Sunday, March 2, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments This Week

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You have no idea how frustrated I am! All week long I was tracking my frugal accomplishments this week, and I was in the middle of editing my post when the whole thing got deleted, and no amount of CTRL Zing would get it back... So now I have to rewrite the post, filling it in from memory... So it won't be as good/complete as it would have been. And now it can't be divided by day of the week....

Oh well...

I was a little less frugal this week than last, simply because I was feeling nauseous so much this week and simply didn't have much energy to do too many extras....

The whole week I kept on working on potty training Anneliese. She even took naps wearing underwear some of the time. We went to the park and brought the potty along, and she was in underwear there as well! She still insists on wearing a diaper to poo, and wears a diaper at night, but I'd say we're 85% of the way there in terms of potty training. (She had one accident all week.) She only wore disposable diapers when we left the house for long periods of time- the rest of the time, either underwear or cloth diapers, but mostly underwear.

I dumpster dove (from a bag near the dumpster, not in the dumpster itself) two puzzles and a bag of marbles for the kids.

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The kids wanted to see a cheap performance for kids at the local community center, but even though it was cheap, I was a drop short on cash. Lee really wanted to go, so he chipped in and paid the last 50 cents of the entrance fee with his own money.

I ground 10 pounds of flour (millet, buckwheat, and red lentil) to sell to some gluten free friends.

I planted some lettuce seeds in a window box, and have been watering it with random cups I find sitting around with water in it, instead of pouring it down the sink.

I made gravlax (a cured salmon dish) to sell to a friend.

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Kids had a bit of a cold, and wanted to treat it naturally, so I made them sage tea, olive leaf tea, and rosemary tea, with foraged ingredients. Also made chicken feet soup (and saved the feet to use for a later date) with some carrots I found cut up and partially dried out in a bag that I'd sent with a kid to school for lunch one day, as well as some random other odd veggies I had in my fridge that needed to be used up. Also juiced some soft and sorry looking cantaloupes together with grape fruits and oranges for a high vitamin C drink.

When I met up with my friend, she wanted to go get some coffee. I was tempted to buy a drink or something while sitting there with her drinking her coffee, but decided to be frugal and not buy anything.

I bought raw honey and red raspberry leaf tea (which is supposed to be helpful for women in their third trimester, to make birth be easier) for the cheapest prices I've seen anywhere.

Foraged a whole shopping bag full of stinging nettles on the way home.

Served sprouted lentil chili made with reduced rack veggies, homemade polenta, and reduced rack avocados- a dirt cheap supper that was an amazing hit with the family, including all the kids. (Ike asked me for the recipe- he said it tasted "as good as chocolate".)

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Made some liquid soap for soaking my nettles with scraps of my homemade soap and boiling water. (Whisked them together until they dissolved, and then added cold water to dilute.)

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Made homemade Burmese chickpea tofu. (Recipe coming soon.)

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Made homemade coconut milk.

Made homemade garam masala spice mix.

Made nettle saag paneer with the chickpea tofu, coconut milk, and garam masala, for a super frugal and healthy dish. (Recipe coming soon.)

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Saved the water from blanching the nettles to use as nettle tea, which is very healthy, and good for seasonal allergies which are just starting up for my husband.

Had a guest for supper, and made a "fancy" dinner cheaply. I took some funky looking/shaped eggplants, hollowed them out, mixed them with ground chicken, sprouted lentils, tomato paste, and leftover brown rice, as well as sauted eggplants and bulk bought dehydrated onions, and restuffed the eggplant. Served this for supper, together with stove top "roasted" cauliflower (made in the cast iron dutch oven, so felt and tasted like it was roasted, but was cheaper because gas is cheaper to run than my electric oven.)

Before cooking. Because it was more photogenic then. And because of the funny
shapes of the eggplant, I was able to make it look like a butterfly!

Made a black bean salsa with home cooked black beans that I made in the crock pot and frozen last week, to be able to make quick meals with it. Thankfully was a hit, despite being very cheap!

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Went to the farmer's market and bought 53 pounds of reduced rack produce, on average for 23 cents a pound.

Went back to the salvage store and stocked up on some more cheapo relatively healthy cereal, grape juice, wipes, and a few treats for the kids.

Made an iherb order and ordered vitamins and other things that are much more expensive locally than at iherb, even including international shipping.

Bought chicken hearts at a great price, and made my own Middle Eastern spice mix to season them.

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Made a soup, using the same chicken feet I used earlier in the week, plus some leftover chicken bones, to make the base for the very rich broth. Made meatballs out of on sale ground chicken and mixed it with rice to stretch it further.

Gave the boys a haircut with our hair trimmer instead of paying to take them to the barber.

Made some soup from drippings from chicken wings I served earlier, plus the bones and wing tips, and other veggies I had in the vegetable bin. Seasoned it with foraged rosemary.

Went out to a community get together, which involved a gift swap- everyone was supposed to bring a cheap item to the swap. I gave a belt that I bought, never used, was still in its packaging, and was just sitting there taking up space. I came home with a cute hair accessory!

I think this was a pretty good and frugal week, especially in light of the fact that I felt so icky for most of it!

What were your frugal accomplishments this week?


