Saturday, February 2, 2013

This Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I made two lemon meringue pies to celebrate Ezrom's birthday and my grandmother's birthday. I used lemons from the garden to make them. I used shortening in the crust instead of butter, which kept the cost down. It was less than $1 for both pies. He loved the giant origami cranes that his sister folded and hung for him for decorations, along with the banner that she made him for his birthday.



I took pictures of Ezrom for his birthday this week.



I also took pictures of Ivory.

I found a way to repurpose some display hangers so that they would be used to hang herbs for drying in my pantry. I had these hanging with lanterns at my previous house, but since we moved here 6 years ago I have never used them. Now I have a place to dry herbs that is also out of the way. My husband hung them with some screws that he already had.

I moved my cake pans into the pantry. This freed up space in my kitchen drawers for items that I use more frequently, and allowed me to keep the cake pans as well.

We bought a used van and paid cash. We have been waiting to purchase a larger vehicle that would be big enough for our family for a long time. After having struggled for most of last year to have much of an income (a law was passed in October 2011 in Nevada to stop foreclosures; it also stopped most sales. It was overturned in October 2012, but the banks are still not issuing foreclosure notices, and Las Vegas has had a shortage of houses for sale), we were blessed with several sales at the end of the year and in January. Each year for the last 5 years I have watched our income decrease each year from the previous year. This month it increased! The banks are still not foreclosing yet. We are proceeding cautiously; we know there may yet be many rough months ahead without sales, for both my husband and the agents who work for him.

We had been hoping to buy a small bus, but after prayer, we felt a van was the right thing. Research showed us, too, that a van was about 1/4th the cost of a bus, so my husband has looked and looked for something that would be right for us. We were able to find something that was just a little bit under what we had saved.

The van has several features that we wanted, but it was missing most of the seat belts. My husband went to a place called Pick a Part, which is a huge lot with a few thousand cars. You take your tools and take off the parts you want, and then you pay for them when you leave. He found 5 seat belts for us that we hope to have fit; they cost $3 each. He will be cleaning them and installing them. We took out the rear seat of the van to have some storage room in the back for shopping, so the van now seats 11.

Since the van was at the other end of town right by the Bass Pro Shop, we went there on our way home. Our Bass Pro Shop is attached to a casino, and there is an aquarium (just one large tank with lots of fish and sting rays) right at the entrance between the two. The aquarium is free. We checked out the aquarium and some of the animals at the Bass Pro Shop, and then we came home and had a late lunch. (Though it was around 2 pm when we arrived home, none of the children complained about being hungry, and when we got home I made a quick lunch for everyone.)

We have listed our other vehicle (I call it our family car, but it's not a car; chances are that I'll call the van a car, too, as in "Let's get in the car!") for sale on Craig's List. My husband cleaned it and took pictures this week. We hope to sell it for the same amount as what we paid for the van. The money will go back into our account to pay the bills for the months that are coming up. We will remain a one car family, which will keep our expenses down. (If anyone is interested in purchasing a 2004 Ford Expedition with a little over 86,000 miles on it, let me know! )

The law here states that we have 30 days from the date of purchase to register a vehicle. By waiting until the end of that time, we will move our annual registration fee back another month. This will save us for a month. Also, the law allows us to transfer plates from one vehicle to another, so if we can sell our other vehicle during that time, we can just transfer the plates.

I harvested arugula, rosemary, and parsley from the garden.

The children have caught a cold/ear infection. We are treating it at home. Their ear pain is gone already (usually one application of this is all it takes to get rid of an ear infection) but they are still congested. Our meals have been very simple this week.

I made French bread and Greek yogurt.

It was cold enough to run the heater again for a few nights this week. The days were wonderfully warm toward the end of the week and I was able to open the windows and enjoy the fresh air inside. I was able to get outside for a bit on Friday afternoon to do some pruning.

I took a free Graphics Design Class on Creative Live. The classes are free to watch while they are live. I gained a couple of new ideas that were just what I was needing for something that I have been wanting to redesign.

I had an at-home date with my husband one night after the children were in bed.

My husband cut my hair for me.

What did you do to save money this week?

104 comments:

  1. I luv your blog/website. Its so pleasing to the eye and you take such good picures. You motivate me to keep finding ways to safe. Thanks for sharig your talents!

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  2. Beautiful pictures of both of your children. We have installed seat belts ourselves on several cars, too, in the past. This week's frugal accomplishments were:
    -made 2 pairs of doll socks from the “good” tops of 2 midcalf socks with worn out heels, crocheted a pair of doll slippers, & finished the details on the doll apron. Used leftover cream yarn to crochet a small cape for the doll outfit. I ran out, & needed a small amount of blue yarn, hopefully in a color that will coordinate, to add a few more rows to the bottom & around & up the front. I found three balls of yarn for a quarter each, at a thrift store, & finished the cape. Used a gold button from the button jar for a closure. I found the doll clothes patterns for a night gown & a dress. I believe I can cut the pieces for the nightgown from just one of the navy blue flannel pillowcases I received from freecycle. These are for 2013 birthday & Christmas presents, & I found a small wooden candlestick ornament that fits the doll’s hand & can be repainted as part of the “bedtime set” that will include the nightgown, the slippers, the cape & the candlestick.
    -finished sewing the 2nd knitting needle case from the quilted brown toile placemats.
    -melted & molded the cheese wax for long term storage. We save the wax from any cheese we buy, because it can be reused. I store it in a zip bag until there is a lot, then I melt the wax in a salsa jar on the candle warmer, & pour it into some molds I have. I melt the red, yellow, & any that covered smoked cheeses separately. When the molds are cool, I put them in the freezer for a few minutes to “shrink” & make them easier to unmold, then store them in some recycled plastic containers in the cubby. The wax keeps indefinitely, & waxed cheeses will store at room temp for 10-20 years, depending on how cool the “room temp” is.
    -made homemade tomato soup with a pint of thin tomato sauce, some onion powder & a half pint of turkey broth. It was delicious with a grilled cheese sandwich. Later this week I made a turkey vegetable soup, from home bottled garden veggies & our home bottled turkey.
    -went grocery shopping right after the plows cleared our street. Another large snowstorm is expected that night, & I wanted to stock up on eggs for 99 cents a dozen, & a few other local sales.
    -opened one quart of home bottled grape juice & one quart of home bottled cranberry juice & mixed them in a glass pitcher. Added sugar 1/3 cup at a time until the taste was right; which was 1 cup total sugar to the 2 quarts. The juice was a nice blend of the flavors. I pressed the grapes & cranberries in the strainer, to extract all the juice, then added the skins to the kitchen waste I bury in the garden. If I had chickens, I would have fed it to them. The grape juice was bottled in August, & the cranberry juice was bottled in Nov & Dec, so it is a little early for the cranberry juice. The flavor should be stronger in another month or so.
    -I was awarded $3 in points at Kmart, that I let expire on Sunday. I checked at 2 Kmarts, one in Provo & one in my city, during the past week when I had to go to Provo anyway, to see if they had an item I wanted for a Christmas present for one of my daughters, but both were sold out. Combined with the earned points I have, the item would have cost me less than $1, but there was nothing else I needed, so I saved my earned points for later, when they might have the item in again. It isn’t a bargain if I don’t need it.
    -Our youngest daughter came home to visit, & pick up the thrifted items I found for her. She brought me more orphaned socks with “good tops” that can be made into doll socks. She also brought home 2 new pillows she bought for 80 cents each on clearance, to replace some “tired” pillows on the beds here, and 2 couch covers she bought for 75 cents each on clearance for her older sister to use.

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    1. I don't understand what you do with the cheese wax. Do you eat it?

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    2. Hard cheeses can be coated in cheese wax to preserve it. Gouda and Edam cheese are commonly sold already waxed, but cheddar, mozarella & swiss can also be waxed to preserve them longer without refrigeration. To wax a piece of cheese, the wax is melted over very low heat, then the cheese is dipped, half at a time, to coat it, then once more to be sure of the seal.

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    3. I know about cheese that has wax on but I am not understanding what you do with it. Do you wax your own cheeses? Sorry I am clueless.

