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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Lettuce and Spinach The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested lemons, lettuce, garlic chives, oregano, spinach, and a couple of apricots from the garden.

I cooked chicken in my solar oven, which not only didn't use gas, but it also kept the house cooler.

Peppa Pig Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

We celebrated a birthday at home for my 2-year-old with homemade cupcakes.

My son picked more mulberries from our neighbor's tree (with permission). The birds planted this tree in her yard, and while she likes the tree, she doesn't like mulberries. Most of the berries were too high to reach even with our extension ladder, but we had enough to put over pancakes for breakfast.

We renewed library books online when it became obvious that we weren't going to get the books back on time.

My 13-year-old sold a few camp cards to earn money for his Scout camp this summer.

I got some free exercise at home while I pulled weeds and bolted chard plants from the garden.

Elsa Baptism The Prudent Homemaker

My daughter was baptized on Saturday. She wore the dress that I made for my eldest daughter, which each sister before her has worn.


What did you do to save money this past week?




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  • Becky May 13, 2018

    The little dress is so beautiful and the little girl, even more beautiful. I'm sure it was a special day for her, and all of you.

    I've got a little while to wait before my lettuce is ready, but it's coming along. I tried growing it in the greenhouse, but it got too hot or dry or something and turned out bitter. The experiment was still worth a few seeds to me, to see what would happen. Just because it didn't turn out how I wished doesn't mean I didn't learn something from it:)

    I worked several hours in the garden. I keep planting little by little. My husband got the last part tilled for the second time, so it's all ready to plant now. It's turned warm here, so we are having to hand-water everything to keep it from dying, as the sprinklers are not out or set up, yet. Soon. We just can't do it all at once. My husband and daughter did a lot of clean-up in the back yard, including spraying some sidewalk cracks to kill weeds, junk removal, trash disposal, etc. I also did some trash removal. Mine was mainly things from my plant starting--empty and broken planting pots/trays, junk, and so forth.

    My husband got a stack of library books for me to read. We paid daughter for her work, and she paid off her library fines, so she got some books, too.

    I got several free items this week from the stores. They included a candle, and some candy from Fred Meyers, and a couple of things from Safeway, including a meatless entree for my daughter who is a vegetarian.

    I signed up for the Ibotta app, managed to load one shopping trip on it, and am waiting to see how I like it after I've done it for a little while. My goal is to get the rest of the way to the amount I need to get the free $10 for joining, and then decide if the time I'm spending is worth it or not.

    I went to a garage sale and got 4 pairs of jeans and a pair of sweat pants for my daughter. They all fit. It was a miracle, since they claimed to be different sizes, and she was not there to try them on. They were $1 each, and I would have been happy if one or two had fit. I turned 3 pairs into shorts. Now she has shorts for summer, where before this weekend, she did not have one jeans pair that still fit--just one nylon pair that she can still squeeze into. And I have almost all of the money I set aside to buy her some clothes with. Since I don't have a large budget for that, I'm determined to stretch it as far as possible.

    My husband saw some jeans shorts with eyelet lace on the bottom at the store, so I added lace to two of the pairs. That post is: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/how-to-make-jeans-shorts-from-yard-sale-jeans/ The lace cost me nothing today. It's some I had from long ago, likely from old projects or a yard sale.

    The weekly update post with pictures of my savings is at:https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/weekly-update-and-saving-money-may-12-2018/. I made several meals, helped take food a couple of times to youth events, and made a fruit tart. A picture of that is on my blog, too. We gobbled that down quickly, I'll tell you:)

  • I'm so impressed that you were able to do all that despite having a baby so recently! You really bounce back quickly, and manage to stay frugal at the same time. I think it's so cute that you served the Peppa Pig cupcakes on the pig-shaped cutting board.

