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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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  • Marcia R. September 13, 2017

    I used to save the crumbs from the bottom of cereal boxes when I still had kids at home. (Husband eats mostly shredded wheat)--so when I got about 3/4 of a cup, I would add them to bread. It doesn't substitute for walnuts, but it does make the bread sort of like cracked wheat bread. And it uses up those crumbs. I crushed them a bit if they were large crumbs.

  • Jeannie September 16, 2017

    Thank you Marcia. My husband is the only cereal eater in this house now and I am willing to bet he throws the crumbs away when he finishes a box. I will start checking. He won't trust me if I ask him to save them. He knows I am planning on trying something different and will panic. He is not good with change or trying new recipes.

  • Mable September 11, 2017

    1. Husband trimmed my hair.
    2. Did a mystery shop that included buying a fancy coffee on the company's dime in order to evaluate service. I never buy fancy coffees, so this was a treat.
    3. Had three gifts to give this week, two of them unexpected. I recycled three baskets that I have received and made a loaf of artisan bread for each basket. Surrounded each with three jars of home canned jams made from the fruits in my garden and two jars of savory tomato spreads that's I made. They ended up looking quite nice and saved me quite a bit of money, too.
    4. Started knitting my Christmas project that I am giving as a gift.
    5. Sold three items on Craigs List, bringing in $231. These were items I had scavenged from the platform at our local dump, where people put useable things that others are free to take. I found a solid oak filing cabinet that I easily cleaned up, that alone brought $180. Also two kid size wicker chairs that just needed cleaning up, and those went for $50 total. The $1 was for a yo-yo.
    6. Harvested literally hundreds of green cherry tomatoes. Canned pickled green tomatoes for future gifts.
    7. Put myself on the list for a book I want and was tempted to buy instead of exercising some patience by getting in the library hold line for this book. I am not good with delayed gratification.
    8. Found a generic mayo that my husband is willing to eat, which is about a 50 cents a jar savings. Not huge but I remind myself that every penny counts.

  • Susan September 11, 2017

    If you live near Aldi's they have great mayo for $1.89 for a large jar.

  • momsav September 12, 2017

    I need to work on delayed gratification, too. It's always something, isn't it?

  • Juls Owings September 14, 2017

    if you figure out how to work delayed gratification...post it please. :D

  • Mary September 11, 2017

    Hello all! My week did not start out frugal... I drove my daughter back to school and our planned dinner did not work out, so we had an expensive dinner out but was enjoyed.
    The rest of the week I stayed in - out to walk the dogs - enjoying sunrises each morning. We had planned to go to a high school football game but it was lightening so we stayed home.
    Happy frugal safe week all!

  • Stephanie N. September 11, 2017

    -I refilled the kitchen dish soap dispenser and thinned it with water to make it stretch.
    -I only spent $6 on groceries last week
    -The floor mat I have in the kitchen in front of the sink was beginning to look dingy and worn out. I thought I was going to have to buy a new one because the tag said to spot clean only. I took a chance and threw it into the washer thinking there was no harm if it fell apart because it was likely going to need replacing anyway but it washed beautifully and now looks great.
    -My son asked me to buy honey chicken from the local Chinese restaurant the other night for dinner. Instead I found a recipe online and discovered I had everything in the pantry to prepare it myself. It turned out great and the kids said it tasted better than takeout!
    -This week I accepted a second job. It's an on call nursing position that won't require me to do too much more than be available to help someone in a last minute crises and pays me a flat rate for my being available. It was a struggle to resign myself to the need for an extra position since I already work full time and go to school full time but we have a lot of expenses that we have been struggling with lately and this will allow us to pay down debt while also preparing for retirement.
    -My youngest broke his glasses (that he had for less than a month!). I took them back to the optometrist and discovered that they will replace them under the warranty. I'm extremely grateful since our insurance would not have covered a new pair and the idea of purchasing a new set out of pocket gave me anxiety. My son and I have also had a long discussion on acting responsibly with glasses.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 11, 2017

    If he breaks them again and you aren't covered, check out Zenni Optical. I have bought glasses for as little as $6.95 a pair with $4.95 shipping (shipping is the same no matter how many pairs you order). That is frames AND lenses. I go through Ebates first and get 1% cash back. It's just a tiny bit, but it helps too!

