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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I cut cucumbers, red noodle beans, thyme, basil, and lavender from the garden.

I downloaded 10 free geography worksheets from education.com. They have a limit of 10 free ones each month.

I printed free penmanship worksheets, dot to dot worksheets, and math worksheets. I do these each week but I don’t usually list them; links for each grade can be found on my website under the homeschooling tab; there is a tab there for each grade in the pull-down menu. (I also have more links to free things on my Homeschool Resources page).

Playing Spies: The red yarn represents laser beams

I sold the table and 5 chairs finally, via a local Facebook garage sale page. While I didn’t get anywhere close to what I had wanted for them, I was glad to get something for them. It also made me more determined to list some more things on the page for sale to help us meet our savings goals.

I found a free box spring for a twin bed on the same site, which was something we needed. We had loaned a twin bed to someone on hospice, but he had an accident and it was unable to be returned to us. A free mattress came along and we have been using that for the child (who is now big enough for the bed) on the floor. The arrangement was fine; if she fell out of the bed, she wouldn’t go far. I knew we were going to need to get a box again and I wasn’t looking forward to spending almost $100 on one. I was very excited to get this one for free!

We did some rearranging in the house, and hauled 2 things off to the thrift store. While there, my husband went in and found a tent for Cyrus to use for Scouts for $4. It will need one replacement pole, but it is a very nice, high-end tent in good shape.

I mended a pillow, a dress, and a pair of underwear.

I cooked both a ham and a turkey from the freezer. I sliced the ham for sandwiches.

I planted a few seeds in the garden, using seeds that I had collected from my own plants earlier this year.

I opened the windows in the early mornings and turned off the air conditioner for a few hours each morning. The house was much fresher and I saved $2-$3 a day on the electric bill.

I continued to collect water from the shower and from the air conditioner to water potted fruit trees and plants.

Winter’s art this week

My husband and I watched a show on Hulu for free.

I have started potty training Ivory. After 6 children, I needed some new training pants. I bought some Gerber cloth ones at the store. My mother-in-law had given me some little flat flower embroidery decorations years ago; I sewed these on the front of each pair to help Ivory know the front.

Winter’s second art picture this week

Our home phones are dying; after many years, the batteries are no longer holding a charge. We had a 3 handset unit with an answering machine. We decided to replace it with a 2 handset unit that does not have an answering machine. The ones that did have answering machines were $70 more and up. I’m usually home, and I forget to check the messages if I go out to work in the garden and come back in. I think I’ll do fine without an answering machine. For those who are wondering why we have a home phone, you should know that I do not have a cell phone (Shocking!). I pay $18.70 a month (after taxes) for a home phone without caller id, call waiting, or long distance, and of course, my minutes are unlimited. For $35, I have 2 new phones at home that should last me 7 to 8 years.

I signed up for auto-pay for our phone bill, and will receive a $10 gift card for signing up (that should arrive in November).

