Friday, February 6, 2015

Frugal Friday

February is shaping up to be a snowy month and while I'm trapped in the house I've had lots of time to start thinking about my garden.  I've poured over my gardening books and have been dreaming of the vegetables and fruits that I can grow there.

One of the things I want to accomplish this summer is do a better job with managing and maintaining the garden.  I always have good intentions but to be honest am not a fan of weeding.  Yet, that is where 90% of my problems happen.  I don't weed until it's a jungle and then the vegetables don't thrive as they should.  I also need to a better job with pest management.  I never use pesticides and yet, end up losing some of my crop to those little creatures.  One year I did find a recipe for a concoction of garlic, cayenne pepper and a bunch of other ingredients that did help manage them better.

Also, I seem to always lose a lot of my tomato crop to blossom end rot or blight.  In fact, this past year at the end of the summer a gentleman who goes to our church and is a farmer took a look at the garden and said that I had the beginnings of blight on my tomatoes.  I never would have known what to look for!  So I need to do a bit of research on that as well and rotate things this year so I don't put the tomatoes in the same spot.

But as I pull jars of tomato sauce, pickles and other goodies from my shelf I know that all that hard work is worth it in the end!  Last year I got distracted in the middle of the summer by opening the shop but my plan this year is for this to be a better year in the garden!

Here are some ways I've saved this week:

$  I went to a local farm market and bought two baskets of tomatoes that were beginning to get overripe for $1.50 each basket.  I was planning on using them that day so rather than pay $3.00 each basket I saved 50%.

$ Made my own pudding from scratch (not necessarily cheaper but definitely healthier without the preservatives and chemicals in the boxed pudding.  I made a quick and easy recipe for cookie cake that required a box of cake mix, eggs, butter and chocolate chips.  It was the easiest thing in the world but the thing that I didn't like is that I could notice the taste difference in using the boxed mix.  It definitely did not have the same taste as homemade cake and I could taste the chemicals/preservatives (whatever you want to call them).  So homemade is always better than boxed!

$ Rip my dryer sheets in half.  Half a sheet will do the same job as a whole sheet and make them stretch twice as long.

$ Been using up my scraps of fabrics by making mug rugs/coasters, tissue covers, tea totes and coffee cup sleeves.

$ Been doing a better job pricing my things on Etsy by actually sitting down and figuring out the cost and time to make things.  I know some of you are probably saying, "Isn't that an obvious thing to do?"  lol  I have a tendency to pluck numbers out of the air and underprice things so I'm trying to be better.  I read a few articles on it so that was helpful.

$ Thanks to a gift, we were able to put away another $100 in an emergency fund this past week.

$ Saved money on Stephen's school books by shopping around.

$ Bought snack items for Nathan to take to work at Aldi which is far less expensive on those items than other stores.

$ This past summer I bought two large baskets of different types of ribbon for $10.  Ribbon is expensive and is usually anywhere from $2-$3 per roll.  There were probably about 40-50 rolls in the baskets.  Not only have I been able to use them on my cards and sewing projects, but have been using them to tie and package the napkins and placemats I've made.  It makes a pretty presentation.

That's it for my frugalness this week.  What are some ways you've saved?