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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Helping Grandpa The Prudent Homemaker

We had the most beautiful weather all week: temperatures of 70-75ºF/21-24ºC. I opened the windows and we enjoyed fresh air in the house all week.

We enjoyed lemons, Swiss chard, oregano and parsley from the garden.

I enjoyed working in the garden in the record highs for this time of year. Usually, I'm still sporting long sleeves and a jacket while I do the busy work of January and February in the garden, but this year I'm in a short-sleeved t-shirt.

I used stakes and concrete mesh wire that I already had to add another vertical growing space to the garden. I planted Armenian cucumber seeds under it.

I planted seeds for alpine strawberries and poppies.

I opened the house up to air it out for several hours each day.

I stocked up on pasta (I bought 96 pounds) at the lowest price it gets here ($0.49 a pound). This price only comes around 2-3 times a year. When I was leaving the store, I picked up a dime I found in the parking lot.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a Target gift card. I'll use this to reduce my out-of-pocket expenses for February's shopping trip.

I read two e-books from the library.

My two eldest downloaded a combined 12 free songs from the library through the Freegal program.

We enjoyed watching the last bits of the lunar eclipse early in the morning.

I gladly accepted a hand-me-down infant car seat and matching stroller from a reader who lives very close by.

Nap The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Kim in Florida February 05, 2018

    Last Wednesday or Thursday, I walked into Aldi and walked out without buying anything. 1lb of carrots was $1.99, uhuh I was not going to do it. I then went in Walmart looking for inexpensive meat. I found a marked down 2lb package of 1/2 lb hamburgers for $3.99. I bought them and pulled the burgers apart and used the meat for a pot of chilli, and a pot of unstuffed cabbage rolls. I decided that I am putting $50 aside each week and I will only spend that on groceries. If I have money left over, it will go in an envelope and who knows, maybe one day, I can pay the hospital bill!!! I also made a mealplan. I decided what we were having for 7 dinners. Breakfast is never a problem for us.
    Its either eggs, oatmeal, grits, and other breakfast foods, (sometimes people here will eat leftovers). Lunches I can see becoming a problem, I'm worried that if I am planning on the leftovers to make another dinner, someone may eat it all for lunch! I guess I'll figure that out as we go along. A few weeks ago dh and I both started drinking coffee black. It took a little getting used to but it saves on milk and artificial sweetener. It also saves me a few weight watcher points each week!! My sister was in Florida for a visit and she showed me a few more swagbucks apps and perks apps that I should have on my devices. I downloaded them and vamped up my efforts to earn points. Dd has 4 ipads, and I have one. When hers are not in use, I run an app on wifi. I will probably be redeeming points for walmart giftcards that I can use to offset the costs of food. I also found a new app called fetch rewards. All you need to do is scan your receipt. Sometimes you get bonus points for buying the items on the list. I've already redeemed for 3 $5 walmart giftcards. I walked down to the bus stop a few times last week to save on gas, its only half a mile. (to pick up daughter). I've been walking as much as possible. A few days last week I did have to drive dd to school, 7 miles across town, so we stopped at Sams and grabbed breakfast on the way out. They put out apples, banannas, pastries and coffee for early shoppers. I brought the "breakfasts" home and we ate them throughout the week. I cant think of anything else we did to save money.

  • Rhonda A. February 06, 2018

    Kim, a really simple lunch item that I've been eating lately is black bean burritos. I cook the black beans in a pot with taco seasoning and a little water, until the beans are slightly mushy, then put some in a tortilla with your favourite cheap toppings that you have on hand (salsa, cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, etc.). They are cheap, healthy, very tasty and quite filling. A can of black beans makes about 4-6 burritos, possibly more depending on tortilla size and how full you make the wrap. I can't eat up the whole can in one sitting, so I just put the leftover beans in the fridge and reheat what I need the next day. However, if you wanted to, you could assemble a bunch of burritos to use up the beans, wrap them up and freeze them to use as desired. Just micorwave to reheat before eating.

    Another cheap option is to cook chick peas in BBQ sauce and use to make wraps. I like my wrap made with lettuce, cheese and a bit of ranch dressing, but you can make it with whatever toppings you like or have on hand. Again, I just keep the leftover chick peas in the fridge and reheat what I need the next day. You could make pre-made wraps, but lettuce does not freeze well, so choose your toppings accordingly.

  • Allyson February 06, 2018

    We love quesadillas or baked potatoes for lunch. They are a great way to use up little bits of leftovers like roasted veggies or a small amount of meat. When I'm taking it to work, I just take leftovers.

