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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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  • Melissa V September 11, 2017

    Lorna - when you say you made cordials, is that the same as an extract?

  • Lorna September 11, 2017

    Hi Melissa V no not the same as an extract unfortunately. It is fresh fruit juices with sugar and citric acid made into a syrup by cooking that we dilute with cold water to drink on a hot summers day. After looking up how many sulphite preservatives that are in most cordials, which I am not supposed to have due to asthma, we started making our own a couple of years ago.

    Making extracts is something I have been looking lately at such as making our own vanilla extract since it is really expensive to buy here and quite easy to make. If you google it you will come up with a lot of good recipes for making extracts too with directions.

  • Juls Owings September 12, 2017

    I don't know about Australia where Lorna is but cordial is a type of drink here state side that can be turned into alcohol drink. I don't always let mine go to that stage ...but here is the recipe that our neighbors use. Just FYI... cream of tartar is neutralized tartaric acid but will not work in this recipe.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood September 11, 2017

    Right off the bat, I learnt something new, to add water to a lotion container. I usually add water to a shampoo bottle, and just cut off the top of a lotion container, but adding water would stretch it out even further. Thanks, Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I traded some Alice in Wonderland themed baking (http://approachingfood.com/alice-in-wonderland-treats/) for some items, using my local trading app. I’ve set aside the items for Christmas gifts, as well as to use myself. I received a large Teavana iced tea set (I plan to use some of it, and give some to some colleagues as a thank you for covering my work when I was recovering from an operation), a holiday-themed Body Shop bathset in an apple tin (which I will give to a teacher friend at Christmas), a EOS lip set (a Christmas gift for a friend), and a chocolate-flavoured lip balm (my husband was reminiscing recently about how I used to wear flavoured lip balms when we were dating, so I thought I’d surprise him one day by wearing this). Since I’ve also set aside some other BNIB items from other trades, I think I’m pretty much set for Christmas gifts for my friends, as we don’t do a lot of gifting. Any other gifts I will likely be baking, like last year’s tins full of a selection of fancy homemade candies.
    - I turned some leftover cilantro, a cube of bouillon, some beans, and some water leftover from boiling carrots, into soup. Was yummy!
    - Bought several lbs of pasta for under 50 cents/lb
    - Made several batches of iced tea using tea that was either gifted to me or that I traded for. I used the light syrup from a can of fruit that I opened last week, to sweeten the tea.
    - Using my local trading app, I traded an electronic scale that we no longer needed, for a grow-a-rosebush box kit. I will gift it either to my sister or to a friend having a rough week. I also traded some homemade cupcakes (batter leftover from when I sent some cupcakes into work with the DH) for some pop (I put it away for guests) and for some chocolate bars and other chocolate that I will use in my baking. I also traded some nanaimo bars leftover from my Alice-in-Wonderland baking, for a razor for my husband, and traded a coverlet & pillow that I no longer wanted, for some canned goods. And, I traded some tea that I didn’t like, for two packages of paper towels. I think I’ve traded away most of the items that I no longer want, and my house is mostly uncluttered. There are still a few small things that I would like to trade away, but the larger items (chairs, bedding, etc.) are gone. Result: a much more streamlined home and a fuller pantry! I’m very glad I’ve been able to declutter, keep items out of the landfill, and save money while doing it!
    - Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks gift card, twice.
    - Went out for coffee with a friend, using my Starbucks gift card. I love subsidizing my social life with Swagbucks! :)
    - When I made yoghurt, I set it in the fridge in glass jars. As it sits there for a few days, the whey rises to the top. I poured off the whey and used it when making buttermilk biscuits. This leaves me with thicker yoghurt with no effort, plus my biscuits are yummy!
    - I planted more swiss chard, lettuce (I will keep trying to grow it!), and radishes.
    - The local nursery had a 70% off selected pots sale, plus I had a $20 gift certificate, so I bought two 4 gallon ceramic planters and two 2 gallon ceramic planters, and I paid less than $30 OOP! We saved over $100! I was so pleased. This year was my trial garden year, to see if I could garden despite the problems associated with my balcony (torrential downpours from condo rooftops, etc.) so I had used planters from the dollar store. Now next year I will have beautiful planters as I apply what I’ve learnt this year!
    - The DH and I went to a local street festival. Since we went at the end of the festival, there were food deals. For $4 we got two roast corn and 4 lemonades. Now that’s affordable carnival food!
    - I was talking with my husband about food costs, and we realized that he redeems points (No Frills supermarket in Canada) for about $30 worth of groceries free every month, as he has a credit card that gives him 3x the point value. We buy groceries on that card, and of course pay it off each month. $30 in free groceries is nice, I have to say, especially since we eat a LOT of fresh fruit and vegetables (one of the reasons I keep trying to grow stuff on my balcony).

