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Frugal Accomplishments For The Fourth Week of July

Mission Figs in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I picked five baskets of figs from my Mission fig tree.

I canned rosemary fig jam.

I used the water from rinsing figs to water potted garden plants. I also collected water from the air conditioner drip and used it to water potted plants. 

I picked tomatoes from the garden. I also cut rosemary, garlic chives, and Genovese basil from the garden.

I collected Danish flag poppy seeds from the garden to plant next year.

I used the whey from making Greek yogurt last week in a batch of crepes in place of the water I would have used in with powdered milk. I used some powdered milk as well (just no water) resulting in crepes with a higher protein content and no waste of the whey. 

I used 8 $1 off 2 packages of pasta to buy 16 pounds of pasta for $0.38 a pound.

I started turning the printer off for days and times when no one is printing. Several people print from it (including my husband for work) but no one needs it on unless it is being used.

My husband cleaned the dryer coil out. It wasn't very dirty, but my loads seemed to be taking a bit longer to dry than normal and I know a blocked vent can cause trouble in that way. We have a gas dryer, which costs very little to run, but time is an important factor for me as well. After the coil was cleaned loads went back to drying in their normal time.

My husband welded a handle on our side gate to make it easier to open.

We attended a free health clinic where my children received free immunizations, vision checks, and dental checks. If you're looking for something like this near you, search your city name, 2017, and "health clinic", "health fair", or "back to school fair." Some of these include free haircuts;  (if you don't already cut your family's hair at home; you can also search for back to school free haircuts). This was our first time attending a health clinic like this; I had heard about them in the past but always remembered about them a week or two after they actually took place, as while I'm thinking about school supplies sales in July, I didn't think about these other things as being in July as well.  A few internet searches turned up several of these throughout the country in August and even one in September, so you may be able to find one near you!

I took photos of my son in his Scout uniform for his upcoming Eagle Scout ceremony, rather than paying a photographer. 

July Zinnia Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I cut flowers from the garden for an arrangement in the house.


What did you do to save money last week?


Please check back later this week for my August Shopping Plans post and a refashion post featuring a maxi skirt my daughter turned into a dress!

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  • tadpole July 31, 2017

    Your figs look so wonderful. They seem so exotic. I have never seen one here and have yet to try one. One day...
    This week we got stung by hornets and nettles. I was happy to discover the nettles as they are a useful plant, but I was much less happy to discover the hornet's nest!
    I made jam this week from foraged berries and I visited our local farmer's market.
    I hope everyone has a great week.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher July 31, 2017

    I absolutely LOVE how you conserve water. And I had no idea about the free health clinics--I love that those are offered and that you're taking advantage of them. :) It can really add up!

    This week:

    1. I really wanted to get a manicure at a salon, but instead I used my at-home shellac nail kit. It looks like I went to the salon and I spent zero dollars. :)

    2. We used a Groupon on Sunday to do laser tag. Sure, it's kind of childish, but it was SO FUN. It was the highlight of our week for sure.

    3. I used up ham and cheese in my fridge and made mini hand pies, which are great breakfasts.

    4. I worked out using free YouTube fitness videos.

    5. I discovered we get PBS shows for free on our Roku, so I've been exploring all the free things we can watch.

  • Athanasia August 03, 2017

    Mrs. PP, PBS is amazing in the shows they offer! We only have antenna to get out TV and fortunately one of them in a PBS channel. Local, national, international, mystery, DIY, cooking, news, culture...they have it all.

  • Cindy in the South July 31, 2017

    I took leftover chicken and made chicken salad to take to work for my lunches. I then took the scraps, combined them with a can of tomatoes with green chilies, carrots, spices, a bowl of dried pinto beans I had cooked, leftover okra, and made soup. I drove an hour and a half to visit my aunt and uncles and my cousin. She took us out to eat lunch at Outback, since we had helped clean out her house, and I ordered the $9.99 lunch special, and had enough left over for supper. I was so happy! I used a $5 off $25 at Dollar General to buy my son some things. I went to Dollar Tree and bought eye glasses, wrinkle spray release, and pasta. I went to the cheaper laundry mat, and did my laundry and drying for $2.00. I trimmed my hair and did my own eyebrows and nails. I am still enjoying my $40 Dansko shoes I bought from the daughter of a friend of mine. I usually buy a pair about once every two years, and they cost between $100 and $120 dollars. I was so happy to get this pair that had been worn only twice. I am getting good use out of them, and wore them to church yesterday, as well as work. I exercised at home. I used up the last of the potatoes and made mashed potatoes. I like to make them with plain yogurt instead of sour cream because the yogurt contains calcium and I have a deficiency. I hope everyone has a great week!

