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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last week was a busy week!

I sprouted alfalfa seeds. I made steak sauce.

When we were asked to bring a refreshment to a cub scout event, we brought popcorn that we popped on the stove, rather than making cookies (which would have been a lot more money).

I watched some shows for free on Hulu.



My brother gave us the onesie and the tutu (I think both were from the dollar store); my mom found the hat at a garage sale for .25 several years ago, someone gave us the bandanna, and the boots were a recent hand-me-down from someone. I showed Ivory this picture of herself and she said, “Arr!”

I sewed 4 pirate eye patches using black elastic that I had received from my mother-in-law and some felt that I had. I cut two bandannas from bandanna fabric that I had from my grandmother’s stash. We used these as part of our pirate costumes for the children to receive a free dozen donuts on Talk Like a Pirate Day at Krispy Kreme Donuts. They gave us 6 dozen donuts for free.

Since the donut shop was close to Smart and Final, and I’m rarely over that way, I stopped in to check out some prices. I purchased rice vinegar at $9.79 for a gallon, a 2 quart container of molasses at $5.59, a gallon of red wine vinegar for $5.49, and Kosher salt at 3 pounds for $2.99.

I also was able to purchase 8 dozen eggs on sale this week at another store for $8. My husband’s office is in the same parking lot so he just walked there, saving us gasoline to purchase them.

I said yes to food from a reader’s freezer (the same reader who was so generous to me last week; she is moving and doesn’t want to move all of her food across several states). There were many, many meals worth of food there.

When I returned her moving boxes, she gave me more from her pantry! I was very excited to see several items that were low in my pantry.

She also asked me if I wanted a bicycle. I said yes! She gave us a man’s bicycle. We did not own any adult bicycles (I have been borrowing my father-in-law’s bicycle) and my two oldest children are not far from being tall enough to comfortably ride an adult-sized bicycle.

I mended the hem of a dress. It had torn right along the bottom of the hem. I mended the tear but then shortened the hem by an inch to make it more stable and neat.

I cut zinnias from the garden to enjoy inside.

I made a couple of rice bags to use like ice packs when the children get hurt, and a wheat bag that is similar but will be warmed in the microwave for sore muscles.

I canned 13 quarts of tomatoes from tomatoes that were given to us.

I returned plants to the nursery that didn’t make it, according to their return policy. I was able to replace them and I am so glad that I took them back. They gave me store credit, and I decided to put snapdragons in the front yard instead of the carpet roses, at least for now. This made the credit I had go further. I also returned empty pots for them for store credit.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. Thank you for being courageous enough to put yourself out there to inspire others. Now I know I’m not alone. I tried your Saltine Crackers this week finally. It’s been on my “list” for a while but my littlest one had been sick and needed something easy to eat with his Ginger ale just as we were fresh out of “milk money”. So trying the recipe went to the top of my priority list. I have to tell you I was not disappointed at all. They were so good I don’t think I’ll ever go back to buying them in a box! I think the trick is to roll them paper thin… the thin cut dough handles surprisingly well. I did find that they were starting to go stale quickly once they had cooled in my humid region so I did store them in an airtight cereal container and they are doing well in there. I do many frugal things that I now post on my personal blog. I’m sure to check your list each week as it keeps me cheerfully inspired and gives me new ideas. Thanks for making a difference to me once again and helping me stay positive.

  2. The Vermont Country Store sells the same kind of shoe stretcher used by shoe stores and shoe repair shops. They aren’t expensive and will last forever. (When you buy shoes at a shoe store, you can usually fo back and have a shoe stretched for free. Just for future reference.)

  3. I take the middle ground on cooking beans. When I want beans for the main dish of a meal, such as pinto beans and cornbread, or black or red beans and rice, of course I soak and cook them from scratch. Canned beans just wouldn’t taste the same.But for quick spur of the moment additions to a meal or to add to a dish, I keep a variety of canned beans, always bought on sale and stored until needed.The lady who told you it is better to drain the soaking water and cook in fresh water is correct! But you’ve learned an important skill, because now you can always cook them from scratch if you want to.

  4. I remember you commenting about helping your sister out with meals!!I have twin nieces who are eight months old. They are so much fun! I am very excited for you and your whole family, it’s been such a fun experience!!

  5. Last week I:canned 7 pints of salsacanned 7 quarts of tomatoesfroze 4 pints of pestodehydrated and shredded 4 large zucchini’sCooked at home all weekSorted thru my garden seeds, put them in a container and stashed them in a cool dark place in my home until next spring. I am leaving one of my raised beds to see if I can garden in it over winter. I have a cold frame I purchased last year on clearance. I am going to try and grow lettuce, chard and maybe carrots to see how it does.I also planted a bunch of garlic to harvest next year.hunted around the house and pulled together a Mario costume for my 9 yo to use on Halloween. Used my Discover card reward credit to pay off the cardUsed my Kmart reward credit to purchase a Taboo game for free (I’ll use this as part of a christmas gift)The neighbors gave me a dozen or so apples off of there tree, I am making hand pies with them and gifting a couple back to them as a thank you. I love my neighbors, they are all fantastic people.We are going to enjoy this friday night out as a family at my sons Pinewood Derby race!

