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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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  • Darcy July 19, 2018

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    A co-worker of mine gave me a large yellow squash. I sliced it thinly, sauteed it in a little butter, and topped it with Parmesan cheese. I can honestly say it was the best thing I ate all week.

    Our granddaughters, who are 9 and 7, came over for a few hours on Sunday. We made pillows from fabric I had on hand and it was the first time they had ever used the sewing machine. They had lots of fun and were very proud of their accomplishments.

    My husband grilled a whole chicken and since the grill was ready to go, he also cooked a pork roast. That will save us lots of time in the kitchen and whatever is left over will go in the freezer for future meals.

    I made a list for the grocery store and Walmart and only bought what was on the list.

    I joined the library’s summer reading program. I requested library books from my list to be put on hold and picked them up. I rarely buy books anymore unless I find them at thrift stores, yard sales, or my library bookstore, and they must be books I will read or refer to again and again.

    Two of our son-in-laws came over and helped my husband get rid of some heavy items in our basement. My husband then organized and cleaned the basement. Wow, what an improvement. Our goal is to paint the basement and make a work-out area.

  • Elizabeth July 19, 2018

    1. I have been doing a grocery challenge where I have been shopping at Aldi first and then filling in the missing items at Kroger. So far I am saving $40 a week by simply switching grocery stores and trying to be more aware of my budget....it creeps up on me:)
    2. Found swim trunks and nice dress shirts for my son at the thrift store for $2 each
    3. Lined my grill's bottom pan with aluminum foil because it has rusted thru and I really do not want to replace it
    4. Bought 100lbs of beef from my dad for the family rate of $2.50 per pound
    5. Saved $100 by enrolling my son in a group swim class instead of taking private lessons

  • Jessica July 19, 2018

    I started a new job about a month ago. It’s been a great job and I’m really enjoying it. I’m making more money than my old job and I’m actually working less hours per year. However, my old job allowed me the entire summer off. Now I have to work 20 hours per week. So that has limited the time I have to garden. It has also been a terrible garden year here. It’s been so hot with little rain. This is all affecting my garden quite a bit. My squash looks terrible. But at least it can ripen off the vine if they die completely. My tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and peppers looks great. I’ve already pulled a lot of good sized onions, too. My green beans are looking good, too. I’m hoping my potatoes, squash, melons, and broccoli pull through.

    We’ve been putting as much extra on our mortgage as we can. I’m still receiving paychecks from my previous job until August 15th. And I’m now getting paid from my new job, so it’s been like getting double paychecks. My old job also has to buy out my unused vacation time. We’re almost to 50% done with our mortgage.

    Well get to cancel my husbands health insurance next month since he can now be on the health insurance at my work for a much more reasonable price. We should save about $330 a month!

    Beyond that, it’s been same old stuff. We’ve canned a lot of green beans and pasta sauce. We’re trying to eat as much from the garden as we can.

    I also needed 2 legal filing cabinets. The legal sized cabinets were very expensive! I figured it would be about $600 for the cabinets. No way was I doing that! So I found some crates at Walmart that hold legal sized hanging file folders. They were $3.47 each and I had to buy 10 of them. It’s a little more inconvenient to have to unstack them when I need something from the bottom, but I can deal with it for $560 in savings!

  • Sue July 19, 2018

    Thank you Brandy for creating this wonderful place to learn frugal living skills from so many.
    I found a great bargain on carrots this week. I like to make carrot applesauce muffins and am wondering if I can just shred the carrots and toss them in the freezer? Will they be ok? Thank you.

  • Heidi Louise July 20, 2018

    Sue: I have frozen shredded carrots with no problem. I measure them out in the amounts I use for carrot cake and mark the bags as such, (two cups, etc.).
    This is the only time I use the Salad Shooter I received as a gift many years ago, to shred carrots and chop walnuts all at once. Freezing not only saves extra carrots, it means I only have to clean the machine once.
    Your muffins sounds great!

  • Sue July 20, 2018

    Thanks Kim , Ann & Heidi

  • Kim July 20, 2018

    Try adding some shredded carrots to youride spaghetti sauce. It adds a delicious swetress with no added sugar. Cooked long enough, you never see them!

