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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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Comments

  • Annie-Blake August 21, 2017

    This week was social! We had 3 different families over at separate time. For the morning tea family I made chocolate and banana cupcakes from scratch, using what I had on hand. For the dinner family they bought burgers, meat and salad and I cooked a coconut cake from scratch, using ingredients I had on hand. For the late afternoon tea family I put out fruit and biscuits and I made 2 simple family size pizzas. Lots of fun!

    I spent $48 on groceries for the week for my family of four.

    We went to a school fete and my children had fun! Total spent $17 and this included some much needed second hand clothes for my daughter and I.

    Sold a balance bike on our Craigslist equivalent. I purchased it for $30 and sold it for $55!

    Had dinner at my parents house. Lasagne and apple and berry crumble.

    Went to the library and my children participated in a rhyme time 30 minute session. We also checked out some books.

    Our electricity for the month is $75! I always line dry, never use the clothes dryer. Year round. I am conscious of our usage at all times and try to minimise it wherever we can.

  • We have gas heat, cooking, water heater, and a gas dryer. You have to run the a/c here when it's 114ºF (46ºC) cooling down to 79º (26º) and sometimes only 84º (29ºC). Some years our coldest sumer temps have been 104º at 4 a.m. with daytime temps at 122º (50ºC). Other places have large bills in the winter; ours are in the summer. This is generally my highest electricity month for the year. Our house has two air conditioners plus I run a window unit in my walk-in pantry in the garage. I have two fridge freezers and a full-sized freezer as well. I rarely ever turn on the lights except for an hour at night in the summer. I run the dishwasher (energy star) after every 2 meals and sometimes 3 times a day as there are 10 of us. I do 3-5 loads of laundry a day using an energy-star rated front loader. I have 11 ceiling fans in the house; we only run them when we are in a room, but they are very important in the summer and for feeling cooler at higher temperatures. We are home all day or I could program a higher temperature while we are gone; I keep the house at 79º F (26ºC).

    If you don't run the a/c in the summer the house will quickly be 105º (41ºC) inside and the cabinets will start to warp and the door frames will become mis-shapen; it happens to houses that are bank-owned and left to sit for sale for a while. Most people run the air conditioner between April and October here.

  • momsav August 21, 2017

    Holy moly! I just learned something! I had no idea about empty houses and such! I can't imagine living in that heat.

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    momsav, it's the opposite of us trying to keep pipes from freezing in winter...sometimes you have to leave a trickle of water running or leave the cupboard doors open so ambient heat from room accesses pipes. They also don't have to worry about snow accumulation on the roof and frozen drain pipes and icicles and all the road damage for freezing/thawing and snowplows! Oh and rust! I know I could not function in the heat. Cold is hard but tolerable.

  • Becky August 21, 2017

    I marvel every time you describe the intense heat you experience and what it does to things around there! Warped door frames? Yikes!!! I would just wilt. I don't think I'd ever sleep, much less get 1/4 done of what you do. Thank goodness for air conditioning. I'm afraid I would be one of those guys with the $1000 power bill until I got used to it! Maybe even $2000 at first! I don't do well in heat:) All joking aside, our power bill was much higher at our old house because the house itself was so much larger and we had outbuildings/barn/shop that all took power. It was always several hundred dollars per month, and we used wood heat all winter--not the furnace unless it snowed heavily and the temps dropped really low, which was rare. I also had more freezers there. I also had 2 fridges, but one broke when we moved and I did not replace it. So, all of those things have contributed to a much smaller power bill, which is nice. Since we are living on such a lowered salary, all these things help to keep us able to do well anyway--pay is lower, but so are the bills.

  • Air conditioning is why people can live here now. Most of this city was built in the last 30 years. Not many people lived here before air conditioning.

  • Juls Owings August 22, 2017

    Here in Ohio, doors and floors will warp when there is no heat during the winter in bank owned houses. Along with busted pipes including toilets and water heaters if no one thought to shut off the water and drain them. We also the ceiling fan in the winter to "blow" the hot air back down along with summer.With the humidity right now( Hubby weather spotter so we have a weather station gizmo) at 78 our wood doors are sticking shut.

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Oh yes Juls, and having to run dehumidifiers in the basement all summer due to wet humid air and then a humidifier in the winter to keep the wood furniture from drying out and the static electricity away.

