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Frugal Accomplishments for the Second Week of November

Fall Piano Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested Swiss chard, a few tiny cherry tomatoes, 2 tiny butternut squash, a small bell pepper, a small lemon, a small parsnip, and 2 beets from the garden.

I planted seeds in the garden for lettuce and snow peas.

I combined errands to save gas.

I needed an item of clothing and went to two thrift stores in search of it. The first had nothing, but the second had some options. I tried on 12 of that item (in 2 sizes, in case of shrinkage) and only one garment fit. That one had no price tag. All of the others had a price of $5-$6. At the register, the cashier called the manager for a price, and I was able to buy the item for only $3!

My husband cut my hair.

We were diligent about our electricity usage and were able to use $5 less of electricity over the week before. I had made saving $5 our goal for the week. I have challenged the children to help me save another $5 next week, which should be more difficult (but hopefully doable!)

I found a place to perform a much-need service for $45, which is much less than the $250 we had been quoted elsewhere. I also found a place that will do it for free, so I'll be going for the free option. It's not as detailed as the $45 option, but it will do and keep me in budget.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted fruit trees in the garden.

I made some homemade leave-in conditioner using a teaspoon of regular conditioner in a squirt bottle with water (just shake to combine).

I was invited to a dinner (a catered event). The next day I was texted to ask if I would like some of the leftovers for my family. I picked them up and we ate them for the next day's lunch.

I figured out two gifts I can make for my eldest son for Christmas using fabric I have on hand.

I also figured out something I can make (using fabric I have on hand) as a wedding gift for my nephew and his bride, who will be married next month.  I looked through all of their registries as well to have a good idea of the style and color preferences of the bride. They will be married a week before Christmas. I will make them two Christmas stockings.


What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Marci November 13, 2017

    Last week I used some of my canned chicken, dehydrated carrots, dehydrated celery, dehydrated onions, a can of corn, and some OLD egg noodles I found in the cupboard and made myself some "Amish Chicken Corn Soup". I had that for dinner 3 nights after work and I still have 3 pint-sized jars in the fridge. I reorganized the freezer and pulled out a turkey that's been there about as long as I'm willing to have it in the freezer. I cooked it in the pressure cooker. Then I picked the carcass and used the bones, etc., to make broth. I have about a gallon of good tasting broth to use while canning up the meat. Canned meat is good for much longer than food should be in a freezer. I wanted some shirts to use as layering pieces to stay warm at work. I swung by the thrift store on "senior day" and got 4 shirts for $4 each.

  • Jen G November 13, 2017

    Living frugally in urban Seattle:

    -Some good friends came to town to visit. We swam in their hotel pool and then we had them over for dinner, rather than going out for an expensive meal.

    -I found badly needed dress shoes for one of my boys at the thrift shop for $4. My boys are growing so quickly, I can't imagine the expense (and waste) of brand new clothes right now.

    - A neighbor gave me a brand new high quality reusable lunch bag. It will come in handy when one of my kids inevitably loses or ruins their own.

    -We canceled our newspaper subscription. I still enjoyed the Sunday paper, but we need to focus harder on saving money right now. I plan to reassess our insurance costs this week and see if I can get any of our payments lowered.

    - My husband received a $50 Amazon gift card from work, which we will likely use for Christmas gifts.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada November 13, 2017

    I lived in Seattle years ago. At that time, the Seattle Times had a Sunday only subscription. You might check and see if they still offer that service.

  • Chava November 13, 2017

    Made our 4 euro printer work! It's wonderful, saves us a bunch. We went through Ink Club and saved quite a bit.

    I made another batch of detergent. I water down our softener by half and it works just as well.

    Always clean with vinegar, it's cheap and hypoallergenic.

    I got an oven pancake recipe from my Mom which is great, I always burn the stovetop ones lol.

  • Susan Menzmer November 13, 2017

    I saw a Museli cereal that can be eaten either hot like oatmeal, or cold with milk in our local health food store. Came home and made up my own recipe based on the ingredient list on the store cereal. The whole family loves it, and making it myself is a lot cheaper than paying someone else to make it for me!

  • Cheryl November 13, 2017

    Just wondering how you cut your electricity and how you know it saved $5? I'm not sure how to calculate that, but am looking for ways to cut outs as well (and then figure out the savings before the bill comes, if there's a way).

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker November 13, 2017

    Our electric company changed to smart meters a while back. They gave us the option to get a weekly email showing how much electricity we use. It shows both the kilowatts used and the price, as well as the previous week. It shows if you used more or less then the previous week (there's a comparison line in price and kilowatts).

