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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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Comments

  • Lorna August 08, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) . Brandy your cupcakes look divine and also a skill I would like to learn as well is cake piping and decorating.

    We are preparing for spring here and doing a lot of work in the gardens to amend and till the soils ready for our vegetable planting as well as fertilising the lawns by spreading cow manure on them too. Hopefully this should create some beautiful healthy vegetables for the coming season and healthy lawns too.

    Here is our frugal accomplishments for the week -

    Financial -
    - Banked more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us up to 20.60% of the way there.
    - Rang around local service centres in the area for our car, chainsaw and ride on lawn mower annual service and now have new places to send them saving $315.00 on what we used to pay. We had previously sent in our car for a service with the dealer we purchased the car off and they were becoming hugely expensive. It certainly pays to check prices on machinery and car servicing as it can save a fortune :D .

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 2kg of chocolate fudge for a treat from raw ingredients in the home for $10.22 saving $77.78 over purchasing the same amount which here we pay $8.80 per 100g for :o .
    - Made another quadruple batch of lovely granola from your recipe Brandy saving $16.50 over purchasing the same amount here in the supermarkets.

    In the garden -
    - Separated root bound strawberries by digging them up and separating them making 40 new plants to replant in the gardens saving $40 over buying punnets of seedlings in the local nursery.
    - Purchased 1 trailer load of cow manure from a local transport company and 1 trailer load of horse manure from a local horse breeding stud for amending the garden soils and lawns saving $577.60 over buying the same amounts in bags at our local hardware gardening centre.
    - Picked 2kg of turnips from the gardens for teas saving $12 over purchasing them in the local supermarket.
    - Amended the garden vegetable beds with potash from our winter fires saving $190.40 over purchasing the same amount in the local garden centre. We also crushed the charcoal from our winter fires and added that to the soil to aid in water retention.

    Craft and sewing hobby businesses -
    - Made $140 from the sale of saved garden seeds from the gardens and an eye mask which we used the money for some groceries and purchasing manures for the gardens and lawns with.
    - Took advantage of a free listing promotion on Ebay to list some seeds and handmade items saving $33.

    Electricity savings -
    - Saved $4.10 in electricity by boiling water for our cuppas, steaming vegetables and heating up washing up water on top of the slow combustion fireplace and also by using our solar lanterns to light the home at night rather than using mains powered lights.

    Water saving -
    - Missed one scheduled watering due to rain saving 90 lts of town water.
    - Used vegetable steaming water to water the newly planted seeds in the gardens.
    - Used saved tank water to water in newly planted strawberry, thyme and rose bushes planted rather than town water.

  • Kirsti August 09, 2017

    Your cupcakes and cake look beautiful Brandy! That was wonderful that you were able to go to the class with your daughter. It will be a rewarding skill for the two of you to practice together.

    I haven't posted here for a few months but I am a regular reader of this blog and all the comments that are made. I learn so much from all of you.

    In the past week I've taken advantage of sales and coupons to buy a new bath mat for $5 and a new summer nightgown for $5. The cashier at the store was impressed with the good deals!

    I also bought 20 lbs of chicken breast for $1.39/lb. It feels good to have that in my freezer. I also bought red peppers 3/$1 and cucumbers 3/$1.

    I trimmed my son's hair and my own hair too.

    I am knitting a pullover for myself with some wool yarn ($1 a skein) that I bought a few years ago. Not only will the sweater be inexpensive, it is also an inexpensive way to entertain myself! We went to visit my parents two weeks ago which is a 13 hour car trip for us. My husband prefers to do most of the driving and the knitting keeps me busy.

    I bought a light fixture to install in our basement. I have replaced light fixtures before but as I began to remove the old fixture I discovered that the wiring was in different that what I had seen before. After some research on the internet I thought I had a switch loop in that junction box but I wasn't sure how to proceed. My son's father-in-law who is an electrician came over and helped me install the fixture. I was so grateful for his willingness to help me!

    We've been watching the Great British Baking show on pbs.org for entertainment. Our whole family loves it!

    We need to change our cell phone plan, it is getting very expensive. I've been researching other plans and find it is difficult to compare and figure out what our needs are. I do know I don't want to be locked into a contract again.

