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Frugal Accomplishments for the Beginning of May

May Day Roses The Prudent Homemaker

For those who missed the announcement on Instagram, I had a baby boy on Friday, April 27th. I'll be sharing photos and details in an upcoming post. We're still deciding on a name for this baby.

We enjoyed some rain on May first and second, which is rather unusual here--especially in May! I turned off the drip irrigation systems for three days and put out buckets to collect rainwater on the two days we received a little rain.

The rain brought cooler weather and we were able to turn off the air conditioning for four days.

My husband gave two sons a haircut.

I said yes to some formula samples that someone I know offered for free on Facebook. We used them to feed the baby until I had milk, which took 5 days.

My largest frugal accomplishment was making sure to pump to help me to have enough breastmilk for my baby. I've written about this before, but I have to pump in order to have any milk for my babies. I've tried all the supplements, but they made no difference in my supply. I hired a lactation consultant with my third baby. Pumping and drinking lots (and lots) of water are what I need to do to make sure I can feed my babies. I don't have letdown (I can count the number of times I've had letdown with 9 children on two hands) and the day my milk came in, I was able to pump only 3/4 of an ounce. Still, I persevered, and now my body is producing enough milk for my baby. Pumping made it so that I was able to nurse my last baby for 16 months (with my first baby, I had no milk by 9 months, and with my second, I ran out of milk at 5 months; since hiring the consultant, who instructed me to pump and for how long, I have been able to nurse each of my subsequent babies over a year).

I wore a support wrap for after birth that I had purchased at a garage sale for $1 last October. I have seen these for sale for $35. This gave me back support and will hopefully help with healing my diastasis.

The baby surprised me by being a boy! Since we had only planned on having 8 children, I had given away most of my baby things. I had been given some hand-me-down girl clothes, but needed something for a son. I used the 15% off registry coupon from Target to purchase a 4-pack of onesies for him. I also went to a community garage sale on Saturday morning, where I found a few things for him for $0.25 cents each.

At the garage sales, I also found a Christmas wreath and some more ornament hooks ($3), a couple of fancy hair combs that I'll use as a gift for a daughter ($0.50 each), and a 5-strand pearl necklace for $1, which I purchased with a laugh after the old woman who was selling it said to me as I picked it up, "You too can look like Barbara Bush."

While at Target, I used two $1 off coupons towards my purchase of shampoo and also used Target cartwheel for an additional 5% off. I brought my own bags to save $0.05 off per bag.

I picked up 5 containers of sour cream on sale for $0.89 each. These were on my list for the month, but I purchased them elsewhere than I had planned since these were a better price. They also had more shampoo on sale in the kinds that my children like, so I picked up a few bottles of shampoo there also.

I went to the local nursery to purchase two herb plants for my garden. One of the regular employees let me know they had one lilac left; someone has returned a plant, and all but one branch had died. They had been watering it and keeping it alive, and it was recovering. I was offered the lilac for $2. Originally the bushes were $40 each (when they were large and healthy). I bought the lilac and will find a place for it.

My husband picked up a free, new-to-us small fridge that we are using to replace our second fridge. The fridge that we have been using (also given to us) works really well, but it is almost as old as I am. This newer refrigerator was made in 2007, so it should be much more energy efficient. We've been looking for someone in need of a second fridge who would like it for free, but if we don't find someone, I will list the fridge for sale online (if any local readers are interested, send me an email, and the first person to contact me is welcome to it).

I watched a couple of hours of a free class online.

My eldest tried a reader's suggestion from last week to use witch hazel as an anti-static spray. She said it worked great! We will use witch hazel from now on.

My son picked a few mulberries (with permission) from a neighbor's tree. We ate them over homemade pancakes.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside. We also harvested lemons, lettuce, parsley, and spinach from the garden.


What did you do to save money last week?


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  • I can't believe how active you are only just over a week after delivery! I would be in bed, with my husband playing nursemaid. Or so I' like to think! Glad you were able to get a bunch done, despite a newborn and all the usual responsibilities.

