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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Fall Roses The Prudent Homemaker 

We had a rare bit of rain, so I turned off the drip irrigation and sprinklers for a couple of days.

I planted seeds in the garden for snow peas and green onions.

I harvested Swiss chard from the garden.

I purchased a few artichoke plants and herb plants on sale at the local nursery. I also purchased manure for the lawn (when you buy more than 10 bags at a time, you save $0.30 a bag, making them $1.99 for a 2 cubic foot bag). We took the trailer my husband built with us to pick up the manure and also a cubic yard of topsoil, lining our trailer with a tarp my husband got for free via Craigs' list. Picking it up ourselves saves a delivery charge. 

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

My eldest daughter was invited to go along with a friend on her family vacation out of state, so she enjoyed a trip to go camping on the beach and then they either were going to go to Knott's Berry Farm or Disneyland (I'll find out which one when she returns; they hadn't decided before they left).  Each of the family's daughters was able to invite a friend; they have only two girls left at home now, which means at least four girls got to have fun together.

What did you do to save money this past week?




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  • Jennifer O. October 30, 2018

    Stocked up on 10 lbs each of thick and thin cut pork chops for $1.71 lb. at the commissary. Also bought 10 lbs of ground beef at $1.77 lb. Restocked some pastas as they were $.89 lb., but not many. After the pantry moth issue I am reluctant to fully restock until my mylar bas and new sealer come in. Restocked vitamins using a sale and coupons someone in line gifted me.

    Voted early. As the weather was nice, I opened the windows to air the house out. Hung the laundry. A colleague brought me veggie scraps for my chickens. The hand bell choir at church was reformed. It had been disbanded under the prior pastor, but the new pastor was happy to have us back. I may rejoin the choir too, as they meet right after bell practice.

    Did another colleague luncheon last week (we bring stuff and eat for several days). I brought homemade bread and boiled carrots to go with shredded beef. Next week is my turn to bring in a meat. Was the recipe guinea pig for a friends’ practice round for a party she was holding, then attended the party a few days later. I was sent home with a substantial bag of leftovers that will feed me for several meals. Was invited to a friends for dinner another night, brought wine. Joined friends out for dinner one night at a restaurant and ate the salad bar, bread, and birthday cake and took my dinner home used a coupon and a special.

    Held an impromptu dinner party for 8(!) on a work day rather than us all going out to dinner that several of us really couldn’t afford. A quick curried butternut squash soup using my canned squash, a simple green salad with vinaigrette, and a crab and pea risotto (canned crab, frozen peas). Made a cherry cobbler for dessert from home jarred cherries and homemade granola for dessert. A couple of guests brought wine.

    Got to visit with an old colleague during the long wait at the military pharmacy.

  • Sue from ENC October 30, 2018

    I'm a newbie here, and feel a tad inadequate compared to all the frugal accomplishments, but I'll go, too!
    -- We practice once a month grocery shopping, and I've managed to shop for 10 weeks for only $200 for two of us, plus our pets.
    -- We ate well, but frugally, and enjoyed free grapes from our vines and figs from a neighbor's tree (she doesn't like figs! go figure!).
    -- I only did laundry every 2 weeks, which is doable since there are only 2 of us, and we're good about wearing clothes more than once (or twice, even).
    -- I used up some apples and bananas that were about to go south to make both apple and banana breads and froze the loaves for when company comes over. The apple bread is really good!
    -- We diagnosed and fixed a minor car problem, saving us a trip to a garage.
    -- We put our garden out of its misery. We were hit hard by Hurricane Florence, and the garden was a casualty. We pulled out everything, composted, tilled, and mulched, and are hoping for a better garden next year. It happens.
    -- We had a few unfrugal moments, too, but we're working on those as we go along.
    We're recent retirees, and are finding our lowered stress and lowered expenses a real relief, despite the (much) lower income.
    I do so enjoy reading everybody's frugal accomplishments!

  • Mary in Southern Az October 30, 2018

    If you do not mind, could you post your Apple bread recipe? I love anything with apples!


  • Sue from ENC October 30, 2018

    Mary -- glad to! Since it's not my recipe, I'm just going to give you the link. This mom is an amazingly thrifty person, and I use lots of her recipes. I didn't add walnuts, as I didn't have any, and I used apple pie spice instead of plain cinnnamon, otherwise I made it as she did. It's so very moist and delicious!

