Friday, May 17, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, dear friends!  I am sharing these 'frugality posts' in the hopes that we can all glean ideas from one another.  Here are some things we did this week to save:

I cashed in some free points that Kmart gave me to get a couple of magic eraser type sponges and a Swiffer type duster.  Zero out of pocket - I hope they work well!  (I've since tried the duster and I like it.)  Later in the week, they put another $3 in free points on my card, and since we were in town for Daughter's end of year writing assessment for school, we stopped by.  For about 30 cents we got 13 packets of tropical punch Kool Aid mix (I had a buy 10/get 3 free coupon) and a six pack of petunias.  I am mostly direct-seeding our flower pots, but if I put a  petunia in the center of each big one, it will at least have something going on until the seedlings get going.

We used fresh basil and fresh parsley from Daughter's indoor herb garden.  She has done a fantastic job of caring for the plants and they are thriving.  Great job, Honey!

After extending much grace and patience to both the retailer and the manufacturer, we ended up returning our new pressure washer.  The first one arrived with three separate forms of damage.  It was returned, and the second arrived with one very broken part.  I have to admire Husband's dedication to follow up with them at each step, despite the lack of responses from them.  In the end, the retailer did offer him a $40 gift card as a form of apology for all the hassle and time wasted.  I think that, for this year, we are going to rent one and then see if we think it's something to own, or something to just rent from time to time.  If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them - thanks!

I used a JCP code I saw on Money Saving Mom to order a 3-pack of socks for Husband.  They are free, with free delivery to the store, which is near an area where we do errands. 

I have found some real treasures at the library lately - books that I am really enjoying.  I love our library, and it saves me so much money!  (heart heart heart!)

We have some bunnies that are about 4 weeks old.  They are eating pellets some, but they are wasting a lot of them - little stinkers!  I stuck a box under the pellet feeder to catch the waste so I can put it back into the feeder each morning. 

Husband made snacks for his lunches from items we had in our pantry.  He made a batch of chex mix and some shrimp-flavored chips (they are something we brought home from vacation).  Yay, Hubby!

My family took me out for brunch for Mother's Day.  We used a Groupon for a local Mom and Pop type restaurant.  Good food, good prices, nice people - it was lovely!  Afterward we went to Goodwill on the way  home and I used my 20% off Mother's Day discount to pick out a few items.  More on some of that soon!

I picked asparagus and chives from our garden.  Then, I picked more asparagus.  We had it Thursday night with supper and it was delicious!

While some of you are already harvesting 'summer' things from the garden, we are just preparing to plant the annual items.  We got two or the three beds tilled (the third bed will have to wait until we are able to relocate the ducks) and we fertilized them with homemade compost and rabbit manure.  Both of these help to enrich our soil quite well. 

This week we were able to plant some lettuces, spinach, kale, collards, carrots, peas and radishes.  I also started tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchini indoors.  I don't want them in the house too long or the cat will eat them, but I'm hoping to get them a bit of a start. :)

We are also preparing for some summertime projects.  We want to put in a proper gravel driveway and also do some dirt work around the house and garage for proper drainage.  We will do as much as we can ourselves, but we have also learned that there are times when it saves money to have someone run equipment who knows what he or she is doing.

From there, we will be able to do some actual landscaping.  So far we have pulled up some fence posts that were in the way for the driveway, and we also removed the unsightly T-posts and barbed wire that have been across the front of our yard for the entire time we have lived here.  Just having that gone makes it look nicer, but eventually, we plan to put up something else.  We will research to find what we like and what we can afford.  We will do as much of the work ourselves as we can.  If you live by me, yes, I think this might actually be the year that we finally cut down that dead elm tree in the front yard.  Sorry.

Several freebies came this week - a tote bag, a coupon for a free bag of Doritos Locos Tacos, some waterproof Nexcare bandages with a coupon and a magazine.  Another day I got a coupon in the mail for a free 20oz. Coke product.  I signed up for a thing or two this week as well.  Kohl's sent me another of their $10 promotional cards ($10 off a purchase of $10 or more) and I got two bath towels for the master bath and a hand towel for Daughter's bathroom.  (Tip - hand towels in darker colors will look nice longer than light colored ones - especially for kids.  She liked the yellow, but agreed that the deep purple one will look nice longer.)

