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.
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...
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...
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!
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.
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!
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).
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.
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).
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?