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Frugal Accomplishments For The First Week of October

October Garage Sale Finds 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Saturday's garage sale finds: Vase $1, lidded basket $0.50, bust $1, silver-plated knife $0.50

I updated my garage sale list in preparation for going to the community garage sales on Saturday. There will be even more this upcoming Saturday and I hope to find lots of items on my list.

October Garage Sale Finds 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I found several things for my eldest to put aside for her future college apartment, including a brand-new stainless steel teapot that was just the right size for one person (and included a brand-new tea ball!) for $2, a pastry blender for $0.10, a small fancy bowl (just for fun) for $0.50, a soap dish for $0.50, and a 2-cup glass measuring cup for $0.50.

I found several pairs of jeans for $0.50 and $1 for my two eldest girls and myself.

I found a couple of items for my youngest that I will give him for Christmas: a board book and a brand-new hat with the tags still on.

My mom and I went to the sales together, and she found a couple of items to give as Christmas gifts to two of my children. Last year she made a goal to purchase all of her Christmas gifts at yard sales. She said that as the year draws to a close, she always has to watch to make sure she doesn't take too much out of her IRA and receive a penalty. Buying gifts at yard sales not only saves her money but helps her to stay under her maximum withdrawal amount.

I found a brand-new watch for myself for $5. I was going to get a new band for my existing watch, but this was less money.

I sowed seeds in my garden for Swiss chard, artichokes, nasturtiums, and arugula.

I cut garlic chives from the garden to top our baked potatoes.

I paid off our hospital bill and emergency room bills from earlier this year over the phone, saving myself the cost of 2 stamps.

My eldest accepted a regular twice a month babysitting job. 

My eldest and I attended a free presentation from a local university 's (UNLV) financial aid counselor on the FAFSA, which was very helpful.

We were able to turn off the air conditioner for several days and most of the day for the other days last week.

I downloaded the Target app to my phone so that I could use two coupons that were only in the ad or available on the app. With these, I was able to get a $20 gift card and a $5 gift card for buying things that I had planned to buy anyway (diapers and hairspray). 

I was taking photos of a house for sale and remarked about the owner's pomegranate tree looking ripe. She offered me a bag and said I could fill it full of pomegranates! Then after I filled it, she handed me another bag and told me I could fill it too! As most of the flowers on my pomegranate trees were blown off in our high winds, I was delighted!

A fun note about the bust above: I bought it from a French couple who has lived in town for 27 years. My mom bought a bicycle from them. While my mom was working out how to fit the bicycle in her car, I had a lovely conversation with them in French. I came home elated because I noted that I was able to speak without hesitation and that I had no problems at all with comprehension! I can see where my French study has really paid off and it gave me a confirmation that I need to now concentrate on the little grammatical errors that are easy to miss and so important in being fluent versus speaking well. I'll also continue to work on learning more French expressions to use in my conversations with French friends.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  • J October 09, 2017

    I forgot to mention a frugal fail that I think you ladies might enjoy ;). I ran out of eye cream. I didn't want to buy more right now, so I looked in my sample drawer and found a sample of Clairins face lotion, which is a pretty high end cream. I'll just use this, I thought. After a couple days I noticed my eyes felt like they were burning and I eventually figured out it was the cream. When I went to get more of my regular eye cream the cosmetologist had a good laugh. Yes, she said, there is a reason why there is specific cream for eyes - the skin there is highly sensitive. No kidding!!

  • Janet October 09, 2017

    Regarding the mammogram that was not covered the next time this comes up ,ask the office staff if it can be cioded in another way.coding is everything in today's medicine alwYs ask if it can be recoded.

  • Laure October 10, 2017

    I second this recommendation. We are self-employed. Since the ACA passed, our previously-wonderful individual policies tripled in monthly cost, our annual deductible increased from $5,000 to $15,000 and the insurance covers almost nothing anymore. I've learned to call the insurance company before going to the doctor for anything (obviously not emergencies) to better plan for costs and make decisions as to what we can afford.

    After some time on hold, the insurance company told me under which codes mammograms would be covered -- that translated basically to "medically necessary, recommended for a medical reason". They also told me under which codes it was not covered on our policy -- these codes translated roughly to: "routine."

    Having this info before my doctor's appointment, I could provide it to the doctor and be sure the code was correctly entered at the time of ordering the mammogram...

