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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Daffodils in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I watched the bees working on the apple tree blossoms.

I sowed seeds for lettuce, Swiss chard, alpine strawberries, New Zealand Spinach, nasturtiums,  zucchini, butternut squash, radishes, and artichokes.

I planted some asparagus crowns in the garden.

Pea Vines on Trellis The Prudent Homemaker

My son and I took apart some old tomato cages and flattened them. We had made them from the 6-inch concrete mesh that you can get on a roll at Lowe's. I am using the wire mesh to grow beans, peas, and cucumbers instead. We attached these to stakes (that we already had) that we pounded into the ground where we needed them.

Radish Bouquet The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested lemons, lettuce, arugula, green onions, radishes, parsley, lemon verbena, Swiss chard, and the first couple of snow peas from the garden.

Lemons on Cutting Board The Prudent Homemaker

I juiced lemons from the garden and made lemonade.

I returned several pots to the local nursery. They give a recycling credit for the larger pots. I used my credit towards the purchase of some bulk topsoil.

I used a $15 off $50 coupon at Target for trash bags and stain remover. Since these items rarely go on sale (and when they do, it's usually just a tiny bit off) and these are items I buy anyway, I was happy to have the coupon to lower my total cost.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

My husband cut his own hair. I trimmed the baby's hair.

My husband recovered one of our boy's bicycle seats using a scrap of leather we had left from recovering our living room chairs. He removed the staples from the old seat, drew around the existing worn cover on the leather, cut it out, and used a staple gun to staple on the new cover.

I paused to watch the jets fly overhead. I see them often when I am working in the garden. 

I took time to enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

I enjoyed the hummingbirds in the garden. They visited the blossoms on the lemon trees. The lemon tree blossoms smell wonderful, and I was able to enjoy them while I worked under them almost every day this past week.


What did you do to save money last week? What simple things brought you joy?


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  • Athanasia March 06, 2017

    Well, I hope to finally get an entry done today. The last time I wrote was at least 4 weeks ago, so this will cover that time. We have done all the usual of cooking and baking at home, eating at home, packing work and school lunches, using up leftovers, recycling, composting, hanging laundry to dry to add humidity to the winter house air, mended, bird watched and sky watched and baby watched. I know one of the reasons I get less done is that on my normal day off work of Thursday my daughter brings over the baby and I have her for the day here. My mother is here also, so between the two of us we take turns with Dora and then fill in our free time with cooking and baking, sewing.

    Over the last month we attended 2 funerals (one out of town), one baby shower(for my oldest son's wife) , 1 wedding shower, one wedding, an aunt's 80th birthday and a cousin's 40th anniversary. Last Sunday in February we attended church in the town where my younger son Markus lives and where he goes to church. He met his special friend Christie there and this was a chance for us to meet her extended family. Her church is similar to ours with often 4 generations of family members attending so we met quite a few, including both sets of her grandparents. They used the fellowship hall and had a picnic lunch for us all after service. 16 of us drove over, including one of my brother, his wife and a son and my sister and a daughter. The church is not the same denomination but very compatible. Both children (this son and my middle girl) belonged there all through college too. She is an RN but was a couple years ahead of my middle girl and does home health.

    Our first Sunday church meal noon potluck last month was a fundraiser for the youth groups mission works. They normally have a banquet the Saturday night before Valentines weekend but this year there was a wedding so they combined it with the potluck. Folks signed up to bring in various sandwich fillings and chips. The menu was sandwiches and chips and relishes and cupcakes ...all finger food. They called it Buns of Love. They collected over 300 donated buns and rolls from bakeries around the area so that was a big savings for them. The home ec teacher supervised them baking 16 dozen cupcakes on the Friday before. My donation was carrots and celery and ranch dip. I cleaned and sliced 6 lbs of carrots and 3 heads of celery. I made the dip with ranch dressing powder, plain yogurt and cream cheese. The youth entertained everyone with skits after lunch.

    Mended socks, trimmed frayed edges on towels than folded and ran a new edge on them with the sewing machine. Helped my daughter sew a stuffed animal for a baby shower present for my oldest son and his wife. She wanted to make a stuffed rooster...we found an old pattern for stuffed animals that had a chick and hen, so we left off the chick and added dangly legs (for the baby to grab) and made it from red and yellow and white patterned scraps. It was very patchwork looking as she sewed smaller pieces together first, then cut out the pattern pieces. Since my daughter in law is of Chinese heritage my daughter chose the rooster as this is the year of the rooster. According to the "fortune" the rooster is exceedingly punctual. Maybe the baby will be also??

