Category Archives: What I Did This Week to Save Money

Saving and Homemaking 6/18

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Take care of your garden Leprechaun

It’s Sunday evening where I am.  We have the windows wide open to catch the cool breeze and I am getting the great scent of mock orange blossoms which I picked from the neighbor’s shrub.  I’ll try to get a picture of them for you for my next post.  It has the most blissful scent that just makes me glad to be alive.  The neighborhood kids are outside and I am grateful my daughter is old enough that I don’t have to worry about what shenanigans are going on out there.

Last week I wrapped up my last day of work so now I can get down to the business of being an at-home mom for a few months.

Cooking

You know what I made this week?

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Frosting.  Epic quantities.  DD took a cake decorating class and we went through 2 cans of Crisco and 4 lbs of powdered sugar.  When we weren’t making frosting, we were washing frosting out of clothes, decorating tips, you name it.  You should see the shine in my mixing bowl!

DD took over a night of cooking this week and made egg salad.  She has that meal down pat.  I asked her this summer to make (with any help she needs) and plan a meal every week when she doesn’t have camp.

Saving

Our biggest savings this week came from Mr. Saver researching our cable TV situation and, unable to negotiate a lower price with U-verse, we switched to SlingTV/Hulu at a reduction of about $ 45.00/month.  We are pleased with the channels available to us given the savings.  I appreciate the time he put in on this.  That’s some real money.

Cleaning

Lots of activity in this department.  I tackled a few problem areas, such as the area around our printer, which accumulates paper, school work and catalogs.  I parted with some school art work from years ago and found other gems worth keeping in a more permanent set-up.

This week I want to address some problems such as lack of space for seasonal items like blankets and duvets.  When you live in a vintage house, there is no walk-in anything.  To do this, I am going to need to get into closets and get some items headed to Goodwill.  I am thankful for the time in summer to do this.

Reading

You know I always have a few books in play.  This week I am finishing Kate Singh’s book on homemaking, and am also reading the 1943 Newbery-award winning book “Adam of the Road” set in 13th C England.  I’m highlighting all over the pages because the writing is so beautiful, especially to a lover of England.

The rafters and the walls were dark with smoke, but otherwise everything was neat and clean.  Dame Malkin’s bed in the corner was spread with a blue coverlet, her table was scrubbed white, and her oak cupboard against the wall had been rubbed with beeswax till it gleamed.

If you love England, this is a must read book about the life of a minstrel and his son roaming the English Countryside.

Thinking

On my mind these days are thoughts about the Sabbath, and lack of rest in modern life.  Also thinking about clutter and how it can keep us apart from God.  More on these topics to come.

I hope your Father’s Day was lovely!  Talk to you again soon.

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1895 architecture that caught my eye.

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More Homemaking and Saving 6/10

Patio Flowers – So Pretty!

I’m enjoying a spot of quiet this afternoon with a cool breeze coming in the window, iced coffee at hand, and a view of the neighborhood boys trying out the Slip and Slide despite the 65 degree temperatures.  It’s time for a big exhale as DD’s school year is finished and I have just one more day of work on Monday.

Saving

Not a lot of shopping this week, so the primary way we saved was staying home.  One major expense was a speedy purchase of a swimsuit for my daughter.  This weekend will be in the 80s-90s and the village pool is open.  She wanted something specific (swim shorts), and it had to be functional for a church youth retreat at Lake Superior this summer.  We went straight to Athleta, which I knew would not be cheap.  Prior to going I jumped on their website and got a 20% off coupon by signing up for emails.  I used money from her clothing budget to pay for it.

Mr. Saver knew we could eventually need a new wireless router and he had one  waiting in his Amazon wishlist.  He checks his list every day for price drops, and usually catches a good price that way.  The router was a deal of the day and he nabbed it.

Cooking

Our village has an open house this weekend — the pool is free, the village construction crews bring out the big tractors and diggers for kids to check out, and there are various sports team mascots to meet and greet.  I made several dishes for the weekend so we would have meals to enjoy all weekend — tuna salad, chili, rhubarb crisp, sliced berries.  Usually when I am working I don’t have the stamina to do this on a Friday, but I am glad I did so I can enjoy the weekend fun too.