    My week was productive, and I managed to get a number of things done while staying frugal, so I was pleased:
    - I made 3 ingredient Bumbleberry Jam (http://www.approachingfood.com/bumbleberry-jam/), using berries from my freezer. Super-easy, and no need for pectin!
    - I fixed a pair of shoes that were going to wear out in the toe, by placing some moleskin inside in the toe. This will prevent the toe from wearing out for a long time. My mother had something like this done at the shoemaker and it cost her $20 (for her it was worth it to have a long-lasting comfortable pair of shoes) but my quick fix only cost me about $1.
    - I redeemed a Starbucks reward for a free lunch. I do love getting a free meal!
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Starbucks.
    - I turned the leftover stock from my Greek-Style Lemony Potatoes into vegetable, pasta, & ham soup, using a bit of frozen chopped ham from a trade several months ago, plus a couple of carrots, some small pasta shells, a potato, and some green onions. No waste, and my husband really enjoyed it! (I enjoyed it before adding the ham)
    - I soaked the last of my wizened carrots (once peeled) in some cold water in the fridge to firm them up. Worked a treat and I ate them with lunches through the week!
    - I’m re-growing some green onions in water. I plan to plan them after I’ve regrown them several times, so that I’ll have green onions all summer long, and hopefully some to freeze for the winter too.
    - I told a colleague that if she was going to buy Starbucks anyway (key word being ‘anyway’), she should buy a gift card, register it, and would therefore collect points to redeem for free items. She told me yesterday that she had taken my advice and already redeemed for a free item. I was pleased to pass on some money-saving info!
    - I bought some herb plants for my balcony garden: thyme, rosemary, and parsley, all for $1.79 each (a pretty good price for around here). Given our short growing season, it would take too long to grow from seed, so starting with small plants is best. I made sure to choose plants with multiple seedlings in the pot, or a 4-pack.
    - I dug out some frozen Easy Enchiladas (www.approachingfood.com/easy-enchiladas-a-20-minute-weeknight-meal/ ) from my freezer one day when I was too tired to cook. I do love the luxury of a freezer! I know it’s commonplace these days, but compared to my grandmother growing up, it’s such a time-saver and waste reducer!
    - My freezer was getting over full, so I took out a bag of sliced red and green peppers (that I had bought on sale and frozen several months ago) and dehydrated them. I like to use them in pasta salads or to toss into soups.
    - I read a book online through my library. Saved time to check it out electronically, and no late fees because it will automatically be returned when the time is up.
    - I made macaroni salad using all pantry ingredients, except for mayonnaise. Usually I make my own mayo but I had a jar in the fridge from a sale a few months ago. My husband loved it! It really is a pleasure to cook for someone who appreciates it.
    - I made ranch dressing from scratch, as well as a batch of sun tea from tea gifted to me.
    - I stocked up on pasta, for 49 cents/lb.
    - My sister invited my family over to her place to celebrate Mother’s Day. We contributed a very nice bottle of wine that I had traded for about a year ago. No cost OOP!
    - I redeemed Pinecone Research rewards for $5 to my paypal account.
    - I ordered an inexpensive silicone ice cube tray to make pineapple shaped ice cubes, online from lightinthebox.com (great place to order inexpensive items; they just take a few months to arrive) using some money in my paypal account from doing surveys. It will be the perfect gag gift for my father for father’s day! (We have a running theme of pineapple-themed jokes). Plus, it’s actually useful.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  • Heidi Louise May 14, 2018

    Regarding re-growing store-bought green onions, I had tried a few in water some months ago, but they rotted (and smelled!), even after I changed the water often. However, I am having excellent results with some about 1 1/2" bulb bottoms I just poked into a pot with good soil and left outside. I have also found that they grow in their original plastic bag in my refrigerator drawer. I use them slowly, and though the outside layer might need to be peeled off, they get taller every week. I put a paper towel in the bag to absorb some of the moisture.