    These will be just what I remember cooking last month...made yogurt, baked white bread, wheat bread, rye bread, French bread as needed. Baked banana bread x2, pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, lemon-cranberry muffins, blueberry buckle, snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin cookies. Made a cherry pie and heart cutout sugar cookies with vanilla frosting and sprinkles for the holiday treat. Made 2 lasagnas, one with out meat but with eggplant/pepper/onion filling instead. Chicken stuffing casserole. Made spaghetti sauce, vegetarian meatballs, baked squash, roasted root vegetables, baked apples, bean and cheese burritos twice, Mexican rice, corn with hot and sweet peppers all from the freezer, salmon loaf, double baked potatoes (from freezer), creamed peas, cucumber salad 3 times, coleslaw x 4, broccoli salad, cheesey broccoli and rice, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, open face toasted cheese. Blueberry pancakes, baked oatmeal, baked vegetable and cheese breakfast casserole. My husband grilled out a couple and kabobs once and hamburgers/veggie burgers the other. We ate once over at each oldest daughter's, son's and sister in laws and we had them over once each, also our tenants over once. Cooked up the bones and skin from the 3 chickens I cut up back in January to make another dish (Rhonda's souvlaki recipe) and made broth. Chilled and skimmed the broth then used it to make bean and ham soup...I only had some ham slices left from previous bone that was used up earlier in the year so used the chicken broth.

    At the grocer bought 6 cucumbers 2/$1, vegetables and fruit for fresh eating to add to our frozen, canned, root cellar supply like radishes, lettuce, broccoli .99/lb bought 3 lbs, carrots, celery. Bananas from the gas station .35/lb and skim milk and 2% milk. At sams club trip with cousin bought 6 pack of romaine lettuce, black beans,oats, pinto beans, rice, Parmesan cheese, tortillas, box of pretzels, case of eggs, powdered sugar, baking soda. At the farm store bought clearance suet blocks, light bulbs, mixed nuts and unsalted peanuts, hard candy, and dishwasher powder. For the baby shower present bought the 3 sizes diapers and diaper wipes. For the wedding shower (she wanted a recipe shower) I (and my mother) bought a set of airbake cookie sheets and gave her the recipe for cutout sugar cookies and for frosting and included a bottle of almond extract, powdered sugar and a variety of sprinkles.

    We have been having very abnormal warm weather which has interfered with the maple syrup harvest...started too soon, then chilled off. Had 2 snow storms. Now warm again. Have not seen lots of buds on trees yet but bulbs are definitely starting to show some green. I saw our first mourning doves back this morning out under the birdfeeders.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. March 06, 2017

    Whew! You've been busy. No wonder you haven't had much time to post. Hope you get some time to rest up before the new grandbaby arrives.

  • Athanasia March 07, 2017

    Yes, my daughter in law started her maternity leave now which will take her through the end of school and then she'll have the summer off. So she will have a nice long time before school starts again. Her parents live with them so they will have full time help with the baby. I am not sure she/he will spend a day here as Dora does. But we will see them plenty as they live just north of town, we are south. My daughter and her family live next door to me and my mother lives with them. Sometimes Eliana takes the baby to work with her at the farm when she is doing more office type work.

  • Becky March 06, 2017

    I haven't seen any good skits for quite some time. I'll bet that was entertaining. It's great that the youth could earn a bunch of money that way.

    It sounds like you've had a very busy and productive month. I am glad you are getting to spend time with little Dora--what a blessing children are. I never take the privilege for granted--they bring so much into my life, as I'm sure she does to yours. And, a little "year of the rooster" baby sounds super cute, as does the stuffed animal. How nice that your mother can come, too.

    Hopefully the weather will cooperate and you will get a bunch of maple sap to make sugar from. Have a great week!

  • Athanasia March 10, 2017

    Oh yes the skits were fun. They showed a lot of imagination.

  • Athanasia March 07, 2017

    Oh, I forgot on the wedding shower we gave her a selection of cookie cutters too. They are .50 each at the hardware store and they have over 100 shapes to chose from.

  • K March 06, 2017

    The most beautiful part of my week was walking off of campus on Friday, knowing I'd have this whole week off (which really means I get a whole week to get caught up on all my other work! LOL). As for our frugal accomplishments:

    * I made an absolutely massive amount of split pea soup and baked 2 loaves of bread to go with it. I'm not sure we'll get through it all (I might have to freeze some) but we'll certainly try! This used up a ham bone from our freezer, which helped make space for all my purchases this week.

