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This Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Felt “paper” dolls. I’ll be posting about these later today.

I made several Christmas gifts.

I mended a jacket.

I used 2 buttons from my button jar as part of a Christmas gift.

I paid a quarterly bill online that I usually mail.

I cut both boys’ hair and trimmed the baby’s hair.

We enjoyed a simple birthday at home this week for a child.

I wore warmer clothing during the day and at night, which made me quite comfortable in a cooler house. The heat is set at 65º in the house. We had our first frost this week, so it’s cold enough that the heater is starting to run a bit now.

I watched a few shows for free on Hulu.

I ordered a free 5 x 7 from Walgreen’s.

 
We made pizza at home.
 
I enjoyed listening to my girls play Christmas music on the piano. We sang Christmas songs every night as a family.
 
I said yes to the offer of some curling ribbon that my mom said that she has had for years. She brought over a huge bag, and I think some of that ribbon is almost as old as I am, if not older. I’ll be using curling ribbon on gifts for a very long time!
 
I saved a container that my husband received this week (with cookies inside) to use to start seeds. I saved the bow from the top of the package as well.
 
My parents gave me the end of their roll of brown craft paper.
 
I received some hand-me-downs from a friend. Inside the bag was a dress that Liberty loves. I also received a bag of hand-me-downs from a friend of my mom. There was a pair of flannel pajamas inside that was just the right size and also the favorite color of my oldest daughter. (The clothes that we cannot use will be donated.)
 
I saved some hard bread to use to make breadcrumbs, which I will make next week.
 
I got a great deal this week at Fresh and Easy. After coupons (I used the $10 off $50 and then the $3 off $30 from the ad) I spent $46.16 for 6 hams (average weight 12 pounds each), 20 pounds of clementines, 4 pounds of sweet peas (2 lbs for $1.89), a small 6 oz. Greek yogurt (I used it as a starter for a batch of yogurt this week), and 18 eggs. That’s over 96 pounds of food for $46, including meat! The hams are in my fridge for now until I have room in the freezer (hams usually have a use by/freeze by date that is a few months away). We are looking forward to having lots of ham next year. We’ll use it for sandwiches, on pizza, with pasta, in crepes, and in other meals throughout the year.
 
I also went to Winco this week, where I was able to get oranges for .19 a pound, eggs for .98 a dozen (I used two .55 off two dozen coupons as well), and cream cheese for .88.
 
I made homemade wheat crackers.
 
What did you do to save money this week?
 

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25 Comments

  1. Today we went to an Asian market/farmers market that sells mainly to local restaurants but anyone can shop there. I got 1 pound of ground mustard powder for $1.99 versus the cheapest around here in the regular grocery stores is $1.59 for 1.75 oz. I’ll use it to make chutneys and mustards (from the Food In Jars book and website I found through Brandi’s facebook page). It’s a huge bag, larger than a quart ziplock!My significant other and I decided not to exchange gifts this year and instead go out to eat. We went out tonight and each ordered appetizers for our meal. It was still plenty of food but significantly cheaper. Then we drove home looking at the Christmas decorations and lights.To wrap gifts I used gift bags and decorated gift boxes that we reuse every year. I only wrapped a few gifts and used wrapping paper I bought many many years ago on clearance.All the gifts for the children (who are teenagers) were things they needed (clothes, shoes, etc) or consumable (my daughter’s favorite teas, shampoo, etc). I was able to stuff their stockings with freebies from the drug stores that I’ve been putting aside since the summer.I was more thoughtful this year in picking what I would bake for the holidays, picking cookie recipes that did not require as many expensive ingredients. The shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles were almost empty, so I gathered up all the samples and trial sizes and emptied them into the bigger bottles so they get used. Otherwise I’ve been letting them pile up cluttering the cabinets. My daughter called it “shampoo parfait.” I put the sample lotions in a small basket on my desk so I will start using them.Merry Christmas!Debbie

