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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Armenian cucumber in the garden

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I harvested a few more Armenian cucumbers. I gave two to a neighbor (they each weigh 4 to 5 pounds). I harvested a small handful of tomatoes and a small handful of red noodle beans.

I cut large bunches of basil from the garden to bring in and dry. There is still a very large amount in the garden. I think by the time our first frost comes, I will have dried enough to cover our needs for the year. We use a huge quantity of basil in cooking, and one of my goals this year was to grow enough in the garden to no longer need to purchase it at the store.

I canned 7 pints of dill pickles.

I took care of my friend’s garden again this week while she was gone, and brought home loads of tomatoes; we had tomato sandwiches and pasta salad, and roasted tomatoes over pasta during the week, tomato and cucumber salad, plus tomatoes with salt as a side dish.

Early in the week, we had an unusual rain come in, enabling me to turn off the sprinklers for a day. The temperature was 25 degrees cooler as well, so I turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows for two days. At 80, felt like a preview of fall in the middle of summer. The following days had cooler mornings, so every morning I was able to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows for a few hours, filling the house with fresh, cool air (it was a 75º outside in the early mornings). Having the air conditioner off for two days in August is quite unusual. When the end-of the week usage report came from the power company via email, I could see the savings was significant; I saved $30 by having the air conditioner off those two days. The mornings were also cooler than the week before (75º in the early morning, instead of the 84º the week before), allowing me to open the windows in the early morning for a few hours, which also saved me several dollars each day over what I would normally pay.

Using what we had, I did some redecorating in the boys’ room. I hung curtains, using a curtain rod I bought 9 years ago for our old house that has been sitting in the garage, and some old curtains that we had been given for free years ago (my husband thought we would use them for making some dress-up clothes, but the boys both said they liked them and wanted them hung, so they were hung).

I took down the pictures they had in there in anticipation of some posters that I ordered from Amazon, using credit that I had. I also used some Amazon gift cards that I had earned from Swagbucks, along with some referral credit, to order some quilts for the boys’ beds. It won’t be cold enough for the boys to need a blanket for months (we just use sheets here all summer, as it is too hot for anything else on the bed), but they really needed something other than the toddler quilts that their grandmothers made them years ago that were on their beds (Cyrus’ blanket was falling apart, which prompted the change). The new quilts are folded at the end of their beds.

When the posters come and they are hung I’ll take some photos.

I redeemed points for a gift card on Swagbucks.

I mended several holes in a pair of my husband’s shorts.

When I need to order a new item, I try to always order through Ebates, and if possible, to do so while they are having a double cash back time, to ensure a larger rebate. Right now they are having double cash back at several places for back to school sales.

Last week, my 11-year-old glasses broke (the frame suddenly cracked and the lens fell to the floor; I was just sitting at the computer when it happened!) I was able to get a walk-in appointment at Walmart’s vision center the next morning for $69. I then ordered a pair of glasses for myself and for my husband (through Ebates first for 4% back) and used a 10% off coupon code I found on Ebates to get both of us a pair of glasses (plus a clip-on sunglasses for my husband) for $26.42 From Zenni Optical, including shipping! (Plus I’ll receive .95 back from Ebates. That and the $2.38 I saved using the coupon code is $3.33–enough money for a gallon of milk. I measure all small savings by the number of gallons of milk it would equal.)

For those who are shocked at the age of my glasses, I will tell you that my prescription had only very slightly changed; I had an exam many years back and they said it wasn’t enough of a change to warrant a new pair of glasses then, so I had not purchased new glasses.

Wren was invited to a birthday party last week. We made the birthday girl (who turned 6) the necklace above, using Fimo clay (it hardens when baked) and a wax sealing stamp that I’ve had since I was a teenager. The jump ring and the chain were from several I purchased on Etsy when making Christmas gifts.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. Hello from AustraliaIt was another busy week for my family. I had another story go to air on A Current Affair last Monday. On Wednesday I was interviewed on the radio station 3AW. There were lots of emails to reply to as well as people commenting on my blog. I had houses to clean ( my job ) as well as keeping my home tidy and running smoothly. Here’s my frugal tasks -Made three loaves of wholemeal breadAccepted glass jars from a friend to make jam.Dried the washing on the line when possible ( it’s still Winter here )Made fruit icecream with frozen fruit, a little cream and honeyMade a double batch of chocolate choc chip muffns – some for the freezerMade crunky vegetable and beef soup with two slices of left over roast beefHad enough food left over from a meal to make a freezer mealPicked silverbeet from the garden for two mealsCooked pumpkin, drained it and froze it to make pumpkin scones in the futureMade pita chips for snacksSaved the warm up water from the showers and poured it into the washing machineTried to stick to the two light rule.

