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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

My husband cut my hair for me. He also cut the boys’ hair.

I grabbed a basket that someone had set out with the trash on our street. I needed another one like this for picking fruit, as the handles on my older ones had broken. My oldest spotted the basket before the trash man came and remembered that I needed a new one.

The temperatures are rising here and it feels like early spring. Our last frost date is a month away–if it freezes again at all. I have jars ready to cover any seedlings if it gets cold again. It usually gets warm at the end of January but gets cold again for a short time in February. It was 71ºF on Thursday. I planted seeds in the garden! We should see it get a little colder again, but the seedlings will do fine.

I turned the heater off. I opened the windows during the day several days to freshen the house.

I made a burlap table runner from a piece of burlap that was given to me. This was a piece leftover after I made the advent calendar.

I mended the shoulder of a baby doll.

I made banana muffins with three very ripe bananas from my mom.

I used orange peels and vinegar to make another jar of orange cleaner.

I cut Swiss chard from the garden and made Swiss Chard soup. I also made a ham and sliced it for sandwiches. I made scalloped potatoes, whole wheat crackers, granola, smoothies (with fruit frozen from our garden last year and whey leftover from making yogurt the previous week), 8 loaves of French bread, homemade Rice a Roni, zucchini potato pancakes, Swiss chard (with chard cut from the garden) and lemon penne (without the parmesan, as I was out of it).

I tried out a meatless stew. It was completely disappointing. We ate it anyway, though, and I blended the leftovers and mixed them with beans and spices to make chili.

I cut green onions from the garden for a stir fry. I also grated a zucchini and some carrots for the stir fry. I had not tried using these two things in stir fry before, but since they were grated, they mixed in well with the noodles and my husband said it was good, so I’ll grate these two vegetables into stir fry in the future.

I found 8 lemons that I had missed picking on the back of one of my lemon trees. They were a little soft but perfectly fine even after the freeze we had!

I made peppermint herbal tea with peppermint that I had picked and dried from the garden in December before our frost came.

We pruned the 8 largest fruit trees this week. I cut branches with buds on them for forcing indoors and filled 3 vases with branches.

The younger girls wanted to go to the dollar store to buy their brother a present for his upcoming birthday. While I was there I used 2 $1 off internet coupons to purchase 2 tubes of Carmex for free. We also drove across the street to the nursery so that I could pick up 2 more primroses.

I transplanted larkspur that self-seeded in one area in the garden to another place in the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. Some of the peelings were sticking up above the vinegar. I wondered at the time if that was the problem. I may just try again. I have quite a bit of vinegar left over from last summer’s canning. I wondered about putting a glass or something inside the canning jar to weigh down the peelings. Since I can, and make my own pickles, I know how much of a preservative vinegar is, so I was surprised when they began to mold. (except that they were floating). Even with all these problems, both my husband and I can see a noticible difference in the shower, so I’m willing to try again. I do need to get some more of those green scrubby pads. I completely used the one I had here, following your directions.

  2. Pbkmaine, so true about the college’s. We started each child’s college fund before they were even born. They all went to the state university here and lived at home for undergraduate. Two are finished with Master’s, one in master’s program now and one is finishing RN program. Last one a sophomore. For what you pay for one year at a fancy college you can practically pay for four years here. We were fortunate with academic scholarships also which is why graduate school is being covered too. If you keep a 4.0 throughout all four years senior high you will get a full ride at the state schools. Three out of the five children achieved this. None will need student loans. My parents had done same for us.

  3. Thanks for the info Pbkmaine! I am doing what I would consider a final draft of my document myself, and I have a regular customer, who is a lawyer, proof reading it for me. He will ultimately hold a copy of it for me and is only charging me $50. I am totally ok with this seeing how A) I went to school for technical writing/ pre law and B) it is over $250 dollars cheaper than any other quote I received. I appreciate any and all tips!!!

