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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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  • Jeannie July 02, 2018

    Brandy, I would also like to see your friends greenhouse if she would allow a tour.

  • Marney July 03, 2018

    I'd love to see it too!


  • mmckms July 04, 2018

    I would love to see it also since we are saving for and designing a greenhouse it would be wonderful knowledge to have, and learn from someone a few steps ahead of us.

  • Kirsti July 02, 2018

    Congratulations on the ten year anniversary of your blog! I admire your dedication and consistency in your work, you must be quite disciplined to keep up with this blog when you have so many responsibilities with your own family. I feel that I learn something new every time I read your blog and also the comments of the many followers here. I also enjoy your photos and the beautiful layout.

    This past week I have used the Libby app to check out library books on my Kindle. I keep a list of books I want to read (many I have discovered from comments from your readers) and I appreciate having the books delivered to my Kindle and then I don't have to worry about returning them as they return themselves automatically. I also have listened to audio books that way while I'm working on a knitting project.

    I replaced the elastic in a skirt for myself this week and have sewed on a button that fell off a pair of capris. I appreciate that you always include your mending in your list of frugal accomplishments, keeping things in good repair is always economical.

    Thank you for your blog, I have learned about Duolingo, the great value that orchids are, and have discovered some wonderful free sheet music resources online. In the past I had read some "coupon" blogs but I have found your blog to be much more my style!

  • Juls Owings July 02, 2018

    Brandy thank you for all you have done and shared. Hubby told someone the other day that he isn't worried about running out of money with his retirement because I read your blog and do so much to make that money stretch. We know it 3 months the out flow will be cut by 1/3 and next year even more as we are looking at YOUR gardens to figure out how to plant ours which will lower the food costs even more.

    We finished eating the last of the garlic scapes that I had froze and I pulled the garlic out of the garden to cure.
    We have a couch, love seat and hassock that needs redone. In the past Hubby would have been looking for new, now he is looking for someone to redo it. I have 2 chairs, one belonged to Mother and the other to my grandson's great grandma on his dad's side that I am redoing myself a little at a time when I'm not working on 209.
    I registered for the cut flower video you had shared so I can plant a cut flower garden at 209 so I have something to enjoy next year.
    Blessed Be you and yours and ALL that share here or just read your blog.


  • Rhonda A. July 02, 2018

    Brandy, congratulations on your 10 year blogging anniversary! I've been following for several years now and have learned so much from both you and all those who comment here. My favourite frugal tip I learned from you was to buy ham on sale around the holidays and slice it up to use for meals year round. Same with the idea of buying turkeys on sale around holidays as there is no other meat you will find that is as cheap per pound as those turkeys! I have learned to cook and eat beans, have invested in money saving small appliances, like my food saver, dehydrator, pressure canner, and even tattler lids that are reusable, and most of all, found some amazing, kind and knowledgeable people to share ideas and life in general with. Thank you for creating this wonderful community!

