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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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  • Miriam August 29, 2017

    My partner found Winco coupons on the back page of the UVU student newspaper. $27 of free groceries. We used them a few times. All processed food, but we are on the tail end of our one paycheck season, and the treats are welcomed.

  • Thrifty Lisa August 29, 2017

    Dear Brandy:
    I want to let you know how much your blog means to me, and how helpful and hopeful it is as well. Even when things become more challenging for you, you appreciate and wisely use what you do have. In addition to all your recipes, how-to's and words of encouragement, I appreciate that you do not prattle on about what big savings/deals there are to be had on websites, stores, etc., because you are not buying things - like me!! I wrote a few weeks ago in response to your article about being a one car family, how we had recently become one as well due to the demise of our old minivan. And I am still riding my bicycle, and my husband is still driving our daughter to school, and we are making things work. Instead of worrying about what we don't have/want, we are truly thankful for what we do have. Thank you for being a reminder through your blog that we always will get by. With sincere thanks!!!

  • Mary August 30, 2017

    I second what Thrifty Lisa says! I truest appreciate your blog and the encouragement I receive from your posts and others comments. Thank you!

  • Mary August 30, 2017

    Auto correct!!! Truely.

  • Becky August 30, 2017

    I have been canning and freezing food for the past couple of weeks. It is consuming hours and hours of my time, but the results are starting to pile up! I put the last of the peaches in the canner last night, have finished the pears, and have some applesauce to finish up this morning. I have frozen beans, berries, and broccoli. Last night, I picked some tomatoes, so those go in the canner next. Although it is hard work--often done early in the morning or late at night because I have other commitments during the day, it is rewarding to me and I love doing it.

    My husband and I have racked up many, many hours this summer caring for my nephew. I had though this summer would be tougher, finanacially, because he works for the school district and didn't work this summer, but the extra hours that were needed kept us rolling right along. In fact, the money I had set aside last spring to get us through the summer has remained untouched! It's not much, but I'm not complaining! It's never a problem to have a bit of $ set aside--something will come up that empties that envelope quickly--it always does:)

    He goes back to work on Tuesday, and I start homeschooling Wednesday, and our nephew goes back to school Wednesday as well, so I will get fewer hours starting next week.

    Our daughter that goes to school needed a few clothes. I was unsuccessful in finding jeans that fit her, so my sister tackled the job. She took her shopping yesterday and bought her several outfits, all a gift from auntie. How kind. We were both grateful.

    I've planted a fall garden, and saw a couple of lettuce sprouts poking up when I checked yesterday. I'm hoping the rest will pop up--it's been awfully hot around here, but I've kept it moist. I have some kale, lettuce, snow peas, cilantro and basil that are all about 3 inches tall now from the last planting. The only thing that did not germinate from that planting was spinich, and I replanted that. I've been pulling up some plants that are finished and there are a few more to go--like the pickling cucumbers. They seem to be done. I'm super excited because we have eaten 2 watermelon from our garden. It's been so hot we actually got some. That is rare here, and I only planted them because one of the kids really wanted to try. We have also been getting canteloupes. They are small, but tasty.

    I've been making menu plans and following them during August. I spent only $93 for the month of August on groceries for our daily meals, and used any remaining $ to buy things to preserve, such as apples for applesauce, and tuna from the Pacific Ocean to can. I'm very pleased with what I did. You can see pictures on my blog if rows of canning jars are interesting to you:) (I do have to laugh at myself--I am easily amused I guess, but love to see the jars lined up and I actually love canning!) I'm still not done canning, so I guess there's lots more "fun" in my future.


  • Juls Owings August 31, 2017

    Becky I'm with you on joy in canning even when exhausted and hurting , the satisfaction of a job well done that fills up the pantry is beyond words.

  • Athanasia August 31, 2017

    Becky I love to can too, though I am not a fabulous gardener. I let others do that work. I did enjoy looking at the pictures of your jars, yes. The canned tuna sounds wonderful.

    The pictures of building the church made me think of the Sidney Poitiers movie LILIES OF THE FIELDS.

  • Amber August 30, 2017

    I forgot one! Two years ago my husband had a terrible case of chronic bronchitis that led to a diagnosis of adult onset asthma. In addition to carrying a rescue inhaler he takes an OTC medication daily. Because it is OTC it is not covered by our insurance so it costs about $1.25 per dose. He tried not taking it, but that led to an emergency room visit that cost $100 and a follow up treatment that cost $30. I try to watch for sales or coupons but they are few & far between. Last week I had to go pick up a library book at a different branch & knowing I was going to be across town, I made a list of sale items to pick up at the store next door. When I got to the store I found the clearance table and there were boxes & boxes of that medication! It was on a small sale (down to about $1/dose,) plus the 50% off clearance price, plus the coupons I always take with me shopping. I decided that we would eat all pantry meals this week & I used all my planned grocery $$ plus my "surprise sale" $20 that I keep in my wallet. I bought all 9 boxes which will last about the next 9 months.
    Thanks to the things I have learned from this blog I was able to take advantage of this sale. I have learned to always have meals in the pantry that are bare bones when I can't go shopping. I have learned to combine errands and look at other stores nearby when I am in an unusual part of town. I appreciate all the support & knowledge gleaned from this community.

