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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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  • Lorna August 27, 2018

    Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    How wonderful you were able to get new herb plants from cuttings we did the same with our thyme plants and got 4 more too. As plants are getting so expensive to buy in the garden centres here it saves so much money. Your family will be in our prayers for the current transition you are going through, international friend hugs to you Brandy.

    Our savings and earnings added up to $154.49 last week :).

    Here is what we did to save, build our pantry and accomplished -

    Finances & earnings -
    - Listed 10 more handmade items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 in usual listing fees.
    - Made $65.20 from the sale of 1 5 layer cotton eye mask, a homemade triple layer table runner & 100 stems of dried English lavender stems picked and dried from the gardens.
    - Banked more money into home deposit savings account bringing us to 28.04% of the way there.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 2.8 kg of honey, almond, coconut and sultana granola from food storage for $8.55 saving $28.69 over purchasing the same amount in the supermarkets in equivalent quality and ingredients.

    Pantry stock ups-
    - Topped up on special saving an additional $29 on normal prices on 2 x 400 ml cocoa moisturiser, 6 x vanilla beans, 1 pkt of coffee filters for filtering vanilla extract, 12 pkts of 100 g smoked oysters, 6 x 250 g pkts of cracker biscuits, 8 x 100g pkts of twisties for snacks, 2 x 375 g pkts of dried chick peas, 18 x 250 g pkts of baking chocolate chips. The savings included specials and redeeming a $10 supermarket rewards voucher for buying our normal groceries.
    - Purchased 10 punnets of 250 g strawberries for 0.95c per punnet combining specials and a further 5% off using our roadside assist gift card discount saving $15.50 on usual prices. We washed, chopped or halved and froze them for future batches of jam and some for desserts and lunches too.

    Home organisation -
    - Went under the house and did a stocktake on all the firewood we have to see if we had enough for winter this year and next and we will need to cut more while it is cool. We re stacked it from small to large. Interesting experiment as we are both tall and the cottage is 2'6" off the ground and we are both tall so our legs were getting tangled up and we were pulling ourselves out from under there, quite amusing :) but we got it done.
    - Tackled organising the 3 bay machinery garage as we just threw things in there when we moved. Took everything out and pressure cleaned the shed, garden equipment, BBQ and smoker, wiped over shelving units, fuel containers and put it all back again. There were a lot of spiders, eek, there was a heap of Redback spiders and egg sacks we blasted into oblivion with the pressure cleaner as no way I am touching those even with thick leather gloves on. Still have the boxes of power tools and bits and pieces to sort and box in an organised fashion next week to finish it off. This will help us when we move having everything boxed, organised and labelled too.
    - Did our 3 monthly grocery shop using 2 of our $240 for $200 e-vouchers and dated, rotated and put everything away. While we were at it we re-organised the food storage pantry room so we have more room on the gorilla shelves to stock up on more food. It is amazing with a bit of re-organisation how much more you can fit into a small space.

    Have to say we are both sore and worn out after this week but it was worth it to see the results of everything looking clean and organised :).

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  • PJGT August 27, 2018

    I love watching your house down payment grow!

  • Lorna August 27, 2018

    Thank you PJGT for your encouragement it is greatly appreciated :) .

    We are starting to see the light at the end of the savings tunnel here and are getting close to where we want to be at and are pushing ourselves to try and reach a higher savings target than our budget says by the end of the year.

    So very much looking forward to having our dream home built on a small acreage to cater for DH's disabilities and injuries and we have worked hard to get where we are so far.

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks August 28, 2018

    Lorna, like PJGT, I love keeping tabs on your house payment fund through the Frugal Accomplishments! It has been fun from afar to watch your total grow steadily over the weeks and months. You and your husband are inspirational for your tireless perseverance, hard work, commitment and creativity in saving money towards your goal. I can't WAIT for you to get that dream house on your property that will be comfortable for you and your DH. Hugs and best wishes! Save on :)

  • Lorna August 28, 2018

    Hi Lynn from NC Outer Banks and thank you for your encouragement it is greatly appreciated :) , we need all the encouragement we can get.

