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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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  • momsav September 07, 2017

    Hi, Melonie, Can you explain about the Great Courses? I love their CD's but have never heard of paying for monthly use. How does this work? Thanks!

  • Katy in Africa September 04, 2017

    I always look forward to these posts!
    This week we hosted 3 guests and now we're on a trip out of town so we've been spending more than usual, but I'm still looking for frugal ideas.
    We were treated out to a fancy restruant and even though we weren't paying we chose cheaper items on the menu. What we didn't finish I brought home. Even my half used butter packet I brought home, I figure it was just bound for the trash. I can use it on bread for breakfast.
    On our drive we didn't buy convenience snacks, we just stuck to our water, fruit and raisins.

  • Jo September 04, 2017

    Your sweets look absolutely stunning!

      We borrowed a steam cleaner from my mother-in-law instead of buying one. We used it to clean our cars and my husband then listed two cars for sale. We only want to sell one but will sell the one that receives an acceptable offer first, then cancel the listing for the second car. So far no luck though, the only offer we received was less than half of the asking price...

      My mother-in-law gave me three bananas that she was not going to use.

      I ordered wedding photo albums for Christmas gifts at 53% off and almost did a happy dance when I found this offer. I forgot to mention last week that we ordered ourselves a professional photo album from our photographer and received 48% off so we are very pleased that our splurge wasn't too bad after all.

      I put an item back on the shelf even though I really really wanted it. But it was still a want, not a need.

      I baked some snacks at home and made sure to use the whole oven at once. Leftovers were repurposed for dinner and some random veggies thrown in to avoid them going bad.

      I picked up some grocery special on my way home from work.

      We were able to not turn the heater on for one night and only run it for 30 minutes the next night.

      While the weather was nice, I cleaned up the front yard somewhat instead of paying someone to do this.

      Our cat needed to be vaccinated. The vet informed me that they are running a 50% special at the moment so I booked our other two cats in aswell. This seems to be the week of half price discounts for me. :)

      We did all the usual things like full loads of dishes and washing, reusing Ziploc bags and saving warm-up and rain water (lots of that this week!)

  • Mable September 04, 2017

    We have put the holiday weekend to good use around the house and at the start of the week I decided to try to find a dozen new ways to save money. I succeeded.
    1. Husband cleared out the garage and hauled things to the dump. This means that we can park our vehicle in the attached but unheated garage this winter. When we don't have a garage and it gets to 20 below zero and colder, we have to plug our car in so the engine block doesn't crack. It pulls a lot of electricity. It is also frugal to put the car in the garage because at 20, 30 and 40 below zero, the car takes a huge beating in terms of things like hoses cracking. Finally, when it is that cold, you have to let the car run before you drive off just so the engine warms up. And your tires are square for the first mile or so, until they warm up. With a garage, even unheated, it stays just above freezing and life is a lot more pleasant and frugal.
    2. Canned 24 quarts of dill pickles from my garden cukes, enough to last us the year. I finally found a recipe we both like that.
    3. Canned 6 pints of sweet pickles from garden cukes that we use just on hamburgers.
    4. Made a huge pot of chili, using up items in the freezer, and we will eat it for lunch and dinner for three or four days. Boring, but we needed the space in the freezer for some caribou roasts that a hunting friend giving us.
    5. Canned 5 jars of tomatoes. Not a lot but our tomatoes are ripening very slowly, so I am making small batches.
    6. Used pumpkins from my garden to make dog biscuits. One of my boys is old and his teeth are nubs so he can only eat soft treats, which are more expensive, so since we harvested a ton of pumpkins this year, I will keep making soft pumpkin treats as long as the supply holds out. (I know dogs are not frugal, but they provide us with a lot of joy. I have a painful chronic illness and when it flares up, they lie next to me and that is soothing.)
    7. Wrote a polite email of complaint about a product and received a reply that thanked me for being "so civil" and said I will be receiving two coupons for free product. Apparently a lot of the complaint emails and letters they get are filled with swearing and threats.
    8. Hounded, absolutely hounded, my insurance company to pay for something in our policy that they were refusing to cover. I had to make three appeals and there were times I practically wept with frustration, but the other day we got a check for $245, so it was worth it. I took a loaf of bread and some garden flowers to my doctor's billing clerk, who was heroic in providing me with repeated documents I needed. She started to cry! That, of course, made me even happier that I had taken the time to make her feel appreciated.
    9. Cancelled a magazine.
    10. I was hoping only to buy milk this month, but this morning I realized we were out of eggs. As I was standing in the line, the woman in front of me asked if I wanted a coupon for $1 off a dozen. The store was having a sale of a dozen eggs for $1.25, but she had a manufacturers coupon for the brand I was buy. So I was going to pay $2.50 but ended up getting two dozen for $1.50!
    11. Had three large, overgrown cukes that were not even really suitable for eating, let alone pickling. I had leftover grease from the hamburger in the chili, which we give our dogs on the rare occasions that we have hamburger. I chopped up the cukes, poured grease on them and the dogs gobbled them up. They pull cukes out of the garden if I don't keep them away from the vines, so I figured they would eat them. No waste, which pleased me.
    12. The husband wanted something sweet while we were in the store buying eggs. I bribed him not to buy cookies by promising him my homemade peanut butter cookies.

