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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I picked grapes, basil, Thai Basil, tomatoes, chamomile, one small cucumber, and apples from the garden.



Zinnia Seedlings

I planted zinnias, vincas, Swiss chard, Armenian cucumbers, and melons from seed in the front yard. The zinnias, chard, and cucumbers came up already!

I collected seeds in my garden to plant again from larkspur and lettuce.

I fixed two spots in the drip line in the garden in the backyard.

I mended a dress.

I made a skirt for Winter from part of one of the sheets I bought at the garage sale in April.

I cut the sunflower heads from the garden for seeds.

I traded sunflower stems from my garden for 2 dozen eggs.

My father-in-law brought us some frozen blueberries last week. I made blueberry muffins.

I did some shopping for food this week. I picked up 36 ears of corn at .17 each. I bought a watermelon for .15 a pound (corn and watermelon were at Winco). I bought 6 dozen eggs at .99 a dozen (the sale is at Alberston’s; it says limit 2 dozen but my husband picked them up and they did not impose a limit; I’m sending him back to get more on Monday; we eat 16-20 in one sitting with 9 of us. I usually try to limit our meals with eggs and use them for baking, however, we did have eggs one breakfast last week). I also bought milk and a plain yogurt so that I could make Greek yogurt. I bought a few other things as well, including 25 pounds of rice, some tortillas, and some cheese.

I made pizza, black bean burgers, bean burritos, white bean dip, spaghetti sauce (I served it on penne for a change), chicken cacciatore, peanut sauce, and chocolate peanut butter truffles.

I started buying sparklers for the Fourth of July a couple of years ago when Money Saving Mom mentioned the price (I hadn’t realized how low they were!) This year I bought a box at Sam’s Club. I wasn’t sure it was the best price, but it seemed to be less than I spent last year. I was really surprised when I got home to find out that it was not 25 sparklers that I had bought, but 240 sparklers! I spent $9.99; which makes the sparklers .04 each! I now have sparklers for several years 🙂

We went swimming twice on the Fourth of July at two different people’s homes (one in the morning and one in the evening); we had breakfast at one house and dinner at the other; I brought a double batch of chicken-flavored rice for the dinner potluck.

We weren’t sure that we were going to catch a fireworks show, as several places in town that usually host them were not having any this year. As we were leaving my sister-in-law’s house to go home to just do sparklers, we noticed that neighbors setting up their fireworks in the street. There were several thousand dollars worth of fireworks there. At the other end of the street, the people who lived there were doing the same thing. We sat on her front steps and watched both of their shows, plus two other people’s fireworks on neighboring streets that were visible from where we sat.

Winter made some holiday decorations using construction paper.

I returned some blouses that I bought by mail that don’t fit.

My husband changed the air conditioner filter. This helps the unit run better and saves money on electricity.

We needed to have the air conditioner repaired on our new-to us this year van. We called my nephew, who comes to people’s homes to fix their vehicles. He found the problem and was very inexpensive, plus we did not have to drive to a mechanic’s. (If you are new to my blog, we bought a used 15 passenger van in February so that we would have a large enough vehicle for our family. We sold our old 8-passenger vehicle for $500 less than the purchase price of our new-to-us van, so we ended up with a larger vehicle for $500.)

A few things from the previous week that I forgot to mention last time:

I used the $5 Etsy credit that Etsy emailed to me to buy a  $5 download on Etsy, which also meant I wasn’t out any shipping charges.

I noticed a water leak in a valve box in the garden; I told my husband and he was able to fix it before it had been going for too long.

I ordered a plinth for the front garden from Home Depot (online). I went through Ebates to get 5% back.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. I too have been wondering about making tortillas. We make lefse (husband family Scandinavian background so I learned how…much better than store-bought) and it best to have a helper. My oldest daughter and I can get about 45 done in an hour one rolling and one manning the griddle. I have the electric griddle not sure if 15 inch or 18 inch. They are rolled very thin and cook very quick at 500 or so degrees. I could make them on there. Are you using all purpose flour or whole wheat or does it not make a difference. Does this recipe then make 3 dozen? How thin do you roll them?

  2. I don’t think that July is too early to start doing things for Christmas. I start in January, & try to complete a few gifts each month so that I can relax & enjoy Thanksgiving instead of being crazy busy that month. That’s why I worked on the doll clothes on the trip up to Washington – – unlike the child, the doll will not grow between now & Christmas! I watch for books, and other non-clothing items all year.

