Frugal Friday Week #44

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Here on the blog, I post a lot of how-tos and recipes, but I’ve often thought that it might be even more helpful for my readership to get a better glimpse inside of what my simple/homestead/from scratch/frugal life really looks like. This series was started in 2023 to provide more of a peek into our regular everyday life and how we put things together.

In 2024, I’m changing things up a bit to fit better with our community here at Little House Living. Here’s what I’d like to do!

The format of Frugal Friday will be changing a little. Yes, I will still show some pictures and things from our everyday lives, but this blog isn’t just about me; it’s about the community that we’ve created here! So from here on out, Frugal Friday will also feature your frugal tips and everyday things as well.

Canyon De Chelly
We began touring the American Southwest as we continue ministry work and learn all about this area as part of school. (Early American History)

Each week, I need you to go to the Forum and post in the most recent Frugal Friday post about your frugal and simple life for the week. Make sure you share a picture with it! Each week when I post Frugal Friday here on the blog, I will feature a handful of the posts from that thread on the forum. I will also use Random.org to select one of the posts to receive a prize for posting. This might be a great book, a homesteading tool, or anything else I can find that we love using.

Scroll down for more details and to read about our frugal week!

Pizza
Semi-Homemade pizza we made this week. I has some pepperoni in the freezer that needed to be used it. I picked up the crust at Walmart. Not as good as fully homemade but super easy!

Meals We Ate

As most of you know, we don’t eat out, even when we are traveling. But I wanted the kids to have a little flavor of the culture so we bought a few things this week to add to our meals besides our typical groceries. I found Cactus Jelly (for toasted English muffins), Meyer lemons, and fresh tamales.

Some of the meals we ate this week were:

  • White Bean and Veggie Soup
  • Ground Beef Stir Fry
  • Meyer Lemon Pasta with Asparagus
  • Tamales!
  • Leftovers
  • Pizza

For breakfasts this week, we ate up the eggs I had in the fridge, along with hashbrowns, toast, English muffins, waffles, Yogurt, Coffee Cake Muffins, and some fresh fruit. I’m definitely looking forward to the day when I have a full kitchen again and more variety to cook and bake but we do the best with what we have, right?

Lunches have all been sandwiches this week since we are out and about and since my kids have decided that’s their favorite thing. They are inexpensive and easy so I won’t complain!

Lemons
Meyer Lemons that I bought from a Farmer’s Market. What should I use them for?

How We Lived Frugal This Week

We have a wonderful chance right now to explore some of the American Southwest while we wait to be able to move into our new home. In our homeschooling, we are currently learning about early American history, so this has been a wonderful way to bring the Native culture to life. Who says homeschooling has to be boring? 🙂

Our free 4th grader pass has really come in handy this week. If don’t already know, if you have a 4th grader in your home, you can get a free pass to National site here. We’ve probably saved over $200 so far in entrance fees and been able to see way more sites than we would be able to normally.

I was better this week at cooking homemade or mostly homemade food again. Or should I say, more filling meals rather than snacky meals! I stopped at a local farmer’s market and picked up some Meyer lemons, but so far, I haven’t found much at farmer’s markets, even this far south. Hopefully, my luck will change soon.

Deals 44

Deals I Found This Week

I updated my list of deals from Auguson Farms. You can find that here. Any other sites or brands that you want me to watch for deals on?

The Blue Aquatainers that we use to hold emergency water storage are back down to over 30% off. I paid more than that for them when I bought ours a few years ago. I keep one of these on hand per person in our household.

You can get a pack of Vanilla Beans for 15% off right now. This is a good deal for this brand (this is the exact brand I buy). They are organic. Both the 10-count and 25-count are on sale. I use these to make Homemade Vanilla.

This Kindle book, Fast Food Recipes looks like it has fun restaurant copycat recipes in it. It’s free right now for Kindle. You can download the Kindle app to your computer if you don’t have one.

Sourdough Pizza crust in a cast iron griddle.

