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Frugal Accomplishments for the Second Week in July

Grapes in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I collected eggs from my friend's chickens and picked cucumbers, a few green beans, and tomatoes from her garden.

I canned a batch of dill pickles from the cucumbers.

July Harvest The Prudent Homemaker 

I harvested grapes, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and figs from my garden.

In the garden, I sowed seeds for red noodle beans, red zinnias, white zinnias, Genovese basil, Thai basil, Dark Siam basil, carrots, Chinese lanterns (hoping that this time they grow!), and parsley. It's much later than I normally sow seeds in the garden for these things, but many of my seeds did not come up earlier, or came up only to be eaten by bugs, so I am trying again. 

While weeding, I found a few carrots that had grown in one spot from seed dropping from carrots in my garden. I carefully dug them and replanted them where they could grow larger.

Grapes in Basket 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I took cuttings from two sweet potato vines to root in water to make new plants. These are a decorative vine; they do not make sweet potatoes. I took short cuttings from the tips of the plants (about 4-5 inches long) and took off the bottom leaves. Where the leaves were, the plants began to root in water after 4 days. Later in the week, I took additional cuttings from the other type of sweet potato vine to root as well. I plan to transplant these to pots in my white garden. These are an annual that does better in  more mild and humid climates than here (I saw them growing quite large and beautiful in the sun in Missouri a couple of years ago) but here they need a bit of protection from the sun to keep the leaves from burning to a crisp.

We had a very humid week. This is "monsoon season" here, but I think it would be more appropriately named, "cloudy season" as there is not much rain. We got a tiny bit of rain on Monday night, but it was enough that I was able to leave the drip irrigation and sprinklers off on Tuesday. The clouds bring lots of humidity, and they brought the temperature down below 100° for several days. I took advantage of the cloudy, cooler (only 96°F/35°C and humid!) days and worked in the garden doing lots of weeding. I put an ice cream bucket under the drip from the air conditioning; when it is humid like it has been this past week, I can collect several gallons of water from it each day, which I used to water pots on my patio along with water I collected in a bucket while waiting for the shower to warm.

I purchased some dahlia tubers online on 50% off clearance with free shipping.

I purchased some children's clothes online that were on sale and clearance that were not much more than local thrift-store prices.

I gave my two older sons a haircut. My husband and I cut his hair.

I went to purchase chicken on sale earlier this week and the store was out of it, so I got a raincheck.

Tomato Salad The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Marybeth July 19, 2018

    I'm a lot crazy then. I garbage picked 3 dozen mason jars the other day. They are in great shape and I will put them to good use with canning my garden produce.

  • AndreaG July 17, 2018

    Brandy, your grapes look delicious! We had a pretty average week here. Hung laundry outside to dry. Ate all our meals at home. We did have a treat when we went to the mall on Satruday but used a gift card to pay for it. I had $25 in Amazon cards so I bought some more baking supplies: flour, cocoa, and baking powder which will last us for a bit. We have dinner with my mom every Sunday and she sent home leftovers that we have been enjoying. I also rolled $7 in coins at my Mom’s that will be added to savings. I am working on a long-term savings account for my son as he is 15 and disabled. I don’t know what benefits will be available to us when he turns 18 so I am thinking ahead. I received two beauty samples to add to my collection. I have a large basket full of free samples that I am slowly working down.

    It has finally cooled down here so we are enjoying having the windows open and letting the breeze in after days of air conditioning.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely, frugal week!

  • Maxine July 21, 2018

    Andrea, depending on the severity of your son's disability, he will likely become eligible for Medicaid when he is 18. This will pay his medical and Rx costs as well as special training, etc. He will also be eligible for Supplemental Social Security (SSI) which will provide a monthly income. He MAY be eligible for those benefits before he is 18. Google "Katie Beckett" and you'll find out how to apply and what he might receive. My daughter began receiving Medicaid (but not SSiI under Katie Beckett when she was 16 or 17, even though our income was higher than is normally allowed for minor children. Also, if you save too much money for him, you will likely have to exhaust those savings before he is eligible for Medicaid. There is a limit on the assets he is allowed to have. I believe it is $2,000.

    Also note Lilli's post about her Sugar Cookie. She is able to get Amazon Prime in her daughter's name for $6 month. You can also get a lifetime pass for the National Parks for your son, and the whole family can use it when he is present. It is called the Golden Access pass (Google it) and it also allows for 50% discounts at federal recreation areas (think campsite and boat launch fees).

