Thursday, March 28, 2013

This Week in Frugality (and Deals!)

I was given a $5 Starbucks gift card as a thank-you for helping with a project.  If you have a Starbucks gift card, register it with them and you'll get a free drink on your birthday.  Me, I don't drink coffee, but I can sure enjoy those frozen frappuccino thingies. 

I used the coupon and picked up the free rotisserie chicken at Sam's.  It tasted good, and it was bigger than I expected.  We got four meals from it:  chicken/baked beans/carrot salad/fresh fruit, chicken fajita quesedillas/salad/grapes, chicken/baked potatoes/broccoli/oranges, and I stripped the frame once the main pieces were removed, then simmered the bones for chicken broth.  That meat and broth made chicken noodle soup with carrots and celery.  That chicken would normally cost $4.88, and it weight nearly 4 pounds after being cooked.  I'm not sure I can buy a raw chicken (that always says something about 12-15% water included) for $4.88 these days.  They haven't gone on sale here for quite a while.

Later, same week:  One of our local stores had name brand spiral hams on sale for .97 a pound. That store is famous for being out of whatever is on sale, so I did a price match at Walmart. Before I left home I checked online and found a coupon for $2 off that brand, so I got a 9.5 pound ham for about $7.50. In addition, there were a lot of chickens marked down to .69 a pound. I put six of those in our freezer. Yes, I went over the monthly budget to do that, but we were completely out of whole chickens, and these days, .69 a pound is a great price in our location.  I used some of the 'extra grocery money' that we have been setting back each month for just this sort of special.

When we were out and about this week we were offered some tasty samples - for Daughter, this works as 'snack', and saves me if I've forgotten to pack something.  We were each given a frosted sugar cookie, a 'cutie' clementine tangerine, a taste of a new beverage, a chocolate covered strawberry (really!), a sample of black bean burger, some salmon, and a piece of a protein snack bar.  These were not all the same day, or it would have practically been a meal.

We were in need of a spare booster seat, now that we're using the truck more (and I don't always remember to get Daughter's booster from the car).  I went asking, and a kind lady on Freecycle gave us just exactly what we were looking for.  Thank you, dear stranger!  It cleaned up very nicely, and now I can return the loaner to my neighbor.

On a day that was too warm for a fire, but still a bit cool, I made a couple loaves of pumpkin bread.  The pumpkin was pumpkin we grew (I had cooked them up and frozen the flesh in 1 c. portions), eggs from our hens, whole wheat flour our neighbor gave me several weeks back (for half the flour), and pantry staples.  Both were wrapped and put into the freezer.  I take a loaf of quick bread to church each Sunday, so I know they'll come in handy on busy Saturdays by saving me the time I'd have to bake.

Pumpkin Bread with Sugar on top!

We were having some trouble with the lock on one of our exterior key quit working, and Husband's didn't work all the time either.  At first we thought we'd have to buy a new knob/lock, but after some tinkering, Husband noticed a problem and we fixed it!  It was just a matter of re-tightening a plate that had come a little loose. :)

I fed scraps and peels to the hens and rabbits when appropriate, to cut down on feed and give them some variety. 

A while back, I got something from a lady on Freecyle.  Part of the deal was that I had to also take some other stuff.  One of the items was a partially dismantled car seat 'cover' - the ones that are made of wooden beads all strung together.  This week I decided I wanted to do a craft with the Sunday School class that requires beads, so I finished dismantling the car seat thing and now I have plenty of beads that are perfect for our project.
Strands of Sliding Prayer Beads made from Donated Beads and Yarn.

I used $20 in coupons and did some price matching to consolidate my grocery shopping, thereby saving gasoline and time.

I am really tempted by the beautiful bouquets of cut flowers right now.  To help me through, I got two primrose plants that are blooming for $1 each. I slipped them into items we had on hand, a pitcher and a basket.  Since the basket was a little short, I tucked some lace (also on hand) around the top to cover up the plastic.  Pretty!


