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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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  • ElisaB May 10, 2018

    My husband and I had a downtown Seattle day last weekend. We took a couple different bus lines so your comment made me smile. Yes, there is some craziness going on! Just wanted to mention an idea about clothing - have you tried "Last Act" at Macy's? It is an area in the store where everything is marked down 75 to 80%. I have found some new high quality items at little more than thrift store prices.

  • Shelley May 07, 2018

    Brandi can't wait for pictures of the baby. Last week was less than frugal...washing machine $279 to fix... daughter fell off bike and I thought she broke her arm $160 ER visit. Other than that I was under budget. Hopefully this week will be more frugal. My husband and I are headed with the kids to Florida in two weeks. I talked him into a hotel half price over what he wanted. Also informed him I would be packing our breakfasts, lunch, and snacks. We are lucky to have a friend to get us into Universal Studios FREE!

  • Marybeth May 07, 2018

    Free tickets to Universal is a huge savings. Have a wonderful time.

  • Cindi May 07, 2018

    How wonderful that you were able to obtain another lilac at such a good price.
    I made 2 pints and 5 half-pints of strawberry jam from the strawberries I bought on sale last week, and a half gallon of strawberry ice cream.
    I cut arugula and lettuce from the green house for salads, and shared some with a friend.
    I baked sandwich bread and made granola. I turned some bread ends that were going stale into bread crumbs.
    I cut daffodils from the yard to display in the house.
    I used collected rainwater to water plants.
    I hung clothes out to dry.
    I gifted a friend who has been ill a jar of homemade strawberry jam and some lettuce, presented in a gift bag I had saved.
    When I was in town running errands, I really wanted to take my dirty car through the car wash. Instead I came home and washed it myself a couple of days later, saving $9.
    A wind storm last week brought down two trees in the park in our neighborhood. My husband obtained permission to cut the trees for firewood. Our goal this year is to not have to buy any firewood and so far we are well on our way to meeting that goal.

  • Juhli May 07, 2018

    Congratulations on your baby boy!
    This week I was especially happy that I read the fine print and am willing to slog through to find buried forms online. We switched to a different, cheaper medical plan for supplemental insurance (retired federal employee plans) now that we are on Medicare and in researching it I found that they reimburse up to $600 per person for Medicare costs. I sent in all the paper work and as of this week we have that $1200 in our account.
    This hardly seems frugal as it is turning out so tasty. I have both buttermilk and cream to use up after making a special chocolate cake to take to an elderly aunt & uncle. I did freeze the cream in ice cube tray portions but have come up with a buttermilk banana bread, buttermilk and cream spinach quiche and will also do buttermilk pancakes. I also learned to make enchilada sauce which came out delicious.
    We went to a free artist's studio open house and really enjoyed talking to various artists. Only brought home a free postcard.
    We had to replace a plant in our small patio bed and found one on sale.
    I agree to cat sit for a neighbor who will not let anyone do it for free. She was insistent so I will use the money to treat us.

  • Holly May 07, 2018

    Containers of soft cream cheese with a use by date of the day I shopped were a quarter each at Dollar Tree. I bought two. I thought I was going to be using them in cheesecake but then I read online that sometimes the soft cream cheese makes grainy cheesecakes. We used one-half of one container for cracker spread and felt spoiled.The next day, I doctored up a lemon bar mix by adding the rest of the soft cream cheese and four ounces of yoghurt instead of water. It was delicious and not the least bit grainy.

    My mom hates drinking cool coffee. Consequently, she wasted about 2/3 of every cup she made.
    Since she alsonneeds to up her fluid intake, tossing all those cups away was a problem for both her purse and her bloodstream. I turned Microsoft Bing points into Walmart gift cards into a 17-watt mug warmer. So far, so good. She might not drink more coffee but she will be spending much less on making it.

    We enjoyed pizza when one pizzeria had a $3 special.

  • Athanasia May 09, 2018

    Holly, same with me, I don't like lukewarm drinks that are supposed to be hot. But I like to drink my beverage over a bit of time, not all at once. I have a little plug in mug hot plate that works well for me at work. I have access to a microwave but it's not handy to my room. I wonder if that is what you bought her.

  • Kim May 07, 2018

    Congratulations on the new addition to your family, Brandy.

    My frugal accomplishments are as follows:

    - I sold two items on Ebay.

    - Renewed my subscription to Cooking Light with points earned through Pinecone Research. I also made two recipes from a previous CL magazine and liked them a lot.

    - Paid close attention to the weather and watered my vegetable garden seedlings when needed.

    - I cut a bouquet of azaleas from the garden and cut some lemon balm which I added to our dinner salad.

