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Frugal Accomplishments for the First Week in July

July Garden Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

It was really wonderful to hear from so many readers this past week in the comments! So many of you have been reading for years and I didn't know who you were. I loved reading your frugal accomplishments and was very, very touched to hear how much my site has helped so many of you over many years. I hope that you will consider commenting again in the future. I learned several things this past week in your comments. The most surprising idea I learned in the comments was one I had definitely never thought to do before: it was a reader's idea to sell four pieces of her vacuum cleaner on ebay since the motor on her vacuum had died. She said she sold two pieces within 48 hours! 

One of the most meaningful commenters from a first-time commenter was the following comment: "I have been reading here for a year and love the gentle joys found here! I love the fact that everyone is so supportive of each other in the pursuit of making do with little. In real life, if I talk about my frugality, the response is pity and offers to help! What I want to be met with congratulations for hard work and ingenuity is met, instead, with sympathy. Here, I love that we can celebrate each others' efforts. . . "

I love the excitement that comes from learning a new frugal living skill, saving money on something I need and/or want, finding a great deal or a new low-priced recipe, and making what I have work. I agree that when we share that excitement, people often respond with pity. I enjoy reading everyone's comments here, celebrating with you and learning from all of you. Having more people comment certainly makes frugal living feel less lonely, and I came away from reading your comments feeling more encouraged and having learned new ideas to save money.

Here are my own frugal accomplishments for this past week:

 

I hemmed two pairs of pants for a friend of ours who is leaving soon to serve a mission.

I checked out an e-book from the library.

The children watched several shows on our free trial of Amazon Prime.

I tried a couple of new recipes. No one loved them and I won't make them again, but we went ahead and ate the dishes anyway.

I took advantage of a Fourth of July sale to purchase some replacement plates to replace some of our broken plates. The company has started making the same pattern in melamine. I bought a few of the salad plates (which is what we use for the children) in porcelain and a few in melamine. The melamine ones can't go in the microwave, but they may be a solution for most of the time to keep so many from being broken. I got 20% off the plates on sale, plus free shipping--and my items arrived in a day and a half!

I harvested New Zealand spinach, chives, and green onions from my garden.

My second son and I will be taking care of a friend's chickens and gardens while they are out of town. We'll get to collect eggs and pick tomatoes, cucumbers, and green beans while they are gone (and anything else that is ripe). This is the friend who has the cooled greenhouse who shared produce with us last week. Several of you asked if she would share photos of her greenhouse. She agreed to let me share, so I will take some photos of it to share in a post! The photo above is taken in her greenhouse.

Before she left, she gave us two plastic grocery bags of tomatoes and two of cucumbers. 

We then picked more tomatoes, cucumbers, and some lettuce from her garden after she left (lettuce in July--the wonder of a cooled greenhouse!) and collected two dozen eggs.

What did you do to save money last week? Please share in the comments!  Keep encouraging one another in your celebrations of frugal living; I love the support you give to one another!

 

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Comments

  • Cindi July 09, 2018

    Those tile coasters sound gorgeous! What a great idea.

  • Rhonda A. July 12, 2018

    Kim, do you think you could use the painted tile as a trivet? Or would the heat from the pot damage the paint and sealer?

  • Liz July 09, 2018

    Hello Everyone,

    This past week was a frugal, fun one. Here are some ways we saved.

    * We were able to go on an all expenses retreat for military vetrans and their families. On this trip we did whitewater rafting, rock climbing, zip lining and a ropes course. This was in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. There are many programs for veterans I am finding out, that we never knew about all of these years.
    * My husband went to pick up inhalers and medicines on post for our son, since there is no out of pocket cost.
    * We avoided the drive thru line and packed snacks for an appointment that we had in another city.
    * My daughter was able to get a free book and Bible from the summer reading program from Lifeway books. She was excited to get a Bible to donate to others.
    * I was able to cash in on $156.78 worth app rewards, website rewards, credit card rewards and mystery shopping in June. I totaled it up on my blog if you are interested: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/07/07/how-i-made-156-78-on-the-side-in-june-from-websites-apps-rewards-and-mystery-shopping/
    * I also sent away for a few freebies which I also wrote about on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/07/09/freebies-today-7-10-18/
    * We are getting produce from our garden now! After the hail and replanting and free plants from a local nursery, I am getting swiss chard, radishes, and lots of spinach!
    * We have been getting some eggs from the chickens but it is hot so I think it is making them produce less.
    * We are attending a free Vacation Bible School this week and I am helping at it. So, that will keep us busy!
    I hope everyone has a wonderful, blessed week.
    Liz