    I might try a frugal dozen next week, since it sort of helped motivate me and the husband to do some things outside of our usual frugal things, like reusing bags, turning off lights, wearing sweaters instead of turning up the heat. (It as 32 degrees at our house last night. Thankfully I have harvested everything but the last of the potatoes and a few things in the greenhouse!)

    LOOOOVED your cupcakes. You are a marvel.

  • Katy September 04, 2017

    Love the cookies and campfire cupcakes! Very nice job!!

    Hmm..frugal accomplishments this week..let's see...
    I cut my own hair, as I've been doing for 16 years. Wouldn't have it any other way, and no one's the wiser ;) Also gave my 4th child a haircut.

    Purchased 4-5 months worth of peanut butter and jam. (for a family of 7) It was at rock bottom prices this week for back to school at our local bargain grocery store. Glad i was able to make it to the store twice this week to get plenty of jars.

    Hosted a BBQ for extended family. BBQ'd hamburgers and hot dogs. Had each family bring a side or dessert. Was so nice to see everyone and didn't break the bank. We host a lot so expectations must be realistically set and adhered to. We live on a tight budget.

    My daughter made homemade popsicles out of a package of jello.

    Used beans to stretch out a small amount of ground beef in a recipe for dinner.

    Didn't eat out. Although we rarely do. This is worth noting this week as it is an accomplishment and takes disipline and it's been a very busy week with out of town guests and getting ready for both back to public school, university, and homeschool in our household. School begins for everyone in the next few days here.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • tadpole September 04, 2017

    This week I learnt two new things from the comments on this post. Next time I make sugar cookies, I will use icing sugar to flour my counters and I know the secret to freezing many pie crusts!

    This week we picked up a free mattress off our local Facebook buy and sell. We will be using it in our camper.

    The boy next door was very industrious and picked all the plums off their tree - partly because they were ripe and partly to discourage the bears from coming into their yard. He very kindly brought me two buckets full. I keep enough to make plum butter and the rest I took to work to share with my coworkers.

    I picked and pickled the red onions I started from discarded onions from work. I also added to my pantry by dehydrating blueberries from the local U-Pick and tomatoes.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  • Lisa from Maine September 04, 2017

    I cut my husband's hair
    I kept to my spending budget
    we worked in and around the house getting end of season work done.
    I revisited your menu and pantry articles on the blog--preparing myself to revisit my money saving strategies.
    3 of us were sick so food consumption was down. I missed work so I saved gas.
    I paid for gas with a gift card. Saved me $35.

    Good luck with your daughter's scholarship search. My oldest was able to be awarded with several for her undergraduate years and they made quite the difference. Right now my daughter just started medical school and is a finalist for a large award. Keeping our fingers crossed!! look at nationwide, regional and local scholarships. There are a lot out there.

  • Cindy September 04, 2017

    I am really enjoying catching up on your site as I have just discovered it. I am past this stage of life, our kids are grown and we have more money now, but saving and making do are good all through life. I wish my daughter-in-law would read your blog. I might suggest it, but she would say she doesn't have the time. They have 4 children under 6 and I know they can be a handful, but she blames everything on that fact. Their house is dirty and strewn with toys, diapers, clothes, and food (she lets them eat all over the house). My son just got a PhD and is looking for a job, but Alison spends so much on "bargains". Her mother was not much better, so she doesn't have a good role model. She is angry at me because I bake and garden, and don't help her enough, even though I have offered. I just wish that she made life easier for her husband and family (and herself), but I don't think that will happen soon. You have such a beautiful home and garden and save so much money, all with 8 kids! Thank you for sharing all this goodness for other young moms!

  • Marivene September 05, 2017

    Cindy, does your daughter-in-law do anything "properly"? Since your son chose her to be the mother of his children, perhaps it would help if you could find a few things to praise about her. Is she patient with the children? One of my daughters has a mother-in-law who constantly criticizes & nitpicks, & as a result, even her son does not enjoy her company anymore. There are many "right" ways to do things.

  • Cindy September 05, 2017

    You are right and yes, she is very good with her children. I have never criticized her and have frequently praised her, but I think she is just overwhelmed and is taking it out on me. At this point she won't take our help which we really want to give, such as babysitting so she can have a break. My son has told me he doesn't understand her attitude. I don't want to come between them so we are just friendly and supportive. We are hoping that as she gets older and more mature (and the kids get older), she will understand how being a good homemaker will make their lives easier. Or, she will go back to work and hire everything done!

