of my original plan for the year. When it was in the mid-70's in January, it looked like I was going to need more clothing for the end of my pregnancy. Since the weather turned unusually cool after that and is still cool, I can get by with what I have and not need to look for more at the thrift store. 

I saved my parents $100 on a mobile repair on their motorhome. I had made cookies, and my dad asked if he could have two: one for him and one for the repairman. One of my daughters brought over the two cookies and gave one to the repairman. He was so touched with the homemade cookie that he said he would take $100 off their bill, and he did!

I asked if a procedure was necessary (it wasn't), and saved $30 plus the gas and time to have it done.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Marivene March 26, 2018

    *Our apricot tree is blooming, so apparently not all the buds froze two weeks ago! I cut daffodils several times to bring in the house, just before snowstorms. We need the water; the governor asked all the different congregations to pray for snow & water, because we need it.

    *Our Fresh Market store is closing. I am sad to see it go; this is the store with the meat mark-down bin where I purchased almost all of our meat. The freezer still has plenty in it, but I am sorry to see the store close. I bought all of our Easter candy there for 25% off. My husband has already eaten what I did not hide, which is why I hide it!

    *I continue to strip the dried needles from the fir branches on the back perimeter as they dry enough to do so. Planted the spinach. Pruned the younger grapevine to an upright trunk. This summer I will need to make an arbor for it. Placed several more cedar 2x4 lengths in the gap under the back fence to keep the weeds from blowing seed thru into the garden. I am so glad we put in the back fence, as the new owners do not use the back pasture & do nothing to keep down the weeds. The planting bed along the back perimeter does no have near as many weeds on our side of the fence panels where we have “filled the gap” as are found in the areas where the gap is still “open”. I reported them last year, when the weeds were showing over the top of the 6’ fence, since the city ordinance prohibits weeds over 2’ tall. They mowed part of it after they were cited, but never finished cutting the other half, which is frustrating.

    *Bought a slip for a young granddaughter at the thrift store for a couple of dollars.

  • Chris M March 29, 2018

    Marivene, You brought back a delightful memory of when I lived in Utah and was teaching. We would sing a song about "popcorn popping on the apricot tree." :)

  • Kim Heller March 26, 2018

    My grandson takes a hip hop dance class and my daughter asked me to put patches on both knees on his dance pants so they would last longer. They tend to rip in the knees as he spends a lot of time going down on knees and back up. Buying patches can be expensive. Luckily I had found a pair of pants for me in the same color for a super cheap price so I bought them. They didn't fit me but I used them to cut out the perfect patches for his pants for cheaper than I could buy ready-made patches.

    I am finding that gas prices have gone up significantly here and the cost of food in my area is far more expensive than what I read about here. I know I live in one of the more expensive parts of the U.S. so it is more important than ever to find more and more frugal ways of doing things.

    My husband went to visit his brother who is in a nursing home and I sent a magazine I had already read for his wife. I knew it was one she would enjoy also.

    My husband was able to replace the light bulbs in my parent's bathroom for them. We did not realize they had been living with only one dim bulb for almost a year because the light fixture is too hard for them to reach. We made a mental note to check on these things more frequently for them. They were both so excited to have a nice, bright bathroom again. They thanked him many times. Something so simple for us and only took a couple minutes but made a huge difference for them. Win Win!!

    Our son had a large section of his wood fence leaning over on his neighbor's property. This was due to winter weather and a decade of over-grown plants pushing on the fence. My husband and I helped him clean out the over-grown plants and got his fence back into position. He was happy and I am sure the neighbors appreciated the effort as well. He never could have done this on his own as it was a very big job but with three of us it was very doable and just took some sweat equity- no cost improvement.

    Thank you to Brandy and everyone else for the great supply of awesome frugal ways to provide a great quality of life for our families. I greatly appreciate you all.

  • Mable March 26, 2018

    Your light bulb story, Kim, reminds me of the time we went to visit my 99 year old grandmother, still living on her own and with all her wits but pretty blind. I went into her bedroom for something, sat on the bed for a rest and happened to look up---the ceiling was absolutely covered with spider webs that she could not see. She had 8 foot ceilings in her home, so I went out to talk to her and the husband climbed on a chair and cleaned the entire ceiling. She was very tidy and would have been humiliated if we had said anything...but from then on when we went over we took turns making sure that there were no webs on the ceiling, no ants in the kitchen and so on. When we are young we really don't have any idea how hard it can be to do simple things (or to have the eyesight to see them!) or to ask for help.