  4. Things I did to save money this week:Made all of our meals at home, using what we had on hand from the freezer and pantry, I even tried my hand at your french bread recipe and it turned out beautifully, my family devoured it!!We ate leftovers twice this week, saving money and time!!I pack my hubby’s lunch everyday, I’ve convinced him to save for me the small disposable cups that his yogurt comes in, I have been washing them out and plan on using them to start seeds for our garden this yearWe’ve composted food scraps, yard waste, and shredded mail and newspapersI redid the hem on 3 pairs of pants for my daughter, they still fit great in the waist but she’s so tall for her age that they were much too short so I redid the hem and hope they last her till spring. Its been mighty cold and I can’t afford to purchase new pants right now, I also can’t afford for her to be without warm clothes so its a win-win, and it only took a few minutes of my time.I stayed home!! Except for one small trip on Monday and even then my mother came to pick us up so I didn’t use any gas that day until it was time to go to cub scouts, and even then it was a short 6 minute drive to scouts, and a short 6 minute drive home.Dh worked from home 1 1/2 days this week, which doens’t sound like a lot but his regular commute is 1 hr and 20 minutes so that saved us. He also had some vacation days that HAD to be used or he would have lost them so he took today and tomorrow off, its great to have him home and it saves us on gas this week!!!I’ve been using my hm laundry detergent, I just made a fresh batch at the begining of December, the time before that I made it was the begining of August, I’ve calculated it roughly that it costs me less than 20.00 for 4 months to do laundry for my family of 5 and a dog, including 1 occasional bed wetter. Considering that I used to pay 20.00 a month at least to do laundry when I was buying name brand detergent I would say that this is an amazing savings.I started a celery end in water to root, hopefully it will root and start to grow well so I can transplant it in the garden in the spring.I’m sure there are other things I’ve done this week to save money, but these are all that come to mind right now.Have a blessed day!!!

  5. Becky, I stuff my jar FULL with peels, so they don’t have much room for floating. Then I cover it with vinegar. I have had a couple mold but only a couple, and yes, I think it’s the ones that were above that went bad on me,I soak mine for at least 3 weeks. The vinegar smell is gone completely and it smells just like oranges. My husband liked using it that way (he doesn’t like the smell of vinegar but loves the smell of oranges) and we just put it into squirt bottles for cleaning toilets and tubs. I dilute it with some water and my husband uses it to clean his office desks.

  6. I recently had a couple of oranges on the verge of going bad, and made orange marmalade out of them. It was really easy, and my mom, who LOVES orange marmalade, really enjoyed it. The ratio to use is this: 1 orange, 1/2 c. sugar, 2 T. water, but you may want to increase the sugar and water if your oranges are sour and dry as you say. Cut up the oranges and then run them through the food processor or blender, peels still on, until they are pulp like. Then cook them on the stove with the water and sugar for about 15-20 minutes at a low boil. The marmalade will seem thin, but it thickens as it cools.

  7. Lynn, I recently had granite countertops installed and the installer told me to use a non acid cleaner, because the acids can etch stone. I have no idea if this is accurate or not, but I have not used it al all on my counters simply because he told me so. Anyone use it with no problems?

  8. I did the usual cooking from scratch and trying to use up leftovers. On Monday the kids and I had a “leftover” lunch with all the things that were left from the weekend meals. And I made a mexican soup using frozen chicken and all the need to use it up soon vegetables in the fridge. I brought lunch every day to work. My husband took lunch a few days – it is better than none. But he is starting to get into the idea. They had bagels at his work one day and he brought the 3 leftover bagels home. We will use them for breakfast soon. Also, I was worrying about some upcoming costs and he suddenly decided to try to sell some Magic the Gathering cards that he had purchased before we met. This does not happen for everyone but he had purchased some first edition cards long ago that had become valuable. He sold 12 cards for 450.00 I still can’t believe that. He and my daughter hid the money under my lunch plate and I was so shocked I almost cried. It was just the amount I needed. He says the rest of his cards are worth about .20 each so I can’t cound on this to happen again. We got free tickets and a parking pass to a local University basketball game. That was a fun outing. My husband insisted my son needed new school uniform shirts. I put him off as long as possible as his current ones were still fine but I knew that he would soon outgrow them. I noticed a sale at Target and was able to get 4 new shirts in the correct color for 5.20 apiece and no shipping. My car is on it’s last leg and started to make a loud noise but it turned out to need power steering fluid and it was only a 40.00 charge — we didn’t fix anything — there is still a small leak. To fix it would cost 600.00. The care isn’t worth putting that much money into it.I made plans to start selling things on ebay. My first try will be a suit my son outgrew.

