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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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  • Juls Owings July 31, 2018

    Brandy I am so thankful for you and yours and this site and for each one that comments here. The support and the wisdom just over flows with blessings.

    Must be the storms bringing the unexpected bills and break downs... we got nailed with several between 209 supplier getting fired by our head contractor and having to find someone for the counter top that takes 3-6 wks to come in, so instead of having it THIS week it will be 3-6 wks from now. Carpenter is going to cut ply board (another expense) so I have something to work on. I am glad I have a sink in my mudroom to do pots and pans and the dishwasher. Hubby's old truck is dying and it is going to be replaced we planned in Nov. when Hubby gets his last bonus from where he retired from.Had to buy it 2 tires on Monday and our mechanic told us to look at replacing the truck within 4-6 wks if we were lucky. Which means higher payment with the lesser down payment OR pull the savings and strap down the hatches on daily living to rebuild the savings. He has to have the truck for his business of portable welding when we move...Which comes to the next one, every single person that was going to help, pack, move, unpack and clean here is no longer going to help... between medical,new jobs, job overtime mandated and jury duty, we went from a total of 10 people 3 trucks with trailers, 6 cars to just the two of us with 1 truck with trailer (if it holds up ) and 1 car.
    We did get our new furniture and food for the pantry and the painting of 209 is going to be done this week. Floors refinished next week. I was given an phone number of someone that used to do re-upholstery and they thought might be willing to redo our 2 chairs.

    Blessed be everyone

  • Sheena July 31, 2018

    I’m sorry you had unexpected expenses. They are the worst.

    I did not manage to post last week but back in the swing of things this week. So this post is for 2 weeks.

    The children and I made it back from Holiday.One other frugality was that I wrapped the car seat for my tiny 6 year old in big plastic bags that had contained other items. It came through the journey just fine. We did have food delivered as a treat that evening but the family member who house and dog sat for us deserved it and enjoyed it.

    When we arrived back I received a telephone call in the airport offering me some freelance work the following day. I immediately said yes. On the way back from the freelance work that day I was passing Lidl and they had a lot of chicken and beef reduced which I bought. Great prices. I’ve also recently found 2 lettuce reduced to 12p a head and 3 Chinese leaf for 49p each. I found a (small) box of cherries for 34p that the children loved. I made enchiladas for dinner making my own sauce and using chicken from various boxes ( had to amalgamate some) in the freezer. The cherries and some other berries made a tasty dessert.

    Then it was back to work. I’m still taking packed lunches in. Last Friday I found strawberries reduced to £1.80 for 600g. I ended up buying a huge amount and spent Saturday afternoon canning strawberry jam. I ran out of time as a friend had invited me to a party that evening so mushed and froze what remained to make more as needed. I had 30 8oz jars of jam ( not counting the frozen strawberries). The kids love it. I gave some to my FIL and then took a jar of the jam as well as a bottle of unopened Brandy I found in the house ( I don’t drink Brandy- I had to google the French name to check what it was) to the party as hostess/host gifts. They went down very well and no OOP for me

  • Sheena July 31, 2018

    Typo in comment above- the tops of the strawberries are kept for the guinea pigs....

  • Oh, those unexpected repairs that arise...SO frustrating! (One memorable one for me was when a possum got trapped in our attic and since he only "came out to play" at night, causing our dog to bark incessantly, we had to call a pest control guy to come out. At night. Working on golden time. :( yeah. )

    I notice on the grape leaves in your picture a discoloration that mine have also begun to have. Can you tell me what that is? I don't know if I should be concerned or not.

    Re: rain. We surely get more rain than your area, but being the rain lover I am, I am convinced our little microclimate has an invisible dome over us that causes most predicted rain to pass right around us. I swear I can see rain clouds and rain fall surrounding our neighborhood sometimes and we have sun shining right over us! I know there are worse problems to have than sunshine-y weather though, lol! I just don't think I could ever tire of rain though. (I type this as a good rain pours down...:D)

  • It is caused by whiteflies. I do not dare spray for them when it is this hot, as every spray says not to spray when it is above 90°F. As we reach that temperature in April, spraying after that time is tricky. I once sprayed in November and it was still too warm; all the leaves fell off and didn't return again until the following March. Whiteflies can be quite damaging in the garden and many organic sprays fail to kill them. There is a non-organic spray that can kill them; I forget the name at the moment. I used it once on whiteflies and it did work (years ago).

  • Ellie's friend August 05, 2018

    My mother used to use sticky yellow paper for whiteflies in the house. Since you don't get much rain, maybe you could
    put the sticky yellow paper outside near the worst infested plants.

  • Maxine August 04, 2018

    Are you kidding?? Never tire of rain?! I suggest you move to Portland or Seattle. I lived in Portland for 40 years and I don't miss the rain at all (although I don't think it rains as much now as it did then). I remember a black sky (cloud canopy) and steady rain for 7 months of the year. Walking 14 blocks to and from school in that was no fun! The summers are beautiful, though...when it isn't raining, LOL. Incidentally, at that time I thought it rained like that everywhere. What a treat to find out it didn't!

