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Frugal Accomplishments for the First Week of 2018

Lemon Branches and Lemons The Prudent Homemaker

I worked pruning, weeding, and tidying the garden. 

I cut branches from the garden to enjoy inside.

I picked more Meyer lemons from our trees.

I dug and transplanted several new "bushes" from one place in the garden to another where I am starting a hedge. These only have one rooted stem, but it is well rooted and they should do well in their new place. After they have been growing in their new spot for a while, I will cut the single branch on each to force them to send forth new branches. It will take about 5 years for them to grow into a hedge.

I sowed seeds for larkspur, poppies, bells of Ireland, and lettuce in the garden.

I resisted the temptation to buy more flower seeds online. I put everything in my cart, looked at the total, decided it wasn't in the budget, and closed the browser. I have plenty of seeds to plant already.

I downloaded and read five e-books from the library.

I purchased the vitamins I had on my list at Target on sale, plus used an additional 5% off Cartwheel discount to get the price lower. I brought my own bags for $0.05 off my total per bag.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Sam's Club gift card. I'll use this towards my grocery purchases this month.

My husband and I used the last two movie passes we received for Christmas of 2016 to go on a date.

A neighbor threw out a men's bicycle in great condition. It was missing only a few bolts (it was in pieces). We rescued it from the trash. We will either use it (after getting new bolts) or use the pieces on our existing bicycles. (The sun disintegrates seats here, so a new seat is always welcome!)

My husband repaired our side gate.

My son replaced a broken valve connector in the garden.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water our potted plants.

We enjoyed tomatoes from the garden. The green ones I picked in December have been ripening, and they are wonderful! 


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Marisa January 10, 2018

    My friend told me to soak them 24 hours, then ros twice a day. Don't know why I couldn't figure that out before

  • PJGT January 11, 2018

    It also keeps them fresh as they grow to rinse twice a day I found.

  • Susan M. January 09, 2018

    I found bags of fresh cranberries on sale at my grocery store for just .49 cents each, so I bought two cases! One went in the freezer, and the other we have been enjoying in my Fresh Cranberry Salad which we often put on top of our oatmeal in the morning. I sweeten it with fresh fruit in stead of sugar--recipe is on my blog here: http://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2018/01/frugal-friday-december-31-january-6-2018.html

  • Allyson January 13, 2018

    Thanks for sharing your recipe! I am on a no sugar diet, so this recipe will really come in handy when I can add some natural sugars back.

  • Jenifer January 09, 2018

    Happy New Year everyone!

    Your post got me to do a quick seed inventory and I need to replace a few, but have the minimum of what I need.
    This summer I would love to have a “thought out” design for my back yard. My mom gave me some garden magazines that feature shade gardens so I can start planning. I foresee no obstacle that will prevent me from getting things done in May (fingers crossed).

    Last week I drove to Kmart during some awful weather and had the most pleasant cashier. She just had the place buzzing with her great attitude. She circled the survey at the bottom of my receipt and bc she just made me feel so warm and happy, I promised I would fill it out. I did, and today got GC from the stores manager as a thank you for filling out the online survey. This is great since I put a few “needs” back last week to stay on budget.

    I have a budget of $10/pp for Christmas or Bday (handmade gift for the other). Thrifting, I found a well made high end bird feeder for $5 for a someone who swears they can never have enough bird feeders. I will keep an eye for $5 bird seed to add if feasible.

    I just want to say how grateful I am for this blog and community. Outside of here, I really feel like people look at me as if I have 3 heads when any conversation about money comes up.

  • Diana E January 10, 2018


    If you have a Winco Grocery Store near you, they should sell "critter mix" in the bulk section! At our location it is $.53 a pound. I can get a large bag for $4.

  • Jenifer January 11, 2018

    Thanks Diana & Brandy. I don't have a Winco (I'm on the NE coast). There was a local hardware where I could buy loose seed by the pound, but they closed. I really miss that hardware store. Good thing is I have time with this - ha!

  • Our Winco sells bird seed in bulk as well. You may also be able to get a small bag of mixed bird seed at the pet store for less than $5.

  • Laurie in AZ January 13, 2018

    I know what you mean about people looking at you weird when you talk about saving money. I think we all have those kinds of people in our lives. That is what makes this site so great!

  • Andrea Q January 13, 2018

    Do you have Ocean State Job Lot near you? They have a variety of inexpensive bird seed. Walmart near us also has a small bag for $2.50 which would be nice as a gift. Tractor Supply is a possibility, too, though I haven't checked their prices lately.

  • TJ January 09, 2018

    My biggest save this week was sour cream. We love sour cream but is is expensive and highly perishable. During a what if moment, I decided to divide one of those very large containers of sour cream from Sam's club into pint glass jars and storing them in the back of the spare refrigerator. We opened the last jar this weekend, it had been stored for three moths and was still good. A bit of whey had separated out. I stirred it in and enjoyed. Amazing, I thought. I intend to do it again. 3 months of sour cream for $6 is reasonable for our budget.

  • sue January 09, 2018

    I found hams on clearance for $.69 lb , picked up to 2. One we sliced for sandwiches and cubed for potato chowder. The other is in the freezer for Easter. Also shopped the clearance sections for some Christmas ornaments , candy (in the freezer) and wrapping paper. Working on using up stuff in the freezer and canned goods. Hoping to spend less this month as I'm planning a trip out to see my son, daughter in law and grandchildren next month. Can't wait to see them!

