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Frugal Accomplishments for the Fourth Week in July

We have had a large number of unexpected expenses this month, with multiple costly repairs needing to be made and items needing to be replaced. Some expenses one just doesn't imagine ever having, but yet, there they are. Continuing to find frugality in as many ways as possible is important to keeping everything running smoothly.

Grapes in urn The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested peaches, figs, grapes, tomatoes, Swiss chard, green onions, and rosemary from our garden.

I planted seeds for what I hope will be a good harvest in a few months. I planted seeds for sunflowers, basil, chives, and green onions.

I said yes to some more tomatoes from my friend's garden when she offered.

We had a fun get-together with the children's friends and some of their cousins. We did the same thing the week before with some of their other cousins. Using a large tarp (that my husband got for free off of Craig's List) we created a giant slip and slide. We have done this for a few years now. It's a fun way to cool off and still play outside when it's 114°F/46°C out, which it was at our house.

It's still quite humid here as the summer storms pass overhead (not falling on us--the clouds just go right on by!) and I collected several water gallons of water from the air conditioning drip each day and used it to water potted plants. I also continued to collect shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants.

I cancelled my free Amazon Prime trial the day before I would be charged.

I watched a free photography class online.

I read two books that I borrowed from my mom.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

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Comments

  • ellie's friend August 01, 2018

    Hi SJ,

    Thanks for the suggestion. At the moment, there is not a spare bedroom or bed that can be used. One of my friends
    has hosted international students and it has worked well. Once I get the boxes of things sorted (boxes which came from my off site storage locker which was costly me a fortune), sent to recycling, etc. then there will be a bedroom to use.
    I don't have a lot of the extra things I would need for a guest (sheets, bedding). I am trying to get rid of extra furniture so don't want to have to get another bed. Still, it is a good suggestion. Decluttering is going slowly because of the broken arm which they say will still take 6 months or longer to heal fully.

    On Thursday, I am meeting a man who publishes several magazines (the type that are given free at stores, cafes, markets). I am hoping he might find some work I could do at home.

    On the positive side, the talk I gave for the local history week turned out really well. It is a great relief to have it finished. I was lucky to find lots of information for the talk online. A lot more has been digitized.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada August 01, 2018

    I'm no longer hosting students. The house was sold when I divorced and I moved into a one bedroom apartment. It is in the back of my mind, though, as something I could do to make money. The rule for the schools I worked with was that the student had to have their own room. My apartment could work for a homestay student if I needed to make the extra money and I slept in the living room. I'm not there yet but know it's an option. I also loved that fact that the school prescreened the students as well as took care of the money.

  • PJGT July 30, 2018

    I got a little grumpy today about our lack of money and it started to get to me, so I decided to see if there was a new post (or I would be rereading some of the older posts). There is a new post and I'm so thankful for this supportive community. I completely understand the frustration of extra expenses and also offer prayers for Marcia. I've been dealing with my husband's mental health issues for a few years now. They have cost us so very much.

    I have been a frugalista this week. In addition to the things I do habitually, I determined to use less of everything. Even just a little less will add up!

    I have sorted through bags of decorator's fabric samples and ruthlessly reduced to those fabrics that I probably will use. Have chosen to go hiking close to home rather than drive to a new or different trail. Picked out our Christmas tree for this winter from the national forest abutting our backyard. Dehydrated 6 trays of banana chips for healthy family snacks. Dehydrated a few more celery stalks to add to my former peanutbutter jar of dried celery. Took the really old broccoli from the free food table to add to the doggies food (they love broccoli). Found a nickel and added it to the piggy bank. I needed a bedskirt and finally found one for 3.00 at the thrift store!

    The free food distribution of almost or just outdated foods has been a true gift this summer. This week I was blessed to find rice, pinto beans and a box of potatoes in addition to all the vegetables and some fruit. It does take quite a bit of time to process the food. Thankfully I do have time this summer! I rarely go anywhere in order to save. Most people like the goodies on the table and this is perfect since I want the fruits and veggies as I do not have a garden this summer. God provides!

    I also finally convinced my dear son to try on an entire pile of clothes to see what fits, what is now too large and what needs hemming. This concludes the closet and dresser sorting for the family! It is good to have this accomplished! My dear husband changed the height of the closet rods for me so I would be able to organize better. Everything is ready to wear and color coordinated! I even checked each of the collars and used dish detergent on the collars to get them clean. I've added a sample bottle to the top of the washer to keep up on the collars in the future.

    My happiest frugal accomplishment of the week was finding 5 airforce PT tee-shirts at the thrift shop for my AFROTC son to wear. He's excited to have them to exercise in.

    Thank you all for the support! Happy frugal-ing!

  • Laura August 01, 2018

    Please tell me how you dehydrate the banana chips. I haven't had them turn out too well when I tried it. Thanks!

