Monday, March 18, 2013

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Winter did a science experiment this week using materials we had on hand.

This roundup of frugal activities from last week is brought to you a few days late, thanks to Pinterest, and all of those lovely people who pinned such beautiful garden images. I have been dreaming of re landscaping our front yard (if you can call one tree, a row of bushes, a kidney-shaped piece of grass, and the rest of the yard covered in rocks landscaping. It's pretty standard landscaping for here, however). If you'd like to see my ideas, you can click over to what I've pinned here.

On to last week's frugal activities:

I cut daffodils from the garden and put them on my table.

I began harvesting a little bit of our looseleaf lettuce this week for a few small salads for the family. I also cut green onions, rosemary, a tiny bit of bok choy, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I cooked a turkey and used it in meals throughout the week.

I trimmed the baby's hair in the front and gave Cyrus a haircut.

I combined the leftover syrup from my home canned peaches and pears with half a banana (that Elsa decided not to finish), blended them together and poured the mixture to make popsicles.

My husband worked from home one day, which saved us money for gas.

We listened to free music on Pandora.

I planted more vegetable and flower seeds in the garden. I thinned my lettuce again and replanted the lettuce in other places in the garden. I added more drip lines to the garden so that I can grow more in our garden.

I changed our house rule to have no tv for the children during the week. Ideally, our children will have their schoolwork done before lunch each day. I had allowed them to watch something after naptime and before our before-dinner chores each day. Since we've had a lot of dawdling at schooltime lately, I changed to tv only on the weekend. (We have not had cable since July 2007, but they still have plenty of dvds to watch). This will mean a little bit less electricity (the frugal part of this). The weather is beautiful and I have been encouraging them to play outside more. Come summer I think we will have to do indoor projects or play more games together when it is too hot to be outside.

My husband taught my three oldest children to play Risk. We've had the game for years (my husband had it before we were married). As the children get older we will continue to teach them new games to play together. When they have friends over, they often play board games together.

I shortened the sleeves on a pair of my pajamas where the elbow had torn. I also cut a pair of Ezrom's pants at the knee where they had town. I will hem them for shorts this week.

We enjoyed having the windows open this week. It is getting quite warm; I wore sandals all week.

I dug up several herbs so that I could add more dirt to the bed (the dirt has settled over the years and we have not been able to add to it each year, so I am working to bring it higher). The oregano and sage were divided to make several more plants, which will hopefully all survive the transplant. This should give them each room to do better; the sage seemed to be really crowded before. I have decided to make a greater effort to grow more herbs than I have in the past; I was harvesting the herbs for fresh herbs but I usually did not have enough to supply all of my needs for dried herbs. I would like to change that so that my garden space is being better utilized and so that I do not need to buy dried herbs for those which I can easily grow.

What did you do to save money last week?


  1. I love the look on Winter's face while doing the science experiment!

    *Put together a St Patrick’s Day wreath by tying, then hot gluing, a ribbon from my stash to my homemade styrofoam form. I used low temp hot glue, purchased with a 40% off coupon at JoAnn’s, to attach the ornament balls & a green St. Patrick’s Day garland. I attached the garland to the inside, outside & back of the foam base, & also used some shorter pieces to “fill in” gaps between the ornament balls. I cut apart the St. Patrick’s Day necklace & used the shiny green shamrocks & tiny beads as accents on the wreath. The necklace & the garland were both 70% off on clearance. I think it looks as good, or better, than the one that I liked on etsy for $65, with $35 shipping, & my version cost under $10.
    *Dumped the water from the half-empty water bottles on the daffodils that are coming up. I also used some of the snow from the piles that have not yet melted, placed around the daffodil & tulip bulbs, to water them for free. Collected the rinse water in the kitchen to use on the plants & used the bathwater to give a drink to the shrubs & ornamentals.
    *Bought 2 dresses at ShopKo for the grandbaby to grow into, at 70% off. The sale price was 50% off, then I had a family & friends coupon for 20% off on top of that. One is big, but she can fit into it, & the other is to grow into.
    *A few days were warm enough to wear capris “handed down” from my daughter to me last week when we sorted the clothes in the tubs.
    *Bought cabbage, while it was on sale for St. Patrick’s Day, & made stuffed cabbage rolls with ground turkey from the freezer & green onions from the garden.
    *Cut up 2 empty banana peels into small pieces, one for each rose, & “fed” the roses by digging it into the dirt around the rose. I also stopped at Starbucks on the way home when I went for my lab draw, & again the next day for my dr. appointment. I picked up free grounds for gardeners, & put some on the spring bulbs, roses & around the fruit trees to fertilize.
    *Cleaned out the dried up remains of the old parsley plants, & made room for the new parsley that is sprouting from the seeds that self-sowed.
    *Washed the windows, & raked a portion of the front lawn to remove the leaves that blew in over the winter from the neighbors. I placed the leaves in a large bucket, then used the mini-tiller to shred them to use as mulch.
    *Watered the lettuce under the cloches. I harvested lettuce for a salad, & planted more lettuce in the lettuce bed, along with spinach, carrots, & parsnips. I set the pea fence in the garden, & planted heirloom sugar peas on both sides. I also planted the tiny onion sets I grew from seed last year. I left several onions in one of the beds over winter; they have sprouted, so now I have green onions to use.
    *Began to cut up one of the pine trees saved from the curb after Christmas. I scrunched the leaves that were on top of the blackberry bed, then covered them with a thin layer of pine needles & stems cut with a pruner, to help keep the soil in that bed acidified.
    *I combined several sets of leftovers to make vegetable soup, which I ate for lunch.
    *Bought 3 more packages of ground turkey from the mark down bin for the freezer.
    *Recycled our cans, a metal car grill my husband replaced, & a metal pan our daughter brought home to add to the stash of recyclables.
    *Offered to dispose of the stack of broken pavers for our neighbor who is moving. They gave us all the intact square pavers when they redid the back yard, but still had a stack on those that had broken. It saves them a trip to the dump, & I can use the half pavers in several places.

