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Weekly Frugal Accomplishments

Sorry I didn’t get up the weekly frugal accomplishments last week. I got sick Thursday evening and didn’t recover until Wednesday of last week. The kiddos are still sick, but I think we are on the better end of this, and will soon be back to normal. So for this weeks frugal accomplishments I’m going to cover the last two weeks. Last week I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything, let alone be very frugal, but I got a few things done.

Weekly frugal accomplishments for March 23rd – April 5

Made chicken bone broth.

Earned 50 swagbucks (referral link)

Collected rain water to use on the flower beds.

Purchased some items from an online action for a much reduced price. Some items were needed, and others we intend to clean up and sell for a profit. We are hoping to make this a small side income for our family so we don’t have all our eggs in one basket. Wish us luck.

Our homeschool group was canceled the last two weeks so that saved us the gas to make the trip to town.

I had my husband shop for groceries while he was in town for work saving us gas there as well. We try not to make a trip into town for just one thing.

I have been trying to be diligent to rinse out cans and bottles to recycle. It’s often easier just to through some of them away because I didn’t get things rinsed right away and it can be a pain to soak them and then rinse them, however our town participates in recyclebank.com so we receive a point for every pound of of recycling they pick up. You can then redeem the points for discounts, magazines, and even gift cards. I’ve redeemed several magazines, and when they are available, Amazon gift cards as well! The great thing is, even if your city or recycle company doesn’t participate you can still create an account, and take little questionnaires or read through info and earn points that way. I’ve been earning and redeeming points for years, but have only been participating in their recycling program for about a year and a half when our town switched companies.

I hung out clothes 4 days over the last two weeks.

Our power went out at midnight Friday morning (April 3rd) and didn’t come back on until the evening. It went out again Saturday morning around 10am or so and didn’t come back on for several hours. We had a micro cell that came in for a few minutes and then was gone, but it did a lot of damage through out the entire county. We were fortunate to have no damage, just the inconvenience of having no power while you have sick kids who want to watch a movie, but we managed. We were able to get some ice for free to keep things cool. I put a bowl of ice in our frig and just kept the freezers closed. I threw a heavy blanket over the deep freezer just to be safe though. Our ice cubes in our frig’s freezer didn’t even start to melt. I think it helps that we keep our house cooler in the winter/spring months as well. We didn’t need to get take out. We made scrambled eggs on the grill, and I had Joel cook up some hotdogs for lunch while he was cooking the eggs since he was going into town over lunch and I wanted things to be as easy as possible while he was gone (don’t forget I had three sick, slightly cranky girls to entertain.) I did have him pick up paper plates, disposable diapers and wipes, and a few staples items, but the staple items I was planning on him picking up before we woke up to no power. We did have hot water since our water heater runs on gas, but I was still only functioning at about 75% and, of course, taking care of three sick girls, and I needed a little extra help and the disposables did the trick.

We had a busy Easter Sunday since our church was hosting the community sunrise service and breakfast. Joel was running sound/media, and I was singing on the worship team, so we had to be there extra early, like 6am. So we arranged to have the kids spend the night at Joel’s parents so we only had to be up by 5am instead of 4am if we’d had to get the kids ready as well, plus really, who want to get little kids up at 5am and deal with the consequences of that all day, maybe even week. We got our breakfast to go and headed over to Joel’s parents’ house between services to get the kids ready and then headed back. It was a blessing to not have to worry about breakfast. It was a great Easter service, and thought I was terribly tired by the time it was all done, it was worth it.

So what are your frugal accomplishments from the last week?

 

Weekly Frugal Accomplishments

Weekly Frugal Accomplishments

These are my grandmother’s daffodils.

 

I’d like to give you a look into my previous weeks frugal accomplishments. This is to serve as encouragement and inspiration for you as well as me. I plan to attempt to do this on a weekly basis. Sometimes we need to take a moment and reflect on our week in order for us to find the strength and will to stay the course. I think frugal habits are a good thing to have and practice at any stage in life, but there are many, myself included, where they are a necessity right now, and I want us all to remember that we are not alone. God is not only providing for our needs, but also the creativity to stretch what we already have to make the most of it.

I would like to encourage you to take a few minutes and share your frugal accomplishments in the comments below. We all have knowledge to share, and you may have an idea that none of us had considered, or that we can tweak to fit our situation. Let’s use this as a place of inspiration and ‘ata girls’!

