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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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  • One of God's July 01, 2018

    Ate weeds from back yard. Purslane stir-fried with garlic then added to eggs for scrambling is my current favorite.

    Took advantage of several items from markdown shelf at local grocery. While I seldom drink soda, I have no aversion to unusual flavors so got a six-pack of apple soda for $.75. It will probably last me at least three months.

  • Beth July 01, 2018

    I am off for the summer from my full time school secretarial job and working two part time jobs when hours are available. I purposely save tax money to get us through the two months I am off for the summer. Yesterday I sat down and took a hard look at the July budget and decided my goal is to host a garage sale by the end of July if not sooner. Daughter will be attending two weeks of summer day camp through a scholarship and while she is gone I will be cleaning up a storm and organizing.

    This week I have focused on Swagbucks running at all times and will be able to get a $25 PayPal card by the end of the week, we will be eating out of the freezers and I am planning a Aldi’s trip for basics using returnable bottles to pay for it. I turned the air up high, use the ceiling fan when in a room, close bedroom doors and unplugging things like a mad woman! Organizing the enclosed porch better so I can dry laundry. Just made a second jug of sun tea using cheap tea bags with one “good one” for flavor, daughter is loving it. We spent the afternoon staying indoors as it’s hot here drinking iced tea, coloring in our adult color books listening to a Maisy Dobbs mystery for free through the library using Hoopla on my phone, very relaxing. Attending a not mandatory work meeting tomorrow for the hours pay and watering plants this week for a client making some extra cash.

  • Elizabeth July 03, 2018

    If you like the Maisie Dobbs mysteries, you would enjoy the Victoria Thompson Gaslight mysteries and especially the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd

  • Nancy July 01, 2018

    Hello Brandy!
    Congratulations on the ten years! What a great accomplishment. I enjoy so much and have learned much.
    These past few weeks:
    Picked herbs of basil..thyme..dill to use.
    Picked lettuce.and chives.
    Tomatoes still growing.
    Our local grocery had Free items certain days ..able to receive free healthy ice cream..cereal..regular ice cream
    My daughter covered to pillows in cream for sofa.
    We spray painted a desk and bedside table black
    To put in guestroom for guest coming soon.
    Cleaned rooms top to bottom. Ready for guest.
    Picked up Free sofa. Clean just needed some TLC
    Made meals at home.
    Able to stay on healthy eating plan within a budget.

  • Marie July 01, 2018

    Hello Brandy. I love reading your blog and have for several years. It is always the gold standard when I read any other blogs on homemaking or frugality. This week I saved money by listing four of my vacuum cleaner parts on ebay instead of throwing it away. (motor went) They were only a fraction of the cost of new but still a money maker for me. (2 of the 4 parts sold in less than 24 hours.) I also went to a textbook selling site and entered the ISBN numbers of a box of books I wanted out of my garage to see if they would purchase any of them. Most were duds, a few for a whopping 12 cents, but at the end, a ringer....46.00... and they pay shipping. I feel like I earned 115.00 out of thin air!
    Hope you are healing well from your last birth. Congratulations!

  • Laura July 09, 2018

    Hello, would you mind sharing the textbook selling site you used? Thanks much.

  • A from Ohio July 01, 2018

    First time commenting -
    A few frugal things my husband and I did this week...

    Hung laundry outside
    Used up leftovers
    Grilled outside to keep the house cooler in our hot, humid weather
    Downloaded audiobooks to listen to while working and crafting at home
    Continue to do without cable and internet in our home - over four years now

  • diana July 01, 2018

    I enjoy your posts so much and love seeing your family. I cannot imagine how you get things going so smoothly but I sure admire you

  • Erin July 01, 2018

    We sprayed our shrubs ourselves. The spray wasn't expensive, and it was easy to do. We have an infestation of Bag Bugs. My husband accepted a lot of free food from work. We went to the free community pool to cool off because it was over 100 here several days. My youngest son is at camp on a scholarship. We did give a $25 donation to the camp but that was all it cost. I am doing some surveys online for Advil and Seventh Generation laundry detergent, so they sent me coupons and free samples. My husband is making homemade fishing sinkers, which usually cost $3 each. He is going to keep some to use and try to sell some on Facebook. Two of my children participated in a free summer lunch program 4 days this week. They were for all children 0 to 18 and didn't have to have a certain family income or anything.

