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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Swiss chard from the garden

Last week, I made cranberry almond granola, bean burritos, Tuscan Tomato bread soup, lemon poppyseed muffins, French bread, chicken flavored rice, turnip gratin, Swiss chard soup, pasta salad, and Italian dressing.

I cooked a chicken and we had chicken for one meal, then I used some in creamy chicken enchiladas the next day. I boiled the bones and was able to get off more meat, and I used the meat and broth in barley soup.

I cooked a large batch of pinto beans and used them to make bean and chicken enchiladas

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

I ordered our wall block for the front garden online from Lowe’s. I went online and ordered it first through Ebates for 3% cash back. We were unable to get the block we wanted (that matched our existing block) because it is no longer sold in our city (in other areas you can still buy it!) We chose a new block, and it has been discontinued as well! However, the stores have some of that block left.  They marked it down as a clearance a few days after we first looked at it, and we waited to buy, which saved us quite a bit.

When we were done building the walls, we had leftover block. My husband returned it to the store for a refund.

I harvested turnips, lettuce, basil, green onions, and Swiss chard from the garden. We had lots of salads. The lettuce is bolting, but I am picking it and we are eating it anyway.

My green onions are dropping seeds. They self-sow readily, giving me plenty of green onions that will be growing again soon. I also collected some seeds so that I would have extra, as I am considering growing some in the front garden. I have not bought green onions or seeds for them in 6 years, since mine continue to reseed themselves every year. They grow all year long here, and they do really well, so I am making an effort to use more green onions than bulb onions in my cooking.

I shortened the sleeves of a shirt that I bought on clearance for Elsa a few weeks ago. I bought 3 white shirts (one for each of the three youngest girls) for $2.50 each on clearance. I plan on shortening the other two into short sleeves this week for Wren and Ivory.

I updated my garage sale list and emailed it to a friend, who spends several months in another state. She likes to go garage sale shopping, and her own children are grown, so she looks for things that I need for my own family. I made sure to include needed items in the next two sizes for the oldest children.

I have not bought any food this month.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. Kim, I’m so glad you’re here!It costs me .25 a loaf for bread, so that would cut your costs by 75%, plus the cost of gas to get bread. You can freeze my homemade French bread. It it tasty by itself; we had it today for lunch with minestrone soup and I didn’t put anything on it at all.If you’ve read my whole website and blog you have read about putting glass jars (even drinking glasses will work) over your seedlings if you are having trouble with frosts as your garden get started.I’ve had potatoes like that before; just cut out the spots and keep going; they will be fine. We go through 1300-1400 pounds of potates a year, so I’m used to working around any problems with them 🙂 Do you plant a fall garden? Having Swiss chard into the cold (it will grow to 15ºF, and you can cloche it all winter after cutting off the leaves) can help you next fall. There are ways to extend the harvest next fall.I’m happy you’re here!

  2. Kim, I grew up on the border of Ohio & Pennsylvania, so I am familiar with the climate. As Brandy suggested, wide mouth canning jars upside down over the plants can save them from a frost. Do you have any large glass bowls, like a punch bowl, or a large glass mixing bowl? Those can be turned upside down over some plants like chard & the Buttercrunch or Romaine type lettuces to keep them growing thru the winter. I live in Utah now, & grew lettuce all last winter under glass cloches. I used the domes from cake plates & cheese plates, that I bought at yard sales for pennies.Do you have dandelions in your yard that have not been sprayed? They are great as salad greens when they are young, but even when they have the flowers & turn bitter, if you remove the flowers, wash the leaves & crowns (the white part above the root) really well, then chop them up a little & saute them, the cooking takes away the bitterness. They taste sort of like spinach. Good with a little butter, but even better with a little parmesan cheese over top, & it doesn’t take much. I have been using them anywhere you would use spinach or other cooked greens, because in my book, free is a great price.Potatoes don’t freeze particularly well by themselves, but potato soup freezes just fine, if you need to use up the potatoes faster. If you buy any green onions at the store, stick the root in the ground. One of my friends does this & it grows back. I just use the onion greens like Brandy does, & let the bulb keep growing.

  3. Van Engelen has great prices on bulbs in bulk. They just opened up their site for fall orders.I also order wildflower seeds in bulk from Wildseed Farms. I ordered a ton of other flower seeds in bulk from Outside Pride this year for the front yard; their prices were amazing: 2000 seeds for $4.99 for several varieties!

