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27 Things I Make Instead of Buy to Save Money

Are you looking for ways to save money? You're not alone! It can be tough to keep up with when you have surprise expenses.  By changing some of our daily habits, my family started to make some of our household items instead of buy them to help use reduce waste, save money, and frankly because it can be more convenient. I added the items on this list bit by bit over the years. Please do not think you have to make everything all at once! Sometimes I don’t have to make more of something because I made a bit too much the first time and we are still going through it (looking at you Must Can All the Jam! bender a few years ago.) Other times, it’s a one and done kind of thing like sewing on a button, and sometimes I buy the item instead of making it (like yogurt) because I’m too busy with other life things to keep up with the supply and demand.   Save this list of money saving ideas to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share it with your friends!  In othe

Illegal Tomato Plants?

Last summer Husband and I accidentally planted a front yard vegetable garden. It wasn’t our plan. We built a new raised garden bed and needed something to fill in the gaps between the transplanted chives and lavender . We threw down some free seeds we got in the front yard instead of doing a container garden on the back patio – where I prefer my food plants to live.

The plants grew. Yay! It was covert. Our neighbors didn’t realize our landscape was edible. Double yay!

 Our neighborhood doesn't have rules against growing food in our front flower beds. It's that I'm not fond of the Little House on the Prairie garden front yard look.

The cucumber and squash vines filled in the bare spots and made our landscape look lush and like we spent more than $162 to do the frontyard and porch project. This Old House liked it so much they featured it on the This Old House website and later in This Old House magazine.

I'm flattered!

Husband and I are now hooked on vegetable gardening. This year we are determined to grow more than six tomatoes from four plants.  We bought packages of roma and pink barelywine tomato seeds and chucked them into the garden. 

All Condo Blues photos courtesy of me and my green DIY blog Condo Blues


Tomato plants.

Lots of tomato plants.

Our covert front yard vegetable garden isn’t so covert this year. 


No big deal until the police decided to check it out.

The week before I went to BlogHer, I started a DIY project (like you do.) I painted an accent wall in the kitchen and living room. As I tossed something in the trash can in the backyard (even with our low waste ways, it happens) I hear something. I looked up and saw a low flying police helicopter circling my neighborhood. He did a couple of flyovers of the house. Strange. I bet the Fashion Police are out to get me because I wore my paint clothes outside.

No. I’m not showing you a photo of me in my paint clothes in case the Fashion Police are still out there. I will show you my accent wall instead.

This is a good step in the right direction for these rooms.

A few days later, as I’m walking to the mailbox, I see a police wagon drive slowly up the hill of our neighborhood. Weird, but my Homeowners Association asked the police to do a drive bys when they are in the neighborhood to curb break ins. I figured the paddy wagon was in the area and wanted to do some community service.

Two seconds later, a police car drives up the hill too.

Uh oh! Somebody’s gonna get in trouuuuuu-ble!

I fight the urge to follow them, do a Mrs. Kravitz, and find out who’s being busted. Instead, I grab the mail and walk home.

Um. I think I'm the potential bustee.

Instead of doing the typical police car patrol loop around the neighborhood, the paddy wagon and police car drives down my street and slows down as they pass my house.

Mr. Policeman, these are tomato plants not something-extremely-illegal- and-stupid-if-you-are-growing-it-in-your-front-yard-for-all-to-see plants.


That’s it.

Oh and some basil too.

I guess I am a sneaky sneak after all.

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Diana said…
They are looking for illegal stuff growing in the garden. The best time to find it is in the fall when other plants are turning yellow and the illegal stuff is not.

We had a helicopter circling around our house over and over and over. A really tight circle over the house and we called the sheriff who told us a conjunctive effort was going on. The circle left the house and concentrated on our ravine, so we thought someone had escaped from the prison. Turned out our neighbor was growing some of the illegal stuff, and they searched and found a whole bunch in the basement. Who knew?
Ctrl-Alt-Health said…
My grandfather always grew a large bed of tomatoes on the side of his house. One year, despite all best efforts to get them to pollinate, he didn't get a single tomato that year, though it vined like crazy. My family teased him about his marijuana plants he decided to grow that year :)