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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Sunflower The Prudent Homemaker

My husband gave our two older boys' haircuts.

We gladly accepted a gift of a package of turkey bacon and a package of beef from our neighbor. She said she hadn't liked the turkey bacon (we don't mind it at all!) and had bought too many packages of the beef and didn't think she could eat them all. Later in the week, she brought me 4 very ripe bananas.

I picked red noodle beans, a few tomatoes, two Armenian cucumbers, and I cut Swiss chard, garlic chives, and basil from the garden.

Eagle Scout Cookies The Prudent Homemaker

My son had his Eagle Scout Court of Honor this week. I made cookies and cupcakes for refreshments. (I was able to cut out a shortening-based cookie instead of a butter-based cookie and had better luck. I still had to use a lot of flour not just while rolling, but also a floured stockinged rolling pin (even though I am using a marble one and cutting out on granite counters, which are cold), and flour the spatula between each cookie before lifting it off the counter to ensure it didn't stick and collapse while lifting it to move it to the cookie sheet. It was 113ºF (45ºC) the day I made the cookies. I also turned the air conditioner down a few more degrees while baking to try to keep the dough from completely melting/sticking.) My parents contributed some money to help me purchase some things I didn't have and needed to finish these, which was a great blessing.

Campfire Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

The water company sent me a bill; my water bills are highest in summer. Our water bill will be $100 less for August's water over July's water, thanks to the rain we had, my turning off the sprinklers and drip irrigation when we had rain, and the water I collected in buckets from the rains and used in the garden. 

It was humid this week again, so I was able to collect water from the air conditioning drip as well as from the shower to use to water pots in the garden.

My eldest applied for two scholarships. She also was able to download a free book for a class.


What did you do to save money this past week?

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  • Mary September 05, 2017

    I second this. There are also so many scholarships out there. My daughter is a freshman in college now and I encourage her to keep applying. Any money thru scholarships is a big help

  • Cathi September 07, 2017

    As someone who works in the field (albeit in Canada) I can confirm that a lot of awards are written so that if no one who exactly fits the criteria applies then they can chose from those who have applied.
    A lot of awards go to waste each year and that's not what the originators of the awards want.
    Apply apply apply!!!!

  • Carla September 04, 2017

    We dug about 50 pounds of potatoes from the garden. I canned 60 jars of various tomato iteans from the garden. Dried basil and parsley from the garden. Picked a 16 quart basin of hot peppers that a I will work on this week. The weather has been beautiful here in PA so turned the air conditioner off and opened the windows. My brother gave us peaches that we canned. Signed our kids up for free school lunches. My husband was in an accident and we are living on way less then before. Great job on the cookies.

  • J September 04, 2017

    Those cupcakes look fantastic. What a great idea!!

    I bought 2 large chicken Breasts reduced for quick sale at 40%off. I cooked them and shredded them to make hot chicken on a bin, which has lasted us 3 meals. I bought 3 packs of lean ground beef reduced for quick sale to $1.50/lb and put them straight in the freezer.

    I worked on the final garden harvesting and fall yard clean up.

    I started my rehearsal template for some Christmas DIY gifts and began pricing the final supplies I will need.

    On Saturday the weather was beautiful so we took a spur of the moment say trip to the Pioneer Village in Keene where Rhonda A works. We have never been to that part of Ontario before. It was a beautiful drive. Admission was free for our kids, and we paid $16.00 for my husband and I to get in. It was a great place to visit, beautiful and peaceful. The interpreters on site were fantastic, although at 3 years old and 10 months our boys just wanted to explore which was fine with me. They lived the children's play area in the village and we all loved the waterfall and mill at the edge of the park. It was a lovely place. We stopped at a farm on our drive home and they were selling strawberries for $20/flat which is VERY cheap. I suspect they had picked all their crop due to fear of frost and waned to offload heir supply. I picked up one flat and we have been devouring the berries all weekend.

    I finished all my totals after a year of grocery tracking. It has proven very useful for me to do this as opposed to a general grocery budget - but I won't be doing it forever. Maybe one more year. The summary is here:


    Have a great week everyone!!

  • Juls Owings September 05, 2017

    I read your post, very interesting...looking at doing it myself now

  • momsav September 07, 2017

    I read it, too. Kind of intense, isn't it? When you see the numbers it makes one realize how much money we eat! I may try this, too. I'm not great at sticking with this sort of thing, but it would be interesting to see where the food money really goes. Thanks!

  • Erika @ The Make Do Homemaker September 04, 2017

    I love the cupcakes! What a neat idea for a decoration!

