Friday, April 12, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments

Note:  I'm hosting a giveaway right now and if you're in the US, you're welcome to enter!  Good luck!
Free ducks!
We've had a great frugal week - I hope you have too!  Here are some of the ways we saved money or got good deals this past week:

My friend moved from a home with a big yard to a home with a much smaller yard.  She has changed how she does some things, and blessed me with two dozen canning jars.  She also gave me her 'tomato squeezer' that you use to remove the seeds and pulp when making tomato juice/sauce.  In addition, since she has daughters older than our own Daughter, she gave us some books and clothing for her.  As a thank-you, we gave her some pecans.  :)

We attended a library program for Daughter, and she ended up participating in the show and had a great time.  This also gave me some time to connect with my friend and do some crochet.  We returned materials and picked up some new things while we were there - all for free!

I price-matched at Walmart to save running around and driving all the way to 'the city '.  I used 7.10 in coupons. I got 4 cans of Glade air freshener spray free (with coupons).  I took a quick look at the clearance shelf at Walgreens and got some soap and tampons for 80% off.  I'm over my $20-ish a week budget for food and household items, so I'll need to be more prudent in the coming weeks.

I got some samples in the mail - these are nice for Husband's lunch bag when he has to work nights.  I also got a coupon for free L'Oreal hair color that I 'won' on their facebook page, I think....or maybe on their website. 

Butterscotch, Carmela and Buffy
It was time to get ducks for some upcoming programs I'm doing at the local libraries.  I prepared a brooder for ducklings.  Daughter suggested I call before we go to the feed store, so we don't waste gas.  She's seven, y'all - how cool is that?  I called - three different feed stores, and none of them had ducklings and only one of them had plans to get more in, and those would be in after my programs start!  I checked craigslist and found someone who had several ducks and a goose, free to good homes.  Husband stopped there on his way home from work and picked up three ducks.  They are really pretty and tame.  They're also old enough to eat standard feed instead of the starter feed, so I didn't have to go purchase any additional feed, either.

We had franks and beans one night for supper.  I made a big batch and froze the leftovers for a future (easy) meal for a busy day.  We planned this week's meals based on food we have on hand - that menu is here.  Husband and I each signed up for a $10 off promotion at Retail Me Not.  It turns out that it works just like a gift card, and we have until the 22nd to use them.  That will get us some free or nearly free pizza.  In fact, we used on this Thursday to get a XL Brooklyn Style pizza...$1.55 after using the promotion!

One of my friends who lives in a nearby community invited us to go swimming last Friday.  Since we went in with her, we were guests and it was free of charge.  The children swam and had a great time, and the moms visited, knitted and crocheted, and caught  up with one another.  It was great!

Husband and I continue to work on taping the drywall in the workshop portion of the garage. We may be slow, but we're making progress, learning something new and saving some money.
My 'cookie scoop' was very handy for getting this done.
I took a lot of the yogurt I got free last week and froze it in ice trays.  We can add the cubes to smoothies.  I think I could use the plain yogurt cubes in some Indian recipes that I like to make now and then too.

Husband signed up for a $10 Target gift card to use some credit card points that were going to expire - it arrived this week.  I also got a $6.99 check from Staples - a rebate for paper that made the paper free. 

On Saturday we took Daughter to Home Depot to do the free kids' workshop.  She made a lovely bird feeder and had a great time.  We also returned some drywall tape we won't be needing, and picked up a drywall sanding block along with a packet of Amish Pie pumpkin seed to grow in our garden.  I remembered to pack a snack for Daughter...and so did Husband, hee hee.  On the way there we dropped off recycling, which is good for us and for the planet.  On the way home we stopped at Sam's to get Husband's Sam's card made, and we enjoyed some samples while we were there. 

I packed snacks for Daughter and I when we went to church.  We are always hungry after service, and it's so, so tempting to stop somewhere and just 'grab something'.  I took along half a sandwich for her, some trail mix for me, and a banana for each of us.  That held us over until we got home.  I'm getting better about this!

I made a snack basket and put it on the kitchen counter.  We are well supplied with little plastic containers, so I took some and filled them with various things:  pretzels, homemade trail mix, cheese crackers, coconut balls, fig newtons, etc.  Now we have a go-to spot to grab a snack for errand day, plus it means I have some things ready to go for during our homeschool days.  I'll keep it next to the fresh fruit and encourage alternating between the two. 

