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Frugal Accomplishments For The Second Week of July

Yellow Pear Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

We harvested grapes, peaches, tomatoes,  chives, basil,  chocolate mint, New Zealand Spinach, arugula (which had self-seeded!) and apples from the garden.

I made a turkey salad (aka chicken salad, but with turkey I cooked last week) using apple and grapes from the garden, a few pecans, two stalks of celery, and some homemade Greek yogurt (instead of mayo).

Summer Pasta Salad 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I made a pasta salad using tomatoes, basil, chives, arugula and New Zealand spinach from our garden (and a couple of cucumbers I decided to buy within our $200 budget for this month). I'm down to just angel hair pasta in the pantry so even though that's not what I normally use for pasta salad, I used it. (I'm still hoping for the $0.49 pasta sale to come around soon!

Summer Pasta Salad The Prudent Homemaker

I cut and froze peaches from our peach trees.

Our normal less than 10% humidity changed this week with large passing storm clouds that brought humidity to our area. I was able to collect a gallon of water a day from the drip off the air conditioner. I used this water to water potted plants. Our water here is like our soil with an  8.3 ph,  plus it is high in salts; I'm always happy to have this water that is neither super alkaline nor salty to use to water my potted plants.

I saved warm up water from the shower and used it to water potted plants as well.

I made yogurt in the crockpot.

I cooked a pot of beans in my solar oven.

I hung several garage sale picture frames in the house this week that I've picked up for $0.50 and $1.00 each. I also hung a couple of frames that used to be over the dining room in the sewing room with some old calendar pages in them (the calendar was given to me last year when I was admiring it at someone's house; she said since I liked some of the images, I could have them when the year was done. I've had them since  January and am finally getting them up.)

I continued to work on my embroidery project.

I watched a few videos to improve my French for free.

I mended a hat.

Gallery Wall Detail The Prudent Homemaker

I hung new photos this week that I printed at Sam's Club and paid for with a Swagbucks gift card. This has been on my to-do list for a year and I've had the gift card about that long; I'm excited to have it done!

 Gallery Wall The Prudent Homemaker

I cut small sunflowers from the garden for arrangements on the piano.

Grapes and Branches The Prudent Homemaker

I cut apricot branches for an arrangement inside.

Our van broke down this week in the middle of the desert.  I was at home at the time (my husband was on his way to take my son to Scout camp) and my mom and I went to the auto parts store and bought him a new alternator. We asked for and received a discount after shopping two auto parts stores next to one another; the first was considerably less and also gave us an additional discount when we asked. My husband was surprised when we told him which store ended up being so much less, as he said that store is usually more money! We were able to save the cost of having it towed and repaired, and my husband was able to get up to camp, albeit much later than expected. I would not normally have had a way to get it to him, as we are a one-car family, but my parents had to stay home from their planned trip this year due to my dad's health and my mom was able to take me. We were also able to bring him some lunch (leftover pasta salad that my mom had made and had ready in the fridge).

My son attended Scout camp without having to pay for camp; he sold enough camp cards to earn him a week of camp (including food) (our council offers a free week of camp to those who sell a certain number of cards. He could then use the money he earned from camp cards to pay for another camp, which he and my other son left to today. They earned all of the money for camp from selling camp cards). He was able to earn rowing, kayaking, canoeing, basketry, archery, and rifle shooting merit badges.

My husband gave one son a haircut.

I figured out some present ideas for upcoming birthdays and Christmas for my daughters using items I already have on hand and added them to my list. Keeping a list helps me know what they will like and what I can make when I start making gifts.

I went through my closet to see what else I need to have in my new size. I added those items to my garage sale list and I will try to make over a few things to fit me that are currently too large. I most likely won't go garage sale shopping again until fall  (the semi-annual community sales are usually the second Saturday in October when it starts to cool down enough to finally shut off the a/c; this week was 108ºF to 112º). I put aside some items that I will try to sell on a local Facebook garage sale page. I will use the money from the things I sell to do my garage sale shopping. 

