Winter did a science experiment this week using materials we had on hand.

This roundup of frugal activities from last week is brought to you a few days late, thanks to Pinterest, and all of those lovely people who pinned such beautiful garden images. I have been dreaming of re landscaping our front yard (if you can call one tree, a row of bushes, a kidney-shaped piece of grass, and the rest of the yard covered in rocks landscaping. It’s pretty standard landscaping for here, however). If you’d like to see my ideas, you can click over to what I’ve pinned here.

On to last week’s frugal activities:

I cut daffodils from the garden and put them on my table.

I began harvesting a little bit of our looseleaf lettuce this week for a few small salads for the family. I also cut green onions, rosemary, a tiny bit of bok choy, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I cooked a turkey and used it in meals throughout the week.

I trimmed the baby’s hair in the front and gave Cyrus a haircut.

I combined the leftover syrup from my home canned peaches and pears with half a banana (that Elsa decided not to finish), blended them together and poured the mixture to make popsicles.

My husband worked from home one day, which saved us money for gas.

We listened to free music on Pandora.

I planted more vegetable and flower seeds in the garden. I thinned my lettuce again and replanted the lettuce in other places in the garden. I added more drip lines to the garden so that I can grow more in our garden.

I changed our house rule to have no tv for the children during the week. Ideally, our children will have their schoolwork done before lunch each day. I had allowed them to watch something after naptime and before our before-dinner chores each day. Since we’ve had a lot of dawdling at schooltime lately, I changed to tv only on the weekend. (We have not had cable since July 2007, but they still have plenty of dvds to watch). This will mean a little bit less electricity (the frugal part of this). The weather is beautiful and I have been encouraging them to play outside more. Come summer I think we will have to do indoor projects or play more games together when it is too hot to be outside.

My husband taught my three oldest children to play Risk. We’ve had the game for years (my husband had it before we were married). As the children get older we will continue to teach them new games to play together. When they have friends over, they often play board games together.

I shortened the sleeves on a pair of my pajamas where the elbow had torn. I also cut a pair of Ezrom’s pants at the knee where they had town. I will hem them for shorts this week.

We enjoyed having the windows open this week. It is getting quite warm; I wore sandals all week.

I dug up several herbs so that I could add more dirt to the bed (the dirt has settled over the years and we have not been able to add to it each year, so I am working to bring it higher). The oregano and sage were divided to make several more plants, which will hopefully all survive the transplant. This should give them each room to do better; the sage seemed to be really crowded before. I have decided to make a greater effort to grow more herbs than I have in the past; I was harvesting the herbs for fresh herbs but I usually did not have enough to supply all of my needs for dried herbs. I would like to change that so that my garden space is being better utilized and so that I do not need to buy dried herbs for those which I can easily grow.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Having raised 5 children I can tell you that each one has things that they are are concerned about and possibly feel deprived of. I found that talking about how much things cost made some of our children worry that we did not have enough money to live on and that was not the case. We also have a child who was made angry by frugal talk because she felt that we did not want to take care of her needs because she was ‘too expensive’. There is a very fine line between them understanding how we chose to spend our money and making problems and so we finally came to the conclusion that for the most part they knew how we lived and constantly talking about it was not productive. On eating out and entertainment expenditures the conclusion for us was to have a monthly budget for that and get it in cash. When it has been spent then it is gone for the month. The kids really saw that the little bit that we had in cash each month did not go far and that a quick and unsatisfying stop at McD’s could use that cash up very quickly. They learned to look for ways to use that money well such as the $1 theater, which is now $2.50. They looked for coupons and special deals and it was a great lesson for them. Our youngest is 22 now and I think they are all doing well with handling their money from just watching and learning without a lot of talking about it.

  2. One additional thing–I still budget that same amount of family entertainment money each month and get it in cash even though the kids are all grown and gone. I just stash it away and let it accumulate so that when the kids do come home or we get to keep the grandchildren we have a budget to do things with them. Over Christmas all 15 of us went out to an inexpensive restaurant for breakfast one morning and had a great time eating and talking without having to cook and clean up for all of us. I think back on that relaxed morning with fond memories because all of us may not be together again until next holiday season.

  3. Not sure what his business is but I wish him all the luck. We have had our own business for the last 20 years. There are benefits, there are drawbacks. But having our own business frees us up in other ways…and we make it. My husband is sometimes hard on himself…”We should have more money!”…but as I tell him: We have everything we need, much of what we want. Best wishes in this new adventure!

  4. Tina I can not agree more on having your own business.I always tell my hubby we have everything we need, we just don’t have everything we think we need. The hardest part for us is the final years we both had a ton saved and had it all taken from us (various reason, none within our control) So while we were wise and saved for our retirement now that it is time to be in retirement he is 65 I am 60 health is starting to make life harder. We still find we have everything we need but often it is by the grace of God. We do go hungry more often than we should but then again most of us in America tend to over eat so maybe we just need to adjust. I pray often that God sends food. I also pray that we do not loose the tiny home we have 300 sq. ft for all of us. Life has a funny way of working out. I am very grateful for what we do have.

  5. Hi Robert,My mom got senior commodities in California. It’s a Federal program. You need to be 60 to qualify. This is a link to a program in Minnesota. It had a lot of information. I’m sure you could Google your state. hope this helps I think it is about 40 lbs of non perishable food.We have a local number to call for assistance that is 211 maybe your cityhas something similar. Local churches often have food pantries. I am praying for you. Hope this helpsPatti

  6. Robert, I just wanted to make sure you see Patti’s reply below.Other states have a commodities program as well. You don’t have to apply; you have to go there on a certain day (it’s alphabetized) and show id (a SS card is part of it) and they will give you the food. It isn’t just an age-based program (possibly depending on the state, but Patti mentioned it’s a Federal Program), but in Nevada those who are younger than 60 can go; it’s once every other month here. I have never been but I know someone who goes and she has told me what food she was given; one time will be meat and some canned goods (like applesauce); the next time has dried beans and canned goods. It can be a huge help.I believe you’ve already read my “When You Need Food” page, but if not, here is a link: remember you told me that you are in a tiny house; do you have any pots on your little porch or a window box on the side where you could grow lettuce or green onions?

