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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Pears in Silver Bowl The Prudent Homemaker


Thank you, everyone, for your kind and encouraging comments and emails last week. I really enjoyed them!

Here's what we did to save money last week:

My husband cut my hair for me. It took all of 3 minutes--less time than it would have taken me to gather my purse and keys and get in the car to go somewhere to have it cut--and it didn't cost me anything either!

I gave the baby a haircut.

My husband cut his hair.

I harvested basil, green onions, Armenian cucumbers, Swiss chard, a handful of almonds from our new almond tree that I planted in spring (it's tiny still),  a few tomatoes, and pears from our garden.

I canned a batch of relish.

I planted seeds from the Armenian cucumbers I picked to replace a bunch of vines that died this past week. It's still hot enough to pick come November, so I may be able to harvest again around November. I'm hoping it's not too hot for these to germinate; it may be.

Olive branches and pears The Prudent Homemaker

We had a small bit of rain, right during the eclipse! I put out buckets and collected over 5 gallons of water from the roof runoff. I used this to water my potted plants in the garden. 

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water potted plants as well.

The rain brought a return of humidity and cooler temperatures for a few hours, allowing me to turn off the air conditioner for a few hours. Once the air conditioner was back on, I was able to collect more than 10 gallons of water from the air conditioner drip.

I reprogrammed our thermostats to 80ºF (26.6ºC) at night. I had them set at 79º. This will make a slight difference in our electricity usage. We'll be using the air conditioner well into October; it's going to be well over 100º all of September (it was 109º here Saturday and 113º (45ºC) here Sunday).

We enjoyed swimming at my sister-in-law's house. 

I went to the library book sale and spent $4 on several used books for the children (several of which will be used for school). I love building my library inexpensively!

There is a local play audition that is a collaboration between two churches here. Several of my children want to audition. Before auditions, they are hosting two free workshops for children to learn how to audition (which my children attended this past week) as well as one on acting, which my children will attend next month.

My husband and I enjoyed two dates out using gift cards that we were given.

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Dora August 28, 2017

    Wish i could reach through the screen and snitch those pears. They look so good!

  • Jamie @ Medium Sized Family August 28, 2017

    Congrats on the rain, though it's a bummer that it came during the eclipse. The auditions sound like fun! Good luck!

    Here are the ways we saved last week: https://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-week-90/

  • Sandra August 28, 2017

    It is always such a pleasure to read your new posts each week. For many of us it is a highlight that encourages us to continue in our mission to be good homemakers and good stewards of the bounty we have received. Thank you for sharing your home and family life with all of us.

    I have been drying raisins and herbs this past week. I also cook with fresh herbs as well as making fresh herb tea, good both hot and cold. I made a banana cream pie with very ripe bananas and pastry dough that was already in the refrigerator. A delicious dessert with on hand ingredients. All meals were cooked at home this week. We changed out auto insurance a month ago (big savings) and then got a rebate check last week. It's already in the bank. Fall is almost here. The nights are longer and the mornings are cooler. I have been opening windows to air out the house for a few hours every morning and then closing them up as the temperature begins rising. My husband brought home a couple of peaches that someone brought to an activity he attended. They were very large and we shared them twice for breakfast. I've been watching my cantaloupe plant and finally decided to pick one to see if it was ready. It wasn't super big, but it has turned out to be one of the most flavorful melons I can remember. We will enjoy fresh melon for breakfast this week. I canned 12 half pints of plum jelly this past week from juice leftover after making plum puree for baking. The jelly is so pretty that I plan to give some of it away in Christmas baskets. I saved the canning water for house plants and color bowls.

  • Mari in Maryland August 28, 2017

    It was a pretty frugal week around here. My natural gas and electric bill was $28.01 less than last month’s bill and also $28 under budget. As I noted last week, I’m really working to control the utility costs and it’s nice that it’s paying off. My goal is to go another $8 less this month; which would take the bill under $70, $21 of which is fees for the gas and electric meters. We are supposed to be in the 70ies every day this week so no AC will be needed. Sleeping with open windows and temps in the mid 50ies is wonderful.