    Glad you were able to get the cookies done. I would have melted right along with the cookie dough! No matter who you are 100 degrees is HOT let alone any degrees over that!

    My week was busy in a hectic kind of way. Operation Garden Salvage was top priority. I need to finish up the carrots today.

    My adventures this week can be found here...


  • Annaliese September 04, 2017

    Congrats on all your children's accomplishments!! Well we spent money and save money this week...It was hubby's bday and we went to see a live show of a comedian he likes and a movie-BUT took advantage of free childcare from in-laws. Used a restaurant certificate I bought thru Swagbucks- got the extra points and meal served up 6X. Used coupons to stock up on groceries and saved $43 plus got 3 free items to add to food bank stash plus redeemed some rebate points thru apps and requested a $22.00 check thru mail. Our printer gave out and hubby called the company and gave the series number and it was still under warranty! They are sending a FREE new one and we get to send this one back with free shipping. The plastic covering on the floor that we put in front of son's computer is cracking and we sent in pictures to manufacture- they are sending a FREE one too!! The battery in the truck conked out and hubby did some investigating online and got the better deal. I am still getting herbs, onions and garlic from the garden with a few cherry tomatoes. Sold a couple things on EBay. Was gifted yogurt, a frozen family meal(which we don't eat- so I gifted it further) and milk. My work place had an appreciation day where they served breakfast items- I brought home a couple bowls of mixed fruit and several bagels. I am still working on trying to get my son re-evaluated so I can become his CAP worker- it's a long wait time but worth it-Hopefully by the year's end!! We are still swimming in the backyard pool and hopefully can still get use out of it for a couple more weeks before the fall weather sets in.

  • Rhonda A. September 04, 2017

    The cookies and cupcakes are so cute, Brandy. I hope all the guests appreciated your efforts! It was also very kind of your neighbour to share her excess and unwanted food items with your family. I wish your daughter luck on receiving some scholarship funds. Good for her for searching out the financial help with furthering her education!

    This week has been crazy busy for me. My seasonal job is winding down for the summer and at the same time, I'm trying to prepare my special needs daughter with transitioning to high school. They start back to school on Tuesday. We all are having huge anxiety over how this will go. Praying for the best, but preparing for the worst right now. Anyway, our frugal accomplishments for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included sub sandwiches (made using cold cuts from the freezer, discounted sub buns and Swiss cheese slices on sale), chicken shepherds pie (made with one leftover chicken breast), breaded chicken burgers with salad, homemade cream of cauliflower cheese soup with dinner rolls, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with hash-brown patties, pasta with choice of sauce and optional sausage slices, and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots.
    *When temperatures turned cooler, I made a nice pot of homemade soup. I used veggies we had on hand, some of the homemade poultry soup stock from the freezer and pantry staples. The "day old" bakery dinner rolls, warmed in the oven, paired perfectly with the meal. Leftovers were eaten up at lunch the following day.
    *Cooked extra hash-brown patties along with dinner one night, to use for future breakfasts which saved on electricity costs of cooking them on their own. We re-heat the cooked patties in the microwave or in toaster at breakfast time.
    *Found huge packages of pepperoni on clearance for $2.50 due to the expiration date being that day. I bought 2 packages, immediately re-packaged all of it into 8 pizza portions with my food saver and froze them for future meals. From the same store, I bought 20 bottles of Crystal Light and Mio drink mixes for $1/bottle. My mom likes to use this occasionally to flavour her water. However, at nearly $4/bottle regular price, I rarely buy it. This stash should last her a while.
    *Other great grocery deals this week included 2 bunches of celery for $0.75 each (1 for fresh eating, 1 to dehydrate for pantry), 2 six-packs of canned white tuna for $10/6 cans (reg price for individual cans of white tuna are min. $2 each), 2 cases of bottled water for $1.88/24 bottles, and a Costco sized canister of Folgers coffee for $10.
    *Asked my brother if he would pick up some eggs for me while he was visiting, since he was going to the store to buy pop. He used his loyalty points to pay for them, so they were free. We gift him food all the time (he went home with a huge jar of peanut butter and some pepperoni from our stash this visit), so I appreciated the reciprocation of kindness.
    *I received a coupon for a free birthday gift item at Giant Tiger (a Canadian retail chain). It was a choice between coffee (I don't like hot drinks), a package of muffins (I bake so not interested), or chocolate covered almonds or raisins. When I stopped in to pick it up the free bag of chocolate covered almonds, they had a huge sale on summer clothing items. Picked up 3 pairs of shorts and 2 t-shirts for myself, plus 3 pairs of shorts and 1 pair of capris for my daughter at really amazing prices!
    *Cut my own bangs to avoid getting a hair cut. I need my hair long enough to put in a bun for my job, so I try to hold out in getting a nice cut until after I finish for the season, right before the Christmas holidays.
    *Attended the grade 9 orientation day at the high school DD will be attending. She received a free school t-shirt for attending! There were some anxiety issues that resulted in missing some parts of the orientation, but after meeting some of the other new students, I think she is feeling a bit better about starting school next week. She also met her new E.A. that will be helping her. This is extremely rare for a high school student to receive one on one support. I know parents who are very frustrated they cannot get this kind of support for their autistic children, despite hugely advocating for it. So I consider this a huge win for my daughter! This also alleviates some of my anxiety, too. *sign* Finger's and toes crossed things go well this coming week.
    *I was offered the free use of someones 4-harness table loom, so I could get more practice at weaving. Now I have to find a project I want to try, so I can learn how to read weaving patterns, how to figure out what I need in materials according to the pattern, and how to warp the loom as needed for the weaving pattern. Looking forward to developing my weaving knowledge and skill sets!
    *This weekend most of the seasonal interpreters finished up for the summer. On Sunday, one of our young volunteers (she's like one of the staff to us) created a murder mystery for the staff. It was perfect timing for us, when often we feel less motivated after a long summer season. We all had so much fun trying to figure out who the murderer was! I so love my job and the people I work with (even if they did suspect me of murder right off the bat)!!!!

