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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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  • Tina S. July 09, 2018

    Yes, a condo can be a good option, but it can also be a bad one. Anyone considering buying a condo should do their research (including reading the bylaws, examining the amount of the reserves and any reserve studies done, checking the physical state of the buildings, finding out about planned maintenance, etc.) and also talk to people that live there. We have lived in a 40 year old complex for nearly 15 years now, and about 8 years ago some major issues were discovered (building and window leaks, siding problems, rotting walkways, and issues with the roof). The board's initial plan was to level a $40,000 assessment on each homeowner. This is not unusual in our area. However, many of the residents would not have been able to pay for this (or get a loan for this amount), and they would have walked away and let the bank foreclose. This would have resulted in an untenable situation for the complex. Thankfully, the condo board decided to hike the dues 40% (now close to $600 a month) and do the repairs piecemeal.
    So, if you are thinking of buying a condo, do your homework, so you hopefully don't get stuck with major financial headache later.

  • Jenna July 11, 2018

    You are right we went the condo route first did our homework and our board turned crooked and we lost our condo to theft by the board. So yes condos can be nice but they are also a money drain that we just don't have.

    I have checked about three thousand homes .

    I just don't see the answer but thanks for the boost I will keep looking.

  • Laurie in central NC July 13, 2018

    Jenna, I don't know what part of the country you live in or are considering, but homes are much cheaper than you mention in areas of N. Carolina. Last year we purchased a rental home (2 BR, 1B) for less than $60K. It needed very little done to it, which we did ourselves. This was a 40's era stick built home within walking distance of downtown in central NC. I grew up in NY, lived a few years in CA, but love it here. Might be worth a look.

  • Jeannie July 09, 2018

    Jenna, don't give up! Keep saving, keep looking, keep dreaming and something will suddenly pop up. It might be a repossession or a lease to own, or even an auction but don't stop planning. We stumbled across a land auction, just stopped the car to see what the crowd was looking at and ended up buying the land for almost nothing! The people in the crowd were the neighbors who were nosey like us - no one there wanted the property. Since we had some money in savings, we were able to buy it. I was shaking my head "NO" and begging my husband to stop bidding. He ignored me since he realized it was a steal. We will someday sell the land for our retirement.

    Keep dreaming, Jenna.


    PS: The land had a real moonshine still on the back of the property! Really! The auctioneer had to tell us before he could sell it to us. It took us forever to find it because it was so well hidden; however, the revenuers had already smashed it to pieces.

  • Lea July 09, 2018

    Keep hoping and planning for the future and future home, Jenna!

    Our neighbors bought their home for under $100,000 - in a neighborhood where the homes sell for over $200,000! The reason? A short sale - our former neighbors got taken to the cleaners by a dishonest contractor and they had the choice of fixing the house so it was livable and selling or not being able to live in the house. Our current neighbors got a steal and a lovely house. Condos or a townhome or twin--home (where you can rent the other half) are a wonderful option too! My in-laws live in half of twin-home and the owners (not my in-laws) use their rent to pay the mortgage.

    As someone else stated, there may be programs to help you purchase depending on your situation as well. I know there are several programs for first time home buyers, military veterans, and a variety of other situations. A member of our church congregation just received a home through Habitat for Humanity - our congregation donated work hours to cover her portion of the "sweat equity" in the home since she is currently caring for two severely disabled children and would not have the time. We were more than willing to do this because having a home of her own that is handicapped accessible and safe (their current living situation is neither) will improve their health and make their lives so much better! Please don't give up and keep looking for options. There are so many out there!

    Hopefully the medical bills will abate and you will be able to start saving money toward a down-payment again.

    Prayers and I'll be thinking of you,

  • Cindy in the South July 10, 2018

    Jenna: long story short, I lost my home (and job) in the Great Recession. I moved over two hours away to a new job (seven yrs ago), and I have since purchased another home for, get this, $25,000! It was built in 1950, and in relatively good shape. I would suggest you look in cheaper state (Mid West, deep South), and in very rural, small towns. A house almost identical to mine sold for over $100,000 in a college town an hour away from me. Best of luck to you!

  • TCR July 10, 2018

    My brother still owned his 2 bedroom bachelor home for a few years after he got married. They primarily lived in wife's home. They got an opportunity to buy my grandmother's home and he wanted to pay cash. Sold his perfectly lovely, in great shape home for $25,000. Great for couple starting out or seniors downsizing. Of course this is in town in MS so small we have no traffic lights. I guess what I am saying is if you can there are tons of affordable houses in small towns. 20 miles from us that house would have been $75-100K

  • Cate July 16, 2018

    Jenna, was your husband in the military? We got a VA loan in December with no money down. We also did not have to pay closing costs due to a program in our state (South Dakota) that covers first-time home buyers. We are not first time home buyers, but somehow we qualified because of the VA. I am 63 and my husband is 66. See if your state offers any help. It is usually called something like Rural Development, Neighbor Works, Your State's name Housing (i.e., ours is South Dakota Housing), etc. I will pray for you, darling. May God help you through this.

  • AmyD July 18, 2018

    My hubby and I bought a home that was built in 1970 and was a fixer upper. We paid $50,000 total. No down payment... we worked with a bank to help us get qualified for whatever type of loan we could get. They helped us clear up inaccurate info on our credit report. We started fixing it up a little at time with friends and family helping... and we are still working on it. Our home was probably considered a junk home, but now it is one of the shining stars of the neighborhood. We now help our neighbors out when we see them working on their fixer uppers.... paying it forward.... don't give up... look at what you can get, work with a lender and a real estate agent, and plan on getting a fixer upper and making it your home. Best of luck and keep thinking positive!

