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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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  • Isabella May 07, 2018

    Oh my, you are right back in the saddle! It seems you do not rest much after giving birth. Congratulations on the birth of your little guy!

  • I was in bed for almost a week! My husband and daughter cooked, we were given meals three days that provided leftovers for lunches and other dinners, my husband did the haircuts and got the fridge, my son unloaded and moved items from one fridge and freezer to the other, and the same son picked the mulberries. I only ran a couple of short errands at the end of the week (stores are only 5-7 minutes from home) and ventured as far as the backyard to cut flowers for a few minutes over two mornings to cut flowers.

  • Loyda May 07, 2018

    I cut my Husbands hair and like you it was 2 days of cooler weather and no AC and patio doors open! I have been educating myself on YT on how to shop for almost free at CVS for non food items.. I am doing pretty good at and now blessing my Daughter and her family with some items too. (they live in Oregon and its very expensive there). I learned to make pita bread instead of buying them and was very pleased at how well they turned out. Took my golf cart to pilates class last week instead of driving so I was saving on gas. I also was blessed with a sourdough starter from a snowbird from Idaho. He gave me a few pointers and last week I made pancakes with it. They came out so fluffy! Next I tried biscuits.. Very light ! I also regularly make homemade tortillas and said why not try with the sourdough? They came out yummy ! You can see the photos on IG as Living Planning Doing! Glad to hear your milk came in and on a side note, my DD who just had her baby in October was having problems with him not gaining weight.. Come to find out she has NO fat in her milk whatsoever.. She had to give him formula to plump the little guy up.

  • tracy criswell May 07, 2018

    Congratulations on your new addition! Enjoy this time. As you know, they grow up too fast.

  • Becky May 07, 2018

    It sounds like you are recovering from the baby's birth. I'm glad to hear you did not cook last week. Go hubby! I'm so happy for you, that you have a new little one to cuddle and hold.

    This past week, I got a lot of free things from the Safeway Monopoly game. The checkers were giving out stacks of the pieces to everyone, and on Saturday night, a woman gave my daughter a HUGE amount of tickets because she enjoys playing the game. So, yesterday, I redeemed the coupons I had been saving and received aspirin, tomato sauce, French bread, gravy mixes (which they were out of and I was told I could have any other gravy mix I wanted, so I got gluten-free), bagels, sour cream, yogurt, animal crackers, a can of corn, and have a Redbox movie coupon. I also had a coupon loaded to my app for a free meatless entree, which I got for my daughter. It was normally $4.99. I hope to go redeem the coupons I got yesterday tonight or tomorrow and get one more stack of them before the game is over.

    I also got my Fred Meyers freebies from the past 2 weeks and inexpensive items. One thing I bought there was 49c/package tortillas. I bought 5 packages and will use them in an upcoming brunch I'm helping with. In each store, I purchased a few things I needed anyway, or to store if they were an exceptional deal.

    I found a ham for $1.29/lb and got the items my niece and nephew will eat, since they were spending the weekend. I made the chicken-rice soup my nephew likes.

    My husband took my daughter's senior pictures. A very few of the 200 or so he took are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/weekly-update-and-saving-money-may-6-2018/
    There is some editing to do on a few, plus a lot of sorting and choosing. So many turned out well. I'm delighted. He has a knack for photography and we love that he can do it. He had broken his lens a while back, and was able to find a refurbished one on the internet for a good price, rather than purchasing a new one.

    I worked in my garden for 4-1/2 hours Saturday morning. There is still a lot to do, but it was amazing that I got that much time in one day to be out there. Boy was I sore!

    I gave my sister and my aunt tomato plants that I had grown in the greenhouse. I planted 18 of them in my garden, too. Tomorrow, I plan to plant a couple at my sister's house in pots on her deck. I still have a few left, but think I've found homes for most of them. I still need to plant my pear tomato and my chocolate cherry plants, peppers, and a lot of seeds.

    I have worked many, many extra hours this past week.

    I bought 2 new sets of sheets with 40% off the clearance price. One set is twin, and one set is King for us. Mine are in very bad shape, as was the pair on the kid's bed who gets it. I have a yard sale list, and hope to pick up at least 1 more twin set there. But, since I only paid about $8 for the brand-new twin set, I wonder if I will beat that by much, even at a yard sale. I would have bought 2 twin sets, but they didn't have 2 in twin size, and I only needed 1 in King size.

