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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I did not go grocery shopping again this week (this makes 4 weeks now). Our freezers are now full with chicken (I cut up the rest of the birds this week and put them in the freezer. Many thanks to those of you who said to let the meat rest 3 days; we experimented with eating one the same day we butchered it and eating one that had sat for 3 days, and the one that had sat was tender.) Our pantry is well-stocked, and the garden is producing plenty of fruits and vegetables. I also still have about 7 pounds of carrots left in the refrigerator (I buy them in a 10 pound bag for .38 cents a pound, and they last a couple of months in the crisper drawer).

This week we harvested apples, apricots, blackberries, plums, grapes, red noodle beans and asparagus yard-long beans, spinach, green onion, chives, basil and tomatoes from the garden.

I paid my utility bills online, saving the cost of postage.

Red noodle beans and asparagus yard-long beans, both better producers in the heat than traditional green beans. These are pole-type beans. I harvested this many twice in the week. The area is 5 feet wide with a plant every 6 inches. I planted more seeds in other places in the garden last week.

The summer shows that my husband and I like to watch (from USA network) are starting again. We watched the first episode of two shows for free on Hulu.

Some friends of my parents moved out of state. They know that we have a garage sale once a year, so they gave us some things to add to our garage sale pile on Monday. My dad decided to give us some things he didn’t want to add to our garage sale pile, too. My husband had just finished cleaning up the garage the week before, and didn’t want to store these items until our sale next spring, so I decided to have a garage sale on Friday. I added in all of the things that I had already put aside for our next sale. The total number of items was a lot less than we normally have when we have a sale, so I wasn’t sure it would be enough for people to even stop. We set it up on several tables and made it look as full as possible.

Garage sale season is much earlier here, too; this time of year, not as many people like to go to garage sales because of the heat. It cooled down to 100ºF on Friday, making it cooler than the week before, but still quite warm. (We normally have a garage sale in March or April).

Taking the weather and off-season into account, and the fact that we had a lot less items, I set myself a smaller goal for this sale. I always have a goal amount that I would like to make for each sale. In the past we have never made less than $220 at a sale. This time I set a modest goal of $50, and even questioned if we had $50 worth of items.

We priced items low, and when people made offers, we took them–or met them halfway. We had an item marked $8 and took $5, another marked $3 and we took $1.50, and another marked $10 and we took $5. Those were our “big ticket” items. Most everything else was marked 50 cents or 25 cents.

At the end of the sale, we had made $61.25. This money will go with the money from our earlier sale this year to put towards recovering our living room furniture.

As a bonus, we ended up keeping a few items that we could use, including a large plastic bento-type box that has a place for a sandwich or main dish that is larger than the traditional square sandwich. It will fit my homemade bread for sandwiches, which makes it great for sending with my husband to work. We had a cabinet that several people wanted to buy, but could not fit in their cars (we had to give one man, who did buy it, his money back when it wouldn’t fit in his car). I kept the cabinet for storing fabric and other sewing items. I kept a tin that had sewing needles inside. It also contained a measuring tape, which my dad kept for measuring soft canvas pieces (though officially retired, they are still working a bit doing framing jobs). I also kept a paper shredder, which I will use to shred the children’s school papers for our compost.

I received two free magazines in the mail.

Thanks to a tip from a reader on my Facebook page, my husband took an old tie to Krispy Kreme donuts and received a free dozen donuts. Her timing was perfect as he had to be on the same street an hour and a half later after she shared the tip (we are not often in that area and it is about 20 minutes away).

I mended several things: a bedskirt, a vintage handkerchief, two dresses, a slip, a pair of underwear, and a cardigan.

I cut the buttons off of 5 pieces of clothing that were past mending and added them to my button jar.

I taught Winter how to make herself a pair of pajama pants using a remnant that we had.

