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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I spent the first part of the week organizing things to run as smoothly as possible for the end of the week, as I had surgery on Thursday to remove cancer from my head. It was growing in my hair next to my part, a place where I don't usually put sunscreen. I'll have stitches for the next three weeks and I imagine I'll have a swollen face for at least this week. One way I'll save this week is by not wearing any makeup, because it's a bit impossible right now! 

To save money this past week, I did the following:

I baked a carrot cake in a 9 x 13 pan. I didn't have cream cheese on hand to make icing, so I lightly dusted it with powdered sugar instead.

Red Noodle Beans The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut red noodle beans, Armenian cucumbers, rosemary, Genovese basil, chives, and green onions from the garden. I picked some teeny-tiny cherry tomatoes from the garden as well to use in a pasta salad. They are so tiny that I put a slice of olive in with them so you can see how little they are; they are the size of blueberries! The heat we have here in summer makes them stop flowering, or if they do flower (these are in afternoon shade and just started flowering recently) they are still super tiny because of the heat.

Sun Gold Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

The Armenian cucumbers do well in our heat, growing huge. I still don't get a lot of them when it's really hot, so I am happy to have them grow to great lengths, as they don't get bitter like other cucumbers and can grow as long as my arm. This means I have a lot of cucumbers to eat but not always enough to make pickles (as sometimes just one or two are ripe). This week we ate them sliced thin in vinegar, cut into sticks and dipped in ranch dip made with Greek yogurt, put in green salads, and chopped in pasta salad.

I went to the library and checked out a large number of books with my three youngest daughters and my 2-year-old son.

I opened the windows and doors in the early mornings to cool down the house for a couple of hours each morning.

I used my solar oven to cook three meals. One of the things I cooked was a large batch of pinto beans. I made bean burritos one day with them. I made a huge pan of bean enchiladas with them another day, which we ate over three days. My corn tortillas were a little old (so they would break rather than roll), so I made the enchiladas lasagna-style, layering the tortillas flat instead and layering the filling between with three layers of tortillas. I also find this is a great way to make enchiladas when you don't have enough tortillas, as it uses just 18 corn tortillas in a 10 x 13 pan. You'll need more filling, but if you're using beans for all or part of it, it is still quite frugal.

When I cooked baked potatoes, I cooked enough to have leftovers for the next day. I usually cook 10 pounds for our family, but recently we have upped it to 15 pounds at a time, saving gas for the oven (and not heating up the house) and giving us more leftovers. Leftover baked potatoes cook really quickly as cubed potatoes on the stovetop with onions for breakfast, a great side dish to a fried egg or two. It also means use you can use less oil (I only use a couple of tablespoons for a 5-quart pan full of potatoes) which means less money and fewer calories.

My son went to a thrift store with his uncle. He found a pair of cowboy boots there that he liked. One boot was priced at $35 and the other at $15. He tok them up to the register and asked how much. They told him $5, so he bought himself a pair of boots.

My mom went to a couple of community garage sales and picked up a few items for me, including a polo shirt for my eldest son ($2) and ten brand-new wide mouth quart-sized canning jars for $0.40 each.

What did you do to save money last week?

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Comments

  • Lillianna October 06, 2018

    Jeannie, we are headed to Missouri from Atlanta for the sons army graduation. I haven't planned our route out because I am not sure who will be traveling with us. If possible, we may stop in the Amish town and visit on the way back home. She might enjoy a buggie ride but our cocker spaniel will be with us. Oh the delemas of trying to accommodate everyone. I would never just show up anywhere but can imagine sugar cookie leaning out the window calling for " Amish lady where are you ". I just have no clue where she got the rag doll idea from. Perhaps next spring we can come visit the community. It's about a 4 hr drive from here.

  • Jeannie October 12, 2018

    Tell your son I thank him for his service to our country. You must be very proud. Planning long trips is most definitely difficult. Just be safe.

