Frugal Friday July 26th

I can’t believe it’s Friday again. Between hospital visits, gardening and canning, it’s been a busy, busy week. But I’m pleased that I’ve been able to avoid the extra expense of eating out, and have managed to have decent meals all week, without a whole lot of cooking. But first, let’s look at the week:

Monday: After paying almost four dollars for 2 cups of coffee at the hospital cafe, I made up my mind then and there to always bring my own. And so I did each day: water, coffee, tea or juice traveled in our  refillable mugs and bottles  each day. Savings Tuesday thru Friday: $16

Tuesday: Walked to the Thrift Store to take advantage of their monthly BAG SALE, where you can stuff a 13 gallon plastic bag with as many articles of clothing as you can fit in it for $12.00.  I found 3 pairs of capris, one pair of jeans, 2 teeshirts, one skirt and one blouse that I liked and that fit me. I also bought a like new retro over- the- headboard- lamp, complete with a pull chain off/on switch for the dark side of my guest room bed, and a Pyrex dish with matching lid. Total Spent: $16.00 Both the Pyrex dish and the headboard lamp reminded me SO MUCH of my grandmother, and that’s priceless!

Wednesday: I walked to the Farmer’s Market and bought a large, locally grown eggplant for $1.00. Savings over grocery store price: 99 cents. Later in the morning, asked for, and received, a like new waffle iron/griddle from a fellow  Freecycler! Savings: $65.34, according to Amazon! Not familiar with Freecycle? Go here: freecycle.org and enter the name of your town. It’s that simple to get rid of crap good stuff you don’t want, and find things you need.

Thursday: Signed up for auto bill pay for my monthly health insurance premium. No more monthly stamp or envelope. Savings: $5.52 a year for stamps, plus 12 envelopes

Friday: Canned 7 quarts and 4 pints of green beans. Used reusable Tattler lids instead of one-time-only metal lids. Savings: About $1.75? The lids have long ago paid for themselves, because this is about the 7th or 8th year I’ve used them. Here’s a picture, you can buy them yourself at http://www.reusablecanninglids.com  or on Ebay:


Now, about that eggplant: (see Wednesday). I made Ratatouille for supper tonight with it, and cooked it in my brand new in the box Lodge cast iron dutch oven that I traded a friend for, in exchange for a few trips to the airport. We both felt we got a good deal- he saved parking fees and I saved $35 on the pot that I needed to replace after mine cracked a couple of months ago. Because I had every ingredient that it requires except the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it was extremely cheap to make. I served it over pasta and used leftover hamburger buns buttered and sprinkled with garlic salt and toasted in place of Italian bread. Total cost to me: About $2.50, including the pasta-the buns were free at the bread store because I bought $5 worth of other stuff there, so I didn’t count them.

Here’s the recipe: 4-6 healthy servings when served over rice or pasta. It’s fabulous!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium eggplant, (3/4 pound), diced

1 medium zuchinni, quartered and diced

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

6 tomatoes (2 pounds), diced

1 tsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 T. capers, drained and chopped (I don’t use these)

1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

What you Do:

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes. Add the zuchinni and bell pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes. All vegetables should be tender.

2. Stir in the oregano, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook for one additional minute. Remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar and capers, if using them. Garnish with basil and serve over rice or pasta.


OK, your turn. What ways did you find this week to save money or reduce your expenses? There’s always something to learn from one another, so do tell!


8 Comments so far
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This week I made a grated slaw with 4 carrots (washed & peeled), hunks of onion, 1/2 zucchini, 1/2 green pepper. Washed veggies in 1/2 cup vinegar & water, then rinsed. All left over veggies were put in blender with 1/2 apple & 1/4 cup apple juice for a tasty smoothie. Used grated salad with left over cucumber-onion-tomato with vinegar-water dressing. 2nd meal, added grated slaw to tuna for tasty salad, and still have some left over to add to scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Comment by Anne Whittemore

It sounds tasty Annie. And what good use of just a very few veggies!

Comment by simpleintn

Dale and I cut each other’s hair with our Flowbee hair cutter. In addition to saving the money for the haircuts, we did (and do) it at home so there isn’t any expense getting to a barber. Honestly, though, this isn’t all about saving money. Sometimes it’s just so much more convenient to do things for ourselves–no appointments, no rush to get somewhere, just fit it in between other things that we’re doing.

The other things the haircuts fit into today were:
1. putting up two gallons of applesauce,
2. picking and putting up two gallons of figs,
3. picking and putting up one gallon of zucchini puree to use as soup base in the winter,
4. picking two gallons of wild plums (yet to figure out what to do with), and
5. taking down, bucking up and stacking two small trees that had died. We call this “firewood on the hoof” and try to get all our winter heat from such things.

For me, this is one of the most wonderful parts of living more simply–to be able to take care of so many of our own needs without ever needing to leave home. And it’s better entertainment than much of what’s “out there” anyway:)

Comment by Sandy Aldridge

OR you can just not cut your hair-EVER-like Michael and I do! Neither of us have had a cut in years. And now with chemo, Michael may NEVER need another one. oh my, I have to laugh to keep from crying Sandy. I’ve been busy today too, and enjoying ‘all things kitchen’, from making my first batch of chow chow (a fermented veggie dish) to zuchinni bread. And you’re so right, it’s not just about saving money, although that’s nice too. For me, it’s the feeling of self reliance and independence doing things for myself brings to my life. It’s not always simple being simple, is it? ;D

Comment by simpleintn

One more thing…can you tell me more about zuchinni puree? Sign me, wading in zuchinni

Comment by simpleintn

We puree zucchini in the food processor until it’s almost liquid and then freeze it in half-gallon bottles to use as the base (along with tomato puree) for a dynamite minestrone in the winter time. I prefer freezing because I think it preserves more nutrients but I can’t prove it so someone who prefers canning might be able to can the puree. I think I’d check with a master food preserver or your local extension service, though, to make sure it can be done safely.

Comment by Sandy Aldridge

I suspect freezing DOES preserve more nutrients Sandy. And you don’t add anything else to the puree, for seasoning, or do you just do that when you make the soup? Seeds, skins and all?

Comment by simpleintn

Oh, and your comment about haircuts makes a lot of sense to me. If I only didn’t mind all that hair, I’d definitely do it too. The other alternative, of course, is to just shave it off and we’ve considered that as well–Dale more seriously than I!

Comment by Sandy Aldridge

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