It’s been a quieter, slower week here, by design, and now on Friday, I feel more relaxed and in control than I have in a while. (If you’re wondering what I’m referring to, please read my last post “Getting Back to Basics” here.) Allowing ample time for activities like gardening and cooking always saves money (and stress), and gives me time to walk my weekly errands, rather than driving, which is also a good stress reliever. I’ve even had time to work on some new music this week, write an overdue letter, prepare a meal and deliver it to a sick friend, and time to just ‘be’, rather than ‘do’.
Monday: I’ve been buying my picky cat little bags of treats at the dollar store near my house for about $1.75 for a 2 oz. bag, but thought that was a bit pricey and didn’t like all those little non-recyclable pouches they came in. So I went shopping elsewhere, and found a one pound canister of his favorite kind, on sale for $8.00; plus by buying them at Petsmart, I can accumulate ‘points’ towards money off of future purchases. Savings: $6.00!
Tuesday: I took my neighbor to the airport this morning to catch an early flight. In return, she gave me a bag of fresh grapefruit, tangelos, horseradish and ginger root that she didn’t want to leave in her frig for two weeks. I LOVE win-win trades like that!
Wednesday: The ant problem around my kitchen window and sink was growing progressively worse. I didn’t want to use chemicals (especially in the kitchen!) so I tried sprinkling a small amount of borax that I keep on hand for making my laundry detergent, along the backsplash and window sill. Now, 32 hours later, there’s not.one.ant!
And because the Borax is a harmless, natural compound of the element boron, all I have to do is spray it off, right down the drain. Cost: About 2 cents I’d say, since a large box of Twenty Mule Team costs about $3.00
Thursday: Thinned the carrots in my garden. Even though it pains me to pull up live plants, experience has taught me the hard-earned lesson …thinning makes room for them to grow bigger and healthier. It’s a necessary evil…
Friday: OK, here’s another perfect example of how being patient can save money…(by the way, this patience thing is another hard-earned lesson in my life, but one of the best ones I’ve ever learned. I highly recommend it!) About 6 months ago, I saw this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmDYUrVHPWc showing how to make a ‘rocket stove’ using 4 cinder blocks stacked just so. Problem was, one of them was called an ‘H’ block and in all my daily walks around demolition sites in town I could’ve built a whole house with reclaimed two hole cinder blocks, but could never find that H block needed for the stove’s chimney hole. I called the local brickyard about 6 weeks ago and they said they had them in stock. But that brickyard is across town and not in my normal ‘range’ of places I need to go. So I figured I’d just wait until the need arose to go to that area, and I’d pick one up. So I waited. For 6 weeks. Today, my neighbor was pulling out of his driveway and mentioned he was on his way to…unh huh, the brickyard to get some more bricks for his own project. I asked him if he minded getting the block I needed and of course he didn’t mind adding one more in to the back of his truck! It was waiting at my backdoor when I returned home a few hours later. He didn’t want to take my money for the block but I shoved a few dollars in his hand anyway. One H block-delivered-$3.00. Here’s my stove that I made for that price. I got the ‘burner’ from the ‘Neighborhood Convenience Center’, which is just a fancy name for recycling center, for free. The beauty of these little rocket stoves is that they burn really well with small twigs and sticks and can heat a kettle of water or a bowl of soup in no time, using the trash that the huge walnut tree on the side of my house is always dropping in my yard anyway!
So, here it is Friday afternoon. Supper will be a big salad from the garden, with hardboiled eggs and some leftover beans thrown in for protein. Later, we’ll walk a few blocks to the park to listen to a live band that’s playing there for free, then return home for a Smoothie, made with our very first strawberries of the season and some too-ripe bananas that I’d frozen earlier. The garden is finally composted, mostly planted and mulched, and the weekend promises to be great fun, starting with breakfast at a locally owned eatery tomorrow, followed by a trip to Dollywood and an opportunity to spend the day with friends that we rarely get to spend time with. I’m sad I won’t get to see my daughters on Mother’s Day but they’ll be with me in spirit I know. May YOUR Mother’s Day weekend be fun and frugal too!