    1. Be careful about assuming that you will get 70% off if something is 50% and you have an additional 20% off. I wanted to say this not to be smart, but because I think it's a marketing thing to fool people. I'm not sure if this is true for the place you were shopping, but this is the way that I think this would work at most stores. They apply the 20% off after they apply the 50% off. So for example, if the dress was $10 and was on sale for 50% off, they would take 50% off the $10, and now you are at $5. They would then take 20% off the $5 (20% of $5 is $1), which makes it now $4. That is 60% off the original, not 70%. Stores know that you will think you are getting 70% off, and they rely on that. Anyway, please know that I'm not trying to be a know-it-all, because I sure don't, but this is something that I feel the stores use to make you think you are getting a better deal than you actually are.

      I can't wait to get to buy clothes for grandkids!! :) Of course, my oldest is 16, so hopefully it's still a ways off, but I think being a grandma is going to be the BEST.

    2. Our local ShopKo applies both the 50% & the 20% to the full price. I do check my receipts every time I purchase an item. I have seen stores apply the coupons the way you describe, but I do not shop at those stores.

  2. The most exciting thing I did was build a solar cooker! I took a workshop which was $40 for all materials and instructions, but as far as I can tell buying a similar one premade would run about $250. I'm hoping to use it a lot and save money on our gas bill. It will also be nice to not have to heat up the house in the summer (although we don't have a/c anyway so we won't save any money there).

    I also did a fair amount of gardening. I harvested collard greens and kale. I put some tomatoes in the garden, repotted some seedlings, and worked on a new bed that will be for more vegetables.

  3. Brandy Winter's photo has come out lovely. Im thinking she looks very much like your husband.

    The best frugal thing for this week was getting my favourite eggs (Pete and Gerrys) which are usually $3.29 for half a dozen for $1.29. I stocked up because I remember reading on Brandys website you can store eggs for upto a month.

    We are looking fro options to reduce our cellphone bill but it seems att does have the best plans so far for the iphone.

    I am so so glad that I got the orchids Brandy!! They are so low maintenence and the living room looks lovely with them. What happens once all the flowers are blooming ?

    Ate out once this week. Felt very nice even though home made meals are good.

    The usual trip to the library for dvds and books for the week, saving a few cents on taking my own bags to the grocery store. Found a petrol pump which has some cheap gas on average. Have not bought bread for the last couple of weeks, no reason but just decided to give ourselves a break from it.

    Daughter had fun riding the tricycle since the weather was good.

    Earned around $20 from surveys.

    Got a free box of wipes after mail in rebate.

    Thats about it!

    1. This is not something I have done myself, but I did read this article about a possible iPhone solution. On his website, you can also find an update to this article where he indicates that this is still working well for them. I would proceed carefully, but it might be something worth looking into for you. I am a fairly new reader of his site (it's not a Christian mom blog like I usually read :) ), but I had seen him recommended on some top financial blogger list and have been reading his blog some.

    2. I have also read Mr. Money Mustache, and my husband followed his plan, and while it took some doing, he now has the 10.00 plan on his iphone. This worked out really well for his phone, and will probably switch over mine as well.

    3. I LOVE MR. Money M. but wish he didn't swear as much.

  4. Never thought of listening to pandora as frugal because it is free, but we did that for dancing music for my daughter all week.

    Didn't allow ourselves to go out of our grocery budget to run to the store just to buy a couple things we needed. When we did finally go, we restocked our food storage with the case lot sale and only bought the absolute necessities on our list therefore coming in $50 under budget this month to allow us to pay off another bill.

    Cut some of my husbands old long sleeve work shirts for new short sleeve shirts and used the arms to make my daughter a new pair of leggings. Used one of my old lace shirts to make my daughter and her doll a new skirt. Pulled in the seams from some newborn clothes to make some doll clothes. Used some old levi's to make my son levi's. Traded babysitting for my children while I work with sewing and mending for my babysitter therefore saving money for both of us.

    Used junk mail as paper for my daughter to paint on.

    Walked to church to save on gas, get some family time, fresh air and a little exercise.

    Use the juice from fruit cans I used for various meals as the water when making jello, therefore saving water.

    Prepared, weeded and pruned everything in our new yard and pulled out unnecessary bushes taking space and water to make way for fruit and vegetable plants to be planted when we can plant this year. Started my own seedlings for the first time ever instead of just buying the starters. Taught my daughter, 2 1/2yrs old how to pull weeds to help me save time and use my work time as productive family time.

    Learned how to splice and repair an electrical cord I accidentally sliced hedging bushes so that we don't just buy a new one.

    Getting up 20 minutes early to pack lunches, start dinner in the crockpot and prepare snacks for when we are home so we don't just go grab a bite to each on our way to and from home. We did not eat out a single time saving money on food and gas. (I know lots of people already do this, but sometimes waking up is a challenge for me). When preparing meat or vegetables I did what we needed for the entire week, so that meal prep time was cut in half and I was able to use my larger amounts of free, non-working time reading and playing games with my children.

  5. I had to smile when you mentioned wearing sandals; the snow is already coming down this morning and we are expecting over a foot!

    **It was warm and sunny on Sunday, so we turned the heat off and opened the windows! It will probably be a while before we will be able to do that again.

    **I called our phone company about a phone/internet package promo I had heard about, and even though I didn't qualify for the discount they did take $8/month off our internet bill! The representative on the phone said to call back next year as they may have an even better deal. It never hurts to call the utility companies and ask if they have any promotions running.

    **I made laundry soap for the first time this week. I've been hesitant to use homemade laundry soap since I've read that it can cause problems with washing machines and can cause clothes to get dingy. I used Brandy's recipe since she mentioned that she has been using it for year. I reused the oxi-clean scoop for my new laundry soap scoop since it measures exactly 2 tablespoons.

    I used the Olay bars that I got for free from the Dollar Tree, but they were a little bit smaller than regular-sized bars so I used 1 1/2 bars. I also added about a capful of Purex Crystals that I bought with a coupon a few weeks ago.

    **Received a vitamin sample and 2 magazines from free subscriptions.

    **Earned $2 from Pinbooster.

    **Saved stickers from a Disney movie offer that came in the mail for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.

    **Cut both boys' hair.

    **Found a piece of fabric at the thrift store for $.50 that will make a nice pillow (or two) for the sofa. Now I've just got to find inexpensive pillow forms!

