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Frugal Accomplishments For The Fifth Week of June

Pavlova The Prudent Homemaker

Pavlova with peaches and blackberries from the garden (that I froze) and the strawberries I bought on sale and froze earlier this year. Recipe here.

I picked more apples from our tree and canned applesauce, using resuable canning lids. (I shared a few photos on Instagram).

I harvested Swiss chard, basil, garlic chives, chocolate mint, two colanders of tomatoes, three red noodle beans,  a single red pepper and a single green pepper, and a single zucchini from the garden.

I cut seedless Red Flame grapes and Thompson's Seedless green grapes from our grape vines.

I harvested Early Elberta peaches from our trees.

June Arrangment 3 The Prudent Homemaker

I keep looking for places to sow more seeds in the garden so as to harvest more from the space that we have. I really want more cucumbers, and I realize that in order to have the amount we're wanting, I need to plant even more seeds. I want to eat more fresh vegetables from the garden. I also want more flowers to harvest from the garden to make bouquets; right now it's so hot that most of the flowers have stopped blooming and those that do bloom burn to a crisp by noon. So, this past week, after evaluating my garden space, I sowed seeds for more zinnias (which like the heat and sun, even here!), Armenian cucumbers, parsley, basil, spaghetti squash, cosmos (a test; though these should be easy to grow I've never had them germinate in the past), Bells of Ireland (which seem to like a little shade in our climate and are growing 1/3 the height they should be but are not burning), miniature white pumpkins, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash. (I purchased a seed packet from Burpee for the Bells of Ireland, zinnias, and cosmos for $3.97 at Walmart; it's a nice combination for summer flowers in the same color range that should make for nice bouquets in purple, white, green and lavender. I shared a photo of the packet on Instagram.)

I collected warm-up water in the shower in a bucket each day and used it to water plants in the garden.

I took my eldest to the thrift store. (This is kind of tricky now that she and I are the same size and her style has become quite similar to mine! It kind of feels like a race to find things first in the racks!) She was needing a couple of new shirts. What she really wants is Peter-Pan collared shirts. She decided the least-expensive way to do that would be to start at the thrift store, so we went there. Using some fabric I had on hand, she drafted collars for an existing t-shirt. We then bought her two more t-shirts at the thrift store (for $2 each) and she drafted collars for both of those as well. One was a long-sleeved t-shirt, so she shortened the sleeves.

We also found her a beautiful cardigan for $3 (that I actually picked for myself, but it was too tight in the lower arms--but it fit Winter perfectly) and a dressy black dress ($6) while we were there.

I picked up three t-shirts for myself while there. I'm not really a t-shirt person, but I do need something in my new size to wear while working in the garden. These will work well in fall when I can wear them with jeans. One of them was a t-shirt for my alma mater, which was fun to find, as I haven't had a university t-shirt for 20 years! At $2, it was a much better buy than purchasing it new from the university bookstore!

Winter and I also collaborated on ideas for her to make some things for her secret sister for camp. Each of the young women was assigned a secret sister at camp. I put together a Pinterest board for her with ideas that she could make and things that she could print for this particular young woman. (The other girl likes chrysanthemums and bunnies and her favorite colors are maroon and plum). There was a spending limit assigned to each girl (no more than $10) but rather than buying anything, we used what we had on hand. We got really lucky on one thing as well; there were several questions about favorite candies, and one of them was one that my daughter also likes and had already bought for herself to take to camp (wintergreen Life Savers). My daughter just used some of the package that she had already bought (they are each individually wrapped) and gave some to the other girl. The other candies she listed were all chocolate, and as it's expected to be 105º at camp, chocolate would not be practical to bring anyway. Winter and her friends said their favorite things to receive were the notes from the secret sister, and one of her friends said she has kept all the notes from her secret sisters over the years. Their other friends agreed. 

Winter had met this particular girl last week when the girls were all together on a kayaking trip (the other girl, Victoria, is from another congregation). She found out that Victoria had just recently visited London.

