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Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Week of June

June Cucumbers The Prudent Homemaker

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Ten years ago, I sat at my computer and started creating this website. My plan was to create menus and recipes for those who were living, like us, from their food storage and garden. At the time, we had been living on our food storage for over a year. I had a newborn baby, my fifth child, and my eldest was eight years old. 

At the time, I didn't want a blog. I wanted something easily searchable, with static pages (static blog pages weren't a thing then, at least not on the blogs I read).

I wanted to encourage those who were struggling to put food on the table.

Over time, I shared fewer recipes and more of our day to day efforts to save money. The recession has been a long one and the recovery hasn't felt like a recovery to many.

I have so many things I want to share with you! My family's needs have to come first, so many plans and ideas have sat, unfinished, on the backside of my website, waiting for the chance I have to share them with you. I truly hope that this year I can find a way to share them with you, along with the projects that I hope to make and share. Be sure to check in often throughout the month; I will be sharing as many posts with you as possible!

Now for this past week's efforts to save money:

I said yes to the offer of cucumbers and green beans from a friend's garden abundance. She brought over a few tomatoes from her garden as well. She grows inside of a cooled greenhouse that is cooled with a swamp cooler, so she has the humidity and cooler temperatures that my garden lacks. Her entire garden is watered (and cooled) with grey water and the swamp cooler is powered by solar and wind power (as is the rest of their house).

I mended a hole in two pairs of shorts (one for my son and one for my husband). I turned three pairs of the girls' jeans into jean shorts.

I hemmed two pairs of pants for my husband. It was my first time cuffing pants. I was a bit nervous about it, but I watched a video on YouTube a couple of times with instructions and then I cuffed both pairs. 

We harvested tomatoes, blackberries, and chives from the garden.

I transplanted a few zinnia plants and a basil plant which had all self-seeded in the grass into the garden.

I transplanted a tomato plant which had self-seeded at the edge of the garden into another spot in the garden where it will have room to grow.

My girls watched a movie on YouTube. 

I signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime. We'll use it for the month (and then I'll cancel) to watch some things we haven't seen before. It's too hot to play outside during the day (107°F/42°C is the average high, with the lows at 79°F/26°C around 5 a.m. ) so the children watch more tv during the summer. I found several things, including several Amazon original series, for them to watch.

My husband and I had a date night at home playing Rummikub and Sequence.

I accepted two used Cuisinart ice cream freezer bowls. Now I can have several bowls cold and ready in the freezer at a time!

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Chili's. My husband and I will use it on our anniversary next week for a lunch date.

I saved warm-up water from the shower and used it to water potted plants in the garden.


What did you do save money this past week? If you've never shared before but you read each week, I'd especially love it if you shared one thing you did this past week to save money, no matter how routine it is!


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  • Rhonda A. July 02, 2018

    Margie, perhaps you just need to rethink what and how you will serve when entertaining your guests. I remember Brandy posting about a baby shower she hosted and the frugal but delicious spread she put out on a beautifully decorated table using things she had on hand. There are some very tasty party food that are made from inexpensive ingredients, especially made from scratch as most people don't often do that these day (like homemade bread, tea biscuits or soup), can mimic takeout type food but use cheap ingredients (like fried rice, stir-fry or curry) or can look more expensive than they really are to make (like wraps or fancy tea sandwiches). Since you are retired, you can plan for post party clean up over a few days so as not to overwhelm yourself. So don't be afraid to use real China, cutlery, glasswear and fabric table cloth instead of disposable paper and plastic ware. Of course, even in Toronto you could find a few flowers to cut or grow some in small pots to decorate the table and/or make a cute inexpensive crafts using the internet or library books as idea resourses. Bottom line...you shouldn't stop entertaining just because you are on a fixed income!

  • mable July 02, 2018

    We do stone soup potlucks. Everyone brings an ingredient and we talk or play cards or watch a movie while the soup is cooking. Inexpensive and different.

  • margie from Toronto July 03, 2018

    Hi Rhonda - I actually did use a real tablecloth and regular plates - a few years ago I bought 20 of each, dinner plates, side plates and bowls from IKEA to use in place of paper plates and it is one less expense. I did Caesar salad but it was the chicken that really added up - as I said, not ridiculous for 8 people but a bit more than I had planned for. I think the Winter is easier as you can make stew or chilli - and next time I will ask others to contribute a bit more - or it will be a coffee & dessert party. I am still adjusting to my more limited income so still learning to be creative. That's why I love this blog and how everyone shares. :-)

  • Megan July 08, 2018

    I find that Mexican recipes can stretch far and cost little. I know it’s hard to change what your habits for entertaining have been, I’m doing the same!

