Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Frugal Accomplishments This Week

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I recently started reading a great blog that is very up my alley, called "The Prudent Homemaker" who lives extremely frugally, but seems to have the same attitude as myself about it (trying to have the best life on as minimal a budget as possible). One thing she does each week is share a round up of what frugal things she did that week. I thought that I'd try doing that on my blog, and see how it goes (after first polling readers on my Facebook page). If I see it gets to repetitious or boring, I'll stop, but for this past week I had a fun time chronicling all that I did that was frugal. I'll try to get it posted each Sunday, latest Monday, with the week counting from Sunday to the following Saturday.

But since I started this thing Sunday, I first have to share what I did last Saturday night, a few hours before starting my "official chronicling"- I gave myself a cute layered shoulder length haircut.

For most of the week, I wrote down specifics of what I did frugally each day, but there were a few things I did all week long, so I'll post them first.

My daughter doesn't want to wear cloth diapers, only disposables, but isn't interested in potty training. I'm trying to get her off disposable diapers, so I'm giving her a choice- use the potty or wear a cloth diaper- depending on the time, she's willing to do one or the other, but I'm being pretty good about staying away from the disposables... And for the whole week, she has been mostly potty training, wearing cloth diapers for naps and bed, and disposable diapers only for when we're going out for hours.

I worked out how to pay less for my kids' transportation to and from school, so instead of paying between 2 and 4 bus fares a day for transportation, I am paying only one, maximum 2 fares a day (thankfully the weather is decent enough to walk, etc...)

I've been actively working on keeping the lights off when not in use/not needed in an effort to lower our electric bills, which have been too high lately. Shades/curtains/blinds open is providing us with enough light most of the day.

Our standard drinks this week, when they weren't water, were homemade unsweetened teas made with foraged olive leaves or rosemary (I stay away from rosemary since its not good for pregnancy, but its good for others, very healthy, is an antimicrobial) and homemade kombucha- a yummy, healthy, cheap, probiotic drink.

I made lots of homemade popcorn for a frugal snack this week.


Even though I woke up feeling terrible- nauseous, stomach ache, lightheaded/dizzy, I pushed myself to make a healthy, cheap breakfast for the kids instead of cereal and milk.
Even though I bought the cereal really cheaply, the cost of milk adds up, and it's not even necessary from a nutritional standpoint (and I don't think it's so good for my kids' system anyhow), but cereal without milk has protein, so.... I made pancakes with homemade buckwheat flour (from my bulk bought buckwheat), homemade brown rice flour, potato starch, tahini and ground flax seeds- keeping it vegan, not needing expensive xanthan gum (buckwheat is sticky enough to make xanthan gum unnecessary ) or eggs to keep the cost down, but adding whole tahini to add calcium and more protein. Served it with a a little bit of cheaper syrup made from local ingredients- 1/4 the price of maple syrup, but refined sugar free.

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I then put some split peas (bought on sale to make them even cheaper) in my crockpot with some very non aesthetic looking (so huge they cracked) reduced rack carrots, a lone reduced rack turnip, and some bulk bought onion flakes, to cook all morning so we have a hot lunch of split pea soup waiting for us when we come back from the kids' dentist appointment this morning, so I'm not tempted to do something quick and more expensive, like making eggs for lunch. I added some leftover partially dried out leftover rice to the pot right after we get back...

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I also put up a batch of gluten free, vegan French bread to rise (replacing olive oil with palm oil to keep down the costs), either to have with the split pea soup for lunch, or to make toast with later. I used my recipe for homemade gourmet gluten free flour blend with home ground flours, replacing tapioca starch with potato starch because I can buy the latter more cheaply...

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In the fridge I found some leftover buckwheat crepes that I made the other day that were fine fresh, but looked less appetizing as leftovers, so I took them, cut them up, and baked them a bit to make crackers/chips of sorts. The stuff that was all broken/crumpled, I put in the freezer to repurpose later (like blending them up to add to muffins or pancakes in the future). I thought the crackers would be a way to use up the crepes, and figured I'd eat them myself, but the kids loved them so much and were disappointed to see that I didn't make a huge batch, and that it was just a way to get rid of the few leftovers we had!

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Kids watched a free (religion oriented) kids video available on YouTube that teaches behavior and morals via songs and stories....

I cut up an old t-shirt material dress that I found next to the trash, to become more family cloth, since we're running low (since my husband throws them out in the garbage when he sees them lying around, when sweeping the floor, like if the clean laundry piles up and that falls out of the basket, etc...) I used these also for cloth wipes for diaper changes all week.