    Thanks for all the encouragement!

  • Kara August 09, 2017

    We just switched to Consumer Cellular. We are in our 40's with 2 in college. We all have smartphones. We were able to save over $60 a month and keep exactly the same level of service. Total per month is $90 for 4 lines. It's been fantastic!

  • Nancy in E. Washington August 09, 2017

    I know I should write everything down, but here is what I remember. My neighbor came over with a huge bag of cucumbers and some dill late last Saturday afternoon. She knew I made pickles, and these were left over from the Farmer's Market where she sells her produces. On Sunday (have to do it when we can) I canned 11 quarts and 3 jelly jars of dill pickles. These were "baby dills" as I was able to get between 20-25 cucumbers in each quart jar. Usually I get 7. Had BLTs for a late lunch/early dinner twice over the weekend. Then we just had popcorn later in the evening. I like to put a cucumber on my sandwich instead of lettuce. I like the crunch. Brought all breakfasts, lunches and drinks to work during the last several weeks. My DH retired a month ago. He is getting all the weeding and watering done in the garden. It has never looked so good. Made a big batch of fried rice with brown rice, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, shredded stem of a broccoli and green onions - all from the garden. Added eggs and a chunk of BBQ'd pork cut into small pieces. This will be lunches and some dinners this week. Picked the basil and am drying it. The biggest one - I had my appointment with my oncologist yesterday. She said I do not have to come back and see her anymore (I am 7 years from treatment), but just need to see the P.A. Not so much frugal (as I have been on an annual visit for 3 years now) but I love being able to see the P.A. and not needing the oncologist.

  • Cindy in the South August 10, 2017

    Congrats!!!

  • Juls Owings August 10, 2017

    great going...glad for you

  • Laurie in AZ August 10, 2017

    I never thought of shredding up the broccoli stem to use. I will from now on. Thanks!

  • Jo August 09, 2017

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first time posting and covers the last two weeks.

      I only washed full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine and hung all our clothes up to dry.

      Whenever the weather permitted, I opened blinds, curtains and windows to air out the house and warm it up. Shut everything again before turning the heater on.

      My husband and I have this self-imposed rule not to turn the heater on before 5pm. While we failed some days, most days we actually managed to turn it on an hour or two later.

      We have an enormous kitchen sink, so I often only fill it half to do the dishes. I also save the warm-up water and use it to pre-soak dishes.

      I cleaned up the garden using big tubs I got free from a local FB page. I also gladly accepted a cupcake carrier someone offered for free.

      I picked up free fruit and an oregano plant. There is an initiative in our city were people offer their excess produce for free.

      I combined errands and appointments several times to save gas. This included picking up grocery specials and returning some impulse purchases.

      We often eat leftovers for dinner and always pack our own work lunches. We went out to eat once with a voucher. One day, my manager kindly provided lunch so I saved mine for the next day. I also paid for some special sweet treats from my allowance rather than the grocery budget. I baked our own snacks and let the oven heat up part of the house. We caught up with friends for a home cooked dinner instead of going to a restaurant.

      My husband fixed a problem with my car himself and also fixed our broken drying rack with some cable ties.

      We recently got married but because I am from overseas not all of my family could attend. We are planning to go on our honeymoon next year and have a party back home for everyone on my side. This week I made those invitations myself instead of paying someone to make them for us.

      I took the time to clean the house really well top to bottom using water, vinegar and rags made out of old clothes. Even though I am quite organised and minimalist in general, I was surprised to find some forgotten items. They either got donated or put to good use.


    I appreciate everyone's input each week and am hoping that I will comment consistently from now on. :)

  • Cindy in the South August 10, 2017

    I noticed you talked about turning on a heater. Are you living in Australia? Welcome!!!

  • Jo August 10, 2017

    I do indeed! Beautiful Adelaide in South Australia. :)

  • Lorna August 13, 2017

    Hi Jo and another aussie here from Qld too and congratulations on your recent marriage and it sounds like you are doing so well on the frugal front :) . Nice to see you post on here too and welcome, we can compare notes.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 10, 2017

    Your city initiative sounds awesome! I love that you got free fruit and a plant! And, welcome!

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