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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Apricots in White Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested the first apricots from our garden.

 Artichokes and turnips The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested turnips and artichokes from the garden.

Fig Tarts 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I made fig tarts using figs we froze from the garden last year.

I watched a couple of episodes of Call the Midwife on

My husband had some work done on our vehicle. He had everything written out and he paid half down and had the work done the next day. When they had finished, they told him that they replaced the brake pads (something he had not agreed to have done). He refused to pay for it, as he already had agreed upon the work that was being done. They told him the brake pads were under warranty, so he could skip paying for those, but that he would have to pay $200 for the labor. He reminded them that he already had a signed contract with them and had paid half down, and he was not going to pay for more work than he agreed to have done.  He came home with new brake pads, free of charge.

May Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

Yellow Graham Thomas roses, pink Earth Angel Roses, purple rocket larkspur, and Dusty Miller

I cut flowers from the garden for our table.

We were blessed with several new things this week:

My mom brought over several clothing items for my girls that she had found at garage sales for $0.50 each, including jeans and a brand-new coat! She also brought us some books that she found for $0.25 each.

We were given some hand-me-down clothes from my sister-in-law that will fit one of my daughters.

A friend brought by 18 eggs from her chickens.

Grand Canyon The Prudent Homemaker

We took atrip to the Grand Canyon. It's a 5 hour drive from my house. To save money, we chose to make the trip in one day. We brought food with us, including homemade French bread, chocolate chip cookies, almond blackberry muffins (I substituted frozen blackberries from our garden and some almonds I bought in bulk for the blueberries in this recipe), and balsamic vinaigrette. I did not make enough salad dressing for both lunch and dinner, so I stopped at a grocery store to buy a bottle of salad dressing. The kind I wanted was on sale, and a coupon fairy had left a $1 off coupon for me, which I gratefully used!

Route 66

My husband cut my hair (the day after this photo was taken!)

I gave the baby a haircut.

We celebrated the baby's first birthday with a simple party at home. We had ice cream and homemade brownies.

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Cindy in the South May 09, 2017

    Darling picture of y'all with baby! I am just under three hours from Florida beaches, so I will sometimes leave home at 4 a.m, get to the beach at 7 a.m., leave at 4 pm and get back home at 7 pm....such fun!!! I am so glad y'all went to the Grand Canyon with the kids, and I know they enjoyed it. I did some huge things, I completed refinancing my home at a lower rate, and was able to pay money into my work's retirement system and vest. This was important in case my son becomes sick again, and I have to retire to take care of him. Hopefully, I can continue to work either another five, or ten years, but we never know what will happen in life. I cut open a used up tube of toothpaste and I aim still getting toothpaste out of it, two weeks later! I bought hair dye on sale for $1.53, used it and cut my own hair. I have very fine, straight hair, that I keep chin length, so it is fairly easy to cut. I have been trimming the bamboo in my back yard, and have counted that as exercise since it has taken me about an hour a day, and I am still not done. I am definitely sore, and I have been getting all sorts of strange bugs in my hair doing this I took leftover chicken, from when my daughter visited, and make a chicken, tomato and cheese soup, with lots of was very good. I also took some of the leftover chicken and combined it with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, a little cheese, and homemade ranch dressing, for a salad. I made the ranch dressing from a variation of a recipe I have used for years from the Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. My $35 smart phone I bought a year ago, is about toast. I did research and discovered that Total Wireless phones will run on the Verizon network. Verizon works well where I live in the boonies. I bought a flip prepaid Total Wireless $19.95 phone, and my monthly prepaid card will be cut in half, so I hope this works. I really do not need a smart phone, I have decided, because I am not too smart about using it since I drop it in water, on the floor, At least I will not be out much money if I destroy this one...I am so rough on phones! I also decided I waste too much time on my smart phone. I cannot remember if I listed last week getting my car fixed under warranty last week or not, but I did that also. I also have decided I am going to the cash envelope system to buy groceries. I think I will spend less. I will try that a while and see if it works. I bought a can of asparagus at Family Dollar for $1.00. That is the cheapest I can find canned asparagus anywhere. I bought two cans of carrots for a dollar. I bought mayo at $2 a can. I do not have a food processor, and my blender seems to have conked out, so I do not make homemade mayo much, I cannot seem to get it to bind together when I try to make it without a blender, although I do like it much better than store bought. I bought some vegetable oil for $2.00 also. I cleaned my house with Dawn, and vinegar. I made a big pot of dried green lima beans and stuck the leftover chicken bones in it for flavor.I also threw the leftover carrots and rice in for flavor. I hate to waste food and will combine stuff just to not waste it. I listened to public radio bluegrass on Saturday night. I also went for a walk around the neighborhood. What I did not do: I did not buy a purse to replace my thrift store purse, that popped a strap. I am still looking around for a replacement, if I cannot repair it. I will just use it broken until

