Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Hellebore The Prudent Homemaker

My husband and I cut his hair.

I baked a chicken, and made soup with it the next day.

I cut green onions, Swiss chard, and beet greens from the garden.

I picked most of the lemons from the garden.

I made lemonade, lemon parmesan penne, fettucini alfredo with leftover turkey that I had frozen, turkey enchildas with green sauce, spanish rice, and rice pudding. I cooked a pot of beans in my solar oven and made pasta e fagioli

I purchased pork sirloin roasts for $1.69 a pound, and mandarins for $1 a pound. I found frozen petite peas for $1 a pound on sale, but the store only had 6 pounds (the deal was 10 for $10, so I also bought 2 pounds of frozen spinach and 2 pounds of frozen green beans). I got a raincheck for 10 pounds at that price that I can use later.

I listened to music on Pandora.

I wrapped Winter’s birthday gifts with some paper I bought earlier this year at a yard sale.

We celebrated her birthday at home with dessert and invited her grandparents as well. This is our usual birthday celebration, and I love the simplicity of it. 

I sewed a button back on a shirt.

I read three books this week: two borrowed books: Deep Cover, and Shadowed, and one I bought used from Amazon for $0.01 (plus $3.99 shipping), For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

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47 Comments

  1. We made all meals at home. I spent the spare time I had sewing my last minute Christmas gifts. Got them wrapped and ready to give. I read 2 free books on my kindle. (I read in bed) I did all laundry but the white load in cold water and used the clothes line to dry. I used my rain check to buy turkey for .39 a pound. Got a 31 pound bird. (I got it cut into 2 pieces) I colored my own hair. I used a great Joann coupon to save an extra 25% on my fabric for next Christmas. (I had a 40% coupon too, they took both) I had a leather Kate Spade purse (paid 4.00 for it at a thrift store) fixed. It cost me $15.00, but well worth the money. I love the purse and the handle was coming un sewed.
    Made home made cleaners.

  2. Please pass on a happy belated birthday wish to winter, Brandy. I hope you will share a post on the gifts you gave her and your special celebration touches. You have such amazing ideas on how to decorate and cakes that you bake for the occasion. Winter’s getting older now, as is my daughter. I’d love to read how her birthday celebrations are evolving with her age.

    Also, thank you for including what you made this week for meals. I love to read what others do for their everyday meals as I’m always looking for new meal inspiration.

    My frugal accomplishments this week are:
    *I worked 2 more days this week. This concludes the Christmas school program for this year, so my contract for this year is done. I am officially unemployed until we start back in April/May at the start of the new season.

    *Meals cooked at home included chicken low mien stir fry with veggie spring rolls, ham and cheese crescent rolls with broccoli/cauliflower covered with cheese sauce, chicken bacon ranch pasta (I use less bacon and chicken than what’s called for to cut costs), grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with potato chips, chicken burgers/strips with baked potatoes and homemade pizza (crust made in bread maker). I took a bagged lunch every day I worked.

    *My daughter went out to eat one night with her respite worker as part of some Christmas activity they did that day (including exchanging gifts). We took the opportunity to get Chinese takeout for the rest of us (my daughter is not a fan of Chinese food). There was enough for 2 full meals…yum!

    *We had to take my daughter to the Dr.’s this week. She developed a bladder infection. Since we have health coverage here in Canada, there was no cost to see the Dr. Our Dr’s office has an after hours clinic, so we didn’t have to go to the hospital emergency either (thank goodness!). My daughter also qualifies for a free drug plan because of her Autism and we are low income earners, so the antibiotics were free as well. It is days like this that make it a huge blessing to live in Canada (and after reading other people’s stories, I assure you I no longer take this for granted!).

    *I attended a special project volunteer group meeting at my work. We were provided with a free Christmas lunch as a thank you for our on-going volunteered time on this project.

    *I also attended my daughter’s school Christmas pageant. My daughter’s class did not participate in it, but I used this as an opportunity to drop off all the teacher/EA gifts at the school. There were 7 gifts total, with almost all the gifts coming from items we bought from after Christmas sales in previous years, sale items I had picked up as I found them, and a few handmade items.

