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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Stove The Prudent Homemaker

My husband drove to Phoenix to purchase a wood burning stove from Craig's list, and while he was there he purchased 200 pounds of powdered milk for us (at $49 for 50 pounds). He was also delighted to find that gas prices were significantly lower in Arizona than here, so the gas was $50 less than he had estimated. He drove there and back in one day (12 hours of driving) and took food with him.  The stove provides us with an alternative emergency way to cook, as well as to bake bread (hence our desire for an oven section, which not all stoves have). After my husband makes some minor repairs to it, I will test it out using the mesquite wood he cut down recently. (Yes, I can bake bread in my solar oven, but not on cloudy or windy days).

My mom gave me some toilet bowl cleaner that she didn't like. It worked rather well for us to get rid of some hard water stains (It was the Lime Away toilet bowl cleaner, and I followed the instructions to let it sit for 15 minutes).

My mom gave me a $10 off  $40 children's clothing coupon for Target that I used towards some underclothing in the next size up for my children.

She also gave me two free Redbox codes that she had got for free. We used one to rent "Woman in Gold" (which we thought was very good) and then my parents watched it as well before we returned it. I signed up for their email and they sent me a code for another free movie.

A new pizza restaurant just opened in our neighborhood. They sent out coupons for a free pizza.  My husband and I went as a date. The place had a line to the door, and lots of people had their coupon. As we looked around, we noticed that each person had an individual pizza, and they were all the same size. It was fairly large for an individual serving. We ordered one pizza to split and had water to drink, which made for a free date.

I fixed my sleeping/time clock problem my staying up a bit later a few nights, and by Wednesday I was no longer waking at 3:30 a.m.

I planted green onion seeds (collected from my plants earlier this year) in a pot. I watered them with water collected from the air conditioner.

We enjoyed a few days where the temperature dropped just a bit under 100ºF. I was able to have the windows open for a bit longer in the mornings (to 8 a.m.) to cool the house (and use the air conditioner for a shorter time each day) for a few days (other mornings it was 84º at 5:30 a.m. and I could not open windows, but any days it was 78º or lower at 5:30 a.m. I opened the windows).

Water restrictions here require that we water fewer days per week starting September 1st. I reprogrammed my irrigation clock to lower our water usage, which will also make for a lower bill this month.


What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Celia September 06, 2015

    Well, it both rained and poured this week. Figuratively. Took the car in for a free oil change tire rotation, ended up needing over six hundred dollars of work. We had a coupon and some of it was under warranty but still. Soooo that's 1,000 in the last week for our cars. Ugh. I look forward to ditching mine after we move. I was happy that I had packed a bag of toys and snacks, it made the four hours we were there manageable.
    My husband was allowed a later shift at work so he can drop our son off at school. That will save us half an hour a day of driving.
    We resolved to only buy bare necessities til the 15th to try and make back part of the money we sunk in our cars.
    I was happy to find a great flour sale, as well as the best price of the year for juice. I bought enough for months.
    We got a lower than expected water bill and an electric bill we think has an error.
    I had a 14,000 (yes) dollar hospital bill forgiven, my insurance company said I should never have been admitted, and because of their contract I only had to pay $140. I was obviously very relieved to have that settled, it took months.
    I am hoping we can make the grand we spent this week back by the first week of October. Cars. :(

  • christie September 06, 2015

    My 6 year old is currently fascinated with space. We checked out more than 20 books for him at the library. I am having so much fun learning with him. I "liked" NASA on facebook and, in addition to the cool stuff they post, they tell you about things like lunar eclipses (happening this month!), you can sign up for alerts for when the space station flys over you (easily visible in the night sky) and traveling 17,150 miles per hour, you can send your kids name on a mission to Mars and other cool, free stuff.

  • JoannaTopaz from Minnesota September 07, 2015

    That is so neat that NASA does all that! Thanks for sharing! I will have to keep it in mind as a possible resource for our Girl Scout troop.

  • jen September 09, 2015

    My SIL sent an email to NASA on behalf of my space nut son and they sent him a great care package! It was really fun!

  • I just watched Woman in Gold last night with my son, such as amazing movie! (And yes, we had a Redbox code.) I am Jewish and found it very moving.

    We had a very frugal week, with free meals at Ikea, stuff sold on Craigslist and two days per week at my day job as a labor and delivery nurse. I cooked two (three) beans based meals, avoided eating out and realized that we have enough cash on hand to pay for our son's first quarter of college with room and board plus fees. The next payment won't be due until January and we'll have enough for that payment within a month. No loans!!!

    Plus of course, I blogged about it:


  • TerriC September 08, 2015

    Katy, You go girl! I've been following your blog and am fascinated by all the ways you turn an extra buck into college money! Congratulations!

  • Lorna September 06, 2015

    Hi Brandy and all from Australia.

