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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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  • Susan August 28, 2017

    We picked a model harvest of plums, a little sooner than we wanted to pick them, but the squirrels would not leave them alone. They are in brown paper bags to ripen a bit more, then I will make beautiful red plum syrup with them. Excellent on french toast, waffles, pancakes, over ice cream, over cheese cake, and it makes a lovely small gift. For some reason, commercial syrup has gone through the roof, so I save quite a bit making homemade fruit syrups.

  • Susan August 28, 2017

    Meant to say.. a "modest" harvest of plums. Typo!

  • Fiona Chain August 28, 2017

    Goodmorning Brandy,
    I love the photo of your family dining table, it always looks so beautiful.
    To save money this week I-
    Dried all the washing on the line
    Saved the warm up water from the showers for the potted figs out the front
    Cooked from scratch every night
    Went to the markets to buy some herbs and tea, the herbs are so much cheaper and fresher than the supermarket, than tea isn't thought. The reason I buy it from the market is because I can take my own jar and they will fill it for me, reducing the amount of packaging coming into the house, so it is still a win for me
    Rode my bike to run errands close by
    Cleaned the house using home made cleaners
    Tidied the fridge so I could see exactly what we had and what needed using up
    I have started back to work after some long service leave, so I have started to pack my lunch again
    And that's all I can think of at the mo.
    Have a lovely day.

  • PJGT August 28, 2017

    This past week we were forced to be frugal since my husband was not paid for two pay periods. He was finally paid, but there are so many expenses this month. I'm actually glad this month is almost over!

    I took my son out to eat as he has finished a very tough job and has successfully transfered colleges. We had leftovers for lunch and took the scraps home for the doggies.

    I cut my hair and trimmed my son's as well. My son has lost over 30 lbs and needed clothing for college. I bought what I could at thrift shops, but the rest we had to buy at the store. At least we did what we could price wise and accumulated points on his store card. Book wise, we were able to buy second hand books on amazon for his classes. My daughter's books were covered by her book scholarship, so she was able to buy them at the book store on campus. I sold my daughter's summer school textbooks online. I'm amazed at the difference in offers when using a comparison website. They are all packaged and mailed for free.

    We stored my daughter's things for college in a storage unit over the summer. This year she found someone to split the cost. She also had some volunteer help unloading the unit. Really great!

    My son is able to use his backpack and has enough school supplies to use for the year. This is a relief since we have had to take the vehicle he just bought in to have a noise checked out. It is much less than we expected at just over a hundred dollars. Thankful! A new thing for us, commuting to college.

    Found out that I am paid for two extra conference days. I had to cancel long term plans and was able to sell my tickets for what I paid! Wonderful news. I am blessed! This job is so needed and I get to work with long time friends. I did have to buy lunch for two days, but will be able to bring my own food from now on.

    The weather is getting colder, so today I bought a kit to vent the dryer inside. The dryer is in the garage at the moment so it will be helpful. So much of our life is in fluctuation right now that I'm just happy to move ahead on something.

    I bought some clothing at the thrift store to wear at work. When I was back home, I packed some of my clothing for winter and have them ready to be mailed east.

    Found some jars of sauces marked down 75%. They will help make some less expensive cuts of meats go further. I love finding sauces on sale as I find it impossible to convince myself to buy them at the overpriced full price. Some sauces I can replicate, but others I just cannot get right.

    Not the best frugal week, but still doing our best! My siblings are squabbling and I'm trying not to get caught in the crossfire. It's adding tension and stress to my life that I don't want or need. I find that it is difficult to be frugal and not overeat under stress; however this community here keeps me going. We all have difficulties and are supporting each other. Thanks everyone and have a frugal week!

  • Ellie's friend from Canada August 28, 2017

    I went to a fabulous exhibit at the museum for $4.00. on my new card for low income people. Usual admission is $16.00. I bought picture frames for half price for the photos that I hope to sell. They look great! I was treated to lunch at a pizza place by a friend. Another friend is giving me food from their fridge they cannot use when they go camping.