  2. I will have to look on your website for the wheat crackers recipe – that would be a big savings for us if I could make our crackers. I used coupons and a sale to get cream cheese for .60 per 8oz. I stocked up and will use it many ways!I cut my husband’s hair, and trimmed my bangs.We supplemented our furnace heat with a fire in the wood stove. The firewood was free, so a real savings. My husband used some hi-temp sealant (that we had on hand from previous) to re-seal a stove pipe – just a bit of maintenance.I baked egg bread for all the neighbors for Christmas – dressed up with a bit of cardamom, cinnamon, dried apricots, raisins and sultanas. Pretty and tasty both!We were gifted with a restaurant gift card, and used it to have a meal out for all three of us. We don’t to that very often so it was a real treat!I mailed gifts from home, using the USPS website, which saved a little on the postage for each flat rate box. They will even pick them up here, which saves a trip.Instead of Christmas cards, I made (72!!) hand-stamped bookmarks that are Christian themed. Church members really liked them!Read books from the library and watched online videos to help me understand soem crochet patterns that are new to me.Made hot cocoa mix from items we had on hand instead of buying already-made cocoa.My husband’s work gave us a spiral cut ham for Chrsitmas. We will make it last over many, many meals. Cleaned out the bathroom cabinet and found some things we don’t need that I could donate to charity, and it freed up space as well.Used library books and donated cocoa to have a lovely program at church. I took popcorn too, and the children really enjoyed reading different versions of the Christmas story.Finally, I went through my clothes to see if there were some new ways to combine them and found a few ‘new’ outfits.

  3. The cracker recipe isn’t on my website yet. I’ve been experimenting with a recipe and making adjustments to it. I hope to get it up soon. I’ve tried a few variations to it as well. I’m pretty happy with them now, though, so I need to get some made and photographed on a day when the family doesn’t need to immediately eat them!

  4. Hi!I got basketballs at Ollie’s for $5.00 instead of paying $10.00 at Walmart’s.I made peanut butter cookies instead of buying them.I also made my own fruit tray instead of buying one.I included only the fruit my daughters wanted in it.Pat

  5. Merry Christmas everyone!!! Brandy that is such a great deal on the groceries, I know you were excited about that! Well I don’t have that many things to mention this week. I am going to make homemade chocolate chip cookies for santa instead of buying the pre made cookie dough( I was really tempted to buy it to save time). I was tempted to buy the last carton of eggnog at the store, but it was almost $5, so I decided to substitute some homemade hot chocolate instead. I bought a couple pounds of butter at Walmart, it was on sale for $2.50 a pound, which is the best price I have seen in our area. My husband is buying a couple bags of sugar on sale with a coupon, to put up in the pantry. I also rotated some items in our pantry, and made 3-4 meals using things that were right at the expiration dates. I am also going to start making lunches meatless to cut costs. I am also going to look into making more homemade cleaners with vinegar and baking soda to cut costs as well. I would also love to have the recipe for homemade crackers, we go through boxes of crackers with soups at our house!!

  6. This week I did several things to save money. I finished my niece’s pajamas. She wanted me to make her some for Christmas. Since she is autistic, we try to give her something she wants, since she won’t even look at, much less use, anything she doesn’t like.I make snacks for my 2 daughters’ youth group Christmas party. I made Chex mix (both the chocolate kind, and the salty kind) from Chex I had bought last week for between $1.50 and $2.00 a box, plus some pretzels I got for free a while back. I had the other ingredients on hand. I also cut 2 melons I had received from the gleaners group I belong to, as well as baked some cookies from the same place. I put out a tray of veggies plus some dip I made, most of which I got for free. I had the rest of the ingredients on hand. I bought inexpensive lemon-lime soda and mixed it with some fruit juice (a juice, water, sugar cocktail) that I got a while back for free. We put it into a punch bowl. The youth minister got sausage(which I cut in slices and then in half to stretch it out) and sherbet and ice cream. The volunteers put the sherbet in cups, and added the “punch.” When we ran out of 7-up, we used straight juice, then added in some soda that had been sitting there since last summer in the church kitchen. When asked what kind of punch it was, we replied “Christmas punch.” Then they were making orange soda floats with the leftover ice cream and soda. It was tons of fun. The kids were so appreciative and ate and drank it ALL, except a little bit of Chex mix. Since we had a huge turn-out (about 50 kids), we fed them all for WAY under $1 per person and they seemed to love it.I, and my daughter, volunteered at the gleaner warehouse, and received 2 boxes of extra food. I got my regular gleaner pick-up. We use that food as much as we can and I also can share with people. I got lots of veggies, salad fixings, and canteloupe. I will take salad on Christmas Day to my sister’s. We heated with wood, as usual. My husband had the furnace looked at since it seemed to cost a rediculous amount.every time we turned it on. The man found the problem. It sents coolant into the system when we turn it on, making it work REALLY hard and costing us a fortune. We haven’t been using it at all. Obviously. BUT, he couldn’t figure out how to fix it. He is checking with the other workers. Hopefully someone can figure it out. It would be so nice to have the option to turn it on once in a while. We will still heat with wood no matter what, but when we leave ti would be nice to have it be more than the 40’s or 50’s when we get back home.My husband barbequed pork chops from the pig he raised last spring. He also did a ham for Christmas Day, also from the pig he raised. He uses purchased pig food for the most part. But, when I can, I ask for food that is too far gone to hand out when I volunteer at gleaners. This last week, I brought home around 250 pounds of spoiled grapes and papayas and we fed them to the pigs he is raising now.I finished embroidering several dish towels for gifts. I bought the flour sack towels in a 5-pack at Walmart a few years ago for $1 per towel and use the Aunt Martha’s transfers. I have lots of embroidery thread. I buy some occasionally, but we also have gotten lots from garage sales.I made another huge batch of carmel corn to give as gifts.I took a few cans of food to my haircut and saved $10 on the haircut.Becky

