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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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  • Rhonda A. March 25, 2018

    I love that you were able to trade some of your excess Meyer lemons for some much appreciated eggs, Brandy! What a blessing that is for your family. Also love the $100 cookie...that repair man must not get homemade baked goods very often. I am curious what it was that you needed/wanted and what the solution was you came up with. Sometimes I read what others have done and think "duh, what didn't I think of that!".

    Another busy week for us. I'm always surprised at how much I end up needing to do, when I'm not working. Not sure how I get everything done when I am working!?! Anyways, this week, our frugal accomplishments for our family included:
    *Meals made at home this week included make-your-own pizzas, cheesy ham & broccoli rice skillet (new recipe, see below), breaded stuffed chicken with corn, pierogi casserole with green/wax bean mix, tacos with choice between beef or black bean filling, chicken low mien stir fry, and breaded chicken fingers/burgers with roasted herb potato chunks and carrots.
    *Despite being rather exhausted, I decided to try a new recipe one day this week. I've been looking for more recipe ideas that use rice in them and are not chicken. So when I found this 5 ingredient cheesy ham & broccoli rice skillet on Pinterest (recipe link: https://iowagirleats.com/2017/12/12/cheesy-ham-and-broccoli-rice-skillet/?print-recipe&utm_source=RSS+FEED&utm_campaign=8b4be5e829-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_532f8a161f-8b4be5e829-84116821) I knew I had to try it. Not only are the ingredients pretty cheap (I used homemade poultry broth, home frozen broccoli bought on sale, ham bits left over from cutting up sale hams, cheese bought on sale and rice bought in bulk), the meal was one of the fastest I've ever made from scratch! Family all liked it too, with the only comment from my mom that it could have used a little sprinkle of salt to taste on her serving (I agree as some of us like more salt than others, but easy to fix). Definitely a keeper!
    *Taught DD how to make roasted herb potato chunks, which she absolutely loves. They are cheap and easy to make. Best of all, DD loves these as leftovers. It will be a great dish for her to make for herself if/when she is living on her own!
    *I participated in a voluntary bag sewing tutorial session through my work (we eventually want to make carpet bags to sell from fabric woven on our Jacquard loom). We were asked to bring our own fabric, sewing notions and a dish for a potluck lunch. I pulled out various fabric from my stash that I had bought at thrift stores when they had 50% sales (bed sheets, drapery, and brand new fabric in bundles) that co-ordinate well. Only bought a couple items at minimal cost OOP. Didn't have enough time to get the bag made, but will work on it at home. I also have a copy of the pattern if I want to make more later.
    For the potluck, I decided to make a cheese and spinach savoury bread pudding/strata dish (used this recipe as my base https://flavorthemoments.com/overnight-cheesy-broccoli-strata/), which was vegetarian friendly and quite filling. I mixed everything up the night before, then kept it in the fridge until I baked it in the morning. Of course I used ingredients we already had on hand, including inexpensive eggs, powdered milk, left over bread ends we had saved in the freezer, cheese bought on sale, fresh spinach, and seasoning we had on hand. Brought home leftovers and made some Hollandaise sauce to top the leftovers for an easy breakfast item.
    *We saw our first robin of spring this week. Whoohooo...warmer weather is on it's way!!!!
    *DD had an appointment at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) this week, which went very well. DD will be joining a free group for teens dealing with anxiety next month, which she will receive a $10 gift card to the mall for every session she participates in (8 in total...DD was pretty excited by the idea of making $80!). In the interim, she will do some one on one counseling sessions. DD did very well answering questions and talking openly about her emotions. I'm really glad we were referred to them.

    Thank you to all who share their comments here. I hope you all have a lovely week and Easter holiday!

  • Juls Owings March 26, 2018

    Rhonda A. March 25, 2018 Thanks for the recipes, Hubby loved them :D

  • Rhonda A. March 29, 2018

    Others have posted things that they made which has inspired me to find new recipe ideas. I figure I'm not the only one who enjoys adding some variations to their diet. I'm glad my recipe trials have in turn inspired you as well, Juls Owings.

  • Margie from Toronto March 26, 2018

    Glad to hear that CAMH is doing such a good job for your daughter. I have two friends who use their services here in Toronto and I can see a difference (in a positive way) with both of them. The gift card incentive is a great idea!