    Our children have been staying up to read after they have been told to go to bed (the week before my eldest son woke up at 3 a.m. to find his light on and his brother asleep with a book). Having the children go to bed on time is the main way we cut last week, so this week will be more of a challenge, but I'm looking for ways to do it!

  • Holly November 13, 2017

    As a kid, I'd tiptoe into the attic to continue reading, even on the hottest Midwest summer nights, after"lights out." So I empathize with your young readers. Maybe solar-powered reading lights would be good gifts for them?

  • Juls Owings November 13, 2017

    we always sat together in the front room and hour before bedtime and read. Each of us had our own book. Even Dad read which we didn't think anything about until we got older and realized a lot of men don't read for pleasure

  • Marybeth November 13, 2017

    I used to use a flashlight under my comforter to read past bedtime.

  • momsav November 17, 2017

    Me, too, Marybeth. I could read before kindergarten so my Mother would let me read instead of napping. Of course, half the time I dozed off, anyway.

  • Tammy November 13, 2017

    I used to read with a flashlight at night or go to the bathroom with a book past bedtime just so I could finish my book. I never knew if my mom knew what I was doing or not. I'll have to ask her!

  • Holly November 13, 2017

    I really appreciate your blog Brandy and the comments from other readers.

    I just skimmed over your post on finding joy when money is tight. Here is one more idea: Spending a few minutes a day at bing.com reading the news or searching the web on a computer or Android tablet results in 150 points daily that can be redeemed for Microsoft items (in small chunks) or for $5 gift cards once you have accumulated 5250 points. I have received Walmart and Amazon gift cards this way. And now that I have an Android phone, I can do 20 additional searches at bing.com daily on it and gain another 100 points a day. Bing.com usually offers more quick ways of earning an additional 20-50 points each day taking short, informative quizzes or clicking on a link to view a page. 25-30 cents per day adds up over the course of a year.

    We stayed home more which saved us money until the car had to be jumped after several days of disuse. The vintage car buff neighbor across the road jumped it. I really appreciate good neighbors.

    Instead of doing major shopping that day, I left mom in the car with it running because I didn't trust the car not to need jumping again while I bought needed household items, food, and a jump box at AutoZone. At Dollar General, some candy was 90% off pre-Halloween prices so I bought two bags--not needed but nice. We have stayed within $4/day/person for food the past two weeks including a small bucket of chicken and large cole slaw from KFC so we can splurge on super sales at Kroger if we go out later today and still stay under goal.

    I baked a loaf of 2/3 whole wheat flour yesterday and included an egg for extra nutrition. It takes just minutes to dump the ingredients into the bread machine and, later, to shape the dough and put it in a pan to rise before baking it in the oven. At the two bakeries in our town and the next closest, bread goes for $5 and up (and pies for $20/and up!) so those few minutes result in quite a savings.

    On Wednesday, I plan to go to the mechanic to see if our not-old battery is defective because battery checks are free. One of the car doors might have been left slightly ajar so I don't want to spend money on further diagnosing electrical issues on a 16-year-old car unless the battery quickly runs down again. The car started fine yesterday when I tried it.

    Months ago, I decided to try to keep us on the clothing budget (rationing points) that the British had to live with during World War II. We haven't needed anything since then and only have bought a couple of inexpensive used items (zero ration points) and were gifted some underwear from Kmart because of their rewards points program. I decided that since the undies didn't cost us a dime, they also didn't cost us any points. So now we have a combined total of 77 ration points sitting there, waiting to be used. Mom could use new support hose but since she wears a long coat and boots outdoors now (which hides the runs), we can wait for the next good sale at ShopNational.com. We both would like new nightgowns, but those will be made sometime this winter from the flannel in one of my tubs full of fabric in the basement.

  • Rachel C. November 13, 2017

    Well last week had its ups and downs. We found out we have to pay $2,000.00 for when my hubby was in the hospital in the beginning of October. So we set up a payment option. Then we got a letter in the mail for me and my son that our health insurance will go up $80 starting January 1st and my hubby wants to be put on our insurance since his insurance is not good at all. So I looked into the pricing and if I lower our health care package by one level then we can save $100 a month on that.

    We also last week finally paid off 2 credit cards and we are super stoked about that!!