    *Cheese finally went on sale, again not as cheap as I have bought it in the past, but a better sale than normal. I bought 12 blocks of cheese for $3.77/450g (equivalent to 1 lb blocks) to put in the freezer. I am planning on buying more this week before the sale ends. My cheese stock has been extremely low lately and I have had to buy some at regular prices…ugh!

    *One of my co-workers gave me a little gift which included a toy for my daughter, candy to share, a piece of fudge and a jar of maple rhubarb spread.

    *My husband, daughter, MIL and I went to see the new Star Wars movie. I was able to sign up for free tickets through Autism Ontario. The movie theatre was opened early (movie started at 9:30am) for only those who signed up, the sound in the theatre was turned down to accommodate sensory issues and the lights were kept dimmed (not turned out) to accommodate the children with fears of the dark. The best part is that all the families have children on the Autism spectrum, so if anyone starts to have issues or is noisy during the film, everyone understands and is tolerant of the disruptions. We really enjoyed the movie as the new one retains the sense of humour the original three had.

  3. Rhonda,

    She just wanted brownies, so that’s what I did! Her gifts were simple things: some tights for church, a pair of 100% wool socks, some nice Tweezerman tweezers (which she asked for), and two nice sweaters that I bought used at a garage sale (they were an expensive brand and looked brand-new, and fit her well). She had wanted some new curtains a few months back so those were an early birthday gift to her.

  4. Not feeling very frugal lately. With the holidays coming and preparing to go to Michigan for Christmas (currently live in Texas) and vacation the beginning of February, it feels as though the money is going out so quickly. I am sure though that this time of year is overwhelming to others as well. I know that we are truly blessed to both be healthy, working and doing well. With that said, it is just in my nature to be frugal and thoughtful with how I spend money.

    Reading your blog am posting occasionally keeps me accountable and encourages me to work harder as I know all too well that the income can go as quick as it came.

    1. Passed on grocery shopping this past weekend. Will not be here much so are working to use up any food that may spoil while we are gone. Have been getting creative with our meals.
    2. Completed gift preparations for the holidays. This includes purchasing and hand made gifts. Homemade gifts include home-canned apple butter, blueberry jam, homemade wild game meat rub. My brother in law requests this every couple of years. Super simple! Just use spices you have on hand and package in an airtight jar. Homemade dish towels, a wooden outdoor snowman decoration, Christmas bulbs with pics of my sissy and brother in-laws wedding photos, and hand picked wildflower seeds.
    3. Purchased a few more cardigans/ sweaters from the pawn shop. We have been having unusually cold weather here in Texas and my cold weather clothing collection was pretty small. These will come in handy for keeping me warm at work.
    4. Detailed my vehicle. This is not something I have ever paid someone to do. It takes me about 1 to 1.5 hours to wash the outside by hand, vacuum, clean the inside windows, armor all and clean out trash. My husband pays someone to have his truck done about once a month. It can run between $50-$70!! That is crazy to me but it is his choice. I feel good about doing it and it saves me big bucks.

  5. Our family borrowed several books from the library and we returned all our books on time so that we didn’t have to pay any late fees. We have had to pay late fees recently so we are making an extra effort to return our books on or before the due date. I even have the due date written on the calendar!

    Some of the deals I picked up this week were FREE Gillette shave gel at Hannaford and Skippy Peanut Butter for $.90 and Chex cereal for $1.00 at Food City.

    I made a few more cards this week with cardstock and scrapbook supplies that I had on hand. I used a 55% off coupon at A.C. Moore to purchase cardstock and paid just $1.80 for a pack of 50.

    I downloaded a free crochet pattern.

    Thanks to a tip from a reader, I looked for discounted Italian bread at Walmart and found some for just $.50. I used half of the loaf to make garlic bread and froze the other half.

