Thursday, November 13, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments - Two Week's Worth

Hello, dear friends!  I have not been a very good blogger this month - it's been hard for me to make or find the time to get here and share what we've been up to.  Here are our frugal accomplishments for this week and last week:

One of Husband's co-workers gave him a floor jack and some jack stands that he didn't want any longer.  Now that we have a garage, this will be really nice to have if we have repairs where we need things 'up'.

I accepted some sausage links prepared with apples from a neighbor.  Someone she works with brought them to share at work, and brought a she shared some with us.  It was a nice side with the roasted butternut squash soup we had that night for supper.

I was given five large pumpkins, all uncut.  Two had spots on them, so I smashed them for the hens.  The other three are stored in the pantry.  I will cut and roast them when I need pumpkin for recipes.

A friend gave me a pair of shoes that were not quite her size.  They fit me just right!  I passed on some shoes to someone else as well.

I made a couple more scarves to sell so I can raise funds for The Chicken Project - Coming Soon!  I also shared some yarn with a friend who is knitting for charity.

Turkeys have been 69 cents per pound here.  Better yet, Safeway sent me some personalized deals for my loyalty card that made them as low as 45 cents per pound (there were some coupon overages that helped get it that low).  Right now, I have six turkeys on hand.  One is small, for us to fry on Thanksgiving day, but the others are 18-22 pounds each.  I have one thawing now, and I'm going to grind as much of the meat as I can separate from the bones.  We will use the ground turkey for things like meatballs, taco meat and flavored turkey burgers.  Since 80% ground beef has been going on sale here for $3.49 a pound (sometimes more) this will be significant savings for us.  I'll put the frame in the crock pot afterward, strip the cooked meat and use it in recipes and make stock to can.  The freezer is very, very full, and we are very blessed!

Our Kroger affiliate has 'free Friday download' items some weeks.  The last time we were in the store we picked up free dog treats and Greek yogurt.  This week's download is a package of deli meat.

I've done plenty of scratch cooking and we've done a good job of using up leftovers. We've been shopping sales and stocking up - mostly on the turkey, but we've also got a couple of extra loaves of bread in the freezer and we added some baking supplies to our food pantry.

Several pharmacies in our area are offering gift cards if you transfer a prescription.  We have earned $75 in gift cards this month, which really, really helps with the grocery and household budget.

We completed the walkway from the driveway to the front door.  It's SO PRETTY!  I couldn't be happier with it if I tried!  We figured out that the pavers cost us 22 cents each, but I haven't counted to see how many we used for the walkway.  We took the cut/broken pavers when we bought them (they were purchased second-hand) and we ended up  using some of the cut pavers at the very end.  It was so nice to be able to use them instead of having to figure out how to cut pavers ourselves.

After all the pavers are in place, you cover the walk with fine sand and sweep it
into the crevices.  This locks the pavers in place and gives a finished look.
From the driveway to the house.  Now that the walkway is done,
everything to the left will be flowerbed.  Everything to the right
will be 'lawn'  (country lawn!).  We will remove the river stones
on the left and clean up the flowerbed area as time and weather permit.

I have been making our Christmas cards.  I don't know that this is the most frugal option, but I really do enjoy it.  I will share some photos in another post.

Daughter and I have been staying close to home.  It seems that the more time we spend at home, the smoother things go.  Life is more settled, we get more done, and we are happier.  We still do some errands during the week, but we are keeping it short and sweet, so that we are home more.

We are in the middle of a pretty extreme cold snap.  The day we finished the walkway was in the mid-sixties, and the next day was in the teens...and it's been colder from there, including some below-zero temperatures.  We are using our wood stove, which keeps the house nice and warm while saving on propane use.  We are dressing warmer, drinking more tea, having more soup and as I type this, I'm wearing my warm, snuggly shawl.  My Mother-in-law gave us three pair of knitted booties several months ago, and they really keep our feet toasty warm.

