Sunday, February 22, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments & Blessings, Third Week of February - Menu for Next Week

I baked bread, likely enough to last two weeks.  I decided to play around with it a little, so at the beginning of second rise (right after shaping the loaves) I brushed the loaves with egg, sprinkled them with 'stuff' (dried minced garlic, oats, poppy seeds, sesame seeds), then slashed the loaves and let them rise.  What do you think?

We decided to replace our printer.  We have had an inkjet printer, and it works alright, but the ink is expensive.  We switched to a laser printer - black and white only - that costs a lot less to operate.  We paid for nearly all of it with a free credit we'd gotten from Amazon back around the holidays, and it ended up costing us less out of pocket (far less!) than the ink cartridges for the old printer were going to cost.  We are not sure if we will sell the old printer or not - we have to learn whether or not it 'saves' all the info that has ever been scanned/printed/copied.

We moved Daughter's old dresser out of her bedroom and replaced it with a 'new' old chest of drawers.  She has a lot more storage space, it's easier to keep organized, but it doesn't take up any more space in her room.  It's not the prettiest - I told her we will search ideas on Pinterest and find a fun way to embellish it and pretty it up.  (I'm thinking decoupage or fabric covered drawers and a solid color base, maybe?)

We sold Daughter's old dresser, since it was little and cute and would likely sell quickly (and we didn't need it anywhere).  It sold, literally, in less than two minutes.  Yay!

I made salad dressing for Asian chicken salad, Indian rice, tomato soup, sesame-parmesan turkey steaks, popcorn and lots of little odds and ends through the week.  Husband made a really tasty bean dip.  I had opened a can of pears and a can of mandarin oranges, and used the juice from those to help sweeten fruit punch.  It means I can use half the sugar and it's still plenty sweet.

I had a second prescription I could transfer, so I earned another $25 in store credit at King Soopers.  I had checked in advance, and it is OK to transfer more than one.

We got snow Sunday and Monday, and used the wood stove to keep the house warm throughout the week. Mid-week we had some warmer weather (50's and sunny) and made sure to spend part of the day outdoors in the sunshine and pretty weather.  This weekend, we are getting more snow.

We ate leftovers as they became available and fed vegetable peels, apple cores, etc. to the hens.

I washed our clothing with homemade laundry soap.  The fabric softener was all gotten free, because we got it at Kmart with a gift card we got for transferring a prescription (back in...November?) and I hung the clothes to dry.

We checked out books and media from the library.

My friend gave me a pair of jeans that was too short for her - they fit me perfectly!

I have been looking for some cabinets for craft-room storage for quite a while, and this week, I found what I wanted, second-hand for a really good price.  I am very happy with them.  These cabinets will free up several hodge-podge items I had been using - those will be repurposed elsewhere or sold.  I'm in the midst of sorting and organizing, and hope to have the craft room re-set within a week.

I continued in my efforts to de-clutter the house.  I think of this as frugal because when we rid our home of things we no longer want or need, the house feels more spacious.  Since I sell off things when I can, it does help us a little bit financially, but it also brings peace of mind, just keeping our home more inviting and pleasing to the eye. :)  I also learn what we do not need.  For example, Easter grass (for baskets) and the plastic eggs?  We do not need those...but embarassingly, last year, I could only find a very few of the eggs, and no grass.  I used the eggs I found (and paper from the shredder) and it was fine, but still...being better organized means I don't waste resources on stuff I already have, and getting rid of excess means I can put things away nicely, instead of cramming stuff pell-mell.  (Does anyone say pell-mell anymore?)

There were some good shopping opportunities this week.  I picked up more pasta and spaghetti sauce for .69 and .19 (respectively) after sale and coupons....Libby's canned vegetables (mostly corn, a few green beans and one can of peas) for .25 each, some oyster crackers for .49 a package (the standard 12 oz. size), milk for 1.99/gal. and tuna for .50 a can.  Some of that was at King Sooper, so the balance was paid with the free gift card funds.  Cucumbers were .50 each this week, Jonagold apples were .50/lb, celery was .77 per bunch, summer squashes and red grapes were .99/lb, and romaine lettuce was .99/head.

