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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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  • Laurie in AZ July 13, 2017

    Just a thought... don't know if this would work or not, but could you spray metal pans with non-stick spray before you put the eggs in? Would this help with the sticking problem?

  • Melissa V July 13, 2017

    Nope - I DID spray them and I ran hot water over the bottoms to get them to pop - nope. But my pans are very well used and beat up so everything sticks if I don't use cupcake liners. I actually am going to try the liners in a couple and see if the eggs will just stick to them or if I can peel them off. I looked at thrift stores for the silicone ones again today and still no luck.

  • Lisa Wagner in Georiga, USA July 10, 2017

    Brandy,I was so encouraged by last week's blog post that I reread it throughout the week to see new responses from others! I also looked at the photos of your pantry, and read your "history" about what you did for storage in the house before the one you currently live in. This led me to:

    Clean out half of our front hall closet. Like you, we live in a warm climate (Georgia), where my son and I rarely wear coats, because we both are hot-natured. My husband is the only one who shivers when the temps get below 70F, so...I searched online for a portable closet to store our coats. I found one from Kmart, and discovered that I had $15 in bonus points, which means I paid only $7.40, including tax! My husband and I cleaned out a section of the garage to place the portable closet, which is more convenient for him when donning the coat, since we go in/out of our vehicles through the garage. I moved a shelving unit from the school/office/craft room into the front hall closet, and neatly organized all of our canned and bottled goods on it. I also fit rolls of paper towels between the shelving unit and the wall, along with a hanger that hosts our 3 kitchen aprons.

    Now that my canned/bottled storage is neat and accessible, I could see that I was in need of more canned tomato soup for my bean/vegetable soup recipes. Publix just so happened to have that soup on sale for Buy One Get One Free this week, so I stocked up. Gatoraide was also on sale, and since my husband drinks that when he mows the lawn, I bought some for him in his favorite flavor.

    While at Kroger on Friday, I noticed two packages of Jennie O lean ground turkey marked down to $2.99 each for clearance. I had two $1 coupons, which brought each pound down to $1.99. I used the meat to make turkey sausage patties forweekend breakfasts. My son and I also discovered that all of the summer merchandise had been marked down. I bought 3 lidded glass containers for dispensing iced tea. I will instead use them for storing bagged chocolate morsels, sugar, and oats. I already have 4 other glass iced tea containers that were purchased from previous summer markdowns, and they are used to store unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, Jasmine rice, and brown rice. Each will hold 5 pounds.

    I "shopped" in our house for dry food storage containers. A lidded Rubbermaid container designed for keeping a head of lettuce now holds 2 pounds of rotini pasta that were purchased Buy One Get One Free from Publix last week. I have several lid-lock plastic shoe boxes in my craft area. I combined the contents of a few them so as to free up 2 boxes. I washed them and used one box for storing bagged marshmallows, and the other for storing bagged powdered sugar.

    As I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets, I discovered that some items needed to be thrown away, while there were others that I donated to a family at our church.

    All of this cleaning and organizing is encouraging me to do the same with the rest of the house. I have been listing items we are no longer using on eBay with the hopes of selling them and depositing the money into our savings.

    Thank you so much Brandy for being an inspiration! I am extremely grateful for your time, blog posts, and website. Quite often before I go to bed at night, I will peruse your photos and previous posts for ideas and encouragement, and pray to G-d to help me continue to be a good steward of our money, as well as keeper of our home. G-d bless you and your family, and happy anniversary!

  • http://Erika July 10, 2017

    Happy Anniversary!

    My garden here so far is just at the harvesting lettuce and spinach phase, but am definitely appreciating having it versus buying it. With your tight budget, even with the battles you do with the climate, it's got to be a relief knowing your family has something to eat in the garden. I greatly admire all your hard work in making that happen!

    My list for the week can be found here...

