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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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  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada July 17, 2018

    I went to the grocery store on the last day of a sale. The two items I wanted were out of stock and so I got rain checks. I will use these rainchecks on next month's 10% off sale day thus combining the loss leader's from last week's sale with the 10% off day's sale.

    I harvested my first tomato of the season. Finished the pea harvest. Zucchini and yellow summer squash continue to produce along with the lettuce and beets. Will reseed carrots and peas this week for a fall harvest.

    Continue to write down all my purchases and keep a running balance of my budget. Managing my budget this way is better for me then keeping cash on hand. Last month I did not spend all of my grocery budget. I'm using that savings to restock my pantry.

    I've been using the library for dvds and books. I've been putting quite a few things on hold which is free at my library.

  • What an AWESOME idea! I am going to tell my mom about this one as she often goes shopping on the first Wednesday of the month to get the senior discount. Combining the raincheck items is genious!

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada July 17, 2018

    Thanks Brandy.
    The rainchecks from this store are good for 30 days which also helps get them to the 10% off sale days.

  • Stephanie July 17, 2018

    That tomato salad looks amazing! I have plenty of tomato plants right now, with a lot of little green baby tomatoes, but no red yet. Soon, I hope!

    I was traveling with my mother and children last week and used my time as a passenger in the car to knit twelve dishcloths, which I'll give as Christmas gifts. When I came home, my husband complained that there was no food in the house. I responded by whipping up a delicious meal (tofu meatball subs, made with a roasted cherry tomato sauce I'd made and froze earlier in the year, and sauteed green beans with garlic and lemon). We had plenty of food, it was all in ingredient form. ;) I also skipped grocery shopping last week and went yesterday for the first time in two weeks. Only needed to spend about $60, and we're good for at least another week.

  • Lea July 17, 2018

    Stephanie, your husband's comment is often the one echoed by our children. They're old enough to cook so I now reply, "Well, what would you like to make?" Sometimes I even get dinner out of the deal! Usually it's cookies or smoothies or a pasta bowl of some kind though.


  • dawnelle July 17, 2018

    Made a chickpea/zuchinni/pepper stir fry to to use up some veggies and herbs that were getting a bit wilted, was super yummy. Deep cleaned my bedroom after my oldest painted the ceiling, so the entire room is fresh and it’s SO nice! Then I deep cleaned the bathroom also. Took kids swimming at our athletic club (no extra cost) a few times. Enjoyed a local art show (free) and a local concert on the lawn (free also!) although I did buy the kids ice cream. But it was a super fun evening! Sold 2 used books (one textbook, one homemaking book) online. Will leave that $ in paypal for Christmas. Took a family member to airport and they insisted on paying me for gas and time, unexpectedly. So nice of them! Cooked all meals at home except one, which I had a gift card for. Read a few library books and put more on hold for later. Bought a pair of cute socks on clearance and set them aside for college daughter, for a care package item this fall. Did a Pinecone Survey, my points are really adding up- will use around Christmas for gifts, I’m sure.

  • What a productive week you had, Brandy, especially in the garden! One thing I've learned from you is to take the long view of gardening -- planning for several seasons down the road. Your grape plants are a classic example of this.

