Sunday, April 28, 2013

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Larkspur and stock from the garden

I cut flowers from the garden and brought them in to enjoy on my table.

I printed up seed packets so that I could share extra seeds with a friend.

I spent time playing in the backyard with my four youngest daughters, pushing them on our swings (which are higher than the ones at the park!) and on our merry-go-round.

My husband took our three oldest children to the archery range to practice their archery skills for free. Though they've just been shooting for a few weeks, they have made great improvements. One of the people who works at the range is also an archery coach, and he has been helping my children when they are there.

I ran the sprinklers to go on at a time when the children could enjoy playing in them. When we designed our backyard, we also made it so that the largest section of grass has rotating sprinklers, just so that they would be more fun in which to play for the children. We had temperatures of 90ºF this week, so this was a timely activity for the children. Ivory even put her hand in the water and walked out in the sprinklers a little.

I refrained from turning on the air conditioner off all week, even though it was 81º-83º in the house. I ran the ceiling fans only in the rooms that we were in while we were in them. I opened up the house for cool air in the mornings and evenings, and enjoyed the fresh air.

I took the children to the library for books and movies. They were able to check out several books that they had requested online.

I downloaded a free song from Amazon.

I participated in a free swap, and was able to get a pair of jeans and a sweater for my oldest daughter, and some puzzles for my grandmother.

Museum Pasta Salad

I made popsicles with leftover canned fruit syrup and some whey leftover from having strained yogurt), chicken flavored rice, lentil tacos, taco soup, crepes, museum pasta salad, and lots of green salads!

I cooked Swiss chard from the garden.

I used a coupon to get 3 dozen eggs for $1 a dozen (18 eggs for $1.49 at Albertson's; the coupon was on the front page of the ad, limit 2). My husband walked there from his office so there was no extra gas expense to get these at this price.

I used several internet coupons when I went shopping this week. I bought 2 of 3 items that had a buy 2 get a $5 gift card offer, so I ended up with $15 in gift cards to use at that store the next time I need to go there. I took resuable bags with me to get .05 off per bag.

Italian Parsley on a new Williams-Sonoma washcloth that I  bought for .50 at the neighborhood garage sale 2 weeks ago.
I harvested parsley, chives, Swiss chard, lettuce, green onions, strawberries, asparagus, snow peas from my garden. I'm serving lettuce every day.

We have started working on the front yard garden! I had to go to the HOA meeting and meet with the board at the end of the meeting, talk to them (they were concerned that my plan wouldn't be similar enough to the other houses in the neighborhood! I knew it would be totally different, so I said, "Well, it will be MUCH better than it is now!) and then after the meeting they drove over to have me explain it to them in my yard. They weren't following some of what I said, so I took them out to the backyard (through the house; one of the board members has my same floor plan and was immediately amazed at what I had done to the main wall in the house with new windows and huge moldings; I told him I had designed it and that what I had designed out front was good, too!) and showed them what I meant for concrete, and how the front yard would be similar to the backyard in design in some ways. Then they were okay. Their main concerns were the low wall and the concrete walkway; apparently the rule is no walls over 24" tall. The wall won't be taller than that (but the hedge above the wall will still give me a little privacy) so that's not a problem. Hurray!

So, our frugal part of the work this week was that my husband used his circular saw to cut off all of the branches from the tree (no special saw needed, plus it was quick work this way!), and then we cut and threw the branches and the bushes into his trailer, which he took to the dump and unloaded (so we didn't have to rent a dumpster). We also are borrowing a backhoe, which means we don't have to rent one to dig the front yard (or rent a jackhammer, or soak the ground for three days and struggle with a pickax--the ground is that hard here). His friend with the backhoe used the backhoe to pull out the tree trunk and root ball, and his brother came over to help us begin digging in the garden (he knows how to use the backhoe). New dirt will have to be brought in, or the plants will struggle to grow at all here (not only is the ground concrete-like here, but it also has a ph of 8.2 and is virtually dead. Dirt is not inexpensive at all, but it is essential, and we have priced it out at different places for the least expensive option of the available options).



I raked and shoveled rock out of the yard to two neighbors, which meant free rocks for them. It's a strange thing, but rock yards actually need new rocks from time to time (they get "bare spots" where the yard is just dirt after a time).  I moved some of the rocks to a bare spot in our own yard on the other side of the driveway (that small part of our yard is still rock, until at some time in the future where we will concrete it as a driveway extension to our gate).

I took time to notice a bee on my blackberry bushes and a tiny vireo in the garden (the first one I've seen this year).

What did you do to save money and beautify your life this week?

70 comments:

  1. I haven't been keeping track throughout the week, but a few things come to mind:

    We had a $5 rewards card at Best Buy that was expiring. There wasn't anything on my shopping list that we needed, but we went anyway and found a cleaning product for $4.99. I'm OK with losing out on a penny, but didn't want to lose out on the entire $5! (There was no sales tax as we were in Oregon.)

    My parents spent the weekend here which usually means eating out. However, this time we only ate breakfast out (we paid on Saturday and my parents paid on Sunday). My parents brought food for Friday night's dinner and I made dinner Saturday night.

    Accepted a free cookie from a coworker.

    Took advantage of the free popcorn being offered at work this week as part of an Earth Day campaign.

    Attended a home show for just the price of parking. Free swag included: three grocery bags; a pizza cutter; Peppermint Patties. Signed up for a few giveaways (I avoid many of them because I don't want a solicitation phone call)--I think our little male dog will be thrilled if we win the fire hydrant for our back yard. ;)

    I returned a gamma lid that was the wrong size for our buckets and was able to use that money towards another household purchase.

    We had cash from a pet product that didn't work out that we returned. We were able to use that to get our three dogs groomed.

    Utilized the military discount at The Home Depot & Lowe's.

    My husband attended a free fathering seminar that will be useful in his counseling practice (we don't have children ourselves). At the end of the seminar, they gave him a $40 gift card to our local Kroger affiliate. That was in addition to a free messenger bag, reusable beverage cup, two books and lunch/snacks.

    And my husband just announced that he plans to take the 55 Alive driving course which should save us some money on car insurance!

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    1. Remembered some others! While they were here, my mother helped me with my sewing machine and figuring out a way to hem jeans the way the tailor does them so I don't have to pay for that (the jeans were a gift).

      Also, my father says the best bacon he's ever had is a precooked product that a friend served them. The price for precooked bacon seemed astronomical, but my father wondered how much weight bacon loses when it's cooked. Since I have a food scale, we ran an experiment (he's a retired engineer, what can I say?). It turns out that after you take into account the amount that cooks out of the bacon, the two come out to the same price per pound. I felt like Amy Dacyzyn taking down those calculations! (Note: the uncooked bacon that my father likes is about $4 a pound, so uncooked bacon would still be a better deal if a person is happy with a less expensive bacon.)

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    2. I buy Hormel cooked bacon from Sam's Club and it says 20 oz. is equal to 5 pounds of cooked bacon. I'll have to compare prices again. When I do buy uncooked bacon I keep the price to under $2 a pound (so purchases are rare) and I use the leftover bacon grease to season other items (such as gravy). I keep the bacon grease in the fridge (which can be safely stored that way for 6 months or more).

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  2. Wow, your photos this week are really out of this world! The parsley on the towel is so fresh and appealing.

    We had a great week. We had some gift expenses but still managed to put 40% of our weekly budget into savings. We did this by eating simple meals at home. I made a curried yellow split pea soup which my 8 y.o rated a 5 star recipe and it was so economical and nourishing too!

