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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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  • Becky July 30, 2018

    That brick walkway is amazing. It looks like it's been there forever, it fits in so well, and yet, I know you just finished it! Great job:)

  • Andrea Q July 31, 2018

    The pathway is beautiful! I love your idea for a shared Pinterest recipe board. That would be a fun way to share family recipes with my aunts and cousins.

  • Ellie's friend August 01, 2018

    I love your brick sidewalk! I have a pile of 700 bricks that I want to do the same with. It looks to me as if you did not dig very deep to make the foundation over which you laid them. Is that the case? Did you get some builders sand to sweep into the cracks? Do you live in a warm climate (just checking to see what sort of base I'll need). Looks lovely. Ann

  • Cindi July 30, 2018

    I feel for you, Brandy, and others dealing with unexpected expenses. I think we have all been there -- it isn't easy!
    This week from the garden I harvested carrots, celery, tomatoes, chard, collards, onions, mint, parsley, sage, jalapeno peppers, and the first green beans. I pulled all the garlic and hung it in the wood shed to dry.
    I cooked a batch of dried chickpeas and made hummus, which we enjoyed for lunch with our home-grown carrots and celery. I canned four quarts of ham and bean soup to eat this winter. I made two loaves of sandwich bread. I cooked a big batch of dried pintos and froze them for future meals. I made a batch of pancake syrup and another of brown sugar. I stayed out of the stores this week.
    I watered my potted plants with collected rain water. It was able to shut off the irrigation to the garden beds for six days, thanks to regular rain.
    I enjoyed a free birthday burger from Red Robin, and we attended a free lecture from the local historical society.
    My husband cut a cord of firewood off a local ranch.
    I sewed two Christmas gifts, patched a quilt, and hemmed a dress.

  • Stephanie July 30, 2018

    Unexpected bills, indeed. We've had those this summer, and they're disheartening, to say the least.

    This week, I did some baking at home, which was nice. I organized several cabinets and the pantry, which helped me to find items that I'd thought I was out of. Turns out I don't need to buy them after all, which saves me money. I only needed to do a very small amount of grocery shopping, just milk and cheese, those kinds of perishables. Everything else, I already had on hand. I bought nothing at yard sales this week, because no one had anything I needed, I dried the laundry outside, enjoyed a barbecue at a friend's house, and harvested our first (small) batch of produce from our garden. I finished knitting Christmas gift dishcloths, and started in on knitting a pair of Christmas gift mittens. It was a pretty productive week. :)

  • JC in Phx July 30, 2018

    We literally just paid for a new washer machine and the A/C repair man is here, $425. My husband is ranting and raving. We have also spent $300 last week for school supplies and we’re not done. It’s been a terribly expensive week.

    We didn’t eat out one time last week, yeah us!

    Kids wound up only going to the sitter one day last week due to sickness and her vacation so we saved some money there.

    Got $1.00 per gallon off at the pump thanks to Frys 2x gas points promo and shopping for two weeks.

    That’s all I got at the moment. Feeling like we’re hemorrhaging money. We both have good, average jobs but not enough income at the moment. Hubby is working a lot of overtime and daughter is working her new job and slowly increasing hours so she’ll be able to take over her insurance soon.