I accepted some hand-me-down clothing for a daughter.


What did you do to save money this past week?

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  • How did you like the pasta salad with angel hair? Looks delicious and made me wonder about trying it that way. That's pretty great that he was able to repair the car where it broke down.

    Here's how we saved last week: http://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-week-85/

  • I didn't mind it at all! I wasn't sure I would like it with a different style of noodle, but everyone loved it and I will certainly be putting it on the menu again this week!

  • Laurie in central NC July 17, 2017

    How fortuitous that you were able to bring the needed car part to your husband, and receive a good discount as well. I was pondering photos and frames this morning, and where I'd like to hang family pictures. I'm just about ready to hang things on the wall of my new studio, and got a couple of prints through a Walgreens special this weekend. Those yellow pear tomatoes look so cheerful, and your pasta salad makes me want to add that to the list this week. It's a great hot weather dish, especially when loaded with goodness from the garden. Joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/07/a-skunk-summer-squash-frugal.html

  • Mary July 17, 2017

    Hi all! Brandy the turkey salad sounds really good and I love the photos of your children.
    I was alone all week and only went out when I needed to. Sunday I went to Sam's club for items needed and was so happy to find allergy medicine much cheaper than some I found the week before. I was able to return 300 pills and got $40 back. Sam's had 400 pills for under $20! CVS I found some items for my daughter to use for college I paid $3.79 and received $5 back. Dinners for the week I used up leftover 4th of July food and toward the end of week I ate mostly breakfast foods scrambled eggs or waffles and lots of fruits.
    I also earned a $20 restaurant.com card thru pampers (I just enter codes from blogs). That is all I can think of for now.
    Have a good week everyone!

  • http://Vickie@Vickies Kitchen And Garden July 17, 2017

    Is great that you son sold those cards for camp! What a great deal. Our biggest savings has been to quit our cable t.v.
    You can read the rest of my frugal accomplishments here

  • Kim M July 17, 2017

    I will pray that your dad feels better quickly Brandy. Your pasta salad looks delicious!!!! Was a low spend week again last week. Savealot had eggs on sale for 49¢ a dozen. I wound up buying 6 dozen. I boiled 2 dozen for use in sandwiches, salads and snacks and we are probably going to have the rest for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. I made a big batch of chilli using 1 can of kidney beans 2 cups of pinto beans and half a pound of ground beef. I didnt get 1 complaint about the amount of beans. Either my dh just gave up or he's ok with the pinto beans and not the kidney beans. Since he usually complains about black beans and kidney beans being in things, I will stick with pinto beans in everything!!!! I made a big batch of refried beans. Well technically smashed pinto beans. They plan was to make beef & bean burritos but its been bean & salsa buritos, which was even cheaper. I used a staples giftcard from swagbucks, and bought a 4 pack of paper that was $2 after rebate. I can sell each ream of paper for $2, and get the rebate back in the form of a visa card to use on something else cheap after rebate or to use on something I really need. I have a stack of the visa cards, and sometimes if I get a notice from the phone company or cable that they're going to shut me off, I use all the giftcards on that.

  • Cindi July 17, 2017

    My husband only likes pinto beans, too. But he likes them a lot, so doesn't mind eating them.

  • Peggy G. July 17, 2017

    We really needed a new pop up canopy. I was browsing on Amazon & found the exact one I wanted. I normally swear off credit cards, but Amazon was offering a credit if you applied. I ended up receiving a $70 Amazon credit & using another Amazon credit for participating in a survey. Free shipping was included. Ended up paying $9.77 out of pocket!

  • Jessica July 17, 2017

    This week, I did a LOT of shopping. More than I wanted to, but I was able to get us some good deals on things we will use. I also started some Christmas shopping.

