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Frugal Accomplishments For The First Week of July

July Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

We harvested red and green seedless grapes, peaches, tomatoes, and apples from the garden.

I cut chocolate mint for a large batch of herbal tea.

I went to the Joann's on the 3rd of July to buy a few items on sale, including some broadcloth in black, white, and navy at 50% off at $2.49 a yard and some ribbon by the spool at 60% off. 

My husband replaced our garbage disposal himself.

We used solar lights at night in our bedroom instead of turning the lights on. I bought a two-pack of these at Sam's Club in May for the same price as one from Amazon. We've had problems with other solar lantern batteries burning in our heat in the direct sun. We put these inside the window and they worked without any problems. They were bright enough to use for reading at night.

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

We celebrated the Fourth of July at home. I hosted and food was combined with my mom. We watched fireworks from our yard--they weren't real large, but we were able to see what several people were setting off nearby from our yard and we didn't have to spend any gas to go anywhere.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Lowe's.

I looked over the grocery ads when they came. There were some good deals--but not the pasta sale that I'm hoping to see. I threw the ads out. I also received some catalogs with summer clearance sales. I glanced through them--and then quickly tossed them. There were some things that I liked but that weren't in my budget nor were they priorities or planned purchases. Throwing them out removed the temptation to spend money I need to use for other things.

I organized three drawers. It took a bit of time but was a no-cost way to add some peace to my life.

I organized my garden seeds. I have plenty of vegetable seeds to plant for my fall garden without having to purchase anything.

My husband and I chose to celebrate our anniversary at home with a meal for the two of us: caprese salad with tomatoes and basil from the garden.


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Melissa V July 13, 2017

    If you have not watched GoT's before - be prepared - I LOVE the show but it is very, very difficult to watch at times and can leave you emotionally exhausted. It really shows all of the very worst parts of humanity.

  • Tiffany July 10, 2017

    This week has been long and short and I remember thinking I need to share this or that frugal accomplishment but they escape me now..

    1. My MIL offered to buy my kids some school uniforms which is a blessing. My kids go to public school but they have a standardized attire. Whatever else they need I will try to get from Wear and Share, where you can trade an outgrown piece for a new piece!

    2. My second summer school class started. Instead of buying a new notebook I ripped out pages I had already used and good as new!

    3. I have been using my Instant Pot to make items fro my work breakfast and lunch. Oats in 4 minutes and 8 hardboiled eggs in 8 minutes. Pretty nice b/c I can study instead of watch and stir the pot.

    4. I have been trying to find free unicorn printable for my daughter's birthday. We will probably only have cousins over but want to make it festive.

    5. Took a homemade gift to a birthday party. My daughter loved swimming at the party which is a treat. We made her friend a butterfly necklace from some charms I bought and brought a coloring book. The mom had requested cash for her daughter's college fund but I just can't do it at the moment. Her mom's expression gave me the feeling she didn't think the gift was enough but luckily my little one is only 5 and didn't seem to notice.

  • Becky @ Becky's Place July 11, 2017

    Wait, wait, wait... Is this something new, to ask for money for a child who's having a birthday party? How crazy is that. The child was probably far more delighted with the gift your daughter brought!

  • Lauire in AZ July 11, 2017

    Wow, just wow... The parent requested cash... Ugh. Good for you for sticking to what you could afford and finding a creative way to be generous!

  • Allyson F July 16, 2017

    That is pretty much the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Most 5yr olds don't want cash for their birthday, and if they do, it's to buy a toy. I think that's more a gift for the mom lol. Perhaps she should have a family birthday celebration instead and save the money she spent on the party for her child's college savings .

  • Eve July 11, 2017

    Woah! All I can say is, "How RUDE", to ask for money for a little girl's brthday party!

    Our kids used to be invited to a birthday by every child (parent) they knew, and it just got to be too expensive and too "status" driven. Plus we noticed the Man Greed Genie always seemed raise its ugly head in the birthday child. For years now, we have had a rule that our kids don't go to birthday parties. There are plenty of other events they attend with their friends - church, ball games, regular ply dates, etc.

