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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Siam Basil in pot with bench The Prudent Homemaker 

This post contains affiliate links.

On the try, try, again line I planted seeds in the garden yet again for sunflowers and zinnias. Only one of the seeds came up from all of the zucchini seeds I planted two weeks ago. This next week, I hope to plant again and I also plan to dust the areas where I planted the seeds with diatomaceous earth, which will hopefully keep the bugs from eating the seedlings as they come up (as well as kill the bugs, which will hopefully lead to a more productive garden!)

The Siam basil (pictured in the photo above) that I cut for last week's arrangements for my table rooted in the vases. I planted the rooted cuttings in pots in the garden. This basil was advertised as having red leaves, which it clearly does not, but it tastes just fine. I am still hoping to grow some next year with red leaves just for the fun of variety in color on our plates.

I cut Genovese basil for the table this week, this time expressly to let it root. By topping my basil plants, they will branch out and give me a larger harvest. I will plant the cuttings that grow in the garden. I took off any leaves that would be below the water line, rinsed them, and left them to dry to use in cooking.

I harvested green onions and Swiss chard from the garden.

My 2-year-old watched shows on YouTube. This is something we do every week but that I don't mention often. There are plenty of shows to watch this way without paying for cable tv or even for a subscription service such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. Our favorites children's shows are Peppa Pig, Little Einsteins, Backyardigans, and Rolie Polie Olie.

My husband gave himself a haircut.

I continued to collect water from the air conditioner run off and used it to water the garden. I also used shower warm-up water in the garden.

I read four more Hamish Macbeth e-books from the library.

I used several coupons at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to purchase two sets of new sheets and two new pillows for my bed. I have a California King-sized bed, and most places don't sell sheets in that size; they are one of the few places that do. I usually only have one set of sheets at a time, but we decided to purchase a second set this time as we were able to do so. The store will take expired coupons, and you can use one coupon per item. Using coupons saved me $60 on my purchases.

My two middle-school children tried out the school lunches a couple of times last week, as we qualify for free lunch. My son decided he would rather take a lunch, and my daughter will take a lunch some days, depending on the menu. Of particular concern to me is the high-calorie content of the lunches, usually hitting 1500 calories for one meal. I won't be purchasing special items for packed lunches, so our food costs won't go up from packing lunches. I did end up deciding on these divided boxes which are small enough to fit in their lunch bags.


Dear readers, there were some less than kind comments last week towards one another. Some I did not post, and some that were borderline I let go through, but feelings were hurt. As you share your frugal accomplishments, please remember that others reading here come from all different places in the world, with different religious, political, and personal beliefs, and that everyone deserves respect and kindness. As a reminder, I won't be publishing anonymous comments.

I share a lot of things, but I don't share everything, and no one is obligated to share all aspects of their life with others. Our reasons to send three of our children to school are personal, and I don't know if we will send them next year or if this is just what we need for this season of our lives. I still have six children at home and my days are quite full.

I would like to thank all of you who offered some wonderful ideas for dealing with school expenses and lunches. 

I am deeply touched by those who said they were praying for me as I make some big changes in my life. The transition has been difficult for me and the change in my schedule is difficult. I have thought especially about all of the comments that came from teachers this last week; I have thought how hard it must be to teach all day, and come home to correct papers (classes here are between 36-42 students per class and 6 classes a day), make dinner, and also help your own children with their homework each night. I am touched that you make time to read here.

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Debbie August 27, 2018

    Hello Brandy,
    I have read your blog for years. Thank you so much for all that you do. I had a house fire this past March and my home was completely destroyed and all of its contents. Your blog has been instrumental in helping me stay encouraged throughout the rebuild of my new home. I messaged you about design ideas a few months ago and you so graciously responded with assistance to me. I will move into my new home next month and I will began the process of planting a fall garden and stocking my shelves. God bless you and your beautiful family! I will share photos with you soon.

  • Heidi Louise August 28, 2018

    Best wishes for your new home! It seems that became a way for you to re-think what is important to you, but oh! that's not how you want to do it!
    I'm glad if you were able to choose the shape and the objects to include (and exclude) in your new place.

  • Debbie August 28, 2018

    Yes Heidi. I was able to redesign my new home exactly the way I wanted it. Thank you !