  • Juls Owings September 08, 2017

    my daughter just told me that there was times with the kids were little and her house a wreck (really it was ) that she felt like if she got help from ANYONE including the Dad she was a total failure and she couldn't face that. Her suggestion is to stop offering to help and just let THEM know that they only need ask if they need something... also you could admit you would like more time with the grandkids and to both your son and daughter (we don't use in laws because to us they become our child) and is there a way for that to happen that they are okay with... if they aren't it might not be about YOU but about how they feel about not having the kids with them. Those were my child's thoughts.

  • Jenna September 08, 2017

    Yes, this is true Marivene however when dirty diapers and old food are all over a home your grandchildren are in it is hard to wish to help. Sometimes it is better to enjoy your own company then and just keep your thoughts to yourself as I'm certain Cindy does and I know I do too.

  • Sheila September 05, 2017

    I am so fortunate to have a wonderful mother-in-law. She hasn't ever criticized me although I'm sure her tongue has been sore a few times. :) Thank you for the reminder of how lucky I am, Cindy. I think I will call her in the morning just to say hello.

  • Riley September 05, 2017

    Oh my goodness I just love the Scout cookies and cupcakes!
    - in advance I made thank you cards for our kids godparents. The baptism isn't for another month plus, but I had time during nap time and really wanted the cards to be nice.
    - used cloth diapers for the most part. Our little one has had a few diaper rashes so I switch back and forth a bit
    - moved both kids into the same room! Their room has electric heat so we can turn the rest of the house waaaayyy down at night and they can still be warm
    - packed lunches and ate at home for most dinners.
    - clipped a 5 off 50 grocery coupon and gave it to my mom when she insisted on buying us some food
    - priced out a new cellphone plan
    - not very frugal but my husband and I took our kids out for a "family date night". I was so very proud of how well they behaved! The two year old sat in his high chair eating and talking with us the whole time and the 7 mo old quietly played in her carrier. Even though it cost money to go out, it was less than if we hired a babysitter!
    - submitted the last receipt for our flex spending for the year.
    - did a survey for an Amazon GC

  • http://Robbie September 05, 2017

    We had our annual campout with friends. Not entirely frugal. We had to upgrade to a building instead of primitive camping as my daughter dislocated her knee. But kayaking etc was rolled in weekend costs so always good! We split meals with friends.
    Lots of camping leftovers this week.
    Had date with hubby. Tix to the symphony that I won at church silent auction. Got them under face value.
    Stocked up on labor day meat sale.
    Packaged handmade soaps for grandparents

  • Caroline September 05, 2017

    Beautiful cookies. They turned out awesome. You did a great job!!!

  • Mary September 05, 2017

    I received several gift cards that I m saving to use when we need to use. I did give my daughter $20 credit for restaurant.com for her to use.
    My husband cut his hair.
    My daughter was home for the weekend and needed clothes, instead of shopping at American Eagle, we went to Goodwill and got 3 blouses, 1 sweater and 1 dress for $25.
    While at Food City, I found large tomato sauce cans for .39 each. I bought 12.
    We continued washing full loads, hanging wash, washing out plastic bags and I staying home most days.

  • Stephanie N. September 05, 2017

    hello everyone!
    This week we mostly stayed home because it was too rainy to be out and about. My frugal accomplieshements included:
    -I made a big pot of chicken tortilla soup and we ate that for several meal.
    -I emptied my body wash into a container with a pump style dispenser. I find I use far less per shower this way than when I am pouring it directly on a wash cloth because with the pump I cannot overpour. I have been using the same bottle for quite a while and just refilling as needed. This also works really well for me with the kids products because they can be a bit heavyhanded with their products as well.
    -I got creative with a few dinners when I discovered I didn't have the ingredients for certain meals. I had been convinced I had a half dozen packages of bacon in the freezer and this made up a good bit of my weeks menu ideas because I wanted to use them up (BLT sandwiches, bacon bits in pasta and salads, breakfast for dinner etc). When I discovered that I must have hallucinated that bacon because I don't have a single strip in my whole huse I was able to quickly rework my supper plans out of pantry items. More likely that bacon has been getting used by SO and the kids while I'm at work and no one thought to ask if it was being saved for anything.
    -I ate all lunches from home, I didn't buy so much as a granola bar from the vending machine.
    Have a good week everyone!

  • Ann Lee S September 05, 2017

    Brandy, could you blog your topping for those gorgeous cupcakes? I see orange icing, but what looks like ice cream, I'm sure not due to your temperatures, I'd love to try to make these for a Halloween birthday. love the cookies, such patience!! thank you, best to all, I am still picking up ideas here! ann lee s

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 05, 2017

    Ann, it is just a regular shortening-based frosting with two colors of icing being piped at once in the same bag (a dark yellow and dark orange) in the bag, using a large closed-star tip (Wilton 2D). I had to add a tiny bit of red to the yellow to get it so dark. I used gel colors to get the color so dark.

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