    This week I shared the Clothespin Snowflake Ornaments that I made for our Christmas tree on the blog. I love making homemade Christmas ornaments and I really enjoyed making these with supplies that I already had on hand.

    http://vanessasvalues.blogspot.com/2015/12/simply-saving-saturday-december-19.html

  6. My very old laptop died, I traded it to Gazelle. It was worth $15 – if I took the Amazon GC, they added an extra 75 cents. This suits me just fine.
    Searching for ways to crock pot potatoes for a family gathering earlier in the year, I came across a baked potato recipe where you cut the potato in half salt & pepper the inside and add a pat of butter. Then wrap in foil and bake. This method has saved me so much butter the last few months. I am one of those people who likes to use a half of stick of butter on a baked potato. Sad, I know but it is so delicious. With the above way, I only use the pat. Somehow it flavors the potato so well I don’t want the extra butter.
    I used “saved” butter to bake holiday cookies using ingredients from the pantry.
    This is the season of us being served food loaded with calories (visiting families) – I made a few batches of basic roasted squash and potato and chard soups to eat in between to help keep waistlines from growing. These were so simple to make using what was on hand/grown.
    I have set a goal of what to add to my IRA each quarter. This has really helped in keeping my spending in check.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  7. Oooh, thank you for the reminder about making chicken stock, I have a couple of carcasses in the freezer I need to get into my slow-cooker!

    Our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    My husband called back the plumbing company after discovering they had not leveled our water heater, and a few other defects in their workmanship. He said they did a top-notch job at no extra cost, because they were concerned about his feedback to the home warranty company.

    We made all our family holiday gifts ourselves, as we do every year: hot cocoa, homemade marshmallows, peppermint bark, and dozens and dozens of cookies! We tossed a variety of dried fruits and nuts (things that had been purchased for other recipes, and then never used) into the cookies, along with chocolate chips, and they came out beautifully!

    I made a homemade body scrub and whipped body butter, both scented with essential oils, for a friend’s birthday gift… it was my first time making body lotion, and I will keep doing it!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and I’m looking forward to reading the post-holiday version of Frugal Accomplishments!

  8. I’ve been enjoying holiday music on Pandora while I wrapped, baked cookies and wrote cards. I had quite a few holiday bags for wrapping, but I also like to wrap with paper, & found I was low. I was happy to find pretty rolls for $1 at the local dollar store. A nice surprise was finding 3L tins of olive oil for $8. I hope you are feeling a bit better each week that goes by. Joining in here: http://www.abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/12/holiday-baking-and-frugal.html

  9. I got an out-of-print through interlibrary loan instead of buying it.

    I wrapped Christmas gifts in the paper I bought on clearance after Christmas last year.

    We ate leftovers for dinner.

    We had a free dinner at church.

  10. Happy Frugal Accomplishments day! And Merry Christmas to everyone! Good news: I was hired for a 3 month assignment at a huge accounting for to help verify their computer program uploaded everyone’s tax forms/information correctly. It’s a temporary job but it’s something and I am excited!
    Last week:
    I made a chicken in the crockpot, tacos from leftover chicken and pork, hubby made chocolate chip cookies, I made chicken enchiladas, ham and bean soup, rosemary bread, cheesecake, 3 ingredient “ice cream” using a recipe a friend shared on FB, kale chips, smoothies, popsicles. I also made more toothpaste and will make more deodorant today or tomorrow, and an all purpose cleaner (vinegar, water, lemon EO).
    My best friend and her family and my family exchanged gifts. She gave my daughter a homemade basket filled with a teddy bear, a big box of crayons (saved for school next year, she doesn’t need them now), two work books for kindergarten level, and a book. Our basket included two kitchen towels (which were needed), a bag of coffee, maple flavored syrup and pancake mix, two books of diy craft/food ideas in a big bowl with a spout. The bowel has been put into the bathroom to catch warm up water from the sink to be poured into the bucket in the bathtub, the syrup and pancake mix will be given to my son and daughter in law (we can’t use it) along with some food from our pantry we won’t use. I gave them an “Italian night” basket I made with pasta/herb mix, salad mix, and cheesy garlic bread. She also got a book and a homemade candle, and a small loaf of banana bread. I gave her son a mug with hot chocolate mix, candy, his own little loaf of banana bread.
    I am more diligent about unplugging things when not being used. I have also doubled my water saving activities after the bill went up $5 for some unknown reason. I found my old tub for the kitchen sink, cleaned it up and use it for rinse water for the dishes. We have also started the “if it’s yellow let it mellow” mantra, although we do flush more than once per day. I use the water from the bucket in the shower and from the kitchen sink to flush as well. I also clean the toilet daily to keep it clean.
    I took a load of donations to Goodwill, and then decluttered my spare room (again) and my dresser/closet. the basket is now 2/3 full of donations again. I was able to recycle A LOT of the no longer needed junk (that wasn’t suitable for donating). Only a very small amount went into the trash can (non recyclable items).
    I listened to music on Youtube and Pandora.
    I played free games on my kindle.
    I borrowed books from the library.
    I downloaded free books onto my kindle.
    I did purchase some food. Three items: loose leaf tea, peppercorns, and cashews, were all package free from the bulk bins, saving me several dollars. I also found some hanging coupons for some frozen veggies making them $1 per pound bag. I was only able to purchase 2 bags due to lack of freezer space. I found my hubby’s beloved Mt. Dew on sale for $5 for the 24 pk case. I bought him one.
    I have used wrapping paper that I have had for years. I did not buy any this year and will not buy anymore. After this paper is gone I will look to more “green” ways of wrapping gifts, including making cloth gift bags from an old king sized sheet we have that we do not use. I made gift tags from old cards, and did not do bows because I don’t have any. I have also used saved boxes and packing materials as needed.
    That’s it for this week. See you next week!

