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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I harvested asparagus, lettuce, sugar snap peas, green onions, and parsley from our garden. The peas and onions were used to make my museum pasta salad.

Our sewer company switched from annual billing to quarterly billing last year. I have been expecting my new quarterly bill but had not yet received it. When my bill did come this week, it had a late fee attached. I called to protest it, since I had not received a bill at all. The late fee ($8.98) was removed; I paid over the phone (no charge) and found out the dates the bill will be due from now on so that I can pay on time whether I receive them or not (I put the dates in the spreadsheet that I use for bill paying).

I received a free magazine in the mail.

I watched two shows for free on Hulu with my husband.

I signed up for PixieFaire‘s newsletter and received a link to two free 18″ doll patterns.

I have been planning to purchase a pair of garden boots for several years but had not found any that I liked. I did a lot of research and decided to purchase a pair locally for $30 (that were also made in the U.S.!) These should last for many years and save the wear and tear on my regular shoes.

I attended a free dinner with a guest speaker at church on Thursday.

I went through our things and parted with those I was no longer using in a garage sale on Friday (including the gravy boats that my grandmother had given me, above). My parents also gave us some things to sell after they did some decluttering at their house. A couple of the things that they didn’t need we wanted, so we kept those instead of selling them (my dad looked through our things first as well). We sold a good number of things.

The items that didn’t sell were donated to my oldest daughter’s church youth group garage sale on Saturday. Proceeds from the sale were divided among the girls to help them earn money for camp. Winter handed out flyers to everyone who came to our sale to tell them about Saturday’s sale. At least 6 people went to that sale from our flyers, including their first customer.

I went to Saturday’s sale to help. I also purchased a few items, including a silk scarf for myself for 25 cents, a book that I have long wanted (that has been out of print for years) for 50 cents.

I used a $10 off coupon at the nursery and I purchased three elderberry bushes to put in a space in the garden where nothing was growing.

I also purchased another Stella cherry tree. I’ll need to get a pot for this one (at this point any additional fruit trees need to be potted, as I already have 42 fruit trees on a .25 acre lot); I’ll be looking at Sam’s Club the next time I am there, as they usually have very large pots in the spring for low prices.

I continued to water my potted plants with water gathered from waiting from the shower and from rinsing vegetables.

I painted my garden bench using leftover paint that I had.

I did another thing–a rather exciting thing–to save us some money. I’ll be writing about that in a separate post.

What did you do last week to save money?

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25 Comments

  1. I love reading all of these tips!:) I would like some reader’s suggestions if you don’t mind. I’ve been keeping track of my budget on excel for the last year. I am shocked at how much I spend for birthday presents! Not the price of the gift , never more than $15 and usually less, I mean the amount of gifts. My son is 5 and is invited to at least two parties a month. Birthdays are huge where I live and at his school. I already decline invites to kids that are only acquaintances. Homemade gifts would not go over well in this town. Ideas?

  2. Christie- I’ll have to take your advice and see what he says! You are definitely giving me hope! Athanasia- I’m here in Fl and the local nursery sells trees that guaranteed to produce in 2 yrs. all of my neighbors have bought from them and been successful. Where are you?

