Sunday, September 6, 2015

Frugal happenings 9/6

Hi there everyone.  Hope you are all enjoying a nice long weekend.  Holidays aren't the same once you retire - trust me.   They are all long weekends!  LOL  You even kind of lose track of what day and date it is - glad the computer tells me!!

We are having a heat wave in this neck of the woods.  Been 90 or above all week, and very high humidity.  Hopefully that ends in a couple days.  They are saying by Wednesday we will be getting back to more normal temps for this time of the year, and by next weekend have highs in the low 70's.  WOOHOO - I am so ready for that type of weather.  It could stay that way till Spring as far as I'm concerned.

The garden is really winding down, but still producing some.  My neighbor pulled his entire garden out the other day, as it wasn't producing much!  WHAT?  If it is producing at all, I will keep mine going.  Anything I get at this point is gravy - free food for the taking.

How was your week?  What did you do on the frugal front?
  • I am still picking some tomatoes, beans, zucchini, and lots of peppers.  Picked the end of the grapes yesterday.
  • Froze more peppers and beans.
  • De-stemmed all the grapes and they are in the freezer till I make time to make jelly or more grape juice.
  • Bought 6 - 16 lb. bags of dry cat food and 72 cans of wet cat food for FREE this week, using out Visa gift card.  Still have money left on it to buy more!
  • Line dried laundry on a couple occasions.
  • Used the crock pot one day, and made enough Mexican Taco Chicken to last for 3 meals for 2 of us! (using 3 breasts plus other ingredients)
  • Went to Value Village thrift store the other day.  I so needed a thrift store fix.  I need to go to another one or 2!!   I bought a nice pair of jeans for myself for 2.59, and bought a king size, one color QUILT for 20.89 (sure beats $100+).  It is very pretty! (peach colored)
  • Meals from home all week.
  • I got all my home canned goods organized.  Oldest on top or in front, and all like items together, so I can find what I want easily.
  • I have watered with rain water from barrels, and we did get rain Friday, which added some much needed water back into soil and barrels.
The jeans I bought are Riders, which seem to fit me best.  I can not remember the last time I bought a clothing item that wasn't on clearance, thrift, or garage sale.   The quilt still had all the tags handing on it, except the price tag (dang it).

Well guys and gals, that's about it for me this week.  Check in and tell what's happening in your neck of the woods.
Talk to you all later.
God bless each and everyone of you.


  1. Hey Cheryl!

    I almost want to do what the neighbor did but I will wait another few weeks. I stopped spraying my tomatoes and with the blight creeping on ever so slightly this past month-making the leaves brown and the fruiting poor, this week and next will be my last crop. I do have some second-sowing lettuces and beans, and perhaps the carrots and fennel will be used just after the first frost for the parsnips too, The onions are drying out on the covered deck. The garlic were small so we will re-sow that and I’ll be buying garlic this year.

    The Good Man made some habanero lime mustard this morning, and wow, the house smells all fruity and warm, mustard being a warming spice and habanero marinated in tequila even more so, hah! The honey he added will soften the sting of the peppers. The recipe made two cups (4 x 4 oz jars). He is NOT sharing except for with our two daughters (and of course me). This was frugal for us as a few years back I over ordered dry mustard by mistake from Amazon, getting 3 x 1 lb tins of it! Each tin was 3 x 2 x 8 inches tall; that is a lot of mustard! For this recipe we used a half cup and broke open the first tin. The tins will make nice recycled ‘hoozagadgets’ later on.

    1. Neat on making your own gourmet mustard!!!!
      I read a thing the other day about using jalapenos (or habanero's in your case) and mixing with mayo or ketchup. Use a stick blender or blender to meld together. Sounds yummy.
      May do that with mayo for hamburgers!

      I bought some jalapeno ketchup at Aldi one day and we loved it. It's gone and of course they don't have it now.

    2. I think those flavors would be terrific on black bean burgers, great idea, Cheryl! A stick one a few years ago, a very basic one for about $12 at the grocery great and really helps in the kitchen, especially for smaller quantities that a blender or food processor would have trouble with, and harder to recover the ingredients from when working with less than a cup of stuff.

