Friday, September 26, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments - Late September

I used a little dish soap and/or shampoo mixed with water to re-fill the foaming hand soap dispensers.

I picked up an item second hand that will be given to Daughter on her birthday or at Christmas.

I did a little fall decorating.  So far, I have not spent anything on fall decorations - these are items we own from previous years.  I get tempted in the stores - I admit that - but I keep reminding myself that we have things, and that too much is just clutter.  That said, I am thinking of making a banner to go beneath the mantle shelf.  I do, I will use supplies I already have on hand.  I also have plans for some cute fall crafts to do with Daughter and some of her friends, using recycled materials and some things we have on hand.

The grasses in the vase are all from our field - I spray painted some of them with a little red
(that I had on hand) to give them a more autumnal feel, and so they would show up better.
We have used this garland several years - just different ways each time.

Potatoes were .99 per 10 pounds, limit two.  I was in the store twice, so I purchased 40 pounds.  They will last us quite a while, and store well in our basement.

I used a sale and some coupons to get 12 rolls of TP for 35 cents.  They are single roll, but at less than 3 cents each including tax, I'm happy!

I call this photo, "If Jackson Pollock made applesauce bars."
I made applesauce snack bars, popcorn, enchilada sauce, Mexican rice, white rice, dark sesame salad dressing, lots of salad, a turkey shepherd's pie, zuppa toscana, an easy, yummy apple dip (4 oz. cream cheese, 1/4 c. brown sugar and a little vanilla - stir until sugar dissolves - yum!) and probably some other things, but that is what I can remember right now.

I also made a batch of homemade laundry soap.  I only had enough bar soap for a single batch, but even that will last me about 4 months.  I picked up another bar of Fels-Naptha for next time, because I'd much rather have it on hand than run out of laundry soap and realize then I need an ingredient.  Plus, they had plenty at the store, but Murphy's Law being what it is, they'd be out of stock if I needed a bar!

We stuck close to home a lot this week, and combined errands when we could.  We got books and media from the library for free, and we attended an educational library program for homeschoolers about constellations.  It was really good, and also a nice opportunity for the students to socialize a bit.  Much of our time has been spent housebreaking Taffy, our new puppy.  It's going quite well.  She's a smart girl and she's learning fast.

We cut up some more firewood that Husband picked up on his way home from work.  We have more wood prepared this year than I believe we have had any other year.  It's not that we're expecting some terrible winter so much as just cleaning up around here (getting the logs split that needed it, cutting up an old pallet or two (okay, more than two), etc.  We still have some tree stumps that have been removed from the ground, and need to be cut and split, along with some scrap lumber.

The garden is really winding down.  I got a handful of green beans, and I harvested our mini pumpkins.  They are teeny tiny, and we only got three.  I remember thinking that the spot we used for them might be too shady, and I think that was a big part of it.  I have to admit, though - the teeny tiny pumpkins are really cute!  We have one very green pumpkin still growing, and several (I think four?) butternut squash, and I think I may still get a few more zucchini.  We are still waiting for a tomato to no avail.

I bought a second-hand vacuum from a lady, and I love it.  I it.  It's a Shark Lift Around - a little bitty thing, but it's strong and works really well.  It's light enough that Daughter has been using it to vacuum the hard surface floors, instead of sweeping them, and they are getting cleaner as a result.  It's also really good for curtains, high places, and my least favorite thing to try to vacuum with the upright - stairs.  I guess they are about $100 new, and then sales tax.  I paid $40, which I earned selling off things we didn't need.  It has a place for a shoulder strap, but the lady couldn't find that, so I'm going to sew one for it, which will make it that much more awesome! :)  I also like that you can take it all apart and clean all the parts.  I'm very happy with my purchase.

I called around and found out that vaccines for Taffy (our puppy) had quite a price range.  The lowest cost was $20 per visit at the spay and neuter clinic (no exam, just the shots), and the price went up from there to about $60 for an office visit/shots/puppy check, which was no additional testing or anything, just the vet looking her over.  I opted to ask Husband to stop at the vet supply, and he picked up the vaccines for about $7, tax included, and I gave her the first round, no problem.  We had a Border Collie who was on insulin the last two of her 14 years, so I learned then to give injections.  I'm not even sure Taffy knew we gave her a shot!  Daughter helped, by telling her everything was going to be fine and that the vaccines would give her super powers, hee hee.

