My Frugal Week

                        Our porch will see more and more use now the weather is warming.

Saturday:  Our morning started out a little cool but it soon warmed up outdoors.  I opened windows to warm the inside.  We had them open all day long and didn't need AC at all come late afternoon.

I'm consciously trying to use up items that I typically 'forget' are in the freezer.  I prefer fresh produce and that's what I typically use but we've quite a stock of frozen and canned stuff on hand that will expire unused if I don't start to use it up.  I have a secret desire to retire the small freezer and just have the larger one, but emptying out all the unused stuff first means eating what we have on hand.  I cooked Italian flat beans from the freezer today.  I have just one more meal's worth of those to use up.  I need to plan my week's menu again to incorporate more of those things.

Pulled a thrift store find cookbook from my shelf and used it to plan meals this week.  I am determined to cook my way through this book this month.  If the recipes are good, and as economical as they suggest, then it's a keeper for my shelf.

Saved a bread sack from a loaf of bread.   I use these to put chicken pieces into the freezer.

We shopped online for some tools John needs to do yardwork.  Both items came with a free battery pack which more than paid for one of the tools.  We opted to pick these items up at the store, which meant no shipping. The store called to say that they had the two items, but not the two free battery packs.  I told them to order them and I'd pick up all the items at one time, but not before the battery packs were also available. 

Sunday:  John worked today.  I made his sandwiches Friday evening.  Packed his lunch this morning and made him breakfast.

Opened windows.  It got quite warm this afternoon and I knew come evening it was going to be beyond stuffy.  I waited until about 7pm to shut the windows and turn on the AC.  It ran a long cycle bringing the house down to temperature but did not come back on after that.

I have a new recipe to try and some tortillas I want to make into enchiladas.  I also planned to roast chicken this week.  I started to take two whole chickens from the freezer to thaw but found a bag of backs I'd saved when I cut several chickens into parts.  I put the backs onto boil this morning.  That netted me enough meat for the new recipe and enchiladas, plus four quarts of broth to go into the freezer.  Because I bought whole chickens and cut them up there is no monetary savings in cost per pound in using back meat over using a whole roasted bird, but six backs produced 3 cups of chicken meat and the skins went to the cat and dog to supplement their foods.

Washed a full load of clothes.  Hung the heavy items to dry on the line. 

Cleaned the dryer lint trap.  We've changed vent lines and vacuumed the inside of the dryer, etc. for lint.  We very seldom use a dryer sheet and then only 1/4 of one (my last box of dryer sheets lasted ten years and I am on year 3 of the current box), so I didn't think our lint could be clogged but when I held it up to the light I could plainly see that several of the little holes on the screen were clogged.  I used a toothbrush and dawn soap as suggested by another blogger.  I noted that this lint trap is made up of two or three layers of screening so I made sure to use my toothbrush on the front and the back of the trap and rinsed really well with hot water.  I noted the screen appeared to be clog free and then blew the screen dry with my hair dryer.  This was recommended to keep the screen from rusting.  Since my dryer is 19 years old the lint trap does have a few dots of rust on it and I wasn't wanting to promote further deterioration.

I had three frames from my gallery wall in the living room which contained a set of keys, a set of skeleton keys and an antique iron lock plate and a funky old lock pad.  I hung these in my entryway because I really like the pieces and didn't want to put them away.  It nicely filled a piece of wall that has been bare for some time now.

I ate leftovers for both my dinner and supper meals today.

I cleaned the under hood area of my stove vent.  I used some of the 'can't use it in my machine' dishwasher liquid which swept right thru the greasy build up and left the inside of the vent hood looking like new.  It even removed some of the gooey built up grease film on the fan motor housing.

Ate the last strawberries.  They really do keep very well in glass jars in the fridge.

Needed lemon juice in a recipe.  I'd forgotten my lot of lemons that I packed in water to keep.  I used one of those and it was as juicy and pliable as when fresh bought.

Monday:  I made French toast using smaller ends of the whole grain loaf we buy at the bakery.  These are pieces usually too small for a sandwich.

After bragging that I'd not thrown away any food I've had a round of tossing mandarins and oranges and bread.  The last few slices of a loaf of bread molded overnight. I'd been using it as quickly as I could.  I won't use any bread if even one slice has a spot of mold on it since John is allergic to penicillin.  I'd had the bread in the house for just less than a week and I wonder if it was an older loaf.  These loaves don't have sell by dates on them.  As for the oranges and mandarins, I can't accept blame for those going bad.  I suspect they were exposed to other fruits that had molded while at the store.  I have noted it spreads from one fruit to another rather easily and none of them were exposed to it here at my home.  Thankfully I've caught each one as it was just about to bloom with the mold spores and tossed it.

Made a really good soup today.  Because it was a new to me recipe and I wanted to see if it was a true test recipe, I made it exactly as the recipe said to make it, carefully measuring my ingredients, etc.  I have enough leftovers for a supper one evening.

Did a freezer and pantry inventory of the foods in the back closet.  I am glad John likes beets.  I've five cans of expired beets we'll be eating over the next month or so...I am sure the beets are still good but they have been on my shelves for sometime now and really do need to be used up and replaced with more that have a longer life.