    My frugal accomplishments are up at
    http://healthfulsaver.com/2013/04/27/what-i-did-this-week-to-save-money/

    Interesting to hear that rock gardens need new rocks now and again! Something you don't think about in the midwest.

    Happy May everyone!

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  3. I too used bags to receive 5cents off my total. I used my pump rewards and got gas for 3.14 a gallon today.

    I used a coupon for the buy 1 get 1 Dr. Pepper and my store had them for 44 cents each. The coupon rang up for 1.99 and the cashier accepted it so I made money by buying the pop...we will use it for my son's birthday party as a treat.

    I downloaded free kindle books.

    I purchased ground beef on a meat sale and will make hamburgers, a triple batch of taco meat and a double batch of spaghetti sauce with it...many many meals.

    had friends over and we provided the main dish and they provided drinks and dessert. We played trivial pursuit.

    enjoyed homemade treats after church today

    my husband and I splurged on take out Chinese for our date night...only thing frugal was that I only bought 2 meals instead of 5 had the children been home.

    swept the sand off my sidewalk today with the hopes, that since it seems to have stopped snowing, the street sweeper will come soon

    reworked my budget to accommodate some changes in our expenses

    printed many coupons on-line (some to share with my very excited sister who has many allergies)

    ate ice cream at home instead of going out

    stitched my sons mittens to make it another week of snow (although it was 70 yesterday and today) so maybe we won't need them

    returned pop cans and applied the refund to my grocery total (best deal: butter 1# for 1.79, was able to get 2 and freeze them)

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  4. I am so glad that you get to put in the front yard! This week I:

    Read alternate paragraphs in an American Girls book with my granddaughter who was recovering at home after being in the hospital with pneumonia. Reading was an appropriate quiet recovery activity & helped improve her skill, since she is only in 2nd grade. Mom needed to work, but grandma is retired, so I stayed 4 days while my daughter worked her scheduled shifts.

    Showed my granddaughter how to remove velcro that was beyond further use from a doll dress for a Felicity doll that belonged to her mother – a well-loved doll, for 2 generations now. She unpicked most of the stitches to remove the velcro herself. She did not find the kind of buttons she wanted in her mother’s button jar, so we will finish loop & button closures when I visit again, & I will take several appropriate choices for this project from my button jar.

    Made meals for my daughter’s family from scratch. This is a given, since in the 6 member family, 2 are celiac, one is allergic to soy, & 2 are allergic to nuts. Lots of fruit & veggies.

    Used red lava rock gathered from freecycle around the grape hyacinths, tulips & daffodils in a flower bed next to the house. My daughter lives in an area where termites are sometimes a problem. Lava rock tends to attract spiders –ick – but the spiders kill & eat any termites, & the termites cannot eat the lava rock the way they could wood mulch. Free is such a wonderful price, especially when it is exactly what was needed/wanted.

    Helped my daughter sort thru some clothes, & brought some of her discards home to recycle thru other family members.

    Cut grape hyacinths from my garden & placed them in a short hobnail milk glass vase in the library, on a white doily. Cut the last of the daffodils & a red tulip & placed them in a green bud vase on a doily on top of the piano. Our tulips were blooming by weeks end.

    Spent 2 afternoons weeding the strawberry bed; our strawberries are in blossom, & our fruit trees are in bloom. Just looking outside at the blossoms lifts my spirits.

    Harvested lettuce from our garden. The 4 Seasons lettuce that came through winter is a lovely dark burgundy color, & looks quite pretty on the salad plate. I found another small glass cloche second hand. The parsnips have sprouted, and the peas, spinach, lettuce & onions are growing. I watered all of them with the watering can, using our collected rainwater.

    Continued to use extra coupons, one at a time, to add to our stock of the maple syrup while it is on sale. I have never seen the price this low, & do not expect to see it again. The syrup does not spoil, so I am stocking as much as I can get coupons to match. I also bought two turkey tenderloin roasts from the mark down bin for $1 each. We ate one that night & froze one.

    Gave a presentation on making your own seed tape & growing lettuce under glass at an evening meeting on Thursday. About a dozen women attended & seemed happy to get both the seed tapes & the free squash seeds.

    Mended socks. Printed off the pattern for the round eared cap from the Felicity patterns, to make one for my granddaughter, to go with the gown we are repairing.

    Spray painted a metal urn & fleur de lis in oil rubbed bronze for the garden. The paint was leftover from a project last year. The urn & fleur de lis came from yard sales last year, too, & remind of the mission I served in France & Belgium decades ago.

    Stocked up on the glucosamine for my knees at the BOGO sale at RiteAid, & bought 8 bottles for the price of 4.

    Saved the top of a Western Family Parmesan cheese shaker to put on the tall jelly jar I use to store my home-dehydrated onions. I saw the new ball jar herb lids on Food in Jars. In the comments they said the Kraft lids fit canning jars, so I checked my lid, & it fits, too! This will let me utilize the powdery bits at the bottom of the jar before the jar is empty.

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    1. I came across two wolf spiders and two centipedes while moving the rocks. Thankfully I didn't come across any scorpions this time, but we have found them there before. There were lots of little spiders, too.

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    2. I forgot to add - now that the lettuce no longer needs the glass cloches, & we are 3 weeks out from our last frost date, I planted the butternut squash under 4 of the cloches. It will take a little time to sprout, & I don't think it will outgrow the cloches before we pass the frost date.

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    3. We have many wolf spiders( shudder) and various crawlies. I make a spray of 15 drops each lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, and citronella oil and but it in a spray bottle with water. I spray our windows and doorways and near where the children play. ick. ICK. That is good to know about the termites though.

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  5. I made bread for our family to eat this week.
    My husband expanded our garden area and built a new raised garden area with scrap wood we already had.
    We made meals from the pantry this week
    Noticed my lettuce seeds are growing, so soon we should be able to eat from our garden.

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  6. I can't wait to see your front yars! I am sure that it will looks very nice. We have dug out all the rock in our front yard. AND YES! you do have to re-rock every now and then ans the dusty, dirty wind seems to settle in and take over. We live in the high desert (gallup, nm) I have shown your photos to my husband not for about two years, we are about to get started in our back yard. We just have to wait until June, we get snow sometimes late in the spring.

    This week I made menu plans, reworked our budget, and am in the process of making shorts out of all the pants my two boys have torn the knees in.

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  7. We had a pretty good week. I think I am too busy right now - I am subbing a lot at the library, plus I'm scoring essays from standardized tests and doing library programs...plus normal life. I can feel how much harder it is to keep up with all the frugal things when we are this busy. Our list for the week is here:

    http://tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com/2013/04/frugal-accomplishments_26.html

    I'd love for you to stop by!

    -Laura at TenThingsFarm

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  8. I took my son to the mall to get his senior pictures taken (we homeschool). I used a Groupon that I bought for $18 that included the photo session and one 8x10, two 5x7, eight wallets and the digital rights so I can get reprints anywhere. While we were at the mall I also got 6 pairs of panties for my daughter at Victorias Secret for $6.42 (normally $10.50 each!) which I stashed away as one of her holiday gifts.

    I went to CVS and Walgreens and got the things that were free after rewards/bucks. I got 2 Oral B battery toothbrushes, 1 boxes of Zyrtec (5 pills each box), and a Hersheys dark chocolate candy bar.