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    4. Yes, I can wax my own cheese. It is one of the planned activities for this summer, when the grandchildren visit one at a time, because I want them to know how to do it as a way to preserve cheese without refrigeration.

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  3. Its more like what we havent done. We are completely changing our habits, out of neccesity. We are finding that we are okay living a much simpler life. We do not eat out anymore, i hardly drive anywhere, its been a warm few day, 39 degrees is warm here for this time, we walked to the playground. We have not attended lots of functions that would cost us money. I have gone through my sons toys and baby clothes and am selling what he doesnt use or what i dont want to keep. We have no money for groceries so we have been eating what we have, ive made your italian dressing, i made a ranch I found and love online, made my first batch of bicuits ever. My husband and I are taking the Dave Ramsey program whicch we kind of got for free.

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    1. I just wanted to send some support and encouragement your way :) It's tough when you are changing life long habits, but you guys can do it!

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    2. Let me also add in my support. I find great joy in walking this simpler path. I hope it will be that way for you too. There is something empowering about using it up or recycling, not wasting, feeding your family good food made from scratch. The Dave Ramsey program has worked wonders in our life....stick with it (it may take a few months of working at it to find your groove). You can do it!

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    3. Christine,
      Take heart, it won't always be this hard. God bless,

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    4. I love how you put it - "it's what we haven't done." For my family, prioritizing our activities and even our grocery purchases is a big part of how we live frugally. I haven't taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, but my husband and I were able to read Total Money Makeover (we were thrilled to find his book at the library!). I think you will find a lot of good advice.

      This year I just started shopping for groceries with cash and it has been an eye opening experience. It has definitely made me make some hard decisions about what I buy for food (I have even had to put some things that we could do without back on the shelves). I have found myself asking more and more "do we really NEED that?"

      Start with the baby steps! :)

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  4. Congrats on the new car-- er, van I guess!

    My biggest frugal accomplishments over the past couple of weeks have been taking advantage of some killer grand opening sales at Sprouts. Avocados and green and red peppers 3/$1, roma tomatoes 3lbs/$1, strawberries for 1.25/lb (I couldn't even get them for that when they were in season last year!!) and 85/15 ground beef for 1.60/lb (sale combined with a coupon).

    Combined all errands to save on gas.

    Had a friend that has been staying with us for a few months move out. This may not sound frugal, but she was contributing very little financially and had caused our food bill to double. Also found out that she was cranking the heat up to EIGHTY anytime she was in the house alone last month when the temp was staying in the teens or lower. We never set the thermostat higher than 65 (which she knew).

    Hubby has decided to attempt a primarily vegan diet for at least the next 3 months, so lots of meatless meals. Anybody have any good resources for vegan diets? Or good substitutions for animal products? Completely foreign territory for me!

    Received $30 for doing a tv diary for a week.

    Andrea

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    1. www.vegweb.com

      www.theppk.com

      www.fatfreevegan.com

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    2. www.hungryhungryhippie.com I have been following for over a year. Elise is a nurse so she has a lot of nutrition focus for vegans.

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  5. This week I:
    -Reviewed my budget and pulled out cash for the month. I have fabric envelopes I keep in my purse in order to stop using my debit card.
    -Found Grapefruits 4 for $1, canned them in light syrup. This will sweeten them up a bit.
    -Bought a nice small quilt at the DI for my son for $2.00 to use in my car during the morning drive to school, it's been really cold here. Also found 2 bushel baskets and an outdoor kettle there. spent a total of $4.00. (The DI is similar to Goodwill)
    -Used the sprouts my son and I grew. This was our first time, they were good. Soy beans didn't work well, I might need to soak them first but the mung beans and the alfalfa sprouts worked great.
    -Put money aside for Christmas (Do this monthly)
    -Picked up a free Cuisinart 2 Lb. Bread Maker (I'm excited to give it a try)
    -Meal planned for the next 2 weeks
    -Picked up some garden seeds for 50% off, I'm in the middle of planning my garden. I'm also looking for a good place to purchase dwarf or semi dwarf fruit trees.
    -Mailed a Thank You card to a friend.
    -Making a Yard Sale pile in my garage. I'm hoping to have one in early spring.
    -Bought some soft white wheat to try. I'm not sure what kind of wheat is best to grind at home. When I decide I'll buy a bulk bag or bucket of it.
    -Made a cherry sour cream pie
    -Made brownies
    -watched more videos on You Tube on knitting and crocheting.

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    1. Soft white wheat is great for grinding. Use it in any recipe that does not call for yeast. I use mine in muffins, biscuits, pancakes, etc.

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  6. My favorite frugal accomplishment this week was when I investigated both the online gift registries, and Pinterest boards, of a bride-to-be and then proceeded to duplicate three of the decorative pillows that I found there using materials I already had on hand. Each pillow is so different, on has a really nice graphic design and one is even knitted, but I've enjoyed the creative challenge of giving high-end gifts for no extra outlay of money. I cannot wait to present them in a couple of weeks.

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    1. I love this! What an incredibly sweet idea. I usually study a bride-to-be's registry and usually make her an apron to match her kitchen decor or taste. :) I have a couple of quick tried and true apron patterns on hand so I can whip one up in no time. I also usually include something else from her registry. I always receive so many compliments on the apron. For friends I know very well I also usually include a lingerie bag that I have sewn. :)

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  7. This last week I made a 21 pound turkey and we will get 5-6 dinners out of it. I am also simmering the bones tomorrow for turkey broth (replaces chicken broth in recipes). I made 2 loaves of bread using my bread machine (I don't buy bread). I used a cookie mix my mom left in our freezer for thanksgiving this week so it was free to us and has made 3 huge batches of cookies with one batch for tomorrow. We finally finished our daughters closet set up and was also able to make a 5 shelved system in her room. These both cost the same price as a set of drawer drawers we originally were going to buy. My husband will hook up a free computer and nice flat screen given to us from my mother who no longer was using it for our daughter to use. I am hoping to also get somw sewing done with fabric i have had for a whole and making a few future items using scraps I have. This next month for our family will be more frugal, we like many other people just got more money taken out of our checks for us it's 320$ a month less now, I am so thankful that I budget less normally so we are not hurting and I'm so glad I have food storage because there is no money this month for groceries. Wishing it was March because we will have more money for groceries. However, its all good, this way I get a month of real frugality challenges and practice and have this time to think "what do we really need to buy next month"! I also thankful for my grandmother who called today and need me to help her and she wants to pay me, normally I do this free but she insists on paying me to help because she knows I am busy and every little bit helps, that money will be spent on needs- those may be one of the following; groceries, an oil change, new socks and sole inserts for hubbies work boots, or a few needed soon house hold goods. Thanks for the encouragement you always provide!

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  8. Yay! for getting a van :) Love the pictures of you kids. I'm guessing Ezrom is about 6? (the missing teeth;)

    Our frugal accomplishment:

    1. Homemade meals all week.
    2. Brought lunch to work and school.
    3. went to skate on an outdoor rink (free)
    4. Prepare and deliver my Avon (this bring extra money).

    I can't think of anything else this early in the morning lol

    Linda S

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    1. He is 8. My children get their baby teeth late and lose them late.

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  9. I hung up 6 loads of laundry in my basement to air dry. I live in OH and we don't have a clothesline. For the 4 loads in the dryer, I ran it back to back to take advantage of the heated up motor.

    I printed coupons to use at Target, Kroger and Meijer. I got free pop (for special occasions like birthdays), floss, pudding, gelatin and a few other things free after coupons.

    I gathered up a bag of books to sell.

    I also focused on being a blessing to others. I donated 5 bags of baby and maternity clothes to the YWCA family shelter and I finished a scarf and a square for the charity knitting group.

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    1. I saw that you live in Ohio so do I! Consider selling your baby/maternity clothes/toys/books at a consignment sale. If you live near Columbus there is a great company called Three Bags Full they have sales in the spring and fall at different locations throughout the Columbus area! Every penny counts hope this helps.
      Heather
      P.S. if you have questions feel free to e-mail me at axidgirl99@yahoo.com

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  10. Congratulations on the new (to you) Van!!
    Your frugal accomplishments are as always aspiring!!

