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Frugal Accomplishments for the First Week of 2018

Lemon Branches and Lemons The Prudent Homemaker

I worked pruning, weeding, and tidying the garden. 

I cut branches from the garden to enjoy inside.

I picked more Meyer lemons from our trees.

I dug and transplanted several new "bushes" from one place in the garden to another where I am starting a hedge. These only have one rooted stem, but it is well rooted and they should do well in their new place. After they have been growing in their new spot for a while, I will cut the single branch on each to force them to send forth new branches. It will take about 5 years for them to grow into a hedge.

I sowed seeds for larkspur, poppies, bells of Ireland, and lettuce in the garden.

I resisted the temptation to buy more flower seeds online. I put everything in my cart, looked at the total, decided it wasn't in the budget, and closed the browser. I have plenty of seeds to plant already.

I downloaded and read five e-books from the library.

I purchased the vitamins I had on my list at Target on sale, plus used an additional 5% off Cartwheel discount to get the price lower. I brought my own bags for $0.05 off my total per bag.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Sam's Club gift card. I'll use this towards my grocery purchases this month.

My husband and I used the last two movie passes we received for Christmas of 2016 to go on a date.

A neighbor threw out a men's bicycle in great condition. It was missing only a few bolts (it was in pieces). We rescued it from the trash. We will either use it (after getting new bolts) or use the pieces on our existing bicycles. (The sun disintegrates seats here, so a new seat is always welcome!)

My husband repaired our side gate.

My son replaced a broken valve connector in the garden.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water our potted plants.

We enjoyed tomatoes from the garden. The green ones I picked in December have been ripening, and they are wonderful! 


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Alissa D. January 08, 2018

    Are there any seeds in particular you were looking to get? I have more than I can use from getting steep discount at a Dollar General near me. If I have them, I'd be happy to mail them.

  • Alissa, that is so sweet of you! Unfortunately, I don't think you will have these. They were some specific varieties from Floret Seeds. I haven't seen these varieties much elsewhere except for one flower, which is why I was excited for her seed launch on January 2nd (lots of things sold out in 20 minutes!) But it's okay! I think I still have plenty of seeds on hand to plant. I will just have to wait until another year.

  • cathy January 08, 2018

    I just found Floret seeds a few weeks ago when I did an online search for planting pale pink tulips in a potager (the direction I'm taking my small garden). She has gorgeous flower varieties! I've seen some of the varieties put out by Botanical Interests and also Renee's Garden seeds. I've found them for sale at one or two nurseries and at Whole Foods. Maybe you'll get lucky and you'll find a seed pack or two for this year!

  • Bobbie January 08, 2018

    So jealous of your tomatoes!!! :)

    We stayed home this weekend, except for one trip to the store for flu medicine, Gatorade, and a redbox.. My husband has the flu, so between taking care of him and entertaining young children who can't go outside and play (way too cold in Virginia!!), I was grateful for the red box movie as a brief distraction so I could get some things done in the kitchen.

    Made a triple batch of chili for the freezer, as well as a huge batch of pineapple chicken salad for work lunches this week. Made homemade Graham crackers, but they came out too thick- so, I crumbled them up, made a pie crust, and made homemade chocolate pudding pie. The kids will be delighted after dinner tonight.

    Have been keeping the thermostat at 64, and turning on the gas logs to heat up the house periodically. We've been eating lots of inexpensive soups and stews to keep bellies full and warm, along with homemade bread.

    Last week my husband and I commuted to work together, which saved a tank of gas. I had to out in two extra hours to make it work, but two hours of sitting around my office is worth the $40 savings per week, and I think we will be doing it every week, now. I used that time to menu plan and day dream about my spring garden plans.

    Stay warm everyone!

  • Patti January 09, 2018

    Can you share the pineapple chicken salad recipe? Sounds delightful!

  • Lisa January 10, 2018

    We're in Virginia too and finally caved and turned the heat up to 69*. The kids have a little space heater in their room that we bought new a few years ago. Even though it has safety features on it to turn off if it overheats, I still get nervous about it. We put extra blankets on everyone's bed and layered jammies but it's been so dang cold!!! Luckily it's beginning to "warm up" here in northern Virginia!

  • Jen G January 08, 2018

    Fresh lemons off the tree sound heavenly to me right now!

    Living frugally in urban Seattle:

    -I stuck to my grocery budget and preplanned meals, including some new vegetarian recipes to save money. I was definitely the biggest fan among my family of the no meat meals. I'll keep trying some new things.

    -It was a rainy cold weekend, so we stayed in and finished some house projects and also watched movies and read books from the library. I also took my youngest son to the theater for a promised movie. We went to the matinee show, walked to the theater, and brought in our own snacks to save money.

    -I made homemade bread for the week, saving me time and grocery money.

    -I decided not to put any more money in my oldest son's school lunch account for the year. He is a picky eater with severe sensory issues and I use it only for emergencies - when there is nothing in the house I know he will eat. I have another strategy in mind. I don't think he eats much of the school food anyway, and it's not a cheap meal.

    -I put away some money in savings towards expenses for our move and new house purchase this summer.

