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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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Comments

  • Juls Owings October 30, 2018

    Elizabeth rotering October 29, 2018
    My daughter just made the same comment, then followed up with she wrote down what her regular bills were and estimated the heat and electric to be higher do to it being cold and wet. Added GAS TO GO TO WORK (running joke in our family as the older daughter and Hubby kept forgetting to put this aside when they first got out on their own) and then looked to see what she had in her pantry and what she really needed to buy (AKA toilet paper) to get through 35 days (she has always went past the end of the month especially with pantry in case she didn't make it to the store.)
    She rotates through Brandy's beans every night menu but she added Mexican pizza to it as she does it with beans only.

  • Maxine October 30, 2018

    Elizabeth, I'm not sure if you fell off the frugal wagon and want to know how to get back on, or if you just discovered that there IS a frugal wagon, LOL. Either way, it can be a very satisfying lifestyle, and I have never felt deprived. It's just different.

    My best suggestion is the dreaded B word--BUDGET. You may not be in a position at this moment to start, but don't put it off too long. Go to the library and check out one of Dave Ramsey's books, which will tell you how.

    However, you might want to start on a small scale by budgeting for an all-cash Christmas. Start by deciding who will receive gifts, and be very wary of including much for friends, co-workers and neighbors. If money is tight, stick to your immediate family. If you MUST give to peripheral people, make a couple of batches of cookies, divide them up, and wrap with paper, containers and gift bags you already have. Even aluminum foil looks nice.

    Ours is a small family. My husband was an only child and I haven't exchanged with my sister's family in 30 years. All of our parents are deceased. I buy only for my husband, adult daughter who has developmental disabilities, adult son and his wife, who do not have children. When the kids were small, we established a tradition of 3 gifts per person. If I had grandchildren, they'd be getting 3 gifts and their parents would be getting one. If I couldn't afford gifts for everybody, my husband and I wouldn't give to each other. If I were sucked into gifts for extended family, I'd really try to draw names or something like that. In other words...SET LIMITS.

    The next thing I do is set a budget for each person. For the past few years, it has been $125-$150 per person. My husband and I had a sit-down talk about finances a few days ago and have decided to pull back in all areas. (We get Social Security, his pension and income from the stock market...which isn't looking too good. We decided a little pull-back now would be a good idea in case we had to pull back a lot later). We have reduced our Christmas budget to $100-$125 per person. We have bought a few gifts already and are running under budget. And these are gifts the recipients will love! Good gifts come in all price ranges.

    The advantage of this is that we know when each person has 3 gifts, and we haven't gone over budget, WE ARE DONE. When our kids were younger, before we started doing this, it was easy to buy "just one more thing" and go overboard. Just to make it easy, let's say you've budgeted $400 for Christmas and have four pay periods between now and Christmas. You need to budget $100 per pay period for Christmas...and don't forget to figure in for Christmas dinner.

    You might be able to reduce your outgo with gift cards that you have lying around the house. This year, I've got about $80 worth of Sears Shop Your Way points that I can use at Sears, Kmart and Land's End (and intend to, before Sears goes away for good). I have a $52.50 merchandise credit at Harbor Freight for a returned item. And I've got a $10 GC to Target. In addition, I have tons of airline miles. Last year I cashed in 2,000 for a year's subscription to People magazine. It was such a hit with my daughter that I will probably do it again.

    If I were truly broke, and was buying for adult children, I'd start gifting keepsakes and family heirlooms. I'm 72 and just downsized to a smaller house, and I'd be doing myself a favor if I did this. Actually, when my son and DIL get their own place, I will.

    You may be able to make some gifts. Last year I made about half my gifts and I only have cooking and basic sewing skills. You can find a lot of gifts online that don't require more than that. This year, I spent 20 minutes and a $6 bath towel to make my DIL a bath wrap. Brandy had lots of ideas in her Gift a Day series. Try Pinterest. If you sew, make it a point to use up as much of your stash as possible. Cute, easy, cheap idea: make everyone flannel pajama bottoms and pair them with a matching T-shirt. I have gotten tees for as little as $2 each at Michael's, and the quality is good.

    Finally, "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." You can apply this to any and all areas of your life! Good luck, and let us know how you do!

  • I October 31, 2018

    Such a thoughtful and helpful post Maxine-especially at this time of year. I admit I haven't even really thought about Xmas girts too much yet but I have just my DH and DD to consider. My Mum does not want any stuff and my DH does not wish gifts either. When my nieces and nephews were younger we did buy gifts for them but now they are adults we skip birthday/Xmas gifts. However if I attend their weddings we give a gift and I buy a new baby gift for the great nieces and nephews to welcome them but that is usually all. Did I mention that we have had 4 weddings and 4 new babies this year in our nieces and nephews-my goodness!

