Monday, September 12, 2016

Frugal Accomplishments

This past week we did pretty well with our budget.  We've thankfully filled our rental space upstairs, at least until December, so that eases the budget (and she's a great fit so far!).  We did have a hefty dental bill this week, but it was for expected cleanings for me and little man, so it was within the budget and paid with our HSA money.  The food pantry was a huge help this week and we were glad to be able to save some produce that would have otherwise gone in the dumpster.

So, here's the breakdown for those interested in specifics:

  • Made all meals at home.  We did have one treat out thanks to Mom, when a local restaurant was having a fund raiser for the food pantry.  Packed lunches from leftovers.
  • Composted kitchen scraps, brown paper, and paper towels for minimal household waste.
  • Put one quart of strawberries in the freezer from the food pantry.
  • Froze one gallon of mixed fruit from the food pantry for use in smoothies.
  • Put up two quarts of bell peppers in the freezer from the pantry and our CSA.
  • Made a quart of pickled jalapenos from some that were in the freezer that needed to be used.
  • Picked up a few veggies from the food pantry that I knew we would use in meals this week including mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and celery.
  • Used bread bowls from the pantry to make two batches of croutons.  We're loving these in soup, and they're a popular snack lately.  They are a nice free substitution for crackers, since they fit that crunchy craving.  Little man loves them.
  • Used the crock pot to make a white bean and kale soup with ingredients we had on hand, saving on electricity.
  • Took advantage of two shared meals.
  • Made mint tea with mint from the garden.  Need to harvest more to freeze or dry.
  • Spent less than $30 at the grocery store for milk, cream cheese, some yogurt, and a little fruit on sale.  Also picked up four packages of natural sausages for $2 each on discount.  We love these on the grill or in jambalaya.
  • Enjoyed snacks at our parenting class for kids with speech delays.  They provide child care, so even though we're paying for the class, we don't have the additional cost of child care.
  • Used rags to clean spills
  • Made homemade shower cleaner (need to make one for upstairs too) using white vinegar and dish soap
  • Hung most laundry to dry, except sheets and towels, which needed a quick turn around this week.
  • Used HSA money to pay for two dental cleanings, which meant that we could use this money pretax from my paycheck, saving us some in the long run.
  • Carpooled most days to work, saving on gas.
  • Continued to pump breast milk at work, saving on formula.  It is nice that the baby is getting close to solid foods, so I won't have to pump as much soon.  We keep our pumping supplies minimal, using a hand pump and one bottle that we wash between feedings.  This minimalism really helps us cut down on clutter and saves time in the long run not having to worry about set up, etc.
  • Figured out Benny's work schedule and Mom watches the boys one day so that he can work.  He's working about 12 hours a week, which is nice for the budget and gives him some time away from the boys.  Grateful to have a mom who will keep the boys for free.
  • Accepted an invitation to a baby shower.  Taking some things that we didn't need for the boys, as well as a few hand-me-downs she might appreciate.  Made a card and will reuse a gift bag.
  • Grateful for a scholarship for one of little man's preschools.  He goes two mornings a week to a speech/language preschool and two mornings to a church preschool.  The speech/language one isn't cheap, so we're glad to get help with the other.  We're hopeful that by investing now, his transition to school in a few years will be much easier.  
  • Used a gift card to purchase two bed pillows for us for Christmas (we needed some new ones badly).  The older ones will go to the boys' room.  We're trying to really use gift cards and coupons to keep holiday spending minimal. (Does anyone know how to environmentally responsibly dispose of used pillows that aren't natural materials?  I've thought of reusing the filling for something, but not sure...)
What did you do to live and save green this week?  I'd love to hear from you!


  1. You can wash the pillows in your machine,just put in a pillow case and close with a rubber band to wash. Then you can use it to make pillows,stuffed animals, Even decor pillows for your home I had a friend that used to just safety pin fabric on pillows for the changing seasons. I also make draft dodgers for doors and windows with the old pillow batting. It also makes great insulation. Go on Pinterest or Google and type in uses for old pillows. I hope you have a blessed week :) Do you have regional center or have you checked with the school dist for speech also your insurance might cover those classes. Just a thought their are lots of resources. You just have to find them.

  2. Patti, thanks for the ideas! Yes, we've checked with insurance, and our plan does not cover anything with speech services. We've received a few local scholarships, and are already getting services through the school system. The classes are in addition to what the school offers with the hopes that we'll make significant improvement prior to kindergarten. Thanks for the support!