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Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Week of June

June Cucumbers The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains affiliate and referral links.

 

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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Comments

  • Jerri July 01, 2018

    Ten years! Congratulations!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your recipes. I look at your website for ideas when I just can't bear the thought of putting together a menu and grocery list. Here's to another wonderful ten years!

  • Heidi July 01, 2018

    Thanks for providing uplifting and encouraging Information.
    I drank ice water every day using a reusable water bottle that I have had for years.
    I dog/house sat for a friend, which gave me a paid "staycation." This friend also let me pick raspberries from her garden.

  • Cindy Brick July 01, 2018

    I am very happy to hear you're going to do more than one blogpost a week! I love reading what you're up to...it's very inspiring.

    Here's how we saved today:
    *Had a 'free' lunch at our church Fourth of July picnic (I brought a 99-cent bag of Keebler choc chip cookies from the King Soopers Saturday special)
    THEN
    *One of the members of the worship team we play for occasionally, for a church further south, took everyone on the team out for a steak dinner. Husband and I were pretty full from lunch, so brought a good bit of that meal home. Steak and eggs for breakfast tomorrow!

  • Kara July 01, 2018

    Adding my thanks for your lovely blog. It’s a highlight in my week.
    My husband made granola today, he added apples that I had gleaned for free and dried at home.
    We have been eating tomatoes from garden, apricots and plums from out trees and peaches for 40 cents a pound from fruit stand.
    Went to end of month sale at thrift store and bought 9 items for 10 cents each. All will be re-sold.
    Watching World Cup for free on our TV with antenna. Many hours of entertainment.
    One of our kids is newly married and had asked grandpa for financial advice. Grandpa’s advice was, “Save till it hurts.” I was told this week of the ways that this advice was being followed. Fun to hear!
    Thank you to all for this lovely community!

  • Amber July 01, 2018

    I, too, am very thankful for your blog, and I get to say I knew you before the blog when we were both on the LDS Family Resources homeschool boards :) Whenever someone requests a homemaking or frugal living blog, yours is the one I recommend for encouragement.

    For the last two weeks we have had various family members at camp, first my husband and son at scout camp and last week my daughter at YW camp. Tomorrow that same daughter heads off to Santa Barbara for EFY. Summer is actually a much busier time for at our house than the rest of the year.

    The day the boys left for camp, I noticed the my shower was freezing cold. Our 5 year old tankless water heater had died. My husband is a mechanical engineer and we have never run into something he couldn't fix. Consequently I have never called a plumber, electrician, or home repair person, but he was leaving in an hour. The repair person came out the next day & told me the part was under warranty so the only cost to me would be the labor, $500! He also told me that our excessively hard water & old plumbing would cause the problem to happen again in the next year or two. He quoted me an additional $750 in parts and labor for that repair. To be honest I just wanted it fixed so I told him it would behoove him to fix it before my husband got home from camp. The part that was under warranty didn't arrive until Friday, so we went the week heating water in the electric teakettle whenever we needed hot water for dishes or taking what my grandma calls a teacup bath. Most people were surprised that we didn't just move into a hotel for the week or join a gym to use their showers. The repair didn't happen until the boys were home from camp so my husband only had the part under warranty done and he'll do the other work himself.

    Husband brought home from camp 2 costco sized bags of hoagie rolls. The kids have been using them for sandwiches & pizza bases and burger buns.

    When we picked up our daughter from camp the kitchen was full of things that weren't used at camp and we were asked to take home whatever we wanted. We took home; 3 lbs of onions, 2 heads of cabbage, a costco size bag of tortilla chips, a bag of a dozen fully cooked burgers, a 2lb bag of cooked sausage crumbles for pizza and ...... 37lbs of potatoes! We took the opened & partially used bag of potatoes. There was another unopened 50# bag, but I didn't want to seem too greedy.

