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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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  • Marcia R. July 30, 2018

    After considering carefully the effects of my husband's recent diagnosis of dementia, we took a long weekend two weeks ago and determined he is unable to assist with navigation at all either. Therefore we reluctantly decided not to go to the car convention which we have attended most of since 1985. This will save us well over $1000. I had a room reservatio which I cancelled with no monetary penalty. The convention committee has promised to refund our fees (over $500) since I had inquired earlier and told them we might have to cancel due to health problems. They don't normally give refunds this late but they decided they would. The problem was--for me--the stress of driving in the Wash. DC area and not having a navigator to help me. Unfortunately this also means being unable to visit his brother in the assisted living in Maryland, but I can't help it. My blood pressure was too high at my last doctor appointment, and I decided it was unwise to stress myself further with this drive. We will also save the gas money and a couple days worth of meals on the road. These savings should allow us to rent a senior alert device which I have been reading about and comparing for the past week. My husband is allowed to walk and ride his bike but this device would be able to locate him if he gets lost. I will also be hiring some household help if I get around to it. I have been catching up on the housework so it doesn't look such a mess. He is just unable or unwilling to help much.

    Today I went (alone because no one wanted to help) and picked blueberries. Only got 5# this time but may go back one more time. My 75 year old back was feeling the effects and I did slip and fall on damp grass once, but I landed on my most padded spot, so no injuries. It was cool and cloudy but a bit more humid than I realized. I took cold water with me but could have used a towel too. I think my daughter might want to get some but she was busy today and couldn't go. If she decides to get some I might go back with her and get a few more. They are $3 a pound to pick your own and $3.99 a pint already picked. I will use some for pies and muffins, and my husband will have some fresh on his cereal.

    We actually had a "date" this week, spending Saturday afternoon at the Historical Museum in Buffalo and then grabbing a bite on the way back home. Not many places you can spend the whole afternoon for $5 each. The AC was not working on the second floor, but we saw the other two floors in detail and did a quick look at the second floor. My husband was getting hungry and he wanted to eat right away. Sorry, I' m not familiar with the neighborhood any more, so we stopped about halfway home for his version of "fast food." Not a chain, but it could have been. I went for a root beer float (so thirsty!) and a foot long hot dog. Well worth the fairly low cost given the weather, although lacking in nutrition, I'm sure.

    The rest of the week was mostly stay home, do housework, and not spend. I am catching up on housework, which always makes me feel good. And, of course, adusting to my husband's two newest catch phrases "I don't remember" and "I forgot." He is unable to control this, so I can't complain. I'm trying to anticipate things better--sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It's certainly a new chapter of life for us both. He is accepting me driving everywhere, but he has not stopped complaining that he is unable to drive himself. He says I am a better driver than he knew. That's because he did most of the driving so he hasn't ridden with me driving too often.

  • Mable July 30, 2018

    I have nothing to offer besides prayers for you to stay strong. You seem to be so accepting of what is happening--I am in awe of your attitude.

  • Megan July 30, 2018

    You are in my thoughts with this new stage in life. Reading your posts each week, I continue to be amazed with your strength and positive thoughts/reactions in the face of your husband’s new “normal”. I’m very inspired by you.

  • Gaila in th NW July 30, 2018

    Hello Marcia, I am praying for you and your dear husband. My mom is going thru the same thing in fact you described her situation perfectly. ..my father also says he doesn't remember or I forgot a lot. I hear the frustration from my mom everyday as she deals with their situation. Her blood pressure has gone through the roof from the stress but in all this she is an inspiration and help to all of us. She says God has given her strength when she feels she has none. Bless your both in your journey we will be praying for you.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada July 30, 2018

    Marcia, My thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care of your self. I'm glad you didn't break anything when you fell while picking blueberries. Make sure you carve out time for yourself somehow. 50% of patients with dementia have low folate so I'd suggest if you haven't already done so, check it out with his doctor. They really don't know why there is a link. As someone whose folate falls from time to time, I can say it really affects memory, energy, etc.

