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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last week’s plans were completely changed when a friend, whom I haven’t seen in almost 8 years, emailed on Monday to ask if she and her family could come to visit on Friday, join us in our Fourth of July plans, and sleep at our place.

We said yes, and changed our plans slightly to make sure we had lunch ready for them when they came. I put my goal list on hold until the next week and made a new goal list that was mostly getting the house ready for 7 overnight guests–which means we did a lot of cleaning this last week.

We used all of the cleaning cloths and washcloths, along with a lot of hot water, to wash down baseboards, cabinets, walls, doors, and door frames. The boys brought in the extension ladder and my 9-year-old used a duster on a pole to dust everything up high (moldings, the entrance light, the tall picture frame over the piano, bookshelves, and the pot shelves in the kitchen). I dislike doing that job myself, but he wanted to do it, so I gratefully said yes! My husband blew the duster clean with the air compressor several times and we used it again.

My husband cleaned the ceiling fans and washed the windows, including the one over our front door (since we had the ladder out). He also changed another air filter that is only accessible by the extension ladder.

I used our carpet cleaner and lots of hot water to clean the carpet in the children’s rooms. Those are the only rooms that have carpet. (When we moved into the house 8 years ago, we redid the floors. We would have liked to put wood in the children’s rooms, but went with carpet as it was much less money, choosing to replace the old carpet that was worn from the previous owners). I also used the carpet cleaner to clean the rug I keep at my kitchen sink.

Cyrus cleaned the fridge with lots of hot water and some dish soap.

I washed the shower curtains in a hot water load with cleaning rags and bleach. I have cloth “shower curtain liners” that I use for shower curtains. When they need it, I wash them with bleach to kill any mold that forms on them.

My husband tightened the screws on a cabinet front and a drawer front. He fixed a clog in the bathroom sink and one in a bathtub.

I organized the books in the library and pulled out several schoolbooks that we are not using to sell. I have never sold books online before; I would love to hear from those of you who have how to best package them and figure shipping costs for them. I plan on sending them media mail but after looking at Homeschool Classifieds (which many of you recommended on Facebook) it looks like I need to list them with the shipping price included as part of the selling price. I can definitely use some tips on this!

I put a picture of Christ by Liz Lemon Swindle that I received from a conference last year (where we both spoke) in a frame that I bought for a $1 and hung it up. I also put a card with an image from Jesse Willcox Smith into a 50 cent frame on my nightstand.

I bought several pounds (I believe it was 32 pounds) of pasta this week at .49 a pound. I also purchased 4 1/2 dozen eggs at $1.30 a dozen ($1.95 for 18 eggs). This seems to be the new low price. I bought 4 packages of hot dogs for Friday’s celebration (.68 for a 12 ounce package, or .90 a pound) and only 2 packages of hot dog buns (since most of my children prefer them without buns) for .88 a package (I haven’t purchased bread for years but decided this time to buy buns for our guests). I also bought 6 pounds of strawberries for $1.25 a pound (also the new lowest price here).

I harvested 3 large Armenian cucumbers. These cucumbers were all ones that I hand-pollinated the week before.

I harvested a good number of red noodle beans for dinner.

I picked a few tomatoes. The tomatoes are slowing production now that it is so hot. It was 108º several days last week.

We harvested peaches and grapes from the garden all week. We brought a big bowl of both to our church’s annual Fourth of July breakfast that we attended. We served a bowl of them at lunch on Friday (where we had my parents as well as our 7 other guests) and took some to Friday night’s family potluck. We went swimming twice on Friday; once at breakfast and once at dinner.

We saw some local fireworks for free and I brought out the sparklers (that I bought for a fantastic deal last year) for the children to enjoy.

I gave grapes to my parents and a friend on Thursday.

We had some rain (not much, but here, anything is exciting!) on Friday night. I turned off the drip irrigation and sprinklers for a couple of cycles. The intense heat had the plants wilting the next day so I turned them back on after that.

The humidity that came in made it possible for me to collect several gallons of water (over a gallon a day) from our air conditioning system, which I used to water our potted fruit trees.

I cut lilies and roses from the garden for our breakfast table on Saturday morning.

I made French bread on Thursday so that we would have bread for Saturday’s breakfast.

