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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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Comments

  • Mary July 22, 2018

    Hi all -

    Last week was not the greatest week $ wise...

    Focusing on frugal things done -
    - stayed in most of the week
    - college daughter was home for a few days and usually go out to movies. We found a movie to watch on Netflix instead
    - received a $88 check from decluttr for old Apple Watch and a book - will be used for bills
    - read library books
    - made homemade meals and had leftovers
    - my Husband & FIL went grocery shopping, I decided to go so they would spend wisely. Was a $70 trip and FIL paid $60
    - washed baggies, full loads for washer & dishwasher
    - hung clothes to dry
    - enjoyed the mountain views here

    That is all I can think of ...
    Enjoy your week!

  • Rhonda A. July 22, 2018

    So glad the produce you have received from your friends garden, as well as your own, are being canned for future use, Brandy! Always nice when you can pull those home-canned items off the shelf, instead of having to purchase them. Love the idea of canning the grape pulp for making popsicles later, too. You must be exhausted from all the late nights, though.

    We finally had a full day of rain today. Whoohooo!!! Our gardens and field crops were in desperate need, not to mention the numerous wild fires that are happening, due to such dry conditions! Hope the fire ban is lifted soon, so we can do cooking demos in the open fire pit at work again. This week we were able to accomplish the following frugal tasks:
    *Meals made at home included chicken fingers with green beans and choice of sweet potato fries (I made myself some spicy dip for my sweet potato fries using a bit of mayo, a generous pinch of garlic powder and a small sprinkle of sriracha powder) or potato wedges, shepherds pie (made using leftover roast beef), chicken low mien stir-fry, breaded chicken burgers/patties with fresh corn on the cob, and crock-pot meatballs in gravy with mashed potatoes and green beans.
    *Harvested lettuce, a few beans, a few peas (mostly as seeds to save for next year), and 2 small pickling cucumbers. There are several small cucumbers developing, so I am hoping I will get enough to can a jar of pickles soon.
    *Cut, blanched and froze a dozen bunches of broccoli (in the winter fresh broccoli is around $2.50/bunch and I bought these for $0.97/bunch). Bought a bushel of mixed green and yellow/waxed beans at the farmers market for $50. Last year I bought a half bushel and I ran out of green/yellow waxed beans rather quickly. We are slowly blanching and freezing the beans for use during the winter (about 2/3 of bushel already done). I also bought a dozen sweet corn, which we enjoyed for dinner that night. The niblets were cut from the leftover cobs and frozen for use during winter. We will continue to do this almost every week with corn on the cob until corn is done for the season. Every summer/fall, I blanch and freeze fresh produce my family enjoys eating, as they are in season and on sale. We then use these fruits and veggies throughout our long Canadian winter. I find this saves quite a bit of money, instead of buying frozen veggies each week at a minimum cost of $2-$4/bag (frozen veggies are much cheaper than canned), or frozen or canned fruit which is even more expensive! I still buy a few bags of frozen veggies, like peas (they are very expensive to buy fresh, and I can't grow enough to preserve for winter) and corn (despite my best efforts, we go through more corn than I can preserve each winter), and some fresh produce (like apples, oranges, bananas, lettuce and spinach) but it is kept to a minimum by preserving the summer harvests!
    *Used reusable silicone baking sheet liners that I already own to line the pan when freezing the veggies. They work great at stopping the veggies from freezing to the pans, can be used to funnel the frozen veggies into the Ziploc bags and are recyclable which saves me money!
    *Started a word document to keep a record of the fresh produce we purchase this summer (including notes on prices and quantities), how much it made in preserves for winter (e.g. how many jars of jam or how many bags of frozen veggies, and an inventory of what was leftover from previous year that can still be used this coming winter. My plan is to update this each year, so I can keep a record of everything I did year to year and use it as a reference in the future. By using/saving a word document on my computer, I don't waste paper, it costs me nothing, and I can update and add any time I want!
    *Went to Costco instead of doing a grocery shop, since we didn't need much from the regular grocery store this week. I was pleasantly surprised to find 4 items on my stock up list on sale! It ended up costing more than I originally expected, but I am now set for shampoo (which we just ran out of that morning), conditioner (was almost out of this as well), Kleenex (we only had a couple boxes left), and fabric softener (almost out as well) for a while. Hubby was thrilled that his beloved Drumstick ice cream cones were on sale as well, so we bought 2 boxes of those too (you'd think the man was hard done by with the pathetic whine he produced when we run out of these!).
    *I have made efforts lately to make meatless lunches to take to work. The previous week I had BBQ chickpea wraps (one home-canned quart of chickpeas lasted several days). This past week I took a small reusable container of baked beans (1 can lasted 4 or 5 lunches) and a bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese. This was complimented with some fruit, a yogurt and 2 reusable travel mugs filled with ice and tap water (which stays cold for hours!). My family are not into "meatless meals", so this is my way of doing it without revolt.
    *Free things I received from work this week: Popcorn (leftover at end of day from food booth), an "all day" sucker and a smaller sucker (broken, so written off), a couple salt water taffy (candy melted out of wrapper, so written off), baked treats (made in buildings, health department will not let us give samples to public any more), lemonade, and soup (made from veggies and fresh herbs picked from the gardens at work).
    *Took DD and her friend swimming at the recreation centre for free through the PHIT program (this program is run out of our hospital, designed for children struggling with weight and/or other health issues), saving me the $15 fee for all 3 of us to go. We enjoyed the hour long public swim and got some great exercise at the same time!

