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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Thai Basil Seedlings The Prudent Homemaker 

I pulled the Thai basil plants (above) from the grass that had grown on their own. I'll replant them in the garden this week.

I harvested colander of tiny tomatoes, 4 1/2 butternut squash (2 decent-sized ones, 2 tiny ones, and half a tiny one; the other half was bug eaten), green onions, garlic chives, basil, and Swiss chard from the garden.

My eldest daughter applied for four scholarships.

My eldest son took a free ACT prep class.

I mended a sandal.

I added water to my lotion bottle to get out the remaining lotion. It yielded me a week's worth of lotion.

We had a surprisingly humid week. I was able to collect several gallons of water each day from the air conditioner drip, which I used to water potted plants in the garden.  On Thursday night we got a few minutes of rain, during which I went out and moved buckets to catch the rain. It rained a bit on Friday morning as well, so I was able to collect more rainwater in buckets and turn off the sprinklers and drip irrigation for the day (it's always nice when it rains on my assigned watering day!)

My husband and I enjoyed a date out using a gift card that we were given.


What did you do to save money last week? Did you try something new?



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  • Becky September 12, 2017

    The tree that I have has green figs on it. When they get soft, they turn a bit brown, but not as brown as most of what I saw on Pinterest, when I looked there after it was suggested. The inside is very soft, with a rosy-colored/light brown colored center.

    Thank you, everyone, for all the advice. It seems that a fig in the center of a cluster gets large, than ripens. I will start picking them and freezing, probably, since there aren't very many ripe at once. They are just starting. It's good to know that they are delicate for others, as well. The 4 I picked went bad quickly on the counter, so I will refrigerate them right away next time. I need Rob---I'm too short to get too many. He's much taller. Maybe this weekend.

  • Gardenpat September 11, 2017

    This week I made a set of reversible holiday blocks ( for Thanksgiving and Christmas) using leftover 2x4 scraps! Turned out adorable! Made 6 hand warmers filled with flaxseed- 2 large and 4 small pocket ones using scrap materials. These will end up being "extra/last minute" gifts at Christmas time. I found a pattern online and made a wooden Joy wreath using scraps of oak molding I had from the tv stand we built for a client. It turned out quite nice and it may go into my gift cabinet drawer!

    We were asked to work at the polling place on our street for the Nov. election. All 3 of us agreed to and so we will get $168 for the work on Election Day. Most of it is sitting and they have switched over to iPads so we don't even have to search through the signature books any more! We enjoy visiting with our neighbors as they come to vote and we can find lots of uses for the extra money!!

    We were given 3 more hens last Monday night bringing our total to 8 which is the number we are permitted for here in the City and we are now gathering 6 eggs every day! 2 of our hens are just reaching the age to start laying soon too! Several of our friends have asked to buy eggs from us so this week I'll check with them. 6 eggs/day works out to 3-1/2 dozen/week and when we start getting 8 eggs, that will be 4-1/2 dozen/week which is more than the 3 of us at home really need!! Lol!
    My tomato harvest is winding down- i picked some today and from them canned 2 quarts of diced tomatoes. 2 quarts isn't much, but we will put it to use over the winter and adding it to the rest that I've canned this summer will see us through nicely!
    I will be making hit pepper jelly tonight with the peppers I harvested.
    Washed out our ziploc bags, made meals from scratch using only pantry and freezer foods on hand! Have combined our trips in the car for maximum gas efficiency and have stayed home more as a result!
    We got the very simple plans from a friend (for free) to make a sturdy removeable cooking rack in our fire pit! We are excited to get it built and cook a big pot of chili over the fire. One more source for cooking with no power. We trimmed and mowed and weeded and planted in the yard and it's looking really good!
    We recycled more of our free wood into home decor items that people have ordered from us! It's a side business that we really enjoy and that we work together doing so many of our date nights are in the shop making money rather than spending it! Another friend is ordering Zaycon meat and used my referral code so I will get another $5 off a future order! So far, I have $20 off in referral $ so I'm excited to be able to use this!
    I learned some more tips and resources this week that will help me build my pantry AND save me time and money!! Those are my kind of tips!!

  • Beulah September 12, 2017

    Do tell!

  • PJGT September 14, 2017

    I'm thinking the handwarmers are microwaved. If so, for how long? Do they stay warm long? Great idea!