With this knowledge, Winter made the following items for her with things we had on hand:

Secret Sister Gifts The Prudent Homemaker

 

A bookmark with a hand-drawn and painted chrysanthemum (using watercolor pencils)

A notecard (that she'll write a note in, of course) with a hand-painted chrysanthemum

A maroon felt chrysanthemum pin (using this tutorial)

A necklace using a Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower) charm that I already had and a camera charm

A tiny change purse from the London fabric I had leftover from making this apron, a zipper from my grandmother, and lined with fabric from a red sheet (that my mom gave me some time ago). Winter chose to pick the part that said "Victoria" right in the center, since the girl is named Victoria.

Wintergreen Life Savers in a paper bag that she cut down and cut with a fancy edger punch

 

My husband decided to cut his office phone at work. All of his agents use their cell phones and so does he, so there really isn't a need for an office phone. This saves us $50 a month in business expenses.

It got down to 77º in the mornings. Since I keep my air conditioners at 79º, I was able to open the house up from 5 to 7 each morning and turn off the air conditioning and air out the house.

I listened to free music on Pandora while I was sewing.

I listened to classical music on You Tube while I was cleaning the kitchen and canning.

I printed online coupons for some things I will buy in July.

 

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

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Comments

  • Cathi July 05, 2017

    Thanks Cheryl. I will have to look for that. I'm going to pass the info on to a friend too. His trailer gets really hot and this could help.

  • Laurie in AZ July 03, 2017

    Brandy, I loved your post! And I love this blog. I keep a list in my kitchen of all of my frugal accomplishments now and it makes me want to keep adding to it!

    On Thursday, I took flew to Iowa with my Dad to see my sister, who moved there last year. He grew up in Iowa, so he wanted to drive around his hometown and show my sister and I all his old haunts. Not frugal from my standpoint, as I had to pay for my own plane ticket and since we were driving around, most of our meals were eaten out and I had to pay for a hotel room on the day we drove there, but I feel like that is why I am frugal. To help cover for things like this. He is unable to travel alone and it makes me feel good to know what I did for him. Since the hotel we stayed at had a casino, we did some gambling. Not frugal, but again, as I am frugal most of the time, I don't feel guilty for being that way. And this time it paid off! I won $180!

    My accomplishments last week:

    * Refilled my dish soap dispenser. I dilute it 1:1 as it lasts much longer that way, as I tend to wash 1 pan at a time and don't make up a big sink of soapy water very often.
    * Used free hotel toiletries.
    * Kept the AC at higher temps and used ceiling fans.
    * Made soup from leftover scraps I had accumulated in the freezer soup container.
    * Ate leftovers for lunch.
    * Ate cinnamon toast for my afternoon snack 2 days. I always forget about this cheap treat.
    * Hubby ate his lunch at work all week.
    * Kept TV off most of the day.
    * Continued to eat up from my full freezer and kept up my freezer inventory spreadsheet so I knew I was eating the oldest items first.
    * Washed used ziplocs.
    * Bought a shirt and dress at 50% off.
    * Hubby made toast but forgot to eat it, so I grated it up and put it in my breadcrumbs jar.
    * Had some Hershey Kisses for a sweet treat after dinner. Had gotten those free from work and froze them.
    * Drank coffee and tea I had gotten free from work.
    * Found my clothesline and hung out 4 loads of laundry.
    * Turned lights off whenever possible.
    * Received a free calendar in the mail.
    * We had a pipe leak in our wall this week. Plumber came out and had to turn off the water to repair. Hubby went to McDonald's to get our lunch. We got 2 Big Macs for the price of 1 as I had a coupon.
    * I made a big pan of lasagna for my husband for while I was gone. We had it for dinner the night before I left and then he ate that for 4 more meals. He froze the rest. He left for Taiwan for a week for business, so while he is gone, I will eat the rest of it.
    * I am very proud of my Hubby's frugal achievement. He did not eat out while I was gone. He ate food out of the freezer. He wanted to grill some Italian Sausage and have a pasta side dish. Usually I have packets or boxes of that on hand, but didn't this time, so he took it upon himself to create a cream sauce for some vermicelli I had. He even substituted whole milk, since that is what we had, for the cream. He was really proud of himself and I am proud of him too!
    * Last week I had hung a sheet over a window in the kitchen that gets the afternoon sun. It worked, but not the best. Hubby hung up a foam type blanket instead. It works much better.
    * Brought my sister a jar of home canned fig jam as my hostess gift to her. I had gotten the figs free from a friend's tree. Also, I reused a cloth circle to put on top that my mother-in-law had saved from a gift jar I had given her that she had returned.

