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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

This post is without pictures as I misplaced my battery charger for my camera. I found it this evening, so I’ll have pictures on the next post!

I cut 3 Armenian cucumbers and brought them in.

I cut two large bunches of basil, rinsed them, and hung them to dry. I also gave a large bunch to someone else. It is growing quite well and is regrowing quickly. I would be happy to share some with any readers who want to come by!

I cut zinnias, roses, and basil flowers for an arrangement.

I cut fig branches for a vase on the entry table. These have a milky sap (like poppies) and like poppies, need to have the stems seared after cutting and before putting them in water.

I cut chives and rosemary from the garden.

My husband bought 4 LED lights for us to put in the living room ceiling fan. While these are an initially large expense per bulb, we hope that over time, they will help to save money. We are working on slowly changing out our light bulbs, starting with the ones that are used the most often. We rarely need to turn the lights on for more than an hour or two a day now (between 7:45 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., usually), but once it starts getting darker earlier, we’ll be using the lights in the evenings. We have been waiting to change our bulbs from incandescent for some time, since the bulbs we had  from years ago were still working fine (as we rarely use them), because we didn’t have the money for new bulbs, and because my husband installed dimmer switches in all of the ceiling fans that he installed in our house (there are 10)–and fluorescent bulbs don’t dim (plus the fluorescent bulbs were too long and stuck out of the shades quite a bit). We are happy that there is now a small LED bulb that dims, which should be fantastic come winter when we need the lights on more often.

While I had no plans to go grocery shopping last week, a friend let me know a local store was closing out a whole bunch of unsalted butter (the only kind I buy) that would expire in two days. They had priced it all at .50 a pound! I bought 45 pounds to freeze. While I was there, I also bought 3 gallons of milk and the first head of lettuce I’ve bought all year (I’m looking forward to growing more in the garden when it is cool enough to plant again).

I also didn’t plan to go to Target this week, but after a post I read about some shirts on sale, I decided to buy a few for Winter. We didn’t end up liking the $5 shirts, but found 3 for her on clearance for $6.30 each. I also purchased a skirt for her to wear to church that she picked out.

While I was there, I bought two shirts for Liberty at $4.20 each. I also bought her a new church dress for $11.

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

I downloaded some mazes and a Maxfield Parrish image from week’s Dover Sampler.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. I’ve been freezing my stock in jars which is great for soup, not so much for a sauce! I’ll definitely be looking into doing frozen ‘muffins’! Thanks for the great tip!

  2. Thanks ladies. I was so nervous about her reaction and luckily you were all right and she was grateful. I feel like we over-stepped some boundaries here but it looks like all is good!

  3. Terri, the brightness is measured in lumens, so I think we’ll need to get used to measuring brightness in lumens rather than watts. These are 500 lumens each; they’re supposed to be equal to 60 watts but there are 4 in the fixture. I didn’t like hte ones that were equal to 40 watts as much; those seemed much too dark. Fluorescents seem to run brighter but they don’t dim, but if you’re not worried about dimming them then that might be an option for you.

  4. Let’s see… I made your chard soup this weekend (it makes a HUGE pot, 4 meals worth). I made zucchini bread. We went on vacation for two days, camping about 20 minutes from home. I took lots of raw veggies and hummus, the zucchini bread, the ingredients for nachos (even shredded the cheese myself). Even though camping is not cheap around here (it was $98 for two nights), it’s still way cheaper than a hotel. Plus the kids LOVED the beach. We shared our campsite one night with a family of three that was passing through. They had a camping van so really just needed a place to park. They shared a big watermelon with us.I picked the first ripe tomato from our tomato plant (got a late start).

  5. I take the middle ground on the beans issue. For a meal where beans are the main dish, I use dry beans, putting them to soak at bedtime the night before. (Examples would be pinto beans and cornbread, black or red beans and rice, or white bean soup.) However, for a quick accompaniment to a lunch, or as an ingredient, I use canned. When they are on sale, I stock up and keep a good supply of all the types we use.I consider this economical enough for feeding two. I can understand why large families who eat a lot of beans would not use a lot of canned beans.

  6. This is one of my favorite grocery shopping weeks of the year. ( Stocking up on bargains the weeks of the three long holiday weekends of summer, plus the weeks leading up to Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter go a long way to keeping my pantry stocked on certain things at the cheapest price.)

  7. So inspiring as usual! I plan on documenting my frugal accomplishments, too. It really helps to see all the small things we do to save money and they add up!Thank you!

