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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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  • Andrea Q July 23, 2018

    We pay $12 per month for "Limited Basic" cable from Comcast. It is bundled with our internet. If I cancel it, our internet cost will actually go up! They don't advertise this package, you have to ask for it. I think we have about a dozen channels. It works for us, as digital antennas in our area only pick up a couple of channels due to the topography.

  • Marivene July 22, 2018

    *My grandson & I picked the last of the pie cherries, then removed the net from the tree & folded it until we need it again next year. The net was a present from my youngest daughter several years ago, & since we have started using it, the yield of cherries has increased due to no bird or insect predation, but also because the net decreases the temperature under it. The lower temps also prolong the season & keep the cherries from rotting on the tree in temperatures over 90 degrees. We harvested 95 cups of pitted cherries this year, & the tree is still fairly young. We froze some & dehydrated some. The ones my grandson & I picked & pitted went first into my freezer, then home with him in an ice chest, to become pies & cobblers.

    *Picked more blackberries.

    *Enjoyed a long rainstorm that watered everything for free on Saturday night, complete with thunder & a little lightening. We opened a few strategically placed windows to let in the cool, clean air. We have had a lot of wildfires around us & at times the air has been smokey.

    *Cashed a pine cone check & completed another pine cone survey.

    *Exchanged several items of clothing within the family, updating wardrobes for free.

  • Laurie in central NC July 22, 2018

    That has to be tough, canning at night, but I can understand how that would be the best option for you. The color of those grapes are almost other wordly, they're so beautiful. There are many concord grapes on our vines, which have dwindled some due to drought and animals. We had a beautiful rain last night, so I'm hoping we'll be able to harvest and share lots. I canned blueberry jam last week, and besides blueberries, harvested yellow, spaghetti and tromboncino squash, cucumbers, basil, parsley, a few okra and apples, and our first ripe tomato. I saw our first little green beans today, so they won't be far off. I hope you'll be able to catch up on some sleep this week. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/07/summer-of-squash-frugal-accomplishments.html

  • Stephanie July 22, 2018

    Canning is something I'd love to do more of! I haven't found an inexpensive source of jars, though (I did tell my mom to keep an eye out in case she sees or hears or any; she lives about an hour away and so will have different opportunities), so I just pick them up locally when they go on sale and will continue to do so. All the canning I've done so far has also been late at night.

    We ate all homecooked meals this week. I hung the laundry out to dry, knitted several Christmas gifts, I cleaned out the refrigerator and made sure all leftovers got eaten before making new food. We made several trips to the library (picking up several interlibrary loan books) and had a lovely playdate at the park with friends. We also got some great deals on fruit this week, so my daughter and I have been enjoying fresh fruit with our lunches and as snacks all week long. :)

  • Laurie in AZ July 22, 2018

    Glad you got your canning in! It is so satisfying to see all those jars on the shelf, isn't it?

    Here are my accomplishments for the week:

    Week of 7/15/18
    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Found 2 pennies.
    • Dinners consisted of eating up individual servings of leftovers I had frozen. I was able to use up 6 containers.
    • Bought my 2 ½ year old grandson some watercolors at the dollar store. He loved them and painted for about an hour! Money well spent.
    • Renewed my county library card. Checked out 2 more Agatha Christie books and a cookbook for vegetables. Am trying to eat more vegetables and less starches and I think if I were more creative with the vegetables it will be more satisfying.
    • Got more cherries on sale for 97c, which I pitted and froze. I ended up with 6 qts. frozen. Also got a free bag of Airhead candy with the Friday Freebie, a cantaloupe for 25c/lb, 6 bottles of my husband’s favorite shampoo for 69c each and 4 boxes of tissue for 49c each. The store also had a buy 1 get 2 free sale on petite sirloin. I got enough for 10+ meals for the 2 of us for $34.
    • Cooked a turkey I bought in November. Had turkey and gravy for dinner that night, then canned 7 qts. of turkey & broth soup starter and 9 – ½ pts. of turkey and froze 16 individual serving sized packets of sliced meat for lunches and 4 containers of turkey & gravy.
    • I’ve been eating smoothies for breakfast every day. I make up Ziploc bags of the fruit and veggie mix ahead of time and freeze. Then the night before, I put them in the refrigerator so they will partially thaw. Easier to blend that way. I’ve been really happy to be getting so much fruit at such good prices this year.
    • Worked 15 hours contract work.
    • Stayed in with hubby this weekend. We were going to watch a movie that my friend recommended, but it would have cost us $5.99. I just can’t justify spending that when there is so much we could watch for free. Instead we watched a couple of episodes of “Churchill’s Secret Agents: The New Recruits” on Netflix. Very interesting show!

