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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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  • Marivene September 01, 2017

    Athanasia, I can remember visiting my mother's parents, who were staunch Presbyterians, & for whom Sunday was somewhat rigid as well. Although I was raised as a Congregationalist, not a Presbyterian, there was no wiggling in my father's pew, either, thru a sermon that lasted an hour an a half.

    I love watching Little Stuff learn thru play, & I love that the ark was bought second hand, & that I can use coupons for the LDD figures.

  • Athanasia September 01, 2017

    Baby Dora is coming up on 10 months and it is so fun watching her learn something new every day.

  • Susan O. August 28, 2017

    Brandy, your pears look beautiful and delicious! Our pears were pitiful this year.

    We collected 33 eggs and sold 2 dozen.
    We harvested cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, figs, chili peppers, tomatillos, lemon thyme, basil, oregano, dill seed, Asian pears, peaches, and the first apple (I picked it up off the ground and ate it).
    I canned 12 pints of dill relish and fermented six 1 1/2 pint jars of dill pickles. I processed the relish in 2 batches over the course of 2 days, but I reused the same canner water for both batches (then used it to water outdoor plants). We also dried herbs and zucchini slices.
    I was gifted apples and wine grapes (we freeze these and feed them to the chickens to help cool them when it's really hot) from my boss. We ordered an extra box of beef and additional ground beef from our beef club. This really saves us little or no money, but the quality of local grassfed beef can't be matched and we have enough beef to last us at least to the end of the year.
    Mom cut Dad's hair.
    On Sunday, we went to a restaurant for lunch and parked in front of the thrift store across the street. After lunch we decided to look in the thrift store for a few minutes. It was "all clothing is $1" day and I bought 3 casual tops for work and 2 nice blouses. Mom bought 3 tops and also two drinking glasses for $1 each.
    The best deal of the week was my sister's. My sister, our mom and I have been sharing one computer for years. My sister's co-worker found out and the co-worker's husband, who puts together and sells computers on the side, sold her a computer. I don't know what this computer would retail for, but it included the computer itself with our favorite version of windows on it, wifi capability, speakers, subwoofer, keyboard, monitor, printer, and computer desk. We knew the price he quoted was well below what the computer was worth and my sister didn't want him to take a big loss on it, so she actually rounded up what she paid for it. She still only paid $300 for the whole set up; amazing!!!

  • Jo August 28, 2017

    This week was a quiet one and reminded me that all the little things do add up!

      I packed snacks and water whenever I went out and combined trips as much as possible.

      My friend and I had a cheap day out by going thrift shopping and then watching a movie at her house.

      I continued to only wash full loads of washing and dishes and attempted to do this mostly at night. We have a solar system and get a really good rebate. So for us it's worth it to sell the electricity during the day when we produce it and "buy it back" at night for less. This makes me feel slightly better about my one big splurge in winter: Long hot showers!

      On a nice day, I planted the garlic seeds we were given last week. Harvested some chives for dinner one night and dried some of our rosemary to refill the herb jar.

      All meals were made at home and we used up all leftovers. We were invited to friend's houses for dinner twice this week. We brought cupcakes for dessert which were made with gifted lemons and limes and some leftover cream cheese.

      When filling up my car, I paid with a gift card that was bought at 5% off and also earned points on my rewards card. I also did our monthly grocery shop and earned enough points to save $10 next time!

      We picked up fruit and herbs from the free carts around town again. My husband's grandma gave us a whole stack of old newspapers which we use in our cats litter boxes.

      My husband mowed the lawn and washed one of our cars.

    That's it, looking forward to reading everyone else's comments!