  • Ellie's friend from Canada July 17, 2018

    My income has now been cut by $300.00 per month. So I'm sitting inside (having retreated from the hot sun and having a siesta). I spent $100 more than usual on utilities so that I could deep water the huge spruce trees. I have never seen a clematis wilting from heat before so I watered it, too. My cherry crop failed. The blooms opened when it was too cold for pollinators so I ought to have pollinated them by hand. The little garden failed. My gardener put a cover over it to protect it from the baby hares (I hear "lapin" is delicious! - just joking) but nothing grew. On the bright side, a friend brought me some Swiss chard. I go tomorrow to the insurance brokers to renegotiate the policy. Somehow they have on my file a claim for a boat –– I've never owned a boat so we'll fix that. Trying not to spend money as I don't have it to spend.

  • Lea July 17, 2018

    Ellie's friend from Canada, So sorry your income has been cut and that your garden didn't succeed.
    Best wishes in negotiating with the insurance - unfortunately, that type of thing happens fairly often - my dad and my cousin have the same first two initials and the same last name and mix ups happen often. Maybe it's something similar with your case - similar name, same birth date, etc. Hopefully it's an easy fix!

    So glad you have friends who will share their bounty with you and hopefully and cuppa and conversation too.


  • ellie's friend from Canada July 18, 2018

    Thanks Lea,

    I spent two hours at the insurance broker's today. I had obtained comparison quotes from other companies for the same coverage. One I would have switched to but I read the comments online and the comments were so negative! The boat claim was corrected. I pointed out that a rider I have should mean no renewal fee. After consultation with 4 senior adjusters, they all agreed with me. In the end, I kept a $500 deductible, (low deductible) –– an option which will be not available in the future due to all of the increase in weather-related claims, have a much better policy for $500 less than billed for last week. It pays to negotiate, examine the policy, etc. Now in Canada, insurance companies are depreciating
    the value ora roof according to age. I also compared the depreciation formula of other companies. I also realized that my roof is a weather resistant roof and that changes the outcome for the better. Still, my original policy was better. So I'm glad to have saved the $500 from the total cost. Ann

  • margie from Toronto July 19, 2018

    Good going! I turn 65 in September and I've already decided which companies to call to ask for a discount - and my Insurance Co. is top of the list. I'm going to go through my policy and double-check everything and then I'm going to get some quotes from competing companies just to see what I can come up with! If you don't ask - you don't get!

    My income will also be dipping come October so going to spend next week getting my resume out there for some part-time work. I'm a bit limited on what I can do because of mobility issues but we'll see what's out there! I don't want full-time and I don't need benefits so I hope that helps since so many companies don't want to pay this sort of things anymore. Each month is a challenge isn't it? Have a good week.

  • ellie's friend from canada July 19, 2018

    Hi Margie,

    It is useful to get estimates from more than one company using similar amounts and use it as a learning experience to complete a list of what coverage types to get. After all the recent weather events/catastrophes, we have to think more about things which were unheard of before –– overland flooding, seepage, sewer backup, wind, hail, roof depreciation. On mine I have a rider that costs $10 which covers accidental window breakage. I am surrounded by large trees so it is not impossible to have a tree fall and break a window, or a large bird fly through. This year, ice dams caused a lot of roof damage. A cousin had to have a whole new roof and carpets replaced due to an ice dam. Cost them $20,000. Sometimes separate riders have advantages. The rider for my camera has no deductible, and does not count as a claim. Worth the money. I believe in trying to foresee all possibilities and not skimping on insurance. Also important is to document things. Since we get a lot of hail here, I periodically have my roof inspected to document that it is in good shape. Photos of items also help. I was scared to death of an ice dam while I was staying at my friend's home but within 2 days it had melted.

    I had hoped to work part-time as the church receptionist but they decided not to have one.
    I have degrees but now you have to have really specific certificates. It is sad because with a small amount extra each month I could scrape by. It is probably better if I don't work due to health issues.

    Have a great weekend. I hope the temperature is cooler.

  • Lea July 21, 2018

    What a lovely success at the insurance brokers! I was praying for you (I hope you don't mind).

    I read your reply to Margie below. Is there something you could do from home? Just a thought.

    May I keep praying for you,

  • Jen G July 17, 2018

    I love hearing about everything you are doing in your garden and look forward to working on my own (smallish) garden when we move next month. But for now...

