Friday, February 1, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments

Hopefully, when you read these, you don't think I'm bragging or being puffed up in some way.  Not at all....I am sharing them in hopes they will be a blessing to others.  If you want to see lots and lots of similar lists of frugal accomplishments, head on over to The Prudent Homemaker's Blog.  She has a much bigger following than I do (boy, is that ever an understatement!) and lots of fantastic people who share their frugal accomplishements in the comments on her blog.  Do check it out!

Here are some of our frugal accomplishments from this past week:

> I accepted some dry cat food from a friend - her cats won't eat it.  It's premium stuff, too, which makes me laugh - I think her cats are like mine - used to the standard cat foods.  Hopefully, Tallulah will eat it. 

> I got two boxes of cat food free w/coupons.  At Staples, we purchased this colored paper.  It will be free after rebate, except for the sales tax.  I think it will come in handy for art projects here at home, as well as at Sunday School.

> We also won three cans of cat food in an online game on the King Sooper website.  Guess what?  Tallulah won't eat the canned we'll donate it to a shelter or something.

> Last Friday while doing errands we enjoyed free breakfast items from Chick Fil A.  In Thursday's mail, there was a free single serving size of Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips.  I hope they taste good!

>  I picked up a box of arts and crafts supplies from a lady in town who responded to my 'wanted' on freecycle.  These items are for the Sunday School class, and I know we can put them to good use.

> I've been looking for a 'wandering jew' plant for a long, long time now.  I've asked for cuttings on freecyle, and mentioned it to people I know, all to no avail.  We were in walmart the other day and they had one little plant...somewhat ratty looking.  I took it to one of the area managers and asked for a discount, and she marked it 50% off.  It never hurts to ask!  I've potted it up and so far, it looks like it's happy.  I hope it lives!

> I made some ranch style bean soup last week.  It's pretty good, and Hubby said he thought it would make good bean dip.  I puree'd some, added a bit of chipotle, a teeny bit of vinegar and a little more salt - it's yummy!  The price of the little cans of bean dip is out of line with what they are made of (in my opinion!) and I'm happy to have something home-made that my sweetie likes.

> We ate at home for all our meals except Sunday, when we went out for a meal at Culver's.  We used coupons to cut the price.  Instead of getting 'value meals', we used BOGO coupons for two of the burgers and the two sundaes, then we all shared one order of fries and drank water.  The three of us ate (and had plenty) for about $11.  Not the most frugal choice, but for three people eating out, it's not bad, especially with dessert.

> When I got milk this week, I bought whole instead of 2%, since there is no price difference...all of it is 2.19 a gallon this week.  We are adding some water to it to stretch it further.

>  We made the decision this past week to decrease our hen flock.  This is going to open up a lot of possibilities for us as far as protected gardening space, and make the chores a bit more manageable as well.  I do love all the hens, but after discussion and prayer, this is the right thing to do at this time. 

> I've stopped buying soda.  I never did pay for it with grocery money - I used my own allowance.  It's for the best, but I'm still cranky about it.  OK...confession - I bought some stevia sweetened soda this week after all.  It was .99 a 6 pack.  I won't buy the sugary/hfcs stuff, nor the artificially sweetened.  In other news, the way the stevia soda tastes, I think it will last me a while.  I really miss my coca-cola.

> We went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science - it was a family field trip, which is both family time together and educational.  We walked through a lot of the museum and saw some truly fascinating exhibits.  I'm really impressed with this museum.  Why is it a frugal accomplishment?  We went on one of the special free admission days.  We packed a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, cookies, water, etc. so that we weren't stuck going out for lunch.  It was also our daughter's Christmas present. :)

>  Hubby found a deal at Target where you get two DiGorno pizzas for $9, plus you get a free 2 liter soda. (I didn't buy it - it was free - he chose Coke Zero...waaahhh!)  Then, he found a coupon in the paper for the pizzas - buy two, get one free.  The coupon took off more than the price of the single pizza, so the three pizzas and the soda were $7.50 total.  One of them will be his Superbowl treat, so along with this being a good price for a kind of pizza he likes, it also means we won't be getting carryout pizza for the game. 

> We used our wood stove to help heat the house, and I wore warmer clothes, rather than going through more firewood. :)  We used racks to dry the wet laundry and I used homemade laundry soap (which I've done for years)

> I did a lot of cooking from scratch and we utilized leftovers, throwing nothing away.  Even our fruit and vegetables are not wasted - they go to our chickens, who love the treats!

> I fed the hens a pumpkin that was getting soft, and cooked up three more that were still perfect.  They provided us with plenty of pumpkin puree for the next little while.  Also, I made a loaf of pumpkin bread to take to church on Sunday, plus a dozen pumpkin/chocolate chip muffins for the family.  I used whole wheat flour for half the flour called for, eggs from our hens and I used home-canned applesauce in place of half the oil.

