Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frugal Doings This Week

Just so you don't think I spend all my time shopping at Goodwill -- Here are some frugal things I did this week.

A friend gave us a pair of velveteen green drapes that she had made about 6 years ago (remember when velvet drapes were all the rage) and I hung one panel in the opening between our family room and the stairs leading up to the foyer in an effort to keep the cold air downstairs. The dog is usually down there and he goes in and out all the time plus we use the door to the garage to get in and out of the house so it's always colder on that level than it is upstairs.

I used to buy about 90% organic before my husband's salary was reduced. Now I buy only a few things organic (and cut my grocery bill almost in half). So I was happy to find some marked down organic onions and green beans at Kroger this week.

I blanchedthe green beans to prepare them for freezing. Ideally I think you should preserve food in various ways in case one fails. Like if your freezer dies, you would still have canned or dried foods available. I don't know how to can. I can't really say why I haven't tackled learning how to do it? When I see people do it on their blogs it doesn't really seem that hard. So I don't know what it is. Anyway, I freeze everything or else I dry it.

We had fresh beans for a couple of nights and I froze the rest for later use. I do have one of those vacuum sealers but I couldn't be bothered with getting it out so I sucked the air out of the bags with a straw (made myself quite dizzy - it might have been better to make the effort to get the vacuum sealer)!

Most of the onions I chopped up and put in a freezer bag. This is a time saver also. It's so much easier to get some chopped up onion out of the freezer when you need it than to spend time chopping it as you need it.

I got a few free samples from Walmart this week. Go here Walmart Free Samples. They ask for your email but it's optional. I've never filled that part in and I've still gotten all of the samples I've asked for.

Even though it was freezing cold here this week (it was 19 this a.m.!) I still hung some laundry out to dry (freeze) since it was sunny in the afternoons. I used a coupon to buy some new sneakers at Sports Authority and of course when I went grocery shopping. I sold a few things on ebay for some Christmas shopping money. I've tried not to have the heat on higher than 72 when I'm home and 69 at night (we all have electric blankets). Stuck to my menu plan even though we've had Taco Soup three times this week (I made a lot and I've been busy). Those are the major frugal things I've done this week.

What frugal things have you done this week?


Shilo said...

Kudos to you! This week I only grocery shopped in my pantry, except for milk! I'm always amazed at what we can come up with when we discipline ourselves to use what we have!

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Cut the boys' hair! Made sandwiches when I wanted to go to a drive thru. Free things from Wal Mart???
Love your pillow makeover below!!!
Are you doing my Portable Studio challenge? Hope so!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! Our electric bill has slowly been decreasing...we are at that great point of the year where we don't need the a/c, but we don't need the heat yet either! Add to that the fact that we disconnect EVERYTHING we're not using {except the fridge and cable/dvr} our bill was $20 less this month than in October and $40 less than in August!

I know you'll appreciate this little bit...I haven't bought a single magazine in like...a month! I've been visiting the magazine's websites instead, and re-reading some old issues. It's been hard! :)

salmagundi said...

The really big thing this week is that I informed our adult kids that we would not be exchanging presents with them this Christmas. Now, this is really BIG; because for my entire 70 years of life I have been part of huge Christmases as far as gifts go. So, this year it will be only for the 2 grandkids. It is going to be the hardest on me, because I always love to shop for all of them; but we will save over $1000. Sally

Betsy said...

I like your idea of freezing chopped onion! I buy ground beef in bulk at Sams Club and brown the whole thing when I get home and freeze it in 1 lb. divisions. It's so quick and easy to make tacos, chili, spaghetti...just 2 minutes in the microwave right in the ziplock (vented!) and it's ready to go! I think I'll go chop some onions! :)

glorv1 said...

Hi Manuela. I also freeze my vegetables. This week I froze a lot of chile that were still growing in the backyard, I separated hamburger meat and froze, I went to a thrift store and found some goodies for only five dollars and other little things. Have a great Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Love hearing about your frugal week! You got some great bargains. I keep hearing such good things about Kroger.

We're having to pinch a bit harder here (didn't think it to be possible) due to a few unexpected bills; not the best time but it is what it is. I'm hoping until Christmas we can eat mostly out of our pantry and freezer. We'll need a few regular weekly items, but the list is short. On the positive side, I won't miss the crowds!