I mended the hem of a dress, mended a hole in another dress, sewed a button back on another dress, and found a matching button to replace a lost button on a pajama top.

We were able to set aside some money in savings last week. Thought there are things we would like to have, we know it’s important to rebuild our emergency fund for months when we don’t have sales.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. Well hey Brandy, what do you know – I went out to water the garden last night and the beans are 3″ tall already! And I just planted them Saturday! WOW!!!

  2. This is my 3rd attempt to post a comment here – the first two disappeared when I clicked on preview. I hope it doesn’t post 3 times!Thanks again, Brandy, for your beautiful, inspiring blog.If anyone is fortunate enough to have a Dollar General in your area…..Toilet paper is was one of the most expensive items on our grocery list, even on sale. After much research, I have found that the softest 2-ply toilet tissue for the money is the Dollar General Brand Premium Toilet Tissue- 32 double roll package for $10. After using the $5 off $25 coupon this past Saturday, I bought it for $8.45 (I spent more than $25!). That is 26 cents per double roll. There is 1,016 sq. ft. in this package. It is a lot softer than Scott, is two ply and cost less. It is not as soft as Charmin. It is more like Charmin Basic, but cheaper. No complaints about the DG toilet paper from the family. They had complaints about Scott tissue being like sand paper. This TP doesn’t clog the toilet like Charmin or Northern does.Also, the DG Premium Quilted Paper Towels – the 12 large roll pack is a good buy for $10 esp if you’re using the Saturday coupon. The package says “compare to Bounty”. I don’t work for DG, I have just shopped around and find that a lot of their prices can’t be beat anywhere, esp. if you use the Saturday coupon. I buy most of my dry goods, soaps and cleaning products there. I also try to buy only products from the USA. Hope they don’t change a thing.Other great buys at DG at this moment (regular price):Simply Dawn 44 Fl oz. Dishwashing Liquid $3.00Dollar General Brand Auto-Dishwasher Detergent $3.00 for 75 oz. (is as good as Cascade) and last us a very long time.Again: Van Camps Pork and Beans 50 cents per can (says on sale, but has been this price for a very long time)Del Monte Pineapple Chunks and sliced Pineapple 15.25 oz. can: $1 all the time.Greeting Cards – very inexpense.Lucky Hand Soaps $1 all the timeBut be careful, while shopping there, some things are actually more expensive than the grocery store. Sincerely,Debra from NC

  3. Mailing books — Brandy you might, depending on how much time you have, check into ordering the Flat Rate Priority Mail Region A and Region B boxes (in every size available). They’re only available through http://www.usps.com, but they are free. You can only pay for postage online when you ship using these boxes (not at the post office). If the item fits it ships so no weighing required. Price varies based on zip code so it’s not always cheaper than even regular priority mail, but usually it is. This is especially helpful for heavy items. But Media Mail might still be cheaper. Just wanted to throw it out there as an alternative.