  7. Due to the contents of the freezer and the kindness of friends and leftovers from work or church potlucks, we have spent no money on food since the pipes burst except for milk one day. (I am amazed at how almost everyone else turns down the leftovers at potlucks. Usually only one or two othe people are interested in taking them home—this week I ended up with about a pound of sliced cheese and a giant unopened container of potato salad someone had purchased at Sam’s Club; the potato salad will go nice with the Christmas ham. And two oranges.)I needed some thank you cards for gifts we have received, so I took some of the Christmas cards we have received so far this year and reworked the fronts and made them into thank you cards. I made the envelopes out of old maps, and used labels to print the addresses on.We received an unexpected $930.12 check for some work I did almost three years ago for a company that went bankrupt before they paid me. I had completely forgotten about filing a form with the bankruptcy court, but apparently it is finally through the process and this is my portion. They owed me more, but,frankly, I had written it all off in my mind so this is really a great surprise. I am not sure how they arrived at the 12 cents in addition to the $930, but I’ll take it! Except for 10% to the local food bank, this went straight into the emergency fund that had been depleted when the pipes burst (it is now zero degrees today, instead of 42 below. YIPPEE!). I thought we would have to eat up the cupboard and not buy any food until mid February, but this will make up not all but much of the amount we spent on the pipes—I still plan to try and make it to mid February just to boost the fund beyond what it was, but this is a real unexpected gift!Sent a pair of prescription glass lenses back to the manufacturer (since the local optometrist refused to even look at them), with a very polite but tart letter about the inferior quality of the frames. They sent me back not only my original purchase price, minus the lense cost, but a voucher for a free pair of frames. They also called the optometrist and he left me a message saying he will put in new lenses in the new frames I select and apologized for such poor customer service.Won a $20 gas card and was able to give that as a gift to a teen who just got his own beater (earned himself and used to take hiim to work after school, so I felt good about helping).My friend is converting to a no flour diet, so she gave me a CASE of mac and cheese!! I am thinking the Christmas ham leftovers will be good in that.Earned about four dozen eggs babysitting the neighbor’s chickens and ducks this entire week. All of the husband’s gifts were handmade this year, for the first time, but just this week I scored a mystery shop for the movie theater so we will be able to see a movie and have popcorn and pop for free! I am wrapping it up and putting a note that I will go to any movie he wants, so I may end up at some sort of space flick!That’s it other than the usual frugal stuff. Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks for all the suggestions—every week I read at least one new thing I can try.

  8. Thanks for all the great ideas. I love chicken salad but have never tried ham salad. Potato soup is a favorite, but I’ve never tried ham in it. What do you put on your pizza with the ham? I love having new ways to add variety to my meals.

  9. A friend of mine has a 3200 sq. foot house (built in the 1800’s) that she heats entirely with one wood stove, and she says it can get to the 70’s in her house. I wonder if a less-expensive long-term solution for you would be a bigger and better wood stove.

  10. Becky, could you share some more information about the gleaner’s warehouse that you mentioned in your post? That would be a real blessing to my family, and I can easily make the time to volunteer since we homeschool (which makes our schedule more flexible). Thanks so much!

  11. It’s Christmas Eve. My daughter and I baked up cookies tonight from dough I made ahead of time and froze. Since she’s just 7 and we had other things to do, this made for a just-right activity time-wise, without buying dough at the store.My husband wanted a specific food from home. Home for him is Hawaii, and it would have cost me a fortune to get this item purchased and overnighted (it requires refrigeration, etc.) I found several copycat recipes online and narrowed it down to ‘the one’ and made him a dozen Liliha Bakery Coco Puffs (think cream puff with chocolate filling and a chantilly-pecan frosting) for less than $2, because I was able to get some ingredients free or very, very low priced with sales and coupons. Yippee!We did not spend a lot this Christmas, but we have had a wonderful holiday – caroling, learning more about Advent, baking for friends and neighbors, making things, sharing what we have…it’s really been a wonderful, Christ-filled season. I’m eager for tomorrow!!!