  6. I wet too-tight shoes and have my husband wear them around the house for a few evenings. That stretches them! (But lock the door first. Our SIL walked into the house once, to find my husband sitting in the man cave, watching football, dressed only in his underpants, a pair of white crew socks and my black patent leather shoes. He has never again walked in without knocking and waiting to be let in!)

  7. Monday a.m was 34 F when we woke but soon warmed up and has been sunny and dry all week, perfect for harvesting. We enjoyed the harvest moon on the 18th and 19th when at it’s best. The leaves are all changing color, but not falling yet.Harvested more green tomatoes and probably the last of the reds. Also rutabaga, have 24 total now. Brought in the last of the peppers, found a few zucchini when pulling plants , same with cucumbers. Not a lot. Picked 5 pumpkins and put them around patio of new house. Left the last of the green beans to dry for seed. Picked squash and gourds and they are drying on the picnic table. Picked 2 five gal pails of grapes, washed and dried and put in freezer to juice later. Picked 1 bushel basked each of Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Empire. The last 2 are our keeper apples for storage. Traded 5 mini pumpkins for 5 leeks with a coworker.Cooked all from scratch. Made vegetable wild rice soup with all the veges I could plus one can of my sale lima beans, last quart of last years tomato juice, frozen vegetable broth. Made banana bran choc chip mini muffins, zucchini pancakes, tuna noodle casserole with sale .77/pound macaroni shells and a non tuna one for daughter. Cooked for family get together this past weekend…vegetable lasagna, marinated cauliflower-broccoli salad, cubed up my last cantaloupe, poppyseed cole slaw, rolls and bbq beef. That was a donation from my son…he brought a chuck roast home. He won a radio station contest last summer with lots of backyard items (that we are storing for him as he lives in an apartment) but it came with gift certificates to a butcher shop. He cashed one in for this. We cooked it in crock pot then shredded. Also made 2 apple pies with the golden delicious, one lemon meringue. Cooked beets and diced them into 2 cup containers to freeze for borscht later. Made 9 half pints beet relish, was good with the bbq beef. Cooked up probably last or second last full canner load of qt tomato juice, 7 more. Threw all the last cucumbers into 1/2 gal jar and made refrigerator dills.Took lunches and snacks to work. Put 2 qts of the veg-rice soup in the staff fridge to share. My school/church is in town, only minutes from my grocery so continued to stop every day and pick up the 1.88/ lb butter. That sale ended Sat. Last week only bought 1 gal milk, cornstarch, 3 small cans tomato paste, the butters and cottage cheese and 3 pack of romaine lettuce and feta cheese on sale for 2.00 for .50 using a doubled .75 coupon. . One tube of Colgate for free after 1.00 coupon doubled. Husband gone 4 days last week for work so on weekend we had work group for our 4 season room. It helps to have 2 uncles raised by carpenter father, my maternal grandfather, a nephew that is a cabinetmaker, and an uncle and cousin that are electricians. My mother came out and stayed Fri night and helped me cook and bake.She told me that my grandma, her mother, used to slice apples then lay them on trays in the attic to dry. That would be the attic in this house. I never heard that story before. This is the house she grew up in and so did I. This is the house my married daughter will soon move into , and when my mother tires of her senior apartment in town, she will move back into. Life goes round.

  8. I love free apples too, we are lucky to have productive trees. I looked at the prices of the apples as I walked through the produce department. The cheapest on sale were 1.49/lb the highest 2.99. My big project this week is apples…sauce, pie filling, apple cider vinegar. It is always good that all the rest of my garden dies down in time for apple season.

  9. I love reading the posts too. I started reading the blog from the beginning the other day because I had my kindle handy and was too lazy to reach for a book. But there is so much to learn and such wide range of helpful hints.

  10. Athanasia, that makes me feel better about spending $7 for two five pound bags of apples yesterday. That was seventy cents a pound, and they were beautiful apples, fresh in from neighboring Missouri. They filled one of my crisper drawers and will keep long enough for us to use them.

  11. I googled and eHow Food has a bit on freezing bok choy. I still think would just be mush by the time thawed, but who know. There were a couple other sites that popped up also.

  12. I think if I could only grow one thing it would have to be apples. We utilize them so much with juice, jelly, pies, sauce, eating, cider vinegar, cider…could never afford to buy all the apples I need. I don’t know how much they go for at the farmer’s market. The last orchard in the immediate area was turned into a housing development about 10 years ago. When we go over by my husbands family in Western WI we cross over to LaCrescent MN to the orchards there. Even with all our apples we will still buy some more for eating of different types we don’t have.I have the book IN THE LAND OF THE BIG RED APPLE in the library, one of the Rose Years books, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder. That follows the family to Missouri where they start an apple orchard.

  13. I haven’t read that book, but I should. I do have all the Little House books and have read them several times. The very first book I chose for myself from a library was Little House in the Big Woods. When I later found another book about the same people, it seemed like a miracle.

