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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

We enjoyed grapefruit and lemons from the garden.

I made grapefruit cleaner with grapefruit peels from the garden and vinegar. It will be ready to use in 3 weeks.

I made French bread and wheat crackers. I baked tarts.

I cut both boys’ hair.

Rather than buying a butterfly kit, I showed the children a YouTube video of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. This was no money. It also caused no damage to my garden.

I watched a few shows for free on Hulu. We just use Hulu for free (we do not pay for Hulu Plus).

I bought no food or toiletries this week. I did buy blueberry bushes and blackberry bushes on sale for the garden.

I made homemade chicken and rice soup with the carcass of of roasted chicken. We had 3 meals for 9 people from the chicken.

I harvested arugula from my garden and used it in my sandwiches.

I dug up a clump of green onions from my garden that were growing from where one of my green onions had re-seeded itself. I spread them out in 2 rows and replanted them.

I dug up Swiss chard (silverbeet) in the garden from where I was digging a hole to plant a blueberry bush and transplanted the plants to another part of the garden. Swiss chard usually does not transplant well, but I have had success transplanting it when the weather is very cool.

What did you do to save money this week?

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  1. I didn’t keep up with this last week, so here are my frugal accomplishments for the past couple of weeks. Earned $3.00 from an online survey.Replaced six-year-old’s broken tennis shoes on MLK weekend, using a 25 percent off coupon. Used oil company credit card discount and/or grocery points rewards programs for discounts when filling car with gas.Purchased complete set of Magic School Bus DVD’s (a favorite of the six-year-old) while on sale on Amazon, for gift-giving occasions throughout the year (Easter, birthday, Christmas — haven’t decided how they will be divided up yet). This is my second “gift closet” (actually, it’s a box) purchase of 2013.Used coupons printed from Swagbucks at the grocery store, which will give me the discount stated on the coupon, as well as Swagbucks credit for each coupon used. Paired with grocery store sales. Also used a printable coupon from the grocery store (somehow, they had deleted my online account; when I reactivated it, they sent me a coupon.) This is also the grocery store with the gas points rewards program.Took six-year-old grocery shopping with me; she got a free apple with a card received from the grocery store during one of their community events held last fall. (It’s good for a free apple or banana for a child each time they shop with their parent through the end of February.)Packed some lunches and breakfasts for work/school. (Sometimes, I just don’t get my lunch packed …) One of the few restaurants close enough to my workplace to go for lunch is McDonalds: used a coupon for a free fries and drink with 20-piece chicken nuggets meal at McDonald’s. 20 nuggets is really too much for me for one lunch, so I saved half and microwaved them for lunch the next day, thus splitting the cost of the meal in half between two meals. I usually ask for honey for the sauce when I order chicken nuggets, and they always give me way too many packets. Saved the extra packets. Used a couple of them in hot tea when I felt the possibility of a sore throat coming on.Successfully fended off the beginnings of a sore throat/cold with honey in hot tea, orange juice and a couple of straight tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. (I would have also used a free sample of Emergen-C, but it had solidified.)Accepted leftovers of a pasta salad from a work meeting of some other department; ate for lunch the following day.Used whole tomatoes from the freezer, a gift from a neighbor, in place of “stewed tomatoes” called for in a recipe for vegetable beef soup.Used strawberries, picked last summer and frozen, to make strawberry muffins, which we ate with the vegetable beef soup, then packed in lunches and for breakfasts. Used frozen shredded zucchini (also from last summer) to make zucchini bars, with cream cheese frosting (used the last of the cream cheese in the refrigerator purchased at Christmastime sales). Used as desserts/snacks.Used the last of the molasses in a bottle to make molasses crinkles cookies with the six-year-old, letting her practice reading by reading the recipe out of the Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cookbook (the original edition, which I have had since my childhood — complete with the falling-out pages that we need to carefully tuck back between the covers).Used three frozen bananas from the freezer — each the last one from a bunch, which were going to turn bad before we could eat them, so I put them in the freezer — to make Money Saving Mom’s recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins. Have been eating them for my breakfasts. And, the biggest frugal accomplishment of the past couple of weeks: completed refinance of the mortgage! Will save $160 a month in payments and, because of the timing of the refinance, will not have to make a mortgage payment at all for February!