    I cooked many items this week, including pulled pork, chicken-rice soup, pizza, sandwiches, and more.

  • Athanasia May 09, 2018

    Becky, the pictures of your daughter are very, very nice.

  • Becky May 09, 2018

    Thank you. There are about 195 more to choose from, but those are some of the ones that caught my eyes right away. I need to get on that project, so we can have the invitations to her party made up and handed up. Almost every day, we are getting one in the mail from other seniors. It's time!

  • Samantha May 07, 2018

    Congratulations on your new little one! Your positive spirit and industriousness are an inspiration, and I so enjoy your writing each week. I hope you have a fast recovery, and get the rest you deserve.

    *I enjoyed many hours in the garden preparing seeds and transplanting seedlings. This year we are again growing: fava beans, Edamame, bok choy, kale, lettuce, lemon balm, mint and spearmint, lavender, blueberries, apples, spinach, peaches, onions, leeks, garlic, radishes, snap peas, asparagus, potatoes, chamomile, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries in our backyard in zone 5.
    *We had a garage sale for three hours last weekend that earned us a little over $100 which should allow us to get some needed items at other garage sales this summer.
    *I enjoyed two ebooks from the library including Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
    *I shopped a case lot sale at our local Safeway last week and for $30 I bought a 30pk case of paper towels, a case of black beans, a case of canned sweet corn, two large beef roasts, and canned artichoke. I also earned 42 monopoly tickets which allowed me to get 4 free aspirin bottles, 6 tomato sauces, 3 free bagels and I won $5. The clerk noted that I saved more money than I spent. It was nice to stock up and get the best prices I could. I never would have done this if it wasn’t for this site and making a price book!
    *i donated all our garage sale leftovers to the thrift shop for a tax receipt.
    *We had a terrible wind storm with winds at 70mph! It tore down a large juniper branch in our backyard and rather than hiring the job out (like my neighbor) I used a hand saw and loaded up the debris in our pickup for a run to the local yard waste center saving $280 (what my neighbor paid for his).

    All in all a frugal week. I do have a question for the group: does anyone have a frugal dishwasher detergent (powder or gel) that they buy or make? I have an old dishwasher and the great value brand at Walmart is no longer stocked where I live and they are out of stock online. Thank you for any ideas! Have a great week.

  • Sheena May 08, 2018


    I live in the UK and use the eco egg to wash fabric-really good value and good for the planet. They have brought out a dishwasher one on QVS here. Only reason I don’t have it is cost of p&p.

    I don’t know if you have ecoegg in the states but if you do ( and can find better p&p than I currently can) I think it is well worth buying. I may buy the dishwasher one soon and swallow the cost.



  • Samantha May 10, 2018

    Hi Sheena, I haven’t heard of the eco egg for a laundry detergent before. I am using up the last of my laundry stash and was going to try Brandy’s recipe and price it out. The appeal of a $22 eco egg for 3 years of use is significant and I think I’ll give it a try! Thank you for your input!

  • Athanasia May 09, 2018

    Samantha, we buy Hytron brand from our farm store. It works best with our well water, which is softened, and we use only 1/2 to 1/3 of the recommended amount. It comes in a large tub and we just keep refilling the smaller tub that we originally bought it in. I think we have used it about 15 years.

  • Samantha May 10, 2018

    Hi Athanasia, Thanks for this recommendation! I’m excited to try this, and I’m impressed by the price point. It will save me at least $50 a year and probably more if I use 1/2 the amount like you recommend. Thanks you so much!

