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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Meyer Lemons and Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

I picked more lemons from the garden.

I gave the baby a haircut. 

I used Recyclebank points to get a free two-year magazine subscription to Better Homes and Gardens.

Our bank decided to start charging $5 per paper statement. We changed to get online statements, for which they do not charge.

I have been trying on a few different items of clothing each day to see what will fit and what will not. Most everything no longer fits, and so I have been putting it aside to donate. I am keeping some things that are too large to either try taking in or to just keep wearing until I can find something to replace them. Some things still fit, but fit better. Those will stay.

I studied French using free online sources.

I made a decision to not purchase two things that appeared to be needs. I realized I could make do with what I have and save myself a few dollars.

From the garden, I harvested lettuce, arugula, and radishes, which we used in a couple of salads.

My Swiss chard plants are huge and starting to bolt. I offered Swiss chard to several people. I was able to give huge amounts away to a couple of friends, who told me they like to saute it with garlic and also use it in homemade ravioli. I plan on trying cooking some both ways!

I harvested Swiss chard for us and used it in two frittatas, steamed it as a side dish, and in a stir fry. 

I cooked a large batch of black beans in the crockpot and made taco soup one day and bean burritos another day. 

Snow Peas The Prudent Homemaker

I made museum pasta salad using green onions and snow peas from the garden. 

I mended a hole in a sweater. I mended a dress.

Eagle Scout Project The Prudent Homemaker

My son was able to get almost all of the supplies (save for $4 worth) donated for his Eagle Scout project, which happened this past week.

My mom went to a few garage sales and came back with 4 large boxes of books for $15! They are for grades K through 2 from a retired teacher. My girls have been enjoying having several new books to read.

My mom bought a skirt for me at a garage sale for $0.50. The skirt isn't quite my style, but it has shell buttons. These buttons would cost more than that, so I will keep the buttons and use them on a blouse.

My parents were given a large lot of men's shirts, several of which were my husband's size. He chose the ones he liked and we will donate the rest. They are long-sleeved shirts, and I will turn most of them into short-sleeved shirts, as that is what he needs for most of the year in our climate.

After 17 years of not having a cell phone (I had a work one paid for by work company 17 years ago) I switched our home phone for a cell phone. Our home phone had gone up and I wanted to change it before the next month's billing. I went with Metro PCS, which is who my husband uses for his work cell. Their lowest plan is $30 a month for unlimited everything (that includes taxes) and there is no contract (you pay each month and can leave at any time). Since we combined our plans together, they have a discount of $5 per line, so my husband's bill went down $5 to $25 and I now have a cell phone for $25--just under what my home phone had gone up to--plus I have the ability to call long distance (which was becoming needful as many people I need to call for church have moved in and kept their out-of-state cell numbers). They had a phone deal where you can get a free phone (though you still have to pay sales tax on the price of the phone).  

I downloaded several free apps, and I'm on Instagram now; you can find me under "theprudenthomemaker".


What did you do to save money this past week?

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  • gabrielle April 03, 2017

    Brandy those lemons look gorgeous!

    As a scout parent, I was wondering what the Eagle Scout project is? We had a cub scout sleep over Friday night (my guys are Tigers) and we were able to provide homemade macaroni and cheese (made in the instant pot) for 30 boys and Dads. I also made homemade granola (your recipe), homemade yogurt and kolaches this week. If you aren't familiar with the Texas kolache, they are easy to bake. I collaborated with an amazing baker with her own blog on these and the result is recipes for both savory and sweet kolaches.

    In other news, my husband cleaned out the garage (a marked improvement) and I got all our lettuce and early spring seeds in with the children this week. My goal is to donate a large amount of clothes that have been outgrown to the church thrift shop this week.

  • PJGT April 03, 2017

    I would also love to know the project. My son built a raised bed teaching garden for a local preschool with a bench for the parents.

  • Rhonda A. April 03, 2017

    What an amazing list of accomplishments, Brandy! Those fresh picked lemons look amazing, too. Looks like your son is having a great time working on the project with his friends. What were they making?