I thawed and parted out a turkey this week, and then wrapped and froze it in smaller, more manageable pieces.  Today I have the frame and wing tips in the crock pot - I will pull off the pieces of meat and use the stock as well.  I have a few turkey-based meals in this week's dinner menu:

M - breaded turkey nuggets w/sauces, homemade french fries, carrots and celery sticks, fruit salad
T - kalua pork, rice, kimchee, nori and furikake, carrot-raisin salad
W - white chicken (turkey) chili, corn bread, grapes
R - hamburger helper lasagna, summer squash saute', cantaloupe
F - ham/cheese/vegetable omelets, hash browns, green beans, toast, orange juice
S - chicken (turkey) Cesar salad, garlic toast, apples
S - leftovers/out/think of something?

How was your week?  How did you spend less, save more and make do?  Leave a comment so we can learn from you! :)


  1. Great menus this week. I love when I can cook a turkey [or other meat] and have lots of meals from it..
    Have fun working on your daughters new chest.. That will be fun.

    1. Thanks, Judy. I don't cook the turkey - I part it out like a gigantic chicken, then wrap and freeze the parts. I cook them as we need them, which gives me more opportunity to do different things with the meat. I can grind it before cooking for tacos, season ground meat for sausage, etc. I did, however, put the turkey frame parts into the crock pot and cook those, which got me lots of meat and some stock. :)

  2. hello laura,
    your bread looks delicious.wonderful find for your wool.......the menue plan sounds good!!
    i found potatoes for 0,15€ per kilo, apples for 0,50€ per kilo, 5 kilo onions for 0,99€.
    i knit a pair of socks for me. i sowed radishes and salad in a flower box.
    have a nice week,

    1. Thank you - the bread is rather tasty! (We are already starting the fourth loaf, so it might last us 9 days, when I was hoping for 14! They are small loaves, though.) Sounds like a great week for you - I admire anyone who can knit! (I only crochet.)

  3. Laura, your bread looks wonderful! I still say "pell-mell" but not all that often.

    I post my daily frugal accomplishments and failures on my own blog. A little bit later on I'll be posting our menu for the week. I'm psyched because last week I made 6 weeks of menus mostly with ingredients that we already have so I can be on autopilot for 6 they're mostly brand new recipes so I'm actually excited about cooking, most nights!

    I'm jealous of your $25 Rx gift cards! I think they must have stopped offering them in FL because I haven't seen those offers in years and we finally have a couple of recurring prescriptions too, grrr! I could never use the offers before because we were too healthy, lol.

    I did use a $30 Visa prepaid card that I got as a Staples rebate to pay for some of my groceries this week. I'm also retroactively applying the $200 statement credit that we got on our Amex last week (a sign-on bonus) to the groceries that I bought with Amex in January and February. This will make my monthly totals go down :)

    My daughter is being commissioned by her friends to paint canvass shoes for them. She's an artist and does a great job (thinking about opening an Etsy store too!). Today she needed foam brushes but I had declared that it was a "No Drive Day" for us so she and I decided to walk down to Family Dollar, down the street, to see if they had any. We had a great time chatting about her projects and activities for the upcoming week, found a pack of 8 foam brushes for $1 at Family Dollar AND I also scored the Almond Joy that is the SavingStar freebie this weekend. Plus we got some exercise.

    Later on, I wanted to read my library book on the back patio (it was in the 80s down here today!) but my patio umbrella was broken (the rope that pulls it and holds it open had broken). I took it apart and tried to fix it like McGiver (I was using a bent paperclip at some point!) but after all that work, the cord ended up being too short and replacing it would have been a lot more work... since a few spokes were broken too, I decided to buy a new one. I got one on, going through SavingStar to earn 1% cashback, got free shipping (so I don't have to drive to Lowe's to get it), and paid for it with Lowe's gift cards earned at Coinstar and Swagbucks.

    This week I harvested tomatoes, lettuce, jalapeños and a cabbage head before we had a couple of nights when it dipped below 32. I love harvesting vegetables that I grew! Of course, when you can get produce as cheaply as you got it this week, that's even better (because you don't have the gardening expenses). I wish I could find grapes at $0.99/lb. The cheapest I could get them this week was $1.99/lb.

