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A Question For My Readers

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The phone bill came yesterday. 

It was significantly larger than normal.

I have no long distance, no caller id, and no call waiting, and I've saved a significant amount not paying for each of those over the years.

The increase was enough to make the change to getting a cell phone.

I haven't had a cell phone in 17 years. The last time I had a cell phone, it was a work phone. It was the kind that had a walkie-talkie option, which made for a rather amusing situation one day at work when one of my male co-workers decided to ask me via walkie-talkie where I was. I was in the ladies' room at the time. The woman in the stall next to me heard the question and started laughing. 


I've been just fine without a cell phone for all this time.


I know I'll be getting an android phone like the one my husband uses for work. 


My question for my readers is this:


What are your favorite money-saving aps?


And because I know you'll ask, I actually already have an Instagram account. I just haven't been able to take pictures with it before and I only have used it to follow people. You can find me under theprudenthomemaker

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Zinnias in Milk Bottles The Prudent Homemaker

Note: My camera died last week. All images on this post are from years past.

I cut the first of the zinnias from the garden. I recently read that cutting the first zinnias and dahlias helps them to branch out to make more. I do this same thing on bushes and trees but didn't know it applied to these particular flowers. As each zinnia plant flowered, I have cut the first one to bring inside. The article I read also said that both of these flowers will make more flowers the more you cut them, so I plan to cut many to bring inside (leaving some to decorate the garden as well).

I picked the rest of the peaches from my tree.

I canned 4 quarts of peaches.

I cut green onions, chives, and Swiss chard from the garden.

Grapes The Prudent Homemaker

I picked a basket of grapes from the garden. Our grape harvest is very small this year.

Apples in wire basket The Prudent Homemaker

I picked apples from my tree.

Swiss Chard Seeds The Prudent Homemaker

I gathered Swiss chard seeds and poppy seeds from the garden.

I picked a small basket of figs from our tree. This is the second crop this year from my Mission fig (one of the reasons why I chose this particular type of fig is that it crops twice a year).

I planted more seeds in the garden to replace seedlings that were eaten or died, so that I can still (hopefully!) have a harvest of those things from the garden. I also planted more basil seeds and more Armenian cucumber seeds in the garden.

Last week was the first week of monsoon season. Temperatures dropped 20 degrees to 94 ºF. This was a huge blessing to the garden. We had three days where we could open the windows again in the mornings and evenings, so we saved by not having the run the air conditioner for those hours. This was a savings of about $15. Update: I just received my energy review from the electric company. I saved $52 last week in electric compared to my usage of the week before. Last week's electricity usage was $57; the week before was $109 for the week. Cooler temperatures and turning off the a/c when it was 3 degrees cooler outside at night (it was 76º at night) made a big difference in my bill.

The first few days of the week were humid.  I collected 4 to 5 gallons of water a day from the air conditioner drip during those days by putting an ice cream bucket under the pipes where the water drips. I used this water to water potted plants in the garden.

Rainwater The Prudent Homemaker

It rained a bit on three different days. I collected water in buckets. I was able to skip a few watering cycles in the garden.

All of my little bits of water saving have really added up. I received the water bill for June's water usage, and the amount used was significantly lower than the previous year, even though we had a hotter than usual June with days above 110º.

I spent some time organizing. 

I made French bread.

I made peach pie popsicles once and peach and yogurt popsicles twice.

My husband and son were gone all week at Scout camp. Since we are a one car family, I was home all week. I had forgotten that we had checked out movies from the library that have a one week check out time (books are 3 weeks). Winter renewed the movies online.

I watched 3 episodes of a new show, "Crimson Field", on Pbs.org. I also watched the first three episodes of "Poldark" on Pbs.org.

I embroidered two onesies as gifts for a friend's twins. I also made two bibs for the babies using material that I had on hand.

What did you do to save money last week?



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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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I gleaned olives again. They are all soaking in lye water now, to take the bitterness out.

I cut red noodle beans, thyme, and green onions from the garden.

My husband cut both boys' hair.

I made turkey broth and used it to make soup.

I made French bread.

I made yogurt.

Winter made carrot cake for my mom's birthday.

I printed free worksheets for school for the younger girls from several places.

What did you do to save money last week?

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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I canned 6 quarts of giardinera pickles.

Winter made several gifts for her sisters for Christmas gifts using fabric I already had and some free downloadable patterns.

I cut two pomegranates from my tree.

