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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I picked apricots, blackberries, Green Gage plums, Dorsett Golden apples, and figs from the garden. I froze some blackberries to use in smoothies later in the year, and I dried figs in the oven on low for fig sauce. (The dried figs will last a few years).

I cut chives, green onions, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I picked a few tomatoes from the garden. This is the main month I harvest tomatoes in the year, and they are already ripening quite small because of the heat (it was 110º this week at my house). We ate all of the tomatoes that I picked.

I covered the top of my blackberry bushes with sheets to keep the berries from completely burning in the sun. The ones in the sun turn brown and hard instead of ripening (they are dead and dry–just the berries, not the leaves) in the heat, and they ripen quite small at the top of the plants (the ones in the shade at the bottom are bigger and they are not dried looking). This is my first year covering them; I will be trying this from now on, and next year I will start earlier, right after the flowers are gone, to help prevent so many berries from being burnt.

Homemade Greek yogurt with homemade granola and blackberries from the garden

I made granola, barley soup, pasta salad, steak sauce (to go on the black bean burgers that I also made), brownies, popsicles (several times; I used figs, apricots, whey leftover from making yogurt, and blackberries, and blended it, and then poured it into popsicle molds), lentil tacos, potato salad.

I traded two trashcans full of gone to seed parsnips (these had self-seeded) and bolted Swiss chard, along with some garden weeds and grape leaves, for 1 dozen eggs from a friend of mine who has chickens.

 
I picked red noodle beans from the garden.

For fun this week we went to the free fishing day at Floyd Lamb State park (no license required, and they handed out rods to rent for free). Of all of the people there (well over 100), only 2 caught fish–and one was Liberty! They declared her fish to be the bigger of the two, so she won a medal and a Barbie fishing rod. The fish was a very small blue gill.



Fish shown actual size

As we live in the desert, there really aren’t a lot of opportunities to go fishing, and from the comments we heard from other people there, most people don’t catch anything at this park usually (I’m wondering how few fish are actually there, because they would have to be stocking them in order to have any). The normal entrance fee is $6 per car. The boys were able to earn the requirement for their fishing belt loop from Cub Scouts.

Ivory had lots of fun following around a duckling (not a tiny baby, but smaller than full-grown). She said, “duck, duck, duck” while she followed him around, finally succeeding in grabbing the duck’s bill once, and petting it once. She wasn’t much bigger than the duck and it was really entertaining to watch her.

We watched some movies from the library this week. I watched one with my husband as a date and we popped popcorn on the stove.

Wren hula hooped and walked around the stage backwards and forwards at the same time.
Ezrom did several things, including this magic trick, a performance with his brother, and he displayed his giant origami.
 

The children performed in a children’s talent show Friday night with other children from church this week. This was lots of fun for us.

Winter played “Hedwig’s Theme“.

My husband cut his own hair. He also trimmed the boys’ hair. (Cyrus had it covered before I took the photo above for another part of his performance, so it’s messy in that picture, but it looks great normally!)

I discovered that Education.com has changed their website since I last used it to limit a person to 10 free worksheets a month. I wanted more worksheets this month for my kindergarten student, so I considered signing up for just one month. I ended up delaying my decision a few days, and when I was on another website, tracking cookies brought up an ad for Education.com (on an adsense ad on another blogger’s site) that included a free one month trial to Education.com (coupon code TRIAL). I signed up for the trial so that I could print the worksheets that I need. I made a note on a post-it and stuck it to my computer monitor so that I can remember to cancel it before the trial is over.

I bought no food or toiletries this week.

I paid my utility bills online to save the money on stamps. I have not been diligent about this and I added it up; it is about $27 a year in stamps if I mail in all of my utility bills. I would rather have the $27! With that, I could buy 10 gallons of milk, or 50 pounds of oats, or something else! (Or I could just have the money to pay the higher utility rates that we keep seeing!) I have been paying some of my utility bills online but not all of them, so this will save me some more money each month, for which I am very grateful.

I rolled up towels to put by the front door, since the air conditioner is running about 13 hours a day now, and that area has trouble with air leaking through. I noticed an immediate difference in the temperature by the door when I did that, just like I do in the winter, so I plan to keep towels there (2 towels because it is a double door).