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks August 28, 2018

    Oh Debbie, I'm sorry for the loss of your house. I too lost my house in a fire some years ago so know exactly what you have been through. It was a very overwhelming situation for me at times, but we did come out on the other side of it. The design was one of the most worrisome items for me. Had I planned to build a house it would have been different from having to unexpectedly make so many decisions in short order and under duress. But it all worked out and I was so thankful that we weren't at home and that we (and pets) were safe. Sending hugs and blessings as you move into your new house and move forward.

  • Debbie August 28, 2018

    Thank you Lynn! We have been blessed with an amazing contractor and an amazing home owners insurance company. All of my family and all of our neighbors were unharmed. Thank God! Blessings to you and your family as well.

  • Athanasia August 29, 2018

    Debbie, I am sorry you to suffer such a loss. You have a very positive attitude...I am glad Brandy was able to help you.

  • Debbie September 03, 2018

    Thank you Athanasia! All of my family and neighbors are safe. I have so much to be thankful for.

  • Marcia R. August 27, 2018

    I had to spend some money to save some last week. The cat needed dental work and the estimate was about $1000. To our surprise, once under anesthesia, they decided only one small tooth needed to be extracted, plus the rest were cleaned and the gums cleaned as well--amounting to $458 as he didn't need to stay overnight either. Quite a savings, and the first time I ever remember a bill that far away from the estimate. I was very pleased as things are a bit tight just now.
    I also happened to get to the store just as they had marked down some meats, so bought about 10 meals worth all at less than normal prices--including two meals of strip steaks, which we rarely have. They look quite nicely marbled so I'm hoping they will be tender. A big pack of chicken breasts were marked down to the "usual" sale price, just when I was down to only one left in the freezer. The rest was end cut pork chops with bone for 99 cents a lb. I cut the meat off the bones and divided it into two packages for pork adobo--it was the only package left but was about 2.5 lbs of pork cubes when I got it off the bones. Using super coupons I also got bacon for $3.99 a lb--we use it infrequently but we do use it some. A couple Buy One, Get one frees added to my savings.
    We were invited for a swim and lunch at my sister's one day--which we hadn't done yet this summer. Everyone has had a busy summer and my BIL is still recovering from 2 surgeries in one month, but it was good to see them anyhow.
    Also took one of husband's hearing aids in for repair today, a necessary but generally expensive undertaking.
    Now if I could just stay home a few more days---it seems everyone was just hit by the idea that summer is almost over and we have another lunch invitation tomorrow. We love the opportunity to see our friends and winter will give us plenty of time for housecleaning, I think. Summer must be enjoyed, as it is short here!

  • Juhli August 28, 2018

    Glad your cat didn't need as much dental work as estimated. I don't know about cats but with dogs the estimates for dental cleaning and work are worst case scenarios as it can get quite expensive. Our dog just had hers and like your situation it was less than half of the estimate.

  • Liz August 27, 2018

    Hello Everyone,

    I love the basil! I need to cut some of mine to transplant as well. I have done this in the past and it worked well to make more basil plants.
    Here are our frugal happenings:
    - We have all the work redone from our hail damage to the house. It looks nicer than it did to start! I would have prefered not to have to have the hail damage but since we did, I am glad we had the house, deck and fence redone through the insurance.
    - My father in law gave me two squash from his garden, since he had so much.
    - I have been pulling produce from my recovered garden including zucchini, lettuce, swiss chard, basil, mint and squash.
    - We had Sunday dinner at my inlaws. We take turns so we can see them. If it is your turn, you cook the dinner.
    - I did a Safeway coupon deal to get cheap granola bars with a sale and coupons. These are good snacks for my kids at school.
    - I volunteered at the co-op place where I consign my handmade items. If you volunteer, you don't have to pay a fee to put your items there.
    - I also sold 2 more crochet items at this shop. It is on a military base and they brought some items to the hospital there to sell. A couple of my items sold.
    - I had a free dinner at a church women's event.
    - I ordered more freebies and lots of magazines. I wrote about it on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/08/27/10-freebies-today-8-27-18/
    - Also there is a free 8x10 print at Walgreens that you can order for in store pick up and the code: MINEFREE. I am going to order a nice photo. This is good through today (Monday).
    - I guess that is it besides packing daily lunches, dinners at home, eggs from the chickens, etc....

  • PJGT August 27, 2018

    Have you tried starting your zucchini and sunflowers indoors? I have had to do this when germination has been a problem...or rodents eating the seeds.

  • Jeannie August 30, 2018

    I have to start everything either inside or on my front porch. Something always gets my sprouts. I call the east corner of my porch "the nursery."