    A buggy ride would be so much fun. One of my Amish friends commented how so much is missed when riding in a car. I asked him to explain and he said you miss the smells, sounds, feeling the heat or cold, and the small things that fly past when the car is moving.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  • Jeannie October 02, 2018

    So funny! Scooter on laughter duty. We sat on the porch this evening and watched the sun go down. Scooter, sat on the porch and watched a bug walk around in circles. We laughed at him (Scooter not the confused bug).
    Jeannie

  • Athanasia October 03, 2018

    :)

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood October 02, 2018

    Jeannie, I'm so sorry to hear about the health issues you and your husband are going through. I hope everything gets resolved positively and as quickly as possible. I don't know much about the U.S. healthcare system, but I know others here have posted about getting discounts for paying in full upfront, or negotiating payment plans. From what I understand, you need to be proactive in negotiating with the billing departments. But, first and foremost, I hope the health of both of you improve! Thinking of you! *hugs*

  • Jeannie October 03, 2018

    You know me very well Margaret. If course we negotiated it lower. They knocked of $1,000 because we are so awesome (yeah right) and then another $800 because we paid the bill in full ahead of time with cash (a check). We walked out in stunned silence (from the shock of the bill) and I turned to my husband and asked "Did we just write a very hot check?" No. He had already transferred the money in hopes of buying a new truck.
    It pays to be frugal and to prepare for the worst.
    Jeannie

  • Maxine October 04, 2018

    Jeannie, I'm sorry about the diagnoses but I would take the chance, too. You also said you need new ideas for saving. Don't we all! I have read this blog for about two years and I know you are already doing "all the usual frugal stuff"...as I am, and I am sure most of the readers. However, what is usual for me may not be usual for you, so as the weeks go by, I hope you will tell us each week what you are doing that's new to you. Might be new to us, too!

    Here's something I've been doing for the last 3 months: I needed to buy a new washer (old Maytag was 28 years old, never a repair, but left a puddle of grease when we moved it). I bought a HE model that uses very little water or soap (1 to 2 tablespoons of the Costco powdered detergent works fine) and is an Energy Star model. Not only that, but it is a super capacity washer and I do about 1/3 fewer loads every week. I'm not suggesting that you run out and buy a new washer (or a new anything), but if yours dies anytime soon, give capacity and Energy star some consideration. Of course, if you buy used, you just do the best you can with what's available at the time.

    I also bought a new fridge when we moved (I sold the 20-year-old fridge with the house). It's Energy Star rated, too. I never buy top of the line or anything fancy. This one happens to have a bottom freezer, but all of my other fridges, since 1971, have been top freezers. I already had a gas dryer. Electricity is cheap here (as cheap as it is anywhere), but natural gas is cheaper still. Something else to keep in mind if you have to buy those appliances.

    The biggest thing is something all of us can do right now is to do less laundry! If it is not dirty (spots or smelly), we wear it again. In fact, I just finished the 4th day on a pair of jeans and the second day on the shirt. I do change underwear daily, LOL. (when I was a kid in the '50s and '60s, we always wore school clothes 2-3 days (not necessarily consecutively) before washing...we had a wringer washer, no dryer and everything had to be ironed. Enough said!).

  • Jeannie October 12, 2018

    Maxine, thank you for the suggestions. Washing fewer clothes is an idea I had not considered. I throw things in automatically without really thinking. Water is not a concern since we have well water; I buy laundry soap when it is on sale, and I have coupons, rebates, etc. But the electricity does add up.

    Our system has been a coordinated effort between all three of us. One will start a load, another will walk past and move the clothes to the dryer, another will unload the dryer then fold and put the clothes away. It has taken all three of us to get anything done! It is the same in the kitchen. We all pitch in and do the work. No one is really in charge of organizing the work details because the workload changes according to whomever feels able to do it. Since we are all adults, it has worked.

    However, I will begin focussing on being more organized. Bossing people around is always fun.

