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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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  • Jenifer July 17, 2018

    That produce looks so delicious!
    My car died again. Thankfully AAA, with these 2 tows has paid for itself. Followed the car to the garage and confidently and politely asked for a loaner (since the problem came back after being there a month prior). They gave me a loaner and that saved a 5 day rental fee.
    I was thankful for that loaner, since I took on 2 house sitting jobs to help cover the cost of the previous car bill.
    Picked my first cucumbers from my garden. I took 5 tomato and zucchini plants (late planting) from a friend who over seeded. At the time I scrambled to find homes for them, they are finally producing and should be pickable in a week or two. My parents are retired with some health issues, so they hadn’t planted a garden this year. I plan to give them the pickings from those plants.
    Processed 1.5 lbs of dried beans into 9 pints. That equals to about 4 “free” extra cans, for the price of 5 cans at a discount grocery.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  • Dawn in the Deep South July 17, 2018

    For Heidi- I have the same caterpillars on my parsley, or what's left of it. According to my research, they are black swallowtails and we have been watching them grow bigger everyday. Hoping to see a lot of beautiful butterflies in the near future.

  • Heidi Louise July 18, 2018

    Dawn-- Yes! They look a lot like monarch caterpillars, which live on milkweed.

  • K July 17, 2018

    Such beautiful produce! I love looking at all the wonderful things you grow in your garden, Brandy : D

    Here are our frugal accomplishments for last week:

    * Made homemade bread, pizza, and lasagna to use in various dinners during the week.

    * I made the decision to not go grocery shopping last week and to use up what we had on hand- we're low or out of some items, but I figured I could make due until this week. One of those items was coffee- normally I throw grounds into a reusable k-cup and go with my keurig, but I had a small canister of instant coffee from making instant coffee mixes for Christmas from last year that I decided to use instead. Surprisingly, the instant coffee is much less bitter than my usual go-to, which means I can use less sweetener/creamer.

    * Both the SO and I signed up for library cards at our library (since we moved, we needed to get new cards as we were out of the old library's service range). This will allow my SO to get audio books to listen to on their long drive and allow me to access ebooks for my commute, as well as other library services. As a bonus, there's a branch only three blocks away from our apartment!

    * We had an impressive storm one night, so the SO and I rolled up the blinds and laid out in front of the window to watch the storm. There's something so impressive about big thunderstorms, they're so beautiful to watch.

    * We finally got people to RSVP to a game night we'll be hosting next week. The plan is to use our collection of card and board games to get a group of 4-8 people together once a month for fun activities (and potentially do a snack potluck or something if it turns out to be a success).

    * I ordered a tea from Adagio that was on sale, added a $5 first-time customer credit, and then got 2 free samples. All said and done, I paid under $5 for 3 oz and 2 samplers of some fun tea flavors that I can use to blend with other teas/flavorings I already have.

    * I continued to do my body-weight exercises for my physical therapy and ride my exercise bike to get in both strength training and cardio. It's fun seeing how much you can improve over time! The increased energy and reductions in pain and potential future health problems are great for improving one's quality of life without spending money.

    * I bought a few things from Target today with a gift card I had gotten for my birthday- I picked up extra sheets (we always seem to need these, LOL!) and a cold-brew coffee maker (that I think can also brew hot coffee if I so desire). Prompted by my love of iced coffee and also by my prior coffee discovery, I decided to purchase this (even though I could make due with other items) because I have wanted one for a long time, it was a very good price ($15), I had the gift card (I never shop at Target usually), and cold brew makes coffee that's far less acidic than regular brewing, meaning I'll save money on sweetener and creamer over time. I also bought a small deep fryer (I have always wanted to try deep frying, but filling any of my pots with oil would take well over a liter). All of this (and tax) came to just 26 cents over the value of my gift card, which I am totally fine with paying!

    * I picked up a quart of buttermilk- I plan to make rolls and pancakes with it, and supposedly you can make more buttermilk from leftover buttermilk by adding fresh milk to the jug and leaving it out overnight, so I'm going to experiment and see if that's the case. If so, I'll be able to have fresh buttermilk perpetually for the cost of the milk alone.

    * I bought a game from the Steam summer sale that I have played over 50 hours in. The game was only $12 on sale, so roughly 24c an hour for quality entertainment, and I'll probably get even more time out of it as there was a new update released today. I paid for it from money I have gotten from Verto Smart Panel, so it was no out-of-pocket cost to me.

    Wow! That was a lot! I hope everyone else had a good week!

  • Vicki Fisher July 17, 2018

    Our kitchen faucet started leaking under the sink, which meant we needed a new faucet. While we had to buy a new faucet, we removed the old faucet and installed the new one ourselves, saving a plumber's bill. My husband originally wanted to call a plumber, but I pushed him to try it , and even though it was frustrating at a few points, we did it.
    My daughter brought home a huge zucchini from work, and I made zucchini bread for us and some friends. From our garden, I picked raspberries, blackberries, lettuce, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard, kale, green beans, rhubarb, basil, and our first little cherry tomato. I have frozen raspberries and broccoli, and plan to dehydrate kale and cabbage. If I can collect enough, I will can a small batch of green beans.

  • Becky July 17, 2018

    I guess you could call this the week of zucchini! We have had a heat wave, and have been watering heavily. Thankfully, we have a well for watering in our back yard so we don't have to pay extra to water extra. The zucchini grew so rapidly that I believe I have harvested about 25 in the past 3 days. Yikes! I'm giving them to everyone who will take one, or 8, and made zucchini bread and gf zucchini muffins to feed the college age group at church tonight. I did a triple batch of the zucchini bread and a large batch of muffins, and only used 2 of them up, since one was oversized.

