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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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  • Jeananne Lybbert August 31, 2018

    Would you share the link for the tote bag? Thanks.

  • Marybeth August 27, 2018

    I loved Rolie Polie Olie when my kids were little. I was busy with using up garden produce this week. I canned 6 quarts and 3 pints of sauce, made 10 pints of refrigerator pickles and 1 1/2 pints of jam. I worked 4 days, went to jury duty one day (I didn't get picked) and went to see Billy Joel for free in concert with Hubby. It was a busy week but a really good one. My full list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/08/my-frugal-list-week-of-august-20.html

  • Juhli August 27, 2018

    Hope everyone had a great week. My frugal activities included borrowing lots of books from the library although I did spend $1 today buying 2 paperbacks from the Friends of the Library bookstore which I consider supporting the library. Last night my older son and DIL brought over an early birthday cake as we will be at our other son's on my birthday. Instead of taking them out we fixed a lovely dinner at home while the dogs hung out together. I was truly bored with my small summer wardrobe and found 2 necklaces at a consignment store that will help me be satisfied for the rest of our hot weather and will work in cooler weather too. In the good news category, I went to a podiatrist that turned out not to be in our network but with Medicare coverage I only owe them $30 which is a relief.

  • Susie August 27, 2018

    You all inspire me each week to keep innovating and stewarding with excellence! Brandy, your example is so much appreciated!
    Savings to share:
    - Last week I started putting aside a few dollars from the grocery budget to be used during Christmas week when we will be having lots of guests. If I put aside $5 a week, I would have $75 extra by December! I did this last year and found it to be a huge help. It even allowed for a few fun menu items I normally wouldn't spend on.
    - While checking out at the kiosk in the grocery store, I found two left behind coupons. One was $3 off any purchase and the other for a free bag of cheese! In the parking lot I picked up a piece of litter only to find it was a coupon for a free Dominoes pizza!
    - My daughter keeps sourdough starter in the fridge and makes bread as a treat or for friends. Recently I discovered it also makes excellent waffles that can be mixed the night before. Cheap and delicious breakfast!
    - Bought several stocking stuffers and gifts at yard sales along with fall clothing for one child.
    - Canned and froze garden produce. Also froze lots of fresh thyme as I'm not a fan of dried thyme. Will use when roasting chicken or turkey.
    - I have made it a habit over the years to ask my kids for ideas on how to do this or that differently. Often, the solutions they come up with are really practical or creative. They learn to problem solve and think creatively and I get great ideas!
    - Accepted loads of pears from a neighbor. Will need to find fun ways to preserve them.
    Looking forward to reading this week's comments!

  • momsav August 27, 2018

    Susie, I found a recipe( goooogle) for peanut butter cookies using sourdough starter. I put chocolate chips in it and love it! The dough freezes nicely, too. They’re super easy, too!

  • Jeananne Lybbert August 31, 2018

    Such a good idea to save up extra grocery budget for the holidays. That way you can make celebratory food without ruining your food budget!

  • Sally August 27, 2018

    Hello Everyone,
    Three cheers for Brandy for having this blog for all of us! I truly believe we have something to learn from every person we meet.
    We have had an extremely unfrugal month, never mind week; some pretty frighteninglay high dental bills, unexpected car repairs, and very sadly, veterinary bills for a beloved pet who didn’t make it. We have always lived frugally, which has allowed us to weather these surprises that are part of life. I recently got a nice raise at work, and will do what I always do when I get a raise. I keep on living on the same salary I started my job with years ago, and bank the rest (have it taken out of my pay, pretax dollars). I do not miss the money because we do not live extravagantly. We live in a modest home, drive very sensible cars that get great mileage, and always take our lunches to work. Unlike Brandy, I do not have a green thumb. Fortunately, we have an Aldi’s nearby! And Brandy, I have also been praying for you and your beautiful family. You are a wise mother to know each child has unique needs. Have a lovely week everyone.

  • Lisa August 27, 2018

    Sally, I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Debora August 28, 2018

    So sorry about losing your pet. They are so much a part of the family dynamics.

  • Pamela B. August 28, 2018

    Sally, I am so sorry for your loss. That is so difficult.

    You sound very similar to us - we live in a modest home & drive sensible vehicles, shop at Aldi, and live frugally. Even if it is not out of necessity during this time in our lives, it helps us plan for our future and weather any surprises that come our way.