    I bought sugar at half price for making jam. I paid for my gardener to put mulch on the church's memorial garden. She gave me her contractor's discounted price on the mulch. I also qualified as low income for total 100% basic dental coverage (fillings, root canals, hygiene). My new plan I pay for covers non basic items. One of the dentists finally agreed to direct bill the insurance so I don't have to pay upfront (I couldn't afford to do that anyway).

  • Ellie's friend from Canada August 28, 2017

    A friend said I can pick her pears. Yours look wonderful!

  • Megan Z. August 28, 2017

    This past week was a very busy one as we had activities almost every night. My husband went to a baseball game Tuesday after a friend invited him, then his work gave him free tickets so we went Friday night with friends. Our tickets came with $10 and I was able to bring water into the ballpark so my meal was only 50 cents.
    We were invited out to eat for a friend's birthday. We both ate the complimentary salad and then had appetizers so our meal was fairly cheap.
    I went to the grocery store and purchased a lot on sale. I am starting a new diet which can be somewhat pricey but if it heals, I'm all for it. We have a stocked up pantry so I will continue to use up what I can eat while on the diet.
    I painted our bathroom- it is almost finished with the renovation. I don't know what we would have paid someone as this is only a half-bath but I imagine it would have been at least $1500 with parts and labor. I've seen quote for a guest bathroom anywhere from $2000 to 5000 so this seems fairly in line with that.
    I checked out some books from the library and placed more on hold. I harvested tomatoes. Everything else is struggling so I'm hoping the cooler weather and rain that is on the way will help. I wasn't a huge fan of the tomatoes I grew this year but someone suggested slow-roasting them. I tried that yesterday and they were amazing. I read you can slow roast ones you have frozen so I plan on doing that when it gets cooler.
    I said "no" to a big clothing sale. I decided that I didn't need or want anything.
    I opened the windows and turned off the AC- it's a win win because I get to enjoy the great breeze but also save money. The leaves are starting to change and drop here- it seems really early but it is making me long for sweaters and hot tea.

  • Becky @ Becky's Place August 28, 2017

    I can commiserate with you about the eclipse. We had gray, overcast skies with drizzling rain that day. We only noticed that it seemed a tiny bit darker during the time it passed our area.
    While I have our frugal doings listed on my own site, I wanted to share this sort of frugal thing, though it cost money, ha ha! We've been considering purchasing a 4-wheeler ATV for a couple of years. We can get quite a bit of snow here in northern MN and our snowblowers never seem to make it through a full winter and we don't have a truck and plow. After about 7 years we managed to save $5000. I saw that our local auto dealership listed a used ATV on Craigslist for $5200. It was exactly the make and model we were leaning towards the most, too, and included a winch. So we dug out our cash stash and headed down to the dealer. When I made the offer to the sales gal she seemed to hesitate a little uncertainly but said maybe we could work something out. When we sat at her desk I pulled the envelope of cash out of my pocket and said, "Really, that is all I've got. $5000 cash exactly". Now, I think there's something about seeing a pile of hundreds because she was no longer unsure and said, "Yeah, we can do that, I think." In the end, tax and whatever other fees they like to add, amounted to exactly $5000. Even better? The next day she called and told us to come pick up the snowblade that the person who'd traded the ATV in had left there, too, which was unexpected. It never, ever hurts to offer less than asking price, especially if there's a pile of cash in sight.:)

  • PJGT August 28, 2017

    What a delightful story!

  • Janet August 29, 2017

    We did the almost exact same buying a new car. It is amazing when you say that is my budget and you have cash how the price comes to that price.

  • Libby August 28, 2017

    I LOVE library book sales :) Our annual sale is coming up in September and I have money set aside in the budget. I love the quote you have on your book page.

    I feel like I do the same small things every week and it bums me out a bit that there isn’t anything spectacular to write about and then I remember that slow and steady wins the race. So here’s to being a tortoise :)
    • Made swag goal x3
    • Washed ziplock bags to reuse
    • Froze 19.9 lbs bananas & composted the peels
    • Hung all laundry outside to dry
    • I wanted to repaint the back outside stair railing with a Rustoleum-type paint. I was delighted to find our local hardware store carries a pint size. I bought it and the railing looks a thousand times better. The paint cost more per gallon, but it was the right size and less out of pocket cost then the quart or gallon sizes.
    • Took down the shower curtain liner that had yuck growing on it. Washed it with bleach and hot water in the washing machine on a fast wash cycle. It looks brand new again.