    I visited a local grocery store that is affiliated with a restaurant supplier. They often sell bulk food items at wholesale prices, but you never really know what is going to be there when you go. I saw they were running a $10 off $30 purchase deal this month and decided to try it out. I was incredibly pleased with my purchases: I got 20 snack size chip and popcorn bags, 4 (2 lb) bags of tortilla chips, 10 pound bag of pasta, 3 (1lb) boxes of a different kind of pasta, 2 boxes of pectin, a pound of bacon, a 8 oz bag of croutons, a 24 pack of oatmeal creme pies (my husband LOVES them), a 5 pound bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, and a 12 pack of rolls. My total was $26.99! I was VERY happy! I also realized the pasta there was the cheapest price per pound than anywhere nearby. One kind came out to 0.67 per pound and the other for .33 per pound - before the coupon. My mom works near this grocery store, so I can have her pick me up some more when I start to run low again. I'll use the tortilla chips to make lots of Nachos. I can use less meat in a meal when I make nachos because there are so many other toppings. Tonight, we'll have pork nachos with some pulled pork (from pork loin I got on sale), peppers, onions, and barbecue sauce.

    Then I had a coupon for a free item and 20% off a purchase from Bath and Body Works. I went into the store to get the free item and noticed a rack of 75% off items. I usually give a couple coworkers a Christmas gift and I noticed my favorite scent was in there. I also grabbed a scent I thought my niece would like for her birthday. So I grabbed a couple items. Then the cashier surprised me when she said I can use my 20% off coupon on top of that. So I got 5 full size body creams and a travel size for the price of ONE full size cream. I put them back for Christmas.

    Then I was able to pre-shop the yard sale of a lady I know. She buys a TON of clothes every year and hardly wears them. Then she has a huge yard sale and sells a bunch of stuff. The prices aren't the cheapest for a yard sale, but still worth it when you realize the stuff is practically brand new. I was able to get a pair of boots, two pair of tennis shoes, 3 tank tops, 3 pajama bottoms, 3 workout shorts, 1 workout top, a sweater, a pair of jeans, and 8 nice work shirts for $75. The boots still had the tags on them and they cost more than $75 new. I consider it a win! :)

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    -A coworker also brought me some rhubarb to work.
    -I worked extra this week and made an extra $165. My husband also worked extra on both Saturday and Sunday, as he's trying to finish a job up before a deadline.
    -I also put another bucket of ice in the freezer for blanching veggies.
    -I accepted a bottle of Ken's Honey Mustard from my mom.
    -I charged electronics in the car and at work.
    -We've been eating LOTS of salads to use up the lettuce that is starting to bolt in the garden.
    -I am working on another product for my online store.
    -I picked 32 oz of blackberries - some of which I froze and some we are eating fresh.
    -I froze 6 cups of shredded zucchini from the garden to use in breads, jelly, Brandy's zucchini potato cakes, etc
    - Canned 6 pints green bins and 6 quarts pickles with green beans and cucumbers from the garden. I think I've picked 33 cucumbers now.
    -Picked more green beans - we'll eat some fresh and I'll can the rest
    -Picked a handful of cherry tomatoes
    -Our electric bill was down $32 from last month. But I will expect it to go up since we are running the AC now. I will just have to be even more diligent with the electricity usage.
    -I've started preparing for a yard sale. My sister and I had one two years ago that was very successful. I'm hoping this one goes well. I've been taking advantage of the free advertising on Facebook garage sale sites.
    -One of our couches ripped on the headrest. I fixed it with some fabric glue. Now I'm keeping a blanket draped over the back of the couch to cover it.
    -Paid two bills online
    -Froze 4 sweet peppers
    -Dried basil

    I did forget to use a gift card when I picked up some groceries at Aldi. Which means I'm cutting it close on my grocery budget now. I usually spend money to stock up on pantry staples in July and August since I don't have to buy as much fresh produce. I can use the gift card to pick up other things later in the month, but I wish I wasn't locked into having to go to Aldi for everything. Good thing we shouldn't need much else this month.