    Secretly we can't wait either but it will definitely be worth all the hard work when we get there and we will keep saving with gusto and enthusiam.

  • S. CO Mary August 28, 2018

    Lorna - there will be a big whoop and holler from me (and I am sure many, many others) when you reach your house goal! I've followed your postings for a long time. You and your husband have weathered some very big storms and through your own hard work, being open to blessings when they occur and blessing others as well you have not just survived but thrived. It is also so interesting to me to have our seasons be 'opposite'! Really adds to that feeling of global framily. (A word a friend made up many years ago and one that I love.)

  • Lorna August 28, 2018

    Hi S Co Mary and thank you also for your encouragement it is greatly appreciated :), and yes all of us on here are a global framily (love that word) thanks to Brandy's hard work and dedication in supplying us a site where we can encourage each other and give each other good ideas.

    We will also be whooping and hollering as well when we reach our target and approach the bank for the bank loan for the remainder of funds needed and have it accepted. There will also be a new (or near new at the right price) second car we will pay cash for in the deposit percentage we are saving for as well as a 4 car garaport for machinery and cars also paid in cash, the land will also be paid for in cash and a 4 mt covered entertainment area also paid for in cash . The only thing we will be borrowing for will be part of the house to be built.

  • Athanasia August 30, 2018

    Lorna, I googled the redback spider. UGH! It is poisonous it says and is close relative of the black widow spider found in some areas of the United States. Sounds like you really accomplished a lot.

  • Lorna August 31, 2018

    Hi Athanasia and yes the Redback spiders are nasty and are poisonous and have killed quite a few people from biting them. I err on the side of caution and either blast the Redback spiders into oblivion with the pressure cleaner or vacuum them from the rafters and shed as they don't make it past the motor impeller.

    We have the most poisonous spiders, snakes and jellyfish in the world in Australia and Koalas that are not friendly and not to mention kangaroos that will literally tear you apart if you frighten them or get too close. Above ankle boots and thick leather gloves are a must if working in the bush here and all council workers are issued with snake chaps to protect them from the snakes here whilst working.

    They breed us tough out here in Australia ;) .

  • Athanasia August 31, 2018

    Lorna, you must indeed be tough! I saw a show once, years ago, on the hazards of Australia and there were even poison toads. I have heard that koalas are not just furry sleepy fuzzballs as they appear. They have pretty good talons.

  • Stephanie August 27, 2018

    I'm sorry the transition was difficult for you. When I sent my son to school for the first time at the age of 9, it was a choice that I made and I was ready, but it still wasn't easy, and I questioned quite often if it was the right thing for him (it was for *me*, I knew that). It did turn out to be the right decision for both of us, and I hope that it works as well for you as it has for us, for however long it needs to work!

    This week, I made three or four (I can't remember) containers of tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes, which I put in our freezer. We still have a LOT of tomatoes left, so I'll be finding ways to use them up this week. I've eaten tomatoes with every meal today, so that's a start! I organized my boxes of yarn and learned that I'll never have to buy yarn again for the rest of my life, pretty much! I also found some cross stitch projects in the yarn box, enough so that I'll have enough projects to last until the end of time. I'll be staying out of the craft stores, that's definitely frugal!

    I organized my closet and got rid of a lot of things that had shrunk, that I no longer liked, or that I simply no longer wore. I now have much more space in my closet and have two more bags for the thrift store. I used up almost all of the zucchini my mom had dropped off at my house (the last 1/8 of it is waiting for me in the fridge); last week, we ate zucchini in everything I cooked, including zucchini pancakes for my son's breakfast. My son and I listened to an author speak at a local school, I read library books, and I bought nothing at the library book sale I checked out. Not a bad week. :)

    Have a great week, everyone! :)

  • Elizabeth M. August 27, 2018

    I think zucchini as a great breakfast food. I serve it with scrambled eggs. I've never thought to put it in pancakes, though.

    On another blog, I learned to shred it and use it to stretch fillings for tacos and in meat loaf. It helps keep them moist as well.

  • Kristin August 28, 2018

    Thanks a million! I'm going to do this with my taco meat tonight!! The lentils didn't go over so well...Methinks the zucchini will not be detected.

