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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

White Larkspur The Prudent Homemaker

For the first time ever, I have apricots and peaches ripe at the same time (usually the apricots are ripe first). This past week we enjoyed both from the garden.

I watched a few shows on for free.

I harvested a few white alpine strawberries from the garden.

Strawberries were on sale for $0.99 a pound with no limit at Smith's. I bought 24 pounds. I froze berries and made strawberry popsicles made chocolate covered strawberries.

I went to several garage sales with my parents on Saturday morning. I found a few clothing items for our family, each priced between $0.50 and $2 each. I found a small urn for $2 (an item that has been on my list for a while). I found a garage sale where the books were free! I brought home several free books for my children and one for my husband (a photo book about Prague). I also purchased a few books for them between $0.10 and $.50 each. I found a small basket for $0.50 that I will use to organize some things in my sewing room. I found a lightweight coat for my husband for $5. I found a small purse ($0.50) and some decorative bobby pins ($1) that I will save for gifts for Winter. 

I found two games for $2 each. One of them was Stratego. My friend's son (our exchange student) has loved playing this game while he has been here, so I bought it for him to take home. When I sat down in the car, I noticed the front of the box was in English and French! I peeked inside and noticed that there were instructions in both languages inside, and also that the board was marked in both languages! When I got home and double checked to see that all of the pieces were there (something I should have done at the sale but had not), to my surprise, the pieces were still sealed in the original bags--the game was brand-new!  (The other game, 7 Wonders, also looks to be brand-new as well!)

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Rev Jacqueline May 15, 2017

    Apricots and peaches...all the same week. Sounds delicious.

  • Mable May 15, 2017

    Mended a bunch of the husband's socks---his big toe must have a switch blade hidden in it because I swear he can put on a new pair of socks and the big toe opens up after one wearing!

    Several cotton dresses have gotten shorter as they aged (sort of like me!), so I shortened them enough to use them like tops.

    Found some old lumber to build a flower box for the front porch, instead of buying one. Looks really nice, too.

    Have made soup for five out of seven nights the last week, to use up odds and ends in the freezer. Some nights tasted better than others, but I kept reminding myself I eat to live, not live to eat.

    Traded 10 jars of tomato confit that I had canned last September from my greenhouse tomatoes, for five dozen eggs from a neighbor with chickens. I sort of went overboard on the tomato plants, so ended up with over 40 jars of tomato confit, plus jars of tomatoes for spag sauce and chili, so trading some was a relief since we will be harvesting this summer's tomatoes so I need to finish off last year's bounty!