    I’ve also started hosting more potlucks where we supply the main dish! I’m always the person that likes to put the whole spread on myself, but as the guest lists have grown I’ve had to make some concessions. :) Another option is to host tea/coffee with desserts, or appetizers only (and not host at meal time).

    I think you’ll find ways to still host your get-together, they’re too important to not! ;)

  • Amalia@AHousewifeWrites July 02, 2018

    Raising children and keeping up with a blog regularly has to be challenging. I admire your organizational skills to be able to do both!

    I spent my entire grocery budget on some grocery specials... a Mennonite family has a side business of buying short-dated foods and delivering them to customers in the area. Not only are most of the prices excellent, but getting them delivered feels like such a luxury! My order this week included a gallon of cottage cheese for $7, a gallon of Greek yogurt for $4.75, and 4.5# of deli sliced ham for $10.

    But the bigger frugal accomplishment of the week is that our central AC stopped working during this crazy heat wave in the Midwest. My husband called a friend/co-worker/HVAC expert to get his advice and was able to fix it himself for the cost of $33. A miracle!

  • Amy July 02, 2018

    i have only been following you for 3 years. Happy Anniversary. I love it here because everyone seems nice and helpful. No rudeness. I don't comment much because of time and energy issues.

    My Zone 5 garden is starting to produce. I picked radishes, and basil this week.

    I made over half the pesto we use for the year this weekend and tried radish leaf pesto. Pickled the radishes because they are pretty hot.

    I grocery shopped strategically this week buying only yellow ticket and sale items and then visited the bread store and scored a free bag of potato chips which went nicely with the yellow ticket chip dip from grocery store.

    Free backyard movie with homemade popped popcorn.

    The boys went to Boy Scout camp paid for my son from fundraising and my husband through 1/2 off for teaching a merit badge.

    Thank you,

  • Cara July 02, 2018

    Thanks for taking the time to work on this blog, Brandy, and congratulations on your 10 year anniversary!
    I read often, but may only have commented once, if that.

    Many of our frugal habits came about as ways to help the environment. We live in S. FL and do not use AC. Ours is an older house that was designed to be open. So we save on electricity that way. We also save all the shower warm-up water, dish-washing water (we got rid of a dishwasher when we moved in), and basin water in the bathroom, and use it to water the house plants or the garden. We save rainwater and use it in our front-loading washer. We dry on the line.

    All our clothes come from thrift, or as gifts from people passing things they don;t want on to us. We try extremely hard not to buy anything new.

    We are strict vegetarians and eat lots of beans, greens, and resistant starches. Most people can't believe we live the way we do, but we feel great about living low on the food-chain and consuming less in order to help the environment,.

  • Cindy in the South July 03, 2018

    That is fabulous Cara! I live in South Central Alabama, but I do have a window a/c as a just in case backup. My diet is predominately beans, greens, rice, eggs, bread, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes.

  • Libby July 02, 2018

    Happy Anniversaries Brandy! When I started to read this post my stomach fell thinking you were going to say good bye. I can only imagine the amount of time this blog requires and am so grateful that you have created such a warm, welcoming, and informative environment.

    I also had to stop for a minute and think back - I've been a reader for at least 8 years and also remember the different sites and using Facebook for the weekly frugal posts. I love this combined site: the beauty of your photographs, the antique line drawings, and the wisdom & knowledge. Thank you.

    • Strategically used coupons and offers and earned 18,000 Walgreens reward points buying only items that I need.
    • Used a 40% off Michael’s coupon and bought one paint pen as I continue to build slowly my collection. Resisted the siren call to buy anything else.
    • Hung load of laundry up to dry.
    • At the beginning of the week, I opened windows at night and ran a window fan to bring in the 54 degree air to cool down the house. Then shut the house up tight the next morning. By the end of the week my thermometer, which sits in the sun, hit 111, which is amazingly hot for Connecticut. I had all the blinds down and curtains shut with two window A/C units running.
    • Picked strawberries and froze them
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Itemized and donated decluttered ‘stuff’ to charity
    • Printed a coupon for on-sale yogurt before going to grocery store
    • Watched free shows on PBS via my laptop

  • Kai Jones July 02, 2018

    I took public transit using my work-issued monthly transit pass to the mall to replace a pair of sandals that had broken after 10 years of use (no way to repair them according to my shoe repair shop). Because I have been buying all my shoes there for 20 years, they gave me the sale price on the new sandals even though the sale doesn't start until mid-July. I saved gas, wear and tear on the car, and 20% on the shoes. I packed my water bottle and lunch so I could enjoy a picnic before I returned home. Being gone during the hottest part of the day also meant my apartment was cool even though I hadn't run the air conditioner while I was out.