  3. Our cool rainy spring has been good for the garden, delayed it a bit but now is going full blast. Harvested sugar peas, arugula , bib lettuce, broccoli, chard, kale, mixed lettuce, garlic scapes, green onions. Had a suprise last batch of spinach and radishes when I thought they were all in. Will replant those later for fall harvest. Also herbs as needed.Cooked all from scratch as usual. Made the kale chips finally that i hear so much about. No one liked them except the dog. Will just go back to sauteeing it. We like it with eggs and potatoes for breakfast, same with swiss chard.Went to Halfprice books and had a 50 % off one item coupon. So daughter bought a book originally around 18.00 for 4.50. Went to Barnes and Noble and bought myself my birthday present…40% off for Members and then 15% off that. My mother gives me money every year and I have always used it to buy a book. It is tradition. Went to lecture for free at our vet on anxious dogs and how to help them. All same trip as this is in next town up from us about 20 miles away. Husband did maintenance on cars, washed them. Did maintenance on his plane…he flies all over for his job. Did yardwork and trimmed out some branches. Cut up wood for wood pile. Chipped up branches for mulch. We share a wood chipper with neighbor down the road. Continue to compost. Put in my order for blueberries. I get 40 pounds. They do not grow here, we get them from Michigan. Daughters and I will freeze for baking etc and can jam and sauce. My daughter’s mother in law orders 70 pounds!Going to try a crockpot baked bean recipe I found in a blog. Have used my George Foreman grill several times rather than heating the oven. (Hand me down from a friend who wasn’t using it). I try not to use the oven that much in the summer except for pies. I make a lot of pies. Sometimes I will get everything ready for a dish at night , then bake it early in the morning. Though our temperatures cannot compete with yours. We seldom get over 100. I think our highest so far has been 87. However, we can have killer humidity.Did lots of mending…sewed on buttons, fixed rips, reinforced seams etc. Was gifted a large wicker picnic basket complete with dishes etc. from a friend who was cleaning out his mother’s house as she moved to a senior apartment. She told him she wanted me to have it. She also sent along a very pretty delicate teacup and saucer. My daughter and I are trying a new show on HULU…Under the Dome…seems interesting so far, as of 2 episodes. We both (this is the youngest) and I keep track of the books we read…we are neck and neck. She keeps encouraging me to relax and watch a movie…HAHA…she just wants to pull ahead.Bought a couple packs of the bratwurst we like which are usually around 9.00-10.00 for a 3 lb pack for 6.99 and then used a doubled 1.00 coupon to get them for 4.99 each. Had to make 2 checkouts to do this. We use them for big holiday get-togethers or Packer game parties in fall and winter. They will be on sale on and off, so I always keep a couple boxes in the deep freeze.Root celler is just about empty. Freezers too. I keep a meticulous chart as to what is where, and what is used and left. This helps from year to year. Same with pantry and canning.

  4. My hubby was on vacation this week. Several times over the week we spend time in our local parks. We also went to the public library and swimming at the employee pool. We live 4 blocks from a major city park that has a huge firework presentation for free. We walked up to the park with our lawn chairs. I picked up glow wands at Dollar Tree the week before. On Friday, all three of us drove an hour to visit our state museum. It is always free admittance, only $2 to park, a half a tank of gas and McDonald’s as a treat. My husband’s employer has an activities department and they secured several movie theaters at our local cinema for July 23rd to see Despicable 2 and it’s only $5.00 per person. It’s a big treat for us to go a movie (unless it’s a free one) – so we are excited! On a very sad note, a close friend of mine was in a front impact car accident while on vacation with her family in Wisconsin. She is in ICU and has already has two surgeries from the accident. She’s a strong woman having been throught two kidney replacements in her life (once as a teen and the second one last year). Another close friend was watching their dog and cat for the vacation. I volunteered to help out by taking two of four visits to let the dog out during the day. This has increased my vehicle gas budget, but because I save in other areas, I have the money available for emergencies that arise. Glad to be able to help my friends, praying for a speedy recovery for my friend.

  5. I haven’t made the lentil sausages yet, so I have no idea how they are, but this was the recipe I was going to usehttp://www.baked-in.com/2012/06/29/vegetarian-hot-dogs/In the comments, someone said they substituted beans for the tofu. I’m going to substitute lentils. In that recipe she links back to her source. I read through the recipes on that site and she also has a variation of using lentils (but the link for the recipe is dead). 1 cup dry lentils is supposed to equal 9 oz cooked. Tofu is much more expensive than lentils and I prefer lentils anyway. The vital wheat gluten was in the baking section. It is a box the size of a box of baking soda. You need almost the whole box for this recipe and it cost me $3.19. With the little bit leftover I’m going to make rye bread. You add vital wheat gluten to bread to make it lighter.I plan to make them this Sunday.

