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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Winter made a lot of friendship bracelets this week–and taught Liberty to make one, too!

I cut flowers from the garden for my table.

I cut asparagus from the garden (we’re getting about 2 pounds a week now, one pound at a time, so I planted some seeds that I collected from my heirloom Mary Washington asparagus last year and planted some more in the garden to have more 4 years from now).

I cut chives, Swiss chard, and lettuce from the garden.

I cut five pairs of children’s jeans that were torn at the knee and turned 3 pairs into shorts using a heavy-duty needle and some jeans thread on my sewing machine. (I still have 2 pairs left to do).

Our water bill came this week. I noticed that they have reduced the amounts for the tiers, to make it so that people hit the second tier faster (our water bill can go up to four tiers; I hit the third tier in the winter). I was expecting a higher bill this month than last,  as I had adjusted the outside water to water more often in March, as our weather was in the 70’s and 80’s.

I was very diligent to make sure that I didn’t water more minutes than necessary. I spent more time out in the garden than I have in the past, as we had very nice weather. Spring came a month early here, but I found that my garden was plenty wet, and so I adjusted the water down. In addition, I continued to use water from the shower to water plants, and gather water from rinsing vegetables to water plants.

My water usage was less than half of what I used last year at this time, and even less than what I used in Feburary! Since the tiers are smaller and we had the first of 5 increases in rates this year (that will happen in the next 3 years) I was very happy to see that my water conservation efforts are paying off.

I taught the boys to use a bucket for their showers as well this week (while waiting for the water to warm), and instructed them to pour the water on the potted fruit trees in the garden each day. Between the two boys I should save several more gallons each week. Though it doesn’t seem like a lot compared to our overall water usage, it also means I don’t have to use more water to water the potted plants.

I used the water from rinsing beans (before cooking them) to water a potted fruit tree. I also saved the water from rinsing vegetables from the garden for this.

My husband and I cut his hair.

My husband had his birthday this week. His father invited him and his brothers to lunch. My husband asked if I would like to come as well. He had a 2 for 1 coupon to the buffet where his father had invited him, which made my lunch free. When we went, one of his brothers had two 2 for 1 coupons as well, which cut the cost in half for my father-in-law. (I married into a frugal family!) My oldest is now old enough to babysit for a short time, which made it possible for us to go.

Normally, April is the one month a year where we eat out (usually my parents give us a little something to celebrate both of our birthdays and they offer to watch the children while we are at dinner–so we get one night out a year). This time my parents decided to take us out to dinner while my oldest babysat. My husband signed up for the restaurant’s program ahead of time, which made his dinner free for my parents. The servers also brought him ice cream for free since it was his birthday.

I planted more Swiss chard in the garden under the fig tree, since Swiss chard will grow in shade and grows year-round here. That is the last of my seeds, but some of my older plants are beginning to bolt. I plan on collecting seeds this year to plant more chard this year and next year.

My husband and I watched two shows for free on Hulu.

I made a new hem on the top of a sheet that tore almost all the way across (just under the top hem). The easiest solution was a new top hem, which should give me at least another year of use from that sheet.

I scrubbed baseboards, the walls, and cabinets with a simple mix of a teaspoon of dishsoap and a gallon of hot water, and used a rag to wash them (I used 2 gallons total). They look so much better and I didn’t have to buy a more expensive cleaner.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. I continue to be amazed at all you accomplish! I hope you’ll share pictures of the gifts you made for Ivory’s birthday. And a picture of Ivory would be nice. All your children are so beautiful.

  2. Anna,Although I experienced a different situation, I have done my time with major crisis is my life. I think you are on the right track when you try to look at the good things that are happening, even though they seem small. When I look back at those times, that is one thing that stands out to me. There were many days when I prayed to God to show me just one good thing that day, and He was always faithful. It also helped my mind to keep looking for those things. I just wanted to encourage you to keep on trying. Things do get better, and it sounds like you are on an upward swing, since your daughter is surviving. Money is only money. It’s hard not to obsess with it or with the lack of it, but I love how you can find good things in your life right now.