    I was cutting a mango that seemed just ripe enough but it turned to mush as I cut it. I got a recipe from Allrecipes.com for Magic Mango Bread. The recipe also used a small amount of coconut which I had in the freezer leftover from making the macaroons at Passover. I skipped the raisins since I was out and skipped the walnuts due to cost. I’m being stingy with nuts unless it really makes a difference in a recipe. The bread was really good and something a little different than what I usually make.

    The only thing I bought at the grocery store this week was milk, flour and fish (besides our CSA delivery with fruit, veggies and eggs). Publix had BOGO on frozen fish and there were $2 printable coupons, so I got 10oz packages of tilapia and salmon for $1.34 each (which made the per pound cost $2.15). Each 10 oz package had 2 pieces of fish and was crusted with seasonings. The salmon was Mediterranean and the tilapia was Mexican with lime and crushed tortillas. I made one package of the tilapia into fish tacos. I diced up the fish and put a few pieces in a soft tortilla with some black beans, lettuce (I didn’t have cabbage or cole slaw), and yogurt with a squirt of lime (I was out of sour cream). It made 8 nice fat soft tacos. I went through the freezer and fridge and pulled out odds and ends leftover from other things and made a side dish with diced onion, yellow squash and corn and sautéed it in some olive oil. What a treat!! I had a craving for fish tacos and this was so much cheaper and just as good as when I used to get them at a restaurant.
    I tried making rice in the crockpot again and this time it turned out much better. Last time I cooked it on high and it was way too sticky and mushy. This time I cooked it on low and it came out much better, not as fluffy as instant rice but it was good enough and a lot cheaper. I made a lot so we could have it for dinner and then I froze the rest so it’s ready to pull out and use.

    I found an opened bag of popcorn chicken shoved way down in the corner of the chest freezer. I made Mommy’s Kitchen Sesame Chicken Copy Cat version. The recipe called for 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of popcorn chicken but I used about 12 ounces (half of a 25 ounce bag). To stretch it, I doubled the sauce. I sautéed red, orange and yellow peppers I had frozen from the CSA until they were soft and added a handful of diced pineapple I had in the freezer from last summer (it kind of had no taste when it was fresh and no one was eating it so I froze it and have been slowly using it – surprisingly when cooked it actually tastes like pineapple even after being frozen!) Then tossed the baked chicken, peppers, pineapple, and sauce together and served it over the white rice. YUM! Better than the Sesame Chicken from the food court!

    One night I made a vegetable beef stew out of this and that I pulled from the freezer leftover from other meals (“Freezer Supreme” is what my daughter used to call it when she was little). Served it with home dinner rolls.

    Our other meatless dinners were French toast/eggs/fruit and cheese pizza. We also had leftovers 2 nights for dinner.

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    1. We love that Mediterranean salmon. I plan to go today to get the same deal!

      Thanks for the tip on cooking tasteless pineapple! I will remember that for next time we get one of those. I love grilled pineapple so maybe that would do the same.

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  9. I am very excited for you! Congratulations on their approval (it was too beautiful to not approve)

    Thank you too, for the heads up about the Sam's event. Since a Costco was put in and is now closer than Sam's, we let our membership lapse. We miss a few things from there, so we headed on over and took advantage of it. I got a decent supply of hair conditioner and a few other things, including popcorn.

    We have had some car difficulty which is long and detailed, but it resulted in purchasing a new to us car that we thought the kids would drive. We negotiated the price down to something acceptable.

    After work was started on our crunched car, the shop found more damage and it was pronounced totaled. We decided to take the money offered, repair the kids car and let DH drive the new to us car and use the money for tuition since my husband was accepted to the MBA program as well last week.

    Bananas were .25/lb so I bought a box. I figured between eating, freezing and the canning from your website we could use them quickly.

    We made strawberry jam too.

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  10. Brandi, I wanted to congratulate you on the approval for your front garden. I'm excited for you! I also wanted to ask you a question I have about balsamic vinegar. I have a jar of it. I have had it for a very long time. I'm not even sure where it is right now, but I am wondering if it gets 'stronger' with time or anything like that? I would like to try your pasta salad, but I'd hate to ruin it with a bad ingredient. Then again, I'd hate to buy new if the old jar (wherever it might be) is still fine. :)

    Blessings to you!

    -Laura at TenThingsFarm

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  11. Cool week!

    This week I -

    *bought groceries for our vacation this week. we will be eating most meals in our hotel room or on the go. Bean burritos, PB&Js, and special junk food treats. I had some freebie coupons and good sized samples which I had saved up so I could use them on the trip.

    *ate up all the leftovers in our fridge tonight & put other things in freezer so no waste before we leave!

    *remembered to buy gas with my amazon card which will equate to $1 in points

    *free snacks this morning at church :)

    *just did some online work which made me $10 for only several minutes of my time.

    *looked up a frugal recipe for dog toothpaste. intending on making it upon return from the vaca.

    *tending to my garden which looks like it may actually provide my family with some food this year! zucchini, tomatoes, jalapenos, green beans, and cilantro. also provided lots of free entertainment for me and my little girl.

    *went thrifting yesterday. the cashier gave my daughter some alphabet magnets for the fridge for free. i bought myself an REI shirt (at LEAST $50 retail) for $2 and my husband a brand spanking new pair of jeans from aeropostale for $3.

    *drank lots of water! i have finally weaned myself off of diet coke. i have it occasionally, but it is no longer making a weekly appearance on my grocery store list.

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    1. Congrats on giving up the soda! I was an avid diet coke drinker but gave it up at Christmas. I will still occasionally drink a soda, but I found I can no longer drink diet anything, its just to sweet. I have wondered exactly what they put in soda to make it so "addicting" lol So, again, Good Job!!

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  12. I made leave-in conditioner by diluting normal conditioner. Even better, the normal conditioner came from a free sample! I'll have at least enough to make two more batches.

    We accepted two eggs and a loaf of homemade bread from my mother-in-law.

    I used some overripe mandarins my mother had given us to make a fruit salad this week.

    The peels from the mandarins are steeping in vinegar to make a citrus cleaner. It will be a nice change. Normally I use plain vinegar.

    We had people over for dinner twice this week - our Elder and Sister missionaries - both times, I made your chicken fried steaks (my husband calls them beef fried oats, as I swap the poultry seasoning for beef bouillon).

    While playing free online games, my husband restarted vidoes on Swagbucks TV for me. There's some music I've been wanting rather badly, and I intend to redeem those "bucks" for amazon.com gift cards to buy the mp3s.

    I've started our garden. Being in an apartment, we've had to buy the dirt in addition to the seeds, but I've bought no new containers (Tidy Cats litter containers from my mom; ugly, but effective).

    I appropriated an underbed box we had to start our seeds in, and will try to grow loose leaf lettuce and radishes indoors once the seedlings are outside.

    I used large cans from Sam's-size green beans and my dry milk to sow herb seeds in.

    I froze two pork butt roasts this week for later use ($1.22/lb).

    We normally don't have "fancy" meat like ribs, but I found some country-style ones for under $2/lb. They will be my husband's birthday dinner (Tuesday).

    I convinced myself that I do not need a DSLR camera, and instead have been reading articles for free on the internet to get better at using my point-and-shoot. So far, not bad. :)

    I took down prices to add to my price book from our town's newest grocery store! (I'm a little obsessed with my price book.)

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  13. I had surgery on my knee on April 10th so I didn't get much done, but here goes.

