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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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  • jeannie July 09, 2018

    Brandy, thank you for asking your friend if you can take pictures of her greenhouse. I will be sharing the information with my son Reese. His dream is to someday have an aquaponics business growing vegetables in a greenhouse. At present, he works fulltime in a greenhouse that is huge, 350 acres in size. It is not cooled. He longs for the day he can own his own business and is saving every penny.

    This was his setup when he lived at home. Aquaponics Dream

    This was the day he had to take it down right before he left home. Aquaponics Dream, Delayed

    Now on to my money saving accomplishments:
    *This week I have worked in the garden and harvested: cucumbers, onions, peppers, garlic, blueberries, Swiss chard, beet greens, sweet potato greens, parsley, thyme, nasturtiums, oregano, mint and all types of weird named Chinese greens. I sauteed daylilly blooms in butter and chopped some as salad garnishes.

    *All meals were cooked from scratch except for one. We were running errands, realized the time, stopped and rushed to our favorite restaurant so we would be charged the lunch, not the evening price.

    *We save garbage fees by taking our trash to the dump. We are outside the city limits so are not eligible for any curbside trash pickup services. A private company would charge $25 per month for one large trashcan per week. We compost and recycle and do not have that much garbage. We also could not possibly roll the trash can up the hill, then down the other side of our ¼ mile long gravel driveway. Of course, for the right price, the trash company might be willing to come down the drive and pick up the can. If we put the trashcan in the car trunk (yuk) and take it to the curbside for pickup, we might as well drive a few more miles to the dump site. Our solution over the years has been to make a “dump run” every few months. When all the boys lived here, we filled up more trashcans but also used a truck. Since we have lived here 14 years, I guess we have saved (12 months x 14 years x $25 =) $4,200. I didn't deduct the cost of gasoline or wear and tear on the car for the few miles driven, but WOW, what a savings!

    Scooter is learning to ride in the car and shared his the story of his first “dump run” this week. He was impressed by the smells.


  • Sue July 09, 2018

    I love Scooters story ! Hope that boy got a special treat when he got homw.

  • Jeannie July 11, 2018

    Well, of course, he got a special treat. He got to snuggle with Pack Leader on the couch! There is nothing better than that...and then he got fed. We had taken his food away early in the morning so his tummy would be empty. Sounds mean, but it is horrible cleaning up dog throw-up in the backseat of a car and I have done it too many times!


  • Rhonda A. July 09, 2018

    What a blessing to have the opportunity to care for your friends chickens and gardens in exchange for fresh eggs and produce for your family, Brandy! I'm sure all of you are enjoying the wonderful harvest. If you find a new recipe you like, please share with us! I'm always looking for new recipe ideas, especially ones that are frugal.

    We've struggled through a heat wave here, but have finally had a break in the humidity at the moment. It's coming back this week, however. Not looking forward to it! Our frugal accomplishments for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included tacos/nachos (made black bean and ground beef fillings), BBQ hamburger and hotdogs with potato chips, "make your own" dinner (was supposed to be make your own pizza, but everyone decided they didn't want pizza and made their own dinner), breaded chicken fingers with rice and mixed veggies, lasagna (from freezer - made it when the heat wave finally broke!), and BBQ grilled steak (hubby offered to make them for my mom in honour of her birthday) with loaded baked potatoes and broccoli.
    *After reading about "sun tea" from others who have commented, I decided to give it a try one day as a "summer experiment" during our heat wave. DD likes hot tea and iced tea, but I don't. So I had her help me make it. Since the concept is very easy, I figured if she liked it, she can do it again by herself throughout the summer. DD seemed to really enjoy it, and it's pretty cheap to make, especially since I recently bought 100 tea bags for $1!
    *I made a peanut butter banana smoothie to use up some very ripe bananas and poured it into the empty popsicle moulds for DD. I used what I had to make it...2 very ripe bananas, a generous scoop of crunchy peanut butter (approx. 1/4 cup), some canned plums in juice that turned to mush during processing and a bit of milk. She enjoyed the leftover bit of unfrozen smoothie. DD has been eating the frozen smoothies as a simple breakfast and for a snack in afternoon. I like that they are filled with healthy food and they hit the spot when it's hot outside!
    *Harvested 2 types of lettuce and peas from the garden. Noticed that I actually have a few beans forming, despite the absence of leaves due to the deer eating them all off. Oh, and we discovered that we are actually feeding a mama deer and her twin fawns with our garden. No wonder the garden is being devastated!
    *Requested a points inquiry again for my PC store loyalty points when I checked and found 2 different items did not register that I had purchased.
    *Made this, https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/349732727308194805/ , and gave it to DD just to make her laugh...because sometimes we need some silliness in our lives!
    *Things received free from work this week: Popcorn (leftover from food booth at end of day), 2 bags of cheese curds (sell by date was that day, but it's cheese, so it's not an expiration date), cake (leftover from Canada Day), a freezie (when temps with humidity reached over 40C), baked treats (the youth interpreters insisted on baking despite the heat wave, plus more made when heat wave broke), Timbits and lemonade. It was a good week for free stuff at work!
    *Took DD and her friend to an indoor pool during the heat wave. Cost $15 for all three of us to swim for 1 hour. The girls really enjoyed themselves and want to do it again soon. I am happy to pay the money every once in a while if it means DD gets some much needed exercise! While I was there, I picked up info on memberships. I am planning on getting a membership for 3 months during the winter, to help prepare me for our April backpacking trip in Europe. Might get a family membership, so DD can also come with me for some winter fitness.
    *Attended a free Musicfest concert and listened to the Toronto band, Magic!. They have several big hits (like this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIh2xe4jnpk_) and were amazing live. We all really enjoyed this concert! We took drinks and snacks with us from home. DD won a free chocolate bar and DD's friend won a free ice cream cone from McDonald's from a "spin the wheel" game offered through a local radio station.
    *Took my mom out for dinner to celebrate her 70th birthday on Sunday night. We also gave her a $100 gift card to her favourite clothing store. I do not consider this a frugal fail at all, as my mom has supported us a great deal in so many ways over the past several years. She deserves all of this and so much more!