    Living Frugally in Urban Seattle

    - My youngest son has attended free art and writing camps for the past three weeks, put on by local nonprofits, and he's loving them! One of the side benefits of living in a large city. I don't even have to drive him! He rides his bike to and from.

    - We've been entertaining ourselves with local hikes, bike rides, lots of swimming in our neighborhood lake, and beachtime on the Sound. Last Saturday was lowest tide of the year, so we went to our neighborhood beach and looked at all of the sea creatures that were suddenly visible. I will miss this magical city on the sea!

    -A friend of my husbands dropped off leftover hamburgers and hotdogs and buns from a work-related bbq event, enough to feed us for a week! Such a treat! We've been grilling every night and between that gift and eating through our pantry ahead of the move, we spent $20 on groceries last week - definitely a low for us!

    - I received moving boxes and also a wooden silverware holder through my Buy Nothing group. I've always had cheap plastic silverware holder, and it makes me happy to look in my silverware drawer now! I've been giving away a TON of things on Buy Nothing --- everything from toys to clothes to bookcases. It definitely feels good to give back to neighbors after being gifted so many things over the past few years here.

  • Laurie in AZ July 17, 2018

    I am envious of everyone's garden hauls! We had a garden 5 years ago when we lived in Vancouver, WA, but since we have been back to Phoenix we have not been able to plant one. Maybe next year!

    Here are my accomplishments:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Worked 10 hours contract work.
    • I joined Weight Watchers last month. They have a program where if you refer someone both of you get a free month. 2 of my friends also signed up so I get 2 months free.
    • Only ate out twice. Once at our weekly trivia night and was able to use a gift certificate we had won on a previous night. The second time was for a fundraiser for my niece, who has Down Syndrome, who won a local beauty pageant and is travelling to Chicago for the National event. Also, hubby and I brought our lunches to work.
    • Defrosted, organized and inventoried my freezers.
    • Got cherries for 97c/lb and froze about a gallon ziplocs worth, in addition to eating a lot fresh. Also got apricots for 75c/lb and peaches for 75c/lb. Since I’m trying to eat up what is in the pantry and freezers, I have only really been buying fresh fruits and veggies and dairy, so grocery bill hasn’t been as high.
    • Had previously bought a year’s worth of contact lenses from Costco. They had changed my prescription, but after using them for about 2 months, I felt that the new prescription wasn’t right. They took back the unopened boxes and also replaced the 2 months worth that I used.
    • I had enrolled in the summer reading program at the library. I’ve earned a gift certificate for a free entrée at Rubios, a round of miniature golf and a free children’s book. My nephew and his wife are having a baby and have requested a book from everyone for their shower, so I chose a book to send to them.
    • As previously posted, my brother-in-law recently passed away. My husband and I flew to Iowa and helped my sister sort through all his tools etc. so she could send them to be auctioned off. My sister said to take whatever we wanted, so we acquired a couple of power tools for ourselves and a brad nailer for our daughter. He would be happy to know that they were being used by people who appreciated them. She also is downsizing and gave me a couple of tablecloths that she won’t need anymore.
    • The house we bought in October didn’t have window coverings. We love the look of shutters but couldn’t justify the cost. Instead my husband framed out all of the windows (they previously didn’t have any framing, just bullnosed) and we bought wood blinds from Blinds.com. We are happy with the look and saved a lot of money over getting shutters.
    • My husband’s cousin-in-law passed unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. They requested people bring food to the gathering after the memorial service on Saturday. I made brownies with ingredients I had on hand.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates and had someone sign up with my code.
    • Got another Agatha Christie book from the library.
    • Got a free candy bar with the Friday Freebie.

    Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

  • I July 17, 2018

    Received a couple of gift cards this week-one from my daughter's friend who visited for a few days and one from Canadian Tire as my husband had to go back and have something redone on the car and I suggested he ask for one for the inconvenience.

  • C July 17, 2018

    I wonder if you can eat the sweet potato leaves even if they are a decorative vine? My mom planted sweet potatoes and while we are waiting for them to grow, we are harvesting some of the younger, tender leaves for a stir fry. They're very delicious!

  • Kim July 17, 2018

    Hi Brandy.
    Love all your produce photos this week.

