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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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  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks May 10, 2017

    Like Jennifer, I'm always intrigued with prices both in and outside our country. I'm also interested in the actual stores. When we travelled in Europe, I made my way to various grocery stores so I could look at the different products and check out the prices. Thank you for posting your prices in Canada!

  • ellie's friend in Canada May 13, 2017

    Hi Ann Lee,

    So is that $320 per month only for food or are there a few other things included?
    Just wondering what a fellow Canadian senior gets by on?

  • Lorna May 13, 2017

    Hi ann lee s and we are in Australia and similar exchange rate our dollar also being 70c of States dollar. For those on imperial measurements 2.2 lbs is equal to a kg.

    Our eggs not free range are $2.59 Doz and free range $4.79 doz .
    Cheese matured $6 kg.
    Instant powdered milk 1kg $5.69.
    Milk $2.99 for 3 lts.
    Whole chickens $3kg on special , $4 kg if not on special.
    Beef we buy in bulk for a hindquarter for $9.99kg , and if you are looking for rump to buy by the kg it is $20 - $25kg, T-bone around $30kg, eye fillet $45.99 - $54.99, beef sausages $4.38kg, mince $9.99 - 14.95kg.
    Quality freshly squeezed orange juice around $4+ per litre.
    Carrots not organic $1.70kg , organic $7.33kg.

    It is interesting to see the prices around the world indeed.

  • Rhonda A. May 14, 2017

    Ann Lee, I'm in Ontario and some of our prices are a bit better. A dozen regular lg, size eggs are typically $1.97, but go on sale at Shopper's Drug Mart for $1.77/dozen most weekends and I can buy a 5lb bag of "imperfect" carrots at No Frills for around $1.80/bag (sometimes less if on sale). Processed cheese slices often go on sale for $2/24 slices, which can be frozen to use when not on sale. Sorry, I don't know the price comparisons on the other items you listed. Steaks are typically pretty expensive, so we don't buy them very often. A 3 litre bag of milk (1 gallon) is $4.27 and a brick of butter can be sometimes bought for just under $3 on sale but is typically $4/brick (which is why I use margarine bought a $1/container for our daily use). A loaf of bread has come down from $2/loaf to $1.50/loaf (that's the cheap stuff), but I can sometimes get various loaves cheaper (including more expensive/higher quality brands) if it is short dated and marked 50% off. We love homemade bread, but I just don't have time to make enough to supply our weekly needs.

    My budget for a family of 4 (3 adults and 1 teen that eats like an adult) is around $600/month, which includes food and household items. I love to stock up when I find excellent prices, so most of our meals are from pantry and freezer items. Could I get away with less? Yes, but it would definitely restrict our variety of foods and make it difficult to keep our pantry stocked. So for now, I'm OK with this amount, but feel comfort knowing I could cut the budget if absolutely necessary.

  • Janet May 10, 2017

    Aldi now takes credit cards which I did not know until today!
    That makes it easier than having to stop and get the cash first before you go to Aldi.

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks May 10, 2017

    Jennifer, I agree that it seems that some of the prices seem to have declined a bit, especially with eggs. Many of the prices you have quoted from Aldi in TX are the same as Aldi in parts of NC, (carrots, thighs) though strawberries this week are 1.49 instead of .99 for you and eggs .69 here-.59 in TX. If you live near an Aldi, I think they have great prices. Unfortunately for me, there are no Aldis nearby. The closest one is 2.5 hours away. However, I've been known to pack a cooler during out of town trips to areas that have Aldi so I could stock up on the trip home!

  • Anne May 10, 2017

    The photos of the Grand Canyon are stunning! What a great family day trip.

    Spring is so slow to arrive here in the Midwest. We are still having freeze warnings, and struggling to climb above 55 degrees during the daytime. But the trees are lovely, there are enough leaves that I can hear them rustle as the wind blows thru.

    Last weeks frugal accomplishments: read library books, hung all my laundry, attended a state sponsored dinner celebration of notable businesses ( thanks to Mr. Money Tree's employer), attended a lengthy college graduation ceremony ( amazing people watching! most in attendance had come from Middle Eastern countries) shopped at the half off sale at my local Goodwill ( I typically buy items to re-sell) and ate from the freezer/pantry.