My husband worked from home several days last week, saving money in gas. He has not filled the gas tank of our van for two and a half weeks, and we still have a quarter tank left.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. I’m not sure how I missed posting my Frugal Accomplishments this week, but I have a moment and will try to list as much as I can remember!Since I opened a new grocery budget on Friday, I went through to determine what items I could restock on and what could be put off until next paycheck. I was able to stick to under half the monthly amount so I was happy about that. I spent $70 at Winco which is quite a bit more than I normally spend there, but I stocked up on bulk peanuts and raisins in this trip which I’m hoping will last the entire month. I buy half salted and half unsalted peanuts and grind them in my food processor for peanut butter as well as having them on hand for snacks. I only needed three items at Sam’s and spent less than $20 there! The other shopping was mainly fresh fruit for the kids to snack on and take in their lunches. This month I am slated to spend $287…not quite as low as $275 and I have about half as many people in my house (5 & 2 cats), but we’ll see how the month shakes out! ;)Not part of my grocery budget per se, I did treat myself to a few new-to-me kitchen gadgets. I went to Good Will looking for a waffle iron just to change things up a bit. My kids really enjoy pancakes so I thought this would be a fun change for them. I found a waffle maker for $5! I was so excited! I also found an electric carving knife that looked like it had never been used, also $5. I never think to have one until a holiday comes around and my husband is fighting with the turkey or ham. I’m hoping this will make things a little easier on him. The biggest purchase was an Oster blender for $15. It looked like a professional grade blender. I’m not really sure, I just know that our old one is very flimsy, the jar is plastic, the handle is broken off, the lid is missing the flap to pour stuff into, etc. It’s still very much usable (i.e. the motor hasn’t burned out!), but I’m very excited to have such a nice blender now. Still saving water from the shower and the a/c spout for the garden, trees, and laundry. Our water bill is slowly coming down, not in earth-shattering increments, but it is coming down so I continue “steadily plodding” because we live in a desert and I believe God wants me to be a good steward whether the rewards are large or small.Made yogurt, bread, lots of banana muffins, 2 loaves of banana bread, pasta salad, spaghetti sauce, and waffles (!!!) now that I can. ;)Still stashing small change in my jar. At some point I will peek and count it, but I kind of like building the suspense.My biggest accomplishment, well the one I got the most excited about, was finding a library book that was graciously renewed one last time in order to give us time to find it. If I didn’t find it, I was going to have to pay some enormous sum of money for the book plus a processing fee, etc., etc., etc. I think it would have been upwards of $20+, but thankfully I found it and returned it (combining that stop with other errands so as not to make a special trip…although I was very tempted because I was so excited about having found it!).I think that does it for me. Nothing terribly exciting, but still plugging along. Thanks for the encouragement and the wealth of ideas and information. It is my “home away from home”! God Bless!

  2. I just put about 2/3 cup in a shallow bowl, & yes, I toss it afterwards, because I let it sit out for 24 hours. I used it when we finally bought the house, & one of the beds smelled musty after being in a storage unit for a year & a half.

  3. Marivene, received my American Girl catalogue and noticed the new formats. We have all the older series in the library already. For our use, I may look into getting the most popular sets in the new format also as the story continues with a third new book of 180+ pages. Above 3rd grade doesn’t always like to check out the AG books because they (the books) look too “baby”…..the bigger books will appeal more to upper elementary.

  4. Cell phones work well for us and husband and I have had them at least 14 years maybe more. He was often traveling either making deliveries or visiting customers. We added one for oldest son when he turned 16 and started driving. We live a ways out. The 2 oldest have iPhones now and jobs to pay their bill…my mother’s cell is with oldest daughter’s plan. We have the 3 younger on our plan. I do love my iPhone though …it cost 1┬ó with phone upgrade and I’ve had it about 5 months. We use it to take pictures for the business, email from customers etc …access any time. I can forward the emails to husband’s computer in workshop. It also gets reception when at times the other phones don’t . We still have a land line in the work shop but customers always prefer to use the cell.When you have older parents to keep track off and children all over the country, sometimes the world, I find cell phones reassuring.

  5. Athanasia, I am glad the new format will work for someone. For us, it takes about 15-20 minutes to read one chapter, which is the amount the school asks our grandchildren to read each day, which means we finish a book a week. My granddaughter then takes the AR test on Friday, and generally does well. That is a nice psychological boost for her, since she struggles with reading due to her Aspergers. With the new format, the AR tests would be every 3 weeks, & she likely would not retain all the detail information to do as well of the tests. Even tho reading is not her strong suit, so to speak, last year she organized a little recess reading club, where she took her American Girl Rebecca books & while she was reading in book 3, her friends were reading in books 1 & 2. The teacher was delighted, but that type of sharing cannot happen with the new format. Part of why I was so disappointed, was that they no longer sell the “old” 6 volume books thru AG, so I HAVE to find them on the 2nd hand market now. Our daughters read these books in 1-3 grade. Our granddaughter is reading them a little later, into 5th & 6th grade. By the time our daughters were her age, they had moved on to the more difficult chapter books, because they had already read all the AG books.

  6. I’ve been canning applesauce and pears and peaches. I recently decided to try canning spaghetti sauce. Usually I just can tomatoes, and make spaghetti sauce when we want it, but I’ve gone back to school and need some convenience foods. I got 8 quarts from my first attempt, and it’s really good. We can add some hamburger to it when we want to eat it, or just eat it vegetarian. I’m definitely going to be doing another batch.