    Jeannie

  • Margie from Toronto October 01, 2018

    I had read on Instagram that your surgery had been completed but did not realize it was at your "part" - a place we never really think of but I do remember getting a terrible sunburn along my part many years ago so a hat is on the list for next summer (I already use a 60 factor sunscreen and have finally given in and wear dark glasses as well) - your situation is a timely reminder for us all so thank you again Brandy - and all the best for a speedy recovery.

    .I continued to group errands and outings so that I use the 2hr travel limit and only pay one transit fare whenever possible.

    .I enjoyed a free lunch at our church BBQ and a free supper when I went to do my volunteer stint on Tuesday night - there had been a couple of events on the Monday and there was a ton of leftovers so the teachers all had something, there was plenty for the students and I even put a plate of treats into the library for the Bible study group to enjoy.

    .I took advantage of lots of sales at the grocery store that I have my Loyalty points with - and I was able to combine many of the sale items with my points offers. If Canadian readers haven't been to Loblaws yet this week they have their frozen fruit on for $2.99 ($2 to $3 cheaper than normal) and their frozen veg is on for $1.77 ( $1 to $1.50 cheaper) - just wish I had more freezer space! I also picked up a small ham that was about $5 off normal and got a roast pork at 50% off. The NO FRILLS store has 3 pound bags of onions and of carrots for 97cents - big heads of broccoli for the same price and a 10 pound bag of new potatoes for $1.47 - stocked up on all of these items.

    .I used $20 of Loyalty points and cashed in a small coin jar to pay for a good chunk of these items.

    .I finally switched over my clothes from Summer to Winter and ended up taking a bag full of items to the "Out of the Cold" bin at church yesterday. These were items purchased a couple of years ago and there were a couple of things that I'd never even worn - every now and again I think I'll try a more feminine frilly look - but it never works for me - note to self - stick to those clean lines and tailored clothes! I can confirm that the only purchases I may make for this Winter is a new pair of shoes and a couple of bras - that's it!!!!

    PS to Margaret at Approaching Food - I intend on turning some of those potatoes into your croquettes as soon as I have some freezer space available!

    Hope that everyone has a good week - love all your comments.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood October 02, 2018

    Yay, potato croquettes! And also, yay for good prices on produce! Now is definitely the time to stock up. :)

  • lillianna pickles October 01, 2018

    Brandy, I am hoping you are pain free and comfortable . The top of the head seems like that area would be unpleasant. Life is quiet here. Army boy is loving his life except for the three minute showers. College girl is working hard at college and waitressing at a steak house. I will hope her tips are good. She has volunteered to contribute to Army boys graduation ceremony we plan on attending . I have accumulated around 225.00 in Swagbucks that will cover my hotel room for four nights. I picked out Visa giftcards and have paid my light bill, water bill and part of the internet bill with these. That intended bill money will be used for the trip. Not having internet for two weeks really hurt my collecting the extra desired swagbucks. The internet surprised me with a 49.99 fee to lock my 45.00 price in for two years. I am not happy since that was not disclosed. I redeemed my coca cola caps for 4 free sodas and 4 free popcorns at the AMC theater. I will use them this winter on 5.00 Tuesdays for holiday movies. I imagine college girl and I will see The Grinch and the Nutcracker. The ballet will no longer be an option. Even matinee tickets are outrageous. The coca cola caps are winding down but I still collect around 30 a week. I am hoping for some more great redemption offers . I finally located a Nitendo classic with the preloaded games. I put it on layaway as I was afraid I might not locate it again. Sugar cookie requested Mario Cart and Donkey Kong so this will make her very happy. The weather has finally cooled here, especially at night. The AC is rarely cut on and only for two hours then. We are still making only one trip a week out to shop and do errands. Sugar cookie had a 2.00 lunch and spent 2.00 for two barbies at the thrift store. I have forgone any food or drinks in exchange for stamps and greeting cards. I try to send Army boy two to three letters a week. This stuff adds up. I love the 49 cent cards at walmart, dollar tree , and kroger. I can only send for two more weeks so I am happy about that. At his new Army school that comes next, he will have his phone. My mail just came and there is a great coupon in an insert. I am going to go down to the recycling bin tomorrow and pull out about 10 of them. Most people just throw these inserts away as they leave the mailboxes. That 2.00 Persil coupon will get me laundry pods for 1.00. I plan on buying 10 of them and will send them to Army boy in his care packages. I have cut our monthly out of pocket spending down to 60.00 a month. The water is down 60% but my 15.00 water bill has 45.00 in fees. The lights are down to 100.00. The cell phone is 15.00 and my favorite is the insurances. They just keep going up. Hopefully after the house taxes are paid, I can get back on track. I am finding that emergency expenses are devastating to the budget, especially this year . I am happy that we always have what we need. Couponing and Swagbucks are amazing. We are trying more and more of Brandys recipes. The simpler our life is, the less money we need and the less worry I have. I honestly file away in my head every savings you dear friends post. Now off to do more swagbucks. Today, they are just a flowing in. See me smile.