New Blog Posts I Wrote This Week

I didn’t have much extra time for writing this week but I managed to sneak in a few posts and updates. Here’s what’s new:

Kitty
Your weekly Small Cat picture. He looks cute but was actually a little naughty this week. Cats and their moods are hilarious. 🙂

Your Frugal Tips/Life This Week

This is where your post and picture could appear next week!

Learning to make my own crackers. Making bread, using up the homemade buns in the freezer. We have instituted a no spend, unless absolutely necessary, 6 month period for financial reasons. Eating all meals at home, eating down our freezer and pantry. No extra running, making sure the list goes with us when we go to town. Planning ahead a bit farther than I used to and using up the fabric stash I have for gifts and a few things to sew and sell. – LAMyers

Clothing

Kids’ clothes and shoes can be expensive, especially when they’re so rough on them (hello, Georgia red clay!). When I was a new mom, a friend taught me how to shop bi-annual consignment sales to save tons of money on kids’ shoes and clothing. At each bi-annual sale, she would buy enough clothing for the next 6 months for her children, enough for the next season and to make it until the next consignment sale. Not only did she average only a few dollars per piece of clothing, but it saved her time because she didn’t have to make multiple shopping trips (that’s a win-win!). A local sale even has an option to shop a day early with a $5 donation to the host church – SO worth it. Before each sale, I’ll look at what clothing the kids need and make a list so that I am not overwhelmed and can focus my search at the sale. I’ve also discovered that Sam’s Club puts their kids’ winter clothes on clearance in February and I can stock up for next winter at prices that even beat consignment sale prices. I’ll always be grateful for my mom friend sharing her frugal tips with me, and I hope they’ll be useful to you as well. – ElizabethS.

I am new to the January no spend month. I am newly retired, so instead of shopping this month, I am downsizing, declutterring. I am very happy with my progress so far, I am eating from the pantry, so no grocery shopping, it’s nice to use what I have. I go for a walk daily also. My days are pretty busy. My dryer quit working the day after I retired, instead of buying a new one, I’m using a clothes rack and put it over one of my heating registers. Clothes dry in no time. I am seriously considering not buying a dryer at all. Summertime, I hang my clothes on an outdoor clothesline. I am continually learning new things. Life is good. – Amy

Working on a minimal-spend month because we put a geothermal heat pump in, in December, and then the water heater died, last week. Yikes!!! Want to keep fresh dairy/produce, but took the time to invoice the 2 additional freezers and, between that and the canned meat and beans I’ve processed, we’re SOOOO good on protein!!!

I’d been hospitalized last year, so I’d prepared, and frozen, multiple meals for my husband and my dear friend who was commuting from out of town to work locally, while I was unavailable. Well, now, I have a young client who is in a domestic abuse situation. My daughter and I will be moving her 75 miles to her folks’ home, with her 6 year old and 1 month old, but, for the moment, I am filling her freezer with meals she doesn’t have to make, so that she can focus on packing, etc., until we move her next weekend… – Chrissie O.

Hey it’s been cold here -6 and in Norfolk UK that’s unusual we don’t have extremes but these last couple of years summers in the 40s, winters in the minuses, something we will have to get used to nature is changing. We have both had Covid for the first time since it came amongst us, so it slowed down our RV prep somewhat. The fridge is looking good. The pantry cupboards look leaner too. Took one of your tips to the extreme on January 1 got out every tin and packet that had got to its use by date or just needed using up. There were about 30 items sitting on my worktop near my stove! I should have taken a picture! There’s now 4 random items left. We have had some unusual mixtures but we’ve used up the food and it hasn’t been wasted. It’s been good to have things to grab and go while we haven’t been well this last week. Big cooking hasn’t been quite so attractive. I’ve done some mending and made a couple of dog beds (cut up old duvets and sew an old blanket into a cover) for the RV. Mended coats and added buttons where needed, mended kitchen chair cushions. I only have a treadle style sewing machine, she’s older than me (63) it was my mums but between us we get the jobs done. It’s been a good week all things considered so we are thankful to come out the other side of this virus. Oh yesterday -6 today 13c, crazy weather, at least we won’t be using the furnace so much. Have a good week everyone 🙂 – Julie P.

