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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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  • Tammy August 01, 2018

    Thank-you. I'm sorry about your decrease of income. I hope you continue to enjoy nature and are able to take some pictures. We are starting to get over Bronchitis. Not much fun. On a good note, every time we drive somewhere we see deer. Love it! One day we got to see horses running in a field as we drove along with us. It was fun to watch.
    Hubby is not able to return to work without accommodations. Will probably go on disability. However he has been working on some music. I hope to see him do something with it soon. After we get over being sick anyway. I'm glad he has sick leave after almost 20 years at the same job. I think we have a month left, maybe a bit more.

  • Ellie's friend August 02, 2018


    So sorry to hear about the bronchitis but glad you are on the mend. Yes, I'm able to take some photos. Now the docs think I may need surgery for the arm but we will see after a CT scan. Get well soon!

  • Lynne July 31, 2018

    Unexpected outlays of money are always a bit stressful.

    I visited an op shop on my way to work this morning and they had a fill a bag for $5 morning. As well as a couple of jumpers for my daughter I picked up some nice clothes for work that I hope will fit.

    I belong to a share waste group and last night a very generous man delivered a trailer load of compost and he is coming back next month once he dismantles his hardwood raised garden bed to give that to me as well. He appreciated the bottle of wine I gave him. Now I have no excuses not to start the veggie garden.

    I am going to start trying to leave my credit card at home so if I want to buy something and don’t have the cash I’ll have to use my debit card (or not buy it at all). I’m hoping this will slow down my spending.

  • Carol July 31, 2018

    Our fridge broke down for the third time. Previously, my husband called the manufacturer and was told that since it is a month past warranty, it would cost us $75-100 just for a technician to come out. We tried to make do by unplugging our refrigerator overnight (their suggested solution) and it seemed to work...for a few weeks. One day I came home and the food in the fridge had all gone bad (food spoils quickly since it is in the high 90's). This time I looked up the company website and chatted with a robo rep. The rep suggested calling customer service. It was a different number than the one my husband called. I realized it went to GE Appliance, a subsidiary. I told the rep honestly that my warranty was expired by two months and she said that she can open up a case for me and that they will send a technician free of charge! It's a huge burden off my shoulders and I'm proud that I was able to find a way to save money just by trying another method.

  • One of God's August 01, 2018

    Eyed good-looking eggplant at farmer’s market but passed because there was some dehydrated that I’d been meaning to use. That along with dehydrated zucchini, onion, garlic, some herbs, and a can of crushed tomatoes went into the solar oven for the afternoon. The result will serve with the starch of the day and some cheese to make several meals in the coming week. Also the jars of dehydrated foods are thinning out.
    That’s important because I currently use the dishwasher as a storage spot, but would like to be able to present a more pleasant setting to whomever shows up. When this recovering hoarder gets more stuff eaten and maintains a more reasonable pantry, the pots and mixing bowls can move to the shelf.
    Baked whole grains in solar oven to serve as breakfast cereal.
    Checked clearance rack at local grocery where I got a jar of dill pickles for just $1.00.
    Purchased discounted fabric which will be used to lengthen thrifted sheer curtains, both to blend well with current valance and to coordinate look between window and door.
    Gratefully accepted two skirts given by a friend who no longer wears skirts.
    Got a brand new replacement pair of sandals for the ones I wear most from a thrift for $2. The color matches one of the skirts.

  • S August 07, 2018

    "Baked whole grains in solar oven to serve as breakfast cereal." - that sounds very interesting!

  • AndreaG August 01, 2018

    We had a pretty quiet week here. It was quite rainy, so laundry only got hung out at the weekend when the weather cleared a bit. We ate all meals at home and I packed my husband’s lunch everyday. My son continues to participate in the library reading club and has already won a $15 Indigo giftcard this summer. I received another couple of free beauty samples so my basket is overflowing.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  • Mary Ellen August 01, 2018

    Good morning! Another rainy day in central PA and the grass and weeds are growing like crazy!

    I saw on the news that there are more food recalls due to something or other. It's too late this year but next year I have to get my garden going again. I do have a half-share in a CSA which usually is enough for just me.

