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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 03, 2018

    I am sorry to hear about Benny. In the evenings we sit on the porch and watch the wild rabbits help themselves to the clover in the yard. They are fun to watch.
    Again, so sorry.

  • Athanasia July 06, 2018

    Syacey, sorry to hear about your rabbit. My youngest daughter was given a pet rabbit by her students. She's Ok. I guess. We've never had pets in the house before except dogs. I'm allergic to cats so they live in the barns. The rabbit kind of confused the dogs, like shouldn't you be outside with the other rabbits??

  • Angela in Kentucky July 07, 2018

    So sorry to hear about Benny. I was given a Lionhead rabbit about 3 years ago by a family where the kids did not want to care for him any longer. I had never had a rabbit before. I have a very large bedroom that was an addition on this house when I bought it. He lives in a large cage in my bedroom. I allow him out when I can keep an eye on him to prevent chewing on cords. It amazes me how smart and personable he is never having had a rabbit before. They do make a nice small indoor pet. I will miss him when he is gone just like I am sure you miss Benny. Please look at Humane Societies or facebook pet sites in your area for another that needs a good home. There are always rabbits people want to rehome in my area.

  • Deb July 02, 2018

    Hello Brandy and all and thank you so much for the years of encouragement your blog has provided. It is always such a pleasure to read each week. I have never posted before but have appreciated all the advice and helpful kindness I have found here over the years. When I first started reading my situation was pretty bleak but has improved considerably since then. I am still frugal, both by choice and necessity, but I am content and that is so important.
    This week I have done all the usual things: drying clothes on the line (I don't own dryer), reusing ziploc bags, wearing thrifted clothes, mending and finding new uses for worn items (my dishcloths are old towels that I cut into squares and zig zagged the edges) cooking and eating at home, keeping the thermostat up so the air conditioning doesn't come on as often, etc. All of these things make it possible for me to live a comfortable life and spend quality time with the people I love.

  • Jeannie July 02, 2018

    Brandy, thank you for this blog. I know it requires time to manage it, time which you could spend taking care of your family, yet you chose to share. You are appreciated. I discovered it about three years ago and have since told many people who are struggling to pay their bills. I consider this site to have the “tools needed to climb out of poverty.”

    I will share one home improvement project which saved no money, cost no money but improves the world. Then I will share a few things I did to save money.

    *First, the home improvement project. We have a pile of broken concrete cinder blocks in a pile in the backyard left by the previous homeowner. (He was a contractor and left many piles of junk all over the property we discovered). Sending them to the landfill did not seem very environmental so I stopped by a concrete manufacturing company and asked if I could throw them in their recycling pile of broken products. They readily agreed. Whenever I am in that area and I will throw some into their recycle bin.

    * I needed new jeans, mine were beyond repair, so I stopped by a thrift store and selected ONLY the $.99 pairs to try on. I found two which fit and allowed myself to buy both! I paid and immediately left the store without tempting myself to spend money on anything else.

    * I used a $5 off of $25 coupon for Dollar General and bought only what I needed.

    *This week I have continued to cook the food I brought home from Mom’s pantry. Most of what she had purchased was instant items since she had stopped cooking a while ago. I only cook from scratch due to being health conscious and frugal. Today I cooked a package of macaroni and cheese and was stunned at how few noodles were in the box! When did that happen? Processed food is convenient...but not cheap!

    *My main focus this week has been to get the garden weeded and a few more things planted. Yes, I am still trying to get it out in JULY!! This week I will be starting the rest of my herbs from seeds and hoping I will get enough of anything to make it worthwhile. It has been the best I could do this year.

    This is June's Garden


  • Marley July 02, 2018

    I dried fresh basil from my garden to add to my spices. I am going to try making pesto for the first time using basil from my garden. I will also by dehydrating a batch of celery. Celery is something I never seem to use up in time when I buy it but when I need it, I need it...like in soups. I have also been grouping my errands so that I can stay home more days in the week saving gas. I love your website. You have helped me quite a bit. You are very inspiring and encouraging. Thank you.

  • Florrie July 04, 2018

    Marley, I want to share a system I devised to not waste any bit of celery. I use all bottom and top parts, including leaves, for cooking. I cut the middle heart part of stalk into one inch logs and store in a glass jar. ( I also store diagonally sliced carrots in jars so they are readily visible.) I munch on those with ranch dressing for snacks and lunches. I also use the siliced heart part as a salad for dinner using ranch dressing and raw sunflower seeds, which I buy in bulk at Sprouts. This system works if you love to crunch on raw celery.
    I grow basil and make them into pesto by grinding them up with olive oil and raw sunflower seeds. I keep adding them to my pesto stash until there's enough to make pizza using chicken pieces and cheese for toppings on toasted English muffins. A bagful of thiese stored in the muffin bags in the freezer makes an excellent stash for quick, tasty lunches.

    May the "fourth" be with you, hostess Brandy and all of our frugal folks here!

  • Alaska Gram July 06, 2018

    Marley--When our garden produce celery we chop it up and freeze it. I add it to pilaf, chili, soups, and even meatloaf! Having frozen celery means we can use it even when the stores are out which happens. It also gets expensive in winter and our winters in Fairbanks are long!

  • Rhonda A. July 07, 2018

    I dehydrated a bunch of celery last summer, when it was cheap to buy. Whenever I made soup in the winter, I threw in a little handful. I found it much more convenient than frozen, and I still have some left in my pantry, that is not freezer burned!

