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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Green tomatoes detail The Prudent Homemaker

We picked the green tomatoes from the garden and began pulling the plants. There's a possibility of a light frost in the day (which now looks like it may not happen! And it will warm up again after that) but they can ripen in baskets and colanders and we can of course fry some up.

Under the tomato plants, I found two small butternut squash in the garden, so I brought those in.

I picked a few Meyer lemons from the garden.

I picked basil from the garden.

I used a free sample of shampoo.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I continued to decorate for Christmas using decorations we already have.

Green Tomatoes in December The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?



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  • Terry December 04, 2017

    Another week of using up Thanksgiving leftovers. We really get a lot of good out of the old bird.
    Also thawed out a piece of ham from the freezer for breakfasts and a Hawaiian pizza. The rind and a small piece of meat went into the instapot with white beans for soup.
    Albertsons had a great price on flour so I bought 25#.
    Baked bread, cookies and pizza crust as well as a batch of candy using pantry supplies.
    Aside from a quick trip to town for a few groceries, I stayed at home. While in town I picked up bags of leaves from my daughter's house. They are stacked against the chicken coop for winter insulation. In the spring they will be dumped in the garden.
    Used black beans from the freezer to make black bean burgers, and extra patties in single packs for the freezer.

  • Natalie December 04, 2017

    Bags of leaves against the chicken coop for insulation - what a good idea!

  • Elizabeth M. December 04, 2017

    I renewed my library card two months after it had expired. I was given a reduced rate for my membership, and I took out a few books to keep me going for the rest of the month.

    I took my car in for repairs. I got the winter tires put on and the mechanics tried cleaning and tightening up the connections for the starter to see if that would work, since no problems showed in the diagnostic scan. This lasted long enough to get me to and from meetings in the city from Wednesday to Friday, but by Saturday the car wasn't starting again. It will be near Christmas before I can get additional repairs done, and something else is going to have to give for me to do that. I'll miss a couple of social events, but I've plenty to do at home.

    The meetings in the city were very interesting and productive and we were very well-treated. Lots of great meals, a very nice place to stay, and many good snacks. I kept my personal spending to a minimum, just tips to the server at breakfast and a coffee on the road. I had a free glass of wine and smoked salmon appetizer at the hotel's concierge bar one evening and skipped having wine at dinner each night, which I would have had to pay for. We also all walked as a group 10+ blocks each way to the restaurant and back for dinner the second night, which helped work off some of the food as well as save a taxi fare.

  • momsav December 04, 2017

    Do you have to pay for the library card? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker December 04, 2017

    There was a discussion about this in the last frugal accomplishments post. Some areas charge for library cards. Some charge for movie rentals.

  • momsav December 04, 2017

    Thanks, Brandy! I learn something new every day.
    By the way, I really like your system for letting us comment. I have so much trouble on other blogs. Yours is, by far, the best and easiest! The whole gooooogle thing is a nightmare for me. Sometimes it works, most times it does not. I’m tired of even trying. There is never a problem with this site.

  • kim December 07, 2017

    I second this! It is so simple compared to other sites and I love that there aren't any popups or advertising.

  • Penny S December 06, 2017

    I had never heard of charging for a library card either! So glad that our local Wayne County Library does not charge for borrowing books or tapes. Penny S.

  • Chris M December 04, 2017

    Not sure if this will help or not as cars have changed so much, but I once had trouble with a starter and I used a short, thick dowel stick to "whack" the top of the starter each time I needed to start the car until I could get it repaired. Not sure why it worked, but it did! I also feel the need add a disclaimer ... "I'm not a mechanic!" LOL

  • Elizabeth M. December 04, 2017

    That's makes me laugh. I suspect it might interfere with the accuracy of the diagnostics scan when it gets towed in! The car did start sometimes during the last month, but I have to have it towed on a day it isn't working, so they get some info from the scan. I have AAA fortunately, so no cost to me for that part.

  • Jacky Horn December 04, 2017

    Road recovery man has just told my friend to do that till she can get her starter motor repaired. He demonstrated it and it started first time.

