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Frugal Accomplishments For The Third Week of August

August Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

I picked red noodle beans, butternut squash, Armenian cucumbers, grapes, Swiss chard, and a few tomatoes from the garden.

Oregano Drying The Prudent Homemaker

I cut oregano and basil from the garden to dry. My drying process is simple: I rinse the herbs and lay them to dry on a cooling rack. Our climate is very dry and the bit of the humidity that we have had from the passing storms is gone, so our humidity runs between 5 and 10%. I let these air dry and it takes 1 to 2 days for them to be completely dry. In a more humid climate, it may take up to a week before your herbs are dry this way. It uses no power and is very simple, which I love!

I canned a batch of dill pickles with the cucumbers. I added a grape leaf from the garden to each jar to help them to be crisper.

I was given some onions and some bell peppers that were past their prime. I used them with cucumbers from my garden and spices I had on hand to can sweet pickle relish. The timing was perfect as we had just used our last jar of relish in tuna melts the previous week.

I cooked meals in my solar oven every day.

Baby Lizard The Prudent Homemaker

Wren caught a baby lizard in the garden this past week.

I took cuttings from my Boxleaf euonymus and Greenspire euonymus bushes and started them to root. I took several as I know they won't all take. I lost several bushes in the garden due to the extreme heat and sun this summer. I know it will take 4-5 years to get the bushes large enough to replace the ones that died, but it will save me the money on new ones. I will move any that any take root into the garden sometime in November or December when the weather cools.

I saved $6 in electricity over the week before last. The electric company had estimated my bill to be $415 for this month. With 4 days left, they're now estimating it to be $375. I always challenge myself to make the number much lower than they predict. This is our highest electric bill for the year.

I made a pair of earrings for myself using beads and findings I had on hand.

I mended and modified a hand-me-down dress that my girls received a few years ago.

Making a Casting The Prudent Homemaker

For a merit badge, my husband taught my son how to make a mold, and then to make a casting from it. Before we were married, my husband was a mold maker for the movie industry; it was fun to see him teach Ezrom this process We had all of the supplies on hand..

I had a couple of date nights at home with my husband.

My husband worked from home two days, saving gas to drive to his office and back.

I used Recyclebank points to renew a subscription I got for free from them last year to Cooking Light magazine. Now I have another free year to enjoy reading.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Lowe's gift card. I am saving up cards to use to purchase supplies for some projects at home.

After watching the short video, "The Potential of the Piano" as a family this week, my eldest found a free pdf of the sheet music here. (You can also download a free MP3 of this pretty song at the same link).  Winter likes this song so much she is considering using it as a recital song.

We went swimming at my sister-in-law's house. On the way home, we stopped at the library, where we enjoyed the art exhibit (I shared a photo over on Instagram), checked out books, and made note of some upcoming activities that we are interested in attending.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  • Mrs. T August 21, 2017

    Forgot to add, received my Ebates check for $19.95 and my husband also received a $50 gift card to our local grocery store through work. Yay!

  • Juls Owings August 21, 2017

    Brandy... you are a blessing. My daughter just lost her job due to being in a temp service and coming down with Mono ...no time off when sick but because she did read your blog from end to end she is going to be okay in the food area so she can focus on paying the bills . Single mother of 3 with her oldest in high school and going to college part time.

    What you spend in the summer is what we used to spend in the winter when heating the upstairs...we don't heat there any more, just pile on more blankets and get dressed in the bathroom.

    I feel like all I have done is run run run... couple times from the garden snakes...Toads are getting pretty thick also but I noticed no where near the gardens where the snakes are.

    I am trying to do Swagbucks daily... struggle as I don't focus on it much as I am busy but have learned that by putting it on a separate tab I can do more than one thing at once. Still don't make many points that way.

    Sitting here reading everyone's posts and watching the eclipse but taping a paper with a hole in it to the front room window and watching the difference on the paper laying on the floor. I won't get to see it much as there is a storm going to roll in. I need the rain.