  • Kim February 05, 2018

    Love, love the photo of your little guy asleep in the chair- what a treasured memory that photo will be.
    I was able to purchase a couple really nice coats for Christmas gifts on clearance. Each coat was only $16 and they were regular price of $79. At the same store I purchased a Peanuts Christmas t-shirt for $1. I plan to use the t-shirt to make a Christmas pillow for my son. I already have the pillow insert and red thread.
    I have been making homemade hummus and taking flour tortillas and cutting them in triangles and heating them in the oven and serving with the hummus and some dipping oil I got for Christmas. My husband is really enjoying this snack idea. It is far cheaper and probably healthier than chips and salsa.
    I checked out some books at the library instead of giving in to my desire to purchase a design magazine. I found some nice gardening books that gave me some frugal ideas. One suggestion was to purchase whole carrots with tops and roots from your local grocer and plant them in the spring in your flower beds and by summer they will create a nice flower- it is far cheaper than purchasing flowers at the nursery. I am going to try this idea and will let you know how it goes. The suggestion was to use as a fill-in for bare spots.
    I was really wanting some fresh flowers in the house so I was able to purchase 3 white roses for $2 and then cut some of my white winter flowering heather and some of my boxwood to make a nice flower arrangement for my coffee table. Fresh flowers in a nice clean room just make me feel so much better.
    Great buy on the pasta Brandy. Thanks to everyone for the inspiration.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood February 05, 2018

    Your boy is so adorable, Brandy! And it sounds like lovely weather and a productive week.

    I had a productive week as well:
    - I made two traditional Dutch dishes this week (www.approachingfood.com/dutch-style-mashed-potatoes-two-ways/) , ‘Stamppot’, and ‘Hutspot’, using organic curly kale traded for last week, and some carrots from my freezer (also organic, also traded for). It’s essentially mashed potatoes with a leafy green (or a root veggie or two), stirred in. It’s a great way to add extra nutrition, colour, and flavour to liven up mashed potatoes.
    - I put together a Pesto and Portobello Pasta Bake (http://approachingfood.com/pesto-portobello-pasta-bake/), except I replaced the portobello mushrooms with some shitake mushrooms I traded for last week. I also used homemade breadcrumbs (made from bread crusts from Thanksgiving that my mother gave to me), pasta bought on super-sale, and so on. The only thing I had to buy was a jar of pesto, which I used half of. I then made another pesto pasta bake using the remaining pesto and stuck it in the freezer for future meals.
    - I also made 10 peach and raspberry individual pies, using a shortening crust (cheaper than butter). I traded the pasta bake and 6 of the individual pies, nicely wrapped in professional take-out boxes (which I previously traded for) for a BNIB 16-piece set of porcelain, worth $40. By making individual pies in my muffin tin, instead of buying a tin-foil pie tray, I saved between 25 and 50 cents, so I was pleased I thought of that work-around. I estimate that I spent about $5 on ingredients. I plan to give the porcelain set to family friends. They will appreciate it, and I will enjoy giving a v. nice gift that cost me $5 plus labour!
    - For the mini pies, I priced it out, and it was cheaper for me to use a can of peaches from my pantry (bought on sale, of course) and a can of raspberry filling (I purchased it at 50% off) than to use fresh fruit and make the filling myself. It would have cost me almost the same price to purchase the cheapest fruit (apples) and this way I saved myself the prep time. I didn’t use all of the peaches or the raspberry filling, so I stirred the remainders into a quart of homemade yoghurt, and ate it for breakfasts for the week.
    - My work lunches for the week were quite frugal, as they consisted of salads using the organic baby lettuce mix that I traded for last week, topped with homemade orange balsamic dressing (Brandy’s recipe), served with swiss chard and preserved lemon soup (most ingredients also from the veggies I traded for last week). I’ve definitely been making that box of produce (that I traded for) last for many meals!
    - Using my local trading app, I was also able trade a cake layer leftover from baking a few or two ago (I had had an extra cake layer, so I had frozen it), for two packages of baby-blue and white twine, and a spool of white cloth ribbon with blue polka-dots. I sliced up the cake into wedges, sprinkled it with icing sugar, and packaged it in a professional take-out box previously traded for, as well as a re-used clear bag from my workplace. It looked great! I was happy to clear out my freezer and stock up my craft/gift supplies at the same time.
    - My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. As a gift, I went to the datingdivas.com website, and got some ideas, then created labels on my computer to stick on fruit, saying things like, “you and I are a great ‘pear’”, which I then stuck on the corresponding fruit. I arranged all the different fruits in a pretty white box, and made a label as well. We would have purchased the fruit to eat anyway, so I was pleased to be able to create a gift that didn’t impact our budget, and corresponded with the traditional anniversary gift (apparently fruit is traditional for a 4th anniversary). I also printed out several sheets of anniversary trivia questions (from the same website), cut them up, hole-punched them, and then strung them together using a metal chain re-purposed from an old-keychain. We had a very nice evening going through them, and reminiscing. Cost? $0 OOP, but the memories were priceless.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood February 05, 2018

