Frugal Friday: Attending Frugal Bootcamp

It's incredible to me the vibrancy of the photocopies in this frame...
'Use what you have' doesn't always mean having something that looks sub-par.  Sometimes we can produce lovely things for pennies.  The 'cost' of the above framed prints cost me three sheets of cardstock, $2 for a picture frame and a little of the ink colors we seldom use in our printer's ink pack.

Saturday:  Watered plants this morning with water I'd caught in jugs for emergencies.  I've decided with this hot dry weather that I need to be catching more of our gray water to use outdoors.  I don't have enough of a cache of water to consistently water plants on a daily basis which is almost what is needed and they must be refilled, otherwise there's no emergency supply.  Running water from the hose means running electricity with the need to refill the tank on the pump.  It just seems to make sense to try and offset what I can by saving dish water and rinse water and mop water. I've poured those things over my plants for years (as did my grandmothers) and the plants seemed to survive as well as they might have otherwise.

This whole water thing has me thinking it's really time to re-enter Frugal Bootcamp and see what I might do to brush up on my frugal skills.  I do know lots of ways to save but there are always new tricks to learn and old tricks to pull out and brush up as current skills once more.

Bess getting me to use the crock pot on a more regular basis has been a great thing.  Now that my crock pot is broken, it occurs to me that until I find the one I want, I might well use my much un-used electric skillet to also make meals without adding the heat of the oven to the kitchen this time of year.  I'll be exploring recipes to attempt in that appliance. I also have a pressure cooker and an ice cream maker, neither of which I've ever used at all!  Time to figure out how to use these servants as well, or plan to pass them on to others who might use them.

John washed two full loads of laundry.  He hung most all of them to dry.  It took less than an hour outdoors to fully dry the comforter that goes in the bottom of Josh's pack and play bed.  I like the solar powered 'dryer' best of all, lol.

I washed a full load of dishes, gathering little extra items here and there to fill the machine to capacity.

Refilled water bottles for work and shopping trips this next week. 

Yes, it is Shabat but we took advantage of the family being out of house to vacuum the living room deeply, moving furniture and toys and generally neatening things up.

John repaired his work pants.

I hadn't planned ahead yesterday as I'd meant to do for weekend meals,  but I did have a quick to prepare meal on hand: Sliders, Southwestern Bean Salad (an Aldi find in the Hispanic foods section), Whole Grain Tortilla Chips.  It took perhaps 10 minutes to prepare and required just one pan.

Sampled a new perfume using samples in the latest issue of Southern Living magazine.  I really like one of them and think I purchased a sample to try out here at home. This cost less than $10 and is so much less expensive than purchasing a big bottle of fragrance I might not like as well as I think I shall.

John and I have an old fan grill covering an outlet at the head of our bed.  We've had a terrible time keeping things plugged in there without knocking the plugs loose.  I suggested we see if we couldn't find a better way of keeping the grill in place.  An old cup hook did the trick...I love these sorts of fixes that require nothing more than a little creative thinking.

Shut shades and curtains on the sunny, hotter sides of the house.  We're finding too that the little kitchen sitting area is a great spot to sit in the later part of the afternoon/early evenings.

Opened all the doors to all the rooms to allow better air circulation and flow.  The living room gets awfully stuffy in the late afternoon when the bedroom and bath doors are all shut, however it's very necessary when Josh is here to keep little hands out of things they don't belong in.

Sunday:  I washed a full load of sheets and towels.  I hung all the clothes to dry on the line.  They were quite dry by noon time today.

I poured all the water from water bottles into a plastic pitcher and used that to start the watering process today.  Plants were quite dry and wilted looking so I'm thinking I may have to move those from the sun into shade if these hard temperatures keep up.   Josh and I enjoyed our quiet time in the yard watering plants.  Well, he enjoyed the freshly filled bird bath and the 'rain' that came from the hose.