    As far as what we did to save money and be frugal this week?
    I did most of our monthly shopping this week, stocking up on deals that were too good to pass up but ones that I hope not to use up too quickly as to save us some money in the future. I also used a good many coupons combined with grocery sales to save us even more.

    I used my grocery points to get my gas cheaper but still didn't purchase a full tank, having less gas in the tank keeps me home more because I know when its gone its gone and I don't have the money to refill.

    We ate all our meals at home, plus I packed all my husbands lunches for work and my childrens lunches for school.

    For entertainment, we watched several shows that we dvr'd, and my children also took time to watch some videos we already owned

    The children played board games and spent a good amount of time reading instead of being into a video game, This makes me so happy .

    Our weather was abnormally warm a day or so and the kids really enjoyed being outside.

    My daughter has caught some sore of cold/virus and we are treating her at home as well. She and I spent 3 nights sleeping in the livingroom so that she could be sleeping under the vaporizer- I slept out in the livingroom too because she's young and I didn't want her to wake up in the middle of the night and be disoriented. Seems the OTC meds and especially the vaporizer are doing their jobs nicely as her cough has diminished GREATLY and her runny/stuffy nose isn't has bad either.

    Those are some of the things we have be doing frugally around our house.

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  11. I am so excited for you on your van! That is awesome! I hope things continue to look up for you and your family!

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  12. My husband and i have been carpooling to work. It means i stay later, but its worth it in gas to me!

    My MIL sent up a truckload of furniture. Inside was a grow laamp-all it needs is a ne wbulb- and i am thrilled! We dont have many sunny windows in thehouse where i could start my garden plants, so i am thrilled!

    Made lots of bread this week.

    Bought some powdered milk from sams. The price of milk keeps going up :/ so i figured it was time to start using powdered in my baking, etc. Ill be experimenting withthat this week is anyone has any suggestions for recipes :)

    Bought a few other stock up items at sams as well....dried beans, 25lb bag of flour, brown sugar...it was a good trip.

    Have a lovely week everyone. Beautiful pictures, brandy!

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    1. The one thing I learned about powdered milk is make it up and store it in glass.

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    2. I bought some dry milk too but have yet to try it. I thought I would just mix as needed for cooking and bread. I am not sure husband will drink it. Daughter and I do not drink milk. Makes us "phlegmy" in the chest. I will try glass container as you suggest.

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  13. This week I stocked up on some canned goods and pasta sauce that was on sale, went to the thrift store to purchase items for my soon to be born grandson and got a crib set for 2.10 that my daughter in law liked versus the 189.99 one that she wanted. (We still need to buy a fitted sheet for the crib) and purchased some undergarments for myself from the outlet mall. The brand I prefer is about 40.00 in the department store but if I wait and go to the outlet mall, I can get the exact same brand for 5.99 so I save and wait and then stock up for a couple of years. It has been a pleasant and very frugal weekend.

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  14. How wonderful to have found that van! I have used the pull-a-part places before here in OH as well. I hope those belts work for you. Can you share the link to the craiglist posting so we can help spread the word? Especially via Facebook :)

    My husband finally started taking lunches to work, though he needs tkme to make it a habit since he missed taking it twice this week. I am patient and am glad to see the change.

    Not much in savings this week, but i am looking forward to garden planning this week (after all... supposedly getting an early Spring)

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  15. After breaking another ages-old Corelle dish, I decided that I needed to consider looking for some. I had seen many nice dishes at Goodwill, but a family friend suggested Dollar Tree. Yeh, okay, right. So I strolled in with no expectations only to see a display of the very dishes I had been looking at (and not affording). Royal Norfolk Mambo at a $1 a piece. I checked the actual cost of these -- dishes $13 and $7 flawed. These are not perfect, but unless you were looking!!!

    I then dropped off a few items at Goodwill and did the usual walk around. I spotted a 3/4 length dark wool dress coat (Talbots) in just my size. I have never had any sort of coat like this. The coat was marked $10.99 and then 50% off. Its a wonderful coat for $5 and change!!

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    1. What a find on your coat! I am so happy for you! I am glad you found the dishes you wanted, too!

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  16. My mother used to put garlic oil in my ears when I was a kid and I had an ear infection. I remember it worked really well and it's so much better than using antibiotics!

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  17. We use a small drop of peroxide in the ears at the first sign of an ear infection or sinus infection. It works for us 98% of the time.

    We have used garlic oil as well; however, we always have peroxide on hand so that's great for times when we can't afford a trip to the store.

    Congrats on the new van. Our family is still small enough to fit in our little kia rio. I'm hoping by the time we need a bigger car we will be able to pay for it in cash. Being a one car family is such a blessing for us.

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    1. I've had this bottle of garlic ear oil for many years, so it's just a quick walk to the medicine cupboard for me :)

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  18. Thank you for your post. I am very interested in the product you used to treat ear infection, but the link doesn't work, could you please post the name of the product?
    Thanks,
    Niki

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    1. The link appears to be working to me, but if it's not, it's called Willow/Garlic Oil from a company called Herbs for Kids. I've had the same bottle for many years; you only use a few drops each time. I've used it for myself and for my grandmother, too. You can make your own with garlic and olive oil, but having this on hand is convienent, and it doesn't cost much, so it's a great addition to your medicine cabinet.

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  19. I was sick last week, so not much accomplished.
    I made one birthday gift for a friend out of town.
    I hung laundry to dry.
    I made a whole turkey and sliced it for sandwiches, opened some home made applesauce and served this for several meals.
    I completed several home repairs one on the leaky faucet (by watching utube)
    I completed a survey for extra points for an Amazon card.
    I feel certain there was more but my head is foggy right now still from being sick.
    PS: I noticed when I saved like you do for 20 years and then we had a few nice things folks were often very jealous of what we had.
    I want to say Well Deserved on the new to you Van !!!
    I hope no one ever treats you the way of jealousy for what you have , you have worked very hard and saved hard for the nice things that you have, plus I love the way you research and purchase wisely!!!

    I love your pantry , your back yard, your sewing machine , even your dining room look amazing!

    I love the way you appreciate what you have as well.

    We had all of ours taken from us.
    So now we live in a very tiny run down place. We still have each other.

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    1. So sorry for your troubles. God bless,

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  20. Congrats on the van! I was wondering...if you are only going to drive it, and not the other 'car', could you transfer the plates anyway, even if you still have it after the one month? It would be up to the new buyer to obtain/transfer plates for it when it is purchased, yes? Just wondering....

    My frugal acomplishments are listed on my blog - do check them out if you wish - we had a great week!

    http://tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com/2013/02/frugal-accomplishments.html

    Blessings,

    Laura at TenThingsFarm

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  21. YAY! Congratulations on the new van! Hoping your Expedition sells quickly. We used to have one and loved it.
    Our week hasn't been frugal per se, but I did get the dog tested for heartworm for free (you purchase a year of the meds and get the $50 test free).

    Now we're working on the garden and chicks - we got chicks a few weeks back so hopefully come summer there will be "free" eggs (I'm ignoring the start up costs of chicks, feed, and coop there LOL). Garden got started this weekend so in a few months, again, hopefully "free" food (ignoring the start up costs again, though I did get all my seeds on sale months ago, as well as the garlic and shallot starts [50% off - woot!]). We were in Sam's Club for groceries yesterday and found 4-packs of grape vines and berry starts there - now we have grapes, blueberries, and blackberries to go in the ground. I had been looking at one of the nurseries online but hadn't ordered yet, so at least we saved on shipping.

    Love the birthday photos!

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  22. We have a 15 passenger van left over from when we had 7 kids still at home. I still drive it because it's mine:) It takes a little getting used to, but I enjoy being up high and how bright the lights are at night. I hope you get used to yours quickly. Congratulations!

    This week I used 2 whole days decorating and helping at my daughters' formal dinner. Because everything is donated by parents and friends, we all have to pitch in quite a bit. 91 young adults were served a fancy 6 course meal in extremely elegant surroundings at no cost to them. It included sushi, salmon, salad, soup, dessert, etc. The dads were waiters.

    Even though I was gone so much, I took food with me and left soup and a chicken at home for everyone else to eat while I was gone decorating.

    I checked out several books on c.d. from the library for my yougest daughter who came down with a high fever the next morning after the event. I also got some movies there as well.

