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Frugal Accomplishments for the Third Week in July

I spent many, many hours up late each night this week canning. I am grateful to my mother-in-law for teaching me the basics of canning. I had a newborn at the time (my second baby) and she came to my house and taught me to can peaches. 

With lots going on during the day (and another newborn!), I always find it easiest to can at night, when no meals are being prepared in the kitchen and no one needs anything from me.

Using cucumbers picked from my friend's garden, I canned a batch of sweet pickle relish, a batch of bread and butter pickles, and a batch of giardiniera.

Concord Grapes The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut concords and another seeded grape from my garden and canned several quarts of grape juice. I also canned the grape pulp; instructions in the canning book say to strain and discard the solids so that you have clear juice. I don't mind having unfiltered juice with a little pulp. Some of my jars were just juice, some were pulp and juice, and some were more just the thick pulp (like blended grapes) which are perfect to use in smoothies and in popsicles.

Green and Red Beans The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested figs, seedless grapes, green onions, Swiss chard, miniature bell peppers, a couple of peaches from the white garden, and red noodle beans. 

We collected eggs from my friend's hens and picked tomatoes and green beans from her garden.

I used YouTube to show the children about many things mentioned in their schoolbooks. We saw videos about giant grouper, Niagara Falls, and Amsterdam.

My husband cleaned the dryer vent lines and removed the front lower panel of our front-loading washing machine and cleaned out the drain. These two things will help our clothes to dry in a timely manner. I had noticed them coming out of the washer wetter than normal and also taking longer to dry even after I did an extra spin cycle, so they will now be able to dry in one cycle, rather than taking twice as long as they had started to do.

I collected water from the air conditioner drip all week long and used it to water potted plants. I also used shower warm-up water to water potted plants.


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Karen July 22, 2018

    I've been letting our finances slide a little in the past few months - haven't been as diligent about tracking expenses. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I got back on top of things. This week I discovered that someone in Ireland has been using our credit card. Small expenses that flew under my radar. I only noticed it because I had two Netflix charges in the month, one of which had a foreign currency fee attached. Fortunately my bank is extremely helpful when this happens (not the first time). I closed the card and disputed the charges. We'll get all our money back. In the meantime, we're on a cash basis until our new card arrives.

    We ate nearly all our meals from home this week. My husband and I went out to dinner and a movie for our anniversary, but it was mostly covered by our gift from my parents. I haven't been to a prime-time movie in a theater for a long time - holy cow that's expensive! It was a nice treat to celebrate 15 years.

    My daughter has a baby tooth that is bothering her. She decided she'd rather wiggle it loose than have it pulled at the dentist (it's not urgent, just irritated by a tooth coming in behind it, so the dentist left it up to her). That will save us $87 out of pocket, LOL.

    I submitted receipts for medical reimbursement as I got them (normally I let them sit until the end of the year and it's a mad scramble to try and find enough to get our full reimbursement).

    I planned a menu for the next two weeks using what we have available at home - I just needed to buy some fresh produce for lunches and I'll pick up milk at the dairy this week. This kept my grocery shopping to the bare minimum. We'll eat from the pantry and freezer to save a bit on the grocery bill.

    I exercised using YouTube and other free videos I found on the internet.

  • I am currently waiting to have almost $800 of fraudulent charges reimbursed to my account from the week before last. One was $3.95 but the other was $770! I caught them the next day but it will be almost 2 weeks before I get the money back.

  • Lily July 22, 2018

    Somebody from the bank told my husband that when somebody steals your card number they first do a tiny purchase to see if it goes through, and a big one afterwards. It’s really annoying and very hard to detect until it’s too late

  • Anne July 22, 2018

    My understand is that crooks first float a very small to charge to see if it will go through. Hence the $3.95, THEN they try more major purchases. Your $770. I think the bank told me this a couple of years back.

  • Becky July 22, 2018

    We've had that happen before. It seemed for us that they ran a small charge through to see if they could get it to work, then tried a big one. Very disturbing, but it happens. We got our money back, as well.

  • Lynn July 23, 2018

    I am so sorry. That happened to us too. Made us bounce checks. It was 2 1/2 weeks before they straighten everything out and removed overdraft fees, returned checks. Plus, our account was frozen. It has happened twice to us. Every time it was a gas station when it happened.

  • Mary Beth Danielson July 23, 2018

    This happened to us 3 times in 3 years so finally we looked up what we could do - and then "froze" our credit accounts. It was pretty easy; I wrote about it on my website. https://marybethdanielson.com/content/credit-freezing

  • Lorna July 22, 2018

    Karen and Brandy the fraudulent credit card charges and hacking are rife all over the world unfortunately :( .

    I also had it happen once when I put in a bulk order with an online grocery order and they notified me that their website had been hacked and personal data taken. Just after that I saw a huge charge from an overseas destination on my credit card and rang up the bank but likewise it was a couple of weeks until it was sorted out and the bank sent me out another card. It is so inconvenient.

    This is why I keep a running tally of what I put on my credit card so if the balance is higher than that I know there is something wrong and query it.


  • Andrea Q July 23, 2018

    It happened to me this week, too. Thankfully, my credit card company caught it immediately, as I had used the card earlier in the day and there's no way I can be in two far flung states at once. We rarely use our debit card for purchases, but it does have a daily limit of $400, which is another way to limit fraudulent charges.

