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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Elsa’s dress is a new-to-us dress this week from a garage sale.

I reprogrammed the drip system to water a few minutes less per day, since the weather is starting to cool down (I know these are high summer temperatures for many of you in colder climates!).

I opened the windows to cool the house at night and during the mornings. I left the air conditioner off as much as possible. I left it off for a few days, even when it was 85Âș in the house, which saves approximately $8 a day in electricity (that night I left the windows open at night so that the house had a chance to get cooler the next day). Having it off most of the day for the other days will also cut my bill.

I paid a bill online.

I printed some dot to dot activities, coloring pages, and mazes from the Dover Sampler pages for my children for school this week. I saved them to my computer so that I can print them again later.

I washed out Ziploc bags to reuse.

I harvested two zucchini from the garden. These are my first ones this year! As it cools down I hope to see more female flowers. I hand pollinated both of these.

I also harvested one Armenian cucumber. Right now there are no female flowers on these, so I hope they start to produce more as the weather cools.

I cut green onions, rosemary, and Swiss chard from the garden. We had three pomegranates get knocked from our tree in the heavy winds that we had; they are red outside but not ripe yet (they ripen when it cools down). Pomegranates do not ripen off the tree, but we will eat these anyway as they are getting closer to being ripe.

I set some more alfalfa seeds to sprout.

I cut the boys’ hair.

We had two major blessings last week.

My kind reader continues to go through everything she doesn’t want to move from her house to another state. She blessed us with several cleaning items, including washing soda and borax. I was down to the last container of washing soda. There were several bottles of vinegar as well as lots more items that I can use.

Some of you may recall that I have a personal garage sale shopper. A friend of my mom’s goes to Washington state every year for the summer, and she loves to go garage sale shopping. She offered many years ago to take my list and look for clothing items for my children. She usually pays .25 to .50 per item, and brings me back shirts and pants that look brand-new.

Normally, she keeps a running total on a piece of paper, with what she paid for each item. This year she did not. My parents met up with her in Washington on their own vacation and brought the items back that she had bought. My mom asked her how much my total was, but she didn’t tell her. The last day she asked her friend in front of her husband. He answered, “You don’t owe us anything.” She said, “No, wait, we’d like some pear butter made with Splenda.” So, in exchange for a huge amount of clothing, I will be making pear butter. (I was expecting the total to be around $50-$80).

Cyrus was especially blessed with new shirts and a couple of pairs of pants. There is also a suit for him that he will fit into next year (she paid $5 for the suit). I will need to replace a button on it, but I am certain that I have one.

My mom picked up a few items of her own at garage sales for the children, which she gave to them. The clothes look brand new, and she paid .25 for each item. She also purchased one brand-new onesie for Ivory in size 24 months.

Both my reader and my mom had canning jars for me. The ones from my mom were from a garage sale ($5 for a dozen quart jars) plus jars from another friend of hers in Washington who no longer needs them. There were several dozen jars in all different sizes. I will be able to give away canned items as gifts without worrying about buying any jars for quite some time.

What did you do to save money last week? Did any unexpected blessings come your way? Were you able to glean apples or other fruits anywhere?

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25 Comments

  1. Good Morning…I have really enjoyed reading every ones accomplishments for this past week. Here are a few of mine: pickled my banana peppers, chopped & froze my green peppers, chopped and froze my habanero peppers and will make some jelly later on this fall, received a magazine subscription from my Mom, cleaning out and setting things aside to list on craigslist, resetting my budget to build a little emergency egg nest, ordered some seeds for lettuce, green onions, beets, and swiss chard, being relatively new to gardening I hope I am not doing this late.

  2. This past week we were sick. I was so grateful that I had several things in the freezer! While I did end up sending my husband out for some things that sent us over budget a bit, I see the value of having dry beans cooked and tucked in the freezer, some bread, and a full meal or two. I accepted a bag of nectarines from a friend, ate out of the freezer, etc. I blogged my full list this week. It helps me stay on track! Thanks for your inspiration.http://lifelivedintentionally.blogspot.com/2013/10/ways-i-saved.html

  3. I am not sure if you use the apples for apple jelly or not, but I make my apple jelly from the cores and peels of the apples I used to make applesauce. And in between canning seasons, I keep a bag in the freezer and we throw in all cores and peels. About once a month I make a small batch of what we call garbage apple jelly.

