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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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  • Janet July 12, 2017

    Good for you Jen not buying the full price tickets and enjoying the close by fountain for free instead. We do the same when you get told no on a promotion you are counting on do not cave and buy the expensive item they are pointing your towards after all at full price your family would not have been out for the game in the first place. We always just look for a local park to enjoy. If we already spent the gas money we will see what is close for free.

  • Marivene July 11, 2017

    I spent the week picking & dehydrating pie cherries. Made two cherry pies, too.

    Picked & froze blackberries, red raspberries, red currants & white currants. The gooseberries are almost ripe.

    Saved seed from the blossoms on the chive plant that our middle daughter sent to our oldest daughter, & also saved seed from the parsnip volunteer in the garden. There are several onions in the garden going to seed, along with some of the garlic, so I will save seed from those, too.

    Continued to knit on the baby blanket for Little Stuff's baby brother to be.

  • Peggy Ann in CT July 12, 2017

    I was dreaming of gooseberries the other night. My grandmother had a bush along with currant and raspberry bushes. We would play outside all summer long and when we got hungry we just went into the garden for a snack. Perhaps a gooseberry bush needs to go on my garden wish list. I always enjoy reading your posts Marivene.

  • Annie-Blake July 12, 2017

    Great week so far! We have:
    -froze four dinners of butter chicken to have over rice
    -bought vegetables for the week at the farmers market. Very cheap and fresh
    -went to the French Festival and had a fun day with my family. We caught the train into the city, packed a picnic lunch which we ate by the river, overlooking the city, got the children doing lots of free French, music session, art and craft and each of my children got a free french activity book and CD. We splurged and bought some pastries : )
    -shopping this week has only been for the bare essentials; bread, milk and vegetables. Around a $15 weekly spend
    -budget is on track and house mortgage decreasing at a good level..we are slightly ahead of schedule
    -took some lovely photos of my children
    -went to the library
    -still harvesting carrots, basil, spring onion and parsley from the garden

    Looking forward to the weekend and taking the children to a local fete. I will take $20 with me so they can have some fun! I will bring food and water bottles with us.

  • Cindy in the South July 13, 2017

    What is butter chicken? It sounds delicious! Do you have a fav recipe?

  • Rhonda A. July 13, 2017

    Butter chicken is a traditional Indian dish, kind of like curry but different spices, often served over rice. It is a very popular dish, with lots of recipes on-line (I checked Pinterest and they had numerous links). I have tried it and it's good, but I will let Annie-Blake suggest her fav recipe as I have never tried making it myself.

  • Katy July 12, 2017

    Enjoyed reading what you did. I especially liked your tip of tossing out the ads, sometimes blogs are all about the deals and how to buy stuff cheaper, but don't talk as much about just not buying things that aren't needed.

    This weekend we moved into our new rental house and...
    I started composting!! I'm so excited to not have that stuff stinking up my trash, but instead nourishing the dirt!
    I picked some spinach-type stuff that is used here (West Africa) in peanut sauce, so I used it in my peanut sauce today.
    My husband made a simple swing for our kids and attached it to a sturdy tree branch. They love it and it was made from materials we had on hand.
    There was a leak in one of the showers, so I put a basin under it and used some of the collected water to mop. Then today my husband fixed it.
    I've been trying to do better about writing lists on scraps of paper instead of getting a clean sheet for every little list I write.

  • Tammy July 12, 2017

    Brandy, you are an inspiration!
    We have done well. We made all but one meal at home in the last two weeks. We need to pay off debt and save to replace my 14 year old car. I considered going with just one vehicle but I really need it as my husband works out of town and I run the errands for us and my disabled son. So, we are praying that my car holds out until we get money saved for a decent used vehicle.
    I am being careful to only leave lights on that I need. Try to open windows in morning instead of using lights.
    We bought chicken at 34 cents a lb. It was marked off at Aldi. We will be eating lots of chicken and I will make homemade broth. I get such a thrill out of savings that good! Been eating a lot of eggs as these have been cheap lately.
    Borrowed books at the library and toys from a toy library for my grandchildren. Got the toy library idea from the Tightwad Gazette along with so many other ideas. Googled Toy Library Association. Pretty neat!
    Been reading everything I can on homeschooling, including your site Brandy. I really like the Charlotte Mason method. My three year old granddaughter and five year old grandson are reading! I'm just teaching them over the summer, although I would love to homeschool them! It is fun to watch them learn. My son thanked me and told me I am doing a good job! That made me happy too! I just have them 3 mornings a week on most weeks. It is amazing how much you can get done during that time. I really enjoy reading your blog Brandy. I appreciate not only the frugal ideas, but also the homeschool ideas.