    My daughter’s birthday is in September and the one thing she wanted was an iPhone 7 with a lot more storage than her old iPhone 6, which had 16 GB of storage. I updated our cell phone plan (which we still share even though she is living on her own now) and got her an early present of an iPhone 7 with 128 GB. She loves it and it actually reduced our cell phone bill by more than $20 a month since we are renting the phone from the cell company rather than buying it. We have found that when you try to resell the phones back to the cell phone carriers or even online, you really don’t get back that much money and it’s definitely no more than the difference between what you paid for it and what you would have paid to rent it and that’s if you are lucky. We still kept unlimited data, texting, and now have unlimited calling, not that we make that many calls on our cell phones. If/when I upgrade my phone, we will go back up and closer to our old payment but I have no need to change my phone at this time.

    All meals were eaten at home, except for a work potluck BBQ. I took 2 pounds of strawberries and gave those that were left over to a co-worker whose 5 year old son loves them. She had a baby in May at 24.5 weeks gestation and that infant was just moved from the NICU at one hospital to a rehab hospital where they are trying to lower his oxygen use, get him used to taking a bottle, etc., so they can finally bring him home. This new place is about 40 minutes driving time each way from her home (more if there is traffic) and she’s been under stress for months so I think any little thing we can do to help her out is appreciated. Food is covered for them at least. Frankly, I can’t even imagine the stress she is under or the stress for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, for that matter.

    I’ve been downloading more and more library e-books to my tablet rather than going to the library to check them out. This is true for both written and audio versions of books. I’m also using a service they have to read many magazines online, although not all the ones I want to read (such as Consumer Reports and This Old House) are available. This saves gas and if the book is available provides immediate gratification even if the library is closed at that time.

    I used a gift card I earned from credit card points to buy replacement bulbs for my outside security lights and other gift cards I earned through a health app at work to buy various grocery and household items from Walmart.

    Finally, I’ve been really working on a realistic budget and sticking to it to ensure that I don’t overspend and am putting more money into savings and putting aside money for things that will be needed in the future, such as car repairs and maintenance, annual vet visits for my cats, and annual real estate taxes (I do not have escrow on my mortgage so I am responsible for the tax payments when the bill is received).

    I hope everyone has a wonderfully frugal and blessed week.

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 28, 2017

    I read the magazines you mentioned on my Kindle with Texture. I used a trial and then a Groupon for it.

  • Mari in Maryland August 28, 2017

    Thanks for the tip. I can get the hard copies at the library but I do like the convenience of free online.

  • Laurie in central NC August 28, 2017

    I was able to harvest the first of our pears last week. I expect harvesting almonds was pretty special. I always feel that way harvesting hazelnuts. The first year there was one nut. This year, there are over a hundred. Though tiny, they taste wonderful. I'll have to look through your pear recipes to get some ideas. I'm happy to be joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/08/a-tomato-with-heart-frugal.html

  • Melonie K. August 28, 2017

    We purchased some groceries at the local food co-op during a monsoon sale, where we got an extra 15% off as members.

    I got back to meal planning and cooked all suppers from what I had on hand. Doing the same thing this week, with a few small additions into the cupboards to change things up.

    Checked out DVDs from the library and ebooks on the library's Overdrive account.

    Consolidated errands to save diesel; my husband rode his bike to work one day instead of using gas from his car.

    I drove with a lady from church for our Visiting Teaching route; this week she will be picking me up and driving to our last appointment, so we have split the fuel costs.

    Withdrew from a horseback riding field trip that would have been $25 per child; took them to the base stable for rides just as a family for $10 each instead.

    Took my son to the golf course to use the putting green - they did not charge us since that's all he wanted to do. Connected with another homeschool family whose son is interested in golf lessons; if we can set up semi-private lessons instead of private, it would be less per lesson for each family, but still only be two students vs a big group.

    Had a play day and a park day with new friends - free entertainment for the kids and time to chat for us moms.