  • Cathy July 03, 2017

    I love Winter's gift. I'm in Ontario, Canada and we have received 6 inches of rain in the last ten days.
    I harvested and dryer basil, oregano, parsley, basil, sage and rosemary.
    I washed and hung clothes to dry on the clothes line and racks.
    We cleaned the basement and sold a few items
    I canceled net flicks as we don't have enough data to be watching it anyway.

    This week I need to try and find lower car and house insurance rates.

  • Marcia July 03, 2017

    Here we go, a bit late:

    Good shopping deals this week: We eat a lot of produce, and I don't garden
    snap peas $1 / bag
    brussels sprouts $1 / bag
    blueberries: $1/ 5 oz
    Cantaloupe: 97 cents each
    Strawberries: 97 cents/ lb
    mini peppers: 2.50/ lb (often can find for less, not this week)
    large head cauliflower: $1

    I also found an off brand of pasta at the 99 cent store, that is actually $1 for 2 lb. I hadn't noticed the 2 lb bags before. I bought a few.

    I made more pizza shells. Kid #2 is turning 5 this week, and we are having 2 families over for dinner. We are going to have "make your own pizza", so I've made 4 large pizza shells in the last 2 weekends. We also bought a 12-pack of soft pita breads, just the right size for the 9 kids in the 3 families. Will round it out with veggies and homemade hummus, and cupcakes. I found cake mixes for $1.

    Kid #2 got free lunch all week. The preschool was testing it out. Alas, they are not continuing. This was offset a bit by husband forgetting to bring home his lunch box. It's going to be pretty gross on Weds. And I know he didn't eat his veggies.

    Husband and kid #1 got a free lunch out after camp this week. I'd earned a free sail and lunch from some volunteer work I did last year. Neither my husband nor I wanted to sail, so we just used the lunch. I checked the menu, and didn't see anything I wanted, so I sent them. It was only enough for 2 anyway.

    Got free parking every day for camp drop off and pick up. Today, packed a lunch for kid #1 because he has morning camp and a different after noon camp. We ate in a park.

    Made homemade bread when we ran out of sandwich bread.

    Drank water all week.

    Watched TV on hulu and you tube.

    Went for a family walk

    Read a book from the little free library up the street.

    Stopped at a park to play after the family walk.

    Ate a lot of leftovers for lunch all week.

    Ate from the freezer /pantry. We are going on vacation at the end of the month, so I'm trying to "eat down" what we have instead of just buying more. I've finished a lot of stuff! You can tell I'm doing a lot of baking. We ran out of flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter all in the same week.

    Our budget is $133/ week. It is very rare for the people I know to actually have a budget at all. Some do, but don't talk about it. Anyway, at the end of the school year, I talked to a friend whose twins are in class with my older son. She mentioned her $150/week budget. It was awesome for us to be able to talk tips and tricks! She has a husband, two boys who are taller than me, and a brother who lives with them half time. Her kids take lunch to school too, so I am very impressed. We both waxed on about how awesome Sprouts is for good priced sale produce.

    My last 6 weeks have been on or under budget, which is great (and needed, as we are over for the year). But today's Costco run was $73. Some of the food will last a long time, but I hadn't really counted on how much extra it costs to feed my 11 year old over the summer, since he gets school lunch during the year.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. July 04, 2017

    Winter has a very lucky secret sister. Those gifts are so very thoughtful. I love how she paid special attention to the detail of having Victoria's name in a prominent location on the coin purse.

    Since you and Winter are both so talented in creating high quality gifts for very low cost to you, have you ever thought of opening an Etsy shop? I am not at all entrepreneurial, but it seems as if the wonderful things you both create would sell. Of course, there is the time involved, and I know you are very, very busy as it is.

