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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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  • Shelley July 31, 2018

    July has not been kind on my piggy bank for sure. I didn't spend any money for 3 days this week. Then Friday I headed with my kids to my best friend boat for the weekend. I had to rent a car (not cheap). But staying on the boat was tons of fun for the kids. I brought food so we didn't eat out except one meal a day. Hopefully next week will be better.

  • Darcy July 31, 2018

    We too have had some extra expenses this week, so the next few weeks (and months) will be about concentrating more on our frugal efforts.

    We had our yearly summer BBQ at work. The company provides the drinks, hot dogs, hamburgers, and brats, and everyone brings a side or dessert. I brought a loaf of banana bread to share. I had everything in my pantry to make it so I didn’t have to do any shopping.

    We harvested cherry tomatoes, basil, mint, peppers, and green beans. I am drying the herbs for storage.

    I planted more lettuce seeds.

    We ate all our meals at home and took our lunches to work with us.

    I washed and reused baggies.

    I cooked a crock pot full of pinto beans. I will be incorporating more beans into our meals.

    Earlier in the spring I planted zinnia seeds from the dollar store. They came up beautifully and everyone who visits comments on how pretty they are. My husband was sitting in the yard one afternoon this past week and watched a green hummingbird for about 20 minutes enjoying the zinnias. He said it was an amazing experience. He is hoping the hummingbird comes back.

  • ellie's friend from Canada August 01, 2018

    Depending on where you live, it might be a Ruby-throated hummingbird. I am amazed a hummingbird would like zinnias.
    It's not the usual type of flower (funnel shaped, blu, red or pink) that hummingbirds usually like. Perhaps it was gleaning tiny
    insects from the flowers?. Still, very impressive. My hummingbirds love monarda (beebalm). The Cornell University website
    allaboutbirds.org has a wealth of information and you can check what each species of hummingbird looks like.

  • Darcy August 02, 2018

    Hi Ellie's friend! I did some research and it seems the hummingbird my husband saw was a female ruby-throated hummingbird. He is hoping she comes back!

  • Athanasia August 04, 2018

    Zinnia would not be a preferred flower, but it could have been attracted by the red color. They also like petunias and impatiens neither of which are considered tubular. They don't head toward a flower due to sense of smell, they follow the color. They have buzzed me in the garden when I am wearing a red head scarf. We keep two hummingbird feeders, one at the house and one at the shop. Even though a feeder has 4 ports on it a hummingbird will not share a feeder with another. They will chase each other off. We see only ruby throated where we are. Sightings of others are rare.

  • Riley July 31, 2018

    Unfortunately it seems like a trend that we’ve had unexpected expenses! Mine haven’t happened yet, but in addition to finding out that my maternity leave may be unpaid, I just found out that going to the hospital we’ve delivered our other children at will cost several thousand dollars. Trying to weigh out switching docs and hospital- both our kids have needed NICU help and this local “cheaper” hospital doesn’t have one.
    - started my new job!
    - turned off all lights when not in use
    - sanded and stained our bathroom vanity
    - bought a Lowe’s GC on sale in anticipation of a few minor house repairs we are doing. I love my house so much, and want to add board and batten shutters to the front and B&B trim to the bathroom. Not necessary but will be beautiful
    - watched videos and read more about both home repair projects above
    - borrowed my Dad’s stud finder for above
    - continued to use cloth diapers
    - added “starts” to my Starbucks rewards using a stickie left on a bag of coffee at the place we had stayed for vacation
    - planned menus for the week
    - clipped flowers for our table and tried to keep the house neater. It’s amazing how much this makes me love being home!
    - went out to dinner it’s some dear high school friends. One of them is retired with her husband! At 32! As she said it “we made a lot- I mean A LOT- of money flipping houses”. It was so fun to hear their stories and to see them. They ended up paying for dinner too, which was a nice plus. I found the best part was I didn’t feel envious of them at all- happy for them, but I like our lives as they are right now.

  • Kim in Florida July 31, 2018

    I made large portions of refried beans in the instant pot twice last week. They're all gone!!! But those were extremely inexpensive meals for us. I made chilli in the instant pot. I made it too watery, so I threw in some lentils. They soaked up the liquid, stretched the meal and nobody complained. Another win win!!! I did some food shopping at walgreens using my balance reward points. No out of pocket. I paid off a second credit card. Now I will have more money from the interest I was paying that can be applied elsewhere. Mangos were 3 for $1 at Savealot. I bought 9. I was hemming and hawing that maybe I should have gotten more, but when we finished them the last ones were over ripe. If I go past the store today, I will stop and see about getting a few more. I don't have the room to freeze them and not sure if I want to dehydrate any. I stopped at Sam's right after they opened, (I have a business membership) and we grabbed some fruit that was for the taking on the way out. I received a text message that the house buyer is having trouble obtaining homeowners insurance because of the pool. Could he take it down?? Heck yeah I couldn't answer that fast enough! .....if the sale doesn't go through that will be one less thing for us to pay for. (at least $500) since we aren't nearby to do it ourselves. The current tenants are not maintaining the pool. We had already decided that the pool is a problem and needs to come down. Renters want to rent a house with a pool but they don't want to maintain it. These are the second tenants that we've had that issue with. I was wondering how come I hadn't received my $25 giftcard that I redeemed from swagbucks. I went looking for it and sure enough it was in my account and had money on it. I used it at Sams. Hoping everybody has a better August than July!