  • Amber August 28, 2017

    I haven't posted in so long because it has not been a particularly frugal Summer for us due to constant car trouble. We are normally a one car family but with one of our daughters home for the Summer we have been a 2 car family. She is working 2 jobs and both cars have been taking turns being out of commission. Between the two cars we have needed a tow 3X! The frugal part comes in because husband has replaced a timing belt & oil pump in the one car and is replacing the brakes on the other car. I will forever be thankful to have married a man who can fix almost anything.
    This week's frugal activities:
    My 40# of pears arrived. This is a once a year purchase and we get the pears for $0.75/lb. This is a fantastic price for fruit. My kids don't eat canned pears, so I put them in groups of 6 in special produce bags that absorb ethylene gas (that I found at a yard sale inexpensively) and keep them in the bottom of the refrigerator. This method keeps them fresh for months.
    I helped at a funeral for a sweet family friend and we used all the lovely things we used for our daughter's wedding last year including a beautiful glass water dispenser, several cake platters and serving trays. We bought them all used at yard sales & thrift shops. After the funeral I brought home several bags of green salad, an unused container of baby spinach, the consolidated contents of several veggie trays and an unopened costco size package of sliced cheese, that no one else wanted to take home.
    It is supposed to be over 100 degrees every day for the next week. This is very unusual for our area. We don't have A/C because we don't get many days with temperatures that high. I prepped as many cold dinners ahead of time as possible because it is all to tempting to send someone out for fast food when everyone is so drained from the heat.
    Because it is my birthday month my daughter & I went to both of the high end cosmetic stores in the area. I am a member of their rewards programs but I never buy anything. Once a year they offer me a birthday present. This year the birthday gift at one store was a small lipstick, a cream blush & a mascara. The birthday gift at the other store was an eyeshadow palette. I will use the mascara and the lipstick and the other items will be gifts for my daughters.
    My son is growing out of his clothes in leaps & bounds so I keep a running list of what I am looking for for him. I found 2 white dress shirts for $3 each, and 2 pairs of dress shoes that look like new for $5 each. One pair is 1/2 size larger than his current size and the other is a whole size larger. Our scouts go on a 30-50 mile backpacking trip every summer and at the same thrift store I found a pair of hiking boot with the tags still on. They were a very expensive brand name ($130!) and with the coupon I received they were $9. They are a size larger. Right now my 14 year old daughter & 12 year old son wear the same size in hiking boots. They shared a pair this year. With one the boots went 43 miles and with the other the boots hiked 22 miles. Someone will wear the new boots next Summer.
    I mended a hole in my daughter's quilt. I added an eyelet lace ruffle to the bottom of a skirt another daughter found at a thrift store to make it long enough for her to wear comfortably. I changed the buttons on a shirt when it lost one & I could find a match. I kept the old button in the button jar for future use.
    Have a great week everyone.

  • Juls Owings August 31, 2017

    Amber, We are joining you on the car issues, all wheel drive car lost transfer case so now 2 wheel drive AND it needs TWO catalytic converters AND a muffler....for a very limited amt of driving like only when we have to pick up Dad who can't get in the truck WHICH now has worn out brakes for the second time this year (free replacement) AND transmission is burning fluid AND the rear tires need replaced AND the sway bars are needing replaced . Our mechanic wrote it out with prices and in order of safety first. SIGH... My kids drive over an hour to use our mechanic as he is FRUGAL but safe and takes payments WITHOUT interest. He did say he would start looking for replacements for us.

  • Julie T August 29, 2017

    Continues to be busy with juggling work hours, garden harvest, and helping my parents.

    Ate all meals at home this week. We try and eat out no more than 2 times a month. Meals made-Unstuffed cabbage soup (from the freezer), grilled cheese, breakfast for dinner-hash browns, sausage links, and eggs, BBQ ribs (pressure cooked in instant pot) then grilled, grilled hamburgers and German potato salad, lettuce salads, caprese salad, vinegar cucumbers, and Kansas cucumber salad.

    Bought 2 dozen farm eggs for $2 a dozen. My grandkids like to come to my house and have "brown eggs".

    I have $45 left of my $100 I use for groceries every other week. This week I bought large container Greek yogurt, bananas, butter, ice cream, blueberries, sour dough bread, and spent about $20 at farm market.

    Went to a couple of thrift stores on the way to my parents house. Breaks up the 4 hour trip. Bought red Keds tennis shoes with the tags on for $3, flannel shirt, new with tags on $4, several items for grandkids from the fifty cents clearance area-$3 total, wide mouth canning jar-50 cents, and non canning larger glass jar (for food storage)-50 cents.

    Received 2 five gallon buckets of apples free!! Made 18 pints of apple sauce. Only out of pocket money for this was 4c sugar, flats for canning, and gas from the stove. Gotta love it!!

    Continue with garden produce- cleaned and froze green, red, and yellow peppers, peeled and sliced the last of the kolarabi, harvested one more cabbage, chopped and froze for soup this winter. I have 4 large flat Dutch head cabbage left. This will make sauerkraut in my crock this next weekend. Getting a few tomatoes for eating. Looks like they will all ripen at once!! Then there will be a tomato canning frenzy!!

    Hope you have a great week!!