  • Molly October 11, 2017

    Thank you, Laure. Great idea to call the insurance company ahead of time. I tried to look for this information on our insurance plan's website and found it to be not very helpful. I do have to schedule a few appts. and was kind of dreading the surprise (or should I say shock) of how much the bill will be. I will now follow your advice and arrive at the appts. armed with the proper codes. I appreciate you taking the time to share this information with me and others.

  • Molly October 11, 2017

    Thank you, Janet. I agree with you that coding is everything now. This was never an issue in the past so it is taking some getting used to. I did ask the radiology dept. where the mammogram was done if a different code would have been what was necessary to have the insurance co. pay. She said that it really couldn't be coded any other way as it was a screening mammogram. The insurance companies used to encourage preventative health care by completely covering tests that were done for prevention. Now it almost seems like if you can get your doctor to lie about the reason for the test, the ins. co. may cover part or all of the cost.

  • Rhonda A. October 12, 2017

    One could argue that over a certain age, having a preventative mammogram screening IS medically necessary. But I'm Canadian, so I don't have to go through those battles here. Your medical system sounds very frustrating from what I've read on this blog.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 09, 2017

    How nice that you were able to find a couple that speak French. Will you be able to chat with them some more?

    Frugal Efforts (Two Weeks' Worth):

    * Accepted 2 pomegranates from a neighbor (she uses hers, so it was extra nice of her to share) and picked four pomegranates from our own tree (there's a few more out there still ripening). Froze the arils to use throughout the fall/winter.

    * Made bread, black beans (froze them in 2 C portions), oatmeal cookies and pumpkin cookies, ranch dip, and dry ranch dip mix.

    * Used a $10 off $30 coupon at Big 5 for a pair of New Balance running shoes for me and a second $10 off $30 for some new swim goggles for Son (two different trips; the goggles broke mid practice and were an unplanned expense--I was glad for an extra coupon).

    * Harvested lemons, basil (used some fresh; dried a lot), chives, corn, mini pumpkins, carrots, two cantaloupes, tomatoes (cherry, yellow pear, and Roma), one acorn squash, one eggplant, yellow summer squash, bell peppers, and mild Chinese peppers.

    * Hubs made a Scoutmaster Field Desk and saved the shavings from the planer to use in the chicken coop.

    * Brought home spaghetti and bread sticks that were left over from an Eagle Court of Honor.

    * Accepted scraps for the chickens.

    * Checked out books and DVDs from the library.

    * Paid bills online.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • Jenzer October 09, 2017

    I recognize that small, fancy bowl! It's from the Pioneer Woman's tableware collection at Walmart.

  • http://Erika @ The Make Do Homemaker October 09, 2017

    Wow! Great finds! I envy your watch a little. Mine has had a broken band for five years and I still haven't gotten it replaced as it always seemed like the money was needed elsewhere.

    My week went pretty well overall! My list for the week can be found here...


  • kim October 09, 2017

    Great finds. As I don't have children at home any more, I don't yard sale very often. I do thrift stores when I need something or am trying to make something crafty. I love getting free produce like that. We are leaving for Florida tomorrow so hubs is upstairs putting a basket of apples that will go bad in the dehydrator as they will be done when we get up and won't go to waste.

  • Lilli October 09, 2017

    Brandy 's new post each week makes me smile all day. I hope that there will be an eventual post about how inexpensive it was to set Winter up for college. It. would be such an inspiration to many. I have had a lovely week. I made college boy, a 5 lb turkey meatloaf and we have had that all week. Hot, cold, sandwiches and served with various vegtables. This lovely child got a new job at a new ice cream parlor opening up next week. It's going to be closer to home and much less on gas. We believe we have found him a good used car in my budget. It is an old Volvo, so I consider it safe.I have managed to lower our electric and water by about 45%. We will continue to conserve and implement some other ideas. I signed up for Iobotta. I made some purchases with coupons and with the bonus, I received 20.00 back. That money was used for puppy's new food. I had to give her a benadryl for her itching. Puppy reminds me a lot like a 2 yr old with these ear infections. I redeemed swagbucks for a gift card and bought cat food at Walmart. I still have quite a few swagbucks and will redeem them when I get cards at the reduced value. Sugar cookie wants a tablet for Christmas. I am hoping to get a good deal at Thanksgiving. I used coupons for ten free yogurts, 12 free dark chocolate bars and two pints of ice cream. I stopped at the thrift store and was ecstatic to find me a pair of Saucony running shoes. They appear to be brand new and were 6.00. I have needed a pair but just kept putting it off. They are my size, soft as marshmallows and a great color. I don't care for neon colors. These are gray w palest blue .I found me a tea kettle too. I signed up for several free classes at Udemy. I need to discover all the tricks to Windows 10 and I want to learn to knit. I need to check at Walmart to see about seeds and plants that can be purchased with SNAP. The financial savings I get the next 4 months will enable us to set up a garden. I am hoping to grow salad stuff, squash and asparagus. I almost fell over when I saw what the asparagus starters cost. I will need to have a load of dirt brought in but have the perfect contact. He sells elephant dung. We have wood for the raised beds. I am excited. I will be getting a new freezer in a few weeks. I continue to adjust my grocery list accordingly to reflect loss leaders and coupons. I added 50 cans of tomatoes at 8 cents a can. I am lonely with Sugar Cookie being out of town.( Will return in ten days) Every night I spend time entering contests. In the last two weeks I have won twice. A Carvel ice cream cake and a 30.00 certificate to a company called Cratespace. I will use the 30 dollars to order lotions for the winter dry skin. It was about the only thing I could think of that we needed. We are pretty much prepared for everything. For the lady that mentioned paper plates, we have a stack of coffee filters the children use for snacks and sandwiches. They are much cheaper and serve the purpose.