  • Lilli May 07, 2018

    Brandy , I am so happy you shared the news about you and the baby. Naming children in our family was a huge to do. It almost caused riots. Mine were all named two weeks after delivery. Those were some of the hardest decisions I ever made. I can't wait to hear his name and anticipate it will be spectacular. I sent you an email. We managed a frugal week for the most part. I made a new price list and used it to buy our supplies for the month. Each item was purchased at salvage or at the lowest price possible. I have recently found my small alottment of spending money for the month wasn't lasting all month After checking all my bills, I came across several surprise , sneaky fees that were showing up in various places. 30.00 worth. I immediately cut those that I have control over. My budget is set in stone and to accommodate any price increases something has to be cut back . It is imperative that I stay on budget so I can build my savings for emergencies. I cashed in some Swagbucks and used some for gifts. Babies, graduation and Mothers day. It is always so nice to bless friends and family. Sugar cookie spent time searching for each perfect gift. We utilized free shipping where we could and packing supplies from home. I used brown Aldi's paper bags and package tape . Quite frugal . I shared a bag of food with a needy couple . I have started couponing for baby items for my son's bestfriend. The few pennies spent will alleviate the stress on him while he finishes college. I miscarried 13 times and truly believe there are only blessings in the addition of a child. Timing is off, but love abounds. I was blessed in an interesting way this week. My house sits on a 5 sided lot. The new neighbor put up a new fence down our shared property line. This is something I had planned on doing. That length was $500.00 worth. The remaining segment will cost me less than a hundred. I wish it was a privacy fence but I will take the blessing and be happy with it. Yesterday, I wanted to buy a loaf of bread but my local store was selling it for almost $6.00. I just refused to pay that. Today, while out at the local thrift store, a church van pulled up. The lady said their mission had way to much bread from the local bread company and to take anything I wanted. Oh my gosh, sugar cookie was so happy. She got raisin bread and hotdog buns. I got four lives of organic sprouted seeded bread. I will put them in the freezer and I was so happy. Blessings come from some strange places. The lady said the bread truck arrived on Fridays at 2 pm and to please come anytime even if we didn't need other food. I had an epic failure this week. While college girl was home, we went to visit my dad. We took her puppy with us. Puppy and I came home with 9 million fleas and bites. ( dad swore he never had been bitten) . Puppy and I have now had 4 flea baths. I sprayed my mattress and foundation. All bedding was washed and dried at laundry mat at high temperatures. Pillows too. Fogged bedroom tonight. Bought puppy 30.00 flea pill . If it would make me stop itching , I would have bought me one too. Those critters have ate me up. I must have 200 bite marks. I have tried every treatment I could Google. I may be allergic.I just refilled my prescriptions so since my visit was only 3 days ago, I can go back with no additional payment. Meanwhile, dad needs to not be stubborn and take care of his issue. I cannot go back over there. 10 people there that day and I was the only one bothered by them. It must be that I am extra sweet.

  • Jenifer May 08, 2018

    Lilli, what wonderful blessings!
    Sorry about all the bites.