  • Ann July 19, 2018

    Sue: Yes, you can grate carrots and put in freezer, I do it all the time and put about a cup in a small baggie and use them for carrot/pineapple/jello salad, In fact I just found a good deal on carrots at Aldi this week and got several bags and I intend to grate them and mix with about 3/4 cup pineapple and l cup carrot and freeze for salad, all ready for the gelatin, . and can stretch a 20 oz can of pineapple to four salads.

  • Marcia R. July 20, 2018

    Frugal week for us, finally. We do have some expenses coming up that we didn't foresee, but we will have to deal with them. The cat needs dental work--the estimate is $800-1100 but if we don't do it now, it could be more expensive later. That is what we get for adopting cats who are FIV+. More infections to deal with but if you take good care of them, it really doesn't shorten their life, or not by much anyhow. Our last cat was 13 and died of cancer but was FIV+ as well.

    I got sour cherries for the freezer--already pitted--for $2.70 a lb. I know that's more than 99 cents a pound that someone else paid but I snap up every bargain I find, and that's the place for cherries. The farm is about a mile and half down the road and they order them from Michigan and you get your name on the list and everyone picks them up the same day. 30 pounds are $57, which is $1.90 a pound, but it's also a LOT of cherries for 2 people!! Maybe next year I'll find 2 people to share them with and get the price down for all of us. I don't always use them all in one year but my husband's doctor would like to see him gain some weight, so pie is something I know he will always eat! He has also started drinking more orange juice lately, so I just buy half a gallon a week now, and if the fridge gets too crowded, we have a glass of juice. We originally limited it to Sunday morning breakfast for the most part, because I need to WATCH calories so I don't gain too much. Drinking water instead of sodas, juices, etc. is saving calories and money both. I will have to make sure the majority of the oj is HIS. I love it too.
    The past two weeks the grocery specials have been unimpressive to me, so I haven't spent a lot of money either week. Less the beer which husband enjoys, I only spent about $22 on food. Had a $4 coupon off 2 shampoos which we were OUT of, and were on special for 2/$7. It was the last day to use the coupon too! I add up the savings from my coupon and "sale" items every week--well the store receipt does most of it--but I generally save 20-30% EVERY week, and that is using store coupons and manufacturer's coupons, the latter of which have been a bit sparse lately! I did spent $7 at the farm stand as well--corn on the cob, a huge tomato, and a canteloupe. Easy meals with corn on the cob--some kind of meat in a bun, and we're happy! That's a gourmet meal in our book.
    Met with social worker to find housekeeping help since husband's dementia diagnosis has me finding things he loses for half the day, plus his medication causes him to NOT feel like "mowing the lawn" he says. Neither of the agencies she gave me come out as far as where we live, so I'm going to be stuck with finding recommendations on line. If he's not going to help at all, I will be spending more to get his jobs done too. Never very outgoing, he is becoming more withdrawn, even though I have been encouraging him to do things with me. I may be joining a caregivers group and see if I can pick up some helpful hints there. He will still set the table and make the bed but he's stopped doing a lot of other things.
    Tonight I am roasting one of my recent bargains: a 50 cent a pound roasting chicken. It's a bit over 5# which is a lot for 2 people also, so I will be pushing chicken over the next few days! We don't care for it much after freezing and defrosting once it's cooked, although if necessary I will put a sauce on it or use in a casserole to use it up.

  • Becky July 20, 2018

    Take it from someone who spent hours pitting her cherries--that part alone is amazing and worth more money than getting them with the pits still in them. I'm glad you could get them. With all you need to do for your husband, it's wonderful that you could save some time there. You are going to have to pick and choose if you have to do more work some areas. Likely, you will continue looking for shortcuts in others. It just makes sense. I hope you can get some housekeeping help.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada July 21, 2018

    Sour cherries are so good for you! My friend who has 8 trees in her backyard uses the frozen cherries in milkshakes. So delicious and it would put weight on your husband. I have just finished the last package of mine. I don't put sugar on them as I don't want to gain wait. Last year my friend gave me all of hers and it took me 3 solid days to pit them all. You got a bargain!