  • Melissa V December 04, 2017

    LOL My Mom had to pound a spike nail into the battery connection on one of our very beat up cars we had growing up in order to get it to start. My 1st car (a station wagon no less) was a "flint stone car" - You had to lift up your feet if you went thru deep puddles or you'd get splashed - LOTS of rusted out spots on that vehicle :)

  • Lorna December 04, 2017

    Ahh Chris M yes the starters have a Bendix in them that used to stick so the cars wouldn't start :) . Hitting them with a stick is indeed what works and it frees up the Bendix so they will start again. Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix as usually 2 or three times later it stops working anyway and you will need to buy a new starter motor. But it is a temporary fix until you can get your car to a garage should you be stuck on the side of the road at least.

    I used to be a licenced motor dealer who sold older cars and we had a wrecking yard so that used to work with the older cars but not sure if it would work on the newer computerised versions although I doubt that the starter motors are much different from the ones of old anyway.

    I certainly would give it a try if stuck on the side of the road and my car made that click click noise without starting anyway :D as in a case like that it is usually only 3 things the starter motor, the alternator or a flat battery and in rare cases wiring faults.

  • Katie December 04, 2017

    Reading over the encouragement on your blog and trying with the God's grace to see the beauty in all things. Thankful for my sweet husband who faithfully takes the lunch that I prepare each day. Also thankful for the gift of hand me downs for my daughter. I am excited about the idea of a simple quality christmas for my family.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood December 04, 2017

    Wow! What a bumper crop of tomatoes! I'm always impressed at how much you can grow in your space, even though I know how talented you are at gardening.

