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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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  • Tammy October 29, 2018

    Tried to cook all meals at home. Succeeded except for the day we had our grandchildren. We spent too much at a Chinese restaurant. We decided afterwards that we need to take the lead when it comes to where we will eat. Which if we plan will be a picnic, if not the grocery store to make sandwiches and some fruit and maybe carrots.
    Son gave us topsoil he didn't need.
    Husband took lunches to work, including snacks.
    Borrowed books from library.
    Date nights at home. Looked up date nights at home on internet and came up with some nice ideas.
    Used internet for entertainment.
    Utilized the library.
    Turned off lights when not in room.
    Washed full loads of laundry.
    Spent lots of time at home.
    Washed sunset at night.
    Looked at the stars in the morning together when he walked me to my car to go to work.
    Saw an owl, raccoons,and deer.
    I think my chickens that are supposed to be hens are a bunch of roosters and maybe one hen. Not sure yet. It is awful and funny at the same time. We are down to eight safely being fed in our coop. No coyotes are dogs around now. I'm not attached to them yet, but my husband might be. They were supposed to be hens and then would be our pets. If they are all roosters, I might name some dinner. But if my husband is attached to them..... we might be feeding them a long time. I know he has had chickens in the past that he ate. We have been feeding them for 6 months, no eggs yet.

  • Karen October 29, 2018

    I hope they are not roosters! That many roosters in one coop probably will not end well!

  • Tammy October 31, 2018

    I hope not too! This is the first time I've raised chickens so I'm learning.

  • Rhonda A. October 30, 2018

    Perhaps you could take the kids to the grocery store to pick out a meal they want, just for fun. They might pick a frozen pizza and ice cream, or tacos and a bakery treat. Or they might surprise you and ask you to make their favourite "grandma's house" meal. It will still be cheaper than going out, but if you are concerned, just put a limit on how much you will spend (Grandma has $10 or $20 so pick what you want for dinner within that amount).

    Sometimes they just want to try something that is not normally something mom & dad would let them have, like some sugar loaded cereal they desperately want to try. I remember my grandma bought me Nutella once while I was staying with her, which my mom would never have said yes to. I bought DD "cheese in a can" when we were vacationing in the states. I let her get it because we were on vacation and it is a novelty we don't have here is Canada (that I know of anyways). I remember once hearing Bill Clinton talking about his daughter wanting to buy a coconut. He laughed about how they had one heck on a time cracking it open, but finally managed to get into it! So trust me, this can become a very special memory that will stay with them for a long, long time. Regardless of how much you have to spend, make the experience fun!

  • Tammy October 31, 2018

    Thanks Rhonda,
    I definitely want my grandkids to have fun. I think it is a good idea to pick something different at a grocery store. Something to try. But also my youngest definitely has her favorite meals.

  • Stephanie October 30, 2018

    At 6 months old, there should be other signs that they are roosters besides not laying eggs, like the shape of their tail feathers and whether they're crowing. Some breeds take longer to start laying. I was a little worried about my Ameraucauna chicken, but she finally started laying at 7 months old.

  • Tammy October 31, 2018

    Thank-you for the information Stephanie. So, I have hope that these may hen yet!

  • Maxine October 29, 2018

    Beautiful picture again, Brandy! Also, congratulations to Margaret, although "enquiring minds want to know" more about the baby...

    Here was my week--
    We ate plant-based meals 3 times last week. (I would like to eat one veggie meal every day). I used a friend’s recipe to make rice and beans and it was the best! Cheeeeep, too!

    The freezer I got such a good deal on was delivered. I bought a couple of whole chickens for .88 lb. and had the meatcutter split them. Wrapped them for the freezer reusing plastic produce bags (I reuse bread bags for freezer wrap, too). This is one of the usual frugal things that I do.

    I fed kitchen scraps to the compost (which is in 3 plastic garbage cans with holes drilled in them).

    I washed a pair of suede loafers (rubber soles) in the washing machine. They came out fine. This is the second time I have done this…these seem to be my hard-luck shoes. This is what I do when I have nothing to lose.

    I paid some bills online and by phone, saving postage. I filed an insurance claim that should result in a payout of about $200. I received an unexpected check for $26.49, which apparently was an overpayment on a credit card. Or maybe a return I’ve forgotten…I cashed the check before they changed their mind.

    We created storage space in our garage and shed, mostly using stuff we already had (I had to buy a bike hook). I went through my husband’s collection of scrap lumber and found about ¼ of the lumber we need to build more shelves.

    I bought my Halloween candy from the bulk bins at Winco. I got Hershey's minatures for $4.99 lb., which was way cheaper than buying them by the package. Thanks, Brandy, for mentioning bulk candy in another post. I always buy my spices in bulk. I got enough Italian seasoning to fill a spice jar for less than .20! I got my spice jars by emptying my mother-in-law’s stale spices after she died, however you can buy jars underneath the spice display at Winco and still come out money ahead on the very first jar.

    I bought one of my son’s Christmas gifts used on ebay. I also ordered an item in open packaging from the Amazon warehouse.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood October 29, 2018

    Thanks for the congrats, Maxine! It's a girl, and we're thrilled to have her here with us!

    By the way, the rice and beans recipe sounds great! If you have a chance, could you share it with us? I always hear about how delicious rice and beans are, but have yet to find a recipe that works for me. TIA!

  • Maxine October 29, 2018

    Margaret (and others that may be interested), my friend Sheila serves rice and beans frequently. She says the secret is a good sofrito, and this is her recipe, in her own words.