  • Jenn in Indiana July 31, 2018

    Marcia, I am very sorry you and your husband are going through this. We went through this with my grandfather. Once he was told he couldn't drive he took it very hard. Not sure if this would help, but he eventually went on an anti-depressant. My grandma had to go on nerve meds to deal with him. He was very stubborn at times! Make sure you get away for awhile and take any help you are offered. Even if you just go for a short drive. I hope you have a support network you can vent to when you need it. I am sure you know this, but there are support groups for caretakers. I will be praying for you, although you seem like you are doing a great job!

  • debi July 31, 2018

    I understand how you feel. My sister and I promised our parents we would not put them in a nursing home/assisted living. since my sister has little to no patience, mom is living with me. She just turned 86. Mom's start of dementia came after she had received 3 phone calls on the same day from someone saying they were with the iRS and she owed them money. She called me and I explained it was all a scam. But having received more than the 1 calls, she panicked and had an anxiety attack. On her last call to me I could tell something was wrong, so I phoned her neighbor on my cell while I had her on my work phone line, and asked the neighbor to go check on her. Her neighbor got there just as she passed out and fell backwards and hit her head. the neighbor had a key to get in and phoned me that she was being taken to the hospital by an ambulance. So I left work, went home and packed myself and dog and drove 5 hours to get to her place and then up to the hospital. My sister could not take off of work, so it was me trying to do everything. The doctors said that when the elderly fall and hit their head, it can start the process of dementia, which it had done on my mother. It's been 3 years and I've seen how it has now gotten a lot worse. My mom says the same phrases as well as talking about her head being cloudy. I have you and your husband in my prayers.

  • S August 01, 2018

    My mom has taken care of her mom for 5 yrs, similar symptoms, getting worse slowly.
    Care-taker can easily become a care-needer herself/himself, says the statistics. It´s a hard work.

  • ElisaB August 03, 2018

    Hi Debi, What you said about falling and hitting one's head as the start of dementia is so true. My mom had a bad fall and hit her head on the fireplace hearth bricks when she was about 80 years old. She ended up in the hospital and I was shocked at her mental decline...it was the difference between day and night. Now we are working with my dad who has Alzheimer's.

  • Juls Owings July 31, 2018

    Marcia R. July 30, 2018
    There are support groups for caretakers, please ask the doctor for the information, some senior citizen centers have it also.
    Daddy's line is, give me a minute, means he knows he forgot but don't remember what he forgot. Hubby is starting into it and his line is "you didn't say that, tell me that or I didn't hear you." SIGH.

  • Ellie's friend August 01, 2018

    Juls, Is your husband deaf? Maybe he really did not hear you.

  • Marcia August 05, 2018

    Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. My husband is not deaf but is very hard of hearing--he wears two hearing aids. The doctor mentioned that people with hearing problems do have more dementia than those who do not. And I did get a lot of information for support networds from the hospital social worker, although I live so far in the sticks that some of her information really doesn't apply to this area.

    I have a daughter and son in law only a couple miles away, who are both disabled but can help with some things. Also one sister is only ten minutes away, and the other listens to my vents---her husband just had his second surgery in a month so we can vent to each other.

    Not all of you may know that I went through this with my mother not that long ago. She passed in 2014 but my sisters and I kept her at her home during the week/our homes on the weekends until that was no longer possible and then about 15 months in assisted living, enhanced assisted living, memory care, etc. So I kind of know what's ahead. And really, though there were heart breaking moments, there were also lots of laughs with my mother during those times. My mother was a card player, and her real heart break was when she could no longer play. My husband's just came earlier--he can't drive any more and that was very important to him since restoring cars was his hobby. I try to be patient--it's not my best quality--but I'm learning. You can't get angry at someone who can't help what they can't recall. It's a disease, period. I just do my best, and so does he.

  • Lea August 01, 2018

    I'm going to second Ellie's friend - please have his hearing checked. Sometimes people are diagnosed with dimentia, when in reality they have hearing loss My Dad is one of those - because of his employment earlier in life he is missing certain frequencies in his hearing but not all of it. His mind is fine
    Best wishes,

  • Ellie's friend August 01, 2018

    It happened to my mother with terrible consequences.

