Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Latest Foraging and Frugal Escapades

Life has been pretty busy lately, doing lots of things, many of them money saving or money making (or both), but I have been so tired that I didn't have the energy to post about them as they happened!

So, here's a rundown of some of my latest frugal escapades!

I previously shared that in our new apartment we will be doing things very differently, including making a new bed for the master bedroom, since what we have right now really isn't working for us. Our bed currently has storage underneath it, and the mattress pops up to give access to what is underneath. However, it is such a pain to pick up the mattress that the stuff stored underneath it never gets touched, which ends up being a supreme waste of space.
In our new apartment, we are building a new bed, also with storage underneath it, but two drawers, one rolling out from either side so that you can access them more easily than the current storage space on our bed. We're also doing a painted headboard... and I still have to decide if I want a footboard or not.
However, Mike and I are not sure yet if we'll be building the new bed before or after we move to the new place, yet one thing was clear- we can't be working on the bed with all the things being stored inside it, so I decluttered like crazy. In fact, I decluttered so much that I got rid of nearly every single thing that was inside there, since I said that if I rarely ever open it up to access what is stored there, and just end up using other things because of the hardship of accessing what is in there, I don't really need what was there. I made a mountain of things to give away, listed what I had available as being up for grabs, and gave a bunch of things away to friends. What was left, a helpful neighbor drove most of it to the local second hand store. While that isn't necessarily what other people consider a frugal thing, I not only helped my friends save money, but by decluttering I made it possible for us to do our frugal construction job. And now that there is less junk lying around, our new bigger but still small apartment will be less cluttered than our house is now, allowing us to not need to spend as much on expensive storage solutions, and making the place more user friendly.

I've also been working a lot on my foraging cookbook- I need to finish it by the end of October- and since I have a deadline and it is hard to work straight when my kids are around, I was considering hiring a mother's helper to take care of the kids while I work. Instead of doing that, I've been paying my oldest son to be my mother's helper. He is looking for ways to earn money since he is saving up (for a gaming computer, he says), and I ask him to name his price, how much he wants for taking care of the kids, and the amount he is content with is less than I'd pay an official mother's helper, but still allows me to get the work that I need done.

Locally (a 20 minute walk away from me), I recently learned about a weekly produce delivery. It works sort of like a CSA (community supported agriculture) in that they deliver a set amount of produce each week- 33 pounds- for $12.50, working out to be 39 cents a pound for produce that is good quality, not reduced rack quality. (Non organic, just a similar idea of a set box of produce whose content changes with the seasons.) What is in the box changes week to week, but it always is both fruit and vegetables. I signed up to start receiving them, and it isn't enough produce to last our family a week, but its a good base with which I can supplement at the market when I manage to get there and buy things even cheaper, instead of at the local mom and pop's store.
I spoke with the company that arranges it, to see if we can arrange for a drop off point to be on our side of the neighborhood (they have 4 on the far end of the neighborhood) and they agreed to do that if I get enough people signed up, and have the drop off at my house. I got people interested and as soon as we move to the new place we'll be starting to get deliveries of these boxes to our house, which would be convenient for me, and for the work of collecting the money and handing out the boxes, I'll be getting a free box. So thats pretty awesome.

In the past week I've also taught two foraging classes in other cities- today in a city two hours away, and two days ago in a city nearer to my house (only an hour away). We did a lot of foraging together, and I foraged with them the following:
Wood sorrel, stinging nettles, Asiatic dayflower, mallow, dock, pine nuts, myrtle berries, amaranth, carobs, sumac, queen Anne's lace, wild fennel seeds, purslane, num nums, wall rocket, wild mustard, plantain, pink peppercorns, rosehips, hibiscus, palo verde beans, and much much more.

Today I saw the most beautiful olives after my foraging class, much bigger than any I see locally- some were almost the size of a small egg, so I foraged some of those to bring home to pickle.

While I was out, I had 45 minutes before I had a bus home, and I wandered around the mall near the bus station, and chanced upon a cheap beauty supply store. There is a branch of this store in a mall on the furthest end of our local city from where I live, so that it takes at least an hour and a half if not two for me to get there, so I rarely ever go there. This is annoying, since makeup and all sorts of related beauty products are extremely overpriced in my country, other than at that cheap store, but I am trying to make an effort to look presentable, and makeup makes a big difference, in my opinion. Since I happened to have seen it in the mall today, I helped myself and bought 5 brush eyeliners, 2 lipsticks, one bronzer, one makeup brush, and 2 perfumes... for $25. Locally, usually just one of any of the things I mentioned can easily cost nearly that if not twice that, so this was an awesome treat for me, pampering myself for very little cost, without needing to spend so much travel time going to that really far mall.

Right now, as I'm typing, my husband took the kids to a free event in our community with pony rides, amusement park rides, moonwalks, and lots more, so they're having great frugal fun as well.

That's it for now folks! Busy busy busy, but managing to save money too!

What frugal things have you been up to lately? Foraged any great things? Found awesome deals? Figured out a new way to save money? I'd love to hear!


  1. I love hearing about all of the frugal things you do! It sounds like you've been very productive in the last few weeks. I'm looking forward when your foraging cookbook comes out. I'm just curious though- what do you do with Queen Anne's Lace? We have a ton of it around here but I've never heard of it being edible.

  2. On giving away the unneeded items- personally, I consider this frugal because it no longer costs me mental or physical energy when it is out of my house. Knowing I didn't need to move these items during an incredibly busy and stressful time would free up my time and energy to complete the tasks that were actually critical.

  3. I really respect the way you handled getting child care help from your oldest child. Many parents simply expect the older children to pitch in like the parents and I am often bothered by this process. You are teaching so many valuable lessons with this one situation. Good for you!

  4. I've read some about using stinging nettles in cooking, but not sure how they Really work. Looking forward to your cookbook!

  5. It's so nice that you're paying your eldest to watch his siblings, I really admire that. As the oldest in my family, it was extremely frustrating for my parents not only refuse to pay for my services, but expect/demand I give up my free time/energy for something they should be doing. But I guess the positive side is that as a result, at the age of 16, I knew exactly how to care for a baby from diapers to making/cleaning bottles!


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