    **Paid cash for a new roof thanks to our tax refund. We were told a year ago that we would need a new roof this year, so we saved our tax refund specifically for this purpose. We were very thankful that we didn't have to borrow money for this not-so-frugal project!

    Our on-going savings:

    **Keep thermostat at 67 during the day and 62 at night.

    **Husband takes lunch to work everyday.

    **Turn lights off when not being used.

    **Use cash to buy groceries.

    **Use scrap paper for notes and lists.

    **Drive to town once a week for shopping and errands.

    **Buy less cereal and eating oatmeal several times a week.

    **Reuse plastic and paper shopping bags for small trash and recycling.

    For links and pictures:

    1. Replacing your room may be expensive, but in the long-run, it is definitely frugal. A leaky roof can cause all sorts of expensive damage to your home!

  6. Planted our garden. Had a garage sale to get rid of some clutter. Got a Sam's card and did some grocery shopping. Bought meat that was on sale. Cooked with eggs from our chickens for breakfasts. Combined errands on Friday to save gas. Ate at home most of the weekend. Bought 2-20 pound bags of potatoes for 3.99 each. Bought 3-10 bags of sugar for 3.99 each. Used my new Sam's card to get gas before going home on Friday to save .05 a gallon. Worked on baby shower decorations for my daughter in law's upcoming baby shower.

  7. I need to do the no tv rule more often as well. At least for now, we have reduced our tv time mostly to watching some new immersion Spanish videos for kids, so at least it is educational.

    I planted spinach and sugar snap peas this week. The spinach is starting to come up now.

    I made my first ironing board cover (inspired by when you did it awhile ago) out of a piece of fabric I got for $1 from the thrift store last week. There is still plenty of fabric left over to make a Roman shade. I am slowly working on my craft/sewing room trying to use only items that we already have on hand.

    My husband's in-laws were in town this weekend and offered to watch our kids while we went out to eat, but we are in tight times right now financially, so instead of going out in the evening, we waited until naptime on a Sunday afternoon and went to the thrift store and library together. We spent about $16 at the thrift store on four pairs of shorts, a like-new pair of khakis for my husband, and a khaki skirt for myself. I suppose we could have gotten these items for less at garage sales, but it would have taken a lot of time, which is rare for my law school husband! Then we went to the library where I was able to get a few books and dvd's that I had been wanting to see.

    Also, as I went to buy corned beef for St. Patrick's day and found that they were all out at one grocery store, I discovered that they had Boston butt pork roasts on sale for .99 a pound. I know how to make chorizo, carnitas, and pulled-pork from these, so I stocked up and got 30 lbs. Paired with beans and rice, I think these will serve for many meals over the next few months. I was also able to use a grocery store coupon to get 5 lbs of broccoli crowns for $3.

  8. I shared mine at:

    I can't wait to start planting my garden:)

  9. Hi Brandy,
    I love reading yours and others lists. Here is ours and I am adding a link to a money management series I am doing.

  10. -Baked bread, made refried beans and homemade tostadas.

    -took the dogs on 2 extra long walks this weekend on the bike trails we have near our house. The weather is beautiful and I like to take advantage of it!

    -stayed home all day Saturday and Sunday.

    -my husband got Dish to lower our bill by calling and telling them he was going to shop around. I read on Wisebread that if you are paying more than an introductory price for cable or internet than you are paying too much.

    -I buy butter at SAMs Club because it is the best price. I beat it with equal amounts of warm water with a mixer or my Kitchenaide. We use it for toast, muffins, ect. The only thing you can't use it for is baking. I read this tip on a Depression Era recipe website. It really makes our butter stretch further.

    -thanks again for all the great ideas.

  11. I don't have a pinterest account, and I have heard friends say that it's a bit addictive! I think for now, I need my time for other things, hee hee.

    We had a good week. My husband has been transferring prescriptions around, because it seems that half the pharmacies in town will give you a $25 gift card if you transfer a script. We used that strategy to get 60 double rolls of TP for free, along with several other things.

    There are more details here:

    I'd love for you to come visit and take a look around. :)

  12. *Cut Hubs and Doodle B’s hair.
    *Received some seeds from a friend to work on a butterfly garden.
    *Used $10 Kohls Cash, and $10 off any $10 purchase, and a 20% off friends and family discount from an email to pay only $9.86 for two shirts for me, and a shirt and skirt for my daughter.
    *Combined the trip to Kohls with a visit to Sam’s Club and the sporting goods store for the yellow socks Doodle B needs for t-ball.
    *Didn’t buy *much* at Sam’s club, because my grocery budget for the month was dwindling, but I did get a few really good deals: bread flour, apple juice, a seasoning my son loved (the Mojito Lime from Sunday’s pictures), bananas, a HUGE pineapple, butter, milk, and a couple of quick meals for those busy nights when we have to rush out the door for baseball.
    *Filled up the gas tank at Sam’s, saving about 6 cents a gallon over the cheapest gas I saw anywhere else, even with gas points.
    *Went to Aldi after Sam’s, and got grapes, salmon, tortilla chips, and carrots. After going to both Sam’s and Aldi, I’m going to try to limit my shopping to just those two places for a few months, to see how the budget looks. I know that I’ll have to go to Walmart or Kroger for a few items that Sam’s and Aldi don’t carry and my family (particularly Hubs and Kitten) aren’t will to compromise on. If all Hubs insists on is a particular brand of toilet paper, I can deal with that. Kitten’s a bit picky, and I do indulge her to some degree, because we’re still working on overcoming a few lingering side effects from her previous health issues. Anyway, I’m working on another project that hopefully will save even more money when we buy groceries . . . more on that later! (I'll post details on my blog and try to give a condensed version here too.)
    *Signed up for Netflix and got a free month!
    *Ate leftovers and ate at home everyday (except when I was at the hospital with my Grandfather. My grandmother bought me lunch one day as a thank you for buying her lunch, coffee, and some snacks for her and my Grandfather the day before).
    *Helped Hubs get his receipts together after his travel for training so that he could get reimbursed.
    *Took the leftover snacks and goodies he didn’t eat while he was gone and added them back to the pantry shelves for all of us to enjoy.
    *Opened the windows to let fresh air in and cool off the upstairs of the house on warm days, and used the wood stove for heat on cold nights.
    *The usual–used homemade laundry detergent, hung clothes on the clothes line to dry, unplugged and turned stuff off, waited for a full dishwasher load before turning it on.

