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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Most of my accomplishments last week centered around helping the children with their schoolwork and chores. Nevertheless, I did manage to do some things to save money:

We played outside in the backyard.

As our humidity continued, I was able to collect 15-20 quarts of water a day from the runoff of the air conditioner. I used that water to water my potted fruit trees.

I picked peaches and cut grapes from the garden. I also harvested a few tomatoes, basil, oregano, and green onions this week. I cut some grapes leaves and Swiss chard and cooked them in soup. I had one cucumber in the garden this week, which I also cut and served to the family.

I gathered the pears that fell in the wind.

I cut sunflower heads full of seeds from the garden. These are Mammoth Sunflowers (I showed one last week) that re-seeded themselves this year. I have yet to plant the sunflower seeds that I bought this spring.

I combined errands to conserve gasoline.

I used internet coupons, used reusable shopping bags (for $0.05 credit each time), and stocked up on school supplies on sale.

I asked one local nursery to price match the other local nursery for the Katy Apricot tree for the front yard. They said, “Sure, why not?” I saved $10.11 before tax.

I returned unused irrigation items for the front yard, empty plant buckets, and dead plants to the other nursery for credit. I used the credit to replace dead plants, and to get more stakes for the front yard irrigation.

My husband attended his aunt’s funeral in California. He drove my father-in-law down there in my father-in-law’s car, and they came back the same day.

We checked out books and movies from the library.

I cooked dried beans and made refried beans. I made French bread, crepes, pancakes, chocolate wafer cookies, and soup.

We cut metal wire mesh that we already had to make trellises for the front yard.

I enjoyed a lovely sunset.



Ivory loves the swinsuit that grandma bought for her.

The children splashed in my parents’ blow-up pool while it was filling.

What did you do to save money last week?

Psst: Tomorrow morning my post on chores is going up!

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25 Comments

  1. Also, if your dryer starts taking a ridiculous time to dry, go outside and see if the outside vent has become blocked. I have had this happen and the dryer started working like new as soon as I cleared the vent.

  2. Lisa, that’s interesting that you use 2 drops of dish soap in the load. I think that would help to get rid of most of the grease buildup problem. I’ve always been afraid to put that in and have a suds problem, but I can see how it would help to use such a tiny amount (and not cause the suds problem).How often do you run your dishwasher?

  3. Brandy, I think I originally saw the idea on Pinterest to use the 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 drops of Dawn. I originally thought there was no way that was going to work, but to my surprise it did. It got the dishes just as clean as with traditional dish detergent. I run my dishwasher at least twice a day, sometimes three times a day. That’s why i use the quick cycle too.

  4. Except for berry bushes and perennials and my rhubarb, my entire garden is 3 foot high, 8 or 10 foot long and 3 foot wide raised beds. I started this when I was very ill for about a year but now I do it because it is convenient, few weeds grow in them and they are easy to pick out, it warms the ground (important in Alaska), I can plant things closer together since the roots go down instead of out as much, and it conserves water—no run off. Also, the soil never compacts so no rototilling in the spring. My early beds were made of lumber we scored at a garage sale ($40 made six beds!!), but more recently on Craigs List I found old horse troughs for $10 each (usually $250 new). It took some work and a truck to transport them, and we had to drill drainage holes, but they have been terrific. I don’t know where you live, but metal beds heat up so the roots get quite warm—again, in Alaska this is ideal. Corn and squash do especially well. Cole crops, which like cooler soil, don’t do well at all in the troughs but do very well in the wood beds. My habit is to get a bed the year before I plan to use it, and during that year fill it with compost materials. Come spring, I cover the compost materials with about 6 inches of soil and plant. The first two years it sinks, as the stuff decomposes, so I top it off with soil each of the next two summers. I have also used horse manure from a neighbor instead of compost materials and topped it off with soil and planted that same summer…Hope this helps. Last year, after expenses, I harvested over $1000 worth of vegetables (I keep track of the yield and then price it out by grocery prices). This year it is the last day of July and I have already surpassed that…it takes me about 3 hours a day to tend things when I am by myself and an hour or so when the husband is available to help. It can be exhausting on work days, but is well worth it during the summer and even in the winter because I can and dehydrate so much…I don’t think I would have such a huge garden if it were not for the raised beds because they make it so much easier to tend to things.