  • Juls Owings September 11, 2017

    Brandy I love that you posted about Zenni , we won't have eye ins (or dental) starting Jan due to Hubby retiring and I wear 4 different pairs ... Thanks

  • momsav September 12, 2017

    I love Zenni, too! My husband is another matter...talk about brand specific!

  • Stephanie N. September 13, 2017

    Thanks for the tip! My vision coverage only pays for a pair of glasses every two years and I can see this coming in handy!

  • Holly September 11, 2017

    I made a nice pot of lentil soup this past week and mom enjoyed it too. I was glad because when I lived alone I would make a pot of lentil soup every so often and then it would be my dinner for the week, maybe every six to eight weeks. Prior to this, mom had not been a fan of lentils.

    My greatnieces just transferred to a different charter school and it is already school fundraising time. The school has a Yankee Candle-related fundraiser, and the prices for non-candles started at $2 for a canning book and $5 for some art supplies and toys. I thought I would have to place two orders, one from each girl, and pay for shipping twice. To kill two birds with one stone, I asked their mother to have the girls select what they wanted. They both selected a candle fragrance and wanted a candle. Okay, I started looking at the candles. My only option in their preferred scents was $20 each, plus shipping. I had to call my niece, explain I was shocked at the prices since my candles either come from Dollar Tree or are the inexpensive bulk tealights from a craft store, and explain that her grandma and I had a budget more like $20-$30 total, including shipping. It was a hard call for me to make but my niece was cool. She suggested getting one candle in the scent she knew both girls like and assured me that she would even out the orders the girls get. She also offered to order it herself so I would save on shipping. We ended the call, with me planning to sed a check. Then remembering the Bing points I had not yet turned into gift cards, I called her again and asked if she would be happy with $25 in Amazon gift cards instead. That way, I am covering the sales tax in her state and either a bit towards shipping or a mini-treat for the girls. All five of us are happy and it had no impact on my checkbook. Whew!

    My sister in the Mohave Desert has also been commenting on the rain. You two, Brandy, are in a rain shadow EXCEPT when the storms are coming up from the Sea of Cortez.

    I am relieved the storm surges were not as bad as forecast on the West Coast of Florida. I hope any of you in that area are more careful than usual while you take care of storm damage and endure power failures.

    Our neighbor gave us more zucchini and summer squash. They are good gardeners, but this year has been especially good for squash. I grated one yellow squash into some Ragu tomato sauce and simmered it for quite a while. The squash vanished into the sauce, just adding a bit of sweetness. I am going to grate and freeze the rest of their generous gift.

  • Becky September 11, 2017

    I spent the last week getting things in order around here, and adjusting to our new fall schedule. My husband is back to work after the summer off (school district), and I am on less hours, but at more inconvenient times, since my kiddos are back to school too. So, good time management and menu planning is my goal. I am also getting homeschool going for the 2 I teach. We are off to a great start, but it's always a process to get back into the routine. In the meantime, I've been trying to get some more items canned, and got crab and a batch of salsa canned. Today, I did prunes, and crushed tomatoes.

    Yesterday, Rob and I filled the Crock Pot before church with a nice roast beef, lots of carrots and potatoes from the garden and turned it on for family Sunday dinner. When we got home......hard as a rock! I think we overloaded it with cold things and it took longer, or I usually use the other Crock Pot. Who knows. But anyway, we hustled around like crazy, and managed to get a taco dinner on the table in nothing flat, using garden tomatoes, part of a head of lettuce we had, cheese from the freezer, the remaining taco shells, soft shells, etc. leftover from Saturday night's dinner (some kids did not get their preferred shell, but that's life sometimes), and garden beans and corn from my sister's garden. Rob also grabbed some leftover white rice and doctored it up with a shriveled pepper, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, cilantro, etc. and made Spanish rice, something we rarely eat. It was great. The roast finished up mid-afternoon, and we had it last night, sent it in Rob's lunch today, have lots and lots left.......so dinner tonight/tomorrow/Tuesday/ ??? Easy dinners. Even with several being sick or staying after church for meetings/lunch, we still had 11 people, as the ones who came brought friends. I love cooking for a crowd. It's a familiar feeling, since we have such a large family. I often overcook when it's just us. I'm still working on that!

    We hauled wood from my sister's farm, where we dumped it when we were moving, down here and stacked it in the shed. We saved a lot of money by using our van with the seats removed, and a tarp laid down, and going twice on Saturday. We looked into renting another vehicle/truck/trailer, and this was the most economical way.