  13. This week we:
    -Combined our trips to town (dr appt + groceries, combined dentist appt for 3 of us)
    -Received 3 $5 gift cards to ColdStone and used one for a family activity
    -It was warm this week, so I opened all the windows to air out the house and cool it off in the afternoon
    -Made all of our meals and used leftovers for lunches

  14. I teach and just found out that we are getting out of school early today because of a blizzard...expecting 20 inches so your sandals makes me very jealous.

    We painted our kitchen ourselves.

    I printed numerous coupons to combine with sales this week. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.49 a pound is the best deal.

    I purchased eggs for .99 a dozen and also used the .55 off coupon. I wish they had had more than three dozen. I may go back tomorrow if the weather is okay for driving.

    Bought my children cereal as a treat in their Easter baskets. If you bought three boxes (i had coupons, you saved $3.50 off a gallon of milk.

    Listened to Pandora. Downloaded free books for my kindle.

    Re-purposed some baskets from throughout the house to improve kitchen storage.

    ate leftovers for dinner.

    took my lunches to work all week.

    filed and completed my own taxes for the first time.

    enjoyed a couple of magazines that my in-laws get with their credit card rewards

    Drank more water this week.

    dehydrated beef for jerky.

    enjoyed dinner with my family Saturday night and my in-laws on Sunday.

    Reworked my budgeting categories to save a little more for our vacation account.

  15. We bought a pint of ice cream and took it to the park with two spoons for a date. Used a coupon for the ice cream. We hiked to a waterfall afterwards.
    I brought in some of the daffodils to brighten our home.
    I made a turkey and a pot of Chilli and smoothies
    Made smoothies with the pineapple I got on sale at Food lion big cans for .69 each mixed with yogurt and coconut these taste great got two cases of the pineapple have been serving it with ham and also with cottage cheese at lunches.
    Used up scraps for lunches all week so almost zero cost for lunches.
    (Had just bits of chicken, turkey and hams from past that were in the freezer used all of these tiny bits with veggies for serving for lunches)Hubby calls it smorgasbord I call it scraps.
    used homemade laundry detergent.
    We always listen to Pandora music as well.
    Fixed a plumbing problem for zero cost.
    Hubby took a bit of overtime to earn a bit of extra cash.
    Prepared a swap box for when I get to see my daughter at Easter. Asked her to get mine ready too.
    Ate Oatmeal for Breakfasts everyday but Sunday made apple waffles (using apples that were bruised.)
    Had 3 no meat meals. Got free exercise all week.
    Made all meals from scratch and ate at home all meals.

    1. We call those "little bit of this, little bit of that meals" a "mishmash meal"....did that myself this past week.

    2. We call those meals 'must goes' :)

  16. Sandals and warm air sounds heavenly! It's 25 degrees here today in Northern Indiana with some scattered snow :(

    My husbands birthday was last Monday and he asked for cherry cheesecake instead of a cake. I didn't have enough cream cheese, but I did find 2 boxes of no bake in the cabinet and I used 2 cans of cherry pie filling to top it with (they were bought on sale with a coupon). That 9x13 pan lasted us for dessert until last night when we finally finished it :)

    We finally received our Federal & State refunds!!! We had to wait until March from the government to release the form we used for our furnace energy credit.

    I ended up getting a very bad head & chest cold on Wednesday. I've been treating it with things we have on hand. Seems to be working...finally! We stayed home all day on Saturday so no gas or money was used. I pulled leftover chili out of the freezer on Thursday night to thaw in the refrigerator and we ate that on Saturday night so I didn't have to cook or eat out.

    Sunday we went over to my parents house for a birthday dinner for my husband and brother. I made homemade pull apart oat rolls from money saving mom and deviled eggs.

    I washed and reused all storage and freezer bags.

    Pulled a ham bone out of the freezer and cooked it in my crockpot to make broth on Wednesday night. I also soaked northern beans that night and put everything together Thursday morning back in the crockpot. I also made a pan of buttermilk cornbread. I put the leftovers in the freezer for another meal.

    I purchased 4 dozen large eggs for .73¢ dozen with $1.00 sale & .55/2 coupon. I also paid .14¢ lb. for cabbage. I stayed under budget and spent $43.96 at Meijer & Aldi

  17. I did a little better this week. We are having to replace our furnace/airconditioner, that is a huge purchase and we are buying top of the line, but it gives us an energy discount on next years taxes, a manufacturers rebate to make it hurt less, and should be much more efficient costing less per month in the long run.

    -put off buying heater air/conditioner, so saved on gas and electricity buy not having them to run:D

    -went to a homeschool household items swap
    found several things for my 2 yr old and some nice books

    -accepted some free groceries

    -ate at home for lunch

    -reread some books on my nook

    -took some books to half priced books and used the credit to buy some fun books for the kids.

    -returned unused ink from old printer to help pay for new ink for new printer.

    -not frugal right off, but planed a two in one self pollinating pear tree. Last year I planed a two in one self pollinating apple tree. Hoping to start seeing fruit next year, maybe some apples this year, we eat a lot of apples and would love more pears.

  18. Bought one pint of ice cream and took two spoons to the park for our date day. We hiked to a waterfall this was a wonderful date day for us.
    I made a turkey , a pot of Chilli and some smoothies (used the .69 large cans of pineapple I bought at Food Lion sale cases of these!) I have been serving it with ham as well.
    Used up all our scraps from the past several weeks for our lunches ( Leftovers from past hams, turkey and chickens) Hubby calls this smorgasbord lunch I call it scraps.
    We listen to Pandora music all the time as well.
    I combined two bank accounts into one this saves a $14.00 monthly fee.
    We opened our windows and turned off the heat.
    Fixed a plumbing problem for free.
    I shopped the sales wisely and restocked our home for about $70.00 off of regular sale type prices (bought some discounted meats and other dent items etc..) Used a ton of coupons.
    I cut daffodils and brought them in to brighten up the house.
    Ate all meals at home and made all meals from scratch.
    Got free exercise / which is always a great idea
    Ate Oatmeal for Breakfast all days but Sunday on Sunday I made waffles with apples used the bruised apples.
    Made homemade laundry soap and used free samples to wash my hair.
    I cut my hair and hubby's hair as well.
    Ran to town only one day this week. (saves gasoline)
    Made arrangements for Easter Sunday with my daughter and we are both prepping Swap boxes for this meeting.
    It seems our biggest savings each week are gasoline, electric, water and food. It seems to me these are the best ways many families can save the most.Grouping errands and swapping at all meetings has helped me and a lot of my baby boomer friends.