  • Cheryl J July 10, 2018

    Liz,
    I enjoyed your site. I was pretty intrigued by how you were able to make over $150 using the apps. I tried downloaded Field Agent but was a bit intimidated by it so I haven't done any of the jobs yet. You made it sound pretty simple so I might try it. Thanks for the tip about the ebook A Year Without the Grocery store, that sounds like a good read.
    Cheryl

  • Sorry your recipes didn't turn out. Sometimes I look at the ingredients and say yes that will work only to have a dud. We usually eat it anyway but like you we will never make it again. I refinished our end tables this past week and we stopped ourselves from spending too much money at Mcdonald's. Here are the rest of my frugal ways http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/07/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-7818.html

  • Amy S July 09, 2018

    I also enjoyed reading all the comments from last week's post. I always learn so much and get new ideas or am reminded of something to do again. It's a wonderful community of people. Also Brandy - the pictures are just gorgeous of the basket and produce.

    *Several books I wanted were available at the library so I requested those books instead of thinking of ordering. Nice to also notice that if they didn't have the book I wanted there were options available that could help.

    *My husband worked the weekend and my kids were all away. I ate meals at home and read books. I did see a movie with a family member but we split the cost.

    *Picked green beans, cucumber and my first sun gold tomato from the garden.

    *Used Ebates for a few things that needed to be ordered.

    *Signed up for a free trial of Prime Pantry. Because of all the coupons and promotions, my $50 purchase was brought down to $13.65.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  • Heather in L.A. July 09, 2018

    This week I picked blueberries from our bushes, made laundry soap, I despise grating soap so I just microwave ivory soap.. it grows huge and after it cools I just crumble it in, perfect soap flakes. I broke down a #10 bag of leg quarters, they were on sale for .59 a pound, not a bad price, although I am usually able to get them cheaper when I buy them by the case. I separate the legs from the thighs and freeze separately. I include marinade with the legs so when they thaw they are all ready to go. I treat legs like wings, buffalo chicken, lemon pepper and bbq. The thighs I place in the crockpot with bay and some veggie scraps which results in a wonderful broth and I shred the meat for the week. I came across ham on sale which I will cook one day in the crockpot also. I also came across milk for $1.85 a gallon marked down.. so I purchased several and frozen them. I cut my husband and one sons hair, my youngest is is growing his to donate to wigs for kids. I harvested Armenian cucumbers, herbs, tomatoes and flowers. We celebrated the fourth and my husbands birthday with a hot dog roast. Not frugal but we rescued a lab with hip dysplasia. Her owner did not want her because he could not use her for duck hunting. But she is sweet and brings my family joy so we will care for her as long as possible.

    We purchased a fixer upper that had a gunnite pool. We remodeled some of it ourselves and contracted some of it out. It is an investment but we were able to keep the cost reasonable.

    We found out my oldest will be able to receive the tuition scholarship program from our state at 100% again. When combined with the university scholarship she receives she will again make money to attend college.

    Have a great week everyone!!!

  • mable July 09, 2018

    Heather, we had a dog with hip problems who needed meds and pain pills. We got the generic versions, plus free shipping, from 800PetMeds. We have found them the cheapest and if you need a refill, they will contact your vet for you. You may already know of that source and, if you do, I apologize.

  • Hdbganey@hotmail.com July 10, 2018

    Mable,
    I am familiar with the website and thank you for sharing though. You never know when information is helpful for someone else who is reading also.

  • Cindi July 13, 2018

    I microwave Ivory soap for my homemade laundry detergent too! So much easier than grating -- and it's fun to watch it 'balloon.'