  • Heidi Louise July 23, 2018

    Credit and debit cards have different liabilities if stolen. Credit cards protect the consumer more.
    If you report the theft before any charges are made, (good luck on that!), you are not liable for any charges.
    For stolen credit cards, you may lose up to $50. For stolen credit card numbers, nothing-- I didn't know that.
    For debit, depending how quickly you report the theft, you may lose $50, $500, or all the money in your linked accounts, depending if you report within two days, sixty days, or longer.
    SO ANNOYING! I don't want to have to know this.

  • Andrea Q July 23, 2018

    We have had fraudulent charges on credit cards an average of once per year for the past decade. Thankfully, we have never lost a cent. The physical cards have always been in our possession and never stolen. It is incredibly frustrating!

  • Terry July 22, 2018

    Mostly spent this week at home. Did my widowed brother's mending. He brought us fresh raspberries when he picked his things up. I stopped at the thrift store this week hoping to find floor mats for our car. I found a new set still in the bag for 5.99. when I looked them up online they were 118.00.
    I bought hubby a pair of Foster grant sunglasses for 1/3 the regular price. Did very little grocery shopping this week other than some bread and bacon for blt's, a container of ice cream for a treat, and some canning lids. Most meals were cooked from our pantry and garden. I did buy a 5# chicken on sale for 88@#. Cooked it in the rotisserie and have focused it in meals for several days. We have tomatoes, beets, green beans, carrots and a mountain of zucchini. I made a canner full of zucchini relish. All laundry washed in cold water and hung on the line. Opened the house early each morning and running fans keeps the house cool until nearly noon.

  • Marcia R. July 22, 2018

    Just happened to think--my Mom had a recipe for "Zucchini Brown Betty" which tastes a lot like "Apple Brown Betty." I assume if you grow zucchini you must have a million recipes for it. I also have a recipe for Lemon Zucchini bread, which I personally like a lot. If anyone doesn't have these, just let me know and I will post either or both. I'm growing nothing but weeds this year although I am going to try to get my gardens ready for next spring if my body and the rain hold up. We were in a slight drought up until yesterday and I don't know how much we got but it was all during dark hours.

  • Ellie July 23, 2018

    Please post the lemon zucchini bread recipe. I love lemon flavored food and I'm growing zucchini this year.
    I bought 2 sacks of 6 lemons at a garage sale of all places! They were part of a large $4 purchase. We enjoyed some lemonade made from scratch. ( First I washed and seated the lemons, and saved the zest.) Of course, I learned 2 freeze the lemon zest here. Thank you!

  • Marcia R. July 25, 2018

    Lemon Zucchini Bread
    Makes 2 regular loaf pans or about 6 mini-pans.

    3 eggs
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup oil
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp lemon extract
    3 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    2 cups grated zucchini
    yellow food coloring (a few drops liquid or a dab of paste color--the bread needs this!!)

    4 tsp lemon juice
    4 TBSP sugar

    Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes. (If using mini-loaf pans bake for about 35-40 minutes.)

    Let cool for a few minutes. Remove from pans. Warm up the glaze in the microwave or a saucepan, and drizzle over tops of bread while bread is still warm but not hot.

    Personally, this is one of my favorites and quite easy to make. It freezes well too, just make sure it's completely cool. I wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and then again in foil.

  • Ellie July 26, 2018

    T.Y. for sharing the recipe, Marcia. :)

  • DonnaMarie August 01, 2018

    Yes, thank you for sharing Marcia. Lemon and zucchini sounds like a great combination.

  • Robbie July 22, 2018

    What an awesome thrift store find! I never have that kind of luck! :)

  • Bobbie July 22, 2018

    Our cucumbers started coming in this week, so I waited until I had several good sized English ones, and canned 4 quarts of dill slices. Put up 10 pints of salsa from ingredients in the garden. Had a low cost birthday celebration for my son, who turned 3. Am stocking my freezer before returning to work August 3, and am anticipating a very low August and September grocery budget (fingers crossed).

    Dressed up my sons and took several photos in the woods behind our house- I got some great photos that I will use as Christmas gifts in dollar store frames this year! I'm trying to get all of my Christmas shopping done before Halloween this year, that way we can use every bit of December spending time together and enjoying the fun things.

    Drew up plans to make Halloween costumes for the boys- a robot and a rocket ship- using items we have. This will save money for us, the boys will love them, and I think people genuinely appreciate effort put into homemade costumes :)
    Ate rice and beans with some leftover meat twice this week's, and will eat it again tonight along with other leftovers to clear out the fridge. Trying to teach the kids about not wasting food.

  • Cindi July 22, 2018

    It's a wonderful feeling to see those jars of canned goods on the shelf, isn't it?
    I attended a work conference all week, which wasn't particularly frugal, though I did some things to help defray expenses: I took food and ate breakfast and a couple of lunches in my room. I only ended up eating out 3 times over 5 days (there were 3 meals included in the conference fee.)
    Parking at the hotel was $40 a day. Instead of paying that, I parked for free at a light rail station in the suburbs and paid $5 for a round-trip light rail ticket. I had to walk three blocks to the hotel with my roller bag, but it was an easy walk.
    I wore sensible shoes and walked to the one off-site meeting, 1/2 mile away. A couple of friends walked with me -- we got to the meeting before those who decided to take a cab.
    I came home and harvested several pounds of carrots, a lot of garlic, and a bunch of chard and collard greens, which I will be preparing for the freezer this afternoon.
    My church is collecting sample size toiletries for a women's shelter, so I was able to bring home some from my hotel room to contribute.

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