  • debi July 31, 2018

    I've had an onslaught of unexpected expenses as well. Neighbor's dog attacked mine again -- it also attacks other neighbor's dogs. The Prosecuting Attorney asked me to appear in court and show the judge all of my vet bills over the years and my medical (mallet finger) from when I stood between my dog and his chow. I got pulled down and thought my dangling finger was a fractured finger - nope - it was the tendon pulled away from the bone. I avoided surgery where they insert a pin through your fingertip into the bone so that the tendon can try to grow back on it with a splint. Instead I opted to just do a splint 24/7 for 16 weeks (4 months) instead of surgery and 6-8 weeks with the splint. The Prosecutor wants to try to get me my restitution for the vet bills and medical bills as this was not the first time they have had to take him to court. Then the same neighbor decided to block my garage entrance as he supposedly owns 1/2 of it (so hired an attorney) as I fall under a grandfathered clause plus also adverse possession law. Our area was surveyed 3 times by different companies and all of our township has property line issues due to that. BTW, the neighbor was a no show for court, so there is a bench warrant on him with a $1000 cash bond. So I don't have my reimbursement of those funds yet. Then last week, I had kept hearing a loud noise and thought it was the muffler/exhaust. A coworker said no that he felt it was a wheel bearing going. Sure enough $365.00 bill for that replacement. This time labor was only $65, it was the part that was expensive. I understand how all of you feel with the unexpected expenses. Next week my homeowners insurance will be due, and have that set aside at least.

  • Kitty B (Calgary, AB) July 31, 2018

    Frugal Accomplishments this Week:

    Cut my husband's hair
    Did my own pedicure
    Stayed home 4 days; no spend no drive days
    Combined errands on the way home when I did work
    hemmed my daughters thrift store dress
    Swag goal x 6 days
    Continue to declutter, sell and donate items (sold $100.50 on local FB sell site)
    Redeemed SB for $50 Amazon card, used that gift card to order a Christmas gift for my Mum.

    Thanks to Brandy and everyone who contributes, always enjoy reading comments on this website. Have a wonderful week!

  • Janet July 31, 2018

    I know what you mean about steam out the ears.
    This past week we had some movers in our home for a room full of stuff we were storing for friends.
    The young lady walks in the home and promptly places a clip board on my antique secretary. I took it off and handed it to her. She put it back on my secretary , I took it off and placed it on top of boxes she took it and put it back on my secretary. I tossed it on the floor and said I do not want that scratching my furniture! That is an antique ! She just shrugs . (well I guess if it were IKEA that would have meant something to her)
    I then decided I was just being grumpy but so many things were like that this week. I took one top to the dry cleaners the broke every button on the blouse. I had steam out my ears on that one. Thankfully I had some old buttons from some old sweaters that almost were an exact match for the beautiful buttons the broke but I had to replace every button. I was so angry.
    I have been finding overcharges on all of my receipts I hate wasting time getting the cash back but I also hate it that they over charge.
    Continuing our sales and saving all that I can.

  • Janet July 31, 2018

    I took the grands swimming, got them the free books from the reading program, off loaded items at the dump rather than paying an extra fee for extra trash pick up. I have been using as many coupons as I can find. Working extra as I can. Rubbing nickels into dollars. My sales have fallen off but I will keep at it and see how we do.
    I wish I could talk folks into off loading more of the items in the house, we have so very much and we will have to be out in eleven months now and they all think that eleven months is a lifetime and we have enough items in this home for three families.
    Some of what I wanted to do to earn more is pick up free items and resell but I can't bring one more thing home. I just can't!
    I keep working on it.
    I feel most days as I am losing a large battle.

  • Kim July 31, 2018

    I am so sorry to hear about the unplanned expenses. I hope things get better for your family very soon. My thoughts are with and others that are struggling right now.

    Last Christmas, I had a disaster as I had not planned well and every gift cost me way more than I could afford. It really zapped the joy out of the season for me. I have started working hard at purchasing inexpensive gifts now. I recently got some really nice ,men's zip- front hoodies for $7 each. I purchased 4 which is still cheaper than what I ended up paying for 1 last Christmas. At the same store, I found really nice women's slippers for $1 each so I purchased 3 pairs.

    At Joanne Fabric I found youth craft kits for $6 each so I purchased 2 of those. I have to say these are nice craft kits but I would never have paid full price and even $6 is a bit much for me. Still these sale purchases have really helped stretch my Christmas budget this year. I am very thankful for this.

    I have been knitting dish clothes for gifts as well. I can get 3 out of one skein of cotton yarn so I am making each of my adult children a set of 3 dish clothes. I may make some dish towels to go with them with fabric I already have.