  11. This week, I worked on Christmas gifts. I cooked at home a lot. We went to a friend’s house for dinner one night, and I was able to make mixed berry crisp, using some frozen berries that needed to be used before they became too old. It turned out really yummy.

    We ate at my sister’s house yesterday. I brought some food items–pineapple I got for $1.25, corn chips I got for $1/bag, and some other items that were not as inexpensive, but tasted great. There were several of the cousins and friends there as well (college break), so we had several extras to feed. It was a really nice time.

    We attended a concert Ja’Ana was in on Saturday, and a church concert/drama on Sunday. They were both very lovely.

    Rob broke the window on our wood stove, and we replaced it for a fraction of the cost it would be to get a new one. We had to spend $ to save $, as our power bill will prove when we get it. We usually heat exclusively with wood. You can read all about our little drama on my blog:)

    Lovana and Ja’Ana are going to a Christmas party tonight. Ja’Ana made a cheese ball and we got some of the $1/bag chips and some salsa. They will take White Elephant gifts.

  12. This week most of my frugal accomplishments were a result of my laziness. Too much work to go out and spend any money.

    Curled up on the couch one night to watch a movie on a DVD that we hadn’t watched yet.

    Finished a couple of more Christmas gifts including a sock monkey from a pair of socks I had on hand. I used the pattern that was printed on the label of the socks. I also made some catnip mice for the cats next door. I used some wool suiting left over from other projects and I had the catnip in my pantry.

    Used drying rack to dry clothes by the fire.

    All meals were eaten at home with the exception of Chinese buffet as a gift from my mom to celebrate me and my sweetie’s birthdays.

    Picked up a few books from the library for reading beside the fire.

    Went out back, cut down a tree, drug it home, and decorated it. This really was a highlight for me. It’s been years since I’ve put up a Christmas tree and I have missed it. I retrieved my box of ornaments from storage. Several didn’t make it but that’s okay. I realized that when I threw out those ornaments, I was also throwing out some unhappy memories since the ornaments reminded me of, well less happy days. Now I have room for new memories and excuses to craft new ornaments for next year. I did make a pair or mini mittens from felted wool because they were so cute I couldn’t wait till next year.
    Merry Christmas everyone.
    https://hiproofbarn.wordpress.com/

  13. I make my baked potatoes the same way, except I add a bit of onion too. I split the potato in half down the middle, add a slice of onion, a pat of butter, some salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and bake. ( I use my crock pot to bake potatoes too) The onion adds a nice dash of extra flavor. I do not care for raw onion, but cooked in this manner it is delicious.

