Saturday, March 28, 2015

Blessings and Frugal Accomplishments - March into April

Hello!  It's been a busy, but frugal week!

I picked some daffodils from our yard to add some indoor cheer.

Last summer we picked up a nice swing set/climber from freecycle.  When we got it home, we unloaded it somewhere 'easy', but this week we moved it to a better location that is more private to the road but still nice and level.  Some of the carriage bolts were very difficult to use because the threads had been damaged by the previous owner.  Husband used a grinder to take off the tips of the bolts and they thread easily now.  Some time, but zero cost.

I was able to spend an afternoon with a dear friend.  It was so nice to visit and catch up!

I got several freebies in the mail.

Then, on the day we went to town, we got the freebies pictured below.  Daughter had received a post card inviting her to come get a free mini Lego set to introduce the new Lego Elves.  The others are free Friday downloads from King Sooper.

I have been reading about intensive gardening methods...which I have done before.  We looked around at materials we have on hand and chose a space to fence a small garden.  We have to fence and cover to protect from deer, but most of the supplies we need are on-hand.  I will need to order some PVC connectors, but I think we have enough PVC pipe on hand.  We have posts and cyclone fence, as well as some plastic netting for the top cover.  We used shovels to double dig the garden plot, and it dug quite easily.  We turned in rabbit manure and will add compost this week.

I went through our stock of seeds, and gathered all the ones we needed this year, and planted seeds in starter pots.  The trays are ones we had on hand from other projects.  The pots are made of newspaper.   I have a little wooden doohickey specially made to form newspaper into pots.  I got it at Goodwill several years ago for 79 cents, I think, but before that, I just used a soup can.

 The soil is organic gardening soil that I got free with a gift card at K-mart last fall, when we had transferred a prescription.  The seeds were all inexpensive, from stores like Dollar Tree, or purchased from Ace Hardware a few years ago on clearance.

The containers are loosely covered with plastic wrap to help keep in the moisture.
I made some fruit punch with the last of the syrup from a jar of home-canned plums, along with the juice from a can of pineapple that we opened.  I used far less sugar by substituting the syrup and juice.

We benefited from the spring cleaning of others and received some shelving, storage containers and a lovely park bench.

I sold some things we no longer needed on a local buy-sell-trade page on Facebook.  I also found an inversion table in like-new condition and very reasonably priced.  We have been looking for one for a while now - it's very good for stretching and relieving back pain.  They are somewhat large, but we spent a little time dis-mantling it on-site, and we were able to haul it home in our car, instead of one of us making a trip back in the pickup.

I cut back and trimmed up all the houseplants.  They had gotten scraggly over winter.  I think they will fill in nicely during spring.

I completed a survey for Pinecone Research.

This week was Spring Break.  We attended some fun, free library programs, played board games,  and did some other local activities.

The zipper on my wallet broke, and the whole think just sort of died. (Pieces flew in all directions!)  I went to Goodwill and found a wallet I really liked....but the zipper was broken on it!  Daughter has a wallet she has been using some - we got it at Goodwill a few months ago.  It is the type I use and like, so she gave it to me, and is using a small change purse with a zipper closure until I am able to find something else, or until she sees something she would prefer.  What a sweet girl!  Her wallet was missing the little pull, so I added a paper clip.

We also dropped off some donations at Goodwill, and we were able to find a pair of moccasins for Daughter, as well as sandals for summer.  She was quite happy about that.

Taffy started showing signs of a urinary tract infection.  I had to take her to the vet, because the treatment is a prescription of antibiotics.  I made some effort to keep costs down.  The vet wanted to do a urinalysis, and I asked her if she could prescribe the antibiotic without it, since Taffy's symptoms were so spot-on.  She said she could not prescribe until she confirmed that it was a UTI, and not some other issue, such as crystals in the urine (at least I tried!).  I had read that a urinalysis might be required so I managed to collect a urine sample at home, to take with us.  They said they couldn't use it, so I won't bother with that in the future (but at least I tried).  I was told the sample had to be 'very fresh'. sweet puppy, who had been needing to pee very, very often, was suddenly not the least bit interested in providing a sample.  The vet wanted to keep her there and give her a diuretic...for an additional $ I asked if they could try a bowl of water first, partly because of the cost, and partly because I hate to give her medicine just to produce a urine sample.  She did agree to that...and she didn't charge me the 'half-day hospitalization fee'...probably for fear that I'd go all DIY and give Miss Puppykins syringes of water until I got a sample in their parking lot.  The result of all this was that she did indeed have a minor UTI, and was given a 2 week prescription for Amoxicillin.  It didn't occur to me to ask for a prescription and take it to a pharmacy for humans, but the way it was done - the tech came out with the dog and the filled prescription bottle, so I didn't see the vet at all when we came back in the afternoon - there wasn't really an opportunity.  If I had done that, I probably would have saved another $10, but I saved about $100 just by asking the questions I asked.  I told Taffy that I was going to start adding cranberries to her treats!