I was thinking about this 'saved' water usage.  Granny and Grandmama both always kept dishpans in their sink and had both a washing dishpan and a rinse pan.  Neither of them ever did dishes without those pans in place.  When they were done washing up dishes they poured the contents of the dishpans over their garden plants or flower beds.  In winter when they had little to grow, they'd use the water to flush toilets, because in neither household did you flush the toilet every single time you walked into the bathroom. 

This water savings wasn't due to droughts but a labor savings.  When they grew up, water had to be brought indoors from the well and so you used it wisely.  After they got electricity in their homes (Granny didn't have electricity until the late '50's, Grandmama lived in cities so had running water) they kept up their old habits.  After all it cost something to have running water and they were very careful with the usage of both electricity and water.

I planted some mint plants.  I had actually clipped mint from the one I bought and rooted the clippings. 

I planted a Thai basil I rooted.  This was from a garnish on a plate of Thai food.

I made meatloaf.  I used a full two pounds of meat today but also added in finely chopped onion, mushroom and grated carrot.  I used small pieces of bread to make crumbs for the meatloaf.  We had more than we needed, so there will be extra for sandwiches this week.

I made a batch of muffins using up a half apple and two over ripe bananas.  These will be used for breakfast tomorrow morning, but we all snacked on one this afternoon.

I washed a full load of dishes.

Refilled water bottles and stored in the fridge.  This is the way I insure my family gets the water they need.  They will reach for cold water from the fridge in a cool minute but never drink it from the tap nor will they use ice cubes to make it more refreshing.

I hit upon the idea of filling little bathroom cups with ice cream for our dessert tonight.  It seemed just the right amount and I figure we were nearest the 1/2 cup serving recommended on the package.  I've found these paper bathroom cups are the perfect size for pretzels and chips and such for Josh (and myself!).  They are also handy little cups for him to drink from on his own.

Sam made pizza for our evening meal.  He used the grape tomatoes that were gone wrinkly to make his tomato sauce.

Monday:  Last night I started my Frugal Boot Camp. I am reading Orchids On Your Budget wrote down two quotes that spoke to me from the first two chapters.  First quote: "Planning about possibilities and day dreaming about improbabilities are not the same things," and the second quote, because there's more truth in it than not: "Home is where the bills are."

Made a 'welcome home' sized breakfast for John this morning which included Eggs, grits, sausage an muffins.

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

I began working on my planning list for restocking my pantry.  I also wrote out my goals for July and worked on my July calendar.

I very nearly dumped an unfamiliar email in my inbox but so glad I didn't!  I won a free bra!  I entered the contest last week via Bridgette Rae's blog and no one could be more shocked than I that I won!  I can't tell you how much I need this bra, either.  Oh this was a blessing!  I've been eyeing my last purchases of late, well aware they were getting too big and wondering just when I might find more.  I will let you all know how this one fits, since it is a company sponsored give away.

We had lovely rain yesterday afternoon, so no need to water plants today.  Even the plants on the porches were well watered in that rain.  I am saving leftovers from glasses and water bottles for watering tomorrow.  It's quite hot out there again.

Intent on using up the last bits of fruit we have in the house, I put out the last of the grapes.  I had two small bunches cut from a bigger one and a lot of loose grapes.  Josh and I shared the loose ones which John tends to think are overripe.

I found that three of the four Roma tomatoes I'd bought had gone bad on the top sides.  I cut that away (doing a deep cut) and then put the remaining tomato portions in the fridge in a covered dish.  I'll use those in salads.

Got a bit upset when it was suggested I'd not done well with grocery budget this month since it was a little higher.  No, I'm not responsible for all the foods eaten but I've been responsible for half the main dishes and all the breakfasts and lunches as well as most of the produce bought.  I also had company four weekends out of four (extra over and above the family with us) so I think after all that it's unreasonable to expect I might stick hard to my usual budget and that I have done rather well overall. 

