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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

We celebrated Cyrus’ birthday last week. There were a lot of fun details there, and it deserves its own post, but the simple things I did certainly should be part of this one. He wanted cheesecake, which I made for him. I made graham crackers and made a graham cracker crust for the cake as well.

I sewed a birthday bunting for him, using fabric that I had on hand and some ribbon that I had purchased at Michael’s the week before.

I cut mint from the garden to make a batch of mint ice cream. I will be writing more on that in the details of Cyrus’ birthday post, but I now plan to expand the mint area in my garden.
I cut and froze several quarts of peaches from the garden. The frozen peaches will be used in smoothies.
I made a batch of peach pie popsicles.
I canned 3 pints and 7 half-pints of seedless grapes from the garden. These will be added to canned fruit salads in the winter.
I used the seeded grapes from our garden to make grape juice, and canned 7 quarts of grape juice. I used reusable canning lids for these and the 3 pints of grapes.
We also enjoyed plenty of peaches and grapes fresh from the garden.

I picked Mission figs from the garden.
I cut two Armenian cucumbers and one zucchini from the garden. I hope to have more zucchini again in October; the plants are not flowering now as it is too hot. The cucumbers only make a few in the heat, but they are big (bigger than zucchini!) and thus go a long way. We enjoyed cucumbers in vinegar several nights with dinner as well as in pasta salad.
I used water from rinsing fruits for canning to water the potted trees. I also collected water from the air conditioner, though it has slowed down again to less than a gallon a day. I continued to collect water from the shower as well for the potted trees. With those three things, I had enough water for all of the potted fruit trees and plants.
I cut green onions, chives, and basil from the garden. I made pesto one night with the basil, and threw in a few small tomatoes from the garden.
I cooked a ham from the freezer and sliced it for sandwich meat.

I watched a few more episodes of Foyle’s War for free on Hulu.

Back to school deals have just started here. Before I went shopping, I evaluated what I already had and saw that I would not need to buy as much of several items as I have in the past, as I still have quite a few things left from last year’s purchases. I made a list of the school supplies I’ll need. I picked up a few items last week on sale, and I will purchase a few more as they go on sale.

I also picked up a few toiletries while I was there, including a free bag of cotton balls. I used 3 $1 off printable coupons that were off the store brand (this was at Target). Two of those things had recently had the price reduced; one was more than $3 less than it had been, making my price 60% off the regular price after the coupon.The same store had a buy a container of mustard, get a free container of barbecue sauce for free, so I got both of those for the cost of the mustard. I took reusable bags with me and thus received 10 cents off my total.

While I was there, I also refrained from using a few more store coupons on store-brand items, because they were not on sale. I expect I’ll be back at that store as the back to school sales continue, and there is a chance that those items will go on sale during that time, so I will look to see if I can use them then. The coupons don’t expire for a month, so I’ll wait and watch to see if I can get a chance to purchase store-brand items on sale with a coupon at a later date.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. This past week I was gifted with Amish friendship bread mix, I made it….not sure I’ll make it again, but it was ok, kind of like a pound cake?? I wasn’t in love with it. Other than that, studying and yard work, plus a good friend stopped in from out of town on Sunday so that was a great day.

  2. I’ve just added more mint plants to my balcony garden hoping that I will have a nice crop at summer (we are in the winter right now, in Brazil). I didn’t do much this last week, besides repurposing some leftovers and not shopping at groceries. Hope this week will be better 🙂

  3. I am glad that you and your sisters were able to address you Mom’s belongings in such a loving and meaningful way. My Mom died in April at age 92 and my brother, husband and sister-in-law and I had only a week to go through her personal belongings and make decisions about how to handle the rest. We too felt best about the things we gave away whether to family or to causes she cared for so much. The memories all went home with us as I am sure they did with you.