    My frugal week went pretty well:
    - I made Greek-Style Lemony Potatoes (http://approachingfood.com/greek-style-lemony-potatoes/), which is pretty frugal as I bought inexpensive potatoes and used lemon juice from a bottle. Brandy, you could probably make these quite inexpensively yourself, since you grow your own lemons, and the olive oil can be replaced with cheaper vegetable oil! My husband loved these so much that he ate ALL the leftovers for dinner the next day. Needless to say, I plan to make these a regular dish at my dinner table!
    - I saved the (vegetarian) chicken bouillon & garlic stock after boiling potatoes in it when making Greek-Style Lemony Potatoes, and used some of it to cook Arborio rice in (which essentially became a risotto). I turned the risotto into arancini (breadcrumb coated, cheese or tomato-filled, deep-fried Italian rice balls). I didn’t have cheese in the house and didn’t want to open a jar of tomatoes, so I defrosted a few pieces of ham from the freezer (from a trade many months ago) and used that as the filling. My meat-loving husband was happy to bite into the rice balls! I plan to use the rest of the stock for a soup base.
    - I met with a friend for coffee and a catch-up at Starbucks, using my gc from Swagbucks. Lovely way to treat a friend without paying OOP. Plus, I treated my friend on a day when purchases counted for double points towards rewards, and when a certain number of purchases meant extra points. Basically, I utilize Starbucks offers to get the most out of the gc I get from Swagbucks. I would never actually pay for Starbucks OOP.
    - I treated myself to a frappuccino on a particularly humid day, using my Starbucks card from swagbucks. I used an email offer to get it for ½ price.
    - Utilizing these offers meant that I received enough reward points from Starbucks that I could redeem for a reward from Starbucks for a vegetarian protein bowl. A free and healthy lunch! I calculated that this week I used about $12 worth of gc to get about $27 dollars worth of food and drinks.
    - I redeemed Swabucks for a $5 gc to Amazon.
    - Clients and staff brought in pizza, appetizers, and dessert to work, so I ate that for two lunches and saved the lunch I had brought to for my dinner.
    - I got a small bonus from my workplace and applied it to my mortgage.
    - I redeemed Pinecone Research points for $5 to my Paypal account.
    - I redeemed Air Miles for $10 worth of groceries. Cheese, bread, and fruit for lunches for the week.
    - I planted some garlic cloves in my balcony garden. This is the first time I’ve tried growing garlic, and I hope it works. My radishes are sprouting nicely, and what I think are carrots, swiss chard, and peas (I didn’t draw a garden diagram in my gardening book this year, so I’ll be guessing what the sprouts are until they’re a bit bigger). My blueberry bush is covered in green leaves, which I’m very happy about! Soon it should be covered in white flowers, and then delicious fruit! I still need to buy tomato starts, herb starts, and strawberry plants. I saw an ad for blackberry and raspberry bushes in large buckets and am thinking of putting those on my garden wishlist for next year. I wasn’t able to find a fig or lemon tree in the city (and Amazon doesn’t deliver citrus to Canada due to cross-border regulations), but it’s pretty crowded on the balcony as it is. I’m hoping my mint revives from last year. Usually it’s impossible to get rid of mint; my parents plant escaped the bucket it was planted in and spread across the garden until they decided to get rid of it all last year. If my mint doesn’t come back, I suspect there will be a survivor in my parents’ garden and I’ll try to get it before they pull it out.
    - I made fettucine Alfredo to use up some of the whipping cream in my fridge that I had had for a while. My husband was happy about that as he loves creamy sauces. I really appreciate that my husband appreciates my cooking! I plan to use the remainder of the whipping cream to top homemade chocolade vla with (Dutch Chocolate Pudding – www.approachingfood.com/chocolade-vla-how-to-clean-a-burnt-pot-without-scrubbing/ )
    - I got several lbs of butter for $2.99/lb, which is the best sale price you’ll ever find here. I can only buy 4 at a time, so I plan to go back and buy at least 8 more (along with the DH) and freeze it all. If I buy enough, I can make it last until the next time it goes on sale. Regular price is something like $5.99/lb. (Canada’s dairy prices are pretty high.)
    - I bought some dried fruit and nuts at a local bulk store and used a $3 off $10 digital coupon. I try to only buy from the bulk store when these coupons are available, and there are sales as well, to get the best price possible.
    - I made a batch of laundry detergent, using an old bar of soap that my husband was given many years ago that he never used. Now it’s laundry detergent, and there’s one less thing cluttering up my condo!

    Looking forwards to learning from everyone else, as always!

  • Athanasia May 07, 2018

    Margaret, you can keep milk-based dishes from burning/scorching in the pan to start with by first allowing an ice cube to melt in the bottom of you kettle, just sitting there at room temperature. Then add your ingredients and cook as usual.

  • Ellie's friend May 07, 2018

    great tip!

  • That's a great tip, Athanasia! I just have no patience for it. When I want pudding, I want it NOW! A burnt pot is a small price to pay rapid gratification. :)

  • Marcia R. May 08, 2018

    My mint is in the process of taking over about a quarter of my vegetable garden, so I would be happy to send you some in an envelope if you can't salvage some from your parents. I have mailed it before (though not to Canada) and it survived just fine. I put a damp paper towel and plastic wrap around it and my friend planted it right away when it arrived. I'm near Buffalo NY so it wouldn't have too far to go--just e-mail me if you need some.