So let’s begin. Here are my frugal accomplishments from last week:

I had a couple of days that I was able to hang laundry out on the line instead of using the dryer.

I’ve been turning off the furnace during the day every day for the last week save one, when it was rainy and windy. We’ve been turning it on first thing in the morning to take the chill out of the air (it’s usually down to about 64-66 degrees in the morning) but by 10am or so, I turn it off for the day, and don’t turn it back on until we go to bed, and at that point I set it at 62 just in case the wind picks up during the night and really chills the house.

I tried the “no poo” method with my hair this week. I’m going to continue this for a few weeks and see where I’m at.

We only had one small shopping trip this week.

I picked my first daffodil this week and brought it in the house to brighten things up.

I brought foam trays from veggie packaging to use as paint trays during craft time at homschool group.

I turned off LOTS of lights the girls left on.

I cooked a double batch of beans and then made a double batch of black bean soup with them so we could have it for dinner twice.

I printed off some connect the dots sheets for Emma for free and put them in page protector sheets so they can be used over and over again. I found them here.

We planted tomato and pepper seedlings a couple weeks ago and the tomato seedlings have started coming up!

I made corn beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots to share with Joel’s parents after church on Sunday. It was my first time making it. I cooked it in the crockpot so it would be ready after church and it turned out wonderful! Everyone loved it!

I Cooked two chickens in the crockpot to use the meat for sandwiches, salads and dinners. I saved the bones and will be making broth with them probably tomorrow.

I attended our church’s Ladies Night Out pajama party Monday night. I knew that one of the gals is gluten free, one was diabetic, and two others were doing a detox, so I made a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free chocolate pudding, and yes it is quite yummy! I also brought chocolate chip oatmeal cookies to share as well. We had a fun time as always!

 

That’s all for me. What frugal accomplishments did you have last week?

Blog Posts to help you save money

help you save money

Hey all! Just wanted to take a few minutes and share with you a couple of blog posts I found this week that can help you save money. There are a lot of articles and blog posts out there that share tips to save money and lower expenses, but most of them site the same things over and over. For those of us who have been on the frugal journey for a while, it can be difficult and a bit frustrating at times trying to find new ways to trim the budget. Two blogs that I follow recently shared their list of ways they save money for their families.

The first is from Abbi at Proverbs 31 living. She shares 100 Ways You Can Save Money This Year. Abbi is always trying new things with her family. There are some things on the list that you probably have heard before or are already doing, but with 100 ideas I’m sure you’ll find several things to help you save money! I love the way they take little things and make fun experiences for their kids like using empty ketchup bottles filled with water and having water fights with them on hot days!

The second list of ideas was shared by Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker. She gives some great ideas to help you save money in her recent post Cutting Expenses When You Think You have nothing Left to Cut. Brandy has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to “trimming the fat” and making things stretch. Take some time and check out the rest of her site while you are their. You will be inspired and in awe!

Do you have any great ideas or tips not found on either of these lists? What was your favorite idea that you plan on implementing?

Let us know in the comments and be sure to share this with all your friends who are trying to save money!

July Frugal and Money Making Update-Wk 2

I’m a little more on the ball this week with my July frugal and Money Making Update so you’re getting this the first half of the week instead of when I’m nearly a week behind. It was an interesting week, and at first I didn’t think I did much, but the more I thought about it I realized that I was doing things that were frugal without realizing it! This encourages me to take more time to think outside of the box and find other ways that are not so conventional to save money.

July Frugal and Money Making Update

July Frugal Update

  • We were able to have the a/c off for one day last week which was a nice surprise. I actually got cold at one point because we still had the fans going and since it was raining all day it had stayed quite cool outside.
  • I didn’t use the dishwasher all week. The plan is for this to become a regular thing, only using it when we have a lot of company. Though the dishwasher was new when we moved in, it doesn’t clean very well, takes FOREVER to run, and I have to pre-clean everything that goes in without the guarantee it won’t need to be cleaned again when it comes out. Now that all the dishes are caught up, I’m having a much easier time staying on top of them. I’m using the dishwasher as a drying rack!
  • I borrowed my in-laws carpet cleaner and used solution leftover from when we clean the carpets of our house in Omaha to put it on the market. The dining room needed attention before I had two parties and house guests so I was thankful to be able to get that cleaned.
  • I picked up some closeout and manager markdown items at the grocery store to add to our pantry. I’ve already used some of the milk and a bag of the mixed organic berries!
  • For one of the parties I used a free jar of cheese dip for a snack that I got with an e-coupon.
  • The girls played in the water outside on one of our hot days with the neighbor boy. I used the well water by the garden instead of the city water, so we only had to pay the little electricity to run the pump.
  • I dehydrated some basil from our CSA box. This was timely, because I was running low on dried basil.
  • We got more free mulch for our garden and the yard from the city.
  • We’ve started harvesting yellow squash, zucchini, and we picked and shared our first tomato of the season!