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. I am trying to have some goals this summer and here are my frugal accomplishments according to my goals for the summer. Family spending plan. I stayed in budget for the week.Physical health. I walked 4 miles each day and stretched my back 2 times a day. I ate 3 vegetables and fruits a day and served my family fruit and veggies as well. I made all of our meals. I drank lots of water.Simplify home. I decluttered and cleaned my linen closet. 5K run. I did one 5K this week. Free.July vacation. I have picked dates for our July vacation.New wardrobe. I have to buy my daughter school uniforms. I got her 4 tops for $4 each which is a really good price. I bought myself 2 tops at Kohl’s for less than $2 each-on clearance and used a 15% coupon. I will use these for my professional wardrobe in the fall. Visit 3 universities. My daughter attended her “free” college workshop and visited another university. She won a $30 GC and they fed her meals for 2 days. She also go to eat at her favorite restaurant. 10 minute projects. I made two cross stitch decorations for the 4th of July.Retreat. I read about doing a home retreat and had my own Sunday and yesterday. No costs. No kids for a couple days.Free summer activities. We went to the library, went to a free kids summer movie, went to a free concert, and attended the museum monthly free art program. All of these activities are close to home.Driver’s license. My daughter completed her driving test and the costs were included in the driving lessons I signed her up for in May. No long wait at the tag agency.Car. I got my car maintenance done and saved $50 using a 10% coupon. I had the money saved up and the car is in good condition now. I anticipate getting better mileage. I am set for a long time.Grow a garden. I harvested chili peppers and put them in the freezer. I harvested sage and hung it up to dry. I harvested lettuce as well. I planted pumpkin seeds which are growing beautifully so far. I created a trellis to make shade for the plants since the temperature went up quite high. I have dozens of tomatoes, lots of onions, swiss chard, cilantro, and green peppers. In general, I did very little shopping this week. I made stir fry out of vegetables and chicken we already had. I made steak fajitas out of meat I had in the freezer. I made Miss Brandy’s bean burritos and a crock pot of chili for dinner one night and the freezer. I used up food we already had in the refrigerator and pantry. I made nice salads everyday. I made jam out of strawberries. I cut up lots of vegetables for the freezer. I did get prescriptions filled and got $100 in GCs. I got $20 in GCs last week at Target as well. These GCs will be added to my Xmas fund. I also got a $4 settlement check, a $30 check for a survey, and saved $30 in change in May (which I finally counted). All of this will go into saving accounts (Xmas, general).I downloaded free books for my Kindle.I made a last payment on a bill! I can now apply that “payment” on my next bill I am trying to pay off.Have a good week Miss Brandy and readers. The pictures of your children are delightful.

  2. I’m really envious of all the gardens. I love gardening but we moved in November and because of renovations we couldn’t do a garden this year. It is a shame because where I live (Victoria, BC, Canada) is a gardner’s paradise – we can garden almost all year round and most things grow well. People can even grown lemon trees here (with a bit of winter help) because the climate has warmed a bit in the past twenty years. Blackberries grow wild everywhere so we’ll be picking those at least at the end of August. I freeze loads of them every year and use them in muffins, for jam, and to make popsicles.Anyway, I’m using the time to come up with a good design for next year – which is a challenge for me if I’m honest. I find the decisions difficult to make and I’m afraid of making mistakes. I’m planning raised beds all along the perimeter with fruit trees and berry bushes. In the center symmetrical raised beds for vegetables with gravel paths. Then one corner for the trampoline (my kids are older but still use it).Anyway, when we bring the mini-bobcat in for some of the reno work I’m going to be ready with soil and bed and irrigation design and get some of the heavy work done this way.As far as saving money goes, I stay at home most of the time (I work from home too) and I cook almost all of our meals. I also shop for groceries using a rolling cart (yes, like elderly women use). We live in a central neighbourhood near two big grocery stores and I just buy what is on sale every couple of days. I can even bring caselot sales back this way and bigger bags of flour. I like getting out of the house with a task so this works for me.Most recently we’ve been reducing meat and I’m cooking recipes from budgetbytes.com. Many of these recipes are more Brandy’s, but less than most recipes out there. I like that there is exact costing and pictures for the directions and that there are a lot of meatless, Asian and Mexican foods.What is also saving money is that we have cut out alcohol (I know many of you have done this already!). We used to enjoy red wine with dinner but we decided we’d rather spend the money on things that make or save us money like the garden and second-hand bikes.One of the biggest money and time savers has been our move. Our kids can walk to school, sports, rec centre and music activities now. I hardly drive at all.