  9. Anne, that is very accurate. You should only use dish soap and water on your counters. It will ruin the finish and actually EAT the stone. It is much worse on marble. We put in a marble kitchen floor. The SECOND vinegar touches it, it eats through the stone. We dropped a jar of pickles once–every drop left a mark. You need to clean it quickly so it doesn’t continue to dissolve it. Granite is harder than marble but it can still be ruined. I have a couple of spots near my sink where the stone has been eaten through; there are holes down a bit.They make stone cleaners but they are acid too and will damage your things (I have tried some and every one was damaging). Martha Stewart Living recently confirmed what I had already learned–only dish soap and water on natural stone.

  10. It’s been a while since I have posted on here. I had a baby in October, and I’m sure we all know how frugality can go out the window when you’re exhausted! Now I have returned to work, but I’m only doing about a third of the hours I did before. Daycare is just too expensive here, so we keep her at home! So, being frugal has become a necessity. So, my list is from the last several weeks!-Found out the vitamins I was giving my baby would be much cheaper if I had a prescription, so I asked the doctor to write one for her.-Even though it is important to me for other reasons, too, I am exclusively breastfeeding my baby. Formula is unbelievably expensive, so I am grateful we don’t have to buy any.-My mother has been staying with me every Friday night since my daughter was born, since my fiance works nights. When she comes, she will often bring food for dinner and other pantry staples to help us out. It has been a blessing both to have her company and the food she brings!-When I am home with the baby, we usually stay home. If we need to run errands, I will usually do it when we are going out anyway to pick my stepson up from school. I have been able to make a tank of gas last much longer this way!-Even though it has been FRIGID here lately, when it was a bit warmer a few weeks ago, I put the baby in her snowsuit and we would walk to the grocery store if we needed anything. Saving gas, and we got some exercise!-Whenever I am using my laptop, I will have a tab open to swagbucks and I will have the videos running in the background while I am doing other things on the other tabs. You can earn up to 150 swagbucks a day this way, and I’m not spending any extra time on it.-I have been trying to eat almost exclusively out of pantry, that way when we go to the grocery store, we only have to buy fresh items.-All the other normal things like turning off the lights, taking short showers, and cooking from scratch.

  11. I believe that a plenary meeting is one in which all members of a group are present. The word meant full or complete in Latin. A plenary indulgence was given meaning that whoever received it had all of his or her sins forgiven – so full or complete forgiveness.

  12. Dear Miss Brandy,Have you ever considered writing a book or an e-book? There are over 133 useful comments about being frugal here alone and just image how many exist in the whole blog. You write well and with great thought and creativity. Also, it does help writers if their grammar, spelling, syntax, sentence structure is correct as well which I observed is always correct in your postings (not that I intentionally critique anyone’s writings on blogs). A book would be a tremendous undertaking but creating a resource to document and share the knowledge of you and readers would be invaluable and priceless.No pressure intended, just wondering.Respectfully,Anna

  13. Since mine now smells just like moldy oranges 🙂 I think I’ll get a new batch going. Thanks for all the tips. Even moldy, it worked, so I’m eager to give it another try. I’ll try stuffing the jar full this time.

  14. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,Life has been quiet but also busy. My daughter’s health has been stable but she has been sick yesterday and today–headaches and vision problems. The physician increased her medications so hopefully she will improve. I contemplate about being thrifty and/or frugal and how I can improve my financial situation. As a consequence I have let time slip by and not concentrated on the matter as much as I should. I have not spent money but the worries have preoccupied my mind so I have been lethargic about taking care of my household and family. I am not sad just not energized about things in my life at the moment. I hope to renew my energies and recommit to myself so I am more alive for my family. I also revisited my goals for the next 3 months. I will visit about them another time. I wonder if others ever feel less motivated to the point it decrease home productivity. With that said my frugal accomplishments are less this past week.My frugal accomplishments include:Kept thermostat at 63 FWeekly menu planUsing food items and pantry items availableWent to a free cooking class and got a free lunch and book (worth $12)Downloaded 4 free Kindle booksFound $1 in change when car cleanedChecked tire pressure and maintained tire pressure for the monthSent my oldest on an errand so I did not miss work Got 1 $50 prescription free with a couponStayed in budget this weekWent to my second free yoga class (8 weeks long)Got a free toothbrush, floss, and flossers from dentistMade a key chain, macramed a necklace and bracelet, framed a family pictureWent to a free college financial aid workshop for parentsBest wishes to all,Anna