  3. Hello everyone. I tried to post earlier today but lost it I guess, so I’m going to try to remember everything. I’m feeling like the “Leftover Queen” this last week. Have made multiple dinners with leftovers, trying to get at least 3 meals out of every meat dish. I did however lose a bit to food waste, 2 onions, half a head of lettuce, some nachos that my daughter in law made and gave us her leftovers. Reheated them twice but that was all I could do with that. Also lost a few biscuits to the chickens. Managed to score some leftovers at work again, had a Mexican buffet and brought home some chicken and sliced grilled steak. Also brought home 4 large whole wheat rolls.One of my daughter in laws brought us a small bottle of maple syrup. Picked up mushrooms on markdown for 75 cents a quart and dehydrated themOn Saturday went to our local electric co-op meeting. Everyone who attends received a 25.00 credit on their next electric bill. We have 3 meters/bills so that was $75.00. Also received information about EPA regulations and if we filled out a contact card we received another $2.00 credit on our bills. Our electric bills are anticipated to go up approx. 32% in the coming years, which is really going to hurt. One of our local power plants is already going to be shut down in June. We also received a energy conservation box which included 6 CFL lightbulbs, a low flow showerhead and a faucet aerator, so I received 3 boxes. I am set for light bulbs for quite awhile I think. I did make donation of $5.00 for a cancer charity and for that they gave you a new LED light bulb which I definitely wanted to try an LED. Also had free ice cream during the event. Picked up a few pencils for my grandson from the Sheriff department booth as well as a hardback book for 3rd graders. There were also some very nice door prizes but unfortunately we did not win any of those…Boo. Cut my husband’s hair this week also. I’ve been doing this for years. He always says the only difference between a good hair cut and a bad hair cut is 2 weeks. LOL.Still doing the usual washing clothes in cold water, washing and reusing plastic bags, turning out lights, etc. Can’t wait to get to using my clothes line again for drying clothes. Right now am using just half a softener sheet in each dryer load. Purchased a large men’s shirt at the Goodwill for a few dollars on half price day. Going to use it to make an apron to go into an office Christmas gift this year. Was given seed potatoes by two different friends so those are planted along with my lettuce, onions and peas, still waiting for them to come up. Brandy your peas look so good, I am so ready for Spring!Had an abundance of extra eggs so gave away some of those to friends and family. Well I think that is about it for this week. Really enjoy reading everyone’s accomplishments.

  4. A couple of friends raised money through crowdsourcing for large vet bills. One has a cat that needed an amputation; another has a dog with cancer. It’s easy to contribute small amounts, and it all adds up when everyone pitches in.

  5. Mary Ann, I have wondered whether to do a mail order as I see mentioned here often that folks do mail order. The garden store says they usually get 3 in when they are ordered. I think that is 3 total, not every shipment. We are in Wisconsin, kind of in the middle.

  6. Mdoe, you need to make a library your best friend. I buy books for a living, but most of the books I read every day are from the libraries, our church/school one or the public one. You should be able to get whatever you want, even if you need to use inter-library loan. Years ago I needed an odd book for a research project and ILL got it for me…when it came it was the Library of Congress copy. I was a little nervous the whole time it was in my possession.Not to say we don’t have a lot of books, we do. Both my parents were/are big readers and I still have many of their books. Plus with seven of us books still accumulate. Since your town doesn’t have its own library can you use the school Library? It seems odd your town has no library…my mother’s hometown of 600 has a library. I spent a summer on a mission trip when I was younger and the town of 300 or so had a library. True it was in someone’s house and was only open a three days a week but it was a real library.

  7. Kid’s birthday parties are tough! A couple of times a year, our local craft shop has a massive clearance sale on craft kits – as in, $20 kits marked down to $3. I buy several at a time and put them in our gift cupboard. Craft kits work well for boys or girls; most kids like making stuff. I can also usually find good things in the clearance bins at toy shops; because most kids go to the same shops I like to put these away for a few months before I give them away, because there’s less of a chance they’ll be identified as clearance bin toys! I also do some birthday present shopping from aliexpress.com – especially for jewellery, the prices can’t be beat. I can get very cute little girl’s necklaces for 50 cents to 80 cents each (usually from stores that have a minimum spend of $10, but for $10, you can get *a lot* of stuff.) I’ve seen the same necklaces retail in shops for $10 to $20, so they don’t look like 80 cent presents.

  8. That’s too bad that people would turn up their noses to something you had actually put thought into making! My suggestion is that you stock up on art/school supplies at back to school time. Crayons are always a hit with kids. Our local dollar store always has a selection of coloring books with current cartoon characters, too. Think out of the box, most kids don’t need yet another toy.

  9. Mary Ann,On the birthday gifts books might work years ago the kids all like “Goosebumps” , treats for a lunch and or snack in a wicker basket, thrift jewelry (sometimes you need to repair and find a pretty box , for girls) Michael/s coupon purchase craft items sometimes on clearance. I hope that helps.

  10. Thank you very much! Only a few more days to wait to find out if I’m expecting. I will be boiling a bunch of eggs today, and have been taking prenatal vitamins for awhile, but I definitely need more iron and protein.

