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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

  • It sounds like a fabulous mother-daughter day! Even more fun when it's no money OOP! :)

  • Athanasia July 31, 2018

    Margaret, just a suggestion for your tofu preparation. I make tofu weekly as my youngest daughter does not eat meat or fish. I buy extra firm, or firm if the extra firm is out. But I first slice it and then press between multiple layers of non lint dishtowels with a plastic cutting board on top and then something heavy on top of that. Tofu by itself has no real flavor, just kind of a cooked dry bean flavor. So most people will enjoy it more if it seasoned first by marinating. And the more moisture you press out the more flavored liquid it will soak up. If you want it extra absorbent freeze the block of tofu first then slice and press. Super absorbent then, like a sponge. I don't normally bread the tofu; my daughter likes it best marinated and broiled.

  • Thanks for the tip, Athanasia! I normally press the tofu, but this time couldn't be bothered because, eh, one more step. But I forgot that tofu can be frozen before and then pressed! I'm definitely going to do that next time! Thanks!

  • Megan Z. July 30, 2018

    Unexpected expenses or repairs are awful. I should probably anticipate that they will happen but for now, they always catch me off guard. I thought I might need a new battery as my car wouldn’t start but it turns out a door wasn’t closed properly so it drained the battery. Thankfully my husband was able to jump my car and everything seems to be going well. We also thought our freezer had broken but turns out it was (also) left ajar. All the food went into our chest freezer so with the exception of 1 cherry popsicle, nothing was ruined.

    I went to a concert a few days ago with my husband. We went right after church so brought food to eat in the car as we drove. We found free parking and didn’t buy anything from the vendors.

    I continue to harvest tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers. I blanched and froze several bunches of basil. I cut dahlias to bring in indoors. I planted more sunflowers and zinnias. It rained this evening and is supposed to rain the rest of the week which will save me from watering.

    I borrowed some books from the library and put a few new dvds on hold. My mom went to a library book sale on the last day when all books were free. She found a few cookbooks for me.

  • Laurie in AZ July 30, 2018

    Those grapes look delicious, Brandy!

    We were out of town for vacation Wednesday thru Sunday, so didn't save much. We'll be back on track this week.

    Here are my accomplishments:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Cut the bottom off of a toothpaste tube and got 8 more uses out of the remainder.
    • Worked 6 hours contract work.
    • Bought 4 more cantaloupes for 25c/lb and cut them up and put then in the freezer to add to my smoothies.
    • Ate some leftovers from the freezer for dinner.
    • Travelled out of state for a long weekend. Was able to stay with my brother so we saved on hotel costs.
    • Ate in on the nights we were home. Continued to eat up leftovers from the freezer.
    • Went to niece’s baby shower. Put together a basket of some items from the dollar store.
    • My daughter found a picture for our dining room at Goodwill. She sent me a picture and once I said I wanted it, she bought it. It only cost me $12.
    • Turned the AC up to 82 degrees while we were gone.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  • Ann July 30, 2018

    Your blog is always so refreshing and you get so much accomplished in each day. Sorry you are having unexpected expenses this month.
    My neighbor called me this pm and ask if I wanted to pick her tomatoes as they were leaving on vacation, so I went to pick them got about a five gallon bucket full. So much appreciated, Told me to pick them till they got home in two weeks. My vines died this year, not enough water I am sure was most of the problem. Will freeze tomato juice tomorrow. and we will be eating fresh sliced tomatoes. also had several plants of little red cherry ones, will pick them too, make good juice and I am so glad to get them We have had some terribly hot weather and rain has been very spotty grass is brown and crunchy!!

  • Laurie in central NC July 30, 2018

    The fall garden has been planted. All the seeds are in except for lettuce. A few spots may be replanted, if they remain patchy. The week is supposed to be a rainy one, so we should know soon. I harvested cucumbers, okra, zucchini, spaghetti and tromboncino squash, eggplant, green beans, tomatoes, lima beans, basil, sage, oregano, chives, apples, plums, pears, elderberries, blueberries and pawpaws. A batch of sweet pickle relish was canned, and another of elderberry tincture begun. Busy garden times!

    I requested a book from the library, but ended up taking it back partially read, something I rarely do, as it wasn't something I enjoyed.
    I made yogurt, hummingbird food and suet for the birds. Yesterday I cut flowers to enjoy in the house, including soapwort, which has the most wonderful fragrance. Walks with the pups were taken for exercise. Homemade soap and deodorant were used, and laundry was hung on the line. I hope things shift for you, so that you have unexpected windfalls, instead of expenses.
    https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/07/its-all-about-garden-frugal.html

  • Jean July 31, 2018

    Laurie, I live in piedmont NC. Where did you get your pawpaw and elderberry trees from? Your produce sounds amazing!