    I was able to get some Capri suns for my son for .75 cents each. I was looking at the prices and the Capri sun guy told me he put some on clearance and I checked them out and they had them for .75 and they don't expire till next summer. I got 3 packs of them. I was able to get baby carrots for .88 each and that's the lowest I have ever seen them. I bought 4 packs of those since we like to eat carrots. In our area they had turkeys for Veterans Day for .79 cents a pound and .99 cents a pound and for that day you didn't have to spend $25 or $50 to get that price for the turkey. So I picked up one turkey since they limited it one per family. I am keeping my eye open for butter to be on sale, we can get it for $1.99 a pound but the lowest so far is $2.49 and it might not see that price ever again. Since gas prices here on nov. 1st. went up $.12 a gallon for regular and $.16 a gallon for diesel. I am also keeping my eye open for sugar and flour to go on sale. They haven't gone on sale yet. I am also looking for canned corn to go on sale and the lowest so far I have seen is .79 a can and they normally for for .49 cents each.

    We were gifted a $50 gift card two years ago to Omaha steaks and never used it. I found it while cleaning out a drawer in our computer desk. I forgot we hadn't it. I found a great deal for 35 items for $49.99. So we went to the Omaha steak store and got 2 filet minon, 2 steaks, 4 chicken breast, 4 pork chips, 8 hamburgers, 8 andouille sausage, 4 potatoes au gratin, 2 caramel tartlets, and a seasoning packet. Which is a great deal for that place each item came out to be $1.42 each. And we didn't pay for any of it since we used our gift card.

    We also made thanksgiving decorations for our home to save money.

    I will also be looking at your website and rereading all of the frugal accomplishments and articles to help us save money Since our bills have been going up.

  • Cindi November 13, 2017

    We were married at Christmas-time -- December 22. I always say it was frugal because the only flowers we bought were two white poinsettias -- the church was already decorated. I think the Christmas stockings are a wonderful gift idea.
    I used collected rain water to water the plants in my greenhouse and cold frame.
    I mended my husband’s bathrobe, and patched a pair of his jeans.
    I made a big batch of pancakes and froze the leftovers. I’m hoping doing this will provide a healthier and cheaper alternative to the frozen waffles my husband likes to eat for breakfast.
    I got my flu shot at no OOP cost to me. The pharmacy gave me a $2 coupon off my next grocery bill. I purchased 11 pounds of pasta for 49 cents a pound. Three pounds were actually 16 cents, because I had a City Market Coupon. I also picked up 4 half-gallons of milk for 99 cents each, three boxes of crackers for $1.29 each, and an 18-pound turkey for 57 cents a pound – the lowest turkey price I’ve seen in three years. I also had an additional $1.50 off if you spent $10 or more on meat, so that came off too. I picked up a free package of frozen peppers and a free package of flavored rice.
    Kohls sent me an $18 gift card for my 18th anniversary as a Kohls card holder. I needed a new white shirt for choir performances. By combining the gift cards and discount codes, I was able to get the shirt shipped to my house for $1.34! (I no longer have a Kohls anywhere near me.)
    We had a date night Friday night to see a play. A friend’s son is in the lead. The tickets were $15 each, purchased in advance. I really, really wanted to go out to eat before the play, but instead made dinner at home. Then we compromised and went out for ice cream before the play.
    I harvested some cabbage from the garden and used it in cole slaw.

  • Allyson November 13, 2017

    It's wonderful that you're still able to harvest from your garden. We're into deep freezes at night, so there's very little, though some sage is still producing.

    We had a wonderful holiday weekend with cousins and did "Cousin's Christmas" with the kids. It worked out really well, because we are always all pulled so many different directions at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The kids had a great time, and we got some wonderful pictures of them all. We've decided to try to make it a tradition each year, even if Veteran's Day doesn't make for a long weekend. It's worth it to give all the kids some time together, and for us to have some intentional time together too, as adults. We made it frugal by cooking at home, doing inexpensive things together for entertainment like baking cookies, and combining it with a quick trip to see Benny's family on the way home on Sunday.

    Here's the rest of our accomplishments for the week:

  • Melonie K. November 13, 2017

    I started keeping track of my frugal accomplishments in my journal - some days it feels like I haven't done "enough", and it's nice to look back and see what I *did* do that saved us a little something. As silly as it might sound, I took great joy from finding a nickel in the parking lot. Obviously it's money in my pocket (quite literally), but it also gave my husband and me a good chuckle - he had walked past it and noticed me stopping behind him; he blurted out "I can't believe *I* didn't see that first!* ;)

    We were able to participate in several things that contribute to our educations for free - my daughter and I started Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training this past weekend. The books and training are provided by the county, at no additional charge to them, either, since they applied for a grant to get the program going in our county. They are also looking for instructors and will provide the training; of course I volunteered. :)

    Other bits and bobbets of interest here:

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  • Maxine November 13, 2017

    Brandy, I love the idea of Christmas stockings for a wedding gift! Many years ago, I purchased two strings of Christmas lights on clearance and gave them to a cousin's daughter at her shower later that year. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of the stockings and of the gifts you have made. I've gone through the archives and read every single November post since 2012. I haven't made the same things, but you have inspired me.

