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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Seeded grapes from our garden

My husband and I celebrated our 13th anniversary this week. I made us a late dinner for just the two of us. We had homemade tamales. I used the corn husks from the corn I bought on sale last week. I also used pork shoulder roast that I had bought earlier this year (and froze) for a very low price per pound. While it was still a much more expensive meal than we normally have, it was a nice treat for our anniversary. The rest of the tamales were the next night’s dinner for the entire family. The night I made the tamales I had extra masa left over, so I fried it like hush puppies for the children.

After dinner we played some cards and enjoyed some lemonade that I bought with a coupon last week.

My husband cut his hair.

I gave both boys haircuts.

I traded some items from my pantry with my mom for some items that she had. She asked for a potato, peas, and an onion, and when she came over, she brought lettuce to me. Before she left on a trip she shared a few things from her refrigerator with me as well.

We used a free Redbox code to pick up a movie for the entire family to watch one night. There are two Redbox kiosks in the parking lot where my husband works; he just walked to one before coming home.

My husband combined errands on his way home from work and returned our library books as well as picked up ones that the children had requested that were waiting at the library for them.

We picked peaches, apples, grapes, green onions, Swiss chard, hot peppers, and tomatoes from our garden. I also cut sunflower heads full of seeds.

I made granola, crepes, French bread, saltines, lentil tacos, bean and rice burritos, fried chicken, chocolate chip cookies, stir fry, cupcakes (with only one egg!), and a ham.

Plum sauce

I canned plum sauce using the Mirabelle plums that we were given a couple of weeks ago (they’ve been in my fridge) and hot peppers from the garden. Plum sauce is about $4 for a small jar at the store; I canned 32 half-pints.

My husband picked up 5 dozen more eggs on sale for me at $0.99 a dozen.

I purchased 50 pounds of peaches at .48 to can (along with the peaches from our tree).

I was given 6 zucchini this week; 3 from my mom before she left on a trip and 3 from my niece who was driving through town from Utah on her way to California. We made zucchini potato pancakes with 4 of them.

I said yes to some beautiful fabric scraps this week and there is enough for me to make several items. I cut out and sewed a pair of pajama shorts for Cyrus for his birthday from one piece, and I have already earmarked more of it for other projects, including some skirts and some dress collars.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. That is wonderful! I cannot imagine such a low price on mortgage or rent! We could not even find a tiny apartment (flat) for that price when we were first married here. Will you be even further out from town than you are now?

  2. CeliaLOL what is it with husbands- mine suggested that pickle mix from Ball products too….I feel like if I am going to go thru the trouble of canning my own pickles I don’t want some carbon copy of a store pickle!Becky- my guess is the peaches I bought just weren’t ready to be canned!!! mostly I was doing it as a dry run for my other canning projects I did get a couple of good jars and my daughter says they are the greatest peaches ever. She and my husband have an allergy to peaches and some other stone fruits but they can eat canned stuff… I guess the processing denatures whatever allergen is present.Marija- thanks for the tip! I will try it. do you find that your jars are sealing while still in the water bath or are they sealing when you remove them?

  3. We ALWAYS shred large amounts of zucchini and freeze it in 2-3 cup portions…my mom did it since I was a tiny girl! It is great to have on hand for things. Although, I do tend to blot off some of the water that appears as it defrosts and the bread is fine. I leave about half, I’d say.

  4. Thanks for sharing your tip! This is my first time growing zucchini and I planted a whole row of it not knowing how well it produces. I think we will have a lot of zucchini in our freezer this winter. 🙂

  5. We also never have had swimming lessons for our children. We buy a $50/month membership for 3 months in the winter. My children are excellent swimmers and my husband got the honor of being the one to teach them. You are the only other person I have heard do this. Most people look at me like I am strange when we said we were going to teach them ourselves. My parents even offered to pay for the swimming lessons.

  6. I actually paid for the kids to have lessons for years (I have a large family). One location was quite poor quality. Then I found one that offered red cross lessons, but they discontinued teaching. The rec center is not in our city, but it is brand new and I have always wanted to teach my own children since I have had through senior life guard training. I have to say that their progress is outstanding at this point. Today my son swam the elementary back stroke a full 25 yards, and instead of having him only swim half the pool and back, I had him swim all the way to the deep end. He also picked up the breast stroke and mostly had the coordination down. And my younger children are getting stronger and better every day. I think my 7 yo will be ready for a swim team in the fall.I think it is wonderful that you did this! I only wish I had had the opportunity and made the decision to do it sooner.