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning more from everyone else!

  • Athanasia September 15, 2017

    Margaret, that sounds like very good deals on the ceramic pots. I was wandering the greenhouse store and I saw a ceramic pot with a price tag of $330.00 on it!! It was very nice, but that is a lot of money!

  • Angie September 11, 2017

    Can ask where you found the ACT prep class .? We homeschool , and I have a freshman would love to have her get a jump start on studying . Thank you !

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 11, 2017

    They are just from a local class; if you live in Las Vegas, I can tell you where they are being held. What we did with my eldest was to search for free online classes and past tests for her to take. She did all of the ones we could find. We did a free trial on a site that offered it to help her raise her score and offered more test questions and cancelled it before the trial period ended. I also bought this book: http://amzn.to/2w2UXaY on the recommendation of the teacher for the free classes (which my eldest attended last year). There is a newer edition out for this year.

  • Libby September 11, 2017

    • Made swag goal x 3, hung laundry out, brought lunch every day, cooked from scratch, rinse and repeat ; )
    • Worked late on Tuesday and really wanted take out but came home and made an omelet with toast.
    • I bought a plane ticket to go back to France for a week in November. I waited until the first day of the new Capital One travel website, which was offering a 5% discount on any airfare booked the first week. Verified the airfare before discount was the same price that I had found through other websites.
    • Went to a PYO and picked 5.05 lbs of raspberries. I’ve been freezing a single layer of raspberries on the baking sheet that came with my toaster oven. Once frozen, I move the berries into a ziplock. These will be yummy on winter oatmeal
    • Made six bottles of homemade balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing using bulk purchased vinegar from the local natural food store.

  • Erica Nygaard September 11, 2017

    I only went to the grocery store once last week. I was sorely tempted to go again because of the sales, but I resisted. We ate mostly what we had on hand, but did go out to eat twice which Rob paid for. He thinks I need a break from cooking once in a while and I don't complain too much.

    I am trying to cut back on the convenience store runs, but it is hard when one is next door. I am trying to get better and take my snacks and drinks with me to work. The convenience store runs for snacks are such a budget sucker!

    We froze sweet corn and canned tomatoes last week. I need to get some old nylons and put up the onions that I pulled and cured. The carrots were also pulled and put into ziplock bags to be stored in the crisper drawer. I got 2.5 gallon size bags full. This is the first year I have been successful growing carrots!

    I gave a bag of jasmine rice, some green beans from the garden, a zucchini, and some jam to my oldest daughter. We can't have rice anymore due to Rob's diabetes so I have been slowly giving it away. She can't have a garden yet so she loves the garden goodies!

    Overall, I just worked on selling some more things and not trying to spend money! I made $40 last week which I was proud of!

  • Juls Owings September 11, 2017

    We saw another financial guy today and I can happy say this is the one we have chosen. The guy asked why we were looking for someone when I had a pretty good handle on what we needed...if I go down or die (I have heart failure and Crohn's) Hubby is clueless and Hubby felt it would be less stress on me might be but it will definitely be less worry for Hubby. It's nice as he is working with us on fees and making sure my medical is covered as he felt that should be a priority over some of the other stuff we had listed. Best part of when he asked what I would invest in, it matched his OWN investments LOL He is in the area our kids are so we can tie our meetings in with him to seeing the kids.

    New frugal thing... opening the curtain in the bathroom in the morning to let morning sunshine in to warm bathroom... privacy is usually what I focus on in that room since the bathroom window faces the driveway and the back door sidewalk. But Hubby said you can't see anything unless you actually walk in front of the window which is about the height of my shoulders.

    Mended a couple tops and pants for myself, Hubby darned 3 prs of socks.

    I've worked on stocking the pantry and the personal goods stuff. "Stocking" the savings accounts for retirement that starts Dec 1st

    Canning as the gardens are overflowing with blessings .

    I'm struggling to think of others, between the canning and everything I am just that tired. Doesn't help I started my day with running into the trunk that has sat at the end of my bed since 1985 in the dark, fell and caught myself with the arm that just was operated on instead of smacking my face on a the metal trunk corner...went to put ice on it and knocked my cup of coffee to the kitchen floor...then after I cleaned that up and put the ice on Rascal wanted to go out to play 10 (ball) and I threw the ball and it hit the ceiling of the porch and hit me in the head...I'm glad the rest of the day went well.

    My childhood friend in Hollywood Florida has let me know she is safe, lost the garage and most likely both cars but they are safe and still in their 2nd floor apt.

    Hubby's best friend was getting hit with the storm as he drove from Atlanta GA where he works (actually about 30 miles east of Atlanta) to his home Huntsville AL and he got home safe... weary but safe.

    My family out west with the fires said their area is pretty safe now and it's starting to clear the smoke away.