  • Rhonda A. March 27, 2018

    Kim, those of us who live in Canada also deal with much higher food prices than most of those who comment here. My absolute best price for eggs are $1.88/dozen, a 4L bag of milk (or 1 gallon) is $4.27, and a loaf of bread is anywere from $1.60 and up (some are well over $3/loaf). We also have a shorter growing season...we plant in our area around mid-May and everything needs to be harvested by about mid-October. Therefore, any fresh produce we buy in winter is coming from somewhere warm or cold storage...which means increased costs. We've had to learn how to shop those sales and watch for great deals the best we can in order to live frugally here.

  • Margie from Toronto March 27, 2018

    Exactly! I am very envious of the prices that I hear quoted here but it's not our reality so we just have to adjust to life as it is. I guess we even out when it comes to Health care - I am often horrified when I read about the bills that some of you have mentioned after fairly routine treatment - such as knee surgery. I had mine done a year ago and the only out of pocket cost was the $4.60 admin fee for my prescription of pain killers. And I know you hear about horrendous wait times that some people have experienced but I could have been in within a couple of weeks of meeting with the surgeon - had to postpone by a month as I was going away for a week (they told me to just pick a date). But it would be nice to have some warmer weather and to see some flowers. There won't be any gardening done around here for at least another 6 weeks.

  • Samantha March 27, 2018

    My goodness! I can't imagine a surgery (of any kind, really) for $4.60! I'm so glad that was all you had to pay, and I wish that was more of us could have a similar experience with healthcare costs. I had a costly robotic surgery four years ago that cost over $150k, and I felt blessed to only pay my yearly deductible of $5,500 for it! Still that was a significant expense, especially sine the surgery was in December and my deductible reset again on January 1. On the flip side, I did buy a dozen organic and free range eggs for $0.99 at our discount grocer last week. It will take a lot of reasonably priced eggs to match your healthcare savings though :D

  • Rhonda A. March 28, 2018

    Samantha, my autistic daughter has a lot of medical appointments on a regular basis. We meet with a team at the hospital that includes a social worker, dietician, nurse practitioner, pediatrician, and more that help with her weight and diabetes, a psychiatrist to help with her emotional and behavioural issues, and our GP for medication repeats and any other medical issues that come up. Her eye exams (and some of the cost of her prescription glasses) and dental appointments are also covered through her government disability plan. We seek help through other organizations, like the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Ontario Autism Program as well. We have appointments (often multiple appointments) of one kind or another nearly every single week. The only thing we pay for is parking and if we get a receipt, we can claim some of that with our taxes as part of our medical bills. As for her medications, of the 5 medications she takes, we only pay for 1 because it is new and not on the government list of approved medications yet. We are VERY lucky we live in Canada! I don't even want to think of what our financial status would be like if we had to pay for it all.

  • Samantha March 28, 2018

    Rhonda, you are certainly lucky to live in your wonderful country! I'm so amazed at how many excellent resources you and your daughter have available to you for her care. The fact that you're able to seek all these resources for the best quality of life for her is so astounding to me, and I'm so glad for you and your family! I had leukemia as a child, and I know how much my family struggled financially to get the minimum of care (let alone the emotional toll it takes for a care provider). I imagine that not being burdened with financial concerns is one less thing to worry about! Sending good thoughts and prayers your way as you continue caring for your daughter. It sounds like she is a very well-loved and lucky girl!

  • TCR March 26, 2018

    Please delete if not allowed:
    Free 8x10 picture as Walgreen's through Wednesday 28th. Order online and enter "Easterpix" code at checkout and it will reduce price from $3.99 to $0.00

  • Juls Owings March 28, 2018

    TCR March 26, 2018 Thank you for this info and Brandy thank you for letting it be allowed. I got my Daddy's picture as a 8x10. Could only get him to smile saying it was for his first born grandson since he had just went into a nursing home and not happy about not being in his own home.

  • Maxine March 26, 2018

    Beautiful flowers and vase, Brandy! I have a thing for blue and white, too. Here was my week, along with some thoughts about one of last week's commenters:

    (1) Stayed home 4 of 7 days, saving fuel and $$$.

    (2) Wish I could say that I cooked all meals from scratch. At least I can say that we cleaned the fridge of leftovers two nights running. No waste.

    (3) Used a $2 coupon for a free gallon of milk. I'm not a big couponer, and I don't find many of those.