  5. Hi Southern Lady,I live in the Deep Deep South also. We can still plant summer crops for a September harvest according to our county agent. ( They have to be started as transplants rather than seed) This week “refreshing some plants is on my to do list. The fall garden can be put in the ground in September or October

  6. Thank you all for your help…i really appreciate it! It is scary buying expensive appliances! I am glad you mentioned the kitchen aid, Brandy. I am marking that off the list….it sounds like it had all the same problems as our Whirlpool….racks falling apart, etc. and ours is 8 years old which didn’t seem that old to me. I am also going to try the Dawn and baking soda when we get our new dishwasher…great idea! Thanks girls!!

  7. I checked my outside vent and my 10 yr old dryer just burned up its heating element. :(I didn’t feel we spent to much more on our new set. The first set was $600 the second set was under $1000, I could have kept my washer but hubby insisted on sets

  8. I am glad to hear that Maytag is still a good dishwasher. I have had 2 of them and loved them both. We have a Whirlpool at our vacation house that does a great job of cleaning and we have had no trouble with so who knows. I am starting to think that with appliances in general it is just luck whether you get a good one or not. I had a front loader Maytag washer that was a lemon. Maytag actually refunded my money in full and picked up the machine.

  9. I found your blog recently and wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed reading it. My husband and I are about to move onto our sailboat and cruise around the world full-time which means we’ll have to adopt a much more frugal lifestyle. And although our lifestyles are very different (you live in a house not a sailboat!), I’ve gotten a lot of great tips/tricks from you about food storage (provisioning in the language of sailing) and how to cook creatively with what you have. Thanks!http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/cooking-with-cans.html

  10. We make runzas too, but have never put cheese in them. Just cooked hamburg, onions and cabbage. I like to put potatoes and rutabaga in sometimes too. Then they are similar to the pasties popular around here. We freeze them unbaked and then bake as needed.

  11. Very nice pictures as usual. Across the road from me is a whole field of sunflowers. Our weather has stayed cool but doesn’t seem to be affecting the garden. Still producing well. Harvested red onions (small), cabbage (green), cherry tomatoes, kale, leaf lettuce, zucchini, yellow summer squash, slicing cucumbers, beets, broccoli, green bell peppers, poblano peppers, banana peppers. Picked about 10 tomatoes that we have eaten, many more are ripening. Picked basil, parsley, cilantro as needed. Dried parsley and basil and made four 1/2 pint jars of pesto for the freezer. Each jar is enough to cover one pound of angel hair pasta, our favorite way to serve it. Cooked all from scratch. Made zucchini pancakes with extra to put in fridge and reheat. Made oatmeal whoopie pies, banana bread, peach pie, peach kuchen, chocolate pudding pie, stuffed green peppers using an Italian-seasoned lentil filling, macaroni and cheese with a pound of my stashed sharp cheddar from sale couple months ago. Tried a recipe found in cookbook (given to me by son) called From Asparagus to Zucchini…it was called Turnips, Greens and Raisins. It was diced turnips and onions, pan fried then add turnip greens and raisins and steam till soft. I had no greens…these turnips were given me a few weeks ago and I wanted to finish them off. I used shredded kale instead. Gas has gone back down a bit after quick rise of 20+ cents in a week. Husband gone much of this week as his work takes him to the airshow and he is there everyday. He takes a cooler with cold drinks and snacks. He manages to eat very economically when he is on the road/in the air etc. Our dog found kitten in our yard…only 3 weeks old per my daughter at vet’s office. In good condition but very hungry. Some one probably dumped poor kitty. We could only find the one…this was not a kitten of the barn cats. Daughter has already found a home for it. Finished raspberries (my favorite fruit) …did 21 half pints of freezer jam, 16 pints of individually frozen berries in freezer bags. Made refrigerator dill pickles and water bath garlic dills. The grocer had 77 cent a pound nectarines and peaches…some kind of promotion so bought some more, mainly just to eat. The same store promotion had pasta 77 cents a pound so refilled all my bins to the top. Put chopped broccoli in pint and quart freezer bags for use later in soups and hot dishes. Made pickled eggs…put the HB eggs into the brine left over after opening jar of pickled beets. Makes delicious pretty pink eggs.Got a jar of peanut butter (size? 14oz or 16 oz) that was on sale for 1.88 for .38 after using a doubled 75cent coupon. Bought shampoo and conditioner for long hair that was 2/5.00 for 3.00 after using doubled 1.00 coupon. Bought a box of rice krispies for 77cents ( something is going on at store…maybe 77th anniversary?) . I was given a bag of marshmallows and I will make krispie treats in future. Mended. Sorted fabric and found enough to make new aprons for all daughters for Christmas. Also found a crochet pattern on internet to make a bunny stuffed animal for youngest daughter. Bought 8 new toothbrushes with coupons and specials to be put in everyones Christmas stocking. Oh, we have all gas here too, dryer, stove, hot water, ovens, furnace. Is much more economical than electric. We do not use AC much as old houses such as this are built with the cross ventilation in mind. Also we are surrounded by mature trees that shade the roof. I hang all delicates inside, year round and also most of my clothes which are always cotton.That is all I can remember. Now I look forward to going back and rereading the post several times to see what I might have missed. I like it when folks make comments or add bits of info. I am “old” but I can still learn much.