    Went to physical therapy, ahead of "norm" about 3 wks. BUT because of how I was scheduled at the last minute I can't get my last visit to be released until a week after I am done...so they decided since I wasn't paying out of pocket they would go ahead and schedule me one extra day for me to work on their weight machines that the Wellness center does not have. I will start going to the Wellness center to rebuild the strength in the right arm after I am released from PT . Wellness center is $26 a year for us. I am suppose to do push ups....I couldn't do push ups before the surgery due to breaking my wrist when I was 21, they won't allow me to do it on my fist, suppose to be flat handed... Wellness center told me to ask if they would accept me using the hand weights to hold my hands off the floor since I would be holding the weights instead of knuckles on the floor.

    I went shopping after PT each time to finish up stocking the pantry since I was already in town. Scores too many to mention here but on my blog.The only things we bought for weekly groceries is milk, a cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple.

    I dehydrated some herbs others I hang after tying together and when it's like thyme I put netting around or paper bag to catch the leaves as it dries if it falls off.

    Hubby found a couple cucumbers the size on my thumb so I sliced them up and put them in the brine leftover from the refrig pickles my girlfriend made while I was in the sling.

    I have zesty chili cooking right now that I make with sausage, saving the sausage grease for later ,I will can this chili tomorrow. Beef veggie soup next then mild hamburger chili along with tomato juice and pasta sauce. I don't have to worry about lifting weights when I am lifting canning jars and canners LOL

    Blessed be you and yours

  • Thanks!

  • Laruie in AZ August 21, 2017

    Love the lizard picture, Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:

    * Took Dad out for our weekly lunch and was able to use a $10 off $35 coupon.
    * Dad wanted to give a fruit basket to one of the caregivers at his Assisted Living home, so I put one together for him. My daughter had a basket already and picked up a cellophane bag at the dollar store. I already had some shredded stuff that came from a gift basket we had received a month ago. I had a bow already. Fruit came to under $4 and I threw in some brie and crackers and nuts that came in the gift basket we had received.
    * Canned 11 pts. of pinto beans with jalapenos. I had gotten the jalapenos from a bulk produce program, so they were basically free. The pintos cost 57c/lb. I used $1.63 worth. Not including the lids, this makes them 15c per jar. I had bought the lids in bulk, so I think I paid 6c/lid. So much cheaper! And Hubby loves them. They are one of his favorite foods.
    * We went out to eat on Friday night, but used a $5 coupon I received for filling out the survey on the receipt the last time we went.
    * Hubby took his lunch 3 days last week. For one of the lunches he ate out, he used a restaurant.com certificate that I had gotten for free, so he got his lunch 1/2 off.
    * Hubby went camping over the weekend. The only thing I needed to buy for his trip was some sliced cheese for his sandwich. Everything else came from the freezer or pantry.
    * The lawnmower broke, but Hubby was able to fix it with parts he had in the garage. I feel so blessed to be married to a man who can fix anything!
    * Spent the time to unravel and roll up a skein of yarn I have. Took me over 2 hours! I will use this to crochet a tea cozy for a Christmas gift.
    * Bought minimal groceries this week, as we are going out of town on Thursday for 10 days. Ate up what was in the fridge. Tonight's dinner is soup made from leftovers and veggies that won't keep. Am serving with toasted leftover hamburger buns. Something I did buy were 4 snack bars that were on sale that I had a coupon for. We will use these on vacation.
    * Ate leftovers for lunch and dinners.
    * Hung out 3 loads of laundry. Only ran full loads and I only use cold water. Of course, here in Phoenix, the term "cold" is relative!
    * Bought some shirts on clearance. They were marked down, then 70% off of that, then 15% off of that. I got 6 shirts for under $53.
    * Used free toiletries, coffee and tea.
    * Got a couple more Ibotta rebates.
    * Kept the AC turned up as high as I could stand. Turned the thermostat up to 84 degrees whenever we left the house.
    * While Hubby was camping I made whole wheat pancakes for myself (Hubby isn't a fan) using pancake mix and syrup I had gotten on clearance. Was able to have that 3 days in a row.
    * Sister-in-law's birthday is today. I sent her a card I had gotten for free.