  • Starling July 02, 2018

    Cut the cable!!! And...finding that we really don't miss it..

  • Anne July 02, 2018

    Your upcoming blog plans sound exciting!

    -My family reached the end of June and the pantry, freezer and fridge were NOT empty as usual because I have been making more of an effort to use coupons and shop sales to stock up of food and household items.

    -Worked 2 shifts at my part-time job.

    -Did a lengthy survey with my 11-year-old daughter that was worth a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

    -Watched a movie for our Family Movie Night from Netflix, rather than going to the theater or paying to rent a movie.

    -Harvested enough basil to make a batch of pesto.

    -Sold some home school curriculum on eBay and made about $60.

    -Tried to stay out of the stores since it was the end of the month and I was pretty much out of money for June!

  • Jo July 02, 2018

    I have been reading for several years, commenting somewhat regularly. I enjoy the gentle tone of this blog and the beauty of the photography. The tips I see here are a nice bonus!
    I did some repairs myself at my home this weekend. I hung up a few loads of laundry inside, but as it rained almost the entire weekend, I couldn't do all of it that way.
    My husband wanted to stop for a snack after church (we live an hour from our church) but he finally decided he could wait until we got home. Money saved. I had already decided not to buy anything for me.
    I cooked from scratch as usual. Whenever possible, I use things we have grown in our yard in our meals.
    I cut my own hair.
    I scrubbed my sinks and tubs using baking soda, liquid castile soap, and water. After showers, I spray my tub walls with vinegar with a shot of dish soap in it, to make soap scum easy to clean off.
    I pack leftovers for lunch every single day, and I wear almost entirely thrifted or given-to-me clothes.
    My uncle's 90th birthday was this weekend, and instead of buying a card, I wrote him a letter using the stationary I own, telling him how much we appreciate and love him. It cost me a stamp, is all, and it took less time to write than I would have spent looking for an appropriate card. Cards for adults, especially men, are so often crass!

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks July 08, 2018

    Jo, you are right about cards for men. I noticed it when shopping for a Father's Day card for my 90 year old father. I finally found an appropriate one, though not as frugal as a hand written, heartfelt letter. I looked at one card and it was $8.49!!! I couldn't believe it. Needless to say, I didn't get that one!

  • PennyP July 02, 2018

    Hi Brandy
    I read your blog every week but don't comment often. My money saving this week was to harvest rhubarb, raspberries and chives from the garden and not to buy any newspapers - I don't really need them as the news is freely available elsewhere and they have become really expensive here. Its a considerable saving not to buy any. Thanks for a wonderful blog.

  • Kristin July 02, 2018

    Brandy, congratulations on 10 years! I've been reading your blog for many years now, and am always inspired by your posts. My family has also enjoyed several of your recipes. I haven't posted in quite some time, so here are a few frugal things from last week.

    1) My nephew and I enjoyed a free concert and strawberry sundaes at a local library, and plan to go to another in a couple of weeks.
    2) I rearranged the items in my refrigerator so nothing would be missed and turn before it's eaten.
    3) My birthday was last week, and we celebrated with a simple cake and ice cream at home. My husband knows that no gifts are required.
    4) I am encouraging my husband in his efforts to eat more healthy food (birthday cake and ice cream excepted!), which is a frugal choice to keep us healthy and avoid costly medical care and prescriptions.
    5) Joined a Frugal Month Challenge for July to keep me motivated.

  • Sarah July 02, 2018

    Congratulations and thank you! Rather than driving the car, I cycled to and from work every day last week (around 6.5 mile round trip through the countryside).

  • Siiri July 02, 2018

    I went to a wedding and used a dress I had but never wore before. It had a weird spot/hem on the hip and I covered it with big brooch which matched exactly - colors and size. Brooch was also never worn!
    Love the blog as much as its readers!

  • Libby July 02, 2018

    The statistics cited in the MSN article are sobering. Essentially it says we are losing the middle income segment of our society. Thank you for linking to it.

    Also - I'm fascinated by your friend's greenhouse and use of alternate energy and water. Would she be willing to do a guest post and take us on a tour of it and the mechanicals and the costs involved?

  • LynnDinKY July 02, 2018

    I would like to see that also!

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