  • mmckms July 14, 2018

    Heather, we are in 'Lab Country" in MS and tons of hunters do the same thing. We have had so many labs, let out in our tiny small town especially for hip problems. Anyway we have taken in so many not even funny, but I wanted to let you know that our "good ole country vet" gave us some tips to keep the meds away and the dogs get better. We give them generic fish oil pills and vitamin E tablets. I get these with coupons and everyone I know who has some gives me there left overs (when a family members passes and has some). Also we don't feed them dog food, we make our own and they are heavy on the veggies (think kind of like chicken feed, they get all the parts we don't eat). And surprisingly we haven't had one yet that hasn't improved and we haven't had to put them on meds. There is a limit to the amount of fish oil and vitamin E you can give them daily based on their weight but seriously we have "taken in" 7 and our neighbor who is 83 has taken in 5 over the past 5 years and we both do the same thing. You may want to talk to your vet or do some research on your own. It is well worth the $ savings and health to the dog. Hope this helps.

  • Nancy in Eastern Washington July 09, 2018

    I didn't post last week. I was exhausted after reading everyone's comments, and didn't have the energy to post my own. ;) Anyway, we picked lettuce, chives, snow peas, cauliflower, green onions and the first two Juliet tomatoes from the garden. Pretty soon we will also have broccoli and chard. YUM! Stir-fries. My DH has retired, and is taking care of most of the garden. All I have to do is help harvest, and then cook. Our first planting of lettuce is almost done. We will soon be picking from those we transplanted to other beds. Then I will plant more in the first space.

    We have wonderful tasting water - so we drink a lot of it. I even bring bottles to work each day.

    Washed sheets on all the beds (we had company the weekend before the 4th of July) and hung them on the line to dry.

    No AC for us. It is supposed to be in the 90's for most of the week, but if it is just too hot, we will live in our basement (other than cooking.)

    Not frugal for me, but my BIL was going through town on his way to meet up with his daughter (She teaches overseas and was having a class in Seattle) and spent the night with us, saving on a hotel bill and meals. I believe in frugality for all, and try to help when I can.

    Ate all meals at home, except lunches, which I brought to work with me.

    We also had a quiet 4th of July, working in the garden. We live about 10 miles out outside Spokane, but could see the Spokane fireworks from our back property.

    I am sure there was more, but that is all I can think of for now.

  • dawnelle July 09, 2018

    Made make-ahead bean and rice burritos, some for the freezer, some for the kids to have at lunches. Also made a big crockpot full of veggie soup. Sold more random little items on a local FB page. Ate dinner at my mom’s for my birthday and got sent home with the leftovers. She also bought me some clothes for my birthday, so appreciated. Cleaned the family room (moved the couch, vacuumed under and through, then mopped everywhere). Super fresh now. Cut up veggies for snacks. Stuck to my grocery budget (under by $10 actually), shopped with a detailed list at Winco. Read library books, returned cans for $ refund which goes in my daughter’s (the one leaving in fall) college account. Took advantage of one of the Target promotions, getting the $5 gift card when purchasing 3 items. I was getting those items anyway, and the gift card(s) that I sometimes get like this I save for my teenager’s stocking stuffers. Walked multiple mornings with a friend.

  • Jordan J July 09, 2018

    Hi brandy! First time commenter here, I’ve read your blog for 3 years and it’s changed so much of my day to day life! Mostly little things that add up like cooking dry beans instead of buying canned. I’m not always super frugal but I try! Thanks for all your great ideas!

  • Hilogene in Az July 09, 2018

    Hi Brandy and all,

    I was reading through the comments, and debating whether to comment since I couldn’t think of anything interesting :). Then read Jordan’s comment about cooking dry beans rather than buying canned beans, and that comment inspired me to start typing. I learned that trick here too. I remember Brandy saying she was cooking batches of beans to freeze before the birth of a child (maybe Ivory?), and so since then, I cook beans and split them into freezer portions. What a great simple thing that saves money.

    This past week, quite a few of our meals came from the freezer. I am really devoted to cooking soups, splitting up into two person meal portions, and freezing. So last week, from the freezer, we had pinto beans and ham, black eyed peas and ham, and chicken noodle soups.

