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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Yellow Pansies The Prudent Homemaker

$0.56 worth of pansies cheer up this pot and I can see them from inside the house.

I began sewing a birthday gift for a daughter using fabric and a pattern I had on hand.

My dad had leftover scraps from his back patio/deck (which runs right into our matching stairs between our backyards) to redo our stairs. Last year, a leak developed in the water line underneath the stairs. The only way to get to it was to take the stairs apart (and redoing it would be difficult, as the screws strip the boards when being removed). My dad cut holes in the stairs and my husband repaired the leak. My dad will redo the stair treads using his scraps this week.

We celebrated a fun Valentine's Day at home. I used some mini heart-shaped cake pans that I inherited from my grandmother to bake lemon poppyseed muffins for breakfast.

I used a small amount Rit Dye I had to dye a table runner pink. The table runner was ordered online years ago and was supposed to be a cream color, but was more orange, and I never really liked it. Dying it pink made it perfect for Valentine's Day and upcoming daughters' birthdays. You can see a photo over on my Instagram feed.

I spent some time organizing things indoors. While I organizing, I was able to find a place for some things I had been keeping in a basket. I didn't want to buy another basket, but I also needed a place to put the items that were being stored in the basket. The basket will be repurposed to what I used to use it for (diapers for a newborn). 

I asked my 11-year-old to go through the baby girl socks that I have. I figured most of them (if not all) were too old and had the elastic shot, and that if I have a girl I would need new socks. She went through them all, threw out the ones that were no longer any good and any that didn't have matches, and I still had socks that were good left, so if I have a girl, I'm set for socks (plus, I gained some space in the drawer where the other socks were being kept).

I got rid of some things I no longer needed, which made my existing storage space in my closet more effective.

I was wondering if I could get rid of enough items for a garage sale. I decided to clean out several closets (with family help) and we reorganized the linen closet and the games/dress up closet. I went through the girls' clothing boxes from sizes 6 to 12, keeping only the nicest items that would fit in each box and that were liked by the girls (I had enough in some sizes for more than one box, so they needed to be narrowed down in order to fit in the storage space I have). We put several things aside for a garage sale in March.

I still don't have enough of my own things to sell, but my mom was going through her closets this week as well, and she has a ton of stuff she no longer wants, so we piled her items on a table in my entry (with my stuff filling in under the table) to prepare for a sale. This next week, we both plan on going through more closets and cupboards and getting rid of things we are no longer using. I plan on using whatever money I make from the sale to go to the community garage sales in April to get things we need. I recently updated my garage sale list, so I am ready to go shopping with specific needs and wants in mind.

We cleaned the inside of the dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner so that both will run more efficiently.

 Pansies in White Garden The Prudent Homemaker

 

$1.13 worth of pansies to fil in my urn.

I went to the local nursery to purchase some more drip line for the garden. While there, I noticed they were clearing out their pansies for $0.25 each (regular prices is $0.98 each). Pansies grow here from October through April/May. The manager came over to talk with me, and he told me I could have a flat of pansies for $3 (saving an additional $1). I purchased 16 pansy and viola plants for $3 ($0.1875 each), which will fill in a couple of spaces in my garden until warmer weather will permit me to plant something else in their place. I had specifically been looking for annuals (as well as the drip line) to go in the center urn for my white garden, but most of what I wanted would not be available until mid to late April. This filled in the spot nicely and gave me flowers for a couple more spaces in the garden. This was the only money I spent all week.

I harvested garlic chives and green onions from the garden.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Meyer Lemon Trees The Prudent Homemaker

We had beautiful, warmer than usual weather last week, and I took advantage of it, working in the garden every afternoon.

I planted seeds in the garden for poppies, dwarf hollyhocks, larkspur, Armenian cucumbers, lettuce,  and alpine strawberries. 

I mended drip irrigation lines that were broken.

I transplanted parsley seedlings into new spots in the garden where they can grow larger. I am completely out of dried parsley and I want to grow enough to dry enough parsley for our yearly use; we go through quite a bit and so I will need to grow it in several spots in the garden. Each year I grow enough parsley, oregano, basil, chives, thyme, and mint in the garden that I never have to purchase them dried or fresh.