    I spent a bit more this week than usual. I had expressed to my husband that I was feeling like the pantry/freezers were getting empty, even though I know that we have plenty. I was feeling the need to replenish some things. Thankfully, I was able to get some great deals and stock up my pantry/freezer a bit. I'm now buying frozen veggies regularly, as our frozen stock from last summer is nearly gone. With the knowledge that it wasn't enough, this year I hope to blanch and freeze more. Last summer was extremely hot and dry, so many fruit and vegetables did not produce well. I just hope we have a better summer this year for gardens. This week, my frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included chicken low mein stir fry, ham & cheese crescent rolls with green beans and corn mix, chicken souvlaki with rice and corn, taco bake with salad, pasta with optional sliced sausage and choice of sauce, and chicken ranch tacos with salad. I didn't plan it, but I guess it was international food week for us!
    *I have finally convinced DD and DH to use the smaller plates my mom and I use for dinner. Hoping this will help with portion control and possibly decrease the amount of food I need to make. Also convinced DD she does not need to eat potato chips for snack every night. She will now only have potato chips as a snack on the weekend. Since she is on the autism spectrum and doesn't like to change her routine, this is a huge win! Good for our everyone's health and will save some money!;)
    *I picked up some great deals this week with groceries. I bought 6 loaves of high quality bread for $1/loaf (marked 50% off a sale price), 4 bags of English muffins @ $1/6 pack, 6 containers of margarine for $1/container (daughter's favourite brand), a mini watermelon for $2, 2 bags of fresh spinach for $1/bag, 4 jars of peanut butter for $4.79/2kg jar, 2 dozen eggs @ $1.77/dozen (cheapest price around here) and 2 jars of salsa @ $2/jar. Also stocked up on some regularly used items that were depleted or low in my pantry.
    *Stopped by a local store that was having a good sale on meat. Picked up 15 packs of bacon for $1/375g (amazing price!!!), 20 packs of Schneider's Mac & Cheese loaf @ $1.49/6 slice pack (DD and I love this meat - reg price over $4/pack), 6 cans of Heinz pasta for $0.79/can (I like to keep some in pantry for emergency use), 4 "sub packs" (3 kinds of meat for sub sandwiches) for $2.29/pack and a large pack of pepperoni luncheon meat for $2.99/pack (DH favourite). Most of the meat went into freezer to pull as needed (pepperoni luncheon meat was divided in 3 - packaged 2 with food saver for freezer). The cold meat is so handy for lunch options or in the summer when it's too hot to cook anything!
    *Made applesauce bran muffins (recipe link:, using the free bran I was gifted from my work. I also added 3 small, peeled and chopped apples, to use them up. These will be used for my daughter's school lunches this coming week as well as for a breakfast or snack option.
    *Went to a thrift store 50% off sale. Bought 2 pairs of capris and a night shirt for DD, a knit sweater for myself and 4 beautiful curtain panels to use for future sewing projects. Total price for everything was $26!
    *Took my daughter to the last free lazer tag event I signed her up for through Autism Ontario. Good exercise and gets her out of the house to do some much needed socializing!
    Life's joyful moments this week:
    *My husband took me out for dinner and a movie on Friday! We don't have many date nights, so they are extra special when we do. We saw the movie "Life" (sci-fi movie). It was pretty good, but some very graphic scenes were involved, so not for everyone. We wanted to see the movie "The Zookeeper's Wife" but it wasn't showing at our theater yet. :p We plan to go on another date when it does come out.
    *Went for a walk and enjoyed the beautiful, spring like weather we are having. Spring is finally starting to arrive. It felt so good to get outside in the warm sun and fresh air after a long dreary winter!

    Hope everyone had a great week!

  • Dara April 03, 2017

    My husband came down with the flu last week so doctor's visits and medicines were definitely not frugal - especially since his new flexible spending plan at his job doesn't kick until until April 1. So far, no one else has caught it and it's been several days since his fever broke. Thankfully, I believe we are out of the woods for the kids getting it!

