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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

The weather was astoundingly beautiful this last week and all I wanted to do was to be outside in it. 
Fortunately, I had plenty of chores to keep me outside.
I stopped to watch a songbird sing in my garden on several different occasions.
I watched a monarch butterfly flit above our patio.

 I cut asparagus from the garden this week (around 2 pounds).

I picked several different types of lettuce from the garden for salads several times. 
 I saved the water from washing the lettuce to water potted plants in the garden. 
The children had fun outside too. The boys appeared to have some flying lessons. . . .

“First, you fly up in the air like this.”

“Now follow me. Good! Hold your arms up straight to go higher. . . .”

“Let’s practice hovering now.”

“Now go crazy with it!”

while the girls played with dad on the the swings and the merry-go-round.

The children participated in a talent show this week. That was lots of fun!

Winter was invited to a birthday party and made some gifts for her friend, who is a Dr. Who fan.

I walked down the street to a garage sale, where I purchased 2 picture frames ($1 each; one was a 16 by 20 inch frame that was brand-new), 3 books (25 cents each), 3 like-new Harry Potter games ($1 each). One of the games and one of the books will be for Cyrus’ birthday. One of the books will be for Ivory’s birthday; it is a book that we have checked out at the library before that we already know she likes.

I received 2 free magazines in the mail. One had another smaller magazine sample (of a different magazine) that came with it that I enjoyed as well.

My husband and I had an at-home date.

I took pictures of an older couple as a gift for the woman’s 80th birthday. This is a woman I visit teach from church.

I used a free coupon code from Walgreen’s to order and 8 by 10 image of this picture of birds’ eggs for free.

I planted more seeds in the garden. I figured out a way to grow more Swiss chard and artichokes in the existing space that I have (using closer spacing of rows, staggered plants, and more frequent harvesting of chard), as well as more flowers for cut arrangements through the summer. I planted both chard and zinnias, and I will be running more drip lines in the area where I am growing the artichokes to allow them to be spaced closer together. Both the chard and zinnia seeds were leftover from previous years.

I added several things to my garage sale pile.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. I bought 8 pounds of dried beans, cooked a double batch in the slow cooker. Only spend 1/3 grocery budget. Got ww bread for 99c on the deal rack and froze 5 loaves. Lowered bills a bit this month, will keep working, they have creeped up. I wonder if the price for electricity has risen? Got my daughter shoes for dance second hand.I would love to be able to plant something soon!

  2. I took a nice vacation, 8 hours away, to visit friends for a few days this last week. I was able to make all of our food for the trip, there and back, with a planned stop at a restaurant on the way home. We were able to stay in a camper on our friends’ property for free, instead of renting a motel room. We ate all our meals with our friends in their house. We took some food to share and bought a little more at the grocery store while there, instead of going out to eat. It was super fun and frugal!

  3. Ha! yes I ment recipes. My momma always boiled it and I refuse to eat it like that. The baking with salt and oil sounds good. I tried it breaded and fried at a restaurant and it was very yummy. Of course, most things are yummy breaded and fried…The instant yeast comment was that people were using it as a direct replacement for traditional active dry yeast without changing the amount, but in most recipes you should use less. I just thought I’d do some experimenting.

  4. YNAB is awesome! So worth the $60. We have used it for almost two years now. One of the nice things is that it is a budgeting software (period) not a finance software with a budget tacked on. They know what they are doing over there. My other favorite part is that my husband and I both have the ap on our phones so I know exactly what’s left in the food budget even if my husband went out to lunch that day. So easy to stick to the plan.

  5. Y’all are making me feel like a dinosaur with all this talk of budgeting software. I use a notebook and a pencil. One page for each payday, which at this point in our lives means one page for social security day and one for pension day. In the front of this notebook is a list that reminds me what day different insurances, etc. are due. I continually budget for everything. For instance, if something is due annually, I set aside 1/12 of it each month. I keep a list clipped to my checkbook register that tells me at a glance how much of the money is being held for certain things, and I change that notation after money has been spent. Not at all high tech, but it works. The key is organization, no matter what method you use.