  • PJGT August 02, 2018

    I wait till the Bananas are really ripe and than I slice them onto the dehydrator sheets (with the holes), I dehydrate them until they are chewy (a personal family preference) and take them off when still warm. If I "overcook" the chips and they are hard, I store them in former peanutbutter glass jars for future use rehydrated in banana bread or cookies. We do not like the flavor of the fake yellow crispy banana chips sold in the store, so I do not try to replicate them. In my experience, most people who taste our chips and like them have difficulty when they try to dehydrate their own banana chips because they do not let the bananas get ripe (and therefore sweet) enough. Hope this helps

  • Becky July 30, 2018

    I know how it feels to be surprised with unexpected expenses.

    I worked hard this week at saving money. I shopped very carefully at the store with my grocery budget. I slightly lowered it again this month, and am going into the 3rd week of the lowered amount. I was still able to get over 20 lbs of chicken, and I canned chicken for the first time. I also did broth, which I've done before many times and love using. This was possible because of the amount of produce we are getting from the garden and we are eating that instead of grocery store items. I want to try the lowered amount for 8-9 weeks and see if I can either lower it more, or if it sustainable as it is. The key is to lower it as much as I can while still keeping the stockpile at a reasonable level. This kind of shopping takes a lot more thinking, adding up prices in the store, studying ads, and effort overall than just grabbing what I might like, but it is necessary right now, and I'm pleased that it is working so well so far. I was able to add a little more money to my Ibotta account.

    My garden is producing well. I have been making tons of zucchini dill chips. In fact, my husband gently asked me yesterday how many I thought I could use, even with giving them as gifts for Christmas:). I get it....I'm about done. Now what to do with the remaining zucchini..... I got my first bunch of cucumbers and did a batch of sweet pickles. I canned 7 quarts and 22 pints of green and yellow beans mixed. I made a batch of peach jam and some frozen peaches from peaches my sister gave me. She also gave me a small cabbage and some jalepenos. My daughter picked a nice bowl of wild blackberries and made a crisp from 1/2 of the, and we froze the other 1/2 for another day. Canning pictures are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-july-29-2018/

    We had an unexpected blessing this week. After our van broke ( it ended up being a cracked radiator, so not a little thing), we took it to our friend, the mechanic, because he basically ordered my husband to get it up there immediately when he heard its symptoms. (He is one of my husband's very best friends in the world, so he gets to talk like that about our cars when they break!). He gave my husband his wife's car as a loaner, then he and his son worked after hours on one of the hot, hot days to fix it. The very next day, it was done. We were so grateful that he fixed it, and then he would not let my husband pay a dime...said God had blessed him with some extra money lately, and he was blessing us.

    Another blessing has been figuring out all the new insurance ins and outs--it's been very complicated, involving lots and lots and lots of phone calls, because some things were not quite right. But, it was finally corrected and we got a new doctor and have appointments next week, which I thought was wonderful that they could get us in so soon. Sometimes it takes a really long time to get an appointment at a new place.

    I exercised twice and we took the kids swimming at the YMCA, using our membership. Because we are on such an amazing scholarship program, it is very low cost for us to have that membership, and using it helps me stay healthier. I like to go a 3rd time each week, but couldn't find the time this week, with all the canning.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba July 30, 2018

    Brandy,

    I hear you on the unexpected expenses and trust you can get them all resolved soon.

    Here is what we did to save money last week:
    * Purchased salmon on sale. My husband loves salmon!
    * God helped with my appointments so that several were in the same day back-to-back to save me time, money, and gas.
    * I joyfully line dried all our laundry.
    * I gladly packed a lunch for my husband each work day.
    * It was a huge, unexpected blessing to have a few larger-than-normal end of month sales in the last week.
    * We thankfully cooked our meals mostly with food we had on hand.
    * We were blessed with a gift card with which we could purchase some healthy food.
    * I sent handwriten thank you cards to business professionals with whom I met. It's a frugal way to add a personal touch and stay top of mind.
    * My aunt yhoughtfully blessed me with a coupon to the store where I grocery shop.
    * We almost effortlessly did without the A/C all week.

  • Alix July 31, 2018

    Luba,
    Thank you for reminding me that a joyful perspective and thankful spirit are needed during our daily tasks. This morning has been rough as I am pregnant with twins while also caring for my 3 year old and 1 year old. But reading your comment reminds me to approach this season happily and thankfully as we are so blessed. Thank you.

  • Bobbie July 31, 2018

    Bless you! When they are that young it is challenging. I've been there (but not with twins!) Mine are now 3 and 4 and it's getting easier every day. Hang in there...

  • Rhonda A. August 01, 2018

    Haha...this made me laugh! My autistic daughter is now 15 yrs old. Just recently we had to go clothes shopping, which she passionately hates, and was giving me a hard time about going. I told her she was so much easier to deal with when I could just pick her up. I don't think parenting ever get easier!

  • Alix August 04, 2018

    Thank you for your encouragement!

  • Lorna July 30, 2018

    Hi Brandy and yes we had a similar week to yourself in having to replace 2 chainsaws which were indeed unexpected expenses too as one was lent to a friend who accidentally put contaminated fuel in it and it literally seized while we were using it. I do agree that by living frugally we do have more money in our budgets to deal with these things and also having an emergency fund helps too :).