  • Mary in Southern AZ October 31, 2018

    She -

    Thanks for posting! This sounds so good. I hope to try soon.


  • Mable October 30, 2018

    This website has not only many great recipes for no-knead breads, but she did a post on her favorite apple recipes. Her applesauce yogurt cake is wonderful and so very moist even days later. https://alexandracooks.com/?s=apple

  • Mary in Southern AZ October 31, 2018

    Mable -

    Thanks for posting the link! So many recipes that I want to try...


  • Jeannie October 30, 2018

    Sue, for a newbie, you are doing great!

  • Cindi November 01, 2018

    Wow,Sue -- sounds like you are already a frugal pro. That grocery bill is impressive.

  • Rhonda A. October 30, 2018

    What a kind gesture for your daughter's friend to ask her to come on vacation with her family. I'm sure she is enjoying every minute of it!

    We had a pretty busy week, but lots of fun as well. Trying to stay warm, as some wet and cold weather has descended upon us. We'll survive, I'm sure. Our frugal accomplishments for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included breaded popcorn chicken with homemade fried rice (used the leftover white rice from the weekend, some leftover corn and lots of frozen mixed veggies) and leftover spring rolls, breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, potato wedges and coleslaw, piggies in a blanket (breakfast sausages & cheese) and spinach dip rolls (new recipe, see below) with salad, French beef dip sandwiches with potato chips and hot turkey sandwiches (used frozen leftover turkey) with green/wax beans.
    *Pantry/Freezer stock up buy this week was margarine 8 @ $1/tub (we keep it in the freezer). I decided not to do much grocery shopping this week, as we had plenty on hand already.
    *Stopped my mom from buying a 2 pack of full priced beef roasts at Costco. She forgot we had bought and froze 6 roasts when they were on sale.
    *Had a canning marathon day. My mom peeled and sliced, while I canned up 10 pints of pears, 7 pints of strawberry applesauce (I put some frozen strawberries in with the apples, cook them until soft, then pureed them with my hand blender. After tasting, I added a very small amount of sugar to sweeten it a just bit), and 6 pints of unsweetened plain applesauce. My mom then assembled 12 small pans of unbaked apple crisp (they are just big enough for 4 small servings) with the remaining apples to freezer for later use. That took care of the pears I bought for $0.98/lb and the remaining apples from the bushel we bought a couple weeks ago.
    *My mom made a batch of fruitcake. We cut it up, sealed it in food saver bags and froze it. The recipe makes so much, it lasts us for a couple years!
    *Tried a new recipe this week, Spinach Dip Rolls (recipe link: https://richbitchcooking.com/2016/12/03/vegan-spinach-dip-rolls/). As you will see, it is actually a vegan recipe, but I use regular dairy cream cheese and sour cream instead, plus I added a bit of Parmesan cheese as well. I buy the crescent rolls on sale when they are $1 a tin. DD is very selective on what she will eat (Autism trait), but loves spinach dip from restaurants. I was hoping this might appeal to her. She was excited to try it anyway. Both DD and my mom said it was good, but would prefer it as just a spinach dip and not wrapped in the crescent roll. Easy enough to do. So next time I'll just bake the spinach dip in a pan.
    *Decided to make some bannock one afternoon, just because I had a craving. We had a family friend over helping us with an electrical issue, so I shared some with him. He enjoyed it so much, he asked for the recipe. I printed a copy with the printer and gave it to him to take home.
    *Pulled 2 boxes of pudding from the pantry, 1 chocolate and 1 vanilla. Mixed them up in separate bowls, then made 10 layered pudding cups for DD and friend's school lunches treat this week. It appears the friend will be staying at this school for now, as the place they were going to move to has fallen through. Therefore, I will continue to send lunches for her as needed.
    *Took DD and her friend to a free swim through the PHIT program. I was sad I couldn't swim too (lady issues), but at least they had some fun, frugal exercise.
    *I worked the "All Hallows Eve" event at my work, both Friday and Saturday night, which means I will have an upcoming pay check. We were offered free cookies and hot chocolate during the event to keep our energy up. It was a cold one this year, including snow on the second night!
    *My mom brought DD and her friend to the event on Friday night for some inexpensive fun. They went to McD's for dinner as a treat and used some of the free food item stickers we won from the Monopoly game to make it cheaper. Because I work there, they were able to get into the village for free. It was the 1st time DD's friend had ever went to this event (her family basically doesn't do anything involving crowds, even if it's free). Both of the girls had a great time!

    Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Reading all the posts is one of the highlights of mine, so a big thanks to all of you!

  • Elizabeth October 30, 2018

    1. Made Wizard of Oz decorations and costumes for our church's trunk or treat
    2. Mostly scavenged together costumes to wear for character day at our homeschool co-op (my kids could not/would not wear their Wizard of Oz costumes....witches are forbidden at this church apparently and lions are not cool enough for 6 yr old boys....)
    3. Bought huge bags of suckers to give as treats at the event (way cheaper than chocolate!)
    4. Received a free doctor's visit due to medical coding loopholes
    5. Signed up to join a free low carb accountability group on Facebook...good health=big savings over time:)

  • Kim-Pacific Northwest-U.S. October 30, 2018

    We are scheduled to travel to a family gathering this weekend. We signed up to bring appetizers and a salad.
    Our neighbor shared a nice salmon with us that he caught fishing. We ate one portion for dinner and my husband smoked the other portion.
    I planned to use the smoked salmon as part of the appetizer tray. I was wanting to purchase a large wooden cheese board for the appetizer tray but knew that would cost upwards of $40. My husband came up with a large cedar board he had in the garage and he cut it to size and sanded it really well. I then coated it with olive oil and added some wonderful restoration hardware handles that originally cost $26 each but I got them on clearance years ago for .49 each. They are really heavy nice handles. I had been saving them for a special use and this was just the right one. I now have a very large wooden tray for zero out of pocket cost.
    Thank you Brandy for teaching me to think outside the box. I am excited to put my appetizer tray together using crackers bought on a great sale, free smoked salmon, fancy cheese from grocery outlet and one sliced apple or pear and a bunch of grapes all purchased on sale. This appetizer tray is going to look like it cost a hundred dollars purchased from some fancy grocery store. In reality it costs less than $8!! The tray will serve me well for years to come.
    I'm also excited about a Christmas gift I made. I crocheted an edging for a hand towel and then crocheted a matching soap bag. I placed a bar of really nice soap in the bag. This gift will go to my niece who has her own apartment and is just starting out on her own . My homemade gifts are starting to look almost as nice as the ones Brandy makes for her family which is really exciting to me. I am learning that practice is key. I have been working seriously on honing these skills for about 3 years now and it is starting to pay off. This gift cost me about $2 to make but took my time and effort.
    Our travel is about 8 hours of driving so I will be bringing our own drinks and snacks and we will gas up the car with the cheapest gas we can find. It will be worth it to share some quality family time with my husband's family as they only get together a couple times a year.
    Thanks to learning all the frugal tips from all of you, we can make this trip without busting our budget.

  • Cindi November 01, 2018

    That tray sounds gorgeous!

  • Jillbert October 30, 2018

    A friend gifted me two large squashes from his garden. He left them on my porch for me. I made a double batch of tomato-squash soup (using the last tomatoes from my garden) and still have plenty of squash to roast or freeze. I will give my friend some fresh eggs (we have a surplus right now) when I see him this weekend as a thank you. One batch of the soup will be gifted to another friend who is in need. I babysat my niece's twin toddlers for a few hours so she could have a break. She surprised me with a loaf of fresh bread from an artisan bakery as a thank you (unnecessary but very nice). I dog sat for my neighbor's two dogs and earned $150.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 30, 2018

    How nice of your daughter's friend to invite her to come along. I hope Winter has a wonderful time!

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Read The Prudent Homemaker blog! ;) Honestly, I so enjoy this blog and get so many wonderful ideas here.

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals including bean and cheese burritos (homemade "refried" beans from the freezer), penne and grilled chicken alfredo (used an already-grilled chicken breast from the freezer), beef tacos, Italian Vegetable Soup (aka minestrone) w/ homemade Herb Quick Bread, and leftovers.

    * Finished processing apples. Our pantry is now pretty full of apple sauce and apple butter, and we put some of the apple butter into 4 oz jars to use as Christmas gifts.

    * Hubs made and processed some bread & butter pickles.

    * Made ranch dip mix, taco seasoning, and three loaves of bread.

    * Harvested a lemon, bell peppers, and green beans.

    * Hubs took cuttings from some of our Christmas cactus and has them rooting. They, too, will be given as Christmas gifts.

