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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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  • Katie Haydock July 11, 2017

    We picked peas and strawberries from our garden. And we pulled and tied up the garlic to dry out to use at a later date. We're really happy with how well our tomatoes and squashes are doing this year - I'm hoping for a good crop to make plenty of tomato sauce and soup to freeze and use whilst I'm on maternity leave.
    We've also sorted out all of the baby things from our first born to re-use. We just need to buy a new cot mattress.

  • Ann Lee S July 11, 2017

    As a single senior lady I do all my own ... cooking, cleaning, flower gardens (the rabbits ate all my lettuce and green beans)
    the usual ... hang out to dry, make bread, etc. Recently I became determined to clear out unused items, and so far this week I have made $42. !!
    I so enjoy all the blogs and comments from your readers.
    ann lee s, Vancouver island, bc canada

  • katie July 11, 2017

    Brandy, would you consider doing a post about working from home? I have health problems that don't allow me to get an outside job. My husband only makes $500 a week and we are in desperate need of more income. I signed up for Money Saving Mom's blogging course and paid for the hosting package and web designer she suggested. I have already spent over $1,000 just to get started and I have no idea how blogs actually make money! I know you have been blogging for years and would love your help. Thanks so much.

  • Katie, I have been blogging for 9 years. I don't write for the money; if I was writing for an income I would have to write a different type of blog for a different audience. There are bloggers out there who sell lots of things through affiliate links and make money that way. Many of them make BIG money, and it's a full-time income. Many make enough to hire other people to work for them (a friend of mine currently supports her family working for one of those types of bloggers).

    I don't make big money, but I spend a LOT of time working on my site. It would be lovely to make a lot of money, but it's not why I write. I write to help those who are struggling to put food on the table and have what they need on a small income. That's not every reader, but that's my "target reader" (every blogger needs to find their target audience) --and that reader doesn't have money to spend on buying stuff through affiliate links. That makes my readership different than most bloggers--even frugal living bloggers. There are people who coupon and save money because they want to make their money go further, and then there are those who NEED to watch every penny to make ends meet. That's why I write.

    I see bloggers say they're making thousands of dollars after blogging for 6 months. I've read their sites and seen their income reviews, and I don't know how they do it.

    I currently make a little less than $100 a month from Amazon and every 2-3 months I have enough points in Swagbucks (from people who signed up under me earning Swagbucks) to get a $25 gift card.

    I spend easily 20-30 hours a week working on my site.

    So I don't have any answers for you from personal experience.

    I have seen a lot of articles on Pinterest from bloggers (search "blog income report") talking about how they're making money. Perhaps there is something that can help you in that way. There are also blog posts about generating traffic. Make yourself a private board and pin those articles that are helpful to you.

    I wish you the best!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. July 12, 2017


    Just want to say that I love your blog just the way it is. You may not make "big money," but your site is a real blessing to those of us who are regular readers. It's beautiful and inspiring (and does not have all of the annoying pop-up ads that so many blogs have).

  • Mable July 12, 2017

    Ditto to what Roberta said.

  • Cindy in the South July 13, 2017

    Your blog is my favorite, Brandy!

  • Thank you so much Roberta, Mable, and Cindy!

  • Jen@FrugalSteppingStones July 13, 2017

    I started my first blog (an infertility one) way back in 2007, my first frugal blog in 2009, and my current one in 2015. I make maybe $10 a month in affiliates/ads per month tops. I have a part-time job as a nurse and just finished grad school don't have a full workweek to work on my websites. I think the people who make a lot blogging either are really good at sales or really got lucky. I will say, though, that I applied for and won a $2500 scholarship towards my master's in nursing last year, and they told me it was because of my blog and our goal to pay for my degree without incurring debt, so in a way my blog did bring me resources for our goals. I ended up helping to write a couple chapters of a book when I was found by an editor on my infertility blog, and that book credit has helped give me extra opportunities in my career as a nurse.

  • J July 14, 2017

    Brandy, I just want to say that aside from content, what I love about your blog the most is that it is not heavily monetized. I find many of the big money blogs difficult to read. Too much snap, crackle, and puff everywhere. Flash ups. Annoying product placement (I don't mind product placement if it's well done) and unrealistic advice. Your blog is one of the main reasons I did not try to monetize my own. (although there is nothing at all wrong with a monetized blog, many of those are also great - I just really like what you have done with this space)

  • Thanks J!

    I read a blog that has absolutely no advertising. She writes because she wants to, and her site is gorgeous. It's called "Kate's Creative Space" and I love it!

  • Juls Owings July 16, 2017

    Brandy I was talking to a group of women yesterday about you and sharing your website. We were at a party given for Hubby's coworker that had a massive heart attack and not only survived but has recovered almost completely in less than 3 mos. His wife and him are raising 3 grandkids on his disability. One of the ladies asked if you got paid to write and I told her no, you did get a little from Amazon if someone went through your site...another one piped up and said "she gets paid in blessings" ...that is true because I know how often when we were struggling or just need some support from someone that understands...we say Bless Brandy and hers on a regular bases especially yesterday when I was going through your menus. Blessings for you and yours ALWAYS

  • Katie, there are two bloggers whom I follow who have great advice: Ruth Soukop of Living Well, Spending Less and Rosemary Groner of The Busy Budgeter. Both make big money. If you sign up for their newsletters, they will send you emails that are truly useful, and they often have freebie handouts on blogging that you can get too. They DO also try to sell their products, but just DON'T buy them (you're not at that stage yet, since I think you've just started blogging. Wait until you earn money before you invest any more). If you want to see a great blog that is slowly improving itself and building its audience, check out mediumsizedfamily. The blogger often posts here, and I've watched her grow her blog bit by bit; I think it will really gain traction shortly and start to bring in income. She's also a bit more relateable in blogging terms than the first two that I named. All three are great, though (the first two are just the best in the business). Check out 'How to Blog for Profit w/o Selling Your Soul' from the library - written by Ruth Soukup, it's still one of the best books out there.