  3. One of the easiest things we use our crock pot for is pork loin and chicken breasts. All you have to do for the chicken is put them in the crock pot and dump a jar of salsa over them and cook them until they fall apart. You can use this meat in many ways. Also, for the pork loin all we do is put a dry rub on it (we make our own and are actually kind of famous for it!) and put it in the crock pot — nothing else goes in! Cook until it falls apart! You can then use that meat in several different ways also. We really like to add a little bbq sauce to some of it for “pulled pork” sandwiches.You can also cook a big pot of red beans and rice. Look up a recipe for New Orleans style red beans. In the olden days EVERYBODY in New Orleans made their red beans on a Monday because that was the day they washed their clothes and it took all day. They would put the beans on in the morning and not have to fuss with them until it was time to eat! This is still the tradition down there. You can go to most restaurants and have red beans and rice on Monday! Hope this helps!

  4. Timothy, did you use bleach to clean the shower liner? I find that really helps-especially because ours has the edge along the bottom that is really difficult to get clean! I typically just put the liners in the washer and pour in maybe 1/2 a cup or so of bleach.

  5. I think it’s great that you can walk so many places! That is wonderful! (Those rolling carts are wonderful; so much better than trying to carry the bags home in your arms).Budget bytes has some great meals. I think you can make many of them for less, depending on sales (in American dollars, that is; your costs will obviously vary). For example, I never pay the price she does for things, because I only buy my eggs on sale for .10 each or less, I buy staples in bulk for a LOT less than she does, I have a lower price point for what I will pay for meats and vegetables, and I also grow things at home.I have seen so many pictures of gardens in your corner of the world that I have considered moving there more than once 🙂 Your garden plan sounds practical and beautiful!

  6. Yes, it really is so good here for climate. Summers can get hot but it always cools down at night because of the ocean breezes. We get snow a day or two every other year. We spend less on heating (only five months a year) and cooling (nothing) which is nice. Victoria also gets a lot less rain than most places on the west coast.I like visiting the Butchart Gardens for inspiration: http://www.butchartgardens.com/the-gardens/ We used to have a family pass until my boys got too old and didn’t enjoy it anymore.That all said, our housing prices are crazy! An average house is over $500 000.PS. Thanks for being nice about the rolling cart – I’m the subject of a few family jokes because of it 🙂

  7. When I read with my granddaughter, we alternate paragraphs. I read one, then she reads one. She is rather good at looking ahead & seeing where the “long” paragraphs are coming up, & if one is coming, she will quickly read 2 or even 3 short paragraphs so Grandma has to read the long one!

  8. To get the pickle smell out i filled thd jar with water and A LOT of baking soda. Probably about 2 cups and let it sit overnight. The lid i made a paste with the soda and water and let sit overnight. Worked beautifully! I have to thank all of you. It is so nice to be able to communicate with other frugal people and get ideas and not be judged!When Menards has their garden center on clearance we plan on getting a couple more rain barrels.Our city charges per “UNIT” whatever that is.

  9. Hey there atl girl… I did use bleach for the liner along w some cleaning rags hoping it would help “scrub” the liner. Lol. The liner is too long for my shower so typically cut it to avoid that build up at the bottom. But ur so right… This is one of my least favorite jobs… Bathroom cleaning! -Adriana

  10. I took a tip from Buzzfeed to help keep my shower clean. I bought a sponge wand (the type you typically see for dishwashing) and filled the soap reservoir with 1/2 dishwashing soap, 1/2 white vinegar. When I’m in the shower, I’ll typically scrub a bit, and that way I don’t have to get in there to clean it! I hate cleaning the bathroom too. Though my husband got all excited the other day because he found a roll of paper towels in his bathroom and thought I had been cleaning it-I had actually been using them to clean the vent that got clogged with dust/dirt!