  2. My frugal things for the week:I repaired a few of my daughter’s clothes that had holes in them. We also cleaned out her room and passed on her clothes she had outgrown. I used the Old Navy app on my phone and my husbands phone to get my daughter a new pair of pants for $10 (cleaning out her clothes made us realize that she needed more pants). I was also able to get her a jacket for school next year, a shirt for my mom for Christmas next year, and 2 scarves (one will also be a Christmas present once I add some Mickey Mouse to it) all for $0.42.My husband and our two boys repaired the upstairs toliet all for the cost of a new seal……..someone had decided to flush a toothbrush down it.We called Amazon and was able to replace my son’s Kindle that he had for almost a year (the screen had been steadily getting worse with lines running through it) for free even though we had purchased it through Walmart.I recently discovered Swagbucks TV mobile and that has really boosted my Swagbucks earnings (you can earn up to 50 Swagbucks a day by watching movie trailers-2 Swagbucks per 5 trailers). I was able to cash out for a $10 Home Depot gift card which will go towards the cost of my garden this year.I made 3 loaves of banana oatmeal bread and froze two for breakfasts later on. I also made French bread, cookies and uncrustables this week. I threw the uncrustables in the freezer for the kids’ lunches.I picked up my free lotion from Bath and Body Works. They normally do this promo several times during the year so I am thinking about saving them and using them for Christmas gifts (maybe for the teachers or something).I touched up the paint in our family room with the paint that had been left behind from the previous owner. Unfortunately, it is a new addition and when they painted they didn’t prime so the paint comes off easily. Eventually, I will have to prime and repaint the room but this is a free fix for now.My boys attended a free winter camp this weekend (provided by the military) so I didn’t spend any $ feeding them for 3 days and you know how teenage boys can eat so this saved us quite a bit.I made a few more crocheted washclothes for Christmas presents and I stocked up on yarn at Michael’s (they were having an awesome sale).

  3. Last week was pretty good one for us.We had an enormous pine tree fall in our yard. Our neighbor called a friend of his to see if he wanted the wood. Not only did he clean up the entire tree, but he left us a nice size pile of mulch and he gave us 5lbs of grass fed ground beef and 10lbs of russet potatoes in trade. We would have been delighted with the tree removal at no charge, but the food was greatly appreciated.My SIL gave me a $30.00 Target gift card for Christmas. I found Ball canning jars on clearance ( the 8 oz wide lid ones), so I bought 6 4pks. I am delighted with this size since we use these for the specialty jams/jellies/marmalades that we make just a few of.I kept my thermostat at 66 during the day and 62 at night. Thank goodness for blankets!I was able to stock up on flour, sugar, pinto beans and oats while visiting 2 of my children at their college. There is a small store in Harrisonburg, Va called Sharp Shoppers and they carry some bulk packaged foods at really good prices.My brother was kind enough to trim both of my dogs nails. I am petrified of hurting them, so I take them to the vet for that service. He was finished in about 5 minutes and saved me $30.00 plus the cost of gas to get them there.I accepted some free junk food from a neighbor who has gone on a strict diet. Hauled it to my college kids ~ they and their friends were happy to have it.Purchased 8 tubs of Pampers wipes from Amazon for less than $5.00. It was a short lived deal that I saw on the hip2save website (I think). I run a home based daycare, so these will be really nice to have. They arrived today!I raised my weekly rate for daycare by $5.00 effective the first week of January. I hated to do it, but expenses were eating away at my profit. I had not had a raise in 3 years. Thankfully, the parents did not fuss over the increase. This will only add $25 extra a week income, but it will help me manage much better.My brother has been staying with us the last couple of months. It puts him closer to the jobsite where his company is working right now. He was kind enough to pay our electric bill for December and will be paying January too, as a way to thank us.I cleaned out our Master closet and my office area last week. It was so nice to have everything organized. I donated some of the things to a teacher friend and took the other stuff to Goodwill.I added water to almost depleted bottles of hand soap. Works great!We did have extra gas expense this week, as we drove to see our college children, but I have greatly missed them and felt that it was definitely worth the money.I hope everyone has a blessed week. Thanks again Brandy for hosting this!Pattie

  4. We have a bread machine and love it. I got it for free from a friend who never used it. I have a very small kitchen and a stand mixer would take up too much space. Our bread machine, makes dough and jam.