  • Cindi July 17, 2017

    Thank you for the reminder about the extra ice for canning. I always end up emptying the ice bins. Preparing extra ahead of time is a good idea.
    And I agree that nachos are a great frugal dinner. We had them the other night with chips I made from home-fried tortillas. As long as I have plenty of toppings for them, my husband is happy with very little meat. For the batch I made the other night, I crumbled up maybe 1/4 cup of leftover breakfast sausage and fried it up with onion. Along with the beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, salsa, sour cream and some avocado, it's a great meal -- and a 'fun' food.

  • Marcia July 17, 2017

    Our anniversary was this week. 21! We celebrated by...doing nothing. On the actual day, which was mid-week.

    But randomly, our neighbor gave us tickets for a few days later to see a concert at the local outdoor music venue. He has season tickets and couldn't go. It was Natalie Merchant, so it took me back to my twenties. Our regular babysitter was booked, but our other neighbors with 3 kids were nice enough to watch the boys. They came over to our house and when it was bed time - mom and girls went home, dad stayed and put the kids to bed. We went early enough to find free parking. In the end, our total cost was a couple of drinks. We have done the same for our friends in the past.

    Sunday I went on a full-day wine tour with a girlfriend, using a gift certificate. I had to pay cash to tip. It included lunch and wine tastings at 4 places (which is far far too many. Mostly, I sipped a bit to get the taste of each wine, and poured the rest of each tasting out in their buckets). I also drank a lot of water (also included). When I got home, my options were to join the Sunday potluck (which had started 30 minutes before), or stay home. After a full day of being outdoors in the heat (90F+), I opted to make myself scrambled eggs and brussels sprouts for dinner, and eat it in my PJs in the air conditioning. My frugal hubby was at the potluck with the kids, and he made an old favorite recipe - sesame cashew noodles. Using 2 different types of pasta because we had bits and pieces. And he tossed in the last little bit of chicken.

    We ate a lot of beans and rice/ tacos/ nachos. Because I made a bit pot.

    Husband continued to work on the interior door painting and staining.

    We watched TV on hulu & netflix. We took the kids to the pool.

  • Jo July 17, 2017

    That's fantastic that your son could go to camp because he sold enough cards, and thank heavens your husband was able to take care of the van after you were able to get a part to him.
    I have been doing the usual, using homemade laundry detergent, cleaning with baking soda, vinegar and Sal Suds, and cooking at home.
    I shredded cabbage and put it in a jar to make fermented sauerkraut, which we love.
    I used a dab of sourdough starter to make sourdough muffins, which were quite good.
    I have started taking up the sleeve length on a new to me shirt.
    We've been sweltering in high heat and humidity, but we are keeping the air conditioner on 79. The ceiling fans help a lot.
    I used Swagbucks to buy a small Christmas present.
    I look forward to using my clothesline again -- it was cloudy/rainy/very humid all weekend.

  • Stephanie July 17, 2017

    Hi Brandy! So glad you were able to get your vehicle repaired!
    This past week has been frugal all things considered. We're halfway through our month of zero eating out expenses and so far so good. My biggest challenge coming up will be trying to get our grocery budget under control while still keeping up with all the various food restrictions that we all have. We live in a ridiculously expensive area north of DC and what it costs to feed and house a family of 8 nearly gives me palpitations. Since we live in a condo community, gardening isn't an option. I'm beginning to weigh the option of driving north (or south) an hour once or twice a month to do my shopping in cheaper areas to help save money. My month to date grocery spending has passed the $700 mark and I have better things to do with that money than spend it on groceries.