  14. Hello Brandy and all from Australia :), and Merry Christmas to everyone and their families.

    I and my husbands frugal accomplishments are –

    Grocery shopping –
    – Moved our grocery shopping to once a month, still experimenting with this to see how it works out & if cheaper, will let you know.
    – Spent less on groceries to make up on overspend from last fortnight.
    – Purchased 4 tins of lychees on special saving $5.20 on usual prices.
    – Purchased barn laid eggs instead of free range saving $1. Eggs are running at $3.79 a dozen here that way, or $4.19 doz free range.

    Gardening-
    – Planted 1 row of beetroot seedlings, 1 row of lettuce seedlings, 2 rows of dwarf green beans, 2 tomato seedlings, 1 basil plant.
    – Weeded 2/3 or 10 x 5 mt vegetable patch.
    – Weeded 4 10 x 1.5 mt vegetable patches.
    – Picked spinach beet, turnips, carrots & green beans from the garden for 3 teas.
    – Used frozen beans & turnips frozen from excess produce in the garden for 2 teas.
    – Picked 3 bags of parsley, 2 bags of Thai basil, 3 bags of sweet basil, 1 bag of sage & 1 bag of coriander to traditionally dry in paper bags on the veranda to top up our herb storage in the home and to sell some.
    – Made $7 from sales of vegetables to friends.

    Water Preservation –
    – Used all grey water from washing machine and showers to water lawns around the home all week. We use biodegradable earth friendly body wash in the bathroom and washing liquids for our laundry so can use this on all our lawns safely with no residue.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 4 Christmas presents being chocolate chip muffins from items I had in the pantry and wrapped them by rolling them in baking paper, twisting and tying red & green satin ribbons in bows at the end of them to make them festive.
    – Baked a leg of lamb, had one nights tea and sliced enough left over for 3 other teas & put in the freezer, we now have enough left over of lamb & chicken for around 10 days worth of meals for stir fries & the like without cooking any more roasts.

  15. Got all 51 Christmas presents done (remember that’s just one present for hubby, each if our children, their spouses and our grandkids!) one of them was a 60″ x. 84″ Christmas quilt that I made for a dear daughter. Thank goodness for washable Crayola markers to mark it and Shout color catchers that let me make the quilt without prewashing!
    Took home about 64 oz of sour cream at the end of a church dinner when the others were just going to throw away! So far, we’ve made sour cream cookies, cranberry/walnut muffins with applesauce and sour cream and added sour cream as we made mashed potatoes! Also made pork carnitas burritos for dinner with our home canned tomatillo sauce and sour cream and cheese.
    Leftovers in the fridge went into lunches or were recycled into additional dinners so that the fridge didn’t have any wasted food to throw out at the end of the week when I clean it out!
    Hubby fixed our oven last week with 30 minutes and a $40 part. We know that it saved us about $200 in service call and parts/labor! Tonight, with another $40 worth of parts, he is fixing the howling screech that our clothes dryer makes every time it is drying the clothes! He is a handy hubby to have around and I am truly grateful!!
    I am truly grateful for how abundantly we have been blessed!

  16. My daughter dug up an old IPhone charger and gave me her IPod from when she was in middle school so now I can load the music I want and play it on my CD player while I am sewing and I can put headphones on and actually have music to clean the house – without annoying my hubby (course I am still going to be singing along 😛 at least I can sing in tune – unlike him or my son!)
    I finished all of my Christmas baking and only had to buy one item I ran out of (seedless raspberry jam of all things!)
    I forgot about all of the goodie bags I had bought on clearance after last Christmas but I found all of those when I dug out the plates I was putting the treats on. I keep an eye out at garage sales for really cheap plates I can give away and people don’t have to worry about returning anything. I had enough of everything to be able to package everything up without needing anything more!
    We went to the movie theater North of us to see the new Star Wars and got in for only $5 each since we went at 11 AM. It isn’t as “nice” as the one closer to home but we can see a movie AND get popcorn for “only” $20 – it’s twice that at the other theater.
    I buzzed my hubby’s hair again and trimmed my own bangs.
    Frugal fail – what I thought was a cat food bag turned out to be a dog food bag so we had to purchase more cat food when I didn’t have any coupons or sales. Plus side is that it’s not as if the food won’t get used up – soon! Our newest addition is gaining 5 pounds A WEEK and is eating 6 cups a day and it still doesn’t seem to be enough since she looks a bit underweight! (and yeah – she is clear of all parasites)
    Scrambled up all the extra eggs that were getting a bit too old for us to eat and fed them back to all the critters. They need the boost this time of year.
    We stayed out of the grocery store once again other than for milk and OJ.
    I had hubby use up what I had left on a Panera gift card from last Christmas to pick up a loaf of “crusty bread” on the day I did all my baking – I just wasn’t getting the bread made on top of the 6 types of cookies and caramel corn + pumpkin bread. I still have the cinnamon maple scones to make for Christmas breakfast.
    We made all meals from scratch except for one – we got Chinese one night when we were w/o either of our kids.

