Frugal Accomplishments

This Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

 

I cut and dried sage from our garden.

I picked tomatoes from our garden, and we ate some all week long.

I picked our first  (and so far only) cucumber!

I hand pollinated the 1 female cucumber and 2 female zucchini in the garden this week. It is too hot for the bees to be out pollinating. I used to think having bees would solve my low squash numbers. I’ve since learned that the bees have to stay to fan their hives when it is this hot, which is why the few squash that flower (also lower numbers because of the heat) are almost never pollinated.

A friend gave us some tomatoes from her garden. Since we are not getting a lot of tomatoes from our garden this year, we are very excited about these! (Because of the heat, I do not get enough to can, even though my 20 or so plants get 8 feet tall. Five months of above 90º weather mean five months where it’s too hot for tomatoes to set fruit).

I planted the basil seeds from my basil plants that are already going to seed. It was 106º (which is 20 degrees cooler than I’m used to at this time of year), but I’m hoping for germination–and a lack of cutworms!

I planted cucumber seeds in the places where my tomato plants died. (I had 3 plants succumb to disease).

I planted more Swiss chard (silverbeet) seeds in the garden.

I planted pumpkin seeds again. The last time I planted them the seedlings were eaten. I’m trying again. I replanted parsley seeds for the same reason.

I harvested a tiny basketful of figs. The yield is very low this year, but I am grateful for what we have.

I grew my own alfalfa sprouts, from 1 1/2 Tbsp of seeds that I bought in bulk (7 years ago!)

My husband fixed a second leak in the garden.

We had another leak besides that; the master bath toliet was leaking. My husband went to buy a replacement part, but our low-flow toliet doesn’t take a standard part, so he had to order it. While we’re waiting for it to arrive, we’ve had the water to the toliet turned off, except for a couple of times a day, to stop the leak from running up our water bill.

I turned the sprinklers off for 2 days because it actually rained. Everything was drooping by the second day, despite the rain (it wasn’t much) so I turned them back on after the rain was done.
We celebrated a frugal birthday at home (details on the gifts will be coming soon in another blog post). I also took birthday pictures of my son.

I used a $10 off $10 coupon for Kohl’s to get 18 headbands (they were on sale) for $0.54. I will recover them in fabrics to match dresses, and add handmade flowers on some to make gifts for my girls.

I used a $10 off any purchase coupon from the new L.L. Bean catalog to order a free insulated water bottle. Shipping is free, so it will be totally free to me.
My husband cut my hair for me.

I gave 2 daughters a haircut.

My husband cut one son’s hair (today, so it’s a bit long in the picture above).
We enjoyed peach sorbet that I made from our peaches last week. I made some cookies to go with it in my grandma’s old cookie press.

With all of the talk of inflation (because of the drought), I have decided to end my participation in this month’s pantry challenge, and stock up on what I can.

I bought 3 gallons of oil, 2 containers of shortening, spreadable margarine (Are you seeing a trend here? Oil is very important to store, and in more than one form!), and 20 packages of cream cheese (on sale for .99 each). We also bought ice cream (also on sale) for my son’s birthday. The cream cheese and ice cream were bought with a gift card that my husband received from a friend in April, so no money out of pocket for those. This is the only food that I have bought this month.

I mended a sheet that was torn.

I made a dress for my 4-year-old daughter from broadcloth that I bought years ago on sale. The dress cost me around $5 to make, including buttons.

I hemmed the dress while watching a free show on Hulu. I watched 3 three shows this week for free on Hulu.

How have you saved money this week, mended, made do, or done without?

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25 Comments

  1. Miriam, would you mind sharing how you are using the baking soda to wash your hair? That would save sooooo much money over buying shampoo!! Thanks!Anne 🙂

  2. Sea buckthorn! I remembered the cloudberries but I had forgotten the name of the sea buckthorn.Are you posting pictures of all of these on your blog? I don’t know what bilberries and brambles look like.

  3. The human male urine should also keep animals from digging & doing their business in your flower beds, since by using the diluted urine to water, you are “scent marking” the territory. Nice side benefit.-Marivene

