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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Shirt: Free hand-me down in like new condition, given as a birthday gift; shorts bought on clearance last year. In the background is our Early Elberta peach tree, from which we are still picking

My husband cut my hair on Sunday morning.

We had to replace our dishwasher this week. I compared models online and then went to the store. I looked to see which store had dishwashers on sale before we left, which saved us time and gas. I ended up getting a different model at the store than I thought I would get; however, it was also on sale.

My husband installed the dishwasher (I wasn’t about to pay a $150 installation charge!) and Cyrus got to learn how to install a dishwasher. I’m very grateful for a husband who can fix and install things and I want to make sure that our children learn the same skills, as it will help their families save money later.

We picked grapes and peaches from the garden. I canned peaches and grape juice. The grapes were from our garden. The peaches were a combination of ones from our garden and the 50 pounds I bought at Winco the week before for .48 a pound. We ate peaches every day this week–we ate at least 25 pounds of peaches from our tree this week. My totals for this week were 29 quarts of peaches and 5 quarts of grape juice.

I put a small bucket under the pipe where the air conditioner drips outside (from the humidity). I also put two potted plants near there. I have been switching them out to water the two plants, and once they are watered enough I have been putting a small bucket (an ice cream bucket; I wash them out and use them) under there. I used the water I collected to water the potted fruit trees on my patio. It is normally not very humid here (so there isn’t usually much of anything that will drip), but right now is the middle of our “monsoon” season. We got a 7 minute rainstorm one day and then another one that actually lasted about 25 minutes! (Our friend recorded .28 inches in his part of town, which is the most he has ever seen in a rainstorm here in many years of living here).  Most rain here comes and goes in 30 seconds and most of the year is sunny, clear skies, so this was a nice change. I turned off the sprinklers and drip system two nights because of the heavier rain.

I cut Genovese basil, Thai basil, Swiss chard, and green onions from the garden. We picked a few small tomatoes this week as well.

We celebrated Cyrus’ birthday this week. His gifts included several hardcover books that I picked up at garage sales (in April) in like-new condition for $2 each, shirts that I bought at garage sales/were given to me (hand-me-downs), a pictures of a snowy owl that I chose from the things my mom was giving away when she closed down her store, a pair of pajama shorts that I made from some fabric that I received last week, and a dreamcatcher kit that I bought at a garage sale in April for $1.50. The dreamcatcher kit was a huge hit and I would highly recommend one as a gift for a child around that age. He stopped everything to make it right away. It has inspired me to look for more project-style gifts for the children for Christmas and upcoming birthdays.

I made him a cheesecake using cream cheese that I bought on sale last December (unopened, cream cheese will stay good 6-12 months in the cheese drawer in the refrigerator), homemade Greek yogurt, and some eggs that we purchased on sale. I topped it with some cherry pie filling that I received from my sister-in-law.

My father made a fun birthday sign for Cyrus from leftover matboard scraps (my father is a picture framer, who retired a few weeks ago but is still finishing up a few jobs) and some spare length of wood that he had.

I watched three shows for free on Hulu.

I did run three errands: I picked up several pounds of boneless pork sirloin on sale for $1.49 a pound. I also bought school supplies at a back to school sale. I also took a $10 off $10 coupon to Kohl’s, and purchased a blouse for Winter that was on sale for $12.99. I used a gift card to pay the balance.

We were given some food from a friend who went out of town; there were tortillas and 3 1/2 dozen eggs, some opened sour cream and a little less than half a gallon of orange juice.

I don’t have any flowers growing in the garden right now, so I cut some small branches from the apple and pear trees and put them in the vase that my brother sent to me recently (that came with the sympathy flowers).

I took a free online food photography class on Creative Live.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. When we lived in student housing, there were roaches. I bought quite a few Tupperware canisters at DI, since we could not afford new, & found that the mismatched colors of lids & bottoms was a help – ie, the sugar is in the big orange canister with the white lid, etc. It kept the bugs out of our pantry, because everything was either in Tupperware canister or a glass canning jar.

