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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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  • Janet July 03, 2017

    Becky ,

    This is what works , it sounds odd but it truly works!

  • Janet July 03, 2017

    Jenny ,

    Try bubble wrap not plastic wrap for the windows.

  • Jenny July 03, 2017

    I'll do that. It makes better sense to me that bubble wrap would work, more than thin film. :D

  • Chris M July 03, 2017

    At one point I lived in a very old, drafty house. The kitchen window was a very tall double hung window!! I took a piece of solid styrofoam, cut it slightly smaller to fit the lower half of the window, wrapped it in batting, and then covered it with fabric to match the curtains. Once finished, I "pushed" it into the window frame. That really helped, but still allowed light in the top half and looked nice.

  • Lauren in Oklahoma July 02, 2017

    Thank you for sharing your life with us Brandy! Your posts are an encouragement to me.

    We had some serious financial setbacks in the month of June. We own two ice vending machines, and one of them gave us a ton of (expensive) trouble. Then our family vehicle needed a repair that would have cost double the vehicle's worth. We decided to purchase a vehicle with 88k miles for about the same cost as the repair estimate, replacing the vehicle with 190k miles. Then only a week later our other vehicle needed a repair that set us back over $1,000. We thought we had weathered the worst of it when our air conditioner died and needed an expensive repair. All of these expenses came in the same month! We burned through almost all of our savings within a few weeks. It feels devastating. However, I am thankful that we had the savings to use instead of having to go into debt. I am also thankful that we have food storage to get us through the next months as we rebuild and recover.
    I have harvested green beans and zucchini from the garden this week. Peaches should be ready soon, and grapes are looking wonderful!
    I checked on the ripeness of pears from a large pear tree that is on our church's property. They are not ready to pick yet, but will be within a week or two.
    I discovered a large apple tree on public property that I plan to revisit when they are ripe in a few weeks.
    I visited a local blueberry farm with my four children. You could either pick your own for $3/lb, or you could participate in the pick-share program, in which you get 1/3 of your pickings for free, and they sell the other 2/3. We opted for the latter and went home with 2 quarts of free blackberries, plus a few carrots they were giving away to children.
    My children and I all enjoyed books, movies, and audiobooks from the library.
    I continued my commitment to bake all of our baked goods from scratch for the entire summer. This week I baked bread, cinnamon swirl bread, muffins, cookies, cake, and hot dog buns.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful, frugal week!

  • Jenny July 03, 2017

    I love frugal foraging. There's a number of lemon trees that go over fence lines in my area. I already have a lemon tree in my back yard, but I pick from the publically encroaching lemon trees as well. Kumquats are another delicious item I love to forage for.

  • http://Erika @ The Make Do Homemaker July 02, 2017

    Wow! Such nice gifts! I bet Winter's secret sister will love them!

    My garden is finally producing loads of lettuce! I was hoping the quick growing peas you shared earlier on the blog would grow quicker than other peas up here in Alaska, but it has been so cold and rainy this year the peas took forever to germinate, so I think they are going to grow about the same as other peas at this rate. Oh well, at least they are growing :).

    My list for the week can be found here...

  • Marty July 02, 2017

    Brandy, do houses in Las Vegas usually have whole house fans or since it is so hot even at night they aren't practical? In the Central Valley of California we cool down so much more at night so I am able to use it every morning to get the house as cool as possible before shutting it up from the day.

  • I guess I'm not sure what you mean. We have central a/c and those have fans, and you can run them separately, but I'm not sure why you would--then you would still be using electricity. It isn't always cooler outside even in the early morning. This week our lows were 77 so I opened the windows and doors in the morning for a cross breeze. But the week before it was 83-86º at 5 a.m. We've had years where at 4 a.m. the low for the day is 103º. And at 8 p.m. it's often 113º out, plus the asphalt and concrete retain heat for hours.

    We have ceiling fans in every room except the bathrooms, and they are needed in order to feel cooler, especially as I keep the house at 79º. They're pretty common in most homes here.

  • Marty July 02, 2017

    Oh we have a huge fan in the ceiling that sucks the hot air up into the attic and pulls the cooler air into the house. I can close all the windows except at the back of the house and the fan is in the front and it will pull a huge wind through the house and cool it down. It uses electricity but way less than the a/c. But if it only gets down to 77 that wouldn't help. I use it for about an hour each morning. Thanks!

  • I've definitely never seen one of those!

    I open the windows and doors and the house will cool down without using any electricity, provided it is cool enough to do so. The house smells fresh and the a/c doesn't have to run for a couple of hours (otherwise it just keeps going). But that only works if it is below 79 in the early morning; otherwise, (like last week when it was 83 to 86) I just keep the windows closed.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC July 03, 2017

    I had something similar that was a setting on my furnace. The 'summer' setting when turned on would bring in air from outside and blow it through the duct work into the house. It only operated when it was manually switched on. Yes, it did use electricity so there was some cost to it. I'd turn it on when I went to bed. It meant we could run cool air into the house and not have to leave the windows open all night. At least here in our city, I wouldn't want to leave the windows unlocked and open as I slept.