  4. I am in Bucks County and we just transplanted our peppers and tomatoes on Sunday. So we put glass canning jars over them because of how cold it is. I wish we could garden year round too, but I think we will be able to extend out season this year and only have to skip January through early March. My outdoor herbs did not dye until we had that one really cold night in January. Try working some things into your budget that you can regrow, if you get scallions you can cut off the green, cook with it and replant the white part to grow more greens.

  5. My daughter collected a lot of seeds from her broccoli plant.I sewed 2 pairs of shorts for my daughter–one pair using fabric that was given to me by a friend and the other was fabric that I’ve had in my stash for years. I also finished sewing 2 pairs of baby pants that will be a birthday gift for my nephew in June.We harvested strawberries, swiss chard, sugar snap peas, and lettuce from the garden. For mother’s day I received a blueberry plant and more strawberry plants, which is just what I wanted (now to find a place for 12 more strawberry plants).Last week there was a teacher appreciation luncheon at my son’s school and parents were asked to sign up to bring the various things that were needed. I brought a set of 15 cloth napkins (that I made a few years ago for a birthday party) and 4 loaves of homemade French bread. Everyone raved about the bread and it cost me next to nothing to make.I got a 2-liter of soda free with a coupon and 4 packages of all-natural nitrate-free chicken hotdogs for only $1.49 each. This is a great price and my kids love them. I put 3 packs in the freezer. I also got 8 loaves of Udi’s gluten free sandwich bread for $2.99 each (it is normally about $5.50 and doesn’t go on sale often). It would cost about $3/loaf for me to make it from scratch.

  6. I have been able to work in the garden more this week. We are having an unseasonably warm spring here and this is about 3 weeks earlier than usual for our place. Yea!! I have the few green beans I planted a couple of weeks ago as a “gambler’s crop” that have come up. I have lettuce beginning to grow, and the broccoli and cabbage are starting to grow. So, I think things are on their way. Some things, like carrots, are not growing well, so I planted more. (slugs, I think).I planted some lettuce up by the house in a planter box. The chickens and geese wandered by and completely destroyed it. My husband locked them up after they also sat on the tomato starts I had painstakingly started in the greenhouse. I planted them anyway, even though they were squished, and so far, so good:) The cucumbers, squash, etc. that my daughter and I planted are up really well. I will plant them out soon. It’s a little cold still.I bought jar lids. Wide mouth for $1.99/box. I missed the sale for the small mouth ones, but hopefully they will come on sale again soon. I like to buy for the whole season at once if I can, so I bought 30 boxes.We were given a whole box of chicken hindquarters. We were not sure if the quality was good, or freezer-burned, or what, so I cooked a bunch yesterday. It’s great! I’m delighted.My youngest daughter has been growing so much that she had very few clothes left to wear. I had to go buy some from the store, but got fairly good bargains. The next day, my husband took her to garage sales and got her a few more pieces for 25 cents each, which helped a lot. Otherwise, we are just having to do laundry a lot. I want to sew a few things as well from fabric on hand, I’m just struggling with time.

  7. Well…after all this, I can’t find the chard seed. If I don’t find them, I will use other things I’ve planted that my family makes faces about…collards and kale come to mind, lol.

  8. My sister and I split making the mothers day meal. I got a good price on ground beef at Aldi and made kefta- I hadd all of the other ingredients. My girls I had salad and kefta and grilled chicken for lunch the next day.I cloth diapered most days.I made my own tortillas for chicken tacos. they were so filling we all ate less and had a rerun of the dinner the next night!I got a sweater from my MIL that was too small for her

  9. To help preserve potatoes: fill crockpot full of washed potatoes (I don’t peel them). Set on high and test every few hours to see if they are done. Let them cool. Shred, fill gallon plastic bags with a layer that is flat so that when it freezes you can just snap off as much as you want. They will extend the life of your potatoes and fry up great for breakfast for dinner or as a filler in soup…I do this every time I buy potatoes in bulk. Then the use the fresh raw ones up first, so they don’t go bad, leaving the frozen shredded ones for later use.

  10. I love Swiss Chard sautéed with bacon fat and onions. Tonight I made a basil and swiss chard pesto and served it over pasta and it was really good. I also like it in my scrambled eggs or quiche.