    - I made tomato and basil soup which lasted for 3 teas for the 2 of us. Saving on electricity cooking.
    - Made a double batch of your lovely granola, with brownies, and your lovely quiche to save electricity.
    - Did some service for a friend with a sick husband and organised a storage shed with her.

    - Picked 1 lge box of lettuce that we had excess of and gave them away at church to those who were struggling.
    - Planted some more herbs in the front garden.
    - Dug up and reseeded the front lawn with fresh lawn seed, as the grass had all died with the winter frosts.
    - Picked some broccoli for tea one night
    - Picked spinach for quiche, and used sandwich ham instead of bacon that we had in the freezer.
    - Cut down considerably on our usual grocery spend as we reached our 3 mth supply with our tax return recently.
    - Used grey water from washing machines and showers all week to hand water our lawns to keep them alive with, as we are not allowed to water lawns due to water restrictions.

    Have a great frugal and productive week one and all :).

  • Kathryn Houldcroft September 07, 2015

    I'm hoping to watch 'Woman in Gold' at our village hall cinema tomorrow evening (they show films every month). Our current temperature in the south west of the UK is 19C/66F which means it's a beautiful September day and I plan to get lots of washing done to hang outside. Your stove looks lovely!

  • robbie at mom hats & More September 12, 2015

    I have not heard anything about this movie. What's the premise?

  • I have been hearing about the movie you watched. I will have to try to get a chance this week to watch it too! I'll be looking for a redbox code too. I'm so glad to hear you are sleeping well!
    I'm still canning but the garden is winding down now here in Michigan. I'm also going to be babysitting grandchildren more in the Fall so I've been getting more prepared for busy mornings.
    Here is a list of the rest of my frugal accomplishments this week:

  • Janell in Georgia September 07, 2015

    I used a new text code this week. Try texting HEB to 727272.

  • Melissa V September 07, 2015

    *I baked up muffins and cookies to take with us on out camping trip. I will make the bread today. I also precooked the burger meat for the chili. One of the meals my Mom and sister came up with was steaks on the grill - we don't normally buy steaks due to their cost, but we found 2 small ones with the red discount stickers that I immediately froze to take with. Almost all the food we are taking was already in our pantry so there is little expense for that. The fees are already paid as well so we just have the gas expense of getting there and back. I picked up 2 books from a garage sale for .25 each to take with and will also bring 2 newer books by my families favorite author (R.A. Salvatore) with both my husband and myself will enjoy. I am sure my Mom will have a stack of magazines as well. There is also lots to do with in the park so there won't be any extra expenses either.
    *I put elastic in the waistbands of all my free jeans - I hate belts but almost every pair of pant/shorts I find to fit my rear, have huge gaps in the waist. Putting elastic in the waist makes them fit correctly and not fall off my butt when I bend over.
    *I pulled out several frozen dinner leftovers from the freezer for out college kids to eat while we are gone. They will be caring for the cats, rabbits and poultry while we are gone as well (so no added animal sitter expense)
    *While cleaning out the freezer, I found how many tomatoes I really have in there! I have been collecting them and freezing them a few at a time and hadn't realized many I had. There is at least a 1/2 bushel and there will be close to another 1/2 that I will be putting in there before we leave tomorrow.
    *I traded someone our 4 extra duck drakes and one duck hen for a HUGE amount of hostas, sedums, coral bells and hydrangeas. This saved me a lot of money in landscaping plants. Just one of the hostas he brought would have cost near $50 in the stores!
    And finally the fail - The air conditioner went out on Sunday. At least we are about done with the summer heat/humidity we've had the past 2 weeks but I hate to see what that bill is going to be. At 15 years old, it may be done for :(

  • Leigh September 07, 2015

    Your new wood stove looks really nice, Brandy. We have a fireplace but no alternate indoor cooking surface or oven. If we have a power outage we'll be eating "fry bread" made in the fireplace rather than baked loaves.

    Here’s my list:

    -I cut some flowers from the front flower bed and brought them in to enjoy. As summer turns to fall there are fewer and fewer blooms.

    -We enjoyed tomatoes, celery, a few green beans, and a cucumber from the garden.

    -I purchased some heirloom seeds on clearance. The price was marked down enough to be worth potentially decreased germination rates next year.

    -I dehydrated banana peels to crush and use as fertilizer on my vegetable beds.

    -I picked up a free bag of “grounds for gardeners” from the local coffee shop. It won’t be long before I’ll have to clear my vegetable beds and prep them for winter.

    -I received a code for a free Redbox movie that we used for a family movie night. The code didn’t expire until September 16 but we decided to enjoy a movie over the holiday weekend.

    -I completed two mystery shops and earned free product in addition to my fees.

    -I found a large number of items on clearance to stock up my pantry before winter.

    -I continued my efforts to walk more often and drink more water. We’re having a late warm spell with high humidity, so drinking additional water has been easier than it might otherwise have been.