  15. Here’s a quick update about the dairy free, GF, vegetarian meal I made…I did the vegetable wild rice soup (using corn, white and sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli stem slices, peas, green and wax beans, onions…all I had on hand in freezer or canned or storage. Did buy a zucchini and celery. Used vegetable broth.I sent enough soup for several servings each, so there would be more for another meal), a salad of sectioned oranges, ruby red grapefruit and fresh pineapple, and corn muffins using a mix from the grocer. (I did have to travel farther to the grocer with a large GF section, but they also had cheaper price on the pineapple than my usual store, 1.99 as opposed to 3.99).I added in a small meatloaf, thawed, from my freezer and a loaf of home made white bread for the husband to make himself a meatloaf sandwich for dinner with his soup and the next day for lunch. I included a baggie of cleaned lettuce leaves as not sure what had on hand there. He’d have some extra bread too then for toast for breakfast or snack.

  16. Robert, even though you lost your first retirement savings you should have started another account, even putting in only a small amount if that is all possible. Do you work now? I know my husband and I, health permitting, should be able to work for years yet. I can be a librarian as long as I want, though I will take time off when it comes time to take care of grandchildren. None yet. My maternal grandfather worked his carpentry business until he was 76. My husband feels he can work that and longer with his woodworking. That being said though we have saved from the very beginning for the future, before we were even married. My husband has invested in many ways…he used to do Tbills a lot (no state taxes to pay) but not so much anymore. I think they are still available and they pay you an interest check at intervals. We have IRAs and my husband buys stocks. He has a whole portfolio figured out. He said even with that crash we lost some but have more than made it up.We don’t have large income…I work for a private school, not public and my husband has 2 self employed businesses…woodworking and charter pilot. We spend very little because we need very little. We do not follow the fashions so our clothes never go out of style, for us. I am only on my second car in almost 31 years of marriage. The first had 250,000 miles on it and actually is still usable. My present car has 140,000 miles. I think big savings can come if you cook from scratch, know how to sew and if not sew at least know how to mend and darn, raise a garden and preserve that food, and know a multitude of useful things. Like…basic car maintenance, basic wiring, plumbing maintenance like fixing a toilet or unclogging drains, maintenance of household appliances…like tuning up the snowblower or mower, doing house remodels…tile the bathroom for example or hang a new window or door. Someone here suggested not reading all the home and garden type magazines if that kind of thing might cause you to overspend. Use them just as inspiration, as Brandy does, and use inexpensive touchesWe’ve never had a mortgage or pay rent as our house and property is part of the family trust…we do have expenses associated with it but not much. ( I mean, I hear of people paying 2500.00 a month mortgage. Wow. ) The trust money is invested and then can be drawn from should there need to be a major repair done, like our roof blew off in a wind storm, for example. In that way we can save, but we don’t see it as, oh, we have all this extra money to spend, we see it as oh, we can put more into that savings account etc. or invest in a new piece of machinery for the workshop because that will make a job easier and faster and bring in more customers.I think the younger you are the more important it is to start saving now and don’t plan on getting to it “someday.”

  17. Yes Becky it is. We do eat a lot of rice though. I make a rice cooker full and when that is gone I make another, whether I need at the moment or not. We always have leftover cold rice in the fridge because it is great for heating up with butter and some soy sauce and whatever leftover vegetables there are. I prefer rice in soup, over noodles. I always add rice to tomato soup.

  18. They are freezing cold in the winter. In the summer they are nice. But I don’t know that I would ever put marble in the kitchen again, as it etches easily. I really wanted it on the counters–but now I know that would be difficult.

  19. BTW I decided not to do a dessert as the Wednesday person took a 1/2 gallon of regular ice cream and 2 pints of non-dairy ones along with their dinner delivery. Thanks anyway for the ideas. Someone suggested making sure utensils were extra clean, so I did put the bowl, measuring cups and spoons through the dishwasher before I started.

  20. I googled the word & came up with alternate definitions of mandatory and required. I believe that the term plenary as used here means mandatory, as in all members of a group are required to be present, such as a mandatory staff meeting, etc.

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