  2. My youngest daughter is sewing! She got her machine at Christmas and one of her bell choir friends is teaching her to sew. They did a five hour lesson yesterday, and she sewed two pillows. A Skirt is next! Such a valuable skill and to have a machine to do it is nice also. Ironic she waited so long, as I just finished paying off ALL the credit cards and the sewing machine was one of the items I purchased on it.

    She is two different sizes between torso and hips and has been well-beyond frustrated at finding dresses to wear. I cannot figure out the pattern adjustments (a five month project from four years ago for myself that was inconclusive on how to alter a bodice) so I paid a local seamstress to make a bodice for her. This bodice will allow us both to alter any top pattern for woven materials. It will be a wonderful guide for her as she tackles additional clothing items. Taking her measurements is one thing we did when she was out here for a visit this summer.

    1. I love my sewing machines. I just like being able to do something if I wish. As a youngster I made all my clothes (teens). Did the 4-H thing and all. Mom taught me how to sew and cook, and daddy taught me how to garden, and mom again on how to can. Everything I truly need to know!!!! LOL

      OK, now stick out your hand so I can smack it Miss Ellen. 8 months to pay off Christmas is a NO NO!!! I know you had other stuff on those cards - but girl no matter how good of a deal you got on the sewing machine - it wasn't, because of interest!
      Start buying now if you must, but don't do that again gf!!!!!! OK lecture over! LOL

    2. Oh believe me Cheryl! I will NEVER do that again on my CCs! It was painful, very painful. The two sewing machines for my daughters were the least of the 2014 charges. I rapidly put myself on a budget and started an expense Excel file. On my Pinterest board it is called 'Getting Fit.'

      The first three 'red' months, in addition to no - spending in other areas, we bought absolutely NO groceries, not even milk, well perhaps we did get a dozen eggs each month. I learned how to cook nutritious frugal meals and be happy with them those months. And I use the library now for books, DVDs, etc.

      This second trimester just ended in August, the 'yellow' months. All debt paid off and no more to incur that cannot be paid off at the end of each month. And we reduced our cable bill and cell phone bills. I think of the cell phone and the computer and even though we could live without them...if I can make them pay for themselves with Rebate Apps and learning how to repair and fix things (like our Kitchen Aid mixer), I can offset the bills by saving money in other areas.

      The next three months are 'green' months: And just like being ecologically green, I am planning to be financially green also, and have Christmas done without a repeat travesty of Christmases past. We'll see how I do.

      Smack me almost anytime Cheryl! I need to learn so many lessons in handling money, ones I haven't even thought of yet, I am sure. The Good Man is helping me along, too.

    3. You know, I just re-read what you said and about the interest, that is exactly right...each month was an extra $25 to $55 dollars in interest and that made it very UN frugal. Magnaminity needs to be examined when dollars are in the balance. Not even Santa Claus, I expect, gets himself in trouble the way I did last year. And that was only about $4k dollars. It took THAT long for me to pay it off and also handle the everyday bills.

    4. I was self taught on the canning, but my neighbor gave me some good using a wooden spoon to smash down the tomatoes in the jar. I was taught to sew by my mother too. She often hemmed clothes in the evening for others. We didn't have the money to buy thread, so she worked out how to pull the hem thread out without it breaking and re-used it to hem the garments. Pure profit and a little bit of time. In her later years, I needed to thread the needle for her as her far-sightedness would not permit her to do it (her arms just couldn't reach that far away to focus) and we certainly didn't have the money to get 'readers.'

  3. I am plunking away at Retirement Planning and the Red Book. Got all the bonds listed and figured out when to cash them in. Will need to change POD on some as many we listed have since gone on to the big cloud in the sky. Scheduled a meeting for next month to figure out about a 403(b) with my salary. We get free financial planning through my workplace as one of our employee benefits. I think I will stay here awhile as the benefits are very good.

    Can’t remember if I said, but we finally picked up the pork order. The Good Man did an inventory on the beef and pork and this week we will finish the calculations on that this week. Whichever animal is less expensive for the volume we get, we will double that one next year. Having the deep freeze is a good thing for saving money. We paid about $350 for it and in the first year saved more than (probably double) that by buying our meat at wholesale prices, direct from the farmer. If The Good Man gets a deer or two, I’d like to try canning venison as I have heard it is tasty and quick to prepare.