  • Cindi October 29, 2018

    What a wonderful opportunity for your daughter.
    A neighbor who was cleaning out her garage invited my husband over to take what he wanted. He came home with six metal fence posts, a bunch of rebar (we use it for plant supports), PVC pipe and fittings, and other miscellaneous things he will find uses for.
    I made a pair of pajama pants for myself. I had to piece the fabric in one place, but the pattern of the flannel is such that you can’t really tell. I saved the old pajama pants for quilt scraps.
    I made a big batch of granola and 2 loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread, and a batch of throat lozenges.
    I had one cod fillet left in the freezer and used it to make fish tacos. It was not a lot of fish, but I piled cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and a sour cream and salsa dressing in the tortillas and it was enough for the two of us.
    Our state does mail-in ballots only. Instead of using a stamp, I drove around the corner and deposited our ballots in the county ballot box.
    I had to bring a snack to a meeting and brought a big bowl of apple slices. I dipped the slices in lemon water to keep them from browning. People appreciated having something healthy and delicious.
    I began having pain and numbness in my back, neck, and left arm—from a pinched nerve related to a bone spur in my spine. I have dealt with this several times over the years, though it has been five years or more since a flare-up. None of my usual self-care was helping the problem, and after two weeks I was thinking I might have to see a doctor. But I know from the past that, since this is a new doctor to me, they would order an MRI and/or a consult with a specialist. I am still paying off several thousand dollars in medical bills from early summer, so I wanted to avoid adding thousands more to that debt if I could. I researched physical therapy for nerve impingement and found several good videos on YouTube that demonstrated exercises I could do at home, as well as home traction. I began faithfully doing the exercises and traction and within a couple of days was almost pain free. I would never recommend someone put off going to the doctor for something serious, but since I knew what the problem was and that the treatment generally involves anti-inflammatories, ice, and PT, I was grateful to find advice online for handling this myself.

  • Lisa from Maine October 30, 2018

    Cindi-how do you make your throat lozenges?

  • Cindi November 01, 2018

    Hi Lisa, Here is the recipe I use for throat lozenges (after trial and error):
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup water
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1 Tablespoon honey
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/3 - 1/2 cup slippery elm powder
    Put everything but the slippery elm powder into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reached hard ball stage (forms a hard ball when dropped in ice water.) This can take half an hour or more for me -- but I live at 8000 feet, so everything takes longer.
    Remove from heat and stir in slippery elm powder until quite thick. I buy the slippery elm powder in the bulk bins at our local natural grocery. We keep it on hand to give one of our dogs who has a sensitive tummy -- the slippery elm is very soothing, so it's good for the throat, too.
    Drop by half-teaspoon fulls onto parchment paper and let harden.
    I wrap them individually in wax paper and store them in a tin in the freezer. They taste good, but they also work really well.

  • Tina S. October 30, 2018

    Cindi, I think that's great that you tried the physical therapy exercises on your own and found relief. I work in a physical therapy office, and we treat many people who have gone from doctor to doctor for their issue, often spending thousands of dollars on treatment that did not work, before trying physical therapy. With a combination of treatment and home exercise, the majority of our patients are able to regain mobility and reduce or eliminate their pain. I wish doctors would have their patients give physical therapy a try before sending them on to more expensive and more invasive treatments. Just my two cents worth...

  • Cindi November 01, 2018

    Tina -- I am a BIG believer in physical therapy. I had it before for this same problem, but that was 15 years ago, and I couldn't remember the exercises, so YouTube was a good refresher.

    Jennifer -- I saw my chiropractor first thing. Most of the time when this problem flares up, an adjustment fixes me up right. It didn't happen this time, but sometimes we just need to be more patient and try other things.

  • Jennifer O. October 31, 2018

    I see a chiropractor for my neck and back issues. they may be able to do an adjustment and teach you some other methods/ exercises to try.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 29, 2018

    I'm glad you've had a bit of rain, Brandy. I wish I could send you some of ours! We've had flooding with the 2" that the Nor'Easter brought us on Saturday. Between this and the rain & wind from Hurricane Michael we've had damage to our yard and front patio awning. We're in the process of getting estimates for new seamless gutters, downspouts, etc. for the entire house.

    Your roses and last week's still-life are beautiful. Tidied up the garden and front & back patios; all ceramic & terracotta planters have been emptied, washed & stored in the garage for the winter for if left outdoors they will prob crack. DH cleaned all our wicker patio furniture & stored in garage. Have pruned the roses & hydrangeas. The marigolds, Montauk daisies and gaura are still blooming.

    Grocery stores have had some great sales on steak, pork loin, chicken past several weeks so have stocked up. The best buy was on Hass avocados which we love. Reg. price of 3 for $5. On sale last week for 99 cents each. I purchased 6 of them but only paid $3.94 for all of them by using a 75 cent printable coupon I found on coupons.com for avocados from Mexico, which these were (our stores double the coupons' face value and can use up to 4 of the same coupon).