    -I linked to the free Redbox code information and wrote follow-up posts about last week’s No Spend Weekend Challenge at AChatOverCoffee.com.

  • Laurie in central NC September 07, 2015

    Your new woodstove is a beauty! We have an old wood cookstove in an outbuilding. I experimented with it a few times some years back, and remember being surprised how much fuel it took to keep it going. Yours is a different set-up, so it may be quite different. And I expect, as with anything, it gets easier with practice. I think it's a great idea to have as a backup plan.
    Thanks for sharing the Woman in Gold movie. It's now on our Netflix queue. 78 is pretty much our cutoff point for opening the windows too, and I'm always sad when it's too warm do so. Fresh air beats a closed up house any day. Thank you, Brandy, for creating this wonderful space of encouragement. I look forward to seeing what everyone else is up to! Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/09/early-september-and-frugal.html

  • Athanasia September 10, 2015

    Brandy, I was actually wondering what you were going to do for wood. Will you get enough just from your prunings? Will you need to buy cord wood?

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 10, 2015

    I am not planning on buying wood. We do get wood from pruning the trees, and right now I have mesquite that my husband got to cut down for free. Long-term emergency we could only stay here if there was still water, and then we would look for trees/sagebrush to cut. Most days the solar oven is a viable option for baking, however, and we would not freeze in this climate in winter.

  • Mandy September 07, 2015

    I absolutely LOVE your wood stove! I want one like it someday for emergency cooking and heating.
    Last week:
    -we went to the Farmer's Market and purchased veggies and local honey. One of the vendors gave my daughter two free cookies. She remembered me because I brought my own produce bags lol
    -I went to the natural food store again in the next city over. I spent $30 less than the last trip. I combined that errand with a visit to my son, daughter in law, and grandson, who is 5 weeks old now!
    -we are picking up a hutch today that my mom gave me for free. One of the doors is broken off so the doors will be removed and I will be using it to replace my broken dresser. I have wanted one of these for a long time.
    -All meals were cooked from scratch and eaten at home. I did not order food with my co-workers at work and brought all my meals to work with me.
    -I signed up for the budget plan with my power and light company. That way I know what I will be paying every month. It is evaluated every six months so hopefully at some point the price will go down. I also signed up for paperless billing for another bill and paid most of the bills due with online bill pay through my bank to save paper, stamps, and envelopes. One bill I took to the office myself after work one day rather than mail it. The office is just a few blocks from our house.
    -I mended several items and am working on sewing several handkerchiefs from some fabric I purchased last year for .50 at a rummage sale. I have 3 done. I am sewing these by hand. I also made some more family cloth from an old shirt that was not repairable.
    -I continue to save shower water, water from the a/c, veggie rinse water, etc to water plants outside, flush the toilet, etc.
    -I line dried all but one load of laundry.
    - I gave my son and daughter in law some stuff that I no longer wanted like Mac and Cheese the hubs didn't like, shampoo/conditioner and soap we won't use, ramen noodles, etc. My son is currently working two jobs to make ends meet. My daughter in law does not return to work for another week or so but refuses to cut down spending also. It isn't much but I do what I can to help them.
    -I had some food waste, but it was composted so at least it didn't go into the landfill. I almost have enough "snack bags" to send in to Terracycle for reuse. They pay for shipping. I try not to purchase many prepackaged snacks but the hubs likes his snacks and sometimes I do to, when I find a good price. I also pick up the chip bags, etc I find laying on the ground and put them with my bags for reuse.
    -I harvested parsley and tomatoes. I have lots of basil to harvest today. I might make pesto. We have 10 pumpkins that are ready to harvest, I am waiting to see if they get any bigger though. I also had planted some squash seeds behind my garage to see if they would grow. One plant survived and I have a tiny little squash starting, I think it's butternut. so excited!!
    -My husband earned $100 doing a brake job on someone's van. He tried to give some of the money back because that was to much but she wouldn't take it.
    Have a great week everybody!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 07, 2015

    Try searching Craig's list in your area for stoves. You may find something!

  • Mandy September 08, 2015

    We do keep an eye on those Brandy. I also have one saved on my Amazon wish list and I peruse Craigslist on occasion. We will find one someday. :)

  • Holly b. September 07, 2015

    This week I am very grateful for the sales that came our way. I had planned to use our extra grocery money to start stocking up on cheese and but many other sales presented themselves. Pasta was on sale for 49cents a box. I bought 24 boxes. Hamburger meat was on mark down to half price because it's sell by sell by date was was three days away and with the holiday the store would be closed. I was able to pick up soap at .50 for three bar pack and get three Aussie shampoos and conditiors for free after double coupons! I am really happy to be present with such good sales and to have the money to buy the items.

    We also went camping at my in laws. We were able to bring mostly supplies from home so it was a very frugal we'll end get away.

    I love your wood stove. We are saving up to get one as we do not have heat in our house when the power goes out. Hopefully we will be able to reach this goal this winter or spring.

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