    Bought 10 lbs of hamburger for 1.57 a pound. Cooked up 5 lbs seasoned for one dish dinners and 4 small packages for tacos. Made meatballs and froze them for spaghetti and meatballs and meatball sandwiches. I also got 10 lbs of asparagus for .88 a pound. I cut it and blanched it and made 12 2 cup packages and 4 1/2 cup packages for stir fry and scrambled eggs. I then thin sliced the "good" ends of the snapped asparagus and cooked it in the blanching water and made soup. I shared some with my neighbor who has been laid up and froze some for later. Before surgery I cooked a turkey, packaged the meat for sandwiches and froze a few packages for misc. dinners. Cooked the carcass and made stock then recooked the bones with carrots,onions and celery in the crockpot and made broth. Froze 6 pints of stock and made dumplings with the broth.

    Got a coupon from Home Depot Garden Club for $3.50 off a bag of potting soil. The soil was also on sale for 5.97 with made it only $2.47. While I was there I pickup up some cucumber plants and patty pan squash. They were on sale for 5/10.00 Also got top soil from Ace Hardware for 99 cents! Limit of 5 bags, darn it. This is the BEST top soil I have ever used.

    Made Brandys Spanish Rice, SO GOOD to go with my chili verde made with pork marked down in the discount bin. Made enough for a few meals so I wouldn't be on my feet all the time. Also made a double batch of granola.

    Used homemade laundry soap, cleaning spray and started seeds for the garden.

    Got free samples of coffee, tea and toothpaste in the mail.

    Started physical therapy again, not fun but necessary.

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  14. **We had beautiful weather the last part of this week with lots of sunshine. We turned the thermostat off during the warmer days and spent some time outside. One of our sons found a bird's nest and we noticed lots of buds on the flowers and trees including our crab apple tree. I cleaned out two small flower beds and noticed that the daffodils will be blooming soon. I love this time of year when we can work outside without being bothered by black flies and mosquitoes!

    **On Sunday there were tables set up at church with books that were free for the taking. I was able to find a few books that I hadn't read yet from a couple of my favorite authors.

    **I was also able to pick up some books at the library book sale for $.10 each and we checked out several others.

    **I tried a homemade whole wheat pop tarts recipe this week. These are so, so good and much healthier and cheaper than the "real" pop tarts. They're not as inexpensive as homemade oatmeal, but they are a good alternative to cereal and a nice change to have occasionally. They also make a great snack.

    **My husband and I like to share a pint of ice cream every so often while watching a favorite tv show or movie. When my husband went out one night this week to pick up a gallon of milk, he also brought home a pint of ice cream. Instead of our favorite Ben & Jerry's, he brought home Hershey's ice cream because "it was a lot cheaper". That's a man after my own heart!

    **Downloaded a song on Spotify for free.

    **In my mailbox this week: free Martha Stewart Magazine, free Family Fun Magazine and a toothpaste sample.

    **I was able to get 6 loaves of whole wheat bread for $.67 each at the bread store during their Buy 2, Get 1 free sale. They also threw in two free donuts for the boys. :)

    For links and pictures: http://vanessasvalues.blogspot.com/2013/04/simply-saving-saturday_27.html

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  15. Beautiful pictures and congrats on your yard! I can't wait to see your pictures when it is finished. I have my accomplishments and a question. We live in northern Illinois. My husband and I are growing our own potatoes. We eat them a lot. Can you dehydrate your own potatoes? and how would you do this? Also, what is the best way to store them so they don't go "bad" so fast? Thanks to anyone who can help me!
    I don't feel like I had to many "accomplishments", but I guess every week can't be great.
    We went to Menard's and I found fruit bushes for 9.89 each! That is the cheapest I've seen around here. Plus I found rose bushes for 3.99 with a 2.00 rebate :). We just bought our house 6 months ago, and the yard has been sadly neglected for at least 20 years, probably longer. My husband had to "clean out" the yard beside the garage due to weeds that had actually grown into "trees", garbage dumped there. It was bad. SO... I planted a blackberry bush, blueberry bush and a rose bush! All by myself, something I am very proud of! I planted all of your herbs one raised bed and tomatoes, onions, carrots, peas, cucumbers in the other one. I have to borrow a rototiller to plant the rest in another part of yard. I also planted lavender, sunflowers, "toothache" plant, a flower that starts with "kiss me...", forgot the name, but the picture was beautiful. Several other flowers but I can't remember them all. We found a plain plastic bird bath for $9, I am going to plant flowers around that too. Nothing permanent because I doubt it will stay in that spot next year. I used my outdoor clothes line (one long one for right now) and our drying rack for drying most of our clothes this past week.
    Turned the heat off as it's been in the 60's and 70's.
    We discovered our fence is actually inside our property line. Our yard is already huge, now it's even bigger. So next year we will be moving our fence to enclose our entire yard. Some of the fencing will be replaced as well.
    Thanks everyone for posting and thank you Brandy!
    My husband fixed part of our fence (chain link/metal) that had fallen apart who knows how long ago.

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    1. Our yard was atrocious too. Now it's vastly improved to almost acceptable. Our house is quite old and when we tried to plant in the back yard found it was full of rocks and debris. And the people before us had sprayed with pesticides for years. The first year we were here, we were working inside the house at things like removing wallpaper, and the back yard was so terribly depressing. We let it lay for two years without planting in it so the pesticides could break down and got rid of garbage and stuff. Then the third summer we began planting, now we have three raised beds and a composter and next year we are putting in a six foot fence. It's been a long road but it is very rewarding to see the soil become healthy again and things grow. We found earthworms for the first time this year and we are so excited about it. You still have time to plant sunflowers, which will obscure your fence and also give you a bit more privacy. We plant ours along our back wall to block the alley. We have not tried it yet, but I have read that if you have very hard and compacted soil, planting potatoes will loosen it up. We have a small yard so we have out potatoes in containers, but that might help you.

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    2. I buy potatoes by the 20kg (I think)(25kg I checked) sack, we store them in the garage, on a large wooden crate, but kept in their paper sack, as long as they are off the floor they seem to keep for months.
      I often think I have not been v frugal, but the frugal things that many of us always do and don't even think about, might be a new idea for someone else, and help them on their frugal journey

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  16. I did some frugal things this week but it feels like I am getting nowhere. I was very discouraged over the weekend because it does not seem like my efforts are getting us anywhere but I know things take time. Baby steps, baby steps. Anyway, this is what I did:

    1. Cooked fresh greens from my garden for one meal. They were so good and this is our first gleaning of the season. Many more to come.
    2. Ate all meals at home except for one that my mother in law treated us to. (This is a MAJOR accomplishment for us as we usually eat out almost every meal on the weekend!)
    3. Shopped all of the grocery sales. Was not able to buy anything to stockpile this week, but was able to keep costs down some because I had a stock pile of basic ingredients except for butter and meats so that is what I mostly bought.
    4. Attending a baby shower this week. My gift is a Ralph Lauren dress and another cute polka dot dress that I picked up at a thrift store a few months ago. I am buying cheap ribbon and having a girl out of my church make hair bows to match. (I would make them myself but she enjoys doing it and saids she needs the practice so she does them for free if you buy the materials. I am donating the leftover ribbon to her as "payment")
    5. Attempted your French bread again and it turned out right this time! I think, Brandy, that I did not knead it enough last time. I set a timer this time and tried it and it worked. I also made homemade sticky buns which did not last but one night.
    6. I also upgraded my phone. I have a basic phone but right now IPhones are free with my carrier so I upgraded to it since it was free.

    That's all I can think of. Have a great week.