  4. My mother died last fall. A month after the funeral, I went and stayed with my brother for a few days. We went through all the papers and disposed of most of them. We divided all the pictures. Many were unknown and meant nothing to us. A few of those appeared to be old enough that we gave them to the local museum. (One showed a family on a porch with a spinning wheel in the background.) We gave all the really good clothes to a women’s shelter and the others that were still usable to a nursing home for people who had no one to take them clothes.After we took what we wanted and asked around for takers for old family pieces, my brother began the process of trying to sell pieces on line and to local dealers. I will be glad when he finishes so we can sell the property.We both rebel at the popular idea of an estate sale or garage sale. We just don’t want a horde of strangers poking through our mother’s things. She hated garage sales and never had one in her life. She would roll over in her grave. When my MIL died, her children all felt the same revulsion at the idea of people poking through her things.Money isn’t everything. We would rather maintain some privacy and get less money.

  5. To continue the post for last 3 weeks…went to cousin’s house for 4th July picnic and fireworks after. We pool all our fireworks and the guys set up a real nice display. We can shoot off whatever we want whree we are and with the abundant rain we have no fire worries.Did a lot of mending. Had to buy a new spool of black thread. Used up an old wooden spool that still had a price of .29 cents on it. Added the spool to collection. We always liked to play with the spool jar and the button jar when younger. The store wanted 4.29 for the spool, I had a 20% off coupon but wondered if could find cheaper. Brandi, I could not find the link you had before for the place you order your thread from.Went back to work beginning of July after taking most of June off. Working on book orders for the teachers for next year and for the added H.S. grade level. Continued Summer REading program. Took lunches/snacks from home. Ran errands either on way there or way back to save trips, plus only working 3 days per week.Made 8 half pints of raspberry freezer jam and froze 3 pint bags of whole berries. Dried more chives. Made 1 batch of refrigerator bread and butter pickles. Made pickled eggs with juice from finished jar of pickle beets. Put in order for MI blueberries. They should arrive this week.Did more travelling, visiting relatives etc, drove much more than usual, but we noticed the gas price has never gone up here as does every summer, in fact has gone down 2 cents/gal. Seem to be feeding more people at the house, too. My nephew is living with us (garage apartment) so joins us for most meals. He has met a girl at church and she joins us a couple times a week now too. One of my husband’s sisters (the single one) has joined us for a meal a week traditionally for the last 20 some years. She always brings a dish to share and she also is being courted now and is bringing him along to gatherings.and nephew’s girl has also been stopping in early to help with dinner. It is helping me empty out the freezers and cupboard to make room for the new stuff. I love having a full table.I know I have mentioned The Writer’s Almanac blog in the past. On the 4th July the entry wasabout Nathaniel Hawethorne. When he lost his job his wife Sophia had saved enough money out or her household allowance that he was able to have time to start writing and that is when he wrote THE SCARLET LETTER. That’s an example of frugality, for sure.to be continued…

  6. Congrats on all of your sewing! I love to sew but have been so busy with the garden that it has been getting crowded out. 🙂 I tried to visit your blog but was told I don’t have permission?

  7. I remember when growing up with the ringer washer til I was about 12-13 my grandmother would re-use the water. You always washed the delicates and least dirty whites first, then the dirtier whites which had been soaking and then you would use the rinse water over for the wash water for the colors and so on.

  8. Anna, is a buckeye tree the same as a horse chestnut? I had never heard of buckeye so looked it up and the nuts look the same etc. Maybe they are related. Do you use the nuts from them?

  9. I was just reading about SIX FEET UNDER, I won’t give any spoilers. Are you enjoying it? I tried it once, and was just reading raves about it on IMDB or some such place that I was wondering if I should try it again. Only watched the 1st episode. I need a new series to catch my interest.

  10. Marivene, you sound pretty back to normal after the knee replacement. You know what I miss, is you haven’t been telling us about your seasonal displays lately. Remember?Now do you mix all the fruits for flavor or what? I don’t think I have ever made a mixed fruit jelly or jam. Does it help replace the pectin?

  11. Skelton, I like your idea of the iced coffee/tea bar. I am definitely borrowing your idea. I have never made the syrups you mentioned, just simple sugar syrup. I must try some of the flavored ones. The Labor Day get-together is always at our house so I have time to work on this.

