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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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  • momsav August 27, 2018

    Margie from Toronto, Thank you for the book recommendation. I’m adding it to my mile long list of books to investigate.

  • Margie from Toronto August 27, 2018

    Two more are "Red Joan" which is coming out as a film starring Judi Dench this Fall and "The Gravity of Birds" - happy reading! :-)

  • Liz F August 28, 2018

    School meals in the states are terribly unhealthy for the most part. Also there is a tremendously amount of waste. I used to gape at the kids when they pitched most of it in the trash.

  • Tejas August 29, 2018

    Liz, the school meals in my state are really pretty healthy and balanced. For instance, the children are required to pick from each food group as they go through the line. Unfortunately, too many children are not used to healthy eating. It is appalling to see so many perfectly good, untried salads, apples, and oranges dumped in the trash as the children leave.

  • Laura August 31, 2018

    The food is supposed to be healthier in our state, too. But it is pretty bland for the most part, even the less fortunate students do not eat it. I work at a school and hate to see the waste daily. One of the custodians will try to salvage some of the food even though it is against the rules... but teachers and even some of the elderly who care for the kids will take it.

  • Marcia September 01, 2018

    Can't imagine that. My granddaughter has always loved apples in particular, and at 26 still eats about 2 every day. When she was 16, she worked at Panera Bread and often closed up in the evening. After a short time, if there were any already made up fruit cup sides at the end of business, they automatically gave them to her. Too fragile to serve the next day (most of their leftovers went to the local soup kitchen)--she could generally eat two or three of them WHILE driving home. She has always been a huge fruit lover, though she is equally fond of salads. She cooks more now that she's older but I know salads were about the only thing she knew how to make when she left home.

  • Anne August 27, 2018

    Brandy I use you as a model to aspire to. I love your blog. Last week I concentrated on not wasting anything-food, money, electricity etc. You get the idea. It is sometimes easy to get careless. This week I want to work on not wasting time. I hope you are able to catch up on much needed sleep. Also thank you for reminding us to treat each other with kindness.

  • Maggie B August 27, 2018

    Brandy, I admire you and respect your choices. I learn much from you every week. This blog is a little bright spot in a challenging world. I did the usual to save money. Cooked, bought simple ingredients at good prices, used lovely home grown produce given to me from a friend, used my library, entertained myself with YouTube. I’m looking at my budget again and know I still have room to improve. Praying for you and your beautiful family. Thank you!

  • cherie August 28, 2018

    Well put - a little bright spot in a challenging world! Brandy I wholeheartedly agree!

  • Cindi August 27, 2018

    You and your family have been in my thoughts this week as you make these changes in your already busy routine. I hope the new schedule is becoming easier for you. I remain in awe of all you accomplish.
    This week from the garden I harvested tomatoes, green beans, chard, zucchini, radishes, mint, and sage. I also dug all the onions and put them in the woodshed to dry. I put several packages of chard in the freezer for winter. I planted more lettuce seed to replace some that had bolted in the heat.
    We had good rain several days, so I was able to turn off the irrigation to the garden beds all week.
    A friend gave me a large bunch of basil from his garden and I used it to make a big batch of pesto – we ate some and I froze the rest.
    I finished knitting a cowl/neck warmer from some lovely Alpaca yarn I purchased at a craft fair. The pattern called for buttons and I wanted some big, chunky wooden ones. My husband made some from the branch of a juniper from our yard, with a lovely purple-red wood grain.
    I did some batch cooking – Spanish rice, bean burritos, pizza bread, and granola.
    I patched my favorite pair of jeans.
    My husband and I checked out ebooks and audiobooks from our library.

  • Jenifer August 27, 2018

    Cindi, that neck warmer sounds so beautiful!

  • Cindi August 28, 2018

    Thank you! I'm looking forward to wearing it this winter.

  • Maggie August 28, 2018


  • Athanasia August 28, 2018

    Cindi, the homemade wooden buttons sound very nice. I suppose in the store they would have cost quite a bit, if you could even find real wood ones.

  • Tina S. August 28, 2018

    I am swooning over the thought of homemade wooden buttons. :)

  • Mary August 27, 2018

    Hi all!
    I was surprised to read some things that I thought was rude. I was brought up to treat others the way I would like to be treated. I would think others would do this also. I just do not see the point of being rude.
    Anyway, I have not posted my frugal saves in a few weeks. So my saved & finds
    - FIL received a big tire rebate and gave us for food budget - our food expense has gone up since he lives here now.
    - I am not able to eat dairy and have found some dairy free ice cream & yogurt on clearance. I bought a few. One was a big container of plain yogurt, I mixed in a small flavor yogurt, tastes better! I eat fruit & yogurt for lunch daily. Whatever fruit is s good deal.
    - I have earned several gift cards mostly for Amazon that will be given to my daughter for college books.
    - continuing washing full loads and hanging what I can.
    - staying in most days. Wwhich is pretty easy for me since I usually only have a car on Fridays-Sunday.
    - I used over ripped bananas to make banana nut bread and instead of wrapping in aluminum foil, I put it in a Tupperware cake container.
    That’s all I can think of ...I hope all has a great frugal week!

  • Marybeth August 27, 2018

    My husband is allergic to dairy. He loves Trader Joes plain soy vanilla ice cream. I make him different flavored milkshakes with it. I have done coffee, chocolate, strawberry and blueberry. A quart by us is $3.49 which is much cheaper then other brands.

  • Mary August 27, 2018

    No Trader Joe’s by me but this gives me ideas, so thank you!

  • D in Moneta August 27, 2018

    Brandy, I'm a longtime reader, first time commenter. I always enjoy your blog and read the comments.Not only do I get both frugal and creative ideas, but I like seeing the different strategies your readers use to enhance their lives, no matter where they live or their circumstances. I do "the usual" : cooking from scratch from pantry, freezer, and small garden; gleaned grapes with a neighbor's permission, combine errands to be more efficient with time and gas. We live in a rural area and I love to watch the wildlife for entertainment. This week i watched a flock of turkey hens with their young crossing my back yard! Everyone in our family like to read, so we pass books on to each other. This makes for some lively conversations! We are recently retired and would like to travel, so I am always on the lookout for travel deals! Thank you again Brandy for your work. You touch many more lives than just the ones that comment!

  • Athanasia August 28, 2018

    D in M...birdwatching and wildlife watching are some of our favorite activities also. Birds are just starting to be on the move here now...heading south.

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