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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments and Garage Sale Finds

Fig Tarts The Prudent Homemaker

Most weeks I save by making do at home and not shopping. This week involved a lot of saving on items I needed and wanted while shopping:

I love the symphony. Starting from the time I was 13, I used to save all of my babysitting money (and most people paid me $2 an hour) to be able to buy season tickets for myself and a parent to purchase season tickets to the symphony every year. I did this for years as a teenager and I loved going. 

My husband and I went to the symphony once--on our first date. It's been over 17 years since I've been. The Las Vegas Philharmonic has been sending out coupons in the local ValPak for individual performances for several months. I looked online, saw what pieces they would be performing, and decided that the one I really wanted to see the most was their last performance for the season in May. I waited until the coupon deal came: 25% off tickets--and I bought two of the least expensive seats they have. I am very excited to get to see the symphony again!

I even have a dress to wear! The week before last, I decided to check out the Dillard's clearance center after three people told me about it. I found a formal dress there (and dresses were on additional markdown that week) and paid $54.06 with tax (the original price was $238!) I'll be able to wear it on other occasions as well--and hopefully to the symphony again next season! (Apparently, the sales were even better at the clearance center this week: on top of the clearance prices, dresses were buy 1 get 2 free! For Las Vegas readers, it's the Dillard's in the Meadows Mall that has been turned into a clearance center. It's one floor only, and they are open Tuesday through Sunday, 12-7 Monday-Saturday and 12-6 on Sunday, and you can get their app to see what additional markdowns they have each week.)

My husband dropped off our clothing donations while out running an errand in the same part of town. We always try to combine errands (even close ones) and by so doing are able to use under 10,000 miles a year (and often under 6,000 a year) on our vehicle.

I started another group of bags to take to thrift store to donate. As the children are outgrowing clothing and I now need a smaller size, I continue to make up bags of clothing and other items to donate. 

I planted three tomato plants that I started from cuttings from another tomato plant. I had broken off the lower branches to plant the plant deeply. I've had them in a cup of water on the kitchen counter for a few weeks and they have rooted. Hopefully they will all take.

I planted seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers, red noodle beans, and Hubbard squash.

I cut Swiss chard, lemon verbena, lettuce, green onions, and arugula from the garden. I also pulled radishes and picked snow peas from the garden.

I accepted some free Dutch iris bulbs from someone who was dividing them. I shared Swiss chard and nasturtium seeds with her.

I am making a diligent effort to use up food from the freezer to make room for this year's harvest and some great sales that I can find. As part of this, I made some fig tarts using frozen figs. I've never used the figs this way before and almost everyone in the family liked them this way. I have a number of frozen figs to use up, so I'll try measuring the next few times I make these so I can share a recipe.

I took in a dress that was too big to make it fit me. 

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Sam's Club gift card, that I will use towards our groceries this month.

My boys continued to sell camp cards for Boy Scouts. This is the first year our troop has opted to have boys sell camp cards to earn money for camp. As Boy Scout camp is fairly pricey (around $400 per boy, depending on the camp), it can take a lot of odd jobs to earn the money for camp. (This was a great deal for the buyers: the cards cost $5 and the buyer gets a $5 off coupon for a grocery store, plus many other discounts at other businesses (including a free oil change--user just pays tax and the disposal fee).  Half of the money from each card goes to the boys to pay for their camp. If boys sell a certain number of cards, they can even earn a free week of camp at a local camp and a free day at a water slide park!)

Swinging The Prudent Homemaker

I went garage sale shopping with my parents at the semi-annual community garage sales in my area (there were at least 6 community, i.e. neighborhood, sales in my area and we went to 5 of them). I found several items on my list, including jeans, pants, and shirts for several family members for $1 each. I found a tie for my husband for $0.50. I bought a dress for a daughter for $2. I bought several history and science books for the children for $0.25 and $0.50 each. 

My dad always find it amazing that my mom and I make a garage sale list and actually find items on our list! Eventually, I usually do find items on the list, and this time I found a few items that had been on my list for a while: some wooden children's hangers (several for $1) and some 5-pound hand weights ($1). I found a small glass bowl that matches another I found at a garage sale a couple of years ago ($1).

I bought a couple of mirrors; one was $3, and the other, a long, beveled mirror, was $20. I found a small bulletin board with a fancy frame for $3 and a large picture in a nice frame for $7. As much I liked the framed bulletin board as-is, it was just about the right size for a picture that I needed framed, so my dad took the bulletin board out and added a piece of glass and a mat that he had (one of his scraps, as they closed down their framing business last year) and framed the picture in it for me. 