  • Heidi Louise August 01, 2018

    More research is showing, especially with elderly people, what is essentially post-traumatic stress disorder during and following surgery and hospitalizations.
    Seemingly simple things can cause so many problems for older people. UTIs are often undiagnosed in the elderly, and that can lead to confusion and other problems. Best wishes to you all!

  • ellie's friend August 02, 2018

    Heidi Louise - that is such a good point about UTIs. Elderly people can seem totally out of their minds when it is a UTI. Very serious!

  • Colleen July 30, 2018

    It was an expensive week for us - we had a big travel week, and my son was in a car accident (no injuries, not his fault) that totaled his car. We are thankful for God's protection. And for insurance! So really the only thing 'frugal' is that I'm cooking down some apples that became bruised while knocking around in a cooler for several days. Some of the apples were about 1/2 gone, but we just trimmed off the bad parts, diced them, added cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice and butter, and it smells like heaven here now. We'll use the apples over homemade funnel cakes tonight, and for topping yogurt in the morning. Little things like that can really make a difference over time when you do them often.

  • Marybeth July 31, 2018

    Glad your son is OK.

  • Sorry to hear about the unexpected expenses. I hope things get a bit easier from here on out! Your slip and slide idea sounds great!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I made Shake n’ Bake tofu, using homemade seasoned breadcrumbs. (www.approachingfood.com/shake-n-bake-tofu/)So, so yummy! Finally, a way I can eat tofu and love it! Even the meat-a-tarian DH liked it, so it’ll be an inexpensive source of protein from now on.
    - I borrowed my mother’s cherry pitter (mine broke and I’m saving swagbucks Amazon gc to buy one, but I’ve some other stuff I want first, so it’ll take a while to get, which is fine! I’m quite happy to wait if I can get free stuff!) and pitted and froze the cherries that I purchased on sale over a week ago. I’m glad I purchased so many when they were on sale, as they doubled in price this week.
    - My husband disassembled our guest bed (my childhood bed frame) and part of it we disposed of in recycling, and the wooden bits my mother took to dispose on with her garbage (so that we didn’t have to pay a condo large item disposable fee). We sold the mattress very cheaply for $20, in order to get rid of it without having to pay a disposable fee.
    - I was able to use a $5 gc to The Body Shop (that I had previously traded for) to buy a nice body lotion to send to my MIL for only a dollar and change OOP.
    - I finally had a bit on energy last Sunday and baked plum crumble bars to eat as work snacks for the week, and also made a taco pasta bake as dinners for the week (to alternate with my smoothies), all from ingredients I already had at home.
    - This Saturday, I made a lasagna for the coming week, and also Brandy’s clafoutis using a can of peaches, and used the remaining peach syrup to sweeten a drink.
    - I picked a few peas, one tomato, rosemary, thyme, and oregano from my balcony garden and used the herbs to season the lasagna.
    - I took a friend out for coffee at Starbucks using a gc from Swagbucks (I combined it with a promotion to get the best value possible).
    - Using my local trading app, I traded a container of truffle olive oil (gifted to me) for a package of nail polishes which I will regift. My pregnant stomach is too delicate to handle the flavour of the oil, so it’s better that it goes to someone who will appreciate it. I also traded a Bath n’ Bodyworks candle (also gifted to me) for a package of newborn diapers.
    - MAC Cosmetics was giving out free full-size lipsticks on Sunday as a promo, so I got one and will set it aside to give as a gift (the only colour available when I went isn’t my favourite). I also checked Sephora as they were giving out face masks, but they had run out by the time I got there.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as usual!

  • Marybeth July 31, 2018

    My daughter and I got the free lipsticks and face masks. M daughter's birthday was last week so she also got her free birthday gift from Sephora. She then treated me to Starbucks with a GC that she was given. It was a nice mother/daughter day.

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