  7. My heart goes out to Robert please do hang in there. You will be pleasantly surprised what prayer can do,not to forget also seeking the practical tips that have been given here….This week was frugal as can be…Did all the regular things such as washing with turning heat off and homemade laundry soap(which hubby is not too fond off as clothes needs to be washed in warm water using the homemade soap and he did like to save the elastic on his clothes by washing in cold)Not a lot of things here but will post anyway…*Bought t-shirts with a coupon from Target.I wear my hubby’s large hand me downs now every week for no reason except that I did like to spend that money elsewhere for the family.Got so tempted to get a cute maxi dress but kept my reserve.Need new socks as well.time to hit a consignment store i think.*Made a yogurt cake and a banana cake with as much of what I have in the pantry. Still not received our refund to stock up on flours and rice.I did buy some more oil to last 6 months.*Washed the salt off the car myself so as to save the gas and time that I did have to wait at the dealership to get that done.Simple as a bucket and plain hot water and sponge.(and elbow grease:))*Picked up my books from the library and have a lot of ideas as to what I can do to stretch the budget for the hall closet which will also serve as a mudroom.This is about it…God bless your weekend ahead…

  8. I’ve been using homemade laundry soap for 8 1/2 years, and except for 2 specific loads, everything else (read: 20 loads a week) are washed in cold water. I even use it for washing gentle loads.I’m not sure why you would have to wash in warm. Do make sure to grate your soap really small; use the finest grater choice that you have and you should have no problems with the soap dissolving.Have you looked at repurposing some of your husbands shirts to make something for youeself that fits you better? There are a lot of repurposing tutorials out there using mens’ shirts. Here is one:

  9. Sadly momma-lana, not all recipes translate well to Canadian flour. Our all-purpose flour is different than US flour. That makes it cheaper for me as here I don’t need to buy special bread machine flour but it does mean that recipes don’t always work well in Canada if they are American in origin. Happily my library seems to know that so the two books I borrowed are specifically for Canadian bread making. I have heard good things about King Arthur though so I will check them out anyway. Thanks for the reminder about them, I had forgotten.

  10. I had no idea that Canadian flours were different than US flours! We do have different flours available here in the Southern US states than can be bought elsewhere too. White Lily is a highly prized brand only available in the SE so I do understand because if I were to give you my biscuit recipe it would not turn out for you because I use White Lily. White Lily is soft wheat flour. What are Canadian flours?

  11. This week I attempted to buy only the necessary items, which I was successful at though if I am totally honest I think there was a purchase in there for the twins that was more of a treat. However, I did see the difference in the amount of gas spent and the balance in the account. After a week of only the necessities the account was looking good and it really added up! I am realizing that I have a great stockpile so I need to live off of it for a bit. Most of my stockpile is items for winter months which will just sit there through the summer so they need to be used up. Items like extra pasta, canned tomatoes and pasta sauce, turkeys and stew meat. We do not have air conditioning so cooking that takes a long time is not an option. We eat alot of salads and bbq in the summer. The girls used stray socks to make ‘clothing’ for their small stuffed animals. It was cute, a little messy with the scraps of material flying, but really cute outfits. They also decided that a great birthday present for them (from grandma and grandpa) would be for grandpa to help them build beds and other small furnature out of scrap wood. They said that they wanted to help and that spending time with grandpa would be the best present. They are turning ten so I thought that this was a great idea considering their age!I cooked from home all week and did alot of baking as well. I feel like I am constantly cooking but it has gone over really well with everyone. I asked our landlord about putting in raised flowerbeds this spring. He was OK with it. It will not be necessarily frugal with the purchase of soil. But will really help with the garden situation. Our garden did not produce last year. There are too many trees in that spot. We are also going to trim the trees in the back yard and empty the shed so we can reorganize it properly. Right now there is still four feet of snow in the back yard, and the front yard, so this may have to wait a bit. I am so done with winter weather. Spring will eventually come… even though we may not see the grass til May.

  12. My husband is also an absolute saint about eating frugally, even when he gets kidded about the leftovers or peanut butter and jelly (home canned) sandwiches that he brings to work. I sometimes forget to tell him that and then I feel hurt when he comments on always having casseroles or soup for dinner. The compromise we finally reached was that two nights a week we have egg drop soup and homemade bread or biscuits (VERY economical) and in exchange one other night a week we have his very favorite—hamburgers. It also makes meal planning easier, to have 3 of 7 nights of meals already planned!

  13. Also, I would try and remember that kids are starting to experience the hormones of puberty at 10 and 11 these days and that he may just be having moments of irritation and uses the observations about frugality (being cheap) as his little rebellions. For the next few years he will be comparing himself more and more to peers whos parents have more (or spend what they don’t have!), so you may just be experiencing the start of some more obnoxious years.

  14. Check with your local municipal waste system. Ours composts waste, has the EPA test it and then sells it for $15 a pick up load or for free if you want to bring 5 gallon buckets and fill them by hand—as many as you want.

  15. Our local recyle/dump does the same thing you can take as much compost for free as you want.They also have free wood chips.When I lived in the desert it was 120 in the summer. I used a 2 burner hot plate and a crock pot on the porch to make most of our summer meals.It kept the house much cooler.Have a blessed week.Patti

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