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Frugal Accomplishments For The First Week of August

Zinnia Arrangement in Blue Jar The Prudent Homemaker

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I reconfirmed that we don't need to buy any school supplies this year (except printer paper, and I'm good for a while). I thought I might need one thing, but my son informed me that we had 4 or 5 of them in the drawer. 

I collected over 25 gallons of water from the drip from the air conditioner, as we had humid weather. I used this water to water potted plants in the garden.

We had an unexpected rainfall! I put out buckets to collect water, and turned off the sprinklers and drip system for the next two days. You can see a little video of my white garden during the rain on my Instagram account.

Al Fresco in August The Prudent Homemaker

The weather cooled down over 25 degrees that evening, so we enjoyed an al fresco dinner in the backyard.

My daughter's youth group had an extra activity this week to learn how to decorate cakes from a woman who makes wedding cakes. As piping icing has been eluding me for years, I decided to stay rather than dropping her off (I would have had to drive home, stay home for 10-15 minutes, and come right back, so staying made sense gas-wise, too.) As it was, only one other girl ended up coming (over 10 had signed up!) and I figured out what I was doing wrong. Obviously, I'll need to practice to make things perfect, but I can now finally ice cakes and cookies! I know a cake decorating class is pricey, and I was starting to think I needed to take one after my sister-in-law worked with me last week and we still couldn't figure out why I couldn't ever get icing to come out of the bag. She came over, we made her icing, and we put it in, and neither of us could get it to come out! My biggest mistake? Using a ziploc bag instead of a regular icing bag. From now on I will use the right tool! I also learned my other major problem: in our heat, you cannot make an all-butter buttercream; it will be liquid. The same goes for Swiss meringue and Italian meringue frostings. They are liquid in our weather here. Frosting needs to be American buttercream with shortening and no more than half-butter, or it will be a liquid that will run right off your cake (and definitely won't work for piping!) I had tried all of those recipes this year and they ran right off/melted off my cakes. (This is also why I haven't shared any birthday photos this year!) 

So now I can do this, which I've wanted to do for years:

Pink Rose Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

I purchased two pairs of shorts for my son for $3 from a Facebook garage sale page and two pairs of jeans for $5 for a daughter. It's a little higher than I usually pay but both needs were able to be fulfilled for less than buying new, and they were all in very good condition.

Armenian Cucumber and Red Noodle Beans The Prudent Homemaker

I picked the last of the figs, a few tomatoes, 3 Armenian cucumbers, and a handful of red noodle beans from the garden.

I cut basil from the garden.

My husband mended his office chair. A new one would have cost over $200. He paid $4 for parts.

 Neopolitan Cake The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  • Lilllanna Pickles August 07, 2017

    It has been a rough week in our little town. A young mother of three was run off the road by a drink driver and killed. She was 26 and had no life insurance. Mothers should have this when babies are born. It is so incredibly sad.
    My children's favorite cake was the one I baked for my son's birthday. It was beautiful. Then a crack appeared. Then another. Then it just kind of self served itself into sections. I took some crumbled Oreos and tossed in too with a couple of small monster trucks. May have been my best artistic endeavor. Sugar cookie begged to go out for a while. We spent 2.00 at Little Caesar's for bread sticks , her favorite. I ran into McDonalds to get a soda because the drive thru was awful. The man gave me two cups and said not to worry about it. I Like Free DRinks. We Bought Two DVds AT the thrift STore For 50 Cents A piece. Sorority GIrls PUppy COst 150.00 at the vet. Ouch...... Thankfully the freezer had many surprises in the bottom. 3 beef roasts, 6 pks chopped beef steak, and a huge pack of shrimp. I have 6 months of chicken. Dressing and rolls and broccoli. Happy to see this. Surgery scheduled tomorrow. Please send prayer s.

  • Elizabeth in Oklahoma August 07, 2017

    Thank you all for your many tips and experiences. Even an old lady like me learns something new everytime. Today is my dh and I's 53rd wedding anniversary. We have had ups, downs, money troubles, etc. but always came out on top. I have always been frugal even when we did not have to be. My frugal ways came from watching my Mother and my Grandmother make everything work out and enjoy all of lifes' blessings.

  • tiffany August 08, 2017

    Congrats! 53 years is awesome! I am on 12 and it can be challenging at times.

    I love coming here to learn frugal ways..my mother is um not exactly frugal and I do not have any grandparents left :(. No grandmas and lots of frugal questions!

  • PJGT August 12, 2017

    Wow!!! Happy anniversary ❤️

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 07, 2017

    I am baker is who I follow for all the different frosting needs.

