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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Oregano The Prudent Homemaker

Oregano from the garden

I harvested lettuce, spinach, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard parsley and oregano from the garden.

I cut roses from the garden for the table.

I sowed seeds in the garden for New Zealand Spinach, zucchini, and acorn squash.

New Zealand Spinach The Prudent Homemaker

New Zealand Spinach

I cut the sleeves down on two of the long-sleeved shirts that my husband received as a hand-me-down a few weeks ago and turned them into short-sleeved shirts.

I did the same for a blouse for myself that my daughter gave me that she had received at a clothing exchange a few years back. It fits me now and she was going to donate it, but I liked it and decided I would like it as an elbow-length blouse, so I turned it into one.

I saved the extra cuff buttons from the shirts in a button jar, to be used as needed for mending or on future projects.

On Sunday, I said to a woman at church, "I like your dress!" 

She replied, "Thanks! Do you want it?"

I was astonished! She told me the dress was a little too short on her when she sat down and that she was thinking of getting rid of it. She is about 4-5 inches taller than I am. The dress is a pretty navy blue lace dress with short sleeves. She came by on Tuesday morning and gave me the dress! I will take it in slightly, but I can wear it as it is, too.

I thanked her again yesterday, and when I did so, the woman standing next to her (who is about her same height) asked the woman which dress it was. She said that she had bought the same dress and had the same problem, and had given it to a sister who is shorter than she is!

I cut up a linen skirt that I have rarely worn in the last 13 years since I bought it (and that is now too large). I cut the back two sections into pieces for a pillow that I plan to embroider for my bed. I found a free vintage pattern to embroider via Pinterest that I will trace onto the fabric.

I gave one son a haircut.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  • Great pictures as always, and I laughed out loud at your story for how you came to get your new dress!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I was able to buy 3 dresses for less than $40 incl. taxes. These are super-comfy and I plan to wear them mostly around the house, but they’ll be great for summer too. Plus, I've already received several compliments while wearing them!
    - I took my mum out to lunch using a half off coupon
    - Carpooled with my mother to run errands
    - Bought bread at a local bakery outlet; way cheaper than in a grocery store
    - Bought tortillas at a local tortilleria; way cheaper than in a grocery store, and the only way I will buy tortillas if I don’t make them myself
    - Bought myself a drink using my starbucks gift card from Swagbucks, and got a free mini frappucino too
    - Bought two lbs of strawberries for $3, and froze them to turn into jam later on
    - Made super-healthy homemade ranch dressing! So incredibly delicious! I used homemade yoghurt, homemade mayo, and homemade ranch dressing mix. The secret ingredient? Buttermilk powder! ( 100 % preservative and artificial flavour and artificial colour free, and the DH said it actually tasted better than store-bought!
    - Borrowed books on food photography and edible landscaping from the library
    - Am very excited that my sweet potato is sprouting! In another few weeks, I’ll be able to remove the slips to root them. So much fun to grow my own slips!
    - Redeemed swagbucks for 3 x $3 Amazon gift card.
    - Bought dinner one night using a 2-can-dine coupon, and made it stretch for 3 meals
    - Took a week’s vacation from work, and enjoyed a staycation. Lovely to just putter around the house, nap lots, and run errands at my leisure!
    - Mailed a rebate for a dishwasher cleaner. Once I get the rebate, the product will be free! (Which is the only way I buy these cleaners. I can always find a rebate coupon once or twice a year!)
    - Went to a major bi-yearly rummage sale at a local church, and was able to buy a large cut glass bowl for $1.50 which I plan to use as a display bowl on my dining table, as well as two small cut glass bowls with lids for 50 cents each, and a stock pot/water bath canner for $2. I plan to use one of the glass bowls to hold my coconut oil on my bedside table (I use it as coconut oil as hand cream/nail strengthener), and the other bowl I will use in my master bath to hold something or other.
    - Made a batch of refried beans (using pantry ingredients), and froze some for future meals
    - Made a batch of Tex-Mex style rice (using pantry ingredients), and froze some for future meals
    - Used all my frozen strawberries to make 2.25 litres of jam. I’m set for several months now, as I use it for a mix-in for my homemade yoghurt!
    - I made a mini-cake for my sister’s birthday tea at my house. I made my favourite vegan spice cake recipe, and then topped it with some leftover buttercream that I had in the fridge. I even put a mini-bunting on the cake with her name on it! The tea theme was flowers, and I used my cloth flower bunting to decorate the wall with, printed out flower labels for gifts, and used flower wrapping paper from my stash (years old). I also reused several paper gift bags and tissue paper. It was a very elegant, yet very frugal birthday tea!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  • tadpole May 02, 2017

