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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

  • I forgot about taking cuttings from existing tomato plants! I am going to rooting a cutting this week from my Lemon Boy!

  • Maxine July 13, 2017

    Warning: This is a very politically incorrect post that the USDA says is hazardous to your health!

    I noticed that you were buying reusable canning lids. Last year I began experimenting with reusing regular canning lids. The USDA, bless their hearts, advise against it, but IT WORKS. I started with jam. I figured if any didn't seal, I could either refrigerate it and use it first, or process with a new lid. Every single jar sealed. Then I did it with applesauce which, like jam, I can with the open kettle method (hot product in hot jars with hot lids--no processing). I had planned to use new lids when I canned pears--which I process--but by this time, with a 100% success rate, I reused lids and, once again, they all sealed.

    Last week I was feeling foxy when I made cooked blueberry jam. I not only reused regular canning lids--all for the third time--but I reused several twist-off lids from jars I'd saved. They also sealed 100% (I counted the pops, LOL).

    Some caveats: I only use lids in good condition. The rubber or plastic seal needs to be perfect. (Last year I used some new, 40-year-old Bernardin lids that left a lot of seal on the top of the jar; I didn't save any of those lids). I usually open my jars with the flat end of a church key beer opener and sometimes it leaves a tiny dent in the metal part of the lid. As long as the ring is undamaged, I use them. Also, note that I only reuse lids on fruits, which are high in acid. If I were canning vegetables, I would use new lids and process them in the pressure canner. A friend of mine has lots of old-fashioned glass peanut butter jars that she has used and reused numerous times for pickles. The vinegar adds acidity to the low-acid cukes. The ring, which is part of the screw-on lid, is plastic and not easily damaged.

    Reusing lids is common in many countries that do not have the USDA to tell them not to.

    Speaking of cukes, if you've run out of space, you need to grow them on trellises. They don't have to be fancy--you can knock them together with scrap lumber. If you hinge two of them, you can grow on two sides and they fold for storage in the off-season.

    I am not gardening much anymore, therefore I am not canning much. I have my own strawberries, raspberries, apples and pears. We have just put our house up for sale and having a new one built. I plan to plant one each dwarf apple (Jonagold or Golden Delicious), dwarf Bartlett pear and dwarf Italian prune-plum. I have 3 full-size apple trees and two dwarf Bartletts, and I am overrun with fruit each year. Whatever possessed me?? I also plan to have a raised bed for strawberries and to plant my raspberries in the back of the flower border. Going to try asparagus in a raised bed. If anyone knows how much asparagus to plant, I'd love having the info.

  • Athanasia July 07, 2017

    Theresa, the potato soup sounds good. I put rosemary in it, but I'd say thyme would be tasty also. You must be much warmer there, zone 8a ( we are 4b). Do you have a problem with rain, as in not enough? I always seem to think of Texas as being a drier state.

  • Darcy July 02, 2017

    My husband and I were both on vacation this week and have tried to use our time productively and still have some fun.

    We have been going through all of our expenses with a fine tooth comb. The most recent one we have been able to cut is our cell phone bill. We switched providers and will be able to save about 50 dollars each month. That's a big frugal win :) In the future we will be looking at other insurance companies for our auto and home insurance. The premiums keep going up.

    We were able to go away for one night to the lake. This was the first time in 15 years that we have done this and we enjoyed it so much. I made a large french bread sandwich, drinks and chips to take with us. We went out to dinner once, went swimming, and watched the sun set.

    We found the best thrift store I have ever been to while we were away. The selection was so great that if I needed to I could use that store to furnish my whole house. The posted prices were great and they gave us a discount too! We bought a couple of coffee mugs, a basket, and a retro Pyrex bowl. Another great thing about the store is that they use their profits to support 20 disabled people.

    We harvested lettuce, cilantro, mint, and basil.

    I bought 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters that were 47 cents per pound. I cut the legs from the thighs and used the legs for chicken and dumplings. The thighs are in the freezer. Other food I made for the freezer was salmon patties, bean and quinoa patties, pizza dough, spaghetti sauce, muffins, English muffin bread, chicken stock, and lentil soup.

    I made a lemon cloud pie and chocolate pudding for our desserts.

    I made yogurt in the slow cooker.

    We went swimming one afternoon at our daughter and son-in-law's house with one of our grandsons.

    I am so thankful for this community of frugal and like-minded people. Even after 35 years of frugal living, I find new ways to reuse things and save money.

  • Athanasia July 07, 2017

    Darcy, lemon cloud pie sounds summery and delicious. Is it like a lemon meringue?