    My week was pretty productive, which I'm happy with. My frugal accomplishments are as follows:
    - I had been craving pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing, but didn’t have any cream cheese in the house. So I figured out how to make a cream cheese icing without cream cheese! (http://approachingfood.com/super-easy-cream-cheese-icing/) You’d NEVER guess that it was made with yoghurt cheese (which I made myself from my homemade yoghurt, of course)! Pretty darn frugal, considering that the two biggest ingredients in that dish were homemade yoghurt, and home-canned pumpkin!
    - Inspired by Brandy, I sewed two lined zippered pouches, which I haven’t done in years. I made one bigger so it could be a cosmetic bag, and filled it with beauty products from my stash (I used to do beauty product direct sales as a side hustle and stocked up once I decided to leave the business). I added in samples of face creams I collected over the last year. I plan to give it as a Christmas gift. The other pouch I made smaller, and used it to replace my current emergency supplies pouch that I carry every day. I used fabric that had been gifted to me, and dollar store zippers from about 15 years ago. So really, pennies per bag! I also sewed up six differently sized lined (and reversible) cloth baskets from Christmas-themed fabric gifted to me several years ago and some flour sack towels I bought last year. Not sure yet whether I’ll keep them, trade them, or gift them. But they’re super-pretty and only the cost of the thread and electricity for the sewing machine!
    - Using my local trading app, I traded a dozen cookies I baked from dough from my freezer, for an Elizabeth Arden lipstick and face cream sample to add to the cosmetic bag gift. I also traded two skeins of yarn I had in my stash for many years and never used, for a giant box of Rice Krispies and a package of pectin. As well, I traded a skein of soy-wool yarn that I bought a decade ago and never used, for a BNIB Lil’ Dipper Crockpot. I’ll set that aside for a Christmas gift. I also traded a skein of mohair yarn (too itchy for me) for a bag of semolina flour, which I plan to use in my holiday baking. And now I’ve finally gotten rid of all the yarn I wasn’t using! Decluttering and filling my pantry at the same time is the best!
    - I took some strawberry jam that never set, added in some leftover cranberry sauce, and added in the pectin I had traded for. Et voila, Strawberry Cranberry Jam! I’ll likely use it in my holiday baking, and to stir in to my morning yoghurt.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 giftcard to Starbucks.
    - I bought a 5 lb bag of beets for $2 and turned almost all of it into pickled beets. Easy and yummy! (http://approachingfood.com/everything-is-coming-up-beets-easy-mennonite-pickled-beets/)
    - I took a friend out for coffee at Starbucks using my gift certificates that I used through Swagbucks. I always load my gift certificates to my registered Starbucks card, because I get points when I use it, and can get free items once I have enough points. Today was double points day, so I got double the points for using my free gift card. Now that’s frugal!
    - I ordered some patterned self-sealing cellophane wrappers from lightinthebox.com, which will ship them from China. I used my rewards/credit on my account, so I only ended up paying 80 cents for 100 wrappers. And I used 80 cents from my Paypal account, which I earned doing online surveys. So, no money OOP! I do love a good deal like that! If they arrive in time for Christmas, I’ll make cookies and send them in to work with the DH, otherwise I’ll keep them for another occasion. They’re non-seasonal so they’ll work for any time of year. It’s a nice way to be able to give everyone at his workplace a little individual something special without having to spent a lot.
    - I made homemade mallobars for my cookbook supperclub. We all borrowed copies of the same cookbook from the library and then had a potluck with everyone doing a different course. I did dessert and made the homemade mallobars (homemade graham cracker base, homemade marshmallow on top, covered in a chocolate topping), although I made mini bites instead of bars, for a slightly fancier presentation. I have never made marshmallows before, and actually, I made them vegan, so that another vegetarian member of our group and I could eat them. The only thing I had to buy that I didn’t have in my pantry was the xanthan gum (xanthan gum, aquafaba aka chickpea brine, and agar agar are the three stabilizers in this particular recipe). I was very pleased to learn a new skill and make a dish for a lovely dinner inexpensively!
    - I made beet hummus using the chickpeas (instead of the black beans the recipe called for) leftover from my vegan marshmallows, and one of the beets I bought so inexpensively, plus a couple of other pantry items. I didn’t have any tahini, so I threw in some sesame seeds and some olive oil and called it good! I ate it with carrots and crackers for lunch the next day. The carrots were leftover from a trade a month ago or so, and were starting to get wizened, so I peeled them and soaked them overnight and they crisped right back up. I brought in the rest of the dish to work and sent it home with a co-worker who appreciated it.
    - I sewed a Christmas themed dish towel for my mother-in-law, using a flour sack tea towel that I bought in a 5 pack over a year ago, and some Christmas themed fabric gifted to me. I essentially just edged the towel in the Christmas-themed fabric. It turned out really well!
    - I wrapped some gifts for friends very inexpensively. The wrapping paper was given to me by my mother because she didn’t like the style; the ribbons were re-used from last year; the name tags were kraft paper ones that I have hundreds of (my parents were getting rid of them over a decade ago and I grabbed them for my craft supplies), and then I stuck gold and silver photo corners on to them for a seasonal touch, from my stash of craft supplies; and the little galvanized iron reindeer ornaments were only 25 cents on sale during the summer. Everyone commented on the wrapping. I was pleased!

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

  • momsav December 04, 2017

    Margaret, I tried making marshmallows last year; what a disaster! This year, I ordered them from the health food store where I work. (I’m working, now..shhh..)
    I’m always amazed at what you accomplish! I don’t have a smart phone. But, if I ever do, I will be trying to emulate your successes!

  • Erika @ The Make Do Homemaker December 04, 2017

    Momsav, try using Alton Brown's recipe next time. I tried various recipes that came out awful, but his turned out well!

  • momsav December 04, 2017

    Thanks, Erica, i’ll remember that! Buying vegan marshmallows is pricey!

  • Caroline December 08, 2017

    Trader Joe's has started carrying them in the past year or so and they are affordable. Not as cheap or good as homemade I'm sure but FYI they are pretty tasty.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood December 04, 2017

    Aw, thanks, Momsav! Your compliment made my day! I know vegan marshmallows can emulate traditional marshmallows quite well, so I will likely try again, just not the same recipe. And working in a health food store must be really good for the budget -- I hope you get a great discount!

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