Sunday, February 8, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments This Week and Accountability For My Struggles

Welcome to the weekly post in which I reveal all... my deep dark secrets... haha...

So, I had a pretty busy week, and I must say, there were things that I did that weren't so frugal. But people have been telling me not to feel bad about that, to instead focus on the positive- what I did do frugal as well. So I'll just ignore the 2 loads of wash that I ended up washing two (or even three times) each because I forgot them in the machine and they started stinking. K?
And I'll focus on the 5 or 6 cloth diapers that I used this week instead of writing about all the disposables that I used. Though, to be honest, I don't really think there was a problem with my using disposables- it was a pretty conscious decision, since we were out of the house many hours at a time for quite a few days this week, and therefore I didn't want to be lugging around stinky diapers. And I was doing my babysitter (who watched the kids during my foraging classes) a favor by not giving her cloth diapers to deal with- only disposables. So, we pretty much did only disposables this past week, other than a few notable exceptions... and I used up my entire stash of disposable diapers. So... now I'm back to cloth until Mike picks up another package of diapers from the grocery store in a few hours.
I was doing a lot of thinking about where I should be putting my focus on, in terms of frugality, especially since many of the places I was buying stuff frugally either no longer has the same prices... or, for example, they're selling the "same item" for the same low price, but now its of inferior quality- goodbye  $3.25 a pound ground beef and $2.46 a pound ground chicken and turkey that I used to get without soy TVP mixed in- it still is soy free but now has MSG and other garbage mixed in to it... I ended up putting it back at the register once I spotted the change. Guess if I want ground chicken I'll have to pay the $3.25-$3.89 it usually goes for and $5.19 per pound  for the ground beef that is garbage free. Or I'll just use lentils in its place... I have to say to say I'm bummed out, and looking for a new source of ground meat...
I was pretty good about not tossing food this week- though I'll admit I did chuck out a few moldy clementines...

So, on to what I and my family did frugally this past week:

Foraged dock, wild spinach, sow thistle, wild mustard, mallow, nettles, plantain, chickweed, and lemons.
Foraged oranges with my kids in the city.
Mike foraged sage, olive leaves, and rosemary daily for tea.

Frugal in the Kitchen
Cut off the tips of the wings I was making for a crowd, and used them to make chicken veggie soup.
Made a big salad with foraged chickweed and leftover rice and leftover beef
Made tuna melts with leftover vegan cheese sauce
Used freshly picked organic collard greens (that I got free) from a local organic farm (to whose owners I gave a private foraging lesson), leftover rice, leftover carrot sticks, and canned peas from the scratch and dent store, all cooked together and seasoned with curry powder.
Made pancakes for breakfast one day, and served buckwheat granola for breakfast some others, and milk shakes some others. Didn't serve cereal and milk even once, since I ran out of store bought cereal and didn't stock up- sort of purposely, sort of not.

Made From Scratch
Made homemade bread 2 times
Ground gluten free flours
Made a bunch of gluten free bread mix
Made sprouted buckwheat granola

Frugal Fun
Hosted a frugal event for the ladies in our neighborhood.
Went to the zoo to a homeschooling get together- took advantage of our zoo pass that we bought for the holidays in lieu of presents.
Made a celebratory dinner for my mom at my house- cooking everything from scratch and serving cheap yummy dishes using what I had in the house- made Mexican because that meant I could use up my leftover beans and turning them into refried beans. Made homemade decorations for the party, as well as homemade drinks.

Frugal Transportation
Had a few things to do in another city (giving private foraging lessons, delivering bread mix, and checking out a place to do a foraging walk for a group) and got them all done on one trip to save bus fare... and my husband happened to have off work that day, so I left the older kids at home with him so I didn't have to pay bus fare for them.
Bought myself and the kids a bus pass to get cheaper tickets to a further city where we'll be traveling often- giving the kids half off the fare and myself 17% off.
Took advantage of the fact that we were already in the city and used a bus transfer to pay to go to the farmer's market, so we didn't need to pay for transportation there.

Frugal Shopping
Bought reduced rack carrots, zucchini, persimmons, avocado, bananas, and fennel from the farmer's market.
Bought canned peas and wipes from the scratch and dent store.
Stocked up on sale mackerel- bought 20 cans- for $14.

What did you do to save money this past week? Would you say it was a particularly good week, or a hard week? What were you struggling most with in terms of frugality? What are you most proud of?


  1. What about grinding your own meat, then you will know exactly what is in it. Do you have a food processor?

  2. On the question of meat: I've taken to getting our chicken and beef (and the occasional, rare, special-occasion cut of lamb) from the halal butcher in our area. It's pretty cheap, but not the cheapest, but it's definitely more worthwhile because when you cook the meat there's not a small lake of saline in your pan afterwards. In other words, you definitely get meat for your money, and not salt water.

    Have you considered grinding your own? I don't know how things work where you live, but I have asked our butcher to set aside bones for us and I know he does special orders for people.

  3. I second Jules on grinding your own, if your thrift shop can cough up an old-fashioned meat grinder. The old grinders take some strength but they do a beautiful job and don't take up much room.

    Ebay maybe?

    I used to grind my own at home because ground meat was so very expensive...more so than a chuck roast or a chicken.

  4. where would you find the meat to grind


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