  19. We are also seeing signs of spring around here. It is far from hot, though!

    This week I did several frugal things, some with my husband:

    -I worked on the paths between my raised beds--digging out weeds/putting free bark chips on them
    -Dug up one raised bed to prepare for planting peas soon
    -Planted tomatoes, broccoli, flowers in greenhouse. Peppers/cabbage/more broccoli/onions growing nicely
    -made a huge pot of chili and chicken soup to take with us this weekend. We are helping friends move 8 hours away. My friend and I meal planned all the meals so everyone who is coming will be fed without ordering pizza or going out.
    -used lots of eggs. Chickens are producing a lot. I will take lots this weekend as well.
    -finished an Easter dress for a little friend out of leftover materials from my daughter's formal dress. It cost me less than $5 for notions.
    -ordered a large order from Azure Standard. I got powdered milk, lots of dry beans, etc. This will last us for most of the summer. I stocked up last summer and it worked well. I earn less money in the summer, so did not buy many groceries last summer at all. I will buy a few more things over the next 2 months and then, as last year, use the garden for produce and the freezers, canning and stockpile for food. I do earn some money and will use that for odds and ends I run out of or forgot to buy. Also, my husband earns money as well, we just would like to keep paying down some medical and dental bills for the next few months with that money instead.
    -had both girls clean out their clothes and make a list of what is needed.

  20. I too wish I could wear sandals!!
    *separated Christmas M&Ms so we would have green St Pattys day cookies. Used the red for Valentines.
    *I was able to get 5 lbs of corned beef for free using coupons. Used it for 3 meals. Hubby made corned beef hash the next day for breakfast.
    *washed my baggies.
    *was able to get 12 lbs of various chicken...thighs,drumsticks, boneless breast for 84€/lb
    *got 2 starbucks $5 gc from disney rewards to use w/ a friend & hubby.
    *half way towards a gc on swagbucks to save for bday gifts or christmas gifts.
    *hubby is about to retire from the navy so he has been on leave, so we are saving on gas by him being home.
    *while he has been home, he has been working on our basement which is saving us thousands of dollars in labor.
    *been drinking more water. This is huge for me because I drink alot of soda.
    *been working out w a friend whos membership gets me in for free.

    1. I hope that's supposed to be ,84 Euros a pound and not 84 Euros a pound for chicken!

    2. I meant it to represent the "cents" symbol. Lol.

    3. I was hoping that's what you meant! I have readers who use Euros, though. I remember how expensive meat was in Europe, but I am pretty sure it's not that high!

  21. I bought the bulk of the month's groceries in one day and for half of the normal amount I had been spending.

    I ordered all my seeds for the garden.

    I lost weight and finally had to go get new clothes so I stopped at the Consignment shop just to see what they had and got several outfits for a dollar a piece, some which had never been worn and had price tags still on them of their original price beings over $70.

    I cut off the jeans my adult son could no longer wear due to holes in them for shorts for me around the house this summer.

    I went to the library and got the following books:Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half by the America's Cheapest family, Once a Month cooking, Brother can you Spare a Dime and American Grown. Normally I would have just went on line and bought them.

    I started inventorying my pantry, both deep freezers and both frigs to make a pantry inventory list so I am cooking from my pantry and not buying at the store more food because it sounded good to Hubby.

    The worst part of the week has been I've been battling with my Crohn's...the best part is when I decided to eat spaghetti and wanted the cooked ground beef out of the deep freezer, Hubby brought it in but also brought in meatballs in case I wanted that instead. I didn't even remember we had meat balls but it drove home the WHY I needed to inventory to Hubby so I am not longer listening to his complaining that I am stopping to take time to do this.

    1. I find it helps most husbands when you go over the actual dollars spent and saved when explaining why you are doing certain things and making certain choices in food. My husband is a very frugal person, but because I buy the food, he didn't know the cost of some meals. Explaining why (usually while eating together :) helps a lot.

    2. I really need to do an inventory too! My hubby is always willing to help me with such things but does not have the time himself. You reminded me that there is a bag of forgotten meatballs in my freezer, too. I was just over at your blog and you have a lot of great ideas for frugal cooking. I love this that I read on one of your posts-'It's hoarding when you don't eat it and it goes to waste, it's a pantry when you do eat it and it doesn't go to waste.' My grandfather hoarded food so I do know what that looks like. I have recently sorted all of my canned goods so that is a good start but the freezer is another chore entirely!

    3. I'm hoping to finish my inventory of my freezer/fridges in the next week. I like your quote on the hoarding vs. pantry.

    4. Brandy, you are exactly right. Since I do the shopping and meal planning, my husband (who is very frugal) simply doesn't know the cost of things. When he came home from work one day and said 'chicken again!', I was initially upset with him. But then later I realized that he doesn't know how much different things cost, and didn't know that I cook chicken so much because it's normally the cheapest meat I can find, in addition to being a fairly healthy meat. Later we had a good talk about it. For me, it's always so hard to see things from another's perspective, and I sometimes get my feelings hurt when I shouldn't. This is a man who takes peanut butter sandwiches to work every week, so it's not like he minds eating inexpensively.

    5. My husband is also an absolute saint about eating frugally, even when he gets kidded about the leftovers or peanut butter and jelly (home canned) sandwiches that he brings to work. I sometimes forget to tell him that and then I feel hurt when he comments on always having casseroles or soup for dinner. The compromise we finally reached was that two nights a week we have egg drop soup and homemade bread or biscuits (VERY economical) and in exchange one other night a week we have his very favorite---hamburgers. It also makes meal planning easier, to have 3 of 7 nights of meals already planned!

  22. Oh boy, Pinterest is a dangerous and not frugal place for me! I can waste hours there everyday if I let myself and it makes me want to spend money on things I do not need.

