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Frugal Accomplishments For the End of March

Snow Peas in Colander The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested snow peas, Meyer lemons, parsley, and green onions from the garden.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

My neighbor brought over three boxes of chili mixes that had expired that she no longer wanted. I put all three kinds together to make enough for us for one meal, and rather than adding the 6 cups of chicken they called for combined, I added 4 cups of leftover black beans that I had in the fridge and 2 extra cups of canned diced tomatoes (in addition to the 4 required cups of diced tomatoes I needed to add).  I sent her home with some lemons from my trees.

I studied French using free online sources.

My husband and I had a date night at home.

I printed coloring pages from free websites for my youngest children.

I opened the windows and let in the fresh air at the end of the week when the wind stopped. Our outside temperatures rose 20 degrees Fahrenheit from Sunday through Sunday. It was 84°F (29°C) outside and 80° inside the house almost all day on Easter, but I didn't turn on the air conditioner (we started using our ceiling fans and were just warm for the day).

What did you do to save money this past week?



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  • Margaret @ApproachingFood April 01, 2018

    Your chili sounds delicious, Brandy! I always love putting a delicious meal together from seemingly disparate things.

    My week was more productive than lately, thank goodness!
    - I went back to work this past week after three weeks off ill. Yay! I didn’t pack my lunch for work one day (too tired the night before and too much in a hurry the morning of), but luckily my workplace ordered pizza for the office. V. serendipitous!
    - The last few weeks one of the few things I could stomach was my mother’s Greek vegetable salad. She made it for me twice (having family in the same city is so wonderful), and this weekend I actually “cooked” for the first time in three weeks and made a triple batch. I’ve packed it up for work lunches for the week, and for a few dinners too. Not enough energy to post it on my blog, but I hope to do so in the next week. Super-healthy and super-easy to toss together, and the most expensive ingredient is the feta cheese.
    - I also put together 5 baggies of my favourite smoothie ingredients together and tossed it in the freezer (www.approachingfood.com/foodie-trends-hemp-seed-antioxidant-smoothie-bowl/ less the goji berry powder and hemp seeds, which makes it much more affordable). I’ll add milk or homemade yoghurt to it, blend it, and eat it for a quick dinner through out the week. It took about half an hour of prep to make the smoothie baggies and the Greek salad, and now I’m set for the work week for lunches and dinners, so if I’m feeling ill and not up to cooking, I won’t have to resort to having my husband buy takeout on his way home, as I'm pretty sure we're currently all out of casseroles from my freezer.
    - Someone brought a bag of mini Lindt rabbits to work as a gift. Instead of eating some, I took 3 home to give to my family at Easter. Better for my waistline and good for my wallet!
    - I pulled more meals from the freezer, including my favourite Portobello Pesto Pasta Bake (http://approachingfood.com/pesto-portobello-pasta-bake/ my husband loves it and doesn’t mind that we’ve had it several times in the past few weeks). And yet the freezer seems like it’s not getting any emptier! Guess I had more crammed in there than I realized!
    - My mum kindly ran some errands for me when she was in my end of the city. Saved me a huge amount of time and energy, which I appreciated so much.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon. I earn a $5 gc roughly every week and I’m saving them up for a larger purchase (probably a meat/bread/veggie slicer).
    - My parents gave my husband and I a plant for Easter: a Colandiva! I’ve never heard of it before, but apparently it’s essentially a kolanchoe with double blooms.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

  • Jeannie April 03, 2018

    Oh Margaret, I do wish you could get well quickly. It is so depressing being ill for an extended time; however, in spite of it all, you have been able to accomplish so many cost saving things. Good job.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood April 03, 2018

    Thanks, Jeannie! I'm definitely feeling better than before. Onwards and upwards!

  • Laurie in AZ April 03, 2018

    I make up smoothie bags for the week too, but for our breakfasts. I add fruit, but also will add the following when I have them: shredded zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash, kale, spinach and apple cores (minus the seeds). I freeze a lot of fruit as it goes on sale. We seem to eat it best in smoothies. I also freeze yogurt in ice cube trays. Then when I put together my smoothie bag, I just have to add a couple of cubes to the bag. Then each night I take a couple of bags out of the freezer. In the morning, I dump it into the blender and add tablespoon or so of flax meal and about 1 cup of almond milk. I have used regular milk also, but I like the calorie saving of the almond milk. Delicious!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood April 03, 2018

    Your smoothies sound delicious, Laurie!

  • Lorna April 01, 2018

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) . The snow peas look so lovely I can't wait to plant ours shortly too once the weather cools a little.