Tuesday:  Bess and I decided to go back to The Fresh Market and stock up on $2.99/pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, boneless thighs (for her) and ground beef.  I also purchased produce that was at the same price point as I might pay elsewhere (non-Aldi): a seedless watermelon (the only kind I can eat), plums, organic strawberries (sale priced) and Cripps Pink Lady Apples.  I also bought two loaves of bread and a larger container of the organic carrageenan free half and half.  I spent my allowance on all these things but will get that money back when Bess and Sam pay rent at end of the week.

We came home for lunch, which happened to be leftovers from yesterday's Chicken Parmigiana dish and another salad.

I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher but avoided hand washing anything as we had storm fronts moving through off and on.

Made John's work lunch for tomorrow.

Wednesday:  Packed John's lunch for work.  Made him breakfast.

I had big plans this morning...and instead I ended up giving myself a beauty morning.  I shaved, polished, masked, colored, exfoliated and smoothed.  Honestly, I saved tons doing this because I used what I had on hand and just two of these treatments at a salon would cost over $100.  I promise you I spent less than $2 for all that time I spent on myself.  And you know what?  I felt terrific and fresh and well kept when I was done.  That part is priceless.

Bess kindly shared a half sheet of mani/pedi Red White and Blue Jamberry nail wraps with me.  I like using the Jamberry as an accent nail.  My pedicure this morning resulted in red toe nails with a R/W/&B stripe big toe nail.

Made Pigs n Blankets today, and no it wasn't on my menu this week.  Bess and I found ourselves alone and were loathe to make a big meal.  I did make the 'blankets' from scratch, using biscuit dough.  I had a half dozen biscuits besides which I'll bake in the morning for breakfast.

For tonight's supper we had big salads, using a little leftover turkey breast and roast beef cut in slivers as the protein.

Thursday:  Made a 'big' breakfast of Biscuits and sausage and eggs this morning. 

John offered to buy chicken for lunch today and I happily let him.  He paid from his allowance.

I stopped by the flea market and removed an item I had in my booth.  Bess had been looking at a catalog earlier last week and pointed out a 'new' Cosco step stool.  I happened to have a very nice vintage model in my booth that hadn't sold.   Since I'm closing the booth at the end of July anyway, I figured I'd gift the step stool to Bess, who was pleased as punch when I offered it to her this afternoon.

Went by the peach shed and bought peaches and tomatoes.  I bought a bigger than usual bag of peaches because I wanted to put some in the freezer.  Bess has been making smoothies and has made a nice dint in last year's summer fruits.  She used the last of last year's peaches yesterday morning.

I made plans for Sam's returning in time for dinner this evening, but he was delayed by work being finished up at the house.  I used up leftovers tonight and will serve the meal I'd planned for today when he arrives tomorrow.  Happily the prep work is all done.

Pulled off a leftover makeover of Meatloaf Baked Sandwiches which were very tasty.  I portioned out the last of the ice cream as a treat.  I'm finding serving in a 5 ounce cup is perfect portion control for me.

Friday:  One of my most favorite of summer breakfasts is peanut butter toast with a fresh juicy peach sliced atop.  It's so delicious to me and really made me happy.  I love my peaches!

John put in a request for a cobbler.  I did buy an extra large bag so I guess I'll do that for him.  It's not expensive to make and is always so good.

John washed a load of clothes this morning and hung most to dry.

It rained again late yesterday afternoon so no need to water plants.

I gathered a variety of leftovers for today's lunch.

We will be going to pick up John's paycheck later in the day.  I've got bills ready and trash has been bagged to carry off with us.  I also have mail ready to go out.

I had a call from the flea market this morning.  I was asked if I was ready to close my booth.  I'd meant to do that end of this month anyway and apparently having reviewed books the owner is aware that my business is just not doing well at all.  Nothing I can do about it, but accept that this season has ended.  It was fun if not exactly highly profitable.  I am sure God will open another door for me, as He always has in the past.  One of my July goals will be well underway next week.


Lana said...

