Tag Archives: Homemaking

Saving and Homemaking 4/22


Forsythia blooms

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


“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?

What I Did This Week to Save Money 5/30


Neighbor’s tree peony

Today is Memorial Day in the US, and it has been a weekend of extreme relaxation and general laziness!  I have been reading kids’ fiction while lounging on my front porch.  Finished The Lightning Thief and onto The City of Ember.  Both are very good and free via my library’s e-book loan option.

In the “Oh Yes I Did” money saving category I had two price adjustments this week.  One was the result of an expired sale price the store had neglected to remove from the shelving and the other was a price that was incorrect in their computer.  Each was around 1.50… enough of a discrepancy to make me seek out a refund.

It’s far too early for us to have food from our garden (other than rhubarb and chives!) but I loaded up on sale zucchini, peaches, pears and figs… all from .99 – 1.49/lb.

The long weekend of lounging left me unmotivated to shop, so we have had a lot of meals using items from the freezer.  Grilled chicken became quesadillas; Trader Joes veggie masala patties paired with a piece of naan, hummus, and spinach for a “Mediterranean plate.”  Tonight we are cooking out using meat from the freezer.

I hung my wash out… and am showing DD how to do it so she can help this summer.

A parent of a child in my daughter’s grade is taking up a group collection for end of the year teacher gifts.  I made a contribution using our “education expenses” budget category. This is really helpful because in middle school it is a challenge to thank all of the teachers and specialists.  Last year the collection raised enough to also give a gift to the aides, which is wonderful.  At our last home budget meeting we started increasing funding in the “education expenses” category so we will be ready for back to school in a few months.

Goals for the coming week… putting away winter boots and mittens. Clip coupons and check CVS ad.  Freeze rhubarb.  Get to Office Depot for sale on paper.



Memorial Day = Savings + Summer

july+4th+vintage+graphicsfairy009aMemorial Day weekend nears… in the US, this holiday commemorates those who have died serving our country while in the armed forces.  It is also the “unofficial” start of summer, with schools finishing up and warm weather beginning.

Memorial Day is also a great time to take advantage of grocery savings!  Last year we hosted a family reunion which required us to buy large amounts of soda and beer.  The prices we found at Memorial Day were the best we saw that summer.  If you have a family event this summer, or a block party, this a great week to check your grocery fliers for prices.

I went through the refrigerator yesterday and checked the dates on cookout essentials, like BBQ sauce, ketchup and other condiments.  I know there will be sales on these items, as well as hot dogs, beans, and chips.

My grocery ads come out tomorrow, so I am eager to see what items will be worth picking up.  The next opportunity for low prices will be the 4th of July.

Often on holiday weekends we have found there are special promotions on Ebates for retailers like Target, Lands End, and WalMart.  Great time to catch a good deal if a new swimsuit, wedding gift, or Father’s Day gift is on your horizon.  My daughter is lobbying for a hammock!

If you see special promotions and prices this Memorial Day, please share!  Do you have any holiday shopping strategies?




What I Did This Week to Save Money – 5/22

IMG_7284Ah, 12 days until school is out!  All things ‘summer’ are on our horizon, like vacation reading programs at the library, free concerts in the park, and no 7:00 AM school bus!  On the flip side, I do not get paid in summer, so this is a good time to get the money-saving muscles back into form.

This week:

  • DD won her teacher free subs for a YEAR, free catered lunch for her advisor class, and a free sub coupon for herself because she entered her favorite teacher in a teacher appreciation contest!
  • Ebates check!
  • Dried towels and sheets in the back yard
  • Had a strong meal plan…  bought ground chuck for 2.99 a pound and had both tacos and taco salad from the pound of meat
  • Downloaded free e-books from the library.  No gas, no clutter.. just have to read quickly!
  • Spent the weekend taking lots of bike rides.  The crabapple blossoms are so beautiful and fragrant!
  • Made rhubarb crisp using our abundant rhubarb
  • Made oatmeal cookies and added some chocolate covered sunflower seeds I received as a gift months ago.  It was a good match!
  • Closed out our week with a quick budget meeting.  Unspent money at the end of the week is being saved for a renovation project and for vacation in 2017… England, hopefully!

How was your week?

Beauty bike riding

Beauty bike riding


What I Did This Week to Save Money – 5/8

Finding Beauty at Home

Finding Beauty at Home

You might recall my angst a week ago when I realized we had been to the grocery store EIGHT times, and had heaps of emergency purchases due to all of us being sick.  This week felt much improved.

This week I:

  • hit the grocery store on double coupon day, which was worthwhile because we were pretty much out of everything.
  • found chicken on sale and took advantage of that (2.99/lb boneless/skinless). The package will be enough for two meals and it was just under $3.00
  • will use heaps of Saltines from when family was sick to make homemade chicken tenders
  • went to the store with a meal plan in mind – spent 60.00 for the week
  • used up some crystallized honey in millet muffins.  I have had the ingredients for a while but needed to get down to business and make them.  I am glad to have the container of honey gone as it was difficult to work with.
  • made twice-baked potatoes while the oven was already heated from the muffins; used my abundant garden chives
  • free entertainment was reading my back issues of Victoria magazine and watching a free movie on Amazon “The Holiday” – thank you to DH for watching this ultimate “chick flick!”
  • reviewed our seed purchases for the garden –  seemed a little light on food and heavy on herbs.  Picked up some Swiss chard seeds for 25% off.
  • spent Saturday after grocery shopping at home and napped!


Budget surprise this week:

  • More clarinet reeds.  Eighteen days left of school, but Murphy’s Law….  We do keep a budget line funded for school expenses.

How was your week?



What I Did This Week to Save Money – Sept 1

Beautiful Butterfly Nets

Beautiful Butterfly Nets

Happy September!  We’ve been busy this week saying a last good-bye to summer and also celebrating my birthday.  It hasn’t been the most frugal week ever, but we did have some money-saving highlights.

  • Our front light post stopped working, which is a problem when your block has no streetlights.  Mr. Saver, aka The Reluctant Do-It-Yourselfer, tackled the problem with tenacity, battling mosquitoes and a stripped screw that did not want to budge!  He replaced the entire light that sits atop the pole.  Bravo!
  • Speaking of Mr. Saver, he has been on a LED lightbulb conversion kick lately.  I hope he will pen a post for you in the coming weeks on this wise long-term investment.
  • Came in under budget on our electricity bill, and pushed the surplus money into our long-term savings.
  • Made an extra $ 65.00 selling items on eBay and Craigslist.
  • Started back to work for fall.  Starting next week I will be working about 20 hours a week.  When working on family finances, you can’t forget to examine the income side of things.  Watch for an upcoming post on transitioning from SAHM to part-time employment.
  • Sorry, you knew I was going to say it… eating from the garden!  The 3rd crop of arugula is just at the right size.  I’ve almost thrown in the towel on the zucchini… I can’t keep up with it and I am afraid to look and see what kind of baseball-bats are growing under all those leaves.
  • Ran a report to look at our grocery spending this month, which was low for us.  Spent a total of $ 338.00, or about 85.00 a week.  We were home all month, and ate at home most days.  My guess is that we spent less by eating meals based on what we had at home, and using a lot of garden produce.  We had a lot of vegetarian or almost-veg meals.

We ended the week depositing a bit of unspent money into our long-term savings and also Christmas gift budget accounts.  We are so close to meeting our goal to increase cash savings!

How was your week?