  11. mdoe, since you want to purchase part of your books, learn when the big delivery dates are for “remainder” books at your local book stores. At our Books a Million, it is January and June, I think. I have made some incredible finds just checking remainder tables. Also, there is a company called Daedalus Books that I have ordered books from at a very deep discount, and their shipping is very reasonable. In both cases, some of the heavily discounted books are gift quality books if you happen to know someone who would appreciate them.

  12. Becky I’d like to suggest Justice (in the Mall or online). Their sz 16 runs bigger than Wal-Mart brand, plus they have sz 18 and sz 20 as well. My 10 year old frequently can’t wear girls sz 16, but she always can at Justice. Sometimes she can wear their sz 14. 18s and 20s sometimes fit, it just depends on the style. Justice regular prices are crazy, but they have great clearance ($2-$6 shirts frequently)Also check Cato stores. Their 16s also run bigger. Good clearance and regular prices run around $14-$20 for shirts. To much I know, but we were a little desperate the other day and found a shirt for $14 that not only fit great, but made my 10 year old feel good about her body and what she was wearing — that’s priceless (on the rare occasion 😉 )Even if you don’t have these stores keep an eye out for these brands at yard sales and 2nd hand stores.Good luck on your search. I know it’s not easy :/

  13. I like your ideas Melissa and Maydijo. I’m so glad my kids are older now and there aren’t as many birthday parties. It does get better!

  14. I ate a lot of leftovers for lunch. I also used a lot of lentils to make dinner, which is great because with WIC we get a LOT of beans for just three people and an unborn baby. And lentils expand a LOT. We kept using cloth diapers and washing them in Tide I bought with stacked coupons. I experimented with using cold water to wash the rest of our clothes, but our water is so hard that they didn’t come clean. Back to warm water it is.I sold a few things we no longer use on Craigslist.I put my foot down on leaving kitchen appliances plugged in, and we’ve been saving a lot on our electric bill since then!I cut some services that we were overpaying for, and called our internet provider to complain about a rate increase they flung at us. They gave me an introductory rate instead!We shopped online for a multi-family home in Arizona. We’re not planning to move until Hubby gets out of the Corps in November, but we want to have a plan in place. We intend to use a VA loan, and live in one unit while renting the other unit to help pay our mortgage.

  15. Stock you gift closet with toys from Target’s semi-annual toy clearance. Happen twice a year with up to 75% off. Follow AllThingsTarget on FB for hints on when. Hope it was ok to mention that FB page which I have no affiliation with. Also my Kroger has toys on clearance after each holiday, I am using a ton of princess dolls I bought after Valentine’s for Easter basket. Another idea is $10 movie theater gift card for any and all, you could keep then in inventory, no extra trips to store for toy and gift wrap.

  16. My water is also very hard. 10 years ago, our appliance repairman told me to add 1/2 cup vinegar to every washload to help keep hard water deposits from building up on the inside of the machine. I have done that, & it really made a difference with the clothes getting clean. If your water is very hard, some of the components of the hard water are being left behind in the water heater; that is why the warm water works better. Now I add a little vinegar to the dishwasher before I run it, too. Adding a capful to bathwater helps any cleaning product work better, with less. I use the cheapest vinegar I can find, and it does not leave a scent behind.

  17. My biggest frugal accomplishments was the bridal shower that I threw for my sister-in-law to be. I worked very hard on it and I think it turned out really nice. This was my first time ever throwing a shower and wow did I learn a lot. 🙂 It was a lot of fun but also fairly time consuming. Showers can be SO expensive. Thankfully I was able to borrow tons of beautiful silk flower decorations from a friend who used the same colors in her wedding. I also borrowed tablecloths from 3 different people so I didn’t have to purchase any. We did use paper plates and napkins but everything else was reusable. We used real silverware and mason jars. I made a chevron banner with the wedding date and a canvas with the last name initial. I also made the bride a pin to wear. I taught myself how to make a Cupcake Wedding Dress Cake by watching YouTube instead of purchasing an expensive cake from the bakery. Pictures and other frugal accomplishments on my blog: http://www.lifeasmrsemerson.blogspot.com/2014/04/frugal-things-i-did-last-week.html Thanks so much to everyone for the encouragement!

