Friday, February 19, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Hi *shoots cheesy smile at camera* I'm Erika!  Today on The Make Do Homemaker we offer some weird...errr...interesting solutions to common household problems!  Today we'll be covering potato storage!

Ahem.  Anyway, bad QVC style mental commercial aside, this solution that I came up with is actually rather humorous.

When it comes to russet potatoes I always have had this issue, which honestly probably stems from laziness, where if I keep russets down in my pantry downstairs I have to put them wayyyy in the back so that light doesn't get to them so I put them in there and forget about them.  I just end up using my mashed potato mixes or boxed products as my family likes them, use an occasional russet for a baked potato and the storage thing just starts to go sideways on me.  When I finally remember them they are happily sprouting all over the place and don't really taste that great anymore.

To avoid wasting potatoes I don't buy them that often, but I've run into recipes lately for things like hash that I wanted to try, so I figured I should buy some potatoes this last week.

The biggest issue I had was where to keep them so they didn't go to waste, thus I knew I had to keep them close at hand in the kitchen (which is why I use my Yukon gold potatoes or my new potatoes in the like as I keep those in the fridge).  I rewatched my old episodes of "Good Eats" and Alton Brown (culinary mentor of mine) said that potatoes should be stored in a drawer in your kitchen ideally (or similar environment), but I don't have any extra drawers in my kitchen.  So, I tried to think of something else I could use so I could keep the potatoes close at hand in the kitchen so I remembered know...use them.

I checked around to see if I had any lidded baskets to spare, but I didn't and I really didn't want to buy anything to use.  I had a really old crate that used to house canned corn beef products that I got ages ago, but I didn't want to park that in my kitchen for fear my son would try to stand on it and collapse it (not an ideal situation for an antique to be in).  And then it hit me as I was mending a sock (no seriously, it did).  I looked down and saw this container...

And thought, "Hey, this is wood.  It's lidded.  It's dry.  Why not put the potatoes in this?"  So, the next step was trying to find somewhere to stick my mending so it was nice and available (or I won't do it *laugh*) and so I ended up using my knitting bag and combined it and my mending things together.
Irony log on the fire here?  My knitting bag is actually an insulated tote made for picnicking.  So, I'm quite literally using a food storage device to hold my mending and a mending box to hold my food.  Ah, my warped mind works in mysterious ways!

I planted the mending box with the potatoes in the corner of my kitchen.  I think it will work out well for the potatoes and once they are gone, if I don't want to buy any more russets for a while, I can go back to using it for a sewing box.  Got to love the ability of an item to multi-task :).

And now onto other ways I saved money this week!

1.  Believe it or not my husband forgot it was Valentine's Day last weekend.  We've both been pretty distracted with money things and he just didn't think about it.  He normally does get me something for Valentine's Day, so he quickly came up with the perfect thing to give me.  A nap.  I haven't slept much at all lately with my son, so he basically let me sleep all afternoon on Valentine's Day, even taking the kids out to play to give me peace and quiet in the house.  Best Valentine's Day gift ever as far as I'm concerned!

2.  My daughter's air purifier in her room started to bog down and make horrible grinding noises, so I quickly turned it off and asked my husband to tear it apart and see if he could clean the motor as I thought that is probably what was wrong with it.  Sure enough he ripped it apart, cleaned it, oiled it and blew out the filter and it's working great.  He did that with an old one of the same model that was completely seized up (which is why we replaced the air purifier for my daughter's current one a couple of years ago) that had been sitting in the garage and got it up and working good as new too. So, I put that one up in my daughter's closet so we now have an extra air purifier if we need one.

3.  My Kirby's vacuum bag was full this week.  We bought a used Kirby when my kids were first diagnosed with environmental allergies years ago and I do love it and would use it a lot more if not for one thing.  The cost of the bags is ridiculous!  It's like 50.00 per two bags.  So, I use the Kirby to vacuum my downstairs and use the canister vacuum upstairs so I can empty it regularly with my son's ability to spread food upstairs.  Since the bag was full and it was the last bag I had I figured emptying it was the only way to go as I didn't want to spend the money to go and get new bags for the vacuum.  It worked really well actually.  Not ideal by any means, but it worked and now I've got another use out of the bag.