  4. I picked about 7 pounds worth of marionberries (related to blackberries)at my MIL’s last night. I’m saving all the berries I pick this summer, like raspberries at my moms and blackberries at the wild patch down the street, in the freezer. Later this summer, I plan on making some mixed berry jam for our food storage. At Albertsons last night, they had their store brand low-sugar peanut butter on clearance for $2.18 for 18oz. I bought 8 of them to put in our food storage. Went with my mom on her ward’s canning day to the LDS cannery and got some more staples for our food storage. We have about 50 lbs left to go with grains, and I need to buy some more oil and mayo, and about 10 lbs more of honey and molasses- and then we will have our year’s supply for our family of five put away! I’ve been using the calculator @ Food Storage Made Easy. It’s such a fantastic feeling to know we’ve got something to fall back on. I’m a full-time student, and my husband lost his job last December. He’s going back to school full time in September, and I feel much better knowing that we will have our basic food needs met. If he gets a deer this fall, we’ll have a freezer full of venison also. Otherwise, I foresee lots of vegetarian meals!I found a shirt and skirt for $12 at a consignment shop that my daughter can wear to school in the fall. Our kids have to wear uniforms Mon-Thur, on fridays they can wear whatever they want. I figure I saved about $20 on this outfit by purchasing it used.Our garden is finally starting to kick out some squash and tomatoes!

  5. Of course Anne, my pleasure :-)I just put baking soda into a wide mouth bottle (like the ones cold coffee drinks are often sold in, at least here 🙂 ) maybe 2-4 Tablespoons, add water and shake well. Immediately after shaking (it won’t dissolve) I pour it on my head (over my wet hair) and begin to rub my scalp. It feels so good! After a minute or so I rinse it very well and that’s it!(Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve been washing my hair once in 10-14 days.) My hair stays fresh and flowing longer, it is shinier and it has become curlier.If you have hair-dye or other treatments, I don’t know… If you have washed with commercial shampoos, the results are different at first, you may end up with greasy hair, so I’ve read.For more experiences Google no poo method 🙂

  6. I ate leftovers for lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.I cleaned out my dresser drawers and found a couple of usable items that I had forgotten about.My daughter cleaned out her room and found several coupons and a reusable shopping bag that we can use at the grocery store.It rained enough so that I watered less than I had planned to water.We ate meat from the freezer instead of buying it at the grocery store.I continued to use free shampoo and conditioner from hotels.Jill

  7. Very cool blog and website. I’ve been looking for my frugal “fix” ever since I finished my most recent read-through of The Tightwad Gazette…We washed all of our laundry in cold water with homemade detergent. We hung it up to dry in our apartment, of course.I’ve gone this whole year without buying any new clothes, but my husband and I are in my brother’s wedding this fall. His outfit is very specific and had to be purchased new, but my dress was picked up at a thrift store. Since we’re not buying new clothes this year, I have a never ending supply of mending. I mended two pairs of shorts, a t-shirt and a dress this week. Most was light machine sewing. I save the hand sewing for tv nights. I resoled the bottom of some of my ballet flats using an old bike inner tube and some shoe-goo. We cooked at home with whole ingredients all week. Oatmeal for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, etc. Lentil-rice casserole has become our “fast food,” and it costs a little under 13 cents a serving (we add a 1/2 cup of cheese).We kept our grocery bill down under 35 this week. Here in Boston, that’s a feat. My husband has been restoring a trash-picked road bike. Using DIY tutorials and library books he has slowly taught himself how to repair bicycles. He also spent his free time (15 minutes here and there) doing mturk hits for Amazon.com money. Using his saved up money, he’s essentially replaced and repaired every part of the bike (and picked up tools and replacement parts for our other thrift store bike). It’s a sweet vintage road bike and he loves it. Riding bikes here has slashed our transit costs to about 4-5 bucks a week. Our poor garden is trying to make it work. We’ll see. 2 of our containers blew off in a windstorm a few nights ago, and we were never really able to save one of my pepper plants. Argh. This is our first year with a garden, so I’m not expecting much. We composted all of our compostables except for our apple cores. We’re going to make apple peel jelly tomorrow (we have a “corer” so it’s a clean job for us). Tomorrow we’re hitting up the Haymarket for our produce for the week. Strawberries at 65 cents a pound? Yes, please! The low prices this summer have caused us to go on accidental berry binges (whole days where we eating nothing but berries). It’s an awesomely delicious mistake.We used a coffee sample that I got in the mail to make cold-pressed coffee. That stuff is liquid gold! You can reuse the grounds one more time, so we have another batch sitting out tonight. We washed and reused our baggies.I’m hitting up the 1$ a lb. clothing store tomorrow for a gift for my brother. He’s into vintage Lacoste stuff right now, and they seem to always have a surplus. And writing that just made me realize that my day tomorrow is very full. Hopefully I’ll not get distracted by awesome blogs and I’ll get some stuff done…

  8. I do my hand-sewing repairs while watching free shows on Hulu!I repaired shoes earlier this year with E-6000 glue. It was wonderful!I don’t drink coffee so I never sign up for coffee samples. I love the idea of using them in my garden! Perhaps I’ll sign up next time and use it to water my blueberries! They are struggling with our super-high ph soil.

