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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Octavius Playing in the Mud The Prudent Homemaker

At the case-lot sale, I purchased two cases of canned tuna fish, a case of green beans, and a case of corn. The next time I stock up on corn and green beans will be during the Thanksgiving sales. 

I also bought a package of mini-marshmallows on sale at the same store. I checked my receipt as I was leaving and noticed that they had rung up as the regular price. I had the store refund me the overcharge.

We celebrated my daughter's birthday with homemade brownies from scratch and ice cream purchased on sale for $3.99 a gallon. 

I used the solar oven to cook a batch of beans one day and to roast a chicken another day. I used the chicken broth and leftover bits of chicken with the beans to make a soup. Cooking the chicken in the solar oven with a lid on it (you can get the same effect in the oven) with the breast-side down have juicy meat that was falling off the bones and the chicken made its own broth, saving me time and energy making broth another day.

My son attended his third week of a free ACT prep class.

I gave two sons a haircut.

One of my orchids rebloomed. I moved it from my bathroom (where I keep my unblooming orchids) near my desk to enjoy it.

I used items we had on hand to stage a home for sale that I was photographing for my husband.

The house was near Smart and Final. I'm rarely in that part of town, so we went there afterward and I purchased 4 gallons of rice vinegar ($8.88 a gallon when you purchase 4 or more gallons) and 2 large bottles of molasses.

What did you do to save money this past week?


A little note: I found out that I do have skin cancer. I'll be having surgery next week.

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  • Margaret @ApproachingFood September 17, 2018

    Best of luck with the surgery next week! I know many people who have had skin cancer, and they easily had it removed. I actually knew one person who seemed to get a new patch of it every year or so (she was in her 80's) and kept having bits of facial skin removed. Once it healed, you couldn't tell that there had been surgery done. I know another person who (in his 40's) had one patch of skin cancer removed and almost 15 years later has never had another recurrence. Am glad you were able to catch it early! By the way, once the site is healed, if there is a slight scar, sometimes vitamin E oil rubbed on the skin helps soften and lighten any scar.

    Am impressed that you managed to do all your frugal accomplishments while still teaching your kids, helping your other kids with homework, celebrating a birthday, AND staging and photographing a house for your husband! Impressive as always!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I couldn’t find lactose-free milk at the grocery store, so I made cashew milk from some raw cashews in my pantry instead, and used that with my morning cereal this week.
    - I made caffeine-free iced tea from tea gifted to me
    - Several times at lunch, I wasn’t able to eat the cheese sandwich I had packed (due to pregnancy nausea or such), so I would take it home and turn it into grilled cheese for my dinner.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gf to Starbucks. I then added the gc amount to my registered Starbucks card, so that I will get reward points when I spend it, which I will eventually redeem for free product.
    - My mom and sister threw me a wonderful baby shower! There was some food leftover so we all took some home. I packed the sandwiches, fruit, and veggies for lunches and dinners for the next few days, and turned the cookies into ice cream sandwiches. My sister used the party room at her condo and they only require a security deposit not a fee, so there was no charge to use the room and it was able to accommodate everyone easily. My mom brought over some of my late aunt and late grandmother’s fine china tea cups, and I made tea cup posies for centrepieces using some roses and baby’s breath, stuck into floral foam. They turned out super nicely (my mom and my sister were both impressed) and it was a way to incorporate my aunt and grandmother into the celebration. The chairs in the party room were damaged so my mum bought a fabric remnant and cut them into strips, and I tied them on the chair backs so as to cover the damage, the way tulle is sometimes used at weddings. It turned out really elegantly. I was even able to negotiate an additional discount on the fabric since there was a small stain on one end. My sister had the guests write notes and gave them to me and I will string them into a banner to decorate the nursery. While my sister and mum planned and carried out the shower, I did organize one ‘game’, a cookie decorating contest! Using swagbucks, I had ordered a onesie-shaped cookie cutter, and I made plain sugar cookies in the shape of onesies, along with several icing bags (ordered previously online from China using paypal money I earned doing surveys) of my homemade buttercream (http://approachingfood.com/the-only-buttercream-recipe-youll-ever-need/) in several colours. I also pulled out some decorations (silver dragees, homemade sanding sugar, and pink and white hearts) from my pantry supplies. Since I knew everyone would arrive at slightly different times, and because my friends are so diverse, I wanted to have something for everyone to do to keep them busy and give them something to chat about. So I had everyone decorate a onesie cookie, and once everyone had arrived, they all voted for the one they thought was best. Then they were able to take the cookie home (mostly to their kids or partner) in a little baby footprint patterned cellophane bag, tied with a ribbon (I had previously traded for the ribbon). I only had to purchase the cellophane bags, which I did from a bulk store using a $3 off $10 coupon. The cookie and icing ingredients I already had in my pantry (I buy icing sugar, flour, butter, etc. on sale and stock up). I didn’t realize that I had run out of baking powder, but I made do with a cream of tartar and baking soda concoction. The prize was a bottle of (very nice) wine from my husband’s wine collection. I packaged the wine in a wine sack/bag that I had previously sewn out of a cloth bag that I had been given as a promo and wouldn’t use. The activity reflected who I am, and everyone really liked it, so I was pleased! Plus, it was all done quite frugally!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  • Mable September 17, 2018