Some Not so Frugal Moments

  • We rented a Redbox movie using a $1 off coupon (Yea!) but we forgot to return it for several days (Boo). I love Redbox but we don’t have one nearby making it sometime hard to get it returned in a timely manor.
  • I had a load of laundry I didn’t get out on the line quick enough and I had to rewash it.
  • I didn’t make a very good grocery list and didn’t write down the estimated price. This lead to me ending up spending FAR more then I planned. Some of that was the closeout items and markdowns I talked about, which I didn’t mentally plan on finding.

Financial Goals

Not much to say here. I spent most of the week cleaning and prepping for the parties.

Blessings

I wanted to share with you some things that are helping us save money, but are nothing we are doing ourselves. They are God using others to bless and encourage us and in someways save us money as well.

  • I was fortunate to have a large enough party that as the host I got $100 in free product, which blew my mind! And since we don’t use paper diapers (which is what mom’s at our church are given when they have a new baby) the women’s ministry at church gave me money to spend at my party which allowed me to get some organizing items to help our house run smoother! We are, after all, going to be a family of 6 soon enough and I can use all the help I can get staying organized!
  • My in-laws invited us to dinner twice last week! This allowed me to shift those meals to different days and stretch our food budget further.
  • My friend brought me cookies as a thank you for hosting the party for her business. Boy did I need them that day! Sweets don’t get very much of our budget so this was a wonderful treat!

 

That’s it for this week’s July Frugal and Money Making Update. What have you done lately to save or make money to help your bottom line?

 

I’m linking this to Homestead Barn Hop and Homemade Monday!

July Frugal and Money making Update-Wk 1

July Frugal and Money Making Update

So I know that we’re almost through the second week of July but I really wanted to give you an update for week one to help keep myself accountable. If you want to keep up with my progress throughout the week you can like me on Facebook. I’m combining both my July frugal and money making updates for this week. I may or may not do it next week we’ll see. My computer is going out after serving me faithfully for three years. Considering when my husband bought it for me for mother’s day he was happy to get a year out of it (it was a cheap model) we are both happy that it lasted this long, however I find it ironic that the month I’m trying to cinch the belt tighter and bring in a little extra money (which requires me to have a computer) is the month that my computer bites the dust. I am so thankful I have a husband who does IT for a living and can diagnose the problem for “free” so we can know what our next step is. For now, if I speak sweetly to it and keep the cord just so it is working. Aaaannyway, moving on to the July Frugal and Money Making Update for week one.

Frugal Update

  •  We went the first 6 days in July without running the A/C! It got a little warm towards the end of the day, but we would just remind ourselves that it would be just a couple of hours until we could open the windows again. We might have made it Sunday as well, but we forgot to close the windows before Church and when we got home our thermostat was maxed out at 90 degrees! Yuck. So the A/C went on. We’ve been keeping it up around 78-80 degrees during the day, and 76 degrees at night. The ceiling fans are a HUGE help as well as the box fan we brought in from the garage.
  • The dryer has remained unused and all the laundry has been hung outside or on the rack inside.
  • I’ve been working to keep lights off and at least three days last week the entertainment center was unplugged.
  • I’ve been taking pails of dish rinsing water and water from dirty cups out to the garden and watering some of the sagging plants.
  • I bought a target gift card with my Dillon’s plus card and got fuel points for it. I knew I would be shopping at Target later in the week so I planned ahead.
  • Joel only ate out for lunch once during the work week, We did eat out on Saturday when we met up with an old friend of mine, but we had purchased a gift card last month for the restaurant during Dillon’s 4x the fuel points so it didn’t come out of this month’s budget.
  • When I shopped at Aldi I tried to buy everything we would need from there for the whole month so I would only make one trip and thus save on gas.