  • Gorgeous photo! And great garage sale finds!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    - Made yoghurt – extra delicious when I mix in my homemade strawberry jam!
    - Bought a pizza for only $5 on a day when I was too wiped out to cook and made it last for two days. The deal is only available as a walk-in, so I picked it up on my way home from work.
    - I made my mom an Almond Sherry Bundt Cake for mother’s day, and used GOOP to make it! ( GOOP is a sort of homemade replacement for cooking spray/Pam, except it’s brushed on. A lot of cake-makers swear by it. I like it because it’s homemade (so I know what goes into it – oil, shortening, and flour) and given that I buy all the ingredients in bulk, WAY less expensive than any store-bought cake release spray. For the cake, I followed an Almond Amaretto Bundt cake recipe, but substituted Almond Sherry because that was what I had in the house (a gift from a client many years ago). I love using substitutions to avoid having to buy extra items! My family loved the cake so much, my sister and my dad have already requested it for their respective birthdays!
    - Made burritos to freeze for future lunches, using leftover refried beans and leftover Tex-Mex rice that I had made last week (and then stuck in the freezer)
    - Used the last of the leftover refried beans and leftover Tex-Mex rice to made a modification of Brandy’s taco soup. I stuck two quarts in the freezer for easy meals sometime in the future, and packed the rest for lunches.
    - On my balcony, I planted the sweet potato slips that I grew (and am still growing more). Am hoping for a sweet potato harvest this year! Speaking of gardening, my nasturtiums are sprouting despite the hugely fluctuating temperatures, and my radishes are growing well too. My peppers and eggplants didn’t sprout, and likely won’t as I think I planted them too soon. But am pleased with my radishes and nasturtium sproutlings!
    - I replanted an indoor plant I had that was becoming root-bound. I repurposed some dirt from my lettuce that (again) didn’t grow (likely still too cold) to pot it in a pot I had purchased at a garage sale a few years ago, and put the old pot on my balcony to be used for future vegetable plantings.
    - I covered the single lettuce seed that sprouted with a canning jar cloche. Crossing my fingers that it helps!
    - I was able to take advantage of several Starbucks promotions to turn a $10 Starbucks gift card from Swagbucks into four (half-price) frappuccinos and a free lunch (from rewards points). Made for a treat-filled work week! I drank frapps on my lunch hours, while playing with kittens. Seriously the best part of my day! 
    - Redeemed a Starbucks reward for a free lunch box – TWICE!
    - Made a batch of chocolate profiteroles (filled with vanilla pastry cream and drizzled with white chocolate) to give as my contribution to a potluck. I found a recipe that used less eggs than other recipes, and everything else for the actual profiteroles was from pantry ingredients. They were very well received (everyone thought they were store-bought!) and not very expensive to make.
    - I also gave a bottle of wine as a hostess gift (from my husband’s wine collection – and I think this particular bottle was actually gifted to us) that I placed in a recycled gift bag.
    - I was able to give a bag of gifts to a family I know – I bought some alphabet games for the kids from Amazon using Swagbucks gift certificates, and added in some funky pens and some bath products as well, all from my gift stash.
    - Baked two loaves of potato bread, and froze half of it. I used homemade yoghurt instead of buying buttermilk. I’ll be eating sandwiches for lunch this week. I do love fresh bread!
    - Carpooled with my mom to a garden store, and checked the prices of planters, including the most affordable, plastic. Then ran next door to the dollar store and got (non-tacky) plastic planters for ¼ price. I did buy some good dirt from the garden store to fill my planters with, though! I’ll keep an eye out for sturdier planters at the next church bazaar in my neighbourhood.
    - For mother’s day, the DH and I gave my mum a pair of tickets to the cinema, so that she and my dad can have a date night. We tend not to give big gifts, and this was perfect, as the price was $0! (We got the tickets as a free-with-purchase items at our drugstore several weeks ago). Because I am my mother’s daughter, I told my mum what I paid for the tickets (nothing!) and I think she liked the gift better because of that!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  • http://Erika May 15, 2017

    Wow! Talk about a serendipitous find on the game! Even down to the right languages!

    I had a good week here. The new meds the son is on are slowly working, the husband got paid for his first three days of work and I determinedly made up a "war plan" to cut expenses as with the new job we need all the help we can get. It feels good to have a plan, though, I have to admit.

    My list for the week can be found here...

  • Still haven't been able to find Alpine strawberries near me. I love the unique color and really want to try them!

    I don't have much luck finding my size at garage sales. Finding things on clearance at the outlets works much better for me and may be a good idea for anyone else that's an irregular size.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales, stockpiling, and using coupons/rebates when possible. I love when products launch because it often means high value coupons. Playtex just released something new and I was able to get 4 boxes of free tampons at Rite Aid. I also found $0.19 V8 drinks, $0.99 laundry soap, and free candy bars. All of my transactions can be found here:

  • Gardenpat May 16, 2017

    We are getting 2 eggs/day from our chickens and we were able to get another 45 pounds of produce discards for free from our local grocery! They like me to come in the early morning while they are restocking and will bring me an empty banana box to fill! So that they aren't slowed down from their restocking by helping me, they just let me go through their bin and choose what I want and fill the box myself! Last time there were some beautiful cauliflower heads (that hubby loved in his snacking container) and this time I got several heads of celery that I chopped up and dehydrated! There were also about 16+ bell peppers- yellow, orange and green ones! Only a couple had soft spots and I cut those out and gave them to the hens while cutting the rest into large chunks and freezing them! The hens also got lettuce, spinach, kale as a supplement to their commercial feed! This saved us a lot because they eat less of the commercial feed as a result!

    We made a Facebook page for our business and posted on some local Facebook selling sites too for our planter boxes and outdoor benches that we build from recycled pallets that we salvage for free! Within 24 hours of posting we had almost $400 in orders that we filled this week! We were able, on our site , to let people pay via PayPal rather than needing cash which made it easier! We are adding Square as a payment option this week too and feel like it will increase our business!

    We also got our checks for working the election which gave us another $297 of extra income!