    Love the encouragement I get from Brandy's posts and the wonderful comments!

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher May 10, 2017

    Ahhh, those fig tarts are beautiful! We're set to get a whopping 8 figs from our itty bitty fig tree this year. :)

    This week:

    1. I went on a work trip and they paid me mileage as well as meals. Yay for free food!

    2. I bought peaches from a roadside stand and turned them into peach puree and a peach upside down cake. The rest were put in the fridge for convenient snacking.

    3. This weekend I'm cooking several freezer meals using odds and ends from our pantry and fridge.

    4. I'm basing next week's dinners off of cheap staples like rice, beans, and pasta. We were over budget on food last month and I'm determined to come in under this month!

    5. I used a hotel's free gym and free breakfast. I also took a few extra mini shampoos home with me. :)

  • Nancy May 10, 2017

    So enjoyed your family picture and frugal ideas.
    Happy Mother's Day ❤
    A few frugal accomplishments
    . My husband spray painted our old wicker chairs in black bean. Added pretty red cushions my daughter covered
    . Was gifted a pretty bird house chime to place with chairs on front porch
    Planted a few tomato plants n beans in garden.
    .Continued weeding..clearing out areas in the yard to make things neat and tidy
    .Purchased,spiral cut ham .59 lb to make several meals
    3 large chicken breast cut thin and marinated and grilled fed 8.
    .was gifted some needed vitamins.

  • Cindi May 11, 2017

    Your chairs sound beautiful! I love red and black.

  • Marybeth May 10, 2017

    Brandy your trip sounds great. I love day trips. We always bring food with us.
    It has been a very busy week. I worked an extra 11 hours this week. Brought all of my lunches and snacks with me. Got 2 free donuts at work from a coworker. Cooked all our meals at home except my husband bought an eggroll($1.50) when he was on the road because he was still hungry. Next time I will throw in more snacks.
    My sister took my youngest to Florida for a long weekend. They had a wonderful time. We watched her dog for her while they were away. They only brought a carry on so that they didn't have to pay for luggage. They gave me soap, shampoo and conditioner from the hotel when they returned.
    My husband, son and I did a ton of yard clean up this weekend. We picked up 3 truck loads of free compost from the town. I'm sore but very happy about the price.
    I picked up free items from the grocery store and nothing else. I then did my regular grocery shopping at Aldi. Trying to stay under budget this month on groceries because next month my son graduates and we will be having a party for him at the house. If things are on sale this month I will get them now and hide them from everyone. I don't want to kill my budget next month.
    Did my normal stuff, hung laundry, cut open toothpaste, made bread, made a carrot cake.
    I think we save so much from what we don't have. We don't have a landscaper, cleaning lady, dog groomer, personal shopper, plumber, dry cleaner. We try to do everything ourselves first. With the internet it makes it so easy. We just look it up and my husband can usually figure it out.
    Have a Happy Mother's Day everyone.

  • Jennifer May 12, 2017

    I wish i had the time (and energy) to give up some of those services. We're trying, but with my husband away, all of i,t plus my full time job, is on my head. One "curse" of having a little bit of extra money is that it is too easy to "just hire someone" and "just grab takeout". One reason I follow this page is to be convicted of little things that I can and should be doing for myself! Each month I try to take on one more thing. This weekend I'm fixing the dripping faucet rather than calling the plumber and next weekend, I'm painting a room rather than hire a painter!

  • Marybeth May 12, 2017

    My sister is a single mom with 2 teenagers, one is special needs. She lives in another state then me. She works full time and uses most of these services. She has to. She has no help from her ex. I already think she is a super women with all she does. I work part time. I have the ability to be able to do these chores my self. Some of them I love like gardening and taking care of the kids and dog. If I was rich I would never clean my house again. We are all in different places in our lives. I hope my above comment didn't come off like I was judging others. I wasn't.

  • Jennifer May 15, 2017

    Not at all MaryBeth. I feel a little guilty contributing and commenting because I don't have to do these things myself and I get to do things and often eat out or hire services I know others cannot afford.