  • Amanda July 09, 2018

    First time commenter here too
    All the way from Australia :)
    I truly enjoy reading your blog brandy and get so much inspiration. So thankyou :)

  • Lorna July 09, 2018

    Hi Amanda and welcome from another fellow Australian in Qld.

    I love Brandy's blog too and her wonderful way of living frugally and the blessings she gives us all through sharing her knowledge with us all.

  • Jenny July 10, 2018

    Hi Amanda, Jenny from Victoria here, and there is another Aussie from South Australia who comments occasionally.

  • Anne Grotmaak July 09, 2018

    Picking blueberries in the woods is last week's best frugal accomplishment. We freeze the berries in portions of 1 dl, perfect to pick out of the freezer and add to the morning porridge through the year.
    I'm very excited about the upcoming pictures from the green house. I must admit that though I started following this blog looking for frugal advice, it's the beautiful photos I love the most.

  • AndreaG July 09, 2018

    Hi Brandy: I, too, had fun reading all the comments last week! Lots of great advice and encouragement. We had a quiet week last week and ate all meals at home. My mom very generously shared a piece of cantaloupe and some yellow beans and a neighbour gave us a dish of blackberries so we will enjoy those this week. The lettuce in our garden is ready so we will be eating that this upcoming week. I also amassed $15 in Amazon codes from Swagbucks and surveys so I will buy a few baking supplies with that. We took out several books and a magazine from the library. Combined trips out to save on gas. Laundry was washed in cold and hung on the clothesline to dry. Since it cooled down here in Southern Ontario, we haven’t needed to use the air conditioner for the last three days. Hopefully we can keep air conditioning use to a minimum this week. Hope everyone has a lovely week!

  • Riley July 09, 2018

    We’ve been away at my in laws for the week so it’s been quite frugal in some ways!
    - since were both starting new jobs in early August, we cut expenses where we could (canceled cable, reduced our kids days in daycare- wish we could have canceled for the summer but we would lose our spots!)
    - did our monthly budget
    - used cloth diapers
    - had a couple of date nights after our kids went to bed
    - thankfully are with my in laws many many meals so didn’t spend much on food
    - will be increasing our car insurance deductible to reduce our monthly outflow
    - by not being home, haven’t had to put in our ACs!
    - hearing back to the house today with anticipation that our blueberries may be ripe! Also have plans to paint our bathroom and do some minor fixes to make our house more beautiful!
    - will be going to target to stock up on diapers for baby #3 due in Oct. this week it’s a 30 dollar gift card when you spend 100 on diapers and wipes
    - speaking of...my job offers paid mat leave IF you’ve been an employee for 90 days. My due date is around 93 days after I start. Asked for the full policy to read through to make sure I understand it all!

  • Elizabeth M. July 09, 2018

    Very good luck about the mat leave. I hope that works out for you!

  • Laurie in central NC July 09, 2018

    I'm delighted to be a part of this amazing community. What a blessing to be able to pick from your friend's greenhouse and collect eggs from her chickens. I expect she's just as pleased to have someone who will keep up with the picking and egg collecting. From our experience, though many may accept garden produce, not many are willing to do the work of picking and gathering. I helped friends clear out their kitchen in preparation for a move yesterday, and came home with organic butter & maple syrup, frozen meat and seafood, oils and vinegars, & lots more, including a TV. We harvested around half of our potatoes, and have enjoyed them on the grill, in potato salad and soup so far. We're picking lots of cucumbers, some if which were made into sweet pickle relish. I tried a new soup recipe, to make use of a large zucchini that had been gifted to us. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/07/crunchy-from-way-back-frugal.html

  • Becky July 09, 2018

    Laurie, that has been my experience, as well. When you leave, you need someone to pick the produce and it's hard to find someone willing to do that. Over the years, countless people have wanted my excess produce IF if would pick it, wash it and deliver it. Otherwise, they were too busy.

    There was more than once at our old house where we even hired people to come take care of the chickens and garden, instructing them to pick things, and came home to chickens that were not laying any more (we think lack of water and/or food part of the time), cucumbers that didn't produce any more for me because the ripe ones had not been picked, and so forth.

    At our old house, I finally found a friend who would come and get it, use it, can it, freeze it, etc. and we were both delighted. We live over 8 hours apart now, but are still very close. She grows her own veggies now.

    It's such a win-win, for you, Brandy---you will truly put that produce to good use and she will be able to leave, knowing that her crops won't quit producing for when she gets back.

  • Marcia R. July 09, 2018

    My daughter lives less than 2 miles away and was always happy to pick tomatoes and green peppers while I was on vacation. Green beans were less attractive---I find them annoying to pick myself after the first flush of beans are finished, but by picking them every 2-3 days all summer, I can get quite a few more beans from the plants. Local commercial growers just pull up the plants after they pick the first beans. If you like yellow beans, it is easier to find them on the plants as you pick. Then you don't come back later and find a few extra large ones that you missed first time around. I have only about 100 square foot of garden (in my prime, not any more) and was able to can enough beans to give my parents 12 quarts of them already canned for Christmas plus supply my own family. This year it looks like no veggie garden for the first time, as my husband has been sick for a couple months and has been diagnosed with dementia. He doesn't garden that much but he did help me some. Also, he didn't need my attention and assistance quite as frequently as he does now. He's back to healthy, except for the dementia. We are still working on regular maintenance for the yard but now are on the verge of drought! The flower beds are pretty messy but he doesn't see it!

  • Laurie in central NC July 13, 2018

    Marcia, I've kept up with your comments, and know it must be a challenging time for you. I actually grow purple beans for the same reason you grow yellow beans. They are so much easier to see to harvest, and the blooms are lovely. We are dry again here too. I hope you will find a way to navigate these times with ease and grace. My Dad had dementia for a time before he passed, and I know it's not easy.

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