  • Juhli September 11, 2017

    1. Found a number of items at the grocery store that we use regularly were on sale but weren’t on my list. Bought them anyway – ground turkey, laundry and dishwasher soap, etc. Nice surprise and they will get used eventually.
    2. We have to replace some plantation shutters and have now received 3 bids with each one being less than the last. So we went from $3400 to $1890 for 3 windows. Still a lot but glad we kept going. We are having to buy new ones for one room in our new to us home because one window had been dry walled over by some previous owner. We had it opened up and of course there is not shutter. The other 2 have old ones that are falling apart. Part of the cost of moving.
    3. Between borrowing magazines from the rec center library in my community and DIL dropping some off, I have no desire to have any subscriptions. Also getting all books and ebooks from libraries.
    4. Exercise program right now is free walking and a stretching DVD. Need to add weights or stretch band work and swimming as we now have community pool. May still pay $5 for community yoga class periodically so I can continue to meet people in our new home, but no more expensive options.
    5. I went to the drugstore to get my flu shot (at no cost to me) and shop using a 25% off coupon. They gave me a $5 off coupon for getting the shot. I stocked up on toothpaste, face cleaner, kleenex, and first aid supplies as I am building up my emergency kit.
    6. DH vetoed going out for dinner tonight as I am feeling tired from my flu shot and said he would cook everything. We usually do it together. I took him up on the offer.
    My heart goes out to everyone affected by the hurricanes these last few weeks and the one on the way.

  • Jenifer September 11, 2017

    I wish I could grow basil better. It's one of those plants where my brown thumb really shines on.

    I really focused staying home this past week, which is great since there is plenty to do and I feel better mentally when stuff gets done and my wallet had a nice long siesta. With being a homemaker/self employed I am getting asked to go out more,when I say no I get odd looks as if they are rescuing me from my house. Ha!

    When I took my tea break, I revisited some Cooking Light cookbooks I have and found new to me vegetarian recipes. All where staple/pantry items and so far very tasty.

    My compost area grew an acorn squash vine. So far I have one squash happily growing. Yay!

    There was an unexpected minor emergency hospital stay (they are fine) for a family member. Last time this happened we scrambled to get there and had vending machine food and 11 p.m McDonalds. We didn't feel well from what we ate on top of the stress. This time, I packed numerous PB&J sandwiches for us and any other family member who might need one. I opted for PB&J because it could stay room temp for hours without frigeration. I was so thankful to have done that since this visit was longer and more stressful than the previous.

    Have a great week!

  • TIna September 11, 2017

    *My daughter accidentally opened a can of cream corn instead of regular corn. I typically keep the cream corn for casserole only as no one like the taste. I decided it might make a good soup and sauteed some chopped red pepper and onion and added in the soup with a little chicken stock. Yummy save!
    *I found t-shirts for school in many different colors for another daughter. They were less than $3 each! They are just plain, solid-colored tshirts and just the style for my girl who doesn't like anything "too fancy" or with glitter or writing on it. Does anyone have a tip about other places to find shirts that are cut for a girl but just plain and simple?
    *My mom gifted me with a small chicken pot pie...supper one night for my crew! And left BBQ and buns from another
    Sunday dinner.
    *My mom also gifted me with some ham, grits, granola bars, bread
    *I found fresh raspberries for $1 at Sam's!
    *I put fruit that was getting too ripe into the freezer to use for smoothies; also mashed bananas and froze to use for banana bread later.
    *I used the crock to make two batches of bean for the freezer...one red beans and one black beans
    *My DH loves Smuckers Simply Caramel Sauce (I think that is the name). However, it is expensive at $2.50 on sale for a small jar. He thinks it is ok to purchase this as a treat...but we just can't do that right now. I don't want to deny him so I found a recipe online and made double the amount of that sauce for less than 80 cents! It hardens up more than the store-bought kind but my kids think it twice as tasty. I'll keep experimenting! I also made some chocolate sauce for some ice cream we had on hand.
    *I pulled together "mixes" to store in the pantry to make meal prep easier: scones, brownies, Greek dressing, your balsamic vinagrette dressing and rice-a-roni, muffins, and pancake mix, and hamburger helper. It makes it so much easier to just pull down these mixes, add a few other simple ingredients, and throw a meal together.
    *My girls are part of a soccer team thanks to a scholarship. They had an out of town game and I packed a picnic rather than eat out.

  • Margie From Toronto September 12, 2017

    For plain & simple t-shirts I don't think you can beat LL Bean for a mix of quality & price. They would be considerably more than $3 but perhaps you could pass them on or sell them once she outgrows them. I find that they hold their shape and wash well and they have a good selection of styles as well.

  • Marybeth September 12, 2017

    Michaels has plain, solid color t-shirts. They sometimes go on sale 3 for $10. Or you could get them regular price with their coupons. I used to buy matching colors for when we would go on vacation to Disney so I knew what to look for. The brighter the better.