  2. I am from the deep, deep south and grits are part of our regular menu. We eat them for breakfast all the time and also as a side dish at night. Like Allison I have learned the hard way to freeze the grits. I buy them in 5 pound bags and they are really inexpensive. Before I unload anything else I stick them in the freezer and keep them there for about 2 weeks. Then I take them out and put them in an air-tight container. If you bought a 50 lb bag I would just be sure to put most of them in some container that could be vacuum sealed. perhaps even several seal a meal type bags? This is a link to the Good Old Grits Cookbook. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+good+old+grits+cookbook) It has multitudes of ways to use grits.Here my favorite commercial grits are Jim Dandy or Martha White. I have bought Quaker Oat grits once but they are not “real” gritsAt buythecase.net you can find Jim Dandy for a little over a dollar a pound with free shipping on orders over $100 dollars A 1 lb bag =20 servings using 1/4 cup of uncooked grits per serving. ( It doubles in size when cooked)

  3. Thanks for the ideas!My kids LOVE cornmeal mush! AND they would probably eat it every day! I am in the American west about 6 hours or so from Brandy, so we don’t see “grits,” we see cornmeal. The price has gotten out of hand, and all I have left are the bottles from my grandmother that my mom disposed of. I’m almost out. When we would eat it, I’d serve it hot with a little butter and sugar, or we would sweeten it with jam. Or we would chill it and fry it and serve with syrup. I have a couple that prefer it savory and might season it with garlic salt. We really love it, it’s just the price! Especially since right now I am feeding 13 every day.Any great price on cornmeal would be appreciated. The 9 grain I’ve been serving is .50/lb. When they don’t eat it, I save it and add it to the bread I make.I forgot about fruit crisps… I have been avoiding the oven with all the triple digit heat around here. We are at 16 days, tied for 3rd for most number of triple digit days, with more summer to come. I will have to try the fruit crisps. I’ve just been trying to keep our breakfast costs down.

  4. We are switching to homeschool this year. I am also nervous. But I have found so many resources to help. Around me (I’m not sure where you live) we have online high school courses that are free. Your current high school could help, or an online one could. I found a local liaison educational center that we are waiting to see if there is any room. It offers so much more flexibility and reimburses a portion of your tax dollars to you for educational materials. You may have something like this around you.You can do it. Good luck!

  5. I may have infected my kids with frugality! No. 4 child wanted her hair cut at the hairdressers, No. 3 child told her how much it would cost! Instead they jointly performed a haircut, Amber now has a choppy shoulder length style and looks beautifulJenny in Wales

  6. Penelope,I have a Sam’s Club card, not a Costco one, but someone with a Costco one told me about the Costco commercial place in town. You use your regular Costco card and they have more bulk bags of stuff that restaurants use that isn’t available at the regular Costcos. I know they have bulk cornmeal there because a friend of mine told me about it. She was grinding her own from popcorn, but she said the texture was so much nicer when she bought this one. I’ve been wondering if they carry grits there (Walmart has them in a tiny little container here). I only know about two of their products, and that is one of them! If you don’t have a Costco card either you might be able to talk with a friend who does.

  7. I remember reading somewhere that if you buy flour, you should immediately put it in the freezer because it kills the eggs. I have been doing that and so far, no problems.

  8. Thank you Brandy. I’m not sure where to find that commercial place. I do have a Costco card right now. Maybe your friend could share a little more info? Google didn’t help much. Maybe I just don’t know what to look for.Happy Pioneer day!

  9. If there are insect eggs in the product, I would want to know that, & shop elsewhere! I do not have room to store flour, etc in my freezer. In my entire life, I have only had insects in something I bought once, & that was grain wheat. We stored it in washed-out milk jugs. One 50 lb bag of wheat fills 7 jugs, so when weevil appeared in 7 consecutive milk jugs, we knew that one of the bags of wheat had been infested, but because the were “contained” they were easy to dispose of, and had not spread to other containers.

