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Frugal Accomplishments for the Beginning of April

Easter Daffodil Bouquet The Prudent Homemaker

I cut daffodils and nasturtiums from the garden to enjoy in the house.

Lemons and Parsley The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested Meyer lemons, parsley, green onions, snow peas, rosemary, oregano, and Mandarin oranges from the garden.

Octavius Picking Peas The Prudent Homemaker

I froze lemon juice from our lemons to use later throughout the year, and I dried parsley to use throughout the year.

I sowed seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers and zucchini in the garden.

I watched three episodes of Call The Midwife on Pbs.org.

I enjoyed reading a book that someone dropped off on my doorstep (a reader, I believe!). 

My husband received a $25 gift card to a restaurant for his birthday from my parents. The restaurant also has a free burger the month of your birthday. We had water to drink, combined the gift card and free burger with an inexpensive sandwich, split them both, and paid for the remaining sandwich plus a tip (for both) on the gift card for a date, using just under $11 on the gift card. We can then use the gift card a second time when my birthday comes for a second date.

We combined the lunch out with our trip to Sam's Club to save time and gas.

My husband worked from home one day.

I gave one daughter a haircut.

I shared lemons and Swiss chard from the garden with a friend. She surprised me with homemade pasta that she made using some Swiss chard.

We gratefully accepted some pinwheel sandwiches, fruit, and cut veggies that were leftover from a funeral.

We sprayed the house for bugs using spray we already had, rather than hiring a company to come out as many people do here. We found 5 scorpions in the last month (my husband found one touching his hand while he was cutting potatoes!) Warm weather means it's time to spray again, and it was 92°F (33°C) here on Saturday.

I dug and divided some iris that had finished blooming and had multiplied. I will plant the bulbs in new places in the garden on Monday.

I dug a peony root that has never bloomed. I figured I must have planted it too deep on accident (I had). While digging it, I accidentally broke it in several places. It had grown quite large and so should be fine being divided. I replanted two parts and will replant the remaining parts in the garden in several new places on Monday.

 What did you do to save money this past week?

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  • K- April 08, 2018

    Brandy, I hope you will share some pictures of yourself while you're expecting! Your blog is about beauty and there are few things on earth as beautiful as an expectant mother.

  • Maxine April 08, 2018

    Brandy, I had never heard of Armenian cucumbers until I started reading your blog. Then I saw a picture in a seed catalog. Do they really look like a coiled snake that is all smooshed up? Do they taste like regular cucumbers?

    This is what I did last week:

    (1) Stayed home 5 of 7 days. This didn't really save me any money (or at least, not much) but it did save fuel. It costs $12-$14 in gas every time we go to town. It has also made me better organized in my shopping.

    (2) Paid my bills online and saved $2 in postage..

    (3) Made a $6 offer on an $8 eBay item, and it was accepted. (If a seller invites you to Make an Offer, always do this). This seller was also offering $6.50 regular shipping. Another seller with the same item was asking $10 Buy it Now plus $11-something with faster shipping. Also, last week I was looking for sandals with foot support. My budget was $30-$35. I found a pair I liked with a $70 list price, but most online sellers wanted $45-$55. I wasn't going to pay that much for what are essentially flip flops, and nobody had them in my size, anyway. Finally, I tried eBay, and got them new in box for $29.99 and free shipping. Do not overlook eBay for new items. My DS routinely buys an OTC drug on eBay for about 40% less than Walgreens. He usually has to buy more than one package to get that price.

    (4) Canceled pet insurance, saving $54.54 per month. I bought it because Hap's back legs don't work right. Between this being a pre-existing condition and a $250 annual deductible, we never collected a dime. I can't believe it took me this long to cancel, which I did online. Since Christmas, I have reduced our expenses by about $150 month.

    (5) I thought the Mayo Clinic owed me money. I contacted them and discovered it had already been refunded by CC, and I missed it. This didn't save me anything, just a reminder to stay on top of this stuff.

    (6) Took my overdue books back to the library, thus saving fines. Of course, I should have done this by the due date, but at least I stopped the bleeding.

    (7) Continued to collect free plastic containers for moving my plants from my old house. This week I got two milk jugs and a gallon mayo jar to add to my motley collection. I cut them down with a Stanley knife and drill holes in the bottom. I also planted columbine and lupine seeds in the house. I re-purposed a plastic bakery box as a mini-greenhouse. I also will be starting balloon flowers in the house. I have never started perennials before, but I've had great luck starting annuals. At less than $2 packet, I'm still money ahead if only ONE comes up...and I'm sure I'll get many more.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • They can curl, but mine rarely do. I've shared photos before. They are long, and yes, they do taste like cucumbers. They are the only kind that I can grow here that doesn't get bitter in the heat (and since it's already hot, that can be a problem!) Plus, they seem to flower more in the heat, when the others stopped. They'll still stop once it gets too hot, but we're not there yet. I hope they grow large enough to start producing before it gets too hot.

    Can you renew your library books online? We can do that and it helps with avoiding fines.

  • Susan April 08, 2018

    Maxine, What brand sandal did you buy that offers foot support? Also you might check your library out online. We can renew everything from their website by signing into our accounts. Only things that won't renew are ones that have a hold on them. This will save you fines.

  • Maxine April 08, 2018

    I can renew online, too...I just forgot. I put the book in a drawer and you know how that goes...out of sight, out of mind. The shoe I bought is the Propet (brand name) Hartley (style name). Just Google it, and search for it on eBay. Ebay seemed to have the best selection, at least in size 7M. It is also available in N and W widths. It comes in lots of colors. I wanted the denim blue, but ended up with a melon color.

