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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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  • Rhonda A. May 12, 2018

    Melissa, try looking up the android boxes on Amazon. They essentially turn your TV into a computer and allow you to stream just about any show or movie available, including current ones (no waiting for the current season to show up on Netflix...just watch the next day after it airs). The cost for the box is only a 1 time fee to buy the box (no monthly fees) and there are YouTube videos that will help you with installation, how to use it, etc. The fancy remote controls are not necessary...a cheap wireless mouse works great! If someone in your family is good with computers, they can help you out. It uses your high speed internet, so as long as you have that (which your husband wants for gaming anyways), you're fine! We learned about this device from our computer guy and LOVE IT! Of course, another option is to connect a laptop to the TV and use that for streaming. Many of the streaming sites are free to download. Not sure how to do that myself, but I'm sure there are YouTube videos for that as well. I highly encourage you or your husband to do some research into this idea. It may save you quite a bit of money!!!

  • Mable May 09, 2018

    If you need another British fix, you can try a month of Brit Box for free. I didn't like it as much as Acorn, but it had some shows Acorn did not. The costume drama on Tutankamin (I know I am misspelling it but I am too lazy to look it up) was very nice.

  • Krissy in Sacramento May 09, 2018

    Mable, was it EGYPT? We watched that on Netflix and it was really good. I especially liked the episodes about the discovery and translation of the Rosetta Stone.

  • Athanasia May 10, 2018

    Melissa, your life sounds so busy. I am glad to hear your son and his girlfriend are doing well and healing.

  • Candy Brisendine May 08, 2018

    I quit using our credit card to buy groceries and switched to shopping at Aldi instead of our local big box chain grocery store. I'd think that if I didn't use all my allotted cash this week I could save it but I learned that any extra money at the end of the week had to be taken from the grocery/gas/doctor envelope to save or I'd just spend it. Out of sight out of mind works very well with the household money.

    Congratulations Brandy!

  • Lisa from Indiana May 08, 2018

    I'm not sure of the validity of this, but I just read yesterday that primitive tribes ate quinoa to help increase their milk supply.

  • Melonie K. May 08, 2018

    I'm a bit behind on posting, but finally made it to get one going. Our big news was that two of us passed the ARRL Technician licensing exam and are now "ham" radio operators. Woohoo! Hubby joined the ARRL and got a handful of freebies. I didn't quite make it this time, so I've downloaded free resources to get through the next test successfully.

    We were also able to break the $100 mark on cash back on Ibotta - a decent chunk to put at the principal of the car note soon! YAY!

    Hope everyone has a good week!


  • Juls Owings May 09, 2018

    Congrats Melonie K. May 08, 2018
    My Hubby has been a HAM radio operator for decades. I know those tests are not easy.

  • Laurie in AZ May 08, 2018

    Brandy, congratulations on the new addition to your family! I can't wait to hear what you name him!

    I don't have too many frugal things this week, as we spent 4 days in Mexico with 2 other couples, but here are mine:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Worked 16 hours contract work and took my lunch the days I went in.
    • Kept the air conditioning as warm as I could stand it and used ceiling fans as often as I could.
    • Ate in most of the week except for Trivia night, where I used a $30 gift certificate we had won.
    • Paid a couple of bills online.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates on items I was purchasing anyway.
    • Since I saw my Dad on Saturday and my sister helped with the errands he needed done, I didn’t go out to his place on Wednesday, so I saved on gas and the cost of his lunch.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. May 08, 2018

    Welcome to Little Baby Simper! I'm hoping Mama can get some well-deserved rest. And how nice it will be for Octavius to have a little brother to pal around with. :)

    Can't wait to see pictures!

    Blessings to your whole family.