Resting in front of the fire after her medicine...her fur was so warm!
There were good prices on a few grocery items - we stocked up on Planter's dry roast peanuts - $1.19 per 16 oz. jar after sale and coupon, and we got various flavors and types of tea for $1 - $2 per box.  Leaf lettuces were .88 per head and avocados were 3/ $1.  I got butter for .99 per pound, but I only had enough coupons for six.  I was able to get 4lb. bags of C&H pure cane sugar for 1.19, and strawberries for .88/lb. Those are just some highlights, of course - not everything we got this week! :)

Kohls sent me a post card for $10 off a purchase.  I chose this mini wax warmer (it's night light size, and plugs into the wall!) and one set of scent cubes.  Total out of pocket was 52 cents!

How was your week?  What did you do to save more, spend less and make do?


  1. Wow! Taffy is so big! I give all my overwintered outside plants a hard pruning every year when they come out of the garage. They really benefit from it. Yours are looking like they liked it, too. My wallet is getting close to an explosion, too. My sister gave me one for Christmas about 3 years ago and I put it away because I did not need one at the time. I hope you find what you need.

    I had $1 in FuelPerks saved up and needed to use them before the end of the month. I ran my gas tank down until I was able to get the entire 20 gallons. A win if I had not accidentally filled my van up with premium in the process. Still only $1.39 a gallon though. It has been running rough at times so maybe this tankful will be good for it but it had better not think that this will be its' steady diet from now on! I was irked because I was thinking I was filling up for 99 cents a gallon.

    I had some grocery deals this week. Chicken breasts were .99 which I have not seen in some time. I bought 9 pounds and cooked half and froze cooked chicken for 5 meals. I also got to the store that day in time for the meat markdowns and found some other good deals. $4 off a $10 pack of ground chuck and $4 off a $6 pkg of pork chops. They mark the meat down around 10 AM which to me is an odd time but when I get there at the right time I can get some deals. On that same trip I got 2 Kraft Provolone cheese slices for 50 cents a pkg, 2 free Pillsbury Cinnabon cinnamon roll kits and 50 cent Nature Valley nut crisp bars which I really like because they are not sweet. I got 2 four pound bags of sugar for 1.15 each and Skippy peanut butter for our 72 hour buckets at 55 cents a jar. Aldi had boxes of 32 packs of fruit snacks for 2.99 each so we got one to put in the grandkids Easter baskets. They still think they are candy. They had Brach's jelly beans for 95 cents a bag but a greedy man took all 55 bags while I stood there waiting my turn to get two bags. Grrrr.....He looked at me and said he had wanted 60 and that was how he justified taking all 55.

    It seems that other customers are really not liking couponers lately. For a long time people were more open to waiting behind me while my coupons were being scanned but lately I have been embarrassed for the childish temper tantrums some customers are throwing. Good grief! This week the cashier started exclaiming loudly over my savings for the benefit of the grouchy customer which was kind of amusing! " Wow, you got that free! Wow, that cheese is only 50 cents!"

    We were able to get rid of a lot of old paint and chemicals in our garage on Saturday at our county's free collection day. All we had to do was drive through the line. They unloaded everything and we did not even get out of the van. We had some things that really needed to go because of rusting containers. We used my husband's Hardee's check in app to get breakfast for $4.18 before hand.

    We put together Easter goodies for the family on Saturday. We only had to ship one box so that helps this year. With 14 and kids living here and there it can really add up. We pulled plastic eggs from the Easter box in the attic and filled them with leftover candy and a few have $1 bills for an egg hunt for the 3 grandchildren who will be here. We will also use baskets that are from years past for the hunt. We stopped at Target after church and picked up birthday presents for a May birthday to wrap and send home to save shipping, too. We also picked up .99 dozens of eggs while we were there.

    I found a new tuner for our piano. A friend of ours has a very talented musician of a son who is learning to tune pianos. He will come and tune on Monday. We get a cheaper tuning and he gets to practice. When I talked to him on the phone he sounded very knowledgeable and professional. He plans to put himself through college by tuning. He is a great kid and a fantastic classical guitarist.

    I hope you all have a good week and Happy Easter!

  2. Good deals on flour are missing from our Easter grocery ads. Some ads are running through Saturday and some stores will have new ones. I am still hoping.

  3. I'm so glad you found a piano tuner, Lana. I knew your former tuner had passed on. It's good that you will be able to give the new tuner an opportunity to develop his skills, too! :)

    I know what you mean about good deals on flour. I have paid 1.79 for 5lb, which isn't even on sale. It's the 'store brand', and unbleached. I do not buy the bleached flour. I am hopeful for a last-cycle flour sale too!


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