    I made snack for the youth group on Thursday. I used sandwich buns I got for free and only had to spend $3 for lunch meat. I cut the sandwiches in 3 pieces with a fancy toothpick in each piece. I added orange slices and juice that I also did not pay for. The oranges were cut very thin, since there weren't very many, but no one noticed.

    I made a hooded baby bath towel to add to an outfit I got on clearance to take to a baby shower yesterday. The terry cloth fabric was on clearance, the bias tape to go around it was not. The towel was under $5, though, and it's cute. It's also very large, so it can be used for several years, I hope. It only took about 1 hour.

    I have been faithfully doing physical therapy exercises on my own as my doctor suggested and am gaining more range of motion all the time on my arm that was injured. Hopefully I can avoid paying more physical therapy bills.

    During the summer, my goal is to fill jars with home canning. This time of year, my goal is to empty as many as I can, since it means we are basing our meals on our stored food. I just traded out 2 huge baskets of empties for full ones to use this week. Most of the full ones are stored in the basement, but I have a shelf near the kitchen to keep jars that I plan to use over the next few days.

    I am going to use the last of the chicken I made for broth and to make chicken enchiladas--one pan for us and one for a friend who needs a meal. There will be lots of beans in them to stretch the chicken.

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  23. I love your son's missing 2 teeth and your daughter's two peeking out! That made me smile! My son lost his first tooth at age 7 and he thought he'd never loose one and I lost my last tooth at the age of 15, so I know that sometimes it's hard to wait!

    And congratulations on the new van! How exciting!

    Missed this last week so I'm glad to catch it "right away" this week! Here's two weeks worth of frugal things:

    * Downloaded a huge number of kindle ebooks for free.
    * Tried 3 new recipes, including a soda bread recipe, to use up what we have in the house. Liked them all.
    * Checked out books and DVDs from the library for the children rather than buying anything.
    * Sent birthday gifts to 3 parties from our "birthday stash".
    * Made 3 birthday gifts for family members using things we have on hand.
    * Spent $1 for candy to round out homemade Valentines - been working on those piecemeal over the last 2 weeks and will continue this week.
    * Mended pajamas and a top for me
    * Let down 4 pairs of school pants for my son (that boy had a growth spurt again!).
    * Worked from home for a few days to save on gas
    * Parked in the "far" lot at work and saved probably $10/day on parking (yes, parking is absurd here).
    * Baked bars for a funeral at church using what we had on hand and had 3 people request the recipe!
    * Bought material for 1 summer dress and 1 pair of summer pajamas for my daughter and a summer skirt for me for 50% off plus another 30% off that. Spent far less than I had planned. Love that!
    * Won a door price at my husband's work "holiday" party for free bowling, drinks, and appetizers. Will use it for a free date out combined with the free childcare at our church later this spring.
    * Signed up for several free toiletry, laundry detergent, and tea samples.
    * Working on cutting my monthly grocery/toiletry budget down by 40% by the end of the summer this year. Working right now on keeping a stockpile of what we use regularly. So I inventoried our panty again!
    * Found all the supplies for our children's birthday party (for a total of 20 people) this year at the dollar store for a grand total of $4.

    That's all I can think of. I love reading about what everyone else is doing - great ideas and it really gets me thinking. We're working hard so we can be completely debt free when my husband is done with Seminary in 2 years and it's fun to be challenged by all the other frugal folks out there! Thanks everyone, especially Brandy, for all the inspiration!

    Have a great week,
    Lea

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  24. For the last three weekends I have traveled about an hour away from my house to my daughter and son-in-laws house that they just bought. It was a foreclosure and they got it for a WONDERFUL price, but it needed a lot of work! We have been their workforce! I personally have not spent any money, but they have spent a LOT! I just have to keep reminding myself that it would have cost much more if we hadn't done all the work ourselves. We've installed new floors in the entire house (except the two bathrooms), painted every wall, replaced light switches and fixtures, installed new base boards and new appliances, etc. It's been a lot of work, but very rewarding! I'm so proud of them!

    Consequently, because of our exhaustion, I MAY have done some things that weren't exactly frugal. I'm getting back on track this week though and moving forward!

    Congratulations on your new van! I'm so happy for your whole family! Your children are absolutely beautiful and your pictures are amazing!

    Hope you have a frugal week!

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    Replies
    1. You spent the week helping your adult child live within her means. That is an amazing gift.

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    2. Thank you, Patti! You are absolutely right! I didn't think of it that way! I'm so proud of my girls for living within their means!

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    3. Thank you, Patti! I didn't think of it that way! I am so very PROUD of how both of my older girls live within their means. I wasn't raised that way and had to learn the hard way.

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  25. Congrats on your new van!
    Planted seeds in my garden. Found chick weed in my flower beds, googled it and have been eating it in salads and sandwiches. Amazingly the family eats and thinks I purposefully grow it! Also ate lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, beet greens and oranges.

    Made an apron for a friends birthday with fabric I have been given.

    Also worked more on a new quilt for my bed from fabric and old clothes.

    Watched t.v. Shows on coke and popcorn and read e books from the library.

    Made tortillas, cookies, biscuits.

    Ate lots of eggs this week. They were on sale 18 for $1.50. I bought 4.

    Made my son an ice cream cake for his birthday instead of purchasing one at DQ. He loved it.

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    Replies
    1. You can eat nettles (in soup), Chickeed, lamb's quarters and fireweed leaves and stems. Our yard is so full of this stuff, I no longer plant greens except for romaine. We eat them all summer and I also use them in basil pesto---substitute any one but the nettles for half of the required basil and no one will notice the difference and it will be far more economical. (Now if I could just find a weed substitute for parm. cheese!)

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  26. It's been an eventful week for us, thus we've been up and down with how frugal we've been.

    - Had a baby! Doesn't sound frugal, but we'd saved up enough money to pay the hospital bill outright. When you do that, the hospital gives you 25% off the bill!

    - Went through a large suitcase full of baby & toddler clothes given to me by my sister. I don't think I'll have to buy anything for this little guy until after his first birthday.

    - Made lunch for 10 people for my son's blessing. Drank water and made baked potatoes. Got a 10lb bag for $1. Added some fruit salad (most of the fruit price-matched to get the lowest price) and called it good.

    - Ate several meals from my freezer storage.

    That's all I can think of right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations on the new little one!

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    2. Babies are such a wonderful blessing and cannot be measured in terms of frugality. They really are simply priceless. So, Happy Little Baby Feet…

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  27. Yeah on the new van!! It takes some getting used to and it kind of freaked me out at first when we got ours 24 years ago. I loved being able to walk around in the vehicle if there was a problem with the kids in the back.

    Our budget had a dent put in it with those bad storms that roared through the SE this week. We had a very tall pine tree snap off at the base from the high winds. We had to have tree service come out and put it down on the ground as it was hovering over our garden shed because it was caught in the top of an oak tree. We did not have them cut and haul it away as it in the woods on our property and it can stay there. I am glad it did not come all the way down and smash the shed and the riding mower and other pricey equipment so tree service was definitely cheaper! We also had to have brakes redone on my husband's car.

    Hubby replaced the deadbolt on the backdoor and had to cut a new hole because dead bolts are larger now than when our house was built. Only cost was the new lock. He also made another repair to my ancient Jenn-Aire stove that parts are no longer made for. Used what he had on hand in the workshop.

    I used the $1.50 bedskirt I bought at the thrift store to repair the coverlet on the guest bed. That was a real chore and took 2 hours but it turned out great and looks really good on the bed so it was worth the effort. I made some new everyday cloth napkins from fabric I had on hand.

    We had a free breakfast out on Saturday at Subway. We had signed up online several weeks ago. We had a free sandwich and coffee and then afterward drove a bit down the road for 9 free donut holes I received for taking an online survey. It was a nice treat.

    We only had 2 1/2 weeks pay in January due to my husband losing his job and then having a week with no work and then starting a new job. I was so happy that I was able to pay all of our bills and budget for all of the month of Feb with those paychecks and I did not have to touch our savings account.

    Do something fun this week! It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and not do anything just for pure enjoyment. It does not have to cost money!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the comment to have fun....needed to hear that this week.