  • Rhonda A. March 29, 2018

    DD is really surprising us with how openly she is sharing her feelings each time we meet with the CMHA worker. I get the impression most teens are not so willing to talk, thus the gift card incentive. I have a feeling DD is going to really be a leader when she starts attending the group sessions.

  • Becky @ Becky's Place March 28, 2018

    Just heard, then spotted, our first robin this morning when leaving for work! We even hit 50 degrees today.:D

  • Rhonda A. March 29, 2018

    My mother is obsessed with watching for robins each spring. Haven't seen many at all so far, just that one. Must of started flying north before all the rest!

  • Marcia March 25, 2018

    Hmm. This week. Ate food that I made over the weekend. It lasted all week. We were thoroughly sick of it by then.

    Made muffins from very ripe bananas. Met up with a friend to watch the sunset from his balcony. Made up some quick candy with melted chocolate chips and nuts to take.

    Entertainment: potluck, family walk, reading two books, watch some Netflix, play games and Play Doh with the kids. This week is spring break. Instead of vacationing, we are stay-cationing. We both have to work, so we will only take two days off. Even two days away would be too expensive. We might go to the beach or go mini golfing one day.

    Bought plane tix for our summer trip home to visit family. By opting for the red eye out and late arrival back, we saved $1000.

  • Juls Owings March 25, 2018

    Brandy I love the photos and cookie discount. Been an up and down week. Gas went up 40¢/ gal. Brother texted me that Daddy was in nursing home as he had stopped eating and takin his meds when alone for about a week before they caught it.IF I wouldn't have said something about him having so much bread they wouldn't have started checking. He had 3 loaves on Thursday and should have been down to 1/2 loaf as my neice buys him 2 loaves a week. So we had to make a special trip on top of working on 209(our new house). Propane was topped off this week and landlord said we would be looking at getting a refund for the balance this summer.
    The rest is here.http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/03/what-i-have-done-to-save-this-week.html
    Blessing to you and yours Brandy... and to all of you that read Brandy's blog. I feel not alone in this lifestyle with this "community" here

  • April March 25, 2018

    The motor on hubby's boat stopped working last year, so he's been watching classified sites ever since. He finally found someone that would trade work for a motor(hubbys a mason). He had to be out $50 in supplies(the guy had everything else) and it took 4 weekends, but he finally got a new motor

    Hubbys boss said if we would bring him empty egg cartons, he would give us eggs from his chickens(already received one dozen)

    I made 4 quarts and 2 pints worth if salsa from tomatoes I froze last year.

    We decided not to grow any veggies this year. We usually spend about $100 and it takes up a lot of hubby's time. I just need to watch the sales for in season produce now

    Cut up a ripped towel for rags

    Been eating out if pantry and freezer. Only needed to spend $65 at grocery store last week

    The teen is going to start paying the internet and tv bill each month(saving us $100)

    Sold some stuff and made $20

    Being more diligent about doing all the laundry in one day to save on costs from heating up the dryer

    Won a free pair of leggings

    Found a coupon in my console for $10 off a bag of dog food for the pups. Normally it's close to $40 a bag but thanks to the coupon and a sale I paid $23.

    Redeemed reward points from pizza hut for a free pizza

  • Marybeth March 25, 2018

    That was so nice of the repairman. Those must be some amazing cookies. It snowed here last week and we had some out of state cousins visit so it was a very different kind of week. I still think I did good on the frugal front.
    -I got meat ends for $1.49 a pound. I cubed them up. They were served with marked down crackers, on sale cheese, and marked down veggies.
    -Hubby bought tires thru Ibotta and didn't have to pay shipping
    -I cooked lots of yummy food all week
    The rest of my week is at my new blog. I hope you will come on over for a visit. Have a great week.

  • I bartered a big box of just-butchered organic beef bones for some whipped shea butter. I'm not done, but so far I've canned 20 quarts of rich beef broth and have picked off 4# of shredded beef, that I'll freeze and use for barbecued beef sandwiches.

    I was also invited by a Mennonite friend to go with her on a bargaining adventure....a friend had bought a semi of short-dated refrigerator food. We dug through the semi and bought $38 of food, including 12 packs of Chobani Greek yogurt for $1, quarts of cashew milk for $1, cases of sour cream for $3, etc.

    I also started my vegetable and flower seeds for this year's garden.