  • Laurie in central NC July 01, 2018

    I'm so thankful you made the decision to begin a blog. It is truly one of my favorite virtual places to visit. We are having a glut of cucumbers. I'm using as many as possible in meals, feeding them to the dogs and chickens, and giving them away to anyone who wants them. We have approx. 3 dozen quarts of dill pickles on the shelf from previous years, so I'm refusing to can any this year :). I do believe in stocking up to a point, but as this is 5 or 6 years worth of pickles for us, I feel there is a better use of my time and canning jars. I'm also gathering blueberries, blackberries and herbs, and patiently waiting for that first tomato (it will be several weeks yet).

    In reading comments last week, I saw a reference to your mushroom and cheese crepes. I decided to make them last night with the mushrooms and cheese, then made some this morning with the leftover batter, using our berries, and some ricotta, and sour cream that needed using. Yum! I believe I'll be adding crepes to our repertoire! Happy Anniversary!

  • Holley July 01, 2018

    Happy Anniversary!!! You have always encouraged everyone that comes here to be prudent and content. I have enjoyed your blog/website for many years! I can't imagine what more you could share, but I look forward to it! You are an amazing woman and a shining example to us all! Thank you for all you do!

    I bought a freezer this week!!!! I know that might not sound like a money saving activity, but it is! I now have more room to store the bargains that I find with little limitations! I already feel better! I was in a constant conflict before! I NEED to buy more meat when it's on sale but my freezer was full! Now I can!!!! So happy! This week it was pork loins for $1.69 a pound, ribs for $1.77 a pound and boneless chicken breasts for $1.69 a pound! We are going camping this week and I have a whole shelf in the new freezer to put all the things that need to come with us!!! No more leaving things behind (hopefully)!

    Have a wonderful week everyone! Hope you all have a fun and safe 4th of July!

  • Rhonda A. July 02, 2018

    Holley, I think additional freezer space is definitely frugal! I have 2 upright freezers that are stuffed with bargain buys of meat, fruit and veggies bought in season and processed by myself to use for winter, bread and other baked goods either bought on sale or made to use up things that would have gone to waste otherwise, pre-made freezer meals to help on nights when we are too busy to prepare a meal from scratch, etc. Your new freezer is an excellent use of your hard earned money, in my humble opinion!

  • Holley July 02, 2018

    Thank you, Rhonda! I am very happy with my decision. I had been debating doing this for a very long time. Mostly, I had to convince my husband to give up more of his garage space!!! To say he has seen the light is an understatement! He is thrilled with all the meat I've already put in it!

  • Rhonda A. July 03, 2018

    My I suggest your next investment piece should be to buy a food saver. I admit they are expensive, including the special plastic rolls you have to buy. However, they allow you to store th at expensive meat for much longer in the freezer without fear of loosing it to freezer burn. I'm incredibly happy I have one!

  • Congratulations on the blog-iversary! I truly appreciate all the effort you put into making such a positive space for people to learn and share with each other. I've learned a lot through reading your blog; thank you SO much!