    Thank you for all the inspiration and encouragement, everyone. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  • J September 04, 2017

    Rhonda, I hope the EA is a great support. I teach high school. At my school there is a special program for students with autism. Sometimes I have the pleasure of teaching these boys and girls. One year, the parents of a particular grade 9 boy were very nervous about his transition. They sent me an email outlining information they thought would help me better understand and help their son. This included information like who his friends were, what causes him to be stressed/anxious, how he might react to different situations, that he might not respond when I speak to him, etc. This was in addition to the information I had in his IEP. They sent this info to his 4 teachers. Just as an FYI. This boy was waiting outside my class every day before school started. I always greeted him with a big smile and a hello before unlocking the door and letting him in. For about 6 weeks he never responded and just walked in the room. Then one day he started responding with what sounded like a very forced "bonjour Mme". I was thrilled. His parents were shocked when I told them he was saying hello to me every morning. I told them it was thanks to them, because had they not told me he typically doesn't respond I would have probably stopped greeting him every day. Little bits of information not found in an IEP are often helpful to teachers :) good luck!

  • Athanasia September 06, 2017

    Rhonda, that murder mystery sounded like so such fun! Did you guess the murderer?

    I wish all the best to your daughter for her first year of high school.

  • Rhonda A. September 07, 2017

    I guessed the wrong person, though I had the story line pretty much figured out. The person who did it I thought was too obvious, plus she had someone in on the secret, who successfully helped lead us astray. Apparently I work with very deceptive people...LOL!

    We're still working out the kinks, but so far she hasn't totally melted down at school. It's been close though. We finally have an appointment to see a psychiatrist tonight, thanks to a Dr advocating for us. Couldn't have been better timing! Hoping for anxiety meds, which would help big time!!!

  • Athanasia September 08, 2017

    Rhonda, best of luck with the psychiatrist. Those appointments are hard to get here...a very under-served area.

  • Juls Owings September 04, 2017

    Brandy the cupcakes and cookies are wonderful. I pray that Winter gets the scholarships. My granddaughter has one and it has been a blessing. I am glad you were able to get the water bill down.

    I have reread your frugal posts and comments. I reread your pantry info and pantry menu comparing to what I have and found a couple holes in my pantry I would not have caught as I am out of bouillon.

    After I wash the next load of canning jars I will be rereading your eat beans every night..

    It's been a week of changes especially with stocking up as Hubby came home and announced the company was changing the 2018 retirement package (and not for the better but their hands are tied also) so he was coming out early Dec...my major staple stock up is usually Dec with the Christmas sales so I'm juggling that...

    Our electric bill was up , not as high as it has been but up enough the landlord asked if he needed to have things checked. Nope, just running 2 dehydrators, a dehumidifier in the basement and the electric range with canning. Hopefully I can continue some of the canning outside when it's not raining using the propane burners instead.