    Here is how we saved money in our household last week -

    Financial -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 24.46% of the way there.
    - We are pleased with our progress in the month of March saving 61.37% of our combined after tax incomes including bank interest.

    Trading -
    - A friend gave us 14 lemons for a future trade for some silver beet from our gardens saving us $9.10 over purchasing them.

    Food and clothing purchases -
    - Found 2 new flannelette shirts and 2 webbing belts on special for DH saving $45.90 over purchasing them at normal prices.
    - Whilst in town on other errands we found 2 x 2lt BBQ sauce on half price special for $3ea and 25% off the price of our 5 deodorants and combined this saving with a further 5% off using our roadside assist grocery card saving $14.93 on usual prices. These were on this months shopping list anyway.

    Home organisation -
    - Topped up our kitchen pantries with tinned pears, lychees, diced tomatoes, corn kernels and champignons from our supply room, it is good to have paid for advanced food stores now to be able to do that :). While we were there we sorted them all into oldest to the front and newest to the back as they had got mixed up over time.

    In the gardens -
    - Harvested the last 25 cucumbers from the gardens saving us $62.50 over purchasing them and used them for juices and eating fresh.
    - Picked more French lavender from the gardens to dry for household use and for sale on the internet.
    - Planted a 7mt row of onion and capsicum seeds, a 5mt row of carrots, a 2mt row of silver beet and a 10mt row of green bush bean seeds in the vegetable gardens.
    - We purchased another 3 cubic metres of cow manure for two other vegetable gardens for $25 saving $557.85 over purchasing it by the bag and then unloaded, spread and plowed it into 2 garden beds saving another $203.68 over hiring a gardener to do it.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Made two pans worth of double chocolate walnut brownies and a quadruple batch of granola from items in our pantries saving $ 147.86 over purchasing the same amount premade in the shops. Yes chocolate brownies cost a fortune in the shops here :o .
    - Processed our herbs picked from the gardens that we were drying making 55g of thyme and 70g of sage saving $13.88 over purchasing them, some we will keep for household use and the rest I have listed on the internet for sale.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone :) .


  • Marybeth April 02, 2018

    I think homemade tastes so much better then store bought. I love chocolate brownies with walnuts. So jealous of all of your fresh cucumbers. Can't wait for mine this summer. Great trade with your friend.

  • Sandra April 02, 2018

    I cooked a turkey from the freezer, made a stuffing using leftover bread crusts also from the freezer, a compote of dried cranberries and chopped apple. mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, a fruit salad, homemade dinner rolls from the freezer, and our first asparagus from the garden for our Easter dinner. Later in the evening we watched an Easter special on television and had a slice of cheesecake for our Easter dessert. It was a very nice Easter meal and best of all will be the wonderful leftover turkey.

  • Megan Z. April 02, 2018

    It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted so I may not remember everything. We survived our frugal March. Aside from eating out for a friend’s birthday I did not eat out. I am returning a pair of boots I bought on sale as the inside part sheds. We went through the freezer and started taking out some items to eat. I also tried to not do any grocery shopping the last few weeks. We cooked a turkey that had bought around Thanksgiving. It gave us plenty of meat plus I will use the bones for broth.

    We clipped the dogs nails. They need to be done professionally but this gets us through a few weeks first. I cut the pill pockets in 1/3s since they’re so long on their own.

    My husband bought home some leftovers from work that no one wanted. We also brought home leftovers from a family dinner (family was going to throw them away).

    We drove to a Park but because we stuck to one side of the park, didn’t have to pay for parking.

    Frugal fail: misread the gas sign so thought we were getting gas a lot cheaper but as we were paying by credit card, it was almost 10 cents more. It was still the price we would have paid in our town to fill up (we were in another state) but we thought we were saving at first.

  • Cindi April 02, 2018

    I had a dog who was on medication that had to be given in pill pockets -- they are so expensive. I ended up making them from a recipe I found on the internet. The dog liked them just as well and they were so much cheaper, so you might try that. I made a big batch and kept them in the freezer.

  • Rhonda A. April 02, 2018

    Small sliced chunks of super cheap hotdogs also work. Just keep them in the freezer and take out weiner at a time.

  • Marybeth April 02, 2018

    Happy Easter. I hope you and your family had a wonderful day. It is snowing again today so I still haven't planted my peas. Yours look delicious. My frugal list can be found here https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/04/my-frugal-list-week-of-march-25-2018.html

  • Elizabeth M. April 02, 2018

    I had a very successful trip to a new-to-me thrift store in the next town over. I was looking for tops to replace badly worn items. I came home with four tops and a lovely jacket, which I can wear to a special event I have coming up next week.

    I bought a ham on sale for Easter. I waited until I found my favorite kind at a great price. There will be lots of leftovers!