  7. I was able to get ground chuck for $1.95 a pound. I bought 9 pounds and froze it. At eh same sale I purchased bananas for .39# and honey crisp apples for $1.50#.We stayed with friends over the weekend and split the grocery costs.We brought our truck into be looked at and they found the fuel pump had to be replaced. We had had it replaced last August so it was under warranty. That saved us $710.I purchased more bananas today for .35# and avocados for .85 each.I matched Target coupons with manufacturers coupons when I was out of town and purchased the new Keebler Pita Crips for $1 a box (regular price was 2.41) and also bought conditioner for .99 (reg 2.99) to keep in my camper.my mother in law cut my husband and three boys hairI downloaded free books to my kindle, printed coupons, and ate left overs for lunchWe turned off our air conditioner while we were out of town.I bought a package of ice cream treats while we were camping instead of going to an ice cream parlor.(I also shred and freeze zucchini to use over the winter. I drain the water off before adding it to my bread/muffin batter).

  8. Everybody’s circumstances are different. My son lives in our capital city in a 2nd floor flat with no yard access. But he has a nice screened in porch where he has managed a few container plants. He also has access to one of the best farmer’s markets in the country so can go there year-round (move’s inside in winter). Plus he can bike everywhere because the whole city is linked with bike lanes. In winter his employer gives free bus passes. So he can save a lot in some ways, but then rent is double what it would be here.At least it is not triple as it was when he worked in Washington DC!

  9. I agree, Athanasia. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and everyone must economize in their own way. The important thing is that people find their way and economize enough to be prepared to take care of themselves and meet their responsibilities when life sends the hard knocks.I was raised in a family of fierce gardeners. My parents could practically have had a truck farm, but they also both worked full time. But the garden was not drudgery for them, they truly enjoyed it. I absolutely hated the chaos of a kitchen and neglected house while my fully employed parents were in the throes of gardening and preserving for months on end. I think it marked me for life. I like a clean, orderly home, and I taught myself to clean. Sometimes I cleaned so well I was in trouble for losing things, but that is a long, unimportant story.:)I truly do not like gardening. Helping keep up a yard and have enough flowers to look decent is enough outdoor drudgery to do me.My method has always been to shop wisely and coupon to have a full pantry and freezer at all times. My method is good enough for us. Despite some really hard times, we’ve always had plenty to eat. There are just the two of us, and it is not necessary for me to do all of that to provide enough for us. There have been long stretches when I worked outside the home. We both have hobbies we enjoy. I love to read and design greeting cards.Now that we are older, we are on medications that make us sensitive to heat and sun. Just to be out to ride the mower, my husband has to wear a magellan sun proof shirt and hat, complete with a French foreign legion style scarf protecting his neck, as he has had some skin cancers removed.I know that some of you have so many people to feed that it is absolutely necessary for you to garden and can, or that it is actually your favorite hobby. I admire you for being willing to do what is necessary for YOU, and I enjoy reading about it.

  10. I also don’t use dryer sheets but I have read that some people use a sponge with some watered down fabric softener as a reusable dryer sheet. Since I also don’t use fabric softener I haven’t tried it.

  11. I fell off the frugal wagon, but hope to get back on it this week. I also need to work on a plan for when I am not feeling well, making it easier to stick with home cooking.

  12. Shannon, when as a young bride I learned to cook from “Betty Crocker’s Dinner For Two”, it talked about planned overs. Planned overs have been one of my life savers all this time. Certain dishes, such as spaghetti, stews, meatloaf, chili, vegetarian chili,stir frys and rice, etc., that we really like are good candidates for this. Just make a fresh batch of garlic bread and you’re done. I would usually have some left over, anyway, but it isn’t much more trouble to deliberately make enough for two meals. Sometimes I even make an extra pair of burgers to reheat for another meal.I often fall back on a planned over for supper on cleaning/laundry day, or yard day. When your day unexpectedly goes out of control, it is lucky if there happen to be good left overs in the refrigerator.My husband does this, too, sometimes when he grills outside. He will grill extra burgers and sausages on a holiday weekend and we’ll have two or three meals out of the cookout, with the expense and trouble of just one fire.