  7. I am not sure if this is available everywhere, but we pay $15 dollars a month for our home phone, which includes long distance. It is thorough Straight Talk.Buying a Straight Talk home phone box is required. We purchased ours from Walmart for approximately $60.

  8. Preppy, Paula has mentioned them, I’m sure, and she got them from the Vermont store catalogue. Now’s the time when our field mice are looking to move in for the winter.

  9. Time goes so fast…3 posts Brandi! I can’t keep up! Friday before Labor Day husband and nephew delivered the chicken coop to son’s house by trailer. They can have chickens as long as all abutting neighbors agree and they did. Saturday husband and l went to Amish auction, mostly for fun, though never know what will show up. Sunday was big annual church gathering at our house (pond/baptisms) . It’s a pot luck so we just make garage clean and available…church committee does all the rest with tables, chairs, set up, clean up. Labor Day nephew went home to his parents, oldest girl and husband took youngest girl w them to Iowa for long weekend to visit the girls favorite cousins , one married one still single. They went camping. They brought back bacon! Husband and I went to Labor Day picnic at my mother’s retirement apartment building. The hot dogs and hamburgers and buns were supplied. I brought a cherry pie in a sheet pan… serves more people and you cut it in squares. Harvest still plentiful…carrots, beans, cabbage, corn, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, eggplant, onions, herbs, broccoli and cauliflower, delicate squash. Apple crop looking very good. Grapes too. So last week did lots of canning…tomato juice in quarts, diced tomatoes in pints, green beans, froze corn, chopped and froze broccoli and cauliflower, diced and froze carrots. Dried thyme, parsley, mint. Made pickle relish and hot pepper jelly. I am planning on making 4 batches total of the pepper jelly…last year was the first time I made it and it was a winner. Cooked from scratch. Made the before mentioned cherry slab pie, made a jello salad and a marinated veg salad (broccoli/cauliflower/onion/cherry tomatoes/black olives in Italian dressing) for our church pot luck. Made pasta alfredo primavera with broccoli, cauliflower, peas and carrots. Made corn muffins, pancakes, limeade, iced tea. Made zucchini bread and put grated zucchini in freezer. Hard to remember back a week…I just know no one went hungry!Bought milk, butter, veggie dogs, tortilla chips, a bag of red onions, 7 more bars of the Polish chocolate at $1/bar, 3 lemons, pack emory boards, mini marshmallows, rice krispies, celery, liquid pectin, citronella candles (unfortunate side effect of plentiful rain is bumper crop of mosquitoes), citronella fuel for tiki torches, 2 new torches, white vinegar…everything on sale or clearance and/ or with coupons.

  10. I’m not sure of its actual name either – but you plug it into the wall and supposedly, it sends a small electrical current through the house that the mice hate. The first few weeks you have more mice than normal because it’s driving them crazy and they want to get away from it; but then they go away and while we still have the odd mouse here and there, we have many, many less than before. The electricity usage is very low too.

  11. Brandy, I was just thumbing through a copy of The Farmer’s Almanac in the grocery this week, wondering if it was worth the price. Are the weather forecasts generally accurate?

  12. Katie, my grandmother swore by the Farmer’s Almanac. She was a firm believer in planting by the signs. Once when she planted cucumbers by the sign of Gemini, she gleefully made all of us skeptics come and look when they started producing two cucumbers side by side at each blossom spot.

  13. Katie, the weather here is usually hot, hotter, and even hotter, and dry as a bone ­čÖé I know when our first and last frosts fall and the exceptions to those, so for me, it’s not something to buy in this climate. If Iived somewhere prone to real weather, I might. I know we’ll get a frost in December (our first frost), one in January (like a day or two in length where the nights are cold enough to freeze) and maybe, but not usually, a frost in February. Then we’re done with frost and snow is a rare thing here; if it does snow it’s usually closer towards the mountains on the west side of the valley. I’ve seen snow 3 times in 14 years, and they were very light. The first one we only knew it was snowing because we stood in it and could see tiny flakes; it was mostly nothing.

  14. Do you mind me asking what you pay for the gallon bottles of Great Value vegetable oil ?The reason ask if because our Food Lion has 48 ounce bottles on sale this week for $2.00 each, which I think is a fantastic deal. I’m going this week to stock up.

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