    Our big frugal thing from last week was deciding to have my husband's car towed home instead of the shop after the head gasket blew on his way to work last Thursday. He is fixing it himself even though it will possibly take 2-3 weekends. This is saving us thousands because when he got into the engine he found other problems and all of those repairs would have really added up. He works 33 miles from home so I do not have a car during the week right now and that saves us money too. Our oldest son is an engineer for Honda and very mechanically inclined so he has been a big help to Dad. Technology is wonderful as my husband can show our son what he is seeing with the iPad that all the kids gave us for Christmas and our son can advise from 5 hours away!

  23. Hello my friends....

    Need a bit of advice. I have an 11-year old son who seems to be either concerned or irritated at our frugal lifestyle. He's a great kid...and has demonstrated to us previously that he understands the value of the dollar. I'm going to pay attention to how I "talk"....perhaps I talk too much of "saving this, saving that" and watching money. His comments lately are along these lines: "...we are too cheap to go bowling", "the dog needs to go to the vet, Mom....I'll help pay for it if you don't want to spend the money." and is increasingly asking to go out to eat. We aren't in dire straits at all but are trying to live very closely to our budget and live in a frugal fashion. How do I help him understand that frugal doesn't mean cheap? He is not a smart-aleck...he is a very smart and gentle I'm a little surprised at some of his statements. I'm considering having him develop a budget for a fictitious family to see if he can understand how saving helps it all stretch farther (not sure I'm comfortable giving him ours). Appreciate any wisdom...

    Frugal activities included:
    *Potluck at church---had only to provide dessert
    *Used a Supercuts Q to get half-off hair cuts. Not sure I'll go back...but nice this time
    *Realized I had written down a check---a sizeable one--twice. Yippee!
    *Made rye bread for hubby...his favorite bread. He loved it and is continually complimenting now on my bread-making. Some of you will laugh at me...I purchased a store bought loaf last night only after a little internal battle. Had spent the last 2 days helping my parents with medical appointments and then cleaning up storm damage...and didn't make bread. Made me sick to purchase a $2 loaf...and realize that with only a few cents added, I could make SIX loaves! But...I did it...figured it was better to buy the bread and save the lunch money for kids. (And I realized I love my homemade bread lots better!).
    *Visited pet shop/bookstore for fun with my kids during a break
    *Rearranged my office and redecorated using objects on hand and in attic
    *Used a picture I cross-stitched years ago for our newly painted bath. Not exactly what I have in mind but it is growing on me...and fun to use something made from my teens! It could almost qualify as an antique now...LOL. And, now my girls want to learn how to cross-stitch....hope I can remember.
    *Had a "mishmash meal" and cleared out our leftovers. Free meal as my mother says.
    *Husband made a bag for cycle rain gear out of old sack for lawn chair instead of buying looks great.
    *Found poppy seed @ .75/can and bought 3 to make muffins and put on bagels.

    1. Tina,

      You may want to show him your real budget. Chances are he has no idea how much things cost.

      For the poppy seed: Check out San Francisco Herb Company. They have a $35 minimum purchase, but a pound of poppy seed is only $3.45. The little containers at the store are just a tad more than an ounce each. They have some other great prices, too, including mustard seed and cream of tartar. I planted the mustard seed that I bought from them and it is growing in my garden right now.

    2. We recently changed our wording to say "We choose not to spend our money on ... so we can spend it on .....".

      It's been a big help at our house with getting our children (they're 7-year-old twins) to undestand that we don't just spend our money on the cheapest thing or are being mean by making them stay home and that we have plenty of money for the important things (food, clothes, shelter, and -for us - private education and graduate school tuition). An example of this would be "We choose not to have cable TV so we can go visit Grammy and PopPop twice a year." As I mentioned, its been a huge help at our house!

      At 11, is your son old enough to review your budget with you (maybe hacking off some zeros so he doesn't go - WOW! We're rich!)

      Hope that's somewhat helpful,

    3. Tina, I agree show him your budget. Let him help you one week to menu plan and shop for the items. I think a lot of kids go thru this, I know my kids go thru this every once in a while.

      You had referenced bowling in your example above, just a note check this site called, You can see if your state has a location and you can sign your kids up to bowl a game or two free every day in the summer. You can keep a watch for clearance bowling shoes and not pay for shoe rental. Just a thought.

    4. Also, I have heard of parents taking the entire month's pay in cash, and then showing the children literally where each part of it goes: This much goes towards the mortgage. This goes towards the electric bill (figure an average for utilities). This goes towards the gas bill. This much goes to buy gas so dad can go to work. This goes to groceries, etc. Do every bill and expense.

      It helps them see that though it may sound like a lot of money that you're making, it has a specific place that it has to go.

      I know my 9-year old was surprised when I told him how much a few bills are (including the mortgage). He has worked for his grandparents and as they pay him $2 a hour, he has come to value his money well, and decide if it's worth it to him to spend 30 minutes working for something. He's done really well with this; he understands the concept the best of all of our children.

      At my house, we talk about how much certain things cost. Does he know how much it costs to take the dog to the vet? That might be a good discussion right there. Add the cost of bowling to that, including the cost of gas to get there.

      For example, we like to go to see some things in town that are "free" but they cost us $8 in gas to get there, so it really isn't free for our family. Explaining the cost of gas for a trip to the store to buy one thing has been a topic of discussion at my house lately, and why we wait to go to the store so that we don't have to spend lots of money and time making multiple trips to the same store.

    5. Tina, I have four children and my oldest two (14,12) are very aware of our financial situation. We are constantly talking about how much things cost and always compare prices. Last week my oldest son went to the grocery store with me and asked if he could get some yogurt covered raisins. He instantly went for the lowest priced package on the shelf and got a quick lesson on price vs. package size. He didn't realize that a package that was only a few cents more yielded more ounces than the cheapest package. So in the end it wasn't the least expensive package that was in fact the cheapest.

      There have also been instances where my children have not been able to go on a field trip for school because of the price. Last year it was a trip to NYC and this year is a trip to DC. We simply do not have the money for them to go. They have been disappointed but life is full of disappointment and it's better they learn now that they can't have everything in life. We do try to do something fun that day though.

      My children know the exact amount of income we have each year and I don't think there's any need to hide it. BUT...they also know what our expenses are and realize that we have taxes and bills to pay. It helps them to truly understand how much money we really have and why we need to be careful with our spending.