  12. I have long hair and watched a few tutorials on youtube on cutting your own hair. I found one I really liked and tried it and it worked like a charm! It was super easy (bend over, brush all of your hair into a ponytail on top of your forehead. Put a second ponytail holder further down your hair where you want to cut, cut your hair and flip back over. Brush your hair out and part down the middle and brush so each half of hair is on the corresponding side of your head. Pull the bottoms to meet under your chin and trim.) I will NEVER waste money at a salon again! Good luck!

  13. I don’t feel like I a very frugal week. I am gearing up for a “minor” surgery that has already cost me almost $1000 (AFTER my insurance paid their part) just in the pre-surgery visits and testing. OUCH! But I have to have this procedure done. It is causing lots of problems that I have ignored for to many years. I will be extra frugal where I can to make up for the bill I have to pay out of pocket.I found several organic/natural items on clearance at the grocery store. We are switching to a mostly organic/natural diet. Which is expensive. But we will be planting all of our own fruits/vegetables this spring so that will help alotI wrapped all our christmas gifts with leftover gift wrap I inherited with the house we just bought. I had scotch tape stockpiled when it was on sale 3/$1.I used the orange vinegar I made from soaking clementines in vinegar. It cleaned wonderfully and smelled great! We received a gift card for a restaurant that we will use for a date night when we get the time.I combined what few errands I had so save a lot of gas. My husband did some routine maintenance to keep our car running well through out our rough winter.I received several, much appreciated, gifts of various food items. My laptop finally quit working, so my husband cleaned out and organized our storage room (extra bedroom 🙂 ) and hooked up my ancient desk top and made me a little office.I have been making our bread and we have been baking our own snacks. I refuse to buy this stuff anymore when homemade is so much better.My husband doesnt eat breadI have almost given up soda! I drink diet (cancer in a can) and one 12 pack has lasted me 2 weeks! This is a huge accomplishment for me, who used to drink nothing but soda all day every day. My hubby also has cut down on his mountain dew 🙂 A LOTI resisted the urge to buy my coworkers gifts,and instead brought a dish (pulled bbq pork with leftover buns/rolls) for everyone to eat at work. This went over very well.Thats about it, I feel like I didn’t have a very frugal week, but they can’t all be perfect 🙂

  14. There are several different gleaner organizations. I don’t know where you live, but you could check out ones in your area. Our county has one of the best ones I have heard of.You join, based on income. This one is different in the fact that your income can be much higher than if qualified for food stamps, etc., but the payoff is that you need to take a turn working. In some of the other organizations, you can make less, and they just give you food.So, you join a “team.” Once a month, your team sends 2 members to the warehouse where they help pack the food onto pallets with the other volunteers for that day. You can volunteer more often if you want to, which I do. They list which teams get food that day on a recording. Your team sends someone with a big vehicle to pick up that food when it’s your turn, and then you take it to your “drop site,” which is someone’s garage, shed, barn, porch,etc. Then the team members take turns dividing that food up into portions, according to how many people are on our team. Ours has 13. At a certain time, you go to the drop site and get your allotment.Sometimes, you get a large amount of food frequently. Sometimes less often. The average is about once a week. It all depends on what was donated. Usually, the produce is right on the edge of being useful, but we use it or give it away right away. Once a month, you get about 5 lbs of meat, if they have it. It can range from hot dogs, to meat or fish. Sometimes it’s awesome, sometimes very old and not so awesome. Occasionally, we get canned or dry goods, or even non-food items. I like this one, because I don’t feel like I’m taking a hand-out, since everyone has to work. I volunteer about once a week and feel like I am helping others out as well. I get far more usable items than I have to throw away. I can feed the bad stuff to the animals or make compost. We often get way more than we can use personally, so we share with a lot of people, when we have extra. This especially happens on the days where both my daughter and I volunteer, because they give you each an extra food box when you do. Every time I work up there, I am reminded again of how blessed we are. Gleaners helps us tremendously to keep our food budget low. But, if we did not have it, we would make it, like we did before we joined. I can, freeze, and dry food. I have a huge garden. So for us, it makes our diet more varied, especially during the winter. I see people and hear stories of those who need it so badly, and I feel privileged to get to help them in such a tangable way. I do spend a lot of time up there. You can still be in it and volunteer less, but in this particular one, you have to help somehow. I could not have volunteered as much when I was homeschooling so many children. We have 7 adopted children, many of whom are special needs, so…you get the idea. Now, I’m down to 2 left at home and the youngest is 12. The older one can volunteer as well, and it’s been good for her to learn to give back a little. I never make her go, it’s always her choice, because it’s “volunteer” work. I’ve been pleased that she wants to go as much as she does. I go on a day when my husband can watch my other daughter.I hope this explains it in a nutshell. If something is not clear, ask away, or email me at rbgep@colton.comBecky