I continued to collect water from the shower and from rinsing pots (final rinse water) to water our potted plants. Saturday night I watered a few pots from the hose for the first time this year. Six and a half months of not needing additional water for 6 fruit trees and 10 other pots (including my bay tree) has been wonderful. I will continue to save that water for watering them, and use additional water only if necessary.

I thinned and transplanted the thinned seedlings of vincas and alpine strawberries into other places in the garden.

I took some time to read several things online about growing fruit that, once implemented, should help increase my yields next year (items have been pinned on my Edible Landscaping board).

I collected lettuce seeds from my bolted lettuce plants to plant in my garden this fall and next year.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. We carpooled to work 3 days last week. We also got rid of direcTV and got a Leaf antenna, instead. We get 30 channels, which is plenty.I found organic strawberries on sale at Costco. An almost 3 lb box was $3.99, so I bought that and combined them with the strawberries that we got in our CSA and canned several jelly jars worth of jam. Considering that a jar of organic jam is $3.99, I was thrilled with this deal. Now I will have enough jam for my son’s lunches for several months.I made sandwich bread, banana bread, and pickled a few jars of beets. The beets cMe in our CSA, as well. We are going with a less expensive CSA this year, as the one through my work went up in price.

  2. Hi there, you could use the noodle water to put in gravies, soups or stock. It’s nice in soups as it has already a bit of starch thickener in it. Granted it’s not soup season out your way but hot:)Alexa from Sydney, Australiahttp://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com

  3. Shelley–I have a large tub in my bathtub that I stand in for my shower. I scoop the water out with a bucket to flush the toilet or something smaller to water plants. I use a large bowl in the kitchen to collect warm-up water when doing dishes. After rinsing dishes, this water gets dumped in the tub too.

  4. I make it the same way, but I use a bit more vanilla. I split open six beans for 750 ml vodka. I buy my beans from ebay – my sister-in-law and I split a pound for around $50 several years ago and I still have about 20 beans left. Much better price than buying them by the bean in the grocery store!

  5. My frugal accomplishments this week:*I stayed under my monthly grocery shopping budget. We have $40 left! $20 will be spent at the Farmer’s Market Thursday, but there is a special program in the summer where I can double my money and get $40 to go towards buying items at the market, so I guess I have $60 left :)*One thing that helped me stay under budget was my sister-in-law giving me 3 gallons of milk and 2 half gallons that she did not need. I plan on making her yogurt with some as a thank you (I FINALLY found a vanilla yogurt recipe my family loves) and giving her a few jars of my grape jelly. I will make yogurt for us as well. I found some very discounted “fun” cereal (filled with sugar, lol) someone was selling from coupons that the kids will be able to enjoy with the milk as a special breakfast.I made $14 selling a few items at a local mom swap. With that money, I spend $10 to buy my SIL a gift of a few baby items she still needed for when the baby is born.We were blessed with someone (we have no idea who) in our church congregation filling up our van with gas during service. This allowed us to do the extra traveling we wanted to do for Father’s Day and a Dr. appointment. We knew it would have been a burden on us this month with extra expenses we had. It was truly an answer to prayer.My mom and dad gave us 6 bags of mulch that they did not need (they overbought). We have just been weeding the flower gardens and doing without for this year, but this definitely will help to cut down on some weeding.I made yogurt, granola bars, homemade baking mix, and a ham (we ate for several meals)I made homemade laundry detergent.*I hung a strawberry plant bag that a friend gave me that she didn’t want. *I downloaded a couple free books and games for the children on my Kindle. We also visited the library to check out some books and signed up for the summer reading program. We received a brochure that lists all the free events for the summer. We will definitely be going to a few of them.*We enjoyed the outdoors this week. We had a bonfire in the backyard using wood that fell during an ice storm this winter. My husband also went with a couple friends to play tennis on the local high school courts.Have a blessed week!

  6. Debbie in Fl I though of something else too. I make in a loaf pan and I usually slice in pan and then use widest spatula that fits to lift slices out. They are still crumbly but will look more like a slice of loaf on the plate when served. Hope this helps.