My friend’s peonies and a lone rose from ballet recital.

Homemaking

We are busy getting our home into summer vacation mode!  Had DD unpack her backpack and go through all of her school folders.  It’s lovely to not have a backpack, folders, and clarinet sitting next to my front door!

I took some time to wash all of the ballet leos and tights and boxed them up until September.  It is so helpful to have them all corralled into one place.

I took our back door “water hog” mat outside to spray it off from winter salt and mud.  Washed the floor under it.  I did the same at the front door.

I picked flowers at my friend’s home where I am house sitting (it’s OK with her!)

Reading

I am enjoying the e-book  The Homemade Housewife by fellow blogger Kate Singh .  I particularly like the way she relates her personal journey of living well on a single income.  Check out her blog and see if her writing resonates with you, too.

Family Fun

At the Community Open House DD got to climb a real tree with the help of professional arborists and their various pulleys and ropes.  The arborist standing way up in the tree said “welcome to my office!”

I’ve been on many a walk with DH and bike ride with DD this week.

How was your week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving and Homemaking 5/20

Hello frugal friends.  The photo above is a nod to my friend Becky’s blog, who featured almost the same photo this week.  Great minds and all!

Saving

  • A local grocer had 20% off all fresh and packaged meat, sausages, bacon etc.  I don’t buy a lot of meat, but I did get some items for upcoming cookouts and ground turkey for spaghetti which I cooked and froze for a later date.
  • Got a free bag of candy from my grocery store’s item of the week and redeemed a coupon the store mailed me for a free bag of chocolate chips.
  • Received a coupon from Walgreens for 20X points on in their Balance Rewards program.  Used that on some of the good deals at Walgreens this past week including free M&Ms, canned almonds — 2 cans for 3.00 after coupon, and flour 1.99.  I am close to earning a $10.00 reward from Walgreens.
  • Received free Taste of Home magazines from my local village’s Nextdoor private online community. I hope my daughter and I can make some recipes from them this summer.

I have about 40 new to me magazines!

Cooking

  • Daughter baked Toll House cookie bars for her Dad to take as a birthday treat to work. His office is large and bringing a treat from a store gets expensive.  People asked for the recipe!  I had to “LOL” because it’s just the recipe on the back of the chocolate chips.
  • We ate at home most nights but also took advantage of a BOGO at Noodles and a birthday coupon for a date night dinner out.

    Trillium

Free Fun

  • Went hiking at a nature preserve for birthday/Mother’s Day.  We were treated to seeing thousands of trillium in bloom.  In many states and provinces it is illegal to damage trillium because they do not recover if damaged.  We have a few trillium in our back lot, but I have never seen them in this quantity.
  • The whole family volunteered at our church’s service day.  It was an early morning but we enjoyed coffee and snacks before starting. DD and I worked on the Operation Christmas Child initiative while my husband worked a plant sale to raise money for Tanzanian scholarships at the university level.

Hope your week was nice and you are recharging for the week ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

Saving and Homemaking 5/13

Happy Mother’s Day to the terrific Moms, Aunties, and Grandmothers out there.  Our week was a little crazy.  My husband and I were both sick, and the week was jam-packed with school events.  We got through, but it was one of those weeks where you are just making do until you can do better.

Saving

  • At my daughter’s band concert I had an opportunity to reclaim unused school supplies from her locker.  I returned them to my plastic storage container for school supplies.  On another school visit, I took back the massive stock of glue sticks.  How many glue sticks does a middle schooler need?!
  • I went to CVS with a 2.00 ECB they mailed me in a Mother’s Day promotion which expired 5/13.  Used it just in time.  Bought the 3 L’Oreal Shampoo in last weeks’ advertisement plus 1 Colgate 360 toothbrush and paid 4.77 and got 3.00 in ECB.
  • Used a free Starbucks birthday drink coupon (DH birthday) and we brought home a Venti and split it.
  • Used a coupon for a free Papa Murphy’s pizza (Teacher Appreciation) and it was very appreciated on a ballet night!
  • DH went to a discount grocer and checked their online ad before leaving.  He scored a BIC grill lighter for .49 after coupon.  I always need one of those for the summer.  Other good prices were had there as well.
  • Used a Walgreens’ photo 30% off coupon to make a photo collage for DH’s birthday with pictures of fun things we have done the past 6 mo or so.  It turned out nice and he will enjoy that in his office.