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  • Cheryl j July 23, 2018

    Laurie, my husband an I have been watching Churchill's Secret Agents as well. We really have enjoyed it.

  • Margie from Toronto July 25, 2018

    I also watched this and really enjoyed it. It's not just a reality show - they give you so much historical context that it is really quite fascinating.

  • Caitlin July 22, 2018

    I picked up 50 lbs of roma tomatoes from Sprouts for $25. I canned 13 quarts of slightly watery spaghetti sauce (we like ours loose and barely cooked down for things like goulash which will soak up the liquid), 24 pints of salsa (we eat lots of Mexican inspired dishes) and 3.5 pints of ketchup out of these.

    I also canned peach/blueberry pepper jam and peach scrap jelly.

    I got a large lot of jars from an old farm for $15. They were dirty and gross, but at the very bottom of the box, I found two old jars, that are worth $20-40 a piece (on average from ebay and etsy).

    I planted beets, mustard greens, carrots, and peas in the garden. It's been hot and weird here in Kansas, nothing is really growing how I had hoped, but we're trying.

    I put an ad on Craigslist seeking super cheap or free veggies, and I've found a source for zucchini (which I'll turn into mock apple pie filling, mock lemon pie filling, mock pineapple, zucchini pickles and zucchini relish). I will hopefully be picking up a ton of those this week.

    We're slowly building up our pantry. I spent almost $400 this month on food. Next month I should only spend $100 or so to rebuild and fill out the missing gaps.

    All in all, an amazing week.

  • Gardenpat July 22, 2018

    This week I finished quilting and binding the simple rectangles quilt I started the day I posted last week. Here is a link to the photo: https://pin.it/xr7k7mczkxdjqz I am pleased because, to me, the quilt looks a little more complex than it did before quiltiWe ng. It will go into my gift cupboard.

    Usual- eating at home from scratch, washing and reusing ziplocs. Gathering eggs from our hens (at any given time we have about 200 eggs in our basement fridge! I hard boiled another dozen in my Instant Pot (I do this every week) so we have an easy snack in the fridge!

    Our daughter paid off the final $130 of our loan to her for car repairs. She has been faithful about paying us every single month and it was great to see that she completed it now!

    Even though our savings took a hit with unexpected van repairs , we’ve been able to bring it back to it’s pre-repair balance!
    When I went to my produce market yesterday to buy some greens for my chickens ($1 for a 5 pound bag of spinach), my sweet friends there asked if I would like some tomatoes for my chickens. I asked how much and they said I could have them because they wouldn’t keep until Tuesday when they reopen (they are closed on Sunday and Monday) ! They brought out 5 plastic containers (which, btw, we love to keep because when not in use they fold flat!
    I thought there were about 120 pounds but it appears that there may be closer to 140 pounds! So I too am canning!! Tomato sauce cooking down in my roaster and then diced tomatoes in quart jars! Diced tomatoes are versatile and relatively quick to put up. Then later, I can use them to make and can salsa or sweet and sour sauce or chili, etc when I have more time!

    We did some more landscaping in the yard! My Freecycle bricks have now completed my side yard walkway and also almost completed the brick path in front of my 24 foot long raised bed with blackberry bushes!