  • My three boys were needing summer clothes. A friend turned me on to a thrift store about 25 minutes away from here that usually has decent things. I scored big time. I went on Sunday and they had half off select items. Each kid came away with three new outfits and I managed to find a few blouses for myself as well.
  • Had the condo maintenance change the air filters to keep the AC running efficiently. The air filters were provided free.
  • Had the condo maintenance come change the batteries in the smoke detectors, saving me the cost of batteries. Also asked the guy that came to replace some light bulbs in the master bathroom. These were bulbs I had purchased myself but I was very grateful to be saved a trip up the step ladder to do it myself.
  • Saved my store receipts and collected almost $10 in Ibotta and Checkout51 rebates.
  • Cleaned out and rearranged the linen closet. While this doesn't save me money, it saves me stress.
  • The kids bathroom had a bottle of foaming hand soap that had run out. Rather than buy more I made my own foaming soap using a large refill bottle that I use for the soap dispenser in my bathroom.
  • By paying closer attention to my dryer cycles I was able to dry several loads of laundry in much less time than I was previously using, thus saving electricity.
  • Took the kids for their annual eye exams and six month dental check-ups. No cavities and my insurance covered sealants on their molars with no out of pocket expense. All three kids needed glasses, luckily I was only out $20 per kid after the insurance paid the rest.
  • Went for my annual woman's wellness exam. The cost of insurance is pricey and I like to make sure that I max out the benefits that have no out of pocket charge each year. This helps keep my health in check while also not letting what I pay for go to waste.
  • [*] A new oil change place opened up across the street and mailed out a bunch of coupons for routine car maintenance. Using a coupon I was able to get my oil changes for significantly less than what I had paid for my last change.

  • Marcia Parmeley July 17, 2017

    Several weeks ago I bought 25 pounds of carrots for $5. I canned most of them, but I had about 5 pounds of them left in the fridge. I started making green smoothies for breakfast and I've been able to use up some of the carrots in those so that they don't go to waste. I ate "leftovers" for dinner all week--little bits of this and that that I'd saved in the fridge from previously cooked dinners. When a day's smoothie turned out to be more than I needed, I poured the leftovers into ice cube trays, froze, and packaged in ziploc bags. Now I'll have a "free" smoothie or two from those leftovers. I used homemade Greek yogurt in the smoothies. I had some nuts I'd bought for a snack that I wasn't able to eat because of some surgery on my mouth. I added those to the smoothies as a source of protein--just rinsed the salt off.

  • J July 17, 2017

    That pasta salad looks delicious.

    This week we have been keeping everything simple. Lots of colouring, time at the park and reading. These are the best times.

    I was in a pinch for a quick dinner the other day. Instead of eating out, I found a pack of 4 Angus beef burgers reduced for quick sale. I had buns at home in the freezer. Perfect !! This cost a few dollars as opposed to some fast food, and tasted better too.

    I have started researching epsom salt bath recipes for possible Christmas gifts. I am also doing some letter art trial runs.

    Spent lots of time this week reading, organizing and planning.

    Also Brandy I checked out Kate's Creative Space and it is lovely. Thanks for recommending it.

    À few other things I did and some reading recommendations can be found here:

