Frugal Friday

Some of our campers

It’s Friday again. How did your week go? I can’t believe how fast the summer is flying by, with driving kids to work, weeding the garden, swimming, and just living.  The short story with me and frugality this week is that I guess you can’t win them all.  Here are the details.

  • We went camping over the weekend, and somehow managed to leave our lunch in the fridge at home.  So that meant a stop at the grocery store on the way to the mountains to buy bread and lunch meat to replace that lunch.  The bonus was that we had an easy sandwich meal already made when we got home.
  • We had to replace two tires on the minivan and one tire on John’s car, so that was a ding to the budget.  Thankfully the flat tire on the wood trailer was free to fix at Les Schwab.
  • One victory over temptation: I went frugal this week with my Stitch Fix package.  I really like 4 out of the 5 items, but I only had credits for 2.  So I chose #2 the striped dress and #3 the striped tank top, for a grand total of zero money out of pocket.  My family has a running joke that all Stitch Fix has to do is send me something in stripes and I will buy it.  I kinda think they’re right.
  • This week I made a dozen jars of apricot jam. The apricots on our tree are just getting ripe, so there will probably be more. This past year we ran out of jam before early spring, so this summer I am trying to make enough this summer so that won’t happen again next year.  Some of the apricots were mushy or had bugs in them.  But those went to the chickens to peck at, so nothing was wasted.
  • John planted flowers in a side flowerbed that he’d grown from seed himself.  He even planted a basil plant for me that I’m hoping will thrive.  We have the new flowers in a flower bed under the swamp cooler, which drains water all day long.  So the plants should stay good and wet without us having to remember to water them–a bonus in dry Idaho in July.
  • Speaking of the swamp cooler, these days that’s what we’re using instead of the air conditioner.  It is able to keep the house a good 20 degrees cooler than the outdoors.  So by late afternoon on 100 degree days, it still feels kinda warm in the house, but it is much cheaper to run than our A/C, and also seems much less likely to need repairs.
  • We still have two steers, which is a bit more than our two acres of pasture can easily feed in the heat of July.  We do have three pasture rotations to move them through, giving a chance for pastures to grow.  But basically in July and August they eat two sections before the third section has a chance to grow up. A week or two ago we decided to start feeding them our lawnmower clippings, something we hadn’t done in the past because we’ve heard that feeding them large piles of grass sporadically can make them sick, especially if the piles ferment.  So we decided to mow about 20 minutes every day, and feeding them just those clippings freshly cut clippings each day. Since we’re mowing about an acre, that’s plenty big enough to mow a little a day.  It looks a little odd to have only part of the back yard mowed at a time, but the clippings delight the cows.  They’re looking fat, and they now are trained to come mooing up to the fence whenever someone turns on a lawn mower.
  • A minor frugal fail this week came on Thursday.  I was having some people over for lunch, and thought I’d have enough time to do soup and bread, or something homemade anyway.  But then a doctor’s appointment for one of my kids went long, and I ended up getting chicken at Albertson’s to serve instead of actually cooking.  It was a perfectly fine lunch and not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.  But I’d wanted to fuss over my guests a bit more than that, and was disappointed that a long appointment plus not planning ahead left me at the deli counter.
  • Another money guzzler this week was opting to drive our largest vehicle on errands, simply because it is the only one with A/C.  But hey, in 100-degree heat, I figure momma’s comfort is worth a little extra gas.  At least that’s how I’m rationalizing it.  I did try to minimize my outings, though, and combined errands to use gas most wisely.

One plan that we have for August is not frugal, but needed.  The boys’ bathroom shower has a leak in the wall that John temporarily patched with duct tape and a shower curtain several months ago. (So pretty!  😉 )  While we’re replacing the shower stall, we’re also planning to bump out a bathroom wall to enlarge the bathroom and possibly fit a full tub up there too.  I think it will be a nice improvement, and if we do most of the work ourselves, it shouldn’t be terrifically spendy.  (I know, famous last words, right?)  I’ll keep you posted.

How’d your week go?



  1. This was a good week financially:
    Not using the AC has been the biggest savings all summer. We open up all the windows in the evening and shut them in the early morning. We will be using the family room in the basement when the hot weather gets here next week- in the 90s and humid.
    Local thrift store has had 50 percent discount on all clothes the month of July. Brought daugther to get school clothes and made a killing.
    My favorite magazine ‘Cappers Farmer’ sent me a fantastic subscription rate which will save me tons over buying at the grocery store.
    And finally, have been looking at purchasing a retirement home with no luck but happened upon a condo in a refurbished resort that will be perfect for me and about a quarter of the cost of a small house. And it gives me indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, huge common room, laundry facilities, tennis courts, ski hill, airport, restaurant, hiking trails, horseback riding, etc. so plenty for kids and grandkids to do when visit. It is absolutely a miracle of a find.