If one of us gets really chilled, I put the throw from the couch into the dryer for a couple minutes, then wrap the cold person in it.  Daughter has a small blanket that I warm in the dryer when I tuck her into bed, and she drifts off to sleep, all snug and warm.  I put the small blanket on her, then cover it up with her big covers.  I have flannel sheets and a very warm comforter on our bed, and it is nice and cozy.  We keep the house around 65 degrees, but on really cold days, it just feels colder, somehow.  It's good to have a few tricks for getting warm without turning on the furnace!

We have gotten books, movies and other media free from the library.  I discovered an author that I really, really like (Francine Rivers) and it has been so nice to enjoy library copies of her books.

I'm rooting some jade plant cuttings to make more plants.

I have cut my soda consumption significantly, and I'm drinking more water and tea.

I set back some of Daughter's candy from Halloween so I can use it in her advent calendar.   After I get the pockets of the advent calendar taken care of, we'll use the rest to decorate a gingerbread house.

We decided to have a smaller Christmas tree this year.  Taffy is still such a puppy, so a smaller tree that is up off the floor seems like a good plan.  Rather than purchase a new tree, Husband is planning to make a stand that will hold the top two sections of the tree we already have.  If that does not work as planned, my friend told me she has a spare 4 foot tree we can borrow for this season.

I spent some time on Pinterest pinning ideas for some Christmas gifts and crafts we can make with pine cones.  We have quite a few pine trees on the property that will supply us with raw materials.  I would tell you how to find, or follow me on Pinterest if I knew how.

I washed our clothes with homemade laundry soap and fabric softener I got for free with a gift card.  I used drying racks and/or the clotheslines to dry our clothes.

We replaced two tires on our car.  The other two were still in decent shape.  Husband called around for the best price before we decided which tires to get, and where.

What about you?  What have you done to spend less, save more and make do?


  1. My main savings has been stocking up on baking supplies and bread flour is the main thing I stock up on. We just keep cutting back on the amount of meat we are eating since the prices are going up. I can still get ground beef for 3.28 at Sam's but that just about chokes me. We have done a really good job lately with not wasting food. That is always a savings. I used to be so bad about that.

    We are blessed to get free tires since my husband works for Michelin. We do pay taxes on them and have to take them somewhere to have them mounted but it so nice to know that we have the tires whenever we need them.

    We have done many repairs to our home, vehicles and appliances lately which has saved quite a bit.

    Hubby gets a free turkey and ham from work this time of year but the turkey is only 12 pounds. I will bank that one in the freezer and get a bigger one for Thanksgiving. We want plenty of leftovers! Turkeys are running .59 to .79 here. The .59 ones are Publix turkeys which are terrible so I will spend the extra and get a Honeysuckle White for .79 for Thanksgiving.

    I shopped at Aldi this week for great prices on produce. The manager tole me that we are getting a store on our side of town within about 9 months. That is really exciting. I have been driving 12 miles to Aldi for about 10 years. Being able to go more often will save us more money as sometimes it is just not worth the drive to go right now.

    I filled up my van for 1.99 a gallon with my Fuelperks. I have already earned .35 a gallon more with purchases of items we use everyday that were on sale and had coupon matches. The lower cost of gas is really helping the budget. I hope we have enough surplus by the time our Christmas trip rolls around that we can cover that from the regular gas budget.

    Your walk looks wonderful. It makes me really happy for you!

  2. What an awesome walk. You should smile each time you come home and see it. Very impressive!

  3. The walkway is beautiful, ya'll did a great job on it. I suspect part of the 'feeling colder' indoors has to do with dry air. I keep a small kettle on our stove (our main rooms are open plan) which helps increase humidity. Can you set a kettle on the woodstove? Sometimes just having glasses of water set about (higher up so they can't be knocked over by puppies and family, also helps.

    Funny you talking of grinding the turkey meat for 'burger' meat...It just occurred to me very very recently that I could cut up a whole turkey the same as I do a whole chicken and parcel out meat that way. I don't know why it takes me so long to catch on at times, lol.

  4. Wow you have been productive! Your walkway looks great.


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