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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last week was all about making repairs.

I mended a pair of pajama pants, a jumper, a handkerchief, a napkin, an apron, two dresses, a pillowcase, and a basket liner.

I sewed a button back on a jumper, and I mended the embroidery on another jumper.

I shortened the sleeves of a t-shirt for Elsa and I shortened the sleeves of an old blouse from my grandmother for myself.

I picked 3 large Armenian cucumbers from the garden in the front yard!  I am very excited to have cucumbers again.

Here are some of the foods I made last week: tomato basil soup, French bread, Rosemary Olive Oil bread, Spaghetti, caramelized onion grilled cheese sandwiches, and banana bread muffins. I cooked a ham on Saturday that we sliced for sandwiches for this week.

I used two $10 off $10 Kohl’s coupons that came in the mail along with two 15% off coupons for two purchases. The first was for a heavy knit dress for myself. There was just one dress, in a size bigger than I wear, with a “low supply” sticker on the dress. It was the only one and it wasn’t marked on clearance. The price was listed at $50. I scanned it and found that to my surprise, it came up as $10! I tired it on and it was a bit big, but I decided to get it and to take it in. Since I used both coupons I didn’t have to pay tax, so the dress was free! For free I can make alterations!

The second thing I purchased was a twin mattress pad. All but one of our mattresses were given to us. One of them was in a model home, and our friend who bought the home gave it to us. The mattress is not real soft, and the mattress pad on that pad was very old and very thin. The pad I purchased has a high loft, and was on sale for $11.99. I used the $10 off coupon and the 15% off coupon to get it for $1.83. I used the last bit from my gift card to pay for that and the cashier gave me the $1.55 in cash that was left on the gift card.

I requested several art instruction books from the library. I picked them up on the same trip, which saved gas and time.

My husband used his leather tools and a pair of scissors to cut down a skinny belt that my mom gave to Winter in order to make it fit her. He cut it shorter and he put more holes in it.

My husband spent some time fixing all of the children’s bicycles so that they can ride them. He filled the tires with air, made adjustments, and put a chain back on one bicycle. We swapped several children up to a larger bicycle. We have been blessed to have been given all of their bicycles. Some have come from different people whose children have outgrown them. The others my parents picked up at garage sales for $5 or less to give to the children.

Winter was left needing a bicycle that is the right size (the other bicycles are too small for her), so my husband will stop by the thrift store on occasion to look for a bicycle for her.

Winter made birthday gifts with a friend for another friend of theirs. Winter made her a friendship bracelet, a necklace, and designed a gift bag with a Pegasus silhouette on it. Both she and her friend worked together to make some bookmarks, and her friend took the Pegasus silhouette and used it to make a “Camp Half-Blood” t-shirt for their friend. (She used sharpies on an orange t-shirt, if you have Percy Jackson fans at your house :)) They painted designs on wooden beads for the necklace to match the camp beads in the book. Their friend was so delighted with their gift!

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. I forgot some items. I shipped the Land’s End clearance sale and stocked up for the school year. 4pair black opaque tights , a sleeveless dress to wear as a jumper, 2 white mock turtles, a lightweight cardigan and a knit skirt. All fall to th right length for me, mid calf so no altering. Elastic so no fasteners. All for $59some . I know others would do better at a thrift store but I have it all taken care of now and in my style.Bought more of the .77/pound pasta .My bins were full (l hAve a dozen large plastic jars that held biscotti from Sam club . Have a friend who.loved the cookies and saved them for.me). My daughter stacked them up on top shelf to ceiling behind the bins.except for the bow ties they were all a full pound box.I was ‘re reading the older posts and ran across the recipe for tortillas posted and copied it off.Tortillas have been on sale a lot this summer so making wraps.

  2. I ended up with that last spring .(2012) I don’t remember anything like six weeks to recover. It is just 3little holes all done laparoscopic. Could not drive for awhile and daughter had to drive me back and forth to work. I don’t have a strenuous job though and nothing heavy to lift so I had surgery on Thursday and went back to work Monday. I know I did not put together full meals as under normal circumstances but you should not be expected to while recuperating. I hope you do get to take it easy and someone else will handle meals for you even if just scrambled eggs and toast or canned soup and crackers. And best you never have to deal with gallbladder attack again. The surgery was a lot less painful. You will be in my prayers.