  4. Always look forward to these posts!my son is supposed to bring treats for 40 middle school/ high school kids at church. Any suggestions? It is okay to bring store bought or homemade. Thanks!

  5. I feel like I should ask for a drum roll—because this is the only group that will really appreciate this. This year I expanded our garden considerably. I kept track of everything I harvested and last week went to the store to price out what it would have cost me to buy the same amounts of vegetables. After expenses, my garden fed us to the tune of $1,912!! I am ecstatic, to say the least. I canned, dried and dehydrated, but this total makes me glad that those evenings after work where I had to force myself and my husband out into the garden or into the kitchen to process. It was so worth it. Except for onions (mine failed), I think that I will not have to buy a vegetable all winter. And then today a neighbor brought over 60 pounds of fresh zucchini. I felt like groaning, since I dehydrated many, many pounds of them (and canned relish and so on), but I took the free food and we grated a bunch for the freezer; we left a few out and are having zucchini based dinners every night this week. It was a blessing, but I had a hard time being thankful (not to her, but to God!).Saw a sale for four dozen eggs for $5, but there was a limit per day so each day on the way home from work I stopped and purchased another four dozen. We now have 20 dozen in the fridge. We eat a lot of eggs, as they are cheap protein and versatile, and they keep for a much longer time than people realize, so I am very thankful for the sale.Received a huge frozen salmon from someone cleaning out her freezer for this year’s catch.Got free med samples form the doctor. Both my husband and I have had cancer (and the chemo that saved us also left some other medical problems) and no insurance policy would pick us up, although the new law now makes it illegal to do that. We have survived by the generosity of our doctor’s office, and sometimes I forget that huge blessing. Yesterday I wrote the office a note about my gratitude and belief that they will be repaid 10 fold for their goodness to us.I have been worrying about Christmas gifts and then yesterday a workmate brought me a very large bag of yarn, so I think I will be able to use that to make some gifts. The other gifts for non-family will be canned items.Did the usual frugal things about reusing the back of papers, keeping the heat down, not eating out…but this week was more blessings than frugality.

  6. Several large bowls of stove-topped popcorn. You’ll be out less than a dollar and everyone will be happy. The children at church events are often really happy with something salty over something sweet, too! We’ve started bringing popcorn to all of the events. When we had a party with almost all of the children for church, they didn’t eat the sweets but ate the popcorn instead. That made me laugh because it was the least expensive and the least time-consuming thing as well. Since then I’ve done popcorn!

  7. I also picked up 3 pkgs of sausage from the mark down bin for $1.49/lb. Our oldest daughter’s family subs it in spaghetti & all sorts of other meals, so these are for her.

  8. I use to get oranges really cheap and slice them like they do lemons for water at restraunts on trays and I would sever those at may events. Everyone loved these as many are on diets. Slice as thin as you like it you have less oranges and put something pretty in the center of the dish does not even have to be edible for the center item. One time I only had three oranges but I sliced them so thin I had three trays full and everyone loved them.

  9. Mable the doctor’s office love the food items I bring them as a Thank you for the free meds. You would be surprised at how many folks are going hungry!

  10. My grocery bill for September was $241. That includes only food items to feed a family of 4. I’ve been reading this blog for the past 5 months and I’ve put to practice most of what I’ve learned. My family is healthy and we’re saving a ton of money along the way. I tell myself that this is my job so I take it seriously. This week I continued to search for a place to purchase dry goods such as nuts, beans, flour. I found a Winco’s about 35 minutes away from home but their prices are really low so I may do the drive every other month. I used a clothes rack to dry clothes.I made bread, almond and peanut butter, hummus, almond milk. I cooked every meal from scratch. We made popcorn for snacksFound apples 2# for $0.99. I bought 10# and we made apple sauce, apple butter, and cut apple slices with almond butter for snacks. Bought 30# of oranges for $10. We’ve had fresh oj for dinner.Made soup using 1 tomato, zucchini, onion, carrot and 4 potatoes. I love using my immersion blender to make soup. Kids like adding brown rice to the soup. I bought 10# of bananas at 3# for $0.99 i made lots of smoothies. The dishwashing detergent I made leaves a film on my glasses so I added vinegar to the rinse. It didn’t work so I’m using it to wash pots. I made a changing towel dress for my daughter. She swims in a team and surfs on the weekends so she was delighted. I was hoping to save it for Christmas but she wanted to use it now. Working on another one for my son.