  • That's so sweet of you Marcia! I'm pretty sure plants aren't allowed to cross the border, but I really, really appreciate your offer! Thank you so much! I think that mint just doesn't like growing on my balcony. But I'll try again this year with a survivor of my parent's garden. :)

  • Marcia R. May 11, 2018

    I suspected as much. We go back and forth a fair amount and plants and certain fruits are big on the no-no list. Right now we let our passports expire (not on purpose) so we need to remember to go get an enhanced license pretty soon or we'll be confined to the US OF A all summer!

  • Athanasia May 12, 2018


  • momsav May 09, 2018

    I make the arancini in the oven. Sometimes, it blows a side out but it’s always a hit here, too. I always make extra for freezing or extra meals. It’s kind of messy to work with so I may as well make more!

  • Tammy May 06, 2018

    Congratulations on your baby!

    We ate all meals at home or picnicked when going somewhere. Shower is in so I am enjoying showers now. Husband is helping me cook. Dishes are easy with a dishwasher now.

    Not purchasing anything other than a bit of food and toilet paper.
    Enjoyed a picnic with grandchildren at park instead of McDonalds, Kids were happy.
    Thinking of things we can do at home, probably online to earn money.
    Family gave us some vegetable plants they didn't want. We will plant that.
    Son fixed our computers for us and put in extra Ram for early Mother's Day present!
    Enjoying doing things around the house.
    Writing a list of things we need to do and doing them all in one trip to town.
    Enjoying the sunny days and cooler air in evening. Opening windows when it is cool and closing them when it is hot. Enjoying the fresh air.
    Looking up recipes online to use up food we have on hand. Using all leftovers. My husband is entirely on board with being Frugal. So glad for that.
    One set of parents had us over for Lasagna and the other for Steak. Enjoyed both very much! Hadn't had either in a long time.

  • Lorna May 06, 2018

    Brandy I am sorry to hear about the complications and hoping that you are able to get some relief from the support wrap you purchased until your diastasis heals. It sounds like you have got some sound advice to suit your situation on breast feeding and it was money well spent. Congratulations on the new baby boy and I will pray for your fast healing :). We are not on Facebook so didn't know it was a boy until you put it here.

    Finances, earnings and internet listings -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 25.20 % of the way there.
    - Listed 30 homemade and saved seed items on the eBay using a free listing promotion saving $49.50 on usual listing fees.
    - Made $21.21 from the sale of some saved seeds and a homemade bread bag which I downloaded to recoup money in our pantry stocking budget after a large stock up in February.

    Gifts and blessings -
    - Received a bag of lemons from a friend who had too many on her tree saving $9.18 over purchasing them.

    Household organisation -
    - DH and I sorted out the baskets in the vegetable freezer and put like vegetables with like and sorted them out by date putting the oldest at the front of each freezer basket. It is amazing what a mess a freezer can get into and we found we still do have homegrown diced capsicums in there :o .

    Purchases -
    - Purchased a roasted chicken on special saving $4.15 along with some hot chips and some sarsaparilla from home to the park to celebrate our 5th temple sealing wedding anniversary and my birthday.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 1.682kg or 5 jars of orange and lemon marmalade from free lemons and oranges purchased on discount saving $22.41 over purchasing an equivalent no preservative brand in the supermarket.
    - Made 3 bags of lemonade concentrate from free lemons and free honey we get from our apiarist friend who has hives on our property. This will be enough to make 9lts of lemonade when we get into hotter weather.

    In the gardens -
    - DH put some cow and horse manure into the empty flower bed and plowed it in. This is now ready for us to transplant some lilies into from the other side of the house.

    Hope everyone had a wonderfully frugal week :).

  • Beth May 07, 2018

    Lorna, do you have a blog? These things are so interesting.

  • Lorna May 07, 2018

    Beth thank you for your encouragement :) , but sadly I don't have a blog as I am so busy doing everyday things and caring for my husband.

    If you want any of the recipes from the above I am happy to provide them to you here. We slice our fruit in the food processor and make our jam in the bread making machine.

    Have a great week :) .

  • Athanasia May 12, 2018

    Lorna, happy birthday you you. You picnic sounds like it was a delicious double celebration. Happy anniversary to you and you husband and I wish you many many more years together.

  • Lorna May 13, 2018

    Thank you Athanasia :), we do indeed plan to have many more happy occasions together.

  • Jenny May 07, 2018

    Brandy, congratulations on your sweet new baby boy! I hope the back support you found at a bargain is very helpful. I wish I would have discovered those for my second baby, as I'm still struggling with lower back pain that has not gone away since my pregnancy with her, and she's 12.

