Friday, April 1, 2016

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

March 27-April 1

-I limited my purchasing of Easter candy and focused on other types of gifts, especially homemade.  I made chocolates that did require the purchasing of molds.  I used a 40% off coupon on one of the molds and I look forward to reusing them time and time again.  I also made candles.  I had to purchase wick but I already had the beeswax and used vintage canning jars that I had on hand.  This is something I can easily see myself doing again in the future so I will by buying beeswax with a 40% off coupon periodically.  I also included socks in their Easter baskets.  My boys love socks.  Over a year ago I had purchased a slew of socks that were on clearance at Kohl's.  I put some in their Christmas stockings but saved the brightly colored ones for their Easter baskets.  I did in fact put those in their baskets and I still have some for birthday gifts or next Christmas!

-Making chocolates and candles for Easter, as well as the great success we had gifting Bishop's baklava at Christmas, has truly inspired me to make more gifts.  I am thinking about gifting things that I make for myself or that I have been wanting to make.  I had never really considered some of these things gift-worthy but I think I may have been wrong.  I never considered gifting baklava before despite the fact that my family is the only one who makes it, both in my family and amongst my friends.  Baklava is considered a specialty item.  People pay quite a bit for it.  Why haven't I been gifting it?  Bishop and I make violet jelly and want to make dandelion jelly, why aren't we gifting that?  I want to learn to make lotion, lotion bars, salves, soaps, lip balm and tea blends.  Those would make great gifts.  I make great cookies and I am nearly a hot chocolate bar expert, both of these "talents" could be parlayed into gifts.  I love my flowers.  I have sedum's and bulbs and herbs that could be divided and packaged and gifted.  I think I am getting in a gift giving groove.  If I act on it now I will learn new skills while building the gift pantry.

-I harvested violets, dandelions, red bud blossoms and began making jelly.  Thus far, I have made fifteen jars of violet and dandelion jellies.  I hope to make the red bud blossom jelly tomorrow.   I have never tried the dandelion and red bud blossom jellies but I love violet jelly.  I want to give them as gifts.  I imagine packaging three,  one of each variety, as gifts, possibly with a vintage spoon or butter knife tied onto the package.  Have you seen The Vicky Challenge?  It is about calculating the value of our homemaking efforts.  I haven't been participating in the challenge as I have found it difficult to assign a dollar amount to the things that I do.  I do most things as frugally as possible and don't even think about purchasing or hiring out (i.e. I never buy cake for the kiddos birthdays or hire someone to mow my lawn) - I never have and don't imagine I ever will.  But I did get curious as to what gifts such as these would run, what value would be assigned to them?  These jellies cost me $1.04 each to make.  It is difficult to purchase these types of specialty jellies but if I did they would cost me about $6.50 each.  So the value of my efforts less my expenses would be $81.90.  Not bad.

-I can do the same thing for the Easter gifts I made.  The candles I made the boys were made with wax and jars that I had on hand.  I did have to purchase wicks for these candles.  I do know that I purchased the beeswax with a 40% off coupon and the jars were purchased years ago at a thrift store.  If I calculate all the expenses ever incurred on this project it would cost me about $2.25 per candle.  I found similar candles for sale on etsy for $15 each.   I calculate that it would cost me $11.25 to make the five candles that I made but would have cost me $75 if I had purchased them.  So the value of these efforts less my expenses would be $63.75.
Likewise, the cocoa dusted dark chocolate ganache truffles that I made for the boys for Easter and for days afterwards cost me less than $15 to make but would have run me $50 if purchased through Williams-Sonoma.  So the value of my efforts here less my expenses would be $35.

-I did a good job of resisting temptation regarding eating out.  I made spinach stuffed chicken breasts (served with the leftover Easter mashed potatoes), chicken fettuccini alfredo, chili dogs, ham sliders (with the leftover Easter ham) and leftovers, leftovers, leftovers.  I did purchase pizza for the boys to take to a friend's party and I used a coupon for that.  I also did take Bishop out to eat for lunch between science and history groups.  We are going to try to picnic between those groups as the weather warms up; that should save some money.

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