Frugal Friday

How did your week go? I have a few things to report in the frugality department, but nothing hugely earth-shattering.

  • I went grocery shopping on Tuesday with a list and a menu plan, so my shopping was fairly thorough.
  • I found 10-lb ‘chubs’ of ground beef at Walmart marked down to $20 each, so I bought two. Then I came home and made hamburger patties and meatloaf.
  • I made chili for dinner one evening, enough to serve for another meal also.  We had enough from a couple other meals for several lunches during the week, and as usual I tucked some leftovers away in plastic containers in the freezer to be used as my husband’s work lunches.
  • I found apples for 88 cents a pound, so I bought quite a few.  Also in the produce section I resisted the urge to buy strawberries (sigh) and stuck with the fruit that’s most affordable now, my typical stand-bys:  apples, oranges, bananas.  I just last week overheard a produce lady in Fred Meyers tell a customer that most grocery stores take a loss on bananas, milk, and eggs, because they know customers will go elsewhere if their prices aren’t competitive.
  • I bought quite a few things in bulk on my big shopping trip, including beans and oats.  I store that type of thing in large 2-quart canning jars in the pantry, and when I empty out the sacks from the bulk department, I always shake out the crumbs and save the bags to be used again.
  • As usual, we washed clothing with our homemade laundry soap.  Emily made another batch this week.  Also as usual, we dried
    Soap making

    Making soap

    large and heavy items (jeans, towels, blankets) on the long bars that we have in our laundry room.  This decreases the wear on the dryer and allows smaller things get done in the dryer more quickly.

  • Whenever the power bill comes, I compare this month this year to this month last year, and was pleased that this year we used quite a bit less power than last year, probably because January was such a warm month.  We mostly heat with wood, but in the middle of the night on very cold nights, the furnace goes on for awhile. But this January was so warm that I don’t think that happened often.  John reports that the wood pile is much bigger than he expected for this time of year.
  • I decided to go with just the jacket and jeans from yesterday’s Stitch Fix.  That’s what I had enough credits to buy, and those were the only two pieces I truly loved anyway.  And since I did like the grey tee, I’ll keep an eye out for something similar at a lower price.
  • I found some nice duffel bags with wheels at for $14 each.  They are HUGE, and should be really great for packing lots of clothing.


Related to the duffels, but on a decidedly NOT frugal note, we just bought 5 plane tickets for Ethiopia for this summer.  I’ll be taking our 4 Ethiopian daughters for a homeland visit.  We’re meeting my sister Sophie there, and will be gone for two weeks. So very exciting! It seems like most of our not-frugal things are related to travel–I guess you could look at that either as our Achilles heel or as the reason we do all the frugal things.  We’ll need to update passports soon too.  Three are expired and two of the kids have never had them.  So that will be a pretty penny.  At least we know far enough ahead to avoid rush shipping.

That’s all I can think of for today.  I’d love to hear what you did this week that helped your budget!

PS– If you buy Practical Homeschooling (my latest e-book) and would like the 5-page bonus pack that contains additional info and transcript writing samples, just email me, and I will head it your way.  I’d also LOVE it if you’d share on facebook and tell your friends about the book– proceeds from this book are going to our Ethiopia travel fund.  🙂  And remember, if you’re not quite sure this book is for you, zip over to amazon and read the first few pages for free.  It ended up being an 85 page book and is loaded with info, a fair bit of which could easily translate to enrichment ideas and homework helps for kids in traditional school.


  1. ~ I’ve been taking full advantage of sales, coupons and store rewards at CVS and Rite Aid to restock, at very little cost, our supply of deodorant, shampoo and body wash. We were basically almost out of all of these but now we will have clean hair and bodies and hopefully no BO! All important when you live with 3 males! ;-O

    ~ Our church is participating in the Winter Relief program for the homeless this week, which means we are housing about 25 guests at our church from this past Monday afternoon until next Monday morning when they then go to a different church. I’m on the team so I have been at church every evening so we’ve had dinners with the guests so that has helped my food budget this week.

    ~ When I was at the thrift store purchasing some gently used towels for the winter Relief program, I found a big basket of high-end rubber stamp sets, nested die cuts and a set of alphabet die cuts. The nested die cuts normally sell for $24.99 and the letter die cut set sells for $40. They were $5 each and then 25% off so I bought the 4 die cuts and 2 stamp sets for $20. My friend and I had done a Moms Night Out card workshop 2 days before so I used money I made from that to buy my new supplies.

    ~We supplement our heat with our woodstove and we went into the season without a lot of wood. We had been trying to make it last and have had to buy wood but we have been buying partial cords since we already have plenty drying for next year and we are hoping for warmer weather soon. The $130 spent on wood for now is money well spent to keep us warmer that the heat pump allows in sub freezing temps.

    ~I also make my own laundry detergent but I was able to get Purex detergent for 50¢ a bottle last year so I stocked up. It works out to 1.5¢ a load and I find that for my sons’ clothes from their restaurant jobs the liquid works better in my HE top loader than my homemade. I do love my homemade detergent that I have been making for the past few years.

  2. I started slips from a sweet potato and am planning on adding a couple more so I can have slips for sweet potato vines for the flower pots besides the garden.

    I used coupons for most of my seed orders…there was 2 that I didn’t have coupons for but saved enough on the others to pay for those.I did order extra seeds as I plan to put in a winter garden next fall. Tired of paying high prices for a bit of lettuce and greens.

    I have been using up the leftovers in to PLAN overs and that is stretching our meat budget.

    I made a new batch of laundry soap, it goes a long ways with my wringer washer. I am using the drying rack for light weight items since it’s still too cold and wet here to use the clothes line (PLEASE HEAVENS SEND NICER WEATHER) LOL

    The electric bill is still high but with a small child in the home right now but the propane is not being used as much as we thought it would be so that will end up being a plus at the end of heating season.

  3. Can’t wait to hear how the Ethiopia trip goes! 🙂