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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I spent the first part of the week organizing things to run as smoothly as possible for the end of the week, as I had surgery on Thursday to remove cancer from my head. It was growing in my hair next to my part, a place where I don't usually put sunscreen. I'll have stitches for the next three weeks and I imagine I'll have a swollen face for at least this week. One way I'll save this week is by not wearing any makeup, because it's a bit impossible right now! 

To save money this past week, I did the following:

I baked a carrot cake in a 9 x 13 pan. I didn't have cream cheese on hand to make icing, so I lightly dusted it with powdered sugar instead.

Red Noodle Beans The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut red noodle beans, Armenian cucumbers, rosemary, Genovese basil, chives, and green onions from the garden. I picked some teeny-tiny cherry tomatoes from the garden as well to use in a pasta salad. They are so tiny that I put a slice of olive in with them so you can see how little they are; they are the size of blueberries! The heat we have here in summer makes them stop flowering, or if they do flower (these are in afternoon shade and just started flowering recently) they are still super tiny because of the heat.

Sun Gold Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

The Armenian cucumbers do well in our heat, growing huge. I still don't get a lot of them when it's really hot, so I am happy to have them grow to great lengths, as they don't get bitter like other cucumbers and can grow as long as my arm. This means I have a lot of cucumbers to eat but not always enough to make pickles (as sometimes just one or two are ripe). This week we ate them sliced thin in vinegar, cut into sticks and dipped in ranch dip made with Greek yogurt, put in green salads, and chopped in pasta salad.

I went to the library and checked out a large number of books with my three youngest daughters and my 2-year-old son.

I opened the windows and doors in the early mornings to cool down the house for a couple of hours each morning.

I used my solar oven to cook three meals. One of the things I cooked was a large batch of pinto beans. I made bean burritos one day with them. I made a huge pan of bean enchiladas with them another day, which we ate over three days. My corn tortillas were a little old (so they would break rather than roll), so I made the enchiladas lasagna-style, layering the tortillas flat instead and layering the filling between with three layers of tortillas. I also find this is a great way to make enchiladas when you don't have enough tortillas, as it uses just 18 corn tortillas in a 10 x 13 pan. You'll need more filling, but if you're using beans for all or part of it, it is still quite frugal.

When I cooked baked potatoes, I cooked enough to have leftovers for the next day. I usually cook 10 pounds for our family, but recently we have upped it to 15 pounds at a time, saving gas for the oven (and not heating up the house) and giving us more leftovers. Leftover baked potatoes cook really quickly as cubed potatoes on the stovetop with onions for breakfast, a great side dish to a fried egg or two. It also means use you can use less oil (I only use a couple of tablespoons for a 5-quart pan full of potatoes) which means less money and fewer calories.

My son went to a thrift store with his uncle. He found a pair of cowboy boots there that he liked. One boot was priced at $35 and the other at $15. He tok them up to the register and asked how much. They told him $5, so he bought himself a pair of boots.

My mom went to a couple of community garage sales and picked up a few items for me, including a polo shirt for my eldest son ($2) and ten brand-new wide mouth quart-sized canning jars for $0.40 each.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  • Laurie in central NC October 01, 2018

    Great story of your son's cowboy boots. It's always a good idea to ask! I also found some thrifted treasures last week... 3 linen shirts, a cashmere sweater, and some natural fiber threads and yarn. I saw canning jars in several places, but none were bargains, some more than new. I had never thought about getting skin cancer in your part. I dare say it's a place most of us would never think to put sunscreen. I hope you feel a bit better every day. I'm so thankful the nights have cooled off enough to open the windows here each evening. The days are still hot and humid... 86 & 87 later this week, but I'll take what I can get. Happy October, everyone! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-last-pawpaw-frugal-accomplishments.html

  • It's supposed to cool down to 85 today. I am thrilled! Probably it will be 89, as we are hotter than downtown and weather reports are generally for there. Still hot, but so much nicer than last week's 97!

