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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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  • Debby in Kansas, USA August 28, 2018

    I always know cooler weather is near when the Juncos show up at the bird bath!

  • Cindi August 29, 2018

    Juncos live here year-round and they are among my favorite birds!

  • Athanasia August 30, 2018

    Cindi, juncos are fun. They aren't shy and they are good at eating up the seed the pickier birds leave behind or scatter.

  • Amy S August 27, 2018

    I love your post above - very inspiring! I've actually upped my activity level during the day because I am amazed at how much everyone gets done in their week. This blog helps remind me that I know of others that aspire to be frugal and be creative in how we use our resources. Thank you for the weekly inspiration.

    *My two youngest are back in school. I quite enjoy the challenge of making their lunches. Last week, I packed leftovers but also included fruit and veggies. We had salad leftover. I added leftover steak and homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers. I packed leftover homemade spaghetti and noodles. Added carrots and celery and grapes. Another day they had leftover homemade french bread pizza with olives, carrots and celery.

    *All dinner meals were made at home: French bread pizza, spaghetti and noodles, white chicken chili, hamburgers, steak and salad. We had plenty for leftovers for lunch during the week. I made egg & cheese burritos, waffles, pb banana oatmeal shakes for breakfast. One daughter has some health issues and I like to make sure that what she is eating doesn't aggravate it.

    *Saved money off my weekly grocery bill by shopping sales and sticking to my list. I did find dried cranberries marked down on clearance for $1.14 per bag. I bought all they had which was 10 bags. I make cookies at Christmas time that uses cranberries. The expiration date on the bags is 9/2019. I also bought hamburger that was marked down.

    *I combined my errands and stayed home several days to help keep gas costs down.

    *I finished a cross stitch pattern and cleaned it. I'm watching coupons so that I can either get it framed or find a frame and do it myself. It's a Halloween pattern and I would like to display it this year.

    *I signed up for a free 12 week course that will teach about personal finance. We don't have any debt but I always like to learn about finance. This group meets once a week and discusses different ways to help with finances. I'm excited to meet with others and glean ideas or be encouraged to keep doing what we're doing.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I so look forward to reading all the great posts about being frugal.

  • Precious August 28, 2018

    What a fantastic price on cranberries! I froze many bags I found on sale last year and I am still using them in muffins, cookies and breads.

  • Cindi August 28, 2018

    I find the thrift store to be a good source for frames. I learned to frame needlework items by watching youTube videos.

  • Athanasia August 28, 2018

    Amy, the unopened bags of dried cranberries will last long long past the stated expiration. What a nice find at the store.

  • Amy S August 31, 2018

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate the added info and ideas :)

  • Chip August 27, 2018

    Blessings on you, Brandy, for reminding us, your readers, to be kind and supportive of one another. We all come from different places and backgrounds with different kinds of families at different phases of family life (I'm a grandmother with my 3 children grown and gone from the house). I follow you and enjoy your posts because you find the beauty in everything, including frugality. I am very frugal out of necessity (I'm a retired teacher) and because I find it a worthwhile challenge. We do not need to be judging each other or casting aspersions or finding others less than us for any reason whatsoever. The decisions you make in your family are yours, and you are kind enough to share parts of your journey with us. I truly appreciate you.

  • Elizabeth M. August 27, 2018

    A much calmer week in my life.

    I made garlic mashed potatoes/cauliflower to go with a roast chicken. I usually roast the garlic in aluminum foil but didn't have any and couldn't find it in the store that had advertised it. So, I put the garlic in the oven at a lower temperature and shorter period, and it turned out great. The leftover potatoes/cauliflower was made into salmon cakes, and the leftover chicken is cubed and being added to lunchtime salads.

    The 10 lb boxes of peaches advertised had turned into 20 lb boxes, which is much too much for one person. I used the money to buy raspberries for the freezer. I missed local ones a few weeks so, so I am happy to have a few for the winter. I am hoping to buy peaches next week still, if the budget allows.