    Looking forward to reading everyone's comments, even if it takes me most of the week to read them all! Have a lovely week everyone.

  • Jennifer Caldwell July 22, 2018

    Happy Sunday, everyone!

    We had a few frugal fails this week, but I am going to choose do focus on the good.

    Friday was my birthday. I redeemed coupons for a free Nothing Bundt Cake, free El Pollo Loco meal, free Wetzel Pretzel, and a free Venti Triple Mocha Frap from Starbucks. Such indulgence.

    My mom gifted me a Target gift card, at my request. I used it to purchased much needed under things. I still have money left.

    My dad gifted me a home made meal, a beautiful orchid and money. I’m saving that until I find just the right thing.

    My office was amazing. First of all, Thursday was our All Staff retreat. My job is all the logistics. We served breakfast; that was quite yummy. My boss very graciously thanked me in front of everyone at the retreat. Then, Friday, I walked into the office to a decorated door (our little tradition), then, my coworkers came in my office singing and handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a cute mason jar vase and my favorite Starbucks drink and a card. As they left my boss mentioned that it was also a thank you for my hard work on the retreat. When I opened the cars there was a Chipotle gift card inside. I was truly blown away by their generosity. On top of all that, my boss made me leave work two hours early :D

    My family took me out for an inexpensive dinner and bought me yet another flower pin. I love those things.

    That’s pretty much it for me. Have a great week everyone!

  • Jenifer July 23, 2018

    Happy (belated) Birthday!
    Its fun to sign up for the free birthday treats. Keeps me feeling young at least!

  • Athanasia July 24, 2018

    Jennifer, sounds like you have a very nice place of employment, and a good boss, too.

  • Colleen July 22, 2018

    We have a store near us that sells clothing, accessories and home goods at close-out prices. Often, these items are in perfect condition, they just were last year's style or a catalog return or similar. But just as often, the products have a flaw. But the discounts are so great that it's worth digging around every so often to see what you find. This week, they advertised a 99 cent sale, so I went and found 5 items - 4 pairs of shoes and a purse, all new with tags. I came home and did a quick internet search to discover that the items retail for around $250 total. I paid just $5! The purse needed a tiny mend on the strap but due to the design of the purse, the mending doesn't even show. One of the pairs of shoes needed a small area glued, but the other three pairs were perfect. I've stopped shopping at thrift stores and almost exclusively shop at this store now because I rarely pay more than a few dollars for anything. Also, I usually shop at Aldi, but one of the local grocery stores had raspberries for $1 a pint, so I bought several pints and froze them. I also purchased gluten-free crackers, which were on sale for the lowest price they ever are around here, plus I combined them with coupons, to save a total of $2.50 per box. I also bought a home-waxing kit to wax my legs. I don't shave during the winter, but in the summer I like to remove the hair on my lower legs. Lately, shaving has started aggravating my eczema, so I tried salon waxing and it was great - no irritation at all and it lasts much longer than shaving. It's expensive, though, so I purchased a kit on Amazon this week to wax my own legs for half the cost of one salon visit. The kit has enough supplies for the whole summer and beyond. And tonight I will cut my husband's hair.