  • Maxine August 30, 2017

    Very resourceful, Amber. I like to think I would have done the same. I know I would have bought extra, though.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC August 30, 2017

    Love your 'surprise sale $20' kept in your wallet. I'm going to use that idea.

    I've learned to cruise the grocery store aisle's for 'this store only' sale notices.

  • Juls Owings August 31, 2017

    Amber ask the doctor for a prescription for the OTC meds. A lot of time the ins will pay if it it is written as a prescription. Might be the generic brand of it though.

  • Amber September 01, 2017

    We asked but because it is an unusual use for this med the Dr wasn't willing. It was actually an emergency room Dr who suggested we try it when other, more traditional, medications weren't working. Then when we saw our regular doctor he disagreed with the ER Dr. We were at our wit's end with my husband needing the rescue inhaler almost every night & being unable to do any of the very active things he loves to do, so we thought, "what the heck?" and tried it.

  • Jennifer August 30, 2017

    I feel like I'm leaking money right now getting my teenager ready to start high school.

    But, I did harvest more basil and tomatoes from the garden. I cut dahlias for a bouquet (the first dahlias I've ever grown from tuber and I must confess that I am quite proud of myself).
    I made a quiche using leftover deli meat---which I don't usually buy--but it's a long story. Anyway, the quiche was delicious. I had a slice for breakfast every day. I don't know why I fell out of the habit of making those. They're so good and filling.

  • Janet August 30, 2017

    I know how it feels to be leaking money for high school. I had three that were each 10 months apart. Between $100 calculators and other school supplies, AP fees, and SAT and ACT testing fees, College applications and club fees as well as sports fees. I went totally broke and I'm not kidding I had to declare bankruptcy. I did manage to get them all through college but it was very very expensive.

    One rule I learned well when a kid calls home to say they need money for let's say a book, or food. I learned early and fast they need 1/3 of what they ask for. My daughter had a math book stolen and yes she needed a new math book but she was working and she had some extra money from that, she also was able to sell some items just like she had notice Mom doing for years to cover cost so I sent her 1/3 of what the book cost and somehow she managed to get herself a book for the course. It always somehow worked out 1/3 is what they truly need. Even if they have to eat one more meal of pasta they will get by somehow. (One piece of advice I got early on Parent's can not borrow for retirement/ Children can borrow for college)

    Bless all of you ladies and Thanks again Brandy for all that you do.

  • Juls Owings August 31, 2017

    came close to bankruptcy with 4 graduating the same year (2 were graduating early). Lucky our school didn't charge for sports or extra activities because we passed the levy so they wouldn't. Still the youngest 2 that graduated early were actually taking college classes... I worked 3 jobs and Hubby worked 2. All the kids worked 20 hrs a week during school and 30 in summer. Hubby's ex mother in law said something about us borrowing on his 401k to pay for the one boy (her grandson but she didn't think the girls should go to college at all), his ex responded (to her own mother) how about you paying for all of the 6 kids with your retirement? Nothing was said again.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. August 30, 2017

    I'm always so amazed by what you are able to grow in such a harsh climate. And--wow!--that's quite a significant amount of water you were able to collect as well.

    We continue to do the regular things to save a little here and there. The biggest help this past week came thanks to the weather. It continued to stay mild, and we were able to go without the AC for nearly the whole week. That's good, because we're in the midst of a heat wave this week and are using the AC more than usual. I'm hoping that the savings earlier in the billing cycle will help to offset our current usage.

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate home-prepared meals all but two times.

    * Hubs washed the cars.

    * Did not need the AC for 6 days.

    * Hubs trimmed a tree and then chipped up the trimmings for mulch.

    * Hubs fixed a drip line for some of our shrubs.

    * Harvested a cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, and an eggplant. (We had ratatouille for two meals.)

    * Continued with all of the regular things: saving warm-up/rinse water, using cloth napkins, baking bread, doing our own yard work/house cleaning (that seems like a no-brainer, but most of our neighbors hire out for those chores), composting, walking the dog for exercise, etc.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • Wyoming gal August 30, 2017

    We just came home from a 13 day vacation to Washington, Oregon and Northern California. Were we frugal or not? I think some of both. The dh and I drove our Honda Fit so we wen t more than 3500 miles with a gas cost of $240. We camped 7 nights for $100 We visited 3 national parks - redwoods, crater lake and Lassen volcanic and 3 national monuments with no admission fee due to lifetime pass.But 2. Nights at historic crater lake lodge was almost $500!! Overall we spent $1600 (5 total nights in motels and lodges.It was funandsome parts were spectacular including total eclipse in western Oregon, but frugal? Do not know.

  • Janet August 31, 2017

    My hubby and I wanted to do this same trip that you just did we calculated we could not do it for less that $5,000 so yes I would say you were frugal. It is very expensive to get to the parks and food and lodging and gas do cost. Plus it is supposed to be fun if it is an adventure so we always end up spending a little. We would have to drive from DC so I'm not certain we can make the trip. It sounds awesome!!! I guess we will live vicariously through your trip!

  • LSM August 31, 2017

    Maybe not frugal as not going on said trip bit oh the memories! Priceless!

  • Kim August 30, 2017

    I've tried to keep our meals simple and cheap this week even though I didn't really have a plan. During September, we will be eating from our pantry and freezer. We will also be doing some stocking up. I have 40 pounds of Zaycon chicken coming mid-October (I traded a weekend babysitting three little boys for a box of chicken

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