  • Jean, I know that several companies sell elderberry and pawpaw trees as bareroots if you cannot find them locally. Try Jung Seed, Burpee, and Stark Brothers websites.

  • Laurie in central NC August 01, 2018

    Jean- if I remember, the pawpaws & elderberries came from Edible Landscaping in Afton, VA. I've also gotten some things from Useful Plants in Black Mountain. I believe I've seen elderberries at Niche Gardens in Chapel Hill too, though I don't think pawpaws. Where do you live? I'm in Seagrove, not too far from the NC Zoo.

  • Jess B July 30, 2018

    Hi! Long time reader, 1st time commenting!
    We've been trying to find ways to go green and save money. My little guy and I have been hitting up our local thrift stores for linen or fabric napkins, but also scoping out clothes. I found my husband 2 nearly brand new shirts for work, really great names on the label for $1 each!
    We are canning oodles of pickles tonight, and probably have a few more batches ahead of us. We will give those as Christmas gifts as well as thank you gifts to our neighbors for various reasons :)
    I also have been aggressively cleaning out closets and drawers. I have an obscene amount of cardstock and paper, so i plan to make gift tags, bookmarks, cards and other tchotchkes to sell inexpensively or give as gifts.
    I also found a giant pile of flannel receiving blankets from when our little guy came home almost 2 years ago, we dont plan on having anymore kiddos(not to mention these were absurdly tiny) so I'm going to cut and hem them to make reusable surface wipes!
    Lots on the agenda, hopefully I don't overwhelm myself!

  • Ava July 30, 2018

    As you say, "...but yet, there they are." We, too, have been dealing with a series of unexpected repairs and expenses - some smaller and more annoying than anything, a few that were daunting even though we were able to pay for them, and could have been really traumatizing if we hadn't had funds set aside for such occasions. And yes, continuing to find creative ways to be frugal helps keep me on an even keel. If I'm able to say to myself, "I can keep saving warm-up water to water the herbs and lemon tree...", etc., it reminds me that even when things feel scary and out of control, there are things I can control and choices I still have. It's very comforting.

    I did use warm-up water from showers, and from washing produce, to water the herbs and potted plants. I enjoyed being creative with what I had in the refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and garden, and made some very nice meals, including for some unexpected (but very welcome) guests. I kept dryer use to a minimum and hung many loads of laundry out to dry on the line (which had the added benefit of lovely fresh-smelling laundry). My husband took our youngest to movies two Saturdays in a row using a gift card he was given as a birthday gift. We used up soaps, shampoos, and lotions we've brought home from several trips - I didn't have to buy soap, and they were nice reminders of some very pleasant trips as well.

  • Rhonda A. July 30, 2018

    So sorry everything decided to break at once, Brandy. As they say...when it rains, it pours. Still, I hope you and your husband were able to get everything fixed despite your tight budget. If you have any interesting tricks you used or great advise to find the finances to do the unexpected repairs, please share if you are comfortable doing so. You are always so brilliant at juggling a tight budget! By the way, the giant slip and slide sounds like a lot of frugal fun for all the children that attended! Bet it will make great memories for your children, too.