  • Hi Colleen! You can actually make your own 'wax' using just lemon juice and sugar! I don't remember the exact quantities, but I'm sure it's easy to Google. 'Body sugaring' wax is just a fancy name for this milennia old mixture.

  • Lorna July 22, 2018

    Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    So glad you have been able to pick so much lovely produce from the gardens that you have been able to preserve to add to your pantry Brandy . I also remember doing cooking and baking late at nights when my children were small so there were no distractions and half the cookie/biscuit dough didn't go missing before it was cooked :) .

    Our savings and earnings last week added up to $428.21.

    Here is how we saved and feathered our nest -

    Earnings -
    - Earned $50.40 from the sale of a home made bread bag and 300 g of thyme picked from the gardens and dried in my internet store.
    - Earned $3 from the sale for a garden harvested a bunch of silver beet to friends.

    Finances -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 26.80 % of the way there.

    Purchases -
    - BigW were have a huge clearance on their winter and some summer clothing with markdowns and a further markdown of 40% off those prices again (18th to the 26th I think) in store. With our following purchases we saved 73.31% or $267 on usual retail prices and stocked both of our wardrobes for a few years to come in winter clothing.

    For myself I purchased on special 2 pairs of knitted gloves, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of jeggings, 2 pairs of shaping tights, 1 x 3/4 sleeve lace detail t-shirt, 8 x l/s t-shirts, 3 x 5 pk of cushioned sports socks, 3 x puffer vests, 3 x puffer jackets. For DH we purchased 4 x l/s t-shirts, 1 zip polar fleece jacket, 4 quilted track suit tops, 6 tracksuit tops and 4 x tracksuit pants.

    In the gardens -
    - Separated out 392 g of thyme picked and dried from the gardens saving $52.68 over purchasing it.
    - Picked 21 g of snow peas, 254 g of early Massey shelling peas, 200 g of money maker tomatoes and 2.3 kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $52.68 over purchasing them in the supermarkets.
    - Harvested more French and English lavender to dry from the gardens and separated other dried garden harvested French and English lavender saving $9.68 over purchasing it in the shops.

    In the kitchen-
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Other frugal things we usually do -
    - Saved warm up shower water and dish rinsing water to water the fruit tree pot plants on the back veranda, only turned on the electric hot water system when it needed heating, heated the home with free firewood, boiled our kettle most days on top the slow combustion fireplace instead of using the electric kettle, hung washing out to dry on the clothes line and washed out and reused clip seal freezer bags.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada July 22, 2018

    I enjoyed produce from my gardens: lettuce, chard, beets, peas, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, yellow squash, strawberries, raspberries. I harvested my garlic and onions. I picked blackberries for free from bushes growing along my street. I accepted some free berries from one of my neighbors.
    I picked apples for free from a city park. I shared half of the apples with the manager at my community garden. She's been giving me free produce that are her returns from her farmer's market booth. This week she gave me one green cabbage and one purple cabbage. I made coleslaw.
    I stayed out of the thrift store. I went grocery shopping but only picked up this week's loss leaders and some milk and eggs.
    I continued to track all my purchases in my notebook.
    I went to the library twice to pickup holds I'd requested and to return items.
    I shredded most of the zucchini and yellow squash and froze them in 2-cup portions.

  • AndreaG July 22, 2018

    I have been spending more than I want to this month so I am going to start exercising better self-control starting this week. We ate all meals at home and did a fairly small grocery shop for some vegetables and dairy. My mom very generously sent home with us after Sunday dinner at her house some blueberries (which I will freeze the bulk of), some melon, some stewing beef and some chicken breasts. We are very blessed that my mom is so generous as it really fills our fridge and freezer. I received a couple more beauty samples so my basket is starting to overflow. We received quite a bit of rain this weekend so it has kept the temperatures down so that we can leave the air conditioner off and it waters the garden naturally! I also gather as much of the rainfall as I can so we'll have water for the plants when they need it.

    Hope everyone has a frugal week!

  • Elizabeth M. July 22, 2018

    A couple of small checks arrived that I wasn't expecting. One is a rebate of a carbon tax, and I will see three more checks over the coming year. The other was because of a $5 a month increase in my government pension, because of contributing from employment last year. The check paid me retroactively for six months. These checks plus some extra work earnings made it possible for me to pay a bill that I thought I would have to delay. The next carbon tax rebate comes the day before Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, so at least that meal will be taken care of!