  • Cindy in the South July 31, 2017

    I should add I wear these shoes because I am on my feet anywhere from 8 to 12 hrs some days, and I have bad feet...plus, I am old...lol. I can no longer wear cheaper shoes like I wore when I was younger. At least, not if I want to walk the next day!

  • Athanasia August 03, 2017

    Cindy, what a wonderful price on the Dansko shoes. My RN daughter always wears those...new they are 125+ US dollars. Zappo had a very good deal once, and on Amazon they are much cheaper. Keeping feet in good condition is so important for good health.

  • Mary July 31, 2017

    Hello all! Last week was not the most frugal for us and movers were suppose to deliver items we are anxiously waiting for. Here's hoping this week will be better.
    How we saved -
    - shopped alone the few times I did.
    - I had $10 Kohls cash and found a $10 canister
    - I used $20 gift card to Walmart from ibotta (that I lost for awhile....) and spent $14 - getting back $5 thru apps.
    - continuing to buy fruits that are on sale
    - stayed in a few days
    - made all meals at home except 2.
    - worked on swagbucks a little everyday.

    I also have been watching for the .49 sale on pasta. All our pasta has been bought on clearance lately so under a $1 but not .49.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Kathy July 31, 2017

    Congratulations to your Eagle scout, and I hope my figs do half as well as yours! Beautiful fruit.

    This weekend's frugal accomplishments:
    Used mint and lemon balm from my garden to make tea, and other fresh herbs in cooking, and enjoyed a few ripe berries from our baby blueberry bushes.
    Cooked grilled chicken, brown rice, pork roast, and potatoes to heat for dinners later this week, and prepared another batch of oatmeal and mixed grains cereal for work-week breakfasts. I learned that the homemade pre-prep hot cereal that I freeze would cost $10 a package in the store!
    Checked out some new books to enjoy from the library.
    Froze leftovers for later meals.
    Used the pantry to make a nice Sunday breakfast and lunch - no grocery shopping this week.
    Planted another dwarf fig tree, some hyssop, butterfly bush, and summer lilac. We have been rewarded with new pollinator sightings already!
    My husband fixed the gate leading to our backyard, using materials he saved from other projects. I so appreciate him and his hard work.
    We each cut our own hair.
    Used yarn from my stash to start a pretty shawl that will be cozy for winter, and might make a nice gift.
    Spent some time enjoying our flower garden - the lavender and roses are doing beautifully and it was a joy to see so many blooms in our own small yard.

  • Jenny July 31, 2017

    Very impressed with the use of whey in other meals. I have only made yogurt once because I can get three 1kg tubs of yogurt for $2.00. I don't eat enough yogurt to worry about making it. But with the whey factored in... maybe I need to look at the costs versus benefits outcomes again.
    The flowers you show on your blog are always amazing. I would be interested in any post you do around flower arranging. I'd love to learn any tips and tricks you can pass on.
    In Australia we only have daphne and camellias displaying, and just recently wattle.
    I haven't seen anything else of late...although perhaps the other Australian contributors have other flowers showing.

  • Jessica July 31, 2017

    I've been very busy getting ready for a yard sale this week. We had the sale this weekend and I made a little over $400! I was very pleased! I also made an extra $80 last week at work. We ate all meals at home this week, except for lunch one day. It cost $7 for the lunch and I spread it out over two meals, so I didn't think that was too bad. My husband also caught up on all his billing for work, so I'm ready for payments to start coming in. We paid extra on our mortgage payment again this month. I'm ready to get that thing paid off!