  12. We bought ourselves a Kitchen Aid for our anniversary in 2010…it works great and best has none of those center posts to work around. It is so quiet that when we first got it we kept checking it to see if it was running.

  13. Oh course we will pray for you, your cousin and the hands and wisdom of the doctors and nurses that surround him. May you continue to be at peace and approach your wedding day with a calmness that will carry you through all the last minute projects. Best wishes to you and your husband as you make a new home together as one.

  14. Athanasia, you bring back memories. My grandmother always had a tray of eggs like you describe on the table for Easter dinner. Pickled in the brine from where she had made pickled beets. She also made some in the brine from sweet pickles. These were a pretty green because, unlike most people, she added green coloring to the sweet pickles to make them greener.

  15. Ooh, I will try the eggs in the sweet pickle brine. Will just add some drops of green to the brine after the next jar of pickles are gone. We like pickles…just normal to have pickled something with every meal.

  16. Do you save them for eating or the birds? We save the heads to put out for our winter birds like the cardinals. We have about 20 plants. Thats enough for the birds, plus the summer birds eat some before we get to chopping the sunflower heads off. One of my uncles and his son farm sunflowers and sell for birdseed. That is the field across from us.

  17. Am not familiar with the Army of Helamon so googled it and came up with many pictures from a place called Spanish Forks from a July 2013 parade. Large mountains in the background. Is that what you are talking about??

  18. I was wondering if you could answer a question really quick for me? My daughter was really invested in growing sunflowers this year in our very very small garden. I allowed her to plant the seeds in a row behind our berry bushes and well she poured a lot of love into them and they sure grew! They are so tall, that the hover over OUR HOUSE! HAH! They have been opened and flowering for maybe two weeks for some and a few days for others, when are they ready to have the flower cut off and the seeds harvested? Can we eat the seeds or do they have to be bird food? Thanks in advance for your answers. love reading your blog!~ellie

  19. Very tall sunflowers are usually Russian sunflowers. They grow many there. The birds will let you know when ripe as they can strip quickly. If you want to save heads you need to let them dry down but not too much or they shatter and you loose seed. You can eat them or feed to birds. The head will droop as the seeds mature. Deer will come for them and squirrels and raccoons too, if they are in your area. To keep birds away since you have just a small amount you could cover the heads with a very light mesh fabric, maybe like interfacing. Some people use paper bags. If they do not dry enough they could spoil. My uncle harvests his by hand then has a drying shed where they are all hung. It is just a roof with screens all around. Kind of old fashion here. If you use paper bags and rains, need to put fresh paper bags on. The bag catches seed that may be falling as drying. Not sure where you are but we do not harvest till fall and then even a frost is OK. I have been in Canada and seen many fields there I know they do not harvest till after a killing frost. They use farm machiniery …I think these are the seeds for expressing oil. A county extension agent/office is always very happy to answer questions too. Enjoy your seeds.

  20. The Army of Helaman was the River Stake’s entry in our Pioneer Day parade (July 24th). The parade came down Center Street & the mountains in the background are part of the Wasatch Front.

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