  • Laurie in central NC July 10, 2017

    I'm intrigued by the chocolate mint herb tea. I've put leaves with coffee grounds before, but never thought of using it for tea. I'm canning today. A batch of our summer squash is cooling down, and I've started a batch of eggplant to go in next. I used the pot of water for boiling lids to refill bird baths once it cooled. Big Lots had their 20% off everything sale this weekend, but like you, I stayed home, and saved money that way. We had a major frugal fail, due to deer eating the majority of our wheat crop, and the raccoons getting our entire corn crop. I always say gardening is an adventure. Joining in here:

  • Mable July 11, 2017

    Here’s the Ball Corporation, maker of the jars and lids you probably use in your canning, on ditching the lid warming step (emphasis mine):

    Here is the attest thing from the Ball jar company, about heating lids before canning. "Our Quality Assurance Team performed comprehensive testing to determine the need for pre-heating lids. Ultimately, we determined that it’s completely safe to skip pre-warming lids in the canning process. Since our testing found that pre-heating isn’t necessary, we recommend prepping lids by washing with warm, soapy water and keeping them at room temperature until you’re ready to can." And if you are going to water bath can for 10 minutes or longer, you don't have to boil the jars either. Makes canning A LOT easier.

  • Laurie in central NC July 15, 2017

    Thank you, Mable! I'd read that last year, but forgot about it.

  • JD July 10, 2017

    I was given a $25 gift card for Amazon for Mother's Day, earned $25 more with Swagbucks, and my husband graciously allowed me to put the change from our change jar in Coinstar for a no-fee Amazon gift card, so I came out with almost $97 in gift card credit altogether. The Fagor pressure cooker I've been wanting for so long went on sale, and I purchased it with my gift card credit and $3.03 out of pocket. Since I work full-time outside the home, I've wanted a pressure cooker to make meal prep easier at night. I can't crock-pot everything, although I think I've tried :)
    I ordered vitamins and supplements online and got a 15% off online coupon and free shipping from the site on all of their own store brand of vitamins. I also needed a name brand vitamin that is rather pricey, but I had a print coupon for $5 off for it, which I couldn't use with the 15% discount online. I took the coupon to the retail store when in a nearby town, used it on my vitamin, and found a good sale on a supplement I take regularly but wasn't low on yet, so hadn't put it on my list. I had a 20% off paper coupon for that brand, too, so I went ahead and got it at a really good price. I know not everyone uses supplements, but two of these are actually doctor recommended, and we see good results from the ones we are using on our own initiative as well, so to us, they are worth the money.
    My husband complains that the clock on his side of the bed is too hard to see at night in low light, without his glasses. I found a nice clock with large numbers and a bright, easy to hit light on the face, in an old-fashioned looking case, at Goodwill, for $3.99. Problem solved.
    I plan to check out the Amazon Prime day prices, for Christmas gifts.
    I bought ripe bananas on sale, sliced and froze them for my husband's breakfast shakes. I am hoping our two banana trees will start producing some bananas before too long.
    Happy Anniversary, Brandy!

  • Jessica July 10, 2017

    Mostly, I have continued to cook from the freezer/pantry. I’ve also remained diligent with the light usage, although we are now running our air conditioner most of the time.

    My garden is starting to produce more and more vegetables and fruits. I froze another 2 oz of spinach. I picked more radishes. I also picked 16 cucumbers now – some of which I turned into 3 quarts of pickles. I also picked and ate a zucchini. We have plenty of lettuce still growing. I will need to pick the first round of green beans this week. I also accepted a 3lb tub of sour cream leftover from a cookout. I portioned it into smaller containers (8oz) and froze them for use in casseroles and cooked dishes. I also accepted a jar of instant tea and some chips leftover from this same cookout. A coworker shared some rhubarb with me. I used to have rhubarb before I moved and I shared it with him for years until his plants were ready to harvest. Now I don't have any ready and he is sharing with me! I dried more basil from the garden as well.

    For entertainment, I borrowed 4 books from my grandma to read. We also checked out a couple DVDs from the library.

