*Cooked two pounds of dry black beans--I freeze them in about 8 two-cup portions
*Made homemade energy bites (a healthy, cheaper, less wasteful alternative to granola bars)--when I'm hungry for a mid-morning snack, I grab one or two of these. Yum!
*Made "Better than Pam" pan release when I ran out of cooking spray mid-way through a baking session. I've made it once before but it had been a long time. I like it for muffin pans, even though it does of course take longer to apply than a spray.
*Thrift store purchases take 1: swim trunks for Nathan for $2 (I've been looking for months for a second pair for him), polka dot leggings for Natalie for $2, 2 spring dresses for Naomi (darling and name brand so I can probably sell them for more than I paid) for $2 each, 2 coloring/activity books for Natalie (25 cents each), an electronic handheld game for each older kid for $1 each (for road trips), and a little b-day present for my sister. Sticker said 50 cents, but it was 75% off! SCORE!
*Nursed Naomi full-time to one year and now beyond. I am so proud of that, especially with the added post-surgery challenges she and I both faced. And what a huge savings to avoid formula!
*Had a rockstar trip to the grocery store. My savings (which only reflects price-matched sales and coupons) was nearly the amount I paid. There was a 6-hour sale one day with some pretty sweet deals and I had a few coupons to make them even better (Examples: 3 bags of Chex Mix for 50 cents each, 5-pound bags of flour for 74 cents, and I also stocked up on tortilla chips at 88 cents/bag!)
*Made Naomi's birthday cake and frosting from scratch--other than the inexpensive food and cake, I spent nothing on her party. I made the invites from materials I had on hand and the decorations were given to us.
*Received a coupon for a free tub of Oscar Mayer pulled pork sandwich meat (up to $6-7 value!)--Eric's been requesting this, and I've actually never made it. (His mom makes it almost every time here or there.)
*Used a coupon for a free personal pizza that we earn from the school for reading at home.
*I cooked two pounds of pinto beans to make these. I was very pleased with the result and how easy they were to make, but when I did the math, I didn't save much comparing the dry beans to 6 cans. I'll definitely make them again, though.
*Took advantage of a free kids' meal coupon at Olive Garden
*Scored some amazing clearances deals at Old Navy (headband for 47 cents, leggings for $1.97, etc.)
*Got a free ream of paper from Staples using a coupon/rebate
*Purchased a HUGE bag full of marked down bread packages for $1.75 at a local bakery! (Total retail value: $27.51--5 packages of raisin buns, 2 packages of hamburger buns, a baguette, and a loaf of cinnamon streusel bread)
*Thrift store purchases, take 2: A cute, springy polka dot birdhouse decoration for the mantel--50 cents. 2 black sleeveless tops for $1 each, and a cake stand with cover--$5 for both pieces. (I have a pretty cake stand that I love, but I had been thinking about getting a cover, and this is the tallest one I've ever seen!)
*Found a cute pair of bright pink bib snow pants for Natalie for $3 at W-mart, along with some hats and gloves for a dollar or less each!
*Used coupons for free lettuce and a free Coke 12-pack at the grocery store
*Bought a whole chicken on sale for 68 cents a pound. I really hate de-boning chicken, but for this price, I forced myself to power through it!
*I LOVE CHURCH GARAGE SALES! They are very unusual around here, but I went to one last week and brought home the following goodies: Ruler for 25 cents (ours broke last year and I never remember to replace), new package of stationery for 25 cents (gift or OCC shoebox item), Hanna Anderson little girl leggings for 50 cents (!), little dipper crockpot for $1, and a really awesome birthday gift for Monica (which I will share about later).
This list was compiled over the last month. It sure is fun to track these activities. In fact, Monica, my mom and I have started sending each other a summary at the end of each week, which has made compiling this more comprehensive list even easier.
I'd love to hear some of your recent frugal accomplishments!
And, completely unrelated, but today marks one year since we came home from the hospital after our 40-day "desert" journey. Eric and I have been intentional during this time to read back through our journal entries, to process what happened, and to specifically contact people* (again) who were pivotal during that time. We'll be celebrating the end of the 40 days tonight by going out to eat as a family!
*One of the most significant exchanges occurred when we contacted a former nurse. We had a favorite nurse who took care of me before Naomi was born, and Eric wanted to call her. Beating all odds (not knowing her last name, work schedule, there are 200+ nurses in that department, etc.), we got in touch with her at the hospital on the first try! She was thrilled we called, and it was really neat to thank her again and to tell her how great we're doing now. It reminded me of the importance of going back and saying thank you both in the short-term and the long-term.