    I canned 4 quarts of pumpkin, 5 jars of spaghetti sauce, and 5 quarts of dill pickles this week. I also picked another 5 gallon bucket of green beans to process (hopefully tomorrow). I picked two more 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce again (we go through a lot of this in a year). Sweet corn is also ready now, so I picked it. We will eat it for supper tonight with some chicken. I have lots of hot peppers ready in the garden right now, so I am thinking of trying my hand at hot sauce. My husband loves hot sauce.

    I made bread and dried herbs. I also picked the last of the lettuce that hadn't bolted. Melons are getting close to being ready. I hope they survive okay with the lack of rain we've been getting.

    I saved canning water to water plants. We FINALLY got a good rain here last week, so I was able to skip one watering. I tried to do the usual - combining errands, being diligent with light/AC use, etc. I also paid a couple bills online.

    My parents treated us to pizza one night. Another night my SIL had a birthday party for my niece where she served food. I was also gifted a dozen quart jars and 2 dozen pint jars. They need a serious cleaning, but they were free! :)

    I don't know if I wrote much about this last week, but my husband brought home a new dog last week. The dog was about to be homeless, so she ended up at our house. We already had an extra kennel and we are using old miracle whip bowls for her food and water. But she will need a bed. We budget a bit every month for buying dog food, vet visits, and other dog supplies for our other dogs. But I think we will need to increase that to cover the extra food we will need for her.

  • Cindi July 31, 2017

    Bless you for taking in the puppy. I have had good luck making dog beds out of old comforters -- fold in quarters and stuff into a big pillow-case (I often sew one of old sheets or fabric.) It's comfortable and washable.

  • Jo July 31, 2017

    I love the photos. The figs look so different from ours. We don't know what kind we have, actually, but it may be Brown Turkey -- my late mother-in-law planted a fig tree and my husband propagated it to give us two more, but we have a constant fight with the birds over those figs. The trees are big, and would be hard to net, but we are going to have to try something. We have the same problem now with grapes, only I think it's opossums and raccoons helping themselves at night. We used to never have this problem, yet we've lived on this same patch of land in a semi-rural area for decades.
    I cooked down some soft apples and made applesauce. It wasn't the best I've had, but cinnamon helped it a lot.
    I used my homemade laundry detergent for my laundry, line dried much of the laundry (we've had a lot of rain lately, so I can't hang it all out) and used my indoor rack to finish drying some things that had to be snatched off the line because of sudden showers.
    I used my pressure cooker that cost me less than $4 out of pocket after Amazon credit and Swagbucks. It saved on time and heating up my kitchen. Now that I'm getting the hang of it, I love it.
    I worked on my sewing machine and solved some of the problem with it. I can sew, but it still needs some adjusting.
    I cooked a recipe that called for a cup or so of cooked chicken meat. I thawed a bag of four frozen upper backs from the freezer and cooked them to get the meat, then kept the broth for another recipe. I buy whole butchered and cleaned chickens from a farm, and when they have them fresh instead of frozen, mostly in the spring, I always order and cut up three or four. I save the necks and scraps for broth, and put the rest of the pieces in the freezer by type.
    I did some hand sewing that needed to be done.
    I almost bought lettuce at the store, then realized we don't eat that much of it, and I can use the "spinach" I am growing at home for the leafy greens.
    I am tired of the summer heat and humidity, and am already waiting on fall. Since it will be every bit as hot as it is now throughout August and well into September, I need to learn patience. Thanks for your lovely summertime pictures Brandy -- they make me not mind summer so much.

  • Athanasia August 03, 2017

    Jo, the animal's natural habitats are being destroyed and they are forced to move into human habitats to survive. Developers are buying up farms and fields at an alarming rate due to housing developments, factory expansion. We have had our original property in this family (my maternal side) pre US Civil War and it has been added to greatly over the years. We have a trust to keep it intact. We are constantly being approached by developers who imply it is our duty to sell off land to keep up with future growth, which is just a ridiculous concept.

  • Kris July 31, 2017

    I don't usually comment, but since I come to your blog primarily because I love your photography, I think that it makes perfect frugal sense for you to do your son's pictures for his Eagle ceremony (congrats to him, BTW--my son is working toward his). Actually ... I think you could pick up a little extra money doing photography for others. Seriously!