    Thanks for the link for the Ranch Dressing. It sure looks good!

  • Thanks for the compliment, Tadpole! :)

  • Athanasia May 02, 2017

    Margaret, I like cut glass bowls, and glassware, also. Gives a little extra sparkle.

  • Exactly! I do like sparkle! :)

  • J May 02, 2017

    Margaret, can you share your refried beans recipe? I have been looking for a good one.

  • Hi J! I sort of winged the refried beans recipe, and just boiled some beans with taco seasoning, garlic powder, and whatever seasoning in my cupboard seemed like it would be good together. Other times, I fry up onions, add in cooked beans, mash it up, and call it good. I recently came across this recipe ( which looks good, although I don't know how flavourful it would be. If you come across one that you recommend (or if anyone else has a recommendation), do let me know! Thanks!

  • Athanasia May 04, 2017

    I make up also. 2 lbs pintos presoaked, drain, add 4-5 chopped onions, cover with water, add 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes and cook until mashable consistency. Add extra water as needed but not so much that you need to drain them again. Salt to taste after beans are cooked.

  • J May 04, 2017


  • Marivene May 01, 2017

    Received the rebate check for our new furnace installation & deposited it. Later in the week, I withdrew some to put in our cash reserve for emergencies.

    Continued to weed the growing beds, filling at least one tree tub per day. We had snow forecast for 2 nights this week, so I put glass cloches over top of my 5 big lettuce heads in the garden. Re-staked the apple tree by the driveway that started to “lean” over the driveway. I put 3 stakes on it over the winter to help pull it back upright, but the ropes needed tightened, so I reset the stakes. Moved the new water barrel onto a base made of cinderblocks, right by the corner of the fence, where it will be protected from most of the UV light, but still be handy to the garden. The cinderblocks raise it to a level that will make it easy to use the spigot on it to fill watering cans.

    Recycled cans with my grandchildren. An RN with whom I used to work gave me a call. She used to save soda cans for us, & she had 3 bags full – wanted to know if my grandkids were still doing that. I said yes, & loaded my recycling in the trunk, then went to pick up hers, since she lives very close to where I recycle. When I arrived, the operators dumped a large black trash bag full of cans in with mine as they were weighed & remarked, “We are giving you a bag of cans”, to which I said, “Thanks! The grandkids will be thrilled!” Altogether, we had 31 pounds, so the kids got $17.25 to split, for their savings accounts after they pay their tithing. It was an unexpected blessing for them, since a buck or two is what they usually get.

    Continued to declutter the garage to make more space for things we actually use.

    Melted a “wickless” 3 wick candle that youngest DD snagged for free for me, to melt wax to pour over the cardboard in the buddy burners for camping. Used a candle warmer to melt the chopped wax in an old jar, so I can do other things, pouring the wax over the rolled corrugated cardboard one buddy burner at a time, as the wax melted thru the day. I used the wicks from candle ends, stuck into the rolled cardboard, to make them easier to light. I always save the lids from Diamond brand nuts (which DH loves, so they are a common stocking stuffer around here), because the lids fit on the tuna cans perfectly, & keep the dust out after they are filled. I started with 20 cans ready to fill, & filled all 20, with some chopped wax left over. They are back in the box on a shelf in the garage, along with 3 empty cans that need rolled cardboard in them.