    I made $45 extra this week. Plus I worked a few billable hours for my husband’s construction business. I made an extra $550 from my online store last month, so it will be deposited into our account this month. I also worked on a few new items for my online store.

  • Laurie in AZ July 10, 2017

    Happy Anniversary! Loved how you included organizing 3 drawers as a frugal accomplishment!

    My achievements this week:

    * Hubby was in Taiwan all week, my son lives out of town and my daughter and her family were gone on vacation, so I was alone on the 4th of July. I had a free pizza coming from Dominos so I just ordered that and watched a movie. Hubby and I sort of celebrated yesterday by having grilled hot dogs (purchased at 75% off) for lunch and BBQ ribs (purchased at BOGO free) for dinner. Both the hot dogs and ribs were already in the freezer, so I didn't have to purchase anything extra. I even had hot dog buns leftover from Father's Day to use. Served the ribs with some home canned Ranch Beans and corn and red pepper. I made the BBQ sauce from scratch using an old family recipe. We spent the afternoon in the pool.
    * Hubby brought back a number of hotel freebies from his Taiwan trip including toothbrushes, tea and coffee.
    * Saved on Hubby's work lunches, since he was out of town.
    * Used free toiletries and free coffee and tea I had gotten from work.
    * Swam for exercise 4 days last week.
    * Kept all lights off all day where ever feasible. Even started showering without the light on.
    * Kept upstairs thermostat to 84 degrees all day. Then set downstairs to 84 degrees when we went to bed.
    * Made muffins with some leftover home canned pear sauce that I didn't want to eat plain and some dried fruit and nuts that I had gotten free from work. Made enough for 6 breakfasts for me.
    * Hung out 4 loads of clothes.
    * Reused Ziploc bags. I also save my bread bags and cereal bag inserts. I use those for when I am temporarily storing meat or for using when I shake chicken in flour before baking.
    * Ate leftovers for lunches and dinners.
    * Used gift cards for some groceries.
    * Used a coupon to a restaurant I won playing trivia for dinner one night.
    * Joined Ibotta. With the $10 bonus, I am already at $17 in rebates. I noticed that one of the rebates is 25 cents for bananas. I only purchased 2 bananas, which upped the % of my savings.
    * Scored big on bacon this week. I bought 16 packages of bacon for 62 cents each. It was marked down from $8.99 per pound to $2.49 per pound then had a 75% sticker on it! I will keep 8 and my daughter will buy the other 8 from me.
    * Used a 50 cent Colgate coupon at a store that doubles coupons and bought a tube of close out Colgate toothpaste for 24 cents.
    * I realized that my husband had our pool filter running during our on peak electrical hours. He reset the timer to run earlier. This should provide a pretty good savings on our electric bill.
    * One thing I am doing to save money is I have long hair. I only have to wash it every 3- 4 days or so and I only have to get it cut every 3 - 4 months. Also, with it long, it is easy to pull up into a bun or pony tail and that is actually cooler than if I had a different cut that I couldn't pull up. Since I live in the desert, this is definitely an advantage.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Riley July 11, 2017

    Man I would love that deal on bacon! Amazing!