    While we were there, she loaded us up with corn, Italian prunes, tomatoes, and a few peaches. I've gotten most of it in the jars now, or we are eating it fresh.

    I tried a couple of new recipes, focusing on garden items I had. Basil Chicken was my favorite of the new ones I tried. I restocked my sugar for 25c/lb. I got 32 lbs for around $8. It came in 4 lb. bags, which are nice to handle. I put them in big tin cans I've had for years, to keep them nice.

    I picked 4 figs from my tree at my new house. They are soft. HELP!! I have never used a fig before. I did take a couple of bites last year, but had no time to figure figs out as we moved in. Do you peel them, cook them, dry them, what? I took a bite. It is soft, and slightly brown and kind of tasted like fig cookies. They look different from the hard green ones I left on the tree. I love fig Newton-type cookies. I'm guessing you cook them for that, or dry them. I just wasn't sure if I should be eating the peeling--it seems a bit tough. Anyway, I''m open to suggestions. There are SO many on that tree, I will never use them all, but I'd love to use some of them.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 11, 2017

    You don't need to peel figs; you can just eat them. If there is a small stem on them you will need to cut it off. The ripe ones are soft. I don't know what kind you have so color (when ripe) will depend on type (some are green when ripe). A ripe fig will come off fairly easily.

    There are a TON of great fig ideas on Pinterest. I saw so many but couldn't get through them all; I hope to try more next year when they are ripe. I did freeze a bunch and I like to use them in several things. They are wonderful in tarts (just make a fruit pie recipe and use figs in the recipe). I have a fig sauce recipe on my site and I love making that with fresh, dried, or frozen figs. I also like making jam with them.

  • Heather in L.A. September 11, 2017

    You can freeze them whole until you are able to process them. This year we had a bumper crop so in addition to making fig preserves and strawberry fig preserves I made honey fig butter. Ya just throw fig in the crockpot with some honey a generous pinch of salt and a little water or apple juice. Cook down and add vanilla at the end and purée with a stick blender. If it is too runny for fruit butter leave the lid off and the crock pot on high to reduce. Then can and water bath for 10 min. You can also make fig cake and freeze them for holiday time or last minute coffee visits or make dried figs. We also eat them fresh with a little whipped cream cheese and honey or dollar tree feta. Enjoy

  • Laurie in AZ September 11, 2017

    I had gotten a gallon Ziploc of figs from a friend a couple of months ago. Since I didn't have time to process them into jam, I just stuck them in the freezer. I then put them in my smoothies with an assortment of other fruits and veggies like cooked butternut squash and spinach.

  • Chris M September 11, 2017

    Becky, I have a prolific Brown Turkey Fig tree -- these do quite well in Oregon. They turn a purple color when ripe. I'm wondering if you have a different variety, though as mine aren't ripe yet. I make fig butter, which is divine. I also make a lot of fig chutney. I get the extra ingredients at Winco, which helps with the cost. I've also made a mock raspberry jam using figs and raspberry jello. I make a fig crisp, which is one of my favorites and use the fig butter to make crumbly oat bar cookies. Then there are the smoothies and I put it in oatmeal (cut up). Plus, we eat them fresh! Finally, I give them away :) Good luck. They don't last long. I get them in the refrigerator as soon as I pick them. Lay them out in a layer -- don't pile too many on top of each other or they'll really smoosh. One other treat is to take a really ripe one and squish it into a turkey sandwich. Oh, my! Chris

  • Anne September 12, 2017

    Is Patsy your daughter as well ? What time does Rob get on the school bus? I don't know how you both do it! I am having great difficulty with the early mornings but our late meal is not until 7:30 PM and I can't bump it any earlier and the little ones are up at 6:30 AM I never seem to get to bed before 11:45 PM at the earliest and it is getting almost impossible to get up out of bed any suggestions>?

  • Becky September 12, 2017

    Patsy is a bit complicated to explain. She is our adopted daughter, who has been living with us for about 4 years now. She is also our grand-daughter. Rob and I adopted all 8 of our children, and Patsy is the daughter of #2. Things were not working out, so she was taken into foster care. After an entire summer of visitation so she could get to know us, since she had only had contact with us when she was little and did not remember, she moved in with us. Everything was tried to reconcile her with her mother, but it did not work out, so we adopted her.