  • Athanasia August 29, 2017

    We have been making the Kansas city cucumbers...did I get the recipe from you? I also googled multiple pictures of flat Dutch cabbage and they all look round as can be so I am confused. Even the description from the seed companies call them flat. Where are they flat? I like the size though especially...12 pound heads!!

  • Julie T August 29, 2017

    They are more oblong or oval, hard to explain. Here in Minnesota they grow well and large!! I would guess each one is about 10# each. Will make 2 big crocks of sauerkraut. I will be getting muscles from using my old fashioned kraut cutter for sure!! Yes you got the Kansas cucumber recipe from me, love it especially the second day. I think it is better the second day and third day -if it lasts that long!

  • Athanasia August 31, 2017

    We grow a lot of cabbage as it keeps well in the root cellar. I do like sauerkraut but we did not eat it growing up. My husband's family does and his sister has been teaching me to make it. Plus we eat so much cabbage I like to have about 40 head. I know we have cabbage everyday in some dish or other.

  • Juls Owings August 30, 2017

    Athanasia ...The Dutch flat cabbage is not as round as other cabbages, can weigh 10-15 lbs and are good storage keepers

  • Athanasia August 31, 2017

    We grow Brunswick's. They average 5lbs each and are very cold hardy for our short season. . I will mention the flat Dutch to my oldest girl for when we plan for next year.

  • Jennifer August 29, 2017

    Hi Brandy,

    I just found your blog last week. I really enjoy reading your awesome money saving ideas (especially on groceries) and your family is just beautiful! I'm also a novice gardener and love your beautiful garden pictures. As a Christian, wife and mother, it's nice to find like-minded people to learn from :)
    This past weekend, I visited my aunt, which resulted in some produce from her garden and some fresh herbs, as well as a gardening book. Her gifts were very useful as some of it was produce I don't have. I made stewed tomatoes from the bounty and plan on making baba ganoush this week. My best friend joined my husband and I for dinner and a movie at my house on Saturday instead of going out somewhere, which of course saved money. I made homemade Chinese food instead of takeout because I've been craving it and was very happy with the results.
    I found a way to save $40 on my renter's insurance, which I wouldn't have looked into if I hadn't found your blog! I also learned ways to lower my grocery bills from your blog and have applied that knowledge in the past couple of weeks, saving me even more money. I have an upcoming court appearance which I'm a little nervous about but I hope to put into practice some of your frugal ideas to help with the expense. I'm trusting God with the outcome.
    Hope you have a blessed day, and I look forward to reading your blog.

    In Christ,

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher August 29, 2017

    Sounds like you had a lot of great money-saving adventures! I love how you cut your hair at home. :) I need to teach myself how to trim my hair; right now I'm only confident in trimming bangs.

    This week:

    1. I switched our bedding with the bedding in the guest room. Ours was a little worn, and now we can go a few more years without replacing our sheets / comforter.

    2. I mended a strap for our fitted sheets instead of tossing it or buying a new one.

    3. I've been working out in our bonus room using free YouTube videos.

    4. I did my nails at home instead of going to the salon.

    5. I baked lemon-cheesecake flavored macarons. Delish!

  • Tara from Massachusetts August 29, 2017

    Here are my top three frugal accomplishments for the week:

    1) Organized an elementary school reunion kickball game for my daughter's entire elementary school grade. They are entering 7th grade this year, and they attended the same elementary school from kindergarten through 5th grade. There were a total of 30 students in her grade. We were able to contact 27 of them. Fourteen kids showed up for the game, and it was one of the best events of our summer! These kids have been friends since kindergarten, and they are still friends even though they now attend a larger middle school and don't get to see each other as often as they did when they were younger. We asked each family to bring either juice, cookies, or cupcakes to share. We made cupcakes and brought those. It was a great day for the kids, and the moms had a chance to chat and catch up. I always tell my daughter how priceless childhood friends are. It was so nice for the kids to have a fun day that didn't cost anything!
    2) Bought a pair of Hollister jeans at Savers for $3.49 for my daughter for back to school. The exact same jeans at Hollister cost $25.
    3) Served my family tortillas with beans, cheese, and salsa. No meat. Not everyone loved this, and not everyone even wanted to try this, but I will keep serving this.
    Thank you, Brandy, for all of your wisdom and excellent ideas. I am going to try a few of your recipes in the next few weeks. I truly enjoy reading your posts and all of the great comments from your readers. Good luck to your children in their auditions!