I harvested my only butternut squash this year, and cut one Armenian cucumber from the garden, and cut a but of celery that I grew from some grocery store celery.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I made French bread. Winter made a double batch of granola.

I cooked a turkey from the freezer.

Wren is so happy to be taking piano lessons now! She practiced every day without being asked! I'm so glad that I was able to trade for her lessons!

I planted seeds in my fall garden. Some of the seeds were ones that I had collected from my garden earlier this year.

I had the house open and the air conditioner off for as many hours as I could each day, turning it on only for a few hours in the afternoons when the inside temperatures went up to 83º.

Liberty and Cyrus did this cloud in a jar experiment several times. Do you see the cloud escaping? This was a really frugal experiment involving hot water, matches, and a bag of ice.

Cyrus cut the grass and added some to my two compost bins.

My husband cut his hair.

I continued to collect the water from the shower to water the potted trees.

I had at at-home date with my husband. We played a card game.

What did you do to save money last week?

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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I gleaned olives on Saturday. I'll be processing them this week.

I canned 4 quarts of giardeniera, using cucumbers from our garden.

I canned 24 quarts of pears.

This is just one side of my front walk; both sides have basil, plus there is more basil behind this. This pictures was taken after I made several batches of pesto. I still have several more batches to make! The basil is taller than my 8-year-old.

I cut lots and lots of basil from the garden and made several batches of pesto, which I froze. I borrowed a food processor from my mom to make the process go faster.

I cut roses from the garden to enjoy on my table.

I cut green onions and a pomegranate from the garden.

I mended two dresses and a towel.

My husband and I watched a show for free on Hulu.

Winter and Ezrom downloaded 2 free songs each from the library's website.

I attended a community garage sale with my mom on Saturday. I found several things for our family: pants for Cyrus, Wren, Liberty, and Elsa ($1.00 each), shirts for Cyrus ($0.25 to $1.00 each), a sweater for Winter ($1), books ($.50 to $1.00 each), new-in-the-box Christmas net lights ($2 a box), bicycle helmets ($2 each), a bulletin board ($1), push pins ($.25), three dresses for Winter ($3 each), and an acoustic guitar with a case for $30; Ezrom gave me a big hug and a kiss when he saw it!

I also bought several things that I will use as Christmas gifts for the children, including a brand-new 500 piece puzzle ($1), a used (like new) 24-piece puzzle, some jewelry ($0.25 each), a game ($1), knitting needles ($0.25 a pair), an MP3 player ($3) and a jacket ($0.50).

What did you do to save money last week?
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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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I cut flowers from the garden for the house.

I cut lots of basil and made a large batch of pesto. What we didn't use on sandwiches, I put in the freezer in several bags to use later. I armed the sandwiches on the panini press that I bought earlier this year at a garage sale (for $5). I've wanted to make these for years, and I finally have enough basil and a press to make them! I'm planning to make several batches of pesto with the rest of the basil and freeze it to make these again in the future.

I collected seeds from my basil plants to plant next year.

The weather was milder than it has been, so I only needed to run the air conditioner for a few hours on two days last week (saving me $65, according the the electric company's weekly report).

My husband mended one of my clothes drying racks this week. I have a gas dryer and dry most things in the dryer, but I also wear a lot of thin clothing (as we have 5-6 months of above 90º temperatures) that cannot go in the dryer, so I use these to hang those to dry.

Winter downloaded two free songs from the library's website.

I dumped the compost into the garden. I'll be working it in this week, but dumping it out allowed Cyrus to start filling it, layering shredded paper and grass as he cut the grass.

I bought two pairs of jeans for Cyrus and four for Ezrom for $2 a pair from a Facebook garage sale post. The jeans were in like-new condition. On the way home from picking these up, I stopped at three actual garage sales. At one I bought three necklaces ($5 total), which I will give to three daughters for Christmas. At another, I bought two small carry-on size suitcases (that looked brand-new) for $2 each.

Thanks to the Facebook garage sales, I was made aware of a couple of neighborhood garage sales on Saturday. I took my list with me. I was not able to find a lot from my list, but I did find three t-shirts for the girls for .50 each, and a handful of other small items, including a blue and white Chinese vase ($2) that I filled with zinnias from the garden. I had been wanting something like this, and was delighted when I found this one.

I canned 12 quarts of pears.

My husband and I watched the pilot episode of a new show for free on Hulu. It's called Forever, and U.S. readers can watch it here. We liked the first episode enough that we will keep watching.

What did you do to save money last week?
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