  • Laurie in AZ August 30, 2018

    I put zucchini and yellow squash in my fruit smoothies. Just a little and you can't detect it at all.

  • Ann August 27, 2018

    Brandy: So glad to see your post, was afraid you were going to have to take some time off, hope all is leveling out and just don't try to do everything, it will still be there tomorrow! My son visited a neighbor yesterday and brought home some pears, some were ripe others not, so cooked the ones that were ripe, a nice change, Our garden did not do good this year, too dry, and we are on rural water so did not try to water it, but those that did water had good gardens, My neighbor let me pick her tomatoes while she was on vacation, put l8 quart juice in freezer and made 12 jars salsa, Great grandson was here over weekend and brought a pair of well worn out jean shorts and wanted me to patch them for him, His very favorite so I did patch them but not very pretty, he was happy!!

  • Pears ripen off the tree, so just let the unripe pears sit on the counter or the table until they are soft.

  • Megan B August 28, 2018

    Will peaches? I had pulled two off my tree (before the bear), but they rotted instead of ripening... wondering what I did wrong?

  • Athanasia August 28, 2018

    Megan, make sure you don't have any fruit flies. They will get into that "navel" area on the fruit and cause it to be rotting from the inside while the out looks fine. Set fruit fly traps.

  • Andrea Q August 28, 2018

    Peaches will ripen on the counter if they aren't harvested too early. I've had store-bought peaches rot from the inside out more than once. It's so frustrating.

  • Gardenpat (Pat in Ohio) August 27, 2018

    It sounds like you and your family are adjusting to the transition in a positive way! Most of my kids preferred to brown bag their school lunches. A couple even started selling their homemade treats until I found out about it (fortunately before they got in trouble with the school! Lol!)
    I still haven’t planted my end of summer crop of lettuce. I will try to get around to it this long weekend! Sometimes other things just change our plans!
    I got 5 five pound bags of already chopped onions at the produce market for $1 a bag, so $5 for 25 pounds. So easy to just spread out on my dehydrator trays and I got about 22 pounds dried and vacuum sealed in half gallon mason jars! Good timing because I was almost out of dried minced onions that I had in #10 cans.
    I decided to “convert” ingredients that I wanted to use up into meals/snacks so I rehydrated retried beans I had in storage, added some ground beef I precooked and froze and leftover chopped onions, cheese and tortillas to make 32 beef and bean burritos. I flash froze them and then packaged 2 of them into each of 16 sandwich ziploc bags for grab and go lunches/ dinners/ snacks.

    In an effort to use up some of my extensive fabric storage of scraps, I found a tutorial last week on making scrappy tote bags. I modified the pattern and changed sizing and have now made up 11 bags of various sizes. I posted photos of the first 2 on Facebook (more as a way for me to keep track of what I’ve made than anything else) and got nice comments from a few of my friends. 2 friends asked if I would sell the bags and out of that, I ended up selling them 5 bags! Other friends suggested that I put them on my business Facebook site to sell, so I will try that this week and see what happens! Worse case scenario, nothing else sells and the 11 kids, their spouses and my grandchildren all get scrappy tote bags for Christmas!! Lol!

    I noticed a couple months ago that there was a volunteer tomato plant growing on the outside wall of the chicken coop. I just ignored it. Well, it grew into a couple huge tomato plants that were using the sides of the coop as supports! Today, I picked the first 4 lovely Roma tomatoes from them and saw that there are literally dozens of big green Roma tomatoes just waiting to ripen! What a fun surprise!!

    The chickens are still giving us about 3-1/2 dozen eggs a week! And my raspberry bushes are starting their second crop of the season! I get them in the beginning of summer and then again just before fall! Yum!!

    I love that fall is coming soon- it’s my favorite time of the year as I try to prepare for winter! Supposedly, this winter is going to be very snowy for us! We’ll see. My experience has been that the predictions are just a guess and not always a very accurate one at that!
    Hope everyone is having a great end of summer! Thanks for giving us motivation to do more things to be good stewards of so much abundance around us!

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