  • Susan August 23, 2017

    I live in Glendale, Az (just two blocks from the Phx city limit). We also have the extreme heat problem. Our electricity here is on time-of-day rates which means it is cheaper from nine pm to nine am and on weekends. After a year we could and did ask for our bill to be averaged over a year's time so we pay $211 per month. There are three adults in the home. We run our dishwasher and take all showers at night. We do all laundry on the weekend as well as any cooking that requires a large oven (all electric home). We have a swamp cooler as well as ac, and find that it does well for cooling until about mid-June and starts being effective again in mid-Sept. We got notice that our rates were going up as of Aug 19, and would be figured differently. I am certainly searching for more energy saving ideas.

  • PJGT August 21, 2017

    This is my first trip between our two places while I help my son. Did fairly well on packing and traveling with food, but still did have to buy one meal. It was huge, so I won't have to eat again for the day. And, I filled out their restaurant survey for a huge bag of chips and salsa in case I do get hungry. I brought an empty stainless water bottle to refill at the airport. Used free glasses for eclipse viewing (spectacular!).

    I packed up clothing that I almost fit back into to be mailed to me for the school year. So excited to have a job with full benefits! Still paying on medical bills that were incurred with poor insurance. So thankful for a relief from medical bills.

    Went bicycling and kayaking for free with my new bicycle and our old kayaks. Our anniversary dinner plans fell through, so we ended up visiting our favorite places and never did get around to eating out. Fun night all the way around!

    I think I mentioned that I had been able to get 50%off orchestra tickets. As it was the last concert of the season it came with an after party for the audience and musicians. This year the party was catered and was a meal. We had a picnic snack before, so our day was a frugal success. And, we visited with a number of friends at the event as well.

    I went to the free food giveaway and came back with 2 cottage cheese containers, donuts for my husband, 2 cucumbers and a turnip. I also visited friends and was given zucchini, lettuce and some herbs.

    Gave our daughter money incase she needed to stay over on her way back to school. She was able to make the drive and stay with friends. Yeah!

    Picked up a free protein bar for my husband! Bought ice for the church with their money using our shopping card which added points toward gas savings.

    I was given a sewing machine from an older family member, so I now have a working machine at each place. What a gift!

    We have had more frugal successes this week than fails!

  • Athanasia August 23, 2017

    PJGT, the orchestra performance/party sounded very enjoyable. Congratulation of the gift of the sewing machine.

  • PJGT August 25, 2017

    Thanks Athanasia, I've been focusing on the blessings recently and that is very helpful.

  • Libby August 21, 2017

    • Our local library had a public board game night on Tuesday. It was loads of free fun and I learned how to play “Ticket to Ride”.
    • Washed out four plastic ziplock bags
    • Very excited – my electrical bill was $33 less than budget and $36 less than the prior month. I keep track of $ per month per year and kilowatts per month per year on an excel spreadsheet. The average kilowatt cost in Connecticut for me this year is 23 cents – there is no reduced time of day/night nor financial incentive to reduce usage.
    • I bought a bushel of “utility” peaches saving $12. I’m freezing individual peach slices to put on oatmeal this winter.
    • Hung all loads of laundry outside to dry
    • Washed head lettuce rather than buying more expensive pre-washed lettuce
    • Cooked dried chickpeas in slow cooker to make into hummus
    • researched Roth IRAs – am trying to decide whether to continue aggressively paying down my mortgage or to funnel some of that money into a Roth IRA, using the 2016 tax software, I estimated my 2017 taxes and found no need to change any withholdings.
    • Shopped at two grocery stores and farm stand buying loss leaders
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Finished a jar of dill pickles and, rather than dumping out the juice and recycling the jar, I sliced up a cucumber and put the slices into the pickle juice in the pickle jar. This is the first time trying this but I read about this trick here and also in the Tightwad Gazzette.
    • Used three green onions. Put the root ends into a small glass of water and put out into the sun. After just one day, two onions have grown ¼” inch of new green stems

  • There is no time of day here either. There is a program where you allow the electric company to take control of your thermostat and turn it off for several hours in the hottest part of the day to reduce your bill. I'm home all day--so NO WAY would I want that! There is a level pay option, which many people like, but that isn't a good plan for me as we don't make the same amount each month. Our lowest bills are in January, and that's also our usual lowest income month (as well as a month when we have several large bills due). Summer is usually when we have a higher income, so higher bills are more easily able to be covered.

  • Libby August 22, 2017

    I'm with you - NO WAY would I turn over control of the home environment to the electric company!

    I don't want to have to wait a full year to see the effects of frugality with the level load payment option. July & August are my highest months too.

    Hoping there is a sudden uptick in sales for your husband in September.

  • Athanasia August 23, 2017

    Libby, we like TICKET TO RIDE also. There is Europe version too. We have played those 2 sets...my son in law is a big board game fan and has introduced us to many many. Plus there are sets of the other continents too. We have game nights at church...it is nice to try out other games for free.