  • Kelly January 09, 2018

    This is why I refuse to pay $3/day for a school lunch! My son won't eat half of it so why spend the money. He likes his peanut butter sandwiches, applesauce cup, goldfish crackers & tea to drink.

  • Alissa D. January 08, 2018

    I actually avoided the grocery store other than milk & a few fresh veggies to cut for homemade pizzas we made for friends that visited while they were here from Alaska (Great Commision missionary using aviation license ;) ). Hubby found them in the discount produce area, so we chopped all, used what we wanted & then I dehydrated the rest.

    I went shopping yesterday & spotted 3# bags of carrots for 2/$3 sale. I grabbed these & I am dehydrating slices for my Alaskan friend's. Things cost about 4x as much than they do here in Cincinnati area (where they were before becoming missionaries in Alaska). I will be grabbing deals as I'm able, dehydrating & vacuum packing to be able to ship to them here & there. I can't commit to a monthly stipend, but I can still help by spending little bit here & little bit there.

    Thanks for always inspiring & encouraging! I can't wait to read more responses from fellow followers.

  • Meredith January 08, 2018

    I haven't posted here in a while but I have been reading! I need some inspiration so I came back! We had gotten off on a tangent of spending more money than we should have. We found out that his company has been bought out so we don't know the fate of his job right now. So we have been cutting back a lot since Christmas. Here is what I accomplished this past week:

    We too had a movie gift card. I'll three of us went to the movies yesterday. There is $10 left so I am going to be on the lookout for specialty movies as they sometimes play old movies and it's just a few dollars to get in.

    It was so cold, I'm in South Carolina, and we pretty much stayed In all week. We play board games, watched movies, and baked some goodies.

    Used some CVS extra bucks that I had been rolling over since the Black Friday sale. With the last purchase, I am pretty sure we have enough toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner for the rest of the year. I also picked up some make up items and I have more than enough to get me through a couple of years!

    Checked out some books at the library. One of them is on troubleshooting my garden. I can't go do anything right now as the ground is frozen but we are going to replace the soil this year. I don't do a Winter garden as my family doesn't care for the produce that comes out of it. I just do spring through fall. So hopefully we will rise to normal temperatures and we are going to raise the beds as well.

    Picked up some produce at Aldi at my price point. Bananas were $.33 a pound and potatoes were less than two dollars for 10 pounds. The family has been requesting Gnocci and I'll do that this week!

    Have a great week!

  • Becky January 08, 2018

    Last week was a good week of getting back to normal after the holidays. It still had a little bit of holiday feeling, as New Year's Day was Monday, but by Tuesday, we were mostly back to the daily grind. One thing that was different was that my 17 year old daughter had taken a short job, just for her winter break, washing dishes at the place where one of our older daughters work--they just needed someone for that short time. They got mixed up and scheduled her for one more week, and so she worked a few hours during the day and did her school work in the evenings. So, that left me and my niece to do school during the days, and so we did, but also spent some fun time curling her hair one day. Free, fun for us both, and a great way to spend our spare time. (I didn't want to pile on the schoolwork last week--this week that will happen). And, the daughter working got another unexpected week of wages.

    I did some extra cleaning. It doesn't save money, but makes me feel good to have things better organized.

    We finally bought a microwave. It's just a basic one. We got a middle of the road one as far as price, with few bells and whistles, and it's going to to just what we need. I'm glad we waited until my husband had time to go to a favorite store way out in a little town in the country--we've shopped there for years, they have good prices, great customer service, etc. They are just out of the way a little bit. He had another errand in that direction, so did both at once. I feel like I'm back in the lap of luxury--it's so easy to warm things up now:). I will say I used each and every tip given to me from these comments to heat my food over the past month--so thanks!

    We received our 1/4 beef from the butcher. We buy beef each year from a farmer, and cut our order to 1/4 this year, as we aren't eating as much as we used to.

    I put the rest, and pictures on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-2018-weekly-update-and-saving-money/

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 08, 2018

    Working in the garden sounds wonderful! As do home-grown fresh tomatoes!