  • Margie from Toronto August 07, 2017

    I had some investment money come due and used a good chunk to pay off one CC entirely and another to pay some back taxes. I've also put aside my "allowance" from now to the end of the year and allocated other monies for almost the next year.
    I've also figured out a monthly grocery amount - slightly under the Low Cost amount from the USDA (taking into account that Cdn. $ is about 80 cents to the US $) - it's actually probably closer to the Frugal amount as our groceries tend to be much more expensive. The only thing left to buy this week is some sweet potatoes - otherwise I won't be back in the store until Sunday at the earliest. Trying to eat down my freezer and concentrating on just buying fruit & veg for now as there is plenty of meat & fish.
    Joined a friend for a yard sale and made $176.00. I need some items for the apt. so used this money to purchase a standing lamp at IKEA for a dark corner in my living room and a small side table at a flea market yesterday for the bedroom - (the friend I was with is a great bargain hunter and she got a third of the original cost knocked off)! Still have some funds left and may buy another small lamp for the dining room.
    I also bought 3 Christmas gifts today! I often pick a theme for gifts and this year it's going to be a puzzle for many friends. By sheer chance I was in INDIGO today and their puzzles were all reduced. Bought 3 (that was all I could carry) but will check out another location later this week and probably get another 2 or 3.
    Also received $250 in gift cards for INDIGO as a retirement gift from my former manager (but I am keeping those for my own use over the next year as I am a book addict).
    I also have a lot of 2 for 1 vouchers for various events/venues around town so I've been sharing with friends as part of my staycation (received these after purchasing a magazine subscription as a Christmas gift for a friend). Friends and I have also been making picnic lunches to take on outings rather than buying food - and we've really enjoyed doing it.
    It will probably take me a few months to get fully on track but I'm trying!

  • J August 08, 2017

    Margie I love Chapters Indigo. It is one of my favourite places to shop. I do find that many of the clearance books are often reduced so significantly (even online) that I sometimes pay only $1.00 more than if I was buying the book at the Salvation Army. Although I do miss many of the old "independent" book shops - Chapters Indigo has proven to be a great store.

    Congratulations on your retirement!

  • Mary August 09, 2017

    Thank you for posting about Indigo! My siblings and our families are all readers. One sibling is on a road trip going into Canada. Chapters Indigo is now on their list to stop at!

  • Ellie's friend August 08, 2017

    I made my first batch of yogourt. It didn't turn out so well but I'm using it like a buttermilk salad dressing.
    I pitted all of the sour cherries while I sat outside. A neighbour whom I recently met (we've both been here for 40 years!) years but had never met) stopped by and chatted while I pitted so the time went quickly. My neighbour is Dutch and very nice ––his wife is in a dementia facility. The cherries are in the freezer. Tomorrow I wash and freeze the blueberries. I may make some jam. I gave away a box of ties to the charity pickup. I looked at some of the silk and thought about what I could do with such lovely material but then thought someone else will enjoy them. I found a blouse that I really love that had been misplaced.

    I am writing this in the middle of the night as we just had a noisy thunderstorm and, yes, rain! I'm hoping there was no bad hail and that the farmers got the much needed rain. I'm glad you got rain, Brandy. What a lovely feeling and gift to finally have rain.

    This Saturday we are going to a community dinner at the church. We are looking forward to it. Some want to discontinue it due to cost but others want to keep it as it is a good chance to meet new people and to provide a meal in hard times.

    I am so sorry to read about your cousin, Brandy. My condolences.

  • Ellie's friend August 08, 2017

    P.S. Your rose icing cupcakes are lovely! I've always wanted to master the buttercream icing skill! Ann

  • Marybeth August 08, 2017

    I'm so glad that you got so much rain for your area. It has been a busy week but we didn't spend a lot of extra money.
    -We paid for my son's first semester of college:no student loans!!!
    -My son had orientation for college. It was mandatory and cost $100. Parents could go for $20 a piece. He went by himself. I told him to take whatever they were handing out. He had lunch and snacks included. He came home with a cinch sak, a tee shirt, a flash drive, pens, pencils, an agenda for the school year, some snacks and a water bottle.
    -Panera gave me a free bagel every day for the month of August. I drive past one on the way to work so I have been leaving a little early to stop and get it. They always give lots of butter packets with it.
    -Picking lots of lettuce and string beans from the garden. I canned 8 pints with them.
    -My husband brought home 2 bagels from work that would have gone in the garbage.
    -My son redeemed a free pizza coupon for me(he was picking up his girlfriend and its right near her house) so I didn't have to cook dinner after a long and busy day at work.
    -Made BLTs for dinner one night after another long and busy day. Better then take out!
    -Used the crock pot for several meals. I love coming home to dinner ready.
    -Brought leftovers, snacks and water to work all week
    -A coworker brought in donuts one day. A manager brought in cupcakes for another managers' birthday. Free snacks!
    -My husband and I saw 2 free movies at work this week. One was good, one was not. We got my free popcorn and drink and brought our own candy. Cost $0
    -Had picked some flowers to put in the house. When they died I poured the water into my potted plants.
    -All veggie scraps were thrown in the freezer for future use.
    -Used all water from washing fruits/veggies and canning to water outside potted plants
    -Made chocolate chip cookies but used half the chips the recipe called for. They still were yummy.
    -There was a contest at work in July. The top donation collector every day got a free milk shake. I am not able to participate because I work in the office. A co worker won 4 times and is not a big fan of milk shakes. She offered me one.
    -Another co worker gave me a gift card for covering for her short notice twice in the last 2 weeks.
    -Hung all laundry on clothesline/rack
    -Paid bills online saving 5 stamps
    -Used my bread machine several times
    -Repair man came and fixed my broken ice machine that is still under warranty
    -Went to a graduation party so didn't have to cook that night.
    -Did our own yard/house work

  • We had a half inch of rain here. That is huge as we only get 4 inches a year here. Most of the time our rain is so little as to not be measurable.