  • Melissa V May 08, 2018

    These are actually from the last few weeks - I just haven't had much time to post since Spring is finally here!
    **We found 2 anchors for our project boat at a barn sale for 1/4 the price of new. I also found a vintage "Swing-a-way" jar opener which will prove useful - my hands have lost a lot of strength over the last year and are always stiff and sore. I also picked up a antique camping stove lighter. It wouldn't spark but I knew there had to be a way to replace the flint - nothing back then was made to be thrown away. My husband found the storage area on it and it still had one flint - he replaced it and now it works! I only paid a $1 and according to Ebay I could turn around and sell it for $25! We won't - we'll keep it for our bus RV.
    **Since the barn sale was near the HUGE greenhouses, we stopped there to pick up the veggie plants that hubby wanted. I lost a night of sleep though worrying about them freezing in the greenhouse over night - it was "severe clear" and got quite cold early in the night. The plants we bought were just fine - but all my started peppers and tomatoes were not :( so I replanted all of those that I still had seeds for. I now have in the greenhouse: tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, cantaloupe and multiple types of squashes and pumpkins, basil, oregano, cilantro, sage, lemon grass, rosemary and for fun one peanut plant (LOL) + sweet william, marigolds, zinnias and sunflowers as well. The peas have been moved outside and all the sprouted potatoes from the pantry are in the ground. I also planted carrots and radishes with seeds I already had.
    **In order to keep some heat in the greenhouse overnight, I collected juice and milk jugs, filled them with water and spray painted them black using paint I already had. Those now line the south wall and heat up nicely in the day and then release the heat slowly throughout the night.
    **I repaired my son's hammock chair - the fabric was beginning to rip out in the pressure spots. I also repaired a rip in my Jeep's seat cover.
    **I used paint I already had to repaint my sewing room shelves and moved a dresser no one was using into the room to use for more storage. I also painted my magazine holders with paint I already had to better match the room's color "scheme".
    **We used 2 coupons from our pet stores loyalty program to purchase the dog's and cat's food saving $15 + the dog food bag had a coupon on it for free 3 cans of their wet food which I added to their BoB for emergencies.
    **We bought 40# of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.19 a pound. I vac sealed it all but then had to make room in the freezer :) So I canned raspberry jam and cooked 2 whole chickens in the crockpot. I still have to make the strawberry jam. (I freeze berries in the summer when it is too hot to be running a canner in the house and then can during the fall, winter or spring months) We also picked up burger for $1.69 a pound and NY steaks for $4.99 a pound (had to buy the whole loin and then the butcher cut it however thick you wanted). The steaks will be for a couple special dinners with our parents. We also purchased 5 pounds of legs for .29 cents a pound - and they are BIG legs, not the really small ones they usually have!
    **I took a huge pile of stuff to Goodwill and got the receipt for a tax writeoff.
    **Due to increasing nerve issues in my arms (worse in left than right) I had an x-ray and then an MRI of my neck. I now know why it's happening and have started physical therapy to try and correct the muscle weakness which may be contributing to it and I wear splints on my hands/wrists at night which has helped tremendously. When doing the MRI they also found a nodule on my thyroid so I had an ultrasound for that - there is actually 6 nodules but they are nothing to worry about at this time. Unfortunately - like another poster said - I don't know how much longer I will be able to do my job as it is very physical with a lot of lifting and bending at a level that puts a pretty big strain on my neck and shoulder muscles. For now, we are going to try getting by on just his and my own disability checks to see if we can actually make it on just those. It will be tight but I know we have many areas we can cut back in (unfortunately, he won't cut cable as TV and internet gaming are his only "hobbies" :/ )
    **I picked up the black raspberry and blueberry bushes I wanted on sale.
    **I repaired my garden fence's top rail with 2 pieces of a pallet which meant I only had to buy 2 more pieces to finish the project.
    **I clipped all the dog's nails again which saves $30 over having a groomer or the vet do it.
    **I repaired a huge pile of dog "stuffies" and when my daughter went thru all her old stuff she gave them 2 more.
    **We went to the YMCA's annual "white elephant" sale and found a new drapery rod for over our new living room windows - Now I just need to make the drapes. We also found 2 leather chairs, planting pots, upholstery fabric for the boat and carpet for the boat. I also found 3 tank tops in colors to go under blouses I already own.
    **Our new windows were installed which should help with energy bills - the huge front one that our bigger Dane put her butt thru has already made a big difference in the road noise and we paid a bit more to get the slider side windows so we could get better airflow. The old window over the kitchen sink was warped so bad it no longer sealed and was only a single pane - again we paid a bit more for that one to be a crank out and we chose the direction for it to open based on where the wind normally comes from.
    **I put my big canning pots up for sale - I can no longer lift them (and neither can my husband) so I'll stick to smaller batch canning from now on. I will probably do the same with my pressure canners for the same reason. Dehydrating is much easier on my hands/wrists/arms and shoulders! I also will be putting my daughter's toys she didn't want up for sale and a bunch of items from my fabric stash. Unless the physical therapy helps my wrists hands and neck, I will also have to shutter my sewing business so most of the upholstery fabrics will need to go other than those for our personal needs.
    **Our 22 year old son was in a motorcycle accident with his girlfriend - someone pulled out right in front of him and he couldn't avoid her. She was given a ticket - thank goodness for the people who stopped. He has a broken kneecap in three places and a complete ACL tear as well on his left leg. His girlfriend landed on him and though she was very banged up, she is okay. It could have been soooo much worse. He is in an immobilizer brace for now and has to wait 3-4 weeks for the ACL repair surgery. His bike, that he just purchased in January, is totaled but he had good insurance which paid for the bike and their gear (they were wearing all their protective gear which saved them from more injuries and severe road rash). He is now having to drive my Jeep to work because his little car is a stick shift. We found a walker for him to use to get in and out of the shower at a garage sale for $5 and small rubber backed rug for him to hop onto after he gets out of the shower (he has already slipped and fallen once :/ ) He is also talking to a lawyer to get his co-pays and oop costs for the medical stuff covered. He is really annoyed that his summer is effectively ruined and that he'll have to take time off for surgery but very thankful as well that it wasn't much worse - it was a huge relief to him that his girlfriend is okay (she may be "the one" - we love her too)
    **Since I lost my heavy lifter for the summer, I had to get creative to move my duck coop. I used PVC pipe we already have as "rollers". It was a bit of work to get them under it each time (Had to use a 2x4 as a jack) but it rolled right across the pen perfectly and now I can start building the pond for them using materials I already have. The water will circulate thru 4 very large pots filled with lava rocks and cat-tails and rushes which should filter it and I am planning on having the pond discharge onto my raised beds whenever I have to drain it. Since ducks are so darn messy, I plan to build a deck around it using old decking from the kid's play-set to keep them from adding too much mud and rocks to the water.

