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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Apple Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

Dorsett Golden Apple Blossoms

I transplanted a potted pomegranate tree that I had bought last fall into the raised bed (where the espaliered apples used to be). It can get larger in this spot than in a pot and give us more fruit.

I transplanted the lettuce seedlings from the same pot into the raised bed.

I found three tiny lettuce plants that had self-seeded in the rocks next to our driveway. I dug them up and transplanted them to the raised bed.

I used rainwater that I collected in buckets last weekend to water the garden.

I placed jars over my artichoke seedlings to help them to grow faster.

I harvested lettuce, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard, green onions, parsley, and garlic chives from the garden.

I sewed a few gifts for my daughter for her birthday using fabric, elastic, and ribbons I had on hand.

I used boxes to wrap her gifts that I purchased last year at Christmas. They are pretty white and gold boxes that I can reuse at each birthday, and just tie them shut with ribbons. 

I read two borrowed books.

Iris The Prudent Homemaker

White Wedgewood Iris in the White Garden


What did you do to save money last week?

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  • Margaret @approachingfood February 26, 2017

    I love reading about all your gardening accomplishments, Brandy! And of course also love reading and learning from everyone here.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - Someone gifted my workplace with a bottle of candy, and I was able to take home the large wide-mouth mason jar the candy came in. It now holds my (homemade) dehydrated fruit!
    - I earned $5 for my paypal account through Pinecone Research
    - Redeemed my Starbucks Rewards points for a lunchbox; saved me $7! (I used Swagbucks to get Starbucks gift cards, then use them strategically to get the most points, and redeem the points for lunch boxes. In the 9 months, I think I spent $4 of my own money on Starbucks, maybe $75 via Swagbucks gift cards, and got maybe 4 lunch boxes free. The gift cards totally subsidize my social life, plus I end up with free lunches. I’m really happy with my system!)
    - Cat-sat and received $120 cash, plus two books that the cat owner had finished with. Cat cuddles, books, and money – my ideal part-time job!
    - Made a batch of my favourite iced tea, using tea gifted to me (Oolong Jasmine Mango) sweetened with the syrup from my home-canned peaches.
    - Mended a pair of leggings
    - Made freezer mashed potatoes to use up the last of my potatoes, and portioned them out into 2-person servings for easy dinner sides.
    - Took two friends (plus a daughter of one friend) out for coffee using my Starbucks gift card from Swagbucks. I was able to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, while treating them to a fancy-pants drink, without any money OOP. I do like that!
    - While meeting up with one of my friends, I stumbled across an ice carving festival, so we took my friend’s daughter to go see it. There were booths handing out free samples, so we each got two free cookies, plus a coupon for a free tea at David’s Tea (which I tucked away for the future). We got some great photos of the daughter with different sculptures, and we all had fun. Friends, a free festival, and free full-size samples make for a great Saturday!
    - My mother had asked for shortbread cookies instead of cake, to celebrate her 70th birthday. Thanks to Ann Lee, who posted a great Scottish shortbread recipe on Brandy’s February goals post, I made genuine Scottish shortbread as a gift for my mom! I used my mini alphabet cookie/fondant cutters to emboss the letters M O M onto three separate shortbread cookies when they were half-baked, then finished baking them, packaged them up individually in cellophane bags leftover from Christmas gifts, and tied them up with fancy ribbon gifted to me from my sister when she de-stashed her card-making supplies. This will be a little gift to round out her other birthday gifts. Inexpensive, but cute!
    - I wanted to make her 70th birthday shortbread cookies a little nicer (a milestone birthday, after all!) so I made three different types of shortbread to serve with tea for the birthday celebration that I hosted. One was the shortbread cookie that I mentioned above, and the other was a whipped shortbread cookie! I made one dough but two kinds of cookies: first I used my cookie press to make some cute flowers. I didn’t have any candied cherries, so I used the red bits from my leftover mixed coloured citrus peel from my Christmas baking. Then I added chopped dark chocolate to the leftover dough and baked that up. I used a high quality chocolate bar that had been gifted to me, so no additional cost there. Here’s the recipe: I buy lots of butter when it’s a loss leader and freeze it, which makes baking with butter much more affordable.
    - As a gift for my mom, I downloaded e-books I already own (there’s one author that we both love), on to a USB stick. The DH had a USB stick that he wiped clean, and then I packaged it up in a fabric gift bag that I had in my ‘to be reused’ stash. My mom got a e-reader recently, so this will be a nice treat for her, and she’ll get a kick out of the fact that I managed to do it without spending any money!