  • Maxine August 29, 2017

    Tara, you are so right about how priceless are childhood friends. Mary has been my best friend since she was 8 and I was 9. She is now 70 and I am 71. Distance hasn't changed anything--for nearly 30 years, I have lived in northern Idaho while she has remained in the Portland area. When I went to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion last winter, Mary took the train with me to Minnesota! Anyone who would take a train to Minnesota in the dead of winter is a true friend! I have several other childhood friends and well. Whenever I go to a high school reunion (not often), the kids that went to my grade school always hang together. We might not have been the best of friends as children, but we share the same history. Your kickball game sounds like a blast!

  • Janet August 29, 2017


    I just love your statement "not everyone loved this, not everyone was even willing to try it, but I will keep serving it"

    My family is so picky. Then they wonder why food cost so much ! DUH

  • Lea Stormhammer August 29, 2017

    Good morning!

    It's been a while since I commented here, or posted on my own blog for that matter. Summer has been harder than anticipated!

    Here's my link to my Frugal Friday post last Friday. The highlights: pickles made and the solar eclipse!

    Thanks so much for the weekly encouragement with your posts, Brandy. It's been a blessing this summer!
    Have a wonderful week everyone,

  • Juhli August 29, 2017

    Great ideas from everyone's posts. We are doing the usual stuff and a few extras.
    1. Getting ready for our 9 1/2 mo old granddaughter to visit for a couple of days. They will only visit here a couple of times a year so I am taking it slow on getting a toy supply. Found a board book at the Friends of the Library sale and the drugstore had balls on sale for $1. I figure that a ball is good for pushing and crawling after now and can be a plaything for lots of years. I can get out plastic containers that nest too. She will bring some toys I am sure.
    2. DH is in the process of buying a laptop and carefully selected the best value one for what he needs. We are sending the second one back today. Both had defects - one in the keyboard and one in the set up software. He is going to shop locally and try to get one for even less.
    3. I went to the $5 yoga class in my rec center today and am trying to make that a weekly practice. Otherwise walking and exercising at home.
    4. Continue to make sure we eat up leftovers whether for lunch or as planned over dinner items.

  • Lori @ MyVintageWhimsy August 29, 2017

    Happy Tuesday, frugal-minded friends. I haven't participated in several weeks but my life is slowly getting back to normal. My SO moved in in May, along with his 3 small kids who spend their summer with him, and his sister was visiting from Germany, so I went from a single person, to a family of 6. His sister returned home in late July, and the kids went back to their mom Friday a week ago. I miss them but am enjoying some quiet time, too. Plus, I am getting my house thoroughly cleaned for the first time in months! lol

    Frugal accomplishments for last week --
    * Bought 5 pounds of hamburger at Aldi and divided it up into 5 meals. Used 1.5 pounds for meatloaf one night, then divided up the remaining 3.5 pounds into 4 separate packages for future meals.
    * Bought pork loin for $7.99 and cut it into 11 thick, boneless chops. Used 4 for dinner last night, to make stuffed pork chops, and packaged the others for future use.
    * Bought package of chicken thighs for $3.00. Will boil them, shred the meat, and use some for chicken and dumplins and package the rest for future use.
    * Bought 2 16oz bags of baby carrots for 49 cents each; chopped and blanched and froze them in 2 cup portions for future use. I need to run to Aldi today to buy several more bags. I want to have a good stockpile of frozen carrots to use in soups and stews this winter.
    *Bought 2 dozen eggs, which continue to be .47/dozen. I make egg salad often, and each time I boil a dozen, which gives me enough salad for the week for SOs breakfast.

    Found a jacket at Goodwill on Friday and paid $4.99 for it. Listed it on eBay yesterday afternoon and it sold today for $43 + shipping.

    Continued to keep lights off, a/c turned up to 80, combined errands when possible, and generally stayed home as much as possible. I am expecting to use more gas soon though as I am moving my home office back to my parent's house, since I have no room here anymore since both spare rooms are now housing kid stuff. Plus, when home I feel obligated to stop working and do chores or whatnot, and at least if I am across town (11 miles) I am forced to focus on work!! More work = more money so the gas consumption will equal out in the end, I suppose.

    I haven't checked our electric usage for the past week, but I am sure it will be going down at least some. My bill last month was $230+, which is a lot for me. I don't think my bill was ever over $150 when it was just me living here. Thankfully, it's been overcast and relatively cool here the past 2 days, so I've had the ac off completely and the windows open. Additionally, I am doing a lot less wash, now that it's back to being just the 2 of us, instead of 5 or 6, and we're using a lot less hot water for showers. Woohoo!!

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