  • Liz July 30, 2018

    Hi Brandy and Frugal Friends,

    I can relate to you having a lot of unexpected bills this summer. We had a lot of hail damage this year. Between deductibles, out of pocket costs and now unexpectedly having to replace a vehicle that they said was repairable, we have had a rough summer. Also, all of my garden was destroyed again after I received free plants from a local nursery. It was more hail. It has been crazy. Here are the things that have saved us though:
    - Good insurance
    - A good emergency fund
    - Not spending everything we make
    - Side jobs
    We will be ok. Of course none of us want to go through hardships. But we all will. We have to hold on to our frugal ways. Of course we could take out a loan for a new vehicle. But, we are looking for a used one that we can pay cash for. We never know the future.
    Anyways, I will keep being frugal whether it means planting my garden for the 4th time this year, saying no to what everyone else is getting, planning ahead for large purchases etc... It is a hedge against disaster.
    So on for my frugal accomplishments:
    - I am reworking our budget to make up for emergency funds loss.
    - We have eaten what we could from the garden.
    - I am making a list of what we need from the store and not going over.
    - My son has been doing some odd jobs to earn some cash and pay for his own clothing that he wants for school.
    - I have been running Swagbucks, Earning Station, doing Ibotta and a bunch of other apps to earn cash. I have written about this on my blog. There is money to be made this way.
    - I sold 2 items that I crocheted at a consignment store.
    - I sent for free samples and activities. I have these on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/07/30/freebies-today-7-30-18/

    I hope that everyone can keep up their frugal journey and keep the faith that things will get better!
    Take Care,

  • Jerir July 30, 2018

    We harvested our first ear of corn from the garden today! Looking forward to more.

  • Amy July 30, 2018

    I haven't commented for a few weeks because of health issues and crazy schedule. But I have so enjoyed reading everyone's post. I'm sorry to hear about unexpected issues - we have had that as well in the form of medical bills. Thank you for all the inspiration that is received here each week. Gives me courage to keep plugging away.

    *Was able to go the movies with my dd using a gift card. There was free popcorn that day as well.

    *My husband and I had a date night at a local restaurant with another gift card. We split fajitas.

    *Discovered that at my local grocery store that they accept a digital coupon and a paper coupon for the same item if the coupons are different amounts. The checker shared that with me as I was trying to take back a paper coupon because I had a digital loaded on the store card. Because of that - I paid 75c for Skippy peanut butter. I bought 5. I also got very cheap Tide detergent because of the two coupons. I still find it odd and am surprised that it works that way. But I am thankful for the prices I was able to pay.

    *Been shopping carefully for school supplies. Our school fees for our public school for both children will be about $300.

    *I have been cleaning out closets and bedrooms. The items that are being given away are being recorded and kept for tax purposes. We get much more money back that way than trying to do a garage sale where we live. (I loved your post about a successful garage sale - wish we could do one here!)

    *Checked out books from the library. I am re-reading a favorite author's series. It's been fun to read again!

    *Picked tomatoes & cucumbers from our garden.

  • Jeananne Lybbert July 31, 2018

    What is the series you are re-reading? Love to find new favorites!

  • Amy July 31, 2018

    Carolyn Hart - Death on Demand Series. You don't need to read in order. :)

  • Jeananne July 31, 2018

    Thank you!

  • Athanasia August 03, 2018

    I haven't read this series but am up to book #4 on a different series of hers, the Bailey Ruth series.

  • Holly July 30, 2018

    I share your pain when it comes to unexpected bills. The old car needed two immediate repairs last week not just one. And now I am not sure if I am hearing another problem when driving other than a 17-year-old exhaust system. I am going to try to record the noise and play the recording to the service write-up person at my favorite repair shop.

    Walmart delivered the less than $35 "youth" wheeled walker for mom on Friday instead of Monday. The occupational therapist was impressed with its value when we showed up at the clinic with it today. Mom had begin using her cane two-handed when her left leg started hurting which had freaked me out as a fall waiting to happen. She is not happy to need a walker but it does help. I requested that the doctor prescribe one physical therapy session for her to learn to use her cane and walker safely. She came through with a prescription for many weeks of two- or three-sessions per week of physical therapy. Mom has never been a fan of exercise--will she change at age 95? I hope she will.

    I now have been taught how to wrap mom's lower legs with short-stretch bandages to control her lymphedema. The bandages are much cheaper than other wraps designed to control swelling. I know what to buy, now I need to figure out where to buy the supplies balancing price with service. I am likely to have questions.