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    1. Hang in there! You'll start seeing a difference your frugality makes and then you can just keeping doing more a little bit at a time as changes become habit and then all your efforts will build on themselves!

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  17. I can't wait to see your finished front yard, Brandy. It's sure to be beautiful!

    Last week, I cut my oldest son's hair and trimmed my oldest daughter's hair.

    I made bagels, old-fashioned butter cookies, granola, chocolate pudding, chicken stock, and hot dog buns.

    I fed my dogs leftover food scraps.

    I picked up sticks in my yard to use for kindling next year. I also raked up the dead grass and leftover leaves from the fall and moved a wood pile away from the house for the warmer months. With steady temperatures of 40's at night and 60's during the day, we are done with heating.

    My husband and I cleaned out our garage and brought out the patio furniture. I have a large pile for the dump but did put a few things out on the driveway for free that were picked up quickly.

    I finally planted the three peach trees I bought a few weeks ago. And, the lettuce, swiss chard, cabbage, and onions have all sprouted in my garden as well. I think I may have started the cabbage seeds too late but we'll see. I transplanted some strawberry runners that escaped their raised bed back into the bed too. I'm hoping for some strawberries this year since the chipmunks ate every last one of them last year.

    I mapped out a plan to fence in and expand my garden area. This will allow me to increase the number of raised beds I have and will include espaliered fruit trees and grape vines. It will keep the dogs out too! Although I don't think I will be able to do everything this year, at least I have a plan and can work on it little by little as money allows.

    We continued to work on the chicken coop. My husband was able to glean more free wood keeping the cost way down. We also finished the chicken brooder last week and set it up for the arrival of the chickens due tomorrow! My children are so excited and my neighbor already offered to buy eggs from us. With 8 chickens, we should be able to get 4 dozen eggs each week when they start laying. I'm sure we'll be able to spare a few to sell!

    I made another batch of laundry detergent and was able to line dry sheets outside.

    I made $60 from some cupcakes I made for a baby shower a friend was hosting.

    I cut more daffodils to bring inside and my hydrangeas are budding! I'm hoping to buy more hydrangeas this year since they grow so well in my shaded front yard and they are my favorite flower!

    I used quite a few coupons at Target over the weekend. I was able to get two pairs of flip-flops for 50¢ each, a pair of shoes for my youngest daughter for $2.78, two t-shirts for $3 each, and 2 packages of Children's Advil chewables for 99¢ each.

    And, I stocked up on vegetable oil for $6.66/gallon, broccoli crowns for 69¢/lb, apples for 79¢/lb, and pork ribs for 99¢/lb.

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    1. You can easily grow more hydrangeas form cuttings! Mine make little baby plants to the sides so I dig those out and pot them until they grow a good root system and then plant out into the yard also.
      http://snapguide.com/guides/grow-hydrangeas-from-cuttings/

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  18. wahey, have just got a brand new black leather across body hand bag - think you call them purses, purses to us are the things you keep your money in - for £4 from our local charity shop. Bargain! Tried your museum salad. Had to be a bit inventive to incorporate my veggie diet and contents of the pantry. Used frozen peas inplace of sugar snap, mushrooms in place of chicken and pineapple in place of mandarins and it was scrumptious. Got my very shaggy lawn cut round the rain showers, made my bread. Not a patch on mk1 daughter but edible. Found a recipe years ago that cooks in the microwave for five minutes instead of half an hour in the ordinary oven. Obviously you don't get a crust loaf but pennies in the purse over come the aesthetics of these things. And the sun is now shining after the rain and sleet of the weekend.Anona

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  19. I made gluten free strawberry chocolate chip muffins using a mix that I bought on sale. The price was less expensive than making it from scratch with the pricey gluten free flours. I also made some gluten free cheddar drop biscuits (using a gluten free bread mix that I bought on clearance). They were a big hit.

    I mended a pair of my daughter's favorite pants.

    I harvested lettuce, swiss chard, cabbage, basil, strawberries, and sugar snap peas from the garden. I gave my mom a big bag of lettuce.

    I sewed a denim skort for my daughter using fabric that was given to me by a friend. I also sewed a crayon roll up that my son requested for school.

    The children planted beets and corn.

    I bought chicken breasts for $.99/pound.

    I picked some pink cosmos and brought them inside.

    I found several items that I usually buy that were on 50% off clearance at Von's.

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  20. Brandy, I'm so excited over your front yard -your vision for it sounds so pretty and I bet you can't wait till it's done.

    The most frugal thing we all did was get our hair cut for $2.99 a piece -a beauty shop was offering a grand opening special.

    We also got to go to rummage sales this past weekend because of the nice spring weather we are having- found a treadmill for $20 and got in on the church's half off sale the last hour and found a bag full of clothes for $2.00.

    I've hung up two loads of clothes so far Yipee!

    Also I have been trimming and weeding in the garden when it's not been raining. So nice to get out. Vegetable garden is pretty wet it we will definetly not be able to get in their till end of May. That's about normal anyway.
    Have a great day.



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  21. After being away for my brothers wedding to a place I could never afford if most of it wasn't provided, I am back to reality!

    I harvested a few strawberries for my daughter to snack on.


    I harvested our first bunch of spinach and sauteed them in some eggs.

    I lost our eating out wallet. While losing money isn't at all frugal, we realized how important this was NOT in our lives. So we have adjusted our budget to reflect eating at home more.

    The wallet I lost at Target a couple of weeks ago got turned in. Some personal cash of mine was still in there!!!!!!!!!

    Realized I needed to switch to a bigger purse so I quit losing wallets. So, I am in my bigger purse now.

    I cut our first rose from the garden and put it inside on our bar top.

    I just noticed there was another one outside as well!

    Made homemade doughnuts.

    Miscalculated our gas bill and it was $35 lower than expected! (Usually it's in the 1-2 dollar range). Goofs are sometimes good I'm learning.

    Husband brought home some snacks from work (he works in a snack food plant).

    Took my daughter to two free cheerleading classes. While we do pay for her to do this, the company offering free classes also had info on their upcoming season. Her older class was further away and had more fees. This will save us a lot of money and headache!

    That's about it. Great pics btw!!! I love your blog!



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  22. I got two shirts, a skirt and a cardigan for $6 total at Goodwill's half-off day

    I got some good deals at Walgreens on allergy medicine, mascara and toilet paper

    I've been requesting books at my local library (from the other, larger branches in the system) which means free reading material, and it's convenient too

    Went out to eat, but used a gift card so it didn't cost anything out of pocket

    We don't have much room for plants, but we do have a potted basil plant that is doing well and provides us with tasty, fresh basil

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  23. * While I was at Meijer I asked the bakery if they had any spare icing buckets and they ended up giving me 3. I will use them to store food in from Sam's Club and E&S Sales

    * my Father-in-law brought me 2 dozen free range brown eggs. He said he only paid $1.50 a dozen!!!

    * Updated my chest freezer list when we moved it last weekend and also my pantry list

    * I made a meal plan for this week and also next week

    * I went shopping with my mom, my daughter and my sister to Mishawaka to check out the newly opened Whole Foods. All I can say is WOW is it expensive!! I didn't buy one thing there. My daughter kept saying "mom we really need to get out of here and go back to E&S" lol

    * I used my gas points from Kroger and filled my tank for .30¢ off a gallon

    * In the mail I received a roll of Scott extra soft toilet paper and a trash bag from Ruffies along with some coupons for each

    * I went to Target and picked up the.50¢ flip flops, .49¢ ibuprofen, free Poise wash, and 3 boxes of Bounce dryer sheets for FREE with manufacturer & Target coupons.