  • Ann Wyer July 10, 2017

    Hello Brandi, I have never posted before but have read your blog for a long time and so much enjoy everyone that contributes.
    Son has picked wild black raspberries, not many enough for a couple batches of jelly our favorite, also picked probably a gallon of wild blackberries that I will make into jelly also these will be Christmas gifts, also picked from garden five heads of cauliflower and put six bags in the freezer the weather is getting so hot and afraid they will get strong if I don't do anything with them soon. also have plenty cabbage sharing with daughter and daughter in law and a neighbor lady, still have several heads I will pick, blanche and put in freezer
    Celebrated my two boys birthdays yesterday son cooked hamburgers brats, and wieners on grill, we ate in house as it was so hot outside every one took stuff for dinner, I took fresh pickled beets, cabbage slaw, and fresh green beans and an angel food cake for the birthday cake. others took stuff too so we had more than plenty.
    I froze ice in the freezer to make ice cream with instead of buying bags of ice.
    Dry all the laundry outside when the weather is nice, but just postpone washing if it is raining!
    Used water I blanched cauliflower with to water the hanging baskets.
    Am going to make great grand daughter a 'pillow case" nightgown with a pillow case I got for almost nothing at a garage sale this spring,, She is six and will love it as she much prefers a night gown to pajamas. It will take little time and make her so happy.
    Just finished embrordering a baby quilt top will quilt it this winter not for any one special, my sister in law gave me several quilt tops to embrordery as someone had given her a bunch of material etc they had gotten at a sale and she doesn't y like to embrordery --yes to quilting or crocheting. I was happy to get them four full bed quilt tops and two baby quilts.
    I so admire you with all your money saving ideas that you use with your large family! Thanks

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada July 10, 2017

    Happy Anniversary! Your salad sounds wonderful.

    I've been enjoying my garden produce - lettuce, snow peas, shelling peas and chard. I've also started picking blueberries and raspberries from the communal bushes at the community garden. I was offered and accepted broccoli raab and carrots from fellow gardeners. Flowers and fruit are setting on my tomatoes, eggplant and summer squash.

    I'm also curbing my spending by not going shopping unless I have a specific need. I haven't been to the thrift store in a few months.

    I continue to eat at home. I'm also turn off lights and electronics when not in use. No more leaving the room with the lights on. Every little bit does help.

  • Mandy July 10, 2017

    Happy Anniversary!

    Harvested: green onions (which were sliced into small rings then frozen to use during the year), parsley, basil, oregano (which were dehydrated). We also harvested more black raspberries and froze them for use during winter. I froze some bananas that had gone mushy to use for banana bread or smoothies later.

    Watched the free city fireworks on the Fourth of July after eating a meal at home.

    I saved shower warm up water and other grey water (hand rinsing, veggie rinsing, etc) in a bucket and used that water to water the garden beds outside. I also took "navy showers" . I used my dish pan to fill with water and rinse the dinner dishes and used water leftover from cups, etc to water my indoor plants.

    I turned off and unplugged appliances when not in use (washing machine, coffee pot, microwave, etc). I also made sure the lights were turned off when myself or my daughter leaves the room.  I turned the AC units up to 75 to 77 degrees now that the temps are in the 90's. I try to keep it at 77 however my husband usually turns it down to 75. They also get turned up at night or when we leave the house for any length of time. It cooled off enough to turn the ac units completely off for 2 days.

    I did no shopping this past week, we ate and drank what we already had in the pantry/cupboards/freezer. I made a list of items we ran out of or that we are low on.

    I am shopping around for other insurance companies (one told me we needed to completely replace our roof! Our roof is fine, my husband just replaced half of it last fall. I will contact another company to see if they tell me the same thing. I am also probably going to switch internet providers. We only have two in my area and switching to take advantage of their "special price" for 1 year will save me $25 per month.

  • Nancy July 10, 2017

    Love your post. Always so many ideas to glean from.
    Here are a few frugal accomplishments this week.
    . I was so excited to use a few ideas from your blog.
    I made French bread 2x first time. My family loved it.
    . Made homemade pizza 2x. They enjoyed that!
    . Picked more basil. Used for mayo..on a pizza
    . Picked rosemary...thyme...used on roast. Delicious
    Broth with herbs. Planted more spinach..lettuce.
    . Planted white pumpkin seeds. *yr idea
    . Cleaned and organized pantry...under sink..cabinet.
    Found some items I needed . No cost.
    . Cut roses and flowers. Bought in house.
    . Watched a utube on arranging flowers free.
    . Watched a video on making bread.
    . Listen to classical music on Pandora free.
    . Did my nails..toes..foot care myself.
    . Watched a video how to make an apron. Still working on that but love your beautiful ones Brandy has made.
    . Used most of what we had in meals.
    . Open windows early on cool mornings for fresh air.
    . Sent out a bday card I had on hand but had to stamp and change abit. I also placed a pretty blue vintage hankie I had for a gift .
    . Went to library for week of books. Free.