  15. From AthanasiaWe made tamales too. My son did most of the work as it was his idea and he brought the ingredients home with him for the holidays. He made them in the early afternoon and they were in the steamer cooking while we played games before Christmas Eve dinner. I don’t know the cost per each but they were non-meat ones. We are vegetarian.

  16. From AthanasiaI don’t remember the children teething…years later you don’t remember the difficult stuff I think, just the good things.What do you do with all that fudge!? Sell it?

  17. I laughed at your house being set at 65 degrees. My house is set at 62 degrees. On the train last night, I heard a couple talking about how cold their house will be when they return, because they set it at 66 degrees!!! It’s all relative.

  18. *Cut my own hair (in layers!) before heading out to visit family for Christmas. *Used a $5/$50 Vons grocery coupon from Recyclebank. It is the only game in town!*Uploaded some videos to EXPO TV (earned points equivalent to $5). Cashed in previous points to geta $25 Vons gift card. Also received a free candle from them to try out and make a video on.*Watched some documentaries on our Amazon Prime account. *Used Christmas $$$ to buy some storage and house things. *Grocery shopped today buying mostly items for vegetarian dinners.*Received a ton of free samples the day after Christmas. Cream of Wheat, child proof cabinet lock thingys, etc…*We continue to keep our house at 63 at most times. It’s been getting in the teens here so every now again I bump it up to 64-65, but then it gets too hot. :)*Started to set aside a pile of things to sell on Ebay or Amazon.

  19. From AthanasiaTook all my Birkenstock sandals and cleaned them and put on a new coat of cork renew. This will make sense to you if you wear these. Checked to see if any need to be resoled.Mended a blanket comforter that popped its seam.Finished using up Christmas cards from the last 30 years. I save a list of what I send and when so fun to look back over each year and think about why I chose that card in the first place. Next year I will start new with 2 fresh boxes.Picked up some new release library books. I like to get my name down for a reserve as soon as I know a new book I want to read is coming out…so I get the reserve in while still only “on order”. I don’t know if your library will do this but if you like to read new books while they are still new, this is the way to do it without spending 25.00 a book.I know everyone seems to be able to keep their thermostats low, but that is not always possible. I have quite severe arthritis and even with multiple layers I need 70 minimum day, 69 evening and 66 at night. I also try to spend a good portion of the evening in the kitchen baking and cooking. I type and write a good deal at work and hands do nothing if too stiff. It’s quite cold and snowy here now. Fortunately I just go from house to garage to car and with handicap tag I don’t have to be outside for too long. But going out is a shock, and often going to the homes of others can be quite uncomfortable. I take a small blanket along when I can and request a hot beverage when it is polite to do so.Found we have a HALF PRICE BOOKS store in town near here. Daughter picked up some books she wanted that were out of print and she is going to gather a bag full to take there next time we go. I am not sure if they buy outright or give credit, but both good.Made 3 pies for Christmas. Cannot believe what they charge for pies at the store, and they don’t even look that good.Traded some DVDs with co-worker so we each had something new to watch. We will trade back, not for keeps.Was gifted a Norfolk pine at work by another office. I will attempt to keep it alive (do not have a green thumb) and see how big it gets by next Christmas. I will move it into a bigger pot, I think.

  20. from Athanasia…10ThingsFarm…I clicked on you link as your name piqued my interest, but are you on hiatis? The most current entry was from March.

  21. From Athanasia…There has been a lot of mention of hams. I cooked a big ham, big for us at 10 pounds, this Christmas Day. We eat very little meat and cook vegetarian, though as everyone gathers at my house for the holidays I do cook a meat for the meat eaters to enjoy. After dinner I sliced as much meat off as possible and sent packs of ham home with my mother, and anyone else that wanted it. I will cook the soup bone up later this week and make a large batch of pea and ham soup and package up in quart freezer containers. These will go to my mother and others who want. I like to do this. I don’t like to think of people eating commercially canned soup.

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