    (4) Found .84 while doing laundry and housework. Who said housework doesn't pay!

    (5) Got a 10% discount ($9.60) at a Ramada Inn (Wyndham) for joining Wyndham Rewards. This was a great triple play! Not only do I get the discount, but a screen popped up inviting me to apply for their credit card. I pay my bills in full each month and can't resist a good come-on. (I'll cancel it in a few months). I will get a $50 credit on my first statement and, after only $1,000 in purchases, a free night. Plus, Wyndham is having a deal through June 30--stay twice and get another night free. I will be needing a motel again in about a month, so this is turning into a killer deal for me.

    This is for the person who posted about moving and taking her landscape plants with her. I am in the middle of doing the same thing. Last fall, I dug up volunteers and divided plants that needed it. I started some shrubs by tip layering and just poking cuttings in the ground. I put them in a special bed and made sure the buyers agreed I could come back for them in the spring. Now I am scrounging used nursery pots and gallon containers that I can cut down and drill drainage holes. I'll be going to my old house in about a month and potting up my plants. My problem is that my new house won't be finished until late June, so I'm going to be caring for the plants in pots for 2-3 months. I bet they all make it!

    Also, I have been buying packaged bareroot plants this spring and potting them up. I got two packages of hostas, 10 per package, for @12.99 each at Costco. They are already leafing out. If I were to lose 9 of the 10 plants in each package (not very likely), I would still be money ahead vs. buying just one hosta at a retail nursery in high summer. I also got peonies at Home Depot for 2/$9.98. They are full of buds and the roots are so big I had to plant both in a 5 gallon bucket. So, if you have the opportunity to buy plants dirt-cheap now and plant them in pots, don't hesitate. You may lose a few along the way, but you will still make out like a bandit!

    I bought two bareroot climbing roses...actually one was a birthday gift. I've potted them up in detergent buckets and knocked together a couple of mini trellises that should last until June. I did it myself, and pretty proud of it, too! I used 1x1 strips my husband had ripped from some other lumber, sawed them with a hacksaw, glued them with Tacky glue and put a finishing nail in each support. Real girl-build, but, hey, it worked!

  • Samantha March 26, 2018

    I love your story of the repairman! That was such a generous and thoughtful way to connect with someone that most likely just gets a rushed ‘thank you’ out the door. I’ve worked a variety of customer service jobs and those sweet gestures make such a huge difference in someone’s day.

    Last week, we started cold hardy seeds in the garden that can tolerate the 60 degree weather one day and the 20 degree snow the next! I was elated to see an alpine strawberry emerge from the garden from last year! Out of the seed packet, only one emerged last year and I was certain it wouldn’t come back- but it did!

    I also hand aerated our back lawn with a tool that you step on (it looks like a spiked shovel) saving $100 from the estimate we received. It took me about an hour as we have a very large lawn, but it was worth it! I also will hand fertilize as always.

    We ate all but one meal at home, which was a meal out to celebrate my mother in law’s birthday. The meal was very stressful with a cook getting fired and yelling obscenities in the restaurant for everyone to hear. The police escorted him out. It stressed the family, and I pulled the waiter and manager aside to request that they make it right on the bill since it wasn’t an experience any of us wanted to hear. They took off an enormous amount of the bill, and the relative that recommended the restaurant paid for the entire bill as she felt it was the right thing to do (almost everyone else preferred another location). This experience affirmed my love of cooking and eating at home! :D

  • Jess March 26, 2018

    We applied the extra from our taxes to our mortgage, which brought us to 39% paid off in 10 months. That was our biggest frugal accomplishment, as it brought down the portion of our mortgage that goes to interest by $61! The amount we pay on interest just keeps getting smaller and smaller which makes me super happy.

    I have continued to eat out of the pantry and freezer, which helped us stay under our grocery budget for the month. I am making two Mexican-themed meals this week, but I didn't have to buy anything for either of the meals. We cleaned out our freezer and re-organized it. I had to throw away 3 bags of freezer burnt broccoli and some zucchini that had been in there since 2015! But everything else we reorganized and made easier to access. I am a little low on chicken breasts. I still have some whole chickens at my parent's house, but only a couple more pounds of chicken breasts. So I'll be looking for a deal on them. Around here, I can find bone-in for 99 cents a pound. I've done the math, and by the time I take out the bones it is equivalent to $1.69 a pound. So I'll look for boneless at 1.69 or bone-in at 99 cents.