    I applied for an Amazon Prime Visa to use for our business primarily and they gave us a $70 Amazon gift card! We needed a replacement part for our band saw that cost $2 more on Amazon than anywhere else, but with the gift card-- it was free!!!

    I was worn out from a long day of unexpected service that I gave so I was about to order pizza delivery (about $26 after delivery charge and tip)! Instead, I brought up a pint of home canned beef chunks, a pint of home canned black beans, another one of salsa and made up some rice from our food storage. Mixed them all together and with chopped lettuce from our garden and shredded cheese that I had on hand and tortillas from the freezer, I made really delicious and filling beefy burritos! They were gobbled up but because of the amount of filling I made up, I was able to make 5 two-packs of the burritos for grab and go lunches! I feel silly that I almost went with the "easy" option of pizza delivery when I had an "easer" option right at home in my pantry!!

    Was given the embroidered blocks and other materials to piece together and quilt a baby quilt and was given $50 for my labor!

    All this extra income made it possible for us to hire one of our daughters, who is a single mom with two teenagers, so that she could replenish her emergency savings which had take a hit from an ER visit for their cat and some unexpected car repairs! So proud of her self reliance skills and her willingness to work extra jobs to rebuild her savings buffer!!

    I have been picking spinach, lettuces, Swiss chard from our garden as we need it for our salads/meals and love that it stays fresher in the garden until I'm ready for it than if I bought pre cut bags of Spring Mix in the store and have some of it get wilted after a few days!

    We used some of our extra income this week to save for paying 3 people to do some heavy shoveling and dirt moving over the holiday weekend coming up so we can then level and lay our recycled bricks into a new wider walkway in the side yard! Some of our profit went to hubby to buy new tennis shoes and socks and the rest went to pay extra off a hospital bill ( from original $5000 to $350 today!!) we can feel the end in sight on that hospital bill! Then we will roll over all of the extra into our final hospital bill and be totally finished with those!!

    A really great week!!! Well, I better go feed the chickens!!

  • Rhonda A. May 16, 2017

    I'm betting the game you bought was from Canada as all of our products have both French and English printed on them. That game is traveling the world! Glad you were able to find some awesome garage sale deals, including some for your husband this time. As for your produce, it seems so odd to here you getting strawberries and peaches at the same time. Our strawberries in Ontario produce in June and peaches don't come out until August. So looking forward to both!

    I had another crazy, busy week. So busy I didn't get a chance to record some of the things I normally do. Oh well. Frugal accomplishments for my family this week included:
    *The 12 week ABA program my daughter has been involved in finally finished on Monday. We celebrated with pizza, for both the teens and the parents, plus the teens enjoyed an ice cream sunday bar as a reward for their hard work. We took home a slice of pizza and 3 little containers of garlic dipping sauce that were left over (they offered my mother a big container of ice cream and she declined...bad grandma!) All the teens were invited to a birthday party this summer for one of the peers in the group. A pool party and reconnecting with these new friends will be a perfect way to spend a day this summer!
    *There were 2 big boxes of "monster cookies" left over from last year in the freezer at work. The lady who organizes ordering food wanted to throw them out, since they had been in the freezer for a few months. However, our maintainance guy was horrified that she would want to throw out perfectly good cookies, so he fetched them from the freezer for staff to snack on. I brought home 8 free cookies to share with my family and there are still plenty left to snack on at work!
    *We attended my daughter's bowling banquet on Saturday. DH helped with cooking (unpaid, volunteer work), plus my mom & I made the dessert trays, for which we were paid $100. We each won a small gift (a candle, a decorative dish and a garden decoration). DD received a plack and $29 prize money for her efforts this year. Afterwards, my husband made sure to take home some of the leftover food, including 3 heads of romaine lettuce, 2 whole cucumbers, a very large bag of baby carrots (open but nearly full), 3 large jars of Renees Ceasar salad dressing, 4 unopened bags plus 1 opened bag of croutons, a Costco sized bag of bacon bits with only about 1/4 used, a container of cheese cubes and all the remaining treats that were not eaten. What a blessing! We have a Guinea pig that will happily help us eat up the produce before it goes bad. I also plan to blanch and freeze the carrots for future meals.
    *One morning this week, my daughter said she wanted me to buy waffles with groceries for her to have for breakfast. I told her that we had pancakes in the freezer she was welcome to eat, but if she wanted waffles then she should buy me a waffle maker for mother's day, because I was not buying expensive Eggo waffles! So I got a new waffle maker for Mother's Day this year.
    *I noticed that gas prices were being hiked up significantly mid-week. So I made a quick trip to Costco to fill up on gas before their price went up, saving me about $0.10/litre!
    *My MIL went to emerg on Friday with stoke like symtoms (she knew what she wanted to say, but couldn't form the words). They admitted her in quickly and did a CAT scan. Luckily it turned out she had a bladder infection and she was very dehydrated. So they gave her I.V. fluids, then sent her home with an antibiotic prescription, orders to rest for the weekend and an appointment for the stroke clinic (just to reassess and make sure). Only cost out of pocket for her was the cost of the antibiotics. Out of pocket costs for us was dinner out. Since following this blog, I am far more aware of and appreciate how much of a blessing having health care in Canada really is!