  1. Sounds like a great week but now I'm sad & hating winter...foraging for nettles & the Farmer's Market! It'll be a bit before either will happen here. BUT I made homemade chicken stock from a chicken carcass I had stuck in the freezer one day awhile back. Hubby and one of the kids ate lunch out one day and brought home chicken wings...I salvaged the celery to put in soup. Also upcycled an old comforter and a flannel sheet to make a new cushion for this GIGANTIC papasan couch thingy we bought last summer at a rummage sale for $5. The old cushion smelled and no one would sit on it LOL

    Your blog keeps popping up in my inbox as one I should check out, so..."hi!" :-)

    1. Hi!
      Good for you, Jupiter! Spring is the best foraging season where I live- it doesn't get too cold in the winter usually, and things start growing, so now's the best time for me to find stuff to pick. On the other hand, while in many parts of the US, summer is the best time to forage, here it is practically dead.

  2. Wow! For a week when you claimed you couldn't do much because you weren't feeling so great, that sounds like an awful lot! I can't even imagine what more you could have done if you WERE feeling super!

    1. Awww thanks! It probably seemed like more because I didn't divide it by days. If I had, some days would have been pretty empty....

  3. Hi, Penny! In last week's post you said you'd given yourself a layered haircut. Could you explain how you did it, please? Did you "simply" bend over to the front and then snip the hair? Or was there even more technique to it? Thanks

  4. I'd like to hear about haircut also

  5. Amazing I couldn't even think up all that stuff let alone do it. And get my family to eat it, especially the kids NEVER! You are an inspiration. Good on you girl!

  6. HI, Penny!

    I enjoy reading your blog and I share many of your frugal ideas. Did you sprout your own lentils? Do you do that with other grains? Could you please share your ideas on sprouting grains?

  7. This week I
    - wore an evening gown from T.J. Maxx to a black tie event. It looks super elegant, but its long black skirt is made out of t-shirt material (sort of) with a velvet top, so it's like being in your jammies. Very cheap
    - cut off the top of a long tank dress to make a long slip for said evening dress
    - returned two presents I didn't like and exchanged them for something I did. They were from Trader Jo's and I don't drink, so exchanged them for food we would use
    - got two three dollar off coupons for donating things to Goodwill and when I couldn't use them I gave them to two women in line to use. They would have expired if I had saved them and this made me feel great.
    - watched free movies when I wanted to buy some
    - checked out a book from the church library
    - drank free coffee at church rather than stop at Starbucks on the way home
    - made muffins from the Tightwad Gazette Universal Muffin Recipe and used up a bunch of stuff in the fridge
    - remembered to check the bulk price for oats (.89 cents per lb) vs the store brand packaged (1.49 per lb), but sadly they were out
    - got a free app to text my son for free in Europe. It's called Viber and worked really well. It also has really cute graphics which makes it fun to use


  8. I think you did wonderful on your frugal week. LOVE the fact that you brought the potty along with you! LOVED that you foraged for all those neat things and that you dumpster dove! For me I have been using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar in my hair for washing. It feels clean and soft. I also use it in my shower and I have noticed a huge difference in my skin. My winter skin is going away and leaving behind a soft supple skin. My eczema which I have been having fits with all winter is also going away been working out with my fitness tapes instead of buying a gym membership. I planted my garden as I love in a hot climate and by June it will be hot hot hot and time to harvest. I have a few projects I am working on and am looking to spend as little as possible!!!

  9. Well done on saving all this money but isn't it a bit sad when you meet a friend for coffee and you decide to save on not ordering anything and just sit there watching her drink. If you save all this money and can't afford to meet a friend just for a drink once in a while, it's a shame. Especially if the other friend is drinking. Uncomfortable for her in my opinion.

    1. I'll be honest- being frugal wasn't the only reason I didn't get something while she had her coffee- we stopped in a bagel place, and everything there is gluten contaminated... and while I was eyeing the drinks, they all have sugar in it, and lately, sugar makes me soooo nauseous. So I might have enjoyed it for the short time I was drinking it, then suffered for hours after, so it wasn't even worth it. I didn't meet up with my friend for coffee- I met up to bring her something, and she was craving coffee, so we stopped by a place that sold some- but that wasnt the purpose of our meeting up. I do go out to dinner or to restaurants here and there- last time this friend and I met up it actually was at a restaurant... Its just that this time I didn't buy something, for more than one reason. I don't think she was uncomfortable- she gets me and where i'm at.

  10. I use Epsom salts in my baths to help with joint pain; cheapest currently is Kroger supermarket 3 lbs for $3. It's been traditionally used in England to help with eczema.


  11. You should all read Mind Power in the 21st Century by John Kehoe and get out of the 'life's so tough, money's a problem' mindset. There's an abundance of everything in life, including money, good non-expired food, eating out as often as you like, etc. Our thoughts are real forces, it determines our reality. Living as frugally as some of you are is really not necessary when you own your thoughts, control how you think of yourself, your situation, constantly visualize yourself in the positive life you deserve and give thanks for all you have. Give thanks for what you want as if you already have it! Act like you have it already, be happy about having it, feel like you have it and it will be yours. I have transformed my life just by doing this. I have removed from my vocabulary words such as 'I can't afford it' (I ask how can I afford it?), I never say things are impossible because everything is possible! I no longer work for a boss, I own my own very successful company because I changed my thoughts! Frugality is one thing when you don't want to spend unnecessarily and opt for a lower cost option, but when it becomes your every thought and word, you become a poor thinking person who will attract poor conditions and poverty in your life. Change the music in your head, change your vocabulary to 'I have', 'Thank you for this abundance in my life' and you'll discover that being frugal is something you've brought upon yourself with your thoughts of having a 'lack' of, food, skills, whatever it is. Remove the 'lack' mentality and know that you deserve to live rich, fulfilling lives where you don't need to go without. I wish you all a lifetime of abundance.


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