  • Becky October 10, 2017

    I'm glad you had a good week. I never thought of using coffee filters for paper plates.

    What a great deal on tomatoes--8c? Wow! It's great that you could get so many for that price.

  • Jen G October 10, 2017

    Living frugal from urban Seattle:

    - Another dry, relatively warm week here, so we did not drive our car all week and got where we needed to go on our bicycles.
    - My husband was at a work conference all week in DC so his meals and expenses were paid for and we saved a couple of days bus fare (he rides his bike to work about half the time).
    - I am trying to use up homemade canned applesauce from my mom so I made a yummy applesauce cake from scratch and used some more for baking.
    - I received about a six month supply of tampons from my Buy Nothing group. I gave away a wall-sized US map and some winter clothing my boys had outgrown to other neighbors.
    -I attended a free writing workshop at our local library and checked out some books for me and my boys while we were there.

  • kim October 10, 2017

    I have never thought of freezing onions. Do they taste better frozen caramelized or raw?
    I stayed home unless I was driving to work which is 12 miles away. I combine trips when I drive to town for work.
    I'm cooking at home as much as I can. I splurged and bought $3 Christmas CD at thrift store but my girls love listening to the old-fashioned music on our drives to grandmas house.

  • Caramelized! My children absoultely love them this way, as do I.

  • Cindy in the South October 10, 2017

    I made fig muffins to take to work all week. I used Amy's Tightwad Gazette muffin recipe, except I added more sugar to make them more dessert like. I made a concoction of bologna, cream cheese, rice, spices, and onion, to take to work for lunch. I estimate it is less than 30 cents a serving, and probably much less than that. I stayed at home during Tropical Storm Nate. I washed my car during the storm. There was no thunder nor lightning, and it was free water....lol. I had seen a video where someone did that in Florida earlier this year. Luckily, I did not lose power. When the storm was over, I took an hour long walk through my hood. I took a nap. I sat outside and read. It was delightfully overcast and not too hot.

  • Athanasia October 10, 2017

    Brandy, I noticed the recipe today from Mennonite Girls Can Cook is for PEAR MUFFINS. They look nicely spiced and have toasted hazelnuts in them. Maybe they would work for your older pears you wish to use up. Were you ever able to plant the hazelnut tree?

  • I could never find anything definite about growing hazelnuts here and whether or not they would burn in our sun. They do need two trees (at least one male and one female; you can have several female trees with one male, but my space is limited).

    So, instead, when my cherry tree died this summer, I decided to replace it with a self-fertile almond tree, that has very low chilling hours.

  • Athanasia October 11, 2017

    Yes, hazelnuts can take up space as they multi stem, like a giant bush. Will you keep your almond in a pot? I hear they need lots of water.

  • No, the almond is going in the ground to replace my cherry, which burned in our heat. I used to have one in a different spot but twice we had a water leak when a valve broke for a day and I lost two cherry trees there. So I planted a new cherry (which burned in June when it hit 117º a month early) where my plum was (that mysteriously died) and I need to dig it out, return it (it was under warranty of one year) and put in this almond. It will be watered with the drip lines that are already there. Almonds do need water, but they don't have to be watered with flooded fields. They can be watered with drip irrigation and do just fine, and use MUCH less water. I added an almond tree this spring (they look just like peach trees, and my peaches are on drip too) and it has done fine and gave me a handful of almonds this year already.

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