  • April July 31, 2018

    I know about unexpected expenses, they like to show up in groups here.

    I went 11 days before I needed gas. Now, I'm only putting $20 in at a time in case my Yukon goes out. School starts August 15th so I won't be able to go that long after that, so I'm appreciating it now.

    Received 3 sample packs of downy unstoppables. I think the scent is a little much so I'll only use about a 1/4 of a pack on each load(and I only use it on the blankets so they'll last awhile)

    My neighbor sent over 25-30 pounds of tomatoes. It was a ton. I gave away a few, hubby has ate one a day, froze a few for salsa when it's cooler, and I dehydrated the rest(takes up way less space)

    My mom sent over 2 packs of spaghetti noodles

    The 11yo got her school supply list yesterday. I'll shop from my stash first, then fill in at the store(should be less than $20 of stuff I'll need)

    I found 2 tank tops and 2 pairs of shorts for the 11yo on clearance at Sam's.

    We ate out this weekend but did lunch instead of dinner so it would be a few dollars cheaper

    It has been a whole lot cooler here for several days. I've been opening up doors and windows and kept the ac off the majority of the day (the front of our house faces west so it gets really hot in here towards evening time)

  • Rhonda A. August 01, 2018

    April, I put some downy unstoppables and a bit of baking soda diluted with water in a spray bottle to make a homemade version of Febreeze. It worked well to freshen up some areas and items in the house that are more difficult to clean.

  • Carolyn July 31, 2018

    I stopped using the extra rinse cycle on my washing machine. For a while now, I've been doing all my laundry in cold water. I thought the extra rinse cycle was necessary to ensure the laundry came out clean. It turns out it isn't necessary at all. The clothes come out just fine without it. This will make a noticible difference on my next water bill.

    Last year, I started learning more about wild edible foods. This summer I decided to put the knowlege into practice and have been regularly encorporating wild edibles into my meals. While this wouldn't make a huge difference in my food bill by itself, lots of little things can add up to worthwhile savings as you've continued to show in your blog.

    I canceled a service just before the free trial period ended. It was something I really did want but the annual fee comes at a bad time and I can live without it.

    All of my meals were made from my food pantry (and wild edibles). I combined errands and limited my driving. My exercise comes from walking my dog - no gym membership needed.

  • Andrea Q July 31, 2018

    Those wild edibles likely have different vitamins and minerals that aren't a regular part of your diet! And they taste so much better than store bought.

  • Carolyn August 01, 2018

    They do taste good! It has been a pleasant surprise in some cases and I'm having fun, too.

  • Bobbie July 31, 2018

    I'm so sorry to hear about the expenses. Such a pain!

    We have decided to trade in our truck for a fuel efficient car, and thus lower monthly payment and gas expenses. We are working on doing that this week. We have to have the brakes changed on my car, and pay to have it inspected and registered. My husband changed the front brakes, but the rear needs an expensive special tool, so we elected to take it to the mechanic. At least we saved money on some labor. Still frustrating though!

    Aside from milk and a small amount of vegetables and fruits, we will not be grocery shopping this month. I anticipate we will spend about $100 in groceries total. We normally spend about $350. This will help offset some costs.

    The deer have been enjoying my tomato plants. But, kale and cucumbers and peppers are all doing well. I grew corn for the chickens this year to help offset their feed costs.

    I borrowed my mother in law's carpet shampooer to clean my carpets. Saved money and the house feels so much cleaner!

    Made cookie dough and froze balls to pull out and easily make cookies as a nice treat occasionally. The kids love it when they get to help make cookie dough!

    Has anyone ever has the yellow round cucumbers? My seed packet of ebglish cucumbers has surprised me by not being English cucumbers at all! I've never had these round ones before- can they be pickled or made into relish?

    Continue to try and potty train my youngest. He's a stubborn little guy :) I go back to work Friday from summer break. Looking forward to getting back into a routine.

  • One of God's July 31, 2018

    They sound like lemon cucumbers which can be used just as others.

