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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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  • Athanasia September 09, 2017

    Brandy, we have an annual New Years Eve party every year here for the church youth groups. Showed the picture of the cupcakes to youngest and oldest daughters and they think the cupcakes would be perfect for that. It is always a big bonfire/cookout.

    I've been thinking about the difficulty you had with the cookies and wonder if it was partly the recipe. My roll cookie recipe uses 1\2 C butter to 2 1\2 C flour. It is never sticky and I prob use 1 T at most of flour to roll. They hold shape exactly so are used for Christmas cookies or when cutters are intricate. They make a firmer flakier cookie. My other recipe is equally delicious but uses 1 C of butter to 2 1\2 C of flour. They spread as they bake so the edges blend out. I use them mainly at valentines. They are chewyier and much stickier to roll. My kitchen is a!ways the warmest room in the house, probably mid 70's year round. I'm actually making those second cookies today... I have some simple leaf shapes that I'm using for library Fall open house tomorrow. I don't frost these just sprinkle these with yellow, red or orange color sugars before baking.

  • How Mama Saves September 05, 2017

    What a beautiful and detailed job you did on the cookies! They look like something you would find in a bakery!

    How wonderful for your neighbor to share meat with you instead of throwing it away, don't you just love unexpected gifts like that? Especially ones that help save on the grocery bill and are delicious too!

    Here are the ways I saved money last week https://howmamasaves.blogspot.com/2017/09/money-saving-monday-last-weeks-frugal.html

    Hope you have a lovely day!

  • Becky September 05, 2017

    I love the cookies and cupcakes. You did such a good job. Here's a question for you, or anyone. We just received an invitation to an Eagle Scout celebration in the mail. I'm figuring we will either send or take a gift, depending on if we can go or not (need to check my calandar). What kind of things do people give to a young man on this occasion? I know money is always welcome, but wanted some input:)

    The first part of my week was frugal, as usual, with lots of canning and food preservation from the garden. I planned menus, and cooked, worked a bunch, etc.

    The second part was our 35th wedding anniversary trip. We got away for 3 nights to the Oregon Coast. We had been saving for quite a while for this, and the trip met every expectation. It was not frugal--hotels aren't, but we did a few things that were. We cooked a lot in our room--it had a kitchen. We crabbed and fished off the dock the hotel owned, and were super successful, catching hundreds of dollars worth of Dungeness Crab. They also have a crab cooker so we could cook and clean them right there. (We never would have bought hundreds of dollars worth of crab, but it was nice to have and share with family and friends). We saw whales spouting twice. I spent some time on the trip looking through a handful of magazines, choosing recipes that could be made with mostly garden produce.

    Now that we are back home, my husband is gone at his first day of work since the beginning of summer. I miss him already, but am super happy that this fall, he has a job on the first day of school--last year, he did not get this job until into October a ways. Today, it's just staff, but tomorrow, the kids start back. So, I need to deal with the crab today--I stayed up cracking it until the wee hours of the morning last night, I'm working a few hours, I got some groceries, and went to Les Scwaub tires to get the nail out of the right front tire that we somehow picked up this weekend. Since we bought the tires there, the fix was free. How nice. And, I took Jake (my nephew I work with) with me and we read, etc. while we waited. I've picked a bunch of garden veggies, and they are tucked away in the fridge. Tomorrow, we start homeschool back for my daughter and niece, and my other daughter goes to her middle school a few blocks away. It will be hectic getting back on schedule again, but the routine will be nice once it gets going smoothly.
    I put pictures of the coast on my blog, but was not close enough to get any of the whales, although we saw spouts, backs, and tails at times. So cool!!! https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/saving-money-weekly-update-and-our-35th-anniversary-september-4-2017/

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 05, 2017

    So glad you ended up with crab! How wonderful!

    A few people gave him money, and I was actually surprised at that; neither he nor I expected anything. But only 3 or 4 people gave him that and there were 60+ in attendance, so I don't think you have to give a gift. He also received a book from one person and some chocolate from another.

  • Becky September 05, 2017

    Thank you. I've not been invited to one of these events before, so am glad to know what's done! How awful to be the only one to not bring a gift if everyone else was:)

  • Marybeth September 06, 2017

    I went to one and didn't know what to do either. I put a little money in a card and put it in my glove box. When I went in and saw lots of presents I acted like I had forgotten it in the car and ran and grabbed it. I would bring something just in case. I live in New York FYI.

