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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I haven’t been grocery shopping for the last two weeks. Instead, we’ve been eating from the pantry, freezer, and garden. I decided not to buy anything last week even though I saw some fantastic deals.The garden is producing well at this time; this is the time of year in which we get the most fruit.

I picked tomatoes and blackberries from the garden.

I cut flowers from the garden this week to have inside, including lilies, larkspur, nasturtiums, and dusty miller for 3 different arrangements. One went with me when I spoke as part of the table display. I also cut larkspur to take to a woman from church that I visit teach. While I was visiting with her, we planned a garden for her in her yard.

The chaste tree bushes that I bought for my father years ago drop seeds in my garden, many of which grow. I have successfully given them to a friend before (and they now are 10 feet tall and are blooming in her garden, right across the street from the sister I visit teach). I will be potting one up to take to her house for her garden. (Chaste tree bushes look like lilacs that bloom in the summer, but they do not smell like lilacs).

I received 4 quarts of goat milk and a dozen eggs from a friend (this was part of the service auction that I participated in earlier this year; I picked up some from her earlier in the year and then I picked up some from her this week).

We picked the first of the apricots from my Royal apricot tree. The rest should be ripe this next week.

I cut basil, green onions, rosemary, parsley and oregano from the garden. My oregano plants have become quite large, so I cut some to dry. One of my goals this year to help curb the effect of inflation on our grocery budget is to grow more of my own herbs and dry them, so as to eliminate the need to buy some herbs dried at all. Oregano has tiny leaves, so once dried, there isn’t much! In order to stop buying oregano, I needed to grow more than I have previously. The garden in the front yard has allowed me to do that with oregano, as well as basil, parsley, thyme, tarragon, and bay laurel.

I picked a few figs from the tree. We cut it way back in January in order to be able to reach the fruit. I knew that would make this first crop small, but the Mission fig crops twice a year. The next crop should be larger and within our reach in a few more months.

I opened the windows in the early morning to air out the house and cool it down each morning before turning on the air conditioner at 8 am each morning.

I gave a potted aloe plant to a friend (from the babies I separated from my plant and potted last week).

My husband helped me fix a two-step step stool and I sanded and painted it. The children use this in the bathroom to reach the sink.

I was able to watch several hours of a few Creative Live photography class online. Classes are free to watch while they are being broadcast live.

What did you do last week to save money?

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25 Comments

  1. BitsofMoxy, I learned about keeping real butter out without spoilage from my MIL many years ago. I’ve never seen real butter spoil. But it sounds like you are managing fine with “his and hers” butter!

  2. Dawn, when I freeze coffee, I put it in the regular ice cube tray, but just fill it up a little more than I would for normal ice cubes. This way, it’s easier to pick out with your nails if they don’t come out by twisting the tray.

  3. The weeding circle was a fantastic success! The first garden we worked on looked so wonderful when we were done I was as proud as if it were my own! And the chatting was very therapeutic…while the sweat ran down our foreheads. It was a terrifically hot day here in the NE, just before major t-storms rolled in but we dug in anyway. I’ve started to open the DW 21 minutes before it says that it’s finished in order to stop the dry cycle (it doesn’t have a way to do it manually) and have been talking to the kids and my husband about limiting our electric usage to 2-3 hours a night; say from sundown to bedtime, and only leaving the fridge and freezer on during the other hours. Of course, I have no idea if this will work or not but maybe it will make me feel better. :)Heidi

  4. We live in central TX too. We have a ‘whole house fan’ in the center of our home. The first couple of years we lived here in our home we LOVED the fan. It was so nice to use and it did help keep our air conditioner from going 24/7. Then we moved pictures etc from the walls to paint. There under the pictures was MOLD. We honestly had no idea it was there till we removed all the things on the walls. From then on we have used the fan very little. In our area the humidity is almost always high even with the drought going on. So just small piece of advice if you use a whole house fan in a humid climate please check for mold behind your hanging pictures etc.I am glad to report I did make my NO SPEND month of May. Nothing extra was paid for with a credit card or even cash. This month I do have a few expenses coming up. School is out now so I will be sending my grandchildren to our church’s summer camp. They love to go and it is a small vacation for them. Last year my older grandson gave his life to Christ and was baptized when he got home. That alone was worth any money spent. I have done all of the normal things to save a dime, hung laundry, collected water from the sink, and cooked at home. I also stayed out of the thrift stores and away from Walmart. I made a grocery list and stuck with it. The boys are home from school this summer so they will be eating here at home and not at school. I will be making them their ice cream etc. with supplies brought on sale and with my ice cream machine. They like to have friends over too so there will be extra food for them. I like that the other kids come to our house, I can keep track and know that they boys are safe. We have an above ground pool. That will be used a lot I am sure.Our garden is going fine. Lots of squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The okra has not come up yet. We have seeded it twice now and not one plant has showed. Not sure what is going on there. We are also getting some green beans in the garden. Made a salad for dinner tonight that was filled with things from the garden. No lettuce from our garden; it has bolted already. I did buy the lettuce from the grocery store.I made the boys some summer shorts form their older jeans. They are going to out grow them before next year anyway so this was a good way to save a few dollars on clothes for them.