  • C September 11, 2017

    This week was not very frugal for us. I've been trying to avoid eating out but my husband and I both caught sick and I was not able to go grocery shopping so we did delivery most meals. Additionally, someone at our church is leaving for the military and he wanted to go out to eat, which meant we spent a lot more on food than we wanted to. Hopefully this week proves better for us.

  • Wyoming Gal September 11, 2017

    We celebrated my mother's 90th birthday with a birthday tea attended by 100 guests. I flew to her home a few days in advance using frequent flyer miles to pay for my ticket. On the way out I had a 3 hour layover in Denver so I used one of my guest passes for the United Club. (The guest passes come with a United Explorer credit card and usually cost $50 each. I would never pay $50 to go to the United Club for 2 and a half hours, but I am happy to go for free.) There I ate a late lunch - crab bisque, spinach salad, and tropical trail mix (maybe I should call it "gorp"). I also got an apple, a cookie and some cheese and crackers, but ended up taking them on the plane for "dinner".

    Once at my mother's, I made 11 centerpieces for the tea with pastel and white roses and filler (baby's breath) for about $75. I checked all the likely sources and found the best prices and roses at Krogers and Aldi. We served tea, punch, tea sandwiches, fancy decorated sugar cookies (tea cups, teapots and flowers) and a large cake from Giant Eagle. We used the church fellowship hall, with no charge since she is a member. She was delighted with the tea and the guests.

  • Athanasia September 12, 2017

    A 100 year birthday celebration for your mother! How lovely and special.

  • Athanasia September 12, 2017

    Oh, 90th. Don't know why I saw 100. But still, a very happy occasion.

  • Debby in Kansas September 11, 2017

    Our biggest frugal win was that my husband replaced an oh-so-stubborn shower valve!! We had a minor drip start. We used a bucket to collect the water so nothing went to waste. However, the valve was so stuck by sediment from our hard water, it was like glue! Our friend is Mr. DIY and told us to spray vinegar on it and tap gently around it several times a day and that it would eventually loosen. It took about 10 days, but it finally worked! The valve replacement probably took only 10 minutes!! So, all we spent was on the cost of the new valve. What a relief!!

    I made 2 batches of laundry soap.
    I got a free container of yogurt and a coupon for a free container of cottage cheese.
    Hung all my laundry.

    I actually did try something new to me, but I'm almost embarrassed to admit it!! I cooked some cube steaks in the crockpot with some beef broth. They turn out very tender that way. Instead of baked potatoes, I made mashed potatoes so I wanted gravy. I normally avoid mashed potatoes because I don't know how to make gravy. I decided to use the beef broth and try. It worked!! And it was really tasty! I thought my husband was going to lick his plate lol!!!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 11, 2017

    Good for you for making gravy!

  • Cindi September 12, 2017

    It took me forever to learn to make good gravy -- good for you getting it right on the first try! When we first married my husband always made the gravy, but over the years I have gotten the hang of it.

  • Yolanda September 11, 2017

    My husband and I took a trip to visit family. It was a long drive, but accomplished in one day. We took our own food to eat, and stayed away from extra expenses. I bought post cards to send to grandchildren. I remember getting post cards as a child and loved it! So... our only expense was the gasoline. Well, we also helped with food at our destination, but that was me cooking from scratch - 12 loaves of bread, homemade pizza (each built their own) and beans and cornbread. :)

  • Kim September 11, 2017

    This was not the most frugal of weeks for me. My car was hit by someone from out of state with no insurance. The damage is not too bad and we were not hurt so for that, I am very thankful.

    My neighbors gifted us 2 zucchini that will be made into bread and we forged some wild apples that will be turned into an apple pie.

    We had to replace our bedroom window as the seal had broken and it was no longer providing much in the way of energy efficiency. We didn't want the time and expense of taking it to the garbage dump(a one hour drive for us) and it was not reusable-it was in very bad condition. We were able to break up the frame into small pieces and fit into our garbage can. I am very happy to have a new, energy efficient window in our bedroom before the cold weather comes.

    Sending my thoughts and prayers to all those suffering the effects of the hurricanes and storms.
    Our forest fires here in the Pacific Northwest are still an issue but thankful our air is clearing of the smoke and the sun is coming through.