    "When I lived in Puerto Rico, I learned the secret to making good rice and beans is in making good, homemade (not bought = loaded with MSG!) Sofrito. You make it by mixing together one bunch of washed cilantro, some oil, some water, a little salt and an onion and putting them in a blender and making a paste. You freeze it in either ice cube trays or I just throw it in a big zip lock and let it spread out nice and thin so you can break it up easily, because you will have made enough for several times of making rice and beans. Skipping this step always has resulted in rice and beans that no one is excited about, ever.... So once you have this sofrito, you put 2-3 TBS of it in a heavy bottomed pan you like to cook rice in. Then you add another TBS of oil and bring it to a medium heat for a few minutes. Then I add diced onion and diced peppers. Then after that has cooked like 5 minutes I add 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups water (or twice the water to rice ratio) then I add a can of beans, liquid and all. Bring it to a boil and then lower heat way down like to one or 2, just barely boiling. At this point I add 1-2 TBS of either capers or else green olives sliced in half. Simmer till it's done, 40 minutes for brown rice, 20 for white. Serve with cheese, sour cream, avocados if you have them or (traditionally) opened cans of corn, not warmed up that you sprinkle on top. I also like some fresh cilantro for garnish."

    This dish is vegetarian, not strictly vegan, because of the sour cream and cheese. However, you could skip these garnishes or use plant-based substitutes, or corn. I made it with brown rice, black beans and red bell pepper. I used about 2 tablespoons of sofrito, but next time I will use 3 tablespoons, because Sheila is right--it makes this dish. Add salt to taste.

  • Mackenzie October 31, 2018

    This recipe sounds amazing! :)

  • Athanasia October 31, 2018

    Maxine, thank you for sharing your friend's recipe for rice and beans. I have always frozen my extra cilantro in oil but never with the onion. I will follow her instructions. Dried cilantro just loses all its flavor.

  • That is so nice of that family to invite your daughter to go on vacation. What a time she is having I bet.
    I've been reading about your energy savings and have been vigilant about unplugging things and turning off lights. I hope to see a decrease.
    Here are the ways I've saved this past week:

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba October 29, 2018

    * I used food we had on hand to make beans, rice, and tomatoes (canned) for a potluck.
    * I combined trips to save time, money, and gas.
    * I had multiple meetings in the same location to save on time, money, and gas.
    * One meeting was held over the phone to save all of the above. :)
    * My husband gladly took food from home for all his lunches.
    * I purchased cauliflower and apples on sale.
    * We opened blinds during the day to warm up the house.
    * We used heat minimally in our cars.
    * We diligently upped our natural remedy intake as soon as we began feeling ill.

  • Elizabeth rotering October 29, 2018

    Had a bad month!! Spent way too much! Getting ready for a frugal November. Would love suggestions of where to start.

  • Andrea Q October 29, 2018

    Make an inventory of your pantry and plan meals based on it!

  • Heidi Louise October 29, 2018

    Hmm-- Where to start frugally, Elizabeth R. I think doing an exact and careful accounting of where your money is, isn't, went, goes, and should go is the first step. That is like your job; you have to do that! Then list your other assets: you have family or friends to help, you have some things taken care of (hopefully housing and transportation!), you have free community resources, you have some groceries in your pantry, you can pick up a few more work hours, you are in good health (I hope!)--whatever.

    After that, pick your own frugal style: You want a few big money savers or lots of little ones. You have more time than money. You are good at building up savings or behaviors and delayed gratification, to ultimately give yourself a reward. You are alone or you have a family to work with you. You can start lots of changes at once, or you have to start one new one each week. You can start with food, or with utilities, or not shopping, or doing everything at once. You do/ do not like to read blogs and frugal ideas. You have to plan ahead for December holidays. You like to set goals and make charts and thermometers to show your savings or pay-offs. You like motivational posters and reminders taped to your purse, like "November is a short month-- only 30 days!" Best wishes to you!

  • Rhonda A. October 30, 2018

    First, read as many of Brandy's blog post under the heading "LIVE". She has some great advice that is very helpful. Also, here are some other blog posts which may be helpful as well:

    My biggest suggestion is to get a Pinterest account (they are completely free) and start your own research. Try searching words like frugal, money saving, cheap, inexpensive, budget, etc. There are tons of great ideas for everything from how to save on everything in your home, to extremely cheap but delicious recipe ideas that help you stay on track. The more you research, the more you will see there are very specific trends that most frugal people follow to save money. Sometimes you also find little ideas or nuggets of wisdom that are "Ah ha!" moments that would work great for your own family. Remember, if you have a family, they may not buy into or support your frugal changes. The changes may be just you at first. But as your efforts start to pay off, it might help stimulate the rest of the family to follow along, especially if they start to see the rewards (like having money to do things they want or buy things without panicking on how they are going to pay for it). Friends may also not understand these changes or try to sabotage your efforts. It can be a lonely road, sometimes. So keep coming here...you will find lots of support from all of us!

  • Nina Nelson November 01, 2018

    Thanks for recommending my article, Rhonda!

    p.s. I love this blog as it is very inspiring and has so many great ideas.

  • Rhonda A. November 01, 2018

    I pinned your post on my Pinterest board because I liked that it had lots of basic and simple frugal ideas for all areas of the house. It's a great list for those just starting out with frugal living, as well as a good reminder for those already living frugally that might need a little inspiration.

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