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Frugal Accomplishments For The Second Week of August

Italian Pittosporum The Prudent Homemaker

My daughter brought home some leftover greenery and two roses for me from a floral arranging class she took because she knew I would like it. She also brought home an arrangement that we enjoyed on the table all week. She learned how to make a simple arrangement and a boutonniere. The woman who taught said that if the girls in the class could make their own boutonnieres, they could save the cost of buying one for their dates for any future dances by making their own.

I used a free print offer from Sam's Club to print free invitations for my son's upcoming Eagle Scout ceremony. A lot of places offer you 100 free 4 x 6 prints when you start shopping with them. I never used these as I was printing 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 images before. I was glad to use some of them this time! Almost all of these will be handed out in person, so we don't need envelopes nor do we need to pay to mail them. (I know several readers asked about his project. I'll have a post up with photos later; I still have quite a few photos to go through).

I planted some seeds a reader shared from her garden in my garden.

I cut grape leaves from the garden for a meal. I also harvested a few red noodle beans, Swiss chard, garlic chives, basil, and a few tomatoes.

I collected hollyhock seeds from my garden.

I collected several gallons of water from the air conditioning drip and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

Every morning where we had a low of 79º and a few mornings where it was 80º, I turned off our air conditioners and opened the windows for an hour. I keep the house at 79º, and the air conditioner will run in the mornings too, but this way I can air out the house. According to the report from the power company, I saved $9 this week doing this (plus my house smelled fresh!)  I wasn't able to do this every day; half the week it was too hot, with lows around 86º. We run the air conditioner here until mid-October generally, when our highs drop down to 83ºF.

I took stock of my garden seeds and began making plans for what I will plant this fall. It's too hot to plant cool season vegetables until October, which is when I plant my fall garden here.

Solar Oven Roasted Chicken The Prudent Homemaker

I used my solar oven to cook a pot of pinto beans, to roast a couple of chickens, and to roast potatoes. I made large amounts of beans and cooked two chickens at once so that I could just reheat leftovers in the microwave. I didn't have to use any power to cook those meals nor did I have to heat up the house (which is really wonderful when it's 109º outside!)

My son helped me repair the trellis in the front yard where it had fallen from the weight of the Lady Banks' roses that I had growing there. I had cut the plants to about 2 feet high and will probably move them to another location at some point, as they do not flower almost at all where I have them because of the lack of sunlight (and this type of roses only flowers once a year as it is).

I took cuttings from my star jasmine and am attempting to root them to plant on this same trellis in place of the roses. It's probably too hot for this, but the plant needed a trim anyway. If they don't take, I'll try again when the temperatures go down.

My son accepted a brand-new pair of tennis shoes from a widow on our street whose late husband no longer needed them.

I took apart my dishwasher filter and gave it a thorough cleaning so that it will run better.


What did you do to save money last week?

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  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 13, 2017

    Another great week! I think it's fantastic that your daughter was able to take a flower-arranging class. Is this through your church? What a fun class to have!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I made Strawberry FroYo, using my homemade yoghurt and homemade strawberry jam! (http://approachingfood.com/strawberry-frozen-yoghurt/) Am loving have such a healthy dessert option, and sometimes even make some for breakfast on hot days.
    - I ran an errand downtown and came across a Kiehl’s promotional event. They were handing out popsicles and free samples, so I got some skin care tailored to me, free!
    - My mom gave me some dental care samples (toothpaste and such) that the DH and I will send to his mum overseas.
    - The DH redeemed some points on his credit card for $40 worth of groceries, so that we only had to spend $3 and change out of pocket for the week’s groceries.
    - I exchanged a $10 gift card with my mum for $10 cash. I won’t use the gift card at the store before it expires, but my mother will.
    - I traded half a dozen peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for a large homegrown zucchini, via my local trading app. The zucchini was large enough for at least 3 dinners for the DH and I.
    - I redeemed enough coupons on a coupon app to cash out for a $21 cheque, so I expect that in a few days, along with a (very) small cheque from Ebates.
    - I took a friend out for coffee at Starbucks using a gift card that I earned from Swagbucks. I know he’s on a budget, so it was nice to be able to treat him.
    - Redeemed my Starbucks reward for a lunch bowl/salad. Normally it would cost over $10, but I got it free!
    - I traded a bottle of wine that was gifted to me, for a nicely wrapped soap & lotion giftset from Pier 1 Imports (not a cheap store). I will likely put it in my gift drawer and re-gift it this Christmas.
    - I traded some tea that was gifted to me, for several cans of pop. I’ll set the pop aside from when I need a treat or when I have company.
    - I used a coupon to get a free pop, a treat for my lunch hour.
    - I snipped some overgrown branches from a bush on my walk home from work, and arranged them in a silver julep cup (a la Brandy) in my entranceway. A very nice centrepiece for free!
    - Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Amazon gift card
    - Made blueberry lime mini doughnuts, using blueberries I had frozen when bought on sale.
    - I redeemed some AirMiles rewards for $20 worth of groceries, enough to last us for most of the next week, as well as covering a few dollars worth of my sister’s groceries.
    - I treated my sister to a drink at Starbucks using my giftcard from Swagbucks
    - Made a vegetarian version of my mother’s meatloaf, and used some ketchup packets I had lying around, as well as some homegrown thyme.
    - Made and froze meatloaf sandwiches using the leftover meatloaf and some frozen English muffins from my last trip to Costco. Delicious, affordable, and easy-to-grab-and-go for my work lunches!
    - I found water drops on sale for 99 cents each (usually $3.99), so I bought 10. My husband doesn’t like to drink plain water, and this way he stays hydrated for pennies a glass.