  5. My son and I both eat compleyely gluten free. He can not do any oats even the gluten free oats. I however can do gluten free oats. His sensitivity is pretty severe, so just be careful as the others have said. We are learning to make things from scratch and save money by stocking up when shelf stable items are on sale for a good price. Good Luck.

  6. Not sure if you need this for yourself, but you can use towels to make baby bibs. They absorb a lot of mess. I don’t have a pattern (my mom is the seamstress), but you should be able to find instructions fairly easily. You could put appliques or something on to cover the dinginess.I am still using towels that originally belonged to my grandparents. I remember them from the 1970s. I don’t know when they were originally purchased.

  7. We had huge energy savings when we unplugged our appliances. We put things on power strips and shut the whole thing off. The amount of electricity things like a tv or computer or whatever use when they are just in standby is enormous. Try it for a month and see the huge difference in your bill. I hope you are feeling well, I am an older mother too and whooeee it is tiring.

  8. Whoo hoo! My favorite post of the whole week! This is a little late getting up, but we had a pretty good week last week. Here’s what we did frugally:* Played homemade board games – my son got upset last year when he didn’t get the game he wanted, so we told him to make one. He’s made 4 since and they’re all fantastic! He had tag board and plain paper on his Christmas list this year so he just had made a new one too!* Earned an extra $90 by taking park in a research interview* Downloaded 17 free ebooks this week* Made all meals at home, sent lunch to school with my husband every day.* I worked from home this week – we had a crazy schedule and it just worked out better that way.* Salvaged the back and lace from a comforter cover with a worn out top – the lace will be used to lengthen some pajamas for my daughter and I’m thinking of making new covers for the throw pillows from the backing.* Found 2 craft packages for Valentine’s hand puppets that my MIL sent last year and we totally forgot to put out. Tucked them with the Valentine’s mail boxes for this year.* Bought everything we need to make 45 valentines for $1 at the Dollar Store! Whoot!* Asked the dentist for a second free toothbrush (to have on hand if we get sick and need to switch toothbrushes early) at my cleaning and they happily gave me one.* Baked 3 1/2 dozen sugar cookies.* Baked a loaf of wheat quickbread* Bought material for my daugther’s and my Easter dresses plus 2 more dresses (one for each of us) and fleece for two pairs of pants and two pull overs for far less than I had planned by combining sales, coupons and end-of-bolt discounts.* Had a play-date with friends on Friday (off school for a teacher in-service) at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. We have a membership so we only paid for parking. We brought food for a pot-luck lunch for everyone too. Super fun day!* We also accepted a ton of free food last week too: from the Scout’s meeting on saturday we brought home 2 1/2 dozen more cookies, 8 muffins, 2 bunches of bananas and a half gallon of apple juice. From my husband’s class potluck on Thursday we brought home two bags of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa.Thanks Brandy!Have a great week everyone!Lea

  9. I didn’t keep a written list this week but, this is what I can think of off the top of my head. – My husband fixed a leak.- Went to the library, borrowed some books and movies.- A free diaper sample came in the mail I gave it to my daughter for her baby alive doll. It also came with wipes I passed those on to a friend. – Celebrated my daughters eight birthday with family and a few friends. I only served cake and ice cream instead of a full meal.- Was given a large stack of paper plates.- Found a few items to add to the Once Upon a Child basket. I plan on taking the basket up there soon. The last time I sold them stuff I made $30.- Cut and hemmed a dress I had in my closet that was not a cute length on me. I’m sure there is more. I’m going to try to keep a written list this week.

  10. I bought 2 pairs of maternity pants and a maternity top at a second hand store. I paid less for those three items than I would have paid for half of a pair of maternity pants at Target.I used gift cards that I got as Christmas presents to eat out a few times this week. I think I will suggest this again next year. It has been awesome to treat myself without spending money.I bought some produce on a great sale.