    Hope everyone has a great week. It may take me a while to get through all the comments, but I will read them!

  • Rhonda,

    This is an early variety of peach that has very few chilling hours. I have a mid-chill variety that is ripe in July. There is a high chill type that is ripe in August. I don't grow high-chill varieties of fruits as we don't get enough chilling hours for those here.
    The alpine strawberries are ripe whenever it is warm enough (but not too hot). For you in a cooler climate, they would be good all summer long. Regular strawberries ("June-bearing") types are ripe here in April (In California, too; I grew up buying them in April for my birthday). But in a hotter climate (Florida) they are ripe in February!

  • Athanasia May 19, 2017

    Rhonda I love that you got the waffle iron. Waffles are fun to make.

  • Rhonda A. May 21, 2017

    I love that it is so easy to use that other members of the family can use it too. It is also saving me from slaving over a hot griddle making massive amounts for the freezer! We've been mixing up one batch of waffle mix, then keeping leftover batter in the fridge for the next day. Fresh waffles in about a minute makes for a delicious but fast breakfast item and topped with some fruit to make it a bit healthier.:D

  • Athanasia May 22, 2017

    Rhonda, so double got first the present, then the present of free time!

  • Janet May 24, 2017

    great idea to save the batter. My family of all things will not eat fresh waffles (except my husband) all the rest want those stupid expensive chemical filled Eggos. Sometimes my grandson who is five will want a fresh one and sometimes my son will eat a fresh one but who ever heard of Eggos over homemade waffles??

  • Cindy in the South May 16, 2017

    I love garage sales and thrift shops! I am still harvesting mulberries and freezing them, but the last of the crop will probably be today. I think I have enough to last me for the winter. I met my cousins and drove a couple of hours and visited my older relatives who are in their 80's and 90's. We all enjoyed the visit. I have worked on clearing more bamboo from my back yard. I walked around the neighborhood, in addition to working in the yard, for free exercise. I visited with my three sons and spoke to my daughter by phone on Mother's Day weekend. My youngest gifted me a crockpot. He said he had hear me say I needed one....I do not remember saying that but it was true! I am excited to cook beans in it this weekend! I cleaned out my closet and rearranged my summer clothes and tried on my swimsuit to make sure it still covered everything I do not need any clothes for summer, I am happy to say! My $19.95 Total Wireless prepaid flip phone is working out well. My monthly prepaid amount is almost half of what I was paying, and I get good reception on it where I live in the boonies. Phone reception is always an issue where I live. I did not need a phone except for talk and text anyway. I found that I wasted too much time on my phone, when I had my cheap $35 smart phone, which only worked for a year, mainly because I am so rough on phones. I have started just bringing bread and ham at the beginning of the work week to the office refrigerator, and just eating that for lunch all week. It makes my life less complicated to not have to pack a lunch every day. I made a sort of Mexican dish, I used a can of corn, beans, jalapeno peppers, leftover tamales, salsa, a little cheese, and cooked it in oven and topped it with sour cream, or plain yogurt, depending on which container I grabbed. I will eat on that for about three days for supper. I do not like to have to think about what to eat when I get home. I hope the crockpot will help me prepare dried beans every week, so I can eat that at night. I am running no air, even though temps are up to 90. I have stated before that the way my house is situated in a heavily shaded area, and is a modified dogtrot style common in the deep South a century ago, have made it very easy to keep it cool. My power bill has dropped to under $60 a month ( I am all electric) and I usually do not have a bill higher than that even in the middle of the summer, which is unheard of down here. I called my car insurance and was able to get my insurance reduced by $30 a month. I do not have a tv and use the computer at the library, so I do not have to pay for that either. I hope everyone has a great and frugal week!