    My FitBit Charge died on Monday and it wasn't covered under the warranty any longer. I had a 7 mile race on Saturday so I definitely wanted one before I had to run. I was able to resurrect my old Flex and get it to charge before the race. Even though I like the Charge much better, using my old Flex will save me $150!

  • Lorin April 07, 2017

    Even if it's not under warranty, if you complain, they'll give you a discount on a new one. At least, they did for me when my old flex stopped taking a charge.

  • http://Erika April 03, 2017

    Congrats to your son getting through his project.

    My life is just one big upheaval at the moment. The details can be found here (in a hurry and can't give details, sorry...I'm not trying to do clickbait here. Lol!)...

  • Cindy in the South April 03, 2017

    My kid was released from the hospital after ten days. I have good insurance, but lousy leave time so I spent most days working, then racing to the hospital one and a half hours away one way. I am still tired. I had to work to keep the good insurance. Fortunately, this hospital stay was covered under my insurance. Unfortunately, he is aging out this month from my insurance and my good insurance COBRA cost will be $1000 a month, rather than the $350. Still, I am grateful for modern medicine, and he is still alive, which is a miracle I attribute to God. My car gas bill was definitely not frugal, and I certainly grabbed a lot of food to go. I did, once he got out, dye my hair for $3.00, and cut my rather ragged looking hair my own self. I also, when I got home, gathered dandelion greens, sauteed them in garlic powder, chili powder, sea salt, olive oil, cooked an egg, and topped it with the dandelion greens, onions, tomato, parm. cheese, and a dab of sour cream. It was nice. There is joy in the simple things. We all just do the best we can to be frugal, under whatever circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment. I hope everyone has a lovely week.

  • Karen April 03, 2017

    We are part of a Christian health share ministry called Samaritan. It is nonprofit and we pay $495 per month for a family of 5. After $300 worth of expenses for an illness the rest of the bills are "shared" and paid 100%. There are a few different health share ministries available and I encourage you to check them out. (Christian Healthcare). We are so glad that we don't have to worry about huge medical bills or insurance companies telling us where to go or when we can have a treatment. We see any doc of our choice and treatment is decided with your doc period. Best wishes for your son's health.

  • Juls Owings April 04, 2017

    when my sister's son was at the age of being removed from her ins the doctor and her wrote letters to keep him covered because he is disabled... My cousin had her son fill out online for Obamacare and found coverage that equaled what she had on him but less then Cobra... Check your options before paying the cobra. If you pay it , I don't think you can claim it on your taxes if he isn't a dependent...make sure you have that part covered also...don't waste a deduction as I used to say when I worked taxes..

  • Mandy April 04, 2017

    I am glad your son is better and home!

  • Athanasia April 05, 2017

    My youngest girl was able to get a nice ACA plan as soon as she started college. She earned a 100 % paid scholarship so we do not put her down as a dependent. They only looked at her income and savings. The local hospital had a woman who did just this type of service and she helped her sign up right there and told her what documents to provide.

    We have many self employed families at church and some use the medical share type plan that Karen mentioned.

  • April 03, 2017

    I've never heard of using Swiss chard in ravioli, but that sounds really good. Do you like having a cell phone again after going without it for so long? Must be a big change. I feel like having a phone on me 24/7 means never getting a break from calls/texts/work!

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons/rebates whenever possible. I recently found free gum, $0.71 tea boxes and $0.79 milk at Target. At Shaw's (New England grocery chain), I found lots of $0.99 items like ketchup, mustard, hot dogs, and rolls. Everything was available by using the store's digital coupon app. All of my transactions with pics here:

  • It's essentially the home phone, and I can take it with me if I go somewhere, but I'm home almost all the time, so right now it's not really different except for the ability to text my brother (which is nice).

  • Sounds like a great deal on your phone bill! It's well worth shopping around to save that kind of money.

    We finished our bedroom remodeling last week and took back extra trim. We bought our groceries with the money we received back.
    Here is the rest of my frugal accomplishments.