    Blessed be


  • Gardenpat September 04, 2017

    I harvested some more tomatoes from the garden and, after leaving some large ones for slicing and some cherry tomatoes for salads, I was able to can 4 quarts of diced tomatoes for my pantry! That makes a dozen quarts of tomatoes from our garden so far without buying anything!! They are versatile to use as diced tomatoes in recipes, in salsa, to make tomato sauce, etc!

    In an effort to rotate my freezers, I got out some stew beef chunks and some chicken drumsticks! I tossed the beef into the crockpot, peeled & cut up potatoes and ( saving potato skins & carrot peelings for chickens!)carrots and celery (from the free veggie discards for chickens) and made an awesome beef stew! We had been given some bread bowls so I served them in those! Yummy! We had leftovers for another lunch/dinner time but I noticed that almost all of the beef was gone so I got out a pint of home canned beef chunks and added some to it so that there is now enough stew for a whole dinner + leftovers! The drumsticks I baked in the oven with a honey soy sauce and I made potato salad to use up a red onion I had left on my counter, eggs from my chickens and home canned pickle relish!

    I am participating in a "shelf-tember" challenge to make our meals from things we already have on hand- on shelf, fridge and freezer and try not to spend more than $25/week for any fresh things- milk, produce, etc! I think we may be able to come out spending way less than the $25!!! My family and I are ready to take on this fun challenge!!
    We have about $200 in special order wood products made for a business client of ours as well as about $300 worth of decorative front porch decor that will be finished by tonight!

    We found free old wood fencing on Craigslist and came home with almost 500 board foot of solid cedar 1x6x 6 foot long fence boards! That would have cost us thousands $$ new and we can plane it lightly and use it in some of our business pieces!! We found particular pieces of hardwood in our basement that had been long since forgotten that were perfect to finish up another furniture piece we had an order for! Our business is definitely being watched over and we are so grateful!! You can see our things that we make on our Facebook page- HandmadeinOldeTowne.

    Tonight we are picking up 3 more hens (free) to add to our little urban flock! That will bring us up to 8 layers which is what our city permit allows! The sister of a friend has a farm and their 20 chickens and several ducks are being killed by a fox! They have a young family and their time commitments are heavy so she just wants to give the chickens and ducks away! With 8 layers, we will be getting more eggs than the 3 of us can use, but several friends have said from the beginning that they would live to buy eggs from us so this will be another little stream of income!
    I used up some mark down overripe bananas into banana coconut delight cookies using homemade cookie mix! I have just made another big batch of cookie mix and refilled my canister! I love having the convenience of mixes on my shelf so that my time is reduced when I want to make something!
    I completed another baby quilt top for a friend's daughter and will get that quilted up this week! No OOP cost because I used things from my stash (even batting scraps!!) I have 2 more baby boy quilts to design and make this week!

    I live this time of the year- it's starting to cool down which means no a/c use or furnace use!!
    I hope everyone's week holds promises for everything they need!

  • Susan O September 04, 2017

    Brandi, I love the cupcakes! Very creative.
    We collected 26 eggs. (It has been so hot - and even pretty humid - here, so the girls haven't all been laying every day like they usually do. Poor things! Actually, I feel their pain. I'm used to the dry heat, but when it's 112 and humid? Yuck!)
    We harvested pumpkins, peaches, figs, zucchini, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, a few full-sized tomatoes - both yellow and red (our tomatoes are taking FOREVER to ripen this year and I don't think we're going to have as full a harvest as most years. It's just a weird tomato year.), and butternut squash. The big surprise was that I was able to harvest some green beans. We had written off the green bean plants; most of them died early in the season and the rest have been languishing. But yesterday I was able to take a few green beans off the plants and a few more are coming. It's not much, but every little bit counts.
    Mom and I made and froze pumpkin puree from some pumpkins that were a little soft and would not be good for pantry storage.
    Mom made apple sauce from gifted apples. We received gifted figs from one of my co-workers.
    Each year, on the Thursday and Friday before Labor Day, the preschool where my sister works closes so the teachers can prepare for the new school year, which starts the following Tuesday. I volunteered to help my sister, who was changing classrooms. The school provided muffins and bagels both mornings and a pizza and salad lunch the first day. The pizza place provided too much dressing, so I took a pack of it home. To thank me for my help, my sister treated me to lunch the second day.
    We roasted a chicken (mostly in the crock pot to keep from heating up the house too much, then a little while in the oven to brown). After we had eaten that night, we pulled the remaining meat off the bones; part was made into chicken salad for lunches and the rest was used to make chicken quesadillas the next night. The bones and giblets were frozen for future chicken stock.
    One ongoing frugality around here is that we all wear "around the house" clothes until they disintegrate. My dad had one T-shirt that was sooooo holey; mom cut it into cleaning rags.
    We did all the normal stuff: combining errands, hanging clothes on the line, cooking from scratch, eating up the leftovers, etc.
    One thing that may end up costing us in the future is this humidity. Normally, even on the hottest days, our temperatures drop to the high fifties or low sixties during the night. This is the second time in a month or two that, due to a thunderstorm off the coast, it's been as hot (or hotter!) outside as inside when we go to bed. So the air has been running more than usual. We won't know how this is effecting us until our on-grid solar true-up date in November.
    Sorry. My comments are always so long. Thank you, Brandi, for such a great vehicle for sharing ideas and information that's helping us all learn frugality!