  • Jenifer May 09, 2017

    Cindy, sounds like things are looking/good better for you. (I hope that came out right). Good deal on getting all that done. I switched to the envelope system for groceries and it really helped me stay in or under budget. I hope it does the same for you. Hope you find a great deal on a purse soon!

  • Cindy in the South May 09, 2017

    Thanks Jen!

  • ann lee s. May 10, 2017

    Cindy, good luck with the envelope system, I am 74 and used it all my married life, it works great but you need a little determination not to steal from other envelopes!! ha ha. I finally tried using little jars and like that so much better than the paper envelopes. in addition I always used a teapot to drop in odd bits of small change, at New Years I took it out and spent it on dinner out. try the jars!! keep track of ALL spending in a little notebook to allow you to make a true working budget. ann lee s

  • Cindy in the South May 11, 2017


  • Pam B. May 09, 2017

    Great pictures, Brandy! The Grand Canyon looks lovely (I would love to go someday), and it sounds like you had a great time. Day trips can be so fun.

    Let's see... we had some unexpected expenses, so we are in what we call "hunker down" frugal mode (i.e. no unnecessary spending). All of our meals have been out of the freezer and pantry. Fortunately we keep ourselves stocked up, so we are just fine. I made yogurt at home for the first time, since I use it daily in breakfast smoothies. It was easy in the crock pot & came out great! We are working on our garden, but since we got a late start, we don't have anything coming up yet. I have planted lettuce, chard, tomatoes, okra, peppers, dill, basil, green onions, rosemary. The lettuce is in a side flower bed that is very heavily shaded, so I'm hoping we will at least get a little bit of harvest before it gets too hot here (Texas). So far our spring has been somewhat cool. In years past I have seen it hit 100 on Easter Sunday! I had a brisket in the freezer I'd bought on markdown. We cut it in half & did half as a Mexican brisket for tacos, and the other half I am brining for corned beef.

    We made a budget of $25 for yard sale "fun" spending, since it was the neighborhood yard sale weekend for our neighborhood & a couple of others. Over the years we have figured out which neighborhoods have sales worth hitting, and which do not! We usually have good luck in our neighborhood. We picked up a few decor items for the house, and I got a nice large painting for my office. My husband found several brand new polo shirts in the performance type fabric (wicks moisture, keeps you cool), which will be very nice for our summers.

  • Dorothy McLeod May 09, 2017

    How do you prepare your turnips ....I have some growing but other than simmering them and serving with butter and salt &pepper I haven't got any ideas?

  • Tammy May 10, 2017

    Turnips are good in pierogis.

  • Becky @ Becky's Place May 11, 2017

    Roasting in like size chunks with other root veggies, like carrots and beets, has worked for me.