  • Laurie in central NC October 01, 2018

    I'm very thankful it's not 97 here! The humidity dropped for a while today into the 50's, which made the temps in the lower 80's very comfortable. That's interesting that you're hotter than downtown. I'd think all the asphalt, concrete and tall buildings would make it hotter there. A lasting memory of Las Vegas is of leaving my purse in the car while we checked in, and finding my lipstick had melted!

  • Susan M. October 01, 2018

    I was able to get some short, Fall boots for my daughter and myself, regularly $50 for just $18 each. My husband found some $62 dress pants for just $11.

    We went to a used book store, and found some used chamber music for our daughter who plays the violin. Then after showing her music teacher pictures of some music we DIDN’t buy, we went back during a heavy rain storm to see if the pieces were there—and they were—YEA!

    I received my order from Duluth Trading company of some clothes I ordered previously. I am a difficult size to fit, and had had this company recommended to me as they have longer waisted shirts for women. The shirts I ordered previously fit me perfectly! While the clothes are not cheap, if they hold up and are quality—which I “think” they will—then in the long run they will be money saving over me purchasing many tops only to have them shrink and get too short and then I have to give them away.

    I found a gift at a thrift store.

    I used a gift certificate to get almost free flea/tick medication for our dog.

    I used up food that we already had cooked in the fridge, so it didn’t go bad and it was turned into a brand new meal so avoided the tired leftovers for three and four days problem!

    More details on my blog at: http://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2018/09/frugal-friday-week-of-september-23-29.html

  • Melissa V October 01, 2018

    I have large shoulders and upper arms and have had problems finding "girl colored" flannel shirts that fit - Duluth is AWESOME and they just redid their bottoms and added more plus size options too. I have several of their "long tail" tanks for layering and they've held up beautifully. I panicked when I discovered my son had dried one of my flannels but it didn't shrink AT ALL which is a miracle with flannel. And the "long tail" keeps my back/butt covered when working outside (no cold air running up my back!). Good thing the store is on the other side of town 'cause is the single clothing store that I could drop some serious money in!

  • Susan M. October 01, 2018

    Oh I wish I could actually get to a physical store! Then I would not have to pay for shipping or return shipping if I have to send things back! Sadly, it is about 200 miles or more to the class west store for me!

  • Mable October 01, 2018

    Another satisfied Duluth customer. I have bought from them for years, mostly for my husband who is hard to fit. The clothes last forever! My husband also says their underpants are the most comfortable he has ever worn.

  • Susan M. October 01, 2018

    Yea! So glad to hear you have found them long lasting!

  • Gina October 01, 2018

    Brandy- So glad you have the surgery behind you anyway. Prayers for a speedy recovery. Any wound in your scalp is pretty painful because it moves every time you smile, chew, or make any facial movements. Take care and take it easy as much as you can.

    What do you do with those red noodle beans? They are beautiful but I don't know a single thing about them.

    The most frugal thing for us this past week was that the cord on my vacuum sparked and frayed and I thought I would need a new vacuum cleaner. My husband is an electrician and he was able to put a new cord on the vacuum (with parts we already had in our basement) and now it works great! That would have been a considerable cost and I was just thrilled that after a week of not vacuuming, I was BACK IN BUSINESS lol.

    Also - I made a batch of yogurt with milk that was ready to expire. I have finally figured out the way to make it where I LOVE it. I strain mine for about three hours and love it. I leave one quart unstrained for using in biscuits, etc.

    Made a batch of crockpot granola for breakfasts.

    For Friday night eats, my hubby and I like to sit outside and just relax. Instead of a meal and since it is just the two of us, I have been placing random snacks on a tray. This week we had crackers, small cheese cubed, a few grapes, a few marshmallows, pretzels. We made a fire in our fire pit with wood we had on our property and it was a very enjoyable date night at home.

    Have a good week, Brandy! Take care.

  • They're just like green beans, but they flower better in a hot climate. Regular green beans won't flower for me in our heat and the extension service recommends long beans. I have also grown green Chinese long beans and I may grow those again just for variety.

  • Bethany October 01, 2018

    It was our first year growing noodle beans. I LOVE the fact that one bean is the size of several regular green beans! We're in Michigan, but we had a terribly hot summer and the noodle beans would not stop producing. I grew ours up on a fence, so they were easy to pick. I may never go back to growing regular green beans again! :)

  • Elizabeth M. October 01, 2018

    I imagine you are relieved to be through the surgery. I hope the healing goes quickly for you.