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When in the city I did double duty- also searched for a birthday present for my husband, so as to not need to pay for transportation more than once, and foraged what I think is wild beet leaves, but now I need to confirm what it is.

Unfortunately I forgot to bring food along when rushing out the door, but instead of buying expensive food to tide us over until we got home, I stopped off at the grocery store and bought some cheap healthy real food that was on sale.

Made veggie patties from leftover dried out rice, leftover white bean dip, and leftover Moroccan carrot salad, plus millet flour and ground flax seeds for supper. Delicious!

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Set alfalfa seeds and green lentils to sprout, as well as soaked lentils and black beans for cheap, healthy meals.

Even though it was raining and tempting to just use the clothes dryer, I instead hung the laundry on an indoor drying rack, after washing it with my homemade laundry detergent I just made. (Recipe to be shared very shortly!)


Made breakfast from scratch using cheaper ingredients I had lying around the house- a chocolate buckwheat bake (once I perfect the recipe I'll share it).

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Sent a cheap lunch for my husband to work (the repurposed leftovers patties) instead of him buying something for himself.

After work (so he didn't need to pay more for transportation) my husband stopped in a nearby mall and picked out 2 birthday gifts that were useful extras, but lower cost, and then he used gift cards to pay for them so very little out of pocket for them. And also bought presents for the kids that were on sale, and he ended up paying for them with gift cards, so instead of paying anything for them, he actually got change!

Made lunch from legumes (lentils with shawarma spice) and leftovers (buckwheat risotto and carrot salad and kohlrabi salad), to ensure we don't end up tossing any foods, and to keep the meal frugal.

Babysitting for my neighbor as part of a babysitting swap, so we can have a date night for our birthday without paying a babysitter.

Set up alfalfa seeds and lentils to sprout, and black beans to soak.


Served cheapo gluten free cereal from the salvage store for breakfast.

Made frugal homemade gluten free pumpernickel bread, made homemade tofu cream cheese instead of buying tofutti, for my open faced sandwich I was craving.

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Sent lunch with my husband so he didn't need to buy.

Had a frugal date with Mike, cashed in on my free babysitting from the babysitting swap. Ate lunch before we went out so we wouldn't be starved, then had a cheap date. Details in a future post- hopefully tomorrow.

Served cheapo gluten free cereal from the salvage store.

Forgot to prepare a lunch for my husband to take with him to work, and instead of buying food out, he ate the orange and dates he had in his bag that he hadn't eaten the day before, and then waited until he got home at 2:30 to eat a "real meal".

Had an emergency dental appointment for Lee. Before leaving, I put rice cakes and cottage cheese in my bag to feed the kids while out so I didn't need to buy something expensive to feed my kids if they got hungry. I also filled the crock pot with chicken wings- the cheapest cut of chicken I can get, plus reduced rack sweet potatoes that were on their last legs, so we had hot food waiting for us when we got home, and didn't resort to eggs (which is actually more expensive than a meal of chicken wings).

Took the other kids with me so I didn't pay for a babysitter. After the dentist appointment, I got ice cream to soothe Lee's mouth, but chose the cheapest gluten free ice cream option in the grocery store instead of getting from the ice cream shop.

Went with the kids (to save on transportation costs- so I didn't need to first travel home, then back to the city, then back home) to the farmer's market and picked up a bunch of produce to ideally last the week, from 3 different stores- 2 from reduced rack type stores, and one from another store that sold grapefruits for even cheaper than the prices in the reduced rack store.

Put soaked black beans to cook in the crock pot.

Remembered to send a cheap lunch with my husband to work!

Made buckwheat porridge for the kids for breakfast.

Froze cooked black beans in can sized portions to use at a later date. Cleaned out the fridge to make sure nothing got wasted- froze a lentil dish for later.

Cooked and froze sprouted lentils in meal sized portions for a later date.

Cooked chicken and veggie scrap soup in the crock pot to make broth.

Used some sprouted lentils, leftover carrot salad, chicken drippings, and leftover mashed sweet potatoes, blended them up and added some homemade coconut milk to make a delicious soup.

Emptying out my freezer I found some long neglected eggplant and cooked it up.

Served a legume based supper- Cuban rice and beans, fresh tomato salsa, and guacamole (all produce from the reduced rack stall at the farmer's market).

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Hung 3 loads of laundry instead of using the dryer, despite it being a lot of clothes, and needing to find a way to have room to hang it all up.