  17. Right now we are in survial mode. Some due to my poor planning and other that we have no control of.
    I have a story for all you ladies and gentleman. My daughter wanted ranch dressing. We were out. She looked online for recipe. She didn’t have all the spices that she need but used what we had. She need sour cream but didnt have enough so she used plan yogurt too. The next day, she used and said it was better then the one we get from the store. Score!

  18. Finished a pair of wool mittens for my granddaughter’s birthday, & then knitted a third mitten as a “spare”. I also completed the pillow cover I was making from a college sweatshirt for the same granddaughter. Wrapped her gifts so they are ready to go with when I deliver the remaining Christmas presents for her family.

    Worked on mending a child-sized wool mitten that had developed two holes. It would probably take less time to just knit another complete mitten, but I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could remove the part with the holes & just reknit that portion. Personal economic disasters, such as job loss, or pay reduction, have been more frequent in my life that large scale disasters, & I would like to know how to repair a hole “just in case” I need to know.

    Bought more wool yarn in grey, dark grey & black. For what it is worth, 8 skeins of Galway wool yarn, plus a partial skein, fit very nicely inside a clean, empty popcorn tin, where the yarn is well protected from moths & mice.

    Wrapped the last few presents that had not yet been wrapped. Brought the Christmas stockings out of the storage cubby.

    We had our first heavy snowstorm. When I shovel the driveway & front walk, I purposely place the snow I am removing carefully around the dwarf blueberry plants that are close to the house. As they get buried in the snow, they are protected from the strong winds & the colder temperatures that will be coming, since the snow insulates them somewhat.

    I used my “points” at the grocery store to pay for $15 worth of food, which cut my bill in half.

    Trimmed my bangs again in between haircuts.

    Dehydrated more apple slices & filled 3 more quart jars with the same.

    Baked a simple casserole with flaked fish & rice, with salt & dill as seasonings. The fish flakes came from the leftover pieces of fish, after I baked a large fish two months ago. Our neighbor gave us a large trout he caught, & after we ate a dinner as baked fish, I flaked the leftover meat & froze it. The casserole was very good served with sour cream. The rice was from the pantry & the dill was dried dill weed from the garden, so this was a very low cost meal & a nice change from usual.

    I made a large pan of cooked rice pudding. Both my husband & I have Scandinavian ancestry, so this is a wintertime treat for us as well as a pleasant way to rotate our stored rice.

  19. Hi Gardenpat and so great you have a handy husband as I do ( a country man who was bought up on large livestock & crops properties), in fact we are both quite handy as I used to work in a few building hardware stores over the years, so we are both quite adept with hammers, power tools, and general house renovations. Makes for some interesting conversations in our home when we have a complex repair or we are building something, as between us we both have multiple ways and ideas on how to do things, so we banter ideas back a forwards quite often.

    Good on you for rescuing the sour cream, it can as you have said be used for so many things.

    Recently our neighbours sister who works in a supermarket in a country town asked to keep around 10 packets of garden seeds that they were going to throw out as they were not selling well, they had a use by date of 2017, they said she could have them. She kept some for herself, gave some to our neighbour her brother, he then kept some for him and his mum, and then gave us around 4 packets that they couldn’t use for us to use.

    I like yourself hate wasting anything, and unfortunately a lot of people and major companies do throw out so much that could help others. Estimated on recent surveys here in Australia is that on average 30 % of the food people buy in the grocery stores gets thrown away !, and how many people who are struggling financially could that help to feed.

