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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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  • I will take lizards over snakes every day!

    I see lizards every time I step out into the garden. They eat bugs, so I am grateful to have them.

    I wore a pair of sandals completely out last week; they broke right in half! I think they are really only made to last one year, and I wear sandals 8 months of the year, but I managed to make them last this year as well.

  • Debby in Kansas August 21, 2017

    I'm so glad you posted about your shoe breaking because I think I forgot to share what happened to me in late spring. In one week!!

    It was about halfway thru' church one Sunday and I looked down to see cookie crumbs all over the floor around me. I was thinking that it was probably from a child and that mom should find a 'less crummy' snack for church. As I approached my car afterward, I step forward and this metal clunks in front of me and my shoe feels very odd. I look down and there's a pile of those 'cookie crumbs' under my shoe, which split between the bed and sole like a giant alligator mouth, & a metal support popped out!!! The foam padding was completely rotted! Into the trash they went at about 14 yrs. old, leaving me with one pair of summer sandals.

    3 days later, I'm in Sprouts and as I'm walking, this black thing 'runs' under my cart and out the front, causing me to startle and let out a small screech. I realize that when it stops, it's not moving. I lean down and see that it's a piece of rubber and I assume it has come off my cart wheel. When I get home and take off my shoes, I notice that I'm missing a giant chunk of one sole of my shoe! Into the trash went my 10 yr. old shoes, leaving me none!

    Admittedly, I was sorta proud to completely wear them out!! Neither was inexpensive as I have a neuroma and I need good sole support. I figure the combined cost of those shoes to be about $180, but when I factor in how long they lasted and stayed comfy, I think it was money well spent!! For fun, I noted when I bought their replacements & the cost. I'm curious to see if they will last as long. One is the same brand, Aravon.

  • Maxine August 21, 2017

    Me, too! I was on the 5th or 6th year of a pair of Teva flip flops. I had noticed that the texture on the sole was flat in a few places and thought I'd have to replace them soon. Well, two days ago, I turned fast and quick and the thong pulled out of one sandal. Can't be fixed. We are living at the lake most of the time this summer, and the only other shoes I had here was a pair of old sneakers. The innersoles had been removed and they were in terrible shape. I cleaned them up and wore them without any "innards." The only problem is, our puppy has chewed up all of my other shoes at home, except for two pairs of pumps! However, I think I know where those custom innersoles are when I get back... but I have GOT to buy some new shoes, LOL. I'm also keeping my shoes on a high shelf, LOL.

  • DesertGal August 26, 2017

    Debby, that's so funny about your shoes! I spend the money to get good support shoes/sandles for my high arches and to prevent back issues and I wear them to the end too.

  • Margaret @approachingfood August 23, 2017

    Vacationing for free is great! Plus time spent with family is precious. I'm sure your mother-in-law appreciated being able to spend time with her grandkids. I think those are some of the best vacations ever! (I'm particularly sentimental about it because I don't have kids but I wish I did so that we could spend time with my mother-in-law, as I know she really wants grandkids. All of which is to say, awesome vacation choice!)

    Re: Bunz, I think of it as one more tool to stretch my budget and to reduce landfill. My husband thinks it isn't worth the time investment, and he's right, but it's not like I have a job where I can just decide to work an extra hour to earn some extra income; however, I *can* decide to trade something and stretch our budget that way. I also realllly like not throwing things out. When I worked in the non-profit field, I used to take anything I (or my family) didn't want and regift it, as I worked with low-income seniors and the organizations I worked with/ran were always on a tight budget. Even something like a nice mug that I didn't want, I would then fill with 50 cents worth of bulk candy, wrap in dollar store cellophane and decorate it so that it was "rich in ribbons" as Dickens wrote, and raffle it off at a holiday party. The clients I worked with loved winning something, the organizations budget was stretched, and I wasn't throwing out stuff I didn't need. It was lots of fun trying to be creative like that! I also used to donate items to Goodwill, but the local store closed down, and while I can donate some things like clothes that I've outgrown to a collection bin, some things aren't easy to stuff in a bin, and I practically have a visceral reaction to throwing out something that is perfectly good (but cluttering up my home and/or that I can't use). I was talking about Bunz with a friend this weekend, a single-income mom, and she was saying that she prefers to use kiijiji for resale. So, I think it's all about finding the best match for your needs, taking into account your time and the type of product you have to sell or trade. Personally, I'm liking getting rid of all the little things that are too good to throw out, but awkward to sell, like mini bottles of lotion (that I know would irritate my skin and so can't use) and such. But again, it's a matter of finding the right tool for your needs. And hey, stretching our money is fun, as your Great Grocery Project on your blog shows! (Love that series, btw!)

  • J August 24, 2017

    Thanks Margaret. I agree with everything !! I think the problem I'm having is we are too far North, so I've seen lots of great trade opportunities but when I factor in gas/time to meet it cancels out the value, and that's even trading larger things. But I will let you know how things go!

  • Rachel H August 25, 2017

    Regarding shoes, I have arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other joint and bone problems, so I have a lot of pain at times. A few years ago I was working with a physical therapist for leg pain. He asked me how long I had been wearing my tennis shoes. I told him about five years. He said that everyone should replace their tennis shoes every 12months, and if you wear them at a walking type job, every six months. He said that the insoles just wear out too much, and then problems start. I have a hard time with this, I wash them and they look fine. But I did just buy a new pair after a couple of years. I try not to pay more than $30.