  3. Feminine hygiene products are good items to donate as well. In college I had to do a placement with the Salvation Army. People in need could come and request a voucher to a local grocery store. I will never forget a girl around my age(then 19) coming in, clearly humiliated and asking for maxi pads. It bothered me to think of this poor girl having to even have to worry about something that I took for granted. That placement taught me so much about poverty.

  4. This is fun! I love getting ideas on what I can do better.-I discovered 3 of my children were using disposable razors as single use. Fixed this by putting their names on a mug with a new razor each. I also told them my extra supplies are NOT self serve.-All meals were fixed at home with one exception. We were out of town picking up our new to us 12 passenger van and it was taking forever so I bought a few things off the dollar menu for my 5 yo. Dh and I split a coffee. It is a backwards savings because I didn’t go to the Amish restaurant on the way home. That would have been well over $30 and I only spent $5.-The seller of the van had two litters of kittens, free and ready to be rehomed. I resisted.-Borrowed tap shoes for my 13 yo’s class. -Used a gift card to get a b-day present for a dear friends daughter. I had been saving that card in my wallet for such an “emergency”. Brandy, I would love some pictures of homemade presents that are well received.-Found a case of apple jelly we made last year. It has been really good on toast.-Vacuumed and cleaned the upholstery on our cars with our own equipment. Saved at least $25 compared to going to the car wash.-I am using cheap powdered detergent on our clothes and only using Tide on my family’s (greasy restaurant) work clothes. -Cancelled Netflix. We also will save $10 a month our bundled cable bill just by calling. I am downsizing from an iphone to a regular phone on the 4th. I am home all the time with access to 3 computers so I seldom use the internet on it anyway. I can sell my phone (like new condition) for $200 and save $30 a month on our cell bill.-I have four daughers and the 5 of us go through make up remover like water. I have gone back to vaseline and told my daughters to investigate cheaper methods to remove make up. No more $7 bottles of Neutrogena.-This one makes me feel dumb. Dh and I had been winging it since Spring on the budget. He is good at keeping the numbers in his head. I am not. I got new check registers and we spent some time getting this sorted out. We have two accounts and one is for bills and the other is for household/grocery/everything else. This method works for us as opposed to cash only. I am curious about how other families structure money though.

  5. Thanks for the ideas and the prayers! My husband is a great help but he’s also self-employed and we have four children that have various schedules so I’m trying to make it easier on him since he’s going to be doing so much. But, I’d rather not break the budget with convenience foods. I made a big batch of waffles this morning that are in the freezer. I’m making a large pot of beef stew for dinner and I’ll freeze the leftovers. And, I’ll be making bread and cookies to freeze as well. I also went grocery shopping yesterday and got bags of pretzels for $1 and some other easy snacks. I’ve heard from a lot of people who have had their gallbladders removed and all had a fairly easy recovery. I guess it’s only natural to be nervous but at least I won’t have to worry if my family is eating or not. ­čÖé

  6. Thank you, Paula. Your note brings tears to my eyes…all good. We are pulling together…and we remind ourselves of the many blessings around us. I will pray for you too and for peace in the midst of the storm with your mother. I suppose one thing we learn from hard times (if we can) is to look at what it good around us…and there is much that is good. Peace to you all….

  7. As for our family budget, we follow Dave Ramsey and do try to use cash for most things. However, things like bills and our Netflix subscription get paid from our checking account through online banking. Rather than a ton of envelopes sitting around, I bound them together in what looks like a little book, and it works well. I tend to have most envelopes most of the time because I do the grocery shopping, etc. We do always separate a portion of the grocery money for my husband to carry in case I have him stop for something on his way home from work. I keep track of spending and receipts etc in the same binder/book. Although I have the envelopes, that is simply out of convenience since I would be the one to need it if I was to pick something up. Husband makes the financial decisions. We talk about it together obviously, but he has the final say on things. We just saved for the past few months as we were preparing to move to a new home, which we do on Saturday, and we needed to purchase a new stove. We’ve been watching the ReStore near us in hopes of finding a good quality used gas range, but one never came up. So, last night, with our money in hand, we found a BEAUTIFUL new unit at Sears Outlet near us for an extra 40% off!! I am elated. It is always unnerving handing over a large amount of money, but it will be so worth it! We’ll be able to keep this range for years– as long as possible!