  • Mary August 08, 2017

    That is wonderful, no student loan! We are in the same boat - taking our daughter for her first year of college - no loans!!! It's a relief...

  • Marybeth August 08, 2017

    Congrats on no student loans!

  • Mary August 08, 2017

    Thank you! Now I'm just praying she will be happy. I think we are all anxious - as she is our only child.

  • DonnaMarie August 09, 2017

    Congratulations on sending your son to college without student loans ! My son will graduate May 2018 with no student loans. We were able to fund his freshmen and sophmore years in the dorm; but due to cost, we asked him to move back home and commute for the remainder of time. We live 15 miles from his university and he happily agreed to become a commuter. He felt blessed to be able to live on campus for the first two years and now has two new lifelong friends (his former roommates). Best wishes to your son as he begins his college journey.

  • Marybeth August 09, 2017

    Thank you. Congratulations on no student loan debt also. Every time I work a shift I don't want to I say to my self "No student loans!" It makes me go every time.

  • PJGT August 12, 2017

    When I make chocolate chip cookies, I halve the chips and the sugar. I also use whole wheat flour. I started by cutting the sugar and changing to whole wheat flour little by little until I found what works for our family.

  • Jen@FrugalSteppingStones August 08, 2017

    I have been watching YouTube videos to learn how to ice a cake this year and I can do very basic things. I am working up to more complicated cakes. I find I have to clear our fridge to ensure there is enough space to put the cake to keep fancy icing work from dripping, even though we are in Ohio.

    This week I was thrilled my husband figured out how to fix our dryer for $23. He watched a YouTube video,and it saved us either a $600 service call or from buying a full replacement. I took the kids to my mom's for 4 hours so he could have the peace and quiet to do it.

  • becky in central iowaßpot.com August 08, 2017

    i took a class abt a hundred yrs ago actually only feels like it really was 35 years ago she had us freeze our cake for a day then we decorated it tho in central iowa we don't have your extreme heat tho this year it felt pretty extreme. we did both ways butter cream and the white which was shortening we used parchment paper for making our cones one tome for fathers day i made a big cookie on a stick and frosted to look like a dad i did for the bishopric which my husband was in i left his in the car and he took the others in to early meeting then you know three hrs after that it wasn't hot out but it was in the sun and the sun broke the coloring which was brown for the hair it broke the color so that the hair turned green too funny might keep out of sun i have purposely broke black before it went brilliant purple and some pink but when you are going for hair that is to be brown it was quite a shock.

    love hearing how you all do it is so inspiring

    frugal things this week there is only the two of us home now so when i make a casserole i still do the same only i put in two pans or casseroles and freeze one as i have fibromyalgia and it is nice to have an already made meal.. someone was moving and asked if i wanted canning jars i said yes so that was good they were pints i can meat and veggies and such in pints also make mixes ahead and use canning jars very helpful. Aldi had mushrooms on sale 69 cents for 8oz i got ten now next to these whole ones on sale were cut ones for a dollar more per pkg i think what i do to cut them is not a chore i wash then use an egg slicer i got at a yrd sale so this filled my twelve trays up when done was two wts i had got celery that day so took the celery out i did not use and dried it got two jelly jars these jars are all vac sealed a lady at church gave us four tomatoes i kept one and dried the others to make another jelly jar which i will vac seal as well. i have been working on knitting socks learning a knew heel so that is coming nicely also did some spinning but hadn't felt up to weaving this week we had a friend come with his tree trimming tools and helped my husband cut tree branches off our power line the power co doesn't do from pole to house. i made a cute thank you card and they carried them all to burn pile but in the night a storm blew more down i dragged the next day my husband and this friend asked the neighbor if she wanted a branch cut from same tree that was on her garage and she was happy for she is the reason i was getting nervous as we had tornado come thru yrs ago it took a tree she had scheduled to have taken down the following thurs but it came down and pulled her power line out of house it arced and caught her house on fire the storm took down big trees on our road the fire trucks could not get thru we live in sm town they got back hoes to move trees all of town was asked not to use water so they could fight the fire it had to be rebuilt so we were happy as she probably as nervous as we were. it was a great service they did. as fall comes closer i will take my raspberries i picked and washed and froze i will make my usual jam i do this every yr as too hot when harvesting fall is better to make jam. I mowed it took me an hr because i dragged limbs usually my husband does but he is having back issues it is a riding mower and 9/10ths of an acre i hurt for three days but we push on. thank you all for sharing

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