  3. I finally got a few peas planted yesterday. The ground is still so wet, that I feel like I have accomplished a major thing. I hope to plant the rest today. I have 4 large raised beds for vegetables. These dry out faster, so that’s where the peas went. I would like to get some cool-weather crops planted also before it starts raining again in a few days-carrots, beets, lettuce, etc.We worked in the greenhouse for a couple of hours, transplanting tomatoes into bigger pots.I received the strawberries I ordered. My husband put them into dirt in a tray in the greenhouse so they would not die. I think that bed is dry enough for me to get them in there today or tomorrow. I let the 4-H members dig up some chives that had self-seeded to take home and grow. I also gave away all the extra eggs our generous chickens have been giving us to the moms, saving them money and getting my fridge cleaned out for the next round. I have to be a little careful, if either of my fridges are too full, they start freezing stuff and then I lose it.I cooked and cooked for my daughter’s 18th birthday party. I paid for the food, and some decorations. When she decided she wanted more elaborate decorations, I let her pay for those. It was a nice party. They ate, played group games, then watched Frozen and My Fair Lady. In the morning, we cooked sausage we got inexpensively, eggs from our chickens, fruit. I worked on a jumper for my granddaughter, who lives with us. It will be done today. I was able to use a pattern my friend gave me, fabric I’ve had for years, and buttons I’ve had for years from a garage sale. (My husband bought a huge box of buttons on cards for some small sum, like $20 and there are still lots and lots left)I bought Easter dresses for my 2 daughters that still live at home. I used gift cards, discount cards, etc. and paid very little out of pocket. I ordered shrugs from Penney’s and will go pick them up from the store soon. They cost me more out of pocket, but the dress one daughter got from the junior’s section needs a shrug. We are pretty conservative people, and like a little more coverage than most of the dresses that fit her provide, so it’s worth it to me for her to feel like she is stylish (since it really, really matters to her), but still modest.We ate at home, except for one quick trip to Wendy’s with 2 girls when my husband unexpectedly got sick and I ended up having to go pick up my foster granddaughter from her DHS visit after I finished work. We did not get home until 7 and she would not have emotionally made it with no dinner until then. She has experienced times of hunger in her life and we always try to eat on time so she doesn’t experience anxious feelings. The visits are about 40 minutes from home and our routine is for me to come home and cook while he picks her up and the food is all ready when they walk through the door. So sometimes, you just adjust and thank the Lord for Wendy’s!!!:)I keep turning off lights, etc. and turned off the heater in the greenhouse since it’s warm enough in there without it now. I’ve encouraged shorter showers, but sometimes feel no one is really listening. Our kids are limited in their ability to see action/consequence at times, and this is one area that they just seem to not be able to understand. So, they will take 20-30 minute showers at times. I’ll be pounding on the door trying to get them out……you get the idea. So, I’m trying to get a balance between a happy, peaceful home and a lower power bill. Not easy! Our power bill has been so high the last 3 months. I am hoping it goes down significantly. Soon!

  4. Anna, we are blessed to have you here too! Keep up the good frugal work and remember that even a drop of water at a time can wear away a rock. Be that drop of water!

  5. Instead of pounding on the door, try turning on the hot water from another tap. The shower water will go a lot colder instantly, & the shower will end. We used this method in college with roommates who took insanely long showers.

  6. My husband is not a picky eater, either. That is a blessing! But now he has started to take on more frugal habits, so is close to being the perfect husband! I walked into the bathroom to find him stuffing toothpaste from a big tube to a little tube. When questioned, he said that toothpaste seems to be a constant loss to TSA when he flies (a lot, for work), so if he takes a smaller tube it is not such a loss. And, because large tubes of toothpaste are virtually always less expensive than smaller, travel tubes, he saves money if he buys a large tube and just refills smaller tubes. I never would have thought of that, or thought that he would voluntarily take on this task, so I am a very impressed wife right now!!

  7. Actually, it doesn’t do that here. It did at our last house. I have a large water heater and low-flow shower heads. I can have 2 people taking a shower, be running the washing machine (cold water) and the dishwasher (not cold) and not have a loss of temperature. I LOVE our water heater! I need to get that bathroom a timer 🙂

  8. Athanasia, I live in a split level home. The top floor is the bedrooms & 2 bathrooms, the “middle” is the kitchen, dining room & library (inside the front door), and the lower level is the family room, guest bedroom & laundry room. Off the laundry room, there is a half height door opening into an area with a concrete floor, that is under the “middle”, & lower than the laundry room level by about 15 inches. I cannot stand up straight in this are, but it is still quite useable. I can sit on a 5 gallon bucket & my head clears the floor joists above me. We use half of the area for general storage, & half for our canned goods & food storage – I built shelves on that side. I have been pleasantly surprised at how this area maintains a constant cool temp year round. It is ideal for storing home canned fruits & veggies.