The daughter of the man who developed the seedless watermelon was a good friend of mine growing up. They went to church near our house and we came home Sunday after Sunday to find watermelons on our porch. The Florida Dept of Agriculture farm where Dr. Mortensen worked had to get rid of all the produce they grew. Year by year we watched the seeds go away. Today's watermelons have small white seeds but Dr. M bred them to be really seedless. He passed away 2 years ago at the age of 82.

Anonymous said...

Like my mother did I use two plastic sink containers for the wash and rinse water too. If you buy any for that use and intend to take the water outside make sure the handles are comfortable and are very stiff. I had one where the handles bent from the weight of the waster. Also I have a 3/4 size for one and it is easier to carry. Lately I have switched to putting the water back into a bucket with a handle to take out. Trying to get the kitchen door and the screen door open and not let the flies in is hard enough without trying to carry the sink containers in both hands. :)
My mother always had a red Costco step chair in the kitchen. When we were small and in the kitchen with her the rule was we had to sit on it unless she said we could help her. That way we were not around her legs when she was cutting things or using hot oils and such. Consequently a stool like that was a sweet memory so we bought a used one for our home too. It is so helpful to have those pull out steps to reach upper cabinets when needed too.
Thank you for the frugal book title. That one is new to me. I keep my favorites to review too. Remember those articles by Joanna York and such women usually in Family circle who feed their families for say $12 a week in the 80s? I would love an update from them. That is why The Prudent Homemakers updates are so interesting too as she has to up or down with her budget. I still have some of those old articles and Joanna's book. Aren't these ladies who talk about their pantry work so helpful! Like your blog we learn so much from other blogs and each other.
Hubby is doing very good on his diabetic numbers and his A1C was great. He still wants to tweet it a bit as he tends to shy away from fruits but he needs them too so we need to concentrate on that. I have a list of how much of each fruit..fresh or dried, is one portion and that helps a lot. All of the diabetic classes we attended were well worth the time. I also have some diabetic magazines and found some very good books I am working through. As the cook even without diabetes I of course have to plan. We used to get the Better Homes and Gardens Heart Healthy magazine They discontinued it years back. They told us to then go to the diabetic issue they do as the diets were basically the same and would be fine for diabetes. I am just adding that information in case it helps any. Your diabetic diatician would help of course. I kept all those magazines because they had such good advice and recipes. Recipes do not go out of date! :) I only buy the books that I review that follow the good information we already know. I use that as a basis so we don't get strange advice that is not right. I also only get ones with basic recipes ..not ones where they say to get this or that diabetic only cooking ingredient. I want to be able to do home cooking with the products we usually have on hand. We do buy Splenda and I grow some Stevia. I am sure none of this is new to you but perhaps I can help someone else. Like everything this is a learning process..not a contest. I like your reminding us that we do the learning in steps.
I have read both your Thursday and Friday post and so these comments are a combination from both posts. I didn't realize how I had done that till now. Bye for now...Sarah

Anonymous said...

I was going through an old stash of picture frames and such things. I found the pictures we had in our first house. I had made them all, All of them were in little frames with the original hippie paint on them that they had had on them before I bought them used. I loved the look of the old frames with several paints peeking through. I guess i was into hippie paint even almost 50 years ago!! In them I had copied poems I loved with the other frame being a picture that went along with it. In others I had covered a cardboard piece to fit in the frame from material I had used for clothes for us. On top of that I had cut out many different flower pictures from magazines and seed catalogs. I overlapped them even adding a butterfly picture to one. Some had backing material of check material or ticking. I am keeping two of the pictures as is to use now and reusing a few other frames and passing the rest on. I am sure the frames will be useful for someone. I had no idea I still had these! I also found one I made for our first child's bedroom. It had a Peanuts cartoon theme. I am sure back then the price of the used frames maybe set us back a dollar or two and the magazines were passed to me so free to use. The price was right as even the new paint for the frames was not! Now I am glad to see these original frames as they are ! ! :)
Frugal was the name of the game from day one!! :-)))))) Sarah

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

The framed prints are beautiful.... Love them.
Enjoyed this post.. Being frugal is a every day chore. Some weeks are better than others. And some weeks I fall.. But, I try to do better the next week.ha
You do an excellent job with your meal planning.. and really have amazed me at how well you and Bess have done with the meals..
Love your blog. it helps encourage me to keep things going.. thank you.
Hope you and your family have a wonderful July 4th holiday.