    I can't wait to see the new baby photos and hear about his name! Congratulations :)

  • Samantha May 08, 2018

    Hi Melissa,
    Glad your son is ok- very scary! Where we live, I feel like traffic has gotten worse and I'm so disappointed when I look over at other drivers and see them staring down at their phones instead of driving safely.

    What kind of greenhouse do you have? We live in zone 5 and get heavy snow and wind but I would love a greenhouse!

  • Melissa V May 08, 2018

    I don't know the brand - we have not been able to find ANYTHING on it - not even a manufacturing code. My hubby surprised me with it - it was free on Craigslist and he and my MIL went and took it down and hauled it home for me. I am THRILLED as I have wanted one for years but could never justify the cost. It has hard plastic sides and roof that sets into a metal frame. I had to repair where someone weed whipped around the bottom and put a new piece of plexi-glass in one section (Gorilla tape held up thru the entire winter and is still holding strong!) We are also zone 5 but we put it in a fairly protected area so the recent high winds didn't harm it at all and it has a steep roof pitch so snow slides right off. This year is experimental but so far most things are doing well.

  • Samantha May 10, 2018

    I’m so glad to hear that you’ve had great results with it even in zone 5. That is so encouraging! I hope to have one soon for a reprieve in the winters and a jump on our short growing season. That hubby of yours sounds like a keeper! :D

  • Maxine May 08, 2018

    Melissa, my DH is an old retired guy and TV addict. We were paying about $120 month for satellite and it was considered sacred. I got him to try streaming right after Christmas, and he has more choices than he ever had with DirecTV. This is what we are doing:

    We bought a digital indoor/outdoor antenna for $50 and installed it on the satellite bracket. You can get antennas for as little as $20, but we live 50 miles from the towers. We get 13 channels--the local and educational channels, plus some add-ons--all for FREE.

    We subscribe to direcTV NOW's $35 plan and get all of the channels we got before except for sports. We don't watch sports. You can get all of the sports channels in the $45 package. direcTV NOW sent us a free Roku stick so we could stream.

    From time to time, we have accepted offers for free streaming. The only one we have kept is Netflix, which I believe is $10.99 month. I paid $4.99 month for a couple of months for Acorn TV, so I could get my Brit fix.

    We have Amazon Prime and have access to their video library, some of which is free. When I order something from Amazon, sometimes I am offered a $1 credit if I will accept slower shipping. I have $4 credit at the moment, in case DH wants to watch some of their paid programming (in 4-1/2 months, he has done this once).

    I can't believe how easy this is (the Roku remote is so simple even I can use it) or that we waited so long. My DS lives out in the sticks in Wyoming and they only have Netflix and Amazon Prime and they don't feel deprived at all. (He accepted a direcTV NOW offer to watch the Olympics, then canceled). I hope this helps someone else.

  • Melissa V May 09, 2018

    It isn't just TV - he needs high speed internet for gaming and it is bundled with our TV. Satellite isn't an option for gaming - the lag time makes it impossible to play the fast paced MMO games. He also watches mostly shows on the high end channels - HBO, Cinemax, Showtime etc. Honestly,with all his health scares/issues over the last 2+ years, he can keep his entertainment. There isn't much else to do if you are very limited in the amount of walking or standing you can do (nueropathy and a foot ulcer spot from diabetes that is currently healed but it wouldn't take much to open it up again) + he also has nueropathy in his hands and heart damage (caused by chemo).

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