Finished Christmas shopping early by shopping mostly online with free or reduced shipping. Used a drugstore GC to buy stocking stuffers and treats. Planning a special date dinner at home instead of going out. Grocery shopped and saved $30 in coupons; spent $40. I'm signing up for samples too. Keeping busy with projects so I'm not so tempted to want to spend.

Susie Homemaker said...

Hi Manuela,
I worked 57 hours this week...blogged ??? and slept, I was too busy to go anywhere and spend anything...I gassed up the car last week and because of not having time to go anywhere I still have half a tank...this will probably get me throught til payday...there you have it...I still have most of my paycheck! But, if you look at my latest post...I will probably have to go to the hairdresser and blow the whole thing! LOL!

Your posts are so helpful!

Glenda said...

I've had to do the lower price and store thing myself many, many times.

My mother and grandmother did canning, and it is not hard, but there are steps to take, to insure there sealed and stored properly. My mom and dad where still eating canned goods that were made in the 1980's and they were still good.

So, you might me able to learn it and know it isn't hard. I use to help my mom. but don't can myself.


Kathleen Grace said...

I bought $24 worth of batteries at CVS, and with coupons and CVS bucks back they paid me to take them. Our thermostat is set at 64 during the day and 60 at night. I discovered large boxes of very slightly bruised apples at Meijer the other day and dried most of them for snacking. A 25 lb. box cost $2! Slightly over ripe grapes cost 74 cents a package and we made grape jelly by cooking them down and adding just sugar. Thanks for the link to Walmart freebies!

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

I suck the air out bags with a straw too! It's quite hilarious but it works well!

I came by to say thanks for your wonderful comments you just left on the lookiloos are so nice!

Storybook Woods said...

You are a busy, frugal girl. I bough a huge organic banana squash and have been roasting it, purring and putting it in the freezer. Also made pie crust for the freezer. Added water to the hand soap to make it go father. xoxox Clarice

Lady Katherine said...

You are so clever, I love the ways you save money, Yes, I was beginning to think you stalked the Goodwill store. lol I wish we had one here. But Gateway Mission is still in Pearl, so when we go down that way, I going to check it out. Oh, Hubby got me a NEW sofa, for $0.00, But I could not give up my old one, so on went the slip cover. Put the wing back chairs in dining room. Added new sofa. Rug 3 times taken back, hubby wants this one, Maybe I can use fabric paint?

Lady Katherine said...

Talking about Frugal, in the country we use propane, which cost over $300.00 ever 3-4 weeks. All the trees fell from a storm. We are heating with wood. No propane until it hits in the teens. Its been 27 degrees. I think we gone back in time and grandma house with tons of blankets! I did not want to get up! I have pleeded my case, for the bath room. I get to have an electric heater, so I can bathe in warmth! Think I will just move into the bathroom, its large enough. 15x16. Cook me a few green beans. I going to start looking more when we go to grocery! I freeze everything too, except tomatos I can those and jellys. Too scared of the other,for we need a new pressure cooker. They say stove does not get hot enough. I called everyone, while we were putting up peas and green beans this summer. I just don't see why, if you total cooked the veggies and canned in jars, would it work? Maybe some one would know.

Sher said...

Manuela, canning is easy but can be expensive the first year if you can't find canning jars (check out yard sales!) or get a good buy on a canner. I agree with you - the best way to go is to use more than one method for preserving veggies. I've never canned meats but know people who have done it. I'm proud of young people like yourself who have and are learning to do things like this. It's not just a way to save, it's a part of culture and continuation of history.

Anonymous said...

Manuela, You stay so busy and are just too practical! It amazes me at the things I have learned from you.

As for being frugal this week, this was about the most of it:
I keep our heat set on 63-65 during the day (or cut it off if it gets above 55 and sunny outside) and set it on 67 at night. It has drooped our electric bill over 100.00 from the last winter bill I received here nearly three years ago. I also had the kids gathering kindling for firestarter and pile it all up in one area. I went through several weeks worth of coupons and separated the "special" items needed for holiday cooking and then went to Publix (where they double coupons) for my holiday grocery buying. I was able to save a lot as many of those items were also on sale in the store as well. We used the last of our autumn lettuces this week, so now I will have to start buying lettuce again. Instead of throwing out leftover soup and chili, I have begin freeing it. I can use the chili later on hot dogs and the soup makes a quick lunch for me. And instead of going out to eat when we had multiple events in one night, I broke out the crock pot for several nights.
My biggest frugal move of the week (and the one that has emphasizes my role as the "mean" mom) has started a war in the house and that would be the removing of light bulbs from the girls closets because they leave them on without fail EVERY morning and often at night after they are asleep.