    1. I do garden in the summertime, but we are in the middle of winter weather, so I don't have anything growing. I love harvesting from the garden, but I will not deny that there is some work! Sounds like you had a wonderful week! :)

  4. I forgot to say...

    Not sure if you know the trick about putting masking tape over the eye of the toner cartridge in laser printers so you can save on toner... it prevents the printer from reading the level of toner inside the cartridge and from telling you that you need a new cartridge, when, in fact, you still have quite a bit of toner inside. I posted about it here:

    1. I did not know about that - thanks! I hope it benefits others too! We might hook up the old printer in the basement, and if we do, we could try that out. :)

  5. This is what I did this past week. I love the photo of the yarns in the cubby, they all look so soft! Yes, pell mell is a good way to describe my shed at present.

    1. Well, our entire basement is somewhat exploded right now, but as things get sorted and purged, it will only get better!!

    2. It only works for laser printers, I think. I know I tried it with my HP color inkjet printer and this was a "no go". As a matter of fact, HP even know when you're using a cartridge that's not an HP cartridge... and my HP printer will NOT work unless I use HP cartridges :(

  6. I love your yarns picture! I am with everyone else on pell-mell. :)

    We had a frugal week since the ice storm and extreme cold kept me from shopping all week. Hubby stopped for some eggs but that was it. I have half of February's grocery budget left at this point! I will be heading out to Publix in a bit but that will be all really good deals and I have a $10 off $50 competitors coupon to use.

    Since I was iced in I had time to stock up the freezer with cookies and muffins. I used up some out of date canned pumpkin and half a bag of toffee bits in muffins. I tried a new bread recipe that we really did not like. By the weekend it was really dried out so I made french toast for breakfast and Texas toast to go with some leftovers on Sunday. No matter how dry homemade bread is it makes great Texas toast and hubby loves it.

    We had some rotten wood and thresh hold at our front door. We hired a friend who is a contractor to do what had to be done to fix that. There was a thought that the whole front door with double side lights would have to be replaced for big money. Our friend was able to replace the thresh hold and remove the rotten wood at the bottoms of the side lights. He used fiberglass to fill in where the side lights had rotted. Hubby would not have known what to do with all of that. Hiring help has really saved us a ton of money. All we need to do now is paint the whole front door area and we have the paint.

    For many years I have washed ziploc bags but lately I have been trying more and more to use containers instead of ziplocs at all. Containers last and ziplocs can maybe go 5 rounds. Foods in the freezer in containers are also easier to find and remember to use.

    I have taken advantage of some good deals on coupon books in the last two weeks. I purchased 2 Entertainment Books and 4 Enjoy the City books for $32.50 total. So far we have saved $7.99. We plan to keep a tally to see how much we do save this year from these books. All of our favorite Mexican restaurants and our favorite BBQ have BOGO coupons in them.

    We had two grandchildren under 3 over the weekend so we did not get any attic purging done but plan to be back at it on Saturday this week. The grands really enjoyed the 'vintage' baby and toddler toys that came out of the attic a few weeks ago. We had to show the 2 1/2 how to use the rotary telephone. :)

    Our menu-

    S-turkey burgers and bits and ends of ff and tots from the freezer (3 small amounts made enough for the meal and they are out of my freezer)

    M-$5 small pizza night at Mellow Mushroom plus we have a BOGO appetizer coupon-we did not make it out for our Valentine's dinner while we were at the lake so we are doing it late

    T-ham, fried potatoes, roasted asparagus, salad

    W-tacos, refried beans, chips and salsa (these have been on the menu for weeks and keep getting skipped)

    TR-white sausage linguine, Caesar salad sauteed zuchini

    FR-chicken stir-fry, salad

    ST-homemade pizza and carrots with ranch dip

    Have a good week all!

    1. Lana, your remark about ziploc bags made me smile. I have a lot of those (probably vintage now) square pint and quart freezer containers that I've gotten from family, yard sales, etc. The pint ones are perfect for when I have a 5lb container of cheese from Costco - they are a good amount for us to have out at any given time. I use them to freeze fruits and vegetables too. The larger ones are great for soups and stews. Frugal minds think alike! I barely use ziplocs or aluminum foil anymore, but I do still use plastic wrap for some things.

    2. I asked for a set of silicone lids for Christmas and I am finding them really handy for covering bowls even though I mostly wanted them for covering skillets while cooking. The link-


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