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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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  • Cathie August 22, 2017

    That is so amazing and extremely fascinating!
    Thanks for sharing that about your husband Brandy. I hope he can work in that field again someday. Extremely interesting.

  • Cindy in the South August 22, 2017

    Wow....I hope he can return to that work some day. It sounds exciting!

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 22, 2017

    College daughter made us watch Jingle all the way , 9 billion times when she was 2 . When we watch this at Christmas, I will look for the tiger. Funny thing is, all I remember is Turbo Man.

  • Rhonda A. August 23, 2017

    Oh my gosh, we LOVED Shrek! Of course, it does have a particular Canadian actor/comedian, so maybe we're bias. I haven't watched "Jingle All the Way" in a while, though. I'll have to watch it again this year at Christmas, so I can watch for the pink lion.

    That is a really cool job your husband used to have! Did he choose to leave the industry because he didn't like it or because of a falling out. Sorry, I know I'm being nosy. I'm curious because I can see my daughter working in the movie industry (prop design, set design or something creative like that), but I really don't know much about the politics of industry. Since she is on the Autism spectrum, I'm not sure if this would be a good fit for her or not.

    As for molds, I've used sheet wax & dental plaster to replace a missing piece from the rim of a plate and flower pot, and a silicone mold & dental plaster to recreate a coin (both school projects). I really enjoyed it, but wish I had more experience. It's definitely not easy to get a good mold and casting! Too bad your husband doesn't use this talent and knowledge for some side jobs. It sounds like it would be a lot of fun!!! Thanks for sharing, Brandy.

  • He liked it just fine Rhonda. You have to bid on each job and jobs are come and go; working in the movie industry is not steady at all. It's irregular, like real estate, but even more so. There just weren't any jobs coming his way. Jobs are out of Los Angeles and he would have to drive there (about 4 1/2 hours each way) to bid them.

  • Athanasia August 29, 2017

    I don't know JINGLE A!! THE WAY but we do have SHREK. I will enjoy watching for his name in the credits
    What is it I should watch for in the movie itself?.

  • Rhonda A. August 23, 2017

    I mean pink tiger! Stupid brain hasn't kicked in yet.

  • Juls Owings August 22, 2017

    if you can get a hold of the list for the next grade you can start getting things a little bit at a time through the year. We have done this with our 6 kids and 22 grandkids. Will when the great grandson starts school also.

  • Margie From Toronto August 22, 2017

    I've meant to ask Rhonda - how long have you worked at Pioneer Village? I used to live up that way and worked at York U. for about 12 years so used to visit quite often. I am looking forward to the new subway stop opening in December as it will make it a lot easier to get back there. Are you anticipating a lot more visitors next year?
    I had a friend who used to work there - she was a weaver. Are you a guide for a particular building?

  • Rhonda A. August 23, 2017

    I actually work at Lang Pioneer Village in Keene, ON which is just outside Peterborough, ON. I think you are referring to Black Creek Pioneer Village, which is in Toronto. There are definitely no subway stops coming our direction. LOL!

    To answer your question, this is my 6th year working at Lang, though I also did my unpaid school internship here as well in the fall of 2010. Most of my work here has been out in the village interpreting, but I also held a 1 year paid internship contract working in the collections a few years ago. I am trained in the Fife cabin (a typical 1st settlers cabin, so I talk about what the 1st pioneers had to endure), the general store (1899 time period - we are no longer pioneers by this point!), the weaver's shop (I explain about weaving and the 3 different looms, including the Jacquard loom which eventually inspires the binary code system that computers use today), the hotel (1870s), and this year I learned a bit more of the school house(1880s-1890s). I also do guided tours of the village in the first part of September, after the summer staff leave, and the Christmas program for school children in Nov-Dec. Although I don't have training in some of the buildings, I have enough knowledge about them to give a good overview.

    As for visitors, we have had a very steady increase in visitors every year since I started. I used to say it was a hidden gem, but word is definitely getting around about us! The village was a centennial project in 1967. This year is not only Canada's 150th, but also our 50th Anniversary. We have a big "County Fair" event planned on September 20th to celebrate both. I anticipate this event will be quite busy! Hope that answered some of your questions!

