We enjoyed a frugal holiday at home. I bought no extra food for the 4th; we just ate what we already had. I have decided to join the Pantry Challenge over at Good Life Eats for this month, and I am not buying any food for the month. I had already planned on doing this when I read her challenge, so I joined in!
The children found some fun ways to celebrate for the 4th. My oldest decided to make a Statue of Liberty costume for herself. She followed the directions that she had read in Family Fun magazine to make a crown, only she used construction paper (which we had) instead of craft foam, as the instructions stated.
She then came up with a few more costumes:
I dressed the baby in a hand-me-down outfit that was recently given to me.
We enjoyed some free fireworks in town. We chose the closest place to home.
My husband worked from home on Monday.
I added water to a bottle of lotion and shook it up to get the last of the lotion from the bottle.This gave me a week’s worth of lotion.
I made another bottle of homemade hair detangler. This is saving me $7 a month (that is the price I used to pay for the giant bottle of Infusium with a coupon; we went through that big bottle a month). I wasn’t using the conditioner; it had been sitting on my shelf for several years. I’m sure glad I didn’t toss it! I love that after 5 1/2 years of cutting everything we think we can cut, we are continously finding new things to cut. (Last week we cut part of the coverage on our car insurance, which will save us $600 a year. We shop our auto insurance every couple of years to make sure we are getting the best deal. We also switched companies for a lower rate).
Speaking of cutting, my husband cut the boys’ hair–just a trim around the ears and in back this week.
I mended a jumper.
I collected water in the shower with a bucket while the water was warming, and used it to water my potted plants, and one day I used it to rinse my shower after I cleaned it. I also used water left from canning to water a plant.
I pinched off some succulents to start new plants. The new plants will be part of the decor in a bathroom.
I took cuttings of mint and set them to root to start new plants (my previous ones died because I missed watering the plant one day–it is that hot here, even in the shade).
I cut and froze plums from my garden so that I can use them later to make plum popsicles.
I ordered 4 free 5 x7s from Walgreens, thanks to a reader who alerted me to the July 4th deal.
I signed up for a free razor.
I got a free $3 Amazon MP3 credit. I used part of it to purchase a song that my son wants. This will be one of his birthday gifts.
My electric bill came this week. Every month I carefully read my utility bills, comparing them to both the previous month and the same month a year ago. I noticed that my usage for this June was much higher than my usage for last June. Though it’s been a hotter June this year than last, I knew that couldn’t be all there was to it. I talked to the children again about turning off ceiling fans. I reprogrammed the thermostats (our house has 2; one for each a/c unit) to be 80º in the morning and 79º the rest of the day. They were set at 78 and 79º. Just that small change should make a large difference in the bill next month. I had them set at 79º last year and I had not reprogrammed one of the thermostats since replacing the battery, so that could account for most of the larger bill, as it was at 78º.
My water bill came this week as well. It was my highest ever, far, far surpassing last year’s highest ever bill. I immediately went out and decreased our watering times for the garden. I will be setting a timer for myself for the shower and I will be talking to the children again about shorter showers and using less water while washing the dishes.
I pumped each day to make sure that I keep milk for this baby. I usually have trouble with an even lower milk-supply (than my normal low supply) at 5 months. This baby is only 2 1/2 months old and it is very low (after 5 hours of not nursing, I only pumped 1/2 ounce on Monday.) The baby started sucking her thumb and is not waking to nurse every hour as my babies usually do. I am pumping diligently now 1-2 times a day to retain my milk, thereby eliminating the need for formula. My lactation consultant advised me after my third baby to pump for 40 minutes even if there is no milk; it will bring the milk in. Since then, I have been able to nurse my babies longer without having to buy formula. Today I pumped 4 ounces. I will pump again tonight to keep my supply up. If I miss a day (I missed 2 days last week) it goes back to 1/2 ounce, so I will be making sure not to miss.
We are celebrating our anniversary at home tomorrow with a nice meal from the pantry and freezer, along with some tomatoes from the garden. We will have an at-home date night for our anniversary.
What frugal things have you accomplished this week?
This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life as MOM.