    Not so frugal, we had to get tires for my car. But we don't have a car payment, so that's ok!

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Laurie, that gift basket that you and your Dad made sounds very nice, and I'm sure will be a happy surprise for his caregiver.

  • Kim August 21, 2017

    Thanks to you and all who regularly comment on this blog, I was able to have enough money set aside to help out my daughter this month when she needed it most. She is a teacher and had worked hard teaching reading at a summer education program but due to a paperwork nightmare, she never got her paycheck! She really needed it to pay her bills but I was able to front her the money until her paycheck is sorted out. She also found out her school district will probably be striking because the district wants to cut the teacher's salaries by $500 per month. With a $500 per month pay cut, my daughter will not be able to pay her mortgage and utilities. I don't think people understand just how much money it takes to pay the basics of life. Her city sewer bill is $185.00 per month add to that water usage, garbage pick-up which is mandatory, heating/cooling and her utilities cost as much as her mortgage payment each month!! It is crazy. She has been in tears all week because she tries so hard to be financially responsible but things out of her control are causing major stress.

    I offered to purchase her a few new items of back to school clothing (they will eventually have to start school one way or the other). She found some pants for $10 and a couple tops to go with them. When I went to pay for them the clerk said if I gave her my email address she would give me a 10% discount and then she gave us another 10% off for a teacher's discount. We were very, very happy.

    Thanks to all of you for your constant stream of good money saving ideas. It means the world to me to have this knowledge and useful advice so that I can help out my daughter. She is stretching every dollar.

  • momsav August 21, 2017

    My daughter is a teacher, too. They are so under valued! Bless her heart! I hope things look up for her!

  • Marcia R. August 28, 2017

    My granddaughter has finally learned to trust her mother to get bargains. She found a pair of flat shoes she needed for work (sells real estate) but they were $110. (She has great taste.) First Mom found them for $50, but before she got them to their new owner, she took them back because she found them somewhere else for $35.00 Now that's what I call a bargain! My DD is fantastic with sales and coupons--she and her husband are both disabled, so she can take the time to look in alternative places. And she really needs to save all she can as their income is not that high. DGD is paying for the shoes--Mom just saved her the $ 75 difference she would have paid!

  • OH! I undertand competely about the utility bills! How very frustrating!

    Her sewer bill makes mine look very small in comparision. Our utilities are high but sewer is not that high.

  • Cindy in the South August 22, 2017

    I am gonna sound dumb, but your sewer bill is not tied to your water bill? my sewer/water/trash bill is all in one bill and is the $56 dollars approx a month that I mentioned in my post....I guess I do really need to hush because I have been complaining about it.

  • Cindy, every city is different. When I lived in the city of North Las Vegas some of those were connected. In Las Vegas city limits, I get a separate water bill, trash bill, and sewer bill. Sewer used to be yearly but changed to quarterly recently and is $62.22 a quarter for any size residence. Trash is $43.53 quarterly and every year it goes up a bit. Water is monthly and is tiered up to 4 tiers; there is a basic charge plus a charge per tier. The rates go up each year plus there are additional fees as well on the bill. I am using less water than last year but my bill is considerably higher. My water bill for this month is $282.18. (And September has both of those quarterly bills plus my highest water and electric bills for the year, plus I have a gas bill, so I pay right around $800 for utilities in September).

    The water district here took over most wells unless you are on horse property (and even then I know two people who have been harassed by the city to give up their wells and go on city water). My sister-in-law had a private well and had to give it up and go to city water. The water district regulates days you can water and times you can water, and can fine you for going outside of those days, as well as it water runs off your property. The fines are several hundred dollars. They drive around in cars looking for violations.

  • Cindy in the South August 22, 2017

    Oh my goodness! I guess utilities bills are different everywhere. It is always so interesting to see how it is different in different parts of the world. I noticed that Frugalwoods has no water bill, nor garbage (I think she lives in Vermont and is on a well) bill and that they heat with wood. So, I was sorta envious of her not having to pay for electric heating and cooling like I do down here, as well as having a sewer/garbage/water bill. But, they have to snowplow their driveway so I guess bills are different everywhere. I so so impressed that you are able to keep your air at 79, considering the intense heat you have to endure!