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone!

  • Yes, it was a church activity. The woman who taught the class worked at a florist shop for many years.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 13, 2017

    Cake-decorating, flower-arranging -- your daughter is learning some fun skills! And then of course the sewing. So impressive!

  • Mitzie August 13, 2017

    How does one make a vegetarian meatloaf? :D I would like that recipe if would please. Always on the lookout for new and good food.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 14, 2017

    Hi Mitzie! I hope to post the recipe on my blog soon, but am still tweaking the recipe. Generally, the easiest way to turn a regular meatloaf recipe into a vegetarian meatloaf recipe, is just to swap out the meat for Yves ground round (soy-based meat replacement) plus some extra oil. As long as there's enough egg and oil to bind the 'meat'loaf together, it should be fine to use any recipe. To keep it more frugal, I watch for sales on the Yves product, and then buy a whole bunch of packages and freeze them.
    However, if you're looking for a veggieloaf recipe, well, if you find a good recipe, let me know! :)

  • Marcia R. August 15, 2017

    My older DD was vegetarian and she often used a mixture of ground garbanzos and ground nuts, usually walnuts. It actually comes out quite tasty.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 16, 2017

    Great to know, Marcia! Thanks for sharing!

  • Athanasia August 17, 2017

    Mitzie, I use a combination or cooked lentils and rice (white or brown) in equal amounts. I season the rice with soy sauce first. Then add the same other ingredients as you would to a regular meatloaf...sauteed onion, peppers, celery. Add bread crumbs and eggs and I use savory seasonings like parsley, marjoram, savory, garlic, thyme, black pepper etc. Put in loaf pan (I use 4X7 pans...several of them),cover with catsup or BBQ sauce, cover and bake half hour then uncover and bake another 15 min. Oven 350F. It is crumbly hot right out of oven but firms up very well when cold and makes great meatloaf sandwiches.

  • J August 14, 2017

    Margaret, for the trading app you use, do you have to meet at specific locations ?

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 14, 2017

    Hi J! With bunz, you can meet anywhere you want. Subway stations are popular, and people specify whether to meet in or out of the station (i.e. you can drive to meet or take the TTC to meet. I've met several people at TTC stations who biked there.) Whether or not it's a station or intersection close to you, is up to you. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to arrange a trade. I tend to meet at Bathurst station simply because a lot of the people are students and because that's easy for a lot of people to get to. But I have a friend who only does trades if they come to her station in the west end. In other words, you can be as picky as you choose! Oh, and some people actually have pickups at their house. But that's rarer, and personally, I wouldn't do it just as a general safety precaution, unless it's something bulky, like a couch. Personally, I'm loving getting rid of stuff that I don't want, and getting stuff that I do want, but you do have to wade through lots of unwanted things (like half-used bottles of shampoo) to get to stuff that you do want (for example, BNIB items). Best of luck if you do decide to try it!

  • J August 15, 2017

    Very interesting. Thanks Margaret!

  • Linda Shields August 13, 2017

    It has been delightfully, unseasonably cool here in St. Louis area. It is wonderful to have days and nights with the A/C off!
    It is amazing how many pairs of shoes my husband and I both have that are nice and expensive name brands, all from the thrift shop. I wonder why we ever buy retail anything. Thanks for all your inspiration--I love ebery post.

