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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Every day last week I harvested something from the garden. I cut snow peas, Swiss chard, parsley, asparagus and green onions, and picked lettuce, radishes, spinach, a couple of strawberries, and beet greens. I cut flowers from the garden for our table.

We ate outside every night as the weather was beautiful each evening.

The children played outside. They blew bubbles, jumped on the trampoline, played on the swings, drew with chalk, and read outside.

I stocked up on food last week, including strawberries at the new low price of $1.28 a pound (last year’s -in-season-once-a-year-low-price was $.99 a pound). I buy strawberries once a year when they are in season here and the prices get as low as they are going to be. I purchased 32 pounds. My family found that if each person eats 2 strawberries, we had eaten an entire pound, and of course, everyone wants more than 2! I made strawberry shortcake, chocolate covered strawberries, and lots of jam: 7 twelve-ounce jars and  13 1/2 pints, or the equivalent of 48 half-pints (but using a lot fewer lids and a lot less cooking time). I made low-sugar jam with low-sugar pectin and sugar I already had on hand.

I purchased frozen sausage for $1.33 a pound. This is a huge treat for us, as sausage is usually much more expensive. The store who had this (Smith’s-a Kroger affiliate) said that this was a new brand for them. We ate one package (12 ounces) this week and it was delicious. I now have sausage in the freezer for future meals. I also stocked up on sour cream for $1 a pound, shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese in a 5 pound bag for $10.99, and cream cheese for $2 a pound.

I made biscuits, gravy, shortcake, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry popsicles, museum pasta salad, rice and beans, and balsamic vinaigrette (for our homegrown salads). We ate several salads from garden lettuce last week.

Saturday I went with both of my parents (they drove) to a very close-by semi-annual community garage sale. My patience paid off, as I found several items that I have been looking for for several years. I found wood drawer organizers for my kitchen drawers for a total of $6. I am so excited to have these! After a good wash and dry I put them in my drawers. I smile each time I see them.

I found a bicycle that Winter, Cyrus, and I can all ride (I don’t know who will ride it most often). The previous owner rode it once, crashed it, and didn’t ride it again, according to her husband, who was selling it. It has a few dents in the fenders but is usable and comfortable. I have been looking for a bicycle for several years but the garage sale prices were always hundreds of dollars. I paid $60.

I found a linen/cotton dress for Ivory for 50 cents. It needed a couple of ribbon roses stitched on more tightly, which only took a minute for me to fix.. At the same sale, I bought three hardcover children’s books in like-new condition for 10 cents each. I gave the dress and two of the books to Ivory for her birthday.

I purchased a 3-ton car jack (this was a request from my husband) for $30. I didn’t expect to find this, but the price was good and he was happy to have it.

One of the sales we went to was listed as an estate sale. The kitchen drawers were open for going through, and the woman holding the sale said that kitchen drawer items were $1 a handful. For my dollar, I purchased 2 new packages of cheesecloth, a staple remover, 2 basting brushes, an offset metal spatula with a metal handle, a new-in the package thermometer that went down to 0º (I plan on using it as a soil thermometer), and a tea ball.

One sale we went to had antiques. That is a rare thing in a city that was built in the last 20-30 years (and this neighborhood was built in the last 15 years). We loved many of the beautiful things that she had for sale. I took home a tatted linen handkerchief for 50 cents and a copper saucepan with a brass handle for $3. I’m sure this pan will be making its way into future photos on my website.

I also purchased 4 hardcover books (50 cents each), some oil pastels, acrylics, and watercolors, 3 plastic drawer organizers (50 cents for all 3; one of these ended up in each of the bathroom drawers), 3 picture frames ($2 for 2 of them and 50 cents for the small matching one), a pair of winter pajamas for Liberty ($2) that look brand-new (I am keeping these for a birthday present as they are in the next size up and it’s now time for summer pajamas), a shirt and pants for Elsa ($1 each), a summer hat that any of the girls can wear in the garden for 25 cents, and a brand-new package of hand-embroidery needles for 25 cents.

We went to about 50 sales in 5 hours and drove about 3 miles total.

I received a free magazine in the mail.

I received a package that I ordered from One Kings’ Lane that had free shipping and was paid for with referral credit.