  • momsav August 28, 2017

    I'm a tortoise, too!
    I always feel so virtuous when I wash the liner. Plus, it saves about 5.00 over buying a new one!

  • Debby in KS August 28, 2017

    Today was my first day of my 'month of home and health'. I think I mentioned that I was feeling overwhelmed with too much outside the home. I felt my home and life starting to suffer. So, I changed up my schedule for the next month and dove in today. It's not about laying around doing nothing, but the opposite. I'm playing catch up so I'm working more. But, without the outside activities, I can work awhile, do light jobs, back to the work, light jobs, etc. without having to stop, shower, change clothes, & go. There was one day that I actually took 4 showers because my day was so broken up and it was hot so I kept getting all sweaty. While 3 of the showers were super quick rinser showers, it was the whole idea that I couldn't do what I needed to at one time. Anyway, I apologize, I'm just venting my frustrations....at myself, too, for taking on too much and forgetting I'm not 30 anymore!!! First day and I already felt better emotionally so I think I'm on the right track.
    This week, I did have a few perks:
    *Received a $6 rebate check and will be sending out for another one for $4.
    *Got a free box of instant mac n cheese, a free box of dryer sheets, & a free candy bar.
    *Some cool mornings have allowed us to open the windows for about 5 hrs. Fresh air and no a/c
    *I was given some free fabric and I think I have enough to make myself a simple skirt for fall.
    *I found a fair deal on blueberries so I'm freezing 2 large cookie sheets of them for my favorite oatmeal.
    *I treated myself to a pretty decent mini bouquet of flowers in the store clearance section for .99 cents.
    *Sent out 3 greeting cards and 2 gifts....all made by me!

    Thanks for all the ideas, Brandy and fellow posters! If I can't use it exactly the same, I often find I can tweak it to work for us!! :)

  • Juls Owings August 29, 2017

    I need a year of health and home...sigh... not 50 any more LOL.;)

  • Debby in KS August 29, 2017

    :D Yeah, that train is leaving the station, as well!

  • Rachel Schmidt August 28, 2017

    "A small bit of rain...." LOL reading this from Houston, remembering living in Las Vegas. Thank you for a bit of non-food related news and things to an to do when we can garden again!

  • Rachel Schmidt August 28, 2017

    Non flood, I meant!

  • Libby August 28, 2017

    Rachel the news coming out of Houston is horrifying. Prayers that you and yours are safe.

    I've been thinking about Brandy's emergency prep packs on and off all day.

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 28, 2017

    I continue to read all the very old posts. I have continued to glean them for any helpful hints. Although my money is as balanced as I can get it, I find that my attitude could be adjusted about having meatless meals. This idea would help my budget and I doubt my family will suffer. I always assumed they wouldn't like it, so I just haven't tried. That's a poor excuse. I am checking out prescription options for myself and believe I have found a winner. I only keep medical insurance to cover those prescriptions but the premium and co-pays are just too much. Some of my co-pays are more than the generic prices. I bought TP this week and milk. I found a large Yankee candle that had never been used. It was missing the wick. I paid 60 cents for it at the thrift store. I chipped it out of the jar to use as was melts. It smells so good. My favorite old tip so far is about buying a case of pizza crusts from the Sam's Club deli. I checked today and 20 are 16.00. I just can't get the hang of homemade pizza so this will be a happy compromise. I paid 20.00 for my male cat to get fixed at the low cost clinic. I can buy the cocker spaniels shots for 118.00 vs 350.00 at the big name vet. I am so happy I checked them out. My college daughter will reimburse me for this lovely puppies expenses.

  • TerriC September 01, 2017

    My husband has always been one of those meat and potato sorts but this year he did a Daniel fast, so there was no meat for 21 days. I found a number of new to us recipes that he truly liked a lot which are now in our recipe rotation. That said, I find it easier to do meat free meals in cooler weather as most are quite hardy meals.

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