    We continue to plug along. :)

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Hubs and I did NOT stop to get something to drink after dropping son off at church to leave for summer camp. (The check-in process took much longer than we'd been led to expect, the weather was unusually hot, and we were standing in a parking lot without shade. By the time the busses finally pulled out, we were sunburned and parched. It was soooo tempting to run through a drive through for something cold to drink, but we just came home and drank ice water instead. :p)

    * Made bread, yogurt, and veggie stock (used carrots that were past their prime and some veggie scraps from the freezer).

    * Harvested grapes, apples, cabbage, broccoli, purple pole beans, and a couple of little strawberries.

    * Mended a shirt.

    * Sewed a Scout patch on son's shirt. (There was a time when I would pay someone else to do this, but now I just do it.)

    * Paid bills online to save on postage (plus this gives me more control in terms of when the money leaves our interest-earning account; it's only a few pennies a month, but every little bit helps and we can avoid service fees as well).

    * It cooled down quite a bit towards the end of the week, so we were able to NOT run the AC for three (!) days. On days we do have to run it, we keep the thermostat set for 80F and run the ceiling fans.

    * We received a $5 check from our gas company for participating in a trial conservation program. We didn't lower our consumption enough to earn any additional money ($2.50 per therm reduced), but I didn't really expect to. Our usage is pretty low as it is, so it would be quite a challenge to lower it much more.

    * Our magnolia tree drops tons of leaves this time of year, so Hubs raked them up, ran the lawnmower over them, and used the mulch on the veggie garden beds.

    * Our local library was selling a bunch of DVDs and CDs for $1 each, so we bought a few (plus I had a coupon for $1 off, so one of them was free. It was a splurge, but a frugal-ish one.

    * Continue to use warm-up and rinse water on potted plants and the new roses (they're booming!).

    Happy 4th of July to all in the U.S. Have a great week, everyone.

  • momsav July 04, 2017

    Greetings!
    Brandy, I have to apologize for spelling your name wrong in recent posts. I seem to have decided that your name ends in i. Sorry about that! I have no idea why my brain does that.
    Winter did a fabulous job of picking out gifts for her secret sister. Her Mother has taught her well! Your whole family is so talented!
    My frugal tasks this week include talking my husband into trimming my hair. This may be only the second time I've been able to do that. He did a great job! I have shoulder length, curly hair so there's really no danger of messing it up.
    I washed in cold and hung most loads on the outdoors line. We had rain one wash day so that was put in the dryer. I even waited two extra days before washing.
    I exercised at home, walked the dog and walked with friends around the neighborhood. I love walking for my health!
    I saw my Dr. and had my teeth cleaned. I'm good to go for awhile.
    I planted more spinach and kale seeds. Our CSA covers these but I like a lot of spinach and discovered I kind of like kale. Plus, it's easy to grow and actually does grow here. Our nights are still in the 50's most days.
    I've listed and sold several things on eBay. I let everything lapse for a month so I've been trying to get back into a selling rhythm. It's so helpful for savings!
    Since I was driving to Marquette anyway, I picked up supplies for the store where I work. I used my credit card, got cash back and they pay me immediately. I love this cash back deal! I always ask if the store needs anything when I go that way. While there, I also hit up many garage sales, the real reason I was headed that way. I found some great stuff to sell on ebay.
    After I dried several medicinal herbs, I dropped a glass that shattered into a million pieces. Of. Course, the shards landed in the herbs that I'd left on the counter. So, I started over. I've got them steeping in oils, now.
    I blended garlic scapes, a bit of basil and butter and froze it all. It's so good!
    I made enough frosting to use on three batches of brownies. I'm so happy it's all gone! My husband is the brownie addict. I can walk away from them unless there's frosting involved. (I prefer cakes)
    We walked uptown for an ice cream treat at DQ. We used the last of a GC I bought months ago at a discount.
    I watered down the laundry soap, hand soap, (which is actually shampoo), and shampoo. The laundry soap didn't work for me; I like it full strength. I use less than recommended, though.
    That's it for me. I hope everyone has a fabulous week ahead!

  • Sheena July 05, 2017

    Hi

    Have you thought of using an ecoegg? I've used one for the last 5-6 years ( at least). I would never go back to detergent. It estimates a cost of £19.99 for 720 washes and from personal experience I'd say that is corrrect- it just never runs out.