  8. I have found that when we used to “wing it” on the budget, that the expenses invariably expanded to fill the $ available. If I placed some money in savings, right after I paid our tithing, the expenses still took what was left, but in a non-emergency situation, not what was in the savings. My husband used to handle the money, but he found it stressful & I do not, so now I handle it.

  9. I just finished reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel. It is not a thick book, & I will suggest to my granddaughter that she read it, for a different perspective of the same situation.

  10. Arden, I have always used house brand baby oil for removing eye makeup. I actually think it does a better job than some things sold for that purpose.My budgeting system is pretty retro. I have a notebook, and use a page for each payday. These days, that is a page for social security day and a page for pension day. When we were working, there was a page every week. When we were both working, some pages would have two checks on them.Each page I list the amount for gas and groceries. All other bills are listed on which ever page will get them paid in plenty of time before the due date.Each month, I set aside 1/12 of our anticipated annual cost for drugs, medical appointments, dental checkup, car tags and insurance, life insurances, property taxes and home owner’s insurance. I set aside a monthly amount toward car maintenance. (It’s never enough, but it helps to have at least part of the money set aside when something happens.)I do monthly set asides for EVERYTHING. Even postage. When the roll of stamps gets low, there is money to buy the next roll. Ditto, setting aside tiny amounts toward the safety deposit box and post office box. It may seem obsessive to keep a running total building for such small expenses, but it is a comfort for the money to be ready when needed without having to worry about it.I keep a piece of paper clipped to my checkbook register that lists the amounts currently being held for each bill, or accrued in each fund, plus the amount that is uncommitted.Another thing we do is earmark a certain amount each month that we divide for our “allowances” which we keep separate and use for anything we wish. When the joint funds are tight, unnecessary things we want for ourselves have to come out of our allowance. Sometimes we are generous and treat each other out of saved allowance.

  11. Arden, as re’ budget we have done it this way since starting our own business in 1987. We didn’t right at the beginning but over time we realized this is the best system for us. Maybe it can give you some ideas. We put everything on VISA and then when we get the bill we go through the whole thing with our receipts and color code what is his business expenses (gas for his car/maintenance for his car/aviation fuel/plane maintenance/continuing ed fees, logding and meal expenses when traveling , professional dues, what is medical, what is household (food/cleaners/toiletries etc)/ household maintenence (repairs/ appliances), vehicle (plate renewal/gas/ins/AAA), what are my business expenses for church/school (I have a tax exempt card), and what is entertainment (books. DVD, movie tickets etc). We have ledger pages with the multiple columns that I transfer this all into and 3 hole punch the VISA statements and add into the folder and pockets for the receipts. We very seldom have to write a check, but when we do we enter those in usually under church or donations or gifts. That is about the only time checks are written. We also don’t use cash much, just if stopping at a farm stand, ice cream cone or soda here and there. Neither of us carries much cash, just a 20 at most. We do turn in those receipts too, though, so we can see if spending too much in that area.When it come time to do the taxes we have everything ready and we can summarize each column and give what is need for taxes and deductions to the accountant for year end. ( I do quarterly reports for the self employed myself.) The children have all been taught to do the same method, though with them it is seldom VISA, they almost always use debit card. They have tweaked the system to work best for them..Good luck keeping track of your budget.

  12. I for got we have columns for education also and other expenses related to the children’s education, like books. If they are in a situation where they need to pay rent etc, we transfer the money to their debit cards from their college accts (all at same credit union, I am listed on the younger 3 accts still). When we pay tuition with the VISA we take the money from their college accouns to pay that portion. I.E. we may send in more than one check to make payments on the same bill.A nice advantage of the VISA is at end of year we get a percentage back and we just minus it from the next payment.