One of the sales we went to was an estate sale (where we bought several items). The family had 3 large #10 cans of tomato puree out with the other items in the house. We asked if they were selling them and they said we could have the canned tomatoes if we could use them. As these were items on my grocery shopping list this month, I was delighted! They also gave use some other pantry food items that were in the house, including two containers of juice, a box of cake mix, a container of icing, two boxes of pudding mix, 4 bags of pasta/rice mixes, and a bottle of tabasco sauce.

What did you do this past week to save money?


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  • VanessaKC April 12, 2017

    I hope the refi goes through. You are a kind and loving mom.

  • Cindy in the South April 13, 2017

    Thank you

  • Celeste April 10, 2017

    Hi! I've been very busy. Whoooee. I accepted a huge bag of handmedowns from an acquaintence that only has one child. My middle child only needs rain boots now, he's good for at least six months, maybe a year.

    I bought some great children's books at the thrift store.

    I planted seeds, some from last year.

    Mostly I'm fundraising right now for a big bingo in May. It is a lot of work, and driving to local places, but I plot it out as best I can and then email places at night, if the fundraiser is successful, I'll call the extra gas money a bargain. I'm looking forward to applying everything I learned about flower vs vegetable gardening this year. I'm very pleased to say my lavender plants overwintered.

  • Linda G April 12, 2017

    What is a bingo??

  • Athanasia April 12, 2017

    Yes I thought it was game? Like we will have wedding bingo or baby bingo at showers.

  • Janet May 24, 2017

    We just accepted a massive and I do mean massive amount of clothing for a little one and my hubby says we need to buy a large thank you gift what are your ideas. They did send enough for at least 4 or 5 years worth of clothing even some shoes.

  • Courtney April 10, 2017

    Thanks for sharing about the frozen figs! We just moved to a house with a large fig tree and I need ideas for using them up. Freezing them will be great!!!

  • Elizabeth M. April 10, 2017

    -Made salt-free taco seasoning, using herbs and seasonings from the pantry. It has a little more heat than the store-bought packages, which is a good thing for me. It is currently on sale for 3 packs for $4, and I certainly made a least that amount. There are quite a few ingredients, so I am not sure it would be frugal if you had to buy all the ingredients to make it.
    -Was making salmon cakes, but didn't cook the potatoes quite long enough to mash them easily. By the time I realized that everything was in a bowl together, so I chopped up the potatoes and turned it into salmon hash. Very tasty! Too much oil for an everyday menu item, but a really good-tasting rescue.
    -Made blueberry muffins, which were light and tasty. Seem to have eliminated the bad habits that were making my baking stodgy for a while. The muffins didn't last very long, though.
    -The board I am sitting on provides an IPAD for reading all the related materials. Used a Youtube video and instruction from the College's IT person to learn how to use the IPAD for free. The modem at home wouldn't support the IPAD for WIFI because it was too old a model. The phone company sent a technician to my remote rural home to install (plug in) a new modem. There was a problem which meant he needed a coworker so they could do some work up a telephone pole, and 2 1/2 hours later I was in business. No charge, because the modem comes with my internet package.
    -A coworker gave me two wicker baskets that she didn't need. Another coworker gave me a box of girl-guide cookies. (I drive her once a month to my book club in the next town over.)

  • Oh what a great find at the estate sales! It will help you along with your grocery shopping I'm sure! We also were able to go to Estate Sales and I got some items on my list. In a couple of weeks garage sales will be starting in Michigan too. Very exciting to find things I need for my household.

    Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments:

  • Marivene April 10, 2017

    Continued to dig out at least one tree tub full of weeds, grass & roots from the planting beds each day.

    Set out the glass cloches to warm the soil where I intend to plant the beans & the squash. Our last frost date here is May 15, but I can plant 2 weeks early if I warm the soil. It takes about a week for the seeds to sprout & another week for them to outgrow the cloches, & then the frost date is past. Those 2 weeks turn into 4-5 extra pickings of green beans at the end of the season & mean more squash hardening off before the frosts.

    Cut fresh daffodils & grape hyacinths & put them into vases to enjoy in the house & to lift our spirits on the gloomy, rainy days.

    Picked up a bag of “grounds for gardeners” at the local Starbucks.

    Cut the grass for the first time this season & used the clippings as mulch for the garden. They are the last layer, on top of shredded leaves sprinkled with coffee grounds.

    JC Penney was having a 15% off sale on top of sale prices, so I went to look for a blouse to go over a long black skirt for a funeral outfit. I wore the black skirt, since there are so many shades of black, & found two black & white blouses that look nice with the skirt, one of which also looks nice with a black jacket I own, so now I have a summer & a winter outfit suitable for the occasion. I no longer fit in what I used to wear to funerals, & I know from previous experience that at the time of the loss is not a good time for me to go shopping.