    Got the results from the vet specialist. Not great news, but we are giving the cat's new diet a chance to work. I expect there will be some regular expenses related to this, if all goes well!

  • Samantha August 28, 2018

    Good luck with your cat's new diet, and overall health! I hope the new food does the trick. Our kitty was having some health problems too, and a diet change did the trick.

  • Elizabeth M. August 30, 2018

    So far, his stomach is more settled, though not perfect. It is early days yet, though.

  • Debby in Kansas, USA August 28, 2018

    Elizabeth, I didn't see the original post about your cat, but if you're using a special food, ask the vet if they can ask the manufacturer if there are any ongoing studies. When my Doxie had a heart attack years ago, she was put on a very expensive canned food. Between the vet bill (the vet was a specialist in Beverly Hills!) and the food, I probably broke into a visible sweat! That sweet Vet found a dog food study on special food and for simply filling out a questionnaire for 3 months, I got a case of free food every month for 15 months. Those simple questionnaire s were worth about $500 of food!
    It never hurts to ask!

  • Elizabeth M. August 30, 2018

    Thank you. I'll look into that. Fortunately this is a good country vet, who has relatively reasonable rates for services, but he charges a little more than in the city for the food. It is cheaper overall even for the food because I don't have to spend money on gas to go buy it. He is giving me a senior rate on services too, which makes a bigger difference in vet services than it does on a lot of things.

    Typical of cats is that the other healthy cat immediately decided that no food but the vet food would suit her, so I have two of them eating this. Fortunately, they eat dry food, which I think is less expensive.

  • Athanasia August 30, 2018

    Elizabeth M, and anyone else with pets, if you live near a veterinary school you can sometimes get pets into experimental treatment programs for things like cancer. It all varies by what study is going on at what time but if they fit the criteria care is covered and so are meds and often followup for a number of years. This is information from my son in law re' our state veterinary school. I don't have knowledge of other states but he says they would have similar programs.

  • Elizabeth M. August 30, 2018

    That's a very good idea, Athanasia. I wish that I had thought of it when I lived in the city and had a senior dog with some serious illnesses. I financed her diabetes treatment in part by giving up meat for 18 months. My vegetarian cooking improved a lot, so I didn't suffer very much.

  • Megan B. August 27, 2018

    I’ve posted on and off for years, but recently saw there is another Megan posting now as well. I’ve added my last initial to my username to help tell us apart.

  • Megan B August 28, 2018

    How weird? It cut off the rest of my post...

    Unfortunately due to a bear, I have not only lost my peaches and apples for this season but the trees themselves received major damage (the peach tree is just a stick now, no limbs!). Hoping they will grow back and stay to fruit again in a couple of years.

    I turned in three old iPhones to Apple’s trade-in Program. One didn’t meet their rules, but the other two did and I have received $50 in Apple gift cards for them. This was a nice surprise as I was going to throw them. I’m going to trade the digital giftcards in for physical ones and gift them to my daughter and niece at Christmas (they have iPods and can buy music with them)! I’m so tickled about this as it is two free gifts!

    I decided to not return to my job as the school this year. My husband and I have talked about it for years and decided this is the season for me to try being a stay at home mom. I think this will be the best thing for our family, but don’t like that I would be bringing in any money. I have started to buy things at sales and thrift stores to re-sell. eBay sales had been slow last week but have picked back up this week, hopefully that continues!

    Brandy, thank you again for your blog and this series. I love reading everyone’s accomplishments each week. I’m going to make an effort to keep track weekly myself because (especially) at this point, seeing the frugal saves helps me feel better about this transition!

  • Cara August 29, 2018

    When you write "throw them" about the iPhones, I dearly hope you meant donate them. Electronics like iPhones should never be disposed of in the trash due to battery and other components dangerous to the environment, not to mention that working, but old phones can be donated to those who need them.

  • Athanasia August 30, 2018

    Cara, thank you for reminding people of this.

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