Since we live so far from a quick trip to the store, I’ve gotten really good at eating what we have and scaling the town trips into must needs due to financial and homesteading principles. This comes from a person who didn’t know how to bake a potato when she left home, yes, I called the restaurants where I worked as a waitress to determine what temp a person would do that. I have never lived that down!!!!!!! Now I’m so much better at substituting recipes with what I have and/or not going by recipes at all. Power to you for using what you have and not going to the store unless needed. IT’S SO EXPENSIVE! – Tara

It’s been cold here in Georgia this past week. I know that to folks in places like New England or the Dakotas it doesn’t sound like much, but having temperatures with wind chill below 0 is unusually cold here, lol. I’ve found that layering clothes at home and then just wrapping one of the scarves my aunt knitted years ago around my neck makes a big difference.

It feels like using my fireplace warms things for a while, but then actually steals heat while I wait until it’s safe to close the flue, so instead I’m keeping the central heat set fairly low and dressing warmly. I’ve been following the sun, opening the drapes in rooms where the sun’s coming in and closing them as the sun moves. I’ve kept faucets dripping at opposite ends of my house to keep the pipes from freezing. My house was built around 1980, so I need to add insulation and update some features like windows when I can afford to.

I saw that you requested a picture, but I’m not able to do that this week. My phone carrier did a remote update on my phone, which wrecked it completely. I can text, but I can’t make calls, use the camera, or anything else. They admit that they ruined my phone and it can’t be fixed, but only offered $25 toward a new phone, so I will be without a phone and unable to take pictures for a bit.

I love reading all the creative ideas you all share here. – Coop66.

Soup

Short on time today, but I love ccoking with leftover odds and ends and wanted to post my latest frugal endeavor. I had two tiny “rescued” delicata squash, two large red peppers on their way out, a mini 1-inch green pepper I found on the inside of one of the red ones, some homegrown garlic, and and onion. Roasted it all for about 20 minutes, removed the skins, pureed it all, homemade chicken broth, 2 spoonfulls of grated parmesan, salt, red pepper flakes, a dollop of sour cream, and two ample servings of delicious soup were born. – Susan M.

I’ve been keeping it simple and budget-friendly. Cooked up a storm with budget friendly ingredients, embracing those pantry staples! – Harley England

It’s actually amazing to me that once a person starts to use what they have in the pantry or freezer, it makes a person realize how much they actually have, I am loving using what’s in the house, not shopping, it draws out the creativity in ourselves and makes us realize how truly fortunate we are. – Amy

Post over on THIS THREAD on the forum. Next week, I’ll select several posts (from the forum) to feature here on the blog, and one person will even win a set of my favorite Blue Aquatainers just for sharing!

JulieP is our winner for this week! Julie, could you please email me at [email protected] to claim your prize? I’ll get that mailed right out to you!

What have you been up to this week? How did you stay frugal over the holidays? Feel free to comment here AND copy and paste your comment on the forum as well!

Me and Kady

Merissa Alink

Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

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4 Comments

  1. We’ve been doing No Spend January and plan on continuing it into the rest of the year, as we have goals and milestones that we are saving up for. Only buying needed groceries and household items (such as pet care and toiletries). We’ve budgeted for one ‘entertainment’ outing each month as well as one ‘eat out/takeout’ evening for ourselves, as we feel those items are important to overall mental health and well-being.

    We’re eating down our pantry and freezer, as well as planning for our spring garden. I’m also selling items online for extra income as well as donating items we aren’t using. We’ve done these things for years but I am stepping it up a notch in order to help our No Spend go further.