    * Took advantage of the sale at Meijer where you buy 8 specified products get $8.00 off your order. I stocked up on 8 bags of Kraft cheese for $1.36 a bag after discount and 5% MPerk. I made sure to get a variety so we have plenty of cheese for awhile

    * I used left over grilled steak and leftover chicken to make quesadillas one night for dinner. We added sautéed green pepper & onions from our freezer

    * I helped hand out food on Saturday morning at my mom's church food pantry. Before I left I was offered 2 loaves of Italian bread since they had some left over

    * We enjoyed homemade milkshakes (made with $1.49 half-gallon ice cream) and more Rice Krispie Treats & Cocoa Krispie Treats

    * I found a rice cooker/steamer at the thrift store for 1/2 price. It was $4.28 with tax. I used it to steam asparagus and my hubby was impressed how well it worked and tasted. I can't wait to make rice in it and see how it turns out :)

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  24. We go out to eat every Sunday with our daughter she always pays this is her way of paying us back for college. We share an entree' and this helps her and it helps us. We paid most of her college and law school so she is happy to pay us back. Sometimes hubby wants his own meal but daughter and I share if he wants his own meal. I only eat a small amount. A few times daughter wanted her own meal so I brought half home for my lunch the next day. In this way we get to eat out! On the few Sundays she is not available we try to have a picnic or go to friends so that we get out. When you get older I think it is important to get out once a week. We do everything at home, work from home , exercise at home, haircuts at home. So we try to get out and see nature and eat out one time per week.

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  25. I used some coupons and got free allergy medicine. I returned a book that I had gotten last month for my little one, because I got a duplicate of it at my baby shower. So I now have $5 back on a gift card that I had acquired through mypoints.com.
    After randomly cold weather here, today was 30 degrees warmer, we had the windows open.
    We have been eating left overs from my shower.

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  26. I enjoy reading your blog very much (a more recent discovery!) and viewing all your lovely photos. There is one thing I notice as I read the frugal blogs of younger women and it is this--disposable diapers are a line item in the budget. This always amazes me! With our four children, I cloth diapered all of them (even multiples in diapers), and most of my friends did also. At one time, we were even in student housing, and I washed diapers at the apt. laundromat facility. There is no way we could afford disposables. I am sure I saved thousands over time. Why don't the younger women do this more? The diapers are even better today and liners are available too. An initial investment of cloth diapers will last through many children. The energy to wash and dry them is minimal and much, much cheaper than buying them each week. Did cloth diapers somehow get a bad rap? (I understand that daycares do not use them.) I never found it to be a hassle at all.

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    1. Many of my readers use cloth diapers and many love them.

      For myself, I found that it was twoo much. I had three in diapers (and I don't own a changing table) and between changing the three and nursing I was struggling to get meals on the table. I didn't have the fancy ones; the old-fashioned kind with pins and plastic pants. I've had three in diapers twice and two in diapers since then. While for many people it isn't too much to do cloth diapers, it was for me--especially with making bread, gardening, homeschooling, etc. I had planned to use cloth diapers and found that I hated them. Instead I focus on the things that I can do, with joy, and I buy the least expensive disposables possible. I just bought some for .13 a diaper (plus I got a $5 gift card to use next time with my purchase as well).

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    2. One other thing--our water bill is very high here ($225 in the summer) and I already do 22-24 loads a week (our water bill is tiered here) so though there would be savings, it would still be a cost for cloth. My happiness is worth the difference.

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    3. I consider myself a younger mom, and cloth diapers have saved us a small fortune. We bought them used off Craigslist and may resell them when finished. I wash them with other laundry after rinsing first, then hang them to dry either outside or inside. The extra water costs $5/month for two in diapers. I wish more moms would consider cloth!
      Leigh Ann

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    4. I think we all have to choose where we'll save money, Linden. Cloth diapers made me miserable, but I live without a cell phone, with one family car, and am home most days (usually 5-6 days a week) without leaving the house. My husband cuts my hair. I don't go out to eat. Those things are choices that I'm happy to make, but cloth diapers weren't. Others will make different choices and wouldn't consider life without the other things.

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    5. I had my heart set on cloth diapering and my husband refused. In the end, I agreed with him but for different reasons. My son had terrible acid reflux and threw up constantly, I did four loads of laundry a day for the first nine months, I shampooed our carpets and sofas so frequently we had to get rid of them. It was crazy. He also had colic, but honestly compared to the reflux I hardly noticed. I could never have handled five loads of laundry a day, in addition to a child that could not be put down.

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    6. Yes, I certainly do understand that we all make our own personal choices where we want to save money! We had a bare bones budget in those days and had to live on $500/month, which was for everything (rent, food, gas etc.). Whew! But we remember those years as a happy time. Funny how that is sometimes. :)

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    7. I wanted to do cloth diapers but then looked at the cost of them. I absolutely didn't want the pins and plastic pants old fashioned ones as I remember my sister in them and it being a disaster. Is there anything worse than a baby messing up the sofa, carpet, car, etc?? I was getting the new fancy ones or else. Until I saw how much they cost and that you may need more than one size. I also compared the cost of cloth to disposables for one child. I know that I'll never have another one as mother nature has made it impossible. In the end the fancy cloth diapers would have cost more than disposables. I"m also a working mom without a dryer. Whewwww it would have been tough. I know cloth is better and easier to toilet train but I'm happy I've gone the other route.

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    8. I diapered 8 children and still have one that needs overnight diapering. I had a stash of cloth diapers and we seldom used them. Too time consuming for the questionable money saved and expensive when you add in at least 4 extra loads of washing/drying time for an already overwheming laundry job for a big family. Plus, my babies weren't happy in them.

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    9. I used cloth diapers with all 4 of our children. None of them were able to tolerate the disposables without breaking out in sores. Disposables have come a long way in the last 40 years, but I did not find the cloth diapers to be a problem at all. We also used the cloth training pants. My husband calculated once that we saved $1,000 per year using the cloth, including the laundry costs, but that was 30-40 years ago, depending on which child. The only problem I remember is that when we lived in Wymount Terrace with our first child when we were students, one weekend she was sick & had diarrhea, & we ran out of diapers. I couldn't use the laundromat, because they were locked on Sunday, so I washed out her diapers in the bathroom sink, & hung them over the balcony to dry. While we were students, I did notice that many mothers did not change either the disposable or the cloth diapers until the child had a bowel movement, which would have made my little ones' bottoms raw. We changed the babies as often as necessary to keep them dry.

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    10. Interesting, Marivene. It doesn't cost me anywhere near that much in disposables. It costs me an average of $300 a year per child, and I definitely change wet diapers! I use the Target brand diapers, take advantage of sales, use Target coupons from their websites, and also take advantage of their gift card offeres. Recently the giant box of diapers was on sale for $2 off per box, and had a buy 2 boxes get a $5 gift card, so by buying 2 I saved $9 on top of the already very low store brand price. I'm very grateful for disposables. I really thought I would like cloth, but the $25 a month it costs me is worth my happiness and my time.

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    11. Back "in the day" when mine were little, disposables cost a lot, coupons were few & far between & there weren't store brands yet. Just Pampers & Huggies, & both were pricey. No big boxes - just the little packs. Most of the mothers in Wymount complained a LOT about the price, but most of them still used the disposables. Of course, in 30-40 years, one would expect that the product & the price would both improve. I always preferred the diapers that you fold over the pre-folds, too, because I could change the fold to change the size as baby grew. Cost also depends on the charge for your water, as you pointed out, & whether or not you own your own washer, or have to use a laundromat.