I also harvested fresh parsley and used it in a dish.

The century plant I had purchased as a tiny plant at a garage sale a couple of years ago put forth two babies. I dug them up and transplanted them to two pots I already had.

I dug up a small mulberry tree that the birds had seeded in my garden and transplanted it to a pot I already had. 

I dug two boxleaf euyonomus starts and transplanted them to other places in the garden.

I transplanted nasturtiums that had self-seeded to another spot in the garden.

I pulled dandelions from the grass by hand (I never buy a pre-emergent weed killer; I just pull the weeds out of the lawn myself).

I took cuttings from my honeysuckle plants with hopes of starting some new plants to grow elsewhere in the garden.

Johnny JumpUps The Prudent Homemaker

I collected shower warm-up water in buckets and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

I harvested Swiss chard and green onions from the garden.

I picked up my hairspray at Walmart instead of Target. Both places seem to have trouble stocking it (I often have found an empty shelf) but I went to a different Walmart than usual and not only found it, but it was $1 cheaper than Target's price. Henceforth, I'll be buying my hairspray at Walmart.

I picked up the baby registry goodie bag from Target when I went to get the diaper deal, which included three diapers, some baby wash, and baby lotion that I'll use. 

We enjoyed watching the Thunderbirds flying overhead while they practiced. We saw them fly right over our backyard three times in formation; one time as we were watching they released and ended smoke trails all at the same time, which was pretty neat.

Leucojum Aestivum The Prudent Homemaker

Leucojum Aestivum (blooms in May/June in cooler climates)

I read two e-books from the library.

I mended a pillow.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Helping Grandpa The Prudent Homemaker

We had the most beautiful weather all week: temperatures of 70-75ºF/21-24ºC. I opened the windows and we enjoyed fresh air in the house all week.

We enjoyed lemons, Swiss chard, oregano and parsley from the garden.

I enjoyed working in the garden in the record highs for this time of year. Usually, I'm still sporting long sleeves and a jacket while I do the busy work of January and February in the garden, but this year I'm in a short-sleeved t-shirt.

I used stakes and concrete mesh wire that I already had to add another vertical growing space to the garden. I planted Armenian cucumber seeds under it.

I planted seeds for alpine strawberries and poppies.

I opened the house up to air it out for several hours each day.

I stocked up on pasta (I bought 96 pounds) at the lowest price it gets here ($0.49 a pound). This price only comes around 2-3 times a year. When I was leaving the store, I picked up a dime I found in the parking lot.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a Target gift card. I'll use this to reduce my out-of-pocket expenses for February's shopping trip.

I read two e-books from the library.

My two eldest downloaded a combined 12 free songs from the library through the Freegal program.

We enjoyed watching the last bits of the lunar eclipse early in the morning.

I gladly accepted a hand-me-down infant car seat and matching stroller from a reader who lives very close by.

Nap The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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February's Shopping Plans

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Meyer Lemon Tree The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains affiliate links.

I'm zesting and juicing lemons this month from the garden. I am freezing lemon juice and zest to use throughout the year. In order to have enough space in the freezer for so much juice, we're eating lots from the freezers. This time of year, we eat the frozen fruit from the garden that I froze over the last year. We're also eating meat from the freezers. 

The pantry is still plenty stocked, including canned fruits and vegetables, butternut squash, pumpkins, and onions.

I'm glad I was able to can so much applesauce from our tree last year, as due to massive borer damage on all but one branch, we had to pull the tree last month. I'm replacing it with another. It will be a few years before the new tree is large enough to start bearing.

Snow Pea Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

In the garden, (In addition to hundreds of lemons) we have green onions, oregano, nasturtiums, Swiss chard, New Zealand Spinach, and the first of the snow peas ripening this month.

I'm focusing on filling holes in the pantry. I've been asked before what percentage of the grocery budget I allot towards filling the pantry. Stocking up on pantry staples is my first priority, not my last, nor a tiny bit. I then look to purchase fresh items in addition to any pantry needs. I find that my money goes further this way (such as 25 pounds of oats for under $17 at Winco!) 

