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It’s been a very, very busy weekend over at the ol’ Picky Palace. See what we did to save money this weekend!

We went to a free community festival

The city shut down the main road and threw a festival on Saturday, so we decided to check it out!

We ended up snagging two free tree saplings–courtesy of the city’s promotion of native, drought-tolerant plants. Unfortunately they aren’t fruiting trees, but they should be great for providing shade in the years to come.

During the festival we also did our civic duty by voting and getting library cards, since the tree giveaway was right in front of the library/poll.

PSA: Y’all, if you’re in the U.S. and you haven’t voted yet, please go out and do so! Your voice won’t be heard if you don’t vote! We did early voting and it took us only 15 minutes.

If you need motivation to get to the polls, just check out this sweet sticker they give you for voting:

i voted sticker

Fancy, eh?

We snagged a few excellent books from the library.

library books

I registered appliance warranties

We bought lots of shiny, new appliances for the house and I would be heartbroken if they broke. So I spent Saturday afternoon registering our product warranties online. It took half an hour to cover our asses for the next few years, but I’d say it’s worth it. Nice!

We started composting

Mr. Picky Pincher built some wire composting bins last month and we’ve started to fill them up. We keep a container in the fridge and drop in our fruit and veggie scraps throughout the week. Once it’s full, Mr. Picky Pincher blends up the scraps and dumps it into the bin to compost.

compost bin

Said compost bins

Frugal fail: making rose water

For anyone who knows me, I despise rose bushes. They’re difficult to care for and, in our area, they’re prone to many diseases and are often not native plants to begin with.

They’re a huge pain, thorns included.

Needless to say, I don’t really enjoy the two rose bushes in our back yard. Once it cools down I plan to take these suckers out. But in the meantime, I’ve been trying to find ways to make the roses useful.

I recently read a tutorial online about making homemade rose water, so I decided to try it out! I plucked all of the rose petals from the bushes, washed them, and simmered them in water for 20 minutes.


I don’t know what happened here, but I ended up with a foul-smelling brown water. I guess it was technically “rose water,” but it looked more like “poo water.”

I ended up chunking it, but it was still a fun little experiment!

I picked a ridiculous amount of chile piquins.

As it turns out, we have four productive chile piquin plants in our back yard. I’ve personally never had a chile piquin, but Mr. Picky Pincher swears they’re delicious! I decided to pick the chiles and dry them for later use in tacos and sauces. I’ve heard you can pickle them too, but I like drying since it preserves their heat.

I finally got around to picking the itty bitty chiles off the plants this weekend. It was quite a production since the chiles are soooo small, but I’m pretty satisfied with the amount I got. I did have to wear gloves while picking them; I didn’t want to get chile juice on my hands/eyes!

chile piquins

After I picked them I washed the chiles in the colander. It was a little tricky trying to find a good container to dry them over the coming weeks, but I found a cool little solution!

A few months ago I tried making pants for Mr. Picky Pincher that came out entirely too small. I kept them around in case I ever needed scrap fabric, since they were made out of a high quality natural cotton. I just snipped off the leg of these pants, sewed the bottom, added a pull-tie to the top, and made a cute little cotton bag! It’s not perfect or beautiful but it gets the job done.

I hung the cotton bag full of chiles in our guest room closet, where it will hang for the next few weeks as the chiles dry.

I planted the green onions and tried to regrow leeks

I finally potted our beautiful green onions and put them on our patio. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of use out of these little fellas! We also had some used leeks that I went ahead and put in water. I’m not sure if they’ll grow back, but why not try?

We used an insane amount of coupons at HEB

I normally talk about this in our What’s for Dinner? posts, but this was just too badass not to share! We got $25 off our groceries this weekend thanks to coupons! It’s all due to coupons in the mail, enrolling in HEB’s special email alerts, and digital coupons.

Ahhh, it feels good to save some moolah!

We created DIY Halloween costumes

It’s funny how you lose track of time when you’re slaving over a house. Needless to say, we didn’t realize Halloween was around the corner until Sunday afternoon. We absolutely LOVE Halloween, but we’ve been too distracted to properly plan our costumes.

In an effort to save time/money/sanity, we decided to create DIY costumes on the fly. We swung by our local thrift store to pick up a tacky tweed coat and tie for Mr. Picky Pincher, who will be Giorgio A. Tsoukalos (aka the crazy guy from Ancient Aliens).

Image result for guy from ancient aliens

I dug out an old Renaissance fair flower headband, covered myself with glitter, and decided to be a wood nymph. I might rat my hair and toss in some twigs and leaves for effect. I also plan to use some light-up flowers to string along our porch–we used these guys once for our wedding and they’ve been in storage ever since.

House Progress

I have no idea how home ownership doesn’t kill people.

For every great thing that’s happened, something horrible has also happened. Luckily we try to have a good sense of humor about it, but damn does it suck!

Here’s what broke in the house this week:

  • The water line on the fridge came undone and leaked about 20 gallons of water all over our house. We woke up at 6 am feeling like we were on a sinking ship! We vacuumed it all up in about an hour with our trusty Shop-Vac  and  were pleased that we at least did not have to mop any more.
  • The A/C. As I’m typing this, I have no idea what’s wrong with the A/C, but Mr. Picky Pincher is out there with a flashlight and cursing, so it doesn’t sound good.
  • The lawn mower spewed a plume of smoke and then stopped working, so I think we’ll need to get a new lawn mower. Yikes.

Naturally we’ve been a little stressed out. Here’s what we worked on for the house so far, in addition to a few repairs here and there:

Mr. Picky Pincher laid the tile backsplash.

I had no idea how labor-intensive a backsplash is, but boy howdy, it’s a lot of hard work, and I’m just the observer. He’s taking his time installing the backsplash and making sure it’s in correctly, so it’ll take at least a week or two before it’s complete.

But doesn’t it look pretty?!

tile backsplash

I painted kitchen shelves.

Remember when I said I wasn’t painting again for a while? That was a lie. I quickly painted two small shelves for the kitchen so we could display our nice little tchotchkes. Pics to come!

Mr. Picky Pincher did a lot of work on the lawn.

We have a chainlink fence with lots of plants growing on it, so he trimmed them back for a small semblance of civility.

I organized and cleaned the house.

Living in a construction zone can be messy/depressing, so I tried to straighten up as best as I could. I unpacked a few remaining boxes of kitchen stuff and reorganized the craft room, which was a disaster after this week’s flood.

We’re Famous! … Well, Not Really

We’re featured in Carrie Willard’s new eBook, which is now available for download on Amazon! I really love, love, love Carrie’s personal story and her eBook, The Temporary Tightwad, gives FANTASTIC advice for saving money.

I’ve read the whole thing cover to cover and I absolutely love it–and she isn’t paying me to say that!

If you’re looking for a great guide with actionable advice from someone who’s been through hell and back, download The Temporary Tightwad to get on the right foot. 

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