Was told that Ike is having an event in school on Friday, and I need to send in treats for the class... so I made homemade gluten free Oreo cookies with all ingredients I had in the house, instead of going out to buy treats.


Did more laundry, and hanging up all my wash right away, so I a) don't have to wash again because it got smelly from sitting in the machine b) don't have to pay to use the dryer.

Served cheapo gluten free cereal from the salvage store.

On the way back from bringing the kids to school, saw someone throwing out a partial package of unused, newborn sized disposable diapers. Took them home to use as a backup to our cloth diapers when the baby arrives.

Used up some sweet potatoes that were 5 seconds away from spoiling, and made sweet potato fries.

Used fresh garlic to naturally and cheaply tackle a minor but uncomfortable health concern.

Figured out a way to make cookies with jaggery, one of the cheapest sweetener options I have available locally. They were delicious. (Sorry, no recipe!)

Mike gave himself a free haircut with our hair trimmer.


Served cheapo gluten free cereal from the salvage store.

Socialized for free at the park with kids, and other couples we're friends with.

Read a book that I got (among 10 other books) that someone was about to throw in the dumpster. (Practically dumpster diving, but I rescued it before it landed in the dumpster.)

Had a family get together to celebrate a birthday, and provided homemade gluten free pizza (made cheaply from home ground gluten free flours and homemade tomato sauce using sale tomato paste and bulk bought cheap spices), as well as cheapo homemade alcoholic drinks- homemade Bloody Mary's, made from homemade tomato juice, homemade Worcestershire sauce, homemade celery salt, and vodka bought on sale.

I followed my friend's instructions for making homemade balsamic style wine vinegar out of my homemade wine- it takes 6 weeks to be ready... so if it works out, in the beginning of April I'll share the process....

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All in all, I think I did a good job of being frugal this week, despite having many excuses to not be frugal! Of course, things could always be improved, but I'm a work in progress!

What frugal accomplishments did you have this week?


  1. Although i see your doing a great job keeping your food cost down, the food seems less them appetizing. It simple to be frugal, but how can you be frugal and still enjoy some chicken or meat or something normal?

    1. To each their own. I wasn't going for trying to make the food photogenic per se- there's only so much time and energy I have in my life... But the food all tasted normal. I served chicken 2 times this week and beef once- I mentioned about the crockpot chicken and sweet potatoes, and didnt mention the chicken pot pie I served friday, or the ground beef pilaf I served saturday, because they weren't "specifically frugal"- meaning, I bought those cheaper, but I wouldn't call those "frugal accomplishments" specifically. I'm cool with only serving animal proteins 3 or 4 times a week and legumes the rest of the time.

    2. Just have to add- I don't like bad tasting food, or even "weird" tasting food. If food doesnt come out good, I dont like eating it- i try to fix it up to make it taste good, but if I can't make it taste good, I WILL throw it out. Fortunately, I've got a knack for knowing what things will taste good together and very rarely make things that taste bad and need to be thrown out. So if I'm serving it, it means it tastes good, even if its less than photogenic.

    3. I thought the food sounded yummy! Good job.

  2. You are doing a great job and you inspire me to live a more frugal lifestyle. I like the Prudent Homemaker blog too. That one and your blog are my favorite frugal living blogs to read.

  3. Your life sounds utterly exhausting. So much effort, so much WORK! How can you stand it? No easy, store-bought meals- everything has to be made from scratch with complicated, labor-intensive recipes with ingredients that are anything but run of the mill. And the foraging, dumpster-diving...every day seems like a Herculean effort to survive on so little. Don't you ever wish you could afford, financially and allergy-wise, to just order a pizza?

    1. Its funny, because this week was pretty relaxing for me, I watched quite a few movies and vegged out a lot. Most of the foods I made were definitely not labor intensive... And the ingredients may not be run of the mill, but its what I have in my house, because of our food sensitivities.
      Do I ever wish I could just order in a meal and not need to cook? Definitely. Do I want to change my life and switch with someone else? Honestly, when I hear about how people's lives are that are working moms so they can earn more money so they can "take it easy", I actually feel such a relief that my life isnt as stressful as theirs, that I can take it easy for as many hours as I do, and spend as much time with my kids as I do, and I don't "slave away" at work full time to make money which I'll spend on convenience things because I have no energy to do what I currently do because my work takes so much out of me... I appreciate my life and definitely feel like I take it easy compared to the working women I know.
      But each person needs to decide what is more important to them, what would make their life better, etc... and make decisions accordingly...