    After 19 years in the same house, we are preparing to put the house on the market. Our children are now raised and the time seems right to downsize. This has meant cleaning out many closets and attics. Hard to believe how much has been languishing behind those closed doors, yet there have been frugal lessons along the way ...

    - In one attic I found $7.75 in change.
    - Also found many pens, pencils and drawer organizers. I selected a few that I can use and donated the rest.
    - I have been staying home a lot to work on this project. When I do find myself in a store, I am only interested in buying necessities. After dealing with so much stuff at one time, I aim to live with much less in the next house.
    - I filled a box with unwanted cords and electronic items. Much of this was left by my sons. They no longer want it and I have no idea what half of it is. I recently learned that Staples will accept this type of stuff and then recycle it so, my husband delivered it there yesterday.
    - I have sold what I can at local consignment shops and donated or recycled as much as possible.

  • Maxine May 07, 2018

    Kim, we are in the process of downsizing. I know exactly what you are going through! We sold our house last fall and have been living in our vacation home while we have a new home built. I didn't have a yard sale...too much work, and the wrong time of year. I advertised stuff on craigslist and sold about $2,700 worth and donated the rest. If you read my other comment, you know about the new owners refusing to let me come back for plants I had set aside. Moral: anything you want that is out of the ordinary needs to be in writing!

  • Kim May 08, 2018

    Maxine, thank you for the tip about putting things in writing. I will bear that in mind as we go along with our move. Just today I was working in my perennial garden and thought it might be nice to take some of the plants with me. I was sorry to read about your experience with your plants.

  • Gardenpat May 09, 2018

    Maxine - if you look at it from the prospective buyer’s perspective, taking out perennial plants/ shrubs/ bushes (not annuals) is akin to removing lighting or othe “fixtures” in the house! Perennials are considered “built-ins” and may have been one of the features buyers were buying!
    If there are perennials you want, it’s better to remove what you want BEFORE you list it for sale or even BEFORE you have any sales photos taken!
    Sorry, but we’ve had sellers strip the fixtures and landscaping and it’s really disheartening.

  • Sarah in Maryland May 07, 2018

    Congratulations on your new baby boy. Our little guy (#8) is already 6 weeks old and time is just flying! I don't usually think of the frugality aspect of breastfeeding, but I can only imagine how much it would have cost to buy formula for all my children. Thankfully, I don't have to work as hard at it as you do!
    We didn't accomplish anything exceptionally frugal this week....just normal things.
    I have been working on my children's clothing inventory so that I know exactly what we need (clothing, shoes, & outerwear) for the next couple of years. We have one thrift shop where most items are $0.50 or less and 2 others that each have $5 bag sales one week each month. I plan to go to each store once per month. Those prices are lower than garage sales in our area and less hectic with 8 children in tow.

  • Kim May 07, 2018

    Congrats to you and your family on the new baby boy!! So exciting.
    We went to the beach cabin this weekend to mow our lawn there. It was really over-grown but my husband got it cut and I weeded and spruced things up and it now looks so much better.
    While he was mowing, I went down to the local cafe to purchase 2 bowls of clam chowder for our lunch. I thought we deserved a treat after all the yard work. I was blown away as the woman in line ahead of me paid $70 for lunch for her and her husband. Nothing fancy- two orders of fish and chips, chowder and two beers. Wow! I left with nothing but my two bowls of chowder and took it home and my husband drank a coke from the fridge with his and I drank water.
    I am so happy to say I have a nice full pot of basil growing in my greenhouse now (started from seed). I can clip a bit at a time and use for meals as needed. I plan to start another pot of basil soon and hope to have enough to make pesto for the freezer for the winter.
    I bought ingredients to make my own weed killer for our yard and for our son's yard. Ingredients are vinegar, salt and Dawn dish soap. My son will use in his driveway and walkway and I will use for our driveway and front gravel path. This is very effective and only has to been done twice a year and keeps all weeds out. Much cheaper and environmentally safer than some commercial products.
    I have been watching some excellent gardening shows on Netflix.
    I had the cutest brown bunny right on my patio last evening but then he went into my planter and started eating away -darn Peter Rabbit had to be chased away.

  • Ellie's friend May 07, 2018

    could you please tell us the proportions of vinegar, salt and Dawn? great idea!

  • Marivene May 07, 2018

    Ellie’s Friend, you can make the weed killer with just straight vinegar & it will work, although adding a squirt of the dish soap will make it stick better. I never add the salt, because it is not good for the soil. Remember in the classics when Odysseus was judged as mad for sowing his fields with salt? The ancient Romans also salted the fields of those they conquered, to keep them from being able to grow food.