Money Making Goals

  •  I have posted the dryer on Craigslist with no bites. I’m thinking I might take new pictures and reduce the price. As much as we want to make some on it, ultimately we want it out of our garage.
  • I made a list of things leftover from the garage sale that would be worth selling on Craigslist or ebay.
  • I started the process of opening an Etsy shop.  I haven’t taken any pictures or posted anything yet. That will have to wait until at least next Tuesday once I’m past both the parties I’m hosting in the next few days.
  • I checked into swagbucks, Jingit, and mypoints emails everyday last week to add to each tally.
  • I also entered a few giveaways. I’ll see if I end up winning anything. Since I started entering giveaways last November I’ve won a “Cars 2” Lego Duplo set, a lipstick, and a blueray copy of “Return to Nim’s Island. I gave the girls the legos for Christmas and the Blueray made for a great family movie night!

That’s it for last week that I can think of.

 

What have you been doing this week to save or make money for you and your family?

 

I’m linking this to Homestead Barn Hop!

July Frugal Goals

July Frugal Goals

Mark downs are one of the many ways I plan to keep within my grocery budget this month.

I feel like over the past few months our budget has got away from us. With me going through morning sickness my first trimester and then vacation (which we did rather well on monetarily speaking but it’s still an extra expense) I have been less then proactive with being frugal and doing things like avoiding eating out like the plague. When a meal at a fast food joint for one person costs the same as a meal for all five of us at home, it becomes much harder to justify eating out. And now that I’m feeling better I need to get my rear in gear and work on ways to avoid the excuse of eating out because of time or tiredness.

But watching our food budget carefully this coming month isn’t the only thing I plan on doing. Here is my working list of things I want to try this next month to whittle away at our bottom line.

July Frugal Goals:

Keep the lights off as much as possible.

Close the shades at the appropriate time to maximize our air conditioning.

Keep the a/c at 78 during the day and 76 at night.

We’ve just purchased and installed two new ceiling fans for the bedrooms and we already have one in the dining rm/living rm area so that has already made it easier to keep the temp cooler. Who knows, if this works out well I may turn it higher!

No dryer all month.

I want to line dry all  our laundry this month.

Unplug the tv when not in use.

We don’t watch much tv right now, so it makes sense to start unplugging it, along with the other devices that go with it, when we’re not using it. I also plan to turn off my laptop at night and unplug it as well.

Take time to look through online coupons and use what I can.

I’ve got out of the habit of printing coupons out since the printer we bought at a g-sale doesn’t print correctly. We only paid $5 for it, so we’re not out much, but I still don’t have one and the only way I can do it is if I go over to my in-laws and print them off their. I’m going to try and do that this month though.

Write down the price I think I will pay for each grocery item when making a shopping list.

I find that when I have a rough idea of what I plan to spend at the store I tend to scrutinized each item on my list a little more and subtract the items that are wants and not needs. Our current grocery budget is $400 and the past few months I have gone over and we’ve eaten out quite a bit as well.

Make a menu plan that I’l stick to.

I’m really pretty good about making menus. I usually do it in two week increments since it seems life changes too much for me to plan a whole month. This also allows me to shop sales a bit better. I do have a bad habit of putting meals in the schedule that I or my family don’t really care for but do it anyway because they are cheap meals  and then avoid that meal like the plague. I recognize that we need to suck it up and eat the meal, but I will not be putting them in the schedule multiple times in the month. Once is good enough for me.

Eat from our garden.

I’m hoping our garden will start producing so we can include some of it’s produce and save us some money at the store.

Make my own bread.

This is a hard one since I have said this every month for several months now. But I have decided this IS the month it’s going to happen!

 

I hope to find other ways this month to save money as I go along. I do have a couple of obstacles this month that may challenge my July frugal goals and my budget. First I am hosting a 31 handbag part in July and will need to provide snacks and drinks for that. Second, my family will be in town for several days and so I will be feeding them as well. We also have the fair next month and though there are lots of free things to do there, I would like to spend a little money on the kids since we didn’t spend any money on vacation doing extra fun stuff (we stuck to the swimming pools and canoeing which were free.) Oh, ya and the 4th of July! My goal is to still keep within our grocery budget even with the extras coming up. I will have to keep a watchful eye for deals and mark downs! It seems like a crazy month to try and be super frugal, but on the other hand, I think it maybe the only thing that keeps us from completely blowing the budget out of the water!

 

Do you have any ideas or ways you are cutting expenses this summer you can send my way? I can use all the help I can get!

 

I’m linking this to Homestead Barn Hop!

Amazon: Make a Mix Cookbook on Sale

Make a Mix

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the Make a Mix cookbook yet, today would be a good time! Right now Amazon has it marked down to just $13.57! It has both the Taco Seasoning and the Spaghetti Seasoning mixes that I use, as well as a basic mix which you can use in place of Bisquick! I use both the Make a mix and More Make a mix books on a weekly basis.