  • Becky Pratt September 04, 2017

    I haven't posted in a while because I am having my house rewired. I have the original knob and tube electricity. My house is small and over 100 years old. The price for this (I bought all of the wire, plugs and covers is $6000.00. I have had half of the house done so far and I'm repainting and doing small repairs as we go along.
    With all of that said I am cutting back in other ways.
    I am a new (for the second time) empty-nester. My daughter and her 2 children have finally left home. Because of that all of my household bills have decreased. I have saved a hundred dollars a month on electricity alone. When I go to bed I turn off the a/c in every room buy my bedroom. I have closed off the part of the house that they kids lived in...so I have used no a/c in there at all.
    I just got my new car insurance bill and almost fainted. *laughing* The bill went up $375.00 for the year. No claims in over a decade. I called my ins. person and said I couldn't pay that amount. She said my company had gone up across the board in Texas. I have changed insurance companies and have saved almost $200. As soon as the cars pay off (this month and next month) I am dropping full coverage and my bill will drop by more than half.
    I have accepted food from friends that they "overbought". I have been given a pork roast, beef roast and chicken breasts this last week.
    My daughter's husband is diabetic and they had to change their diet. Windee has brought all of the food they can't eat here. I watch her babes before and/or after school depending on when Windee works. They will be eating most of the given food for snacks.
    I have a friend that raises chickens and he gives me eggs. He even boils some and marks them with an X so I know which ones are boiled.
    We got the kids school clothes from Goodwill. This is something I do every year. Buying used is just sensible. The kids grow so fast.
    I eat at home most of the time.
    I did order Amazon Unlimited which costs $9.99 a month. I don't buy any books from them anymore. Since I am in a wheelchair it is very hard for me to get to the library (in another town) by myself. Spending that money has saved me more money than you can imagine.
    I am making items to sell at a bazaar at the end of this month. In all honesty I have used scraps of fabrics to make all of what I've made. I've spent twenty dollars on fake fur for gnome beards and $30.00 on weighted pellets. Now...if I just sell a bunch of things I will be okay. If not a lot of these items will become Christmas gifts.
    I can't thing of much else at the moment.
    That little manny of yours is gorgeous.

  • gabrielle September 04, 2017

    I love the cupcakes and cookies! Congratulations!

    It has been unseasonably cold here...it was 57 yesterday, which is crazy. Today we are a balmy 75. I'm loving the lower utility bills.

    We've continue work in our garden. My husband and sons are almost finished painting the large shed/barn and the matching chicken coop. I went to my local nursery and found all the perennials half off so I stocked up on flowers for our from walk way. I'm in a wedding this weekend so I'm busy making a dress.

    My biggest find was a very cheap mini pie maker at the thrift store which works perfectly. I wrote about it here: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/09/peach-hand-pies/. I was gifted a large bouquet of gladiolus and so I'm thrilled. I put up peach jam this week. I've been wanting an industrial sewing machine (I'm attempting some upholstery) and found my desired model half off. Our house is finally re-sided. All in all a good start to September.

  • momsav September 04, 2017

    Hi, Gabrielle, I went to your blog and read about the mini pie maker;too cool! (Pie is under-rated!) You mentioned wanting to see about freezing homemade pie dough. I have been doing this for many years. I'll quadruple my go-to recipe, wrap each dough-ball in cling film and put them into a large plastic container for the freezer. It takes no time for a ball of dough to thaw. It makes my life much easier! I hope this helps.

  • Becky Pratt September 04, 2017

    I was a professional baker in my younger years and one of my jobs was to make pie crusts in the throw away pans. The owner of the shop put parchment paper between each crust and the next pan and froze tons of these for the holiday pie orders. If you don't have the room for a stack of pie pans and crusts roll the crusts out and then cover them with parchment (wax paper...tin foil) or whatever you prefer and roll them up to freeze them.

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