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included baked chicken smothered in cheddar cheese soup with Knorr noodle sidekicks and corn, ham steaks with rice, green/yellow beans, and homemade cherry cobbler (see below), breaded fish with green beans, peas and choice of potato wedges or sweet potato fries, pasta with choice of red or white sauce, optional sausage and homemade garlic bread (used hamburger buns from freezer), BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with potato chips, and beef stew with dumplings (mmmm dumplings...my favourite!).
    *Continuing on the "meatless lunches" effort, I took hummus for my work lunches this week. I had hummus in the freezer that I bought a while ago on sale that needed using up anyways.
    *We ate home-canned fruit this week, to avoid a trip to the grocery store for fresh. They were delicious and I didn't spending unnecessarily. Used the leftover peach juice to make peach mango popsicles. I blended the peach juice, a few peach slices, some mango from the freezer, some canned plums that went to mush during processing and a little bit of sweetener, then poured it into our reusable popsicle moulds.
    *Finished blanching and freezing the bushel of green and yellow/waxed beans, thanks to my mom's help. She washed and cut the beans while I was at work, then I blanched them and put them in the freezer when I got home.
    *We had an issue with one of our freezer doors coming opening a crack (too much jammed in the door, apparently), which caused some of the meat and cheese in the door to thaw slightly. The cheese can be refrozen, but my mom had to pulled several packages of breakfast sausage and cook it all up before the sausages could be refroze. Funny thing is, I was recently thinking that I should cook up a couple packages to use for my breakfast. Now they are an easy breakfast option...just microwave and eat!
    *I pulled out 2 pint jars of home-canned cherries from 2014 and told my mom that we should dispose of them, since they were now 4 years old. My mom, however, insisted they were still good. I told her if she wanted to make a cobbler with them, it needed to happen soon. Otherwise, they needed to go. I came home that night to a freshly baked cherry cobbler. It wasn't the most tasty cobbler, regardless I was impressed she made the effort to make it.
    *I have a baby watermelon growing in my garden! I've tried to grow watermelon before, with no luck. Hope this one develops into a nice, big, juicy watermelon my family can enjoy.
    *One of our local grocery stores offers really great prices on boxes of peaches that are 2nds each year. Last year I called and ordered 3 boxes from them. I canned peach slices, peach jam and peach jelly as well as made peach pies for the freezer. This year, the store actually called me and asked if I wanted to order again. Of course I said yes, and ordered 2 boxes or 50lbs of peaches (we still have several cans of peaches from last year to use up). They will come in August 23 and will cost $13/25lb box, so $26 total for 50lbs. Just can't beat that price! Even better, I may be able to use my loyalty points to purchase them, so I might be able to get them for free!
    *We were low on a lot of grocery items, so I did a bigger grocery shopping trip this weekend to stock up (not that we couldn't go a few weeks without buying groceries if we needed to with the stock pile I keep). However, since I had purchased a bunch of stock up last week at Costco, I didn't have a lot left of my grocery cash to spend. So I used saved up store loyalty points (PC optimum points) to get $60 in free groceries!
    *Checked the points I earned after grocery shopping, and as usual there was 1 offer I was missing points for. Placed a points inquiry immediately, to ensure I receive those points. They add up!
    *Free stuff from work: Baked goods, including hand-made butter (made in village by staff and/or youth interpreters), popcorn (leftover at end of day from food booth), a lesson on how to sharpen knives (one of my co-workers taught me on a very slow, rainy day) and cold lemonade on a hot day.
    *My mom and I attended a free Musicfest concert, featuring Scott Helman, a 22 year old singer from Toronto with several current pop hits I hear on the radio frequently. He delivered a great performance making it a very enjoyable evening. We took bottled water and snacks with us from home, as usual. Both of us also won a free t-shirt, a free bingo coupon (will give to MIL who likes to play) and a multi-headphone connector (that can be used with a cell phone or other devices, so more than 1 person can listen to what is playing).
    *Talked more with my young co-worker who is struggling with money and diet issues. She likes to eat out with her boyfriend (who is also a co-worker), so I gave her 2 challenges this week. First, I challenged her to use her Pinterest account to find recipes of things she likes to eat at restaurants. This will help her broaden her cooking skills, create new choices of homemade meals, be much cheaper than going out (not to mention healthier), and will make these favourite dishes less of a craving, since she can make them any time. Second, I challenged her to think of some fun things to do with her boyfriend that don't cost much to do (cheap dates). She was very excited with both challenge ideas, so hopefully they help her out. She has already started bringing healthy, frugal lunches, which she is very proud of.
    *Started back to school cloths shopping for DD. Bought her 2 new very high quality bras, a short sleeved t-shirt and a long sleeved t-shirt for just over $100. The bras were the most expensive part, but she requires a specialty size, so I expected it would cost a lot. The shirts were clearance, with an additional 60% the clearance prices, making them a great deal! My mom used a 50% 1 item coupon to buy DD another bra as well. I found a pair of really nice black dress pants for myself on clearance and used my gift card from Christmas to buy them, so no money OOP. At another store, I picked up 2 packages of underwear for DD, as well. So I only need to purchase a few pairs of pants, maybe a couple more long sleeved shirts and some socks and she is done! She doesn't need too many school supplies, either, this year. So overall, it will be pretty cheap for school this year!

    Looking forward to reading all the comments over the next week. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

  • Libby July 31, 2018

    I love how you are mentoring your younger co-worker. How creative to come up with challenges! :D

  • Rhonda, I also think it's so nice that you're mentoring your colleague! If she is young, she's likely on Instagram. She might think about checking out the #debtfreecommunity on IG. It's very inspirational and supportive and there are lots of young (20's somethings. Am I dating myself?) learning how to manage their money on there. Might be a nice supplement to the in person training that you're giving her!