  • Marybeth July 10, 2018

    Happy 70th Birthday to your Mom.

  • Cindy in the South July 09, 2018

    I think I mentioned last week that I bought 30 lbs of chicken leg quarters for $10. I took a bag of the chicken to my youngest son. I went thrift store shopping for things I need. I got two dresses, and a t shirt that I have searched for years in vain. The t shirt was 99 cents! I was so happy! I got several of my favorite magazines for 10 cents and a paperback novel for 25 cents. I am also reading all the free paperbacks for the bookshelf at the free little bookstore at my laundry mat. I read them then put them back. I bought a watermelon for $3.00 (I love watermelon, but have always been unsuccessful in growing it). I have enjoyed going swimming at the local Army Engineer parks, state parks, and national parks. They range in admission fees from $1 to $4. That is how I spend any free time I have on weekends in the summer. I cleaned my house. I know that sounds funny, but it always makes me feel good to have a tidy house. I was called to play the piano at my little branch church, but I do not have my piano at my house, it is in my son's apt. I made arrangements to practice the piano at my son's basement apt (which happens to be in my ex-husband's house...lol). I cleared it with both of them, so that no one was surprised when I showed up at the door with my hymnal. I do not know why I think this is funny, but I just do! This is frugal because I do not want to have to pay to move it, plus, I have an excuse to see my grown kid, who is really busy with his own life.

  • Holly July 09, 2018

    Brandy, Corelle dishes bounce when dropped. They take up minimal space in the cupboard too. I love ours in plain white.

  • I grew up with Corelle plates and so did my husband. We really like a thicker plate that doesn't burn your hands when there is hot food on it. We dish up plates at the counter and take them to the table. When we got married, neither of us wanted Corelle ;)

    Our children help with the dishes as there are so many dishes to do in our house, and as well fill the dishwasher 2 -3 times a day (besides washing around 20 pots and pans a day by hand) and because we think it's important that everyone helps (and I can't do it all) there is more opportunity for plates to get broken. Cooking from scratch and serving 10 people four times a day (3 meals plus a snack) makes for a lot of dishes!

    I've seen our glasses and plates bounce and not break on the wood floor before, but on the granite counters, marble kitchen floor, and in the sink, they are quicker to break and chip.

  • Holly July 09, 2018

    Kids go through a stage where, while learning to keep the kitchen clean, break a lot of dishes until they develop the hand-eye cordination required and become a bit more careful. Fortunately for your dinnerware, the number of broken dishes eventually will drop. Enjoy your non-Corelle dishes. It is good you and your husband are on the same page.

  • Kathy July 09, 2018

    Well, I didn't do a darn thing to save money last week... We're visiting my husband's parents to show off our newest member of our family, and also to help them redo the bathroom for his dad. With 9 children's mouths to feed, I resorted to quick, easy foods... I don't know how you do it frugally on a daily basis! I'm even more in awe of your talents than I was when I started reading your blog about 5 years ago...
    Thankfully, I only have 5 boys myself, so maybe I'll be able to manage a few of your impressive weekly accomplishments!

  • Kathy July 09, 2018

    Good morning,
    I too am a long time reader. I did write you a letter years ago, but have not commented since. I love the peaceful calm of your blog. While I know having 9 children, that your home may not always be particularly quiet, your posts radiate a peaceful oasis In the midst of it all. I thank you for adding a tranquil respite to my own chaotic weeks, with your words. I also thank you for the hope you instill. Kathy

  • Kristin July 09, 2018

    Hi Brandy - second week in a row commenting!

    1) I don't often think of it as frugal, but I use the library A LOT. I currently have three books and two audiobooks checked out, and my nephew has a book.

    2) Making plans to repaint a magazine holder I picked from my neighbor's trash last fall. I am going to use paint we already have. Now I just need to clean it up a little first, and do the job on a sunny day.