  • Marcia R. May 08, 2018

    I managed a couple frugal things in an otherwise expensive week. My husband supplied a large dental bill and we paid in advance for a summer trip we're planning. My granddaughter broke the screen on her computer---well, her cat managed to help it fall and get broken---and she needed it for work so charged it to our joint account (mine & hers) because she was certain her insurance would cover it. It did not, despite her utmost efforts in that direction. So I'll be paying that bill for the moment at least. We ate all meals at home although one included purchased subs. (We shared one.) I did a few surveys and won a $10 Amazon gc for one of them. I bought two sets of towels at Land's End using their % off days, getting them for 50% of the regular price. I was worried about the color which looked very different between the catalog and the online photo, but they came and are exactly the color I wanted! I will wash them and use them a couple times before deciding if I want to order two more sets. I might just get out some other ones I already have that I'm less fond of and try using them for a while and see if I can learn to like them. Spring has finally arrived here, the trees are starting to get leaves, and all my spring flowers have bloomed almost at one time, from daffodils to tulips, at least. I planted three new alstromaria (will be shrubs, now are just roots) and have 5 columbines to add to the north side of the house as soon as I have time. Some beautiful days have been spent taking care of my husband--our fourth doctor appointment today finally yielded a diagnosis---shingles along the right side of his head to the very top. The diagnosis was complicated by only ONE blister breaking out, instead of the normal rash all along the nerve. It was one of the diagnoses we considered but were unsure of until today. He finally has (his third prescription) something that should work to relieve the pain! It will make him sleepy--which is already happening as he appears to be asleep and still chewing gum in his recliner at this exact moment! I've never seen anyone do both at the same time before.
    And my step-grandaughter in law should be having her baby by C-section at any moment. She went in to be induced yesterday (10 days overdue) and today they discovered a kidney infection and stones. They had to get some antibiotics in to her before the C-section could be done. She will be happy to have the baby but not so much the kidney stones!! Her 4th child and first C-section. Spring is time for babies everywhere.

  • Lilli May 08, 2018

    Brandy, sugar cookie told me tonight that she was positive that Octavius had a brother named Magnanimous. I asked her how she knew that and she said she watched them in a movie. He will be a super baby brother !

  • Becky May 09, 2018

    That's hilarious! Kids sure think of the funniest things sometimes. What would be even funnier is if the new baby's name was really Magnanimous. Guess we will all find out before long:)

  • Jo May 09, 2018

    Another boy, how wonderful! We are looking forward to another grandchild this coming fall. Our eldest unfortunately miscarried her last pregnancy around Christmas time, but is pregnant again and so far, all is going very well. They don't want to know the sex of their children before birth, making them a rarity in their crowd of friends and family. They also refuse to tell anyone what names they are considering, but they do have names picked out for a boy and a girl by the time of the birth.
    I planted our garden this past weekend, and we have had no rain since then, plus unusually high temperatures. I've been watering it -- it's a good thing we are on a well. I hope we can get a decent crop out of this. All the plants were started from seed, some of which was saved seed, so that saved us some money. I have been steadily trench composting for a year in the area that we planned to use for garden, plus I added worm castings from my worm farm made out of old buckets.
    It's just over a month before my mission trip, and I have most of the stuff I need gathered up to pack. I'll still need a few things, such as baby wipes -- most bathrooms won't be supplied with toilet paper, so we carry some sort of paper or wipes with us. I always watch for good sales on such things, as the time approaches.
    I repaired a couple of seams in a top before they actually separated. It's a lot easier to fix when the threads first start to go.
    I found some items at the Walmart in the town where I work are actually cheaper than in the Walmart where I live.
    I cooked a chicken in the crock pot. I'll make chicken salad and chicken soup from it. I probably will have enough left over to make a pot pie for two. I carved the breast meat off before I cooked it -- I use that meat to make my husband's favorite fried chicken tenders.
    With the dry weather, I've been able to hang out all of my laundry.
    I have taken my lunch to work every day for so long, I can't remember the last time I didn't.
    Congratulations on getting so much done with a new baby, and congratulations on successful nursing. I know that is a great relief!

  • * We ate most meals at home. I sent my husband's lunches with him every day.
    * We helped friends who were moving. My husband put in many hours of painting, and I headed up the cleaning crew. For the cleaning portion, I used our very economical cleaner. Most people there were amazed at how well it cleaned the floors, windows, and bathrooms.
    * I got a great deal on kale, spinach, and tomatoes at the co-op and used them to bring a salad to a potluck. My main course was also made from what I had on hand at home.
    * I purchased a big bag of flour at a decent discount to save me trips to the grocery store. My husband loves bread, and when I bring meals to clients or friends, I like to include a loaf of homemade bread.
    * I gladly kept windows open and blinds partially shut to keep the house cool.
    * I thankfully accepted an excellent hair cut at a very reasonable price (and tipped her well).