    There wasn't much frugal about this past week. We are living between two houses while we pack for our move. I stole a little time to make gifts and to finish my Christmas shopping (one present left to buy). My 41 yo daughter is developmentally disabled and it's hard to think of frugal gifts with much WOW factor...but I think I've hit a grand slam homer out of the park. I started by making a tote bag with leftover skeletons and skulls fabric I was gifted years ago. I spent $2 a couple of years ago on red fabric with tiny white dots that I used for the lining and handles. Then, what to put in it? I was up against a brick wall until I remembered that you can use airline miles in exchange for magazine subscriptions. DD loves celebrity gossip, so I traded 2,200 miles for a year's subscription to People magazine (I haven't even heard of most of these folks, LOL). If any issues come before Christmas, I will fill the bag with them; if not, I'll buy a current issue. She is going to lovelovelove getting mail every week addressed to her! Plus, as I was checking out of the site (Miles for Magazines dot com), I was given the option of adding 6 months to the sub for $2...which was too good to pass up. Total cost of gift: $4.

    I cut out some pajamas for her using flannel I bought on clearance last year for $2 yard. Ran out of fabric and had to buy a contrasting fabric for $4 yard. I had the pattern and all of the notions, so the pajamas are costing $14 pair, plus about 6 hours of my time cutting and sewing. Sewing flannel really is not cost-effective (even when the flannel is cheap) and this will probably be the last flannel pajamas I make for her...but I've got some good sheets for summer 'jams.

    On to the few other frugal things of last week: Bought more apples (Golden Delicious this time) at the seasonal fruit stand for .29 lb. I also bought a 10 lb. bag of good hard onions for $1.99. Bought 2 cases of Del Monte green beans (they are by far the best) for .50 can and received a rain check for a case of Del Monte corn, also for .50 can. This is less than half the regular price. We will be living in a very small space through the winter and spring and I'll probably have to store them under a bed!

    About conditioner...I don't bother to dilute it. I have short hair and put a tiny amount (a drop or two) on the palm of my hand and rub it into my wet hair. No need to rinse, and as my British friend says, "works a treat."

  • Maxine November 13, 2017

    Oh, I forgot the biggie! The people that are buying our house dropped by Saturday to see what they need and don't need. I sold them the freezer and the riding lawn mower!! I have been wanting a smaller, more energy-efficient freezer, but couldn't justify buying one. When you figure in the $125 I got for my old freezer, plus what it would cost to move and store it for 7 months...it's not a bad deal. I got $500 for the mower. I have been selling things on craigslist and whatever doesn't sell by this weekend will be donated. St. Vincent de Paul will come and get it all this Friday!

  • Patty Humphrey November 13, 2017

    Dear Brandy,
    I am new to your blog (about 6wks) and feel I need to thank you for helping out my little family. I am a single mother to 4 wonderful sons that have special needs. I am greatly encouraged by what Ive learned from you in such a short time. My best frugal accomplishment has been Sam's Club membership. After reading through the website I discovered that they have a promotion for college students. My youngest just started college here in Southern California and I got excited with the prospect of being members of a warehouse store -- its been 7 years for us. Anyway, the promotion said that we could sign up for $45 but that they would gift us a E-credit of $25 dollars! Thats a yearly membership of $20 dollars! Whoo-hoo! I have purchased a 25lb bag of flour and started on my holiday baking already. I also made homemade "bisquick" and morning biscuits are now a breeze. Thank you again for sharing your life, and I would like to share one of my favorite gifts for newlyweds. On the day of the wedding, I make sure that I purchase a newspaper for the couple. This special edition contains information that will remind the couple of historical events of the day. I saved a paper from my wedding day and later discovered the prices of groceries, homes and weather conditions back in 1989! It's so much fun to look back even on your 1st anniversary share that moment together. I have since purchased newspapers for each of my children on they day of their births. I frequently buy papers and slide them into a large plastic bag and enclose a beautiful card with my sentiments.
    This gift has been met with much appreciation from the friends that I have given it to, that I thought I might share it with you and others! Miss Patty, Westminster Ca.

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