    Here's our fall schedule, subject to revision if needed, since it's only 1-1/2 week old:)
    I get up anywhere between 4 and 6:30, depending on how well I sleep.Our house is very tiny, so I don't make noise until around 6 or later or it wakes everyone up. I do quiet things like blog, read, etc. Sometimes I change laundry loads, and Rob often does it during the night, as he is a light sleeper, as well.

    Rob and I shower in the morning, as we only have 1 bathroom for 5 people. The others can do it later in the day, or in the evening. Each person gets their own breakfast (except me--Rob usually makes mine), and Rob and Patsy both make their own lunches. He also often gets out all the meds and puts them in little custard cups, to help the morning go smoothly. I do it if he doesn't.

    Patsy gets up between 6:30 and 7, and starts walking to school at 7:30. Her school starts at 8:05.
    Ja'Ana is to be up and ready to go by 7:30, since we start homeschool at 8. Alissa joins us then, and if it is a math day, her dad comes, and does math then.
    Lovana runs her own schedule. College has not started yet. She is also searching for a job, so does that a lot.
    Rob gets on the bus at 8:30.
    We do homeschool together until about 1:30. I do occasionally give them assignments to do on their own, but both are the kind who need me to be involved. If I do any work, it is right there in the same room as they are in, or I leave for a couple of minutes. Mostly, I read aloud, do discussions, keep them on task, etc., and it makes us get a lot done in a short time. Sometimes, like today, I gave them little notecards with things I want them to do after 1:30, on their own. I am doing school M-Th this year, and giving them extra assignments on Fridays, and/or do field trips. I am also not working Friday afternoons this year, nor are the girls doing any dance classes on Fridays. I'm hoping to have an easier year than I did last year, so have adjusted my schedule. I also want them to become a little more independent each year.
    1:30--I leave for work--to get my niece, then my nephew off the bus, etc., 3 days per week. The other days, I do home tasks, appointments, and errands.
    I don't know when Rob gets off the bus, yet. Somewhere near 4:15 or 4:30, I think. I get done at 6, so am home by 6:30. Patsy is home around 3, unless she takes afterschool classes, which are a few days a week when they start. Then 4:30. She is to do homework, a chore, and clean her room before playing.
    Evenings: Most evenings, I do a little something. Tonight, I mowed the lawn with Rob's help and pulled a few weeds, then am sitting on the couch watching tv. I rarely go to bed before 11, but occasionally crash and burn and go much earlier. I have to have a little space each night. J will take tap on Thursdays, starting soon, and Wednesdays are reserved for church/youth group. I usually cook a lot on the weekends and warm up food on work nights, or use the Crock Pot.

    Canning is done early in the morning or late at night. On weekends, during the day. Gardening, during the evenings, or weekends. Rob and I work together well. It's the only way we've survived so many kids with so many special needs. Every weekend, chores are handed out to the kids, and they do dishes each night after dinner.

    So, planning, working together, and a schedule. That's how we do it when things are going smoothly. We have rough days, too, but it's usually when we did not follow the plan, or someone is having a hard day.

    I never, ever get everything done that I would like to, but I feel that if I have a plan/list/goals and get some of them done, it is far better than to have no plan or purpose at all. My schedule was different when I had younger kids at home, but I still had lots of lists, and did have a schedule. I would just encourage you to try a schedule and/or a list of things you'd like to get done, and if it doesn't work, try another one until you find one that does work. One thing I actively work on it not to let the "list" rule me and to remember to make the people top of my list. I sometimes get too focused on the project:)

    Can you get a little rest at some other time during the day, at least 1-2 days per week? When Ja'Ana was 2-3, I would stretch out on the couch, put her on my stomach, turn on the Food Channel for everyone else (because it was safe to watch if I fell asleep and the show changed), and rest (sometimes doze or nap) for at least an hour until my son with Aspergers would get home from his school. It was the only way I could have enough energy to deal with him, and she was no longer napping. I would know where she was, was up like a shot if she climbed down, and she often rested a bit, too. So, be creative! Whatever works, and it's different for everyone:) I also take a nap all afternoon about once every 2 months, when I get super tired. I also get into bed at 6pm and stay there all evening, resting, about once every 3-6 months. My body seems to know when I can't make it anymore, and sends me signals. Then, I rest, or I get sick.

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