    3)Thanks to you, I have started saving shower warm up water for my small garden. I never thought it was necessary, because my garden is small, and we do not live in a dry climate, so water is plentiful and cheap! (We get an average of 110" of snow per season) But I reconsidered; just because it is plentiful and cheap doesn't mean I don't need to conserve where I can.

    4) I was surprised to find that I only collect 2-3 gallons per shower! We have had a low flow shower head since about 2005, and I'm glad to see how little we are using. I bet we use more in the winter when it takes longer to warm up. Cold climate problems!

    5) I have been trying to rethink my wardrobe, and trying to mix n match more things for more outfit possibilities. I WOTH, and get bored with my clothes sometimes. I certainly don't need MORE clothes, I am just trying to use what I have more creatively.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that I find your remarks about your climate fascinating, since I live in such a different climate. For example, some time ago, your family was traveling, and your children got to play in a stream for the first time. That just blew my mind, since I did that all the time as a kid!

  • margie from Toronto July 10, 2018

    You might find Theviviennefiles.com a useful website for wardrobe ideas. She has a ton of stuff (all wonderfully archived) and lots of great ideas for mixing & matching etc.

  • Kristin July 12, 2018

    Thanks for the tip! I took a quick look at her site and it looks like she has some great information. I'll have to get into it more when I have a bit of time.

  • Jess July 09, 2018

    Have you tried Corelle brand of dishes? I can't break them even if I try :p We've had two sets since 2005, and I think we've maybe broken one dish over that time period, and I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old. The funny thing is both sets were gifts (they match and were gifts from the same person) and I don't even care for the pattern, but I'll never buy a new set I love unless we end up NEEDING it. And at this rate, that'll never happen!

  • Marivene July 09, 2018

    Corelle will shatter into tiny shards on either a granite counter top, a cement floor with linoleum, or a tile floor. I have seen all three happen when we were renting before we bought our first home. It is one reason why my husband never wants granite counter tops. We have used Corelle for years, but it does break under some circumstances.

  • LynnDinKY July 12, 2018

    I have Corelle now and yes, I have shattered quiet a few of them. And those shattered pieces are so hard to get up. I've had to replace and add to the set. Right now they have rust spots on the edges because of the dishwasher rack. I have sort of a love/dislike relationship with them. LOL

  • DonnaMarie July 09, 2018

    I love that you are able to share in your friend's produce and eggs in exchange for looking after her home while she is away. I have a similar arrangement with a neighbor who lives here in Florida during the winter and in the North during the summer. In exchange for looking after my neighbor's home during the summer, I am able to pick mangoes and avocado's from her trees. There is also a huge banana tree that produces a small banana called Manzano. The Manzanos are good to use in baking bread or muffins as well as baked on there own with a little brown sugar. Most of the time, the Manzanos come in while my neighbor is still in Florida. She never forgets to share some with me :)

  • MeMe July 09, 2018

    I may not comment very often Brandi, but I love keeping up with you and your little family and all your frugal doings! I also read everyone's comments and learn something new almost every single time :) I'm glad you're able to keep up with your blog as it is one of the very few I actually keep up with.

  • Lisa from Maine July 09, 2018

    I love your picture for this post, it could be in a magazine. I loved reading everyone's comments last week.
    My frugal activities last week were:
    my mil gave us 1 1/2 bottles of foaming body wash. She also gave us 1/2 of a watermelon.
    gave 2 sons haircuts.
    shut off air exchanger during day due to the hot & humid temps--but offset that by putting on the air conditioner and putting the small fans in the kids bedrooms. Also had to use the dehumidifier in the basement since the humidity was 70% in the house. Won't love the next electricity bill, but this is an expected & planned for expense.
    Friday the temperatures dropped 30 degrees so did not the the a/c and opened all windows to let the cool air circulate.
    My husband wanted my pantry shelf in the basement so he could store more wood for our wood boiler. I spent the week cleaning out my remaining 4 shelves that contain my household storage needs. I donated a lot, set aside some items to sell, & moved some kitchen items that do not fit in my small kitchen (stock pots/bean pot etc) to the coat closet shelf, I took out clothes that are the next size up for my youngest daughter. She will be able to wear the shirts, skirts and dresses now and I will store the pants in her closet until she grows into them. All she will need for school will be socks, underwear, shoes and folders.
    I made scoops out of milk gallons & filled water balloons from a stash I found when cleaning for my kids to play with & cool down with.
    My husband picked a bouquet of daisies and some type of purple wildflower for me from our lawn.
    My husband's expensive cereal was B1G1 free at Riteaid. I got him 8 boxes which is a month's worth for him. He has eaten this cereal for over 10 years and has refused to eat anything else but last week (now that I stocked up) he tells me he no longer wants to eat this cereal and wants me to buy plain cheereos(really!?!).
    I finished compiling the chicken recipes I wanted for my menu planning project. I chose recipes that use ingredients that I normally have in my pantry. I wrote them down on index cards that I have in my school supply closet.
    my garden grew by leaps & bounds once it finally got some heat and rain. I was able to cut some looseleaf lettuce. Local tradition is to mix it with cut up green onions and add sour cream and salt. It was great!

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