4.  I reviewed my Amazon order before it shipped and decided I could make up the overage from the groceries by just cancelling my gravy powders off the order.  I know I can make do without them, so I cancelled the gravy powders.  Now not only am I not over for groceries for the week, but I also made up the overage from the rest of the grocery shopping from last week as well.  So, life is good!

5.  Made laundry soap and refilled some of my windex bottles with vinegar instead.

6.  I saw our local Three Bears (our bulk store, kind of like Costco or Sam's Club but without membership fees) had gas for 1.99 per gallon.  I filled up my tank.  I took the remainder of the money that I had budgeted out for gas for the week and put it into my grocery budget to help stop myself from possibly going over in future weeks (12.00 onto groceries is always nice!  I always budget high for gas just in case).

7.  I fixed all of our dinners at home, which saved us money.  I also did some creative using up of food items (more on that on the Bare Essentials recap tomorrow).

8.  I mended a pair of socks this week.

9.  I continued to send my kids to school with pasta and with my son rice, to help stretch the food budget and get more real food into my son vs. processed foods.

10.  I used shower warm up water to wash the floors.

So, there are some ways I saved money this week.  How did you do? 


  1. I think you did well. Have you looked at the Canning Granny blog for recipes for gravy mixes? She posted a few recently.

  2. I haven't been there in a while. I'll check it out. Thanks!

  3. I love your creative solution to storing potatoes, Erika! Hope it works really well for you.

    As for your husband forgetting Valentines day, well it made me laugh. My husband and I don't really celebrate just seemed like yet another way for stores to get us to part with our hard earned money. But the first Valentines day after my daughter was born was a bit of a struggle for me. I had gotten up early with the baby while my husband slept in. He then got up, proceeded to get ready for work (he's a cook and had the afternoon/evening shift that day), and barely acknowledged me by grunting a good-bye before leaving. Well, I was ticked and the anger grew as the day wore on. So when he finally called to check in with me later, I wasn't so happy. In the background, my daughter was wailing, I was tired from getting up early, not to mention getting up throughout the night for feedings, and well I let him have it...ending with me sobbing "...and you didn't even wish me a happy Valentine's day!". Well, every year since then, my husband ALWAYS makes sure to wish me a happy Valentine's day as soon as he gets up in the morning. It's really become a bit of a joke for us...but, you know, he never, ever forgets!!! I'm glad your husband was kind enough to give you the gift of sleep this year.

    1. That was the first Mother's Day for me after my daughter was born, except add in my husband spending all day over at my in-laws putting in a garden for his mother instead of spending any time at home with me. Oh I was so depressed and upset.

      After that, though, it really helped me to just let things go. Valentine's Day is actually one of those holidays that seems to mean more to my husband to do something nice for me than it does for me. Honestly I really don't care *laugh*. Same with Mother's Day. I'm a mother and I don't need a day to reinforce that. Although, I have to admit I do like the little gifts my kids are still making for Mother's Day at school to send home :).

  4. We celebrated by going to Longhorn steakhouse with a bc we got for Christmas. Went at lunchtime, no crowds and excellent service. I asked for no candy (diabetic) or flowers so my dh printed a heart at work and remembered the date we meet with a I Love You inside, perfect. The nap was perfect for you, no money spent and you know he stepped up when he needed to. Cheryl

    1. Aw! That's sweet! So many men would plain forget dates and things that I'm impressed he remembered. Glad you had a good day :).

  5. Naps are the best! We spent the day at church and then going to the symphony. That sounds fancy (ha!) but it was a local symphony and our 15 year old way playing in it. We got the parent tickets (read cheap seats) but I was really proud of her so it was a good day. We came home and had bagel bytes, cheese quesadillas and some leftover chicken.

    You had a good week! Budget Bytes just posted a potato recipe this week that looks good to me. I have made several of her recipes and liked them. Someone on Prudent Homemaker had mentioned her at one point. Here's the link: I don't know it it's anything you guys would like but I think my family would. I'm actually going to try her recipe for kalamata olive bread this morning. My husband and I both love that stuff, but it's so expensive so I thought I would give it a shot.

    1. Those do look good! I might have to give them a shot. The daughter does like Parmesan and she likes french hey it might be the best of both worlds there *laugh*.

  6. Try the recipe for her no-knead pizza dough on that site. I double the recipe and use caste iron pans and two pie pans and it makes the best pizza ever. Cheryl

  7. I have reused my bags three or four times without a problem. Just thought you might like to know.