  11. I started paying bills online because everyone here raves about saving the stamp/envelope fees,etc. But ALL the companies in our area that we use charge “convenience” fees ranging from $1.50 to $2 per transaction. It’s ridiculous! The area we live in is very inexpensive (northern IL/southern WI), but the companies around here, for any service, are not consumer friendly, unfortunately.

  12. We are giving mostly homemade/homegrown gifts this year, most people just don’t have the money to “buy” everyone something. I personally feel Christmas is now just an excuse for most people to get presents, not to be with family and be grateful for those family members and spending time with them.

  13. Mandy, that’s why I avoided paying bills online for so long, because it was cheaper for a stamp. However, several places here finally changed to no longer charge a fee. I only pay the bills online that don’t charge a fee.One place charges $10 a transaction! I pay them by mail 🙂

  14. I am an intern at a local shelter and I made the residents homemade spaghetti sauce out of tomatoes from the garden at the shelter as well as garlic bread from a loaf of bread a wonderful patron donated. The women loved it and thanked me. I was so pleased that they enjoyed it.I accepted a loaf of french bread, a loaf of white bread, and half a dozen crescents for free. I made frenceh bread pizza for dinner and used some free pizza sauce i had received from a previous job, I am making french toast for dinner tonight with the loaf of white bread and some free eggs that I get from a family member and the crescents were used for breakfast on the go for work.I participated on a committee for a local event and they provided breakfast and lunch plus some leftovers to take home that day. I accepted.Hung my clothes to dry.Helped my husband fix a broken cable on our pop up camper. It could have easily cost us a couple hundred dollars to have someone fix it. Between the two of us and about $12 in new cable we had it fixed in an afternoon.Gave the dog a bath instead of taking him to the groomers. Not a lot this week but everylittle bit certainly counts.

  15. Nothing exciting to report on the frugal front, just the usual eat at home, cold water wash, homemade bread etc, but I did want to stop by and say Thank You to Brandy and all those that post on this string. I find all the posts so inspiring and they really help me stay on track. Question – does anyone have any hints on how to cut my home made bread straighter? All my slices end up wonky!

  16. Mandy-I live in Chicago (quite high COLA) but may have some of the same providers as you. If I try to pay through the provider’s website directly, I would be charged a fee. However, if I use the online “bill pay” feature from my bank account to pay the providers (so I never even go to the provider’s website), it’s just as if I wrote a check (but save the cost of the check & stamp) and don’t pay any fees. Possibly that could help if you haven’t tried it yet.

  17. Mable I agree…medicine samples can be lifesaver. I work four hours every two weeks in a small doctor office doing payroll and taxes etc. I do it in exchange for basic medical care and free samples to supplement the ones I buy. One medicine I take is almost $400 for three months worth. It is going generic at the end of the year but that does not mean a steep drop in price. The rep that samples that med has promised me any leftovers in her stock and has been dropping off extras too.

  18. Very busy this time of year. Weather warm and dry.Grocer was selling Arm n Hammer deodorant for .98 each, limit eight. Full size not samples. I bought eight in various styles, powder, unscented and something I hope is “manly”. I did this twice and will include some along with food for the four “away” children. Harvested last of late spinach from patio garden. Picked sugar pumpkins and more jol pumpkins and gourds. Still bringing in green tomatoes. We managed a disease free year as ‘re tomatoes. As garden is cleared husband spreads compost and grass clippings and munched leaves over. That will be tilled in in spring. He brought 100pounds of potatoes, so far, and fifty of onions from various farm stands. Harvested last of squash…delicata and sweet dumpling which we use quickly and acorn and butternut that we store. I traded four acorns for two hubbards. Picked up a last dozen ears sweet corn, just for eating.Had after church lunch gathering at an aunt of husband . One of his cousins and family was home from mission field for three months . I brought corn bread that I added corn and chopped peppers to. Also honey and butter and gallon of cider. Easy. More on cider later.