I also picked up two houseplants that were on clearance for $1.75 each. I've posted on craigslist and freecycle for cuttings, to no avail. Both of the plants I got look very healthy and vigorous - I think they were marked down because they were in 'Valentine-y' pots.

In another part of the store, this glitter paint and this one stamp set were on clearance for .10 each.  They will come in handy for Sunday School.

I sprinkled the coffee grounds and used tea leaves in the garden to improve our soil.

At Goodwill, I was able to find three glass containers for terrariums for just over $3. I like them very much. I also found a pair of rather expensive, name-brand shoes - they looked brand new! They fit me just right, and they were only $5. I was all set to buy them when I remembered something important. I don't need shoes. So I saved $5. :) I did, however, have slacks on my list, and I found a pair for $2.80. I also picked up a like new baseball mitt for 75 cents, which will go into the Easter basket.

I went to the feed store to get some scratch grains for the hens. I found a bag of 'sweet feed' (grain with a molasses coating) that was not sewn on one corner. It had leaked about half a cup. They marked it 10% off for me, which was a good savings. Also, I can give small amounts of it to the rabbits as a treat from time to time.

I trimmed my and Daughter's bangs. Now we can see!

It snapped cold again, so we are continuing to use the wood stove to supplement house heat.  I've also been wearing my shawl some to keep warm. 

Lots of scratch cooking, eating at home, and this week, a better job of following the menu plan.

I saved a couple of disposable containers that I want to use to start seedlings and/or microgreens.

I got music, books, movies and a Wii game at the library.  I get to read a lot of great stuff and listen to nice music without spending, which is lovely!

Lego Star Wars of some sort....don't ask me!
We packed snacks and drinks all week when Daughter and I were out presenting chicken programs at different libraries.  Husband takes his lunch to work every day too - he's awesome!

It was nice enough to hang some laundry outside this week.  I hang it indoors in the cold months, but I love the scent the sunshine imparts to freshly laundered clothing. 

I made fruit punch, using less sugar and adding the syrup from some canned fruit we had opened.  We continue to water down whole milk, and it works just fine for us while cutting our milk costs by about half.

What are you doing these days to save?  What frugal practices have you come up with to save money and time?  I'd love to learn from you - please leave a comment! :)

-Laura at TenThingsFarm

Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest


Tracy said...

Wonderful list! I posted my frugal doings on my blog last night. :)

Rhonda said...

very nice post!

Terri G. said...

I have made all meals from scratch. Using up some things in the pantry that we have had awhile and don't really care for, so just added more vegetables and spices to make it a chicken-like stew instead of noodle soup.
Walked to the library and checked out books. This is free and our granddaughter loves books. I think that we will walk there again today. Fresh air, and free exercise.
Am finding that since I am a stay-at-home grandma, that I can wear some of my shirts and pants more that one day before I wash them, this has cut our laundry down to only about 3 loads a week. We have been trying to conserve water and have brought our 3-month bill water bill down by about $10 each month.
Staying home and not shopping, didn't go out to eat on Friday (wasn't feeling well), using food from the freezer and pantry. All of these little things add up and I am able to bring our monthly grocery bill down to less than $80 a month for the 2 of us.

Laura said...

Tracy, I'll go check it out! Thanks, Rhonda! Terri, the library saves us tons over buying books, and walking there - all the better! You reminded me that I need to post some of the ways we save on laundry. :) That's a really frugal grocery budget. Ours is $160 for food, household stuff and toiletries, but we've been setting aside $80 each month for stocking up (except that when I bought all the chicken, that was some stocking up). Thank you all for visiting!

Paula said...

Always inspiring to read your blog! I think we are roughly the same age - but when I grow up I want to be more like you!

The Moxley Family said...

Not a whole lot this week. But I did start a blog to keep track of my frugal accomplishments (thanks to the prudent homemaker for inspiration)and as a journal-type activity. Here is my list


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