  • Beautiful photos, and an inspiring week, as always!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I traded a pair of café chairs for two bottles of wine. More space in the condo + a better stocked wine bar = win! I will likely give the wine as hostess gifts when the holiday season comes around.
    - I made Nanaimo bars! (http://approachingfood.com/extra-chocolatey-nanaimo-bars/) I made my own graham crackers (based on Brandy’s recipe with a few modifications) and for the middle layer, which usually requires custard powder (which I don’t have and didn’t want to buy), I used other ingredients (cornstarch, milk powder, etc.). I used butter that I bought on sale and had frozen, coconut bought in a local bulk store and on sale, and chocolate chips that I had bought in bulk at Costco. In other words, as frugal as I can be while still baking a decadent dessert!
    - I picked some basil from my balcony garden to add to a pizza that I made (homemade crust, homemade sauce, with homegrown basil, and some cheese! Yum!)
    - Boiled a pot of white beans and froze them for future meals
    - I trade a small bag of canned goods/pasta (bought on sale at the lowest prices) from my pantry for a bag of high end spa nail supplies (emery boards, buffing sponges, pumice stones). I think I’m set for the next 5 years in terms of nail care! And then I gave myself a pedicure, which I received a compliment on. Yay!
    - Had a free iced tea from Starbucks. There was a promotion on where you could get a free iced tea between certain hours on one particular day. I was working, but a colleague was on her lunch hour so she picked one up for me. A lovely treat!
    - I made Brandy’s Tuscan Bread Soup, using bread chunks that I had frozen a few weeks ago from a loaf that hadn’t risen, as well as homemade broth, and a bouquet garnis made from parmesan cheese rinds. I also tossed in some scraps of lasagna pasta leftover when making lasagna a few months ago (and frozen), as well as some peas. I used dried herbs that I grew and dried myself. The DH loved it, and I was super-happy to made a delicious meal out of mostly odds and ends! I’ve packed the leftovers for lunches.
    - I made ranch dressing using my homemade mix and homemade yoghurt
    - I bought over 3 kg of cherries for only $11. Best price I’ve seen this year! I plan to eat most of them, but hope to freeze some to turn into jam at a later date.
    - Cut and froze green onions from onions I regrew in water
    - Ran out of flour, so I made pancakes with oats instead (the recipe call for half oats and half flour – I just used all oats and let it sit for a bit to absorb some liquid).
    - Cut some oregano and thyme from my balcony garden to dry. I’ll add it to my spice cupboard when its dry.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  • gabrielle July 17, 2017

    That's excellent about camp cards...our council does not use those. My sons did cub scout day camp last week and then in two weeks they will be attending the overnight week long with my husband. We were able to get a break on price from popcorn sales money and because my husband can double as the camp RN.

    We had a crazy week, one of my older twins broke his arm! (He did it on a friend's razor scooter). He is now in a cast from his bicep to hand. I was grateful for good health insurance and for wonderful medical providers). To compensate, we have been eating almost exclusively out of the pantry and freezer as no one has had a lot of time to put meals together. As he has been home, I have gotten a lot of sewing done. I blogged more about our trip to Texas. You can read it here: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/07/vacation-texas-beaches/

    Have a good week!

  • Sarah July 17, 2017

    I love reading everyone's accomplishments- Brandy the pasta salad looks fantastic! Thank you to everyone who posts about Aldi, the closest one to me is about 30 minutes away, but I've realized that it's worth the treck about twice a week because I end up saving so much on produce! I've included my top 5 accomplishments here: https://frugalfive.com/2017/07/15/frugal-5-friday-71517/

  • Nancy July 17, 2017

    Hello Brandy
    Love your beautiful yellow tomatoes and picture wall!
    What a blessing being able to help your husband in the middle of the desert. Here are a few frugal accomplishments this week:
    Picked blueberries at a farm $2 lb
    Made fruit crumble 2x with blueberries
    Harvested basil..mint..rosemary..thyme..for many recipes
    Froze some herbs also for winter
    Made French bread..will make strawberry sugar free jam and more French bread this week as my sister comes in from out of town.
    Made your crackers and tomato n cheese dish. We too with basil and this has become my husband's favorite summertime snack.
    Cut foliage for vases for the tables.
    Listen to Pandora classical music free
    Went to library with grands again.
    Bought eggs .69 a dozen .stocked up
    Bought chicken thighs. 69 lb...stocked up
    Was given buns free
    Bought 3 small polka dot bags with zipper n tags and some material. Plan on making lavender sachets ...from my garden..first time. I'll look yours up. Plan on these as Christmas gifts. Will fill with more. Cost was .60cents
    Saved on electricity..keeping lights off more...air not running all the time.
    Painted my own nails and toes.
    Made meals at home.

  • Ravenna July 17, 2017

    Inspiring as always Brandy! I really do appreciate these posts, especially when I feel a little pinched. It is good to be reminded that I could be doing more.

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