    I picked lots of lettuce and shared with relatives. It's so hot, it's going to bolt, and I have almost all of it cut and used now. There are tiny little plants that came up from my last planting, so there will be lettuce again before long. I am getting a few snow peas, a few tomatoes, basil, and tons of green onions. I got a couple of quarts of new potatoes, from plants that grew in the compost heap from scraps or rotten potatoes.

    We are given a budget for the meal when we cook for the college-aged group. We had salad bar with a taco salad option and a chef salad option. They could top the greens how they wanted with things like kidney beans, ham bits or taco meat, cherry tomatoes, and so forth. We also had deviled eggs, baked beans (from a can), and watermelon. We were able to come in well under budget by making the zucchini bread from the garden produce and cutting up things ourselves, making the eggs, etc.

    My husband got the monthly phone bill lowered by $35 by lowering our data plan and setting up auto-pay. He's working on other money-saving ideas. He has also been using his spare time (since he is working part-time this summer, so has more time than usual) to buy things for low prices at yard sales and is re-selling them. He is also listing and selling things he sorts out that we don't need. His hard work is paying off and things are starting to sell. We both worked extra hours on Monday that were not expected.

    Because we ended up taking my niece and nephew bowling that day, I quickly signed my daughter up for Kids Bowl Free, so she bowled for the cost of the shoe rental. Rob and I did not bowl, but instead really enjoyed the company of the kids. Two of my niece's friends were bowling, too, (2 boys) and they were so cute, and loved having Rob there--they wanted him to clap for their good scores, or bad ones, one showed him his wallet, and they told him all about everything as only special needs kids do...I have to say that was a very pleasant work afternoon.

    I canned 2 pineapples. I cooked at home all week, even when I did not want to.

    I wasn't going to shop this week, but could not pass up the 99c ice cream. I got vanilla, chocolate chip mint, and some others. We like this ice cream just fine.

    Pictures are here: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-july-15-2018/

    My car is still broken and in the shop. I have been staying home more, we are sharing the van, and I do have my nephew's old Mazda to drive if it's a crisis. I have a certain amount of driving I have to do, such as to and from work sometimes. If I have the kids here, their family brings them, and we take them home, so no one has to pay for all the gas themselves.

    We attended a comedian/magicanl at the library.

    We got books and movies while were there.

  • Renee July 18, 2018

    We paid off our home this week! - 20 years early! We haven't taken vacations, every bonus and tax returns has gone straight to it along with any extra each month. We owe no man anything but to love!

  • Patricia Koernig July 18, 2018

    Congratulations, Renee!!!!!! What freedom!!

  • Renee July 18, 2018

    Thanks, Patricia, it *is* a good feeling!

  • DonnaMarie July 19, 2018

    Congratulations! Twenty years early is an amazing accomplishment.

  • Marybeth July 19, 2018

    That is amazing! Congratulations.

  • Marcia R. July 20, 2018

    Excellent job! Congratulations on that. You will reap the benefits of much cheaper housing for years to come.

  • PJGT July 21, 2018

    Congratulations!!! So very happy for you!

  • Mary July 21, 2018

    That is awesome! Congrats!!

  • Cate July 23, 2018

    I read this to my husband and we both rejoiced for you. How wonderful! With God behind us, we can do anything,

  • Jenny July 25, 2018

    Woo hoo!!!

  • Fran from Atlanta July 18, 2018

    Brandy, the grapes and tomato salad look delicious!

    Frugal updates:
    Replaced seven incandescent ceiling light bulbs in kitchen with LED bulbs
    Used Kroger points to save .50 a gallon on gas
    Stayed under budget for weekly grocery run
    Mended small tears in mattress pad to prolong its life
    Sewed close several pin holes in cotton tee shirt
    Took grandson on a ride on public transit (MARTA train) for summer fun; he doesn't live on the transit line and enjoys navigating the stations. We had hamburgers for lunch near one stop and ice cream at another. The senior fare is only $1.

  • Lynne July 18, 2018

    Enjoying reading all the comments over a cup of coffee this morning ( homemade of course). I think the theme this week for me was you sometimes have to spend to save.

    I always drop into an op shop on my way to work on a Wednesday and yesterday the deli opposite was closing down and had lots for sale. I spent $30 but came away with 2 x 2.5,kilo tins of tomatoes ( tins are those lovely Italian one’s so I am going to repurpose them as pot planters when they are emptied), jars of olives, artichokes, curry pastes, pesto, Passata, sauces which will all add a lot of flavour to my cooking.

    I also bought a new slow cooker from Aldi and I hope meals might be a bit tastier. Does anyone have any tips on using slow cookers?

    My son will work 2 shifts in his uncle’s motorcycle repair shop this week while he is on school holidays which will give him some cash, and hopefully a better insight into whether the automotive trade is where he wants to head in the next couple of years.

  • DonnaMarie July 19, 2018

    I have at least one slow cooker meal each week. Usually on Thursday so that leftovers are available for Saturday. There are many slow cooker tips and recipes on the internet. My Tip: Do not set the slow cooker directly on your countertop. I always place my slow cooker on top of a large cutting board which sits on my countertop. Several years ago, I forgot to do this and the heat/steam from the slow cooker damaged my countertop. Enjoy!

  • Ltnne July 20, 2018

    Yikes just put a board under it now! I’m sitting beside it while it cooks our first meal of lamb shanks.

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