  • Kim-Pacific Northwest October 01, 2018

    Brandy,
    I am praying for a speedy recovery for you. I know your family will take good care of you.

    Because of reading your blog for so long now, I had a good productive week. I found red onions and green peppers for the lowest price I have seen in my area. I bought several of each and chopped and dehyraded them. Now I have plenty for this winter. I never would have thought to do this previous to reading your blog. Not only did I save money but I also saved time because now they are ready to throw into spaghetti sauce, stew, and soups.

    My husband said one condition of us getting our puppy was that he no longer wanted to fuss with nail clipping. I found a place that does it for $10 which is worth it to me to keep both puppy and husband happy. When I took puppy in this last time, they sent me home with a small bag of food for free- they said it was a free sample. Puppy loves it so an extra savings there. While at the pet shop, I looked around while puppy's nails were being trimmed and found that they have several cool looking live fish for $5 each. My grandson is hoping for fish for Christmas. I already found him a very small aquarium for $15 so I think after Christmas, I will take him to this pet shop and let him pick out his own fish. That will make it more special for a 5 year old boy I think.

    My girlfriend knows I like frozen cokes from Burger King but also knows I only treat myself a couple times a year. She found coupons for free frozen Cokes and shared two of them with me so two free frozen Cokes are in my future.

    I am making progress on my Christmas gifts already. I found a super cute wicker basket at the thrift store for $2. I thoroughly washed it in hot, soapy water and then air dried it. I plan to fill it with special food stuffs and use as one of my generic gifts for a Christmas gift exchange my family does on Christmas Eve. I also found a package of 10 pairs of socks for $4 at Marshalls for my daughter for Christmas. These are nice quality socks and should last a while.

    Wishing everyone a good week.

  • Heidi Louise October 02, 2018

    Kim - PNW: How fun for your grandson to pick out his fish! Perhaps the clerks can talk with him about fish care and health for that size of aquarium. Taking care of fish doesn't have the obvious responsibility of taking care of a larger puppy or kitten, but it is a learning time as well as something he will enjoy.

  • Maxine October 02, 2018

    Kim's message about onions and peppers reminded me...when I am in the produce department, I see most people filling bags of onions, regardless of the price. I only fill a bag if they are .39 lb. or less. Otherwise, I buy one onion to get me by until I shop again. Then I repeat the process. I just bought a bag of onions because they were 3 lbs./$1. Last year, a little later in the year than this, I bought a 10 lb. mesh bag for .19 lb. just as the seasonal fruit stand was closing for the year. They lasted until July.