    Here's to another great week for us all!

  • Gardenpat February 26, 2017

    A crazy busy week here with the weather adding to the craziness! One day 76 degrees and the next 30 degrees for the high!!! Ohio in late winter/early Spring!!!
    I bought canning jar lids on clearance for 50 cents/box of a dozen lids! They had both wide mouth and regular lids- both are the same price! Since I am running low on lids and I can a lot and am constantly using what we have on the shelves and then refilling those jars, I bought out all they had at that particular location! 77 boxes of regular lids and 119 boxes of wide mouth!!! Spent almost $100 but have a rebate for a little over $10 coming back, making the final cost 44-1/2 cents per box of a dozen lids! That's almost 2400 lids and I will definitely make good use of them!!

    I picked up my Zaycon chicken order- $1.35/ pound for 40 pounds of BLSL breast. I cooked some in crockpot and shredded and packaged for freezer, cut up chunks and cooked and packaged for fast dinner making, cut up and flash froze some into chicken strips. I still have 15 pounds to package into meal size portions!

    Board of Elections called me to work at the May 2nd Primary election. Typically those are pretty quiet days and I'll make $158 for the day! That will be a great extra stream of income!

    We have assembled our materials (all from material we had at home!) to build our chicken coop and decided to buy starter hens so that egg production won't need to wait for 6 months!

    We recycled some plastic storage containers ( after decluttering them) to help organize our bathroom linen closet better! I did the same thing in another room to help organize and not only were the containers free because I was recycling containers I already had but afterwards, it made the closets feel so much easier to access what I needed!

    I started another quilt- this time a baby quilt using Springtime colors! It will be done in the next day or so!
    Just made funeral potatoes for the second funeral that I've brought food to and helped serve at for the second time in two weeks! So grateful for my full pantry!!
    Have been more attentive to avoiding food waste in fridge and this week it's been very successful! We've eaten leftovers and also gotten creative to use up partially used foods. Case in point- tonight we had meatball subs for dinner. They used up last 6 hot dog buns i had, a partial bag of homemade frozen meatballs and a partial jar of spaghetti sauce in the fridge!
    Donated another big bag to Goodwill! I've now lost 95 pounds in the past 10 months so it's been great to cull things from my closet that are too big on me any more!
    All in all, a very good week!

  • Becky February 27, 2017

    What a find on jar lids! I need to get some this year and would love to find a sale like that! Still, canning is a great deal any way I do it:)

    Congratulations on the weight loss. That is a huge accomplishment.

    Also, it would be awesome to see your quilts. I think you are a regular quilt-making factory there. You seem to finish so many. I'm sure the recipients are delighted with them.

  • Stacy February 27, 2017

    I am wanting to try to make a quilt but don't know where to even start. I have tried to look online but it seems really overwhelming. Any suggestions?

  • Marcia February 27, 2017

    I would say go to the library and borrow a couple books on basic quilting. It's really not hard at all, except the part about cutting accurately and having your seams come together at the right place. You can rip it out if you're not happy--and there are no pre-conceived standards--each quilter decides for herself what is "close enough." It's probably the quickest and easiest way to learn a bit in a short time. You can trace patterns on to parchment paper from the books to save buying patterns. You can also start with something small, like throw pillows or a table runner, and try out your skills before you invest in fabric for a larger quilt.

