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Frugal Accomplishments for the Third Week in July

I spent many, many hours up late each night this week canning. I am grateful to my mother-in-law for teaching me the basics of canning. I had a newborn at the time (my second baby) and she came to my house and taught me to can peaches. 

With lots going on during the day (and another newborn!), I always find it easiest to can at night, when no meals are being prepared in the kitchen and no one needs anything from me.

Using cucumbers picked from my friend's garden, I canned a batch of sweet pickle relish, a batch of bread and butter pickles, and a batch of giardiniera.

Concord Grapes The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut concords and another seeded grape from my garden and canned several quarts of grape juice. I also canned the grape pulp; instructions in the canning book say to strain and discard the solids so that you have clear juice. I don't mind having unfiltered juice with a little pulp. Some of my jars were just juice, some were pulp and juice, and some were more just the thick pulp (like blended grapes) which are perfect to use in smoothies and in popsicles.

Green and Red Beans The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested figs, seedless grapes, green onions, Swiss chard, miniature bell peppers, a couple of peaches from the white garden, and red noodle beans. 

We collected eggs from my friend's hens and picked tomatoes and green beans from her garden.

I used YouTube to show the children about many things mentioned in their schoolbooks. We saw videos about giant grouper, Niagara Falls, and Amsterdam.

My husband cleaned the dryer vent lines and removed the front lower panel of our front-loading washing machine and cleaned out the drain. These two things will help our clothes to dry in a timely manner. I had noticed them coming out of the washer wetter than normal and also taking longer to dry even after I did an extra spin cycle, so they will now be able to dry in one cycle, rather than taking twice as long as they had started to do.

I collected water from the air conditioner drip all week long and used it to water potted plants. I also used shower warm-up water to water potted plants.


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Heidi Louise July 23, 2018

    What a wonderful, memory-making summer!

  • Rhonda A. July 24, 2018

    I think you have found an excellent way to travel frugally! You have a regular paycheck coming in while still seeing the sights. You've found a way of being paid to go on vacation! Very impressive.

  • janet July 25, 2018

    I would love to hear more about the apartment the name of the complex it is something we might have a great need for.
    Hubby and I "retired" exactly as you describe we live with family and visit as we can things that are free or cheap near where we live while we work part time.
    If you can't retire this is the way to go. We stay places off season and we split our money just as children do 1/3 bills, 1/3 savings. 1/3 travel adventure fun!
    Hubby is in his 70's if we don't go now ? (when would we?) So we save up and then off we go each time the pot gets full.
    We paid off our debts first before we started doing this.
    Our savings is our emergency fund and we have very low bills as of right now so we have been doing this for the past almost 10 years.
    It is not how we saw retirement but it is a way to get out and enjoy nature and if you don't do it this way I don't know how you ever do?

  • Kim in Florida July 23, 2018

    In an effort to put more money aside, I went back to the $50 a week budget. Then I went to Sams and spent $40 of it. Yikes, good thing I still have lots of turkey burgers in the freezer that I got for free. Even better that its Monday already so I only have to make it 6 days at the most before there is more grocery money. I made a huge pot of skinny tastes brown sugar beans in the instant pot. I use either all pinto beans or all navy beans. DH complains too much about kidney beans or black beans. I have a lot of reward points at Walgreens, so I used them to buy turkey bacon, eggs, brown sugar and wraps. Walmarts egg prices are up to 10¢ an egg again......whats up with that???? I had planned on buying a steamer basket insert for the instant pot last week. I have a 30% off coupon and a giftcard for kohls, but after deciding to save more money for the next house, I decided not to get one and that I would make do without. Does anyone have a good suggestion on how to steam brocolli or green beans in the instant pot? They fall through the slots in the little rack. I had tried placing my plastic collondar at the top, but it was too far away from the water and nothing steamed......or melted. Last week I paid off 1 credit card, as soon as my amazon payment hits my account I am paying off another. Those 2 accounts had monthly interest on them. I bought a book of stamps and 6pack of paper towels at office depot using my ink recycling rewards. We had recently acquired 2 new ipads for my daughter. The plan was to sell the 1st generation minis, but boy what a pain in the butt that is........Everyone wants to know about them but nobody has come up with money. I wont put them on ebay because of internet fraud. I wouldnt want to lose money or hurt my reputation because of them. I delisted them from the other app sites and decided to keep them for myself. Thats 4 more coupons that I can print from each ipad when there is a good coupon available. We needed an oil change and I found a $20 pepboys coupon to use. Wow, if I die first, my husband is gonna be in trouble......He'll be hungry and homeless!!