  • Kara October 01, 2018

    I am finally learning how to cook for just 2 after our last child left home. Our visit to ds and dil helped me a lot in that department. They cook from scratch every day and I took notes (literally) on meal ideas, amounts, how they stock their fridge and pantry. I love learning from my kids! This has resulted in me having money left over in my food budget this month.
    I made a long sleeve shirt into a short sleeve shirt, much more suitable for our climate (same as Brandi’s). I wore it today to a part-time job.
    Steamed carrots over the pan of potatoes I cooked, so only used one burner on stove.
    Returned an item (unopened) bought last week and re-purchased it with coupon I received this weekend that was good starting today.
    Cooked applesauce with gifted apples that were soft. Only 4 minutes cooking time in Instapot!

  • Marcia R. October 01, 2018

    My past week was extra busy, but somehow I managed to get everything done and supper on the table every single night without getting too exhausted. I had doctor appointments and lunch with my sisters and took husband and myself for flu shots as well. I stretched leftovers into extra meals also: ravioli with sauce one night, and the leftover sauce turned into meatballs and spaghetti another night. Baked ham one night, ham sandwiches with sides the next, and 5 more meals plus one ham bone in the freezer for the future. Polish sausage on buns with rather filling sides meant there were two large pieces of sausage left over, which I sliced. A large onion, an orange pepper starting to get old, and a couple microwaved potatoes, chopped, made what I like to call a "Polish" stir fry, and we had tossed salad along with that. Rice Krispie treats turned a box of expired but unopened cereal into dessert for several nights. (I love those like a kid!)
    Today is chilly and rainy and I will make ground beef and cabbage soup using V-8 juice for the liquid. I checked the freezer where I keep pre-made quick breads and came up empty so will make a quick corn bread to eat with it. It's my second favorite recipe, as I don't have enough eggs for my favorite (large) recipe. I'll get eggs tomorrow as I have to go out for yoga class and a haircut already.
    With pushing my husband a bit to help, we also managed to both work on vacuuming the entire downstairs, and also cleaning the bathroom upstairs. That was using every bit of time at home to our advantage. Three doctor appointments in one week is too many, but that's just how it worked out this time. All the laundry got done as well as sheets changed and bathroom rugs washed also. I think I'm more efficient when I'm over-scheduled!!
    I am happy your surgery is behind you--as I recall, husband's similar cancers healed slowly, so don't be too disappointed if that happens to you as well. They take it off a layer at a time so there is a bit of healing to be done. Hope the stitches don't drive you crazy either.

  • Colleen Marble October 01, 2018

    My husband and I had a lovely date night at home. I made a gourmet meal from scratch and we enjoyed it on the deck, complete with candles, while our boys attended the Homecoming football game at school. It was nice to enjoy time together without distraction, and it didn't cost much at all, since I bought all my ingredients at Aldi. For Homecoming dance, I saved money by buying my son a pair of Converse tennis shoes instead of dress shoes. He needed new shoes anyway, and he'll get much more wear out of the Converse than he would out of dress shoes. Plus it's in style these days to wear them with a suit. :-) I found them at Ross for much less than I normally would have had to pay for them, which was a bonus savings. My older son chose to purchase his own outfit using money he earned while working this summer; he didn't have to, but he wanted something fun and found a great deal on it. In other areas of life, I accepted fabric from a friend who knows I sew; I accepted the last of a friend's green tomatoes so we can fry them for dinner one night; I 'shopped' from the freezer for a meal that I hosted with our Bible study group, instead of going to the store; and I accepted two pairs of barely used shoes from a friend who wears the same size I do. I also cleared out a bunch of clothes my boys have outgrown and passed them along to a friend, which is something I do regularly. Most of the clothes were either hand-me-downs from my older son, thrift-store buys, clearance items, or hand-me-downs from friends. Both of my sons now wear the same adult sizes, so no more hand-me-downs or kids clothes, unfortunately. But it's been 18 years of savings on clothes, so I can't complain!