  • Jen Guzman August 28, 2017

    Trying to live frugally from urban Seattle. This week I:
    -helped my mom and sister at their garage sale down in Portland. I sold $12 worth of toys my kids had outgrown and I came home with a bunch of needed and fun items for free including new drinking glasses, some gorgeous fabric that I plan to use for pillows and cloth napkins, a cutting board, a turkey roaster, heart-shaped cake pans, and some cute Christmas decorations my sister had made with her vinyl machine. I was also able to put together a bag of free clothes and shoes for my best friend's 2 year old.
    -my kids and I found fun free things to do in Portland: the eclipse (haha!), pianos in the park, and hiking (both urban hiking and outdoor hiking). We took turns cooking meals with my mom to avoid eating out.
    -My son completed a summer reading program through U of Washington and sent in for his free UW baseball cap (a hot commodity among middle schoolers in Seattle).
    -My mom sent us back to Seattle with produce from her garden that we've been eating all week.
    -We biked all week and kept our car in our carport after we returned from Portland.
    -I picked blackberries around our neighborhood to make jam.
    -I received two gorgeous summer dresses just in my size from my Buy Nothing group.
    -I decided to fill my IRA for the year and put off buying new furniture for the house (our furniture is mostly used IKEA furniture but it functions fine and still looks ok).

  • Sandra August 28, 2017

    You are brave to let your husband cut your hair. :o I have short hair so my husband trims my neckline but that is it. I do cut his hair for him using clippers. My DIL is a stylist so she highlights and cuts my hair for me. Major savings!

  • Cindi August 28, 2017

    I had to go to a conference out of town. I packed food to eat for lunch for several days (breakfast and dinner were included in the conference fee.)
    I bartered some books for part of my conference fee.
    I took a gift to a friend I knew I would see at the conference. It was a book I knew he would love – I got it at the library book sale for 50 cents, and wrapped it in brown paper saved from a package, tied with a ribbon cut from fabric scraps.
    I froze several packages of chard and collard greens.
    I gathered mushrooms from my yard (Shaggy Manes – a yummy, white mushroom) and sautéed them and froze them to eat later.
    We are leaving tomorrow to visit friends and relatives over the next 8 days. I'm packing food for lunches on the road, though we will eat a couple of dinners out. We have a couple coming to stay at our house while we are gone. They will look after the dogs and garden in exchange for a free vacation in our area, so no money exchanged, but a win for everyone.
    I cut flowers for the house.
    I had some zucchini that was getting old, so I shredded it and put it in the freezer.

  • Rhonda A. August 28, 2017

    Cindi, I love the idea of using a strip of fabric scrap as a ribbon. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Debby in Kansas August 28, 2017

    I recently received a gift wrapped in old pattern paper. You know that tissue-y paper in clothing patterns? And the ribbon was bias tape!! I love the creativity.

  • http:///Emma August 28, 2017

    I've bought clippers and am hoping my husband will trust me to cut his hair with them.
    I've posted about my other frugal accomplishments at Craving Fresh : http://www.cravingfresh.com/2017/08/frugal-fun-no-8-why-shopping-is.html?m=1

  • JENNIFER Brown August 28, 2017

    Hope all of your children enjoy their auditions and get an Awesome part.
    Our frugal accomplishments this week included:
    - Collected tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, basil, oregano, blueberries and blackberries from the garden.
    - Completed 3 rebate offers, 2 of which are still current and good throughout the US. Both rebates are completed
    using your phone or email, so no postage. $7 back from purchasing 3 Evol items (this can be done up to 3 times and other items can be purchased like Udi's and Glutino ) I purchased a combination of 3 frozen burritos , making them all free. The next rebate is for reimbursement of a gallon of milk with the purchase of 4 general mills cereal.
    I purchased 4 Honey nut cheerios for .67 cents a box (after coupon) and was reimbursed via pay pal my $5 Organic milk purchase.
    - Planted a few more fall garden items.
    -Accepted a bag of excess produce from a neighbor.
    -Composted as many things as possible as we have to pay for trash removal.
    - Cut my daughter's hair.
    -Returned my library books on time.
    -Listed and sold 2 items on local Facebook site, listed several free items as well. I am so much happier when I release an old item as I bring a new item into our home.

    I hope everyone has a wonderfully blessed week!

  • Holly August 28, 2017

    I waited until there was a sale on water softener salt at the local supply store to use my $5 off anything coupon before it expired. Consequently, I got four 40# bags of salt for just $9. I use the plain pelletized salt and, following the instructions on the bottle of Iron Out, use less than 25 cents of powdered Iron Out per 40 pounds of salt to "make" the rust remover softener salt our well water requires. That two-minute step saves us at least $1 per bag, usually more.