    2. Dumpster diving, foraging, etc... that were done this week were all on my way home from somewhere, weren't going out of my way or entailing much effort. It usually entailed picking something for 3 minutes that I saw while walking, or peeking in the bags set on the ground or wall near the dumpster as I'm passing by. It sounds more labor intensive than it is.

    3. I'll play, though I won't be listing so many accomplishments!

      My usual:
      * take a bus instead of driving to work--saves on gas, car wear-and-tear, and parking; plus taking the bus for free is a perq of working for my employer. It takes a REALLY long time, but I always make sure to have a good book (or two) to read; this is in fact when I get most of my reading done.

      * Besides when my boyfriend takes me out, I ate out only once . That's actually a slip rather than an accomplishment, but oh, well. Every weekend I make something for the whole week--last week it was pasta with various leftovers; this week it's spinach artichoke heart pasta (my original plan for last week until I decided to use up leftovers instead).

      * hang-dry clothes instead of using a dryer--I don't even have a dryer or dryer connections, so this one is easy for me. It does take up to 24 hours to dry a load, so I have to make sure I check every day whether a load is ready for washing so I don't get behind. But I like the way clothes, especially ones with elastic, last a lot longer than when I used a dryer.

      And new for last week:

      * I made up a new brownie recipe. This recipe failed, but it was one of the better failures I've had, since it was much less cakey. It's still kind of good and I will enjoy eating it, but it's nowhere near party grade. After reading up on the internet, I have a couple new strategies to add for next time.

      * I also am finding things around the house to bring to my new job to make it more pleasant. It's stuff like pictures, decorations, containers for office supplies.

      * Since there's a sink at my new job, I realized I can actually wash dishes there and decided to just bring a silverware set to work and leave it there so I don't have to worry about a) gradually breaking all the plastic spoons that fit inside my tupperware or b) poking holes in the plastic bags I use to carry my stuff in case of leaks. I didn't want to take silverware from home, so I picked out a (non-matching) fork, knife, and spoon I like (and that's not my boyfriend's taste at all) from the local thrift store for a total of $0.65 including tax.

      * I got the check from cancelling my health insurance and deposited it right away. I called and had them cancel it on my first day at work at my new job since I'll be getting my insurance from work now, and they gave me a partial refund. (I did the same for my dental insurance, but they refused to end it until the end of the month, so I'm paying double for 2/3 of the month--but at least I'm not paying double for longer than that!)

  4. I think we may use the garlic for the same thing. When I discovered that remedy is was life-changing - so easy and such quick relief. If it doesn't work in a few hours I know it isn't what I thought it was and a call to the doc is in order.

    1. There are soooo many uses for garlic, that I don't know how likely it is that it was the same thing. :-D

  5. I also cut my own hair. I found some great instructions on Pinterest and have been as happy w/ it as I was in the past with those 'cheap' haircut shops. I also use family cloth (it will be 4 years this March that I started it). And my family and I biked to church today (saves gas, good exercise, and a family adventure). The pants I wore to church today, in fact, came from the "give away" table that somebody set up in my husband's office. I'm thinking of doing an "exchange" with our home school co-op this spring/summer, where we all put in things from our own homes we don't want and can take others' unwanted things--all for free. My husband signed our boys up for soccer yesterday and, because he is coaching their teams, we got a HUGE discount for the registration costs. :) Love reading your frugal chronicles. Living a simple, real-food, intentional life does take effort...but it's a value and a priority worth investing in. I'm right there with ya!

  6. Hi penny.
    I love reading your blog, and you really motivate me to want to try more things, but I have to agree that a lot of the things you eat and drink, well my young children would never eat or drink most of them. Your reciepes sound very complicated, but I think the things you have are more readily available to you living in your country. I have to give you kudos. You do a lot for being so pregnant...I don't cook much and would die without takeout. Hugs to you...and take it easy, you deserve it.

    1. About getting kids to eat things- there are some stuff my kids won't touch that other kids love, and stuff my kids love that other kids won't touch, and stuff my kids will eat even if its not their favorite. (My kids REALLY dont' like ground meat, whether in meatballs, meat loaf, hamburgers!!!) Legumes I can get them to eat sometimes, depending on how they're made... It's really what you get your kids used to....
      Unfortunately takeout isnt a reality for me, both bec of frugality reasons, availability, and food sensitivities, so its not something i've come to rely on.....
      Thank you.

