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Frugal Accomplishments for the Third Week of April

April arrangement 2 closeup The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains referral links.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy in the house several times during the week.

I harvested hibiscus flowers, Meyer lemons, snow peas, lettuce, spinach, parsley, Swiss chard, green onions, and garlic chives from my garden.

I dried a large batch of parsley to use throughout the year. After picking it, I simply wash it and leave it out to dry on a cooling rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet. Once it's done drying, I crumble the leaves, remove the stems, and put the leaves in a container.

I dried lemon zests and froze lemon juice to use throughout the year.

Peonies and Rose The Prudent Homemaker

I watched an episode of "Call the Midwife" for free on Pbs.org.

I watched a free webinar, learning what I could from it. I didn't purchase the product after watching the class.

We went to the library.

Picnic in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I mended a hole in a pair of shorts.

We enjoyed having the windows open during the week to cool the house and air it out.

My son needed a new pair of glasses. I purchased them from Zenni Optical, going through Ebates first to earn cash back. Since I was logging in through my new computer, the site didn't recognize me as an existing customer and offered me a 10% off coupon. I wrote down the code and logged in to my account. When I went to place my order, I decided to see if the code would still work. It did. I chose the slowest shipping ($4.95) and still received his new glasses on Saturday (after ordering on Monday).  Total cost for a new pair of prescription glasses, including shipping, was $13.91. I'll also get a small percentage back from Ebates as well! I just checked, and Zenni has a refer a friend program; if you're new to the site you can use this link to get $5 off your order. Plus, you can refer a friend and they will give you $5 as well! 

My husband gave himself a haircut.

I stocked up on strawberries for $0.99 a pound and bone-in chicken at $0.77 a pound. These are rock-bottom prices here and were part of my grocery plans for the month. I froze the chicken and cut and froze strawberries to use throughout the year.

 April Arrangement Closeup The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?


April 22nd is a special day for me as it is the day my husband (officially) proposed. I wrote about it in a post 6 years ago entitled: My Husband is So Frugal He Proposed With a Coupon

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  • Laurie in central NC April 23, 2018

    I totally agree about the auto-renewal, Juls. Best of luck with moving the peonies.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood April 22, 2018

    I love all of your photos as usual, but especially the one of your kids having a picnic. Such a lovely childhood memory!

    My week was pretty good! I got a number of things done:
    - I made Copycat Peach Yoplait (http://approachingfood.com/copycat-peach-yoplait/) this week, using some homemade yoghurt and some canned peach syrup. No food wastage, and I ended up with a calcium-rich drinkable snack!
    - Someone brought in muffins and bananas to my workplace, which I had for snacks. Sometimes, an unexpected double chocolate muffin, as small a thing as it is, can really brighten up your workday!
    - I gave a colleague some quiche that I couldn’t finish. She appreciated it!
    - I went to a rummage sale at a local church and bought several cut-glass items: a serving bowl, a vase, and a butter dish, for only $5.25 all-together. I was pleased as I needed all three items!
    - I was able to meet with some friends of the family and was able to give them a bag of gifts that I’d been collecting for them since after Christmas time. The items were either traded for, homemade, re-gifted, or purchased using swagbucks. They greatly appreciated the gifts, and I was happy to give such nice gifts with no money OOP! I gave a large box of various toffees (the father will enjoy having sweets to offer guests), two pencil cases (I had sewed these myself) for the oldest girls (filled with pencils and a small pretty notebook each), a set of pencil crayons, some loose candies and lollipops, a package of gum, a new outfit for each of the two oldest girls, a nail polish, an eye mask, a small bnwt Coach purselet for the mother (I was quite pleased about this, as I had traded for it. I don’t care for labels, but the mother will appreciate the small luxury), a stuffed toy for the youngest, and a brand-new set of china (also traded for). I will use the pencils and little notebooks to help the girls practice their writing skills. My mother kindly gave me a lift as the dish set was too heavy to carry on public transit, and they invited her in and fed us both a delicious home-cooked Syrian meal! So nice of them!
    - I used two gift cards given to me, combined with a sale and a coupon, to purchase a blueberry bush, a large bag of 3-in-1 potting soil, and some rooting hormone/transplant food. I only spent $8 OOP. The blueberry bush is actually a three different types of blueberries, so it’ll be fun to see which kind I like best! While I was at the nursery, I saw a ‘fruit salad tree’ – 5 different fruits were grafted onto one tree! I thought that was clever for a small space!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

  • Ellie’s friend April 22, 2018


    Just saw the photo of you on your IG. How exquisite you look. Happy belated birthday and I hope you enjoyed your proposal day.