  10. Well it’s been awhile since I commented here. Summer has been a whirlwind of change for the family. 1/ my husband changed jobs which meant our health ins. Changed and so the last two weeks we have been spending 900 bucks of FSA stuff which was left on the account.i am grateful for the extra stuff we have stored up for the year ahead and more where we could. Also glad that our lord has blessed us with much with the new job.2/last week we made a long weekend trip to Boston to visit family that I had been trying to see for the last three years. I had to shop for a newborn(did use my target red card to get 5 percent back) and we had to spend money on food( save one meal)and tours around Boston which were all added and unexpected expenses. Horrendously expensive and wish I planned it better under the circumstances we were in.3/ also found out my phone does not work dialing out and since this was my birthday week we got a phone for me but kept the same plan. Used ebates to get some cashback and also Found a case for it for 10 bucks on groupon which is a steal in my opinion.4/. While shopping for a phone we asked our comcast rep for a cheaper deal and found out the current plan could be converted to a triple play account that includes a second line,faster Internet speed and 200 more channels. I wanted to save by saving 10 bucks a month on another downgraded plan but my husband wanted to play the shots on this. Well hoping to go back in3 more months and downgrade but it also means we get a second landline on the first floor which I have been asking my husband since we got married as I do not hear our upstairs voyage phone line too well. Unfortunately we cannot ditch the Internet as my husband needs it for work and no ditching comcast as we do not have any other option for our location.5/ garden front- we have been able to harvest tomatoes, scallions and mint. My squash and pumpkins are growing well in the wetness too. Some of my front yard plants have died out due to mildew though which I can only replace next year due to the budget.used some neem oil on the others that have survived. We also cleared up our backyard covering a wet area with red brick pavers that we already had on hand.6/found out that walmart’s 99 cents window cleaner also cleans my floor well without too much agitation.woohoo finally the laminate floors are glowing again else they were caked in visible dirt.Looking forward to getting back on track next week.

  11. Forgot to mention that I did splurge on olive oil for the rest of the year before leaving for our Boston trip and that alone saves tons as it was on sale and also used a coupon.Thanks Brandi for that tip when you did the buying food cheap series that buying oil with any extra grocery cash especially on sale could be crucial to a family on a fluctuating income.

  12. My cousin is married to a food scientist( he invents ice cream flavors yum) and I asked him why powdered milk performs better in oatmeal and grits and he said it was because the milk fat was already out and so could not separate. You know how it sometimes gets that white ring? Anyhow, I had been meaning to tell Brandy since we had both noticed it and did not know why. I think that means powdered milk would also make a superior rice pudding, so that is on my list to try.

  13. Celia,You cannot use skim milk, whether powdered or not, to make rice pudding (or chocolate pudding–custard to my readers in the U.K). Neither type of pudding will set up without the fat. Both perform best made with whole milk.

  14. Congratulation on stopping smoking Mandy! I just wanted to send you a note of encouragement. I hope things are going well. It’s a priceless gift you are giving yourself and your family!! You CAN do this!!

  15. Thank you to everyone! It is nice to get support 🙂 and I can happily report it’s been a week and not a single cigarette, or even a desire for one! YAY ME! 🙂

  16. I buy only skim milk, so when I make rice pudding, I just add a dab of butter. It doesn’t take much; a teaspoon to a tablespoon for an entire panful, depending on how thick you want the finished pudding to be.

  17. I don’t store grains in the freezer, but I buy a lot of organic grains and learned they all need about a 2 week visit in the freezer. It is one of the downsides of buying organic, but I live and learn usually the hard way.

  18. I followed an oven-free menu plan.Peaches were on sale again this week for $.99/lb. Since the boys don’t care for the texture peaches (my youngest says they have strings in them), I made Peach Pie Popsicles with a few of them. My favorite frugal activity this week was making our own write and wipe worksheets. When our older son was a preschooler we used Rod and Staff preschool workbooks to help him learn to write letters and numbers. He used many of the pages, but I was able to reuse them for our younger son by tearing them out of the book and putting them into page protectors. He copied the letters onto the page protectors with a dry erase marker that could easily be wiped off after he was finished. We will be able to use them over and over again.I accidentally saved money this week when I forgot to buy paper towels. We made it through the whole week without them!I hung our bedding on the clothesline to dry.Made laundry soap. I used Ivory soap since that is what I had and so far it seems to be working well.Added beans to our tacos.Downloaded a cookbook for free on my kindle for PC.Bought bread at the bread store for $.67 each.Used a coupon and paid $.16 each for soap.In my mailbox: a free magazineFor pictures and links: http://www.vanessasvalues.blogspot.com/2013/07/simply-saving-saturday-july-20.html

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