    When we have church functions or sandwich Sunday’s during summer everyone always asks around to see if someone would like to take home anything that is not eaten to save waste. We live in a country area where we have a lot of retired, elderly, people on disability & aged pensions and quite a few families with 6 or more young children so almost never is anything thrown out.

  20. Congrats on the job, Mandy! I’m sure that must be a huge relief for you and your family. What a wonderful Christmas present!

  21. My 92 year old Aunt makes me cloth bags every year and people love them. I buy the fabric the day WalMart puts their Christmas clearance to 75% off (that includes fabric but lots of people don’t shop that aisle for clearance) Wish I could send you some pics but not sure if that is allowed on here. She says they are really easy to make. I just googled Fabric Gift Bags for images only and a million cute ones came up. They are so “green”, my friends and family reuse them every year and so easy to put odd shaped stuff in.

  22. Hi Mrs.p and sorry that you are in a tight financial situation through circumstance and hope that you and your family regardless have a merry Christmas.

    Through circumstances we moved away from greedy family and have for the last almost 2 years started from scratch again, at a later stage in life than most. When we first moved to the country we attended church where our missionaries came and asked us whether they could come to tea at our home. Although I would have dearly loved to have had them for tea, I quite embarrassingly had to tell them that at that time I couldn’t feed them, as we didn’t have enough food. Not only did we have just the bare basics for the 2 of us in the home, we also had no money in the bank after moving either.

    It is amazing, as your daughter has found out, just how resourceful you can become and what you can make with very little in the way of groceries in the home.

    I wake up every morning and challenge myself to look for the blessings in our life, and what we do have, instead of focussing on what we don’t. The whole situation has made me look for more & more ways to be frugal & save money where we can.

    Things will improve, as we have seen in our home as well. My blessing for today is that I can go out and pick fresh vegetables from my garden, and eat them each and every day.

  23. Speaking of books you’ve read, would you recommend that one you mentioned, “Girl in a Hyacinth Blue”? I’m on the fence about ordering it and wanted to ask if you recommend?

  24. Roxie, thanks for the tip on the onion. I added onion salt to yesterdays potato – your idea sounds delish!
    Meredith, I hope it works for you. It might not be much – but it is better than nothing!

  25. Here’s how I saved today: I had accumulated many points through the Walgreens plan over the past year, mostly through insurance covered prescriptions. I cashed in $50 worth today to buy some expensive lotion and a big can of baby formula that will be part of a Christmas gift for our newest grandchild (3 months). For less than $6 out of pocket, I got those two items plus a bag of cashews and a couple of boxes of cornbread mix that had been marked down.

    I also used two coupons to buy some batting at Joann’s at about half off.

  26. Would love if you could share a bit about how you make the body scrub and body butter. Also, if you are willing to share your recipe for the hot cocoa, that would be much appreciated.

  27. I really enjoyed the story (though it was a fictional account of a painting) but it did have a couple of serious, more mature parts (including one I could have done without, though it was a reason for what happened to the painting in the story) so that I wouldn’t give it to my children to read. You may prefer to get it from the library if you can or buy a less expensive used copy. I think it was excellent to read once, but it is not something I would read again–but of course, not all books are ones I would reread. I hope that helps!

    My children have read two of the books I read this week, but not the French spy one. That one is actually a true story. It’s fantastic, but it does open with a bombing and is a bit descriptive of the aftermath (made extra sad when you realize it is a true story). The other two are very good but also very family friendly.

  28. So much fun reading all these great ideas~thanks for sharing, everyone!

    I’m going to “play” this week for the first time:

    *Bought a rotisserie chicken (not as frugal as making but …) and used it for two meals. Then I made chicken stock and tonight we had chicken soup (yum!).

    *Found some cooked breakfast meat in the freezer that I’d saved when we had too much around Thanksgiving (husband’s work had a breakfast and he was sent home with some of the leftovers). Just as tasty as when it was freshly cooked and made a nice addition to a couple of weekday morning meals.