Hope you have a fabulous Sunday!

I was going to mention if you are interested in canning I can give you a hand. I always thought it was hard, but it really is quite easy. Just a little expense at first, then everything is reuseable.

CookinsForMe said...

Manuela, you've been a very busy girl! This week I pretty much just worked and kept my spending down. I did gas up the truck (I'm thrilled gas is "cheap" now!) but that's a necessary evil here.

I also went grocery shopping a couple of times but it was my normal clearance/great deal shopping so I don't feel bad about it.

And I dehydrated a few pounds of ground beef and will dehydrate about 15 more pounds over the next few days. I keep hoping to find a really good deal on ground beef so I can dehydrate a more substantial quantity but it hasn't happened in at least a year.

We don't do christmas so its easy for me to not spend money on all those bargains out there. ;)

Rosemary said...

Hi Manuela,
Just got back from the flea market with Jamie.
You are a very clever shopper!!
You have great ideas.
That sounds a bit cold for these California girls.
Have a great week ahead,

Sue said...

I can picture you sucking air out of a Ziploc bag using a straw...that must have been a site...I was very frugal today, went to Publix and saved $71.67 using coupons on all the BOGO stuff...they had everything on sale, it was a red letter day...And I keep the house cold...60 during the day and 57 at night. Gotta keep the dog cool...I wrote about our unusual weather on the blog....I thought all my Jersey friends would appreciate it....

Tracey McBride said...

Hi Manuela! As always you're an inspiration! The green beans look yummy!! I freeze everything too! I only can jelly and applesauce. Even though we live in southern California, the weather does get a bit cool in the mornings (especially when the fog comes in off the ocean in the A.M.) but I haven't wanted to turn our heater I use one of those electric oil--circulating heaters in our north facing kitchen which gets really cold compared to the rest of the house. (We bought it from Target several years ago when we had our workshop). It never gets hot to the touch (just warm) and doesn't use much electicity. I also went on a "money diet" this week...and tried not to spend any...I did pretty well except that I ran out of coffee on Friday, so splurged on my favorite frugal luxury and went to a nearby Starbucks and bought their $!.90 vente (large) drip coffee with extra cream and splenda Saturday and Sunday (spent $5.00-incling tips). Tomorrow I'll go to Trader Joe's and get a few things for our Thanksgiving meal. We'll go down to my Dad's and he supplies the turkey and potatoes and we bring the treats, pies, veggies, and other won't be dieting in any way this week!! I will use the fresh pumpkins from my porch (cut, roasted & pureed) to make pumpkin pies. (Will try to post those on my blog on Tues? or??). Also, had to thank you for the tip on onion freezing! I am definitely doing that!!! They always make me less crying. Thanks so much for the great post.
P.S. I missed the WalMart freebies post...would it be too much trouble to repost the link? xo

Betty said...

We are so fortunate that we know how to be frugal...I was reared by older parents who had lived through the depression..

My husband taught school when we married and teachers were certainly underpaid..we were paid once a month and that last week was rough...

My mother-in-law taught me how to can and had a big garden so I canned all our vegetables...not so much now because of the empty nest....

I enjoy many blessings just waiting to be gleaned...

I always enjoy reading your blog...Betty

Suzanne said...

Freeze dried laundry?, Light-headed after green bean bag sucking? :)'ve had quite a week!
Let's see, it's cold here too and we all have down comforters and/or electric blankets. Shopped at Goodwill for "new" winter clothes. (thankfully, a lady my size must have been tired of wearing 'last years' winter fashions, and I now have a "newish" winter wardrobe).
Shopped at Walmart for other things, ie food. Thanks for the free samples link, I'll have to check that out!

Diana said...

Sounds like you've been very productive! I don't think I've done as much frugal stuff lately as I should be doing, but I did heat up some frozen soup for dinner this past Sunday, instead of buying new food. Yesterday, I wanted to do a little treat for my hubby and stopped by a chocolate shop. Instead of buying several things, I just got him a slice of Peanut Butter Choclate Fudge and instead of buying a card, I made one with craft supplies I had at home. :) I posted photos on my blog if you want to see the card and surprise. Oh, and today, I am eating some of the leftovers from Sunday's frozen soup for lunch. :)