  • Jo May 09, 2017

    I'm packing lunches to work as I always do -- I can't remember when I last had to buy a lunch because there was nothing leftover, in the freezer or in my emergency stash at work to eat at lunch. It's been over a year.
    I'm making Brandy's Rosemary White Bean soup, with homemade stock, home grown rosemary, and dried beans. I'll use fresh onions and garlic because I always have them on hand. I've decided to create more meatless meals, as my husband is finding it harder to digest meat than he used to do. It will also save us money, which is a good thing.
    I'm also trying to plan simpler meals. Since I work away from home, making me gone from the house about 42-45 hours a week, I find that by the time I cook a meal and clean up, my evening is gone, and projects are going neglected. Frugality can take some time, so I need to prioritize my time.
    Our anniversary is coming up (38 years), and we plan to spend it quietly, with just a meal out, no gifts. I'm going to look for any coupons, of course.
    Re: the figs. We have a fig tree, and when the squirrels and birds don't beat us to them, we like to dry figs or preserve them. I bought a dehydrator a few years back, one reason being the figs. Preserved figs go into a great cake that my former boss makes. I gave him a jar of figs, so he gave me the recipe.
    I always enjoy the pictures, and the one of the Grand Canyon is fantastic. I'm glad you got to go and so glad your friend got to see it, too!

  • Jennifer May 10, 2017

    I work full time. With commuting and unpaid overtime I'm usually gone 60 hours a week. We tend to do soups, crockpot meals, stir-fries and freezer casseroles. Usually, we cook and chop on the weekend and reheat, making fresh pasta or rice during the week as needed.
    Naan "pizzas" have been a staple this season (I get the naan at Costco if I don't have time to make my own). We use leftover alfredo, spaghetti sauce, tzaziki or hummus and top with whatever meats or veggies you have. Either warm the naan first or pop the whole thing under the broiler to heat up. Quick to make, easy to clean up and easy for picky eaters.

  • Marivene May 09, 2017

    I also cut flowers from our garden for the house, in our case they were tulips. Early in the week I cut purple ones, & when they faded, I cut white ones with red stipes in them.

    Continued to fill at least one tree tub per day with weeds & grass from the growing beds. Dead-headed the last of the grape hyacinths & shared some of the seed with our next door neighbor. Finished weeding the rest of the strawberry & red raspberry beds, both of which are large. Some of the weeds were tall grass, so when I pulled those, I cut the roots into the tree tub & threw the grass itself out onto the lawn, to become added mulch the next time I mow.

    Cut a couple quarts of rhubarb & cut the stalks to simmer & juice, then froze the juice in the base of some ice tups. When it was frozen, I turned them out of the molds into a zip bag & put them in the freezer. I use 2-3 ice cubes ( hence using the ice tup base, since it is the size of 2-3 ice cubes) in a glass of lemon lime soda, or in water when I have any type of GI upset. In 4 years now, it has NOT worked only twice.

    Removed the western yellow jacket nests from under the eaves of the shed, while it was still cool enough that they were moving very slowly, then added those to the garbage can, just before I added a tree tub full of weeds & roots.

    Removed the tuteur from the climbing yellow rose in the back yard. The rose bush was bending & tipping the tuteur, so it did not need the support. I pruned back the rose & removed the tuteur, then installed it along the back perimeter, to be a support for pole beans that I intend to plant there. If it works well for that, & I see no reason it should not, I may consider removing the smaller tuteur from the red climbing rose in the front yard. Planted 4 hills of pole beans, one on each side of the tuteur, & covered them with small glass cloches, since we still have 2 weeks to go before the last frost date here. Watered them with rainwater from the new-to-us rain barrel – it works fine. Planted more peas to replace those that did not sprout.

    Speaking of seeds, my oldest daughter opened one of those “good for 25 year” survival packs of seeds – they had several. This one was 3 years old. Less than ¼ of the seeds sprouted. She was glad she had backups. “Two is one, one is none”…

    Continued to work on trenching the area around the front bed at the end of the driveway. I have been slowly acquiring pavers from various sources – freecycle, gift cards, & discards – and I have 59 now. If I begin the project, those pavers “store in place”, & I don’t have to find room for them elsewhere.