  • Becky May 14, 2018

    They are super easy to grow from seed, as well. At the Dollar Tree, I have purchased 25c/package seeds, and they work just fine. Of course, there are numerous other places that you can get the seeds, as well. Once I got them established, they have gone to seed each year, easily wintered over in our fairly mild climate, but even made it through snow, and re-seeded. Now, I have mature plants going to seed, mid-sized plants I'm using, and tiny babies that will grow to be used. I'm not sure how long I can keep this cycle going, but it's worth a try. This is only the 2nd spring on this experiment. I'm considering planting a fresh package of seeds in another place in the garden just in case these get tired of growing in the same area. I usually rotate things.

    I always love hearing about other people's experiments, too:)

  • Heidi Louise May 14, 2018

    Becky: Rather like chives - we have them all over the gardens and yard. Wonderful smell when they are hit with the lawn mower! I'll have to watch to see if my potted green onions set seed heads so I can follow your example.

  • Amanda May 14, 2018

    I did this in our old house and kept them going for 4 years. I need to plant some in this house too. I miss them!

  • Marcia R. May 15, 2018

    I have bought a packet of parsely seeds and kept them going for a good 10 years before needing to buy another packet. They are biennials and self seed easily, plus I shake the stalks when I walk by, and it works great. Eventually they get down to too few and then I replant them.

  • I borrowed the cutting board from my mom for the party!

  • Pat May 13, 2018

    Happy Mother's Day Brandy!!
    I did all of the usual things to save money, time and gas.
    I did plant sugar snap peas and bush green beans in the garden and made a mini greenhouse from a tote and have some seeds that have already sprouted and some that did not.
    I had babysitting duty and my grandkids and I made homemade pizza for dinner. I had all the fixings for 3 large pizzas in my freezer. My 2 year old granddaughter aka Princess Sassy Pants only wanted cheese on her pizza but ate the pepperoni out of the package while the pizza was baking!
    Have a great week everyone and Happy Mother's Day to you all!

  • Marcia R. May 13, 2018

    Totally beautiful dress. I love it. Especially nice that they have all gotten to wear it.

  • Gardenpat May 13, 2018

    I flew to CA on Tuesday courtesy of a plane ticket from daughter and son-in-law! They brought me here to mentor and teach them how to buy, prepare and store food/meals! My daughter actually took notes when I was going over some basic food purchasing techniques to save money and build up their pantry!
    Then we made batches of apple cinnamon cooked oatmeal cups, sausage,egg and cheese breakfast burritos, French toast sticks and baked omelet cups for easy breakfast options to have in freezer! We also made up 3 chicken freezer meals and put 7 pounds of chicken breast in crockpot to cook up, shred and package for freezer for easy meals! All this was yesterday while walking her first grader to school and back (2 round trips) and taking preschooler to speech therapy for an hour! The next day, we prepared another 10 pounds of chicken breast from her freezer into convenience meals! She wants to have options that streamline breakfasts and dinners for her family of 3 little ones (7 and under) and hubby ! She is seeing the $$$ savings that just a little planning and preparation ahead can give!! I am thrilled to be helping!

    While I’ve been gone, Dave sold another 4 dozen eggs which brought in another $10!
    He is also finishing another wedding tray order for a client and just needs to do the final monogramming on it!

    Through savings on things and earnings, I have been able to pay down $1400 in just one month from Dave’s heart surgery bill! I had committed to paying $219/month but this is getting reduced much faster! Only about $5600 to go!

    I had Dave buy pineapples that are on sale at home for 99 cents each and I can can up pineapple chunks for our daughter whose husband was in the hospital for almost 3 weeks and is still having dialysis 3x a week! She is back to working full time since he is on disability for 3 months before the doctors will let him go back to even light duty work. She had mentioned that they were getting lower on those!
    I will make and freeze several batches of muffins in the morning to add to their freezer breakfast supply. Then we will make some entrees that we will portion individually for them to have ready to grab and go for lunches!

    What a great feeling to be able to prepare and also beautify our surroundings using creative, inexpensive ways!!

  • Cindi May 14, 2018

    What a wonderful time to spend with your daughter. I'm sure she appreciates your help.

  • Holly May 13, 2018

    Love the photos, as always!