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    12. The way our water company works is that they change the tiered amounts back and forth on even and odd amounts, so that they charge you MORE. Last month they only billed me for 23 days. This month the bill was 29 days, and I actually used CONSIDERABLY LESS water than last month (even with 6 more days), but my bill is $20 higher, because I hit another tier in water usuage, because they change where the tiers are each month. It's outrageous, but they have a monopoloy here--they've even demanded that homeowners can no longer use their own wells but must use city water, as they have declared ownership of the water here. They write tickets if your water hits the sidewalk, if you water during certain hours, or if you water on a day other than you are allowed to water (I almost was fined $200 once because of that, but they said I could water both Monday and Friday on my bill on accident, so I just picked one of those days to water, and apparently I picked the wrong one). My water bill was $110 for those 29 days. It also rates the billed usage as 31 days for part of the charges (an extra $9.30). (The rest is figured at 29 days). Last year my water bill was $1730. So, I think water really is an important part of the equation (and also stain remover!)

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    13. Water companies can be quite unreasonable. Our water rates here are also tiered, except that we are charged a base rate for the pressurized irrigation every month, year round, when the irrigation water is turned on in April & off in late Sept. We have to pay the base rate, even tho we don't have the water, thru the winter months. When they built our subdivision, the contractors allowed the irrigation companies installing the front yard sprinklers (which came with the house)only 3 hours per yard. If they went over that, they were fired. The contractor went thru 3 irrigation companies. Altho I was not here, both of our original neighbors when we moved here were, & they told us. My irrigation system has at least 4 breaks in it, the most serious of which is when the lower slab of the driveway dropped an inch & a half & sheared off the sprinkler pipe from the main control. For the last 3 years, I have watered with a hose & sprinkler, from the faucet on the house, with "house" water. I have not used a drop of "irrigation" water, but I still have to pay the base rate, year round. Not fair, at all, but watering with the hose, I learned that the "house" water tier is less expensive for us than the "irrigation" tiers. Now, there are only 2 of us, so with more people that might not be the case, but for us, it is FAR cheaper to water the lawn & garden with the hose.

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  27. *I began drying small batches from my huge parsley plants in the microwave. Just wash, pat dry, and arrange leaves on a paper towel and place on the microwave plate. In mine I cook for about 72 seconds. The leaves are still bright green and perfectly dry. The paper towel can be used over and over. I'm working on this a few mornings per week. (I have problems with mold if I air dry and I don't have a dehydrator.)

    * I used ruby chard, green onions, and oregano on homemade pizzas. Yummy!

    * I cut my son's hair.

    * My professional-seamstress friend gave me three bags of fabric remnants, including some 1-2 yard pieces of calico. My daughter and I are dreaming of all the things we can make with it. I started sewing six hot pads, which will be mother's day gifts. I just need to bind them. My daughter started working on a patchwork decorative pillow.

    *I've been washing and conditioning my hair all month with free shampoo/conditioner samples that have been accumulating.

    * I received a free sample roll of TP in the mail yesterday.

    * My neighbor gave me eggs from her hens :-D.

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    1. How many parsley plants do you find that you need to provide enough parsley for your family without buying any? I am adding parsley plants to the front yard so that I can quit buying dried parsley. I use a LOT of parsley for my family.

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    2. You can also lay the parsley (or anything else you'd like to dry) out in a single layer on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan (or any pan for that matter) in your oven on low (about 200F) for 6-8 hours to dry them. No mold and how they used to dry things for years before the dehydrators were invented!

      What fun to get a such a bunch of fabric scraps! Enjoy your sewing!

      Lea

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  28. This week was not much on the savings part as it was the lessons...
    1/Our 3 year old Honda battery died and had to be replaced. I wish we had learned to do the replacement on our own as it would have saved us 40 bucks in labor charge. Found out later some of our close family friends were proficient in this and that also Walmart also does it free of charge if you buy their battery.
    2/On the garden front, we have been getting a lot of compliments on our front garden from our neighbors and also referral business for the guy who did our garden. For our raised beds, I shoveled some white stones that we had around the beds so that we would not have to weed as much and also reused some white plastic fence edging that we had to keep it all in.Had to get some horticultural oil as I know it will help with the mites that we always seem to have living so close to a forest.
    3/ we cut our son's hair finally and so now he is ready for any kodak moment. we skipped buying the cute photos of him from his school as I know we can do just as well for far less the price quoted.
    4/My husband has been in this house for 8 years and we have used the previous owner's old grill and patio set up to now. This year we also got our first grill for ourselves which we had money put aside over the last 9 months.Its not a high end one but it was one we have been eyeing for price cuts for quite awhile now.
    5/ I was able to use a Staples reward and a coupon to buy in on some Marcal paper rolls for real cheap which was on sale this week. We were also able to help a friend get our other extra printer for free which had all the software and was in mint condition.Its not fancy but they save money and I will also teach our friends how to get printer paper and cartridges for cheap.
    6/ I got chosen for World Harbor's party pack from houseparty.com. Something to look forward to in mid-may.
    7/Got some freebies in the mail:magazines(All You,Family Fun);a joint supplement with coupon;shampoo and conditioner sample,sample bag from Ruffies. Used the Target coupons to get the $0.50 flip flops and the $3 espadrilles from Merona.
    8/ You know its true the best day to fill up on gas is Wednesday. In our area on Wednesday gas was cheap as $3.17/gallon and when i did take advantage of it,it had leaped to $3.19.We always use cash anyhow.
    9/We have not been able to open the windows though the heat is turned off as we all have signs of allergies to tree pollen. Sigh we will just have to wait out.
    10/ Made a huge batch of idili dough to carry us through most meals as well as some lentil curry. Also went through MSM's wheat rolls from the freezer and they were scrumptious.
    Have a gr8 week everyone.

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  29. I too snapped up the 50 cent flip flops at target...I also used a coupon to get my husband a very nice Champion brand shirt for 2$! I used manufacturers coupons and sales to save 54$ off my total target trip for a saving of more than 33%!

    On the not so frugal side... we came back from a family vacation (our first ever since before i got pregnant with my eldest!!!)and found our refrigerator had malfunctioned and frozen everything inside! obviously some stuff was salvageable but other items did not fare so well... ever see thawed mayo? *shudder*
    I have a question for all you frugal folks I saved a large bag of carrots (the baby ones) that were frozen into a big chunk... i threw them in the freezer- before they thawed out...any possible uses? I was thinking of cookinng them and pureeing them and putting the puree into ice cube trays and tossing a couple cubes into soup or pasta sauce... anythoughts?

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    1. Cook with a roast or a chicken?

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    2. do you think the texture will suffer due being frozen while raw?

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    3. I like the idea of the puree'. I've made something similar before. A couple of cubes tossed into a smoothie add fiber and vitamins and such, but don't really change the flavor. :)

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    4. You could try cooking them but if the texture is off you can certainly freeze them. I'd throw them into almost anything-soup, meatloaf, pasta sauce, ratatouille, stews, even the Sunday roast. You could also give them to your dog in small amounts. Beware of colourful poops!

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    5. Sometimes baby carrots go down to 29 cents at my Aldi and I have heard, but not yet tried, that you can just toss the bag in the freezer and add them frozen to a roast.

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  30. I accepted free fancy pants shampoo from my sister, she ordered the wrong kind and did not want to be bothered returning it.