  6. I homeschooled until high school I kept a tight budget and High School for two children in Public School for fees, some clothing(very little) uniforms, participation fees for sports and AP Classes , college applications, and all of the usual things on a tight budget that children do in high school cost $58,667 for two children for the four years plus college application fees. They both were in Chorus, one ran track , the other was on the crew team they were both in science clubs, and german club, they both participated in community service and the gas to run them to events and (I often sent packed food from home for events / but being teens they often got hungry still and bought a bit more/ I always tried to increase the food I sent with them) There were parking fees, fees for Honor society, fees for being a student, hot lunches once and awhile. Supply fees for art class, tshirts that had to be bought , prom (and I kept it all on a tight budget) College Board fees, AP fees the list was so long I have only mentioned a few. It cost almost $60K to send two children to Public High School !!!In all fairness my children went on to Ivy League college on scholarships but the fees for high school were outrageous and if they did not participate the way that they did they would not have managed slots in Ivy League schools and scholarships.So YES, School is Expensive we saved by keeping them home until high school. When the entered school they were two full grades above everyone else in studies. One child got offered upon graduation he could have tested in as a Junior at Cornell. So Home School children do just fine in the real world.

  7. The greatest thing I did this week to save money was trade some items I can not move with me for more packing materials (furniture blankets) boxes and padding. Other than that it has been a rather expensive time. We ate all meals at home except two (one was my son’s award ceremony but my husband and I shared a sandwich so our out of pocket was only $20.00) It was nice to see our son get his awards. We have three more celebrations coming up we are wearing clothing we already have, our son is paying for one of the meals and we are paying for one and one has a meal included in the ticket price. Parking fees are outrageous for graduation parking alone was $20.00 how outrageous is that ! My son got us a pass so we do not have to pay (His Dad is disabled so he will get a handicap spot so zero cost to park our car that night! Thank goodness with all of the moving cost and some other unexpected fees that came up I’m not certain where it was all going to come from. Paula I would love to hear about how much your fixed income is, I find it amazing anyone can manage on a fixed income.

  8. Hi Paula. I am just starting to budget, but I long for the old days when all we had was a check book with very little money in it and few bills. We mostly wrote checks and used a little cash. Now we have a large family and there are several ways to pay for things (cash, check, debit card, credit card, auto withdrawal etc.) I’m trying to figure out how to budget with all of these different things. (Like when I’m at the store and I buy something for a teen and he or she pays me back or when I get cash back.) I get all mixed up. I think your notebook and pencil sound heavenly. Take care! Liz 🙂

  9. Robert, normally I would not give an explicit answer to that on a public forum, but I have been reading your comments long enough to know that you genuinely need and deserve an answer and will gladly oblige. Our income last year was $31,000. Next year it will drop to a little over $29,000 when my husband stops getting a small disability stipend from his company’s disability insurer. (This stipend is not part of our budget; it is deposited directly to our savings account.) Our income would be about $250 more a month, but my husband took a smaller monthly pension so that if I am widowed, I will get as much as I can possibly get. We have money in an IRA in case of really big expenses such as needing a roof, heating and air system, vehicle, etc.We are in Arkansas, and our state tax structure is pretty good to retirees. Also, there isn’t much tax on Social Security. I have been paying $137 a month since last May on expenses involving my mother’s estate. This will end when my brother gets the house listed and sold. My half of the proceeds will give us some much needed extra security. It will not be blown on new cars or an expensive vacation. Our total annual outlay for all insurance ( Husband’s medicare, drug plan, medicare supplement, my ACA insurance, three life insurances, liability for two vehicles, homeowner’s insurance) is over $8,000, and we still live well by being frugal and budgeting. We don’t go on trips or out to movies and other night life, but we eat good food, buy books and music and eat out a reasonable amount. We both have hobbies. I am a card maker and my husband is a ham radio operator and photographer.I know that to some of you who live in expensive areas, this sounds like poverty. It isn’t, we are fairly comfortable, barring the occasional “disaster.” Bear in mind that we paid off our home before retirement and have NO debt. We drive well maintained OLD cars. There’s a mechanic outside replacing a wiper motor on my husband’s truck as I write.I am a VERY nit picky budgeter. For instance, I set aside a little over four dollars a month to pay the annual safe deposit box bill. Doesn’t seem like bothering with, I’m sure, but I never have to worry about what day the bank takes their money come September, as I’ve already saved it up. Absolutely every regular expense, such as any kind of insurance, property taxes, etc., I set aside 1/12 each month. We are on average monthly billing for both electric and natural gas. My budgets are steady. I set aside an amount for vehicle maintenance in the monthly budget. My husband stuck his head in the door a while ago and asked if we could spend $170 for this repair. I said yes, but it was only just now that I remembered we have nearly that much in the repair fund anyway. I like it when I get pleasant little surprises like that.By being so organized and picky about budgeting ahead for the necessary expenses, we are able to know how much of our money each month is “extra” and can enjoy some of life’s small pleasures in good conscience. Hope this helps.Now I’m waiting for someone from NYC or somewhere to tell me we would be homeless on this income where they live. LOL