  • J August 26, 2017

    You are right Rachel. I do replace my runners regularly. I've also had a lot of problems with my feet post childbirth. My chiropodist recommended wearing a high quality pair of sandals, like Birkenstocks or Crocs for a cheaper option, inside at all times. No going bare feet. I did this and can't believe what a difference it has made.

  • Nancy August 21, 2017

    Hello Brandy...always an encouragement with your post.
    I have gleaned so much this summer and thank you.
    Our family was hit with stomach flu this past week. Rare.
    It was a tough one. Thought of you when things past..opened windows..washed down everything and freshened bedding . Time to reset. Lemon water..fresh greens from garden..fresh air..a little coconut oil will help.
    Here are a few frugal accomplishments these past weeks.
    . Harvested rosemary..basil..thyme..to dry
    . Ate simple meals at home.
    . Made salsa ...tomato sandwiches from garden
    . Made 5 more quiches to eat n freeze. Eggs cheap
    . Brought in more greenery...to fill my vases.
    . Ridded out closet of a few things .
    . My daughter gifted me an apron pattern. I haven't sewn
    In years. Would like to make a few for Christmas gifts fir my sister's.
    . Colored my hair. Did my nails n toes. Was gifted some
    Coconut oil to use.
    . Read more library books
    . Made my own cleaner. And swiffer for floor.
    . My sister gifted me 2 magnolia magazines she already read.

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 21, 2017

    Oh my, it has been a frustrating week. I discovered that Sugar Cookie has ordered 300.00 worth of movies on her Kindle. I thought that the ordering process was password protected but obviously not on this device. Apparently Kindle Fires require you to hand set each individual device. This is one unhappy mother. I am so grateful that earlier in the year, I tucked some extra money away just in case I needed it for my taxes on my house. I had to go pay my electric and water where they were declined by my bank. Grrrr. I will have to replace the tax money over the course of the next few months. Meanwhile, we continue to cook from the pantry and freezer. I am so grateful that my frugalness provides for us in difficult times. College son is unable to start school due to botched paperwork. I hope he learned a valuable lesson. He will start in January. Seems like the household is falling apart since my surgery. I am feeling better and pray I may be relieved of my constant pain. College daughters cocker spaniel is keeping me company and is a wonderful companion. My daughter claims she will not take her back now, as I have ruined her. I think I did ! These posts have meant so much to me as I have been flat on my back for two weeks. Blessings.

  • Athanasia August 21, 2017

    Lillianna, what is a "Sugar Cookie"? and how can it order on your kindle? If this is a person that used it I would expect you would have them pay the bill, not have to dip into your tax payment money!! I am glad the dog is good company for you, especially while you are unwell.

  • I think Sugar Cookie is younger than 5, Athanasia.

  • Athanasia August 21, 2017

    Oh haha. Like a nickname :)

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 22, 2017

    Athanasia, Sugar Cookie is my mentally challenged 29 year old special needs daughter . She has many weaknesses, but her computer skills are pretty good. She actually is like a 5 yr old. I bought her Kindle just a couple months ago. I should have checked the settings. My Kindle and our tv's all have you enter a password to make purchases. I just assumed when you logged into our Amazon account it applied to all devices. She doesn't have a devious bone in her body and doesn't lie. Honesty is part of her syndrome. It is definitely a financial blow , but I will manage. I blog and never use the childs name for privacy since she is my special love .

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Thanks, Lillianna. I at first was thinking it had something to do with cookies that I always hear about on websites and this was some new kind of scam called sugar cookie...like it lures you in because it is irresistible.

    Speaking of scams, on the radio news this morning they mentioned a scam aimed at Amazon Prime Day shoppers...emails are sent to you that look just like they come from Amazon and they ask you to do a survey on your last purchase and you'll get a $50 gift card. When you click you are redirected to another site that looks just like Amazon but they ask you for your password and user ID to start. Then they start using your account and by the time you get your bill they have run up all kinds of charges.

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 22, 2017

    Athanasia , thanks for the heads up on the Amazon scam. I do surveys often and this is something I might have clicked on. I have been reading old posts to entertain myself while I recover from surgery. I read a very old post about the things in your refrigerator and laughed so hard I almost fell out of bed.

  • Athanasia August 22, 2017

    Oh my!

  • Becky August 22, 2017

    I remember the day a few years ago that my nephew ordered $10 worth of coins for some game on my Kindle. He was 4 or 5 at the time and it was sitting on my dresser. He got to play it sometimes, so thought nothing of pushing lots of buttons. Yikes! Thankfully, that's all he ordered, and I password protected it, and kept it up from then on!

  • Andrea Q August 21, 2017

    Contact Amazon. If it has never happened before, they will likely give you a one-time credit for some of the purchases. My son purchased an entire season of a show on Amazon and didn't realize that it wasn't part of our Prime. As a one-time courtesy, they gave us our money back.

  • kerry August 21, 2017

    I work in credit card disputes and it is surprising how much you can actually get from the merchant in question. Some are difficult to deal with but others are a breeze! Just remember to be truthful and avoid "friendly fraud" (that's where either you or someone you know/live with actually made the charge but won't admit it...for example, you buy some shoes, they don't fit but you miss the return deadline....so you call your card issuing bank and say the charge was unauthorized....ugh. So bad and people do it ALL THE DARN TIME!!) Anyway, I digress... Amazon may also help you adjust your settings, etc. so you don't have future "unauthorized" charges. It's worth the try! Good luck!

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