Each year I aim to increase the yield in my garden to allow for plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits throughout the year for my family. I succession sow seeds, I grow vertically, I've added additional fruit trees in pots (underplanted with flowers and herbs), I've planted more that grows well in my climate (especially more cut and come again vegetables like Swiss chard and green onions), I've covered the walls with berry bushes and grape vines, and I re-landscaped my small front yard to allow for 5 fruit trees in the ground and 3 in pots, in addition to herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Doing all these things not only helps us to have something always ripe in the garden to harvest, but it also allows me to be able to can and freeze fruit. I currently have a total of 29 fruit trees, including 3 nut trees and 8 potted fruit trees. Everything in the ground is watered by drip irrigation (and a few of my potted trees are also on drip irrigation).

I have a budget of $200 for February's purchases. Here's how I'll spend it:

 

Smith's:

Pasta. American Beauty brand pasta is on sale for $0.49 when you buy multiples of 6 (regular price is $1.25 a pound). This is the price I've been waiting to see; it's the lowest price I can find for pasta, and this sale only happens 2 to 3 times a year, so I'll stock up. Smith's is our Kroger affiliate, so you may have this sale price on pasta where you live, too! East of the Mississippi River, it's often the Creamette brand of pasta that goes on sale this low. (Note: One reader noted that her store has this sale for $0.38, but it's on 12-ounce packages pasta rather than 16-ounce.)

 

Target:

Diapers. There should be a spend so much get a gift card deal back on diapers this month. Every year, Target has a similar offer in January, but February's offer is usually a little better. Last year, it was spend $100 on diapers, get a $25 gift card. If I don't see this deal for some reason, I will hold off on buying more diapers. I still have plenty for my youngest and I don't need diapers for the baby yet. I will still have a 15% off coupon coming for one purchase from my registry to use on diapers if there isn't a great sale before the baby arrives. For the 15% off coupon, the item has to be on your registry. I created a registry just for this purpose, and I made sure I put diapers on the registry. (I will also pick up my registry freebies this month when I go to Target). (Update: It looks like it will be spend $100, get a $20 gift card starting next week. You'll need the coupon, which will be in the ad and also in the Target app, in order to get the $20 gift card).

Salon Graphix hairspray (unscented super hold)

 

Walmart:

Oxi-Clean spray in the refill bottle (I pour it into this pretty spray bottle to use for laundry)

Equate dandruff shampoo

 

Winco:

Oats (25-pound bag for a little over $16)

Potatoes

Vegetable Oil

 

Our last official frost date is February 15th, at which time our local nursery will have a large number of vegetable and herb plants available. I spoke with the manager, and because of our record heat this year (it's going to be 76ºF/24ºC on Monday), they are expecting these plants to come in earlier. (They had a few tomato and vegetable plants and a number of herb plants on January 26th when I went in; normally there are no tomato plants there until February 14th).  For those who are local, Star Nursery traditionally has a sale on tomato, vegetable, and herb plants on President's Day weekend. I plan on purchasing tomato plants and two fruit trees (to replace my dead ones) for the garden. I'll be watching for sale prices as well as coupons (usually there are coupons this month in the Val-Pak and/or in the ads that wrap around hte grocery ads in the mail) and I will be purchasing these items on sale. (My garden budget is not a set amount. I have spent as little as $150 a year on my garden up to $1500, not counting years where we landscaped the garden. Larger purchases include non-edible things like dirt, bushes, sprinkler and valve replacement parts, drip irrigation, etc. I take money for the garden from my miscellaneous budget, which includes clothing and household purchases for the family. That amount is generally equal to or less than my grocery budget for the month. This year, my miscellaneous budget for the garden, clothing, and household goods is $200 a month, but I will spend less if I don't need anything.)

I'll sow seeds for Armenian cucumbers, Red Noodle beans, lettuce, radishes, alpine strawberries, pumpkins and squash this month in the garden. I'll also sow flower seeds. I already have these seeds, purchased in past years and collected from my own garden.