    *Am learning how to make simple applique flowers which I’m using to embellish some tops that were headed to Goodwill. Now I will bring them to the local vintage shop and try to sell them. 🙂

    *Packed my lunch every day, packed my son’s lunch once (only two days of school this week) and my husband gets free lunches this week at work (holiday parties).

    *Picked rosemary that’s shockingly still green and fresh here in northern Vermont. Added some red velvet ribbon I had on hand to make a festive little Christmas bouquet for the kitchen counter.

    *Used an extra children’s gift we had on hand (new) for the children’s Christmas exchange at church.

    *Resisted the urge to buy cute little owl-shaped scissors for applique project and used my regular sewing shears instead. Also resisted urge to go to craft store for more trim for my upcycled clothes experiment. I’m finding I do better work with less materials. Choosing between one or two items is easier than staring at a cupboard full of supplies!

  29. Thanks, Sue, for the idea! I hadn’t thought about freezing it! That’s what I love about this group! Everyone shares ideas and even a “granny” like me can learn so many new things!!!

  30. I can relate to the letting go of ‘less happy memories’ thing. I sold some jewelry this past week to the pawn shop. It was all stuff that had no sentinmental value at all or I associated with less happy times. I came off with a nice ‘bonus’ that will pay off a medical bill and help pay the remaining balance on a home improvement project (small one obviously).

  31. Oh the resisting of ‘cute’ little scissor (or measuring spoons and cups), etc when we have a hobby we love doing. I hope you find cute scissors on sale very soon and purchase them to add to your pleasure in crafting. In the meantime, I like you will keep using what I have on hand!

  32. Thanks for the encouragement, TerriC! I needed it … nearly found myself at the craft store tonight just to ‘browse’ the ribbon (found a last-minute vintage hat for my Mother-in-Law’s Christmas gift but it needs a little something fancy. I thought of you all here and said, “let’s just see what I have at home first.” 🙂 Off to read your frugal accomplishments now for an extra shot of inspiration.

  33. Being the week before Christmas, this wasn’t the most frugal of weeks. But we did have some savings.

    -My friend and I won $200 in gift cards and $200 in personal training sessions at my gym for being the first place team for a body transformation challenge we did this fall at our gym. I lost weight, body fat and inches and won money! Not a bad trade off!!
    – I took the christmas presents for my sister’s family with us when we went to her house for thanksgiving so I didn’t need to spend money to mail a big box of presents.
    – I did my own fingernails and toe nails for Christmas. My fingernails are gold with a fun accent nail of silver on both ring fingers.
    – I had a “favorite things” party for some girlfriends and bought cookies and cheeses, etc for a really good price at Aldi. I also made a salad with things I had on hand. And I made a chicken taco soup (only had to buy the chicken for it which I got at Aldi) and cauliflower soup (just had to buy cauliflower, half and half and whole milk). The party was great fun and I came away with some new fun things plus some lovely hostess gifts from my friends.
    – used the leftover whole milk (we drink skim) to make the kids hot chocolate. Have been using the half and half for my husband’s coffee and my tea.
    – didn’t need to buy any wrapping paper as I bought a bunch last year on clearance after Christmas.
    – my parents arrived tonight and since we’ve got big meals planned for the next three nights we had munchies with stuff I had on hand (veggies, fruits, hummus, olives, cheese and crackers, chips and salsa and mini frozen pizzas). We were all quite full after and it saved me at least $40 if I had ordered take out like I was considering.
    – my aunt and I spent a day earlier this month making lasagnas and sauce. She bought all the ingredients. We will be having one for dinner tomorrow. We will also be eating at my aunts on the 26th so I am only responsible for Christmas dinner.
    – I sold some more things on ebay (I’ve been selling mine and my husband’s clothes that we no longer want, decluttering, and clothes the kids have outgrown)
    – my husband’s been off work this week and we had planned on going to lunch. When we got to the restaurant we realized I forgot my purse and he forgot his wallet. We thought it was just as well. It would save us money to just go home and eat. I out on Christmas music and made us tuna sandwiches and chips and pretended that it was like a restaraunt.
    – we had a very productive meeting at the bank getting some good financial advice

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