  • Becky September 06, 2017

    That's a great idea! I will probably get something for him--he's a wonderful young man we have known for many years and this is a big accomplishment.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood September 05, 2017

    Congratulations on your anniversary!!! That's quite an achievement. And it sounds like a truly fabulous trip!

  • Becky September 06, 2017

    Thank you. 35 years is a long time, but it was worth every minute.

  • Melissa V September 05, 2017

    Hubby received an all clear on his Non Hodgkins Lymphoma so we can breathe easy for 3 months. He has to go back in for another EKG in 3 months to recheck his heart - the doctors have no idea (and seemed frustrated that they can't answer the question) as to WHY the fluid increased rather than decreased but at this point I will take it. I am exhausted from all of the upkeep I need to do now that he is out of commission. Recovery from a chest drain tube is very painful and takes a long time + he hurt his ribs on the "good side" when he came down on them while jumping to reach something in the bed of the pickup......I might have responded not as kindly as I should have due to exhaustion and frustration.
    * We have topped all of our vehicles off as soon as we saw the prices increasing by 20-40 cents a gallon.
    * I again did all the dogs nails myself saving me $30.
    * I split several very large perennials to fill in some bare spots.
    * I harvested 2 quarts of cherry tomatoes and hopefully I can get those in the dehydrator tonight yet. I also harvested 2 spaghetti squash and another summer squash.
    * We rented a carpet steam cleaner from the pet store (Bissell commercial machines are outstanding for using on heavily soiled carpets) We paid $25 to rent it for the day and I already had the carpet shampoo so no other expenses. We have had very naughty beagles (one has since passed) who just LOVED to pee on carpets and now our male Dane seems to think he needs to re-mark those spots if he manages to get to those areas :/ (which the dogs are blocked from but accidents still happen occasionally)
    * Our daughter's car died and the estimate to repair it even with a used engine is more than the car is worth. My in-laws have given her their 2nd car and she will be moving her things back home but more than likely she will be staying with her boyfriends family most of the time (I don't like it, but at almost 20 it is her decision - I do like the boy though). That way she won't be throwing money away renting when she is never there.
    * My son gave me his old cell phone and hubby found a free plan for it. My OLD phone (slide out keyboard hehe - you should have seen the kids at work when they saw it :o) wouldn't charge all the time and when it did it wouldn't hold a charge for very long (new battery didn't help either). I don't need a data plan - just something to text or call and I rarely use even those. That will save us $15 a month.
    * I made myself some new headbands using material I already had on hand. The ones at the stores are way to expensive and are too tight on my head.
    * I trimmed my own hair again and buzzed hubby's too.
    * I cleaned the stove with ammonia again. Our burners do not have drip pans under them and the burned on stuff does NOT come off with anything else I've tried. So I fill the depressions under the burners with ammonia and then use plastic wrap over them and leave it to soak overnight. In the morning I use all my old rag towels to sop up the mess (and throw them right in the washer - whew does ammonia stink!) and then scrub off any bits left.
    * I went thru all of my fall/winter clothes to see what is too big now and see if I needed to purchase anything. I am happy to say that I have another bag to drop off at Goodwill and will only need to purchase new undies and bras! I am so thankful I hung onto the clothing that didn't fit when I helped my friend with her mother's hoard. I even have new fall and winter coats to wear (literally new - they still have the tags on them!)
    * We purchased the dogs food when it was on sale saving us $10 on 2 bags. We found some canned cat food on clearance for .34 cents a can. We also purchased cat litter at the farm store for 1/2 price during their Labor Day sales.
    * We made all meals at home except for when hubby took me out for burgers after I had been cleaning carpets the entire day.
    * We purchased laundry detergent on sale for $4.99 a jug (100 loads) and had a coupon for buy two get one free. That should get us thru until the new year at least.
    * I hung all our bedding and the dogs bedding on the lines to dry rather than using the dryer - only down side to it is the dryer does a better job of getting all the hair off it.
    * Brought all the ends of the loaves of bread at work for hubby and the poultry.
    * Moved more rocks from the poultry pens to around a big maple tree and swept up all the pea gravel from a broken bag and used that around the outside faucet.
    * We sold a few more trailer parts and used that to pay some bills.
    * I took on another sewing job for the company my son works for - very small job but every little bit helps!