  • Holly August 22, 2017

    People on wells and septic systems do have bills. The water bill in particular can be very large and come at a most inopportune time if the well suddenly fails. Often, the "free" well water needs to be filtered and softened, something you MIGHT not need to worry about with city water. Culligan around here charges nearly $50 a month if you rent their equipment. And if the electric power grid goes down, your water taps will be dry for the duration. (Been there, done that for five days at a time, twice in a decade.) The well pump does increase your electric bill. Septic tanks also need regular pumping as minimal maintenance. Around here, you can expect a $200 or larger bill for that every three years.

  • Kim August 22, 2017

    Yes, I guess utility bills are different everywhere. In small towns here in Washington State, the water and sewer rates are crazy expensive because the small towns have to have their own waste water treatment plants and the tax revenue that normally helps pay for those things is simply not enough. As I stated earlier my daughter's utilities now cost as much as her mortgage each and every month. My son lives in a different small town and his aren't quite as much as my daughter's but still very expensive. We live in the country and have our own well and septic so we don't pay any monthly fees yet. They do want to take our water away from us and make us pay for city hook-ups and monthly services even though we don't live in the city limits. Washington State is now trying to pass a law that will put a stop to any new wells being drilled in our state. That means that if you purchased a piece of property to build on, your property no longer has any value because you will not be allowed to drill a well for water-if the property is located close enough to a city you could pay a very expensive fee and possibly get connected to their services but if the property is not close enough then you are out of luck.
    I think this will become a huge issue in the future. I know Brandy worries about water issues daily living in Nevada but I think shortly water usage will become of great importance to all of us.

  • Holly August 22, 2017

    No well allowed, no city water available, then the prospective builder would need to put in a cistern. Thirty years ago, in the middle of a rapidly expanding suburb of Detroit, I knew a large family who lived in an older house with a cistern. They had their water delivered by truck whenever their supply got low. I was "so* surprised that they weren't yet on city water. I think the water main ran on the other side of a busy road and it would have cost them so very much to connect. I don't know why drilling a well hadn't been an option for them.

  • Janet August 22, 2017


    They also have states, counties and areas now that charge fines for collection of rain water.

  • I know. That makes having a cistern a problem for people--but in some places, like Australia, a cistern is commonly the only way to have water, and you have to pay to have your cistern filled if you don't get enough rain.

    Where I live, it rains so little that the houses aren't built with rain gutters, because they aren't needed. I put out buckets under the corners of my roof where more water drips down during the rare, short bits of rain that we get. Today my neighbor asked me why I would do that. Not everyone is interested in conserving water.

  • Amy in Phx August 26, 2017

    I encourage everyone to read the informational inserts that come with your utility bill. I usually get some good money saving tips. I discovered the city of Phoenix has a program that if you exchange your normal size trash bin for a smaller size you get $3 off your bill each month. Not a ton of money bit $3 is $3 dollars! They came out and exchanged my trash bin fore a smaller size for free and I immediately started receiving the discount. I think the program is supposed to encourage recycling. I also recommend checking to see if your city participates with recycle Bank.

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Everywhere is different. We have no bill for garbage or recycling pickup but it is part of our taxes for our village. We have no water bill due to a well, but we do have a water softener, very much needed, and a reverse osmosis system for water purity. We also do periodic water testing to make sure the water is good. We do own the equipment outright but there are some bills for filter maintenance. My husband handles the salt. If the well went out, that would be a major expense. We are hooked to the city sewer...that is a quarterly bill of $60.00. Yard/garden waste has been banned from our state landfills for 20 some years. Some municipalities have yards where the leaves, clippings, branches etc can be dropped off and they are either chipped up for mulch or composted, then used in the city and county parks, other municipal areas. You can also go to the yard and pick up load of mulch if you'd like. We live outside the town so for us we either need to burn or compost or chip. We do the latter two, except with weeds or disease plants we burn.

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