This book is also elligable for Amazon Prime shipping. So if you’ve been waiting for a good price on this now is the time!

 

This my affiliate link. It’s an easy way you can support this blog. My opinions are my own.

Our First “Barn Sale”

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We packed up the girls yesterday and headed to a Barn Sale in another town 45 minutes away. It started at 7 am, but we didn’t get there until 11:30. They had already sold a lot of stuff, but we managed to pick through everything (there was still quite a bit left) and find some treasures worth our trip. Nothing was priced (which usually drives me crazy, but in this case it worked to our advantage) so we just collected everything we wanted and one of the gals there made an offer for the whole lot. We got everything for just $15! It was a huge score!

Above are the girls modeling the beginner roller blades and life jacket we got.

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Here is the load of children’s books we got. The girls were very excited about all the new books. Some of them will be for later when the girls start reading, but it’s always better to prepare ahead right?

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I found a couple of games for the girls and a couple of shelves which I’ve already been planning where they’re going to go. I also got some gardening shoes (which I am SUPER excited about), and an almost brand new package of steel wool and merchandise tags, plus some adult books for gifts and a mug.

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Lastly we got a large storage bin on wheels for Joel to use in his office, and a sleeping bag for the girls. Both were in great condition.

So ya, I think we got a GREAT deal on everything we got. Several of the items were on my list of things to look for. It’s nice to have your patience pay off!

Did any of you find some great deals this weekend? Take some time and brag below so we can ooh and aah with you!

I’m linking this to The Homestead Barn Hop and The HomeAcre Hop!

Making drop cloths out of curtains

While Joel and I were painting our house in Nebraska getting it ready for sale, we were lamenting how we wished we could afford nicer drop clothes. We have always bought the cheapest plastic stuff you can find and have gotten what we paid for-rips, trips, and constant readjusting because it won’t stay in place. We have done enough painting over the past 8 years of marriage that an investment in the beginning would have paid for itself by now. Alas we were poor back then and sadly we are not too much better off eight years later.

As we were getting the dining room ready we took down the curtains that had been hanging in there for the last 6 years. They were cheap cotton loop curtains from Wal*mart we had purchased to cover the windows after our house was robbed. Looking at them now one could tell they had better days. The sun had bleached all the folds that were facing out towards the sun (they were south facing windows, so those curtains had no chance of lasting long term). I decided that I’d keep them for some project like totes or something out of the good parts.

Then I got a brilliant idea. Why don’t we use the curtains as drop clothes! The plastic that we had wouldn’t fit the whole room and the curtains we had would do great fitting into the odd spots. They also worked great in the bathroom as pictured above.

We can chalk that one up to making do with what you have!

 

What creative things have you done to get what you need/want without having to spend money?

 

I’m linking this up to:

The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival     

The Health Benefits of Line Drying Your Clothes

Everybody knows that hanging you clothes out on the line instead of using your dryer saves you money. But did you know there are health benefits to line drying your clothes? Here’s a list I came up with (while hanging out a load of wash).

Get your vitamin D.
Experts say you need 5-30 minutes of sunlight twice a week without sunscreen to receive the vitamin D you need. Spending a few minutes hanging each load will more then get you the dose of vitamin D you need.

Elevate your heart rate. Lugging a basket full of wet clothes is quite the workout. For me it’s up a flight of stairs, through the back door, down three stairs and thirty feet over to the clothes line. Then it’s up and down, up and down, grabbing a new item to hang up. By the time I’m done I’m a little winded.

It’s free quiet time. Do you ever just need a minute of peace and quiet, a little mental health break from your dear children? They may express utter excitement to help you at the beginning of the day, handing you clothes pins and the like, but give them five minutes and they will be bored and leave you alone for the rest of the day!

Spiritual Health. It’s a great time to get some one on one time with God. Depending on where you live, you can even talk out loud without worrying about someone hearing you.

Chase those blues away. According to nutrition.about.com, in order to keep your serotonin levels up, you need 30 minutes of sunlight each day. Serotonin is what regulates whether you feel super good or depressed (i.e. its a mood regulator). Hang a couple of loads of laundry and you are there.

 

Do you have any other health benefits to add? Have you experienced any of the benefits listed above?

 

I’m linking this to:

            The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival    NaturalMothersNetwork.com