    WOW! Your shower sounds wonderful and so creative and frugal!! I envy your creativity. That is a talent I am sorely lacking.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood September 17, 2018

    Thanks, Mable! I remember something Brandy once wrote, about how anyone can do something creative, whether it is as simple as baking a loaf of bread or as complicated as...I forget. Point is, we're all creative in different ways! :)

  • Kitty B (Calgary) September 17, 2018

    Your shower sounds so lovely. I love the idea of using the tea cups for a floral display.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood September 17, 2018

    Thanks, Kitty B! It meant a lot to me to be able to incorporate my aunt and grandmother into the celebrations in some way. I did something similar at my wedding shower years ago; it was a tea party and we used my aunt's and grandmother's Sunday tea cups. My mum said that my aunt and grandmother would have gotten a kick out of it, so I was pleased, especially as my aunt died between my engagement and wedding, and was so disappointed to be missing the wedding. But she did choose one of her handkerchiefs to give to me so that I could tuck it into my bridal bouquet when I got married, so she knew that I would be carrying her memory with me down the aisle. :)

  • Polly Wog September 18, 2018

    I give vintage handkerchiefs as part of a shower gift to brides.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood September 18, 2018

    What a lovely gift!

  • Rhonda A. September 19, 2018

    Here is an precious way to give a handkerchief as a baby gift: https://bumblebeelinens.com/hankiebonnet.php. Must read the poem that goes with it! Such a sweet idea for the right person.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 17, 2018

    Oh, your baby shower sounds wonderful and it's an inspired use of teacups. And I love the idea of a cookie decorating contest. Ann

  • Margie from Toronto September 18, 2018

    What a fun shower - love the idea of the cookie decorating.

  • Jeannie September 19, 2018

    What a wonderful baby shower! You did a great job being creative and FRUGAL!
    Sorry you are still a bit nauseous. It will pass and be replaced with sleep deprivation. That is good, not bad.


  • Sorry to hear it was skin cancer -I'll keep you in my prayers Brandy. I have never had to deal with that but I know you must be scared.
    We went to the store and found two play houses on the curb and I sold them on Facebook for $30.00 for both. That was a nice find. Here are the rest of my frugal ways:

  • Tabitha September 17, 2018

    What a great find! I miss finding things for free on the side of the road. Back where I am from, it was a treasure hunt. Where we live now, it just isn't the way. I never see anything on the curb worth picking up anymore. Some of my best finds were patio furniture, a couple of camping chairs, some potted plants and pool toys.

  • Vickie September 18, 2018

    It's a lot of fun. We dont look for it purposely it's just there. I think we should get more to see what we can find.

  • Athanasia September 19, 2018

    Some folks make a living (or supplement income) by trash picking around here. Usually men, older, with a pickup truck. They go through neighborhoods on trash day trying to stay ahead of the trucks. Random folks too just happen to see something it is there for the taking. Once anything is on the curb here on garbage day it is accessible by whomever sees it and gets to it first. Keeps a lot of stuff out of the landfill.

  • I've been having good luck Athanasia. I'm not ready to do it full time though but I can see why they do it. I love it when people pick up my stuff -makes me feel better for sure!

  • Vickie@Vickie's Kitchen and Garden September 23, 2018

    Brandy, Not sure when you are having this procedure-I'm praying for you and that God will give you peace and no worries.

  • Liza September 17, 2018

    Brandy, I will pray for you that the skin cancer is easy to fix and not too painful. Goodness knows your plate is full right now. Wishing you a sense of deep calm.

    I finally downloaded duolingo! It’s so much fun!im using it as a timer for myself nursing the baby-one lesson for each side :) I have a friend here who is French/she moved here in college. She’s fun to practice with! I felt too shy about it before, but now that I’m practicing with diluolingo, I asked her if she would, and she was more than happy!

  • Heidi Louise September 18, 2018

    The French might be good for the baby as well! The more children hear a language when they are babies, (or even before they are born), the easier it is for them to learn the other language when they are older. It must be something about having internalized the sounds and rhythms. Humans are such marvelous creations.

  • Mable September 18, 2018

    It is not just hearing the sounds, the infants must be encouraged to repeat them. In studies done with Japanese and English speaking U.S. babies, both sets of kids lost the ability to make (or even hear) certain sounds in each other's languages by the time they were less than two years old. They obviously can learn to speak the language, but except for a few exceptional individuals who appear to have unusual linguistic abilities, they will never be mistaken for native speakers.

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