  • Athanasia March 29, 2018

    Yes, we Mennonites are known for thrift. Joke: what is a Mennonite ethical dilemma? Free dance lessons (or alternately, free beer).

  • Gaila March 25, 2018

    Hi Brandy and all , this week's accomplishments include clearing our storage unit out. We gave our 10 days notice so this expense of $70 a month will be gone yay. The down side is it look like hoarders live here as we put most of the stuff in the back corner of our deck lol. This just means I have to get cracking on getting rid of stuff we don't want to keep. Cooked meals at home packed my husband's lunch every day I continue to eat down the freezer and pantry only bought cat food an milk this past week. Made strawberry jam from free berries from the freezer. Working on our taxes and will hopefully get them filed later this week. Dried our clothes on a drying rack in from of our pellet stove to save on electric bill. That's all I can think of right now...have a wonderful week ! Gaila in the NW

  • Laurie in AZ March 25, 2018

    Love the pictures, as usual, Brandy!

    Had a pretty good week. Here are my accomplishments for the week.

    • Used free tea, coffee and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Worked 8 ¾ contract hours.
    • Got some Ibotta rebates. I have a difficult time finding clothes my size at yard sales and thrift stores so I order online. I needed some new warm weather clothes so I ordered some online via the Ibotta app. Will receive a nice rebate on them once the orders process.
    • Our local Kroger store (Fry’s) had sent coupons in the mail twice. There were 2 coupons for 60c off a 3# mesh bag of apples. They had clearance apples in a mesh bag that came to 3# each for 99c each. I read the coupon thoroughly and it didn’t say anything about not being eligible for clearance items. The cashier tried to tell me that they wouldn’t work for that so I politely said I would take them to customer service. She gave me the discount anyway, so I got 6# of apples for 78c total. Also got canned peaches for 49c and a can of diced tomatoes for 29c off the clearance rack, my Friday Freebie of a Think Thin protein bar, 15 lbs of potatoes for 87c/5lb, 12 lbs. of strawberries for 77c/lb and 5 – 4 lb. bags of sugar for 99c/4lbs.
    • Breakfast for me this week was peanut butter banana smoothies made from clearance bananas (44c/#) and peanut butter I had gotten free from work.
    • Took my grandson to the library for Toddler story time. Nice, free entertainment. Also checked out a few books for him.
    • Got a beautiful large cross wall hanging for $5.99 and some more black frames from Goodwill for my wall of family photos. Went back the next day because they were having a 50% off everything in the store sale. Picked up 4 decorative plates to hang on my dining room wall for $1 apiece, a cute teacup for $2 that I will give to my niece as a hostess gift next time we visit her, a few more frames, a decorative lantern for our patio for $4, a decorative wine rack for $3, 2 small candles in the jar (brand new) for 99c each and 2 bathroom rugs for $2.50 per rug. One is for my daughter who moved into her new house this past weekend. They are like new, thick and just the right colors for our bathrooms!
    • Hubby took his lunch all but one day this week and I took mine the 1 day I was in the office for lunch. The one day he ate out, he used a coupon from Restaurant.com for a sub sandwich place near him. I didn’t even pay for the restaurant.com coupon, as I had gift cards for there from work.
    • Finally experimented with my Instant Pot on frozen chicken quarters. It worked fantastic. I put the same ingredients as I use in my chicken cacciatore, then put in a frozen solid package of 2 chicken quarters. 40 minutes later it was cooked perfectly! I had more sauce and pasta than chicken, so the next day I cooked another package of 2 quarters with chicken bouillon, water, thyme, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper. Once it was done, I took the chicken and bay leaves out. To 3 cups of broth left in the machine, I added 2 ½ c. white rice and set it on "Rice." Once it was done, I was able to put together 5 lunch size containers of chicken and rice and 1 container with 2 servings of just the rice to use as a side dish for dinner. Also added chicken to the 2 servings of pasta and sauce. I’m all set for lunches for the next few weeks!
    • Bought 2 corned beef packages. Will cook one next week and will can the other for use later in the year. Also found 12 smoked sausage links for less than ½ off. I froze those in 6 serving size packages.
    • I have been itching to make some homemade cookies, but I fought the urge and defrosted some fudge we had been given at Christmas instead. I am great at filling the freezer but less great at using up what we have. I am working on that.
    • We helped our daughter save some money on her move. My husband helped her and her husband move most of the boxes. They have movers coming at the end of the week to move the furniture. I babysat my grandson to keep him out of the way. I’m really happy that now they are only about 5 miles away instead of 20!
    • In her move, my daughter found she had a lot of travel coffee mugs. I needed some, so she gave me 2 really nice ones.