    5 lb. flats of blueberries are in today's grocery flyer, at $2.00 less a flat than last year. The last time we saw this price was four years ago. I will be picking some up tomorrow, and freezing them in 2-cup bags for the winter.

    10 days ago I took the car in for some servicing at the next town over. On the way home, it seemed to have developed a whistle, so I am doing without the car for a couple of weeks until I can get it fixed. I live a block or two from most places I need to go, so no problem.

    I decided that this year I would go without getting produce from a CSA. I have been to the local farmer's market and bought greens for salad and for cooking at less than what the store charges. The growing weather has been perfect here, so I am enjoying this fresh produce. The market is very close by, but only runs for 3 hours a week. I find it hard to remember to go over there at the right time.

    I am enjoying some library books, and some new shows that are on CBC online for free.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba July 22, 2018

    Brandy, what a brilliant idea to can grape pulp for smoothies and popsicles! Using YouTube for education is another idea I'll use in the future for teaching.

    Last week, here is what I did to save money:
    * Combined several trips on one day to save time, gas, and money.
    * Cooked the food for our client appreciation dinner instead of ordering much inferior food that would have cost even more. I used beans and rice that I already had on hand and salsa that I got for $1 off with a store coupon! The dinner was a huge success, and people loved the meal.
    * We took a walk to the store to save gas, get exercise, get fresh air, and purchase supplies we needed.
    * We had a frugal date taking a walk in a nearby park.
    * We left the air conditioner off all week (for several weeks in a row now). It has actually been almost COLD compared to past weeks. Our highs have been around 85, and our lows in the mid-60's at night!
    * I gladly made all my husband's lunches for him to take to work with him.
    * We made our own bread in a bread machine that was a gift to us a few years ago.
    * Some friends with whom we were in contact have hand, foot, mouth disease. We doubled and tripled up on immune-boosting natural remedies to avoid getting it ourselves.

  • Juhli July 22, 2018

    Wow, you are amazing in your dedication with nighttime canning! Some small frugal gains.
    1. Returned some clothing items I had ordered online. I really don't need more summer clothes no matter how much I might want them.
    2. Cooked dinner at home every night except for a family party at which we were guests.
    3. Went on a free lighthouse tour in a nearby town.
    4. Couldn't remember the name of the park we had stopped at on our last drive to visit our son but finally found it on line! Great calm place to have a bite to eat, exercise the dog and stretch our legs. The dog hates the rest stops along the highway as the noise level is high. We have hated the bugs lol.
    5. Frugal for someone else and us: we agreed to have a distant cousin spend two nights but she did headed out to have meals with others.

  • Holly July 22, 2018

    For the last few months, mom has been holding onto a tall wicker planter wedged against the porch post to get onto the front porch. I was thinking it was time to add a handrail but hated the thought of drilling into the brick wall or the asphalt driveway, much less the expense of having to buy a handrail and either relying on the kindness of a friend or paying a professional to install it. We've decided to add a white powder-coated shower grab bar to the wood post by the step instead. The grab bar cost less than $12. However it came with grey screws so my d-i-y installation is on hold until I buy six long rust-proof white screws.

    I have been bringing my drinks from home when mom and I run errands. She loves McDonald decaf so we are still going through the drive-thru but are usually ordering one drink, not two.

    I have been watching videos on youtube about lymphadema massage and bandaging. Mom has had intermittent problems with the skin on her lower legs because of poor circulation (the first symptom, a red rash on her lower legs, appeared over forty years ago when she stood for hours at an amusement park on a hot day) and, more recently, lymphedema. She was referred to a lymphadema clinic after her annual checkup. She has been having a lymphatic drainage massage, some exercises, and careful bandaging done three times a week. Her legs were in bad enough shape that several weeks of therapy will be covered by Medicare and her Medicare Supplemental Plan with just the regular annual deductible. Once the therapy ends, I will be responsible for the massage and bandaging, so I have quite a bit to learn in just a few weeks. One set of bandages were supplied by the clinic. But she'll now need to budget for two sets of six short-stretch bandages (three per leg) every six months. The skin on her legs is looking so much better. One leg is back to its unswollen bony self for a while immediately after the bandages are removed and the other's swelling is much reduced. It was scary last winter watching her calves slowly get bigger and the skin getting darker and leathery without knowing how to treat it. (And, yes, she had been seeing a podiatrist regularly for years, one who successfully treated the legs after the water blisters turned into open sores.)