  • Athanasia May 19, 2017

    Cindy, I looked up dogtrot style houses. How interesting!

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher May 16, 2017

    Wow, great finds this week, especially on those strawberries! I keep waiting for strawberries to go on sale here. I'm hoping to make my own strawberry wine. :)

    This week:

    1. I received and am set to get more free meals from my employer during work travel. I'm also set to get a few nice checks for mileage reimbursements, so no complaints there. :)

    2. I mended a few of Mr. Picky Pincher's shirts.

    3. We've been much better about our menu and about cooking at home this week, which means we're saving moolah. :)

    4. I turned some dry white meat chicken into chicken salad and it's delicious!

  • Pam May 16, 2017

    I so enjoy reading everyone's updates! We had a pretty frugal last couple of weeks. We did our grocery shopping and restocked our pantry and freezers to capacity. Complicated story, but my car will be paid off in 3 more payments (we bought it last April, so I am pretty happy about that), and at that point we plan to accelerate our mortgage payments. We origianlly took out a 20 year note, but plan to have it paid off in 17 years. So we are trying to keep everything at home completely stocked up in preparation for having less expendable money when we are making bigger payments. We also found out that my husband's company will no longer pay for fuel, but will pay mileage instead, so we need to adjust our budget to compensate for that. Not a big expense, but still something we need to account for.

    I brought home a loaf of free sandwich bread from work (left over from a luncheon). Bought a brisket on markdown and used half for corned beef (cooking today in the slow cooker for sandwiches this evening), and half was slow cooker tacos. Most meals were at home, although we did pick up a pizza last Saturday night as a treat.

  • Allyson May 16, 2017

    We had a great frugal week, and a wonderful Mother's Day weekend! I made Brandy's granola (we used raisins and flaked coconut because we were out of dried cranberries) and it was delicious on yogurt!

    I hope you'll stop by to check out the rest of our accomplishments!

  • Jo May 16, 2017

    I earned $50 from Swagbucks, with which I bought a Paypal card and then downloaded the money from Paypal to my bank account.
    I made an apron for a grandchild from a dish towel I bought at an outlet store.
    I marinated some grass-fed beef with homemade marinade -- it's cheaper, easy, and no weird ingredients.
    I'm going to slow cook a pork roast with homemade barbecue sauce, and will use dry beans to make slow-cooked baked beans to go with it. Two crockpots may not sound frugal, but I use them both a lot.
    I replaced another blown bulb with an LED bulb.
    I sewed bread bags from an old pillowcase.

  • Becky May 16, 2017

    I'm having some trouble with how things are showing up on my computer for this blog, so I'm not sure where this comment will show up. Hopefully it works. Anyway, I wanted to say in response to Jo's comment, that I also have 2 Crock Pots and an Instant Pot (new from a Christmas gift) and I have had many times when I have 2 or more going at once. It gets me a lot of food cooked up so I can grab and warm up on nights when I work. Or, the rest of the family can easily do that, too, if I'm gone. I think any way I can get food on the table, vs. going through a drive-up, is frugal, and a success! So, when a friend offered me yet another Crock Pot last spring, I gratefully accepted even though I had 2 already. Since then, one of those has broken and I'm back down to 2. So, I'm glad I took it. I'm still figuring out the Instant Pot, but have a few things I've made and they've turned out well.

    Today, I have a pork roast in there, cooking in an apple juice/honey mixture with an onion and salt and pepper. I've never tried it this way before, but it sounded good, and will be cooked when I finally make it home around 7 tonight.

  • Jo May 17, 2017

    Hi, Becky.
    My daughter has a crock pot and an instant pot, and she said what she's seen so far is that the crock pot yields more tender meat when slow cooking. She was cooking for a crowd and used both simultaneously to slow cook the main dish. But she adores the instant pot for the fast cooking.
    I remembered after I posted that I actually have three crock pots, because I have an old big one missing its lid, but I still use it for larger items. I set one of those silicon lids on it and it works just fine. I'm using it today, in fact. I figure it's going to die on me before too long, because it's so old.

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