  19. I made my dishwasher detergent for a while. I tried a couple different recipes. They got clean, but as you say had a film. I found a product called Lemi-Shine, that I would add a bit to each load. It did the trick. It probably would help to add lemon juice if you didn’t want to use the lemi-shine. Hope that helps.

  20. Weeded and harvested from my 3 raised beds. Picked bout 20 more green beans (end of season), many tomatoes, several beets and a few carrotsGot about 50 small tomatoes picked green that I will lay out in the basement on a table to turn red and yellow.Shared kale with a neighbor who then so sweetly shared beet starts she had just got from the garden store. I was almost out of beets in the ground – hopefully the snails won’t get to them. Planted red clover from seeds my mom shared – this will be dug into the soil in the spring.I am experimenting with a once a month shopping trip in the hopes that it will cut down my grocery bill. Did that yesterday and used a 10% off coupon from the Co-op.Cooked dinner for my daughter and I, my neighbor and my dad (who has been working on putting new windows in in my house – he helps me a lot since I am a full-time single working parent) with many things from the garden.I also organized by cabinet “pantry” and found several things to use/share. Nora

  21. To finish, only bought 2 gal of milk for 2.50 ea, 2 lg containers of cottage cheese for 2.00 ea, bananas .38 lb, 8 boxes CHEX 1.98 ea per store sale with another 1.50 off w/ manufac coupon. We make a lot of CHEX mix over the holidays. Bought bottle of Robitussin DM on sale at 5.99, had a 3.00 off coupon so final price 2.99. Canned 36 pints of pickled beets, 14 more quarts of tomato juice, another batch of the plum suace, another batch of the hot pepper jelly ( as the jars from the first batch are all spoken for!), 14 pints of applesauce. Started 3 bottles of apple cider vinegar. Mixed up 15 pie crusts and put together, so far, 6 unbaked apple pies for the freezer. Canned 10 half gallons of apple cider (for making hot cider) . Froze 8 more gallons ( for drinking) in milk jugs. I had to clear the bottom shelf of freezer for them.We have figured out a root cellar for our new house. There has been much hammering and drilling coming from the basement. Husband and 2 of my uncles and my son in laws father have been working on it…the house has a totally unfinished full basement. They are building and insulating an area on the end opposite the furnace etc that will remain cooler even if the rest of the basement does warm up a bit. We have finished moving most of our things over. The addition is done except for trim work and siding. We haven’t figured final numbers yet but husband feels we probably spent only 1/5 of what it would cost to have it hired out. Furniture we didn’t need for this MUCH smaller house was left at the old house. Daughter will make use of it and won’t need to purchase furniture to fill up the space. They move in on the 19th.Cooked all from scratch. Middle daughter emailed me recipe that looked good so tried it. Was a manicotti dish, which I don’t like to fuss with manicotti noodles and stuffing them etc so I cooked up lasagna, halved the noodles and put the filling along the noodle and rolled them up into spirals and laid them on their side. Also I didn’t have ricotta so I used cottage cheese. Used up all the spinach I picked in the filling. It was layered with a white sauce and with the tomato sauce. It turned out delicious, if not at all like it was supposed to. Made double batch of tuna macaroni shell salad for the cider pot luck, using 2 boxes of my .77 noodles bought over the summer. Harvested 5 more bushels of apples. This past Sat was cider making day at an 89y/o uncle’s house. Everyone brings their apples and clean, chop them , use the cider mill that is I don’ know how old. A mix of apples makes best flavor. Probably about 40, maybe 50 bushels of apples were used total. And that’s it now…my garden is done for the year, just have to finish some more apple sauce. The sauce goes off to the children…I just cook sauce fresh for us as needed from storage apples. I will make grape jelly later with the frozen grapes, and keep working on the green tomatoes as they ripen, but basically I am done. And I am happy when I look around and see what has been accomplished.

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