    My frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks:
    - Inspired by a comment on last week’s frugal accomplishments post, I made: Orange Crush Slushies! (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-ever-orange-crush-slushy/) Almost embarrassingly easy, and very frugal. I used a can of Orange Crush pop that we had lying around the house, but you could use any watery drink. I think a plain Kool-Aid mix is pretty cheap and would mimic the classic corner store slushy very well (and for pennies on the dollar!).
    - I harvested parsley, mint, a few strawberries, a few teeny tiny stalks of rhubarb from my balcony garden, a single blueberry, and the first of the snow peas. The first tiny growth of rhubarb seems to be bizarrely dying off, so I picked what I could before it died. I see a few leaves starting to grow again, so hopefully I will have a proper harvest later on in the summer.
    - I made strawberry jam using strawberries on sale and tossed in the little bit of rhubarb that I grew myself. Hopefully some rhubarb flavour comes through!
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Amazon, twice (in two weeks) and redeemed Pinecone Research Rewards for $5 to my paypal account.
    - I cut some overgrown branches (a beautiful dark red colour) from outside my workplace and arranged them a la Brandy in a silver mint julep vase, in my front hallway.
    - I traded a chocolate chunk banana pecan loaf (I used a chopped up leftover chocolate Santa from my baking stash) for 3 EUC white frames with mats. There are a few pictures and such in my husband’s study/now nursery, that I want to turn into a gallery wall in our bedroom. We live in a smaller condo, so there’s not a lot of space, but I really wanted to display a few family photos, prints, degrees, and awards on the wall. I had looked at ordering them from Amazon using Swagbucks, but trading for them was an even better value (especially as I’m trying to save my Amazon credit for a large-ticket item). Currently the gallery wall has white and black frames, and one dark walnut frame, but I hope to slowly convert them all to white frames to match our bedroom décor. No rush though – I want to do it slowly with no money OOP!
    - I made a batch of laundry soap
    - I finished sewing the slipcover for the nursery chair! Am very pleased with how it turned out. It’s essentially a quilt that slips over the chair cushions, so it’ll protect the fabric from staining, and be easy to wash. The fabric was some from my stash that I’ve had for years, I pieced together a few smaller pieces of leftover quilt batting for the centre, and then the backing is actually an old towel in the colour of the nursery. So, no money OOP!
    - Very excitingly, my MIL was able to send a package to us from South America to Canada! (This is usually not possible, as the mail service in the country where she lives is completely unreliable to say the least). She sent us a beautiful and delicate hand-crocheted baby gown/dress that she made herself, and the delicate lace trim to the Moses basket that my husband slept in as a child! My husband’s grandmother sewed it for him, my MIL painted it for him, and all his cousins slept in baskets decorated with it as well. I’m so thankful to have a piece of his childhood to share with our future child! I really, really appreciate having a family heirloom. We plan to use it as trim on the crib (at least on the two sides that aren’t facing a wall. I will carefully unpick one seam, and then it will work as a trim on the crib). There is also a smaller piece of painted lace trim, and I plan to use that as the bottom trim on a baptismal gown that I will have made from my wedding dress (I tried to sell my wedding dress shortly after my wedding, but the cost to have it dry-cleaned would be the same amount I would recoup if I sold it, so it wasn’t worth it to me. Better to turn it into a family heirloom/baptismal gown!)
    - My family (my parents, my sister, my husband, and myself) went on holiday to the Laurentians, just outside of Montreal, and I tried to keep costs as low as possible. We rented a fully-furnished suite (I say rented, but it’s actually to use up some points we got with a large purchase last year) with two bedrooms and a pull-out couch, so we all stayed in the same suite. There was a kitchen, so we bought groceries and made our own meals (I did some meal-planning, including breakfast for dinner several times, so that we stayed on a modest budget). There was some free programming (it’s not a resort, but someone still arranges programming) and my family took advantage of that (my sister and DH tried axe-throwing for the first time, and my sister and mother tried kayaking for the first time). It was beside a lake with a small beach, and several pools as well (my dad loved the indoor pool). We flew there, as my parents are getting older, and my dad didn’t want to sit for many hours on a train or car, but my flight was basically covered from the flight credit I received from being too ill to go on the last family trip. We packed snacks for the airport on the way back, and on the way there my sister used a gift card she was given to treat us to a drink. So, it was an affordable vacation. I’m so glad we were able to spend some time with my family, making memories, and for my husband to relax, as he has a lot of demands on him. A cheap maternity swimsuit from Amazon (using a Swagbucks gc) is the only other item besides food (and my husband’s flight – he got a good deal - and car rental – we’re all splitting that cost) that we will have purchased for the trip.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  • Jeannie July 17, 2018

    Congratulations on getting the family heirlooms for your baby and for being creative enough to repurpose your wedding gown. I am also glad you were able to take a vacation and hopefully get some rest.


  • Thanks, Jeannie! :) We're so excited to have this family heirloom, since due to the political situation of the country she lives in, it is unlikely that any other heirlooms will be able to be passed on. I've always been big on family and history (one of my favourite things to do when I visited my grandparents when I was younger was to poke around in their attic) so this really resonates for me, and it's nice for my husband to have that connection with his family and heritage. :)

  • margie from Toronto July 18, 2018

    Glad to hear that you were able to enjoy a bit of a break with family, especially since you couldn't go on the last holiday. You do an amazing job of trading and finding ways to do things so there is no OOP cost. And how wonderful that you have a lovely family heirloom for the new baby!

  • Thanks, Margie! :) As it happens, I fell ill on this trip too, but am better now. At least I enjoyed seeing my family have fun! I did enjoy floating in the water though. :)

  • Athanasia July 18, 2018

    Margaret, I don't remember, is this the first year for your rhubarb? You don't harvest the first year. Do you have it in a good size pot? They don't like being transplanted.

  • Hi Athanasia! This is indeed the first year for my rhubarb. I actually bought it as a plant with stalks (small, but stalks nonetheless). The stalks grew and then all of a sudden, died. But new ones are growing! I don't know much about growing rhubarb. I only remember my mom and neighbour growing it and all they did was leave it alone and let it grow. I do have it in a pot bigger than it came in, but it was growing successfully for at least a month or more before it went weird and died. Ah well, always a learning curve with gardening! Thanks for the tip!

