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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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  • Tracy-Jayne July 10, 2017

    YNAB is great for both budgeting and tracking your spending. Highly recommend it, we've saved a lot more than the cost of the annual subscription, and after using it for two years now, have all annual payments (car license fee, time share levies, music examination fees, any and every recurring monthly/annual cost) set aside in full, in cash , in advance, as well as an emergency fund and a plan to pay off every single debt, including our mortgage, in 4 years time (unless something changes, we should make our final mortgage payment 5 years earlier than expected in the month I turn 43). We had tried various other methods over the years, YNAB definitely did it for us.
    Regardless of what method you choose, Good luck! Getting finances under control is commendable.

  • Marie July 10, 2017

    I have heard of YNAB and will strongly consider it...thank you :)

  • Marcia July 10, 2017

    Happy anniversary!

    This was an expensive week. Our little guy turned 5. So we had a birthday dinner. Still, a birthday dinner with two other families was cheaper than a big party.

    We made cake and cupcakes and decorated them. Dinner was veggies, homemade hummus, and "make your own pizza" using crusts I made and froze, and pita bread for the kids.

    We also took mini cupcakes to preschool, and these were half off because they were July 4 themed.

    We did a lot of food prep. I'm trying to get back into teaching the kids to cook. The 5 year old loves to help. The 11 year old, not so much. But he helped me make one pot pasta with vegetables and a light cream sauce. I just need to make it a regular habit. Don't want him learning to cook in his 30s like me.

    I also made a large sesame peanut noodle salad and a plum torte for a potluck, using things I had. And a huge batch of black beans and rice, for the fridge and the freezer.

    For fun, we had a beach afternoon with free parking and an afternoon at the YMCA pool.

    Husband has been busy staining and painting our interior doors.

    We have had the AC set at 83. It's been getting hot here, for here anyway.

  • Kim, M July 10, 2017

    Love your garden haul this week Brandy!!!! I'm sure that saves so much money now, instead of having to buy the fresh fruit & veggies!!! Do you use the flipp app on your phone? If you search pasta, you can find it everywhere nearby that has it on sale, and if it is, you can either go there, or price match at target or walmart. It is so nice to have some food in the pantry & fridge again!!! I had bought a 4lb bag of dried pinto beans at walmart and cooked some of them up. I then winged baked beans in the crockpot. I thought I used too many bell peppers, but when it cooked down........yummmm. I'm going to try and experiment with different flavor bean dishes, and then pick up the 50lb bag of pinto beans at Sams for $35. I purchased 6 humongous red peppers for $2.98 last night. I'm really thinking I should go back and get more tonight. Its the first year in a very long time that I've bought peppers. Cant wait till we are growing them again. We went to the fireworks with my parents, they had my niece as well. Mom and dad paid the $5 per car. We were invited for dinner at my moms house a few times last night. In theory it sounds like it would save us money, but it doesnt because there are no leftovers for my husband to take for work the next day. I still need to cook what i had planned or buy him something. Oh I bought a 2lb block of mild cheddar cheese at sams last night and shredded it all in the food processor. I hope it lasts the week!!!! Other than that, still staying home during the day, so we havent spent any money,

  • Becky July 10, 2017

    We are starting to pick our blackberries here in Kansas from our garden-I also finished up canning green beans and pickling beets. Am waiting for my 60 tomato plants to ripen and then the seriously huge task of canning will begin!

  • Linda M July 10, 2017

    Happy Anniversary!
    I liked what you said about tossing the ads and catalogs....if isn't what you are needing and can fit in the budget...why keep it around to tempt us!
    Our garden is producing lots now. Cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce...almost over due to heat, tomatoes, corn, green peppers, banana pepers, sugar snap peas and collards. Almost don't know which to fix with the abundance. Putting some up and sharing with family and friends.
    Our tame blackberries are bearing and I am putting lots in the freezer...will make jelly and cobblers later.
    Our 4th of July celebrating involved staying home also. The neighbors had a gorgeous fireworks display...we were invited over...however our dogs need our reassurance during fireworks. We grilled out and had lots of veggies to enjoy.
    Been organizing the pantry better so when I do begin restocking I am not buying things I don't really need.
    Had a birthday celebration at my brother's home Saturday. We, of course, brought veggies....cole slaw, cucumber salad and veggies and dip. Lots of good food and fun.