    Cut a large dandelion head from my dandelion salad bed & after I cleaned it well, I simmered it for a few minutes to reduce the volume a bit, then finished it off on low in the oven with some butter in the dish & a little onion salt over top, as a side of greens for some of the leftover ham. I think they go well together. Dandelions regenerate quickly, & another plant will sprout from the roots shortly. While I was out at the bed, I pulled off all the blossoms to let the strength of the plant stay in the leaves. There are still 3 large “heads” of dandelions out there, composed of multiple crowns, & 2 roots that will regenerate.

    Crocheted 2 nightgowns, a kimono, & a sweater for Little Stuff’s dolly. The outfit that the doll came in is difficult for an 18-24 month toddler to put on & off. Now that she has some white flannel dolly diapers (that Grandma made for her, with snaps), she needs some doll clothes that let her “change diapers” more easily until she has the manual dexterity to handle the more complicated doll clothes. I actually went to our WalMart to try to buy the “doll in a cradle” that I bought for her when I was in Washington. They were available in an aqua cradle & a purple one (Little Stuff chose the purple one). I thought if I bought the aqua one, Little Stuff would have another outfit (for use later, when she can manage it), plus a spare bottle & toy rattle for her baby doll, since those tend to get lost with toddlers. No such luck! There were only 2 left, both in purple. Neither package had the toy bottle- it had been stolen – torn right off the box display. One of them was missing the rattle as well. I picked up the package missing both, & went to the service desk. At first I got the “we can give you 10% off” spiel (about $1.60), then I pointed out that these were the last 2, & both were missing parts. At that point, the service manager asked me why I had brought up the one missing both parts. I explained that I really only needed the doll, because I had bought this very set for my granddaughter in Washington, & I needed the doll to help “size” the doll clothes I was making for her. He told me I could have the package for $10, & I bought it – for $6 & change less because of the missing parts. When I told middle daughter about it, she said she had considered buying another one to have as a “spare”, since Little Stuff loves that doll. When she checked them, the bottles were all missing at her store as well. Sad, isn’t it!

  • cathy May 01, 2017

    Good job on all the weeding. We are getting a lot of rain and the weeds are going crazy. Does anyone know how to control weeds, especially thistle in a garden bed. Your garden sounds wonderful.

  • Marivene May 01, 2017

    Cathy, the only way I have found to control thistles is to pull them out, wearing a leather glove, when the ground is moist, so the root pulls out, too. We have lots of thistles here, so when I am weeding, I always have a leather glove in my pocket for the thistles.

  • ellie's friend from Canada May 05, 2017

    When I said cut them, By them I meant thistles and not weeds in general

  • ellie's friend from Canada May 05, 2017

    You could try cutting them fairly close the ground on a day just before a rainstorm. It worked for me once.

  • Marivene May 08, 2017

    Ellie's friend, cutting a thistle off at ground level will not kill it. It just resprouts from the root that is still in the ground. Thistles can resprout multiple times, even if you pull out part of the root, so to remove them without using weedkiller, you have to get the root, either by pulling or digging it out.

  • cathy May 09, 2017

    Thank you. I have tried to pull and dig them out, but as you say they have runners. They are mixed in with my wildflowers. I will try to keep weed wacking them. I really hate to spray weedkiller. I have occasionally for the greater good, I would have lost my whole flower bed. :(

  • Athanasia May 02, 2017

    Marivene, which size tuna can are you using, the approx 6 oz one or the bigger one? Or do you use both?

  • Marivene May 03, 2017

    Athanasia, I use the 6 oz can. The can from clams is the same diameter, & works, too.

  • Athanasia May 04, 2017

    Interesting doll story. I remember getting a doll in a cradle when I was younger. It was a handmedown from an older cousin and then it was handed on to someone else.

  • Marivene May 04, 2017

    Athanasia, the thing that was so sad about all the missing bottles, is that we had to use a pair of scissors to remove the bottle & rattle from the doll package we bought in Washington. There is no way a 2-3 year old just innocently pulled those off the packages. Neither my middle daughter nor I could pull it off, & neither of us are weaklings. People just don't seem to think it is wrong to steal anymore.

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