    An elderly neighbor asked us to come over and pick apricots off his tree, so we picked about 25lbs. I took out the ones that will be best for eating fresh over the next few weeks and made the rest into jam. For the first time in the almost 30 years that I have been canning the apricots completely refused to set, so apparently I made apricot syrup, which will be eaten on pancakes or waffles as well as drizzled over ice cream, stirred into yogurt or added to blintzes.

    Whole chickens were on sale for $.77/ lb. This is usually my stock up price, but I have 2 very full freezers and have made it a priority to empty out what we already have before buying more. On the last day of the sale I went in to pick up the weekly free item and there were 9 of the chickens marked down to 50% off the sale price. For $.37/ lb I couldn't help myself. I roasted two that day and made chicken broth from the carcasses. The remainder went into the freezer.

    I found a set of lectures on DVD from Great Courses on sale for $89 that I would be able to use next year for homeschool (regular price $298) I thought I might be able to find it used on Amazon or ebay. I found it there for $64. I can never check them out at the library because on the rare occasion that they have what I want they make you check the parts out individually and the parts are not kept together, so something that had 32, 60 minute lectures might be broken up into 8 different items to check out spread out over the entire city library system. When I checked the library website, there the lectures were as a streaming download! I can stream up to 6 lectures/ month on my library card, so my daughter can watch one lecture a week.

    Our library instituted a "read away the fines" program for kids. I took both my kids who had fines on their cards and if they tell the librarian while they sit and read, the "earn" $5 for every 15 minutes. Usually we don't have fines, but last month my husband checked out several audiobooks on one of the kids' cards before a road trip and once we got home I forgot to check that card.

    It was over 100 degrees several days in the last week and we don't have A/C for the house. I usually wake up very early in the morning, so I open all the windows to let in the cooler air. Once the sun is fully up I close the windows and the blinds of the windows as the sun hits them. We also use fans and when it gets too warm everyone retreats to the one room that has a window unit. My bedroom!

    I hope everyone has a good frugal week

  • Tina S. July 01, 2018

    Brandy, congrats on 10 years! I have been following you for a long time. I don't post often but I really enjoy reading your posts and everyone's comments. I am very appreciative of the community here, as my friends and family aren't particularly frugal.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    - Cooked at home and brought my lunch to work. I used up leftovers in creative ways: tomato salad became a simple tomato sauce, leftover lettuce was added to a pureed soup (surprisingly tasty), and some not particularly flavorful raspberries were made into a refreshing shrub (found an easy recipe online). The only waste was a small portion of beets my husband didn't want (I really dislike beets...but sometimes I eat them anyway. Not this time.)
    - Walked to work.
    - Made kombucha and water kefir.
    - Found the last four books in the Anne of Green Gables series at the used bookstore. They were very inexpensive. I never read this series as a child and am enjoying reading it.
    - Sewed a tank top using a free online pattern, using fabric I already had.
    - We watched DVDs we already had for entertainment. I also listened to podcasts and watched videos online.
    - Somehow I got a berry stain in a favorite dress, but I managed to get the stain out so it wasn't ruined.
    - Gave away an item I didn't need on the Free section on Craigslist. The person who took it was very happy to receive it.

    Thanks for all the inspiration. Here's to another 10 years!

  • Mable July 02, 2018

    I use excess garden lettuce in soup all the time, pureed or regular. They are no different than other mild tasting greens, to me and the husband. Also, I learned to love beets when I started making a flourless beet chocolate cake!!

  • Mmckms July 04, 2018

    Just a thought... I put left over beets peels and all in the freezer in a bag. When Easter comes around I pull it out and boil it and “dye” eggs or old cloth napkins the beautiful pink color.

  • Debbie Fodor July 01, 2018

    Happy Blog Anniversary - I am so glad you started blogging. I have been following for several years now. I enjoy your posts and admire how hard you work to provide a beautiful life for your family. I always enjoy looking at your photos, especially your floral arrangements. Sometimes when I feel sad or depressed I come on your site to read some blog posts to help myself feel better.