    That's about it. I am trying to catch up on the laundry. I do not know what I would do without a working washer and dryer in the basement. (Memo to self: Add at least a mini washer to your list of requirements for your own future senior housing.) Next week, I will be shortening a couple of pairs of slacks mom pulled out of the back of her closet. She has decided that "mommy the mummy" isn't the most attractive look for her and wants to wear slacks to hide her bandages instead of skirts more often when we are out and about.

    This afternoon, I bought a six-month supply of emergency food for one in eight buckets from Augason Farms for less than $200, half off, thanks to a coupon they had emailed. I bumped the order over $200 to snag free shipping by also buying a bag of baking mix that was discounted 75% to less than $5. I need to add salt, oil, spices for beans, and something like Tang to complete a very basic emergency supply. The food will be rotated into our everyday supplies.

  • Maxine July 22, 2018

    Brandy, my MIL taught me to can, too. We canned pears--and, later, applesauce--from her trees. That was 49 years ago. I worked for a newspaper at the time and put a free ad in the classified section for used jars. I got some for .50 dozen, and 4 or 5 dozen Ball widemouth jars, with rings and still in the boxes, for $1 dozen. I still have some of them. It's funny, but I can look at most of my jars (the ones I still have) and tell you when and where I got them and how much (or little) I paid. I was big into gardening and canning in 1976 and bought a lot of Ball's bicentennial jars. When we downsized, I sold a lot of jars, but I kept most of the original Balls and the bicentennial jars.

    Still haven't got back into the frugal swing of things as a result of the move. However, I've been enjoying my new washer tremendously. It's a top-loading HE model with no agitator. It's Energy Star rated, uses very little water and a tiny amount of detergent, which I know will save $$$ over time. Last week I washed pillows and other bedding that I normally would have to take to the laundromat. Next week: dog beds! The super capacity is paying off.

    In last week's comments, someone mentioned using milk that was about to go off to make cottage cheese. This inspired me to use some milk that was ready to turn in pancakes this morning. I had some blueberries that were a little past their prime and used them to make blueberry pancakes.

    I brought home the last of the groceries from our other house, so this week will be spent organizing my pantry. (I also found 3 pints of last year's homemade blueberry jam, which was a score). I have a big pantry in the new house (half of the utility room) but, unfortunately, so little cabinet room in the kitchen that I've got all of my small appliances taking up space in the pantry. It will all get sorted...eventually!

  • Laura July 23, 2018

    Can you please tell me the make and model of your new washing machine? I'm trying to find a toploader that is HE and Energy Star. Most of the ones I find are only HE, not energy star. Thanks so much!

  • Maxine July 23, 2018

    Laura, it's a Maytag MVWB835DW3. It is 5.3 cf (I believe) super capacity, and I bought it on the Memorial Day sale at Lowe's for, I believe, $739. Home Depot also carries it. The tub is big enough that I was able to wash a queen size quilt with no issues. I had a Maytag for 28 years and no repairs (it left a puddle of grease when we moved it). I am not expecting the new machine to last as long as the old one, but Maytag is again getting good reviews. HTH.

  • Laura July 24, 2018

    Thanks so much for the info.!

  • Maxine July 23, 2018

    I should add, because we used a Lowe's CC to pay for it (and then paid it when the bill came), we saved an additional 5%, which in this case was about $37. Plus free delivery. We sold the old washer for scrap metal (about $3, but wouldn't have gotten anything if we had taken her to the dump).

  • mable July 24, 2018

    We don't have a Lowes credit card but instead we go to Safeway and get gift cards for large Lowe and Home Depot purchases. That gives us money off gas refills from Safeway. Locally you can get up to $2 a gallon off with points. Used to be $1! We have had an ongoing construction project that we do as we can afford it, so over the last year have not paid full price for gas. You can get up to 25 gallons, so we bring two five gallon cans and when our tank is full we finish getting the 25 gallons in the cans and then later we pour them into our gas tank as it empties.

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