      It's a sobering experience but I'd much rather they learn these financial lessons now so they will be better prepared in the future. I grew up in a house where my parent's income was spent as soon as it was earned and to this day they still haven't learned how to manage their money. As a result, I spent many years making major money mistakes and racking up debt. The day I went grocery shopping and my debit card was declined was the last straw for me and I'm hoping to save my children from the hard lessons I learned.

      It's not that we don't love our children. It's because we do. Try having a heart to heart talk with your son. You might just be surprised. :)

    6. Having raised 5 children I can tell you that each one has things that they are are concerned about and possibly feel deprived of. I found that talking about how much things cost made some of our children worry that we did not have enough money to live on and that was not the case. We also have a child who was made angry by frugal talk because she felt that we did not want to take care of her needs because she was 'too expensive'. There is a very fine line between them understanding how we chose to spend our money and making problems and so we finally came to the conclusion that for the most part they knew how we lived and constantly talking about it was not productive. On eating out and entertainment expenditures the conclusion for us was to have a monthly budget for that and get it in cash. When it has been spent then it is gone for the month. The kids really saw that the little bit that we had in cash each month did not go far and that a quick and unsatisfying stop at McD's could use that cash up very quickly. They learned to look for ways to use that money well such as the $1 theater, which is now $2.50. They looked for coupons and special deals and it was a great lesson for them. Our youngest is 22 now and I think they are all doing well with handling their money from just watching and learning without a lot of talking about it.

    7. One additional thing--I still budget that same amount of family entertainment money each month and get it in cash even though the kids are all grown and gone. I just stash it away and let it accumulate so that when the kids do come home or we get to keep the grandchildren we have a budget to do things with them. Over Christmas all 15 of us went out to an inexpensive restaurant for breakfast one morning and had a great time eating and talking without having to cook and clean up for all of us. I think back on that relaxed morning with fond memories because all of us may not be together again until next holiday season.

    8. All of these comments are thought provoking and helpful...thank you so much!

    9. Also, I would try and remember that kids are starting to experience the hormones of puberty at 10 and 11 these days and that he may just be having moments of irritation and uses the observations about frugality (being cheap) as his little rebellions. For the next few years he will be comparing himself more and more to peers whos parents have more (or spend what they don't have!), so you may just be experiencing the start of some more obnoxious years.

  24. I listed my accomplishments on my blog here:
    My best accomplishment this week was probably starting our float bed for seed starting. I also planted lots and lots of peppers!

  25. I too am wishing we could get into the garden's here - our Easter egg hunts will be in the snow I'm afraid! I'm having fun dreaming and planning the garden and a few yard improvements so it's all good!

    Here are some frugal things we did this week, in addition to our normal frugal practices:

    * Mended a blouse

    * Cleaned out our writing desk and discovered we have enough note cards and stationary to last a LONG time! They had been scattered in random placed throughout the desk so we didn't really know what we have. I made a resolution to not buy another card until we're completely out (we have a lot of blank ones) and to write two of my aunts each month - both are in nursing homes, love to get mail and hear stories of my children. Win, win, win!

    * Made a lot of meals using things from the freezer as part of our goal to clean out the deep freeze so we can buy a 1/4 cow (though now we're looking at another option that will give us more variety of meat for roughly the same price). Tried a couple of new recipes too - both winners!

    * Checked books and movies out from the library this week, including a cookbook recommended by a friend that I've liked so much I've added to my birthday wish list!

    * Had an at home date night putting together a puzzle and eating homemade apple crisp.

    That's all I can think of right now.

    Thanks for the inspiration everyone and have a great rest of your week!

  26. Just wondering what drip irrigation system you use. I'm impressed that you can do it yourself!

    1. I have a post on that subject planned already!

    2. THANK YOU! I've been wanting to do this myself but intimidated by the cost and the technical details. When I looked into hiring someone it was beyond our budget.

    3. I look forward to reading about that as well..

  27. This week I did mostly the usual (eat at home, wash in cold water and hang to dry, only do full loads in the washer and dishwasher, use the library for reading material) but I managed to add one thing - I found all the bits to the bread maker and now I'm making bread at home.
    Not only does it taste better but it's a lot cheaper.
    Here in Canada it seems our bread is almost twice what what it is 35 minutes away in WA! Plus the loaves are smaller here!
    This way I get to have raisin bread for a reasonable price too (almost $5 in the store). I managed to download the manual from online after mine turned up damaged (water damage to the corner glued all the pages together) and I've borrowed some books from the library for some new recipes.
    I've been home on leave this week (to coincide with Spring Break) which saves me gas money. That let DD2 and I go see a movie together. We went to a matinee and shared our popcorn/pop so even a treat had its frugal aspect.
    Also while I've been home this week I've been catching up on Sherlock on Netflix and darning socks or knitting while I've been watching. This not only gets me more socks to wear but keeps me from eating while in front of the TV.
    That's all I can think of this week. Thanks to everyone who posts, I get such encouragement and wonderful ideas here!

    1. If you google bread machines recipes you will get a ton of places come up to find bread machine recipes. King Arthur has a great site.

    2. Sadly momma-lana, not all recipes translate well to Canadian flour. Our all-purpose flour is different than US flour. That makes it cheaper for me as here I don't need to buy special bread machine flour but it does mean that recipes don't always work well in Canada if they are American in origin.
      Happily my library seems to know that so the two books I borrowed are specifically for Canadian bread making.
      I have heard good things about King Arthur though so I will check them out anyway. Thanks for the reminder about them, I had forgotten.

    3. I had no idea that Canadian flours were different than US flours! We do have different flours available here in the Southern US states than can be bought elsewhere too. White Lily is a highly prized brand only available in the SE so I do understand because if I were to give you my biscuit recipe it would not turn out for you because I use White Lily. White Lily is soft wheat flour. What are Canadian flours?