  11. Hi everyone.I’m posting about the last two weeks, since I’m still somewhat behind my schedule.- cooked every meal from scratch and packed lunch for my husband every weekday but Wednesday (he always lunch with his fellow students in the cafeteria once a week).- went to the winter sales and managed to get almost everything I need for next winter for my son for prices less than the local thrift stores or ebay. This is something I am really happy about. I also bought a pair boots on sale which I shall use next winter, if the ones I have happen to wear out.- Made playdough with my son.- Cut up faded and worn out t-shirts to make cleaning clothes.- Stocked up on diapers on sale – I’m set for two more months- I also stocked up on spices. I always buy them in bulk at the local “ethnic” shops. Not having stores like Sam’s, these are also the shops where I can buy chickpeas, lentils, mung beans or the like for quite good prices.Re’ka

  12. Thank you Celia, I am trying to remember to turn everything off at the plug whenever it is not being used, I must keep trying. We have also changed energy supplier so hopefully this will help.The pregnancy has nearly reached its end (and it is the last one!)so things will get easier soon.Jenny

  13. We have used it for even longer than that. As long as I don’t see mold on it, we use it. We have also had good luck with both yogurt and cottage cheese keeping well past the due date, as long as it is unopened. Becky

  14. I made a huge batch of spaghetti sauce and froze a lot of it.We used some of the freezer meals I made over Christmas on busy days.I worked on my daughter’s formal dinner dress. Sadly, I found a flaw in the fabric (2 tiny holes) after it was part way done. The fabric was only $2/yard a couple of years ago on clearance, so was not returnable. Anyway, I tore it apart, had just enough to re-cut that piece, and put it back together, reminding myself that I was saving at least $100 by making this.I used many home-canned jars and home-frozen items from our storage. I received and sorted my seeds. My husband re-furbished our greenhouse. He made it years ago from boards and plastic and wanted to put a more permanant siding on it.Becky

  15. It’s a rented house, quite a few of the light fittings are very fancy, and low energy bulbs will not fit, sadly i’m finding it all frustrating at the moment. but thank you for the ideas.

  16. Jenny–our house has a lot of fixtures with fancy bulbs too but we replaced what we could which is really only about 60% of them and still saw those savings! Save your regular bulbs to replace your CFL bulbs with when you move if you do replace them!

  17. FOund your blog yesterday, and have searched it on-and-off for 2 days, soaking in all the info. I love the free patterns, as I smock and sew also.Please tell me how you use baking soda and vinegar to clean. Do you make a paste, just sprinkle baking soda around tub…how exactly? I have used a Dawn and vinegar mix for showers, worked fantastic, but smell was so strong…the whole house smelled.

  18. I usually use borax, but you can use baking soda, too. I just run a little water into the tub to get it wet enough to make a wet paste and I use a scrub brush. Yes, you just sprinkle it around the shower.I don’t like the Dawn/vinegar mix for the shower. I tried that before and I found it to be extremely wasteful. You don’t need so much of either one to clean. If you have glass, you may want to consider using a squeegee with just a tiny bit of dish soap (a few drops) to clean the glass, just as you would for windows. You could try citrus vinegar for cleaning instead of plain vinegar; the vinegar smell isn’t so strong (almost gone, really) and that helps.If anyone else sees your comment you will probably get several other suggestions of ways to do it completly differently. Do what works for you!

  19. I just use a spray of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water for cleaning (use an older cleaner spray bottle or get one from the dollar store). Works like a charm on all our surfaces but the toilet! For that I still use toilet bowl cleaner. I’ve found that even in our shower it works great! We have a curtain on the shower, not a glass door so I have no idea if it would work for that.I use the baking soda for stubborn stuff and use it just like Brandy said: get the surface wet, sprinkle on and then scrub. Repeat as necessary until completed.As my kids say, “Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!” :)Hope that’s helpful, Lea

  20. Nora, my stand mixer doesn’t really take up all that much space. I have an L shaped counter and push it back straight into the corner of the L. The footprint is probably about the same as a large toaster. It is too heavy for me to move on and off counter so I just leave it there all the time. Other appliances we store and move out as needed, like the waffle iron.

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