Frugal Accomplishments - The "Off and Running!" Edition!

We're off and running with Internship here!

John started his new "job" this past Monday, gaining the title of Vicar, and we've been adjusting to a new routine, a new schedule and just plain gearing down for summer.  The children finished 3rd grade this week (yikes!) and we spent an afternoon with friends.  I was scheduled for jury duty this week but was not needed, so I'm taking advantage of having already scheduled childcare by getting my ducks in a row (at least mostly) for my fall classes.

As some of you know, we just experienced a huge pay cut - in fact we have about $500 total income coming in between June 1 and the end of August - so we're now in a much tighter budget than we had been before.  The last couple of weeks have been a case of stocking up on some things and evaluating what we have and trying to budget from our savings for the summer.  Our income will pick up again in September (teachers typically don't get paid in the summer) but it will be significantly less than we've had in the past.  We planned for summer with our savings, so we will be able to meet our expenses but we won't have much "extra" for a couple of years now.

What did we stock up on? Here's what we stocked up on the last few weeks:

* canned goods - diced tomatoes, mandarin oranges, green beans, whole kernel corn, kidney beans and black beans.  We also bought a few cans of canned soup for when we just plain don't feel like cooking and don't have any homemade in the freezer.

* meat - ground beef, beef stew meat and fish - whole chickens are on sale for $4/chicken this week so I'm planning on using a gift card to buy at least 4 when I do my grocery shopping tomorrow.

* laundry detergent

* dish soap

* toilet paper

* facial tissues (we have handkerchiefs for small jobs but I want disposables for my sinus infections!)

Things we figured out we probably won't need to buy for quite a while:
* toothpaste
* deodorant
* toilet cleaner
* toothbrushes
* cough drops/throat lozenges
* OTC medication
* sunscreen
* bug spray
* clothes for all of us
* shoes (except summer sandals for me - my old ones fell apart at the end of last summer)
This list has a whole BUNCH of things that we don't need but those are the "regularly" purchased items we can put on hold for a while - well, I guess we don't do a whole lot of shoe and clothes shopping but they are regularly used things we don't need to buy right now.

We also paid in full both our vegetable CSA and our fruit CSA.  These have been part of our grocery budget throughout the year and the money just set aside for them. Deliveries should start sometime in the next two weeks.   We're pretty excited and I've been keeping any eye out for new recipes.   I also planted lettuce, green peppers, tomatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, zucchini, cantaloupe and Swiss chard (we found a variety we like!) in our garden.   I have new blueberry bushes this year too but I'm not expecting to get berries from them this year.    We should have plenty of fresh produce to eat this summer!

Other things we've done in the last week that have been frugal:

* Mended several pairs of pants for Buddy and turned a couple into shorts (cut them off and hemmed them)

* Separated some perennials and moved them to other places in the yard.  Started cleaning out the front flower bed (that will be a CHORE but will be so nice when it's finally done!).

* Purchased a bag of washers from the hardware store to make jewelry with (hopefully a post will be coming!) for birthdays, etc. this next year.  This cost me under $4 and already have everything else to make the jewelry already.

* Used items we had to make a gift for John's long-time immediate co-worker when he left his "old" job last Friday.

* John was given a huge (20" diameter!) pie at his going away party last Friday.  We put it in the freezer, then heated it up for the potluck at church on Wednesday this week. 

*  Use coupons and two sales to buy a few craft items for the children to use over the summer.  They have been enjoying them the last few days and making life easy for our babysitter.

* Painted my own toenails using instructions for a home pedicure on the Internet.  I've always painted my own toenails but they chip quickly and I wanted to make it last this time! It's been two weeks and so far so good!

* Bought the few plants that I needed at our church plant sale - all plants were under $5 and some were free.   The money goes to the landscaping fund at church.  We spent less than $25 total.

* Carpooled with my husband when I could.  He now "works" near where I do and he has parking that comes with his internship, so no parking expenses today.

* Bought at $25 county parks pass to use this year - we decided to try out a new park for picnics every weekend this summer.  This pass has reciprocity with three other counties so between this and our state parks pass, we have endless entertainment for the whole year at a minimal expense!

We're still brown bagging lunches, making meals at home, trying to line dry at least some of the clothes (it's been so wet here that we've had to use the dryer more than I would like) and all that jazz.

What have you been up to frugally the last few weeks?

For more inspiration, please visit The Prudent Homemaker's Blog and Website and Life as Mom!


  1. I am curious as to which CSA's you use? I'm in the Twin Cities, too, and am not familiar with a specifically fruit CSA.

    I love all the parks opportunities here. We spent yesterday at one of the many free lake beaches. (And if you are not aware, and currently have the funds for it, there is a Star Tribune Deals offer through this weekend for 2 for 1 tickets for the Children's Museum to use before Aug. 31.)


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