  8. What a great price on butter!! I would have bought as many as you did!- My husband’s family is continuing the process of going through his grandmother’s estate. Being the only one who sews and knits, I was given craft supplies, yarn, and a beautiful vintage quilt top. I need to find a backing for it (I’m hoping to find an old sheet that is big enough) and buy some batting.- My mom was organizing and gave me 8 cans of food they won’t eat. – Bought 20 notebooks at $0.10 each- Bought two huge bags of limes (about 20 limes in each bag) for $0.99 each. Juiced and froze the juice for future use.- Found a bunch of flat sheets at a rummage sale… I paid $3 for 8 flat sheets and 2 pillowcases. I’m planning on using the sheets as quilt backings or to make muslins when I sew. – received vegetables from my mother-in-law’s garden: cucumbers, beets, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, and broccoli, and sweet corn- received fresh herbs from my mom’s garden: thyme, oregano, lemon verbena, sage, mint, basil, parsley, and rosemary. I used some of the herbs fresh (parsley and basil in bruchetta, parsley in grated carrot salad, and mint in cucumber salad), and dried the rest- found fabric at a thrift store for $1.50 a yard in vintage prints. I’m currently working on a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt and needed some more fabric- My mother-in-law gave me two aprons that were my husband’s great aunt’s aprons.- went to Sam’s club to buy sugar since we’re running low and they are the cheapest price when the stores aren’t running sales. While there I took advantage of their food samples. I also got a sample of tide pods and a little bag of M&M’s from their sample machine- Ate dinner at my parents house one night after I helped my mom- Took a free technique class at Williams-Sonoma on artichokes- my mom gave me some milk that was nearing the expiration date and I turned it into yogurt. I gave most of the yogurt back to her because I’m the only one who eats it, but kept a pint and have been enjoying it all week. She was trying to get me to keep more, but a pint is plenty and I know they will enjoy it- My husband is realizing how expensive food and household items really cost. Before, I think he thought I was a bit crazy with my couponing and huge stock-ups when the deals were really amazing. A few trips to the grocery store, and he is now encouraging me to keep couponing and to keep searching for good deals. He even told me he would be okay stocking up on toilet paper, Kleenex, laundry soap, and other non-perishables because of rising costs. So, when I found a really good deal on Tide (the only laundry soap he’ll use… I wish we could make our own but he refuses, and I don’t push the issue too much because he does all our laundry), I stocked up and made sure to grab the bottles that all had a free tide pod sample attached to them. His realization of costs is a HUGE blessing. He’s really encouraging all the canning I’ve done, and is talking about expanding our pantry shelves in the basement. (he finally gets it!!)- We had an at-home date night. We haven’t done that in a long time! We had a package of cheese fondue (not frugal, but we had it on hand because we were supposed to have guests during a week we would be really busy, but their plans fell through), so we had a fondue date! The rest of the meal was frugal: homemade bread and broccoli from the garden to dip into the cheese, potatoes bought on sale a while back that needed to be used up anyway, and home canned mushrooms.

  9. This past weekend we had out-of-town friends visit us. These are some of our closest friends in the world, and it was hard when they moved 8 hours away, so we were delighted. My friend and I spent the whold day Saturday picking and processing produce from the garden. Then, when they left, they took several loaded coolers with them. We canned green beans into her jars she brought with her. We had the girls gather wild blackberries from the field, which she has since made into jelly. My husband was sent to my sister’s where he picked peaches and corn. My sister thought there might we 40-50 ears out there for us. 48 pints later……..It was awesome because I was able to send 20 with my friend. I froze them, and sent them frozen. My friend canned 28 quarts of peaches when she got home. She had a few people question her at the wedding they attended as to why she would spend her day here doing that. I guess we all have our own idea of fun….:) They live in a very dry area and things just don’t grow the same way over there as they do here, so she was super excited to get all of these things. I was super excited to spend the day chatting as we picked and processed and loved that the items were not going to waste–like the 10 zucchini she took back with her.My husband has since picked a lot more peaches and I’ve canned 28 quarts. I also finished up the free pears I got, and ended up with 28 quarts and 2 dryer loads. I also canned several jars of tomato products.He went and bought me 2 large boxes of Gravestein apples and I will get busy on the applesauce in the next few days. My friend gave me several frozen salmon filets she got from her father-in-law who gets them from a fisherman in Alaska. I did a roast in the crock pot, black bean chili, and made beef stew. I’ve been serving lots of tomatoes, beans, carrots, etc. from the garden.I had another batch of lettuce get big enough to pick. I actually had to pay for 1 bunch of leaf lettuce the other day and it was $1.50. That was my first one for months that cost money, so I figured by picking and using this bunch of lettuce, it’s saving me around $6-$9 of actual cash, since we eat a lot of salad. So, that felt good. Our season is quite short here, though, so things are starting to wind down in the garden. I hope to plant one more planting of lettuce as kind of a gamble, though.I picked more strawberries from the raised bed I planted in the spring (which is why they are producing so well now). I made some home-made popsicles with some of them, a peach and a pear and a little coconut almond milk I had in the fridge. The kids like them. I hope to do a few more with a banana and strawberries next picking.The big girls competed at state fair with 2 cooking contests each. They got free entry tickets. We bought on-line tickets ahead of time for the rest of us, at a discount of $5/each. The woman helping us unload their many, many baskets of supplies gave us a free parking pass–we had planned to pay that $5. My aunt and mom and sister came to watch. They treated us all to ice cream cones between contests. We ate lunch before we went, ate samples of the food that was cooked, and waited until we got home to eat dinner. It was amazingly frugal compared to some of our excursions in the past. My mom doesn’t walk well anymore and surprisingly agreed to ride in a wheelchair. My husband borrowed one and took it, and the kids took turns pushing her around, so we got to see quite a bit in-between things. It’s exciting, because she also agreed to use it on our upcoming vacation in October, so we will be able to take her more places, instead of her just waiting for all of us to come back from wherever we went. It means a lot to my kids to spend time with her and my aunt, and sisters, so it’s great she’s ready to take this step. I think she might have gotten a little enjoyment out of watching the kids fight over who got to push her, as well:)

  10. User fees here in our public schools have a family cap, not per child. Also user fees are waived for families eligible for free lunch and are reduced for those eligible for reduced prices. ipads are pretty durable with a good case on them and elementary school is certainly not too young to be teaching (and expecting of ) children responsible behavior.