    Like many of the commenters here, we are currently being roasted by a heat wave here. It's brutal working at the pioneer village in this heat, but we're surviving so far! Our frugal wins at our house this week included:
    *Meals made at home included chicken low mien stir-fry with veggie spring rolls, breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, green beans and choice between potato wedges and sweet potato fries, ham steaks with mashed potatoes and broccoli, sandwiches with choice of meat (from freezer), dill pickle spears and cold salads, cheesy ham and broccoli rice skillet (I printed this recipe off for my mom to use, as it is a very quick stove top recipe, perfect to use during a heat wave), BBQ chicken sandwiches with choice of topping, and potato chips and cake for dessert (see below).
    *When we were hit with a heat wave, I made some homemade lemonade using bottled lemon juice, sugar and water. We don't grow lemons in Canada, so I used what I had available in my pantry.
    *Harvested a handful of shelling peas and lettuce from the garden.
    *My mom decided to make a cake for Canada Day from one of the cake mixes I keep in the pantry. She tried to dye the white icing red with the food colouring in the pantry. However, I only have the liquid kind, not the gel type. So despite her best efforts (and using all the red food colouring we had) the icing turned out a dark pink. She then used white marshmallows to spell out "EH?" on the cake (it was the only Canadian saying she could get to fit on top of the cake). The whole thing was quite funny, but I'm proud of my mom's efforts to do something special for us on Canada Day, especially during a heat wave!
    *We had 2 meetings in 1 day at the school DD will be transferring to next year. One was about the logistics of what her needs are and how they can best address them. The school will continue to work out the details. The second was a school tour for DD to see where she will be attending. She was anxious and excited to go. We were fortunate enough to meet 2 of the art teachers and see the art classes, which is DD's favourite subject. One of the art teachers also has a daughter on the Autism spectrum. We hope she and this school as a whole will be a better fit for DD!
    *After a long day of meetings at DD's new school on my day off, I didn't have the energy to plan out a meal for that evening. Hubby jumped at the opportunity to buy pizza for dinner (zero argument when I told him he had to go get it). When he returned he had 3 medium pizzas instead of 2. He explained that when they made one of the pizzas, they used too few pepperoni's by mistake (11 less than should have been used to be exact) and since this was substandard they gave him the improperly made pizza for free, plus made a new one that was correct. On top of this, it was buy 1 get 1 free day (which turned into buy 1 get 2 free), so he only paid about $20 for 3 medium pizzas and 2 dipping sauces. Hubby was rather proud of his unbelievable and totally unexpected luck! So we enjoyed our super cheap take out and the leftovers made perfect lunches.
    *On my way home from work, I noticed the price of gas had jumped significantly from $1.20/litre in the am to $1.33/litre in the pm in anticipation of upcoming Canada Day celebrations. I quickly diverted and went to Costco where the I was able to fill my half tank for $1.18/litre! This should keep me going for about 2 weeks, by which time the prices should hopefully come down to more reasonable prices.
    *Worked on Canada Day, so should be getting paid time and a half for those hours I worked. Lucked out and was positioned in the weaver shop, which is a modern building that has insulation and there is air conditioning in the back section. We had temperatures high with high humidity making it felt like over 40C! I was extremely grateful for the cooler building, though I felt terrible for my co-workers who were in historic buildings without any real protection from the intense heat/humidity! Needless to say, our "special event" was not as heavily attended as it has been in the past.
    *Free things received from work this week included candy, baked goods, lemonade, cake, and a jumbo freezie.

    Wow, so many great comments already. Just spend a few hours trying to read through them all before posting my accomplishments. Had to finally give up and just post it. I will enjoy reading each and every comment over the week. Thank you everyone for making this space such a wonderful place to visit!

  • AndreaG July 02, 2018

    Rhonda: I make lemonade this way as well as fresh lemons are so expensive here in Southern Ontario. I've never had any complaints! Our gas here in London is $1.37/L at the moment so I feel your pain there as well. We won't be traveling far at that cost! Hoping that the school works out for your DD. My son is disabled but we homeschool.

  • Rhonda A. July 03, 2018

    Thank you Andrea. The gas prices are insane this summer! Funny enough, when I came home after getting the gas, I told my mom what I paid and she had me finish cooking dinner while she ran over to Costco to fill her tank as well. Sure hope it drops down before I have to fill up again!

  • AndreaG July 03, 2018

    I cringed when I paid $1.37 but we don’t travel far so hopefully it will carry us through the month. Hopefully by then the price will be somewhat lower!

  • Janet July 06, 2018

    Gas by us is around $3.00 per gallon. I found $2.81 this week and felt blessed. It was $3.05 in many spots.

    It is truly out rageous!!!

  • margie from Toronto July 02, 2018

    I cannot imagine wearing all those layers of clothing that you do for work - or working over an open fireplace - I would faint in this heat! It was 45C here in Toronto yesterday and you could hardly breathe!
    hat is good news about the new school for your daughter - I hope that it all works out for her and for you.

  • Rhonda A. July 03, 2018

    When we have temperatures and humidity that reach into the high 30's/low 40's, we don't start fires. Even the blacksmith just does an interpretation with no demos. We're not sure why anyone would want to visit a pioneer village on such a hot day (I mean seriously, I love history, but I want AC in this heat), yet we're always surprised to see people come through. The weird part is there are usually heat warnings stating that elderly and young children are more likely to have problems, and the visitors that come are grandparents with their grandchildren. We will happily welcome the visitors and give our interpretations with as much enthusiasm we can muster. But, really, under our smiles, we are absolutely miserable in those pretty outfits!

  • Janet July 06, 2018

    Grandparents come with grandchildren because they need to entertain them for little or no cost and it is one way to do so.