    Stark Brothers suggests harvesting mulberries by putting a tarp or sheet under the tree and gently shaking the branch. Maybe the wind could do the shaking of your neighbor's tree's highest branches?

    Now that it is finally spring I have been getting my mom out more by taking drives (not frugal, given the cost of gas, but good) and, this week, insisting she get out of the car at least once each ride to walk through a small store. We saved money today by not buying anything at our local Goodwill. I also took $6 into Kroger to collect the last three week's Friday freebies and to buy eggs along with some produce. The eggs were so expensive! We have a can of scrambled egg mix in the pantry closet and if I was cooking and baking only for myself, I would have skipped the fresh eggs. But yesterday, we got four different loaves of still-fresh bread for fifty cents a loaf along with a bag of bagels and a box of donuts for $1 each at a bakery outlet. I wish the store was closer. I cannot justify making the drive, despite the fantastic prices, just to shop there. Yesterday, I was also surprised at the cost of bagged grass seed. I wanted just a bit to spread where I hand pull dandelions so I bought a small amount from bulk bins at a farm supply store instead. I also got enough onion sets from an old-fashioned greenhouse to plant a couple of flower boxes on our porch. I love the convenience of having scallion-substitute white onions growing just outside the door until late fall. Marigold seeds will be going into those boxes too. If I come across inexpensive nasturium seeds soon enough, they'll be the third plant in the onion boxes. Our last frost date is still a couple of weeks from now so I am trying to be patient when it comes to tomato plants. We are not planning on buying any flowering annuals this year. I saved marigold and bachelor button seeds and will be planting them again this year. I also have some flower seed mixtures purchased at Dollar Tree that I hope will grow and bloom with a bit of care and attention.

    I am exceedingly challenged by a squirrel who is wary of the diy trap I have been using. He has decided the sunflower seeds offered as bait are not worth the danger. Today, I moved the trap, hoping he is just location adverse. I play rattlesnake, owl, and coyote Youtube videos as loud as I can on my Kindle to break up any squirrel parties that still take place in the attic. (Spoilsport.) But I have to outwit him and his pals and relatives--and soon! Once they have moved on, mom will be hiring a specialist to properly screen the gables as the attic is not the type that can be easily accessed or walked in by humans, especially old, large humans. I so look forward to the quiet!

    I hope you all have a frugal and productive week, and are able to take full advantage of the better weather after the long winter.

  • mmckms May 14, 2018

    If you don't have any pets in the house, try this for squirrel. We had a house that was empty on the lake...every year we would spend thousands fixing boards the squirrels chewed thru then had their babies in the attic. Tried everything!! We hired a man to trap and remove them for 2 yrs! very expensive. The 2nd year a young man who was working for him came out and told me to purchase a large mouse/rodent deterent that you plug in the wall. It emits a high pitch (out of the human range) sound that the squirrels/mice/rats hate and will leave. We had pets and literally boarded them one weekend (with a coupon) left town and came back and they were gone. We only plug it up when our pets are gone..but seriously they leave your house within minutes and won't come back. We use it for mice and squirrels. I wouldn't leave it in long term (it kind of scares me on humans) but you seriously cannot hear a thing and then they are gone. We have used it off and on for 6 years and save tons of money on the exterminator and haven't had to deal with the pest! In my area they cost around 35$ well worth it over the thousands we paid before.

  • Holly May 15, 2018

    When we were driven to distraction by mice scratching in the walls, we bought a number of bottom-of-the-line detectors from Walmart. Our spiders didn't leave despite what the packages suggested. But when I would plug a device into the outlet nearest the noisy mice, they would quiet down so we could sleep in peace. Traps in the basement ended the problem. The frequencies broadcasted by the little devices vary. Unfortunately, my ears can pick up one of the frequencies. When that happens, I unplug the offending device for a bit. Obviously, our squirrels don't mind the bottom-of-the-line noisemakers. What brand device did your squirrels hate? I could place one in the attic by moving a ceiling tile in the garage.