  • Gardenpat February 27, 2017

    Check out Missouri Star Quilt Company! Every week they do a new free tutorial of a quilt pattern using easier shortcut methods! That might be a great place to start! Plus- you can cut your own scraps into the sizes that they sell- charm packs are 5" squares of fabric, layer cakes are 10" squares. Quilt making doesn't have to be expensive!

  • KS NE TX February 27, 2017

    And if you have a quilt shop near, they probably have classes. My husband started classes this week. And my mother took classes years ago at local community college.

  • Amie February 27, 2017

    Eleanor Burns has easy weekend quilts. She describes step by step. You can find her books at the library.(also checkout a quilting 101 book.) Easist to start is a rag quilt. Signup w JoAnns if you have one in area. You get ad and coupons in your mail. They also have an app you can use coupon codes. Don't try to buy everything at once. Fb has pages, plus see if anyone you know is into quilting. Most will be happy to show you, if you are serious. Ir can be addicting and can be expensive. Brandy lists some of the big sales throughout the year. Memorial Day and Labor day are two. Getting holiday items after the holiday are easiest. Like right now Valentine's Day and Christmas is on sale.

  • lisa February 27, 2017

    Missouri Star on youtube is a great idea. Also, there are Craftsy classes: They run sales frequently.

    I will be posting about my sewing room. Come by for a visit.

  • Vicky February 28, 2017

    Congrats Gardenpat, that is awesome on your 95 pound weight loss. That is hard work!! I need some encouragement in that department for sure!!...Vicky in Ky

  • Chris M February 26, 2017

    You recently mentioned a Vegan Spice cake your mother made. I made it today with Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour and added 3/4 t. xanthum gum. It turned out perfectly and tasted really good. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. It is so much easier to turn a recipe into gluten free, when I don't also have to make it vegan, which I need as well. I did "cheat" though and put vegan cream cheese frosting on it as it was for a special occasion. Fabulous, just fabulous! Thanks again ... Chris

  • Margaret @approachingfood February 27, 2017

    Yay, I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Chris!!! Vegan cream cheese frosting on the spice cake sounds AWESOME!!! How did you make it? What sort of vegan product do you use in place of cream cheese? Am so curious!

  • Chris M February 28, 2017

    Hi Margaret,
    I "cheated" on the vegan cream cheese frosting as I'd found a can of Pillsbury frosting at one of my favorite discount grocery stores. There's no dairy and a bare minimum of soy (lecithin) so I grabbed 2 cans to see how if was okay. For canned frosting, these were not too bad and much more frugal than trying to do something with soaking raw cashews. However, the can of chocolate fudge was not near as good (an earlier choice for my grandson's birthday on gluten-free, vegan chocolate cupcakes). I prefer the frosting I can make over that!

  • Curlyclub February 27, 2017

    Margret, you are so inspiring. I love the way your frugality fosters happy social connections. Thank you x

  • Margaret @approachingfood February 27, 2017

    Awww, thanks Curlyclub! Your comment made my day! :)

  • Cindi February 27, 2017

    Please share how to make freezer mashed potatoes. That's a great idea! And your shortbread sounds gorgeous. What a great gift for your mom.

  • Margaret @approachingfood February 27, 2017

    Hi Cindy! This is the recipe that I used: I bought the cream cheese on sale, so it was serendipitous to find the recipe and to have some potatoes to use up at the same time.

  • Cindi February 28, 2017

    Thank you! I am going to try this. I have some potatoes in storage that I need to use up. And we love mashed potatoes!

  • Jenifer February 28, 2017

    Margaret, I totally get your "system" with Starbucks. I do something similar with my gas station for GC. it's almost like playing a little game.
    Kitty cuddles and good reads are pretty awesome too!
    Have a great week!

  • Meredith March 07, 2017

    Using the juice from canning in iced tea?! Genius!! Thanks for sharing!!

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