  • Myra April 23, 2018

    Hello! Your flowers are beautiful, as always. I only wish I had that much talent arranging flowers. Frugal accomplishment this week is that I received several coupons from a friend for a free 5 lb. bag of name brand rice. No purchase necessary. I can only use one coupon at a time, but they are good until December 2019, so I will simply use one each week when I grocery shop. This will give me about two years supply of rice. We had fellowship dinner at church yesterday and had to bring a main dish, a side dish, and dessert. I used some chicken my brother had given me, made an sweet pea salad with ingredients I had, and a German chocolate cake from scratch with ingredients I already had, so no out of pocket expense. Brought home leftovers and those will be for lunch today. Took a picture back to Hobby Lobby that I decided I didn't want and used the money to buy a piece of fabric that matches a beautiful teal blue dress I bought at a garage sale that was a little shorter than I like to wear. My sister is an excellent seamstress and she is going to makeover the dress so that I can wear it for Mother's Day. My son and daughter-in-law usually order me a corsage from the florist for Mother's Day, but I requested a handmade flower that a girl in our church is making instead, that way I can wear it again with the outfit instead of just one time. Lost my watch, but my daughter in law gave me one that was exactly like mine because she didn't like it. Spent a good bit of time looking at your menus the past couple of weeks and created a four week menu plan like you have, made a list of all of the ingredients for each week, and put all of it in a plastic page protector. Now, when I get ready to go to the grocery store, I can use a dry erase marker to mark off what I already have and then buy only what I need. I saved about 30.00 like this last week! The saved money will be used for stock up items when they go on sale.

    I think that's all. Have a blessed week!

  • Sarah in Maryland April 23, 2018

    I got several good deals when I went grocery shopping this week.

    Made no unplanned purchases.

    Made "Doritos" popcorn seasoning, homemade Velveeta and English muffins as my 3 things to make instead of buying.

    Sewed several birthday gifts.

    Stayed caught up on housework.

    My husband repaired our van so that we can continue to limp it along while we save for a "new" one. My husband also accepted a load of logs which will become part of next winter's firewood. He was delivering a load of stone in the dump truck and the people at the construction site offered him the wood and his employer allowed him to bring the truck home to drop the wood off.

    Accepted some food items and some clothing from a friend.

    Ate all meals at home (or packed from home in the case of our Sunday picnic).

    Used my grocery store points to save $0.80 per gallon of gas thanks to several extra points promotions.

    Started reading Carla Emery's The Encyclopedia of Country Living. I'm hoping to learn even more skills to make do and be self sufficient.

  • Rhonda A. April 24, 2018

    Sarah, do you have a link you can share for the "Doritos" popcorn seasoning recipe? It sounds yummy and something my daughter might enjoy.

  • Athanasia April 25, 2018

    Sarah, check out the cookbook THE HOMEMADE PANTRY:101 FOODS YOU CAN STOP BUYING AND MAKE YOURSELF by Alana Chernila. I would think your library system would have it. Some examples are pesto, sauerkraut, ketchup, yogurt, poptarts, that I can remember off hand. Besides the recipes it has some good hints.

  • MeMe April 23, 2018

    Love reading your's and everyone's posts! May I ask how you are feeling? I know you mentioned Spring for the new baby's arrival and am hoping everything is going good :)

  • The baby should be here sometime in May.

  • Allyson April 23, 2018

    Brandy, I love your kids' little picnic outdoors! So precious!

    We had a pretty good week this past week, especially with a visit of a family friend who is from out of state. We were able to host him, which is so nice and gave us some good visit time after the boys were in bed. Here are the other things we did this past week. I hope you'll stop by!


  • I’ll have to stop in at the eye doctors and get a copy of my prescription and see if I can get a back up pair of glasses through Zenni Optical. Might be cheaper than just getting lenses put in my old frames. Thanks for the tip!

    My weekend was hectic and long, but we survived it.

    My list for the week can be found here...


  • Make sure they give you the PD (pupillary distance). It's not usually included on a prescription, but if they are willing to give it to you, then you don't have to measure it yourself.

  • Pat April 23, 2018

    Your flower arrangement is just beautiful! The outside picnic is precious.
    Happy Birthday to you!
    I've continued turning off the heat after my husband leaves for work. If the sun is shining and or I am baking it stays comfortable in the main part of the house. One day I gave up and turned it back on because it was 50 and that was a little to chilly. I hope spring has finally arrived. The temps have ranged from the high 50's to 70 for the past 4 days. Our heat has been totally off for 3.
    We continued to eat most meals at home. My scores at the store were yogurt 4 for a $1, a bag of 20 bananas for $.99, a huge loaf of French bread for $.99, 2 cantaloupe for $.99 each and 4 dozen eggs for $,99. I made a double batch of chocolate banana nut muffins for us and the grandkids and froze the rest. I've been baking our bread for the past month and made homemade sausage patties that turned out pretty well.
    Still doing full loads of dishes in the dishwasher,usually only running it once a week and full loads of laundry. Combing errands and staying home as much as possible to save gas and wear and tear on the car.
    I really enjoy reading your posts and all the comments--I always seem to find something new to try.
    Have a great week everyone!