  13. What’s a “car-boot sale”? I am reading an English mystery and that phrase was just used there also. Makes me think of here where they sell stuff of the back of the truck, usually very cheap and sometimes ill-gotten goods.

  14. When I freeze my grated zucchini for future bread use I pack double the amount in the bag that the recipe calls for. When thawed I drain all the water off and am left with the right amount of zucchini needed. My breads are never dry, but I think it is because I bake in smaller pans. When I have had to eat someones dry breads I think it is because it was baked in a full-sized loaf pan. This is my theory at least that maybe they get too dry as the breads are denser and to finally finish the bread through to the middle may dry out the rest of it. This makes sense to me at least. Just my experience.

  15. Yes Paula, time of life makes a difference. We have downsized much now that there are only 3 of us at home and the others are making their own way. We’re “older” too, and and often very glad we no longer have to can 75 quarts of beans etc. So glad that our children have learned from us as we learned from our parents (children of the Great Depression) and who learned from their parents and immigrant ancestors.My mother is so funny. When we were growing up she refused to grow more than a few tomato plants and a couple green peppers. The only jam she made was tomato marmalade. She said she had too much of days and years of gardening and canning with my grandma. Now at her senior apartments she has organized raised beds and she has other residents out there gardening their part of the box and she is back to growing her tomatoes and peppers.

  16. Brandy you are lucky to have grapes. I like to freeze them in the summer and eat just as they start to thaw. They are like sherbert. They grow here fine, I just never got around to starting them. A neighbor has concords and does share them with me…I make jelly and brine the leaves for stuffed grape leaves.I did all cooking from scratch as usual. Tried a new recipe for raisin bagels where the blog author just dips the bagels in water, then bakes, rather than the boiling bath. They were good. Basil has been exceptional this year. Made pesto using up some of the Romano cheese I bought months ago on sale and stored in the back of the fridge. Have a family birthday this weekend. Will take carrot cake frosted with cream cheese frosted using two of my blocks from the stash I have been saving since the big sale before Easter.When I went to pick up my eggs (egg farm down the road) my friend gave me a bag of “spring” turnips. Not sure what that means but they were much smaller, like a golf ball or so. She said just peel and eat raw, so we have sliced them into tossed salad and sliced and served with ranch dip. Harvested a few slicing cukes, 2 zucchini…apparently one of our plants is producing yellow zukes. Different. Harvested green and wax beans, lettuce, green onions, kale, sugar snap peas. Dried parsley,dill weed, sage. A friend gave me fennel from her CSA order that she did not want. Froze raspberries in pint bags and made 14 1/2 pints of raspberry freezer jam. Have peaches, boughten, spread out on brown paper on the dining room table. I am hoping they will be ready tomorrow night for canning and jamming. I am going to try one of the lower sugar recipes for the jam. I use light syrup for the canned.Watched the 3rd season of English police show from library. Read a couple more library books. Found a recipe on line to make a homemade version of the Penne Rosa dish from Noodles which my youngest always begs for whenever we are in the larger town that has such a place. Lunch was brought to work for us 2 weeks ago (party) from the Olive Garden and I saved the big plastic bowl the salad came in and the tongs. I used it to take a tossed salad to a potluck picnic last week. It was very handy and I didn’t have to worry about carrying a heavy glass bowl and loosing my good tongs. I washed it up and it is back up in the cupboard for futures use.Mixed up 20 piecrusts and rolled them out and stacked them all with wax paper on a pizza cardboard and froze. We have an event coming up at church where we will be serving a meal to a huge number of missionaries and their families who are in town for a convention. We do this every year. We will bake the pies at church with various fillings.We have been having a heat wave here. Very thankful this house has air conditioning. A lot of houses here don’t because older and don’t have the forced air heat. We were lucky we did and decided to put it in 20 years ago when we moved into this house. I know our heat wave might not sound that much to you, but 90 with high humidity is pretty stressful. It is supposed to last the week and break Saturday. Rain has been plentiful. Have not watered the garden once this year.Our well pump went out…that was an unexpected expense.Used double coupons in combo with store coupons. Got 2 bags of Wacky Mac for 28 cents. While scanning the aisles saw some items soon to be discontinued marked with 50% off signs.I thoroughly enjoy reading everyones comments. It is a special time for me. It IS a community.

  17. Yes, but is this like a flea market? Sidewalk sale? Stores just have a car sitting on the street with a sign and the trunk open? I just can’t picture it.

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