Sunday, July 3, 2016

Frugal Activities Lately

 I have gone shopping quite a few times lately and we have eaten at a restaurant in the last week too so party of me wants to say - we haven't been frugal lately. I least I don't feel very frugal. But even during times where some money is spent there is still a lot of money saving that goes on. Here are a few of those that we have done lately.

  • Mara and I needed good shoes for our backpacking trip. The shoes that we had simply were not going to work (getting tight for Mara, wearing out for me). So a lot of our shopping lately involved going to shoe stores. We went to almost every place in our town (and the places we missed I had good reason to believe wouldn't have worked either. We needing hiking shoes/boots and we want them to be good quality. We never did find any shoes that fit Mara (she is a size 10 1/2 and I guess that is just not commonly sold) and most places didn't have hiking shoes that fit me either (size 9 1/2 ).  But we were able to try on some that were close in size at some stores and figure out what brand/style we liked then we were able to order some that were in our size (and were cheaper than the stores- We saved around 70 dollars between the 2 pairs.) on Amazon. We both ended up getting Keen shoes and are pretty happy with them so far. We ended up only getting them the day before we left on our hiking trip but we didn't have any problems and they are pretty comfortable.
  • I bought food for our hiking trips. I bought packages of pasta dishes and rice dishes. It is something that I wouldn't normally buy as it isn't as healthy as cooking from scratch - also it is more expensive with the packages (serving 4 - so we use 2 of them) costing around $3 each to make food for our family like that normally but when I compared them with typical backpacking food (the meals where you just add boiling water - which is the same as the stuff I was buying) we saved a lot of money by buying these packages at Mernards and the Bread store. The backpacking packages generally come in single servings and the ones I was looking at were around $7 each. That gets pretty expensive when you are going on a week longing backpacking trip with a family of 6. I also bought some summer sausage for our backpacking trip. I was able to get it for $3 a pound which is pretty decent price on meat anyway and since this can go without refrigeration that works well.
  • At the day old bread store I was able to use a $5 coupon of as I stocked up on sandwich bread and the food for our camping trip.
  • When I went into Sports Authority to check on shoes I discovered that they were going out of business. They didn't have any shoes in our size (at least not hiking shoes) but I got the fuel we needed for our backpacking stove for 20% off which made it a very good deal. I stocked up since it was 1/2 the price of what Ken had found it for on Amazon. I also got Jerky for 20% off and they gave my a nice cloth shopping bag to take my purchases home in.
  • We did end up having to buy new sleeping bags for most of us as we had issues with most of ours being way to bulky and heavy for backpacking or not warm enough. We did have one mummy sleeping bag on hand thought that would work - it just needed mended. Megan liked it and claimed it (it was one that belonged to my parents when they were first married!) and she helped me to mend it. $50 saved!
  • We only had to buy one backpack for the trip - Ken already had one, a friend that was moving had given us one which worked fine for Mara, My brother-in-law loaned us one that worked for Jonathan, I was able to use my dads, We found a good deal on one for Aaron and I fixed up one for Megan. 
  • We avoided having to buy any new tents by instead buying waterproofing spray and I sprayed the tent the had been mine as a teenager. It is a nice light tent and worked well for the girls. I was also able to use the spray on Jonathan and my raincoats to make sure that they would work and on the backpack that I was using.

 Jonathan was able to get the rabbit hutch to usable conditions (it does still need to be finished) before we left on our trip. He was able to do it using only things that we had on hand already.
 One side is also a temporary home for the chicks.
 The purslane is growing like a weed in our garden. Oh wait, it is a weed! But it happens to be a weed that I like so it very rarely gets weeded out. We use it in salad and stir-fries. It has such a nice mild flavor. I have been mulching most of my pathways in the garden but there is one area of the pathway (partly pictured above) that is growing thickly with purslane and so I will let it be and not mulch it.
Speaking of mulch... that is a nice frugal activity that makes my garden look nicer and saves me a ton of work in the long run. I lay cardboard done in my paths and then I am covering it with leaves that the kids raked and put on our drain field this past fall. It is a fun and satisfying job I think.

This is what the pathways look like after adding the leaves. We just till this whole pathway in come next Spring. We have not had any trouble doing that and it helps our soil out.
 I have still been working at doing landscaping around our house. I did by one plant for $6 this week but otherwise I am just using things that I have been able to think out of our neighbors flower beds. That has blessed us so much in being able to landscape economically. This Astilbe from my neighbor is looking very lovely blooming. I moved a bunch of hostas, some iris and some more Astilbe today.

 This past week I was invited to a surprise birthday party for a friend. I was able to put together a handmade gift of notecards and potholders. She liked it and I enjoyed being able to give something that was hand-made.

I have been teaching Wednesday evening class at church. It is always a fun challenge for me to see if I can have a fun craft using things that I already have on hand. We were talking about binding wisdom around our neck, etc. and I thought it would be fun to make necklaces. I wanted to put the word wisdom on it so I decided we would make our own shrinky beads.
It is pretty easy to do (though it gets more challenging when you are preparing for a large class full of ages 2-7). You simply take containers made from #6 plastic. I had a bunch as I had been saving them whenever I notice something like that going in the trash after a potluck or something. It is very rare for our family to buy anything in #6 plastic but other people we know do.

 Then cut them into shapes (don't have any pointy edges) and then color with permanent marker. I let the kids do that. That was a little scary turning them loose with permanent markers but they did pretty good.
Then your put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for around 2 minutes. They shrink up fast. You should do this with your windows open. We had used the paper punch to put holes in them before we shrunk them. They are so cute and tiny after they get shrunk.

  I know there are other ways that we have been frugal but this post is plenty long and it is really time for me to go to bed.


p.s. I would love to hear how you have been frugal lately!

1 comment:

SpicingUpIdaho said...

It sounds like you have a fun backpacking trip ahead, and certainly lots of frugal preparation! Fixing a broken sleeping bag is not easy - kudos to you for doing that! And your fun craft for the kids must have been really exciting for them to make! I always enjoy hearing about your frugal ways :)


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