  • Thank Kris.

    There is a glut of photographers in this city and my work isn't anywhere near what I have seen. Some of that is due to equipment (I could do some different things with a different lens. My camera won't take that lens, so I'd have to have a VERY high-end camera). Some is due to knowledge of locations (because I don't even know where they find the locations that I have seen photographed in this town), and most is due to experience.

    I'd need a business license which is $500 a year if I were to make it a regular thing.

    Personally, I think it would be a fun business to have, but it's not really something I have time to do right now. Taking the shots is the small amount of time; editing is a huge amount of time.

  • Laurie in AZ July 31, 2017

    Greetings, everyone!

    Brandy, I love your idea of turning off the printer. I just turned mine off too.

    My week was not as frugal as we went on a vacation, but we paid cash and vacations are one of the reasons we are frugal the rest of the year!

    My back had gone out on the Friday before our vacation and on Monday, it still wasn't any better. I decided to go ahead and go to the Dr. who prescribed 3 different meds. Since I didn't know if the first one would work and we were leaving first thing the next morning I went ahead and filled them all. Luckily the anti-inflammatory did the trick (that and one night's worth of muscle relaxer) and I didn't have to resort to taking the pain med.

    I did do some frugal things:

    * Drank free coffee and tea I had gotten from work.
    * Used free hotel toiletries.
    * Stayed at my niece's house for all but one night of the vacation. The last night we stayed at a hotel, where I picked up some more toiletries, tea and coffee from our hotel room.
    * Found some steaks and sour cream on clearance for our weekly steak night.
    * Got a large box of powdered milk on clearance.
    * Turned up both A/C's to 84 degrees for the 5 1/2 days we were gone. I'm anxious to see what our electric bill is this month, since lowering it has been a frugal focus for me over the last few weeks.

    Hopefully this list will be much longer next week! :D

  • Kim Heller July 31, 2017

    Love your flower arrangement.
    My husband and I stopped by a garage sale and bought a heavy duty fork for yard working for $5. I have decided to start over with my flower bed. It has had sun loving flowers for the last several years but now the trees from the orchard are large enough that they are shading out my flower garden. I am going to move all the sun lovers and slowly replace with shade plants. My husband was digging out the sun lovers last night and commented that he had already gotten his $5 worth out of the yard fork. He said it made the job so much easier.
    We are in for a week of hot weather here in the Pacific Northwest. I have already menu planned for meals that will not heat up the house. We do not have a/c but my son's house stays very cool and is located only 5 minutes from us so we may be spending our evenings at his house this week.
    We were excited to have the largest amount of blueberries our bushes have ever produced but then unfortunately the birds ate every last one of them while we were at work. We had fencing around them but apparently that wasn't enough. I was planning to freeze enough berries to last us all year so it was a big disappointment. We are going to fence and net even better next year.
    My husband really wanted to go out to dinner last night. I asked him if he really needed the treat of dinner out. He thought for a moment and said a nice, cold Coca Cola would do the trick. So we stayed home and I bbq'd a nice dinner with an ice cold Coke and he said it was better than anything he would have gotten elsewhere. We saved the expensive of dinner out and the gas to drive to/from and the time- instead we spent that time on our own patio.

  • Laurie in AZ August 02, 2017

    I love how your husband thought about what he was really craving and that just having the Coke at home would satisfy. Such a great savings!

  • Athanasia August 03, 2017

    I agree! Such a simple idea yet so much in savings.

  • Linda G July 31, 2017

    I discovered a local "cost plus 10%" store here in town a few weeks ago and now make it a monthly "must go" - they have specials on meat and poultry and a few other items that are astonishing! I bought several large locally grown tomatoes for 65 cents a pound, two pounds of 85% lean ground beef for $1.08/lb, a pork loin for $1.15/lb., two large whole chickens at 61 cents a pound, and three packages bone-in, skin-on chicken breast for 78 cents a pound. Even after adding the 10%, we spent less than $15 and now have enough protein to last several weeks.

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