  • Rhonda A. August 21, 2017

    That is one cute baby lizard, Brandy! Glad you shared that picture. I'm also very interested in the mold and casting project your son and husband did. What is the mold and casting material they used? I learned how to do this when I took the museum conservator course, so I'm curious if he uses the same materials. Really interesting that your husband worked in the film industry, though. Did he work on anything we might have watched?

    I've had a busy week, with both frugal and not so frugal moments. Our frugal accomplishment included the following this week:
    *Meals made at home included "piggies in a blanket" (breakfast sausage and cheese crescent rolls) with salad, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with broccoli and french fries, breaded stuffed chicken with flavoured rice and corn-on-the-cob, and baked chicken smothered in cheese soup with mashed potatoes and fresh green/yellow waxed beans. Family had spaghetti with meat sauce on the one night when I was not home for dinner.
    *When I ran low on eggs, I pulled the last package of chicken bacon from the freezer to use for breakfast. I'm enjoying delicious bacon and cheese English muffin sandwiches for a change at breakfast.
    *My mom treated us to Chinese take out one night. I used the leftovers for a few days of work lunches. So good!
    *My mom and I cut, blanched and froze most of the 2 plastic grocery bags full of green and yellow/waxed beans. We held back enough fresh to use this week with our meals. Saved the end pieces/scraps in my veggie scraps bag in the freezer for making stock in the future.
    *Needed a few things at Costco. While there, I found boxes of 16 individual hummus for $2.97 each (expiration was 1 month away). That is an amazing price! DD loves these as snacks and for school lunches. So, I bought 4 boxes and froze 3 for future use.
    *While out shopping for other things, I found a sale on bacon for $2/pack. Picked up 10 packs to restock our supply in the freezer.
    *Brought home 2 tomatoes, a handful of cherry tomatoes, an onion and some turnip greens (for our Guinea pig), free from the gardens at work.
    *Learned how to make "Bush Donuts" (deep fried donuts made over an open fire/hearth) at work this week. I was extremely resistant to learning, but they were so good and really easy to make that I'm glad I was forced to learn. Added bonus...all my co-workers love me now, too.
    *We had our "ghost hunt" with paranormal investigators at the pioneer village I work at on Friday night. It was only for staff and volunteers. My co-workers decided to have a potluck dinner, so we didn't have to run home then come back in a few hours. Two people that were scheduled off picked up pizza, which we all shared in the cost ($5), plus lots of other treats were brought. I treated my co-workers to one of our unbaked homemade apple pies from the freezer that I baked it the night before. A couple of my co-workers brought their guitars and had a jam session, with another co-worker joining in the singing (he's a trained opera singer). They all sounded so amazing! The ghost hunt was interesting, scary and fun all at the same time. It was so nice to spend an evening with all my co-workers in a more casual setting. Definitely worth the $20 ticket price!
    *Frugal fail: Bought a bunch of back to school supplies and clothes for DD who is starting high school this year. I needed to buy some items that we haven't had to purchase in the past, so it was expensive this year. I also find it more difficult to shop the deals when I'm working full time and DD passionately hates shopping. Many items were bought at full price, just to get it all done. Oh well, hoping that several of the items will last over more than one year, now that we have them.

    I am slowly working my way through all the comments. I love catching up with the regulars and meeting new commenters every week. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  • You can find his name in "Shrek" at the end of the credits is Los Angeles Pre-Production; he made maquettes for that one. He also puppeteered on "Jingle All the Way" (he controlled the eyes on the pink tiger). He's worked on other movies too and his brother has done tons of stuff; he's worked with his brother on many things. We orginially thought he would keep doing that, but that isn't how it worked out. It's sporadic work too; I wish for his sake he could go back to it, but that's not how things are.

    He used plaster or paris because that is what we had. He used to make silicone molds. The beautiful bust that is on my piano is a a piece he cast from a mold he made. He made one from the original for the studio (she was the character study for Fiona) and made another afterwards for himself because it was such a neat piece of artwork. The sculptor originally made it from clay and then it was my husband's job to make molds and cast silicone pieces for the studio to digitize. He had his own shop doing that.

  • Becky @ Becky's Place August 22, 2017

    Brandy, have you heard of the show called Face Off! on Syfy network? I realize you don't likely have that channel. But I'm sure you can find it on You Tube. It's a makeup competition show and they do lots of silicone molds and such. It's one of only two programs that I and my husband make sure we do not miss.

  • I haven't heard of it. I haven't had cable for a decade. I don't seem to have time to watch much these days.

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