I am making a denim rag quilt, and started stitching it together this week.  I do still have to cut some more denim, but I was eager to see it start to come together, and I think that's going to give me the motivation I needed to finish the cutting I need to do.

My African violets were very over crowded, so I divided them until I ran out of plant pots.  I gave two to a friend, and she is taking them to her grandmother.

From left:  feverfew, lemon balm, oregano, lovage, thyme, spearmint.
I cut some herbs from the herb garden, and they are drying on pegs in my dining room.  I can't explain it, but this makes me very happy.

I hemmed a pair of pants for Husband.

Well, that is what I remember from this week.  Did you have a good week?  What did you do this week to spend less, save more and make do?


  1. That's a great recap! I wish mine were as succinct as yours (although I admit that I love re-reading my accomplishments and musings from time to time and they usually give me the inspiration to keep going!) and my look as uncluttered. I love that you blog about going to the library. I find that many so-called frugal bloggers totally overlook their libraries. Libraries are awesome! Ours started allowing us to check out streaming videos this week, I'm kind of excited. Of course their selection is very tiny for now (only 29 videos) but it'll probably grow with time. We didn't renew our Amazon Prime membership this month and have barely used Netflix at all either. I find since we got a new amped digital antenna for our TV, we watch a lot of older TV shows on a channel we didn't get before and also we just borrow most of our movies and TV shows from the library. It involves more planning and less spontaneous watching, which isn't too bad either, when you think of it. I might even cancel Netflix, eventually.

    I love that you picked grass from your own property to turn them into Fall decorations. What a great idea. All I have done to decorate, so far, is use my Fall-themed oven mitts and dinner dishes from The Dollar Tree. I do have some Fall decorations that I should be getting down from our attic but I find that, as the kids have grown up and most of them have moved away, I am less and less motivated to decorate for any special occasion. Still, I ought to go get our "Fall is here!" stuff since the temperatures have finally cooled off here in Central Florida. (I'm on my back porch as I type this, enjoying the 75 degree temp before we get the huge storms predicted for this afternoon).

    I'm not a dog person at all, but the pictures of Taffy that you posted last week were adorable. I didn't know you could give your pets their shots yourself... I'm torn because I spend a lot of money at my vet's for my 2 cats yearly visits ($200 total for this last visit, yikes!) but I'm also repaying a kindness that they extended to us a few years back when they saved our male cat's life by not giving up on him (when I would have because of the cost) and kept them at their office for a whole month, while catherized, and only charged us a fraction of the cost. Of course, now both cats are on prescription food, which we have to get from their office anyway. It's so hard to be a responsible pet owner and frugal at the same time!

    Have a great weekend!

    1. I agree - there is no such thing as a free pet! They are a long-term responsibility and family member, and if we were not prepared to care for Taffy emotionally and financially, it would be a no-go. Since she is a puppy in good health, I am comfortable giving her vaccines for now. The rabies has to be administered by a vet, and will be due about the time she needs to be spayed, so we'll take care of all of that at once, at the spay and neuter clinic, and she'll be examined then.

      I always think that all the different decorations look so pretty in the stores, but really, I like my home better with a few accent things. This didn't used to be true and I used to really overdo it, I think, but I'm settling into a less clutter-y pattern, little by little.

      We have Netflix, and my husband and daughter enjoy it. I don't really watch anything from it very often, but it does get used here, which is good! I hope you have a great week, and thank you for your kind words.

  2. Your fall decorations look great. I have haven't even thought about that yet. I have no clue where this year went!

    The biggest savings this week was staying home and out of the stores. I finished up my stops for butter at 1.25-1.35 a pound and I have a rain check for 5 more if I the coupons reset and 14 in the freezer. I only shopped for a few perishables. We have been working on eating up what we have on hand. The freezer is breathing a sigh of relief! It is amazing what is in there when you give it a good look. I have the last of the turkeys out to thaw in the fridge and will put it in the smoker tomorrow morning. We have finished up many odds and ends that get pushed to the back and forgotten.

    I made a dozen bagels and a dozen hamburger buns this week. I finally found a burger bun recipe that is soft and not chewy. The others I have tried were not compatible with what was inside, meaning the burger, etc would try to shoot out the back since the bun was hard to bite. I figure each batch of buns or bagels costs me about 80 cents. I made croutons out of stale bread. We ate in TR night instead of getting subs for the library concert since hubby got home a bit early. A fail was going to Olive Garden for Never Ending Pasta Bowls. We did have small gift card but it cost way too much on top of that and the food was terrible. We are learning our lesson about eating at the big chain restaurants since the quality seems to be really slipping.