    Hope everyone has a great, frugal week!

  • Jennifer O March 26, 2018

    I hear you on the filling the freezer. This week I am challenging myself to eat 2 pre-made meals/ casseroles from the freezer.

  • Laurie in AZ March 26, 2018

    That is a good challenge! Today I had 1 of the chicken and rice for lunch and then used frozen leftover spaghetti sauce for dinner. 2 containers down!

  • Marcia R March 25, 2018

    I was so lucky this week--being the oldest in the family, I never got many hand me downs. My daughter's long time friend lost her Mom several weeks ago and DD helped her begin cleaning her Mom's closet. She brought home many clothing items in a variety of sizes, so DD, DGD and I all got a number of very nice items. None of these were NEEDS for me, but will fill in nicely for just "wanting something different." She sent only like new, or new with tags items. I washed the ones I kept and am happily wearing a new fancy sweatshirt today. This will encourage me to donate more when I clean out my closet and put the winter clothes away--not quite yet, but soon. We are still in the 30's in the daytime here but that should change very soon.
    We also suffered through a week of leftovers--everything that I expected to last for 2 meals, lasted for 3! It was a bit tiresome but it meant two "free" meals, which is never a bad thing. We also tried the fish fry at the restaurant across the street---and discovered their normal portion will easily serve two of us, which will save us $ next time. I reused the leftover fries with the last rib eye steak from my freezer, so even the fries were not wasted. I warm them quickly in a hot pan with a little oil and drain so they are hot and crisp again when reused. If I make fries myself, they are always oven fries so my husband is happy to have leftover "real" fries on occasion.

    I also picked up a couple "unadvertised specials" at the supermarket, so have my cupboards just about at maximum capacity again. One cupboard got an unexpected cleaning this week, as an almost empty honey bottle tipped over and leaked. When I went to make this week's granola, I had the unpleasant stickiness of honey on the floor of the cupboard to deal with. The cupboard underneath it has cinnamon spilled recently when I couldn't find the mustard powder and was being impatient. I will have time to think about patience when I remove ALL the items and clean that cupboard --on my to do list for the coming week. I did just splurge on some new Tupperware spice containers---I love Penzey's spices but the lids break frequently when I drop them on the floor. The Tupperware should help that problem--it is again half impatience on my part, and half due to the arthritis in my hands. Girl Scout cookies have arrived and made it unnecessary for me to bake much this week. We aren't eating them TOO quickly but the end is in sight. I owe my husand a pie soon anyhow, for his help around the house.

  • Pat March 25, 2018

    Great cookie story Brandy. Those leeks are huge!
    I did all the usual things to keep spending to a minimum. The grocery money I haven't spent will go towards our plane tickets for our first real vacation in 20 years. We are going to Sacramento for a week for a wedding and to see friends my husband hasn't seen in 50 years.
    I stayed home all week except for babysitting duty twice and stopped at the store on my way home once. That saved me gas and the urge to spend money that wasn't necessary.
    Have a great week everyone!

  • Libby March 25, 2018

    Leeks – yum! And the French believe they help prevent cellulite.:)

    • Hung load of laundry up to dry inside
    • Decluttered all the drawers and lower cabinets in the kitchen
    • Once again filled water containers in case we lost power with Nor’easter #4, which thankfully we did not.
    • Hand shoveled snow off the driveway.
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Sewed, by hand, two curtain panels together so they work better on the window. I am reusing curtains from my parent’s prior home. I watched a DVD that I own while doing the sewing.
    • Polished silver jewelry so I like what I have and will wear it.
    • Baked an apple cake, made risotto with arugula and gorgonzola, baked 8 dozen cookies for an event and used only ingredients I had on hand. Made Masaman curry with brown rice.
    • Bundled errands and went to Asian market for fresh veggies
    • Spent $4.00 at the self-serve car wash versus $8.00 at the automated one. It is still too cold here to wash the car in the driveway and my car was filthy.

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