  • Jen G September 11, 2017

    Trying to live frugally from urban Seattle:

    - checked out books and DVDs from the library. One of my "tricks" to avoid spending money is putting books on hold in the library. It has the same happy effect of Internet shopping, but it's free! We enjoyed watching the movies as a family last weekend. I'll need to do that more often!

    - took advantage of some sales at my local Fred Meyers to stock up on school lunch foods for my kids. I also made muffins and zuchini bread for breakfast and lunches this week.

    - finished (finally....after 2 years, yikes!) a quilt for one of my sons. It is Seahawks-themed and I got all of the material from my scraps and from some generous neighbors in my Buy Nothing group. I also finished a cross stitch to go on my "I love the Pacific NW" wall.

    -Two of my nephews had birthdays so I had my 12 year old son, who is a great artist, make them birthday cards themed with things they love (Minecraft and Pokeyman).

    - made blackberry jam and blackberry crisp from blackberry bushes near our house. I'm afraid the blackberries are about done for the year.

    -We did another week of vegetarian meals to lower grocery expenses.

    -I did not drive my car except to church (and that is because we were running late, darn it!)

    -We have some extra income for the next two months as we are renting out an extra room to a guy from Germany doing a fellowship at my husband's work. I put stashed some away for the holidays and piano lessons for the next few months and the rest is going to help pay off our home (something we are working hard to do in the next 3-4 years).

  • Athanasia September 11, 2017

    Well, yes, I did try something new! Was at a tea party at my cousin Roberta's house and beside herbal teas she had made she also had a choice of kombucha that she made, too. It was a little scary at first, because I had seen those big gallon jars she had with those things living in them. But it was sparkly and good.

    We have been busy. This is for 3 weeks, maybe 4 even. We did all the usual of using up leftovers, cooking at home, packing lunches, recycling, composting, carpooling as needed, hanging up laundry to dry. Sewed on buttons, tightened loose buttons, darned socks, sorted the winter clothes to make sure all mittens and gloves match and no missed holes or broken zippers etc anywhere. Made up the Christmas card list. More later...

  • Athanasia September 12, 2017

    to continue...I am back at school so my free time is very little, but the garden is still very busy. We do some canning every night. Our tomatoes which I worried about earlier because they seemed delayed are especially prolific this year. We grew a large portion of Mountain Fresh and so far no cracks and no blossom end rot. They are large, on top of that. Sweet corn is still coming in, the pole beans, also delayed are doing very well now. The bush green and wax are done. We finished canning blackberries (new thing I learned from here last year) , picked cabbages and melons and zucchini and decorative gourds and squash and carrots. Still getting hot peppers and bell peppers. Picked herbs and mint. I will bring in my basil and rosemary to use through the winter. I have dried plenty of all the herbs and mint and made many jars of basil pesto. Our greens are still producing. My daughter will put the hoop houses back up soon. It is in the 40's now overnight, but still nice and warm during the day. We may even be up to 80 by Friday they say! Though this morning's TV weather did mention the remnants of Irma reaching up, so maybe rain by Sunday, as Rhonda mentioned.

    The leaves are turning colors. Another sure sign of Fall here is my uncles have decorated the farm stand, our front porch and my husbands shop with Fall items. The stand is in front of our house and shares the drive with the workshop and my daughters's house (the original farm house) and we are the busier of the roads so he likes to catch as much drive by traffic as he can plus the regulars. Once the pumpkin rush is over they shut down for the winter. We put up some lights to to brighten the early darkening nights. My husband did finish our deck in time for my birthday as he said and we have loved sitting out on it. We have watched a pair of bald eagles circle occasionally. My children bought some rattan furniture for the deck made out of recycled plastic. It is very comfortable.

    Did not do much grocery shopping again. Bought toothpaste using double coupons and sales, 5 tubes, rubbing alcohol one bottle, Vit D at the BOGO vitamin sale. Did buy lids at the 25% off sale for the jars and another bag of canning salt. Did buy another of the largest size bottle of lemon juice. Went to Sams Club with my sister in law and bought pecans, chocolate chips, tortilla chips, six pack of romaine lettuce, vanilla and toilet paper. Also parmesan cheese. Bought items for the Samaritan's Purse boxes at the back to school sales...note books, crayons, pencils, sharpeners, erasers all for .25 or less. Last month the church collection was school supplies...this month it is hygiene items. Have been buying sale/double coupon toothbrushes, soap etc. Used my birthday reward coupon at the Shopko and bought washcloths, soap holders, combs and toothbrush holders.