  • Libby July 03, 2017

    I grew up in a house with one and my last house also had one. They are called "attic fans". The idea is to turn it on, close all windows except for one window as far from the fan as possible. It will suck all the hot air out of the house and draw cooler air in. Awesome for the right kind of climate like New England.

  • Athanasia July 07, 2017

    Many houses here have attic fans. They are very useful. Windows are also double hung, especially in older houses, and you can open from the top and the bottom creating an air circulation. Our old farm house has no air conditioning, but high ceilings, cross ventilation and an attic for heat to rise all work together, along with mature shade trees. In our ranch we live in now, most of the time the air conditioning is used to help with the humidity, not so much the heat.

  • Tina July 02, 2017

    My husband rescued a bike from the curb from neighbor that is moving away. The bike needs repairs to the seat and brakes, new tubes, and a good cleaning but my husband can do that. He is enlisting the help of our children so that they can learn how to repair bikes. This will give each member of our family a bike now! My husband is also changing fluids in his vehicle, saving us $140 if we took car to the shop. I accepted a gift of 2 loaves of bread, purchased 2 toothbrushes at CVS (free after using an ECB coupon received in the mail), and turned a too-ripe canteloupe into a delicious drink using some other fruit from our freezer/fridge. We were also able to take a vacation with our children by camping instead of staying in hotels, using food we have on hand.

  • K July 02, 2017

    Hello everyone!

    I missed last week's post, so I'll try to list all our frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks.

    * I purchased 4 bottles of bbq sauce and 6 lbs of ground beef for 99c each and $1.88/lb, respectively. I'll be going back to get more of both, since the bbq sauce is my SO's favorite and the ground beef is a good sale for 80%.

    * I cut up some strawberries and peaches for the freezer, as they were getting a bit too soft for eating out of hand. I've been making faux ice cream by blending up lots of frozen fruit and a bit of milk in the food processor.

    * I made a batch of chicken alfredo pasta from things I had in my freezer (except for the pasta), and I made a big batch of red beans and rice yesterday. I try to make beans and rice on the first of the month :D

    * I put together our meal plan for July based on the contents of our freezer, and I put together rough shopping lists for Aldi and Sam's Club. Even though most groceries are more expensive here, produce continues to be cheaper and fresher (the joy of living in a larger and warmer city). I'm hoping these forces balance each other out so that our budget won't have to increase.

    * I ordered a foam pad for our bed from Amazon, using a credit I had gotten for selling back a textbook of mine.

    * In less money-related but more health-related news, my SO talked to a manager about stepping down from their current position. They have not been getting the support they need to do their job, despite spending the whole month offering suggestions and solutions. The final straw came when my SO's manager changed their schedule with less than 24 hours notice, changing a day off into a shift (which my SO missed, because they checked their schedule the previous day before the changes had been made). It is frustrating to have this happen, but the position my SO is going towards now should only be a $1.50/hour difference for a job that's way less stressful. Our budget can easily handle this change, and I'm glad to have my SO in a better position.

  • Athanasia July 07, 2017

    K, blended frozen fruit sounds very refreshing.

  • Susie in NW Indiana July 02, 2017

    Well, I guess here's what I can remember from last week's savings (and please forgive the abundance of typos - my delete button died) :( First time posting!

    *Cooked all meals at home - grilled a large batch of marinaded chicken breasts (Zaycon - with discounts they ended up about $1.37 a pound) which lasted a few meals, with homemade sides, and used in a huge chef's salad for another lunch and dinner; tuna salad for lunch for my husband using tuna from the pantry, with freebie crackers from Kroger a few weeks back. Grilled burgers from the freezer last night, and added freezer bacon for a treat. Lettuce for the salads and burgers from my husband's aquaponics system. Lettuce is all that's growing there now, but we have a LOT of it.

    *picked sour cherries twice (once just me, the second time with the tall husband who could reach higher branches), at a local doctor's office (with permission). I pitted them using the pitter that my mom found for me last year, and dried the cherries myself using my Excaliber 9 tray. Before drying, I simmered the cherries with a little sugar water, which I then simmered down into two pints of simple syrup, which we're using in sparkling water for a healthy-ish soda. The yield of dried cherries was about 3 quarts.

    *Promptly used 2 cups of cherries in a batch of decadent double chocolate chip dried cherry cookies - recipe from the Food Network. Shared the cookies with my son and daughter in law, guests in our Air BnB, and our neighbors and received rave reviews. They are really rich and decadent!

    *Dried what ended up to be 3/4 cup of oregano from the garden. Whirred it around in the food processor and it's ready for recipes!

    *Took advantage of a deal at Aldi's and bought 3 pints of heavy cream. Used it in a batch of chocolate ice cream (with more dried cherries!) and last night, a batch of the best peanut butter ice cream we've ever eaten. Used Reese cups chopped in the ice cream, from the freezer stash - I'm a teacher and the kids know how much I love Reese's, so that's a common "gift" for me. I try to not eat them all in one sitting so we can use them for treats like this.