    Likewise, we have only family birthday parties. We allow each child to pick a special restaurant for the family to eat at and then have a special birthday cake and gifts at home. OR we allow the child to choose a special home-made dinner. A lot of times, our children have chosen to eat at home with a special dinner made by mom or dad.

    We have never seen this as being "cheap", nor do our children. We see birthdays as special family times with no exectations of gifts from people outside the family. Birthday gifts at $10-20 a pop are so expensive for parents, and a few per year gets pretty spendy. A lot of the gifts received at thes obligatory parties are not even appreciated.

  • Lilllanna Pickles July 11, 2017

    I am happy to see that my bad attitude isn't so bad. As I have aged I have found that being kind and generous ends up with me feeling taken advantage of. So many special occaisions seem to turn into events where people were handing out sign up sheets for their loot list. Often it seemed like we never heard from any of these friends except when they are looking for a gift. Now I have a steadfast rule. I am the first to congratulate you on your special day. We politely decline events and parties. I keep gifts for the children to give at birthday parties. I keep several on hand in my gift closet that I usually buy marked down. Barbies etc.... I rarely spend more than ten dollars. Sadly Christmas has become the same way. This year I will buy for my three young adult children and possibly any companion they may have at that time. Our focus will be on the holiday, the meal and family time. The gimmee are over with.

  • PJGT July 12, 2017

    Giving cash to all but your closest family members has been and still is considered tacky! Presents rule...and if bought on sale, even better. Don't let any ungrateful parent make you feel terrible or unworthy. They will have to deal with themselves, and we get to give the presents we wish to give guilt free.

    I never give money or extravagant presents. Just not done in my family. The closest I will Give is a gift card. The one exception I make is college graduation. I used to give engraved pens, but now do give gift cards to those I know are moving for a job.

  • Athanasia July 14, 2017

    Lillianna, I am glad you did what you felt was right. We obviously with a large family go to many birthday parties every year, but presents are never expected or required. I don't even know if these qualify as parties in today's definition as there are no themes or organized games etc...just a get together, sometimes with food, sometimes potluck, sometimes just dessert. Presents are small if brought, often homemade, certainly bought on sale. The younger you are the more immediate family the guests are, the older you are the more likely you have an open house with hundred or more coming and going. 70+, for example.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. July 12, 2017

    "The mom requested cash for her daughter's college fund . . . " Unbelievable! Does this woman not understand that you have your own child's education to pay for???? Is she planning on contributing to the college fund of your daughter?

  • Cindy in the South July 12, 2017

    What? for a kid's birthday party??? No way, you need to pay for your own kid's did the right thing. Wow. That mom was rude. Do you mind my asking what area of the country/world you live in? I just have never heard of such....I am

  • Krissy in Sacramento July 10, 2017

    Hello all!
    I've been trying to catch up with Brandy's blog for some time, I've been absent for many weeks. Other things have gotten in the way!
    My past week was mostly filled with clothes-related stuff...our dryer broke in late January and we finally got a new washer and dryer set last week. Many thanks to all the ladies that gave me feedback earlier in the year re: center agitating washers vs. ones without the agitator. We decided to go with an Amana set of HE washer with center agitator and a dryer that is almost twice my old one's capacity. (!) We ordered it thru Home Depot's website and used the Shop feature at Swagbucks so will be getting almost $8 back. We did spring for the extra warranties (brings it to five years) so I feel a little bit calmer. The old set were almost 20 years old and I'm pretty sure that the new ones won't last that long...the delivery guy remarked to my husband how old our set was and Jeff just laughed. I'm getting used to the way the new HE washers work...a much longer wash cycle than I'm used to but it's so much easier not having to hang clothes to dry! I feel like we have so few "splurges" in our life these days that soft laundry is a luxury! I took a picture of my husband cuddling a fluffy (-ier) towel to send to my parents. He's so silly.
    So we spent most of the 4th of July moving things around and tidying up before the delivery. My husband also dyed a pair of his work pants black and an older pair of jeans too. My first experience with using Rit dye. It's messy but the pants look much better.
    I've mostly been catching up on laundry and did some mending-a pillow that was unstitched, sewing a button on one of my husband's shirts, and stitching up a hole in my favorite t-shirt...twice. It ripped again when I put it on, lol. My mending skills aren't amazing but I'm getting better.
    Husband also worked a charity event and brought home some unused food. A big container of Antipasti and a huge bag of salad mix. Not sure if the two of us can get through the salad before it goes bad! It's A LOT of salad! Also brought home a nice logo glass that we'll give to his mom.
    Looking forward to being better at reading and posting. Best to all.