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  28. Yay for your van! I remember driving our Expedition with 9 of us and there just wasn't enough room. I am so happy for you.

    This week from what I can remember (and last since I was too swamped to participate)

    I saw some great sales on items we use, so I stocked up. I tried to keep most of my purchases to things I can't make or grow.

    I made another month long menu drawing from the pantry almost entirely so I could focus on buying only great sales for the most part.

    I had a birthday coupon at Shopko. I used the discount to get my son 2 pairs of shoes, a coffee grinder for spices/grains. The grinder ended up being on a big sale as well. We were also able to get some treats for Valentines.

    I went to different stores for items that I wanted and got much lower prices. The stores were only a few more miles away, but the prices were 40-50% less on those items than my closer grocery store.

    While I was deciding what seeds I wanted to order, I adjusted my plans to reduce the number of companies I ordered from, especially because one of the companies wanted almost twice the shipping cost as another. We used a credit card that will reward us and will pay it off before the end of the billing period.

    We continued to make meals at home even though our schedule was crazy. My husband is usually very ready to make things easier by grabbing take out, and he was more supportive in our efforts.

    We served our mandatory volunteer hours for an activity a child participates in to prevent paying a fine. (I have to say the wording is ridiculous, but I understand why they do it.)

    We checked out movies from the library.

    When I went to the health food store for some bulk items that were much cheaper than prepacked at the grocer, I found 50 lb bags of Honeyville products! This was so exciting for me because they were about 1/2 the price of ordering directly from Honeyville. I will be making granola again and overnight oatmeal (with the 9 grain) and adding it to homemade bread. I'm really excited. I will be storing half in buckets and the rest in my grandmother's half gallon glass jars.

    I made a zipper bag for another daughter's birthday for her little dolls. I also made her dance shorts. And made her birthday cake/meal at home.

    My 2nd daughter also got a job. She will care for her infant cousin and get paid for it.

    I've been teaching a couple of my youngest music from a great program. We paid for one of our children to go through it and I'm trying my best to teach it using her materials. I started this in January.

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  29. This week I:
    -took all beverages/breakfast/lunch to work
    -started crocheting a hat for my toddler. Her winter hat is to small now.
    -saved the turkey carcass/skin/etc my husband made and froze it to make broth later.
    -Ate a lot of leftovers this week
    -downloaded several kindle books for free
    -only made one trip to the store, saving gas/money
    - didn't go anywhere else, saving gas/money
    -been eating mostly out of the pantry/freezer this week. Above mentioned trip was for milk and a couple other things we ran out of.
    -my mother in law gave me a brand new pair of winter boots she couldn't wear. I badly needed a pair and haven't been able to find a pair in my size.
    -We had a "heart healthy" day at work, and I got some free apples and free valentine's pencils. I will use the pencils as gifts
    -Found free coupons inside newspapers at work that I could have ( I supervise people on probation/parole in a halfway house, they can't use the coupons). I kept the ones I wanted and passed on the rest
    -I am continuing to fight with my insurance company to get them to pay at least part of the $2200+ bill they are trying to refuse to pay. I mentioned this last week.
    That's all I can remember. Thank you everyone for posting!

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  30. I've researched car insurance and found a lower coverage, yeah! I've started researching a new vehicle, hoping my car lasts until I can find one. I've taken 2 extra shifts. I've accepted 2nd hand baby boy clothes.

    Jennifer

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  31. Mostly I saved money by cooking and eating in. I made a big pot of your tomato soup last night for dinner, and froze the rest for dinners the last half of the week.

    I cooked up a pound of pasta with spinach, broccoli, and beans for our lunches this week. And I made 2lb of meatballs (froze half for later).

    I made two batches of baby food: pears and sweet potatoes.

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  32. These are activities from the last 3 weeks:

    A friend continues to share eggs...44 in all. All she asked for was some of my homemade jam---so I shared peach and blueberry with her.

    I've gotten into a better breadmaking routine since my husband has started taking the children to school twice each week. I know it doesn't sound like a big change but it has made all the difference for me. I can now go straight to work (we have a business we run out of our home) and finish 30-45 minutes before the kids return home. That gives me plenty of time to get something rising and a snack made for the kiddos! I've also learned a new technique for shping my loaves. I'm getting better looking loaves that aren't flat on top---easier to make sandwiches! I've haven't bought bread in weeks!! I'm excited!

    Ate faithfully from our stockpile of food: no meals duplicated this month plus I've stayed under my monthly grocery budget and even stocked up on sale items!

    Started prepping for an upcoming children's consignment sale. My area has this sale twice a year and I usually make $75-100 each time...plus get first choice of donated items to buy. Doubly good for me because I consign many items given to us an hand-me-downs by an aunt who loves to shop for her only granddaughter.

    Our mattress is wearing out and becoming uncomfortable for my husband. His idea was to put two quilts under the mattress pad---and it seems to be helping. I was concerned about them bunching up...but so far, no problems. We are hoping to get at least one more year before we have to break down and buy a new mattress (this one is 15 years old)...and still fine for me but not so much for him anymore.

    Accepted a gift of flaxseed bread from a friend. Am catching up with two friends this month. Having them here: one for homemade muffins/coffee; one for soup leftovers for lunch one day. I like to host them and it saves both of us money.

    Perhaps the most important thing was a budget meeting with my husband. He has been so wonderful this last year about practicing frugal living (his weakness is eating out). I think not eating out so much is rougher for the men sometimes. But we are back on the same page now.

    Stocked up on diced tomatoes that were on sale (enough till the summer ones come in and I can).

    Redid my price book list; plan to consult this as I make out shopping lists so that I double-check that I'm truly saving money on "sales". Priced out some goods at Walmart after reading Brandi's recent blog. Found about 4 different items that I can save significantly on over my grocery store. Excited about this!

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  33. Congratulations for your new van! What a blessing!

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  34. Frugal things w.c. 28.1.13
    -Checked the wattage of my lounge lights, it is a fitting that uses 5 bulbs, each bulb was 60W, the fittings will not take low energy bulbs, so I have just removed some of the 5.
    -Found strong cheese in Lidl at £1.49 per 300g, this is a good price here.
    -Number 1 son will continue to get free transport through 6th form this is a major blessing.
    -Trying to stay within £300 per month on shopping, including toiletries, baby stuff and diesel, there are soon to be 9 of us. I must remember to put the money on my shopping card.
    _Continuing to turn things off completely when not in use, the children are also getting pretty good at this.
    -Baby news it’s looking good for a home birth
    -Sadly I am having to drive the girls to school, as I can’t make it up the hill anymore, but this will be remedied soon.
    -It has been warmer so I have been turning the central heating off when it is just me and the youngest at home.
    -Shutting curtains early and opening them later to keep the cold out.
    -Closing off rooms that aren’t being used
    -I had to buy a new expensive can opener, I have tried cheap and mid-range ones and both break in my house so it’s a £4 one now. The food storage is only as good as the can opener.
    Jenny in Wales

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  35. I just keep clicking on the pantry site and watch the merrygoround of pictures go past, trying to absorb all the details. It's amazing. I like your collection of springform pans.

    Finally received rebate for the tires. Came in form of a pre-loaded credit card. Would have just preferred a check to go straight to bank.

    Wasn't so much frugal as lucky. Gas station (one I discovered with the .35 bananas) had a grand opening of another site. They had all kinds of coupons...free milk...$1 off gas purchace...free coffee etc. Decided to drive there though a bit out of way north of my work. I live south. Since so cold decided to actually fill up tank. Happy I did as since then gaas has gone up .26 a gallon here and my car holds 20 gallons. Also stopped to buy a bag of dog food though didn't need yet as the new gas station was right by the feed store. Saved a trip.

    Looking at recipes for homemade English muffins. Found one that bakes them that I think I will try.

    My daughter (at home) and I both gave up soda. I did this past May when I thought I had an ulcer. Turned out not to be an ulcer, was acute pancreatitis due to a gallstone in the duct. I was in hospital 5 days. I think we have the bill pretty much paid, my husband pretty much told him what we could afford to pay and if they would take that he would pay in the one lump sum.