    We, too, have been enjoying lovely weather here in the Missouri Ozarks. We've had some nice rain to settle the dust, although we were near to having some minor flooding so I was thankful it stopped just in time. We are able to have the doors and windows open without air or heat. I've been leaving lights off with the sunshine being bright enough for most rooms and hanging some laundry out on the clothesline and other laundry inside on the drying rack.

    I found a decent meat and frozen vegetable sale the last week of April so we are eating out of the pantry and freezer for the most part. I also stocked up on some baking and canned items at ALDI last week. I will only buy the usual items we run out of, such as milk and half-and-half for coffee, but will also check the sale flyers for stock up prices. We have an appointment scheduled in town on Wednesday so that's the day I will do errands and shopping. We live 30 miles from the big "shopping" town so it saves a lot of gas and wear and tear on the car to combine errands! My mom lives next door and we often go together to split the cost of the travel.

    My 12yo daughter will be out of school for the summer on Thursday. I love summer break! She will be in 7th grade, junior high here, next year, and she is already asking nearby family and neighbors if they have any work she can do over the summer so she can buy her own clothes. Our older daughter will be out of college this week also for the summer. She will be leaving the local junior college and heading off to the state university 4 hours away to finish her bachelor's degree. She has a full award so she will be getting through her entire degree without having had to pay anything for school (tuition, room, food and books all paid for) with sports and academic scholarships. That is a huge blessing, and we are very thankful!

    My husband has been doing a part-time carpentry job for the last year and picks up small jobs to compensate. He has a new small job starting this week so that will make him full-time hours again until this job is finished. I will plan ahead to get his lunches prepared so he will not eat out at fast food or the gas station. I will also plan ahead for snacks and lunches since our girls will be home during the day for the summer.

    My husband and I recently set a big goal to save enough to pour the concrete for the very large shop we want to build here on our property. We are 40 years old, and my husband's body is getting tired of construction! So we are planning to transition to rebuilding transmissions here at home. It will take $5000 for the concrete for the building so that's our goal by the end of July. Then we'll focus on the rest of the materials that are needed.

    I have picked up some subcontracting work for this month so I'm working a few more hours than usual. I'm a virtual assistant and work from home so it's no extra cost for me to pick up extra work. Winning! I'm also taking an online course I bought to learn how to use Pinterest for online businesses and bloggers and hope to have that offered as a new service by June 1. Any extra money I make is going straight towards the shop fund since it is not needed to meet our monthly budget obligations.

    Hoping everyone has a lovely week!

  • Miss Paula May 07, 2018

    Congratulations to your oldest daughter! The extra effort she put forth in her academic endeavors, as well as participation in extra-curricular sports, is paying off handsomely in tuition awards, isn't it? Keep up the good work!

  • Siri May 08, 2018

    You should be very proud of your daughters! I have 12 yrs old daughter (the eldest) and I know her holiday "plans"... aarrrrrgh! :)

  • Lynn May 10, 2018

    I don’t know if they have this as an option where you live. But here in San Diego you can get left over concrete for a big savings. We graded and formed. Called the Concrete Company and told them we would like the leftovers from their jobs. You have to be ready to finish it. When my husband had a day off he would call them. It took a couple pours but saved us a lot of money.

  • Tanja May 07, 2018

    Hay Brandy, congratulations on your new baby boy. Always surpriced how you just pick up your live after having a new baby! I find it strange that you baby does not have a name yet. In the Netherlands we know the name long before the child is born, and now a days they even know if it is a boy or a girl, wich to me is a pity. I remember the surprice if it where to be a boy or a girl. We have 2 boys and a girl, I would have loved to have 4 childeren but my husband said that is not practical ( wich mother thinks about that?) we have only 4 bedrooms and then we need a bigger car(.......who cares....you can sleep with 2 on a bedroom and he always wanted a little van. ) But raising a family is something you do together....,so 3 kids is was. (and still feeling blessed with my family)
    Here are some of my frugal accomplishments.
    The birthdayparty (of 3 of the family) we hosted ourselves, turned out fine, though the weather was bad. Lots of rain and 10 Dg celcius. We had partytents and we have a veranda with a woodstove ( and borrowed a terrasheater from somebody). You needed your coat but then it was okay. Now we have enough leftover bbq meat for ourselves to bbq a few times. And not needing to buy soft drinks and beer for the coming weeks
    I bought parsley and oregano plants to harvest this summer and also seeded basil. Seeding a lot in the veg.garden. Green beans, carrots, beets, mais, cabbage 4 divered species, cucumbers and more...! Knitted socks for somebody I know. And stil knitting socks.
    I cannot think of more accomplishment as cooking from scratsh, line dry al washing and riding our bikes to school and work is normal in our household.
    Greetings From the Netherlands.

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