    I’ve got a few ideas for prototypes of items to go into our sales inventory for our business using more of my fabric so I’m excited to do an ROI and test market them! Hopefully, I’ll get those made up this week!

    Still getting more cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes from my garden.

    All in all, a very good week!

  • Cindi July 23, 2018

    Lovely quilt!

  • Judy July 23, 2018


    Do you mind sharing the dimensions of the rectangles that you used for your quilt as well as the dimension of your quilt. I have some flannel that I'd like to use up. This would be great for that. Thanks.

  • Gardenpat July 23, 2018

    It was a free pattern I found online. Here is a link with supply list, cutting instructions.


    Hope you enjoy it!

  • Megan July 22, 2018

    From my cental Indiana garden I harvested lots of cucumber, one tomato, Swiss chard, and herbs as needed. I also harvested zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumber from a friend's garden while she was on vacation. My zucchini plant suffered extensive vine borer damage so I removed the plant this week and started more seeds. I canned pickles, tomato jam, and cherry balsamic jam.

    I also found 6 solid wood dining chairs on Facebook marketplace for only $25 each! I had been looking for months for the style I wanted as we have an antique farmhouse style table. We picked them up today and they look amazing!

  • Athanasia July 24, 2018

    Megan, and others with the squash vine borer problem, you can do a little surgery on your plant to save them if this happens. Find the spot where the vine wilts, make a slit in the vine long ways, not cross ways, and dig out the borer. Then bury that section of vine with dirt. It'll root there and the vine will continue to produce.

  • Annaliese July 22, 2018

    Thanks for another good idea-canning giardiniera. I have some cucumbers but not enough for a batch of pickles. I am going to try your recipes this week. What good ideas for using up all the grapes! Here is the ways we saved money this past week:
    - Pick some basil and dehydrated it-then grind to make it into powder. Added to already made jar.
    -We were gifted a $75 gift card to a local grocery store and I used points from Swagbucks to get 2 more $25 Wal Mart gift cards and turned in points from my ShopKick account and got another $25 gift card. Between both stores, I used them to stock up on canning and baking supplies. The haul should last hopefully until the end of October (or longer...).
    -Was gifted 4 dozen of fresh farm eggs. Very thankful for these since it's one of a few protein DS eats.
    -Traded cucumbers for tomatoes with neighbor.
    -Finally got some rain over this weekend. Saved me from watering garden. Crop from garden this week was cucumbers, a few green beans, cherry tomatoes, a couple of green peppers and basil. The okra is flowering...
    -Hubby and son went to Target yesterday and they were having a Harry Potter Anniversary event. they picked up a backsack, poster (HP Lego characters), a bookmark and a temporary tattoo=all for free.
    -Free from snail mail= 2 coffee pods, a couple of "female" products, sample of hair mask and a sample of an all beet drink mix.
    -Canned some spaghetti sauce. --
    -Made homemade egg rolls and tried a cauliflower fried rice recipe. Wasn't for sure how it would go over but Hubby loved both!
    Hope everyone has a blessed week!