  5. Last year I canned batches of tomato sauce, skins and seeds and all. I just coked it down for hours and hours and then used my stick blender at the end. No one has once noticed a bit of skin in the sauce and I’ve now gone through all but one of the dozen jars. I also didn’t use paste tomatoes. So I don’t see any reason you can’t make tomato sauce or tomato jam with cherry tomatoes. Basically I broke every rule last summer with tomatoes – ha. And it all turned out just fine.KK

  6. You could also just let the tray sit out for about 5 minutes, the ice cubes will be a little melted and should come right out. I do this every morning as dh takes ice cubes to work with him in a Rubbermaid container. So much easier and less stressful on your wrist twisting those trays for the ice to pop out, sometimes mine don’t want to unless I run hot water under the tray so just letting them sit out for a few minutes really helps.

  7. My frugals this week: Yesterday I did my grocery shopping at my job. I was able to use 2 store coupons one was $10 off your purchase of $85 or more, another was 5% off your total purchase and the last was my employee discount 10% off. I saved after the discounts $28.00. I stocked up a big box of fried chicken precooked which will give us 6 meals was $35.00. With me working it and dh working the same days, it is so tempting to fast food. 3 Weeks now of no fast food!! Much healthier for us health wise and wallet wise. I have been stocking up for 5 weeks now for winter meals, canned goods, etc. I try to do this so in the winter I do not have to carry a lot of heavy stuff through the snow or go out for things we need. Busy trying to stock up dry dog food for winter too. And for emergencies we have regular power outages during storms last time we were without power for a week in high temps weather. No garden this year due to still waiting for AEP electric company to come and cut down a large maple tree in the back yard that is interfering with the power lines and putting out too much shade to have a good garden. My apple tree is full of baby apples, praying no high wind storms that will knock them off the tree. The cherry tree is actually producing this year and so far the birds aren’t bothering it. Not enough to really do much with but I had given up on it so glad to see it’s bouncing back.

  8. I roast them in the oven with a bit of garlic and olive oil. I do it on a silicone baking mat on top of a half-sheet pan. Then I freeze that whole bunch and we have it over pasta. It is SUPER easy and it tastes AMAZING. Just slice them in half, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt. Roast them until they’re soft (20 minutes at 350┬║) and after they’re cool, put them in a freezer bag.

  9. This was a big week for the FP family–we moved from Pennsylvania to Denver! We saved several hundred dollars by driving the truck ourselves–Mr. FP drove the truck and I drove the toddlers in the car, following behind. We did eat many meals in restaurants but saved some money by bringing bread, peanut butter, raisins, etc. A neighbor had given me almost a whole box of those squeeze-pouch applesauces (she was buying them for her daughter, but evidently the little girl doesn’t like them any more) and those made a very nice treat for the boys in the car.

  10. We also keep our butter out all the time, but in the summer when the temperatures are in the upper 80s and 90s I stick in the fridge. Mainly because it gets a little too liquidy for me. Butter never lasts long enough to spoil!Heidi

  11. Brandy, I do the same thing with our tomatoes! It works with all kinds and if you do it with the golden pear tomatoes it’s gorgeous AND delicious!Heidi

  12. If you’re using the air conditioner to deal with humidity, have you considered a dehumidifier? You’d have to research the operating costs, but it might make a big difference. We have central air, but the master bedroom doesn’t get cool enough for our liking. A dehumidifier makes a huge difference.This article addresses your question about temperature swings, Jen: http://gizmodo.com/5928931/the-five-biggest-myths-about-saving-energy-in-the-summer

  13. The salt keeps the butter OK on the counter. That is what we use for everyday use. I keep my unsalted in the fridge for baking. I like my toast cold and dry…I have never found anyone else who agrees.

  14. I read that article, AndreaQ, and it’s a good one. In the comments, someone talked about the placement of a house. Our home is a good example. It was built by an individual, not a developer, and I don’t know if he did it on purpose or by a happy accident, but he did it right.The overhang all around is pretty wide, and the carport on the west side serves as a huge overhang to keep the sun out. The interior carport walls are wood, not brick like the rest of the house, and do not retain as much heat from the afternoon sun as brick would.The south windows are shaded by deciduous trees in summer, and in winter, the bare trees let sun in to warm the house.

  15. Athanasia, years ago there was a bakery here that made an exceptional sunflower seed bread. That was a toast I ate at least un buttered, although I usually drizzled a bit of raw honey on it. Around here dry toast is what you eat if you’re afraid you can’t keep normal food down.

  16. I love your blog for inspiration, but I am nowhere near as frugal. This time of year, we have 3 birthdays and father’s day. I made my own character cakes for the kids, shopped with amazon.com points and used Kmart clearance, coupons, and “surprise points” to get some gifts. I did a lot of scratch cooking: bbq baked beans, mini banana muffins, yogurt, buttery rolls, bread, and tortillas. I made homemade sweet tea. I grocery shopped pairing sales and coupons. I took the kids to VBS and signed them up for the summer reading program. We will attend story time weekly. I worked some in my garden, but have nothing ready for harvest quite yet. Today’s lunch was carrot sticks, apple slices, and homemade ham and cheese quesadillas. It was a huge hit and really nice to know that I fed my whole family a lunch they liked for about $1. I am hoping to really cut back on spending this summer so that I will be able to keep my savings intact after the vacation we have planned.

  17. Amie, I’m not as frugal as Brandy, either. Not everyone here is, but the point is sharing information and each person working on being frugal to the extent that is right for their own situation. Unfortunately, this time of year is a lot more frugal for us than it once was, in terms of gift buying. Spring used to mean my parent’s anniversary, both my parents’ birthdays, and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for both sets of parents and grandparents. Now we have lost them all and I miss the days when we needed to get the gifts.

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