Minimizing

  • I returned 2 kitchen towels to Sur la Table that were attached to a Teacher Appreciation Gift.  They were very cute but I knew I wouldn’t have a use for this type of towel.  I exchanged them for items I can “use up” — pretty cake sprinkles and pre-cut parchment circles for cakes.  I will be grateful to have those every time I bake because my cake circles are always a sorry affair.

Cooking

  • Humble fare this week due to illnesses and school events.  Pumpkin pancakes, hot dogs and pea soup, etc.  I will make a pumpkin bread for the freezer with the leftover canned pumpkin.
  • DD made a gorgeous chocolate malted birthday cake.  It turned out a tad dry as chocolate cakes can be when they have melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder in them.  We found it much tastier with a teaspoon of coffee drizzled on top of the cake slices.  Many bakeries do soak cakes to keep them moist.

Cleaning

  • got the hats and mittens stored away and washed daughter’s winter coat.  Hopefully we can put that away?
  • hoping with better health this week I can get to the bathroom blinds and some detailed dusting.

What’s new in your home and garden? Any great coupon deals this past week?

 

 

 

 

 

Saving and Homemaking 5/7

IMG_2208Planting

DH ordered a huge pile of mulch and has been spreading that in all of our garden beds.  We are still having frost and even freeze warnings at night, so we haven’t even gotten the peas planted yet.  We keep saying, ‘Maybe this coming week . . .’  Meanwhile, the lawn is growing like mad despite the cold temps.

Saving

This week was Teacher Appreciation Week and I won a gift certificate to Sur la Table and also a cutting board and knives.  I am very appreciative for the gift and the nice snacks and meals the parents provided for us.

DH happened upon a 50% off haircut at our local walk-in salon.

I used $ 4.00 in Extra Cash at CVS to purchase two jars of peanut butter.  The Extra Cash was just about to expire.  It’s maddening when an ECB escapes only to be found after expiring.  #Cvsproblems  I also took advantage of the extra cash given for Colgate toothbrushes and Kleenex.  Generally I only play “the CVS game” when it is an item we will use and the price is a good deal.

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I found a nice size bag of frozen broccoli florets for 1.98 at Trader Joes.  This should hold us until fresh prices come back down.  Speaking of produce prices, garlic is also in short supply right now.  The produce report said, “Concerning Chinese imports, in February US Customs placed a hefty import duty ($4.71/Kg) on one of the few Chinese shippers who historically had little to no duty. The 2016 Chinese crop was already less than normal. This additional factor has further lessened the amount of Chinese product available in the US market.”  California garlic is a few months away from being ready.

We have been pretty diligent with eating meals at home for the last few weeks, so much so it feels like I have made every meal so recently.  I look forward to summer to have time to try some new recipes.  For the week ahead, we are going to have to roll with it because suddenly so much is going on with ballet, school concerts, and the like.  On Sunday I made some hard boiled eggs which can always work into a salad meal or to accompany tuna salad.

Cleaning

Better than anticipated!  I moved a few couches to vacuum, moved an end table to wash under it, and detail dusted some accent tables that are usually ignored.  My lofty goals for the week include putting away the mittens and hats and detail dusting the bathroom blinds.

Reading

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“American Street” by Ibi Zoboi, about a young Haitian immigrant.  I’m having many thoughts about this book related to the state of American homelife, which I will share in a separate post.

I hope your week was good and that if you are busy with soccer, baseball, recitals, and spring concerts, know that quieter days are ahead and enjoy the madness while you can.

 

 

 

 

Saving and Homemaking 4/29

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Planting

Last week I planted dill and basil in pots inside and the seedlings are up!  Fingers crossed they get enough sun to grow into sturdy plants.  It’s under 40 degrees F here, so no planting outside yet.  I have pea seeds ready to go.