    * Washed ziplock bags (we always do this; I just never write it down).

    * Walked the dog for exercise (we always do this as well).

    * Read library books. (I'm currently reading/rereading To Kill a Mockingbird, since son is reading it in his English class.)

    * Collected a few eggs. Our hens are molting, so they aren't producing as many at the moment.

    * Went to Goodwill and purchased some new-to-me clothing.

    * Celebrated son's good grades by going to Starbucks (used a gift card, so no money OOP).

    * Hubs fixed some of our outside drip line(s)/plumbing.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • Juls Owings October 30, 2018

    We used wood we had picked out of the construction dumpster to make a hand railing for our front porch. We hung an old curtain that I had insulated with a blanket from a thrift shop a few years ago at the bottom of the open staircase to help keep the heat down stairs. We open the basement outside door in the mornings to cool the basement down to keep it cool enough for the potatoes and winter squash instead of turning the portable AC on. Not much else as for the first time in 25 yrs we are BOTH sick at the same time.
    Blessing on everyone

  • Susan from Cincinnati October 30, 2018

    I have an old crock pot that still works even though it is missing a rubber stopper on one of the feet. I balance it with a spoon. I decided to buy a new one but went to crock pot web site and found I could order 4 of those rubber stoppers for $3. Great site and you can order all kinds of replacement parts. https://www.crock-pot.com/ click on parts and replacements. Used that old crock pot to make large boneless pork loin with a season salt, garlic powder, and dried rosemary rub. Served it for Saturday dinner with sweet potatoes cooked in salt and veg. Saved broth and made gravy with it the next day and served the gravy over fries on Sunday and made hot pork sandwiches with gravy and mash potatoes Monday. Also had pork in quinoa bowls that I made and a pork sandwich for dinner one night with the tiny bit of left over pork. Everyone else had free pizza at bowling party.
    Going to trick or treat dinner/candy hand out with neighbors and I will be taking espresso brownies with chocolate chips from an 85 cent Aldi brownie mix. Made meat loaf sandwiches for hubs to take for lunch from frozen slices of meatloaf hubs had brought home from a dinner several months ago. Made more quinoa bowls today topped with left over corn, turkey burger, grilled onions, avocado and then topped it with Italian dressing and a dollop of sour cream. Hubs heard our toilet leaking and had all the parts to fix it. Going through drawers and decluttering. Donating items to Goodwill and taking receipt for our taxes. Getting ready to look up soup recipe online for left over ham bone I have and black beans. Normally I would go buy the 15 dried bean bag for soup but am determined to use the dried bags I already have in my pantry. Have fun frugaling.

  • Lillianna October 30, 2018

    This last week has just drained me in every way possible. Our recent trip had me drive 13 hours each way . We drove straight through each time as another two nights in a hotel was not budgeted for. My son's commander gave him three 8 hr passes and my visit with him was one of the greatest moments in my life. Army boy will need to spend 10 more weeks where he is at. Not all plans go smoothly. We stayed on budget and now I will be struggling to pay those wicked house taxes this week. As usual, the bills are paid and the pantry is overflowing. After I visit the tax accessor I should be able to get back on budget. I am hoping an elephant doesn't crash through my house or a dinosaur step on my feet. I seem to have had the craziest bad luck this year. My budget for the year is now gone. But, I can say that all the emotional encouragement has helped me during some extremely low times. I have managed to finally curb my impulsive shopping. This next year will be financially better. Sweet sugar cookie has had some unexpected medical issues once again. The roller coaster ride continues. I don't want to blow up Brandys space with comments but please keep her in your prayers.

  • Becky October 30, 2018

    I'm glad you got to see your son, and that your trip went well.

    I am sorry your daughter is facing medical issues again, and will pray for her and you, both.

    Yes...property taxes struck us, too, as they do every year. We are very, very thankful that we had the money to pay them, so sent the money right off. Ouch! Guess that envelope needs stuffing again--little by little. I agree with you-this is an expensive time of year! We also have plenty of food and our needs are met. There is much to be thankful for. Thanks for the reminder to count our blessings, and that there is always hope.

  • Susan from CIncinnati October 31, 2018

    Here in Cincinnati, OH we can pay our property taxes monthly. It doesn't hurt as much as paying one big yearly bill. Perhaps it is offered in other states too. Worth checking in to.

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