If you are new to our Simple Savings posts, this is where I share all (or all that I can remember) the things we did to save money the previous month. These are usually very simple things and yet when you add them up, they can make or break your budget.
But here’s the deal, the things I share are things we’ve done, not things I think everyone should do. You’ll also notice that we do some of the same simple things each month to save money, nothing super exciting, just little things that help us out. You’ll also notice that there are some frugal things that we don’t do, or at least don’t do every month. Sometimes there is a time/money trade off and saving time wins out.
I hope you’ll be inspired to look for simple ways to save money in your life and share some of those things with others and in the comments of these posts.
Our month started out with Phoebe and Benjamin being in our Ballet Company’s performance of Cinderella. So, that meant we had sandwich fixing for the weekend. Sandwich meat isn’t the most frugal choice in the world but when I’m going to coming and going for 4 days in a row, it makes it easy. And it keeps us from being tempted to get take out.
We bought some fruit trees with a gift card my mom gave us for Christmas (for that purpose). We bought at pulmello tree (grapefruit variety), an avocado tree and a blueberry bush.
I gave 3 haircuts this month -Carl, Gabriel and Benjamin. Hair cuts is such an easy way to save money each month. And now with You Tube you can find all kinds of instructions.
Less than a year ago I bought a large name brand “stainless steel” dish drainer – it said stainless steel on the box – and it has started rusting and getting rust spots on my dishes. I called the company and they informed me that only the sides were stainless steel, not the whole thing. They offered to send me a replacement. I agreed but knew the same thing would happen. So I sold it online and then bought a full stainless steel one.
This year may just be the year of the perennial. I ordered 50 strawberry plants and 10 asparagus plants. I also had some asparagus seed so I planted those, too. The strawberry plants cost about $2 each locally for a small single plant. What I ordered were more like roots than plants and they were much cheaper than buying green plants.
The big frugal thing we did this month was that Gabriel fixed his truck that he had damaged helping a friend move. By seeking out people to help him, being patient and not being prideful he saved $900, made some new friends and is learning a new skill. He bought his truck for $2500 so it was really hard to think about spending $1000 to repair it.
I steam cleaned our living room furniture and added more batting to the cushions. Our living room furniture was given to us several years ago and it’s super comfy but getting a little worn. Carl’s parents gave us their steam cleaner a couple of years ago and it has an upholstery attachment. It took me all of one day but I washed the cushion covers, steam cleaned the arms and back. Before putting the covers back on the cushions I took off the old batting and wrapped the cushions with new batting. I also added more stuffing to the back pillows. It looks so much better and the total cost was $25. I got the idea from Love of Family and Home.
My kids had a game night at our home during spring break. We had 25 teenagers that night. We made tea, lemonade (with lemons from our tree), decaf coffee and hot sandwiches. We asked everyone to bring a snack to share. Our expense less than $30 and it was a super fun night for the kids.
I cleaned out our freezers and made note of what we need to be using up. We still have quite a bit of shredded zucchini and squash so I’ve been including that in soups and making zucchini bread and fritters. I also found a bag of pie crust scraps and made a free from apple pie with it.
Since I didn’t order meat two months ago, we’ve been working on just using what we have – which is mainly venison. If the venison is canned I use it very quickly but when it is frozen I have a harder time using it as it’s just not as convenient. A new family favorite is chicken fried venison.
We’ve also eaten a lot of soups. My garden is at a place where, other than kale and chard, there isn’t a lot of one thing. So, I’m clipping the small heads of broccoli and cabbage that develop after the big head is harvested, green onions and carrots – which is the beginnings of a soup in my mind. We’re excited to have green beans and squash soon.
I dehydrated kale from our garden. I’ve been using the powder as a garnish and adding it to eggs and soups. I also want to be able to have some for smoothies when it’s no longer growing.
Why, yes, that is a glass full of kale on my window sill. Doesn’t everyone decorate with kale? Actually this is how I keep kale, chard, cilantro and parsley fresh when I’ve picked too much (or bought a bunch at the store). Put it in a glass of water and put it in the refrigerator if your not going to use it the next day.
Carl fixed repaired our Mantis tiller and Gabriel repaired our riding mower. We order parts from Repair Clinic. We’ve been using for about 6 years and have never had a problem. We’ve ordered parts for our washer, dryer, KitchenAid mixer and now our tiller and riding mower. We will often watch you tube videos to get ideas of what is wrong and how to fix it, if we are unsure.
We had the gas company turn off our gas. We only use gas for our heater so from mid-March to mid-November we ask them to turn if off. We didn’t do this the first year and it cost us $13 a month to have gas and not use it. So now we just ask them to totally turn it off.
I made a big pot of beans twice this month. Other than potatoes and tomatoes all our vegetables came from our garden this month. We’re still eating the grapefruit we picked from our friend’s tree so I’ve been buying less fruit.
The hens are laying again so we put our sign up in the front yard. We have people stop several times a week wanting eggs. We take it down when we get low and then put it up when we have extras to sell. It’s working out pretty good.
Phoebe went to Louisiana with the dance company for 4 days. I mentioned last month that we bought two nice dresses for her at a thrift store for the evening parties. One of the dresses needed some updating so we went to the fabric store and bought some fabric to use for a belt and to fix a plunging neckline. For spending money she took money she had earned by helping a friend clean her home (she does this once a month), babysitting and sewing some drama costumes for other drama families.
Carl officiated two funerals and guest preached at a local church this month. That money goes into our car savings account. We have two cars one is a 2003 and has 130,000 miles on it and the other is a 2004 and had 205,000 miles on it. The 2004 is a 12 passenger van that we’ve had for 10 years and until a couple more children leave our home we’re hoping to not have to replace it. But we want to be ready just in case so we put any extra earned money into the car savings account.
I love this quote from the depression era “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” I shared why I like that quote and little more about our homestead with my friend Jess at The 104 Homestead last week. There is something freeing about not chasing after all the pretty things this world offers.
I think that’s the main frugal things we did this month. What frugal things have you done this month?