Recent Frugal Accomplishments

First off, I wanted to send out warm thoughts to everyone who lost loved ones on 9/11, as well as everyone who has been affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Additionally, I wanted to apologize for not having posted here recently- lots of things going on in my life that have made it feel very insane and hectic and different- more on that in another post... but unfortunately blogging had to go on the back burner... And instead of just being one week's worth of frugality, this is 2 weeks' worth of frugal accomplishments (as I'd meant to post it yesterday)...

So here's what frugal things our family has done recently:

Frugal Food:
Free Food, Foraging and Gardening:
I foraged a bunch of passion fruit.
Just one of my many harvests- swiss chard, sea beet, beet leaves, amaranth, squash blossoms, purslane, and cherry tomatoes
I picked beet greens and sea beet (wild swiss chard) and pumpkin flowers and purslane and amaranth and cherry tomatoes and oregano from my garden.
I got some swiss chard that my friend was growing in her yard and didn't want.
I got some leftover potato salad  and hot dog buns from a friend of mine (we were making a BBQ and I had planned on going out to buy potatoes to make potato salad when I saw my friend post that they were giving away potato salad that they had leftover from their BBQ the previous night- so that was a time saver too and very convenient).
All free- passion fruit, potato salad, and buns.
We had a family get together and there was lots of extra food and I volunteered to take home some of the leftovers, so came home with containers of cooked chicken, burgers, shepherd's pie, roasted veggies, etc... and lots of it went into my freezer and some got enjoyed for supper over the next few days.
Frugal Cooking:
Made homemade beet (red) and carrot (yellow) natural food coloring.
Yellow and pink/red food coloring.
Made homemade buttercream frosting.
Made homemade birthday cake.
Made a supper for a crowd on a super tight budget at my kids' birthday party- more on that in another post.
Made homemade lemonade, iced tea, and popsicles.
Made a BBQ using just what we had in the house (and what we got free)- on the menu was pasta salad (using gluten free pasta I bought from the scratch and dent store), corn and pickle salad, chicken wings, stretched a package of chicken breasts into shish kebabs by cutting them small and alternating them with onions and peppers (bought cheaply) and tomatoes from the reduced rack, making one package serve many many people, pickled beets that I'd made and canned a while ago from free beets, canned pickled mixed vegetables I'd gotten free, and roasted zucchini that I bought on sale.
Turned cheap yogurt like soft cheese (that costs 35 cents a container- cheaper than anything else locally) into a spreadable harder cheese similar to cream cheese by straining it.

My homemade spreadable cheese.
I made homemade gluten bread.
I made homemade gluten free bread.
I cooked up a lot of the plants I picked into delicious meals.

Purslane, sea beet, and reduced rack tomatoes with chicken breast.
I made homemade almond butter.
I made homemade almond milk.
I made homemade chili powder.
I used a bunch of leftovers and threw them together to make a terrific and quick paleo chicken chili.

Frugal Shopping:
Frugal Food Shopping:
I set myself a goal before my kids' birthday party to only spend $15 on birthday party supplies including supper for the crowd, and I managed to do so by buying things on sale.
Didn't make it out to the market, but still managed to get cheap things by shopping local sales and buying tomatoes from the reduced rack. Bought beef on sale at a really great price.
I stocked up on various typed of cut blanched almonds for much cheaper than whole almonds usually cost, to use for a variety of things.
Frugal Online Shopping:
Ordered glasses and prescription sunglasses on, three at once (including one that was needed but could have waited on, but ordered all together to save on shipping because its the same shipping price regardless) and found and used a promo code to get 10% off.
Ordered a personalized magnetic calendar from groupon for very cheap with free shipping.
I purchased new cheap and good quality school pants for my boys and jumpers for Anneliese from the school uniform shop on

As mentioned in my last post, we installed our own dishwasher that we got free.
Mike made a barbecue stand out of pallet wood (pictures hopefully in a future post).
We made trellis for our garden using wood scraps.
Made a homemade pinyata for free and easily- more in another post.
Mike made his own homemade aloe vera gel from the aloe in our yard- once he perfects the recipe I'll share it with you here.

Frugal Fun

What I made/prepped for the BBQ- the guests contributed some meat as well.
Hosted a BBQ with guests and used just what was at home, as mentioned above above.
Made a frugal but fun birthday party for my kids.
The kids' grandmother took the kids to a natural spring to play.

All in all, looks like a pretty frugal two weeks in retrospect, despite the craziness in my life. (Did you notice that I posted that I hosted 2 events at my house and had another family event? It was in another city... for 2 days... Can you imagine why life has been crazy? And that is barely even scratching the surface of it...)

What frugal things did you and your family manage to do lately?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Your food looks delicious. Although I missed your posts, I assumed you had a lot going on in your private life.

    1. Thank you Carole! Hopefully I'll be back more frequently now, but no promises. Things are sort of starting to settle down...

  2. I hope your arm is healing and that you didn't have to do this all one handed!

    1. Thanks for inquiring about my arm! I meant to post an update in this post and forgot. Fortunately my arm seems all the way better in terms of range of motion, strength, etc... If I lean on my elbow it still hurts but not terribly!

    2. Glad to hear this! I was wondering how your arm was doing.

  3. I really appreciate the level of frugality on this post. It helps me to save money. I get a lot of free produce from our local health food store that they cull from their produce section and put out in back. My husband doesn't know how he feels about it, but it is often very fresh and wonderful.

  4. Thank you for your blog. It is so encouraging to see someone else eat healthy on a budget! We have 8 children, several with food allergies, and we're on a tight budget. It has been challenging.
    I recently made a cabbage/chicken curry served over rice. It was outstanding! We had bought bone-in chicken breast on sale. I roasted it and had some for lunch. Using the bones, I made broth in the crock pot. I used some to flavor the rice. The rest was mixed with coconut milk and spices to serve as the sauce. The cabbage was sauteed in ghee, then I threw everything together.

    1. It is truly wonderful how far food can go. Like you, when I roast I use every bit of the meat in as many ways as possible and then I make a long slow cooked broth, not just once but sometimes twice using the same bones. I then compost the spent bones to nourish the soil. Its frugal, no waste, common sense approach to eating. Magic!

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