    We did well on the frugal front. One of the neighbors on our street put out a real wood 5 drawer upright dresser for free so we picked that up right away. Real wood is so hard to find and so expensive. I plan to sand it down and paint it and probably put some new hardware on it. My daughter has said she could really use it and my son said if she didn't want it he could use it so I am very glad I picked it up.
    We went to a garage sale and on the way out there was a free pile. There was this rusty, curved metal thing and I asked to make sure it was free and they said yes so I took it home, wire brushed all the rust off it and spray painted it a metallic black, turned it upside down and placed it in my gravel patio and it holds two pots of flowers and looks awesome. I had bought the can of spray paint about a month ago on sale for $4. It is a high quality spray paint so I am hoping it will hold up to our Pacific Northwest winters.
    We went berry picking and got enough blackberries to make another pie.
    I went shopping at HobbyLobby and picked up a platter with a pineapple design on it for 90% off- it costs me $1.49 and will be a Christmas gift for my son. I will place some of his favorite snack food on the tray and wrap it in clear cellophane. (he loves pineapple so will appreciate the design). I know he needs platters because he frequently borrows mine when he is going to parties.
    I recently took my mom shopping and she purchased hair clips for her great-grand-daughters at $3.99 for 4 clips. HobbyLobby had a pack of 4 clips for $1.99 and 66% off that price so I purchased 2 packs for my mom to have on hand when she is caring for the girls.
    Finally, I needed some spray matte sealer and used a 40% off coupon at LobbyHobby for that.
    While we were out berry picking, I noticed a downed tree branch that had tiny cones on it. I picked off the tiny cones that were growing in little clusters and will use those as present toppers for Christmas gifts. (the tree branch was dead).

    My husband and I have volunteered to care for the local elementary school garden during the summer while school is out. We have been watering and weeding. They are growing strawberries, potatoes, garlic, peas and a few other things. We plan to surprise them by planting a few fall crops such as more garlic, fall lettuces and whatever else we come up with. We are hoping to have everything weeded and looking very nice for them when school starts again in September. The school cooks use the produce in the school lunch program so they literally eat what they grow. I think I have already harvested enough garlic out of their garden for almost a year's worth of school lunches. It is currently drying and will be ready for use when school starts again.

    Feeling productive, frugal and happy.

  • Kim in Florida July 17, 2018

    Last week I needed a new misto. I was all set to go buy one and I remembered that I gave my mom one for a present seven or eight years ago and she hasnt taken it out of the box yet. I asked her if I could buy it. She gave it to me, saving me about $10. We had some exciting news over the weekend. We now have a contract on "the money pit." We are supposed to close August 31. I had been saving like crazy because I thought we were going to need to evict our tenants from hell and anticipated being without rental income for several months. I was taking the extra savings and when I had enough for a mortgage payment, I'd pay it. September is already paid. I'm going to keep saving what I can so that we can increase our down payment on a new house. I did extremely well on amazon and ebay last week and the flea market on Sunday. Instead of putting my flea market money in the savings account, I paid off one credit card and put the rest on another. Last week I got a few bags of french fries free from ibotta. We're eating them and still eating the turkey burgers from the week before. I think I may go back to the $50 a week grocery budget so that we can save more money. It is doable......I just like having a big variety of fresh fruit and veggies.

  • Liz July 17, 2018


    We had a fun frugal week here! Below are the highlights:
    - We attended a Colorado Rockies baseball game for free with tickets from VetTix.org. It is a cool organization that gives unfilled seats for events to veterans and their families. It was a fun game and I had not been there before, nor my husband.
    - We attended Vacation Bible School at the church all last week. This made for frugal fun and my son and I volunteered while my daughter attended.
    - I bought a food co-op box that had over $100 of food in it for $25. Plus I had an add on for $10 which was 70 plus chicken patties. This food is ready to go so we have to preserve it quick. I froze a lot of bread, cheese, bananas, meat, and buns. There were lots of snacks, veggies, salad, carrots and much more. Check if your area has a food co-op, it is well worth it!
    - My garden is growing in I have been able to pick swiss chard, spinach, beets and herbs. I am waiting on peppers, tomatoes, squash and zucchini! I am excited!
    - My son went to church camp for free this week since I work at the church.
    - I did some more freebies which on my blog here: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/07/16/freebies-today-7-16-18/
    - I have been giving more water and food to my chickens since it is so hot here!
    I think that is about it besides cooking meals, watering the garden, trying not to waste food or resources.
    God Bless,

  • April July 17, 2018

    Some frugality, some not(seems to be the theme around here most of the time, lol)

    My mom sent over some food she wasn't going to eat...a big ham steak , pack of chicken legs, chips, and onions

    I purchased 2 marked down whole chickens and 2 packs of ground chicken

    Finally got the big dogs switched over to a different dog food. If they start getting itchy, I'll put them back on the $45 a bag stuff.