  • Mable July 11, 2017

    I freeze excess lettuce/greens/salad and put it into smoothies. I also dehydrate salad and throw it into chili, where it soaks up extra liquid and adds nutrients.

  • Hilogene in Az July 10, 2017

    Brandy, I love your photo! The fruit and veggies look better than my supermarket :D

    Activities last week:
    -baked bread
    -ate all meals at home except one. My husband is helping me by being so willing to eat simple meals at home (scrambled eggs, cereal, tuna fish) on those days when I have lost my cooking enthusiasm. I also love having a good group of frozen already cooked meals in the freezer.
    -researched a few needed items online to find the best price, then grouped items together to get free shipping.
    -lots of car expenses last week: replaced four tires, one battery, brake fluid and engine oil change. Much cheaper than buying a different car since I love this one and it is super reliable! I budgeted $800 for annual car repairs, alas the total will be $1100, but we will find other offsets to cover the overage.
    -had a manicure and pedicure using a birthday gift certificate from a friend, she even included cash for the tip ;)
    -hosted a 4th of July potluck with six friends; sharing food costs made a wonderful meal with lots of interesting dishes, and leftovers for the balance of the week.

  • Sarah July 10, 2017

    Brandy I love your pictures! I'm a long time reader, but recently started blogging my thoughts and some of the frugal things I've been doing. Here are my top 5 for last week

  • JENNIFER Brown July 10, 2017

    My closest grocery store to me is Safeway, although certainly not the least expensive. They have American Beauty pasta on sale for $0.89 in their 4 week specials book, I purchased 8 , utilizing my 4 coupons and ended up paying $.39 cents each. They also had e coupon specials that had a dz. Eggs for . 29, two 24 oz loaves of bread for .49 (combining clippable coupons), and a lb. Of ground turkey for .99. I purchased a few other produce items and when reviewing my receipt in the parking lot, I caught an error of $2.79. I went to CS to get a refund. I try to review each receipt before I leave the store so I don't waste another trip or even worse, forget about it.

    I collected Rosemary, Lemon Balm and Basil from the garden.
    I replanted zucchini seeds in the garden as I've had a terrible time fighting slugs this year.
    I took several soft wood cuttings from two different blueberry bushes to try to propagate new bushes. I read that you need 2 bushes per person to have a years worth of blueberries for fresh eating, canning, baking and freezing. This means we're about 12 bushes short :o
    Collected blackberries, so far just enough for snacking.

    We enjoyed dinner at home and then went to a free event in our community to watch fireworks.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  • Florrie July 10, 2017

    I did the usual frugal things daily using muscle memory. Here are some unusual frugal activities:

    - We used a whole watermelon. We ate the red part, served the pink part to our Wriggly Worms, made pickles with the white part and composted the green rind.

    - My hand held can opener was not cutting evenly. I wadded a paper towel lengthwise and ran the opener through the towel a few times. After much grime came off onto the towel, the opener works like a charm. I crossed can opener off my To Buy list.

    - I'm running low on liquid hand soap, so I soaked an old glycerin bar of soap in water for a few days. The soap liquefied and works fine in a recycled dispenser.