  • Kim July 24, 2018

    We had an old iPad sitting on the shelf in the office. So my husband looked up online and we were able to send it back to Apple for a $25 gift card for iTunes. Maybe something you’d be interested in looking into? You should be able to google it and put the serial number in, and they will tell you what it’s worth. They send the box pre-paid postage to send it back to them.

  • Tina S. July 26, 2018

    Kim, you don't need a specific Instant Pot steamer. If you already have one of those round collapsible metal steamers in your cupboard (and it fits inside the pot), that will work fine. If not, you can just as easily use a Pyrex bowl on top of the metal rack you already have. I do this all the time, and it works fine for me (although I haven't used it for beans or broccoli). Just put the vegetables you want to steam in the Pyrex bowl (you can add a couple tablespoons of water to the bowl too if desired), and put this on the rack. Add the recommended amount of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot, and steam for the desired time. Good luck!

  • Jenifer July 23, 2018

    This week will be a very rainy week. Looking forward to opening the windows and having a week off from weeding with the mosquitos.
    I am looking forward to dusting the nooks and crannies, some small sewing projects and I will can more beans this week, and also can some bean soup. The 2/3 of the soup canning will be used for Christmas gifts.

    I added more vegetarian meals into the monthly meal plan. This (sans the walnuts - I was out) was delicious! I used frozen vegetarian ravioli that I bought on deep discount and used 2 TBS of butter instead of the 3. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/576249714816966905/

    A friend is moving and asked if I can sell half her wardrobe through Ebay. She offered a nice profit for me. Keeps my store filled and her clothes are prepped and ready to be listed (no pre prep work needed on my end).

    I did some arm chair traveling looking through travel magazines.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Heidi Louise July 23, 2018

    One of my strongest memories of my Mom from when I was very little was her standing at the sink, slicing fruits for canning. I never developed her skills with a paring knife, and I don't really remember her having the big boiling kettle going when we were around, so perhaps she would also do the heavy work at night. She would do pears, cherries, plums, beans, rhubarb, blueberries, and peaches in quart jars.

    My favorite preserved summer food was frozen peaches. Perhaps she only made them when she didn't have enough for a full jar, as they were in little freezer boxes of waxed cardboard, sliced peaches (or strawberries) and sugar syrup. On top was a crumpled piece of waxed paper and getting to suck the ice off that was a special treat. I suppose that was in the pre-zip-lock days.

    Our savings this week are nothing huge, continuing small moves, like timing laundry/dryer and opening windows to match the FINALLY cooler temperatures.

    I was looking through YouTube for some craft ideas, and changed the setting (the little wheel at the bottom of the screen) so I could watch in twice-as-fast time. Some of those how-to videos are long and I only wanted the general ideas.

    I have a rotating flower bouquet from my yard in a tall vase: phlox, hosta flowers, one gladiola, and several colors of daylilies. I pick the daylilies when they are an open blossom and a few big buds left on a stem. The open ones die off after a day, while others open in a day or two, so I never know what it will look like. I once tried chopping the buds up in a salad but didn't find they added anything in particular, so I let them bloom.

  • Jo July 23, 2018

    We had a very hot, humid weekend -- it was 79 deg. F. at the coolest part of the early morning and 99% humidity. The temps have been reaching mid-nineties with humidity between 70% and 99% all day. I did NOT hang out laundry in that, but I used my drying rack and shower rods to hang a lot of it inside. It added some humidity to the house, but at least it didn't add any heat.
    I received a rebate check in the mail and made a mobile deposit -- no gas or time wasted.
    I'm cooking from scratch and we aren't eating out.
    I'm using our homegrown tomatoes in cooking. We don't have enough to can, but plenty for fresh eating and recipe use.
    I'm re-purposing an old solid colored pillow case to make a liner for a print curtain in a very sunny window -- it will keep the print curtain from fading.
    We installed a replacement door and I'm painting it myself. I've painted several doors -- they aren't fun, especially the muntins, but they aren't really hard to do.
    By the way, my daughter's debit card was recently hacked and had to be closed, for the fourth time in the last few years. Mine has been hacked twice and my credit card has been hacked at least three times. At one store where I wrote a check, the checking information was stolen off several thousand checks in the store's computer base, and I was placed on a credit watch, courtesy of the store. I don't understand the people who do this sort of thing.

  • Susan July 23, 2018

    I used Ibotta for great grocery deals. I picked basil, chives and peppers. I got some hostas from my parents to spruce up our yard and another one of our properties. Visiting family while we have some work done at our house- family gets to meet the new baby and we don’t have to keep our baby in a construction zone. It’s nice to relax for a few days before we get back to renovations. We have another busy 2 weeks then I hope to get canning. Unfortunately the strawberry season was very short so I missed out on making strawberry jam, my absolute favorite. I sold an item on eBay, which is helping declutter the house. I bought a great Melissa and Doug wooden toy and wooden play construction bench for $6 at a garage sale.