  • Ellie's friend May 07, 2018

    Hi Marivene,

    thanks a lot. really interesting about Romans salting the fields of their vanquished! Ann

  • Jess May 07, 2018

    I can't believe how productive you are after just having a baby!

    My Frugal Accomplishments include...
    ..making deer steak stir fry for a couple meals. The deer steak was from a deer I had killed last year. I used peppers and onions that I had frozen from the garden last year. All I had to use from the grocery store was a cup of rice, a dash of soy sauce, and a few seasonings. Made for a pretty cheap meal!
    ..Picked asparagus and rhubarb from the garden. Our rhubarb is doing exceptionally well. I have chopped up and frozen 8 cups, plus 4 cups that I used to make rhubarb dream bars. On top of that, I shared about that much again with my grandma. Not bad for it only being it's second year!
    ..Planted some items from seed, which was cheaper than buying transplants.
    ..Found a few mushrooms in the woods near our house. I will make them with supper tonight.
    ..bought some plants for the garden while they were on sale. A local farm store had 4 packs of plants on sale for 69 cents. I already had everything I needed for the garden, but I did buy some flowers for my pots. I also bought some petunias and marigolds to plant in the garden to deter bugs. I also bought basil and mint.
    ..cut some Lilacs from my grandma's bushes to enjoy indoors. She has 8 lilac bushes around her house. When they are in full bloom, you can smell them the minute you step out of the car. They are beautiful.
    ..did not go out to eat at all this weekend. We usually go once a weekend, but we skipped this weekend.
    ..skipped my weekly coffee treat last week.
    ..did not go to church this weekend, which saved us gas and the offering. But I honestly would've rather went to church. We haven't missed a Sunday since Jan 28th.
    ..paid our mortgage online saving a stamp, check, and envelope. We also paid extra towards the principal to reduce interest.
    ..asked my grandma to mend 4 shirts for me that had holes in them.
    ..made some extra money from my online store.
    ..ate lunch that was provided a work today for teacher appreciation week. The PTO served us soup today. Tomorrow they are bringing in pizza and Wednesday they are bringing donuts for breakfast. Also on Wednesday, our Board of Education is grilling pork chops for teachers. I am taking a personal day Friday to watch my sister graduate with her Masters Degree, so I will only have to come up with lunch one day this week! :)

    I've only spent $8.13 on groceries so far this month. We are out of a few things, but I told my husband to make due. I wasn't going to be in town this weekend, so I didn't want to make a special trip. I have to go to town tomorrow evening, so I will get a few staples then. The local bulk food warehouse has a $10 off a $35 purchase coupon going on right now. So I might make a trip there to get a few things. You can't really go there with a list because you never really know what they are going to have, but you can find some great deals.

  • Mandy May 07, 2018

    Congratulations! I can't wait to see the post:)
    We ate all meals at home using ingredients we already have in the pantry, fridge, or freezer. I took my breakfast, snack, lunch and coffee to work with me and drank free water or coffee while at work. I made zucchini muffins and power balls for snacks this week, along with fresh fruit in the fridge. Our 6th wedding anniversary was last week so my husband made my favorite dinner, orange chicken, from scratch.

    I accepted a flash drive from a co worker filled with audiobooks. All i had to do was copy them onto my laptop and give her flash drive back. I also received 1 free audiobook from Audible.
    I downloaded a free kindle book
    I started seeds in my breezeway and planted onions, garlic chives, dill, and several varieties of flowers outside.
    I made more whipped body butter
    That is all I can remember. Have a great week!

  • Libby May 07, 2018

    Women’s bodies are just magical that we can grow babies and then make food for them. I’m so glad the pumping solution works for you Brandy. I’m thinking this must have the added benefit that other family members can give the baby his bottle.

    Here are my fruggles for the week:
    • Washed plastic bags to reuse
    • Used a 40% Michael’s coupon to purchase one paint marker to expand my collection
    • Returned an item to Walgreens that I didn’t need
    • Made swag goal x 5
    • Picked daffodils from my garden and left May Day posies on the doorsteps of five neighbors in the wee hours of the morning – no cost to me other than time….and some sleep.
    • Made lemon asparagus risotto, pad thai, rhubarb crisp, and black beans & rice
    • Used a $25 grocery store rewards gift card that I had earned to stock up on meat and chicken

  • Carla May 09, 2018

    How thoughtful of you for the May Day posies! My mother and I used to deliver a small treat to our neighbors for May Day. I was surprised my coworkers had never heard of the tradition.

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