  11. Kelly , great job on the cooking. The ability to cook a good economical meal can not be beat. I am glad you are getting the hang of, if even a bit later in life. My sympathy to you for having to do the placement for your mother in law. Many times it becomes the best and safest option for all involved. My mother is volunteering with Alzheimer patients now at a home like facility near her retirement apartment. She is a retired grade school teacher and she is quite enjoying doing activities with them like puzzles and collages and simple baking.

  12. I’m in the half/half camp as re beans also. I use dry, (bring to boil 2 min and then soak 2 hours) for when I am doing a recipe, like chili or hummus or refried beans. But I have cans of cooked beans in the cupboard for quick additions to a meal. I do put a couple 2 cup containers of cooked beans in the freezer when I cook a large batch, but sometimes they get used before I make another batch. No matter how you do it, they are cheaper than meat.

  13. End of the week…school starts after Labor Day here for everyone, public, private and university. Time for one last get-together. On my drive back from work yesterday I counted 17 trees already changing with red or yellow leaves and the geese are heading out. Nights are low 50’s and our days barely 70’s. Harvested broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, carrots, beans, eggplants, zucchini, melon, corn, onions, peppers hot and bell, tomatoes, lettuce, beets, many and various herbs. Received plums from SIL. My mother gave me half of her grapes and cherries….they always package them too big so she shares. Yes she knows she can get a smaller amount but that is my mother.Did all the usual frugal things, though do not have to worry about watering plants with abundant rain. Took lunch and snacks to school (3 days last week, this week is 4 day prep week), used up all leftovers. Traded 4 quarts of red currants for a fresh cut up chicken (I dislike cutting them up) from a co-worker.We went to a cousin’s to watch the football game,mostly the men watch and a lot of the kids do. I prefer to hang out in the kitchen. Potluck. While there cousin’s wife, who had been to a recent estate sale, pulled out boxes of fabric she bought. She’d thrown it all in the washer so we sorted, ironed as needed and folded…she let everyone who wanted some, take some. I chose three…one of lavender, and 2 shades of green. I thought they would look good together as a baby quilt. Cooked from scratch. Made rhubarb sauce, a rhubarb custard pie with the stalks the children picked last week. Made another pie with rhubarb, cherries, a couple too ripe peaches and plums. It was very good. I was told I need to make again. Made eggplant parmigiana, spaghetti sauce (jar of last years tomatoes and this years fresh veggies), made triple chocolate cupcakes, tapioca pudding, cole slaw x2, a regular one and a jellied one (old 50s recipe), grilled chicken (the men did that cooking), zucchini-cherry tomato-onion-eggplant kabobs on the grill, German potato salad, cooked up garbanzos for a new batch of hummus, peach kuchen, tuna filling for sandwiches, mock tuna filling for youngest daughter, zucchini raisin muffins, sloppy joe made with lentils, diced cooked eggplant, onions and peppers. Baked 4 dozens buns…felt like a bun week. Made cheese and vegetable omelets (had them with the zuchinni muffins). I took deviled eggs to the pot luck. Also a man-made meal of grilled fish and grilled tomatoes. My mother came and stayed over a night so in 2 days we, with 2 of the girls, canned 24 quarts of tomato juice, froze 11 quarts of corn, canned 6 quarts green/waxed beans, and 13 more quarts just green. We diced, blanched froze 8 pints of carrots, also chopped broccoli and cauliflower, one more batch of pickled beets (pints) and then froze the last of the beets , sliced, in pints bags. We washed and froze poblano peppers whole (separated by wax paper so they I can take out what I want, I will thaw them as needed for chili rellenos etc. We slip peeled 25 pounds of peaches and canned them in quarts in heavy syrup (I use for peach cobbler) and froze slices for pies and smoothies. Peaches were my big purchase. They were 1.29/lb which is cheap here in case sounds expensive to you. We did find hardy peach trees in catalog…don’t think I mentioned this…hardy for zone 4! They are dwarf and should be arriving soon for planting. One is Integrity and I forget the other. I am so excited. Husband and nephew already dug the holes. The grocer had a 5.00 off a 50.00 purchase so with the peach purchase I bought 2 gallons of milk for 5.00, celery for 1.99, a shampoo and conditioner deal at .99 each, 2 large cottage cheese 1.59 ea, a watermelon for 2.99, and 6 bars of dark chocolate at 1.00 each. Polish chocolate? It looks and tastes great and I went back and bought more..regular sized bars, like the Ghiradelli. Have lots of plans for them.

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