    In the November Kiplinger's mag there is an interesting article about people who follow FIRE (financial independence retire early), especially an interview with Mr. Money Mustache; he's been blogging about personal finance & frugality about 9 yrs now and he now earns $400,000 a yr from his blog! I wish your gorgeous and super-helpful website & blog would generate even some $ for you to compensate you for all the time and effort you put in to help us all.

    Have just finished reading a lovely book, the Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan. Set in a small village in England at the start of WWII. All the able-bodied men are off at war & the ladies of the village get together to help each other. It focuses on 5 of the women and each short chapter is in the form of a letter. The November issue of O, The Oprah magazine has an interview with Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors and I believe one of yours too Brandy, about her latest book, "Unsheltered" (described as a "sociopolitical novel tackling real-world issues, esp how we navigate profound changes that threaten to unmoor us").

    I've been catching up on posts; Sorry that you had so much pain Brandy during your surgery. Hope you're healing well.

  • Athanasia October 31, 2018

    Mari, if you purchase items through the links Brandy has for AMAZON, which shows up on the side or end of the blog it does give her an amount for her referrals.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 31, 2018

    Thank you Athanasia for bringing this up as I have had a question on how the links work and havent yet asked Brandy directly -- if for example, I were to go thru the link for the french stripe apron and did not buy the apron but purchased a different item, would Brandy still get credit? As I don't see a direct link to amazon's site but only for individual products on the side of this blog. Earlier in the year Brandy was able to send me her link to swagbucks in an IM since I didn't see that link on her website.

  • Mari, I get credit for anything you add to your cart and purchase within 24 hours after going through any of links. It doesn't matter if you buy the item I have pictured or not.

    Thank you so much for asking.

    Also, I'm sorry, but I don't know that author! I'll have to check her out.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore November 01, 2018

    Thank you Brandy and Athanasia.

  • Athanasia November 01, 2018

    Mari, on my computer I see a direct link to AMAZON up under the picture of Brandy and where it says follow me Pinterest etc.

  • Sue October 29, 2018

    Beautiful roses!
    I found boneless pork loin on sale for $1.48 lb and on top of that another 20% off .. so ended up paying $1.18 lb !!! Just 2 of us here so it should last quite some time. The Aldi here has been having honeycrisp apples on sale for around $.80 to .90 lb for the last month or so. I made 3 batches of apple jam , cobbler and just eating a bunch. I'll be picking up some more this week. Some stores are starting sales on baking supplies ; so far chocolate chips for .99 a bag and 2 lb bags of powdered or brown sugar for $.95 each bag. I need to stock up on butter and flour . Best thing that happened the last 3 weeks was I received a promotion with a very nice raise. We are trying tp pay our house off before hubby retires in 4 1/2 years or sooner . He's been doing appliance repair for 40+ years and his knees are shot. we are hoping he can make it that long or find something different which is difficult at 62 years old. . Have a great week everyone.

  • ellie's friend from canada October 29, 2018

    I am about to go shopping. I'll get 20 pounds of potatoes for $5.88, and 10 pounds of Beets for ~$7.99. Our prices don't compare with those in the U.S. but there are some good sales this week. I still have carrots in the fridge, and frozen beans and okra ($1.79 a package). My aim is to be able to eat healthy meals for $1 per meal. I want to have 6 fruits and veggies per day. I sat outside and sorted things, and filled the recycling bin. I took a beautiful woodpecker photo. I watched three mountain chickadees, a rare visitor from the mountains to the west. I was surprised by a large buck deer with huge rack of antlers walking down the sidewalk. He stayed in my friend's backyard for two hours. Lots of free entertainment. I watched free movies on kanopy through the library. I watched and listened to Andrea Bocelli's newly released cd on you tube (He has himself posted them there).

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 30, 2018

    Love Andrea Bocelli's and son Matteo's new "Fall on Me" ! We have tix for his show in New York City on December 12. DH and my Christmas gift to each other.

  • Ellie's friend October 30, 2018

    Oh, lucky you! On You Tube there is a new posting of Andrea and matte singing Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" song together. I love that but I love "Fall On Me". Bocelli only rarely comes to Canada. I thought about going to Montreal to hear him but it would have been about $1,000 for ticket and flight. How wonderful that you are both going to hear/see him. Almost all of the songs on the new cd are now posted by AB on You Tube. I think a lot of them will be sung at the concert you're going to.

  • Ellie's friend October 31, 2018

    my post should have said "Matteo" not matte, obviously. Mari, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time at the concert. His concert in Montreal was wonderful. I've watched a lot of it on You Tube.

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