    *Speaking of Aldi's, the town where my daughter has music therapy has the nicest one I've every shopped. I used the 45 minutes of her therapy session to replenish our supply of incredibly cheap fruits, veggies, and breakfast items we needed to stock the fridge of the Air BnB for upcoming guests. Also picked up butter and cheese. I spent about $40 and came out with 3 giant cloth bags of groceries that would have cost triple that if I'd shopped my hometown grocery, which is hugely overpriced.

    *Baked homemade buns for our grilled burgers last night.

    *Baked applesauce muffins using a cup of homemade sauce canned last year. The muffins will be used for the goodie basket we keep stocked as we receive new guests in our Air BnB apartment, which is above our garage. We've had four different sets of guests in a week, so my supply of baked goods in the freezer was dwindling. Started to run out of flour, so I used a cup of wheat flour I had in the freezer. It was a nice change of texture in these muffins. Eggs from our chickens also ended up in these muffins.

    *I have shopped my canning shelves as much as possible, to make room for FULL jars. This week we used salsa, balsamic cherries (and the juice for salad dressing), peaches, watermelon pickles, and barbeque sauce, in addition to the aforementioned applesauce.

    *We all eat eggs every morning from our chickens - they produce 14-15 a day. We do A LOT of egg sharing - I will be picking blueberries at a friends' house this week; she will get "farm"-fresh eggs in return. We live in a rural area, but in town, so they aren't EXACTLY from the farm. ;)

    *Fed the chickens lots of kitchen scraps. Also weeded the raised beds and gave the chickens quite a treat.

    *Harvested a ton of basil and used it in a strawberry-basil infused tea for a gathering I hosted Friday night. I found the recipe on Martha Stewart's website and spent .99 on a quart of strawberries at Aldi and sugar - the only out of pocket cost for a delicious and elegant iced tea (already had a huge box of black tea bags). Everyone brought a snack to share, so it was a fun, and very inexpensive night with friends. The laughter was completely free. :)

    *Coordinated trips to the store, library, pharmacy, etc. to save gas.

    *Found out that though my daughter will miss Music Therapy two weeks in a row (July 4th, and her therapist going on vacation the next week), we will save the gas those two weeks - it's about 100 miles round trip.

    *Saved a small fortune at CVS with coupons loaded to my Extra Care card. I spent about $9 OOP for two bottles of contact solution, two bottles of expensive vitamins my husband prefers, 2 boxes of gallon sized Ziplock bags, and...something else. It's slipping my mind now. Before she ran my coupons, the subtotal was over $50, so I consider that a huge win.

    *With part of my Zaycon order I dried a batch of thinly sliced chicken and turned it into jerky in the dehydrator for our two dogs. It ends up cheapter - and healthier - than the high quality treats I usually buy for. Yep, they're more than a little spoiled.

    *Went with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for SIL's senior pictures; treated them to Starbucks with a gift card earned through Swagbucks and had a free drink already loaded to my card that I used. MIL bought dinner that night at a pasta restaurant, which was a fantastic treat.

    *Made coffee at home every morning for husband and me - we like French pressed coffee, which somehow tastes more luxurious to me than brewed.

    *Not exactly a frugal thing - had Stanley Steemer come to clean my biggest area rug. We've attempted to save money and do this ourselves, but they do such an amazing job in what seems like a fraction of the time and with zero frustration on my part. I decided at the last minute to see if they could do the next room's area rug, and they did have time - for just a wash it would be an additional $20. Seemed reasonable to me. After he finished spraying the sanitizer on the large rug, he did the smaller one at no additional charge, so he could empty the sprayer of sanitizer. That was a $20 savings! The rugs look and smell like new; totally worth it.

    *We've started replacing a few worthless storm windows (I think they're 100 years old - same as the house!) a few at a time and they need to be custom made. Husband shopped around and ordered the first two; he picked them up and installed them yesterday. They look great, and will hopefully save energy costs in the long run.

    That's all I can think of right now. I so appreciate this website for the encouragment and the ideas I glean each week. Thank you, Brandy, for your helpful, inspiring posts - I realize in my day to day life how much I do that reflects what I've learned from your blog. :)

  • Athanasia July 07, 2017

    I enjoyed your post, Susie. 3 quarts of dried cherries is a lovely amount to have on hand.

    Are you in Amish country there in NW Indiana? Or are you closer to Chicago that you have so many Band B guests?

  • Susie July 07, 2017

    We're about 90 minutes south of Chicago, and probably about half are either city or beach-bound when they visit us. We also have the random relatives visiting local folks for a holiday, or sadly, a funeral. We are also about 40 minutes from Purdue University, and I've had many guests who were visiting their children. It's been a lot of fun meeting so many new people. :). And my love languages happen to be hospitality and nurturing, so this works out great for me! Lol!

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