Friday, May 24, 2013

Frugal Accomplishments

Happy Friday!  Here are the things we did this past week to help save either funds, resources, or some of both.  I hope you find an idea or two that inspires you! :)

We picked up a few additional supplies we needed to continue work on the drywall in the garage.  The outer wall should get primed and painted this weekend, while we continue to sand and 'mud' in the workshop.  I'm still not very good at this.  Not very good at all.  Husband, however, is doing the lion's share of the work and it looks better and better.

We got the green beans planted in the garden.  It is not as many plants as I've raised in years past, but I am still hopeful that we will have some for canning.  We have some herbs in the house and some outdoors that are starting to return too.  I also planted the six pack of petunias I got free at Kmart along with seeds for cosmos, bachelor button, morning glory, nasturzium, marigold, alyssum and zinnias.  I still need to get some herb seeds in the ground.

I also rooted a new pot of Wandering Jew plant and some more Jade plants.

Our edible landscape is coming to life - the fruit trees are blooming.  We have apricots, peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, sweet cherries, pie cherries and hardy almonds, all blossoming.  We are hopeful that this will be a good harvest come fall.  The shrubbier items have not done as well as the trees - I've yet to spy a single strawberry plant that made it through winter, and the blueberries and raspberries do not seem vigorous.  However, I think the grape vines are waking up, so that is promising.  I picked some asparagus and chives this week, and some of the lettuces we planted are already sprouting.  We re-planted the 'cat grass' for Tallulah, and it is sprouting as well.

I had a library program to perform that was across town, near our favorite used book store.  After our program, I stopped by.  I put the ducks outside the entry door (in the pet carrier, of course) so they would be in the shade, and Daughter and I did a little shopping.  We have store credit at this store, so we didn't spend any money out of pocket.  I was able to get a copy of Foxfire 7 along with a couple of other books I was interested in.  Daughter picked up a humorous cat book and has been snickering ever since.

The church I attend held a drive to gather clothing and toiletries for the homeless in our community.  I used it as an opportunity to de-clutter, making sure the things offered were in new/very good condition.  Win-win, since it did not cost me financially but it was also helpful to those in need.  we shared from our stockpile of things like chap-stick, razors, toothpaste and cosmetics (all new and unopened) and I found some clothing that I could offer - either items I could spare or items Daughter had outgrown.

I've been on the lookout for a French press for making brewed chocolate.  I did receive one via freecycle, but it is plastic, and older, so I've felt a bit nervous about the possibility that it isn't a healthy way to make hot drinks.  This week I found a glass Bodum French press at Goodwill for 2.99, along with a pretty floral teacup and saucer for 1.59.  So yay.

I made scratch biscuits, turkey-vegetable soup, copycat I-Hop pancakes, teriyaki marinade, guacamole, macaroni salad, bean sprout salad, chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies, energy bites and bean/corn/tomato salad this week.  I made a double batch of the biscuits and put some in the freezer for a future meal. 

Can we talk about the 'energy bites' for a minute?  I won't bore you with all the details, but they were made of rock-hard prunes (the container actually said 'prunes' - not 'dried plums', so I know they were here for a while!) that I softened and pureed, twice-used grounds from brewing chocolate, a spoonful of baking cocoa and some almond meal that has been languishing in my freezer for an embarrassingly long time.  You know what?  They are yummy, and it's almost like they were free.

The expiration date on the milk is coming and we still had a quart of milk left, so I pulled out a pound of breakfast sausage (bought on markdown for 1.49) and today I'll make sausage gravy.  Between that and the extra biscuits I made and froze earlier in the week, we have a meal and a half in the freezer, ready to go (1 meal worth of biscuits, 2 meals worth of sausage gravy). 

I made a few phone calls before I picked up chicken feed, and it saved me driving out to the store that I thought was having a sale.  The sale had already ended, and their regular price is considerably higher, so we went to the nearby feed store, where we were also able to pick up some 'fallen hay' for free that we can feed to our rabbits.

I used $13 in coupons for groceries.  Among other things, I was able to get two shelf stable containers of Rice Dream rice milk to put in our pantry, a free 2liter of Pepsi Next and a single serving Taipei Asian Style frozen dinner.   We are still striving to spend just half our grocery/household budget each month, but this month is proving to be a long one (almost five weeks!)  It could be done - I mean, we have stuff in the pantry - but I want to balance the saving habit with keeping my family happy.  Right now, I've got us stocked with produce, etc. at least until the 26th, but I think I'm down to something like $9 and the $5-ish that's left on a Kmart gift card.  We'll see how it goes. 

What I mean is this.  We could do without bean sprout salad when we have teriyaki, but for that 1.35 it costs me for the bean sprouts, it is a healthy side dish that Daughter loves, and it makes enough for all of us to have it twice.  If we ever had to live solely on the items in our pantry, we would, but right now, we are just trying to 'eat down' the pantry a bit, and the 50/50 was just a number we pulled from the air.

Room for Improvement:

On the day of Daughter's annual physical, I forgot to take snacks and we had several things to do in town.  We ended up spending $3 at the drive thru that wouldn't have been necessary with better planning on my part.

There was a day that we just weren't up for the planned supper - I had gotten home right at supper time, and Husband wasn't in the mood for what we were supposed to have anyway.  We did takeout pizza.  It was $9, but it adds up. 

If you've got frugal accomplishments and tips to share, leave a comment and/or a link in the comments! :)


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your weekly frugal accomplishments. This wasn't a good week for us either due to illness in the family. I love your snack idea and plan to put some snacks together for our trips to town. Sometimes take out pizza is necessary and justifies the cost.

momma-lana said...

Yay on the French press! I am looking for the same :)

Cathy said...

Last week I wasn't feeling up to par and spent the entire weekend inside the house. I found about 5 lbs. of old potatoes so I made potato soup. I added the old cheese I found to it.

I also discovered some fruit and spinach that needed to be used up so I made smoothies with it.

I invited family for a cookout this weekend but I don't have a grill. So I headed to a store to buy one and they were on sale! I saved $50 off the price and got a free tank of propane with it!! What a score!

I took my lunch to work most days. One evening I had a very late meeting and they provided dinner. I took some extra food home and was able to have it the next night for dinner.

I have been drinking tea and water instead of diet soda, which has saved me a little money.

I made my own yogurt.

I purchased some rennet so that I can dabble with making my own cheese.

Found some soap in a box that I had not unpacked since I moved. It is a very large bar that I can split into 2 pieces to get more out of it.

I used the ceiling fans and a circular fan when it got hot outside so that I didn't have to use air conditioning. I am going to try my best not to use it this year until July.

Shannon Mokry said...

Hi, I found your blog from the prudent homemakers comments, I just love reading what you and Brandy write each week. I started keeping myself accountable on my site

This week I have already been bad and had take out pizza, however I was dealing with my IBS and couldn't cook. I try not to be down on myself over it. Last week I talked about starting new habits, so I just need to hold on and not less the one stumble ruin the rest of the week.

Laura said...

Thank you so much for leaving me messages! I've been swamped, and not keeping up with replies. I have been scoring essays from standardized tests, and it keeps me from having much spare time. :) I really enjoy hearing all the ways y'all find to save!



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