  7. May I ask where you found your vanilla yogurt recipe? I’ve made plain yogurt before, but I really want to make vanilla. Surprisingly, I’ve found it very hard to find a recipe for vanilla yogurt! I would love to try it though

  8. I see people saving by using samples.. can anyone recommend a reputable site? I signed up for a few , but only got bombarded with emails.. & not one single sample. This week, I went to the grocery store with a $40 budget.. spent $41.65. Soft drinks are the biggest killer of our budget, but SO will not budge on this. He takes them in his lunch. I did pick up 10 packs of hotdogs for $10.. this should last us probably the rest of the year for grilling out. I’m signing up for a Sams Membership next week when we get paid. I have been able to convince him to drink tea on the weekend and evenings.. needless to say, we have been going through ALOT of tea bags and sugar. I paid 1.99 for a 5 lb bag.. I’m thinking I can get a much better price at Sams. I have yet to buy an a/c for our rental house.. I have fans going in every room and in the windows in the evenings. It was 100 degrees here yesterday, and that has been the only day so far where I almost broke down and bought one. I have been closing the windows in the mornings,pulling the shades and curtains. It really does make a difference. I updated all of the bedding in our house. We went to over sized white sheets with ivory cotton blankets as spreads. The sheets & blankets we were given from a friend who runs a high end hotel laundry service. It completely changed the look of the rooms, and gave it a nice crisp look. I’m thinking about embroidering some sort of design on the pillow cases. I made a homemade pizza last night with peppers, onions, and some leftover sausage from breakfast. The crust was made from the leftover dough where I made biscuits. The repvious time I made biscuits, I used the leftover dough to top a peach cobbler, made with peaches I canned last summer. Have a blessed rest of the week! Stay cool whereever you are. It’s a SCORCHER in VA.

  9. Jenifer Helton, Although I gave up sodas for health reasons two years ago, my husband still drinks them. I’ve used sales and coupons for years to keep the cost of the small pleasures of soda and tea in check. The three big holiday weekends of summer, plus other major entertaining holidays, are usually the best times to stock up on soda. The market near us will sometimes for holidays have four name brand 12 packs for ten dollars, plus a fifth one included with a store coupon from the ad. When this happens, I will go back a second time with another coupon. I look around the store to find the pile of soda with the best dates, rotating it when I stock it at home.We don’t usually like off brand soda, but if you happen to be a Dr. Pepper lover, Walmart has Dr. Thunder which tastes exactly like it, even in the diet. (We always buy diet drinks.)For many years, I have kept us supplied way ahead with name brand family size tea bags for iced tea by combining sales and coupons. I am stocked to the extent that I never pay anything close to full price. My husband drinks it unsweetened, and I use artificial sweetener, which can be bought in a big case at Sam’s at a very good price.I don’t find the soda prices at Sam’s to be as good as sales at the market, and the one near me doesn’t have soda dates far away enough for stockpiling like we do.I also use coupons for a lot of the herbal teas and green teas that I drink hot.It isn’t necessary to give up life’s small pleasures with careful shopping. The time that we DO deny ourselves drinks is at restaurants. The markup on a soda or glass of tea is exorbitant and we almost always just drink water, since we can have our drink treats at home for a small price.

  10. Hello Jenifer! For samples, I check moneysavingmom.com every day. She will post samples you can request from the manufacturer or stores like Target and Walmart. I pretty much get all the ones I request through her links. And once a week, she’ll have a summary of freebies and samples, but sometimes the samples are gone by the time the weekly summary comes out. Sometimes there is one there that I missed during the week, so I always look over the weekly lists, too.