  • PJGT July 12, 2017

    We did all of the normal frugal things this week. We also had two stupendous frugal purchases finally materialize.
    My son, with our help, bought a new-to-him older vehicle to get to class and back next fall. It is going to be a bit more costly on gas; however it has 4wheel drive for going over the mountain in the winter. It was also over the blue book cost for several good reasons (extra set of tires, extra radiator, extra transmission, newer engine, and bought from very honest and trustworthy people we know whose daughter drove it). Should last him through college and save his old and useful pick-up for using for many a year to come. He transfered to a local college and is going to live at home for the remainder of college. Now that's a frugal save right there!

    Which brings me to frugal joy number 2! Our rather small cabin has been delivered. It is Amish built, unfinished inside and cute as a button. We have the electric hooked up, water running and the composting toilet ( talk about frugal living!) usable. We are going to have a cabin and garage (came with a packed-to-the-gills garage that just needed cleaning out) that we own outright!

    I also have to landscape now and have some saved plants plus lots of offers from friends. I'm an experienced Master Gardener, so I can do the outside work. I just don't know anything about building...but am learning as fast as I can.

    Finally, the museum that I volunteer with out where we live (in the West) wrote a grant to have me do some remote work, and they are flying me home for a week to finish up on site! I had no idea...what a gift!!!! I chose to go the week of our anniversary ❤️ . Congratulations, Brandy, on your anniversary. Good things are happening here!

    I try to focus on those good things and not on the difficulties of living in mud without amenities. They will all come soon enough. I also have a terrific MIL who does our wash and likes to buy groceries. Thankful for family and a roof...not to mention mouse traps!

  • Cindy in the South July 13, 2017

    I have looked into getting the $20,000 house from Rural Studios at Auburn University here in Alabama. It is that price without septic, and excluding the land. I would love to look at other options for when I retire. Which Amish company did you buy from?

  • PJGT July 13, 2017

    We have a local company called the Amish Barn Company in Oneonta, NY...I'm sure if you call them they will tell you where to go nationally or in your locality. I'm very pleased with our cabin.

    We have decided to go with a composting toilet (until we can afford an incinerator toilet) and a dry well. Much more affordable but takes a bit of getting used to.

  • Cindy in the South July 14, 2017


  • Roberta in So. Cal. July 12, 2017

    Happy Anniversary!

    Whew. The week is getting away from me. Our biggest effort this week is just staying cool. :p

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals.

    * We actually had one day that was cool enough to not use the AC at all (unfortunately, the rest of the week was hot). We're keeping the thermostat set at 80F, using fans, and opening up when we can at night and in the mornings, but our electric bill will still be quite a bit higher this month than normal. It's not unexpected though; July, August, and September are always our hottest months. At least we have only a few days that pop over 100F--unlike Vegas and Phoenix.

    * Made bread, cole slaw (w/ cabbage from our garden), hummus, and chicken stock.

    * Tried to make grape jelly w/ juice from our own grapes. It still hasn't jelled however. Will try recooking it and adding more pectin. Of course the lids will be lost . . . . :(

    * Hubs made a full Dutch oven feast on Monday (roast chicken and veggies, rolls, and peach cobbler--with peaches we canned last summer). Had leftovers on Tuesday and made the chicken stock w/ the carcass.

    * Harvested apples, zucchini, Roma tomatoes, a cucumber, and more (!) grapes.

    * Our neighbor was out of town over the holiday weekend and let us use her pool while she was gone. :)

    * Did NOT get everything on my shopping lists (decided against the meat).

    * Used water from our rain barrels and rinse/warm-up water to give our roses and potted plants extra water during the heat wave.

    * Stayed home for the 4th of July. Hubs and son set off "poppers" (the only type of legal fireworks in our city) and enjoyed the neighbor's pool, then we all watched A Capitol Fourth on PBS.

    * Went to a local youth production of Beauty and the Beast Jr. A couple of kids we know were in the cast.

    * Rescued a pair of son's shorts w/ original blue Dawn and hot water. (Something chocolate came home from camp and managed to go through both the washer and dryer.)

    * Son got a free frozen yogurt as a reward through the library's summer reading program.

    * Went to a matinee movie (not especially cheap, but a special treat since we won't go on a vacation this year).

    Have a great rest of the week!