    Our neighbor gifted us with at least 15 summer squash of various shapes and sizes. I made a delicious side dish containing Del Monte stewed tomatoes with sweet onion and three different types of squash. This morning I threw together an impossible pie/casserole with one giant zucchini (shredded), along with cheese, eggs, ham, milk, dried onions, and red and green peppers. I want to finish our zucchini-centric menu with a mock apple pie. The remaining squash are going to be shredded and frozen for future baking sessions or soups.

    Strawberries are 3 pounds for $5 and blueberries are buy one pint for $3.49 and get a second free. I am going back to the store for more berries this week and will be using my dehydrator for the first time.

    My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires, the volcano on Big Island in Hawaii, and the recent floods.

  • Doc July 31, 2018

    For bandages, look for “horse tape” or “vet wrap” sold online or at pet/feed/farm stores. It may just work or can be used in do junction with other wraps.

  • Holly July 31, 2018

    The bandages she needs are short stretch and are used for edema control. Two brands were recommended. They are reusable for six months or fifty careful washings, whichever comes first. She also needs to wear next to the skin a thin cotton knit tube (cheap and reusable until it wears out) and a second layer under the short stretch bandages of what I call fluff. It looks like narrow strips of quilt batting and will be reusable a few times. The surgical tape to fasten the bandages is one thing that is not reusable. While Amazon is selling complete pairs of leg wrapping kits for $200, I think that we'll get by for about half that every six months, except for the tape. Mom also has the option of wearing compression knee-high stockings, provided we can learn to put them on her fragile-skinned legs. The Occupational Therapist will be attempting to teach us that during one of the next two sessions. We are just so pleased with how much better (and smaller) her legs look after the sessions at the lymphedema clinic. I am hoping mom will accept the pneumatic leg massager Medicare covers. The edema has to stay away for her lymph system to function properly and for her skin to stay intact.

  • Libby July 31, 2018

    When I had my knees replaced, I had to wear compression socks. These socks were "open toe". My father came up with a BRILLIANT way to easily put the socks on. He took the thin plastic bag in which his newspaper is delivered and cut it short. I put the plastic bag over my toes and foot and the compression sock slid right on. I then was able to pull the plastic bag out of the open toe. Hope this helps!

  • Holly August 01, 2018

    IF my mom ever decides she wants to wear compression stockings, I will get her a pair of toeless socks and try your dad's bread bag trick. Thank you for sharing it. The OT today showed me how to use the gizmo designed to help a person to put on compression hose alone. But, after one stocking was on, my mom declared that she definitely preferred bandages to stockings. That was a first from all her patients, according to the OT. So mom will be sporting her "mommy the mummy" look instead of stockings unless she changes her mind.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada July 30, 2018

    I'm sorry you've had unexpected expenses. My problems are minor probably but we had a bad storm and now I have to urgently get the downspouts/eavestroughs cleaned out. I have the big wheel barrow placed underneath the drain and it gets
    full after every storm. I been carrying some buckets of it to water plants that are dry. I froze four jars of blueberries. And I'm waiting for the tomatoes to ripen. Neither are more economical for me to grow than to buy them on sale but they sure are good.

    I am trying to cope with less money per month as my income was cut. I don't go many places, don't eat out, don't buy new clothes. o't know how much more I can cut out. 11 houses are for sale on my street and none have sold in 3 months so this year is not the year to move. I know itsounds silly but my soul is firmly rooted here, not because of the house but because of the birds, flowers, gardens. I hope I can stay a few more years.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada July 31, 2018

    If you have an extra bedroom, you might look into hosting international students. I hosted students coming to Vancouver to learn English. The language schools I worked with paid $750/month and I had to provide a furnished room and 2 meals per day. I usually made about $500/month after taking into account the extra utility and food costs for the student.
    I just opened the phone book (dating myself) and started calling the language schools listed and asked them if they were accepting new homestay parents. I loved that the school would collect the money from the students and deposit my fees into my account. I found later that the local colleges and even the local public high school had similar programs. But once I was registered with the language schools, they kept my room 'full'.

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