    I have to tell you my slip and slide story. I bought one on clearance at end of season last year. Thus far this summer it has entertained my grandson frequently, my neighbor kids and my sister borrowed it this weekend for her grandkids. Endless hours of summer fun for many children means I got my money's worth.

    One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from Brandy and others here is that it is vitally important to be consistent in our frugal ways. Pre-planning is also of utmost importance.

    When I saw the sale of the hoodies- it meant I had to rearrange my work schedule to get to the store before it closed. That was a pain and it was really hot (about 100 degrees) so I didn't feel like shopping but I did it any way and it feels really good to have a head start on things. I don't have the luxury of turning down good opportunities. It is my goal to provide for my family as efficiently and economically as possible and that means hard work, plain and simple. Not adding to my family's financial stress is so worth the extra effort!!

  • Janet August 01, 2018

    Buying off season is one of the best frugal things you can do. Shopping for Hoodies on a 100degree day.
    Getting a free Christmas tree and decorations in July.
    These are the types of things that add up!
    Birthday gifts in the winter after Christmas. I buy shorts and tshirts in Sept and October and PJ's for Christmas in March and April (Flannel when it is almost 100 degrees is cheap!) Shorts when it is really cold out are dirt cheap.
    I also set a budget and I stick to it.

  • Julie T July 31, 2018

    Busy with the garden here too! Canned 12 pints green beans. Froze 4 packages of a cooked small zucchini, Hansel eggplant, peppers, and onions. I use this in casseroles, lasagne or spaghetti sauce. Froze 4 ice cream buckets of blueberries. Picked raspberries at a friend’s house for free. Made 2 batches raspberry jam and froze 4 freezer bags of berries.

    Been eating fresh cucumbers and an occasional tomato. Also kale, chard, and kolarabi.

    Cleaned out closets and sent clothes to consignment shop and other things to a thrift shop. Feels good to have clean closets.

    Made all meals at home this week-Broccoli cheese soup from the freezer, taco Salad, spaghetti and sauce (sauce from the freezer); grilled steak, corn on the cob, and salad; plus potato hash and eggs.

    Took 4 days to go to our daughters in eastern Wisconsin. Took garden produce to her house. Also took the last of the cherries. She provided the venison steak for one dinner and chicken for another. We went to the zoo in Shaumico for free with some tickets from her friends that they couldn’t use and were about to expire. We packed a lunch and took water bottles. We did stop for ice cream on the way home.

    Walked 2 miles a day on my country road-free exercise.

    Need to start sewing some clothes for grandkids bdays. Have 2 of them plus my daughters in September. Mended a quilt for my daughter and a pair of pants and a shirt for hubby.

    No grocery shopping this week. Using up leftovers in the freezer and hope to do a no spend August with garden produce coming in. Grocery money to be set aside for Christmas gift shopping.

    Everyone have a great week!

  • Jen@FrugalSteppingStones July 31, 2018

    We have been fortunate with the free or low cost entertainment this month. We used our Zoo pass once, got 5 free tickets to a train ride with Super Why from PBS Kids, and free tickets to a baseball game from the Girl Scouts. Our HOA has a pool and playground,and we have made great use of that too.

  • Our kids are at a free coding camp at the public library this week.
    Trying to limit food purchases, instead cooking from the freezer and garden.
    My daughter is going through office supplies at home for school supplies. She used a gift certificate from her birthday to purchase an outfit for school pictures.
    Made homemade brownies for my scouts at my house Sat. DId not have any eggs left but found one that used banana instead. It was different but worked.
    Borrowed books from friends and the library.

  • Tina August 01, 2018

    My son is allergic to eggs so I use 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water, set aside to thicken when making brownies without any difference in taste. You can get a lot of recipes for egg substitutes by searching for vegan recipes.

  • Libby July 31, 2018

    I echo the sentiments expressed by others - I am so sorry that you experienced so many unexpected expenses. When you live so close to the bone, it is hard to imagine where to find the funds for the unexpected. Sending you a hug and positive energy.

    • My friend graciously offered me her CSA box this week while she is on vacation. I received: corn, blueberries, lettuce, eight ball zucchini, regular zucchini, garlic, and herbs.
    • Enjoyed a free lunch at work
    • $1 price discrepancy between the olive oil price in the grocery store flyer and the sign on the shelf. I went to customer service and was able to purchase the oil for the lower sale price listed in the flyer
    • Hung two loads of laundry up to dry,
    • Tried a new recipe for risotto with zucchini and goat cheese,
    • Made swag goal x 1

  • Tammy July 31, 2018

    Hubby and I have been sick for over 2 weeks. Doing a lot of sleeping. Watched a movie at home. Doing most cooking at home. Harvested tomatoes. Keeping up on the housework with hubby's help. Looking up internet recipes and using food on hand. Hubby's favorite was chickpeas with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and olive oil cooked at 400 degrees. Easy snack when you don't feel so good. Cheap too.

  • Ellie's friend August 01, 2018

    Hope you are both feeling better soon! Have been wondering about you.


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