    -On my daily walk I came across 3 quarters, 2 dimes, a nickel and 2 pennies on the side walk. I'm assuming a hearing-impaired person dropped them. I picked them all up and promised to be a good steward of them.

    Brandy, Happy Anniversary to you and your special husband! I say special because behind every wife who does great things, there is a special husband!

  • Lorna July 11, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :D .

    Last weeks frugal accomplishments included -

    Here is our frugal accomplishments -

    Groceries -

    - Purchased grocery gift cards from our roadside assist club we are a member of saving 5% off the face value which will save us $10 off usual prices on a combination of groceries and fuel this month.
    - Purchased a years worth of golden syrup, cooking chocolate, vanilla extract and 6 months worth of yeast from our online restaurant using a 20% off voucher saving us $68.70 on regular prices.

    Financial -
    - Banked more money into and earned interest in our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us up to 19.71% of the way there.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Made 4 lts of pumpkin soup from pumpkins and spring onions picked from the gardens and used stock powder and evaporated milk that needed using from the pantries aving $29.32 (including the cost of our ingredients) over purchasing the equivalent in the supermarkets.

    In the garden -
    - Picked 2 capsicum, lge bunch of parsley, lge turnip, 511g of shelling peas from the gardens saving $26.60 over purchasing them at current supermarket prices.
    - Used vegetable steaming water to water in newly sprouted vegetable seedlings in the garden.
    - Used our saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water all the house paddock lawns without using any town water.

    Firewood savings -
    - We cut 1.079 cubic metres more hardwood ironbark firewood from a friends farm free of charge saving us $215.80 over purchasing it.

    Electricity savings -
    - Boiled our kettle & steamed vegetables on the slow combustion stove, used our solar lanterns, and charged our solar lanterns and mobile phone with our DC cable in the car on cloudy days saving $14.92 in electricity this week alone.

    Craft and seed saving internet hobby shops -
    - Sold some more garden seeds making around another $6 this week.
    - Took advantage of a free listing promotion on Ebay to list 37 of my handmade items saving $55.50 in listing fees.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead one and all .

  • J July 11, 2017

    Happy Anniversary Brandy!

    This week I have been just making lots of food at home as always and packing lots of picnics for when we go to the park and splash pad.

    I am still waiting to harvest anything besides rhubarb from our garden as I planted a bit late and I had to replant some (we have had loads of rain this year and I think it washed out some of the first seeds I planted....).

    I have been working with a very minimal budget to finish my Christmas shopping and start any gift making that I want to do. I find at this time of year I can get great clearance prices on things - typically up to 70% off items from last year's collections. I was able to get some cheese knives and kitchen towels for my mother-in-law who loves to entertain, some Disney Tupperware drinking bottles for my son and niece and nephew, and some beautiful hand towels that I will pair with bars of soap as gifts. I have now reached my spend limit from my gift budget and will not be buying anymore in this category until I go back to work in December. I have a few DIY gifts that I am going to start doing "trial runs" of to see if they turn out the way I am hoping.

    As I approach the end of my maternity leave the budget will continue to shrink. Since I went on leave in October, my income has been reduced by about 60%, but we continue to pay for my elder son's preschool and actually double what we normally pay for gas. His preschool is by my work (which saves us loads of money and time when I am actually working) but means I have to drive more to get him there when I am not. My husband and I try to split the driving but his job does not always allow it. I reduced him by a few days a week when I was first off, but then bumped him back up to 4 days a week when I realized how much he was missing the routine and activity of being around the other kids (we are completely on our own where we live with zero family in the area). All that said, we have been able to make everything work but I am definitely starting to feel the strain so to speak and working very diligently to keep everything in line so we do not take on any non-house related debt before I go back to work.

    Otherwise, I have continued to just not buy anything that isn't necessary.