    The rattlesnake recorded sounds might have caused the squirrels to look for a safer neighborhood. They were quiet yesterday. We live close (less than a mile) to public lands that are managed as Massasauga rattlesnake habitat so our local squirrels have to be rattlesnake aware.

  • Holly May 16, 2018

    My trap is empty yet there have been no squirrel sightings or sounds in the last two days. Not a single footstep overhead. I saw a bald eagle flying overhead in town the other day. Maybe he now is a particularly well-fed bald eagle. Or my neighbors who are hoping to sell their house decided to tackle their own squirrel problem before their house gets inspected and inadvertently took care of ours too. I don't know. I just am relieved, very relieved. I hate being the pest control person in this house. Now to tidy up the yard, especially on the side of the house closest to a "for sale" sign....

  • mmckms May 18, 2018

    I am so glad the rodent problem is gone for now, I will get the brand name for the future if you need it. We found (this is so weird) that even a year later when fall or nesting time came the same squirrels would reappear, once we would plug in this device in the attic they never returned. We had a "momma" with a white mark on her back that is how we knew it was the same "family" returning every year. Sorry it took me so long to reply we have teenagers in exam time, plus one graduating from High School so it is a bit wild around here. And struggling to keep the whole house frugal, I feel like all I say is NO lately.

  • Maxine May 13, 2018

    Brandy, sounds like a nice, quiet week at your house. When are you going to tell us more about your newest son?

    We bled money last week as a result of having bought a new car the week before. I was about to spend $110 on non-essentials when I pulled myself up by my big-girl knickers and put a stop to it! I have officially climbed back on the frugal wagon.

    I planted seeds of perennial flowers around the 10th of April. Last week, I pricked them out of the seedling trays and transplanted them to individual pots. I have 13 purple lupines, 13 balloon flowers, 26 columbines and uncounted sweet Williams coming up. Four-inch perennials cost $3.50-$4 each. My cost: 4 packages of seed @ $1.79 each. Lots of seeds left over, and very little work on my part. They are growing in my kitchen window. I expect to plant them at my new home in about 6 weeks.

    I also packed my own water every time I went somewhere. I probably would not have bought water each time I was out, but one time, I would have...and it would have cost $2.49. Gasp!

    I also discovered I had a $133.76 PayPal credit! I have no idea how long this has been building. I have withdrawn $125 and added it to my $1,000 savings challenge.

    Hope everyone else has had a great week!

  • Maxine, I've been waiting until we had decided on a name for the baby. It took a lot longer to decide on a name. We have one now and I'll be sharing it in an upcoming post with some photos (which also took a while, as I simply wasn't feeling up to taking photos and had to expend my energy on other needs at home).

  • Ava May 13, 2018

    My mother and I attended church together (we both sing in the church choir), including the pastor's book study ahead of the service. Several hours later, she and my adult son came to my home and my son grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for us all. We "dined al fresco", enjoying the lovely late-afternoon/early evening in the back yard. My mother brought a large bag of oranges from her tree, and I used them in a fruit salad. She also brought a huge bouquet of roses from her yard. We did not exchange gifts, deciding that time spent together talking and laughing (and singing!) was the best present. My husband cleaned up. We enjoyed videos and phone calls from the out-of-town children/grandchildren. I couldn't have asked for a nicer, more low-key Mother's Day, and the frugality was part of that.

    Earlier in the week, my husband and I combined a number of errands, saving time and fuel. We donated many bags of clothing and household items to the thrift shop that supports a local charity I believe in strongly - we received a receipt for our taxes, and will continue to weed out and donate clothing, books, and housewares. My husband sold an old movie poster on ebay (he got it when he was in college, and he's 62, which should tell you how old it was). He put the money in our auto repair fund.

    I continue to collect water from warming up showers and washing produce, and using it to water the herb garden and potted plants.

    The weather has been so pleasant, we haven't run either the heater or the air conditioner. I dry clothing on the line whenever possible, saving running the dryer.

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