  • Darcy July 08, 2017

    Athanasia,
    No, it's a whipped cream pie recipe. It has a real nice lemon flavor and not too sweet. I've made it several times. You can find the recipe at
    http://www.dvo.com/recipe_pages/bake-off/Lemon_Cloud_Pie.php

  • Athanasia July 10, 2017

    Darcy, the pie was delicious. I made it Saturday night, for our Sunday lunch dessert, as I had all the ingredients on hand. We had 7 adults at lunch and it was gone! Thank you, a very nice cool summer pie.

  • Belinda Richardson July 02, 2017

    The gifts that your daughter made for Victoria at camp are just precious, Brandy. My daughter and I also went to the thrift store this week as Goodwill here had their first Saturday of the month 50% off sale. We found several things even though it was very crowded and people were buying like mad. I wrote about my frugal week on my blog. If you're interested, you can read about my frugal week here:

    http://savingmoneyinmytennesseemountainhome.blogspot.com/2017/06/final-frugal-week-of-june-2017.html

  • Lorna July 02, 2017

    Hello Brandy and all from Australia :) . I am glad both Winter and yourself were able to find clothing at such good prices and I love the items that Winter's has made for her secret Sister.

    We are in winter here and the temperatures are getting down to around -2 oc so we have been enjoying lighting the slow combustion fireplace and sitting in front of it to warm ourselves in our lounge chairs :D .

    Here is our frugal accomplishments -

    Financial -
    - Banked more money into and earned interest in our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us up to 19.67% of the way there.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Baked another double batch of queen drop coconut biscuits saving $16.50 over purchasing them in the shops.
    - Was blessed and said yes to a gift of 2.1kg of potatoes saving us $5.77 over purchasing the same amount in the supermarket.

    In the garden -
    - Picked 500g of cherry tomatoes, 900g of shelling peas and 781g of green and butter beans saving $33.44 over purchasing them.
    - Was able to pick spinach, 2 capsicum, a bunch of parsley, 2 turnips from the gardens and take a pumpkin from our storage also picked from the gardens to give a friend who is struggling financially.
    - Used vegetable steaming water to water in newly sprouted vegetable seedlings in the garden.
    - Used our saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water all the house paddock lawns without using any town water.

    Firewood savings -
    - We cut 1.86 cubic metres more hardwood ironbark firewood from a friends farm free of charge saving us $372.40 over purchasing it.

    Electricity savings -
    - Boiled our kettle, steamed vegetables and used our solar lanterns saving $14.17 in electricity this week alone.

    Craft and seed saving internet hobby shops -
    - Sold some more garden seeds making around another $10 this week.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead one and all :) .

  • AnnaInOhio July 02, 2017

    With starting a new job in a office setting instead of retail I needed more dress clothes than I have now so I have been shopping at the thrift store the past 2 weeks and have bought 16 new tops 1 pair of dress pants and 2 pairs of dress shoes spent about $40 for all of it. I am set now til winter. Working a 40 to 44 hour week we work Saturdays every other week its been a challenge with meal planning but have managed to cook all but 2 meals at home.

  • I love the secret sister packet!! It's beautiful and one of a kind. She's going to love it.

    Though I worry that we're getting late in the growing season, I decided to rescue some volunteer plants from our mulch pile this week. We'll see if they bare any fruit, but I think I'll get some cucumbers!

    Here are the ways we saved last week: http://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-week-83/

  • Sheena July 02, 2017

    Hi there

    Not a good week money wise. I mentioned my freezer failing last week- well it died this week. I'm a bit upset as I bought it and the fridge only 4 years ago...humph! Of course it was out of guarantee. My mother in law mentioned that one of our stores had a very good sale on - that had ended (urgh) but I looked on the website anyway ( as well as a few others of course). I found a combined fridge freezer (larder) bundle with £82 off if you bought both ( the fridge was dying too- I had to have an engineer out last year and it was still frosting up- a lot).

    Anyway- made myself feel better by getting free next day delivery, another £30 off using a code found online, cancelling appliance cover I had bought when the fridge played up last year ( you see why I am miffed- my mother's fridge lasted 20 years and 2 continents) and going through an avios site which means I earned extra points towards a ( slightly mythical but hopefully achievable) holiday I would love to go on with the 3 children in a few years ( I am a widow and holidays are a luxury but I can earn avois and cut costs that way- a very old friend has offered accommodation).