  14. A small warning about potential bargains: Today I bought 3 used wooden chests from an unknown person. Upon inspection, things looked fine so I paid and brought them home. As soon as I got them out of the car I put them in the driveway to clean before bringing them into the basement. After removing the drawers I squirted some cleaning solution in the corner and noticed a few bugs. No problem, I sprayed some bug spray and had found I had bought a chest infested with roaches. Thankfully it was outside and after about 20 minutes of spraying and swatting, things were under control. ( I left the chests outside overnight and will re-spray tomorrow to be sure everything is clear of pests) If you are not positive where your new bargain lived before, I strongly urge you to clean and check before bringing it outside. I would be horrified if I brought those critters into my home.Feeling creepy and crawly

  15. It took me a few days to realize this, but a friend told me about the daily deals that could be loaded to my Fred Meyer’s card for that 91’st B-day sale. We ended up getting the roasted chicken for 91Cents, lots of the cheese (husband works near there, so he picked one up several times), and the Pirate Booty for 91 cents. Sadly, we missed the 91 cents ice cream. Bummer, but we will live 🙂

  16. We spent quite a bit of time working on the garden and outside areas yesterday. My husband supervised the 2 youngest while they all 3 cleaned the barn. The oldest and myself were cleaning out the raised beds in the garden, and then my husband brought tractor loads of the barn cleanings over and we fertilized the raised beds in preparation for next year. He also cleaned out last year’s pig pen and put all of that on the part of the garden where we till–not in raised beds. There were peppers, beans, cucumbers, a few tomatoes and some other veggies we picked. I froze peppers.My husband found a great deal on baby chicks. They were only $1 each. The farm store was clearing them out. So, since we needed to renew our layers this year, he bought a bunch and he also bought some meat birds as well. We are going to get baby pigs today. He raised several every year. He sells all but one, and that pays for ours, including cut and wrap. So, we get a “free” pig out of all of his labor (which is obviously not free). Still, he enjoys doing it and I love having all that pork to work with.I bought Tillamook cheese for $3.99/2 lb brick. Because my husband works near the store, he went a few times and I went once. So, we got several. They keep a long time.I do not seem to be able to cook fast enough for the crew around here. So, we’ve been doing a good job of using up leftovers. I’ve also needed to shop more than usual. So, I’ve been writing down menu plans, which helps me cook dinner in a hurry. I rarely have time to both think up a meal, and cook it. Homeschool it taking way more time this year, for many reasons. By the time I add that to working part time, and adding another child to the family, I’m frankly struggling to get it all done. Hurray for the Crock Pot! I think things will ease up a bit over time. We’ve been doing so many doctor, therapy, dentist, etc. appointments and once those are done, many of them won’t have to be repeated for a while, which should give me more late afternoon time to cook–I hope. We did get them a hamburger at McDonalds one time, so that helped a little. But for the most part, even if I was a millionaire, I would not choose that kind of food as a steady diet to feed them.I am trying to bring the quantity of my stored food down a little bit. I have concerns that some of it will eventually go bad if it is not rotated. I can see “dents” in the shelf now, which is good. It will be simple to buy a few cases of canned goods to fill back in, but for now, I want to make sure the food that is getting old is getting used. So, I’m actively planning meals around some of that.I cut out a skirt for one daughter. I haven’t sewed one stitch on it. Hopefully this week I will get that started.We had dentist appts for several of us, more to come this next week. I did not have cavities, whew! By not buying some groceries I was considering ordering, I was able to pay for it, so we won’t have a bill to pay later. We checked out library movies and books and watched and read them.

  17. After moving in August we are just trying to catch up. We needed a lot of things like a washing machine and school uniforms. We bought the washing machine for half price in the “scratch and dent”. DH loaded/unloaded and installed it himself. Saving us time and money. DD goes to a free charter school that requires uniforms. We have not stocked up on any food, just buying what was cheep that we need that week. DH and I decided we need to start a 3 month stock pile. I got a great list from here- http://preparedldsfamily.blogspot.com/2013/01/create-3-month-food-storage-supply-plan.html. DH is going to put in shelving in our spare bedroom for the stock pile. It will be nice to be prepared again. We have lived on our stock pile before when DH lost his job before and I feel uneasy without one.

  18. Becky, I have kept a large pantry for many years and rarely lose anything. These are some things I have learned about what can go bad.Any commercially canned food that is acidic, such as tomatoes or pineapple, will be among the first to go bad. If you keep food rotated, you won’t have much trouble.I keep all flour, cornmeal, etc. in tupperware, as did my mother. I don’t have freezer space to freeze purchases before storing, but have never had anything sealed in tupperware go bad.Most ordinarily packaged rice will get buggy quickly. I buy 9 lb. vacuumed sealed jugs of rice and have kept it for years with no problem If I buy rice in ordinary bags, I keep it in tupperware.Don’t stock too far ahead on things like corn bread mix. Another bug prone item.I volunteer with distributing federal commodities. A supervisor for the district recently visited and said most commercially packaged food is still good and safe a minimum of a year past the date. Most dairy is good a minimum of three weeks past the date.I know what little waste I have is quite small compared to how much I save by storing food when things are cheap.

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