    Our savings added up to $2740.56 last week :).

    Here is what we accomplished and how we saved -

    Earnings -
    - Sold in my internet store 350 saved garden capsicum seeds, 100 g of dried thyme and 25 g of dried rosemary with herbs picked and dried from the gardens making $27.92 I banked into our budget.

    Finances -
    - Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit bank account bringing us to 27.03% of the way there.
    - Listed 20 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $33 in normal listing fees.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased 24 pairs of leather gardening gloves on eBay (12 pairs for DH and 12 pairs for myself) for under half the price we can get them in our local hardware store saving $109.20. We only use thick leather gloves here to give us some protection from brown snake and Redback spider bites in bushland whilst cutting firewood.
    - As both of our chainsaws needed replacing (after a dire prognosis from the repair shop) and I couldn't justify a $2649 price tag on a named brand we got prices on I bought 2 chainsaws in a Chinese brand knockoff of Stihl called MTM on eBay taking advantage of a 5% discount voucher saving $2289.90. Both chainsaws had equal specifications and power as our Stihl ones did anyway and we have other equipment here in the same brand that have proven to be reliable and long lasting. I also spent a little more buying a spare chainsaw chain for each too.

    Firewood -
    - Cut 1 cubic metre of ironbark hardwood firewood from a friends farm for free as he had pushed over trees 18 months ago saving $200 over buying it locally. A challenge considering both our chainsaws were not co-operating but we got there in the end through determination. During the DH moments in cutting firewood I walked off and collected kindling on the ground a fair distance away (I had 40 acres to choose from) totally oblivious to the frustration directed at me, which in my view is the better part of valor in a marriage sometimes :).

    In the gardens -
    - Picked another huge amount of thyme from the gardens we are currently drying for sale on the internet.
    - While harvesting the thyme I separated off 4 more plants with good root systems on them into bare areas where the others didn't take saving $18 over buying mature plants in the local plant nurseries.
    - Picked 647g of cherry tomatoes & 13 bunches of silver beet from the gardens some we used fresh for meals and the rest we froze or blanched and froze in meal sized portions for the freezer for food storage.

    Other frugal things we did -
    - Saved shower warm up water and dish rinsing water to water the fruit tree pot plants on the back veranda and newly planted vegetable seedlings and used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to hand water the house paddock lawns with.
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Only turned on the electric hot water system when the water needed heating and boiled water in our camp kettle for our morning hot chocolates on the slow combustion stove rather than using the electric kettle.

    Hope everyone has had a good week also :).

    Sewingcreations15.

  • Jenny August 01, 2018

    Lorna, finally reached the 27% of the house deposit. So exciting!

  • Lorna August 01, 2018

    Thank you Jenny we are super excited to have reached just over 27% as well, and hoping it will be a lot higher when DH gets his tax refund cheque that we will also bank into our home deposit savings account :).

    We are working towards saving 37.5% - 40 % of the total price before approaching the bank for a loan. The percentage includes a new second car for when we are living further out of town, the cost of the land, the house being built and a 4 bay garage with a large veranda out the back of the house for entertaining and a BBQ area. We will pay cash for the 2nd car, the land, the garage and the veranda and only borrow for the cost of the house to be built.

    So exciting that we have also designed our own home so will have what we need for DH's disabilities and for wheel chair access for him later that he will need due to his injuries and a large purpose built walk in food storage room.

    We looked at buying ready built but by the time we do the necessary renovations to account for wider doors and recessed showers for wheelchair access it would cost more than having the home built to our specifications anyway.

  • DonnaMarie August 02, 2018

    Lorna, your house/car plans sound very exciting. You and your husband are proving that planning, commitment, and diligence help reach awesome goals. I am so happy for both of you!

  • Lorna August 03, 2018

    Thank you DonnaMarie for your encouragement :).

    It does take a lot of commitment to get there though but the sacrifice will be worth it in the end :).

  • Athanasia August 04, 2018

    Lorna, your house sounds a lot like ours. We built it, too, all on one level (with a basement) and all handicap accessible. We have a 4 bay garage also and large veranda/patio ( on the front of the house though) with built in bbq grill. The garage is nice as it has my summer kitchen in one end and not full of stuff. We have barn to store the mower, snowblower etc and no need for workshop as husband's cabinet business just down the drive. So that makes garage good for entertaining with large gatherings. Can set up many trestle tables. It is not directly attached but has a breezeway between house and garage

    I hope your new chainsaws give you many years of use. They can be invaluable too!s when one has wooded properties.

  • Lorna August 04, 2018

    Thank you Athanasia :) and we think it is wise to plan ahead with making the home design, usage, age and disability friendly.

  • momsav August 05, 2018

    Lorna,
    Even though I haven’t been adding my savings to this sight in awhile, i’ve been watching your totals add up for your home. I’m so happy for you! It’s all coming together!

  • Lorna August 05, 2018

    Thank you momsav I appreciate your encouragement :) . Hopefully if you are saving to buy a home or other things you are doing well also.

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