    My husband's employer pays for our Sam's or Costco membership every year. This year we have Sam's. I had been thinking about a switch to Costco next year since it is the hip store but realized that I prefer the products at Sam's so we will stay with them. We have to choose now for renewal in January.

    I cook for the homeless shelter on the last Wed of the month. Ways that I save on that is to watch for sales on ingredients and buy the disposable pans in a 30 pack for $6 at Sam's. I always make the same thing so I know what to buy and stockpile for that.

    I have lost a good bit of me in the last few months and have been able to continue to find clothing in my closet and dresser to keep me dressed. It is amazing what is there that you never see when it does not fit! I have been picking up smaller clothes at thrift stores as I see pieces that are in good shape and inexpensive in case I don't like them later.

    W have not had to use the A/C or heat most of the week but have had to run the dehumidifier some. More $$ in the motor home fund! I really hope it warms back up some as it has been quite chilly way too early.

    I went to two free concerts this week. One was the library lunch time concert. I packed my lunch and met a friend there. Then hubby and I did the free concert Thursday night. It was dark and chilly by the time that one was over last night and I resisted the urge to stop at the nearby Starbucks and get something hot to drink afterward.

    We needed some new throw rugs for our bedroom because ours were falling apart. Aldi had some for 4.99 this week and I picked up three that work very well in the room. Solved that problem for very little money!

    Hubby did some plumbing work that needed for just the cost of the parts. I feel like this may have saved a couple hundred dollars. He also called Moen about our kitchen faucet and they are sending out some parts for it. He will do the repairs when they arrive.

    Have a good thrifty week everyone!

    1. Lana, just yesterday I cut up, wrapped and re-froze (it was only partially thawed, just enough to part it out) our last turkey too. We still have parts of the previous one too, but I needed some turkey breast for kebabs, and that was the way to get it. The freezer has some space now, and it's easier to find things!

      Are you doing a special 'thing' to lose part of yourself? I am curious, bordering on nosy.

      I applaud your baking - I have made hamburger buns in the past that were pretty good, but I have not been successful with bagels at this altitude, so I watch for those at the outlet store.

      Thanks for sharing all your great tips!

  3. Love your fall decorations.. Everything looks great.. I am so ready for fall.. I need to get my fall decorations out of the attic and get started.
    Congrats on getting the vac.. Good price.

    1. Thank you, Judy. I am still very happy with my little vacuum - I need to take it out to the garage and do the car and truck soon.

      Have a great week!

  4. The shelf with the wheat is charming and the wheat shows up well against the wall. I have a couple silk leaf garlands and mini pumpkins and gourds. Not much. I do change out kitchen towels and potholders seasonally and the hand towels in the "guest bath". We strung some mini lights up in the sunroom--it gets dark so early. The outside of the house and , mostly the shop, have the obligatory arrangements of old wagon wheels, hay bales, cornstalks, pumpkins and and a life sized stuffed scarecrow in an old rocker.

    We actually have a family farm stand. It's run mainly by 2 of my uncle's and their wives but we can sell there too. It's in front of our house and the shop as gets good traffic there. My youngest likes to work at it...She sells bags of zinnia seeds, mini pumpkins and gourds.

    Laura, I know exactly what you mean by feeling happy when you see your spices drying. It is such contentment in the work of our own hands.

  5. Congrats on finding the sweeper from your neighbor! We recently had a neighborhood garage sale and I stayed home to sell rather than run to all the other sales. That turned out well because I ended up buying a wonderful stainless gas grill, a treadmill and a lemp from our neighbor across the street. And they charged me only half of what I earned selling my own junky cast offs. I feel so very blessed. And now I can exercise when its too cold to go out this winter. And grill at home in the summer.

  6. I love all that you've done...I think though, for me, the funnest thing you've done was to paint those grasses and to add the red to your canning jar ring pumpkins. It all looks nice, not painted up, just plain nice, rustic and country.

    1. Terri, I really, really appreciate that. I spent a very long time over-doing that sort of thing, and having a hard time letting things be more rustic...even though it's my favorite style. I'm trying to be less fussy and more casual about things, and it's so nice to hear that I'm doing a little better at it! :)


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