Recent Frugal Accomplishments

Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving everyone!

Here are a few little things I’ve done lately that I would consider to be Frugal Accomplishments:

*Didn’t have to fuel up my van for nearly two weeks. Hard to believe since I feel like I’ve had a LOT of kid running to do lately. However, all of it is local stuff, so I guess that’s why the tank stretched out longer.

*Had the lowest electric bill we’ve opened in a LONG time, I think mostly due to the fact that our heat hasn’t had to run. We’ve been blessed with a warm fall!

*On that note, we haven’t had to order heating fuel yet this fall.

*I’ve been able to hang out laundry a decent amount.

*My husband has been able to score some free meat items from work, mostly samples of recipes he’s tried or ends of stuff that wouldn’t be able to be sold. He also brought home a bag of chopped pecans that someone was headed to the trash can with! (It was the last bit of what was a huge bag.)

*I haven’t thrift shopped much at all, but the one time I was in lately I found this little treasure from the 70’s.

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Why did this 75 cent find excite me? Well, my parents just celebrated a 40 year anniversary. This upholstery fabric topped a hope chest my Dad bought my Mom way back when. It had gotten worn over many years of use and they had it recovered with something different maybe 10 years ago. As soon as I saw this, I knew it was the same fabric pattern and it was in brand new condition–also, it is the exact size needed to cover their chest!

*I ordered several kids’ Christmas gifts via Amazon while I had a free month’s trial of their Prime membership. I did not continue the membership, but enjoyed free shipping while it lasted:)

*My Dad continues to give us free cheese crumbles from his work. Also, we sometimes inherit other goodies too. It’s a bonus to have people working in the food industry I guess.

*Had a neighbor with a young adult son bring over a couple bags of clothing for my young man. It had a lot of great stuff in it for which we are thankful for.  Love not having to buy many clothes for my boys!

Vintage Sewing Wreath

Y’all should know that I love making wreaths.

Plus I also enjoy sewing AND yard sale shopping for cool vintage finds.

This wreath is a happy marriage of all those things put together!

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I took a wide burlap ribbon and threaded it onto a wire wreath frame.

(Please don’t ask me to do a tutorial on it, for me it’s just trial and error. Can’t say I make the greatest ones anyway…)

Then I added a touch of red burlap ribbon for a little color.

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Next came the fun part for me. I added things like old button cards, thimbles, and sewing charms from a clearance item at Michael’s.

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Also, some wooden spools of thread, both empty and full.

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Most of these things came from yard sale box lots, even the cool stand that I have this displayed on.

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I have no idea what this is officially called, but it is a ruler on a tripod stand with an arm that tilts forward with hem lengths displayed on it. It is perfect for setting my wreath on.

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This was a creative way to use up and display some of those vintage sewing notions I’d accumulated.

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All in all, this is different than any other wreath I’ve ever made, but I personally love it!

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Since I haven’t done a frugal posting in a bit, here is a conglomeration of some things I’ve done lately:

*We’ve had gorgeous weather as of late, so I’ve hung out all of our wash on the clothesline instead of running a dryer.

*Got some free bananas at a local store. As I was checking out after picking up some milk, the lady at the register asked if I wanted a free bunch that were turning brown. Of course I said yes! They went into smoothies this week.

*Speaking of smoothies, I hadn’t made any in a few months because our blender had died. I had refrained from buying one since it wasn’t really a necessity of life. Now that my husband is fully back to work (normal paychecks are finally rolling in!) and all of his medical bills are paid off, I felt better about buying one.

*Inherited a partial huge bag of long grain rice. I cook with rice a lot, so this was a blessing.

*Helped my aunt clean out some stuff from her apartment last weekend. She said we could take whatever we wanted and the rest could be donated. She used to sew a lot, so I was gifted a bunch of fabric, along with some other odds and ends.

*My husband was able to bring home a big bag of bacon ends and smoked cheese from work.

*Our local community fair was this past week. My parents met the kids and I there one night and treated us to some wonderful fair food for supper.

*Had a leftover smorgasbord for dinner another evening.

*I had a rice-filled heating pad that was getting old and kinda grungy. I tossed it and made a brand new one using the gifted fabric and rice.

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*Purchased this fun crochet/lace vest at a thrift store for a couple bucks. I see this matching a lot of items and being a great layering piece for multiple seasons. The back looks really cool too!

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments + A God Story

My life has been a little topsy turvy lately, so I am way off in sharing what I call my “frugal accomplishments.”