  • Sara July 23, 2018

    I really enjoy your blog. I know that you are a very buy mom. However would love to see more recipes perhaps some for your dill pickles. Or pasta sauce.
    Thank you

  • Sara, you can find my sauce recipe here: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/spaghetti
    The pickles were made with Mrs. Wages dill pickle mix. I really like the taste of them.

  • mable July 23, 2018

    Brandy, have you tried using zucchini with that dill pickle mix? I have a lot of zucchini but don't want to waste it if someone else has already tried that substitution and found it wanting...Thanks.

  • Marie McConky July 24, 2018

    Brandy's spaghetti sauce recipe is the best ever. We love it and it is so cost effective. I freeze it in portions because there are only two of us. I can't wait to try the pickle mix.

  • Sara July 23, 2018

    busy sorry

  • Stephanie July 23, 2018

    We took an incredibly unfrugal cruise to Bermuda last week. We paid cash and made a ton of family memories. We were advised a few months ago that if l wanted to travel l need to do it now because we have no idea how long l will be medically stable. The day after we came back l went to the thrift store and managed to get the girls a land end squall parka and a down winter coat for the coming winter for four dollars each. I also picked up a dress and t shirts for their birthdays for $1.69 each. I mended two towels and used CVS extracare bucks to purchase free to me hair elastics. My older girl starts middle school next month and she needs a new backpack/lunchbox( we will purchase for K/5th/9th grade or when they wear out from normal use), she chose to limp through the last few months of fourth grade with a few tiny holes in her backpack so she would have a better selection and we would pay for it. Comparing her four year old ll bean and my 25 year old backpacks it is clear the quality is not the same. She picked a Jansport that l got on sale. School supply sales are in full swing and l checked my stockpile before buying anything. I have 1/3 of what they need already from last year. There are 8 packages of crayola 25 cent crayons that are going to become tie dye lego shaped crayon birthday party favors.

  • Lillianns pickles July 23, 2018

    Stephanie, I was just thinking today how much I miss shopping for bookbags and lunch boxes for my children. Mine always wanted the latest cartoon/ movie character that was in the moment and that's about how long they lasted. I started buying ll bean for all my children about ten years ago and had really great success with them. I know they have made some changes to their policy due to abuse but perhaps you could contact them. ( I think the abuse problem was people picking up 10 and 20 year old items at thrift stores etc and returning them ) we always have had great service. In fact, when I went back to school three years ago, I used my daughter's bookbag from high school. We bought my son a bookbag from the makers of Swiss army knife in middle school. ( sorry I can't remember that name) that bookbag was used and looked like new for 8 years. I washed it and it disintegrated. It had a warranty too but I just couldn't submit one for it. I used staples rewards and a coupon to purchase that 100.00 bag and got back 100.00 in credit the next month for it. One of my greatest purchases. If ll bean will replace it, you could have an extra one or save it.

  • Marybeth July 23, 2018

    We are visiting my oldest daughter in Baltimore. We are staying with her instead of a hotel. We are cooking at her apartment. We went to Aldi to keep costs low. Hubby, OD and her boyfriend are going to an Orioles game tonight. They are walking the 6 blocks to avoid paying parking. We are visiting 2 colleges for our youngest while we are away. One is nearby in Maryland, the other is on the way home in NJ.

  • Janet July 25, 2018


    I will wave to you as you drive by we are in Bethesda right outside DC . It is amazing how much money folks can save when family comes together, and combining things.
    Long ago or should I say long long ago when I was young Family all lived in the same area. When folks started to branch out some families got together at Christmas and Easter at least. It was tradition in most large families (Mine as well and we were very very very large) to bring all usable items to these get togethers. In that way families could share.
    There was a lot less waste in America back then.

  • Cheryl J July 23, 2018

    My frugal accomplishments for the week include:
    Received a $5 Target gift card after purchasing a razor deal.

    My son went to the $5 movie night at the theater.

    Borrowed E-books from the library.

    Ate out only once for dinner.

    Went to CVS to purchase vitamins and since it was Saturday evening I was able to get the B1G1 free for 1 set of vitamins. Apparently the signs had been removed because the sale had just ended and then cashier allowed me to use a 25% off coupon I received in the mail for another vitamin. Ended up saving $15!

    Received coupons from H-E-B in the mail for 4 free items and a $3 off $30 purchase.

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