Thursday, April 4, 2013

Springtime Frugal Accomplishments

Spring is in the least, sometimes.  The robins are back, and there are tiny bits of green peeking out from the brown tufts of grass.  It is still very dry here, so we are praying for rain to help green things up.  Like most everyone, we are eager for springtime weather.  Here are some things we did this past week to save:

We got two cans of Marie Callender's soup for free through a supermarket promotion.  I also got four more 32oz. containers of yogurt for free with sale and coupon.  We are going to figure out whether or not it's possible to make frozen yogurt at home.  Some of the yogurt is flavored - vanilla or strawberry - and some is plain.  If you have 'yogurt ideas', I'd love to hear them!

I got my coupon for a free 20oz. coke and used it as well. 

I used $8.25 in coupons.

We went to the used bookstore and got some books using our store credit...and we still have plenty of store credit!

We used some of our stock-up funds to get 25 lb. of oats, 4 lb of butter, a #10 can of instant frijoles and some meat (six chickens and a ham).  Some came from the LDS cannery, some from Sam's Club, some from Walmart.

25 lb. of Old Fashioned Oats - LDS Cannery

I took all the wee bowls of odds and ends from shrimp taco night (cilantro, onions, some salsa, lime, radish, chopped tomato) and tossed them together to make a pico/salsa.  Combined, it was still less than a cup, but at least it wasn't wasted.  We used it as a sauce on chicken fajita quesedilla night.  Yay!

As a family, we shared and enjoyed a vanilla bean frappuccino from Starbucks - free with the gift card I was given last week.

Husband and I are taping the drywall in his workshop.  The supplies are really not expensive at all.  Two rolls of drywall tape and a 5 gal. of bucket of mud is about $18.  We already own a taping knife and a corner tool, so it's mostly about time and patience.  And later, sanding things smooth.

There were a few articles of clothing that seemed to have some funky scent attached to them, even after washing.  I soaked them in a bucket of water with about a cup of vinegar added - for 2 days - and after laundering, they were good as new. 

We live a couple miles from a grouping of stores.  The area where we live is rural and not safe for walking/biking (no shoulders or sidewalks).  It's a little thing, but I've started driving over to where the stores are, parking in one place on nice days, and then walking to do whatever errands need doing.  It gets us some fresh air and exercise and saves a tiny amount of fuel.  It also makes me reluctant to buy anything if it's heavy!

I wrote down free library activities for the month of April on the family calendar so we know what is coming week to week.  We've also gotten some fresh books, movies and music to enjoy.

I planned a menu from our pantry (it is here if you're curious) and items we had on hand.

I propagated some little houseplants from my big houseplants.  So happy! I have a baby African violet and some jade plants that have rooted and allowed me to have more green in the house.

On my laptop, that's bigger than life size.

In the center of the photo you can see teeny, tiny jade sproutlets.

Home-Rooted Jade plants.  Yay!
It's been warm/sunny enough to wash blankets and hang them on the line to dry outside.  I also put our pillows out in the sun during the day to freshen them.

A friend gave me some 40% and 50% off coupons for JoAnns and I was able to get crochet hooks in sizes I don't have.  I bought little sets of three, and they ended up costing less than individual hooks!  Another friend gifted me with an ergonomic crochet hook handle that has made it possible for me to crochet longer (sometimes my hand would get numb).  I am so blessed!

We dyed a few eggs for Easter with food coloring and vinegar water.  We just made red, yellow and blue, and I saved the dye for daughter - she has been using it for watercolor paintings.  For paper, she is using the partial pages I sometimes have when I print a coupon.

I cleaned out the bunny barn and put the rabbit droppings into the garden as fertilizer.  It works very well and is good for the plants.  When I rinsed the bins that catch the droppings, I poured that water onto the roots of our cherry trees. 

We have turned off the furnace, but we're still using the wood stove sometimes to warm the house at night.

I added more soap slivers to my homemade 'sliver saver', and I'm using it for my bar of soap when I shower.  (It's just a knee-high nylon that I put the soap bits into, and then I do a loopy knot at the top so I can hang it on a hook in the shower.  Easy!)

I downloaded some free Kindle books from Amazon (I don't have a Kindle but they have a free program so I can read them on my PC) and also some e-books from the Time Warp Wife website.

I started a few small batches of microgreens (mesclun mix, mung beans and alfalfa) to see what we think of them.  I used seeds and dirt I had on hand and  recycled containers.

The alfalfa is already sprouting....

I tried a new pancake recipe that we like, now I'm trying to convert it to a ready-to-make mix.  I made meatballs from scratch, also cole slaw, macaroni salad, chocolate sauce and teriyaki. 

I accepted a stack of Sunday School teaching materials from a friend who knew I could use them at church for my Sunday School class.

Husband transferred a prescription to Kmart and used our loyalty card and a coupon they sent me for a free $25 gift card with transfer.  We will watch their sales and use that money to stock household items, most likely.