We have stayed home more - fewer appointments and gatherings and meetings and such - and life has felt more calm and sane and nice.  It also saves some on fuel, but the biggest benefit I'm seeing at the moment is peace of mind.

I took a couple surveys and made another $6. 

I cleaned out the wood stove fairly well, because I think that maybe, just maybe, we are done using it for this year.  We have a fair amount of firewood remaining, but we will start collecting more, now that warm weather has arrived.  It's nice to open the windows for fresh air again. :)

I submitted $24 in Staples Easy Rebates, making some copy paper and some photo paper free, once those checks arrive.

I refilled the soap dispensers for hand-washing - two are foaming soap now (even more frugal than the standard pump dispensers) so they get a little shampoo, mostly water.  The other two get diluted shampoo.  The shampoo is all gotten either free or very low price with coupons in the past. 

Mid-week, I did some grocery shopping and Husband stopped at the bread outlet, because it's on his way home from work.  We used $5.25 in coupons, and price matching saved me a fair amount too, plus I didn't have to spend the time or the fuel driving all over the place.  I mostly got sale items, items that were a deal with coupons, and a couple of requests and staple items.  I think Wednesday is going to be my main shopping day, and then on Fridays, I can fill in if there is something in 'the city' that we need, since I have an appointment in 'the city' on Fridays. 

Friends came over for a visit on Thursday afternoon.  They brought us a pound of ground beef to try (we may be ordering a beef quarter through them in the future) and also brought some fruit and baked goods to share for 'tea'.  I made some tea and brewed chocolate and we had a lovely afternoon tea and lots of nice visiting.  Grapes were left here too - what a treat!  I sent them home with some eggs from our little hens.

On Thursday (when we were in town for Daughter's assessment) we went to a Goodwill I don't usually go to, and found some things that made me extremely happy to have stopped in.  I had a 20% off coupon too - hooray!  I spent some of my allowance money for the items I purchased.

Room for Improvement:

I think I've figured something out.  I usually do without some produce items until I can get them growing in my garden.  Spinach is a good example.  I've never really purchased fresh spinach, until lately.  I'm learning that grocery store spinach doesn't last nearly as long as spinach I grow and pick in my back yard.  So...the ducks and chickens got some iffy-looking spinach leaves one day this week.  See, I used almost all of it making some sesame spinach for supper one night, then I saved some to make a frittata.  Some of it was fine, but some of it was getting a little yellowed.  Live and learn. 

I took a homemade zucchini bread loaf from the freezer, and it was dry from the beginning.  I kept thinking I could maybe make some sort of bread pudding out of it, or toast the slices and butter them, but in the end, I decided to just feed it to the chickens and ducks.  At least it didn't sit until it was moldy and end up in the compost bin.


Rhonda said...

Those eraser cleaners do work well, but the first time I used one, I did not read that they were supposed to be used wet. That dry sponge was not cleaning at all and I was wondering why anybody liked them.

Nice list!

momma-lana said...

I have found that putting a paper towel in the bag of spinach keeps it way longer than the expiration date. I replace the towel when it is damp and a bag of baby spinach easily keeps for 2 weeks. I wasted a lot of spinach before I learned that. I planted some in a very large pot and it is up but seems to have just stalled. I am wondering if it will do anything more.

Laura said...

Thanks, Rhonda! I still haven't tried the 'magic eraser' sponge, because I've been too busy with other stuff. One of these days I'll give it a try, I'm sure!

I have a little spinach sprouting in my garden now, so I will probably wait on it, but thank you for the paper towel tip, momma-lana. Do you think a small piece of flour sack towel would work? I don't use a lot of paper products....

Shannon Mokry said...

I enjoy reading your list every week, I don't know if you can sign up for it but I got a flyer from Khols for a rewards program, you earn points for every dollar spent and it starts out with 100 pts=$5 off. For some reason I don't ever get the $10 off $10 coupons.


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