    I made the dog (rescue angel) a lot of food from what we did not eat in the freezer- googling frantically to make sure it is all safe for him. Luckily this is the freezer in the kitchen that I tend to keep all leftovers in. I saved money by feeding him this ( he loved it). I have another tiny freezer that I tend to throw reduced meat/ joints/ etc into so the loss is not as bad as it could be. I gave my mother in law who has the children on a Sunday (as I am typing ) a lot of food from the freezer - she later texted me to thank me for a delicious dinner. I also gave her food for the children as she gives them dinner before bringing them back. This always gives me a much needed break.

    As such- not really very frugal. Did not buy anything extra but the whole appliance issue has left a hole. Tried to make it the best I can with the different savings above but would have been better not to deal with it.

    All from me for now- hope no one else has a freezer breakdown.

  • Sheena, my mom had a problem like this before and it turned out to be because she had not been cleaning our her fridge coils often enough. My mom keeps an immaculate house, but behind the fridge it was dusty and it melted the coils! We have learned from her experience and we make sure to clean out the coils on ours every 6 months. I don't know if this could have caused you problems but it is something to think about with the new unit that you purchase.

    That is nice that your mother-in-law takes the children. What a blessing for you.

  • Sheena July 05, 2017

    Thanks I'll keep an eye on them- don't want a repeat!

  • Lisa July 02, 2017

    We were able to cut down our monthly household budget enough to pay $1000 on student loans!! Very excited about that! We still have a long ways to go, but your blog and tips have helped our family in so many ways. Thank you!

  • That is HUGE! I love seeing how every bit adds up to make a huge difference! Wonderful!

  • http://Robbie July 03, 2017

    Wow I am so impressed! How did you do that?

  • Esta Kandarian July 02, 2017

    Hi Brandy. I love the gifts your daughter made--so thoughtful and pretty.

    I read recently that everyone should review their monthly services yearly, canceling or requesting discounts where possible. I brought my monthly expenses down $60 by canceling two subscriptions I don't need, receiving a $10 a month discount for our internet service just by asking, and increasing our medical deductible (we haven't ever reached the current deductible in 20 years, though I realize it is possible). The insurance company also sent me paperwork to have our premiums reevaluated since current rates are based on a very old diagnosis that never actually became a problem (uterine fibroids, which shrink naturally after midlife).

  • Priscilla July 02, 2017

    Everyone's comments are so impressive in their money-saving strategies! I just have one small, new thing: I switched the cat litter to a more expensive (and more eco-friendly) brand that lasts one extra week. Doing the math I found that it's less expensive in the long run.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC July 02, 2017

    What a great blessing to have camp secret sisters. Loved all the thoughtful gifts that Winter made.
    Had to chuckle about thrift store shopping with your daughter. I have the same challenge when I shop with one of my friends. Not only do we like the same clothes but we're usually looking for the same deals in housewares, books and dvds.

    So appreciate this post every week and the comments. It really does help me to keep a frugal mindset. To that end:
    - Made a quick bread last night from a mix I had bought at the store. Usually I don't even look, let alone buy, these mixes. But this one had a $1.50 off coupon on the box that caught my attention. It was on sale for $2 on a day where I was going to get another 10% off. It definitely pays to be alert in the grocery store. Instead of making it in a bread pan, I made it in an 8X8 pan and it came out like a cake. Cut it up and froze 6 pieces, had one piecs last night and saved one for today.
    - At the same store, found Kleenex boxes with a $0.75 off coupon on the box and they were on sale for $1 plus 10%off.
    - Continue to harvest from my community gardens. Strawberries are just ending. Have eaten some every day and frozen 2 gallons. The raspberries in the community patch are coming in. Also harvested radish, lettuce, kale, chard, snow peas, shelling peas and cabbage (a first for me). My winter and summer squash have flowers as do the tomatoes.
    - Picked up 3 tomato plants that were being offered free in the garden by another gardener. We have a shelf to share what's not needed. Other years I've been able to get partial packets of seed. This was a first to get actual plants.
    - Helped clean out the shed in that garden and took home two sections of hose to repair. The water pressure is so high at this garden that hoses with fittings/repairs can't be used. But I can use the hose at my apartment and plan to set up a drip system. I had been waiting to find hoses. It pays to wait! I'm still waiting for used/discarded rain gutter to make some planters.
    - Cooked from scratch and ate all my meals at home as well as all my snacks/coffee. Stayed out of the thrift store this week and did not shop for anything but food. The only driving I did was to go water at the community gardens or go grocery shopping. Started a grocery list for next week's 10%off days at the two grocery stores.
    In writing this list, I realized that being frugal is about all the little things I do, or don't do. They add up over time if I just keep working at it and have the right attitude.

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