    As to frugal tasks - it is winter time where I live. I dry most of my washing either outside on sunny days or inside on clothes horses, using the clothes dryer as a last resort. I took advantage of a sale at a nearby food warehouse and stocked up on items that we will use in months to come. Every week I check the sales catalogues for our local supermarkets and I buy items we need on special where possible. I have a 'Watch List' of items we are running low on and check every week for sales on the items on my watch list to avoid having to pay full price for them.

  • Sheila July 01, 2018

    Gave my son a haircut. Worked on using up leftovers from home and camp.

  • Jennifer Caldwell July 01, 2018

    Hi Brandy! Long time reader and occasional poster. As I’ve said to you before, thank you so much for starting this website and eventually, blog. I love telling people about “my internet friend in Vegas.”

    We’ve had some extra expenses recently: an emergency copay that thankfully turned out to be nothing, my daughter finally got her license and we are going to help her with her insurance while she looks for a better job as her current one isn’t giving her enough hours (summer slump), summer camp for my boys and helping pay for summer youth retreat for my daughter as she’s not making enough to pay for it all. Due to these, we are on budget lockdown.

    One thing that I’ve done to help me (I’m terrible about little expenses adding up), is to put a piece of paper on our board with a running total of our grocery/spending budget. It’s a lot easier to say no to dinner out when you loon over and see that you only have $x to last until payday and know you’re going to need essentials or that you’d already planned to do something special on Sunday night.

    Specifically, I saved dinner two nights in a row. The first night I realized that we were out of a necessary ingredient so I used the other ingredients to make a completely different meal. No waste! The next night I discovered that my meat was rotten. It was the end of the week so I was working with little bit I managed to feed my husband leftovers and the boys and I had tater tots and chicken nuggets (the girl was gone). Not the greatest but no one went hungry and we didn’t spend extra money. Win!

    I read everyone’s comments every week. Thank you to everyone. You inspire me to keep going.

  • PJGT July 01, 2018

    Thank you, Brandy, for hosting this community. It's not everyone who is thrilled at the tiniest of frugalness, and I appreciate those who are! It's been a rather up-and-down 10 years together on my part. I've been frugal for the joy of it until a couple years ago when it became a necessity. That's when I realized the importance of this community. Having a group of like minded people supporting each other allowed me to carry on without giving into self-pity. Thank you everyone!

    This week I found a coffee table at the local habitat for humanity restore that is just perfect. We continue to downsize into our new house and it is a good feeling. I like that others can benefit from our excess...twice as we donate to a local church thrift shop.

    Saved a bunch of food from the landfill by visiting the local free food table. I like that I can use my skills to use up food on the verge of spoiling and save money at the same time.

    I found some change for the change jar, went ahead and canceled Amazon prime, redeemed 10 cents off a gallon for gas, and refurbished a wooden tool tray to hold some herb plants for the kitchen window.

    Happy frugal-ing!

  • Lorna July 01, 2018

    Hi Brandy and happy 10th Anniversary for your blog and you are an inspiration to us all on how life can be lived frugally and not expensively. I might add that we use a lot of your recipes on a day to day basis and find them brilliant :). How wonderful how so many blessings can come into our lives through the kindness of others.

    We had a good week here too still not up to full capacity yet after the flu but are feeling slowly better and more energetic and got a few things done.

    Our savings added up to $292.35 last week.

    Earnings -
    - Made $25.18 from the sale of a set of 4 curtain tieback cuffs and 70 g of dried sage picked from the gardens on the internet. I banked this into our emergency kitty saving us having to pay this from our pays.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased 2 bomber jackets from Aldi on special for winter gardening work, 3 Sherpa hoodies and 3 flannelette shirts for DH and 4 long sleeved t-shirts for myself from Big W saving $161.70 over purchasing them in other local stores.
    - Bought 4 packets of butter menthol's on special for the medical kit on special saving $2.
    - Redeemed $10 worth of FlyBuys points and purchased 4 tins of lychees with $1 OOP saving another $10.