    I am hoping to have my Dad teach me how to make cabinet doors - there is no money for redoing the house's main bath or the kitchen cabinets but if I can make the doors, we can update the look for very little money - just a lot of time. The doors are hollow "plastic" type "wood" which are original to the house which was built in 1979 - very, very cheap builder's grade. I am also going to see if he can teach me how to replace the outlets in our daughter's room - several are broken and loose in the wall and not safe.

    I think that's it :) Hope every one has a frugal week !

  • Becky September 05, 2017

    What do you make with the dried cherry tomatoes? I have so many out there, I might dry some if I knew what to do with them when finished. I wouldn't want to go to all that work without a purpose for them.

  • Melissa V September 06, 2017

    I plan on pulverizing them into powder and then I can add them to soups, stews and sauces - I have not attempted this before but there is soooo many that we can't use them all before they start to rot on the vines! I also plan to leave some whole and re-hydrate them in a stew to see how they work that way.

  • Nancy in Eastern WA September 06, 2017

    We use them as sun-dried tomatoes - in pasta, in soup, on pizza. I cut mine in half, put in a bowl, put a little olive oil, basil, oregano and parsley on them then dry them. I don't let them get bone dry, so I do put them in the freezer. Then I just pull them out - mainly for hubby - as he is Italian and really likes them.

  • Becky September 06, 2017

    Those are both great ideas! Thanks. The other thing I may do to use some up is send some to school with my husband. They give out snacks in class (he works in a class with special needs kids) and usually have things like raisins, pretzels, gummy snacks, etc. I was wondering if they would eat tomatoes, so I may send a few and see what happens. We have Sungold cherry tomatoes and Yellow Pear tomatoes and we will never be able to eat them all up. So, I'll see if I get some time to preserve some or otherwise get them used. What a great problem to have!

  • Sheila in Alabama September 05, 2017

    Melissa, that is wonderful news that your husband got a good report from his tests!

  • Cindy in the South September 07, 2017

    Melissa, I am so very happy that your husband got a great report!!!

  • Sheila September 05, 2017

    Hello Brandy. Your cupcakes are so cute.

    We have been staying home as much as we can. Fewer trips out = less gas used. Luckily, husband can work from home most days.
    Even though we really wanted to go out for brunch, we ate at home. In fact, no meals out all week. I cook. He cleans the dishes. I get the better part of that deal.
    Shopped the list at the Kroger and walked away from the cute Halloween pumpkin (40$, really?).
    Gratefully accepted a frozen pork roast my mother won't eat. She isn't keen on meat.
    While we have continued to eat down the freezer, we ran out of a few items and had to stock up. That meant a Costco trip. Thankful we have a food sealer so we can portion and freeze meat. We actually stuck to our list and I am happy about that.
    We worked outside all this long weekend cleaning up two acres. Lots of free exercise there. A bit of poison ivy too for hubby. :(
    Kept on keepin' on.

  • Cindy in the South September 06, 2017

    Gas prices have soared here and bottled water is being bought up here as well. I am 2.5 hours from the coast, so if any storms hit our coastline, they are usually tropical storms when they get this far north, even though the land here is flat. I have lots of canned goods, and I have a solar cooker, so I feel like I will be ok if the power goes out (well, if we have sunshine afterwards....lol). I really think we will not get any rains here, but I a good part of Georgia and Florida will get hit with lots of rain and wind. I hope everyone there is stocked up and has their safety plan in place. I have basically just cooked a lot of dried beans and eaten hummus that was gifted to me. My budget is very tight this month, because the air condition/heater went out and I had to spend $400 last month, for another window unit. Still, that is much cheaper than a central unit and I do not need one anyway. I have upped my budget significantly this month for gas. I have to be able to get to work, and I had not planned on this additional expense at all. I am not complaining, especially after seeing those poor people in Texas having to be floated out of the second floor of their houses, plucked off their roofs, etc. I am very grateful for what I have. My problems seem small compared to what other folks are experiencing now. I do worry about folks in Floriday and Puerto Rico, because it is flat, like south Alabama.

  • Rachel H September 08, 2017

    Cindy, where in Alabama do you live? I have family in the Atmoe and Monroeville area, and in the Foley, Mobile area.

  • Cindy in the South September 11, 2017

    Selma is probably the biggest city nearby but it is still a ways away..... LOVE Monroeville, and I sometimes go to the Coast for work.

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