  • PJGT August 14, 2017

    I agree...I wonder that we ever buy anything new! We began buying used decades ago when looking to buy clothing at least assembled in the USA. It was impossible, so we began to buy used and haven't looked back since. I also buy used for the fabric if the price is low enough. Our rural area makes shopping time consuming and we tend to shop online for our needs. What is the saying, Necessity is the mother of invention? Keeps our skills in shape as well.

  • Laurie in central NC August 13, 2017

    A floral arranging class sounds like fun! I love it when I can open up the house for some fresh air. It makes a lot of difference. We finally got some rain, and the garden is keeping me busy, harvesting, preserving and cooking. I canned fig jam and tomato juice last week, and froze pawpaw and okra. Best of luck on your star jasmine cuttings. I'm happy to be joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/08/a-new-soap-pawpaws-frugal.html

  • Janet August 13, 2017

    Why not call you new soap a walk in the woods

  • Laurie in central NC August 16, 2017

    Thanks, Janet! I've been pondering something similar. I always check out names I'm considering, and it looks like there are a few Walk In The Woods soaps already out there. I'd love to have some more ideas!

  • Janet August 17, 2017

    How about "Tree Hugger" or possibly or how about "feel the view" A deer lover's friend or maybe Weekend adventure.

  • Laurie in central NC August 17, 2017

    Great ideas, Janet! Thank you.

  • Stephanie N. August 13, 2017

    That's great that your daughter was able to take a flower arranging class! I recently was gifted a bouquet of mixed flowers and quickly learned that I don't have a lot of talent with flower arranging. The flowers were beautiful but sadly not displayed to their best.

    I feel like this past week went fairly well on the frugal front.
    -We went on a mini vacation to the mountains a few hours away. I brought along three days worth (we only went away for three days) of breakfast, lunch and snack foods so we could eat those meals in our hotel room. Most of our activities revolved around hiking so it was an inexpensive trip.
    -I cashed in $25 from Checkout51 and a $20 Amazon giftcard from Ibotta. In the past I've used my Ibotta rebates to buy Starbucks giftcards for myself as a treat but I'm working hard to fill holes in my kitchen supplies and knew that an Amazon giftcard would be put to better use. I used my $20 to buy a new brown sugar bear, a storage container for bulk food items, and a new bread lame.
    -I went through the Ibotta app to buy my Amazon purchases, earning me 3% cash back.
    -I signed up for a Costco card through the groupon promotion which seems like a really good deal. I also went through the Ibotta app to sign up for this and earned another 3% cash back on my subscription cost.
    -We put money into savings
    -I usually buy individual containers of the Noosa brand yogurt for my lunches everyday at work because I like the flavor and they are large enough to be a complete meal for me but they are very expensive I think. This past week I've instead bought the largest size container of store brand vanilla yogurt and decided to portion it out into individual reusable containers and added a scoop of raspberry jam to the bottom. I think it worked out really well and I got more than a weeks worth of lunches for about the same price as I was paying for one Noosa container. I'm considering doing this for oatmeals as well since when I work I need to bring breakfast and lunch with me. I have been using the prepackaged, microwavable oatmeal bowls but bringing in a scoop of oats to microwave in the breakroom wold work as well. I have access to milk and margarine at my job which helps.
    -I made homemade french bread, chocolate chip cookies, a chocolate cake and homemade tortillas. I never realized just how easy it would be to make my own tortillas and they tasted amazing.
    -I made multiple meals out of the pantry and freezer, clearing up some much needed space
    -My grocery shopping this week revolved around building up my pantry staples as I had plenty in the freezer and pantry to make most meals
    -I completed my school shopping during tax free week and took advantage of multiple coupons and discounts I had been saving for this occasion. I have been saving my Target promotional giftcards and was able to get $25 off my Target purchase not including cartwheel or redcard saving. I had a 20% off coupon for the consignment store where I bought school clothes for the kids saving me $35. I also had a $10 reward for DSW where I bought two pairs of children's shoes on clearance.
    Hope everyone has a good week!

  • PJGT August 14, 2017

    I have learned from my SIL to bring oatmeal in a glass dish with a lid and pour hot water on it 10 minutes before eating. She puts on nuts and dried fruit as well. Simple and easy.

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