It has been one heck of an expensive year for this family, all with unforeseen crazy things that have cropped up. Therefore, instead of despairing, I am trying to be thankful that we have been careful with finances and have some savings to cover unexpected expenses.

So, in keeping with my frugal mindset more than ever, here are the latest money saving things to happen here….

*Had several people bless & surprise us with meals right after Jeff’s accident. (If you are one of those people, thank you!!)

*I’ve been able to hang out laundry most days.

*I keep washing out ziploc bags, drying them, and reusing them, as long as they are in good shape. (Not any that contain meat products–I do throw those out right away.)

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*I found these cool vintage burlap feed sacks at a yard sale for pretty cheap. I would love to try using them in some projects and plan to start with re-covering a stool top with the design portion of one of them.

*Haven’t had to do any big grocery runs in a couple of weeks.

*We have picked beets, sweet corn, onions, cucumbers, squash, blueberries, and green beans out of our garden. I blanched and froze many, many bags of the beans this past weekend. I also froze some blueberries.

*My boys foraged around for some wineberries last week. We ate some and the rest I made into jelly. I had also made some black raspberry jelly a couple weeks back, plus some black raspberry/grape blend jelly. Yum.

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*Sold this rag rug that I had made on Ebay.

*Before his accident, my husband brought me a really nice Pampered Chef glass baking dish with a snap-on lid. It had been sitting around his work lunch area for awhile with no one to claim it, so it was free to a good home!

*Used zucchini from the garden to make Chocolate Zucchini bread. It was the bomb.

*This probably sounds awful, but since my oldest has been working and mostly living at a camp, I haven’t had to feed him much or do his laundry (they make him do his own wash there, so thank you camp people!) this summer. Seriously, with how much he eats, it’s like they’re paying me;)

*Speaking of my oldest son, he is headed to a camp in Virginia next week that is offering a “Mountain Man” outpost. He doesn’t need to pack that much, but needed a couple of specific items to wear. I scored two pairs of Carhartt beige work pants for an amazing $9.99 each off of a clearance rack. That’s like an absolute steal for Carhartt products (local people, FYI, it was at Good’s store). Then my husband took him to Outback Trading to find a certain style of hat for this Mountain man thing. I am proud to say that they found a really cool one that is perfect for only $8 (normally probably a $40-$50 hat!!) on a clearance rack.

And last but not least…..

*Not really a frugal accomplishment per se, but a testimony to how awesome God works–this is what happened just yesterday. We had had another bill roll in from the dentist for two root canals Jeff had to have like two weeks before his incident. (As if the poor guy has not been tortured enough lately, yowza!) Within a couple of days, we had 3 different reimbursement checks show up for things him or I had paid for at work or church lately. Y’all, this is SO cool–without thinking, I added up the amount from the reimbursement checks and it was literally the SAME amount as the bill from the dentist, plus 9 cents to spare. I could have cried. God is good. They were cashed and taken directly to the dentist.

Thanks for stopping in! Hope your summer is going well.

Rachel

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Hello!

If you are new here or unfamiliar with my “frugal accomplishment” posts, here’s a synopsis of what they are about.

Basically I go over what I have done in the past week (it’s ended up being about two weeks in actuality) to save our family some money. Some of the things may be repetitive, others may be brand new. We are a family of seven that has lived on one income for many years–and done so rather successfully, I might add. We don’t do credit, our vehicles have long been paid for, and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on our mortgage. Though my husband is the breadwinner, I have been the one to manage our money over our 16 years of marriage. I’m not patting myself on the back or anything, but I think I do a fair job at it, and as our kids have grown I’ve gotten much better at being frugal. (Sorry to break it to you readers with small children, but they get more expensive as they get older!!) Therefore, I feel like I know a little bit about what I’m preaching on here, so I feel like I can share freely about what I do on a regular basis.

Anyway, with that bit of background, here’s what I’ve done these last two weeks:

*Harvested sugar snap peas, beets, scallions, greens, and hull peas out of the garden. I blanched and froze some bags of the regular peas to keep for winter.

*I just got a nice deal on apricots and am making Apricot Pineapple Jam with them.

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*Didn’t do any big grocery runs.

*Had a leftover smorgasbord for several different meals instead of cooking up something new.

*The kids and I went to the North Museum in Lancaster for free yesterday! I had a free voucher for a family that I had gotten the day they reopened after remodeling. We had tried to go that opening day, but due to plumbing issues, they had to close their doors and issued family vouchers to everyone who had tried to attend. I literally got handed one before even going in. SO…I paid nothing and we all got to see the newly remodeled museum AND planetarium show for free.