  • Beth July 02, 2018

    Hi Brandy and everyone! I haven't commented in a while and my "Frugal Accomplishments" compared to others probably seem like splurges... ok here is what I did last week:

      attended a tai chi class at the Botanical Garden (free with my yearly membership) used my Kohl's cash and a coupon to purchase several things my college age daughter needs for her apartment she will be moving into used an REI gift card I won on a business trip recently to purchase some summer sandals found an item at Trader Joe's that my daughter really likes (she is super picky so this is a win)- it is a sirloin steak with chimichurri sauce and we liked it so much I went back and got more and we had it for a second night-this beats the take out and eating out we have been doing too much of lately Donated plasma which I have been doing regularly for about 9 months- I qualified for the bonus for June based on my 8 donations-my "earnings" totalled $340 for June- I am using my plasma money to pay for our family vacation this summer Have a great day everyone!

  • ann lee s July 03, 2018

    Beth: its not a splurge to pay for your vacation with "blood" money!! Thank you for donating, I once had to receive a transfusion and felt new respect for providers. We don't receive payment here in Canada for donating blood but it would be nice! We get a drink and a cookie. :) oh yes, and a "thank you!"

  • Athanasia July 06, 2018

    Ann, she said she donated plasma which is a paying business. Big business from the looks of the plasma center. Blood (whole blood) donations are that, donations, and are not recompensed. Though they usually have good snacks for you afterwards :)

  • Rhonda A. July 07, 2018

    As far as I know, we are not paid for any blood products we donate in Canada, whole blood or plasma (pretty sure that plasma and platelets are just separated from the whole blood). We can even sign up to donate bone marrow, but we don't get paid for that either. It is considered a gift in kind. If you match and are asked to donate bone marrow, that requires a surgical proceedure. As a donor, you would need to make arrangements for time off work. Most employers would be very supportive of this if you told them what you were doing. The surgical proceedure is covered under our health care.

  • Athanasia July 10, 2018

    I googled plasma donations in Canada and it says there are only 6 plasma DONATION sites across the country. All other plasma "donation" is paid fee for service.

  • Angela in Kentucky July 07, 2018

    I have been a pheresis donor for years, to the tune of almost 50 gallons of blood, at our local Central Kentucky Blood Bank. Pheresis takes about 2 hours each time and usually takes platelets but may take plasma or WBC depending on what is needed. For years our "payment" was a snack at the end and a free T-shirt. However, local businesses have been generous in past years and you can earn points toward gift cards. I donate about every 2 weeks or so. I just earned $75 in Walmart gift cards and will be getting $75 in Speedway gas gift cards after two more donations. It is a lucrative "business" for me as every little bit helps with the budget. The best part is that I am also saving lives with every donation. Everyone that is able and eligible to donate blood should do so.

  • Marybeth July 07, 2018

    We had a local blood drive last year and anyone that donated got 2 Mets baseball tickets. I know a lot of people who went.

  • Athanasia July 10, 2018

    When business bring a blood drive to their site for their employees they often offer incentives like that.

    My husband and the 4 older children all donate regularly. They like best the location held at one of the churches in town as the church ladies contribute very tasty treats for the after-donation snack.

  • Shirley July 02, 2018

    As Marie said, your blog is the gold standard of homemaking/frugality blogs! I'm so excited that you plan additional entries. I'll certainly be checking.
    I have commented before but usually a question or a comment. Looks like I have a big frugal tip all of a sudden, however. Our central a/c died and despite this eastern heat wave I'm determined to get through the summer with just fans and save money to buy a unit next year. The inspector told us 14 years ago that it would need to be replaced in a couple years so not throwing money at a "fix."
    Last summer when I was still working, the a/c in my car wasn't working, but I endured a blazing hot car with just an icy water bottle on my forehead or neck every stoplight, and even had the bottle down the neckline of my dress. So this should be doable, although I hate excessive heat.

  • Susan M. July 02, 2018

    I gave my husband a haircut.
    I cleaned seven apartments for a friend in exchange for the same number of free music lessons during the summer. Music lessons are $25 each, so I was thrilled! We were going to need to skip music lessons during the summer, to help save on cost so we could still afford lessons during the school year.
    I said "Yes" when offered a free hand me down dresser. I didn't really need it right now, but we have space to store it in the basement. In a year, my son will finish at his college where he is renting a furnished apartment, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to have an extra dresser I can offer to him if his next place is not furnished. In the meantime, it can help organize things in the basement. It is a bit humble, but a new coat of paint would fix it up for regular use if needed.
    I have picked lettuce from our garden several times to use in salads, sandwiches, etc.
    I have picked three or four times huge bunches of kale from our garden, and this morning saw that there are tons more growing and ready to pick. This year, we purchased AgFabric off of Amazon after a friend told me about using it to keep the bugs from eating her kale. My husband built a frame out of previously used wood that we drape the AgFabric over, so the frame cost was zero. We did have cost for the AgFabric, but it is supposed to be able to reuse for several years, and is definitely working so we get to eat the kale instead of the bugs!
    I picked flowers from our garden to enjoy inside. Mainly Shasta Daiseys and Black Eyed Susans. They last a full week plus and make my kitchen counter so cheerful!
    I said "Yes" when my sister offered me three cucumber plants that she started from seed. My husband planted them yesterday--we will see if they grow and produce in the heat we have been having. But they were free, so worth trying anyway!
    I appreciate your blog so much, Brandy! Not much encouragement out there to be a home maker, and whether we are working outside the home or not, we are still home makers either for a husband and children, or even for ourselves! I look at my "job" as being frugal with the money my husband earns--stretching it as far as it can go for our family, and to be able to share with others as well. This allows me to stay home with our children and raise them myself.

  • Athanasia July 06, 2018

    Susan, row cover works well. My daughter used it on several of our crops. It will last you years of you treat it well and I'd you store it away properly. She rolls it onto lengths of pvc pipe. With this heat we've had she put up some shade cloth this year, too, over the tomatoes.

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