    My week went well:
    - I made quick pesto focaccia (approachingfood.com/super-easy-pesto-focaccia/) for dinner using a jar of pesto gifted to me. The DH loved it, and I served it with taco soup from my freezer. An easy and frugal dinner, and I packed up the leftovers for my lunch the next day.
    - I contacted Indigo/Chapters about an order not arriving; they gave me a $25 credit for the delay. Whoohoo!
    - I made a batch of pink velvet cupcakes. I also made three tiny cakes rounds and froze them for cake emergencies (i.e. family or friends are coming over and I need a small dessert quickly).
    - I did yoga at home using you-tube videos
    - I cat-sat for cash. I also received a box of herbal tea, which is perfect, as my husband only drinks herbal teas, and I was almost out.
    - Using my local trading app, I traded a bottle of balsamic vinegar gifted to me (I have lots in my pantry right now) for a box of chocolates than I plan to re-gift, a bag of skittles, and some silver-coloured plastic utensils. I plan to turn the spoons into chocolate-dipped stir-sticks for gifts in the future.
    - I was given two solid chocolate bars, and added them to my baking supplies, and was also given a box of shortbread which I’ve put aside either as a gift for my mum who loves shortbread, or to keep hidden in the pantry for snacking emergencies.
    - I made a batch of yoghurt.
    - I sewed two pencil cases for two little girls, using a pillow case with a jammed zipper that was always annoying me. The front of the pillow case was cloud patterned so I used that as the outside, and the back was solid blue, and I used that as the inside. I had two different coloured blue zippers in my craft stash, so no OTC!
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gift card to Starbucks.
    - I made low-fat tortilla chips using some homemade tortillas I had frozen from my last batch (I just cut them up and baked them in the oven), and I made guacamole using avocados I had frozen a year ago.
    - I baked a Dutch apple pie for a family dinner, using peeled and sliced apples from my freezer. It was a hit! It reminded my mom of the appel tarts my Opa used to bake, and the entire tart was gone by the end of the night.
    - I went shopping (carpooled with family) and bought some items on sale, including 10 kg of flour for under $5, regular sugar at $1.44/pkg (cheapest possible), sweet potatoes at 57 cents/lb, and canned tomatoes at 97 cents/large container (not a #10). I’m now stocked up on baking supplies, canned goods, fresh fruit, and basically everything, for the month. I may need to buy some milk towards the end of the month, but other than that, I’m good.
    - I took my parents to Costco so that they could buy some items using my card (I get my card as part of my work benefits), and bought a few items there, including clementines at $1/lb.
    - My sister gave me some spices and coupons that she couldn’t use, my mom gave me a box of Hickory Farms chocolate pretzels, and I gave my mom a calendar and some cards that I couldn’t use.
    - I traded 6 cupcakes for a pair of thermal socks (my mom gave me the same pair for Christmas, and I love them!) I used cupcake wrappers bought using Swagbucks gift cards, and cupcake boxes given to me.
    - I traded a pair of wooden salad tongs that were given to me and that I didn’t want, for two large bags of dried beans. I’m set for beans for the next few years!
    - I fixed a broken Christmas figurine, instead of tossing it.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  • debby in Kansas January 08, 2018

    Margaret, I love that!....."snacking emergencies".... :)

    I love shortbread...I'd need to create a snacking emergency!!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 08, 2018

    I totally have snacking emergencies! I'm a night owl due to insomnia, so I'm often hungry at night and craving sugar. I usually fill up on naturally sweet fruit, but sometimes nothing but a delicious baked carb will do. That's when I break out the emergency snacks! :)

  • Jeannie January 19, 2018

    You can freeze avocados? Really? Don't they turn dark?
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 20, 2018

    I peeled it and put it in a plastic baggie and sucked the air out of it and froze it for many, many, many months (a year?) and it was fine! I can't remember whether I dipped it in lemon first. I may have. Or maybe not! But yes, it is possible to freeze avocados!

  • Jeannie January 22, 2018

    How simple. I never thought about doing it. This is why I sit and read this blog. There is always a little golden nugget of information.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

  • I love your resolve not to buy too many seeds. That's always hard for me too. I could order them all but really I don't have the room.
    I'm doing a no spend/low spend January and so far I've kept within my grocery budget. Here are the ways I've saved this past week

  • Jess January 08, 2018

    Last month we were able to add some money to our savings account. We also paid extra on our mortgage, bringing the total paid to 25.4% in 8 months. We have also started gathering up information regarding our taxes. I'm hoping we won't have to pay as much in as I have saved. But we won't know until our appointment in March.

    My husband and I have both been sick - which means medicines and doctor's appointments to pay for. We have a sinking fund for this, but it was still more than we had in there. For some reason, my husband's insurance didn't cover one of the prescriptions. That one prescription ended up being almost $60! Anyway, we are starting to feel better, so I guess it's working. We have mostly eaten leftovers and simple meals since we haven't really felt like cooking or eating.

    We also had 3 snow days - 2 last week and 1 today. So that's three less days I've had to drive to work.

    We borrowed my parents' Sam's club card to buy some items for my husband's birthday party. We also bought some additional groceries for our house. We spent a bit more than planned, but still within the monthly budget. I'll just have to be careful moving forward.

    I made a large batch of chicken broth - 15 pint jars. Between that and what I have in the pantry, I shouldn't need anymore for the year. I also made a cheap pasta meal since we had lots of pasta and sauce to use. There were plenty of leftovers, so we should get several more meals off that one.

    I skipped a gourmet coffee, which I wanted badly. But I saved money by just making some at work.

    I made January's grocery plan and I won't have to buy too much. Just a few staples that we need every week.

    I am still working on planning my husband's birthday party. I need to figure out the cake details and a few more side dishes. I will have to by buns closer to the party time.

  • Gail C. January 08, 2018

    Usually if a medicine isn't covered the pharmacy will tell you when you drop off the prescription, or they will tell you
    that your policy will pay for the generic but not the name brand. You should look on your insurance website or call them
    and question it--you might be able to get reimbursed for at least some of the cost. Glad you are feeling better now.

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