  2. MBrodhag, you were “lucky” to get zucchini? Lots of people think it’s a curse. Glad you were a happy receiver. I am managing to keep my zucchini in check this year as I planted it next to the patio so am picking them small. My daughter let a few get a way from her in the big garden and I now also have 3 one-and-a-half-footers on the counter. Zucchini quiche tonight.

  3. Preppy, I’ve been making homemade maraschino cherries also, the last couple of years…no alcohol though, but star anise and other spices and juice and fruit peels. Found the recipe on the internet. No artificial colors or sulfites.

  4. I saw Halloween stuff in the store already. We are to be in the 40’s tonight I heard. I keep having trouble posting…I write the whole thing and it disappears. So this probably covers 3 weeks of some items. The garden in in full production now and we have harvested (last 3 weeks) beets, carrots, cabbage, zucchini, green and wax beans, corn, kohlrabi, scallions, rosemary, basil, cilantro, mint, cucumbers, gooseberries, red currants, blackberries, bell peppers, banana peppers, hot peppers, cherry and regular tomatoes. I never did the corn before but my daughter planted it; she took over all the gardening chores and all the big gardens, as I said. I just tend my patio garden. It is really really really nice not to do those things anymore. I seriously do not enjoy the gardening part, just the benefit, so I do not miss it at all. I love coming home and finding my counter top covered with produce or a note on the door saying “I put a quart of blackberries in your garage fridge”. Saturday she brought me 10 pounds of sweet cherries. She’s always been a farmer girl. Cooking and baking is my thing…(I’m thinking back over 3 weeks) made 2 cherry crisps (I saw a tip on the Martha Stewart website to make your crumble topping in a double batch and keep the extra in freezer so save time. I actually make a quadruple and put three extra in freezer) , a crumb topped blueberry pie, banana cream pie, applesauce struesel coffeecake, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, banana walnut icecream, peach icecream, lasagna, pinto beans seasoned and pureed (filled almost 20 1 C and 2 C containers for the freezer), falafels, homemade pitas, white bread and cinnamon raisin swirl bread, pizza twice using the fresh peppers and onions from the garden, even sweet corn on one. Made 10 piecrusts and put the extras in the freezer. Using our refried beans we had meals of nachos and tostadas (topped w shreddedcabbage instead of lettuce) and burritos. Made fried rice, fresh rolls (Thai) and a new batch of dipping sauce, made cabbage rolls. Ate at the previous mentioned family get togethers and nephew brought a bucket of broasted chicken one night for our dinner. I made cole slaw and baked french fries to accompany.My mother gave me a new set of flannel sheets she found at the thrift store but they did not fit our mattresses so I decided to use them to make pajama pants for the 4 girls for Christmas. Husband, oldest son and our nephew are building a chicken coop. Son’s neighborhood allows backyard chickens so he is getting 3 from his sister…she is giving 3 of varying age and she knows they are all female so no worries about getting a rooster. We will haul the coop there in a couple weeks in our trailer. They have a double backyard with his inlaws, totally enclosed and even though they have only been there under 3 months they and her parents have done so much getting beds dug and planted, planting fruit trees and berry plants. It makes me think of your back yard, Brandy…there will be the central area of grass and a patio for open space.Froze 30 quarts of blueberries ( I order from MI) and that should last us the year. Canned 6 half pints of blueberry jam, 5 pints of blueberry syrup (thickened w cornstarch, but I do not can, I freeze these), 17 pints of pickled beets, 25 pints of frozen raspberries (over now) , 3 pints of frozen blackberries, pressure canned 2 loads of green beans quarts, BY MYSELF this year. I think I have the hang of it now. Canned 4 half pints of red currant jelly. Made 21 pints of sweet gherkin pickles …bartered gooseberries and currants for 25 pounds of baby size cucumbers with a neighbor.

