Frugal Accomplishments ~ Week Ending 18 Mar 2018

Our week was a bit all over the place – my daughter was on spring break, so the routine we got into during the first quarter of her schooling became a bit mish-moshed. We were able to do some fun things, though, and also do a shopping trip that helped restock some things while saving some decent amounts of cash. My list feels a bit short, but I guess that makes it short and sweet? 😀

After you’re done with my post, pop on over and read all about the savings Brandy and the other folks in The Prudent Homemaker community have found. No matter where you are on your frugal living journey, I’m sure you’ll find ideas there! Now here’s my little list for the past week:

  • Used blinds & curtains for passive solar to heat and cool the house.
  • Opened doors to get cross-breeze throughout the day.
  • Learned about free SkyWarn storm spotter training coming up in our area and was able to pass it on to help some friends; one was able to find training near her as well. (If you’d like to see about SkyWarn training, you can click here to learn more on their website.)
  • Bought an advance copy of a book on PDF for $5 (vs the price it will be in print later this month)
  • Took the kids to the library so we could all use the Wi-Fi there instead of eating up GB on our data plan at home. Daughter was able to get several hours of school work done on the site her GED classes require; son was able to view Great Courses Plus, YouTube videos, and work on his programming courses.
  • Used OverDrive to check out multiple library books.
  • Used our Kindle Unlimited membership to borrow others.
  • Downloaded a free Kindle book about fermentation.
  • Reread a print book I already own (the second in a series I am rereading this year).
  • Picked up a scarf that has been in progress for a while, but have neglected for a while – free (prepaid? LOL) entertainment.
  • Received free child admission for son at a local event.
  • Used drying racks for some loads of clothes; used wool dryer balls in the loads that were run in the electric dryer.
  • Entered as many Swagbucks and InboxDollars codes as I could find each day and answered the daily Swagbucks survey questions.
  • Registered for a free emergency preparedness webinar about power outages.
  • Daughter rode with her boyfriend’s family to a dance.
  • Daughter worked a couple of hours babysitting and earned money toward upcoming school expenses
  • Did a Target shopping trip: saved $37 with Target sales, Cartwheel offers, and manufacturer coupons; earned a $5 gift card; used two $5 gift cards earned with our last shopping trip toward payment as well as the rest of the gift card I bought at the beginning of the month (for Kroger fuel points); received $10 back in Ibotta rebates.
  • Walked the dog three nights (free exercise).
  • Adapted a slow cooker roast recipe to use what I had on hand instead of purchasing ingredients. (It called for grape jelly and onion soup mix; I used elderberry jelly and Thrive Life diced onions along with spices I had that seemed likely to be in the soup mix.)
  • Husband borrowed DVDs from the library for “edutainment” with son.

Frugal Accomplishments ~ Week Ending 11 Mar 2018

Happy Monday, everyone! Time for another Frugal Accomplishments update. I have a fairly short list this week, but some of the things brought us a lot of happiness, so I’ll take ’em. 😉 If you’d like to pop by and see Brandy and her other readers for some more encouragement, you can find her post for the week here.

As for me and my house – last week we saved with the following: Continue reading

Learning to Use Coupon & Rebate Apps

I don’t know that I’m one of the cool kids just yet, but I’m finally starting to feel like I’m getting the hang of the new (to me) money saving options out there. I’m super excited about how things are coming together, and I have several frugal friends who are looking for tips. I’ve also got an almost-seventeen year old (whaaaat? How’d THAT happen?) who needs to get on the ball with testing out these options while she still has olde maternal unit as budget backup. My friend A. and I were discussing things like Ibotta recently and I offered to write up a little post about how I’m working through this process. It’s my hope that this will also help those of you who want to learn more about some of the things I’ve used and rambled about on Frugal Accomplishments posts. I have a very personal request too, though! If you are a more experienced user of frugal apps, please read through this and make suggestions or share how you do things. I really, really want to keep learning how to dial these things in and I’m positive that there will be something I’m missing that would help my family (and others) save even more. So please share your knowledge with us tech newbies if you see something I’ve left out/not learned how to do yet.

That said, here’s the breakdown of the Target trip that the kids and I went on today: Continue reading

Ways to Reuse Food Storage Cans

A recurring question that pops up whenever folks see that I really use my long term food storage items  is, “What do you do with the cans?”  Well, the easiest thing is to just recycle them – and we’ve done that plenty, rinsing them out and putting them in the recycle bin. There are, however, plenty of ways for frugal or crafty folks to reuse/repurpose them first.

Here are just a few of the ideas bouncing around in my brain these days for reusing #2 and #10 food storage containers:

  • Pencil/brush caddy for the craft table or desk – cover with children’s drawings, wall paper samples, sponge paint, decoupage, etc.
  • Make a “tin man” for the garden with various sizes of cans (bulk and standard shelf cans)
  • Carry feed to small livestock – punch holes in the sides and you can even add a wire, twine or paracord carrying handle.  Keep the lid handy to keep pests out.
  • Place behind a chair and let kids play a clothespin drop game
  • Decorate and use as planters for a windowsill herb garden (don’t forget drainage holes in the bottom – stick the plastic lid on the bottom as a drip catcher!)

Remember that tin cans can have sharp edges, so always make filing off sharp points a step in your repurposing adventures!

Preparing with Pets: Muzzle Training for Emergencies

In my mind, basic obedience training is absolutely vital for dog owners.  Sit, down, stay, and the like are often taught to pets – but what about muzzle training?  Not many people train their dog to willingly accept wearing a muzzle.  That can mean that the first time an animal has to be muzzled for safety reasons, they panic.  Can you blame them?  I would certainly panic if someone wrapped something around my mouth and nose, holding my mouth closed and even slightly limiting my breathing!

Knowing this, and also knowing that muzzling an injured dog is vital for the protection of those humans transporting and/or providing emergency treatment, we made the decision to begin muzzle training Violet.  Now, to be VERY clear, Violet is not forced into the muzzle.  She is also not left muzzled for any longer than her desensitizing training takes place.  She is muzzled for training only, praised and handled calmly the entire time, and rewarded immediately after removal of the muzzle.  She is clearly uncomfortable with the muzzle on, but is willing to wear it for longer and longer (measured in seconds) each session.

I discussed my planned method of training with our veterinarian, who approved wholeheartedly and appreciated the effort.  If you consider muzzle training, please take the time to discuss it with your vet so they can make you aware of any concerns for your pet(s) based off of breed, such as length of snout and nose v. breathing concerns.  Lastly, NEVER leave your dog muzzled at length in hot weather.  Panting is their natural method of cooling themselves and you risk creating dangerous overheating if leaving them muzzled inappropriately.

That said, here’s how I began muzzle training our dog: Continue reading