Stephanie said...

Count me in with this frugal bootcamp. The past few months have been extra tight, and honestly, I'm tired of it.

Things I've done this week to stretch our dollars:

*Our daughter's 16th birthday was yesterday. I had cash set aside for her gift and dinner.
*Working diligently in my garden. I've harvested green beans, squash, cucumbers, okra, mint...much going to food storage for winter. Gladiolas were cut and paired with mint to make beautiful arrangements. Funny how something so simple can lift my spirits.
*Organized my pantry and freezers to know what is on hand.
*Received a $300 gift card for switching our internet, phone and TV service. That card serves as our grocery budget this month. It will be a challenge, but I'm determined to stick to that amount. My ravenous teenagers will have lots of baked goods to snack on!
*Made homemade chocolate chip cookies when I kept hearing there was nothing to eat. Why have I not been doing this all along?! Simple and oh soooo good!
*Made doggie treats from scratch. Had all ingredients here. Once again...why haven't I been doing this all along?
*Our anniversary was this week. We really don't do gifts but my husband used a father's day gift card and bought me two lemon trees. I love them. They will come inside during colder months. Any ideas on how to care for them???
*Received our electric oh my! North Carolina summers are rough with humidity. Especially with hot flashes! Trying my best to reduce this bill next month without becoming a melted puddle. Laundry during off peak hours. Reduced light usage. Keeping after kids with multiple electronics going.
*I made a checklist detailing how long it will be before we pay off various bills. Our income is fixed so no opportunities for overtime (I miss that). That means any extra funds will have to come from various cuts in our budget. It's painful but necessary.

That's all I've got. I'm trying to stay optimistic and look at this time as a learning experience, although I've failed at times with this. Reading your blog let's me know I'm not going through this alone and that inspires me each and every day!!!

Anonymous said...

Joann York, I thought I was the only one old enough to remember her. I have her very worn book and articles. I think one think that was so important in her budget was portion control, very few snacks and a limited meat budget. I also have Amy Daczyns books. They are getting a little outdated but fun to read. There are so many ways to save that are on the internet. Pinterest is a great source of information, and i find so many gardening and money saving ideas.
Terri, were you told "if it's yellow,let it mellow if it's brown flush it down."? I also grew up where water was very scarce in the summertime. Something I take for granted that I shouldnt, cheap abundant water that tastes very good, that comes out of the faucet cold. I am also very envious of your flowers prints. I have seen them before and I had a calendar from many years ago and a few matching frames, so with a few snips some lovely flower pictures. Thank you for the idea! Great post. You have inspired me to get very mindful of the pennies once again. I have been doing so cleaning and getting a lot 9f stuff together to donate and now my neighbor has had a yard sale for 3 days and has had steady traffic, so my have to rethink and maybe see if my daughter would like to have one.
Gramma D

Anonymous said...

I took a break from reading blogs for a while. I was spending way too much time on them and stressing about trying to keep up with every little thing people were posting about saving money. My anxiety levels were through the roof. I know that sounds crazy, but it's how my brain works. If I'm not doing it all, I feel like a failure. Anyway, I made the best peach icecream I think I've ever had this week. It is a Taste of Home recipe called Contest-Winning Peach Ice Cream. I don't have an ice cream maker so I had to borrow one. I had some peaches that needed to be used up. We had picked up a $10 box of seconds LST weekend when we drove through Roberta.

Janell said...

That was my post above. Janell

Vickie's Kitchen and Garden said...

I love to read books on frugality too but I've developed the motto you can't do it all (or you would go crazy)! I just pick and choose what I can do.

I'm sorry to hear about your shop closing and hope you find something you love to do soon. I know an opportunity will come up for you.

Have a great day

Diary for July: Week Two

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