  18. Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed your video. I am guessing that if one were to move to a different home the trees could also be moved? We are renters and so I am hesitant to do anything as major as planting years. On the other hand we could live here for years and years. 🙂

  19. Amanda, some of my current trees in my garden were in pots at my last house. We brought them here. You can grow a lot in pots and take it with you! You might also want to plant in garden boxes that can be brought with you to your next house (for things like lettuce). Pots are great for lots of things, including herbs, lettuce, chard, and green onions.

  20. As usual I was so busy reading and re-reading everyone’s posts that I never go around to mine. We did the same al always with hanging laundry when possible, composting, cooking from scratch. My daughter was off school and we were also on spring break. With Easter so late, our school went with the earlier break as the term is over mid-May.She and I started the spring cleaning of the inside…we washed the windows, mini blinds, all the curtains, took all the snow rugs from the doors outside to beat them, then to the laundromat to use the jumbo washer. We washed all the fall/winter duvet covers there and air fluffed the down comforters. I have spring/summer weight duvets to put on now. We washed and waxed the floors. We rolled up the winter rugs and put them away in the garage. My husband cleaned out the garage and hung up some new shelves and cupboards he built over the summer. The weather has been warmer with not much additional snow. No sign of bulbs coming up yet. The robins arrived last week. My oldest girl has started the tomatoes from seeds, along with all the annuals, which is something Inever did. But as I said earlier, she is taking over the gardening. We put plants out here end of May. As that is the wedding this year, we will work around that.I made homemade poptarts with pie crust from the freezer and different jams mixed with finely chopped apples from cellar. Made a powder sugar glaze for some and left some plain. Made yogurt, egg salad, baked beans, tostadas (baked the corn tortillas in oven until crispy) and refried beans from the freezer, made the turkey-wild rice soup from the meat and broth from last months turkey dinner, tuna-noodle casserole using mushrooms I froze a couple weeks ago to the make the white sauce, made a rhubarb crisp with last years rhubarb. Made tapioca pudding (with the pearls, not the instant), had breakfast for dinner one night with French toast and eggs and Illinois farm sausage patties (obtained a couple weeks ago…it is bulk sausage so I formed all 4 pounds into patties and froze between wax paper for easy separation.) Made 2 loaves of white bread, a pan of dinner rolls to go with the turkey soup, one loaf of cinnamon swirl raisin bread. Watched several shows on HULU and listened to radio shows. Daughter made play lists on 8tracks app to listen to while we were cleaning. Mended a hem that came loose. Worked on Easter cards and wrote letters and got 13 sent out so far. Finished the last of the embroidered pillow cases for a May birthday. Made my youngest brother a birthday card and a selection of 10 bookmarks for his many in-progress books that he reads at one time. I used pictures from maps and pamphlets we brought back from our vacations and attached to cardstock with dry adhesive and put a Bible verse or literary quote of the other side. Did not tassel them. Sealed in clear laminate.Read Brandy’s new post just now on the fruit trees and I am just going to get the lemon from the garden store as all the points seemed to lean toward local purchase. I am going to call the manager on Monday so I can get a call as soon as they come in. At grocer bought 2 gallons of milk for 6.00, 2 large bunch of radishes for 1.49 each, a 3-pack of romaine for 1.99 and a cucumber for .59. We were really in the mood for salad, added celery on hand and shredded carrots and cabbage bought a couple weeks ago, garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds, we had a very nice salad several nights. Used shredded lettuce and cabbage on the tostadas too.Got a .05 credit for using own grocery bag. Bought 4 more bottle of sparkling grape juice with doubled .50 off 2 bottles, so 1.00 of 2 bottles. Made them 2.29 each. That was it.

  21. Judy, I watched your video on the potted orchard . Very nice. Are you a warm year all roundclimate ? If not how do you keep so many trees from freezing? I like your brick patio and the fountain.

  22. I have a yard sale every summer at my house. A friend of mine joins me since she lives far out. I put signs at the main roads (one on each side of the telephone poles) plus a sign at my house. Make sure you wash your items being sold, price them to sell and be willing to take offers or counter their offer. I have noticed people buy more clothes if they are hung up. My nana has always told me to have a free bin, .10 bin and .25 bin – I don’t know why this works but people buy more things. Haha my nana can make a yard sale feel like you are at a store so I have learned from her. Presentation is everything. Hope this helps. 🙂

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