  • Ann April 03, 2017

    Am enjoying your beautiful photos.
    How did your tour go?

  • Julia @PrudentJoy April 03, 2017

    It is amazing sometimes the solutions we can find to perceived needs.

    Outside normal type activities the most frugal thing I did was give myself a trim.

  • Jo April 03, 2017

    We've had a lot of breezy sunshine and low (for Florida) humidity -- about 45% -- so I washed and dried my one real little wool oriental rug . I wash it with a hose and mild soap, elevated on slats or something else that lets air flow, rinse well with the hose, and let dry. It feels so good on bare feet when it's done, and I save a lot of money by not dry cleaning it.
    We grocery shop after church since we attend church in a larger town than we live in, but this puts us shopping through lunch. We ate a huge, yummy but cheap slice of pizza and a cup of delicious and also cheap soup from the deli. We keep drinks in a cooler in the car, so we don't have to buy any.
    I used fresh spinach in a salad then used the rest of it in tacos, on homemade tortillas, so none of it went bad.
    I used limp celery in cooked dishes where the limpness wasn't noticeable, and I used stale crackers in salmon croquettes. The canned salmon was bought on sale.
    I refused to go anywhere over the weekend unless I had several errands to run.
    I made good, thick, homemade ranch dressing using a dry mix I make and fresh buttermilk. mayo and sour cream. I'll use the rest of the buttermilk in cooking, or I'll freeze it. The homemade dry mix is cheaper than the store-bought mix, especially if I get the spices in bulk.
    We are trying to keep our spending low, although we've made some long-needed purchases. We are keeping it to what we NEED, not what we WANT, though.

  • K April 03, 2017

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    *Cooked a whole chicken in slow cooker, made chicken and dumpling soup with the bones and reserved the meat for the soup, some pizza, and an enchilada casserole.

    * Opened the windows to let the house air out in the warm weather instead of using air fresheners.

    * Picked up onions for 52c for 2 lbs after a Checkout 51 rebate, ketchup for 66c a bottle, and grapes for 99c per lb

    * Invited a friend over to hang out instead of going out to eat. We made homemade pizza instead! She also brought me clothes from a sample sale at her work, too, so that was greatly appreciated.

    * Packed lunches to bring to work, and cooked potatoes for breakfasts for this week.

    * Used some packet mixes from the pantry to make a quick dinner instead of eating out.

    * Made lots of popcorn for snacking instead of buying chips.

    This week has been super busy for me, so I haven't had time to do much other than work and sleep :( I can see the end of the tunnel though, and I can't wait for May!

  • reet April 03, 2017

    We live in Estonia, this is in Northern Europe. Probably the same sort of weather as in Alaska (or just a little bit warmer).
    On several days this week the weather was warm enough to heat just a part of the house. We heat with wood, but there are three big and two smaller heaters in our home. We saved a lot of firewood because of the warmer weather.
    Two pairs of our three boys' nice winter boots needed repairing. My husband glued one pair back together again, and I did the sewing at the other. Hopefully they won't need any boots in a couple of weeks (wearing shoes), but it seems really wasteful to buy new ones just for two weeks!
    We cooked most of our food from the pantry. I only want to buy milk, eggs and rye bread for the next week or so, too.
    My husband went shopping for some groceries and used up all his bonus points, lowering the bill by 40%.
    I bought and replanted a basil plant. Me and all children love basil, but it is hard to keep a store-bought plant alive. Maybe this time ...
    Since the weather was quite mild, I was able to start working in the garden. I took a lot of compost to the greenhouse and planted there some radish seeds. Radishes are the first vegetables that will grow in the spring, it will take a couple of weeks before I can plant something else.
    I had planted some tomato seeds in the pots indoors and they started to grow.
    Also, I have on the windowsill three onions that had sprouted. We all love onion shoots on rye bread, it is a classical childhood springtime food in Estonia.

    Sorry about my poor English - it is not my first (or second) language.

  • SheilaS. April 03, 2017

    Your English is good. I wish I knew other languages.

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