    It looks like my comment got cut off, so here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I brought home some bubble wrap from work that was going to be thrown out. We’ll use it to pack breakable items in, when we send our next package to my MIL.
    - I received a small bonus at work, which I applied straight to the mortgage principal.
    - I threw out a dying pointsettia plant and added the dirt to my balcony garden.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 giftcard to Old Navy.
    - I cooked and baked a number of things in addition to what I wrote about: sweet potato fries (using potatoes previously traded for), kale chips (kale also traded for), the lemon pudding cake another commenter posted last week (I used frozen zest and bottled lemon juice), beans’n’gravy mini pies (using beans from my freezer that I had cooked from dried previously), and a chocolate loaf cake (vegan, so no eggs needed). I sprinkled the loaf cake with chopped up mini chocolates I received at a conference previously. I also made pepperoni pizza (using pepperoni from my freezer that I had traded for previously) and stuck it in the freezer for an easy dinner one night.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as usual!

  • Athanasia February 09, 2018

    BNIB?? I even googled and nothing comes up.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood February 09, 2018

    BNIB means brand-new in box. :)

  • Hilogene in Az February 05, 2018

    Oh my, that photo of your son asleep in the car is marvelous! Made me smile for a long time. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Mandy February 05, 2018

    Aw he is getting so big!
    I made chicken in the crockpot, white bread. Banana muffins, homemade cup o noodles using food I had on hand for work lunches, beef noodles and homemade chicken broth.
    I received a set of Little House in the Prairie books for Christmas from my husband and have been enjoying reading them.
    I used saved water to flush the toilet. I also used water left in cups to water house plants.
    I only purchased milk, smoothie drinks for my daughter, yogurt, and bananas two weeks ago. No shopping this past week except new Zero pitcher filters for my big zero water pitcher.
    I took my daughter to the school sponsored Fun Fair. She played games and won prizes with her 2 besties.
    We had a quiet week. Have a good week everyone!

  • Jo February 05, 2018

    My sister has a photo collage of her kids sleeping in the most unusual places/positions. Maybe you have enough pictures like that for a collage, Brandy? Hers is so cute. The photos of the little man working, followed by sleeping, are great.
    I'm using up leftovers this week, pruned my grape vines, gave away some clutter, and I'm planning a yard sale. I haven't found any great deals at the store lately, but I got a good one on a new kind of organic apples that were so delicious, a week ago. I split large bags of cat and dog food and froze one half of each, so it won't go stale. I pack my lunch to work every single day, including drinks.
    Our weather is warmer, but not that warm yet, which is good, because my crepe myrtles still need pruning. My husband kept my mint alive in its pot over the winter, and fresh mint tea has been delicious.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore February 05, 2018

    Brandy, your precious boy is too adorable :) And so glad that you were able to get the pasta at the sale price you were waiting for.

    - Enjoyed warmer temps so was able to lower thermostat to 67F during the day.
    - Walked on the boardwalk nearly everyday. I love the ocean and walking is not only exercising but a walking meditation to me.
    - Best healthy & frugal buy of the week was Hass avocados for $0.79 each, reg. price is 3 for $5. And 16 oz container of organic spring mix for $3.49; reg. price is $5.99.

    I buy a fresh bunch of organic radishes each week to use in salads; I don't use the greens. I'm curious if you or any of your readers use these radish tops in their cooking?

  • Nancy February 05, 2018

    Mari, I sometimes chop up the radish greens and add them to the salad but most often will saute them quickly as a side dish to dinner on another night. I wash and freeze them if we aren't going to use them within a couple of days.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore February 06, 2018

    Thanks Nancy for your input. I don't use them fresh as they're too too bitter for us. Never thought of sauteing them. Thanks so much!

  • Allyson February 06, 2018

    I mix them with other greens for a salad (if they are small) or cooking (if larger). They add a nice flavor to mashed potatoes too.

  • Juls Owings February 07, 2018

    Mari at the Jersey Shore
    I use radish greens and carrot tops in salads, stir fries, soups and on sandwiches.

  • Cherie February 07, 2018

    We love the radish tops sauteed with onion, Sometimes on top of pasta with a little Parmesan cheese. Also sauteed radishes are wonderful, Slice and saute in butter.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore February 07, 2018

    Thank you ladies for your ideas! You have all enlightened me :)

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks February 11, 2018

    I am also enlightened and had the same question. Despite our very unusual two snowfalls here in the south at the beach (first 7 inches and then 10 at our house) I discovered that my radishes were alive and well in the garden and with such pretty green tops! Crazy. I dug some up and wondered about how to use the tops. I composted them the first time, but thought they could probably be eaten in some fashion. Thank you all for the ideas!

  • LDC February 09, 2018

    Marcella Hazan had a radish leaf soup with 2 or 3 things that I've made in the distant past, and it was delicious, simple, and quick to do. She was one of the 1st Italian chefs, popular through her cook books in the 1960's. This recipe may be on-line...

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