  • Darcy August 02, 2018

    A co-worker gave me some from her garden last year. They are really good and kind of a novelty.

  • Louise July 31, 2018

    Received an unexpected blessing of money, used it to purchase a larger freezer for food storage. The very next day our hot water tank broke and needed replaced...at twice the cost of the freezer! Thankful for frugality and an emergency fund! Now to work on building the fund back up again.
    On an evening walk we found two polywpod glider chairs on the curb for trash pickup. After looking them over and finding them to be in great shape, we got our truck and picked them up, scrubbed them good at home and they look brand new! I googled them and found they're $400-$600 each brand new!
    My youngest starts at the local community college this fall. Lots of time was spent last winter applying for every scholarship eligible. He received enough scholarships to cover his first year. We are so thankful. It is well worth the time spent searching and applying, many generous people want to assist with higher education costs and we were shocked to learn many scholarships receive little to no applicants.
    We have several high mileage older vehicles and one needs to go to the shop for maintenance this week. Praying not a large cost!
    I cooked all week from scratch, found Eco reusable sandwich/snack bags at Marshalls for $4 (can use 1,000+ times and eliminates buying plastic storage bags). Used water. collected from our dehumidifier to water outdoor plants each day. We are to get much needed rain today and tomorrow. Its been a very hot and dry summer in the midwest!
    Thanks for all the frugal ideas and encouragement everyone!

  • tanja July 31, 2018

    Hello Brandy, those temperatures you have there...unbeleavable.....We have several weeks now with temperatures from 25 to 35 celcius, for the netherlands that is exceptional. And about 6 weeks with hardly any rain, no green meadows overhere. I have to carry lots of buckets of water to the vegetable garden ( water from a ditch that is). I don't get as many vegetables as a usually do.

    But still:lots of redcurrants for jam, black currants also for jam, courgettes a lot, green salat, onions, shallots, beets, carrots and cabbage.
    I made 2 skirts for myself, one was made of a pair of sweatpants.
    We had a village festival last week. I always cook for the volunteers (groceries payed for by the festival commite), my reward is that our whole familie eats with them for free. And al the compliments are a reward to, I love that.
    And I finished my first ever made quilt, the patchwork is done by machine put the stiching is by hand. It is 170 cm/170 cm big.

    Watered our garden plants every two days by getting water from the canal we live at.
    Well.......the temperatures stay the same coming weeks so I will keep calm, please do the same.
    Greetings from the netherlands

  • Jess July 31, 2018

    I’ve continued to can everything I can from the garden. I’m up to about 170 pounds of tomatoes processed this year. I did another 9 jars of pasta sauce this and 9 pints of pizza sauce this week. I will make some pepper jelly later this week. We ate honeydew and watermelon from the garden as well.

    I make a few trips to Sam’s Club a year. I have money set aside for these trips that doesn’t come from our grocery budget. I stocked up on cleaning supplies, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc...

    My husband continues to work on his truck rather than taking it to the mechanic. He’s almost done with the repairs.

    I have 2 more weeks of double paychecks. We have paid extra on our mortgage during these 6 weeks that we’ve had double checks. We’re at 48% paid off in 14 months!

  • Jo July 31, 2018

    We are still dealing with hospital and doctor bills from my emergency trip to the hospital in January and my husband's broken knee in April. We all go through it, but it is a really difficult time, isn't it? I finally got a payment plan settled with the hospital, as I owe several thousand there -- my deductible all came out of this bill, and I have a co-pay too. At least it will be at zero percent interest.

    I switched my "no-rewards" card to a cash back card. I am now using this card (carefully!), and getting cash back on it.

    We use solid natural deodorants, which are expensive. I save the old tubes, and when I have five or six, I scrape off that last bit of deodorant on the push-up platform that you just can't use, melt them in the microwave, and refill an empty tube that has a solid push-up "platform" -- some are perforated, so I can't reuse those platforms. I did this this past week. Five tubes' remainders filled the empty tube almost to the brim, with the platform swiveled all the way down. So, in essence, by throwing away those last bits in the past, we were throwing out almost a fifth of the tube. It took me all of five minutes at most to do the refill.

    We are eating mostly what we already have this week. I shopped for very little this week, spending 1/5 of my weekly budget.

    I continue to use my scraps to feed the worms in my worm bucket and to trench compost in the back yard. I have close to 3 gallons of worm castings now.

    I get paid on a bi-weekly basis, so in August we'll get three paychecks. I hope to help build back up my emergency fund with some of it.

    I'm reading books I already own at home -- I use the library, but I have to drive there. Home is even cheaper, and I have some favorites I can read a thousand times, like the James Herriot "All Creatures" series.

  • Signerjack August 03, 2018

    Did you know that making your own solid deodorant is simple. I have done it for 5 years now.

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