  11. Discovered some volunteer potato plants in my compost and transplanted them (I’ve never grown potatoes before). We’ll see how they do!Donated some raised beds we don’t need anymore on freecycle.Harvested a few strawberries…and hoping for sun soon before they just rot on the vine! We’ve had so much rain…but now I need some sun please. If we can get sun, I should have my biggest crop ever…my vines are FULL!Made a 2nd batch of homemade handsoap (liquid). My first batch was too thin. This one uses distilled water and glycerin and is just as good as store bought! Made 1 gal for $2.50Earned a $10 ecb from CVS for taking a survey! Then they turned around and sent another $2 ecb for updating our email. Awesome!My husband is selling his cello. He hasn’t played in years. I’m sad to see it go (though it was just a space taker)…he really doesn’t think any of our children will play (though I think too early to tell)…but this is his decision.Checked out the “Tightwad Gazette” series from my library (had to get it on interlibrary loan…I LOVE my library! Free books!). I’m gleaning some gems. One I read about today that I plan to try is to take a toilet paper roll, wrap the outside with wide tape, pull out the cardboard, cut out bottom of empty kleenex box, insert entire roll, and pull tissue out from center. Sounds like it might work and this would certainly be cheaper than buying kleenex boxes (of course, cloth hankies are even cheaper!).Did my usual: Homemade bread, homemade cleaners, hanging clothes on line or racks.Received wonderful homemade cards from my girls. At the risk of sounding “braggy” or “preachy”, I want to share that in the cards, they described the things they love about me. There was nothing related to consumerism or materialism within…they love how I cook, that I play games with them…all their entries were related to time spent. I’m not super-Mama…just an average Mama…but it really made me think that what they truly value is my time and energy. That’s a cool thing!

  12. I have never seen more than one or two slugs in our garden and this years I find 1-3 a day. We got some copper tape and I have been on a daily squish and destroy mission. Last year something devastated our broccoli, and I am hoping to avoid that this time.

  13. Do not know how expensive sprinkler heads are but ebates was running a double anniversary special so a lot of stores had 14 percent cash back on them. Check it out ok.

  14. I want to share a story about my 16 yo son and his frugal adventure for mothers day. For mothers day my 16 yo son used coupons and his employee discount at Smiths to get me a gift. I never expect my kids to buy me anything and if they do i always ask for perennial flowers. When I picked up my son from work he gave me a Smiths paper grocery bag, i.e. free gift bag. Inside were 2 starbursts, 2 toblerones and a silk orchid plant. I said thank you and he shouldn’t have, then he went to tell me about the deal he got! I loved it. The starburst were 2/$1, he used a $1 off 2 Q, Toblerone $1 each and he used a BOGO Q, the plant was $17 but marked down to $8.50, then there was a 30% off Q and then he used his discount. He was so proud of the wonderful things he purchased for such a good price. The biggest gift of all for me was the fact that my kids are listening and learning from my actions on how to not only save money but spend it wisely. I shared the candy with the kids and I have a beautiful flower sitting on my desk that reminds me of my wonderful son everytime I see it.

  15. This week was busy! I caught up on lots of housecleaning duties. Started working on our bathroom solution for tub/tub surround (long story), but we are fixing the situation ourselves and that saves money. Played at local parks after school with our friends. Ate meals at home and stayed on budget. Ate leftovers more often which left me with many additional “meals” from my freezer and pantry, so less to buy on the next grocery trip. Chaperoned my daughter’s school field trip to a local children’s museum (only $1 for each of us). The picnic park playing & lunch was cancelled due to rain, so we all ate our lunches back in the classroom. It was a neat treat for the kids. I did not buy my lunch – I used a free green tea sample in the mail and packed my lunch with food I had on hand. Maddie’s lunch was provided by the school that day. Visited a friend on Friday, accepted a free briefcase and business card holder from her, as well as coupons that she could not use that were expiring on June 1st. She also let me try on two pairs of her jeans (she’s lost weight), but they did not fit – I am working on that situation. On Saturday, I volunteered to watch my best friend’s son in trade for her watching my daughter sometime soon so we could each get free babysitting for date nights. On Mother’s Day, my daughter surprised me with 4 cards she had made (so cute!!) and Daddy and Maddie made me breakfast in bed (Chipped Beef on Toast – yum!) We spent the day together and visited a local park and watched a family DVD together in the evening – really a perfect day. I am sure I did some other stuff, but I didn’t write it down this week and can’t remember… UGH… must be more organized next time. Thanks for all the tips — loved the Swiss Chard ideas, potato idea (soup can freeze!) and green onion growing tips. I am always so inspired when I read your posts and the comments from your followers. Cannot wait to see the final photos of your “white garden”.

  16. I wish I could tell you but I don’t know. I have a CVS card and use their coupon machine at the store…think it was just a random thing.

  17. Meredith,Not sure what state you are in.. or if it matters at this point. I process payroll, (I’m in VA), and the law here is that if an error is made on payroll, through no fault of the employees, then it must be adjusted within 24 hours of the employer receiving notice of the error.

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