I switched out the shower curtain liner in our bathroom because it was getting icky.  I get the ones at Dollar Tree.  I put it in the wash with a load of whites (it is a white shower curtain liner) and it cleaned up beautifully.  It is so thin that I didn't think it would hold up to washing, but it did.  Once it had dried I folded it up to use again.

I've been playing along at Money Saving Mom doing the April cleaning activities.  As I'm cleaning up and clearing out some things, I'm finding some stuff I may well be able to sell on craigslist.  If not, I can donate the items, which will help someone else.

The Kitchen Catch-All

Much Better! (for the moment)

We did our usual laundry things - homemade laundry soap, drying on racks or clotheslines.  We also combined errands and price matched items as much as possible in order to save time and fuel.

I got a lotion sample in the mail - it will go into one of the blessing bags for church.

I also got a Choffy sample.  I cannot wait to try it, and tell you all about it.  Stay tuned!!!

Last minute:  I found a Staples receipt.  Hm.  I had this nagging feeling that it needed attention, because it wasn't where I put them after I go online and do the Easy Rebate thing.  Sure was a 'live' receipt!  So doing that means there's a $7ish check coming our way in a few weeks.  Whew! 

How was your week?  What did you do to save or cut spending?  Leave a comment - I'd love to learn from you! :)  Also, don't forget to pop in on Friday for the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest (you don't have to be afarmer, or a girl, either!).  Lots of great ideas and inspiration from all over the world!


Donna OShaughnessy said...

AMAZING! Some of those tricks are mine as well Some were new. I make my own bar soap and use the scraps to wash dishes and make my own laundry soap. I also use a few drops of essentail oils (used to scent my soaps) ina spray bottle with water as my own room deoderizer. Our best trick. The furnace is set at 62 year round and we wear sweaters in the house.

Marivene said...

Store bought yogurt freezes beautifully as popsicles in the Rubbermaid Ice Tups. I bought mine at yard sales & have had them for ages. They last forever, if you don't lose the "sticks". A 32 oz container of yogurt makes quite few. The nice thing about using the big tubs is that you can mix in a little plain yogurt if you want to cut the sugar, & no one even notices.

Terri G. said...

I loved your idea about saving the egg coloring dye for watercolor painting. I will have to try to remember that.

Laura said...

Donna, I make soap too! I haven't in a long time, but I really enjoy making it. The trimmings are handy for all sorts of things!

Marivene, I love the idea of cutting the sweetness with plain yogurt - great idea! Daughter is not much for popsicles - I don't know why - so I think I'm going to get some ice cube trays and freeze cubes to add into fruit smoothies. We still have plenty of yogurt! :)

Terri, Thanks for your comment! I wanted to let her use the 'paints' out on the front step, but I was worried that the vinegar would somehow etch the concrete, so we stuck with painting on paper. It would have been fun if it worked, but I didn't want to take the chance.

Cathi said...

Laura, if you register your Starbucks card on their website you can get a free drink every year on your birthday. You don't even have to have a balance or use the card again after it's empty and you still get the free drink!

Cathy said...

Laura, you continue to amaze me! I am so inspired each time I read your blog.

I love some of the things you did this past week. Since I live alone, I generally don't keep my soap slivers. Instead, I just sort of stick them onto a new bar of soap and use them that way.

I'm going to start taking notes from your blog for ideas of my own. I sure will miss some of your posts when you are working, but I completely understand not having time for everything. Life gets in the way sometimes! LOL

Laura said...

Thanks for the tip, Cathi - there is actually a little sticker on the gift card about that - I just have to remember to do it.

Always good to hear from you, Cathy. I've tried to get slivers to just 'marry' to the new soap bar, but it doesn't always work for me. I will still post as much as I can, because it is something I really like doing. Hugs to you, Dearie!!

Cathy said...

I was re-reading this post and making notes as to what I can incorporate into my daily activities. It got me to question putting things on the clothesline when the weather gets nicer here. Do you have stink bugs in your area? They are so bad here that I am almost afraid to hang clothes outside. Thoughts?

Also, I am in awe of your tiny jade plants. I have NEVER been able to grow them for some reason. You and my best friend seem to have such luck with them. I'm jealous...just so you know!

Also, I forgot to mention that I picked up my honey bees last weekend. I have to check on them soon to make sure the queen is alive and laying. When I was out there loading them into the hives I thought of you.


Laura said...

Cathy, you be jealous of my jade plants and I'll be jealous of your bees! I'm so happy for you! If you haven't already bought a bee keeping 'suit', my tip is that the painter's coveralls at Lowes and Home Depot - the ones with the zipper. They work great as long as you have thick-ish clothes on underneath, and they're about 10 bucks. :)

With the jade plants, any 'loose' leaves get stuck into some moist soil and I keep a piece of plastic wrap over them. Some root, some don't...and of the ones that root, some pop up little plantlets. I also snip little branches and stick at least half in moist soil with a tent. Those almost always root. :)

We don't have stinkbugs here. I've never heard of them being a problem, but I can see where you'd want to maybe do a test run with just a few kitchen towels or something like that. :)


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