    Changing the cat's food over to an expensive vet food seems to be making a big difference to his unsettled stomach. The vet is very pleased about the results, and doesn't see any need for follow-up testing at the moment. The cat still needs another test related to a different issue, but it is something more treatable than the digestive problem could have been.

    I have started to re-stock after two lean months income-wise. Pasta was on sale. Two 5 lb bags of potatoes were $1 less than a 10 lb bag. I had tried a new NSAID, starting with a small package. It is working very well on the arthritis in my hands, so I was happy to find a large bottle on sale at 20% off.

    Canadian Thanksgiving is a week today. I will cook a turkey I've had in my freezer since Easter. I have checked the fliers, and will buy a ham for the freezer. I can get another turkey at a super low price, but am undecided about getting it.

    The local small department store has changed brands of underwear for some sizes that come in 5-packs instead of 3-packs. That works out to be $1 less an item. I bought two packs.

    Need some new clothes for colder weather. Tried on a pair of pants that I hadn't been wearing because they fall down without a belt. Apparently, they don't fall down unless I am doing yard work, so that is a definite plus to the wardrobe. I've put a belt on my shopping list too.

    I have a list of things I want to do before winter sets in. I start today with taking the car in to figure out what is making the noise. The mechanic has agreed to drive it until it makes the noise today. It usually takes about 15 to 25 miles of highway driving to get started. A few other maintenance things needs to happen, but this is the priority.

  • Rhonda A. October 02, 2018

    Elisabeth, I'm not sure if they have this in your area, but 10lb bags of carrots, beet and onions were on sale at Fresco this week for $1.88 in Southern Ontario. This is as cheap as you will find them for the year, which is why I stock up every fall. I bought the carrots, and will slice, blanch and freeze them for use in the winter. I don't like beets or onions, but if you do, you could easily preserve them, too. It's a great way to boost your pantry stock with healthy veggies for very little money.

  • Elizabeth M. October 02, 2018

    Rhonda, We don't have Fresco in Alberta that I know of, but I have plans to stock up on winter squash, onions, potatoes, and maybe carrots for my cold storage. My back hallway gets nice and cold, but things don't freeze as long as I keep them off the floor. I will probably also get a cabbage, which seem to grow to monster size here.

    These things all grow really well locally, but if I can't find them at a good price, I have a couple of trips to the city this month, where I'll visit my favorite discount produce store. They are a wholesaler as well as retailer, and keep the best produce for their direct customers.

  • Rhonda A. October 03, 2018

    I didn't know that Alberta did not have Freshco (and apparently I couldn't spell yesterday...sorry I spelled your name wrong). You learn something new every day. No Frills often has the 10lb bags of carrots, onions and beets for around $2. They've already had a sale at this price here, but they sometimes do this sale multiple times in the fall. Keep watching the fliers, and you may luck out with some great deals in your area. Good luck at rebuilding your pantry stock, Elizabeth!

  • Elizabeth M. October 04, 2018

    A little more research tells em there is one at the south end of Edmonton. It is a little further than makes sense for me to drive to shop, and I can't find a flyer online for it. I'm going to keep an eye on it, though, because they are apparently converting extra Sobeys and Safeways to Freshcos, so we'll see more of these in the West. There is a No Frills on the drive into to the city, so I'll check the flyers there.

  • Laura Skokowski October 03, 2018

    Elizabeth, would you please advise as to the name of the discount produce store. My daughter lives that way and she is trying to find a place to buy produce cheaply. Thanks ever so much

  • Elizabeth M. October 04, 2018

    Laura, It is H&W Produce. They have five stores, all in Edmonton, Alberta. Each week they run five specials, all at great prices. The produce is always great quality. They also give something free if you buy $30 worth of food. I have never managed to spend that much, but I am just shopping for myself.

  • Laura Skokowski October 04, 2018

    Thank you!

  • Elizabeth M. October 04, 2018

    Actually, I realize that H&W has opened a store in Calgary too.

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