I saved myself a small amount of time today.  I didn't load the dishwasher nor wash dishes after each meal.  I cleared up breakfast dishes this morning and did wash and dry two frying pans, but our dinner dishes were simply rinsed and stacked neatly in my dishpan.  I waited until after supper this evening then rinsed our supper dishes and loaded all into the dishwasher at once.  I find I don't mind stacked dishes if they look neat and my hands appreciate the decreased exposure to soap.

John washed and hung a load of clothes to dry.

Because the dishwasher is not quite full, I'll wait until tomorrow to run a load of dishes.

Not sure how I did it, but Swag bucks credited me with the shopping done online Saturday.  Since I no longer have a Swag button and could not get the store page to open from their site, I'm astonished and terribly pleased. I earned over 1000 in pending swag bucks!

Tuesday  Oatmeal for breakfast is always inexpensive and filling. 

Began packing John's lunch with the non-perishables and set the cold items in one spot in the fridge for easy packing in the morning.  I'll make his sandwiches while I make our supper sandwiches this evening. 

I didn't have a key ingredient for my stuffed chicken.  I altered my menu but used several of the elements.  It was yummy. 

Put half the chicken into the fridge.  We'll likely use it for sandwiches.

Decided the one bag of mulch would make the most impact in the galvanized buckets bed.  I moved them out of the bed and spread the bag of mulch.  It was just perfect for refreshing that bed.  I'll try to get enough bags to do the rose bed next. which already needs to be weeded again, sigh.  I managed to pull several feet of weeds this afternoon from that bed.  Noted I had a tiny new rose bush that I'd like to try to dig up and give to Katie or Ashley since the mother plant was from Granny.

Pulled up about half the privet and cedar under the persimmon and sweet gum trees.  I don't know if I'll walk straight tonight or if I'll be able to bend tomorrow, after today!

Emptied the galvanized buckets of established  plants.  I transplanted them to the pots on the front patio.

John drilled drainage holes in my huge pot.  I put aluminum cans and Styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of the pot and then we poured in an entire 40 pound bag of soil (gasp!). I planted it with dahlias (already sprouting!) and a variety of seeds: tithonia, aster, rose campion and what I think might have been sunflowers.  Since all these seeds are old we'll see how well they  will sprout.

Sprinkled some coleus seeds I'd saved about another planter to fill in the blanks around the larkspur plants I transplanted.  I filled the strawberry pot with petunias and then shoved my hydrangea (leaf buds on it) stick into the top of the pot.  Fingers crossed to see how well that grows.

In the galvanized buckets I transplanted two rosemary that overwintered, and basil and parsley seeds.  I'd meant to go buy established herb plants but I'll see how the seeds do.  They were purchased this spring and should be fine.

Scanned several new to blog illustrations to use.  I scanned from my lot of vintage magazines.

Wednesday:   Packed John's lunch.  He made his own breakfast.  Apparently I slapped the alarm off and didn't even know it.

I had a day planned out with Mama but needed to do a couple of errands first.  I jotted two quick notes to go into packages to two of my girls and then gathered books, trash and packages/letters to go.

Made sure to get a bottle of water and put in my purse.

Followed John's habit of turning off the ceiling fans when I was ready to leave the house.

Worked out my options for doing a second errand this morning, making a bank deposit.  I was pretty sure of going in one of four directions, depending upon what Mama wanted to do and there was a bank in each direction that I'd pass.  Instead of doing that errand before going to Mama's I decided it could be done while we were out.

Technically I was looking for two things: a second pair of pants and a white t-shirt.  I went into Cato while out today and found a pair of white pants...I also purchased a new scarf and two shirts off the clearance rack neither of which were white.  I am calling myself done for Spring and first part of summer except for a pair of sandals in either calf or another neutral color.

My day to buy dinner.  I paid from my allowance. Brought home leftovers to have for supper.

Stopped for mail and to run one other errand on my way home.  Neither of those things required me to spend any money.

Mama passed along gently read magazines, a container of cut cantaloupe and a small bunch of red grapes.  I gratefully accepted all.

Back at home I spent an hour weeding.  I'm roughly half done with the big task of weeding under the trees in the back yard.  I didn't want to do the task to be honest, but I read a comment on the Prudent Homemaker in which the commenter said that she had a basket she filled daily with weeding and if she did just one a day she could keep up with it.  Measuring a task I don't like by what I discard was easy enough.  I used a bucket and filled it with yesterday's weeding.  I dumped that and then filled it again for today's portion.  Thankfully the ground is soft enough to make weeding very easy at the moment and we've had a shower of rain this evening, too.

Scanned more illustrations and pictures from vintage magazines.

Thursday:  I feel terribly foolish.  I completely got my head all turned about and thought I was having company next week.  I am having company tonight.  Fortunately for me I had the guest room all sorted out over the weekend, and was already thawing and planning a small marathon kitchen cooking day.  I have a banana bread in the freezer I can take out to thaw.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung them to dry.

