Recent Frugal Accomplishments While Super Busy

My life has taken a drastic turn; if you saw my since deleted post, it's because of that, but I was asked to take it down. Lets just say that things have changed and I've now begun to work out of the house more than I was in the past; some days I am working 8 hours out of the house and some days only 4 or 5, but predominantly I am doing cleaning, which is lots of physical labor (but fortunately pays terrifically in my location) and also cooking for people. Because of that, I haven't had that much time available to do things to save money, but I still have managed to do some frugal things, and I wanted to share my recent frugal accomplishments that I managed to fit into my super busy and, I'll admit it, tiring life.

I mentioned the other week that I discovered a "free store" where I got a bunch of terrific free clothes and other household things. One of the things that I got was a gorgeous dress for my daughter, Rose, but there was a seam that opened up. I managed to sew it closed using a "sewing machine stitch" that my mother taught me as a child, and got it fixed in less than five minutes, and now Rose has a gorgeous dress to wear.

Going to and from work, I've been trying to do calculations to make sure I'm not paying more for the bus than necessary. Most days I just get a transfer and my transportation costs are minimal, but some days I have a lot of errands to do, and since I plan those days in advance, I already know in the morning when I'm first getting on the bus that I'll be doing a lot of traveling, and then I buy a daily bus pass which works out so much cheaper.

A big thing for me is making sure to have food to eat while I'm at work; I've been very good about packing a lunch for myself every day, most days packing healthy leftovers, so I nourish my body on the cheap.

I was gifted some lamb, and I rendered the fat to use in cooking.

I cooked some chicken and then used the drippings at the bottom of the pan to season some soup that was too bland.

The women in my community wanted to have a barbecue as a get together, but were worried it would be too expensive. I volunteered myself and "worked my magic" and managed to throw together a very respectable and delicious barbecue with more than enough food, and lots left over, on the cheap. I did it by price comparing, going to cheaper stores, and making things from scratch. It was a big hit and I got lots of compliments on it after.

My girls needed new shoes, and I went to a favorite shoe store of mine and looked at the sales rack first. They had shoes for $2.85 for one and the second 20% off, so I ended up getting my daughters cute matching shoes for for a total of $5.11 or $2.55 a pair! Even I was shocked about this one!

I was trying to make a nice dinner the other night, but was super short on time, so I decided to revamp leftovers, which also meant I saved lots of time and also saved money. I had some roasted zucchini and some tomatoes that were really on their way out the door, so I cut out the yucky parts from the tomatoes, cooked them up with the zucchini, and blended them for a delicious soup. My kids had taken gluten free rolls and left them out all day, so they got stale, so I cut them up into cubes and baked them into croutons to eat with the soup, and they were amazing and, even better, they were made from something otherwise destined for the trash. I took some potatoes that were nearly spoiled, including some very wrinkled ones, chopped them up and boiled them, making half into a potato salad, using up the last of my homemade mayonnaise, and half into a ground chicken shepherd's pie. I found a chunk of pumpkin and half a butternut squash in my fridge and used them to make a delicious Korean roasted pumpkin dish.

I foraged purslane to make into delicious salads. It was right outside where I was working, so it wasn't any extra work on my part.

I stopped at the scratch and dent store and purchased gluten free cereal for my kids at 94 cents a box. At another scratch and dent store I bought 105 salted caramel chocolate bars, all fair trade, for a total of $17.14 or 16 cents a bar.

I called up my internet and phone provider and I got them to tremendously cheapen what I'm paying them each month.

I got some groceries from a family going out of the country who wanted to clean their refrigerators before they left. Yay for free food!

Am I being as frugal as possible now? No, there's a limit to how frugal I can be when I'm zapped of energy, but I do think I'm managing pretty well with frugal living despite being short on time and energy!

What are you doing to save money lately? What are your tricks to saving money, even when short on time and energy?

Penniless Parenting

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


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  1. I saw the first few sentences of your deleted post in my Feedly after it was deleted, and just wanted to say I’ve been thinking of your family and hope that is going as ok as can be.

  2. You're doing awesome, Penny- much more than lots of moms who work far fewer hours out of the home!

  3. No one is commenting probably because no one knows what to say. I didn't see the post that was taken down, but I hope the situation you mentioned is temporary. It sounds like you're working awfully hard. Just taking care of 4 children in a frugal way is work enough, but we do what we have to.

  4. I missed your last post unfortunately! Quite curious to why your life took an unexpected turn!

  5. Ah yes. I work full time outside the home and have two children. There's only so much you can do when you aren't physically at home and are tire. Two weeks ago, everyone in my house was sick except me - so I was doing everything. All of the cooking, dishes, kid duties, bedtime duties. Last week husband left on a week long business trip. So then I had to do all school drop offs and pick ups. All homework help. All cooking and dish chores. Then husband came back...sicker than when he left (he was on the mend when he left). Sigh. I'm tired.

    We eat a lot of leftovers when I'm tired. Also, I do all my food prep whenever there is time. Cooking something on the stove? Might as well cut up a melon. A few minutes before bath time? I'll start tomorrow's salad. Working on dinner? Wash dishes as I go and wash a head of lettuce.

  6. Penny I love reading about all of your innovations. I did not see the deleted post either but you and your family will be in my prayers for whatever the situation. I'm a single mom with 2 jobs. And with just 1 child I am always exhausted and feel a serious lack of creative brain power. Thank you so much for sharing the gift of you - struggles and all. I absolutely loved all your suggestions about self-care and for reinforcing how important it is to give ourselves permission to partake of it. You go girl!

  7. Thanks for another great post. I'm unfamiliar with the deleted post as I'm always a few days behind on my email. Hope everything works out.
    To save money lately, I've been using my coupons (online & paper) and cash back programs (Ibotta, SavingStar). Since I'm working nights now, I make myself one big meal that I can use for lunch for my work lunches. Also, shopping from my pantry & freezer instead of the stores. Best part is that I got my husband on board, so he's trying to shop from the pantry/freezer as well now that he has to cook dinner (aka my breakfast) now on my work days.

    Did get a great deal on some pita's. 99 cents for 4, plan to stuff them with some chicken salad. Yum.

    Keep up the great posts. Love 'em!

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