    Grandparent to nine.

  • Rhonda A. July 07, 2018

    We love seeing grandparents visit with grandchildren. I totally understand why they come. It is just concerning that they would choose to visit during a heat wave when it could cause health issues and overall not pleasant to walk around in. Waiting to visit when we are experiencing much more reasonable temperatures would result in a much better experience, not to mention being able to see the village functioning at it's best, with cooking and black smithing demos taking place!

  • Marney July 03, 2018


    Gas is 155 here in B.C., and that's regular which my car doesn't take! It's actually been a little higher than that this season. I live in the country so try to consolidate trips and stay home more. It's working :).

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada July 02, 2018

    My best frugal win last week was accepting free veggies from the manager at my community garden. She offered me her market returns and I gladly accepted free broccoli and free rhubarb.

    Thanks again for all your work you do in running your blog. Congrats on 10 years!

  • Swissy July 02, 2018

    Ten years! You are a wonder, Brandy. Even though I no longer need to be quite so saving, I can't change! I like to live this way and to read how you and others live well on less. I never thought to note down my frugalities, but now I keep at least a mental list. This week: some small repairs on 19 year old (beautiful condition) Forester. Cooked creatively down to the last fridge item. Walked everyday. Mended summer clothes from past seasons. Homemade manicure/pedicure. Cut husband's hair. Harvested parsley, lettuces, swiss chard, basil from small garden plot. Made herb and flower bouquets for house.

  • Kelly July 02, 2018

    Congrats on your blogiversary and upcoming wedding anniversary!

    The biggest savings tip I've gotten from your site is Recyclebank and the free magazine subscriptions. I enjoy reading many different magazines. Thanks to your site I enjoy them for free and then pass them on to a local beauty shop owner for her customers (with my name and address blackened out of course).

  • Stacey July 02, 2018

    Congratulations Brandy. You've created such a beautiful and practical resource. You've made such a difference in my family's life and so many others. Thank you.

    June was a busy month for us. My daughter completed her GED and got her drivers license. Hooray!!!! She is driving herself to work now and that has freed up so much time for us. I am so happy for her and proud of her too. The county has agreed to pay all of her expenses to become a Certified Nursing Assistant this fall, and we are so grateful. She will complete this program and hopefully become licensed by the end of October. They are also arranging a paid internship for her at a local healthcare facility but I don't have all the details on that yet. On Saturday, I took her to shop for her first scrubs uniform and it is so exciting to see her start this new phase of her life.

    We stayed home a lot, out of the heat and relied on the library for books and movies. The cooking lessons continued and my kids are experimenting with a lot of new baking inspired by The Great British Baking Show on PBS. My 15 year old son even asked for a Victoria Sponge as his birthday cake. We used some of our homemade raspberry jam and it was delicious!

    I used a $70 tire rebate for grocery shopping, and spent one evening going to three different Jewels to acquire 8 oz blocks of cheese for .99 cents each. By the end I think we had about 64 blocks of cheese and this should last us several months. This week I will focus on restocking butter for 1.99 per pound.

    I want to thank whoever posted about Zaycon last week. I had four outstanding orders that equaled over $650.00.
    I was able to get all of my money back by going to the bank and filling out credit dispute forms for my debit card. Some of my charges were from last March and my bank still refunded my money after I spoke to the bookkeeping department and explained the Zaycon business model of prepayment for future deliveries.

    Our frugal fail was the unexpected death of a family pet. It's expensive to cremate a tiny rabbit. We have had Benny for 9 years and he was so much a part of our family. We found him at a garage sale for $15.00 and that included his crate, food and litter. He was originally part of a pair and his owners thought he was female until the other rabbit became pregnant. She and her babies were given away and then the kids had gotten older and too busy to take care of Benny. We were so happy to bring him home with us. He kept my youngest daughter company during nap times and then moved over to the hallway at the top of the stairs to keep us all company during the day and to watch over us during the night. I think he was the best $15.00 investment we ever made. We all miss him so much.

  • Darcy July 03, 2018

    Hi Stacey,
    I'm so sorry about your little bunny. It's always hard to lose one of our fur babies.
    Your cooking lessons reminded me of when my daughters still lived at home and we learned to make different kinds of cheesecakes together. Food is still important to us. Whenever we have a family get together we all talk about what food each of us is bringing. You are building great memories together:)

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