  • Annaliese October 01, 2018

    Sorry to hear about your cancer scare-praying that it was all taken out! Haven't been on here for a while. Been busy working and stocking up the house for the winter months. Flo came thru but we only got loads of rain with flooding only a couple of days. A 200 year old oak tree fell up the road and we were without power for about 14 hours. We inherited a huge generator so we put it to use. Had to drain the pool but I'm okay with it because the temps are getting lower. Makes me wonder what kind of winter we are going to have. Here's my frugal accomplishments:
    -Before Flo came, I cleaned out the garden and picked what I could. Dehydrated the herbs and made powder out of them.
    -Made pumpkin bread- some w/cream cheese frosting and thin mint brownies for a back sale at work using ingredients from the pantry. Also made a pan of brownies for hubby.
    -Local store has a "quarter back" rebate promo and I have been stocking the house with that sale. Buy their brand and get a quarter back up to 40 items=$10.00 each trip to store.
    - Gifted a large bag full of sweet mini red and orange peppers. made some recipes with some- dehydrated the rest and made powder out of them.
    -Gifted some muscadine grapes. Made 9 quarts of Amish grape juice. Use a recipe that calls for a cup of grapes in quart jar with 1/2 cup of sugar- fill to top w/boiling water and water bath for 20 minutes. They have to set for 2 months or more to mature the taste.
    -Sold an item on Ebay.
    -Did some research on how to do altered spoons for Christmas gifts. I was inherited a few collections of silver ware, which a lot don't match and couldn't sell because they aren't really silver.
    -Planning better menus with using what we got in the house. Cutting down on going out/picking up food on a whim by doing some freezer cooking more of snacks and ball grub.
    -Picked up 2 $25 gift certificates for WalMart by turning in points from Swagbucks. Also picked up a couple of $10 ones to use for Christmas gifts.
    -Found a group on FB who likes the books and show I do and joined. They also have a penpal program and secret Santa. Been corresponding with a few ladies for the past month and have been receiving gifts and cards that they design themselves. Found great deals online to make my return mail.
    That's about it...Everyone have a blessed week!!

  • Maxine October 01, 2018

    Sounds like your surgery went well, and I'm glad of it. Loved the cowboy boot story!

    This was my week--
    I continued to use my debit card once a day (on the days that I spent money) to earn $1 cash back per day--made $4 last week. The good news is that I didn't spend anything on the 3 days that I DIDN'T get cash back! (This offer was only for September).

    Used up leftovers = no food waste!

    I went to a free Master Gardener presentation at the library. I checked out a book on interlibrary loan.

    I decided I wanted some houseplants to kill. Small plants cost around $5 each. I got philodendron cuttings from one friend and another friend gave me starts of aloe vera and spider plants.

    Our friend took our boat out of the water and is going to winterize, tarp and store it for us (for free). (We do nice things for him, too). I bought the tarp at Harbor Freight and saved $4.60 with the 20% coupon, which I have on my phone. I used the app another time and saved $1 = $5.30 savings.
    I returned an item that was being recalled. I was thrilled that they offered me a merchandise credit instead of a replacement = $53.99 credit vs. an item we’ll never need again.

    I bought a Crescent wrench and needle-nose pliers for my Operation Christmas Child box (boy 10-14). I had also planned to get a screwdriver with extra bits in the handle. I discovered Harbor Freight will be giving them away next week with any purchase, so I'm waiting.

    (OCC information for 2018 is at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/).

    I bought evaporated milk for .78 (I use it in tea) and Progresso soups for $1.18 at Winco. I bought a case of each…this is about the only time of year that I buy canned soup (my husband is retired and likes to have it around for lunches).

    I got two brand-new strings of icicle lights on Freecycle. I am giving them to a friend and promised to help her put them up as a surprise for her granddaughter. I donated a coffee table and end table to the thrift store and never even went inside!

  • dawnelle October 02, 2018

    "I decided I wanted some houseplants to kill." This made me laugh!

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