    I made a list at the beginning of the year of stuff I absolutely was NOT going to buy this year. I made one exception to purchase two books. But so far, I've made it almost three months without buying the stuff on my list. I am planning on doing a clean-out this summer. I might have another yard sale this year or sell some stuff on a Facebook yard sale sight. I am already looking through my stuff, but I probably won't do anything until this summer when I'm done with work.

    I keep working on my online store, which is bringing in a good side income for our family. I'll try to put most of it towards the mortgage. My husband is planning on working a little extra to bring in some side income, too. I'm thinking about working more this summer since I won't be working for the school. I already know I'll be doing one day a week of summer school. I usually relax and enjoy the rest of the summer, but we are trying really hard to pay off the mortgage. So maybe I should look into another side-gig to speed things up a little bit. I'll spend the summer gardening and canning anyway, but a little side gig wouldn't hurt. Maybe I could sell some of my extra produce. I usually give it away...

  • Melonie K. March 26, 2018

    My list is up a bit late, but here we go!

    http://meloniek.com/2018/03/frugal-accomplishments-week-ending-24-mar-2018/

    Looking forward to working my way through all the comments; I guess that fun is the upside of being behind. My favorite post every week!!!

  • ElisaB March 26, 2018

    Hi Brandy and all you very inspiring women,
    My daughter and her significant other came up from LA for a short visit. They took my husband and I out to a very nice restaurant to celebrate a birthday.

    While on a walk I found a wad of money on the road. It was only $3 but I was happy. I think that people around here are always losing money when they pull cell phones out of their pockets. Just my theory.

    My cousin came for dinner. I made everything from scratch: rolls, clam chowder, and Salade Nicoise. Afterwards we went, for free, to hear her boyfriend's band play. Very fun.

    Since January I have been going through my yarn and material. A decluttering sort of activity. So far I have knit
    three wool scarves for my gift box and am almost done with a quilt. It doesn't look like I have made that much of a dent.

    On Saturday we participated in the March for Our Lives march in Seattle. My husband and I packed granola bars and water so we wouldn't be tempted to eat an expensive lunch out. We try to do helpful activities a couple times a month, whether it is helping neighbors, giving stuff to a women's shelter, etc.

    This week at QFC, organic oranges and apples were $1.49 per pound. Very low price for around here. I received a $10 coupon for a local drugstore and replenished my stash of Kleenex. A friend gave me a coupon for two free gelato at a local store. So my husband and I had a gelato date.

    This summer my husband and I are going to Sweden for three weeks. We will be visiting his cousins who live in Stockholm and try to find the villages where that my greatgrandparents were born. It will be so much fun as the cousins have been to visit a couple times. If any readers out there live in Sweden, well...travel tips would be so appreciated. I am trying to learn some Swedish from Duolingo but it seems such a difficult language.

    We have been doing good with not wasting food and cooking so much from scratch. Our condo complex has a community herb garden and I use it all the time.
    Guess that is all for this week. It has been a long time since I posted, so will try to post more often in the future.

    Brandy, I like your photos better than those in a well known magazine published by a well known entrepreneurial woman. Anyone can have a beautiful house with a lot of money. But it takes creative people like you to make an equally lovely life and home with less.

  • Elisa, Word Reference has an online dictionary (and a phone app as well) that includes Swedish. I use it quite often for French, and it is wonderful for looking up new words that you need to use. I hope you can find some more videos, books, and tutorials to help you study. If you study some every day from now until you leave, you should learn quite a bit!

    Thank you for your kind words.

  • Siiri March 27, 2018

    Community herb garden sounds like a wonderful idea!

  • Holly March 27, 2018

    When I lived in Pacific Beach, the backyard of the older apartment complex was mostly paved, with a couple of small, forlorn, weedy patches. I asked the manager if I could pull the weeds and plant some herbs. For years, I was able to harvest herbs whenever I wanted along with the other residents of the complex. The herbs didn't require any further maintenance (Maybe somebody else pulled the occasional weed when I wasn't looking.) and made the patio a much more pleasant place to relax.

  • ElisaB March 27, 2018

    The herb garden is in the corner of a large courtyard. Somehow everything wintered over. We have had a cold, rainy, windy winter but not much freezing this year. Your herb garden must have really enhanced the patio area. Ever since I read the Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters, I have been entranced by the idea of herb gardens. Also, thank you, Brandy, for your foreign language ideas, which I will look up.

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