  • Sarah in Maryland January 10, 2018

    This week's accomplishments were mostly in accepting things from others. We were given...
    -9 whole chickens (I cooked them all, pulled the meat, and made broth for our freezer)
    -a pick-up truck load of firewood
    -a recliner (I've had a lot of fun rearranging as I'm getting "nesty")
    -newspapers to start fires
    -leftover muffins and donuts from church
    -several oranges
    -a lot of newborn size diapers
    -a quart container of coffee creamer
    -some chocolate
    -3 boxes of cheerios (I'll make cheerio bars for our homeschool group)

    I also used a gift card we received for Christmas to get a few groceries.

    I'll do our monthly shopping next week so I've been seeing what we have and what we need and figuring out a budget.

  • Allyson January 10, 2018

    Thanks for the inspirational post, Brandy! I always love reading them and the comments. It's nice to get some new ideas each week for how to save even more.

    I also sympathize with the need to trim the budget. I love browsing gardening catalogs and sites and often end up dreaming bigger plans than our budget or time will allow.

    Here's how we saved last week:

  • Anne January 10, 2018

    Brandy, I was looking through some of your older posts and I fell in love with the Purple Sensation Lilac. I searched for it online and every person who had purchased it agreed it was stunning but it took from 3 to 5 years to begin to bloom. YIKES! You had a picture of a bloom in your yard and I assumed it was in its first season. Can you give me any info on this situation? Perhaps I would just need to pay more for a larger plant, which I am willing to do.

  • Anne, I bought a potted plant that was just starting to bloom at the local nursery last year in March. Most potted shrubs and trees at the nursery are already 2 to 3 years old.

    The grower was Monrovia, and their plants are always MUCH more money (our local nursery carries some things from them, but not many, as their prices are three times what their other suppliers charge), but sometimes they are the only grower who has them. I paid $39.88 for it. You can order one from Monrovia's website, but it is $84!!! I don't know why their website prices are so much more.

    I will say that this lilac is different than any other lilac I have seen before; the flowers grow right on the main branches, rather than on the tips of the branches. This makes it difficult to cut to bring in to enjoy. I'm also not sure on the right way to prune this yet because of this. It's beautiful, though!

  • Sheena January 12, 2018

    Hello everyone

    I have bought plants from Groupon and eBay in the past. I’ve never had a bad experience and they are generally much cheaper than the normal nursery prices ( did find a lot of shrubs at local B&Q discouted to £1 each few months ago but that was unfortunately a fluke).

    Of course the deals where I am (UK) probably are different from the American ones. There is a seller with Purple Sensation lilacs for £16.99-just checked.

    In terms of savings this week. I just went to drop off a load of children’s books/toys etc at a charity shop. We don’t get any tax rebates (from reading I think you do in America). It does make me feel better as it empties the house- these are items the children have outgrown and are not able to be sold ( good condition but used and not designer). While there I found birthday presents for my daughter who is turning 14 in February as well as items with tags still on them for the present drawer.

    I am watching the grocery bill closely. I don’t need any meats as I was lucky enough to find a huge load of reduced turkey last July- we are still eating our way through that! I made meatballs, bolognaise and burgers from the mince and we use steaks on sandwiches and meat in stirfrys. Of course the Christmas turkey and stock made from it is still in the freezer as well. I check the reduced racks if I go to a store and stock my freezer from there. I never buy meat for the full price. My freezer is full at the moment so just really buying milk and fruit and veg- my mother and sister gave me a dehydrator for Christmas so aim to dehydrate and can in the summer- wish me luck!

    I have just paid a big bill so watching everything very closely. Not going out, making meals from scratch etc. My daughter wants to take a few friends (3) ten pin bowling for her birthday so need to look into how to pay for that. I actually complained about a pizza (burnt) we had delivered last year ( haven’t had any since as kids were not impressed either- very frugal

  • Sheena January 12, 2018

    Sorry- typo

    ‘The company sent us a gift card which we can use to take her friends out after the bowling’ and that won’t cost much as a result.

  • Andrea Q January 13, 2018

    Traditional lilacs need to be pruned (when necessary) fairly soon after they finish blooming for the season, else you risk cutting off the start of next year's blossoms. This seems fairly common for flowering shrubs.

  • Trina in Tennessee January 11, 2018

    I have picked out seeds and ended up closing the browser as well. I think I may be a seed hoarder.

    This week we had three plugs installed in our garage. Previously every time it rained my freezer would go out. After losing meat, we decided it was time to fix.

    We are eating from our pantry this month (good thing because those plugs were expensive). I did, however, take my accumulated laundry money (if you don't empty your pockets it becomes mine) and purchased three spiral hams at .99 per lb to put in my empty freezer. I also stocked up on free shampoo using coupons and a catalina deal at Kroger. P & G is offering a $3 catalina when you buy 3 of their products. Buy three shampoos on sale for 1.99, use $3/3 manufacturer coupon and get a $3 catalina.

    I put a big dent in the pumpkins I bought in November for .25 and $1 a piece. I really wanted the seeds as they were heirloom, super cool looking and dense. Canning them is a bonus. I canned 7 quarts of plain cubed and 16 quarts of Tuscany pumpkin pasta sauce. I still have three pumpkins to go. I am saving the seeds to plant and share.

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