    Our neighbor gifted us with tomatoes, cucumbers, and three kinds of squash. His wife also gave us a tray of delicious zucchini, poppyseed, lemon muffins. To preserve the cucumbers for a few weeks, I made quick refrigerator pickles, two quarts made with vinegar, sugar, and fresh dill seed, and one quart from the vinegar and spices from a jar of purchased pickles. I introduced my mom to zucchini fritters made from complete pancake mix and a little milk. Zucchini, chicken, carrot, onion, stuffing casserole is the main dish today. The only moisture came from melted butter, sour cream, and condensed mushroom soup. I baked it with the lid on, fearing it would be too dry. No. Too moist. It is back in the oven to dry out a bit with the loaf of bread that is baking. We enjoyed $1 ice cream cones a couple of times at Culvers as cheap treats.

    I love your still life photographs. Thank you for your encouraging posts.

  • Sarah August 28, 2017

    I'm so happy for you Brandy that you've gotten some rain! We've had an abnormally cool summer here in New England, so I've only had to run the air conditioner 3 times and I had to put the heat on yesterday morning! We had a pretty typical week this week which was welcome after all of the money it seems we've had to spend unexpectedly. Joining in here:


  • Hilogene in Az August 28, 2017

    Brandy, I am still in shock over your monthly water bill! Yikes! I live in Phoenix so assumed Las Vegas had similar rates, but apparently not ;(. Our electric bill is crazy but not the water bill.

    Frugal items last week

    -Ate out only one meal (lunch)
    -Made homemade bread twice, blueberry coffee cake and corn muffins
    -Made three large batches of bean and pea soups with lots frozen for future meals. I am cooking healthier meals with less animal protein, both for health and cost, and my husband, the meat eater ;), will gladly eat bean soups (black bean, pinto bean, 15 bean, split pea), so I have been serving a lot of those meals. Tastes wonderful, super thrifty and easily frozen.
    -Cooked up sausages and ground sausage and froze for future meals
    -Continued exercising at home
    -Cleaned out my closet and created another goodwill box
    -Went to a local thrift store looking for shirts, didn't find any at a reasonable price but my husband found a computer monitor for $5 that is in perfect shape.
    -My husband is a veteran and got his annual checkup and Rx refills done last week through the VA, free due to his service.
    -Spent the weekend at home, super hot here on Phoenix, so it was nice to avoid the heat by staying in the AC plus staying in cost nothing ;)
    -used $0.30 discount from Fry's grocery stores (Kroger) on diesel fuel, our final price for diesel was less than $2.00 a gallon!

  • Jo August 28, 2017

    It's pear time!
    We harvested about 20 or so pears from our pear tree, and I've made and canned pear sauce from them. A lot of them are blemished inside, and we aren't sure why, but the weather has been horrible for them this year, and the tree is still fighting off a rust disease, so that may be the reason. We still got enough good pear flesh to make about a quart and a half of sauce. If the crows don't beat us to them, we may get about 20 more pears. That's better than we thought we would get after the freeze this spring.
    I spotted what looked like a section of a dollar bill on the ground while out and about. It turned out to be a folded, squashed and dirtied complete dollar bill. Then I found a dime the next day.
    I found an error on my shopping receipt again this week, after having one last week. This one was only 32 cents, but I didn't see any reason to let it go, especially as I was still in the store. It was refunded in just a couple of minutes.
    I cut my own hair weekend before last, but I'll cut my husband's hair this week. It truly saves time and money, Brandy, I agree.
    I signed up for a survey on Swagbucks and have been pre-qualified so far. If I get to complete it tonight, I'll make $50 in Swagbucks.
    I just took the second half of a bag of dry cat food out of the freezer and put it in the kibble container. About half of a 15 pound bag is all I can use at a time before it gets too stale for my cats to eat, so I always freeze the other half as soon as I open the bag.
    I helped my husband change the blades on our riding mower this weekend. It's not fun and it's dirty work, but it's so much faster and cheaper than getting a shop to do it, especially when counting having to load it up on the trailer, get it to the shop, wait a day for them to change the blades, then load it back up and bring it back home. And of course, one has to pay the shop for labor.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC August 28, 2017

    I freeze my dog's food as well! My dog is on a vet prescription diet and the food went 'off' quickly so freezing it was my solution. Glad to read that I'm not alone!! Most people, including the vet, think I'm a little over the top for doing it.

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