    The boy turned 19. He didn't want a big party. So we went out to eat(NOT cheap, but he and hubby had leftovers the next day), had carrot cake, and we got him a lock box for his gun and the 11yo picked out candy for him.

    Stayed home except for work.

    Used redbox rewards to rent a movie free one night.

    Hubby's boss sent us a couple dozen eggs from his chickens

  • Tina July 17, 2018

    I have not posted in several weeks but want to say how much I enjoyed the 10 year anniversary entry and all the comments. I feel lucky to be part of this community of positive, uplifting, inspirational folks. I love the simplicity and joy I feel from you all. I appreciate the time you take to comment and the time that Brandy spends in posting us. Thank you Brandy for starting this blog. When we have had hard times, it has helped us through…and offered comfort.

    Now…on to my frugal accomplishments these last few weeks:

    • Purchased 5 dozen eggs at a fabulous price while on sale; also purchased butter at $1.99
    • Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda rather than purchasing cleaners
    • I’ve done a major review and reset of our annual budget and planned ahead for next year. While I wish the bottom line were better, at least I know the path before us and can plan accordingly now! I’m also starting zero-based budgeting to see how that works for us to better save. Had a very honest conversation with my husband about spending habits and budgets. It was uncomfortable during the conversation and for a few days after…but we are more on the same page now.
    • I’m working to replenish some items in our pantry stockpile…and eating down a very full freezer.
    • I’ve had fun using all the little bits of leftovers in creative ways…and if I can’t find a way to integrate it, I’m freezing it. Recently, we enjoyed a simple meal off all the little bits from the freezer: rice, broccoli, chicken, breakfast sausage patty, cauliflower and combined it all with a can of cream of mushroom soup. Yummy simple meal!
    • Attended a free concert
    • I’ve enjoyed watching my girls create a recipe…pumpkin cookies. They really came out more like pumpkin muffins. Their first experiment turned out like rubber, the 2nd try was better, and the 3rd try was pretty good. I love that they are experimenting and learning how different ingredients react in recipes. I LOVE that they can cook already at the ripe old age of 12. It is skill that will serve them well!
    • I tried cooking red beans in the crockpot but let them cook too long. In the past, I would have thrown them out (eeek!). I simply mashed them up. With a little cumin and salt/pepper, they went well in some quesadillas.
    • Washed and re-used ziplocks
    • Checked out videos from the library
    • After a bout where our electricity went off, I’ve started considering whether or not I “need” to turn on lights as I enter a room. Sometimes it is just habit and I really don’t need the lights…the light from the window is just fine. For example, if I take a shower in the early evening, I don’t have to turn on the lights or if I’m walking into a room to pick up a couple of items, I may not really need the light. I’m not advocating for austerity but it has been really empowering to know that I don’t always HAVE to turn on the lights.
    • Purchased local grown blueberries at a good price
    • Was gifted blueberries from a friend (a gallon’s worth!) and made blueberry coffee cake as a treat!
    • Have received 2 candy bars as freebies I the store. These I’m putting up for the stocking as the candy keeps well.
    • Started my Christmas gift list so I can begin watching for sales
    • Found bread at 25 cents a loaf at the Bread Store! A little sad that I had room in the freezer for only 2 loaves! But I’m glad for the full freezer on the other hand.
    • Cashed in grocery points for gas and purchased gas for under $2/gallon
    • Free Tide after a sale and coupons!

  • Marybeth July 19, 2018

    You could make your own breadcrumbs with bread that cheap.

    We follow Dave Ramsey's plan. It was hard at the beginning but after 4 years Hubby and I are much better off in our finances and our marriage. Good luck.

  • PJGT July 21, 2018

    I understand exactly about not turning lights on. It is do different between my husband and myself. I was raised in a high electric cost area and find that I still utilize those skills after all these years...milk or cream is poured into a pitcher to use for coffee so as to not open the fridge door so often. Lights were turned off when not in use. Room lighting was almost never used as individual lights were turned on when needed. The TV wasn't left on. The dryer was used minimally (we iron). I love electricity, but do conserve. It's ingrained.

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