    Completed a pine cone survey, & requested the funds in a check. That will buy a few more pavers. I also have funds on a partially used gift card I can use for pavers or bark.

    The dry stack brick tower in one of the beds at the end of the driveway had a collision with something that knocked off the fake concrete topper. In the process, another good-sized chip was knocked out of the topper, revealing the orange inside, so I spray-painted the entire thing with some left over oil rubbed bronze paint. It looks pretty good, & is sitting back on top of the tower, now that bricks are re-aligned.

    Bought 4 one-pound packages of organic, grass fed ground beef from the bargain basket for over half off. I won’t pay extra for it, but when it is the same price or less, I buy the grass fed, because it is better for us.

    Drafted a pattern for a dress for Little Stuff’s doll, & sewed it out of some curtain scraps. It fits the doll (which means I am getting better at making my own patterns), but is not easy to put on & off, so I will hold onto it until she is a little older & can manage it. I believe that playing with dolls is really important to developing nurturing behavior in young children, hence my time spent making doll clothes for my granddaughter. Finished 2 little crocheted pair of pants for the doll, with a waistband knitted of ribbing to cinch in the extra needed to go over the rather well-padded behind of this particular dolly. Paired with the two little sweaters I crocheted, it makes more outfits that Little Stuff can put on & take off by herself. Used a 55% off coupon at JoAnn’s to buy a skein of baby yarn in black, & the next day used a 50% off coupon to buy a skein of grey baby yarn.

  • Lilllanna Pickles May 10, 2017

    Little Stuff is a very special young lady to have clothing for her baby. Your posts give me the happiest memories from my own childhood. I can't wait to have a grandchild. My daughter recently explained to me she was fully aware that I was going to take her babies and never give them back. She's right. I imagine they will be my babies. Children are the greatest gift in life. I have images of a deer child with curly locks sitting and playing with her baby doll. She will treasure theses memories she is making.

  • Marivene May 11, 2017

    Little Stuff lives 12 hours away from us, but Skype is my good friend, as is Priority Mail. I have yet to meet the child that does not love to open a box, especially one sent to "them". Because we visit with her frequently, she knows who we are, & when I go to visit, she will run to me, which is precious. Her little brother will be born this fall, so Grandma is trying to kick the nurturing behavior into high gear.

  • Cindi May 09, 2017

    Hello everyone. I love coming here every week and reading everyone's accomplishments. I can't believe Octavius is already one!. The trip to the Grand Canyon looked like so much fun -- it is on my list of places to visit one day.
    It is finally warm enough here to plant, so we were busy in the yard and garden. I harvested lettuce and arugula from the greenhouse and cold frame a couple of times. I pulled the mulch back from the asparagus bed and did some weeding. I planted onion sets and carrot, parsnip and radish seeds. My husband reinstalled the wire trellis for the raspberries and the strings for the hops to climb on – which we had to take down when we had the house stained. Planted tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and bean and collard seeds. Bought annual flowers at a local nursery and used them to make 5 hanging baskets, a window box and two large plants for my porch.
    In the kitchen, I made homemade mustard from mustard seed, vinegar and a little sugar and salt. I don’t think it’s cheaper than buying prepared mustard, but it is so good! I made chicken and tortellini soup from the carcass of a roasted chicken. Froze half the batch for another meal. One night we had pork fried rice, made with lots of veggies and a single pork chop. My husband loved it and there was enough to freeze for another meal. Two days last week we had to go to the city 45 minutes away, and knew we would be gone over lunch, so we packed food to take with us and ate it between errands. I made another batch of laundry detergent. I hemmed a pair of pants for my husband and patched a pair of my jeans. I killed weeds on my walkway with boiling water.
    In the not-so-frugal department, my puppy destroyed one of my new blueberry bushes, and I bumped the dresser in the guest room and knocked over a lamp my father had given me -- shattered the blown glass shade to smithereens. All these years and moves I have had that lamp and one careless step and it's destroyed. It's only a lamp, but it does make me a little sad.
    And this morning I wrote a letter protesting the tax appraisal for our home. I discovered ours is the highest-appraised property on the street by about $75,000! I hope my letter and the documentation I'm providing will be persuasive.