  4. This is from the past 2 weeks. I treated a summer cold with pantry staples like apple cider vinegar and tea with honey and cinnamon, plus throat lozenges from our medicine cabinet stash.Have been trying to do a better job of bringing snack items to work instead of ending up purchasing from the vending machine. I did go to McDonald’s once and intentionally ordered the chicken nuggets with honey, in order to use the leftover honey packet in tea at work to treat my cold. Some of the tea I used at work (I bring a mug from home and have an electric kettle plugged in at the office) was Lipton free samples. I also used some of the gazillion napkins the McDonald’s employee gave me as tissues.Used some of the leftover ham we had ground in the food processor and froze after Easter for a hot ham salad dish for dinner one night. (This new recipe wasn’t actually very good, but at least it was cheap! The ham was originally free, as a gift from my employer last Christmas.) I froze the pineapple and orange juice drained from the canned fruit used in making this salad for future recipes. A work visitor unexpectedly took our department to lunch and paid for it.My daughter is attending a day camp that has a horse-riding component and requires hard-soled shoes. I took her to the children’s secondhand shop to see what they had, and we happened to find a pair of cowboy boots! She loves them, and they should fit for a while. They were priced at $5 and a I had a full loyalty card for an additional 15 percent discount. I bought a couple of gifts for upcoming holidays: 2 T-shirts for my husband for his birthday/Christmas from a Tanga sale for $17.96 total (this will be cheaper than if he bought his own clothes,plus gifts are his love language). I went through Upromise for cash back. I also used the Educents offer of the Liberty’s Leading Ladies history DVD for $1 for a Christmas gift/stocking stuffer for my daughter. (Will remember to cancel subscription.)I responded to an offer to earn $3 in Extra Care Bucks by logging in to my cvs.com account, added some Swagcodes from their extravaganza to my Swagbucks account, and completed 2 Pinecone Research surveys. I also completed an eRewards survey for $5 credit; I will be able to cash this out to my Upromise account when I reach a certain level — I think it’s $30 in eRewards, which is building up much quicker than I thought. It is not a dollar to dollar conversion (it will be something less than $30), but little bits add up.My husband’s last day at his job was June 30, a Monday. The child care that we had our daughter enrolled in has a 3-day a week minimum charge, if you are using it at all that week. We hired a friend’s teenage daughter as a babysitter and paid her for one day. It saved us $80.I was able to add my husband and daughter to the health insurance through my employer, effective July 1 with no waiting period, so we do not have to pay for COBRA.My daughter and I picked 23-1/2 pounds of strawberries for $2/lb. at a u-pick farm. I sliced and froze most of them, but we also had strawberry shortcake for breakfast for a few days. We attended a free city park presentation of Mexican dancers. Brought a picnic.Received a free soccer ball in the mail; you could send in for it as a promotion the last time I got my oil changed. My daughter enjoys playing soccer, and the only ball we had at home was the very beat-up Nerf one from when I was a child. For the week of the Fourth, we traveled to a different state for family festivities. Stayed with family and celebrated the Fourth with a local parade, family barbecue at the farmhouse and a nearby city’s fireworks in the evening. Our main expense for this trip is the gas involved in driving there, but it is something we plan for each summer to maintain family ties. Had good visits with family and, because I had extra time while not at my own house, I was able to sew a button back onto my daughter’s sundress strap so she could continue wearing it this summer.

  5. btw..i used to freak out about expiration dates as well…except I wouldn’t have given it back to the earth….more like the landfill. brandy. thanks for the link u posted. there are some things that I now keep and use past their expiration dates because im trying not to wasteful…..adriana

  6. Paula, thank you for that information! I had bought the honey about three years ago and the expiration date was over a year passed due…….I have a very easily thrown stomach so once something goes bad it’s gone in my house. I make an exception for dairy products and will keep them a week or so after they’re expired. I’m very good about not letting things expire though, so it’s not usually an issue. But in shopping from our pantry this month or so I’ve been looking at things and scrutinizing my inventory checking dates and the like. It’s also good to do this to make sure things are used before they expire. >.

  7. I’ve heard this and it makes sense to me. Be careful when using low level lighting. Especially when doing task work. During the Depression, many people got diminished sight because of not having adequate light.

  8. I have a little girl in my daycare who is approx. 15 months. She is super phlegmy and has bad allergies; her doctor just prescribed Cingular for her. It might be something to consider for your younger twins (I totally understand wanting to try natural remedies first though). Best of luck!

  9. Another thing to consider is to print your postage through Paypal’s site, if you have an account. I believe delivery confirmation is free or nearly so, as opposed to the 85cents the clerk charges in the brick and mortar post office.

  10. Do you think you make more money selling them straight to amazon or selling them on amazon and then shipping them yourself? I have been selling books ON amazon for a few months and it is okay. Honestly it is tempting to try and just ship them the remaining 20 or so books that I still have left. Any thoughts?

  11. Brandy, After reading all of your accomplishments my house feels dirty! 🙂 Alas, I think I need to focus on my garden this week. Last week we went to visit my inlaws 10 hours away at the last minute for 5 days. We had a nice time but wow the weeds are a head of me now. I managed to squeeze in a few frugal things despite our trip (which was frugal except for the gas). They are listed here on my blog: http://www.lifeasmrsemerson.blogspot.com/2014/07/frugal-things-i-did-last-week_10.html