I used the water from rinsing strawberries and the water from my canning pot to water potted trees in the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. Ladies I hope you will all pray for our family this weekend as we travel and look for a home to rent that is large enough to hold all of us. Pray that we find a home and a successful lease with a great landlord and that our family is safe for the travel and move. Bless you all.

  2. When you say “bottom of the fridge” do you mean the freezer? I always like to keep a couple of sale hams in the freezer but I didn’t think they lasted long in the fridge.

  3. Jennifer, the only freezer I have is the one on top of my fridge. I rarely can spare room in it for hams, as the kind I’m speaking of keep well unfrozen. These boneless hams are tightly cryovaced in sturdy plastic where no air can get in. They have a sell by or use by date often two or three months in advance on them. At the store, they are usually in an open refrigerated meat case. They will keep as well, or better, in your home fridge, which is closed. ( We keep our fridge quite cold.) The butcher agrees with me. I have never had one go bad, even when I didn’t use it until a while past its date.This time, I bought one for $1.99 a pound the week before Easter week. This week, they were $3.49 a pound. I notice the same thing a week or two before Thanksgiving. I usually buy two or three then, cheaper than they will be for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and even with holiday entertaining, they last until near Easter.Our parent’s generation kept hams hanging in the smoke house from late October until late winter. My grandmother preserved cooked sausage patties at hog killing time by layering them in a crock between layers of fat on the back porch through the winter. She would just dig out enough for breakfast in the mornings and knock off the excess fat. They didn’t spoil.The only time ham spoils easily, especially if it isn’t dry cured, is when left sitting out too long inside in a warm house, or especially in humid, warm weather.

  4. Robert, I pray not just that you find the right rental, but that you have good neighbors. I remember from our renting days as a young couple that sometimes the greatest trial is the kind of people you share a property with. So I hope you get a triple score, good property, landlord, and neighbors.

  5. That is the nice thing about hams…how long they last! I love that about how they used to keep the sausage in the fat in the crock. (I heard my in-laws say the same thing! Neat!) I think they used all of the fat too. (And they were much more fit and healthy than we are now!)

  6. I did the same thing for my youngest bday… She is a dec 28th baby and always seems to get lumped w the holidays. We went out of our way to make it special and it was NOT cheap but worth every penny! Happy bday to ur son!~Adriana

  7. Rebecca, I saw on a blog of a family that took their swimming pool and turned it into a greenhouse, garden, tilapia pond etc. I think they even had chickens and I think they were in Arizona maybe.

  8. Sandra, it depends on the weight of the denim. On light weight jeans it will show a slight outline. Doesn’t detract from the look of neat jeans though. Good luck and ENJOY that little rough and tumble boy…they become grown up men way to soon.

  9. In a pinch easter grass . Shred paper in shredder get out green food coloring dye and or paint works too in a pinch . Color paper , Easy in a pinch Easter grass for baskets, really in a pinch just shred green paper or use white paper for bottom of baskets.

  10. I have even seen purchased baskets that had plain excelsior in the bottom, with a layer of green on top.We were in Walmart earlier in the week and I was amazed at how Easter baskets have changed from what I received as a little girl, the small ones with several kinds of candy and MAYBE a small stuffed bunny. Now they have so many elaborate toys. I saw one with a princess set—sparkly pink tiara, wand, high heels, and pink ruffly skirt. Geeze Louise.All you frugalistas won’t believe this, but the couple checking out in front of me spent nearly $200–not hard to do in a big box store–but almost ALL of it was Easter stuff for kids, and I don’t mean clothes. Just stuff to make baskets and color eggs.

  11. While making a pastry for brunch tomorrow, I found myself automatically doing something frugal and wanted to share it. I was using maraschino cherries, which may not be on many people’s grocery lists these days due to cost, but I use them for this particular recipe. I strained the cherries from a new jar, collecting the liquid in a measuring cup. This time I didn’t use all the cherries, but when I do, I always save the juice. When I want pink icing for a birthday cake, just add the cherry juice instead of milk and “free” cherry flavored icing. I have done this for years–now maybe someone else may use the idea also.

  12. Adriana, I agree with doing what you can to make birthdays special. My daughter’s birthday is 9/11 so for years we celebrated twice a year, once on her birthday and also on her half birthday, 3/11. She is now 18 and laughs that we should still do that.

  13. Thanks, Brandy. I will check out your list and will also be comparing the Sam’s Club prices to my other stores, Wegman’s and Aldi’s.

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