>  We ended up going to town on Wednesday instead of Friday, so I'm doubled up on grocery frugality. I got a couple of boxes of Carnation Instant Breakfasts and two tubs of 'Wholly Salsa' for free with coupons and sales.  At Sprouts Farmer's Market, the produce guy was trimming lettuces into a box.  I asked if I could have some of those outer leaves for the hens, and he said they aren't allowed to give them away.  I asked if they were allowed to sell them, and he said no....and then said to go ahead and get a produce bag full, for free.  So...what do you think?  Should I call the manager there and see if I can arrange something?  I'd happily sign a waiver, or whatever.  I hate to see them just throw all that away.

> We transferred one of my husband's prescriptions to Walgreens and for that, we get a $25 gift card...except that the system was down, so I'll pick it up another day.  It will be used to fill the bottom of the linen cabinet with TP :)

> At the supermarket, daughter and I each got a free sample 'cutie' clementine orange. 

> Once again, we stopped at the library and picked up books, movies and more, all free to use.

What are your frugal accomplishments this week?


Cindy said...

well this week, I booked a night in Branson for under 40.00 which was a great deal, we will take food coupons, and a gift card we got for Christmas to keep down costs, We dont live very far away so it will be an expensive get away for us. I also used coupons with my grocery shopping and was able to save 5.00, I got some great deals, only spent 62.00 and that involved buying 6 packages of meat for the freezer, all the stuff I need to make my soup for the "souper" bowl party at church this weekend. Found some great deals thrifting, a brand new pair of pants with tags on them still, my favorite brand for only 4.00 (reg price was 58.00) Will be very nice for church.

Cathy said...

You always make me look like a slacker when it comes to frugal deals! I didn't do much this week except for bringing my lunch to work instead of using the cafeteria. I used a coupon to get a free pair of shoestrings at the sneaker shop in the mall. I can't remember if I did anything else or not!

About the lettuce outer leaves... I would say you should call and ask about them. However, keep in mind that they most likely won't "save" them for you but rather set them aside on the day they do the trimmings. If you don't get to them that day, I'm sure they will toss them. So is it worth driving to that store at least once a week? Or maybe you could just sign up for 2 days a month or something?

If you are getting the lettuce leaves, maybe they have other things they could put aside for you too. Like maybe old fruit or cabbage or carrots?

I've been searching for a place to get fat to make into lard. Have you ever found a place to get a large amount of animal fat? Just curious.

Laura said...

Good thought about the lettuce/trimmings, Cathy. I am hopeful I can find somewhere closer to home where I can get produce leavings...I need to talk to some people and keep trying, I think! :)

I think that if you call real meat markets and/or places that process pigs, you might be able to find fat to render into lard.

Anonymous said...

Great minds think/work alike! I got the free catfood too this week! My cats love it,they think they've died and gone to heaven since they usually get the cheap stuff,lol !
I also continued to be super conscious about electricity usage. I unplug all appliances when not in use,including microwave, I don't need the clock to tell me what time it is and every little bit helps
I am continuing to knit with gifted yarn
Hugs and God bless,

Maryann said...

Just found your blog, very inspiring! This is my first true month of being frugal. I like your ideas, especially the electricity above. We used our heat 3 days last month and it added $60 to our utility bill! I'll be following from now on:)

Laura said...

Always good to hear from you, Helen!

We don't unplug things when they aren't in use. My husband wouldn't go for that, I don't think, and honestly, I think it would annoy me too. We are in an electric co-op, but we do try to keep our usage down, and we run about 375 KWH (about $65) a month. That includes the standard stuff you'd think of as electric (lights, tv, fans, music, computers) plus we have a well, so we're pumping our water with electricity too.

Maryann, I cannot imagine having my bill go up $60 for using it 3 days. That just blows my mind! I hope you find some ideas here that will help you get around that one!

Sheila said...

I came over from the Prudent Homemaker. It was so fun to see your mention of and pictures of the Denver Museum of Science and Nature. We moved from Greeley about a year and a half ago, but while we were there we had an annual membership to the museum, and my girls and I spent many days there. Many happy memories!! My 7th grader is studying the Titanic at school and I said do you remember getting to touch a piece of the Titanic? She was younger then, but they had a special exhibit of the Titanic there, which included a piece of the actual ship, along with a setup of how the rooms were, etc. When you went in to the exhibit, you were given a boarding pass for a person who was on the ship, and then at the end of the exhibit, you got to find out if you 'made it'. Sorry to gush, but that museum was one of my favorite things. Anyway, enjoyed looking around at your site!

Laura said...

Sheila, I have to agree - it's a really nice museum! The first time we went, we just saw the dinosaur exhibit and the special T-rex exhibit they had at the time. This time, we went to several other exhibits, and really liked them a lot. The dioramas of wildlife really impressed me...and the gems and minerals were just beautiful. We didn't see it all, but I know we will go back other times to catch more of the museum. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Becky said...

We have been in our remodeled house for over 5 years now. When we turned on the heater for any reason, it raised our electric bill $50/DAY!!! So, obviously, we used only wood. This year we determined to have it looked at. It had been wired wrong 5 years ago to pour cool air into the system, while trying to heat. The company fixed it for free, even though it had been so long. We are not using it much, but anticipate a much lower bill if we have to. So, don't assume everything is "fine" if your bill is super large. We had figured that it was because the "new" house was much bigger--silly us--then just got used to never using it.


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