  12. This is my 5th try to post this week. I have been able to post elsewhere, so I do not know what the problem is, but thought I would try posting as a response.*Picked & froze 12.5 more cups of white currants, which was the last of them. We picked 15.5 cups this year. Picked the last 2 cups of ripe red currants from the bushes. We had already picked 23 cups of the red ones, but I hate to see any of them go to waste. Harvested gooseberries. I keep the totals so I can compare yields from year to year.*Stripped the dried dill weed on the plate in the kitchen, from the stems into a half pint jar for storage. *Thinned the apples on the Golden Delicious tree. *Noticed more than a few ants in the middle tier of the garden. On the internet, I read that both fire ants & “regular” ants are quite susceptible to caffeine, so a sprinkled coffee grounds liberally in that area, since I was using them to fertilize around the plants anyway. The grounds were free at Starbucks, so it costs me nothing to try. *The butternut squash & Boston Marrow squash seedlings are up. I know it is late in the season for both of them, but they sprouted in record time, & if we have anything but a very early winter, I should still get squash from both of them.*Reclaimed some of my bathwater again for the brown spots on the lawn.*Stopped & picked up 3 free bags of grounds for gardeners at Starbucks as I drove past.*Accepted grass clippings from the neighbor. I use these as mulch in the garden, after they are dried, & as a hot killing mulch on the perimeter, where they help control the weeds coming thru the field fence from the back neighbor’s pasture.*A few of our neighbors always buy lots of fireworks, so we watched a very nice “show” for free. *We made red Jell-O with various fruits in it, in small sherbet glasses. This year it was red raspberries, bananas or gooseberries. We always have gelatin on holidays; it’s a tradition at our house, but the color changes depending on the holiday.*Pulled morning glory weeds from the lawn. Our development was built on a former alfalfa pasture, & since morning glory is quite nutritious as an animal feed, it was never controlled in the pasture, so we all fight it constantly. Some of my neighbors use chemicals, but I just pull all the morning glory several times a year. I am a bit behind this year, due to the surgery, but making good progress working my way thru the lawn & it is good physical therapy for me.

  13. That keeps happening to me, too. My previewed items just disappear:( Then I hope I’m not posting multiples. We have a Dollar Tree in our area and you also have to be careful to not overspend there, but many times it’s a great deal.My husband picked up tagboard there for 2/$1. At Fred Meyers it was 80c for 1, on sale. The FM tagboard is probably thicker, he says, but for my purpose it doesn’t matter. If it did, I would gladly pay the extra.

  14. I manually approve comments, and if I see duplicate comments I’ll delete the duplicate. However, this post from each of you is the only one that has come through.I know I’m having trouble posting comments on another blog page, so it sounds like Blogger is having intermittent problems.

  15. This is the fourth time I have tried to send my comment but something is wrong with my “reply as” account. Hopefully this works LOL-you boil 16 soapnuts in 2 cups of water for an hour. The how to/recipe is on diynatural.com. -The lamps I bought from amazon. They look like desk lamps and the battery comes out of the base for charging. I like them although they are not as bright or long lasting as they were supposed to be.-My husband’s best friend works for a cable company. A benefit is they can access all of their channels online for free. He was given permission to share is access code with us. We also go directly to the channels website, use Hulu, or my amazon prime membership for free. Thanks and sorry it took so long to reply, I have been trying to for two days. I had this problem two weeks ago with my comments also, it’s something with my account. Hopefully will be fixed soon.

  16. I’ve had trouble posting also, here and another blog, both same “host” or whatever you call the mechanism. When you hit preview it all just disappears. Then I tried posting for the week on Wednesday, got it all written and decided to skip the preview and just clicked publish. Gone again. With short comments I don’t preview, but with a post it is easier to read it over and check for typos etc. Hopefully the mystery will work it’s way out soon.

  17. Hi Adrianna, Funny thing – I used to live in Connecticut. I was born and raised in Norwich, but after starting a career in radio I’ve moved around to so many states. Florida has been home for about four years now and yes we have ‘lanais’ ;)What part of Ct are you in if I can ask?

  18. We have been really blessed in the fact that our young neighbour who wanted to fence in his front yard just asked if it’s ok to put a fence up between our properties. He did not request any splitting of costs. That way he can choose his own style and we have the benefit…I hope it’s nice. He has the metal frame up at the moment and made preparations for a automatic sliding front gate . All his request was , did we mind a fence :)Alexa from Sydney, Australiahttp://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com

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