    Brought home a bunch books and a couple movies from work. Daughter and I watched one each last couple of nights. We had popcorn and hot chocolate for dinner tonight after church. No Super Bowl here. Husband out of town for business trip till Tuesday.

    Added up my receipts for January. Did manage to stay under$100 as I wanted to for the grocery items (food). Seeing as there are only3 of us here could do lower, but had 2 birthday parties in Janurary. On one of my receipts I found a coupon for $2 off ground meat, so I did find a small pack for just over $2. Put it in the freezer. I think it will be enough to make a few burgers which is only thing we use ground beef for. Making a list for Wednesday trip (double coupon day).

    Last week found bottle of Dove body wash being discontinued so 50% off and I had a 1.00 coupon which was doubled. Made the final price 1.99 and was a large 24 oz bottle of unscented. Was 7.99 originally. I can only use unscented products of anything due to allergies and very dry skin, worse in the winter.

    Oranges in store but first 2 bags we tried cheap, but not that sweet. Hoping for improvement. Time to make up my orange marmalade. Lemons look excellent.

    I am still working my way up through all the old blog posts. Finished Sept. 2012 earlier. So many good ideas, and accomplishments. Though I will say this, it makes me sad, being a librarian, when someone says "didn't waste any gas by going to library today. downloaded books instead". I know, I know we are in the digital age now, and we do have lot of ebooks but the library is the cheapest best form of education and entertainment out there. Please ingrain that in your children while little. To me, the library was my second home growing up. I loved every square inch of the place.

    Dropped my mother off a bag of potatoes. She forgot them when we shopped on Thurs. She gave me half a pack of strawberries.

    Cooked in all week as usual, hung lots of clothes to dry in laundry room...adds moisture to the house which is a plus, tried doing some stuff on Swagbucks but had to watch bunch of "newsclips" about celebraties, dumb criminals etc. I'm not sure my free time worth it. I would love some Amazon gift cards though.

    Thanks everyone.



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    Replies
    1. No such thing as wasted gas to the library.

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    2. I refuse to buy a kindle. Libraries are a special place!

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    3. Real books do rock, but at our library we can check out ebooks on our nooks and kindles. We own so many "real" books that we could make a small library and it would be a well stocked small library, we are at the point that I had to do something so two of us now have nooks. We also like alot of the same genre's so we reread each other's books, and books we have already read, rarely do we have books to get rid off, sadly though mice got into a box of our books in the garage:( No mice in my nook:D

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  36. Frugal accomplishments:
    *Made a huge batch of laundry detergent that should last my family and my parents for at least several months, saving us around $60 bucks combined if the batch lasts 6 months, and I think it should.
    *Limited trips into town to save gas.
    *Made a giant lasagna that fed us for three meals.
    *Worked on unplugging chargers that weren’t in use to save electricity, in addition to keeping lights, fans, and the tv off when not needed.
    *Used the wood stove for all of our heating for the week, and kept the garage full of wood. That’s the beauty of heating with wood–it warms you up more than once!
    *Ordered mattresses for both our kids. Now, this may not sound frugal, but we took advantage of a sale, a coupon for each mattress, discounts on the mattress pads, and will pick them up ourselves, saving us $100 in delivery. Plus, because we spent a little bit more on the mattresses, we got mattresses that will last 10+ years, thanks to the warranties and such.
    *Saved leftover coffee for use in a yummy mocha cake.
    *Wore my denim skirt twice before washing it.
    *Use reward points for a free frozen yogurt while I was picking up a gift card for an upcoming birthday. My treat to myself, since Hubs and Kitten where on their Daddy-Daughter Date Night at Chick-Fil-A.
    *Cleaned with peroxide in kitchen and bathroom, and used dish soap to clean my toilet. (I do this daily, but since my accomplishments are looking a little weak this week, I’m sticking it on here!)

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  37. We were shooping and found sealing tape for around the doors on clearance for .50...bought two and did both of our exterior doors. Also found a double sided strip for the bottom for about $2. Both areas seem warmer already:)

    Used homemade laundry detergent as usual

    addded water to my conditioner bottle to get another days use out of it

    used our bagless vacuum...i love not haveing to remember to buy expensive bags

    our sotre lets you purchase car wash certificates for less with a grocery purchase and did that. we have so much road salt that it eats away at the bottoms of our vehicles. It seems like a waste at the time because they get dirty so fast but it will save money in the long run

    downloaded some books to my mindle for free

    had a pot luck yesterday adn provided only a few things instead of going over board like we ususally do.

    ate leftovers for lunch instead of making something new

    received a rebate in the mail

    received a letter telling us that we may get our deductible back from an accident that happened last July

    stocked up on some cheese with sale and coupons

    Not sure what else. Congratulations on the van! have a wonderful week.

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  38. Brandy, I'm so happy you were able to get a new "car" that will fit everyone and that you've gotten a little breathing room with additional income! :) Hopefully you'll sell your old "car" quickly.

    This week, I E-filed our taxes. Throughout the year I keep a file in my desk for tax forms, receipts, etc., which makes doing our taxes a quick task. I used the TurboTax software online and the cost was around $28 for federal and state. (I already received our refund from the state!)

    Deep cleaned my eat-in-kitchen that doubles as an office and a craft space. With six people and only 1600 sq ft., it takes a little creativity to make everything fit and function. I took an unused corner of the room and turned it into a space that my little ones can use for coloring, crafting, painting, etc. I was tired of having to clear off my dining room table every time we wanted to eat! And, they now have a proper place to hang their works of art without cluttering up my refrigerator doors! There was no cost since I used what I had on hand!

    Seems like food prices are continuing to rise each week. In an attempt to combat the extra costs, I'm trying to stock up on items when they are at their lowest prices. Last week I bought 24 pounds of boneless chicken breasts for $1.40/lb, 12 jars of peanut butter for 9¢/oz., 4 gallons of oil for $7.16/gallon, butter for $1.99/lb, and I also stocked up on some dog food for 97¢/lb, which is the cheapest price I've found lately.

    Made gluten free cookies and stuck to my menu plan for the week, even when I didn't feel like cooking!

    My husband hung a pendant light over my kitchen sink that I got for free. The shade it came with was broken, so I have to find a replacement, but it sure beats the ugly fluorescent fixture that was there.

    And here are my frugal flops:

    Made a small whole chicken for dinner one night. Pulled off what little meat was left and fed it to the dogs. And instead of saving the bones to make broth, I was lazy and simply threw them out.

    Went way over my grocery budget for the week--but I did manage to stock up on quite a few items, so maybe I can justify it that way! ;)

    Bought a deep fryer--it was on sale--to make homemade french fries. A bag of french fries in the store is around $1.99/lb on sale. One pound of potatoes is 30¢/lb on sale. In the long run it will save us a lot of money but it was an expense last week.

    And, we replaced our broken TV last week. We chose a very energy efficient model that states it only uses $14 worth of electricity per year, so I'm curious to see what the real savings will be each month.

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes if I'm feeling too busy/tired/lazy to deal with soup bones I just dump them and the skin and juices in a big ziplock and throw it in the freezer. Then I can deal with the bones on a day when I'm feeling up to it!

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  39. Oh, and Brandy would you mind sharing your Lemon Meringue Pie recipe? I've never made one before and lemons have been on sale here. Pie sounds wonderfully delicious!

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    Replies
    1. I second this! Lemon meringue is what I have for my birthday treat every year but I haven't found a recipe I love yet. Or one that my husband wants to make, so I probably have to pick up a frozen one this week.

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    2. My Mother makes awesome Lemon Meringue pie. She has always used the recipe on the Argo cornstarch box. Maybe it is online too.

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  40. I've just tried making the grapefruit white vinegar cleaner and noticed small white spots over all the peels. Has it happened before when you've made it? I'm wondering if something went wrong. Thanks!

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  41. A few things...
    About two years ago we stopped paying for curbside trash pick up. It was $20 per month. We started taking our trash to the township transfer station. Our cost was $1.80 per huge bag, which was 2-3 weeks of trash for us. We could take recycling for free, and we also compost. The township decided to stop offering trash service in the winter, though we can still take recycling. What to do now? I didn't want to go back to curbside after saving $200 per year. Our neighbor across the street has trash service. He is a single man, so we figured there is no way he fills his bin every week. My husband asked him if we could share his bin and split the cost. He said we were welcome to add our trash to his as he never fills it and that there was no need to pay. My husband now takes our trash over on Tuesday morning after the neighbor brings the bin to the curb. I will be sure to send him some baked goods and fresh eggs every now and again.