Saving

A good week!  I found eggs on sale for .39 cents/dozen and purchased two dozen.  That same store had their deli meat on sale for 50% off, which may sound scary but both were loss-leaders to celebrate the opening of a new store location.

At another store I found a “save $4.00 when you purchase 4 items” promotion.  Did the $4.00 come off my receipt?  No, of course not.  I went to the service desk and they gave me me the 4.00 in cash.  I noticed when I signed for the refund the person on the form ahead of me had also sought a refund for the same promotion.  Must watch receipts.

DH is tracking the cost of flights to England so we will have a better idea of the price of flights if we are able to afford a trip next year.  He is using a simple notebook for this, going back to our roots when we were first married and our weekly budget was in a spiral notebook!

At the end of the week we had cash left over which we put towards upcoming birthday and Mother’s Day expenses, and also vacation this summer.

Watching

90DD and I are enthralled with the show “When Calls the Heart” on Netflix.  We are only at the beginning of the first season so don’t spoil it for us!  We are scheming to watch episodes whenever we can.  If you are a fan of Little House, Dear America/Dear Canada books, or historical fiction, you must check into it.

Cooking

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We ate at home this week, and rather frugally.  I made a quiche with the .39 cent eggs.  I had bacon in the freezer, leftover cooked mini yukon potatoes and also chives from my garden to add to it.  Today we had “make your own taco salad” for lunch, which was an opportunity to use up ingredients from when we had tacos earlier in the week.

We used the deli meat for a quick sandwich dinner on ballet night, saving the cost of a take-out meal.

Cleaning

I didn’t accomplish anything too far outside of routine cleaning.  I was too busy watching “When Calls the Heart.”  I did get some wet cloth dusting done, which I do with Dr. Bronner’s soap mixed with water and a microfiber cloth.

Reading

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“Lucky Broken Girl” by Ruth Behar, a middle–grade novel about the author’s experience as a Cuban-Jewish girl whose family flees Castro’s Cuba for New York City in the 1960s.  I am trying to read kid lit this year about kids and young adults who come from racial/gender/disability/cultural/religious backgrounds other than my own.  DD said this book should be moved to the top of my to be read list.

How was your week?  Any great grocery finds?  What are you reading and watching?

 

 

 

Saving and Homemaking 4/22

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Forsythia blooms

Spring has arrived where I live, and with it a renewed interest in tending to the outdoors and freshening up our home.

IMG_2193Planting

This week I planted some herbs in pots inside. I started with dill and basil.  We have a sunroom so hopefully I will have some very inexpensive herbs in the coming weeks.  I was inspired to try this because we have been planting seeds with the junior kindergarteners at school.

Saving

Our local grocery store has e-coupons, and every Friday they issue an e-coupon for a free item as well as some other loss leader deals requiring the e-coupon.  I have been too lazy to log in to their website since the school year started.  I tell myself I’m too busy or there’s not time for everything.  In truth it look about 4 minutes!  I think I will commit to checking their deals on Fridays… this week was a free box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese which is appreciated.

Watching

This week I watched ‘The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching” while I was on the treadmill.  This documentary was filmed in England, so it amused me to see the grocery scene in the UK.  If you are a fan of saving money at the supermarket, you might enjoy it.  My favorite couple interviewed were putting on a wedding with a very tight budget.

Cleaning

This week I worked in the sunroom, since I was already there staring into my pots waiting for my herbs to sprout.  I gave the houseplants a deep soaking outside, moved the couch to vacuum under it, got cobwebs out of the corners, and went through the always accumulating mail.

Reading

Every moment I get I am sneaking a few chapters of the excellent middle grade book “The War that Saved my Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  The topic is the children evacuated from London to the countryside at the beginning of WWII.  This Newbery Honor book is for anyone 4th gr and up.

Cooking

“Using up” is the theme for this weekend.  Finishing off ham in the freezer with ham and eggs after church.  The evening I am grilling some odds and ends from the freezer and making potato salad from scratch because I have celery, onion and mini red potatoes.  Our local food co-op had organic pastured beef on sale so I made up some taco meat for the freezer.  Tonight I will sit down and think up a meal plan for the week.

How was your week?  Any savings surprises or spring cleaning?