  6. Also on that lentil sausage recipe, for the almond meal I read in the comments that you can make your own by grinding almonds or substitute ground oatmeal. I will probably do the ground oatmeal as that is cheaper than almonds.

  7. I think we beat your yearly total in about a half hour yesterday! I am not too jealous of the 118 and am loving our beans…we are just having to adjust more than usual. I am thankful there is an Aldi close by or I would be out of luck as our grocery stores are horrible in pricing. Momma-lana….I am hoping for some rain free days too. We have a neighborhood pool and I can’t even get my daughter out there!

  8. I would recommend it. Lark Rise is an English hamlet & Candleford is the closest town, just under 8 miles away. The stories involve the residents of both areas, set in the past, in the time of telegraph communications & horse & stage travel.

  9. I am in SC, too! We are so sick of rain we can’t stand it! I will need an ark to get to work soon. At least I don’t have to water the garden!

  10. Thank you for giving us your tortilla recipe. I have a recipe that I have used for years, but I always substitute self-rising flour. We like them better when they are made with this flour instead of all purpose. Now I can use all purpose and just add the baking powder. Does your recipe include kneading the dough for 5 minutes then letting it rest for 15 minutes?

  11. Athanasia, Thanks for the Foyle’s War recommendation. We will check that out as we are always looking for a good series. We really enjoyed ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘Doc Martin’ on Netflix. Both are for adults only and Doc Martin has a good bit of British humor which is often crude by American standards.

  12. I wanted to share a zucchini cobbler recipe that I made tonight. Here is the link to it. http://www.food.com/recipe/zucchini-cobbler-9795 It is absolutely incredible. I think that most people will have the ingredients on hand, and right now if you don’t have 5 humongous zucchinis growing in your yard, your neighbor may!!! Seriously, everything is staple that most people have, except for the zucchini. It calls for a box of jiffy cake mix, I’ve never seen that, so I used half a box of betty crocker cake mix. This was very inexpensive, it didn’t cost me anything!!!

  13. We went to my parents in NC and there was so much rain. Ugh. It even washed away part of the road. Now my husband is driving us home and we had torrential rain. It was so cold in the mountains I had the children in double pjs.

  14. This week has been a huge mix of frugal and not frugal. For the frugal side of it, I worked for several hours in the garden. I picked and canned 11 pts of razzberries. I froze 1 cookie sheet of razzberries and 1 cookie sheet of boisenberries. We used lettuce from our garden. I pulled up the peas, after picking the few remaining ones. I re-planted more green beans, basil (not one survivor from the slugs yet), cilantro, lettuce and dill. Kept watering everything.I made many picnics and took them with us to eat, as we’ve been gone a lot from home. We attended 2 free library programs and got summer reading prizes, plus checked out many books and movies. We found out in February that a grandchild that we do not know, and she does not know us, was taken into state custody. We finally finished all necessary training, interviews and paperwork and were informed that she will be living with us soon, as a foster child. We have been doing many “visits” over the last few weeks. Now things are finally moving along rapidly. This has meant several visits per week, each one increasing in length, without taking her to our house, yet. This is making a huge dent in our ability to be frugal. We put over 80 miles on the van each time we do this. We are trying to eat picnics and do parks, etc. as much as possible. We have also chosen to do 1 movie and eat out one time. Her foster family has her on a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, citrus-free, potato-free, plus more-free diet. I’ve tried to make a lot of food from scratch, but have chose to buy some ice cream bars today, in addition. (coconut based). Things should get better soon, as they are telling her tomorrow that she is coming to our house. After that, we can come here for at least part of the time. I’m rejoicing that I can do this for her. I want to give her some stability for as long as we are able to. I am also really tired, not getting my work at home done, feeding the rest of us crummy food due to lack of time to cook, spending a fortune, and praying that I can handle her when she moves in. 9 years is a long time to live in a bad situation. We can’t put a price on a child’s life. However, we have to be practical.So, we are trying to find a few more frugal outings. We did library, park, fountain at park, picnic, saw where Grandpa works and ice cream bars today. Saturday, we will go pick my youngest (who is 13) up at camp and are taking this one with us. So, we will play in the ocean, etc. If she gets to spend the night (they will let us know tomorrow), we will take her to church Sunday morning. Can’t get much more frugal than church and can’t think of a better place to take a child anyway. LOL!