*Packed our lunch instead of eating out for several different outings.

*We’ve been to the library a couple of times since school let out. The library is our saving grace during the summer! Usually we stop to trade in books about once a week and then attend some of their free programs too. The kids signed up for the summer reading program, where they can earn free coupons and passes to local places.

*I helped serve a wedding rehearsal dinner at our church one evening. When the meal was done, I was given some of the leftovers to take home for my crew. They were yum!

*For the same wedding, I had Longwood Gardens tickets that we had gotten free with our family pass. I gave them as a gift to the bride and groom instead of buying something. (Hey, I know that sounds cheap of me, but I thought it was a cool gift! It’s a great date destination.)

*I bought some very cool retro soda advertisement glasses for super cheap at a yard sale. My kids are in love with them and I purged some of our little kid cups in the process.

*One of our AC units was making some crazy noises and I thought we would have to buy a new one. My handy man checked it out and was able to fix it on his own. Hooray for guys that can fix stuff!!!

That’s all I have for the moment. Hope you’re having a wonderful week.

–Rachel

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Hi everyone!

Hope you are all wrapping up the school year well and getting into summer mode. We have a whole day and a half of school left and I’m partially looking forward to it, partially in denial. I’m ready to be done with papers/homework/lunchboxes and looking forward to sleeping in/no homework/not as much *stuff* to keep track of! Ask me again in the beginning of August and I’m certain my tune will have changed!! It’s a little mixed feelings for me every year. So it goes.

Here are some little things I’ve done to save us some dollars in the past week and a half or so:

*Our school gave free vouchers to each student for School Spirit Night at a Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game. We also inherited two vouchers from my brother’s family, so the 7 of us went for free.

*My three younger kids and I brown bagged it at another school trip to Dutch Wonderland instead of buying food there. When we were done it was dinnertime, so I took them out to eat using some gift cards I had.

*My Mom gave me like $30 in Kohl’s cash, which I used to buy some new (yes, new!) sneakers for myself.

*The kids and I went to my husband’s grandmother’s farm and were able to pick a bunch of strawberries. I think we got about 10 or so quarts in total. I used them to make a couple batches of strawberry jelly and we ate the rest! (This pic is from last year when I was able to do the same thing.)

*From our garden we also got some greens, scallions, and sugar snap peas.

*I scored a nice heavy rain poncho thing for my oldest son at a yard sale for 50 cents. He is working as a counselor-in-training at a summer camp this year, so I will send it along just in case. (And yes, I’m totally in denial that I have a child who is not only old enough to work, but will be living away a good portion of the week.)

*Didn’t have to fill my gas tank at all!

Okay, now I have to ‘fess up a non-frugal thing. But it’s not one that I did, it was my hubs….

He has never really done much on Ebay before, but I am pretty experienced at it. He thought he was being frugal by bidding on used hiking backpacks instead of buying new ones, which can run pretty pricey.

He won one backpack, which was fine.

Then another e-mail rolled in saying we won another one. Okay, we could use two I guess…

I didn’t think to ask or check if he had bid on any more. I wrongly assumed he had just bid on two. NOPE.

Fast forward a day and we get two MORE e-mails saying he had won two more backpacks!!!! Aaaah!!! My frugal heart about had an attack. Thank the LORD I caught it right away and was able to cancel the two extra orders. Then I checked to make sure there were no more bids floating around out there. Thankfully not. We now have two hiking backpacks and I am good with that.

Thank you for listening to my Ebay tale. Happy June.

Rachel

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Okay, so this is more like the last TWO week’s frugal accomplishments.

Here we go…

*We inherited two new shrubs to plant for free from someone else’s landscaping project. They look great in one of our small side beds.

*I bought a pair of yoga-style pants for my girl, then cut off the bottoms, hemmed them, and made them into little comfy shorts for her this summer. (Random rant–so many older girls’ shorts sold at stores are incredibly short. SO frustrating….)

*Made a couple of boy’s jeans with serious knee-holes into shorts too.

*I also got a pair of petite jeans at a yard sale for myself and converted them into longer shorts. Really, there’s nothing petite about me, so I didn’t have to cut all that much off the length!

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*I used up more of my fabric stash to make another crocheted rag rug. An amateur effort, but I really love how it turned out. I’m currently working on a denim one using some old jeans. Perhaps I really will do a tutorial on these one day.