  28. Nothing out of the ordinary for me last week though my husband finally gave his notice at work. He's been terribly unhappy for over 8 years working there so he has decided to work for himself. Friday is his last day. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous but he feels like this is the direction God wants him to go in so who am I to say differently? I do worry about our finances-we still have debt-but I know that God will provide for us and I'm trying to have faith in that. :)

    1. Not sure what his business is but I wish him all the luck. We have had our own business for the last 20 years. There are benefits, there are drawbacks. But having our own business frees us up in other ways...and we make it. My husband is sometimes hard on himself..."We should have more money!"...but as I tell him: We have everything we need, much of what we want. Best wishes in this new adventure!

  29. Tina
    I can not agree more on having your own business.I always tell my hubby we have everything we need, we just don't have everything we think we need. The hardest part for us is the final years we both had a ton saved and had it all taken from us (various reason, none within our control) So while we were wise and saved for our retirement now that it is time to be in retirement he is 65 I am 60 health is starting to make life harder. We still find we have everything we need but often it is by the grace of God. We do go hungry more often than we should but then again most of us in America tend to over eat so maybe we just need to adjust. I pray often that God sends food. I also pray that we do not loose the tiny home we have 300 sq. ft for all of us. Life has a funny way of working out. I am very grateful for what we do have.

    1. Robert, I just wanted to make sure you see Patti's reply below.

      Other states have a commodities program as well. You don't have to apply; you have to go there on a certain day (it's alphabetized) and show id (a SS card is part of it) and they will give you the food. It isn't just an age-based program (possibly depending on the state, but Patti mentioned it's a Federal Program), but in Nevada those who are younger than 60 can go; it's once every other month here. I have never been but I know someone who goes and she has told me what food she was given; one time will be meat and some canned goods (like applesauce); the next time has dried beans and canned goods. It can be a huge help.

      I believe you've already read my "When You Need Food" page, but if not, here is a link:

      I remember you told me that you are in a tiny house; do you have any pots on your little porch or a window box on the side where you could grow lettuce or green onions?

  30. Brandi, There are 16 G. K. Chesterton kindle books FREE on amazon today!

  31. Hi Robert,

    My mom got senior commodities in California. It's a Federal program. You need to be 60 to qualify. This is a link to a program in Minnesota. It had a lot of information. I'm sure you could Google your state.
    I hope this helps I think it is about 40 lbs of non perishable food.
    We have a local number to call for assistance that is 211 maybe your city
    has something similar. Local churches often have food pantries. I am praying for you.
    Hope this helps

  32. My heart goes out to Robert please do hang in there. You will be pleasantly surprised what prayer can do,not to forget also seeking the practical tips that have been given here....
    This week was frugal as can be...Did all the regular things such as washing with turning heat off and homemade laundry soap(which hubby is not too fond off as clothes needs to be washed in warm water using the homemade soap and he did like to save the elastic on his clothes by washing in cold)Not a lot of things here but will post anyway...
    *Bought t-shirts with a coupon from Target.I wear my hubby's large hand me downs now every week for no reason except that I did like to spend that money elsewhere for the family.Got so tempted to get a cute maxi dress but kept my reserve.Need new socks as well.time to hit a consignment store i think.
    *Made a yogurt cake and a banana cake with as much of what I have in the pantry. Still not received our refund to stock up on flours and rice.I did buy some more oil to last 6 months.
    *Washed the salt off the car myself so as to save the gas and time that I did have to wait at the dealership to get that done.Simple as a bucket and plain hot water and sponge.(and elbow grease:))
    *Picked up my books from the library and have a lot of ideas as to what I can do to stretch the budget for the hall closet which will also serve as a mudroom.
    This is about it...God bless your weekend ahead...

    1. I've been using homemade laundry soap for 8 1/2 years, and except for 2 specific loads, everything else (read: 20 loads a week) are washed in cold water. I even use it for washing gentle loads.

      I'm not sure why you would have to wash in warm. Do make sure to grate your soap really small; use the finest grater choice that you have and you should have no problems with the soap dissolving.

      Have you looked at repurposing some of your husbands shirts to make something for youeself that fits you better? There are a lot of repurposing tutorials out there using mens' shirts. Here is one:

  33. This week I attempted to buy only the necessary items, which I was successful at though if I am totally honest I think there was a purchase in there for the twins that was more of a treat. However, I did see the difference in the amount of gas spent and the balance in the account. After a week of only the necessities the account was looking good and it really added up! I am realizing that I have a great stockpile so I need to live off of it for a bit. Most of my stockpile is items for winter months which will just sit there through the summer so they need to be used up. Items like extra pasta, canned tomatoes and pasta sauce, turkeys and stew meat. We do not have air conditioning so cooking that takes a long time is not an option. We eat alot of salads and bbq in the summer.

    The girls used stray socks to make 'clothing' for their small stuffed animals. It was cute, a little messy with the scraps of material flying, but really cute outfits. They also decided that a great birthday present for them (from grandma and grandpa) would be for grandpa to help them build beds and other small furnature out of scrap wood. They said that they wanted to help and that spending time with grandpa would be the best present. They are turning ten so I thought that this was a great idea considering their age!

    I cooked from home all week and did alot of baking as well. I feel like I am constantly cooking but it has gone over really well with everyone.

    I asked our landlord about putting in raised flowerbeds this spring. He was OK with it. It will not be necessarily frugal with the purchase of soil. But will really help with the garden situation. Our garden did not produce last year. There are too many trees in that spot. We are also going to trim the trees in the back yard and empty the shed so we can reorganize it properly. Right now there is still four feet of snow in the back yard, and the front yard, so this may have to wait a bit. I am so done with winter weather. Spring will eventually come... even though we may not see the grass til May.

    1. WOW! Four feet of snow! I cannot imagine!

  34. Check with your local municipal waste system. Ours composts waste, has the EPA test it and then sells it for $15 a pick up load or for free if you want to bring 5 gallon buckets and fill them by hand---as many as you want.

  35. Our local recyle/dump does the same thing you can take as much compost for free as you want.They also have free wood chips.
    When I lived in the desert it was 120 in the summer. I used a 2 burner
    hot plate and a crock pot on the porch to make most of our summer meals.
    It kept the house much cooler.Have a blessed week.

  36. Is Winter wearing one of the scarves that you made her (in the party pictures)?

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.


Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I moderate comments manually, so please allow a few hours for your comment to be posted.

This blog is meant to be a source of encouragement to those who are struggling to put food on the table and make ends meet. Please keep your comments kind and uplifting.