    I am planning a Mexican Taco Chicken like you did…for this week…so it is time to shop the basement pantry. Is this a recipe you have posted before? I sort of remember....I will check the back posts then!

    1. That is so great to be able to buy meat in bulk that way. We have a chest freezer that was given to us by a niece years ago, and we have an upright. Trust me, we utilize both of them to max. I buy meat when on great sales, but have often thought about buying in bulk. Maybe next year, when the freezers empty some.

      No I haven't listed the recipe here. I will do that today. Golly we love that stuff. So many ways to serve it.

    2. We had talked about it for years, but it wasn't until my co-worker lived with us for a semester that we actually did it. Her dad is a cow and pig farmer, she explained how they obtained their meat animals, how he also had pet animals, and a breeding bull, too.

      I read today at this link ( ) how some 'save' money on meat purchases. It is a bit higher end than what we do, but again, being frugal does not mean being cheap, but being considerate and careful and thoughtful on the plus and minuses of where we do spend our income and time.

  4. Those quilts and jeans are a fabulous find. Peach is a very friendly color, both worn and in home furnishings.

    And nice going on the free pet FOOD! I have rebates I work each day now and hope to get something accumulated for extra at Christmas time when all the bills hit the hardest. I heard that one person pays her bills using her cash back card and uses the cash back from it, too. Fairly lucrative idea I think. Talked with The Good Man about it, and he was interested, so may be trying that one soon. I wonder though if there are any disadvantages to doing that?

  5. God Bless You and Yours, Too, Cheryl!

  6. well Cheryl...I have been agonizing over whether to buy peaches and can them or just buy at the grocery store when they go on sale..the conclusion is this...Break Even point is 88 cents a 14-oz can is the same as me canning 16 quarts from a bushel of peaches at $24 a bushel.

    Now this doesn't figure in the heat used in canning (we use or gas corn boiler), or the cost of lids (I do have a set of reusable plastic lids) or even the cost of gasoline to go buy the peaches (could actually combine it with another cost saving trip though).

    But it was worth it to assauge my guilt over not doing my own peaches this year, even though the crop was good. You see, I went looking for my girl friend neighbor to watch a movie with her and her sister on Labor Day (quiet day in the neighborhood it was). And she was canning peaches, oh the delicious sweet and tangy smell of fresh peaches! We helped her finish blanching and peeling and slicing. But she was too tired to watch a movie with us.

    I had told The Good Man that I was just going to buy them in the grocery store this year, in cans. And I guessed that 88 cents a can was the break even point in terms of money and nothing else. Turns out I was right.

    But am I missing something else? A kitchen full of steam and the sweet smell of summer, friends gabbing and talking together as they help a neighbor finish out the day? She actually got more than 16 quarts as she didn't pack them tight. There was about 1/4 of the quart jar was liquid, that silky sweet peach goodness I drink personally right out of the jar after ladling out the peaches to our dinner table bowl. She got 24 quarts and a dozen peaches left over for eating, and six for mashing into smoothies.

    So maybe my calculation is off, and maybe my thinking is off. This might be that one time when money doesn't matter so much, that the process and the friendships are worth that $24 expenditure!

    1. Girl if you can get a bushel of peaches for $24 GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness, they cost twice that here at the orchard.
      I did get some at Fresh Thyme this summer for .59/lb - but that was a once in years price.

      When canning yourself, you know exactly what is in them - nothing but goodness. When buying them in cans, you get preservatives.

      Considering the price, I would home can - but that's me. If you have the time - do it - and QUIT over analyzing! You will be happy you did this winter, when you open a jar of pure summer gold! I can smell your kitchen already!!! LOL

    2. I did get the peaches! Unfortunately I lost about 1/4 of them to mold, should have rinsed them in vinegar-water solution and laid them out on a table individually while waiting for them to ripen. But I had thought the cool basement would keep them. At any rate, we got fourteen quarts and four smoothies from them. And a few pints. About a bushel for the whole project.