    I made laundry soap.

    We went to the farm for some free fun at the playground.

    We had about 30 sunflowers "volunteer" and came up in our raised vegetable bed, we transplanted them to our back fence. When we thinned our beets and carrots we transplanted them too, figuring if they took..great. Most of them seem to be thriving.

    We made compost tea.

    I made gingersnaps and peanut butter cookies and bread and hot dog buns and banana bread and vanilla syrup and an apple tart from the last of the apples we had kicking around.

    We reorganized the basement and brought up all my older sons 18 month clothes for my 13 month to wear. We were so lucky having both boys born in March, everything fits and is also in season.

    We made a trip to an outlet store and got great deals on new clothes for me that I really, really needed. I have been in maternity clothes for almost three years straight and i was so excited to get "real" pants.

    We went to a garage sale and bought some legos my husband was eying on craigslist. At first on craigslist they were overpriced, but then when no one bought them they dropped the price by half and we picked them up.

    In related lego news, the first of the huge lot we bought and sorted is up on craigslist and we will already be making a profit. My husband is actually off now picking up another set.

    We are putting three lots a week up on ebay and it is awesome watching the bids go higher and higher.

    I used coupons and a sale to get a case of diapers for nine dollars!

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  31. I am in the middle of a very money tight time so am buying nothing unless essential. I shortened a dress (bought from ebay last year) that I didn't wear as it was floor length.I re purposed three scarves this week and now have three pretty shrugs. I also have been making loads of things to use as examples in school. you might like a glance at my blog for photos

    http://downinfairydell.blogspot.co.uk/

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  32. I just found your blog and I just love it. This week I made pickles and homemade bbq sauce. I also tried a new recipe for hamburger buns and it worked out beautifully.

    Another reason I wanted to post was to tell you about a bulk food company I have used. It's called Harmony House. I've had their dehydrated celery, carrots and potatoes. Also tomato powder, dehydrated black beans and a veggie soup mix. A bonus is the containers you get can be reused for other bulk goods.

    I found I don't waste celery or carrots by not using them in time. I find the prices to be very good. And it makes making soup a breeze!

    Thanks for your website. I'll be trying some of your recipes very soon.

    Barbara

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  33. Other than the usual stuff I do...
    I went shopping at the mall with a friend and bought NOTHING! I did enjoy the company and the walk.
    I stopped by the second hand store and found a Levi's jacket for $20. That's pretty good as new they are over $100 here.
    I've taken plenty of walks outside to get fresh air and enjoy the nice weather before the monsoon sets in.
    I checked the local FB buy/sell page and found a cappuccino maker for $20. YAYYYY LATTES!
    I also picked up 5 throw pillows for $15 to use at my husbands business.
    I made liquid soap for the bathroom from some old soap nobody liked.
    I found diapers on sale at Costco cheaper than I can buy them online.
    I've found free fun instead of spending money.
    I've asked a relative who is coming to visit from the states to bring a few things that are very expensive here.


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  34. Cut two boys hair and helped 18 year old cut his. He does an amazing job and ends up with such a cute alternative style.
    Got two 8x10 pic's of two of my children for $8 at Target. This is for a project I am working on.
    Soup, soup and more soup. Also lots of pasta. Grocery budget has been reduced and I am pouring over Brandy's menus. (Is that a soup pun?)
    Asked for and received a bag of hand me downs from a friend offering them on FB. It ended up being mostly things from a catalog shoot for a local store! Oh my goodness this stuff is CUTE!
    Dh got two loads of landscaping rock off Craigslist. Ended up being about $300 worth of rock for free. He also tils gardens and usually makes about $200 a year. Repeat customers have already started calling.
    I found myself getting depressed and worried so I started a gratitude journal out of a beautiful notebook my daughter bought me. It makes me think of things through the day that I want to write down and keeps me focused on the blessings and there are plenty.
    I had bought some Tervis cups last October and they were expensive! They also leak like crazy so I sent them back and I am hoping for a refund.
    Lowered cable, lowered cell plan til July when we can drop another line. Yes, I feel dumb.) Started using my huge clothes washer more efficiently to save on water. Hand washing dishes through the day instead of running half loads of dishes. Hope to lower the water bill which runs our family $175. Our water is insanely expensive.
    Dh and I are going cash only. Ouch. I really hate that because it limits my spending so much!

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    Replies
    1. Arden, A gratitude journal is such a good idea! It helps focus on the positive things in our lives, & helps us be content rather than dissatisfied.

      Delete
  35. okay, 3 weeks ago I challenged myself to start blogging my frugal week, inspired by you brandy. Here is my late week 3 post.
    http://sillygeesedesigns.blogspot.com/2013/05/frugal-challenge-week-3.html
    We had a death in the family and that totally blew our budget. I hope that my posts help others feel better about their own weeks I don't come anywhere close to being as frugal as you and others who post, I am hoping that I can improve by blogging it!

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  36. My weekly update!!

    http://themoxleyfamily.blogspot.com/2013/05/frugal-things.html

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  37. I have been so crazy busy that I haven't even had time to read all the wonderful entries from all of you ladies for a while!! So, it was fun to get the time to do that this morning.

    I have done some frugal things, though.

    1) My husband tilled the garden. This is much earlier than usual, due to a warmer spring. I was able to transplant cabbage, broccoli, and some onions. I planted some carrots, beets, lettuce, and a few "gambler crops"--beans, cilantro, and dill. If these frost, I'm only out a few seeds, so worth a try. That's still a very real possiblity here. The peas are growing well in the raised beds-both regular and snow peas.

    2) My daughter and I planted squash, cucumbers, etc. in the greenhouse to put out in a few weeks.

    3) I had a birthday party for my youngest daughter. I had a tea party. It was a LOT of work, but actually turned out to be quite frugal. There were 16 girls (and one 5-year-old nephew) who attended. I used fancy dishes, tea cups, plates, tea pots, etc. that I have gathered over the years. I set the 4 card tables with mis-matched pretty tableclothes from the drawer. I made little sandwiches, small desserts, veggies, fruit, etc. and put it all out on lovely glass dishes. Even a piece of inexpensive white bread with jam looks elegant on a fancy plate:) Then we played some games and watched Anne of Green Gables. Some girls ran outside to play, which was fine, as well. They all came dressed up as either a character from the movie, or a tea party attender from any era. They had a lot of fun, and my daughter was thrilled.

    4) My husband has been preparing for an auction he cooks for each year. He will barbeque prime rib for about 250-300 people. He also orchestrates the rest of the meal, using volunteers. So, he has been doing a lot of planning and shopping this last couple of weeks. I have been trying to pick up some slack around here and will help tomorrow with the cooking. The money raised goes to help send a team of teenagers, plus sponsers, to Mexico to build houses. So, most of our contribution is in the form of labor, instead of cash.

    5) Last weekend, the next day after daughter's birthday party, we hosted a family birthday party for all the cousins. For years, we have done this and call it "the big birthday party." Hubby barbequed all kinds of meat and chicken. People brought salads, etc., and cake and ice cream. We had a lot of leftovers. I made fajitas and enchiladas from some of the leftover meat. We had hot dogs one night. We are so tired because the days are so full, no one has wanted fancy or large meals this week. Which is good, since there is not time to cook them:) Thank goodness for the freezers and cupboards. I just keep grabbing another item to defrost or a jar of canned vegs, etc.

    Hopefully things will calm down a bit after the auction and I will have time for more purposeful planning.

    ReplyDelete

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