    The biggest advice that I can give you for where you are in your blogging career, is:
    - as Brandy said, define your target audience and write for them
    - write good content
    - build your email list
    - build a strong relationship with your readers; a strong relationship with your readers is better than high pageviews, as pageviews can be fickle
    - keep plugging away. It's not a get rich quick scheme. You have to truly feel that you have something to share, have an attractive and useful site, and spend A LOT of time working on your website in order to see any return.

    FYI, bloggers make money in various ways: sponsored posts, affiliate links, ads (both side bar and in text), and selling products that they create.

    And finally, hang in there! It sounds like you're under a lot of stress and working hard. Things will get better! I wish you lots of success!

  • Lisa July 11, 2017

    I was able to use the church's Mylar sealer to dry pack several bulk bags of powdered milk, rice, pinto beans and black beans. I've had the bulk bags for almost two years and haven't used them, so I put them into Mylar bags and they will last for years (I hope!) I had to buy some new oxygen absorber packets. $11.94 was my total for over 100lbs of food. (The food and Mylar bags were no out-of-pocket cost to me, a tender mercy.) This food will be a great blessing in the coming year.

    We harvested one zucchini from the garden! There are a couple more almost ready and tons of tomatoes that will be ripe in another week! Beans are getting close too!

    Tonight for dinner we went to Chick-fil-a for their "dress like a cow" day and got free dinner! We only ordered entrees (no extras or drinks) and took it to a park with water bottles. It was a fun family outing with no dishes!

    My sweet husband takes his lunch to work everyday. He usually makes it himself in the morning while I'm making breakfast for the children but I secretly made it for him tonight. Little things like that make the stressful times a little easier and even fun!

  • PJGT July 12, 2017

    I use a hot iron to seal my mylar bags...I don't think they are special ones, but it might be worth checking into if you need to seal then sometime without access to a sealer (a real treat!). I've even been known to seal them with my daughter's straightener for hair.

  • Cindi July 12, 2017

    This made me smile, because I always use my flatiron to seal mylar bags. I have to seal one side, then the other, but it works! And it doesn't hurt the flatiron.

  • Shelly July 11, 2017

    Hi Brandy, and happy anniversary!

    I'm wondering if you would be willing to share what food you prepared for your Independence Day celebration at home. I have so looked forward to your holiday celebrations! I struggle with making frugal foods for holidays and events, and I would love to hear about how you handle this prudently. Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  • Sure Shelly!

    My mom provided the meat. She bought 3 (and 2 would have been enough) 8-pieces of fried chicken from the grocery store for $3.99 each. This is very different than what we normally do, but that was an outstanding price and what she decided she wanted to contribute. I made corn on the cob (8 ears for $1 plus my mom had bought some as there was a limit of 8 and we had plenty). My mom brought over butter. I sliced tomatoes from the garden. I made individual pavlovas and we topped them with whipped cream (I bought the cream and whipped it with powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla) and blueberries and cherries that were provided from one other guest that I didn't mention (a senior lady who my mom takes grocery shopping each week and helps in other ways; she is often included in our holiday meals and usually provides something by buying it ahead of time and then I can make it).

    We had water to drink. I know drinks are often a huge expense at holiday celebrations, but water works well and is always refreshing, with no extra money spent for drinks or ice.

    We ate on real plates, so there were no disposables to purchase.

    I decorated with some miniature flags I already had placed on the table in mini milk bottles on a table runner.

  • Shelly July 14, 2017

    Thank you so much! That sounds like a beautiful celebration, and I love your idea to eat on real plates and with actual utensils. As always, you gave me many wonderful ideas for my family holidays.

    I look forward to each and every post, and I'm so grateful for everything I've learned from you and been able to bring to my family.

  • Jen Guzman July 11, 2017

    My frugal week from urban Seattle:

    *Admiring everyone's garden production and Brandy's beautiful pictures of her garden produce! We live in a rowhouse with a shaded patio. I have a balcony that gets sun where I grow herbs and I meant to try tomatoes this year, but that will be next year now. This week a friend asked me to water her garden in exchange for produce and I came home with some early tomatoes and herbs that I don't grow myself. I made the tomatoes and some of herbs into spaghetti sauce in my crock pot.

    *We were able to bike all week and leave our car in the carport everyday except for Saturday.

    *Biked over to the "shoe bank" (a neighbor who sacrifices the side porch of her beautiful house to store soccer cleats for trade). I was able to trade both of my boys' cleats for larger sizes for fall sports. We've never had to purchase a pair of cleats since we moved to Seattle thanks to the shoe bank. So thankful for this neighbor's sacrifice!

    *We *thought* we had comp tickets to a pro women's basketball game, but when we got to the box office, they wouldn't allow us to use them for that night's game. So we decided to play in the giant fountain next door to the stadium for free rather than purchase full-priced tickets. It was a beautiful Seattle evening and we had a great time at the fountain.

    *We walked to 7-11 for free slurpee day today for a late-afternoon treat!

    *My husband and I had an early morning Saturday date playing pickleball (kind of a cross between tennis and ping pong - very popular in Seattle) at a neighborhood park. I purchased some used pickleball rackets and balls off Ebay last Christmas for just a few dollars and we use them practically every week when the weather is nice.

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