  • J August 23, 2017

    Very interesting Rhonda! I was actually thinking about coming to Keene this weekend for the big event that Donnell Leahy and Natalie Mixmaster are hosting, but we have to travel to cottage country for a family event instead. I am going to try and get to the Pioneer Village before my may leave ends. It sounds wonderful.

  • Rhonda A. August 24, 2017

    That event is happening just up the road from where I work.

  • Margie From Toronto August 23, 2017

    I had no idea there was a village up near Peterborough - and my stepmom still lives up that way - must ask her if she has been for a visit. I will look you up online for directions and try to visit the next time I am up that way. Thank you.

  • Lorna August 21, 2017

    Hello Brandy & everyone from Australia :) . I am glad Brandy that you were able to lower your electricity bill and were gifted some wonderful produce you could preserve.

    Last weeks frugal accomplishments consisted of -

    Financial -
    - Banked more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us to 20.66% of the way there.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased an electric toothbrush for myself as mine had had it on special for $19.99 saving $27.01 on usual prices.
    - Bought 4 3kg bags of oranges saving $4.04 on usual prices.

    In the kitchen -
    - Juiced 4.2lts of orange juice from oranges purchased on special saving $1.89 over purchasing it in the supermarket.
    - Juiced 30 gifted lemons from friends saving us $35 over purchasing them.
    - Made a homemade whole orange cake with butter icing saving $2.22 over purchasing it.
    - Made a half batch of chocolate brownie premix from a recipe given by a blog friend saving $10.62 over purchasing the mixes in the shops.
    - Made a large batch of chocolate walnut brownies from the same premix we made saving $19.16 over purchasing them premade in the shops.

    In the garden -
    - Purchased another large trailer load of horse manure from a local horse stud for $20 saving $288.80 over purchasing it in bags.
    - Hand watered our newly planted strawberry, thyme, roses, lettuce, basil and tomato seeds and seedlings and watered in lime put on 2 garden beds with rain water from our tanks rather than using town water.
    - Picked capsicums and washed, diced and made 4 more bags for meals for the freezer and we saved the seeds to resell and plant next season.

    Electricity savings -
    - Only turned our hot water system when needed to heat for 35.5 hours this week saving from what I have worked out $6.36 on electricity.
    - Used our solar lanterns to light our home this week and boiled water on our slow combustion fireplace rather than turning on the electric kettle saving us $3.04 in electricity.

    Fuel Savings -
    Saved $8.35 in total on fuel by coupling a 4c off per litre voucher I get with buying groceries I usually buy over $30 and coupled this with a grocery and petrol discount to get another 5% off the price.

    Have a fantastically frugal week ahead everyone :) .

  • Jo August 22, 2017

    Love your garden produce!

      This week was full of errands and appointments. I combined them as much as possible and made sure to bring my reusable water bottle and a snack. One day I was really hungry but convinced myself to wait and eat at home.

      I bought some needed shoes and got the second pair half price. I also found a badly needed scarf and belt at a thrift shop. Lastly, I was lucky and bought a new mop that happened to be on special. Love it when that happens. :)

      We ate all meals at home and took leftovers to work. I repurposed some leftovers and used up some random bits and bobs. Resisted the strong urge of ordering pizza.

      We went to see some of my husband's family for two days. It's a scenic three hour drive to get there and we packed snacks and drinks. They provided a lovely dinner for us and sent us home with lemons, limes, garlic seeds and a glass vase.

      My husband's mum gifted us an embroidered tea towel and I picked up a free bag of Christmas decorations from a FB page.

      No savings for us but someone else: We donated two unused single beds and a bag of food to some people in need via a local FB page.

      We're doing well with turning the heater on later in the day which will hopefully show on our next gas bill!

  • Darcy August 22, 2017

    On Saturday my husband and I, along with our 4 daughters, 3 son-in-laws, one boyfriend, and 4 grandchildren, went to the lake for a day of swimming and picnicking. Each household brought favorite sandwich ingredients, drinks, and sides to share. We also celebrated one of our daughter's birthdays.
    The lake is 2 ½ hours away from our house and it cost exactly 15 dollars in gas in our little Honda Civic. My husband is very pleased :)

    We harvested green beans, tomatoes, basil, stevia, and mint. I froze the green beans, ate my husband's favorite-tomato sandwiches, and drank mint tea-one of my favorites. I dried the stevia.