  • Juls Owings April 02, 2018

    I would say Spring and sprung but I am looking at 4 inches of snow covering my flowers (that have not bloomed) rhubarb and strawberries here. I did find rhubarb and strawberries at 209 but haven't found the asparagus they told me was there.
    We have been able to turn the furnace off a couple days during the week. I actually kept track daily to make sure that I remembered what I was doing frugal. I rountinely use what ever is in the frig to make another meal and subsitute beans for meat also. We had another death so have to go to the viewing today.
    Blessed Be

  • Elizabeth April 02, 2018

    1. We were in decluttering mode this week and I finally talked my husband into selling his beer making supplies(which he has not used in over 7 years) so hopefully that will bring in some much needed money for April bills.
    2. I found some great deals at the thrift store on spring clothes. A pretty dress for my daughter for under $5 and two almost new button down shirts for my son for $2 a piece.
    3. While cleaning out closets this week, I also found some toys I had stored for later, so my son has been enjoying those all week.
    4. I snatched up a waffle maker from my mother's giveaway pile, as well as, an electric skillet and a small griddle.
    5. I had a low spend week this past week, so I put the money I did not spend into the bank to save for upcoming April bills.

  • Gardenpat April 02, 2018

    This has been a relatively quiet week for us!
    We continue to enjoy eggs from our 8 hens and get over 17-1/2 dozen eggs a month from them! It was easy to use 3 dozen of them for deviled eggs to take to our family Easter dinner yesterday! Even after that and selling 4 dozen eggs last week, I still have 21 dozen in my basement fridge!
    If you remember, a couple weeks back I was able to buy 9 quarts of plain yogurt for a total of $2. So this week I made up more yogurt into breakfast and snacks by adding caramel apple, strawberry or raspberry jam into individual serving containers for the grab and go containers in my fridge!
    I also used some of the plain yogurt as a sour cream substitute in the beef stroganoff I made for dinner!
    I packaged the leftover stroganoff and green beans into individual meal containers but still had leftover noodles without extra sauce so I “recycled” the noodles into a taco bake casserole for dinner two nights later and it was well received! The leftovers from that casserole went into individual meal containers so our leftovers have given us lunch and “you’re on your own” dinners!
    Last summer some friends gave us one of the “old time” popcorn poppers that they had been given but never used! They “knew” that we would make use of it and so, during the summer and fall we set it up on it’s wheeled base on our front porch and made popcorn as we would sit out there and relax. I got the idea a couple weeks ago to bring the machine itself inside without the base and put it on a table in our family room! We have been enjoying popcorn (I had over 50 pounds in my storage) while relaxing and watching a movie! Definitely been a cheap snack and so entertainingto watch as it’s being made!
    Got a simple recipe to DIY eyeglass cleaner using just 3 ingredients that are always on my shelf! It came from our Aussie friends in their “Cheapskates Newsletter”. Cost me literally pennies to replace my $6 store bottle (and I used my empty store bottle with spritzer to fill up with the DIY solution!
    Also found online a recipe for a Pam cooking spray substitute using an aluminum spritz bottle from Sollar Tree and ingredients that again, cost me literally pennies and that I already had on my shelf! Cha-ching!! Even at 66, I’m finding ever day that there is so much more to learn and so many inexpensive, healthy, eco-friendly but easy to do alternatives out there that make life even nicer!! What great times we live in!!
    The rest of the week has been normal routine savings! When I “zero-ed out” our checking account balance when our direct deposit pay came in, it gave me $168 extra to put into savings and another $168 to pay down next debt on our list! We are stunned at how quickly the savings is adding up in our account and how the next to last debt is dwindling just by small bits at a time!!
    Hope everyone else’s week has been great!

  • Samantha April 02, 2018

    Hi Gardenpat, Would you mind sharing your eyeglass cleaner? I have tried one formula online that didn't work and would love to try another!

  • Gardenpat April 02, 2018

    For the eye glass cleaner, I still had my little travel size spritz bottle from the eye doctor ( even though it was empty). It had cost me $6 when it was full.
    I re-used that bottle althoughyoucould pick up a little travel size spritz bottle pretty cheaply.
    Fill the empty bottle 3/4 of the way up with rubbing alcohol. Add 2 drops of dishwashing liquid and fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Shake it up to blend it. It’s now ready to use!
    Cost? Pennies! Results? I’ve been using it every day for a week and it’s been awesome!!!

  • Samantha April 02, 2018

    That is brilliant! Thank you for sharing. I’m excited to try it this weekend!

  • Marybeth April 02, 2018

    You must take very good care of your chickens. They sure are keeping you well stocked.

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