  • cathy April 09, 2018

    Does your library offer auto-renewal? I signed up through Library Elf. You can choose how many days before the book (or other material) is due you want notification and then renewal. Then you get an email telling you the new due date. It's saved me many times!

  • cathy April 09, 2018

    I should add that auto-renewal is great, even if you're planning to get to the library the day something's due or even the next. If you don't make it, the item is already renewed.

  • Mary April 09, 2018

    I agree! I love having this option.

  • Andrea Q April 09, 2018

    My uncle grows Armenian cucumbers in Zone 4 with no irrigation. They seem to curl quite a bit.

  • Marcia R. April 09, 2018

    I have started perennials in containers, and then planted them in the garden at the end of the season, and they bloom the second season. Best way to save on perennials is to trade with others---one of the garden clubs in this area have a sale every year, but if you make friends with gardeners, you can swap for free. Especially certain plants that multiply easily--mini-iris and Stella D'Oro lilies have done wonderfully here for me.

  • Jennifer April 11, 2018

    I never considered getting OTC mess from eBay, good to know. Sam's club seems to have the best deal around here for generics.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood April 08, 2018

    Sounds like a productive week as usual, Brandy! I love that you combine gift cards with promotional offers to get the best value for your money. That's totally what I do! And scorpions -- ugh! I'll happily take snow over scorpions. :)

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I made three batches of Greek Salad (www.approachingfood.com/only-greek-salad-recipe/) for lunches for the next work week. Brandy, this recipe is probably one you could make quite inexpensively, as you grow your own tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons, and oregano, and I believe you cure your own olives. The only ingredients you’d have to add would be feta cheese (the amount can be reduced to lower the cost) and oil. I think you could also toss the salad with rotini pasta to stretch it even further and make a cold pasta salad, as lemon/oil/oregano mixture would work as a dressing.
    - Two clients brought in treats for the staff at my workplace: brownies, flowers, pears, and pies. Yum! Unexpected treats always make a day nicer. Plus, one of the staff ordered pizza for everyone one day. There was enough pizza for me to supplement my salad lunch for three days, along with pears and pie for snacks. I brought the flowers given to me home, and they’re currently gracing my entrance way table and make me happy to see them. I've styled them with some dried baby's breath, and put them in a silver mint julep cup I got from Amazon using Swagbucks. Style for free!
    - I found chocolate éclair candies for 99 cents a bag, normally $5 – I bought 5 bags! I gave a bag each to three co-workers as a thank you for covering my work when I was ill. They appreciated the gesture, and I appreciated the low price!
    - I redeemed Pinecone Research Rewards for $5 to my paypal account.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon.
    - My workplace is a (small) sponsor for an art show each year and gets a few free tickets as part of the sponsorship. No one seemed to be using the tickets, so I asked for two, and my mum and I were able to go to the show. Saved us $20, yay! Plus we parked on a side street so no paid parking. It was a nice (and free!) mother-daughter outing.

    I'm spending the rest of the weekend resting, and hopefully next week will be a productive (and frugal) one!

  • The Greek salad sounds so good; I could eat it every day! Unfortunately, tomatoes and cucumbers aren't ripe yet, because with temperatures in the low 90's, I would really enjoy this! I am freezing lemon juice, and I can use it later in salads when those are ripe.

    I did get to cure olives once, but the wind destroyed crops the last few years since then and the other places were sprayed so that their olives wouldn't produce. I hope we get to have some this year!

  • Ellie's friend from Canada April 08, 2018

    If you get olives,have you ever tried marinating them in a little olive ooil and lemon or orange uice, then heat them slightly before serving. so good!

  • Laurie in central NC April 08, 2018

    Such a lovely photo of Octavius gathering peas. Gardens and children seem to go together naturally, I think. Last week, I harvested asparagus, rosemary, parsley, violets, dandelion and dock greens, and gathered eggs. Lichens were gathered for medicine and dyeing.
    Seeds were planted for tomatoes, chard, peppers and eggplant. Our potatoes are coming up nicely. The peas need strings put up soon. Always plenty to do in the spring! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/04/buttons-blooms-frugal-accomplishments.html

  • momsav April 08, 2018

    Hi, Laurie! I always enjoy reading your posts!
    What a great deal on goodies at the sale! I can’t wait til we start garage/yard sale season!
    I’m still on the look-out for wool sweaters. I got enough dryer balls made for gifts but i’d like a few more to have on hand. I love them and they are so easy to make! I’m continually amazed at what can be made from home!

  • Laurie in central NC April 09, 2018

    Thanks, Momsav! I've made lots of dryer balls too, some for gifts, and some to sell. I've even deconstructed nubby wool sweaters to use, which worked great. The dryer ball I've been using at home started unraveling, so I put it in a piece of pantyhose, and added it to the wash with the other things I was felting. I suppose time after time in the dryer must unfelt it?

  • PJGT April 09, 2018

    I think I will make some as I am in need of dryer balls. Do you have any insight? I can find directions on the net I expect.

  • momsav April 11, 2018

    Hi, PJGT! This was the first time I made dryer balls from deconstructed sweaters. It’s a bit of a process, time consuming. I went on line and looked at a few video’s. I used the crockpot instead of the washer. But, try what looks good to you! The hard part for me was finding the sweaters. I looked again today and came up empty. So many people are buying up the 100% wool for various projects, I guess. Good luck! I feel such a sense of accomplishment over things like this!

  • PJGT April 11, 2018

    Thanks Momsav,

    I love the idea of using a cockpot! I'll start collecting wool sweaters which, I hope, might be more available in my rural cold weather area.

    What other projects fo people use the wool sweaters for? Just curious.


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