I don't know if our record highs this month mean we'll see a longer spring or just an earlier summer. Either way, the ground is warm enough to plant now, so there's no point in waiting. Hopefully, everything will germinate well and my seedlings won't be eaten by bugs, and I'll have lots of fresh food and flowers to enjoy from the garden this year!

 

Tagged in: Grocery Shopping
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I love lemons. I've always liked them, but growing Meyer lemons, I've come to really love them. They're sweeter than regular lemons, larger, juicier, and have thin peels and very few seeds.

They grow large in my garden, and they are such a bright, deep yellow that between the color and the size, people think they are oranges.

Despite their bright color, it's the egg yolks that give color to lemon curd.

I recently used lemon curd on top of these meringues. Lemons start to ripen in my garden the last week of November and will hang ripe on the trees through the beginning of April. Pomegranates are ripe in October/November, and they will last a few months in the refrigerator (you can also freeze the arils). 

Meyer Lemon Meringues The Prudent Homemaker 

I am currently growing six Meyer lemon trees in the garden: two large, older trees, which provide hundreds of lemons, a small potted tree that gave me a few lemons this year, and three small trees in my white garden that will give me a few additional lemons each year; these trees will stay small as they are limited in the small space they have.

I have five pomegranate trees in the garden: Four small potted trees and one small tree that I planted in the garden last year. The tree in the ground will be able to get much larger than the potted ones, but right now it's about the same size. These give me a small number of pomegranates. Last year (and in years past) I have been able to pick pomegranates from those who had so many on one of two large trees that they couldn't use all of them. 

We loved this dessert, so it will be on the menu in winter and early spring for years to come.

You can find the recipe here

More lemon recipes:

Lemonade

Lemon Parmesan Pasta

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Dill Chicken

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lenon Popyseed Muffins

 

 

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Meyer Lemon Meringues The Prudent Homemaker

I used lemons from the garden this week to make lemon curd, which I used to top homemade meringues, along with pomegranate arils. I'll be sharing this recipe later this week.

I dug up and moved several plants to help them to get better sun exposure/less sun exposure (some were burning in the sun and others were failing to flower). Moving the plants made it feel like I've put new things in the garden. (You can see some recent pictures of the garden over on Instagram.) I planted two bushes that were started by tip layering several years ago to the pots by the front door.

We have been working on making our raised bed smaller. About half of it was on the east side of the house. It wasn't getting enough sun, and we want the space for bicycles. I ran new drip irrigation to the remaining part of the bed (the old irrigation had become clogged with calcium and salt that is prevalent in our local water). As I evaluated the bed, I saw that I could install the lines closer than they had been before, allowing me to almost double the number of rows in the remaining space. My lettuce and green onions can grow closer together than they have in the past.

I planted seeds for lettuce, spinach, green onions, snow peas, radishes, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and pumpkins in the garden. We're expecting record high temperatures this week (70F/23ºC), and with our normal last-frost date only two weeks away, it's warm enough for warm-weather crops to germinate in the garden.

I transplanted parsley seedlings from where I started them in a pot in the white garden to several shady spots in the garden. Parsley will burn here completely in the sun come April, but will grow year-round in the shade.

I covered vegetable seedlings with jars to protect them from being eaten and to speed up growth. Glass jars act as miniature greenhouses in the garden, and I've found that the seedlings grow three times faster when covered than when not.

I updated my garage sale list. I usually print my list and take it with me. Now I have the list on my phone, so I'll have it with me always, and I can update it more often as I both find things and think of things we need. Garage sale season usually starts in March here (and is at its peak in April and again in October, when HOA's have their semi-annual community sales).

Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake The Prudent Homemaker

I made a crepe cake for my son's birthday (my children choose the meals for their birthdays, and this was his request). He asked for a crepe cake with lemon curd, Nutella, and whipped cream for breakfast. I still had heavy cream left in the fridge that I bought a few months back that was good (whipping cream lasts months, unlike milk) which was perfect to top the crepes.

I checked out and read four e-books from the library.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I made homemade hair detangler/leave-in conditioner. A small squirt of conditioner in a squirt bottle and water work just as well as Infusium leave-in conditioner.

I said yes to some free clothes hangers.

My husband cut my hair for me.

Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake 2 The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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