  • momsav July 07, 2017

    Hi, Sheens,
    I'll check into that the next time I need laundry soap. I have a year or two supply so it may be awhile. I have not heard of that particular name. We must have something similar. Thanks!

  • Cindy in the South July 05, 2017

    I usually go thrift store shopping on the weekend of the 4th of July because most folks are out of town. I also go right after Christmas. I found one dress with a jacket that I can wear to church for $3.00, and a Sag Habor skirt suit ($8.00) I can wear to work, as well as another gray skirt suit ($4.00) that is appropriate for court. I have a like new pair of shoes for $6.00 and a purse for when my current one wears out for $3.00. I have already worn the dress and jacket twice! I made a chicken fried rice recipe and brought some to work for lunch, as well as having enough left over for supper for the rest of the week. I walked and stayed at a family member's cabin for free. I brought my own food and read books. It was delightful.

  • Athanasia July 05, 2017

    What a very nice collection of items you and Winter devised for the friendship exchange gift. Brandy, do you trellis your cucumbers to get more into a small space?

    Staying at home today. Watching nephew Henry for 2 hours while Susie has an appointment. He is 1 month old yesterday. He came asleep in his little car seat and he is still asleep. So cute. Daughter Olivia and missionary Patti are still gone but they return on Friday night so house will be back to normal.

    We did the usual of composting, recycling, washed out ziplocs, hung laundry to dry...well some, as we had multiple rains storms. Cooked from scratch. Mended torn sheet, put new elastic in a waistband, sewed a loose spot in a braided rug (originally made by my maternal grandma), washed/dried and sorted up the fabric I bought at the rummage sales. Pulled out the box of doll clothes saved, washed them up. Starting to set up a play area in the basement for the babies who are growing so fast.
    Husband took the FisherPrice kitchen outside and scrubbed it all and let sit in the sun. I washed up the foodstuffs and dishes and all the accessory stuff. Also brought up the Lego Duplos and rinsed and dried those. Looked through my patterns to see what I might want to sew.

    Finished harvesting the strawberries except for the everbearing section. Those were a newer addition to the plot so we will see how that goes this year. They promised to be cold hardy and produce throughout the summer. Picked the first of the zucchini and of the kohlrabi. Picked lots of greens. Spinach done. Picked various herbs and mint. We've picked savoy cabbages new to us this year. They are delicious and nice to have cabbage a bit earlier than the greens and reds. Corn has tripled in height over the last week...still so long to wait though! Raspberries will be ready by next week. All our new cold hardy blueberry plants made it through the winter. Picked more rhubarb.

    Over the last week made bread, pretzel rolls, snickerdoodles, rhubarb pie, angel food cake. With just the two of us we had mostly sandwiches, some chili from the freezer, refried beans from freezer for burritos, salad, coleslaw. We made waffles one day for breakfast then toasted two that night for dessert and put strawberries and vanilla icecream on them.

    Saturday was our extended family gathering on my mother's side, kind of a reunion. Our house is used for the food location etc as we are located closest to the pond. We did not have to do much but clear out the garage, set up our tables and chairs. Others brought tables chairs, food. Some of the guys came early and cooked up the brats, hot dogs and hamburgers then put them in the Nesco to stay hot. One of my aunts picked up the bun order and dropped that off. Every one brings dishes to pass. I made baked beans which is what I usually do, 2 large crockpots full, one just plain baked beans, the other the calico bean mix. Lots of swimming, games, food and more food then fireworks display from cousins and uncles.

  • I am trellising my cucumbers. I undid several rolls of concrete mesh that I had previously used as cages and my eldest son and I put them flat in the garden this year so that I can trellis more to get more from my space. I have cucumbers and beans on the trellis and I am trying to get squash to trellis (if it will grow!) I grew several rows of peas that way this past year and I'll do that again this next year. It's nice to get more out of the same space by growing vertically.

  • Tiffany July 05, 2017

    1. My last day of summer school my class had a potluck. My teacher had so much leftover food she sent me home with a bowl of pineapple, a bowl of mixed fruit, and 4 croissants. So yay for delicious food!