    My frugal week:
    - I was a bit frustrated this week by not being able to work on my blog due to pregnancy exhaustion. Normally I would have pushed myself to achieve what I want to, but I now have to be careful as this is a higher risk pregnancy. Between that the morning sickness (still here, even at almost 6 months along, albeit much better), I don’t cook much, and don’t even have energy to do back-end techy things to my blog. I did however have time to throw together some leftover veggies to make my Easy Summertime Pickled Vegetables! (http://approachingfood.com/making-the-most-of-leftovers-easy-pickled-vegetables/) I love doing this with that last limp carrot or two, plus whatever other veggies I have hanging around the fridge. When it’s too hot to turn them into soup, I turn them into pickles!
    - By the way, Brandy, I LOOOOOVE your Instagram photo stream above your blog posts now. Is that a plug-in? And if so, what is the name? I loooooove to be able to do the same with my blog! Great way to grow two audiences at the same time. I plan to open a foodie and frugality IG account soon, as practice for creating an IG account fully in line with my brand (food, not necessarily frugality). Am learning lots of lurking the in the #debtfreecommunity on IG.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Old Navy.
    - Using my local trading app, I traded a loaf of banana bread for 9 BNIB ceramic ramekins. I then gifted them to a family I’m friends with, along with a brand-new outfit for each of the three girls (using Old Navy gift certificates from Swagbucks), a handwash & lotion giftset (previously traded for), some shampoo and conditioner samples, and my mother bought an adorable stuffed panda for $5 from IKEA to gift to the youngest child. I used re-used gift bags to put all the presents in. I love being able to give nice gifts without paying OOP! When I visited the family, they kindly sent me home with homemade Syrian food for my husband, which he enjoyed.
    - I made a batch of yoghurt. I love homemade yoghurt; so easy, so frugal, and perfect to dump into the kale smoothies I’ve been craving lately.
    - I harvested green onions (which I froze), mint, and thyme (which I dried) from my balcony garden. My rhubarb is dying (not sure why) but my tomato and squash plants seem to be growing well in the 35 degree plus (and nearly 50 % humidity) we’re having in Toronto for the past few days. How hot is it? My sunglasses completely fogged up when I stepped the few steps between the car (my mum gave me a ride) and the grocery store.
    - I had purchased a pocket agenda early in the year (albeit on sale in the New Year’s sale, and no OOP cost as I had used a credit) thinking I would use it as my agenda this year. I ended up using a free calendar, wasn’t able to trade or return the one I purchased, but didn’t want it to go to waste. I finally found a use: the DH and I are sending a package to my MIL and I know she likes little pretty things, and I think she’ll use it and appreciate it (even if the year is half over). I only wish I had thought to send it sooner.
    - My husband redeemed $90 worth of points at our local No Frills; we only had to pay $8 and change for nearly $100 worth of groceries, including 10+ lbs of cherries (on sale). Unfortunately, my cherry pitter has broken beyond repair, so I either have to find a new one quickly, as I go on vacation next weekend, or eat all the cherries prior to that. As a last resort, I’ll try pitting them using a large paper clip. I had bought so many in hopes of canning some jam and pie filling, to mix in with my morning yoghurt, or to make cherry frozen yoghurt. Ah well. At least I can sit down while cherry pitting with a paperclip! Always a bright side!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  • Margie from Toronto July 02, 2018

    I hope that you are resting and taking care of yourself - and baby - in this terrible heat - for all of you who think Canada is always cold the temperatures n Toronto have felt like 110F + for the past 3 days and it's to be almost as bad for the next week! Enjoy the cherries!

  • You're so sweet, Margie! I am indeed resting mostly in this heat. I've even taken to leaving popsicles at my workplace, so that I can eat one on the walk home to help me stay cool until I get to my air-conditioned condo, whereupon I make myself a kale smoothie for dinner with lots of frozen fruit to further cool myself off. And lots of cold water and cold lemonade! I've only left my condo twice this weekend, both times when someone picked me up in an air-conditioned car. I also have a fan on my desk at my workplace, to help me stay cool. If this degree of heat stays for a while, I'll also bring a plant spritzer to work, filled with water, to spritz myself with periodically, as the a/c in my workplace doesn't cool evenly throughout the small building. (I have also been known to take ice-packs from the freezer at work to place on my neck and face to cool myself down.) I am sooooooo sooooo very thankful for my air-conditioner!

  • ellie's friend from Canada July 03, 2018

    Margaret! Do take care of yourself. I almost fell over when I read how hot it is there! Here, it has been cool and rainy. No complaints but even my furnace came on! till by parade day, it supposed to get hot again. I love not having to water the yard or trees. We'll send you our cool weather in a couple of days!
    While it is wet outside, I am going to plant the basil in with the tomatoes. The plants already have tomatoes on them. The clematis is already in bloom. I wonder what will be left to bloom in August.
    My single mum gardener planted veggies in my raised planter box. We covered them with netting and good thing as there is a baby rabbit (hare). Do take care of yourself! Ann

  • Thank so much, Ellie's friend! I'll take your cool weather any day! :) Best of luck with your basil and raised planter box!

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