    Cleaned out some clothes that no longer fit & donated them at the thrift, along with some kitchen items that never come out of the cupboard. I brought 13 half pint jars & one tall jelly jar back home with me, all but one with rings in good condition. The half pints were only a quarter & the 12 oz jelly jar was 35 cents. I always remove the rings to check the rims of jars before I buy them, since this thrift is a federally sheltered workshop, & some of the workers do not understand that a nick in the rim keeps the jar from sealing. I found one nicked rim & did not buy that jar. I put the ring that had been on it on another jar on the shelf, so others could also see the nick. For crafts, it might not matter, but for canning, it does.

    I was sick for the first 3 days of the week with some type of enterovirus, & spent a lot of time in the bathroom. I was very grateful for the extra store of baby wipes we put in, & will replace those used on the next shopping trip. I was glad to have the rhubarb juice ice cubes in the freezer, & dehydrated elderberries on hand.

    Ate all meals at home. DH ate several meals of leftovers while I was sick, since it was a battle to stay hydrated for me. I lost 5 pounds in 3 days, but half of them found me again by the end of the week.

  • Rhonda A. April 10, 2017

    I'm glad you were able to get tickets to see the symphony at such a good price. We all have special things we love to do, so it's lovely you will get a fun night out in a beautiful new evening gown. Great yard sale shopping too! That was so generous of those people to share some pantry items they won't be using. Loved reading your post this week!

    We've had kind of a tough week this week. My daughter had a few meltdowns this week. One she handled well, considering the circumstances. Another resulted in her getting kicked out of robotics (lets just say I'm not too happy with the whole situation and how it was handled). Then, to top it all off, I received news that a co-worker of my passed away from her injuries sustained in a horseback riding accident. I had worked closely with this individual in the past and considered her a friend. She was an amazing, high energy women with so much knowledge and wisdom. Her passing has been upsetting...I will miss her greatly.

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week are:
    *Meals made at home included breaded chicken burgers/strips with corn and choice of french fries or sweet potato fries, "make your own" pizzas (using up some naan bread I previously froze), grilled ham & cheese sandwiches with salad, meatballs in Diana's sauce with mashed potatoes and green beans, hot chicken sandwiched with corn, and BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with potato chips (1st BBQ of the season!)
    *Made homemade garlic sriracha mayo by mixing powdered garlic and sriracha seasoning with mayo. Much cheaper than buying bottles of pre-mixed flavoured mayo and we can adjust the taste to our liking (DH likes it spicier than me). Plus it adds amazing flavour to our meals. Hubby used it on his chicken burger and I used it to dip my sweet potato fries in. Also used on burgers & hotdogs!
    *We bought a rotisserie chicken meal deal from the grocery store one night for dinner. I used up some leftover green beans as a side for DD who doesn't like cold salads. Leftover chicken will be used for another meal and chicken carcass was frozen to make broth later.
    *Bake Chocolate Banana Applesauce cake on Sunday to use for DD's school lunches this coming week and the rest was our Sunday dessert. It was really good! Recipe link:
    *We took my daughter to the 1st appointment of many at the hospital this week as a referral to the PHIT program. This program is designed to help children who are overweight. We met with a nurse practitioner and fitness consultant this time, but there will also be meetings with a nutritionist, a psychologist and I think a pediatrician as well. They start by each member of the team asking questions (they were none judgement and very respectful, too), a blood work screen was ordered (3 people, 4 pokes in 3 spots before several vials were filled...and no meltdown! Yeah!), then when all the info is gathered, they come up with a plan to help according to the needs of each individual child. Since my daughter is on the Autism spectrum (with several issues from that contributing to her weight) and she takes meds that increase her appetite, we are thankful for individualized help. Even better, this is covered under our Ontario health care, so the only cost is parking at the hospital (that's expensive enough!).

    Looking forward to reading how everyone did this week. I could use the inspiration and distraction.

  • J April 10, 2017

    Sorry to hear about your friend, Rhonda and also about the robotics club kerfuffle. That is unfortunate. Regarding the hospital parking - check to see if the hospital sells parking passes that are good for a number of visits over non consecutive days. A nurse recommended this to me and I did it before we had our second son. I was able to get a 30 visit pass that was good for a year. This saved us literally hundreds of dollars. Also funny that you mentioned Diana sauce because I opened a bottle of it that has been in my cupboard for ages this weekend and have been thoroughly enjoying it. Hope this week is better for you.

  • Cindy S. April 11, 2017

    Rhonda, I am so sorry that you had such a bad week and for the loss of your friend. May she Rest in Peace.

  • Athanasia April 12, 2017

    Rhonda, I'm sorry for your loss. That is hard.

    When I have been to the larger hospitals in the state in metro areas they all validate parking. Is that an option?

    I heard you mention Diana sauce often so I finally googled it. Ended up on an all things Canadian website.