    One of my husband's co-workers moved on and left a lot of things behind in his office. My husband was cleaning it out and found 18 37 cent stamps. I bought smaller money stamps at the post office to make up the difference so we can use these. I went last week before the rates increased and also bought a book of forever stamps. I have been trying to pay more bills on-line to save stamps and checks.

    I continue to hang laundry to dry, heat with wood, cook and eat at home, cloth diaper, breastfeed, pack lunches and many other things, I'm sure.

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  42. Congrats on your new to you car! That's always exciting to have new wheels!

    This week wasn't overly frugal but I did a few things though. It wasn't frugal because my family takes a weekend beach vacation every winter (we live just a short drive away). We stay at a place that has two indoor water parks and we all have a blast. It may not sound frugal but we budget it out. We booked during a preview special and got our rooms for $50 a night....which is on the beach with a beach view and was a 1000 sq ft condo with a full kitchen. The same room goes for $500 in the summer and the only thing we couldn't do was swim in the ocean. I did take all of the food and we ate in the room (overlooking the ocean!) and we didn't go anywhere. Just stayed in the hotel and swam. Also, on the way home, we drove through sweet potato country. I got sweet potatoes for .29 cents a pound from a farmer who had pulled them that morning.

    While at home I did these things:

    Took a blogging break. I don't have a blog but sometimes I find that taking a break from reading so many blogs and trying to catch so many deals, saves money and keeps you sane. Also, when you get invested in the comments section, you can feel like you aren't keeping up with everyone else. I find that focusing on who you are is the best medicine to save money.

    Made every meal at home this past week.

    Cut a coupon for some Valentine Chocolate that will just cost me a few cents. The hubby and daughter will be thrilled they get chocolate!

    Stopped waiting for someone to host a pantry challenge and decided I would do one for the entire month of February. I am going to have to break though and buy oats...I didn't realize we were out.

    Shopped at Aldi for some great produce deals and stocked up. Going to freeze them this week.

    That's about it!



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  43. Stuck a banana that was going bad into the freezer. A few days later I used it to make banana-berry muffins.

    Stocked up on cereal at .99 a box.

    Used a Kohls gift card from Christmas to buy a few new dishes and a chair cushion. These will replace scratched, chipped dishes and a falling-apart chair pad. I also got $10 Kohls cash back.

    I'm trying to scrape out every little bit from my old tube of deodorant before opening the new one.

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  44. This week I...

    - Spent $25 on groceries for the week. I was able to pick up a free can of cat food and a free dozen eggs.
    - My husband was given a few t-shirts from a co-worker.
    - I had two nearly empty boxes of pasta. One penne the other rotini. I used them together to make pasta salad.
    - Borrowed books from the library. I have also started checking our kids books on CD. Since my husband is at work while we eat dinner my daughters and I listen to them while we eat.
    - My husband worked two hours overtime.
    - Used Disney reward points to get a $5 starbucks giftcard.
    - Made zucchini muffins using zucchini I grated and froze last summer.
    - My husband brought home fresh flowers a co-woker was going to throw out. He also brought home a bag of unopened chips.
    - The eye doc mailed us a check for $4.46 from where we were over charged.
    - Two free magazines came in the mail.
    - My in-laws came over Friday night and bought us pizza.

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  45. --Husband and I cut each other's hair.
    --I don't know why it took me so long, but I figured out that if I use a screw driver and pop the lid off the baby powder container, I get a few more uses out of it. (I shudder to think what I have wasted over the years by not doing this!)
    --Hosted a seed exchange/pot luck at my house so was able to trade excess seeds (like I will never grwo 100 artichokes!) for other seeds (like beets!) that I would ordinarily buy. Five friends attended and since each one brought something to exchange and to eat, it was a nice evening of socializing and since I provided soup it did not cost me a lot.
    --Made tomato soup from frozen tomatoes that I throw in a baggie and freeze when they are getting too soft. Added the rinds of cheeses that I have frozen when they are at the bitter end, as they melt in the soup and add great flavor.
    ---Husband was out of town so I ate all the things he hates, like sardines. As a result, didn't have to food shop for another week, bringing this to over a month; I ahve not shopped since New years eve.
    ---Husband's last meeting on the road was a pot luck hosted by the staff of the agency putting on the training. He was horrified when people began throwing out entire platters of leftover veggies and asked that he be allowed to take them. Since we keep a cooler in the car, for grocery shopping, he FILLED the cooler with veggies, cut up fruit, cold cuts and an entire container of potato salad. This is very unlike the husband, who is sort of shy. This food will feed us for another week, plus there was some stuff too soft so the neighbor's chickens got that. (Most of the attendees were bankers and I think they thought it would be too low class to take leftovers home. Habits like this are the reason we were able to buy our house for cash, without the help of these bankers!)
    ---The neighbor gave me three dozen eggs from her chickens and ducks.
    ---Babysat a friend's unruly dog for a week---a charmer, but completely out of control and tested my patience---and she gave me a bag of dog food to compensate me. My dog was in heaven because it was a premium brand and he gets the 50 cents a pound dog food from the open bin at the feed store. She also gave me a five pound bag of flour because "I don't bake but figured you could make your own bread out of this flour." Weird and funny, but definitely useful!
    ---Made chicken soup from a bunch of carcasses I've saved in the freezer.
    ---Found a spag squash that had made a run for it and hidden under a shelf in the pantry. I don't clean under there very often, to be truthful, so this was a reward sent by the cleaning goddess to encourage me to clean under there more often.
    ---Was able to work from home all week, which saved gas and laundry since I was able to schlep around in junky clothes instead of work clothes that need to be laundered and ironed each time.
    ---I have kept up with my new years resolution of getting rid of 3 items a week and tackling three awful chores each week. Cleaned and washed out all my kitchen cabinets and discovered several food items I can put to good use, and sold three books on Amazon.
    ---Finally, my sister sent me some spices she had received as a gift but will never use. Saffron (!!! Hideously expensive so I never buy it), cocao nibs and chili powder. These are wonderful additions to my spice cabinet.

    Happy frugal week to you all.

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    Replies
    1. 'Habits like this are the reason we were able to buy our house for cash, without the help of these bankers!'

      Love that, Sesele!

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    2. Wow what a great list. We use corn starch instead of baby powder. It even clears up diaper rash sometimes in one day and it is so much cheaper . I bet you could even put it in your empty powder container. We just use a jar with holes pocked in
      the lid. Good for you saving so much money and congrats to your
      DH for being so bold. :)
      Patti B

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    3. Most baby powder's these days are just cornstarch, sometimes with additives sometimes not, I haven't bought baby powder since baby 1 was 6months old and I figured this out!

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  46. The new photo of the baby is spectacular!

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  47. I am so thrilled to hear about your new van! I am even more glad to hear that things appear to be getting better, and I pray that continues.

    My biggest frugal accomplishment was managing to cook every night except one despite being sick all week. I was honestly very proud of myself for that, because it's the sickest I've been in many years, and yet by having my plan in place and having all the items I needed, I was able to get it done (plus working every day except one)! My biggest complement for the week was from my husband. When we discussed our regularly planned meal out Saturday, my husband asked me if I wanted him to take the kids and go without me, so I could just stay home and rest (because I had been sick). I said no - I'm tired of my own cooking! He immediately said, I'm not! He's not a person who complements a lot, so that made me feel very good.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

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  48. We are celebrating Valentine one week early (using a gift card we got for Christmas and a coupon we got for a survey participate) So we will have leftovers to use on the real holiday when we have a date day at home. We bought flowers for just $4.00 this week and I put them together with some other items I had on hand and they look amazing as good as the $90 bouquet my son usually sends me.
    I mended a shirt and made homemade smoothies.