I made enchilada sauce, chicken pie filling and potato salad meant for our dinner today.  John asked for fried chicken for dinner today.  I needed to tend to a few errands in town and pick up bread and fruit anyway, so we combined those things with picking up the chicken.  I ordered extra so there would be leftovers if family wanted a warm meal when they got in.  If not, it's fine.  I've frozen the leftovers before and they reheat just fine.

In town, I went by to pay booth rent.  I paid the electric bill.  John went by the package store and bought beer.  We picked up chicken (John paid for this and the beer out of his pocket).  I went into local grocery.  I still prefer bakery bread but 've found a mass market bread that is whole wheat and sugar free (Nature's Harvest) that is passably good and saved me driving 60 miles round trip.  I purchased fruit and eggs which I knew we needed for ourselves, as well. I really under calculated on all those this past pay period even thinking of just John and I.  I purchased chocolate bars in a 6 pack, and ice cream for us adults and for the grandson, I bought cheese puffs and gummy bears.  I had $10 of the former grocery budget left which offset the overage I've spent.

After we'd eaten dinner today, I cleared up the bulk of the kitchen.  I still need to make the crust for that and I'm waiting on the ground meat to thaw to make the beef enchiladas (all my chicken went into the pie filling so no chicken enchiladas).  I found the chicken pie filling made a lot more than I'd anticipated even measuring and following recipe exactly.  I put a pie plate of filling into the freezer for a future meal for John and I.   I still had plenty to fill a larger pie plate for dinner for four of us.

When I made the Red Enchilada Sauce this morning, I opened a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to season the sauce.  I had LOTS leftover. I used an ice cube tray that I'd sprayed with cooking spray and portioned the rest of the can of peppers and sauce into the dozen compartments.  When they are solidly frozen I'll put into a baggie and keep in the freezer for future needs.

Boxed up the leftover chicken, put the rest of the potato salad into a container.

While cooking potatoes today, I did as Mama used to do and put the eggs into the same pot to boil right along with the potatoes.  I put in extra eggs and will make egg salad for sandwiches.  I also have a whole chicken breast from the roasted chicken and lots of cheese so sandwich fillings are covered for weekend.

It's much cooler today than it's been.  Open windows keep indoors from being too stuffy.

Friday:  Briefly here as I've a not quite two year old grandson with me today.  Made meals of leftovers and used what was on hand.  There was plenty of sunlight to fill the house and it was a little cooler.  All in all a really good day.


Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Terri,Had to laugh at your mix up of when your company was coming.. That is so like what I do.ha Proud it all worked out , and you had stuff in the freezer.
Like your idea of weeding everyday..
Have a great week.

Lana said...

I so need to get back to daily weeding. I used to but it has gone by the wayside. I read on a blog some time back about spooning out leftover chilies onto parchment and freezing and then putting them into t container in the freezer. The blogger's husband saw the container and thought they were cookies........LOL! Enjoy that grandbaby!

Only spent $26 on groceries this week. Crocheted some new dishcloths from yarn on hand. We have hubby all ready to fly tomorrow. I hope I am not too lonely here without him for 15 days. I almost wish I had a job to go to everyday while he is gone.

Lake Livin' said...


I found your blog recently from a comment on The Prudent Homemaker by Erika from The Make Do Homemaker.

I enjoyed the first couple of posts I read so much that I went back to the beginning of the blog and have read every single post, finally finishing earlier this week. You have a lovely writing style and I've truly enjoyed myself.

I am a 39 y/o mother of 2 small children. I still work a bit from home but am 99.9% a SAHM. My husband and I both grew up poor but make an excellent living now. However, I am a frugal gal by nature and we live well below our means (especially compared to our friends that all work in the same field as my husband and are in the same socio-economic group). But, they're realizing it makes sense and some have even asked me for advice.

Anyway, I have several questions for you as well as info to share you may find useful, but it's time to sleep!!

Anonymous said...

I have done many things through the years to challenge {or fool! :-) } me into working longer. Pulling just x amount of weeds then stopping. Pulling only those I can reach without changing position. That one sure makes you stretch! lol Or only pulling all of certain weeds from so big an area. Trouble is I start out not wanting to do the chore then find myself doing way more than I set out to do! That is good for getting the weeding worked on but hard on my body!! lol I love to putter in the yards and rake and dead head etc. The planting though is a bother to me. Bother or not though it is one of those things that has to get done.

Years ago I spray a well known cleaner on my clothes washer control panel. Then quickly wiped it with a damp cloth. The lettering on the machine started to melt off! Who knew that that could happen!! After that i try to do a sample first when using cleaners! I don't want any more surprises!!

We went to a function tonight. Five of our friends told us just yesterday they would be there too. But they weren't. I wonder if they forgot the day too? I know we have done that..but thankfully not this time.

I tried placing cold water in a big jar and putting fresh lemons in it. They softened then turned funky after days. What am I doing wrong? Our old lemon tree seems to be dying this year and I want to make sure I use every lemon we get. Sarah

Mable Hastings said...

Styrofoam peanuts will eventually migrate throughout the soil in your container and it will be almost impossible to remove them. If you must use them, put them in a plastic bag and that way they will not migrate.

Lana said...

Perhaps the wax on grocery store lemons protects them from the water. ?

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...