  7. Penny,

    You are an inspiration! I think your food looked amazing and yummy and love that you dumpster diving. You are the epitome of a great mom and wife.


  8. I am sorry but I think I agree with your husband - throw the recycled second hand dress away and buy toilet paper. The thought of family cloth just churns my stomach.

    1. To each their own. My husband isn't anti family cloth- he just doesnt like things lying around, so he throws them out when they land up collecting dust bunnies under the bed, etc... It's really not gross, especially how I use it. (Bidet always, cloth to dry.) I don't do it for frugality reasons, though it saves money- I do it bec i vastly prefer it for comfort reasons, and it gets you cleaner,

    2. i too imagined probably the same. good to know it's bidet first. no joke here. i do the same thing (wash and wipe) but i have a small towel that i wash once a week. and i do that since my chilhood. i never ever use toilet paper for nr 2, i think it's not at all hygienic. if you think my comment is gross, please just erase it, i won't mind.
      p.s. i think your food looks very normal

  9. Great post, lovely to read. You accomplished so much in the first week, wow.

    1. Thanks Constance! Its not that I don't usually live my life this way (though I have to say, knowing that I was writing it down did motivate me a little more...), its just the first week actually sharing the details...

  10. the food looks yummy! I love the idea of adding all these healthy grain to the recipes, and the kids don't know whats inside. I really wish we had a cheaper place near us to buy older veggies or fruits. there is so much you can really do with it.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I definitely get a variety of healthier grains into my kids this way!

  11. I like it that you also publish negative comments and don't get upset when someone disagrees. It's bound to happen that someone out there will have a different outlook. So many bloggers only publish "hand-clapping" comments or get deeply offended at any criticism. I also read "The Prudent Homemaker" and find the comments fascinating.

    1. Listen, I have my limits. I do publish negative comments when they are constructive, and there can be a back and forth about what I posted, people can disagree or agree, whatever. But then there's just plain old nastiness like name calling, saying revolting things that are just plain old hurtful and obviously said with that intent, not because they want to learn more. And I don't allow those in.
      And then there are the comments like I got yesterday, where I debate putting it up or not. Like someone commenting asking why my nails always "look so nasty" in pics. Which, honestly, was most likely written just to be offensive. But there's an answer to that also- I frankly dont care if my nails aren't spotless. I DO things with my life, i deal with dirt and plants and cooking from scratch, and those things stain my nails sometimes, and I am totally cool with that. And maybe if I spent 20 minutes extra a day primping myself my nails would look better, but they still won't look perfect. And I'm fine with having "worker hands"....

  12. You were great! Thanks for all the tips! How'd you make the pancakes?

  13. I loved reading about your frugal accomplishments. I really need to incorporate more legumes into my family's diet, so it's awesome reading about how you do it. Some of the frugal things we do are similar, hang dry laundry, cloth diapers, family cloth, cut out own hair.

    Last week I repurposed a worn out skirt of mine into two doll dresses, a dress for my daughter, and hemmed the rest of it into family cloth, turned a pair of my husband's jeans that were too ripped to wear into a skirt for me and a couple of purses for the kids to play dress up, and saved the rest of the pieces for a quilt. I just finished one jean quilt this winter and it's time to start another one.

    Some frugal things I did today were reheat leftover pancakes for breakfast into crispy pancakes instead of feeding them to the chickens. I cooked up a whole chicken for the week. I pull the meat off to add to meals and put the bones in the crock pot for broth for soups. I also added some apple cider vinegar I made from apple cores to help pull out the good minerals, some dried peppers the neighbor gave us last summer, some mushrooms I bought off the discount rack and dried myself, and some garlic I grew in the garden last summer. Today I also baked a squash saved from the garden to make cookies and bread for the kids to snack on and made four sourdough loaves of bread for the week.

    The kids spent the morning playing with homemade playdough, reading library books that my husband picks up on his way home from work (no extra transportation costs), and doing their school work on free educational sites online.

    All that baking helped warm up the house so I didn't need to burn as much wood in our wood burning stove. Some of the wood I did burn today was free from a friend who wanted it out of his yard. We get a lot of wood for free, especially because there is a construction company just up the street that leaves good stuff outside their dumpster for people to take.

    I'm not great about using up leftovers because we have a dorm sized fridge to save electricity and I have a hard time thinking of ideas. If I don't reuse something the very next day I usually just give it to the chickens, which isn't terrible since they have to eat anyway, but I could do better. I also need to get better at foraging and sprouting, because our produce costs are a HUGE part of our food budget right now.