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  49. Brandy I felt it was time for me to contribute my part in frugal accomplishments. I have you to thank for, for helping me stop eating out. January 2013 has been the first month i dont know in how long that we did not go out to eat at all, and its because of you. Whenever i want to impulse buy i always ask my self if you would have done the same thing and stop myself. So really thank you so much. My husband didnt even notice that we didnt eat out the whole of january.

    We live in an apartment, so didnt switch on the heater the whole week even though it was cold in CA. Just wore some warm clothes and socks.
    Used the dishwasher everyday but air dried the pots instead of using the drying cycle, which saves us a lot of electricity. ( I just switch off the dishwasher after the rinsing is done).
    Didnt go to farmers market and saved some gas and $30. Found organic apples for cheap at costco.
    We have a vonage phone for long distance calling. The bill is around $35 including taxes, called them and reduced the bill for next 3 months to $25.
    Our special 6 month price for cable expired so called comcast and they gave the special price again for internet+basic cable $50. Its going to save us $20/month.
    Didnt eat out at all.
    Did the target pasta deal, got 10 boxes for 6.90. The only problem is that i do not have space to put those boxes because apartment kitchens are really small. So my daughter has a good time playing with them like building blocks :)
    Husband got a deal to cut hair at great clips $8.99 which was valid for the whole week.
    Made yoghurt at home
    The only groceries i got were vegetables, onions, milk and fruit.
    Received a $10 visa card for getting an insurance quote from state farm.
    We had been planning to buy a good speaker to listen to songs as both my daughter and i love it. We missed the amazon gold box deal a week back. Called the customer service and spoke a few nice words with the representative and he gave the speaker at the same price by tweaking some things!! Very happy with this, we really wanted it badly. we saved ourselves $60.
    Been watching swagtv to get the amazon giftcard. Already received 2. I leave the phone on and continue my work and points quickly add up.
    We made use of the library a lot for books and dvds. and also because my daughter is a member we can put all new movies and new books on hold for free through her account, normally it is 0.75 each item. Because of this we have saved a lot and gotten free entertainment.

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  50. Here are my somewhat frugal accomplishments for this past week:

    1. Planted some more seeds under grow lights- basil, 3 kinds of tomatoes, orange bell pepper, and jalapeño peppers.

    2. Used the Turbo Tax Freedom Edition to do both our federal and state taxes for free including e-filing for free. (This edition is free for federal if you make something like under 40,000 or can claim EIC, or if you are military and make something like under 60,000). I've used the program for several years and I love it. Our state (Idaho) also participates in it so we can do our state taxes for free too (not all states participate).

    3. Painted the laundry room door (it was only primed) with some left over paint from a previous project.......my bedroom door is next.

    4. Found three large frames at Michael's marked down to $5.99 each regularly $25. When I went to purchase them they rang up at 59 cents each. I am making a collage of family pictures in them with strips of Mickey Mouse scrap booking paper inter dispersed throughout for our Disney Family room.

    5. Cashed out my Swagbucks for a $10 Home Depot gift card which will go towards my garden fund.

    6. Used coupons to purchase 4 things of yogurt for free.

    That's all I can think of for now.

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  51. As always Brandy I love, love this post! It is so encouraging to me and I always learn a lot. :) Do you have any specific tips for someone who would love to take better photos? Your photos are gorgeous and I always enjoy them. I received a nice "real" camera for Christmas and Photoshop. I linked up my list here on my blog: http://emersonfamily.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/frugal-things-i-did-last-week-19/

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  52. Thanks again to Brandy for hosting and thank all of you ladies for the postings as well. This is so inspiring and uplifting each and every week !

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  53. This week I made my own rolls, I have been fiddling with the recipe because my husband likes those squishy store rolls but they are 3.29 a bag. My home made ones are awesome but not really squishy. I tried changing the amount of gluten but that just made them really squat and sad, I think maybe they couldn't rise right, so I used less potato starch because oops I ran out and all the other ingredients were already in and TADA! I always thought the potato was supposed to make it squishier. I can't remember. Also, I noticed there was a hotdog brand at our store that was similar to the ones I buy but it was BOGO and one dollar cheaper, I tried those and we all liked them so I am going to pick up four more later this week and freeze them. My grocery store was running a diaper deal where you bought your diapers and they took 10 dollars off your purchase, I came in forty dollars under budget this week and I am so excited. That was also with buying food for the food pantry. AHHAA, it took a while to explain how a food pantry worked to my toddler, he kept getting mad that I was giving away "his" crackers. Our church collects meal sets so soup and crackers or pasta and sauce, etc. I have been watching for coupons for things to donate instead of just picking up whatever. When I go back to the store on Thursday, I am going to get the diapers again which we would use anyhow and then the hotdogs will be free.

    I also made a great dinner using stuff I had kicking around the house, rissoto rice and a packet of fajita seasoning and a pound of manager special chicken thighs with a cup of black beans. It was great. I tried our 11 month old with some whole beans like I saw you give Ivory and he really liked them. Hmmm what else, we got our water bill and our usage for January was noticeably lower which I attribute to our new dishwasher.

    I am reading that blueberry book you told us about. My husband grew up in the woods with many wild blueberry bushes on their property and he is sniffy about store blueberries. So we decided this morning we would try to grow two or three in containers.

    I am trying to chose new linens for our home as all our towels are approaching eight years old and they are fine for rags but not really for bathing. I am of overwhelmed trying to choose a brand.

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  54. Bed Bath and Beyond have some great Bath sheets that work well for Bathing at decent prices in Jan and Feb. I tell all that I want money for towels for Christmas even if it is only a dollar or two , then I use all that everyone gives me any extra cash that I have earned and my towels have lasted 9 years. I need new ones now but, I will do this again. I only spent $30.00 the month that I bought them but I had a large coupon and lots of gift money so I got like $100.00 off using all of that. The ones I have say Royal Velvet. The thing that I notice lately is that they are not as absorbent.

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    Replies
    1. if you use a commercial fabric softener or dryer sheets they can build up in your towels and cause them to not absorb very well. Use vinegar in the rinse and it will cut the softener build up.

      Delete
  55. I just love your blog. We have had all meals except a quick lunch for three of us at home. I am combining any errands with school runs to save gas. Here in CA gas prices rose 30 cents in one week.

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  56. Yes gas in WI also jumped 29 cents. I haven't heard an explanation though.

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  57. Your pictures are so beautiful! Your children with have some wonderful pictures of childhood memories.

    --One of our vehicles broke down last week, but thanks to my mom who gives us a AAA subscription every year for Christmas, we were able to tow the car for free. We also saved some money in gas as a one car family (though I must admit I am starting to get cabin fever! I have a new respect for all moms who live in a one car family!).

    --My husband's grandmother moved to assisted living and gave us her dining room table and chairs. It was such an unexpected blessing as we were making do with our old one.

    --About a year ago we switched to a different electric supplier for a better rate. We just received a notice from them that our rate has dropped this year. It's only a small amount, but every little bit helps!

    --Made a double batch of apple oatmeal muffins with apples that were getting soft.

    --Made granola cereal and instant oatmeal packets.

    --Cut younger son's hair.

    --Received free Glade Expressions Diffuser and Spray from BzzAgent.

    --Received a free razor and refill from BzzAgent.

    --Saving jelly jars and spaghetti sauce jars for the garden and other uses.

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  58. Thanks for the tip Cindy!

    This is what I Love about this blog everyone is sooooooooo nice!
    We have cut everything I know how to cut we use lamp oil three nights per week and I have been using barter wood for years to heat. I cut every quarter to 1/8th of a penny that I can but I can't seem to cut our cost any further. I am looking for a way to increase income.
    I work at Bartering all the time for anything that I can for my family. We are trying to save some for retirement we are in our 60's and have gone through our savings in this recession. So we are trying to get back to saving.Everything keeps going up. Our HOA fees and taxes are out of control!
    Thank you to all you ladies, you are all soooooooooo very kind!

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  59. I found this link on the Dollar Stretcher site. It shows pictures of various "recycled" uses of products, like cutting the clip bars from a skirt hanger to use as a bag clip, or using the plastic tab from a bread wrapper to keep the tape end from sticking to itself, or to prolong the life of flip flops, when placed on the bottom. Not all the ideas were useful to me, but some of them were:

    http://themetapicture.com/most-useful-life-hacks/

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