    * I went shopping at Cub's big meat sale, and stocked up on lots of different items. The only issue is that we're running low on freezer space now! If anyone's interested, I took a couple photos of it all and posted them here: Having stocked up on everything that I did, we'll be set for food until we have to move in May/June. I'll be shopping minimally until then, which will help our budget.

    * I rode the bus to campus a few times this week, one of which was on a very slippery day (snow has partially melted into slush, which can be quite difficult to stop on on the hills around here), so I was grateful that I had not risked my car in that weather. However, the bus I was on did have issues stopping a couple times and actually crashed into a concrete post, which was really scary. I feel blessed to have made it through that ordeal unhurt.

    * I took all of our laundry to my mom's instead of paying for it here. This saved nearly $15.

  • I love the sweet peas and the trellis you made was very smart!

    I was able to get some great deals this week at JC Penny. I love those $10 off 10 coupons.
    Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments

  • Krissy in Sacramento March 06, 2017

    The picture of the lemons is gorgeous! The dark yellow color is so pretty!
    This is a couple weeks' worth of frugal ways. I've been reading the posts every week but can't seem to get myself together early enough to post!
    Many thanks to Brandy and others for commenting before on my conundrum with air-drying my laundry after our dryer died. I'm still plugging along with it as we save up for a new dryer and washing machine. We've decided to go ahead and get a washer at the same time as our current one is Sears' lowest end model from 1995 with a tiny capacity only one water level and cold or warm wash/cold rinse only. I'd like to have the option to wash in hot if I need to (especially since towels get "sour" smelling sometimes). And I feel like I'd be saving a ton of money (eventually) on water and not wasting it! It's a 3-paycheck month this month (YAY!) so we are on track (unless something else breaks, lol.)
    We've actually eaten out/gotten takeaway FOUR!! times this past month, but I used a gift card for Subway that I got from my aunt for my birthday and a coupon to a local Mexican restaurant we got from my parents for Christmas. The other two were for Papa Murphy's pizza, I joined their eclub and got a coupon for B1G1 50% off and free cookie dough (this was a text message to my husband's work smartphone.) And I used an email for BOGO at Noodles & Company. We were finishing up our meal 20 minutes before closing and the cashier came up to us with HUGE Rice Krispies-type marshmallow treats and asked if we wanted some free ones!! We were like, HECK YEAH! so that was a nice unexpected sweet surprise. We also stopped off at Boudin and got a rare splurge- their multigrain/wheat bread. I showed my bread club card and got a free 1 lb. loaf of sourdough. We try to limit our bread intake so it tastes even better!
    Been working extra hard on earning little bits of money here and there on Swagbucks, Pinecone Research, phone app rebates (Ibotta, Checkout 51, Receipt Hog, Mobisave, Savingstar,) etc. Monies from here accumulate in my PayPal account and go towards vacation. We are hoping to go to Las Vegas for our anniversary. We were scheduled to go the first week in February for my 45th birthday but we both got pneumonia...Southwest airfare is non-refundable, but the credit is in our account so at least airfare is taken care of! We like to relax by the pools there, and eat out!
    Had a "frugal fail" to report. I make Brandy's Tuscan Tomato Bread soup as soon as I have enough dried bread accumulated (usually only 4 times a year or so) and I love it so much I always look forward to it! The last batch tasted odd, though, weirdly sweet. I finally figured out what I did wrong...I had bought sweet yellow onions instead of normal cooking onions! So now I know to absolutely check the sticker up against the sign! Such a bummer, such a great soup recipe!
    Lastly (and I'm sure I'm forgetting tons of things,) I couldn't figure out why my slow cooker was leaking from the stoneware into the metal outer cooking vessel. I would find burned food on the inside. Turns out that my stoneware developed a hairline crack! I checked Crock-Pot's website for a replacement stoneware but they don't carry it (I have the "Cook and Carry" model with the lid that buckles down.) Emailing them was no help at all, they just said they don't carry it at this time. I should probably check eBay for a replacement one (or I've been told to check the thrift stores but we only have one car and I don't really have time to drive all over the place when I have access to it.) So I was racking my brain about how to make it work and I realized I had a package of "Slow Cooker Liners" by Reynolds that I had picked up on a whim! It's not ideal (the bag gets wrinkly and weird and it's difficult to get the last bits of food out) but it'll work for now!
    Didn't realize I had that much to say, thanks to all for reading! :p

  • Heather in L.A. March 07, 2017

    Good idea replacing the washer also, as the newer models wring more water out of the clothes and the newer dryers are not as efficient working with the older ones. As far as your crockpot liner is concerned, have you checked second hand and garage sales? You may be able to find a replacement. Good luck

  • PJGT March 07, 2017

    Regarding the towels, I often use white vinegar in my rinse (I used to set a timer to add with my older washer). That helps with the smell.