  • Cindy in the South July 12, 2017

    Happy Anniversary Brandy! I just got back from being at the hospital for two days. A very close relative had cancer surgery, and we hope the surgeon was able to remove all of it, and that the cancer has not spread elsewhere. I am beyond exhausted because I stayed with the relative at the hospital. It looks like I will be eating from food storage from a while, to help pay for the deductibles on the medical bills. So, I tossed away the sale papers also. When I have a crisis, I go to my "blackbelt" food storage plan. Beans, rice, potatoes, oil, dandelion greens (or whatever green is in season), carrots, tomato dishes (which includes the cans of tomato paste, pasta, eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter, cheap canned vegetables. I already have my six months food supply (which is what I keep in my small house) so I am not worried. My fig tree (which is actually my mother's fig tree) is producing, so that will be my main fruit for the year, and it produces an amazing amount, along with my mulberries I picked. It is more of a plant based diet. I will occasionally buy a can of tuna, or seconds on catfish (I live in catfish country) and add it to rice. I will not buy chicken unless it is 49 cents lb or less. I will buy something only if I run out. I will eat more water based soups, and usually rice based dishes with vegetables added. So, I am not worried about my food. I will cut back on my electric even more by not running the air, and just using ice on myself instead. There will be no thrift store purchases of clothes (and I just purchased some on 4th of July weekend, so I do not need anything anyway at the moment). Yes, it is blackbelt frugality time. If it really gets tight, I will make beans, soup and rice my main dishes every day. I am optimistic that my kin will survive this health care crisis, and thrive. Life has peaks and valleys. Ya'll be blessed!

  • momsav July 12, 2017

    Bless your heart!

  • Kim P from Tennessee July 12, 2017

    Cindy, may GOD bless your generous heart!

  • PJGT July 13, 2017

    It is a truly good thing you are doing, Cindy. Our family has had some serious times where our spending has been cut to the bone. All I can say is that God provides!

    I love the site, to look and see if there are fruit trees and bushes near you that, with the owners permission, can be harvested or gleaned. Sometimes I win, and sometimes not.

    The first time the apple tree I located was in someone's yard and they even loaned me their ladder! I learned to bring a step-ladder and buckets, bags or containers. If it's too high, I bring my husband!

    We also have lived in areas that have food waste reduction programs ( ie. Free Food Friday) which are not food banks, but available for anyone who has a need and a heart to not see food go to waste. I wish we had that program where my son and I are right now.

    I also tell all my gardening friends that I love any extra veggies. They are often overwhelmed at harvest time and are wishing for the veggies to go to a good home.

    Finally, I have volunteered at a feeding program as the cook and received a meal for myself and my children (who were with me). Oftentimes it is difficult for feeding programs to find volunteers, so it is a good deed and a meal. I haven't stayed around to the clean-up because of time constraints, but I think there would be leftovers. I have seen the leftovers in the fridge when I went in to cook.

    There is always freecycle and Craigslist where people list their abundance. And, I stop and take veggies when offered for free if I see them as I am traveling.

    Last year my brother was raising some pigs and he went to the local vegetable farms and took away loads of vegetables. Some were so good looking that we ate them!
    One load of corn was rejected by the local grocery store for some reason...the entire crate. I wished I wasn't just visiting because I could have frozen or dehydrated lots!

    Just more ideas for the community. I get so many ideas here...just wanted to give some, too.

  • Elizabeth M. July 15, 2017

    What a lot of good of good ideas!

    My library has an extra produce table, and I'm often able to get some odds and ends during peak season.

  • Janet July 12, 2017

    It can be tough when emotions run high giving items away when parents are downsizing. However, when emotions die down and you ask yourself the question what do I really need and am I willing to place time effort or money into any item I do not need.

    It does always cost time effort or money for every item we own. Dusting , moving, repairing etc...

    If it does not bring you joy take a photo of it and pass it on to someone it will bring joy to.

    I have learned the hard way . Take any cash you can get for items and turn it into great joy for your family.

  • Janet July 12, 2017

    Earnings $28.00 this week. 3 free bagels , one free slurpee, 2 free meals, and one free large tin of baby formula! Yeah team!!!

    Using up what we have on hand and trying to make the most of water and electric.

    Looking for a used sewing machine and checking out projects I might start.

    Looking at dental supply places for best price on toothbrushes, listerine , and garbage bags etc...
    Thinking I can get a better deal than at Staples or Office Depot for our larger crowd here.

    Planing a long trip away and looking at subleting an apartment seems much cheaper than anything else I can find.

    Took Grandson to the pool and let him pick a book at Salvation Army (the kid is smart he picked a book marked $9.99 and pointed that out to me he only had $2.00 and it was remarked $1.99 and he got a discount so he only paid $1.79 then he went next door and got skittles for .39 and I had the .19 on a gift card so he got it all for his $2.00) Pretty smart for a six year old.

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