    Finances and internet listings -
    - Listed 29 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $47.85 on usual listing fees.
    - Banked more money into our home and bank emergency kitties.
    - Saved more money for our home and land deposit bringing us up to 26.35% of the way there.

    Trades and or bartering -
    - Traded with a friend from another blog 100 g organic dried rosemary,55 g of dried thyme and 34 g English lavender flowers picked and dried from the gardens as well as excess 30 g oregano and 8 g tarragon in our pantry for 6 x 25 g lovely homemade natural lip balms and a around 50 g tin of Comfrey cream saving $40 over purchasing them in the local shops.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked a huge amount of thyme from the gardens we currently have drying on a mesh metal rack behind shade cloth on the veranda. We will keep some for us and sell the rest on the internet.
    - Separated 36 g of English and 33 g French flower buds from the gardens saving $5.62 over purchasing them.

    Other usual frugal things we did to save were -
    - Using vegetable washing, blanching and cooling and shower warm up water and some rain water tank water to water & fertilise some seeds and vegetables in the vegetable gardens. We are now on harsher water restrictions here as our local dam is getting low.
    - To water the lawns around the home we hand watered the lawns with saved grey water from our showers and washing machine as we use all biodegradable products. To add a tip to others on water restrictions or just saving water in general 1 lt of grey water waters 1 square metre of lawns or fruit trees so it goes a long way if you wash laundry a lot or shower over a bath in a week.
    - Used saved flannelette rags from old sheets I cut up for cleaning the car windows, shower screen and vanity mirrors with instead of using paper towel.
    - Washed out and reused clip seal plastic freezer bags to use for blanching and freezing more vegetables from the gardens. It is amazing how long they last usually about 4 - 5 uses each without having to buy more.

    Hope everyone has had an equally good week :).

    Sewingcreations15.

  • Jeriann Gist July 01, 2018

    Brandy, I’ve been a dedicated reader for 6 years. I have always been frugal and I share many of the same frugal habits as you but you have inspired me to be more careful in creating beauty in my home.

    This week I found a small wood chair for my entry way that I’ve wanted that will also add extra seating at my table when guests are here. Cost $3 and it did not need paint or repair only a good cleaning.

    We are still getting settling into our new home and most of my activities are home remodeling ,updating and landscaping. right now. I have a shrub, I think it is a Scarlett Pierris on the side of my house and I would like to have two others to make grouping of three. Well I found one on clearance for half price along with two hostas which I was thrilled to find because I love hostas and plan to have them in my new landscaping as I can afford to add them. So far this year I have purchased $300 worth of plants for $70 on clearance. Right now they are all thriving. Most of them are annuals. However I have been able to acquire a few perennials.

    Sprayed perimeter of house for bugs.

    Painted a Lego wall using tape to make a brick pattern then used sample paint mixed to match Legos. I already had yellow from a separate project but needed red, blue and green. I have 8x10 LEGO pictures in black frames that I hung in some of the painted blocks. Gave the wall dimension and really made the pictures look cool. Will be making a large 2x4 set of Jenna and will use these paints again. The sample containers were the cheapest way to get the colors I needed.

    Husband and son made a cabinet/shelf above our master toilet for storage. I painted it with paint I already had. Spray painted a unused handle to install on the cabinet door.

    Reusing curtain finials that we’re already in master bedroom. Previous owner had a swag but I have curtains with grommets that need a rod. So I’ll use the finials with a piece of electrical conduit for my rod. The window is 10’ wide so with everything painted white this will look very pretty for only $5 for the conduit.

    I have two boys that went to youth conference near our Temple. So my husband and I had a Temple date before we picked them up. That saved us an extra 1 hour round trip drive.

    Thank you for your blog it is my favorite and I look forward to all your posts.

  • Athanasia July 05, 2018

    Jeriann, what is a "2x4 set of Jenna" ?

  • Marybeth July 07, 2018

    I think it is supposed to be Jenga, it's a block game.