  • Kim April 10, 2017

    I had several items on my shopping list but was determined not to purchase unless I found awesome deals. I was in need of some additional tops/blouses to wear to work. I was happy to find two new tops at the thrift store. My girlfriend wanted me to go to a LuLu clothing party with her last week. They sale leggings and tops and dresses made of very soft cotton. The prices were too high for me so I didn't purchase. I did some research on-line and several people complained about the quality of the fabric. I found a LuLu top exactly like the one I saw at the sale for $3.00 at the thrift store. I decided to try it for $3.
    I am planning to expand my patio this year. When we first purchased our home several years ago, it was just us and our two children and the patio was just the right size. Now that the family has grown, we need more space. While at the thrift store I purchased an end table/coffee table for the patio. It has a metal base with a glass top (in brand-new condition) and was only $15.00. It will be perfect to hold drinks, potted plant and book/magazine this summer.
    I was looking for shirts for my grandson while at the thrift store because I like to have a couple extras at my house. Someone had placed a young gir'ls shirt amongst the boy's shirts. It had the cutest pic of two bunnies (done in black and white). I purchased this shirt for $1.99 and cut out the pic and framed it. I have it in my kitchen for Spring/Easter. I have already gotten several compliments on it.
    I feel I had a very successful shopping trip and got several things off my list with the minimum amount of money spent.

  • Andrea Q April 10, 2017

    Do you mean LuLaRoe? If so, the leggings are polyester and spandex. Most of the tops and dresses are blends of cotton, polyester and spandex, sometimes rayon. It's very popular in my area. With the exception of the leggings, everyone I know has been very disappointed with the quality of the fabric. If you're looking for just the leggings, you can get similar fun patterns on Amazon for half the price. :)

  • Marybeth April 11, 2017

    There is a clothes line called Lulu Lemon. Very high quality and very expensive. Its active wear.

  • Andrea Q April 11, 2017

    Yes, lululemon is even more expensive and has quality issues, as well. Their activewear is almost all synthetic fabrics. I don't think they do parties though, which is why I assumed LuLaRoe, which is an MLM business.

  • Jennifer April 11, 2017

    I adore my LuLaRoe pieces. I have not had an issue with quality or wear and tear. They are a bit more expensive (and they are addictive) but I have been quite happy with my items.

  • Gardenpat April 10, 2017

    Happened to run n to the Save-a-lot a couple blocks from my house and found chcken thighs (4 pound packages) marked down to 40 cents/pound! I bought 12 pounds and pulled skin off and then cooked 8 pounds up- 4 as Teriyaki chicken and the other as Asian Ginger chicken! Great dinner entrees with lots left over for lunches/leftover dinner nights! Also bought 30 pounds of 80/20 ground beef on sale for $1.50/pound and cooked up 20 pounds with minced onions and froze in 2 cup amounts in ziplocs in freezer for easy dinners!
    Sugar, flour and cooking oil were on sale this week for $1.09/4 pounds of sugar, $1.29/5 pounds of flour and $1.29/48 oz of ol!
    I found peelie coupons on the bags of flour (gold Medal) and it made the flour $1.04/5 pounds!! I was low so I bought 50 pounds. A friend gave me coupons for $.65/2 bags of sugar so I bought 64 pounds for $.77/4 pounds!!!!
    No coupons for the oil but I was getting low and so I bought 7 bottles!

    They also had whole boneless hams on sale (about 9 pounds each) for $1.99/pound and it was the extra lean. Although the price per pound is about 30 cents more than last Easter, it is still a price that I am pleased with! With my Bosch electronic slicer (from e-bay for $10 about 8 years ago!), I thin sliced two if the hams for deli sandwiches, ham,egg and cheese biscuits and McMuffins! I will thick slice one ham and then cut into cubes, bag and freeze for recipes that call for cubed ham! At $1.99/pound rather than the $3/7 oz pre sliced ham in the meat department, I feel like it was quite worth the investment!

    We bought 3 cherry trees to round out our mini-orchard (13 fruit trees) and the next 3 days, DH has taken vacation so we could dig the holes and get those planted as well as dig holes for 34 short wooden columns that we got for free with free pallets and are using to edge the pea gravel around our fire pit! We are making use of those landscaping and building materials the we have been gifted so that we don't have unsightly "stacks" of materials in the yard or on the porch!
    We built more prototypes for our Spring line of pallet decor and outdoor furniture and are just about to open a new Facebook page and website!
    I sold 3 things on eBay this week so that brought in an extra $65!!! I accepted a sewing job for $50 and have 2 bridesmaid's dresses to hem that will be an additional $100 to our savings!!
    Made and gifted another quilt. My Spring garden is now planted and the potatoes are popping up and so are the lettuces, peas, Swiss chard, cabbages and broccoli! Makes me happy to work outside!!
    I am going to put more things for sale on eBay, Craigslist and Facebook. It helps me declutter while bringing in some $$! I love it!!
    Hope everyone else had a great week!!

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