  • Rachel H September 11, 2017

    Thanks Brandy for letting me post about Hurricane Irma last week. It has moved up into Georgia as a tropical storm, and looks like she did a lot of damage. But as far as I know not a large loss of life. We only had tropical storm winds and rain where I live.
    I used our grocery money mostly for non perishable food and water, but when we saw it was not going to be bad here, I went to Winn Dixie yesterday for milk, eggs, and fruit for my husband's lunch. The shelves were about empty. I already had meat in the freezer for meals this week.
    We went to an afternoon movie with some friends. I have a rewards card for the theater and since this is my birthday month, I had a free small popcorn and coke. We upgraded to larges for only $3.24. So an affordable outing.
    Made sure I returned library books and movies on time to avoid fines.
    Hit some yard sales last weekend. Got some paperback books, a crochet book for my niece who just started a business crocheting for people, some dress shirts for one of my grandsons, and some votive candle holders.
    It has been cool despite the weather, and today I made vegetable soup in the crock pot with veggies in the fridge and some hamburger I had cooked already.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. September 11, 2017

    We mostly continue with our regular frugal activities. However, there were a couple of new things I tried this past week. They weren't huge money-savers, but every little bit helps.

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate home-prepared meals all but two times.

    * Made bread, honey-mustard salad dressing, ranch dip, and black beans (froze the prepped beans). This was the first time I made black beans; previously I would buy them canned. I've made pintos/refried beans often. I don't know why it took me so long to make black beans.

    * Both of the guys are fighting a cold. I was able to combine a 30% off coupon and CVS Extra Bucks to buy cold medicine at a 74% savings.

    * Ate mostly vegetarian meals.

    * Harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, and lemons. Collected eggs.

    * Another new thing I tried was buying items from the bulk bins at Sprouts. I was able to get dried thyme for 16 cents (99 cents per ounce) and dried brown rice for 75 cents (95 cents per lb.). We do grow thyme in the garden, but I use it quite frequently so I was running low on dried. Also, I'm trying to get more whole grains into our diet so buying smaller quantities of brown rice works for us. I still buy white rice in the huge bags from Sam's, but we can't get through brown rice fast enough to buy it in large quantities.

    * Accepted scraps for the hens and also gave them the scraps from making salad. Composted whatever they couldn't have.

    * Kept the AC set at 80F and opened up when it was cooler than that. We actually had one day when we didn't need to turn it on at all. That was a nice change from the previous week.

    * Continue to save warm-up/rinse water for the potted plants and roses when the weather is extra hot.

    * Checked out a DVD from the library.

  • ellie's friend from Canada September 11, 2017

    A friend was offered free veggies because the subscriber was going on holidays and couldn't pick it up so my friend split the free veggies with me. Free corn, beets, potatoes, strawberries, kale. I made kale chips but don't know if they were supposed to turn out the way they actually did.

    My single mom gardener offered to take downtown some photos I am consigning to a gift store. That saves me a ton of money for sure. I bought picture frames for half price so spent $100 on 22 frames and saved $100.00. Hopefully the photos will sell and I'll make a little money. My gardener is going to try selling them at the community harvest fair this coming weekend. I collapsed at a store (more like a sudden old-fashioned faint) and the paramedics came. They were so kind to me. I had revived by the time they got there. They said a lot of people are having problems with the smoke. My gardener gave me a lift to the photo shop and I said I'd treat her to a pizza but she liked the pizza so much that she insisted on paying for me. Due to allergies I almost never can eat out but I found this pizza place that doesn't cook fish or shrimp in the oven and doesn't use Worcestershire sauce in the pizza sauce. So I can eat it and it made me feel human to sit and be able to eat out.

    Brandy, I wonder if you can email me without my giving out my email online? I'd like to talk to you about your eldest daughter's scholarship quest as I belong to a group that raises money for scholarships, loans and grants. Ann

  • Angela Carpenter in Kentucky September 11, 2017

    I don't comment often but I do read every post and comment every week . I feel as if many of you are old friends and neighbors . Thank you so much for this blog and the information that not only you but others are able to share . It is definitely a blessing . My suggestion on getting the last bit of lotion or any kind of facial product etc. out of the bottle or tube is to use a pair of heavy duty scissors and cut the container in half so that you can use a small spatula or your fingers to get the remainder out . It is amazing how much is left in pump bottles and tubes sometimes .

  • tadpole September 11, 2017

    I spent a lot of this week in my own funk but I have amazing neighbours who fixed my low mood. So far, this week is much better even though my hours are getting cut at work now that summer is over. I guess that's just life in a resort town.
    I hope you all have a great week and for those of you facing storms or fires, my thoughts are with you.

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