  12. Last couple of things…..We get an $8 credit per month for the four summer months from.public service because they control our air conditioner. They can turn it off during peak hours for up to eight hours a day or turn it off for 15 minutes out of every half hour. We never notice it and we get a $32 credit total.My son and his wife have lived in their house 2 full months now and their last utility bill was for a whole month. They used 1/4 of the electricity that was used the same month last year by the previous owner according to the statistics on the billing.Watched hulu, watched the movie HUGO (delightful!), rescued 3 full grown hostas from my uncle’s house….all that rain we had in June was too much for his ~150 year old farm house so he’s had his whole foundation dug out, being raised and getting poured concrete. He had us all come and take what foundation plantings we could. We planted the hostas around the base of a tree and are hoping they take.

  13. Wish I could say it has been a frugal week but not so much here. Have had some changes in our household that has required us to break our usual frugal habits. Granddaughter has moved in with us, working and going to school but without transportation so after a week or so of driving her 100+ miles a day, not to mention the time involved, we dipped into savings to purchase a used vehicle. Thankfully we were able to find a car in decent shape for less than $2000.00 that gets good gas mileage too. Had our local mechanic check it over and seems to be in pretty good shape, of course it is a 2001 vehicle so anything can happen, keeping fingers crossed. Have picked up more hours at work due to a coworker’s illness, unfortunately she may not be returning to work at all and this has left everything kind of up in the air. I appreciate the extra $$$ from the extra hours but that has left me in a bind as far as getting much done at home so we have eaten out way too much this past week, just for the convenience. I need to plan this week to cook more meals at home otherwise it is the same old game… Money in and Money out.. not getting ahead that way. I have been canning and freezing and eating a lot out of the garden and freezer when I do get to cook at home.. Green beans, beats and now tomatoes are all coming on strong so that is taking up most of my “free time”. What I cannot use I have been sharing with others so that things do not go to waste. That’s about it this week… hoping to do better. As always, enjoy reading your post Brandy along with all the other frugal commenters. Thanks for the inspiration.

  14. Allison, I wouldn’t worry too much about the year of the car if it checked out well, especially if it was low mileage and you know it’s history. A car can be older than that, but have low mileage and have been well cared for, and be safer and more dependable than a newer car that has been abused and driven a lot for its age.

  15. A lot of people in the re-enactment community say that hand stitching, if done carefully, is actually stronger than machine sewn. I love hand sewing, it’s very relaxing to me. Congratulations on making yourself a new dress!!

  16. I actually wrote down mine for last week and have now procrastinated on writing them here, until it’s nearly time for this weeks! I cooked all of our meals, except one lunch that my dad treated me and three of my kids to. This included some creative planing including hash brown casserole, pancake night, plain spaghetti with sauce but no meat, and quiche. It seems breakfast for dinner helped me stretch things. We planned for leftovers a couple times for lunch. We were invited to a party Saturday, where everyone brought something. I brought homemade bean dip, that I’d made in bulk and frozen and hot banana peppers from my garden, baked with a mixture of cream cheese, bacon and shredded cheddar. The only thing I didn’t have on hand, was the cream cheese and a bag of corn chips. We had a group play date Sunday. I brought homemade chocolate chip cookies and sliced banana bread to share. I was able to serve sliced cucumbers from the garden once as a dinner side and cherry tomatoes a couple times. We usually grow a lot of cherry tomatoes and only one plant of regular ones, since that’s what the kids love. I used the water from the kid’s wading pool to water the plants. I hung 8 out of 9 large loads of laundry out on the line.Deposited a $5 rebate check and combined my grocery, post office and bank errands by planning ahead. I bought 5 dozen eggs for $1.25 each and only produce that was on sale. Attended the free weekly library event. It was a children’s theater production of Princess and the Pea and was fantastic! I was able to keep the air condition off 4 days, which is great for July in the midwest.We usually only have one yard sale a year and donate the leftovers, but decided to do three this year. We did one in May and had our second one last week. My daughter helped for one day and I did the other. Usually I condense tables down as things sell, but this year, I took Brandy’s advice and just kept spreading it out and made the garage sale look nice and big. I think it helped get people to stop. We made a total of $160 on what were leftovers from a previous sale! Thank you all, for inspiring me to keep track.

  17. Grapes are canned in a simple syrup (just like peaches or pears). Do you have a Ball Canning Book? Instructions are in there. They’re easy to can; taking the grapes off the stems is the most time-consuming part. They are water-bath canned.

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