  9. When I have purchased books 2nd hand from etsy or Amazon, some of the sellers wrapped the book first in a layer of tissue paper, with a few pieces of tape to secure it, then tucked it inside a mailing envelope – sometimes padded, sometimes not. The books wrapped that way arrived in great shape. Some of the other sellers put the smaller books into vinyl envelopes that heat seal. While I have been reading the American Girls series with my granddaughter, I have occasionally bought a book here & there that I could not find locally in the thrifts for $0.01, with $3.99 shipping. Be sure you let the buyer pay for your shipping costs.

  10. Yes, non-picky husbands are a blessing. My sweetface didnt even complain about it the day I accidentally put a can of cat food in his lunchbox instead of his tuna salad! Ha! I blogged about it and he laughed even more. 🙂

  11. That is priceless, Linda. Reminds me of one of my blunders ages ago. We saved butter tubs to feed the cats in and labeled them “CAT” with a magic marker to keep them separate from the people dishes. One frantic day, I accidentally sent something in my husband’s lunch box in a “CAT’ bowl. He very carefully kept his hand over the label all the time he ate. If his work mates had seen him eating from a bowl marked “CAT”, he would never have lived it down.

  12. Another fast moving week . It’s been so warm here, in the 50’s days. The tulips and daffodils are about an inch tall. We continued the spring cleaning we started last week. Only had to have the heat on at night, set at 64°. Cooked from scratch. Made 2 loaves of white and one of graham batter bread. Made macaroni and cheese, butterscotch pudding, grilled quesadellas with vegetables and cheese, Mexican rice, cole slaw, applesauce, green jello with my last jar of canned pears, popcorn, orange cupcakes with chocolate-toasted hazelnut frosting. My mother, youngest and I took a weekend trip. Drove over East ways and visited some of my father’s family. We left right after school Friday, had dinner with and stayed with relatives. We left early Saturday am and drove down to Milwaukee and had brunch with more of my father’s relatives. He was the youngest of eight boys. Then I’d promised Olivia a trip to the mall so we went and parked my mother in the bookstore cafe, then she and I made a quick round…She found 3 pair of clearance tights for $2 each (winter weight) , a coat for next winter for $18, 2 long sleeve T’s at 3.99 each. We had coffee back at the cafe and some cookies my mother brought along. We just had brewed coffee. Then over to Madison area to my youngest brother’s for his birthday party. I gave him the 10 bookmarks I made. We drove home late, leaving my mother there for a (planned) visit. She comes back on the bus tomorrow. Except for gas, not much expense.Bought 4 lArge containers of cottage cheese for 1.59 each, 10 packs of cream cheese for .99 each, 2 boxes each of lasagna noodles and large shells for 1.29 each, 3 pounds pears at .88 a pound. They ripened nicely and have been delicious. A nice change from bananas and apples… it will be months before we get our own pears. Bought 2 gallons milk for 6.00, 5 frozen orange juice for 1.00 each. Received .05 credit for each reusable bag. All I can remember. Watched Hulu, mended, worked on wedding present quilt. We did a very traditional pattern, Sunshine and Shadows. It will be for their guest room. Her mother has made them a traditional Hawaiian style quilt of appliqued flowers, and the flowers have meanings. It’s lovely and she has done it all herself and that one will be for their bed.I am so ready for spring to get here. Oh! We have 2 baby lambs now.

  13. Allison, it has been raining here all day. Our ground is still frozen so no where for it to go…. I was saying to my husband, I actually would rather it be snow as April snow melts quickly and will not flood as much. Fortunately we have a dry basement. I can hear the sump pump running.

  14. Thanks everyone. Haven’t set a date as yet, but are thinking sometime in 2016. Will definitely keep everyone posted on our preparations hopefully they will be frugal.

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