  • Esta Kandarian July 10, 2017

    I have been taking advantage of free entertainment too. Our area is home to many musicians and artists. Our town is on a bay with a golf course and tiny pier, which each host free weekly concerts throughout the summer and fall. Nearby is a larger town which has a monthly Art After Dark event where the museum and many local businesses display art and serve free appetizers and beverages. We also have an incredible wealth of beautiful hiking trails and mild weather throughout the year. Almost all my meals out these days are potlucks and home parties, and the food is great!

  • Elizabeth M. July 10, 2017

    This sounds like a wonderful place to live!

  • Karen July 10, 2017

    Would you tell me what region it's in? We must move somewhere cooler and I could use some ideas.

  • Becky July 10, 2017

    I love your tomatoes. They look so good. We have only picked 3 tiny ones (Glacier Ultra Early) and 2 cherry tomatoes (Sungold). I am also having some pollination issues on my zucchini, but have picked and used 2. There are many more on the bush, but some are rotting rather than forming. Your basil looks great, too. I have been able to pick a small amount of that as well. Cilantro, on the other hand, is growing like a weed, and I've tossed it into every food that is remotely Mexican, and also tosses a bit into the lettuce salad to give it a different flavor, since we are eating salad daily because we have so much lettuce growing right now.

    We had a family barbecue here in honor of a niece who was home for one week from Ireland. My husband cooked the meat, I made lettuce salad, people brought things, and we had a great visit. It was much less expensive than eating out, tasted better, and we could visit as long as we wanted. I also sent home a large amount of lettuce with my sister, as they can use more than is growing in her garden.

    We stayed home on the 4th, since we had just gotten together with the family the day before, and also watched fireworks from our deck in the back yard. I was amazed at the amount of illegal, beautiful fireworks that were lit off in this neighborhood. It's our first year here, and I was astounded. I was able to finish sewing a dress for my daughter, and make one for a little friend. I haven't had much time to sew lately, so was delighted to have the time for that. The dresses came out very cute and pretty, and I was able to use fabric, patterns, and some rick rack I have had for years.

    Both my mom and my husband's mom have birthdays on July 5, so we divided and conquered and each visited with our moms on that day for a little while.

    I spent some time doing extra yard and garden work. I was on vacation from my work, so used the extra time to get things in better order around here, as well as spent quite a bit of extra time with family and friends that I don't see as much. I also did more cooking than usual, and even froze a few things for a time when I am busier again. I have one more day off, so hope to clean a bit more. It makes me feel much more peaceful, as well, when I have my home life organized.

    I put pictures of the garden, and what's growing and ripening, as well as more things I did to save money on my blog:

    The coming week will be different as we have both mid-high and high school camp. Everyone but me is either going to camp to be a camper or working at camp as a helper. Mid-high is Monday-Friday. High school is Thursday-the following Wednesday. So, there will be a lot of coming and going this week, and I will be home alone on one night for the first time in years. Although I'd love to say I will be doing something super special with my alone-time, I probably will work in the garden or sew. Those are both fun for me. I will be working the second half of the week, next week, retrieving one daughter from camp on Friday, and hopefully, canning green beans. I'm thinking maybe Saturday??? It's hard to tell exactly when they will ripen, but there are a crazy amount of blossoms and tiny beans forming, so I have high hopes.

  • Amber Van Tuyl July 11, 2017

    Guess what? My birthday & my son-in-law's mother's birthday are both July 5th as well! So someday they might be doing the same thing. Of course the "other" mother lives in England, I live in California & the newlyweds live in Utah. So no one gets a birthday visit. Thank goodness for video chats :)

  • Athanasia July 12, 2017

    Isn't it nice when relatives visit? Especially when they can share pictures and stories of the places they have been.