  • Lillianna pickles July 22, 2018

    I refuse to spend any of the little savings I have accumulated. It may be needed for car expenses. I cut my grass and the neighbors grass to avoid any citations. ( it's interesting that code enforcement is profiting off of this when there are so many other violations they should be addressing. I guess this one makes them more money) found that said neighbor removed dead battery from my truck for me. I hope to use Swagbucks to replace battery soon.
    Living with sugar cookie is like being on an Easter egg hunt often. Items are often placed ?????? I spent the week reorganizing my stockpile. All H&B are in bath closet. All dry goods in hall closet. All canned food and glass jars are on commercial shelving in garage. All small kitchen appliances are on shelf across the laundry room. I am adding another same length shelf under the other one for my baking/dry ingredients in Tupperware containers. I need a couple of screws(?) to put it in place. I tossed out tons of food that had expired . Most of this was salvaged from a restaurant I evicted from a former job. Many of the items I would have kept and used but we simply do not eat that way anymore. Being organized is so much more frugal.
    I salvaged several items this week while collecting Coca cola caps. A roll of gorilla tape was happily used to splinter my rake back together after I cracked it. Found two bottles of gorilla glue. I had a large crack down the center of a kitchen cabinet door. Glue fixed it right up. I almost cut my hand off using electric clippers to cut bushes on curb. After carefully evaluating situation. I bound up hand and taped tight. Once bleeding stopped, I cleaned it and sealed it. My late husband was a surgeon so I have experience. I bet gorilla glue and tape have not been used often for this purpose. It is healing and has no sign of infection. In hindsight, our medical bills from last year are over 600 thousand. One more wouldn't have hurt. An ambulance ride isn't practical when you have no way to get home. My frugalness has become extreme. I am hoping car will be repaired on first of month under warranty or recall and that the costs are all covered. I can't handle many more problems. It makes me angry that a 2 year old car has these problems. Meanwhile I am spending no money. I am making do and using everything we have. I am happy and content and using all the free online streaming sources I have found. I miss my weekly trip to the thrift store. For all of you growing food it makes me smile to read your posts. You cannot possibly but a red ripe tomato here. I am so jealous.

  • PJGT July 23, 2018

    Way to go! Some days I am get a bit tired but reading your post laced with grit and determination have spured me on. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  • Marcia R. July 22, 2018

    I don't envy you canning at night either--but you have children old enough to help peel and cut now. Or do you prefer them out of your way? I know sometimes they slow you down more than they help.
    Have you ever made concord grape pie? It is really tasty but barely worth the trouble. You slide the peels off all the grapes but then add them back in to the pie filling. There is a recipe in the 1960-ish Betty Crocker cookbook, but I will warn you--The grapes of today do not need that much sugar!! A couple years ago I made two pies--one for us and one for the person who gave me the grapes. It took forever, and I never gave a thought to the sugar. I don't think more than two slices from each pie were eaten---it was far too sweet. A terrible waste of effort. However, a grape growing region nearby has a grape festival every year and I've eaten the pie before and it was delicious! They sell a LOT of them and now I know why they are so expensive. I wouldn't use more than 2/3-3/4 cup of sugar if I did it again.

    This week I only caught up on things after last weekend away. Bought veggies at the farmstand and only spent $22 at the supermarket. Used a $4 coupon on shampoo which was 2 bottles for $7--was pleased with that. Cooked a roast chicken a couple days ago that cost 50 cents a pound on special unadvertised sale. I could have had more but my freezer was very full that week. Another lady looked like she was getting quite a few. I got my husband to trim the trees in front of the house, making it possible for people to walk past without ducking, and also for me to see down the road when I'm backing out of the driveway. Have been researching stuff on line for my husband's newly discovered needs--a medical alert pendant needs to be ordered so he doesn't wander away and get lost--dr says it's ok for him to walk or ride his bike on the canal towpath only--not on any streets. He has gotten mildly lost a couple times--knew what town he was in but not how to get back to the road he wanted to be on. He does carry a cell phone --he can call me if he remembers to! His helpful tasks have to be done in a supervised way---so trimming the trees was an accomplishment. We ate all meals at home this week. I put 10# of sour cherries for pies in the freezer which I had purchased at a nearby farm, already pitted. If you buy 30# they are lots cheaper so next year I have to find two friends to share with. My daughter and I are going to the Amish store tomorrow--I need oatmeal and she wants veggies--they have excellent prices there. If they have sweet peppers I may get them there as they are usually 50 cents each. Good time to make stuffed peppers. I will also cut and freeze some as more come to market. Laundry was a trial this week--only did half of the past week's so had to catch up after the weekend away, and it is wearing to go up and down those cellar stairs these days. Make chicken in gravy over biscuits the next night and still have chicken left that I will do something more with. Not sure what just yet. I thought I had a free week, but got a reminder call yesterday for a doctor's appointment on Thursday--had forgotten to write it on the calendar. Good thing they call these days--for older folks like me, anyhow!