Some weeks our leftovers are simply the same meal, repeated.  This week I was better about being creative and turned some leftover spaghetti sauce and bread into French bread pizza.  Extra rice was made into fried rice with veggies, ham and egg.  Leftover breaded chicken went into a chicken salad for one of Husband's work lunches, as well as our quesedillas supper.

I made ranch dressing, ranch dip for veggie sticks, homemade granola, and all the stuff I did with leftovers.  We had finished up some honey roasted sunflower seeds, so I added the 'dust' from those into the homemade granola rather than throwing it away.  It replaced some of the sugar in the recipe. 

I did a survey and made $3.  I also received a product to try and review.  I can't tell you anything about it - it's secret spy stuff.  Free secret spy stuff.

We used wood heat as needed (oh yeah, and we had a blizzard on Tuesday), washed full loads of laundry, used homemade laundry soap and dried our laundry on wood racks.  Vegetable peels, apple cores and other kitchen scraps were fed to our chickens, rabbits and ducks.

I have a neighbor who has blessed us with all sorts of things - lamps she was going to take to goodwill, a sofa table and much more.  She called this week asking me if I knew where she could get patterns for Raggedy Ann and Andy.  I had a set I'd probably never get around to using, along with a printed set to cut/sew....and I gave them all to her.  :)

We were in town on different days for various reasons - church, an errand day with Husband, etc.  I resisted going to Goodwill more than one time, because it seems there's always something tempting.  When I went, I got a rice cooker/vegetable steamer (which has been on my watch list for a while) for $5.  It's just the type I've been looking for!

Room for Improvement:  When the library program was over last Thursday, we were hungry (it was noon) and ended up at McDonalds.  It was only $3.15 for both Daughter and I, but if I'd packed something from home (there were options available at the house), we could have saved that money. This is what convinced me to make the snack basket that I listed above. 

It usually takes me an annoyingly long time to pick out produce at the store.  I rushed a bit this week, and one of the packages of strawberries I bought was past prime.  I ended up giving about a third of that package to the ducks.  They loved them, but I was disappointed.  It was about .33 lost to waste.  I also had some cilantro that I didn't get used up quickly enough.  It also went to the ducks, before it was too late.  Cilantro is inexpensive here - often .33 for a huge bunch, and I used about half, but it's still not my goal to waste. 

How are you saving these days?  What did you do this past week to stretch your dollars?

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Tracy said...

You did great! Liked your Room for Improvement addition. Nice to know I'm not the only one! :)

Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl said...

Beautiful ducks! Nice job on all you accomplished this week. I hope you'll come visit me on Facebook at Ducks Too and also my blog


Elle Mental said...

Thanks for posting! It is inspiring to see people trying to live sustainably, and frugally. My family and I have lived on one income since 1982. When our kids were small it was pretty easy to find inexpensive things to do as a family, but in the teenage years it was more of a challenge. We came up with some really fun things to do and now that i think back on it, many of the things we did were suggested by the kids! I hope you have a peaceful and happy weekend! elle
*just a small note... the CAPTHCA code for "proving your not a robot" is very difficult for me to read since I am dyslexic and do not recognize some of the letters. I try to decipher them, but I will often have to give up and not post my comment. On my blog I just moderate all comments avoiding the need for the CAPTHCA.

Rhonda said...

Your little snack basket is a great idea!

Laura said...

Tracy, I thought that would be a good reality check too - for me as well! I know I always always have room for improvement!

Thanks for your kind words, Lisa - I'll check out your info! :)

Elle, I do moderate my comments, so I don't know why it is requiring a captca code along with that - I'll see if I can get rid of it, K? Thanks for the heads-up!

Thanks Rhonda - I'm liking the snack basket too, partly for convenience, but it's also a great way to make sure the last little bits of different things get used up. :)

Laura Lane said...

Well done!
I've got to start making some goals and a list.

I need to find a way to bring in a bit of money.

I keep myself in books by reviewing. It's fun, but hubby wants to see some $.

Any ideas would be appreciated,
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Sandra said...

LOVE the snack basket. I am going to put my thinking cap on how I can adapt that idea for this house. We sure could use it!

Terri G. said...

I also like your "Room for Improvement" addition. I think we all need that. I found myself just doing the same things this week to save money, but I know that every little bit helps. I am looking for some ways to bring in a little bit of money, so I have found myself surfing the web a little more.

gram said...

Good to see you again. I haven't read much since maybe when your daughter was 3. She is soo beautiful!!!! You are doing such a great job you really put me to shame and make me tired. I will read about your homeschooling since two of my grandkids are homeschooled. they are 10 and 12. gram from sark board.


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