  • momsav May 11, 2017

    Hi, Cindi!
    We went before the city to argue our taxes. They had us at over 700 ft. for our home when it's actually just over 600 ft. (Not to mention, we're surrounded by renters and one house has been abandoned for six years!) Now, we're trying to get some of our money back. We've had this house for twelve years. We were going by the realtors figures. I would urge everyone to do their own homework. Our tax base was lowered after it was re measured. One of the people who work for the city said, "Well, it's only five dollars." I said, "Yes, but, it's MY five dollars."

  • Cindi May 11, 2017

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope I am able to get the valuation lowered.

  • Sarah in Maryland May 09, 2017

    I've been reading this blog for years and it's interesting to think back through all that has happened in that time. Babies, employment to self employment and back, etc. And now my husband is unemployed again. He has been since January, but he's been able to do temporary work for most of that period.

    This week , I've accomplished some things in the area of frugality including accepting hand me downs and cooking at home. More than anything else I have been working on changing my attitude about my circumstances . I still have so very much to be thankful for! I'm trying to post things on Instagram (My only social media account) that make me smile and feel grateful!

  • You look so young Brandy!

    I cooked all meals at home this week.
    2 of my sons had a bass fishing tournament on Saturday and brought home a whole bunch of food (hot dogs and burgers). We had enough for dinner on Saturday and Sunday, plus I have a whole package of burger patties in the freezer for another time.
    Bought strawberries at $.79 per 1lb package. I bought 5 packages and prepped and froze them for smoothies, shakes, etc.
    Hubby and I celebrated 21 years of marriage and hubby wanted to get chinese take out. Weirdly, our favorite place was closed so we ended up just eating leftovers. I was kind of glad as we're going on a little family day trip on Mother's Day and that's less $ we are spending. ;)

    I love reading (actually hearing as I copy the comments into a text to speech app on my phone) everyone's frugal accomplishments. It helps motivate me not to spend unnecessarily. Thank you!

  • Debby in KS May 09, 2017

    SOunds like a wonderful trip to the GRAnd Canyon! I'm ashamed that in being a native Southern Californian, I never once went to see it!! My family always took Forest & Lake trips so they could fish and we could water ski....we weren't much for sightseeing.

    With all the rain we had this spring, the yards are spectacular. Everything is lush and green. I have butterfly bushes, purple irises, yellow day lilies, white peonies, & orange Asiatic lilies on the brink of blooming. I planted pots of yellow & red petunias for the front door steps last weekend.

    In the savings area, it was decent.

    * I made 2 batches of laundry soap.
    * Emptied our rain barrels for about 100 gals. of plant & toilet flushing water (we line the bottles up behind the shower curtains in the tubs!)
    *We haven't used either the a/c or the heater for at least 6 wks. now. I keep expecting the utility people to show up and check our meter!!
    *We got grocery store freebies- cheese popcorn, tortilla chips, & yogurt.
    * We had a check get lost in the mail. The stop payment was going to be $35. I asked if we could have it waived and they said YES!
    * I refashioned another skirt & blouse to make them cooler and more comfy for summer. The skirt used to be a dress and I wore it today. It was so comfy and cost me nothing but a few yards of thread!
    * I made 6 greeting cards to cover May events.
    * I made 3 necklaces for birthday gifts. They were made from washers from the garage, alcohol ink, wire, & beads. I had all of it & borrowed the ink.

    Since I had everything, all the above cost absolutely nothing! :)

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