    2. I need a textbook my school didn't have through the library. I was able to rent it from Amazon for $22.00 with fress shipping both ways compared to $80 from the school!

    3. Had fourth of july at my parents and was sent home with half a watermelon, a big pie dish full of macaroni salad, leftover cake as it was my son's birthday. I am happy and so is my food budget!

    4. Was able to score free toothpaste from CVS as I rolled my extrabucks and then earned more!

    5. Was able to score a computer from my works surplus for a little over $100. It has a thin tower and large monitor. Not super cheap but I also was able to get windows 10 for free.

    *Bonus* Because I am a student I am able to get free counseling sessions and free gym membership. I have been using both. Strong body and strong mind=happy mom/student/employee.

  • Laura Schmit July 06, 2017

    This blog so much encourages me. I talk about it to anyone who listens! We are in IA and drove here instead of flying. My FIL is sending us home with a large container of potato salad, 4 gallon size bags of grilled chicken, pork and brats, 5 boxes of cereal, some spaghetti sauce, 2 hot dog bun packs and then my brother-in-law gave us 10 large cucumbers from his garden. I am more than happy to accept since we ate out twice and that balances the travel budget and grocery budget out. We also gratefully received 6 packets of smoked sausage. Staying with family here also saved us money and I am so grateful they insist on that. Our oldest is finishing up his last semester at college and his financial aid finally came through. Even though it would have been nice to get it all through college instead of paying ourselves, I am grateful that we don't have to fork over $5000 for the last semester. All in all, our vacation has been rather inexpensive as we budgeted for gas and brought along the snacks for this 19 hour drive!!

  • sue July 06, 2017

    Hello Frugal friends,
    I shopped the thrift stores 50% off sale and picked up an old fashioned canner with a rack for $7.49. I haven't canned anything since I was a kid! I want to teach my nieces how to make jelly and jam. They live on a 10 acre hobby farm with tons of berries growing wild.
    What is a good price for pint jars? I picked up 6 including rings & lids for $.50 each. Is that a good deal? Also does anyone have a beginner s recipe? Thanks.

  • Here are several recipes and links to more:

    http://theprudenthomemaker.com/cooking/recipes/canning-recipes

    Yes, that is a good deal on jars. Normal price with lids is about $0.75 a jar but used ones are about the same price. If the lids have been used you will need new lids. You'll also want a few tools--at least a funnel if you can.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC July 07, 2017

    If you're going to make jam using pectin, there are usually recipes included inside the box of pectin.

    Although not essential, I'd recommend looking for a jar lifter made for lifting canning jars out of the water. Also, there's a tool 'lid lifter' that has a magnet on the end.

  • Rhonda A. July 08, 2017

    You can also check out Pinterest for some amazing canning recipes, as well as great reference material and tutorials. Easy to find recipes designed for the beginner plus loads of ideas to branch out and try once you get going! The best way to tell if you've gotten a deal on canning jars is to look at the cost for brand new ones. If the used ones are less, than it's a great deal! Don't be afraid to ask family and friends if they have canning jars you could have if they are not using, too. It can be expensive when you first start canning and need to buy all the supplies. However, since much of it is reusable, the more you use it, the cheaper the investment becomes!

    Canning lids (not the screw rings) are not reusable, unless you buy tattler lids. I watch for discounted lids, boxes of pectin and other necessary canning supplies at the end of the canning season (late summer/early fall), when the stores are trying to get rid of their left over canning supplies. The pectin will have an expiration date on it, but it is usually good until the next year, when you will be canning again. I recommend storing it in a plastic zip-lock bag to keep moisture out (speaking from experience!).

  • Athanasia July 10, 2017

    Liquid pectin has a short shelf life so check the date before you buy. There are usually 2 packs in a box. Store the unused in the refrigerator.

  • TerriC July 07, 2017

    We had good news Saturday morning...My husband's job is safe for a bit longer. I've been working to get some things accomplished about the house and yard. Mostly trying to make do with what I have, of course. I spent the afternoon canning cranberry sauce, using berries I'd frozen. I haven't heard but one ping thus far. If it doesn't seal I'll freeze it all. It sure did taste good!
    https://bluehousejournal.blogspot.com/2017/07/living-frugally-and-well.html

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