    I've thought about baking bread again, but the arthritis in my hands makes most everything difficult. I wonder if you, Brandy, or anyone else uses a breadmaker and can give me some suggestions. When I looked on Amazon the prices on one go from the $60's to the hundreds. The yard sales here are awful, and the breadmakers I've seen at the thrift stores look like they've never been washed!

    I picked up my CSA order last night so better get busy in the kitchen!

    I hope you ladies all have a wonderful week!

    Mary Ellen

  • Tejas August 01, 2018

    Mary Ellen, I have both OA and RA. I have found wonderful no-knead bread recipes for unbleached, whole wheat, and oatmeal breads. No bread maker necessary, and they don't require overnigbt rising, either. Basically fool-proof and can be baked in a round, glass dish, or traditional bread pans. If you are interested, I could look for and post the links.

  • Diane August 01, 2018

    I would be very interested in those links also, please!!

  • Tejas August 01, 2018

    I use this recipe for both unbleached and whole wheat with a couple changes. I use 3 tsp. sugar and cut the salt to 1 1/2 tsp. For whole wheat, I use 3 c. whole wheat flour plus 1 c. unbleached. Despite every possible mistake from being in a hurry or doubling, this recipe has never failed me. Once, I actually made the dough and put it in the bowl to rise, when I realized I had forgotten to add the yeast! I put it back in the mixing bowl, dissolved the yeast in a little water, stirred it in, and added a tiny bit more flour until it was the right texture. It actually turned out perfect! I also divide the dough sometimes into 4 small bowls to make bread bowls for soup.

  • diane August 02, 2018

    Got it! Thank you!

  • Mary Ellen August 03, 2018

    Thanks Tejas!

  • Mary Ellen August 03, 2018

    Tejas I would love those links for bread! Thanks!

  • Cate August 01, 2018

    Mary Ellen - I let the bread maker do everything for me on the dough cycle, then take the kneaded dough out and bake it in a bread pan in the oven. My arthritic hands don't knead well anymore. This way, you don't have to bake those strange sized loaves in the bread maker.

  • Rhonda A. August 02, 2018

    Mary Ellen, I love my breadmaker as it allows me to do other things while the dough is being mixed. My family loves the French loaf, which calls for very few ingredient. I just put the ingredients in as instructed, set it on the dough cycle, then shape the dough when the cycle is done (I have even divided the dough and made 2 small loaves in the past), let it rise 1 more time (as dictated in the recipe book that comes with the machine) and bake it in the oven. I also use the bread machine for pizza dough. If nothing else, you can bake a loaf of bread in the machine, especially on the days your arthritis is getting the better of you. I know it can be costly to buy one, but personally, I consider it a good investment.

  • Maxine August 04, 2018

    The bread machines I see in thrift stores are usually immaculate. This is one appliance that a lot of people want, but only half of them actually use. And then there are the machines that are gifted and don't get used at all. I bought a Hitachi for $4 and when I found that I was in "the other half" and needed the storage more than I did the machine, I donated it back.

  • Marcia August 05, 2018

    I have gotten like new bread machines for $4-8 at Goodwill stores. There are always some available and the ones I have bought were like new or used a few times. I've been making all our bread with machines for 20+ years. I still make it by hand sometimes, when I'm in the mood, but the breadmaker saves an awful lot of money compared to buying bread. I get bread flour for about $6.50 for 25 # at Sam's Club, and yeast is $3-4 for 2 pounds. I keep it in the freezer and use it right out of the freezer with excellent results.

  • Sue August 02, 2018

    Mary ellen,
    I use a bread machine. Look at the thrift stores, I got mine at the Goodwill for $5

  • Jenny August 01, 2018

    I'm on holiday, so I don't get paid. But I prepared for this by saving any extras from my pays over the previous 6 months.

    I am also saving money by cooking most meals from scratch. And it is good to have time off work. I have cooked potato bake, chicken stir fry, spag. bol., and a mince casserole.

    I get back to work on the 13th August.

    Hope everyone's unexpected expenses come right in the end.

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