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*My whole side of the family went to Baltimore last Sunday and visited the aquarium. We packed a picnic lunch and ate outside at some picnic tables afterwards instead of going out to eat. It was a really beautiful day. As my kids and both of my brother’s girls have spring birthdays, this was my parents’ birthday gift to them all instead of toys or a material gift. (Big Thank You to my Mom and Dad for this! Also, You’re Welcome for suggesting a picnic instead of paying for 13 people to eat at the Inner Harbor!!)

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They were also able to go down in the submarine that is parked near the aquarium. My little guys loved it-especially the torpedoes!!

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*Some of our lettuce greens are really thriving, so we were able to cut some and have it for salad several times.

*My Dad continues to give us containers of free cheese crumbles from his work. This is the crumbly stuff that is left after cutting blocks of fancy cheese. We are getting spoiled eating $14+/lb cheese for free!

*I hung out wash on some of the nice days instead of using the dryer.

That’s it for now. Thanks for tuning in!

Rachel

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Hey hey everyone! Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful May day.

I have a few new goodies to share about things that I did this past week to save us some cash:

*My husband cut our boys’ hair (and his own) with clippers. That’s five haircuts that we did NOT have to pay for. Been doing this for years!

*I had a $5 off a $50 purchase coupon I was able to use at a local grocery store. That, combined with another really good coupon deal, helped me to pay only $41 for what would have been a $50+ grocery trip.

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*On a whim, I picked up a 50 cent vintage denim Wrangler jacket at a yard sale. 50 CENTS y’all. I am VERY excited to share that I listed it on Ebay and it sold for almost $90! Wow…proof that shopping yard sales sometimes pays off!

(Fun extra tidbit: I also found a matchbook in the pocket with Hunt’s Catsup advertised on it from the 60’s. It still had matches in it.)

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*I made a batch of laundry detergent, plus glass cleaner and my all-purpose cleaning spray.

*I hung out wash on some nice weather days.

*Had two different nights where we noshed on leftovers for dinner instead of letting them go to waste. I call it the “Leftover Smorgasbord.”

*My husband brought home a bag of sausage end pieces for free from work. Occasionally he gets to do this with the different varieties they make at his shop.

Well that about covers it. Not too shabby, eh?

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

This Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Today I am launching a new set of *hopefully* regular posts entitled “Frugal Accomplishments.”

If you know me in real life, you may have picked up on the fact that I like to live fairly frugally. I don’t think I was always this way, but as our family grew, I have learned to run this house in a frugal and practical way. Sure, I think we live modestly as far as the “big things” are concerned–we both drive older vehicles, our house is not big and fancy, etc, etc. However, I like to think that saving and living simply with the “small things” do add up in the long run. I am very inspired by other people who make things work by raising families on a modest income and LOVE to hear the little ways they save. So, in turn, hopefully I can perhaps inspire you in some small way by sharing what I do on a weekly basis to save us some cash.

(I totally copied this idea from The Prudent Homemaker, who does this as a weekly post. I love reading what she does for her family.)

Here’s a few things that I did last week:

*With some nice sunny days I was able to line dry many loads of laundry and not run our dryer.

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(Weird but true fact about me: I rather enjoy doing laundry and love hanging it out to dry. It makes my heart happy.)

*I sold a few items on Ebay. An old Michael Jordan jersey, which I found in a bag of free-to-us boy clothes, brought way more than I expected. Sweet!!

*I went to a couple of yard sales on Friday. I scored a pair of kid snow pants for next year, a dressy shirt for Andrew, and a hooded sweatshirt for Heidi for a couple bucks. I also got a pair of knitting needles and some vintage quilt squares for free. I was just asking what the price was and the lady very much insisted that I just take them!

*Though it wasn’t directly for my own kids, I was able to easily alter a couple dresses for my brother’s girls so they can wear them this summer.

*Instead of doing a store run, I hit up my closet “gift stash” to provide a birthday gift for a party my daughter attended.

*We watched a few things on Netflix.

*With some coupon dollars, I was able to save a whopping $20 on a new backpack for my latest birthday boy. We have always bought LL Bean brand packs and they hold up for MANY years. He has had the same one all through elementary school and is now in 6th grade. This is the one he picked out–here’s to hoping it lasts through the next 6 years!!

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*We planted part of our garden on Saturday. That day we did 3 types of potatoes, green beans, and a little bit of sweet corn. Peas, onions, and a couple of other things had already been planted.

*I cut some early spring flowers from our beds outside the house and used them for decoration inside. There’s just something about fresh flowers!

Well, that was a sampling of some of the things I do. Stay tuned for more!

Have a blessed week.

Rachel