  • Heidi Louise July 22, 2018

    If the pits are (I am guessing) about a quarter of the weight of cherries, you saved about 70-90 cents a pound by not having to pay for that part you would have just thrown away. They don't even compost well.

  • http://Robbie at Use Resources Wisely July 20, 2018

    Your produce and pictures are beautiful as always!

    Took 1/2 days with the kids this week. Much needed though I was not nearly as productive as I had hoped.

    Pulled together 3 boxes of donations for a fundraising sale for a member of our church.
    Harvested pint of cherry tomatoes.
    Added bag of compost to the garden that I found when I started cleaning out the garage. Oops.
    Checked out museum pass at library.
    Found lots of supplies that we can use as school supplies while cleaning up. Taking those half used notebooks and turning into looseleaf paper.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada July 20, 2018

    I was talking to a friend today and she is going to a shower for a woman in her thirties. The bride has worked and has many things which usually would be received as wedding or shower presents. So they are having a "pantry shower" for her to stock up a pantry. I thought this was a really great idea! My friend is taking cake mixes. Not an expensive gift but a welcome one, I'm sure.

  • Julia K. July 21, 2018

    I've eaten ornamental sweet potato tubers before. The texture was a bit drier, more like a baking potato. Not bad with enough butter and some salt and sugar. They're the same species as the ones bred for eating.

  • These don't make anything under the ground that you can eat. They only make leaves and have a small, regular root like a flower; there are no tubers.

  • Susan July 21, 2018

    We had a garage sale and made $370. Leftovers went to the curb. It feels amazing to be rid of the clutter, as we are preparing our house for sale. We bought a used light fixture off of FB marketplace and bought a new ceiling fan on sale. Moved a light fixture to another location. DH installed the light fixtures. Ordered new countertops, measuring them ourselves, although stressful but should save at least half off. Hopefully the installation won’t be a disaster. Trying to use up pantry items, made orange cranberry muffins with an old can of cranberries and taboleh for a party with buhlgur.

  • Tammy July 22, 2018

    My husband has been on sick leave for a couple of months now due to an injury. I feel blessed that he has pay during this time but his sick leave and vacation will run out by September, I believe. Then, I don't know. My job is sporadic. Sometimes 40 hours. Sometimes nothing. Sometimes something in between. On a good note. My husband has had time to write his music. His music really is very good. Hoping that he can do something with it soon. He also has a beautiful voice. Although we are both sick at this time. Hubby can't stop coughing. I'm getting better. We still took time to watch the sunset at a nearby lake yesterday. It seemed to calm us as we sat in the car and talked about out dreams. Even though I've been afraid of our financial situation, I'm excited about my husband's music. I'm hopeful.
    Been trying to save so we can pay our taxes in November on the house. And just pay bills. So this is what we have done.
    Gone to food pantries to spread our food budget.
    Cooked at home.
    Brought food with us when going to town, or shopped at grocery store for meals.
    Borrowed books and movies from the library.
    Date nights at home, watched free movies, watched the sunset, sunrise on the back of my hubby's truck, Fed chicken's together, picked vegetables together, Danced to our song "Dream" This is the first year we celebrated our anniversary by going to a food pantry. Hubby thought I was cool for doing that with him. At least he knows that I really love him through thick and thin. He loves me too.
    Vegged on computer, shared thoughts about recipes, news, possible music outlets.
    Did free things with grandchildren.
    Felt terrible that I couldn't treat one of my sons and his family to breakfast. Instead he treated me. I'm going to invite him and family over to my place instead in the future, that way no one has to pay. Cooking can be minimal. Grandkids love running around the farm and looking at the chickens and picking vegetables anyway.
    Building has been at a standstill. Not enough money to do everything. But i feel blessed to have a shower, a dishwasher, washer and dryer, a home with a soft bed. Family that loves me. And possibilities. I have hope.
    Brandy, I remember one of your articles mentioning spending time outdoors. It makes a difference. Using your good stuff, china, silverware. It makes a simple meal pleasant. I also believe that God has a plan, and that gives me hope. Thank-you for this outlet.

  • Cate July 23, 2018

    Hang in there, Tammy. This, too, shall pass. I will pray for you.

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