  9. If you have a Starbucks near you, they give away the grounds for free. They call it “grounds for gardeners”. All you have to do is ask for “grounds for gardeners” and they will either package some used grounds in a used coffee bag & seal it for you, or they will pull the double liner out of one of the trash cans, tie it off, & give it to you. I use them on my blueberries & a little around the fruit trees. Coffee grounds are a 2-3-6 fertilizer, but the acidity can vary a lot, so less is more. – Marivene

  10. Marivene,I tried that; there is a Starbucks real close to here. They said I had to come right at closing time. When I did, they had closed the door 5 minutes early and locked it, and then when I told them why, they said to come back next week. I did that, and then they said they had forgotten, and that happened the next time, too. I got coffee grounds for the garden once, but they had forgotten to save them for me, so they just had a little bit. It ended up being too much of a hassle, and I didn’t pursue it since I had to go over right before 9 pm each time.

  11. How odd! Perhaps not all Starbucks participate, but I thought it was a corporate initiative. I can stop in any time to the one in Orem at the University Mall (when I’m in Orem), but I have to go in. They give me whatever they have right them. My daughter in Logan can just ask at the drive-thru & they fix a bag while she parks & goes in to pick it up. It is harder to get them in summer, because more people ask for them, but in early spring & late fall, I pick them up, set them out to dry in a large flower pot, & store them in empty plastic bottles in our shed after they are dry. Then I just grab a bottle & sprinkle the dry grounds where ever I want them. The tulips & daffodils love them. – Marivene

  12. Our printer was broken 1st we turned it upside down and shook ita penny paperclip and dust came out then tried running a pieceof card stock were paper usualy feeds cleared a paper jam I could not see and it is working like a champ now maybe this willhelp.

  13. Hi!I took my children to a beauty school and the students cut their hair. It was very reasonable and they look very cute. Pat

  14. Thank you for adopting from a shelter. I’ve read that big black dogs especially tend to linger in shelters–so double thanks for giving a home to a big black dog!

  15. I cut my husband’s hair. We took vacation from home by swapping places with friends of ours. We cut back on the food budget for two weeks (saving for a trip to the dentist and the eye doctor) I used a gift certificate to get a haircut for myself (I have saved that from a Birthday gift (my birthday is in May) Now I will wait again until our anniversary in October I do my own bangs in between. My stylist cuts my sides which takes her as long as bangs for $3.00 every other month so that saves a ton on haircuts it does look a bit bad at times but I make it work, it has to for our budget.I hemmed two pairs of pants, I bartered peaches and eggs for some items I no longer needed but were useful to a friend.I used about $60 in coupons this week and I packed a picnic lunch for our date and we ate it by a stream.

  16. I also reuse my cereal bag liners for wax paper and hand wash my baggies.I use the store plastic bags for as much trash as I can. I have made one box of garbage bags last all year! We are 7.5 months into the year and I have about 20 bags left out of 30. So I think that is pretty great.

  17. Have you tried tenting your tomatoes with some sort of fabric (light weight and light color like thin sheets) in the day time to have them cooler? I live in PA and we do that to extend the cool crops (lettuce, brocholi, cabbage), give them day shade/indirect sun. Of course I have about 3 months that tomatoes can set fruit if I start seeds indoors and don’t have a suprize late frost after I do put them in the garden. I am extremely impressed with your garden in the blast zone! (when I walk out of the hospital I work in on the few dry hot days that we get here I equate it to walking into a blast furnace). I have been reading all over your blog this am, so I’m not sure which post was talking about the ant problem. I have read that ducks are a good garden helper and they don’t eat or pull up your plants like chickens, don’t know if they would be possible there in LV but thought I would pass the info along. They might need to spend the day in the house in the bathtub lol then forage at night. Oh and you would still get eggs

  18. Just another suggestion on pruning/topping the tomato plants, maybe do it in the evening as things are cooling down for the day and maybe put something on the cut (coconut oil?) so that there isn’t that large wound for the plant to evaporate water from? Or instead of a cut wrap cotton string tightly arround the main stem and choke it there at about that 5 foot mark. None of these are tested by me, just putting together thoughts on how to prune such a wet plant in such a dry envoirnment

  19. bilberrys are related to blueberries and were used to improve pilot’s eyesight in World War II, they are powerful antioxidants. What is your planting Zone Miriam (are there Zones in Europe like in the USA? (I need to Google). I wonder if it is cold enough in Pennslyvania to grow them (Huummm)

  20. Wow! What a busy week you’ve had!I’ve never really kept track of any money saving efforts before. You have inspired me to begin next week to keep a running list of accomplishments for the week. I’ll be sure to post :)Thanks so much for doing the work to post this blog. It has given me a lot to think about regarding my own roles as wife, mother, and homemaker.

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