  • Lilllanna Pickles May 10, 2017

    I am horrified to be over budget this month. I stepped in and helped my college daughter but this is her last bail out. She can move home if she cannot get her act together. Walking the floor all night with a screaming infant was easier than this nonsense. Now on to my real life.
    1) stocked up on 20 bottles of All laundry detergent. 42 load bottles for one dollar a piece. About a 3 yr supply and the best deal I have gotten in a while.
    2) redeemed swagbucks for a gift card that I used for 3 dozen Ball canning jars. Marked down at Amazon. 25.00. I will start canning later in the year.
    3) I did a deal at Swagbucks for a 30 day free trial to a clothing rental co. We received 3 dresses my daughter picked out and she will wear one to my son's graduation this week. The clothes are massed produced, cheap, poorly made etc... Quality is horrible. I will return them and cancel the trial. I thought that for a special occasion it might work, but definitely disappointed. I will get another 25.00 gift card so it was worth trying.
    4) I used my .edu email from college to get a free one year subscription to hooked on phonics. I have an older special needs adult child who never could learn. Perhaps now that she is older, she will learn with the desire and maturity she now has.
    5) I am in the middle of an E Bates deal with my account and the two daughters accounts. I will buy 75.00 worth of ink, pet food and some planned groceries. I will get 80.00 credit and bonuses. This will eventually compensate my budget for what I spent on baby girl.
    I continue to cook at home, hang laundry out and be frugal. I am utilizing a free 30 day Great Courses on our Roku to gain valuable info on composting, mulching and preparing a garden. Canning free kindle books are helping. I hope to utilize Swagbucks to purchase my canning supplies. All of your posts are scrutinized for each and every detail to maximize my savings. Thank you.

  • Tracy May 11, 2017

    Brandy, you are looking so good! Wow!

    Thanks again for these weekly posts. Ongoing inspiration to encourage us on the frugal journey is so important!

    If possible, please share more about how you incorporate your produce in your meals and more about what/how you cook each week. I may not be the only one who is really struggling to keep on getting frugal meals into the table each day. I have a garden and it is slowly producing more and more, but sometimes I wonder what to do with the dozen green beans and three carrots I harvest, if you know what I mean.

  • Cindy in the South May 12, 2017

    May I suggest using it in a stir fry with rice? I have also used odds and ends in a free for all vegetable soup.

  • Rhonda A. May 14, 2017

    Tracy, I struggle with this as well. I want my garden to produce enough that I can process them to use during winter, but it doesn't always co-operate. The only thing I have come up with is to gather the small quantities for a few days, then do a small batch of blanching and freezing what I have. Just keep adding to the bag of frozen produce until it's full. To be honest, I often end up going to the farmer's market and buy more to add with what I have, then process it all for the freezer. I'm interested in hearing other ideas as well, though!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. May 11, 2017

    Yay for a trip to the Grand Canyon. It's spectacular, indeed. I'm so glad you all were able to go.

    Spring is an extra busy time for our household, so I've not been good at writing things down. However, here are a few things that I remember from the last time I posted. Ha!

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Accepted a number of food items that were leftover from son's Troop-O-Ree (about 3 gals. of OJ, some breakfast sausage, apples, 3 or 4 bunches of bananas, butter, and ???). The boys always overbuy. :D

    * We hosted the students in my husband's Senior Seminar college class (he's a prof.) for their final (their actual final is a paper they have to write, so this is just a time to celebrate with them). We fed them make-your-own boil-in-a-bag omelets using our own eggs, blueberry muffins, sunrise cake, toast w/ homemade bread, bananas and clementines, OJ, and coffee.

    * I made our son's "history day" costume. As it turns out, he didn't have a choice of character. His team was assigned the Iroquois League, so I had to make a Native American costume. Fortunately, I was able to find tan flannel on sale (50% off). I was able to use elastic, thread, and interfacing that I already had on hand, but I had to buy ribbon, the pattern, and the fabric. I'm hoping he'll choose to wear it for Halloween as well.

    * We attended a Jazz Under the Stars concert put on by the local high school. For $45 we enjoyed a two-hour concert, dessert, and lovely company with friends. The jazz band was quite good as well.

    Have a great rest of the week!

  • Janet May 11, 2017

    Just curious does anyone know how much it cost to be an additional phone line to a cell phone plan these days. My son has verizon and he offered for us to have a phone off of his plan he can have up to five and he currently has three on the plan . I wish to pay any additional cost including the taxes but he won't tell me how much that is. I have zero idea because I have not had anything but a pay per minutes for years and years.

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