  15. I have wanted to share a snack that I make, which goes over well. I cut up soft taco shells in triangle sized shapes I spray them with a butter spray I make up (this is a lot like cooking spray) I then sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. Then bake at 350 for about 10 minutes sometimes only seven you really have to watch them it does not take long. They come out like Stacy Pita chips.

  16. Inspired by your blogpost on making things from scratch, I made crackers with whole wheat flour and almond meal (leftover from making almond milk). I also made apple sauce and apple butter. Everything was a hit at home.We went to the beach several times last week. We live 5 minutes from the beach so we go in the late afternoon 4pm when people are leaving. We can find parking on the streets and the kids play in the ocean for a couple of hours. We leave before they get hungry.I used a groupon deal to purchase 4 tickets to Catalina island for the price of 2. We used those tickets this week. We spent a beautiful day in the island. On the 4th of July we watch free fire works shows from our local park.

  17. Bless you for all you are doing for your grandchild. It may be costing you money now, but surely God will repay you tenfold in other ways. My heart is delighted with your story– I will pray for you that all goes smoothly!!! God bless!

  18. Our ‘charity’ shops are not as cheap as yours but I got a new pink broderie anglais nightie for £2.00 with enough fabric in it to make a top for me. Much cheaper than trying to buy the fabric. From the same source I got 91 reels of thread for £20 and two new t,shirt fabric tops for £2.50 each. As I haven’t had any new clothes in many years I feel very blessed. I have been given coat hangers and a sweet little sewing box that was my friends late mothers. A big bunch of rhubarb came my way and a big carrier bag of fava beans. I sat down and wrote out my menu for the next month and it all comes from the stock cupboard apart from fruit and veg. Had a delightful walk along our sea front on sunday. It was so good to see the children being able to play freely and you could see the cares dropping from the adults faces. The local sailing club had 14 cadet boats out teaching the youngsters sailing. The tutors give their time and expertise for free. Today I took my grandson to the local park and after he had got over the fact that the promised floral dragon was not there he really loved the mummy, daddy and baby panda in its place. The local council found the dragon was going to be too expensive so re-used the pandas from four years ago. He had a lovely time playing on the swings and slide and then on the bus ride home he saw a train in the distance. Doesn’t take much to give a four year old a lot of fun. My crowning glory is a young lass nearby who is having her first trip into home making and has taken a very austere living space and is turning it into a beautiful,warm, welcoming home and garden. The garden is tiny but she has managed to fit in a tiny greenhouse, raised bed and her dad came and helped her dig out some flower beds. She is growing peas in pots and beans in barrels, potatoes in something re-claimed but barrel shaped and then she has a pot of petunias either side of the front door and two hanging baskets of fuchsias hanging over it. This has all been done on pennies but it really makes my heart sing to see this happening. I give daily thanks that I have been given the skills to lead a very happy fulfilled thrifty life and it is wonderful to see others doing it too.Anona

  19. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m going to need all the prayer I can get. For me, it’s not about money,either. I am just trying to look at the ways I can be frugal during this time, since the point of this post is to point out our frugal accomplishments. I’m having a hard time finding any frugality this week, other than the garden:) The other reason we need to be frugal, is that we obviously need to spend a bunch right now to get this done, then get right back to our normal habits, plus tighten up more because we are going to have higher expenses. They did tell her today that she was going to live with us, and then brought her out to see the house for the first time. She took it well, but was more anxious than I have seen for a while. After taking her to the beach Saturday, we will bring her back to our house for the first overnight. After we get a few overnights under our belts, I think things will be easier for her. I can only imagine how it must feel to have no control over things that keep happening to her.We plan to take a lunch with us, and have been digging up sand toys around here to take. Since we have to go get our youngest daughter back from camp, this won’t take very much extra gas. So, it’s win-win. Kids love to dig in the sand, so that’s our big plan for entertainment. I’m looking forward to it. Since the camp is on the beach, there is a bathroom and even a shower we can use if we need it. Because my husband works at that camp 1 week a year, we can use the facilites if we need to. We feel really blessed.

  20. We eat a lot of tortilla meals, and I found that I don’t like my own homemade tortilla’s, they are okay the first time, but taste like raw flour if they go cold and need to be reheated. Yuck. I have gotten lucky a few times and gotten 50 ct tortilla’s for $1.50, usually they are more than that.

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