  5. My local market has the regular size jar of Planter’s peanut butter for .99, and lots of the jars have coupons attached for saving a dollar off two jars. I’ve been stopping every time I pass and buying the limit, both for my own pantry and for the food pantry where I volunteer. A net cost of fifty cents a jar is incredibly cheap protein.I got a free six weeks subscription to the weekly news magazine “This Week.”I TRIED to be frugal about something that is not working out well. We noticed water standing above our septic tank (fortunately all is well INSIDE the house) and the weather has been dry enough that that shouldn’t happen. It had been several years since the tank was pumped, and we had that done. The man said there was a problem with a tree root partially blocking the distribution box intake. He warned us that it would be simpler to get someone here to take care of it while the water level was low and they could see what they were doing.I called that very day and got on the repairman’s list, but he is behind and hasn’t shown up yet. We’ve been using a lot less water than usual, and the water level is still low, but I can see water now. I have visions of having to pay the $180 for pumping again so that work can be done.Fortunately, washing machine water goes into a French drain on the other side of the house. I’ve resorted to “Navy hair washing”, shallow baths, shallow dish water, and only flushing for poop, unless someone comes over. I am afraid this third world sanitation still won’t save the extra expense. It’s bad when you feel nervous using the water to wash your hands!Then there is the matter of the street crew that is blocking my driveway when they swore they wouldn’t, but that must be fodder for another discussion 🙂

  6. Long time reader, first time commenter…have a lot to learn from you all but am pleased with my progress:Used coupons, sales and rebates to shop very effectively this week. Have a lot of food on hand, so planning to only buy a few fresh veggies & fruits the next few weeks which will really cut back our spending.I remembered to register my various mini-rebates (checkout 51 and so on) this week. I sometimes forget and then get frustrated.Have really cut back on eating lunch out when at work–this means that I spend some time on the weekends prepping food and getting stuff together, but it’s definitely worth it. I calculated the cost of both my husband and I eating lunches out regularly and about had a heart attack. I knew that bringing food was frugal, but for various reasons this past year had gotten away from the habit. No more!

  7. Hello Jenifer,Thank you for the nice “sharing” of a moment. I too am excited for my child and also saddened by the change that she won’t be at home anymore. I am afraid I am going to miss her more than I know. Yes, not many more Saturdays till the big move. Good luck with the launching of your daughter–that is how I think of my daughter going off to college-I wish you both the best.Best wishes. Anna

  8. MissFifi, the first time I saw wild turkeys while in the woods, I was astounded at how beautiful they were. Absolutely nothing like the ones raised commercially. Once we were walking in a remote area and saw a mother turkey walking with all her little turkey children trailing behind her.

  9. A friend who lived in a subdivision with loads of mature trees and older homes with septic tanks told me that her plumber told her to flush one box of rock salt (or ice cream salt) down her lines once a month. It would kill roots that crept into the pipes and not damage the system. It’s worth a try!

  10. Terri, I don’t know where your “anonymous” went to school, but I remember learning that in elementary school. Your menu was much like what I often served in really tough times in the eighties.

  11. Hi Debbie- The cheesemaking kit says http://www.cheesemaking.com on the side. It’s box is cute, pink and yellow. The name of it is Ricki’s Cheesemaking kit. I got it from Amazon with swagbucks but I think I’ve seen it other places too. You can use regular milk (which I noticed went up this week in my store to $3.99…curious if it went up this week in other stores too)- does not need to be anything special.And to prepare the greens, cook as you would other greens. I steam or sauté greens typically. (Tonight I made a spinach artichoke dip for a family get together tomorrow but instead of spinach I used kale and broccoli leaves that I have in abundance in my garden. I don’t think anyone will even know the difference tomorrow (I mean it has a block of cream cheese in it too so really…)) While I;m on the topic- beet greens can be cooked the same way. AND I just read that chard is a bulb-less beet. I need to double check that but it makes sense because I think they taste the same. Hope that helps!KK

  12. Athanasia- That’s so awesome! I made a batch (without the alcohol) that had the spices and a vanilla bean. I haven’t tasted them yet but I think they will be super yummy! I need to search for your recipe though- the fruit peels have me so curious and I love trying new canning recipes!KK

  13. KK, the website is cupcakeproject.com. I read the blog on and off. I think i went off it when she went into her candied bacon phase. I checked my bookmark and it is from 2012/07. This is the 3rd year I will be making them. Good luck.

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