  • Kara July 30, 2018

    We went to the lake and took a kayak given to us. We took picnic lunch and dinner. One thing caught my attention-my husband has always packed his sandwiches in the bags that bread comes in. He has done this most working days for the past 25 years. That's a lot of bags saved! He will reuse the same bread bag several times before he throws it out.

    I harvested Armenian cucumber, tomatoes, basil, chives, peaches and figs. I have a batch of fruit in the dehydrator right now. We have given figs away most days, our tree produces hundreds. We eat a lot, dry some, and bake with some, but still, we have to give them away. I have a list of friends who like them, and I rotate through the list, so everyone gets some. I love to not waste food.

    I got 9 items of clothing at thrift store for 10 cents each. All name brand items, which I will take to consignment store. A couple pairs of J. Crew pants may fit me, I haven't tried them yet.

    Several no-spend days at home. Swam in our backyard pool most days. Bought a book for 50 cents at library sale, which I will take on a trip with me. That way, if I lose it, there's no library fine!

    Using up scrap fabric by making re-usable gift bags, and making crocheted hats with scrap yarn. I will donate the hats to World Vision. The scrap fabric and yarn I have had for 10+ years, and it's just time to be used for something. I am making room for some new things in my life! But I am very committed to as little waste as possible. I know I can donate the scraps, but I think that these small bits would not get bought at thrift stores/be useful to others, and the items I have made with them will definitely be useful and appreciated. All of this sewing and crocheting has helped me pass the time as I'm recovering from surgery and not able to get about much.

  • Cindi August 01, 2018

    What a terrific idea to use up your extra fabric and yarn!

  • Mary July 30, 2018

    Hi to all.

    Frugal things I did last week

    - returned some handles we did not need to Lowe’s and had about $30 credited to my credit card
    - shopped alone with a list
    - checked books out at the library
    - walked the dogs most mornings for exercise
    - sent some clothes to ThredUp that do not fit me or I haven’t worn in awhile, is a relief to clear more stuff out
    - all week cooked from scratch and ate in except for Sat night
    - continued to work on swagbucks and surveys.
    That’s all I can think of. Have a good week everyone!

  • Gardenpat July 30, 2018

    Sounds like the ancient Chinese curse- May you live in interesting times! So sorry you’ve had so many at once! A couple weeks ago, our 13 year old van (purchased 4 years ago for $1000) started to lose power and I was able to get off the freeway and parked safely to wait for a tow truck (thank goodness for free towing with our insurance!) I was resolved that it might be the end of our van and that we could and would make do with our 13 year old car! However, the repair was “only” $600 and then a few days later another $150 for a new battery. We were sad but grateful to use some of our savings to pay for the repairs. I immediately went into no-spend mode and as a result, we’ve been able to put about $500 back into savings and on Wednesday this week, when I zero out our checking account balance as our next direct deposit comes in, the final $250 will be back into savings!
    Amazing how the small frugal things can really add up! Sometimes just staying home and out of the stores is all it takes to have more to save for me.
    I moved things around in my basement pantry to make room for the 29 quarts of diced tomatoes and 13 pints of tomato sauce I made last week from the free tomatoes. In organizing my shelves I noticed about 80 quarts of grape juice I canned in 2001!! Yikes!! So I’ve been systematically taking 5 quarts up to the kitchen every time I come out of the basement. I empty the jars and run them through the dishwasher and some of them were put back into service as I canned the diced tomatoes! Win-win! More shelf space, more empty jars to use!
    I shredded and froze more zucchini and we’ve enjoyed eating fresh zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions from the garden.
    I’ve been actively working on using up leftovers in my fridge and we’ve had some great dinners as I’ve combined ingredients!
    My daughters decided as a way to make dinner planning easier that they would make a Pinterest board that we could each access and add to labeled- Tried and True Instant Pot recipes. The only recipes in it are ones that one of the 7 of us have actually made and that our families loved! It’s amazing how helpful that is to us! Tonight I made a chicken, black bean and rice burrito bowl recipe https://pin.it/abqsqhhxfqi5pa that one of my daughters pinned! It was terrific and easy and so nice to know ahead of time that we would love it!!
    The brick walkway with the Freecycle bricks we got is finished. https://pin.it/nuhfrjixxqoi2d The cinder blocks against the wall were free and we will use them in the outdoor pizza oven we plan to build! I love how recycled materials and supplies can turn into something wonderful just by putting in some time and labor!
    Hope your week improves! We have been truly blessed this week!

  • PJGT July 30, 2018

    Love the brick walkway! Love that you reused the bricks!

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