  • Juls Owings July 22, 2018

    I remember a lot of nights of a couple hours sleep when all the kids were home and I canned at night to keep the house cooler as we didn't have AC.

    I used a couple recipes that were Brandy's especially zucchini potato pancakes.

    This week we have been gifted with zucchini (now shredded and put in freezer and 5 different flavors of zucchini jam canned) sweet corn that was put in freezer along with other garden items.

    I mended a pair of pants for Hubby and a PJ shorts for myself.

    We turned down 2 different parties that we were invited to as it would have costs us more money than we felt comfortable with spending.
    Blessed Be everyone ....

  • I love the photo of your concord grapes, Brandy, and I'm always impressed by how proactive you are in terms of the care of your appliances. Another busy and productive week for you!

    My week was good too:
    - Inspired by some family friends and items I had in my garden (parsley, radishes, and mint), pantry (onions and spices), and fridge (tomatoes, lemon juice, and cucumbers), I made Syrian-Style Chopped Salad (http://approachingfood.com/syrian-style-chopped-salad/). Super-refreshing on a hot summer’s day, and almost entirely possible to make from garden produce, so quite frugal.
    - Using my local trading app, I was able to trade a box of nut bars that I no longer liked (I bought them from Costco, using my membership that my work paid for, thinking that the bars would be a good source of protein for work snacks, but no longer liked them once pregnant) for some of the digital currency that the app uses. I plan to trade this currency for bitcoin, which is what my DH currently uses to get money to his mom overseas. A bit of a convoluted trade, but it got rid of something I no longer wanted, and will be translated into money for my MIL!
    - I picked radishes, mint, and parsley from my garden and thinned and replanted some lettuce.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon.ca.
    - I meal-prepped two weeks worth of smoothies for the freezer (I package the ingredients individually in a baggie, so when I want to make a smoothie, I just add some homemade yoghurt and blend it all up. A fruit-veggie-almond butter smoothie is so perfect to have for dinner after a long day of work and walking home in the heat! I sit and put my feet up to reduce pregnancy swelling, and drink the smoothie, and by the time I’m finished the smoothie, I feel so much better and ready to tackle the rest of the evening. A very frugal yet healthy meal!
    - I gave myself a manicure at home. I used to sell make-up products as a side hustle (it was how I managed to pay for my airfare and accommodations on my trip to Italy & France five years ago, and I still have lots of highly discounted supplies leftover). Now my nails look nice, and all it took was my time!
    - My mother belongs to a website called houseseats which, for a small membership fee, gives members the option to get free tickets to the theatre on a first come-first served basis (she bought the membership when there was a get-two-years-for-the-price-of-one deal). She uses it to get random tickets to shows for her and my father, and it has served her well as she has gotten tickets to local productions of plays as well as tickets to the symphony and so on. This time she was able to get tickets to The Tempest at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, which is a big Shakespearean play festival. Usually she and I go on a yearly mother-daughter weekend to the festival, but we hadn’t booked anything this year, so it was very serendipitous! We drove there and back the same day. Medium-range tickets can cost over $150 for two, depending on the seating you select so it was a very good find! We parked far away from the theatre and so didn’t have to pay for parking. We packed snacks and drinks in a cooler. We did stop for dinner in town: my mum paid for dinner (sandwiches) and I paid for dessert (ice cream) and we managed to find parking for a brief period of time in the tourist info parking lot and only had to pay 25 cents. It was a fabulous mother-daughter get-away for $25 OOP!
    - My husband redeemed loyalty points for $60 of free groceries (he has a loyalty credit card that gives him double grocery points, so we try to put most purchases on his card. We pay it off every month, obviously.) Yay for free groceries!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as usual!

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