    A friend of ours asked us to watch his dog over the weekend and in return gave us two filet mignon and two New York strip steaks from his freezer.

    I made Greek yogurt in my slow cooker. I soaked, cooked, and froze kidney beans.

    My daughter cut my hair. I cut my husband's hair.

  • Tara Woomer August 22, 2017

    Hi Brandy,

    Thank you for this beautiful blog and website. Your photos are stunning. I am new to your site, and I love it! We live in Massachusetts. I have 5 children ranging in age from 24-9. I'm always looking for tips, ideas, and inspiration about how to live frugally. Thank you for all that you provide. Here are my top three recent frugal efforts:
    1) Forced myself to shop the loss leaders from the circulars and grocery shop in a more focused way instead of just walking in without a list. I used to be obsessive about this. Got out of the habit of it for a while. Back to it.
    2) Packed my husband's lunch every morning. Refilled small glass Snapple iced tea bottles with water. Put those in a cooler with ice packs and his lunch, and the glass bottles stay relatively cold.
    3) Saw a beautiful wedding gown in the locked display case at Savers (a thrift store). Told my 14 year-old daughter about it. She laughed at first, but I talked her into going to Savers with me so she could try it on. This took about 10 minutes of me using the low, deep Momma tone and her trying everything possible not to have to try it on. She is nowhere near marriage; she's just starting high school! A bargain is a bargain, and I told her, "Some day you'll thank me for saving thousands of dollars on your wedding gown!" She tried it on. It was a bit small but exquisite fabric. It was priced at $49.99. Used my Savers coupon, bought it for $34.95. Dropped it off at the dry cleaners. Will cost $95 to dry clean. It will be ready to be picked up in September. I will store it in my cedar chest (bought 2 years ago at a church yard sale). My wedding veil, baptismal gowns for my children, and precious baby clothes are all stored in there. The gown can be reworked when my daughter is ready to marry. She says that will be in "10 or 15 years," but the gown will be waiting.
    Thank you for all of the wisdom and insight that you offer, Brandy! I love reading comments from your readers! Have a great week!

  • momsav August 22, 2017

    Wow! That's really thinking ahead! My daughter's dress cost 1,500.00. Wedding prices are absurd!

  • mable August 22, 2017

    I fill recycled bottles half way with water and freeze. When I am packing a lunch, I add water to the top of the bottle and put it in the lunch bag. No need for ice packs as the bottle melt as the day goes on so things are kept cold and the water is cold when I go to drink it.

  • Cindy in the South August 22, 2017

    I had an unexpected bill. The wall air conditioner/heater unit in my mom's house went out (my kid lives there).... I purchased another one for $400 (plus tax) at Lowes. I complain, but this heats and cools the whole, small house adequately, so I will hush. I had another under $45 electric bill at my house, but I think the next one will be huge because our humidity levels have been above 100 degrees and I have been running the air on weekends, when I am there, and at night a lot. My water bill is about $55 to 56 dollars. I complain about that also but I guess I need to hush about that when I see the rates other folks are having to pay. Of course, it is only me at the house, so my usage for one person should be low. I went to Aldi and purchased 59 cents a dozen eggs, $1.85 for hummus, 99 cent sour cream, $1.46 for oil, 88 cent bread, 95 cent bologna, $1.69 for mayo, and 99 cent for several tomatoes. I also bought sharp cheddar cheese but I cannot remember how much it was, just that it was under the price at other stores. I usually eat an egg and tomato sandwich for breakfast, and a bologna sandwich for lunch. I have been making tacos at night this week and just using pinto beans, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and leftover salsa I have, along with a vadalia onion I was given. It has been delicious! I did have a weak moment, went to the thrift store in search of a pot I needed, and saw a t shirt for $2.00 about a vacation spot in Florida. I am a sucker for vacation t shirts and I purchased it...and wore it...lol. Gas is $1.99 at certain places near where my kids live, so I try to purchase gas there when I go visit my children. Y'all have a fantastic week!

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