  14. I think it's like Amy Dacsysyn used to write, not everything's for everyone ( and how dated some of her earlier writings are on saving money in a simpler world- I wish she was still writing and showing us how to get the better of the hype, spin and false advertising we have to deal with every day now- even from the government it would seem! )

    But to stay on track it's important to focus- I found your post inspirational because yes, it is easy to misjudge ( kids loving leftovers thrown together?! ) or waste or miss opportunities to save.

    I'm on the final push to pay off my mortgage- my only debt- and for ages my mantra when I save a dollar is that's 1/20000 th closer to goal.

    In a world peopled with consumers it's hard to stay focused, I've even had people tell me I'm wrong to want to live debt-free, 'nobody lives like that these days'. Well when the last recession hit, then a serious illness, guess what- I was very happy to have minimal payments to cover each month.

    The big weakness right now for frugal people is the ever-rising cost of insurances. Health insurance I believe has been untenable for some time in the US, just a snakes and ladders game of chance for many, but the healthcare 'reforms' are nothing of the sort. Most people do not have a spare $6000 per person per family to cover out-of-pocket. For me ( self-employed ) the government health insurance comes out at $2500 year premiums, $6000 out-of-pocket, and since dental and vision do not seem to be in the categories considered as essential, another $1500 yearly plus for that.

    I'm a great budgeter but even I can't see changing my budget so that almost a third of my post-tax income goes towards healthcare!

    After Hurricane Sandy my condo HOA insurance covering rebuild in the event of a disaster was under-written with a $15 000 co-pay instead of the previous $1000; we were advised to buy yet another personal policy to cover this. Even though we have long-term funds to totally rebuild if necessary. Needless to say I will be going to HOA meetings in future to learn more...

    If I bought every insurance recommended to me it would be health insurance, car insurance, condo insurance- all mandatory; plus contents insurance, pension, long-term care insurance, vision and dental cover...it simply can't be done.

    I wrote to the White House twice now, the replies are far from satisfactory.

    If I seem to digress from your topic- it's just to point out that people who say oh this is all too much trouble to save a few dollars, well what are you going to do if your employer wipes out part of your job or your health benefits and you have to come up with these sums?

    I'm not going to use 'family cloth' right now but if I had to- of course I would.

    Everyone's circumstances are different of course- water is included ( and many other things ) in my hefty $340 a month condominium charge so I can take ten coolish baths a day if I want for no great extra charge!

    I totally understand people who have bought into the consumer cycle stuff, my own son has, but one day he'll look back and think- wow, my parents' frugality for a time paid for my education. It was much more important to me to make a trust fund for his first degree than to have a fancy house or hairdos or an iphone etc.

    What makes it fun and not hard work is the feeling of achievement, the security which half-assed insurance simply doesn't buy because of all the clauses and excessive cost- and the feeling of community with like-minded others who want to do the same.


  15. Love the link to her website and have been devouring it. I love finding a new blog.

    This week I have;

    - cut up an old towel for kitchen rags
    - almost went to the store to get more of my expensive granola, but then realized I had all the ingredients I needed and could customize it. It's delicious
    - almost bought a bag of cookies for hubby for dessert but remembered I had bananas and made banana bread
    - downloaded a free book from Amazon
    - ate lunch before I went to an appointment - I would usually have bought a full lunch out
    - asked the dentist why I needed x-rays every year and he said I could wait another 6 months. He said every 18 months is ok
    - watched a movie we bought on Amazon rather than going out. Since that would have been four of us at the theater it was quite a savings. Also, made a "buffet" of leftovers for the movie night and everyone ate it happily
    - have been using baking soda and four drops of liquid dish detergent in my dishwasher rather than expensive dishwashing detergent.
    - I had to stop using vinegar in the rinse dispenser thingy of the dishwasher because my husband thought it didn't smell clean. :(
    - served my little neices and nephews a very inexpensive dinner on my most delicate French china and used their great grandmother's silver. I only fed them boxed mac and cheese (which I re-served for the movie night mentioned above) frozen peas and apple slices, but they loved it! There's something about serving themselves peas out of a tiny tureen with a tiny silver ladel that just thrilled them. The china is inherited, so very frugal.
    - I let said neices and nephews cut the apples with an apple slicer and they theought that was a fun "activity"
    - gave daughter's outgrown clothing to neices who have very little and were so precious in thanking me
    - asked on the neighborhood email list if anyone had a treadmill gathering dust and got a free one delivered withing hours.



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