  • Leigh Ann May 09, 2018

    My mom brought me some strawberries on sale, which we enjoyed. I got a couple of free snacks from work, for teacher appreciation day. Shared one with my dad. I bought a spiral ham for half off at Aldi, which I froze to use later this summer. I got a raincheck for the eggs on sale when the store was out. Once I finally got said eggs, my younger son somehow pulled them down out of the refrigerator when reaching for something. About one third cracked, but I managed to save as much as I could. Stocked up on salsa and tortillas at good prices. Ate pancakes at home when I really wanted to take the kids to get fast food. Bought gas at the cheaper gas station when I was nearby. Shared some baby formula samples with a friend with a new baby. Have been gathering up things for the consignment store and will start selling more on facebook and ebay when school gets out for the summer.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada May 09, 2018

    I bought 4 packages of Black Diamond cheese slices for half price. I also got three bunches of bananas for 49 cents each bunch (usually it would be about $2 per bunch or more). Today I went to the greenhouse I have known since I was a child. After being in business for 100 years, it has been sold to a developer. I bought 12 packages of seeds at half price and the geraniums, petunias, lobelia also at half price. I will have enough to plant 8 hanging baskets and several pots. I need a few fuchsias for the baskets. I did not go to the perennial section as I felt that I had no more money to spend and didn't need any more since I had one to the flat sale for 3 years. That is when I got a flat of 8 itoh peonies for $16.00. and that year I bought 22 Itoh peonies (for $2 each). Today they were $35 each at half price. So I was so glad of my previous purchases with unbeatable bargains and lament that there will be no future flat sales. I would have liked to get a few honeysuckles. The hummingbirds love them. My neighbor saw the first hummingbird two days ago. I put up my feeder yesterday. Today it is down by a quarter. i bought some scarlet runner bean seeds today as the hummingbirds love the red blooms.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada May 09, 2018


    The photo of your baby on instagram is beautiful. What a lovely baby! Ann

  • Flora Kelley May 09, 2018

    Congratulations on your baby boy. My Granddaughter's birthday is also on April 27. She was 14. They grow up so fast. I enjoy reading your blog and all the comments people leave about how they have been frugal for the week. I already do a lot of the things they suggest, but I'm always on the lookout for something new. Since the weather finally got better I have been hanging out clothes, and opening windows. Hopefully my electric bill will go down since the furnace won't be used much now.

  • Athanasia May 10, 2018

    I am looking forward to seeing the baby picture and learning the name. Our new grandchildren, twins Daniel and Miriam are now one month old and they are doing wonderfully. My mother lives with my daughter's family, and while she does not feel comfortable carrying them around as she is worried about falling, she is an extra pair or hands and an extra shoulder to rock and occupy one while the other is being tended. I go there (next door) every day as needed and went along to the baby checkups and we did a joint trip to the grocery store. Big sister Dora is now 2 1/2 and is pleased as punch with "her" babies.

    We did all the usual of cooking at home, using up the leftovers, washing out ziplocs, composting, recycling, hanging up some clothes to dry. Our snow has all melted, but a week after the snowstorm it started raining and raining, then we had 3 days of sun, then more rain. Everything has turned green, the trees budded out, my daffodils are blooming and so are some of the tulips. The stores have all optimistically opened up and put out their annual flower/vegetable displays. Last frost is 5-15 here. It is sunny and 61 now. We may get into the 70's even next week.

    We have been moving the potted herbs and the lemon tree and the geraniums out onto the patio during the day when warm enough. The patio raised bed and pots have been planted with radishes, lettuce and spinach. I will wait another couple weeks for the tomato plants and pepper. They are on the south-east side of the house so they get lots of sun. In our large gardens, the rhubarb and asparagus are coming up. My husband brought in one meal of asparagus already. Our fields dried enough as we have sandy soil so we have put in the peas. A few more days of warm up and they will plant more seeds...beets, carrots, onion sets. Our tenants are helping so much and are handling all the seedlings growing in the makeshift greenhouse. Eliana went back to work at the egg farm just 1/2 day each week so I come over and my mother and I watch the babies Thursday afternoons (right now! They are sleeping and so cute.)

    Rummage sales are starting to appear here and there. I am looking for little kids ride-on toys to put in the garage and use when the grandchildren are here. Our drive is gravel but we have a very large garage apron and patio that they can play on. Anything I had like that from my own children was too worn out by the end.

    Oops, I should have knocked on wood or something...I hear babies. To be continued.

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Guest October 23, 2018

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