  • Anonymous July 01, 2018

    The first blog post I recall reading here had a photo of Ivory at about 6 months old, so it’s been a few years. I enjoy every post and every reader comment. The main thing I do to save money is stay home, too much temptation if I enter the stores too often. I am a widow and I shop monthly for groceries, pet food, etc. In June I challenged myself to a low spend month using up things already in the freezer and cupboards. I feel I did quite well and plan to do that at least a couple times a year going forward. I live in central CA so we get plenty of dry heat here just like Brandy although not quite to her extremes. Today it was 106 so I was quite happy to be inside where it was cool. I love to read and use the library and download free books from book bub. Thank you to Brandy for this blog and everyone who contributes regularly in the comments, I feel I know so many of you and your families from your writings.

  • Cathy July 01, 2018

    I'm so so glad you sat down at your computer 10 years ago and began this life's work, Brandy! Your blog has been a highlight of my week for years – I think your 7th was just a baby when I started reading, however long ago that was. I've learned so much and continue to learn from you and all those who comment here, always finding inspiration, encouragement and beauty.

    I've never posted my frugal accomplishments before – seems like by the time I finish reading all the other posters, it's already Tuesday and seems too late. But here goes, for the recent past:

    -We canceled SlingTV yesterday to save $29.95 a month. Something had to go and that was it.
    -We moved to a very rural area in the CA desert and our only option for internet was very slow for $50 a month. Two weeks ago we ditched that after setting up with a program called PCSForPeople, which offers unlimited 4GLTE on the Sprint network for $10/mo. if your income is less than 24K. For $260 we purchased a modem and a year of service, saving $340 over the year ahead! So far it's been reliable and slightly faster than our old internet service (though still ridiculously slow by cable/DSL standards). It seems like a decent option for anyone in an area with good Sprint data coverage.
    -We house- and pet-sat for two 4-day stretches for a friend two hours away, near the coast. Spent extra money on food and gas, but saved money on utilities at home (including missing a couple of super hot days here).
    -After being lazy for too long, I put in the time to make up a very detailed menu plan for July, synced with my supplies on hand and shopping plans, and resolved to follow it very strictly. Though I don't think we've been super extravagant on our spending for food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies (about $325 a month for 2 adults, 2 dogs, and occasionally my 21 year old son), I want to knock that down to $250. Sadly, we have to buy everything -- having mostly failed at our hydroponic gardening attempts this spring. What little we had -- a bean plant, a pepper plant, two tomato plants, and some transplanted grapes -- have been repeatedly savaged by wildlife. We snake- and rabbit-proofed our yards with 3 foot high 1/4-inch mesh fencing, but now there are birds and squirrels partaking. In the summertime, desert wildlife are relentless in their quest for water.
    -We also do the usual frugal things – hanging laundry, reusing bags, minding water and electricity usage, mending, fixing and improvising whatever we can.
    -One last thing – okay, a brag, because I recently found a use for something that I was wasting for a long time. Folks here convinced me to try POM from Sam's Club and we now use that exclusively, but it's always bothered me that each roll is wrapped individually. So wasteful! But then, during a lot of drama over a completely clogged sink drain, we resolved never to put a single glob of grease down that drain again. So we started wiping our plates into the trash using the tissue paper from the POM rolls. I cut each piece of wrapper into 4 pieces and it works great -- wipe once, then spray with vinegar, a second wipe-down, and dishes are grease free! (Ironically, it ended up not even being a grease clog – someone at some point had dropped a broom handle down the vent pipe, for cryin' out loud, which I discovered in the 90-degree elbow along with a bunch of crud when I finally disassembled the drain pipe outside the kitchen window. Problem solved frugally without a plumber!)

    Thanks again for this blog and to everyone who reads and comments here. I love this community. Have a fantastic anniversary celebration, Brandy.

  • Tina S. July 02, 2018

    The toilet paper I buy is also individually wrapped, and I use the wrappers for wiping grease out of pans. How funny that you do a similar thing!

  • Cathy July 02, 2018

    That is funny. FMTA = Frugal Minds Think Alike! :)

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