  • Gardenpat July 10, 2017

    We started a 365 challenge to declutter/purge at least one thing each every day! The priority with each item will be to : 1. Recycle/repurpose it to something we need, 2. Sell if it has value, 3. Donate if it's still good but not high sale, 4. Toss into away into the trash! It has been really liberating so far and the first day we were able to clear a huge amount out of the center basement! We've given away some furniture and workshop organizers/tools that were extras or not needed. Friends/family were pleased to receive these and we've sold some other things! We also filled one of the 300 gallon trash cans over halfway in just a couple of hours! It feels so good !!!!!

  • Laurie in AZ July 11, 2017

    That's fantastic, Gardenpat! We currently are renting a house and are contemplating our next move. We really need to get rid of stuff, as the more stuff we have, the bigger the house we will need, the more expensive it will need to be. We've moved quite a bit over the years and I culled quite a bit, so I don't have too many extra things that were my own, but in the last 3 years we have also helped our parents on both sides downsize and have inherited things. When were downsizing them, there were quite a bit of emotions going. Now that those emotions have subsided, we need to take a closer look at the things we kept from them.

  • Mary July 11, 2017

    I am going thru that now - just moved - went thru things before moving and still going thru things as we realize not enough room My daughter is helping my husband with moving things from his fathers house - they know how much room. It's hard with emotions involved.... There are things at least 50 years old .... some that we have no use or room for... I'm praying that we do not have store stuff in our garage. I'll find out in about a week!

  • mable July 10, 2017

    One side of our house is where my husband stores things like rakes and such; it is close to our neighbor's fence so not enough room to use it for anything or bother mowing it. I virtually never go there but the other day I needed a garden tool so I hiked my way around things and what did I see? A HUGE amount of rhubarb. I planted some years ago but nothing seemed to come up so I just abandoned that side of the house to the husband. I ended up harvesting 41 pounds of rhubarb! This area never gets watered, weeded, fertilized or any attention and the plants turned into monsters. (Too bad ignoring things doesn't work for the rest of the garden). I made a rhubarb cobbler from an insanely easy recipe and then froze and dehydrated the rest. I use it in the winter, when I make applesauce. I throw some dried rhubarb in and it not only adds a different flavor and other nutrients, it soaks up any excess liquid from the apples so the sauce is nice and thick. The frozen rhubarb becomes breakfast muffins or is cooked down, sweetened and mixed into homemade yogurt.

    Harvested most of my basil and made a year's worth of pesto and put it in the freezer. Dehydrated all the pak choi that was going to bolt from the heat and dehydrated it. I grind up the dried leaves and use it as a thickener in soups or throw it into chili or smoothies for more nutrition.

    Picked and froze the rest of the honeyberries. Harvested cukes and what we didn't eat in salads I used to make six jars of pickles. Shredded another 8 pounds of zucchini and used it to make relish (Tastes just like cucumber relish and we also use it to make tartar sauce since we eat a lot of fish).

    Peas are coming into maturity but not enough to harvest yet. Enough to eat off the vine when watering, however!

    Purchased only milk and watermelon at the grocery store, since we are eating meat/chicken/fish from the freezer and everything else is from the garden. I weigh and keep track of everything we harvest and then price out what it would have cost us to buy the stuff in the grocery store. So far this summer I have harvested $470 of vegetables, honeyberries, herbs and rhubarb!

  • momsav July 10, 2017

    Mable, I love how you cook down the rhubarb to add to yogurt! I don't get much from my small patch, but what I do get I always have a hard time figuring out what to do with. I'm going to remember this, so thank you for the inspiration!

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