  10. Robert, I left out a couple of points. One, the main concept that Brandy teaches here, storage of food bought at bargain prices, has been so very important to us over the years. At anytime, if there is a sudden financial emergency and it becomes necessary, I can simply stop buying anything for a good long while, freeing up money for whatever the need might be. In our working days, there were several times, due to layoff or illness, that there was a suddenly reduced income and we lived off stored food and ran our home off stored supplies.Second, you might try thinking differently about what it means to live on a fixed income. In the recession of 1980, manufacturing was hit hard. My husband was on layoff for thirteen straight months, plus several months in 1981. At that time, people who had already made their money were drawing 14% interest on their CD’s. While my husband was desperately looking for work and the clock was ticking on his unemployment benefits, retired people constantly complained about “being on a fixed income.” We came to consider this the whining of the fortunate and said if we were ever fortunate enough to get to the place where we HAD a fixed income, we would consider it a blessing, and we still DO! It is a blessing to not have to worry about layoffs, short work weeks, plant closings, and the like. We are fortunate to have a fixed income and it is our job to know how to live on it.

  11. I watched the you tube clips and there is also longer one (is it a half hour show?) But it is dubbed in Italian but the English narration is still going on at the same time so not really possible to understand either. I watched without sound.

  12. We always used to steam it up to about five years ago when we had dinner at a friend’s house and she did the broiling technique. Only way to cook now, for us.

  13. Wow, that seems unbelievably high. We had five in public high school, four years each, even with the AP classes, ACT and SAT tests, sports fees (which had a family cap) and most of the other things listed it was no where approaching $60,000. And remember it’s cheaper to get those college credit classes in high school. Saved us a lot of money between AP English, German, Spanish and French, Biology, Calculus, US History and European. Plus when you test in they give you all the retroactive credits too.

  14. Yes, it is a half hour show. I only watched a couple of the short clips on you tube & must have chosen those in English. I didn’t see the longer one.

  15. Robert, you remind me of one of the things I have to be most grateful for, my dear, good husband of forty one years. Working together with a good person does make a difference. My husband’s brother made a bad first marriage and I can see so many ways that it has impacted his situation and kept him behind where he should be at his age. His second wife is a gem. I’m glad you have a good partner now. At least you went from bad to good for the third act of your life.

  16. Here is a tip that might help some if they are in a very busy time in life. When traveling and moving I pack drinks and applesauce and fruit cups that way when we stop and get sandwiches from a place to eat the total cost is lower at the fast food. We can eat at picnic tables. My favorite place for sandwiches is either subway or arby’s as I feel the food is better for my family. So when traveling I pack enough for days and sandwiches for only the first meal after that we stop and get just sandwiches.

  17. Yes, that is a ton of money for public high school and I don’t think it is the norm.My oldest went for four years to public high school and it was about $8400 total, with the last two years having more expenses than the first two. She went to two fancy dances, bought yearbooks, participated in one extracurricular that involved a trip by airplane to St. Louis, took the SAT test and had to buy a graphing calculator (which she is still using in college). No sports, but some volunteer activities.

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