  2. Hi Merissa:
    I didn’t do anything super frugal this week as I was running around helping an elderly friend get her life back on track.
    However as commentary to the others – when we had all 4 kids at home I did three main things: I invested in a large freezer, set up a large pantry shelf in the basement and another 3 shelves to set up my boxes of clothes for my 4 boys. With the freezer, I was able to take advantage of bulk buying and also buy extra if I saw a great deal. Same for the pantry shelves. I used them for my canning and jam making plus any extra food bargains I had purchased extra of. I developed a system of clothes storage for my 4 boys. All clothes were sorted into photo copy sized boxes and labelled. When one or more of my boys needed “new” clothes I went “shopping” in the boxes first to see what items were there. If there were any gaps, I would peruse second hand stores first or if I was lucky I would get gift packages from my mother or boxes of hand me downs from two sister-in-laws who had older boys. Only then, would I go shopping at regular stores. Even then, I watch for sales. I even handed down shoes and boots as long as they were in reasonable shape. With boys as you know they are hard on pants so sometimes a pair of jeans for one would become a pair of shorts for the next child. I only had to buy more clothing when the boys reached their teen years and got bigger than their cousins.

  3. Legit – you want to realize your wealth?! INVENTORY YOUR FREEZERS and/or PANTRY!!! When we actually did this, we realized that -yes! I 100% shopped sales, so we are always eating at the lowest prices per pound- we don’t have to purchase meat for possibly 4-6 months (including all of the dried beans I canned, as well as lentils, as alternate protein sources). HOW FREEING IS THAT?!?!

    I reworked my weekly Menu Planning sheets as an reverse-ingredient-to-meal menu plan… I know that sounds odd, but the sheets I devised break out Meat/Dairy/Frozen/Boxed/Staples/Produce/Etc. so that I write what I’m thinking for M-Su, and then complete all of the categories for the recipe, check off everything I already have, and the last column is my “grocery list.”

    Well, my rework has me listing everything I HAVE, then going to allrecipes.com (or other sites), and searching for recipes that have those ingredients. THEN, I fill in what I’ve already got on hand, and what I might need (i.e., fresh produce or dairy). So, we’re looking at a multi-month minimal-spend endeavor, to work down our staples, our frozen, etc.

    Last, I created a chart where I logged our family’s most-purchased monthly/weekly items. Then I noted the prices at each local store (Dollar General, Aldi, Walmart, Hansen’s IGA, Dollar Tree, Costco and Sam’s Club). I saved it to my phone. NOTE: THE BIG BOX STORES ARE NOT ALWAYS CHEAPEST!!! I can get Cod filets at Aldi $2/lb cheaper than Costco, for example!!!

    This way, regardless of whether or not X is on sale, I can compare it to my “Lowest Base Price” and ALL of these locations are within about a mile of each other. So, when I make my BIG monthly shopping list, I know I am always taking advantage of sales and feeding my family at the lowest prices, per pound. Yes, it was a bit of work (use the store apps, saves a ton of time!), but it’s saved us HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of dollars!!! And, on the phone, it’s easy to reference (“Hmmm… Chicken is $3,28 at Costco… I know I can get it at $2.28 at Walmart… Pass…”)! It was SO WORTH IT!!!

  4. Sounds like your little family is having an interesting time. How wonderful to be able to learn about Native Americans and then be immersed in the culture at the same time. It will be much more memorable for you and your kiddos. We have been trying to work down our freezers. The freezer in the kitchen (part of the refrigerator), was so stuffed that nothing else would fit. So, we emptied it out just to get some sort of idea what we had in there. We have a Food Saver and I put that bad boy to good use. Turns out that our kitchen freezer held lots of “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that”, thanks to the Food Saver. We made a game out of meal planning this week, trying to use only the kitchen freezer’s bounty. We had 2 different sheet pan dinners, a tortellini feast, a sausage skillet supper that I supplemented with rice, and an awesome chicken pot pie (a rotisserie chicken breast, a bag of mirepoix that I had diced for soup, a bag of peas, gravy leftover from Thanksgiving, and a ball of pastry dough). It’s amazing what all you can make with so many flavorful tidbits. There is still half of a loaf of Jalapeno Cheddar Sourdough bread in the freezer, so I see a bean soup in our future.