    Cooked and baked all at home. Some of the things I can remember over the last 3-4 weeks are coleslaw, cucumber salad, fresh vegetables and dip, lettuce salads, Mexican haystacks (nachos), spaghetti sauce, lentil sausage patties (recipe from someone here, Deb in Florida, I think), stuffed peppers (extra for freezer), jalapeno poppers (more for freezer), sweet and sour cabbage rolls (extra for freezer), zucchini quiche x 2, zucchini pancakes with applesauce and yogurt, deviled eggs, peach ice cream and peach pie using our first peaches off our trees planted 3 yr ago. Mixed up 10 piecrusts for the freezer, homemade pizza. A couple times we women (myself, daughters Eliana and Olivia, husband's sister Susie, and our tenant and my mother) that the men ( Eliana's husband, my husband, our tenant, Susie's husband Bernie) handled dinner so everything was grilled and skewered over the fire and then ice cream and smores for dessert.

  • Athanasia September 13, 2017

    to continue...I didn't state that very clearly...the women were busy so the men cooked is what I was saying.

    We went over one more day to do work on my son's house getting ready for when they are married. He owns the house now but it belonged to friends of my parents and it is where Markus and Johanna lived while at college, along with the older couple. We don't do dorms. They have finished remodeling so that they have their own 3 room handicap accessible suite on the first floor and then Markus and Christy have the upstairs bedrooms and a family type room. They left a common area dining room and kitchen and living room down stairs. It is a big old house (1904) and they are getting lots of help from Christy's father and 2 brothers and grandpa with painting, re-doing woodwork, replacing windows. Christy's mom and 2 aunts made curtains for the upstairs rooms. We'll go over again one more time this month and once in early October. We're mainly working in the kitchen and dining room with the woodwork and cabinets. Once those are done they will do a new piece of linoleum for the kitchen. The piece there now has to be from the 50's.

    For dress for wedding I am supposed to wear a dark green color, but it should be long, they said. I will have my niece in law, Katieanna, sew it for me. I'll have to go look at fabrics. I like green and we'll just use my normal dress pattern but make it longer and with a collar. Later, I can shorten it and I will have a nice winter dress, maybe in a wool blend. My normal dress length is mid calf so I wouldn't have to cut that much off and I'll just add it to fabric storage. Youngest and oldest girls are taking care of own dresses, middle is in the wedding...I think the attendants dresses are also green. My husband has a good suit that he saves just for dress, not church, and I have ordered him a new white shirt. He says he is going to look for a new pair of shoes though. It is a late afternoon wedding with dinner after but no dance etc. We are only hour and half away so won't have to stay over and get a hotel. I am looking forward to the wedding shower.

    Have watched HULU and DVDs on my laptop in the kitchen while canning. Have managed to read some books, though mostly children's and teen interest that I have been getting ready for the library.

  • Kathy W. September 11, 2017

    I made lots of Baby Shower gifts this week. I shopped for vintage sheets at thrift stores and cut them apart to make custom crib sheets & portable crib sheets for three special families. I used the scraps to make half a dozen coordinating burp cloths. I used fabric from the clearance section at the store to make reusable drawstring gift bags.

  • Heidi September 11, 2017

    Hi all...the week did not start frugally but surprisingly less money was spent than expected so that's good, right? One of our college commuter cars needed work and it came in at $1k less than expected! It has almost 300k miles on it so we're really milking it for all it's worth. No grocery shopping has been done yet, week two, and I'm trying to be super diligent in remembering to bake enough bread, make granola, muffins and toaster pastries for breakfast and before half the tribe leaves the house for college/work each morning. Eating out is not an option. Hens are laying like crazy so I'm using eggy recipes and am planning to pickle a few dozen for snacking.
    I canned pickles and pepper jelly this weekend and am waiting for the apples to be completely ripe so we can pick them for eating and sauce. The garden is full of bounty and we eat from it daily. Feeling very blessed. :) Have a super week everyone.
    PS...watermelon molasses??!! Please tell!!

  • L.D. September 11, 2017

    Great frugal week everyone! I too will add water to my lotion bottle to get the last bit out, but lately just use my large, sharp scissors and cut the bottle in half yielding several more days worth of lotion... I do the same thing with the toothpaste tube... Cut it in half and then swirl my toothbrush around inside.

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