  • Sally August 28, 2018

    Thank you so much, Lisa, Debora, and Pamela B.
    Losing a beloved pet is always hard. As a wise friend of mine reminded me, each new grief touches all the ones that came before. Pamela B., it’s so nice to share similar values!

  • Diana E August 29, 2018

    So sorry to hear about your pet. It is so hard. xx

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 27, 2018

    Best of luck with your sunflowers and zinnias! And I'm sorry to hear that there were some less than charitable comments last week. Thanks for taking the time to moderate all the comments, despite it adding to your busy schedule. Your blog is always an oasis of positivity and support.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I made Creamy Vanilla Pineapple Floats (http://approachingfood.com/creamy-vanilla-pineapple-float/) this week, using some ice cream that I had a $1 off coupon for. Healthier than you’d think, and so delicious! I loved these so much when I was a child!
    - I made more ice cream sandwiches, using cookies on sale and ice cream.
    -Using the BUNZ trading app, I traded a bottle of balsamic vinegar and a skein of yarn that I wasn’t using, for a set of appetizer dishes that I will gift to some friends, a BNIB deodorant (the one that I usually purchase), and a mini bottle of orange liqueur that I will use in my baking at some point. I also traded a can of mushroom soup (I don’t like canned mushroom soup – my DH bought it by accident) for a package of South African Rooibos tea. I’ve heard that if a mother drinks it, it can help a baby sleep better, so I figured it was worth adding to my pantry on the off chance that I would need it.
    - As usual I brought all of my lunches, snacks, and drinks to work with me.
    - I went shopping with my mom and brought drinks and snacks from home because I knew I’d get hungry and didn’t want to pay for convenience foods (but need to eat before I get hungry, as hunger triggers morning sickness for me).
    - I met a friend for coffee and was able to use a Swagbucks gift card to cover the cost of drinks for her and her daughter, and redeemed a Starbucks reward for a drink for myself. I had enough leftover to get a snack for myself as well. I really enjoy being able to treat a friend without any money OOP!
    - My husband redeemed loyalty points for $60 worth of free groceries.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  • Marybeth August 28, 2018

    I am going to borrow your ice cream sandwich idea. Haven't had them in years. I need to take dessert to a friend's house for Labor Day. I can do a dairy free one with Hubby's soy ice cream so he doesn't feel left out.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 29, 2018

    Ice cream sandwiches are the best! I like to use homemade cookies, but lately I've just been using storebought ones (on sale) as I have less energy. Even if you use storebought cookies, the sandwiches are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than any storebought ice cream sandwiches! Some 'ice cream' sandwiches in the freezer aisle are actually oil-based products, so I think homemade sandwiches are healthier, not to mention tastier!

  • Karen August 29, 2018

    Margaret, your float sounds delicious! I've pinned it for later!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 29, 2018

    Yay! Thanks, Karen!

  • Jeannie August 30, 2018

    I love rooibos tea and I think you will like it also since you are a big tea drinker. The only thing I don't like about it is I have trouble pronouncing the word "rooibos".


  • Kara August 27, 2018

    Thankfully gleaned apples. All are stored in fridge now. Gifted 3 bags of apples to friends

    Making scarves with flannel passed down to me. I will donate these to church that serves homeless.

    Gathered items to send to church yard sale, as well as continuing to gather for my own yard sale.

    Mailed composition books that were gifted to me to one of our kids (frugal for them:))

    Borrowed a required book for college from the library while I wait on the used copy I ordered online with slow shipping.

    Donated shampoo and conditioner left behind by my kids to food bank and my nieces.
    This week I’ve been really happy to donate a lot. It makes me realize the abundance I have, and it makes me happy that these items will be put to good use.

  • Norma August 27, 2018

    Went to some tag sales this weekend, at one we were told to fill a grocery bag for $4. I got a small Foreman grill (I had been wanting one for a while), two summer dresses, set of sheets, extra pillowcases, 3 sweaters, vases to fill with flowers from my garden and give to friends, 2 books for my husband, 2 blouses and a few small miscellaneous items. Great score! At another one I got 2 coats, a pair of good winter boots, tinkertoys, play basket with play tools, 3 scarves (two will be Christmas gifts). 2 pair of shoes and a designer handbag, a quilt (new) all for $6. I went to both sales toward the end of the day when they were happy to negotiate.

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