  11. During the past week, I have worked in the garden as much as I could. That is not a “new, exciting” idea for the discussion, but it is the reality of a large garden, if I want to harvest anything other than pigweed:) I harvested lettuce, spinich and boc choi to share and to eat ourselves. I also worked for money more than I have worked in the summer the entire time I’ve been teaching piano. (about 28 years). We stocked up on groceries with a bunch of the extra $. We picked strawberries for the incredible price of 75c/lb. Wow! I helped my granddaughter make jam,. Because they are so inexpensive, there were literally hundreds of people in the patch, so it was hard to find a place to pick. They closed down for a few days then to ripen the remaining fruit, so I could go back if I need to.

  12. Have you thought about getting a sodastream? We got one at Christmas and although you to have to purchase the syrups you to save money with it. My daughter likes to make sparkling water with it and flavor the water with syrup to make homemade Italian sofas.

  13. Wow, what a week! I’m so excited for you that you are into your 4th week without grocery shopping. I am finding that I need to work toward something like this, too. While I do “big” shopping only about once a month, we still go out periodically for milk or misc. items that may have been inadvertently left off the list. I am hoping to get myself organized enough to implement a monthly shopping trip once the kids are back in school.Regarding my frugal accomplishments, I am a little upset with myself for going over my grocery budget for last month. I did purchase a number of items at a steep discount, but not all of them were items I would necessarily buy. For instance, there was a fantastic sale on Greek yogurt at this scratch and dent store I like to go to. I went ahead and bought some even though I’ve been making it from scratch. I found a large (32 oz?) container of Fage 2% for .99 which I thought I’d like to try to use for my starter for future batches. They have also had wonderful sales on strawberries and eggs lately and I also purchased a case of butter (18 pounds) for $1.49/pound. While it threw off my budget for last month, I was able to freeze some of the fruit and the butter which I’m hoping will reduce my grocery budget for a few months to come. I tend to go through about 4-5 pounds of butter a month with the baking and cooking so I’m hoping to go about 4 months without having this expense.We’ve also harvested more tomatoes from our garden. They’re so tasty and we’ve been so excited to be able to bring them in before the birds get to them (most of the time anyway). I’ve been implementing your strategy to save water in the shower to help water the plants and our grapefruit tree. I don’t have a large paint bucket, but I set several smaller buckets in the shower to catch the warm up water and residual water that is running while I’m in there. It has been working out really well and I’ve only needed to fill one of the buckets an additional time to get all the plants. I like using the buckets since I can get right to the base of the plants, too.Haven’t been driving much since the kids have been out of school which has saved gas. This week will be a little more hectic though with volunteering at Vacation Bible School.Received new phones for the house through Freecycle! So excited! Our other ones weren’t working well, but I didn’t want to spend money on new ones since they were still functional. Also got a cell phone for our oldest daughter off of Freecycle so we could add her to our plan. It’s $10 to add her and it is normally $10 for a SIM kit to convert any phone to our carrier, but they were running a special and we got the SIM kit for free. She’s old enough to start babysitting now and wants to start doing that to earn some extra pocket money. It’s not a “smart” phone, no internet, no games…just basic to allow her to call us if she needs anything. Now to get her a babysitting job! :)I guess that’s about all I can think of at the moment. Things have been a little crazy trying to settle into a different sort of routine. Hope to be able to have some time to jot down the frugal things as they happen so I don’t forget them! Hope everyone had a great week and can’t wait for another round of Frugal Accomplishments!

  14. I always make it at holidays as it is the alternative choice for the non meat eaters. Of course it is great with mashed potatoes and gravy just like a regular meat loaf is.

  15. Also interested in this recipe…a question regarding the baking time and temp. When making a traditional meatloaf, the baking time is rather long…like an hour or so and I think I bake at 375. Do you need to bake this that long if everything is already cooked or do you just warm it through? Thank you.

  16. Andrea, I bake at 350F for probably an hour at least. I like it to get crusty on the outside. I put catsup on top just like a regular meatloaf. I don’t worry about it drying out because of all the moisture from the vegetables. This is one of the recipes I definitely need to get down on paper for the cookbook.

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