    I am glad my green beans aren't in yet as the cucumbers have gone full force.

  • Becky July 13, 2017

    I don't have a single cucumber, yet, but those beans are coming along nicely. I have my mom and aunt lined up for Saturday to help snap, if they go ahead and get big enough. I'd sure like to do a bunch then if I can, since I'm working a lot this week (caring for my nephew), so it would be nice to have the help of the ladies. Most of the family is away at camp this week, so I'll be double glad for the extra help.

  • Athanasia July 14, 2017

    Becky, we are in the midst of canning pickles. I haven't had this many this early before. We are even doing a batch of relish which I normally don't do until later. I did have to buy a couple bell peppers red and green as ours are not ready yet. Well we don't ever grow the red, just the green so would have to buy red anyways. But in the summer they are always much cheaper in the stores. I have help from youngest girl, oldest girl, daughter in law, her mother, my mother, my sister in law and our tenant. She works food service at the university and only works part time during the summer. She has gone in on the garden with us so she has put much help into it which is very nice. We finished up pickled beets also. We all pool the produce and then divide up the end product. Today is nice! Only 55 right now and breezy. Was low 80s and so humid the last 3 days. We've been taking turns watching the 3 babies. I'm in the house now (we're canning in the garage) with Dora in my lap who is "helping" me type. Henry and Anna Joy are napping. I hope you get everything done you want and enjoy your gathering. Some of the men are joining us for husband's going to grill hot dogs and we all brought side salads to go with.

  • gabrielle July 10, 2017

    Happy Anniversary Brandy!

    We returned from our epic road trip driving across the country from PA to TX; We returned July 3rd at 0230 in the morning and it took me all week to recover. I'm just starting to get my groove back. I returned to a garden full of weeds so I'm weeding daily and tackling our walkway to the front of the house that looks atrocious. Our garden is doing well and we've harvested peas, cukes, chard, kale and some cherry tomatoes. We've had a very wet and cool summer thus far so tomatoes aren't at their full bloom as of yet.

    I've been experimenting with recipes for our upcoming blueberry festival. So far, I'm thrilled with a panna cotta with blueberry balsamic conserve. I might actually enter the contest if I'm feeling adventurous or if I have enough energy. I've made two new dresses since our return. I have a bunch of double brushed poly in my stash. I'm make a dresses for me and one for each girl with creative fabric blending so that is a win. I used the Halla pattern Agnes dress which is free right now if you join their facebook group. Have a great week!

  • Ava July 10, 2017

    I hope you will share the recipe for blueberry balsamic panna cotta - that sounds intriguing!

  • Miriam in Estonia July 11, 2017

    I'd love to see the recipe for blueberry balsamic conserve, too!

  • Elizabeth July 10, 2017

    Brandy, I love your comment about organizing the drawers bringing peace to your life. Often I feel that cleaning and organizing makes me more appreciative of what I have, and helps me feel thankful to have things to organize!

    This week, we...

    Enjoyed a local 4th of July Parade. Watched the Disneyworld fireworks online, since it was too late to go out with my toddler. A free, fun 4th!

    Found a nice white wooden KidKraft play kitchen by the side of the road for my toddler. They cost a lot new. It had some marker, pen marks, and stickers on it, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to see if I could clean it up. Spent a happy hour reviving it! I used my whole cleaning arsenal- first warm soapy water of course, then a magic eraser (I buy the off-brand melamine sponges from amazon for a fraction of the price), then a white pencil eraser for the pen marks that still hadn’t come off. Then for the stickers, I used the blow dryer to warm up the old sticker glue so the stickers peel right off, but leave a glue residue, which I removed with a little vegetable oil. I touched up a few tiny scratches with white paint (I actually just used white-out, since I had it handy). The play kitchen looks brand new, with $0 out of pocket. I was able to sell her old play kitchen for $40 on a Facebook yard sale site.

