Friday, August 15, 2014

Frugal Victories

As always, my frugal victory posts contain a lot of minutiae. Read at your own risk of boredom.


I cancelled my subscription to Block, the Missouri Quilt magazine. It's one of those automatic monthly subscriptions and I realized I don't need it.

I upgraded my Ancestry membership from monthly to annual. This requires a more expensive up front payment, but will save me $50 per year.

We needed a rake; I dug out an old Home Depot gift card and applied the $6.52 toward the price of the rake. This gift card had been floating around the house for about a year.

The boys could only find two pairs of work gloves and said that we'd need to buy another pair for Saturday's trail clearing; Papa thought so too but I said the third pair had to be somewhere (they used them in June to put up the fence) so Papa dug around outside until he unearthed them.

We went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy refill cartridges for our SodaStream. I found three 20% off coupons in my coupon envelope, so we saved $9 (Bed Bath and Beyond gladly accepts multiple coupons as well as expired coupons).

In the spend-to-save category, we also bought a fan at Bed Bath and Beyond, using another 20% off coupon. Papa thought that having a second fan in the kitchen would be better than moving the one we have back and forth between the kitchen and living room, as sometimes there are people in both rooms.

I also unearthed $20.01 in unused Target gift cards; I purchased a silicone spoon/spatula (a very helpful money saving kitchen item), a "sticky stuff" measuring cup, and mason jar storage lids.

Papa and I walked downtown to watch an outdoor symphony concert. I popped corn at home to take with us, and brought a water bottle.


I used leftover bread (that I had saved through the week) to make french toast for our main meal.

I hung a load of towels to dry. This usually isn't worth mentioning, as I hang almost all of our laundry, but I really wanted to use the dryer because there were so many small things. I counted 53 items in that load.

The boys had an unexpected social outing; Papa and I used the bonus "date night" to hang out at home quietly with our library books. I also spent some time knitting a birthday gift I am working on.


I made a triple batch of bread dough and used that to make one batch of 12 sandwich/burger rolls for the freezer as well as a double batch of cinnamon rolls. I now have 16 cinnamon rolls in the freezer.

I made another batch of sun tea; Papa and the boys really enjoy drinking it (unsweetened even), which means their hydration levels are up and we won't use our SodaStream cartridges up as fast.

I made a simple cantaloupe sorbet for my family to enjoy after a day of cleaning house in very hot weather. It is just one cantaloupe, peeled and chunked, pureed in the blender with 1/2 cup honey powder and the juice of half a lemon, then frozen in an ice cream maker.

The Yahoo channel has been live streaming concerts this summer (but I didn't really know about it until recently). We were able to watch a concert of a band the boys really like as our Sunday evening entertainment.


We had three pieces of french toast leftover from Saturday; I had one piece for my breakfast and the boys each ate one piece to augment their smoothies.

I received a last minute invitation to the park; I quickly put on a pot of beans for our main meal, ground flour and put on bread, and then got ready, grabbing muffins, my knitting, and a full water bottle before I left. Yes, we ended up eating almost the exact same main meal as Sunday, but it was still food eaten at home, and I was able to correct the mistake I made Sunday in not making a double batch of beans so we would have leftovers for our Tuesday burritos.

At the park I continued to knit the birthday gift I need for this weekend.

The watermelon that I cut for our main meal was not quite sweet, so the boys ate less of it than they usually would have, and indicated that they would not want it later for a snack. I pureed the extra and made a double batch of watermelon sorbet for the freezer.

On Saturday the vet recommended an over-the-counter medication for our dog, to help with his stomach issues. On Sunday the chain drugstore ad had the exact medicine recommended on sale for free after the rewards program rebate, and they had a coupon, so they basically paid me to take it. I could have bought the medicine in bulk at Costco, but this gives us a chance to try it without outlaying any funds. They also emailed me a coupon to get a free seltzer water, so I did that too.

There was a free movie code from Redbox so I rented a movie for the family to watch. I chose to reserve it from the kiosk outside of the drugstore so that I wouldn't use any extra gasoline to get it.


I baked sweet potato muffins and french bread in the morning, and made tortillas for our main meal.

We walked our Redbox movie back to the closest kiosk so that we wouldn't have to spend gas.


I had cut extra zucchini Sunday, anticipating using it on Monday, but we had so much cooked zucchini leftover that we didn't use it. I don't like to leave cut vegetables sitting too long, so I made a bonus double batch of muffins this morning, using the zucchini.

A week ago Monday I bought a cauliflower because it was on sale. However, it got put in my outside refrigerator and I kind of forgot about it (one danger of buying a vegetable that you haven't planned to use or don't use regularly). So today I cut, steamed, and sautéed it, and then combined it with our planned scrambled tofu meal.

I used the last Field Roast chipotle sausages and the last tub of plain tofu in our main meal, as both were at their expiration dates. I also used two packages of frozen organic roasted potatoes that had been stuck in the back of my freezer for almost a year. (We won't buy those again, they were an attempt at having some "emergency" convenience food in the house, but they didn't taste good, and really, washing and cutting potatoes for oven roasted potatoes really doesn't take much time.)

I need a gift for Saturday, but realized I wasn't going to have time to finish knitting what I had planned. I took three hand knit dishcloths from my gift stash and edged them to make them a little prettier, and now I have a gift.

My son has been having stomach pain, enough that my mom worry meter was going off. I wanted to take him to urgent care, but decided to use our insurance's nurse line before spending the time and copay. In this case the nurse suggested that we watch and wait. While I would never deny my children necessary medical care, I also know that I tend to want to get things checked out and might have a slight reputation as that mom who takes her kid to urgent care for a fingernail cut too close to the quick (which stopped bleeding before the doctor ever saw him). This was a case of using an insurance benefit to save everyone's time and money, not just ours.


I decided to have a light kitchen day; I put on beans that I had soaked the night before (I don't usually soak beans but these were larger than pintos and I had never made them without soaking). I took 8 cornbread muffins out of the freezer to have with our beans rather than running the oven, and I decided to switch the planned side dish of sautéed cabbage to a cabbage salad so I wouldn't have to use the stove. I also ground flour and put on a loaf of sandwich bread.

I washed T's bedding and hung it all outside to dry, then I washed a towel load and hung that too.

I made no bake cookies for my boys, using some cocoa butter (food safe) that I bought for a chocolate making project last year and have way too much of.

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