  13. Arden,Pretty much everything can work like you are handling the razors. One toothbrush every x amount of time one razor every x amount of time one bottle of shampoo (I taught my kids to use a dimes size worth on shampoo but my step kids used shampoo like it was water so I had to start limiting how often I would buy them shampoo they got the message faster this way. Special snacks and treats are the same way. On the make up remover tryAlboene I make small pots for each girl and it has to last x amount before they can have a refill. If they want more of anything before the time is up they have to work it off in chores or pay the cash out of money what they earned earlier. This is how they learn to budget earlier on in life.Everything is a budget, budget time, budget calories, budget your cash.

  14. Arden – Regarding the disposable razors: This made me laugh and my teen daughter was walking by when she heard me laughing. I had to read it to her because we had gone through the same thing. She thought I was over-reacting when I realized she was throwing them away after one use, ha ha…

  15. If you wish to see a young adult budget well. Try giving them about 1/3 of what they need to accomplish something. For example I gave the kids $100 for back to school shopping. Normally I would spend $100 on each kid and use coupons and sale, and thrift stores to end up with $300 worth of clothing. When they got really picky I gave them the $100 and told them up to them but that was it until Christmas when they got gifts of clothing so they better be wise with it. I also added it will get cold so don’t forget you need a jacket and sweaters. I was amazed at how well they shopped and used a lot of what they watch me do over the years. They often had to add a bit of money they earned from babysitting or cutting grass but often not more than $30.00 they got the name brands they wanted and I got the budget I wanted. Plus, it is great practice for them. My son is 28 and still shops this way using coupons and Thrift stores.

  16. Brandy, I don’t know if you see this tonight yet, but in one of your pots you say you make plum sauce.I don’t find it in your recipe list. My plums are ready and would like to make as soon as possible. I found one in the Ball Blue Book. Is that the one you use???? Thanks

  17. This week was a good week for our family. Some things we did were:-Made silly putty. This is usually not allowed at my house, I had a child stuff it down both ears once when I was working out of town and it’s been banned ever since. My 9 yo begged me to lift the ban, so we made some and it was super easy!-Canned sliced dill pickles for burgers, 16 qts of tomatoes, 8 pints of pesto. I’ll have more this week.-Froze/dehydrated zukes, swiss chard, tomatoes, peppers, peach pie filling, cherry pie filling. -received 2 bushel baskets of green gage plums, still deciding what to do with them. These are my absolute favorite plum.-I’ve been searching for a DSLR camera to purchase, but I’m going to hold out for a bit. I’m hoping to see some awesome sales around christmas time. Primarily interested in Nikon with Cannon a close second. -Cooked at home all dinners, breakfasts. Made lunch for my 9 yo and DH to take, my 17 yo son doesn’t want home lunch at school so he uses his own money to buy his lunch.-Cleaned out the freezer, organized and took inventory. Wow was this an eye opener. We are preparing a lot of meals from the freezer to make room for more garden goodies. – Planted french radishes, jericho romaine, and garlic. My garden will be wrapping up in about a month. Harvesting daily squash, swiss chard, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, basil, lemon verbina, oregano, chives, mint, thyme, rose mary. Also harvested artichoke, eggplants, green tomatoes. The Jerusalem artichokes have a few more weeks before I can dig them up.-Started planning my Kitchen renovation. I’m hoping to do all the labor except move the plumbing and gas lines myself (well with the help of dad and DH of course!) After this we are going to start renovating each of the bathrooms. -Went to the library to rent a book, they were out. Happened to see it at a second hand store for 50┬ó, deal! We tried reading it online at first but my 9 yo found it harder to follow.-Knitted a couple of winter hats, and crocheted a baby blanket for a friend of my daughters who is having a little girl. – I’m going to start flannel sheet quilts for my kids for christmas, hiding them is the hardest part of the process. I think I found a friend who is willing to give up her family room for a couple of weeks for me to get this project done.

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