  • Jeannie August 27, 2018

    We had a REALLY BIG money saver this week. We were able to find someone to mow our field in exchange for the hay. This saves us $175 twice a year which is what we have been paying to have it bush hogged. I am so thrilled! I shared the story here:


    The rest of my time has been spent canning produce from the garden and I look forward to enjoying everyone else's comments when I stop to rest my feet!


  • kim August 27, 2018

    I am sorry you had bad behavior on your blog. I knew you were in for it sending the children to school. People are either too nosy or too opinionated when it comes to education. Plus there is jealousy, with your super human ability to do so much so well. Don't let the grumblers get you down. You do an awesome job and I so admire you, no matter where you educate your children.

  • Tammy August 27, 2018

    I'm laughing as I write this. My husband just told me that our frugal accomplishment for the week was that we ordered one small pizza instead of two medium pizzas. Funny, I was thinking it was a frugal fail to order a pizza.

    Made almost all meals at home.
    Using food in refrigerator and freezer to save money. Very little grocery shopping and only things on sale.
    Used internet for recipes and entertainment.
    Made your Tomato soup recipe. I love your recipes Brandy. Although I will probably freeze half as I made more than the two of us can consume. I think I will freeze some in individual containers. I may be making your Rosemary Bean soup this week too. It is a favorite of ours.

    Enjoyed watching sunset on our farm several evenings this week with my husband.
    Enjoyed spending time with family this week.
    Played piano for entertainment.
    Took a walk down the road and back. Not far but it is a start for me.
    Enjoyed watching the chickens.
    Turned off light except for above us as we read or eat in the kitchen.
    Waited until we went home to eat after visiting family or running errands rather than eating out
    Husband played wedding song today. It always makes me happy.
    Took food to grandchildren to make breakfast one morning when I was going to babysit one of them. They were happy. I think mom was too as we all know the School routine has just begun and help is often welcome,

  • Natalie August 27, 2018

    I have moved into an old house (it is a Victorian chapel/school) in the UK but it has a bad problem with grain beetles - I had the pest controller in twice but he didn’t seem to use much product to kill the beasts. I’ve sprinkled diatomaceous earth around the crevices in the house (the kitchen especially) and it seems to be doing a cheaper job than expensive pest controllers.

  • tanja brattinga August 28, 2018

    Hello every one, my 17 year old daughter passed het tractor theory diploma last week, now she can start the driving lessons. She is going start a vocationaltraining in dairy farming next week. She already has a internship for 1 day a week (in cycle distance from our home), the other 4 days she goes to school. At the end of the second year she wil have a internship in a foreign country. She wants to go to Austalia....for 3 months. So I will start saving money for that from now on. Ofcourse she'll have to pay a part to, and the school recommended to do this internship connecting the summer holidays so she can work there for a few weeks also, so you can maybe travvel the country a bit to.
    We had a lot of left over food in our freezer from the villagefestival a few weeks ago, so we eat a lot of that. My oldest son came home from a 2 1/2 week holiday to Spain, with a lot of dirty laundry, wich I could wash and line-dry al in 1 day because of the good weather.
    I harvested tomatoes, courgettes, carrots, beets, and basil from my garden.
    The next week most of my cleaning jobs start again, and the kids start school/work again. So we have to live by the schedule again.

  • Jo August 28, 2018

    Hi Tanja, does your daughter already know which part of Australia she would go to? I live in Adelaide (South Australia) and would be happy to provide some info, tips etc. if it would be helpful.

  • tanja brattinga August 29, 2018

    thank you for the offer Jo. But she does not know yet which part. I think the school has adresses for them of families/farmers that provide them an internship. She'll probebly get more info at the end of the first year of school. I saw on the news in The Netherlands that farmers in Australia struggle hard because of the drought, I feel for them!

  • AndreaG August 28, 2018

    Brandy, thank you for all that you do here and share with us. I never fail to get a money-saving idea either from you or a reader each week. We have had quiet weeks here with routine savings each week. All meals made at home and my husband has taken his lunch to work every day. My mom gave us leftovers from Saturday dinner and bought us four cans of soup from a sale at a grocery store that we don’t shop at. I used money I made selling some clothing/books/toys to add to our stockpile and now have canned tomatoes/pasta sauce/fruit cocktail for the winter. My pantry shelves are pretty packed at this point! I hope everyone has a good week. Praying for those affected by the extreme weather we seem to be seeing all across North America and other parts of the worldl.

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