  • Athanasia July 18, 2018

    What is an "EUC"?

  • Andrea Q July 19, 2018

    Excellent Used Condition!

  • Jeananne July 21, 2018

    You could use white paint to tie all the existing frames to save the cost of new ones. Making them all the same color helps make even very different frames look good together.

  • Maxine July 21, 2018

    Margaret, don't forget that a can of white spray paint can transform all of your picture frames. I have had the best results by spraying a first coat of white primer, then spraying the regular white paint as a second coat.

  • PJGT July 17, 2018

    Your garden produce is beautiful. Over the years it has been a pleasure to watch your garden grow. What a challenge to garden in the desert climate!

    This week has been a challenge for us as our daughter's boyfriend has come to visit. They have plans, but we have had to figure out ways to entertain without costs as my husband's job is just starting to take off (he is only paid when he works). We were successful with careful planning and using a gift certificate for their golf. I packed lunch (a great success) and dinner (a full on failure, but we ate it anyway) for a day out. We are eating in for the rest of the week. Phew!

    I found a quarter, washed out bags, rearranged some furniture instead of buying a needed table, trimmed my husband and son's hair, did my own nails, and am working my way through everyone's wardrobe to ensure the clothing fits and am fixing what needs fixing.

    We actually (finally) bought a new - to - us beautiful dining room table and chairs that fits our cabin decor. It was an amazing price and will last for the rest of my life. I am tickled! So blessed! We were in the habitat restore to buy a box spring and mattress (which we did) to get my son off the floor when I saw it. A successful day all round.

    I found that I had enough just linens to work. I am, as I said before, looking ahead to replace the linens before we need to. My son has asked for another quilt, so I think I will make him one and use an old blanket as the batting and a sheet as the backing. He wears them out, so I will either make a crazy quilt or 9 square.

    Free Food Friday (where the city community gathers expiring foods and puts it out to keep from filling the landfill) was a smashing success as the heat had many veggies on the verge of spoiling. (It is interesting that most people want the treats and breads, so I am able to bring home more veggies and dairy/nondairy). I'm planning my meals for the week around the food we brought home. I also was able to bring and donate some opened boxes of teas that an aunt had given to us before she moved that we will not drink. Waste avoided on all sides!

    Family downsizing continues, and is finally showing results. I am 1 size from where I want to be (and most of my clothing is), my daughter and husband are happily at their goals and my son is getting there. As we size down, we are ridding our wardrobes of the larger sizes. It has been a stressful past couple years and we needed to stop gaining weight because of it. We continue to focus on healthy eating and exercise.

    Finally, we weathered the very unusual heat wave here in the northern Rockies without buying an air conditioner. For me, that was an exercise in extreme self-control!

    Happy frugal-ing!

  • Jo July 17, 2018

    That tomato salad really does look delicious.
    How I saved money this week:
    I trimmed my own bangs. I trimmed my hair a week or so ago, but not my bangs until this week.
    I made another five-gallon bucket of laundry detergent.
    I cut up a chicken and de-boned the breast. I used those bones along with bones from my freezer to make bone broth.
    We harvested figs off of our tree before the squirrels got them all.
    I took the online survey for cat litter that I was scheduled to take (through Swagbucks) after a week of trying one litter, and the survey froze and didn't let me finish, just as I was all but done. I wrote to Swagbucks and they awarded me my bucks. The survey is a 2-part survey, comparing 2 litters, so I hope to get another $12 when I take the second survey after testing the second litter.
    I'm a Prime member on Amazon. Whole Foods in Florida offered $10 for shopping on Prime day if I bought $10 worth of food at Whole Foods. I did, and got my $10, which I used to get some more cabinet shelf pegs for my kitchen cabinets. I am replacing the old plastic supports for metal pegs. They run about $6 or $7 a bag -- I got 2 bags for $3.90 and free shipping, using my Whole Foods credit.
    I mended my mesh laundry bag that was coming apart near the zipper.
    I found a dowel and rod type of wine rack at a thrift store; it looks almost like it was made of Tinker toys. A couple of dowels had come unglued, so they gave it to me for $2 off the asking price of $4.99. I glued it back together and put it in my deep hall closet, one half of which is where I store my gift wrap supplies, and used it to organize my rolled wrapping paper. Now I have a wrap station all set up -- the only part I was missing was a good way to store my rolled wrap so it wouldn't get all crumpled. Dowels set on screw-in hooks on the doors hold rolled ribbon, wall pockets hold folded wrap, bags, and tissue on another door, and hanging little bins hold scissors, tape, etc. Finally, it's all in one place.

  • Jeananne July 21, 2018

    Clever way to organize your wrapping paper-which sometimes has a mind of its own.

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