  11. We were told that if we wash our bedding in hot with a cold rinse at least once a week we can keep the dust mites from taking up residence. We all sweat a lot at night (gross, I know) but it means we wash our bedding at least once if not twice a week. We have a down comforter with a duvet cover and the children have fleece. We’ve never had troubles so I am assuming it’s working!Best wishes,Lea

  12. I washed out and reused all of my ziploc baggies again this week.I sold a few items on craigslist and used the money to stock up on extra groceries. I turn the AC up every time we leave the house even if it is just for a short while. I combined all my errands. I made all meals at home last week and all meals this week except one meal (we ate out due to power outage and lots of errands to run but we shared a burger and the cost was very low. I have only spent money on NEEDED items. I spent $100 per week on groceries for the last 6 weeks. Which is $20.00 less that normal for us. I reused a shower curtain liner from our old home that was all mildewed but I washed in bleach and it was fine. I also mended a rug and reused it as well in our bath. I made homemade laundry soap.

  13. you spent time in France…That explains so much of your style I find. Definitely a European flair. I love reading your blog, because you show us all you are content, your children happy and cared for and healthy, all on a budget

  14. Here is my list:Used a Mal*wart gas card to save 15cents a gallon.Ate from the garden-lettuce, kale, basil, spinach-lots of salads and pesto.Made homemade croutons.Made homemade salad dressing.Went to visit my mom in the memory care center after dropping off DH at the gym(saves gas).Stayed out of stores except for the new Food City which had a $5 off $25 coupon. I only bought things I needed that were on sale.Made a dress and skirt for my soon to be 3 year old granddaughter.Picked sour cherries (with permission) from our neighbor’s tree. So far I have put up three batches of preserves and will probably do three more.I did the lion’s share of work in moving my dad in April and in exchange for all my work he said he would pay for my next trip to see the grands in Arizona. Booked my flight the other day. Free to me!Dry laundry on the drying rack on the back porch.Walk three miles every day.And this may not be a tightwad tip, but I read recently that as we age we need to get down on the floor every day. Since I am no spring chicken(ahem), I have been sitting on the floor each morning after my walk to do my Bible study. I already feel more flexible which is good since I”ll be spending a week with my 1,3 and 5 year old grands next month!Taking care of one’s health is a very important tightwad tip!

  15. I pay all my bills online now. We were taking care of the MIL’s bills while she was in the nursing home and I was getting overwhelmed with paper. The bills come to my email account BUT I pay them manually rather than an automatic deduction. I can control when the bill is paid — I prefer Fridays and I have them staggered.And I never though to use towels to block underneath the doors in summer. Slapping my forehead….I do it in the winter.

  16. The past week has been super busy but delightful as to time spent with friends that we call family here. 1/I finally worked out a way to get my DVD for workouts cheaper and was surprised to see the DVD was even cheaper than expected on amazon.also using the hand weights that my friend gave me to use has also been a huge blessings.2/we are finding ourselves to cutting down the consumption of juice cartons the last few weeks. Just think we drink more water and with school being over for my son we do not buy much at all. We still are going through2 gallons of milk for our family of 3.i did get powered milk to do the substitute eventually.3/ fuel consumption is less as commute up and down with the holidays is a lot less. S glad we live within a 2 mile radius of stores and conveniences.4/ the not so frugal event was that my husband had to get the car fixed upon inspection and though he tried to fix small things like brake lights, he had to give it to the mechanic to fix other things such as a sensor which he could not fix himself and it was pretty hefty charge for a 12 year old car.5/ we have to go for a birthday party this Friday and I have the perfect gift for the event free of charge…also my son was given a used razor scooter( but rather new with hardly any wear and tear)which we had seen for $35 in target. So grateful for the blessings this week.6/ still cooking from scratch and still washing baggies and still washing with homemade laundry powder.7/not much watering in the garden as we had so much rain but so glad to see the tomatoes sprouting finally. My broccoli has bolted as has my cilantro abit.try succession planting though. Also I have planted my pumpkin and squash as well.that’s about it till next week.

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