    Our goodwill bread machine is giving trouble so I used United flight miles to buy my very first new bread machine :). It should arrive in two weeks. After four years of using used bread machines from thrift stores, I sure hope the new machine does something better :). The used machines worked fine, they are just not designed to work very long before the pan bearing wears out...but for $4 each at Goodwill, I was content to buy one machine a year. I tried baking in the oven but it requires too much attention from me.

    Brandy, I was so glad to see two of your posts this week. It felt like a holiday for sure! How is your new baby? I was thinking of the photo you shared of Octavius in the baby outfit with airplanes on it, and wondered about your newest little one.

  • Heidi Louise July 09, 2018

    Found a collapsible drying rack at a yard sale for $4. Am now experimenting with how much it will hold, how to combine it with my clothesline, and whether I can now even take down some ropes. I mentioned to the seller that I could probably hang it on the laundry room wall to store it, and she said she hangs everything with Command-brand hooks; might try that. I like draping clothing quickly on the rack rather than having to use clothespins, though inside the folds doesn't dry as quickly as on pinned items.

    Used the almost-expiring yogurt to make lemon loaf cake, chocolate loaf cake, and banana bread with some bananas I had bought on super-clearance and frozen for this use. Banana bread recipes are so forgiving! I had part of a box of crushed graham crackers bought on clearance (what luxury! pre-crushed smooth sized crackers for crusts!) and I used that for part of the flour.

    Had attempted to plant seeds this spring with mixed results. Only about a tenth of the nasturtiums came up, and the few plants are tiny and keep disappearing. Perhaps the squirrels ate them? Morning glories are trailing and climbing an old tomato cage. The best success was pots of basil and flat leaf parsley, much more parsley than we would ever use. This morning, I saw something had stripped one of my dill plants of all leaves and seeds, and found four caterpillars moving methodically up them. Turns out the caterpillars are for black swallowtail butterflies, (look similar to those of monarchs, but monarchs only eat milkweed, which I purposely let grow as a volunteer plant). They eat dill and plants in the carrot family, and parsley! So I moved a pot of it next to the dill plants and plopped them in to hopefully eat my excess. We have many of what I researched to find are ebony jewelwing damselflies in our yard this year. I had never noticed these flocking around before, and figure the temperature and moisture have been just right. I love how poetic the names sound.

    Friends took us out for breakfast, parent bought supper, and another friend sent us a surprise check of $30 for our 30th wedding anniversary today. Enjoying thinking about longer modern lifespans, that we may have 30 more years! And best wishes to Brandy and husband this week!

  • Marybeth July 11, 2018

    Congratulations on 30 years!

  • Heidi Louise July 14, 2018

    Thank you, Marybeth!

  • Elaine July 09, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    I, too, am a long-time reader. Although I don't comment very often, I look forward to reading your posts and the comments. It's wonderful having a community that celebrates frugal living along with creativity, beauty and joy.
    Congratulations on ten years of blogging and Happy Belated Anniversary!
    Some frugal accomplishments this week:
    Bought cherries and nectarines for 97 cents a pound.
    Exercised in the pool, including exercises learned in physical therapy, for both pleasure and to keep up range of motion and strength.
    Made homemade salsa from ingredients in pantry.
    Accepted a bowl of cantaloupe from a neighbor and learned that it could be flash frozen. It tastes great when eaten partially defrosted...kind of like a Popsicle.
    Bought a few groceries on senior day for 10% off. Used coupons for discounts and free items.
    Husband made some repairs and upkeep to our car which saved quite a bit.
    Used a discounted rotisserie chicken for several meals and then to make bone broth.
    Continued organizing family photos into albums using partly supplies gifted to me, some I had on hand, as well as some paper and stickers someone was giving away that my daughter thought I would like.
    Wishing everyone a good week!

  • Kimberly Duncombe July 10, 2018

    Before going on vacation I cleaned out the fruit & vegetable crisper. Using leftover strawberries, apples, citrus and mint from garden I infused ice cubes. We have returned home to the most delicious frozen cubes. Now I'm wondering why I haven't used bits of fruits & herbs in the past this way.
    No waste and simply the easiest thing to assemble.

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