    Oh - and I got a free drink from McDonald's haha. Big news. I love fountain pop and said I would treat myself to one Dollar Drink Days drink a month during the summer. The other day I went to get a Coke and for some reason my lane in the drive thru was getting skipped. I waited while 4 or 5 cars went through the other lane and then pulled up to the window and said that nobody took my order. They gave me my drink for free! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Rhonda A. July 11, 2017

    Those grapes look so delicious! I would love to have a garden that produced more fruit. Hope you enjoyed your anniversary dinner at home with your husband, Brandy!

    Well, we finally had 4 days without rain!!! Whoohoo, we set a record for this year. Good part is the puddles are finally drying up, but down side is we now we have to water and weed the gardens. Our frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Meals made at home included taco bake, hot chicken sandwiches with broccoli and salad, spaghetti with choice of sauce/topping, chicken fingers with tater tots and corn, and make-your-own pizzas. (Frugal fail: we are eating out more than I want to admit to lately, but one night was my mom's birthday)
    *Taking my lunch every day to work, as usual. I often take leftovers, hummus with cold salads, or sandwiches with cold meat from my freezer stash and homemade garlic sriracha mayo. I usually round out my lunch with yogurt or cottage cheese and some fruit. We have some great bakers on staff this year and cooler weather as well. We have been enjoying treats almost very single day cooked in the wood stoves or over the open hearth. Cookies, tarts, pies, biscuits...So Yummy!!!
    *I was getting a bit bored with eating boiled eggs every morning for breakfast. My mom kindly cooked up a package of breakfast sausages for me and put them in the fridge. I just pop a few in the microwave to heat through for a tasty, quick meal.
    *Taught DD how to make her own smoothies with the magic bullet. She enjoys them for breakfast and they are an easy, healthy choice for her to make herself.
    *Canned 13 pints of pineapple chunks from 7 of the 8 pineapples bought on sale for $1.50 each. One of the pineapples was a bit dark when I cut it up, so I decided to use that one as fresh fruit instead. I used 1 can of pineapple juice ($2.50 for the can) diluted with 2 cans of water for the liquid. Unfortunately, 1 jar broke during processing, otherwise I would have had 14 pints. Just out of curiosity, I checked the cost of canned pineapple at Walmart (their brand, about the same amount in a pint jar) and regular price was $1.67/can. My cost was about $1/jar and far superior in quality!
    *Awesome grocery deals this week included 12 jars of pasta sauce (mom & hubby's favourite) for $0.99/jar, 2 heads of romaine lettuce for $0.50/head, and another flat of farmer's market strawberries for $26 (we will eat these ones fresh and freeze what's left if they are starting to go bad before we can consume them).
    *Bought 2 bags of sweetened shredded coconut on sale for $0.77 each to add to my pantry stock. I checked expiration dates and it's good until 2018. I will most likely use them for Christmas baking, so that works perfect!
    *Used a coupon to save $10 on some much needed PJs and other clothing essentials for DD.
    *Wrote down the recipe for the cornmeal pie crust that everyone has been using at work this year. It is so tasty, almost like a crumbly graham cracker crust but not so sweet and slightly more flaky in texture. It can be rolled or just formed directly in the pie plate, making it versatile to work with too! Must make it for the family when I get time.
    *Bought 25 canning jars (quart sized, about 1/2 are wide mouth) at an auction for just under $10. I have been saving gift money to buy a pressure canner and should be buying one sometime this summer. These jars will definitely come in handy!
    *We've been really enjoying the wildlife at work this year. There is an adorable baby bunny living under the deck of the food cute! We also have a very large number of chipmunks running around, including a very brave one that is missing part of it's tail. One of the girls sometimes brings treat for them. The little half-tail darling ran up very close to me one day, hoping I had treats, too. I could have almost reached out to touch it, but it's not quite trained for that yet.
    *Took a moment to walk around and see some of the classic cars at the Car Show and Transportation Day event we host at our museum annually. They were just arriving, so I didn't see all of them as I had to work. I did see the DeLorean, though (the "back to the future" car).

    That's it for me this week. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

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