    Bought a nice wooden balance bike for $5 on a yard sale site. It retails for $90 new. Daughter loves it.

    Sewed cups into bathing suit along the outer edges so I could stop wasting time fixing them every time I wanted to wear the suit, or worse, get somewhere and realize that they were folded up inside the suit or otherwise acting funky.

    Husband took daughter to free Home Depot kids workshop on Saturday morning. This is a wonderful program and we try to make it each month. They made a bug house. ☺

    Worked on our backyard “adventure playground” for a bit. I want something more rustic than a swingset. A neighbor recently took down a large pine tree and was giving away the wood. We took a large round piece, maybe 2.5’ diameter, for a “table,” and then hubby cut 5 simple “chairs” out of smaller sections of round tree trunk. It looks very magical and forest-y.

    Downloaded a few songs from Freegal and ordered a CD from the library’s interlibrary loan program to borrow.

    Took beach photos of my family using the DSLR camera my husband bought on black Friday a few years back. We also bought a 1.8mm lens, which makes the photos look professional. Used my dad’s old tripod from the 70’s and the delay shutter, so I could be in the photos too. They came out beautifully. Friends often ask who I use for family photos and I’m always proud to say I took it myself. I’ve done several headshots for friends who were job searching. It’s a great gift that costs me nothing but time, and is a huge savings for them over hiring a professional photographer. I read three simple photography books from the library a few years back, when we first bought the camera (the “your family in pictures” series by Me Ra Koh) which gave me instruction on how to take a good photo.

    Enjoyed a morning on the beach at a local lake, and one day at the ocean this week using my State Parks Pass. Best $60 I spend each year! It allows me access to 30+ state reservations, including ocean beaches, lakes, and tons of hiking trails. Packed all food and snacks, of course ☺

    Hosted a very spendy friend for two nights. I planned fun activities and nice meals, but was left feeling that I am inadequate. She is an old, loyal friend and in many ways a very good friend, but she does not approve of my choices—buying store brand food or second hand clothes, cooking at home rather than eating out, etc. After two days of semi-critical remarks and questions about our lifestyle, it was a relief to see her off on her flight. I actually cried when I got home, just from the tension of having to answer all of the “where did that come from?” or “what brand is that?” questions about my curtains, rugs, clothes, food, etc. I like my stuff and think we have a very nice home, but she made it clear that she doesn’t, and that was hard. The funny thing is, she works an unfulfilling job with a long commute and little growth potential and has 2 kids in daycare. She is always talking about how she’d love to stay home, but can’t because of money. I stay home, we live simply, and we are able to pay extra on our mortgage each month. I always think if she were able to make lifestyle changes, she’d be able to quit the job she doesn’t like, be home with her two young kids, and live a more relaxed life. But she puts a such a high value on owning all new things, eating lots of restaurant meals, having a house cleaner, getting pedicures, and the like, that she’s “lifestyled” herself into needing the income. Our values around money, time, and possessions are just so different, and it’s hard when someone you really care about thinks you’re doing it all wrong. It’s a relief to come here and talk with like-minded people. Thanks, Brandy.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  • J July 11, 2017

    Elizabeth, I'm sorry to hear about the fallout with your "friend". You seem really lovely. A therapist once told me that the way people criticize and react usually has very little to do with you, and very much to do with them and their own issues. Nobody should ever be able to come into your home and make you feel inferior. Very rude and un gracious behavior.

  • Elizabeth July 12, 2017

    Thanks, J. I tried to keep my chin up and not let it show that it was getting to me. I think if it had gone on a few more days I might have had to have a little heart to heart with her, but we only see each other once or twice a year, so I let it be. It would be much harder if it was a close family member or my mother in law, as another commenter said. This was about her, finding fault with my life, in order to justify her own choices to herself. (I imagine the internal dialogue was something along the lines of, "Well, I have to work this job I don't like, but my rugs/curtains/clothes/orange juice is better!")

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