  • One of my favorite simple joys is sunrise. It comes up about 15 minutes before I used to get up - I changed my wake up time so I could view the sunrise and have a bit of quiet time in the morning. :)

    My frugal accomplishments for this week are here - I would love some visitors!

  • Libby March 06, 2017

    Your week sounds like magical spring! Bees buzzing, blossoms perfuming the air, warmth, growth everywhere :)

    • Made daily swagbucks goal x 4
    • While on a business trip, I picked up an untouched apple from a finished room service tray in the hallway of my hotel
    • Made homemade pizza, cheddar cheese soup, and Budget Bytes lemony, feta, cucumber couscous
    • Refilled several spice jars from the bulk section at natural food store
    • Hung a load of laundry up to dry
    • Took an inventory of my chest freezer and found a lot of nuts so made two new recipes – risotto with watercress, gorgonzola & walnuts and Union Café nuts
    • Cut forsythia and brought inside to force
    • Scanned and uploaded FSA medical receipts

  • Athanasia March 07, 2017

    Libby, that is a good couscous salad recipe. I made it several times over last cucumber season.

  • Steph. March 06, 2017

    Hi friends! This week was not one of my best....I had lots of work stress and ended up with a migraine that lasted for days. That has never happened to me before...I am feeling much better now, PTL.

    This past week I avoided the grocery store and it worked out fine. We did eat out for our date night and it was definitely worth it to connect in a positive way because I had been so out of sorts during the week and cranky! :( Yesterday, I worked in the garden in between rain some new soil added in, lots of weeding, and planted some vinca seeds (I am zone 10a). With hubby's help, changed some irrigation in one area to drip lines. Continued to plan out where I will put what in this new (old) yard! Feeling less overwhelmed and this website is helping!!!

    Cut hubby's hair myself and trimmed my bangs, but I honestly need to get to the salon soon!

    After work today, I ran to pick up a few groceries and only spent $29. The best deal was 3 pounds of gala apples for $1.99...and a small bag of pasta for 29 cents!

    If anyone has ideas for snacks for my husband, I would love to hear. This guy loves to eat tortilla chips with hummus or salsa and crackers with cheese, as well as more gourmet treats liked smoked salmon with cream cheese! He and I could both stand to lose 10 pounds....I am going to suggest to him fruit for snacking, air-popped popcorn (which he loves), and raw carrots with hummus. He is already on board with more meatless meals, but I don't want to make him miserable. :)

  • Athanasia March 07, 2017

    Steph, my husband loves celery...plain, with hummus, with salsa, with cheese spread, peanut butter. I buy 1-2 bunches of celery a week. I clean it up, trim and cut stalks in half so about 6" pieces and store in a Ziploc. They're always ready for him and I just grab what I need for cooking as ready to go.

  • Steph. March 07, 2017

    Thanks this is a great idea! He loves celery, too. :) He honestly only likes veggies raw so he can be a challenge for dinner, although on the positive he likes salad. ;)

  • Heather in L.A. March 08, 2017

    I frequently serve raw cut up veggies as a first course when the kiddos are starving for dinner and it is not quiet ready.. Nothing fancy, but peeled celery(mine hate the strings), carrot, radishes and cucumber are cheap and always a hit. Depending on the time of years sweet peppers and grape tomatoes appear on the platter. Sometimes with dip( one trick is always get extra ranch packets so they can also take on the go) and sometimes with a splash of vinegar and salt and pepper. And yes I count this as a side..they like it better than salad.

  • Libby March 07, 2017

    Pam Anderson, who was the Executive Editor at Cook's Illustrated, has a great cookbook called "The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great." She lost 50+ pounds. There is a good sized section on snacks. This past week I tried the recipe from this book to make "Bar Nuts a la Union Square Cafe" and they are DELICIOUS! Her recipes include calorie counts.

  • Steph. March 07, 2017

    Thank you, I will check it out!

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