  • It's hard for me to imagine just turning off the heat. The temperatures you describe are our coldest winter temperatures. Today it will be 92° here and the air conditioner just came on a minute ago! We have 5 months of temperatures above 90° here; the heat is just getting started.

  • Pat April 23, 2018

    Brandy--I live in Omaha Nebraska and we have all the seasons. Our winter this year started at the end of October and while we didn't get alot of snow it was pretty darn cold. 50 in the spring feels quite nice. It is just my husband and I and our 2 cats and I was only turning off the heat during the day while he was at work. For the past 4 days we've had lows in the 50s and with the windows closed it has stayed around 68 in the house at night. After the heat in the summer 50 does seem cold.

  • Jen G April 23, 2018

    Your flowers!!! And you arrange them so beautifully!

    Living frugally from urban Seattle:

    This was probably our least frugal week of the year. I took my youngest to NYC for five days. It is a trip we've been planning for a couple years now. My husband had to work and my oldest has autism and doesn't travel well, so it was just the two of us. My kids were born in NYC and my youngest wants to become an architect or city planner.

    Despite the inherent cost of the trip, we did some things to save money:

    -It is not very kosher to ask to stay with friends as space is so tight for everyone, so we found an affordable AirBnB in our old neighborhood. I paid for it, along with the airline tickets, well in advance to get best deals, and from a separate savings account from some additional tutoring I've been doing for extra cash. I also used a referral for the AirBnB to save $20.

    -We took the subway or walked everywhere, including back and forth from the airport (not available when we lived there - we always had to take an expensive taxi to the airport). Taking the subway and then air train back and forth from the airport saved us $60-$70 alone and only added about 20-30 min each way to the trip.

    -My son had been saving up some money for this trip. He bought a subway map poster for his room and an I love NYC t-shirt, but avoided a lot of the kitchy touristy stuff they sell all over the city, so I was proud of his choices.

    -We didn't spend anything on entertainment. We were going to do the Empire State Building, but visibility was poor. I also looked for discounted Broadway tickets without luck for the performances we wanted to see. But we enjoyed the parks and neighborhoods and Central Park zoo with friends with membership. The best thing about NYC, in my opinion, is just walking through the neighborhoods.

    -Because we had access to a kitchen, we grocery shopped and made most (but not all) of our meals. And because we were staying in a neighborhood we had previously lived, I knew where to find the best priced groceries. I also premade meals for my son and husband so they wouldn't decide they needed to go out to eat.

    This trip did cost more than our usual camping trips, but I have no regrets - I had such a great time with my son and we built some great memories.

  • Athanasia April 25, 2018

    I think one of the best things about visiting a city like New York, Seattle, San Francisco...even Chicago...is trying all the different foods we can't find within 200 miles of our little town. Now that the children are grown and traveling on their own it is fun to hear the new foods they have sought out in places we didn't visit. I love to look at the architecture, also. The parks, yes. Never had the patience to stand in line for a tourist attraction though. We did ride the Staten Island Ferry round and round though. That was a nice clear day though so good views.

  • Stephanie April 23, 2018

    I harvested parsley from my garden. We cut down a tree that was planted by previous owners too close to the house. I originally thought of hiring someone to do it, but my husband thought it was small enough he could handle it. Didn't even end up needing to borrow a chainsaw, we have a good handsaw that cut it up fine. Our oldest kids had fun helping my husband. We borrowed a truck to take the tree to the green waste facility. Dumping there is free for residents. It only took two truck loads.

    I gave haircuts to my boys. I paid most of my bills online, there was only one that I had to use a stamp for.

    I did a lot of baking this week: whole wheat bread, French bread, dinner rolls, and muffins. I forgot the baking powder in the muffins! The kids couldn't get over the strange texture, but I will eat them up, freezing whatever I can't eat fast enough. I also made yogurt with milk that was getting close to it's expiration date.

  • Kathy Worden April 23, 2018

    Brandy, I know you get this, just want to acknowledge the powerful teaching your philosophy on budgeting will have on your kids. Earlier reply, paraphrased, “I buy the amount of strawberries I can afford in my budget.” Reading that today spoke volumes to me, as if a lightbulb turned on. You didn’t change it. You didn’t tweek your entire budget to buy more strawberries. You stayed true to your budget. It is what it is. Your family will adjust to that amount of strawberries. I have seen you do this continuously through reporting on your blog. Less meat more beans. Less canned items, more from scratch items. So elemental yet profound. Life simplified, solution realized. Thank you!

  • Melonie K. April 23, 2018

    It was a pretty quiet week in these parts, so my post is nice and short. :) Hope everyone has a wonderful week!


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