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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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  • Wendy Gower April 03, 2017

    Here's my frugal tasks for the week-

    * Made lots of olive oil soaps. The recipe will be posted next week.

    * Picked lettuce, lots of tomatoes, raspberries, strawberry guavas and a few strawberries.

    * Went to Kaisercraft at The Glen shopping centre for their 30% off store wide closing down sale. I stocked up on lots of craft paper, a few stamps and ink pads, die cuts and an embossing folder. Some of these items have been put away for Darren to give me for Mother's Day and my birthday later in the year.

    * Made all meals from scratch using what we have on hand.

    * Took lunch and water bottles when I was out at my niece's music concert over lunchtime. I also carried muesli bars when shopping. These came in handy as I ended up spending more time than planned at the shops " just looking ". The muesli bar prevented me from buying morning tea ( a saving of about $7 ).

    * Took up a pair of Darren's jeans ( saving of $15 - $20 )

    * Our ducted heating isn't working at the moment and the weather has turned a little cool. I dug out two electric fan heaters from the shed to use. Thankfully they work really well so I don't need them on for long. One can heat up a room in 10 minutes. I've closed doors so the heat stays in the area I'm in.

    * Silverside ( corned beef ) was on sale at the supermarket on Thursday for $5.99 kg. We haven't had silverside on the menu for almost a year because it's been too dear. At this sale price you can imagine I stocked up. Thankfully the meat fund is healthy at the moment due to the freezer melt down reimbursement.

    * Saved lots of shower water and poured it into the washing machine.

    * Bought a laundry pack from our church for $5. The money raised from these packs goes to a charity called Zoe International. In the pack was a box of laundry powder, a box of dishwasher tablets, two microfiber cloths and a packet of pegs. One lady at church did a swap with me. She didn't want the laundry powder and I didn't need the dishwasher tablets. A win win for both of us.

    * Made 7 jars of strawberry jam using fruit from our garden I'd been picking and freezing. I also made 8 jars of plum jam.

    * Cooked another bulk lot of tomatoes into pasta sauce. Once again I weighed the cooked tomatoes into 410 gram tin portions and froze. I think that makes a total of 26 tins worth this year. I still have more tomatoes to cook so I might make tomato relish next.

    * With the girls out and about a fair bit at night Darren and I were able to improve on the two light rule. Some nights we had one light on and other nights we had no lights while watching the tv.

    * Knitted a dish cloth.

    * Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.

    I have a few photos of these tasks on my blog

  • Athanasia April 06, 2017

    Oh I love those fan heaters. I have one at work that I use when I just need to spot heat where I am sitting so I don't have to turn up the thermostat for the entire (quite large) room.

  • Lorna April 03, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    Our frugal accomplishments for last week were -

    Financial -
    - Banked $1789.02 into our saving for our buying our home with cash fund or 43.86% of our after tax combined incomes.
    - Banked another $395.49 into our buying our home with cash fund this week.

    Groceries -
    - Took advantage of a $10 free grocery coupon to top up on 7 tins of champignons for the pantry.
    - Used $40 earned from selling a set of 4 curtain tiebacks and 40 saved pumpkin seeds from our gardens to purchase rat bait, surface spray, weed killer, medication and to pay the postage for both sales.

    Garden -
    - Used saved vegetable washing and steaming water to water some of the new seedlings planted in the gardens.
    - Harvested 3kg of silver beet,1kg of spinach,60g of strawberries, 641g of cherry tomatoes, 2.533kg of capsicums and 2.415kg of carrots from the gardens.

    Kitchen and household -
    - Blanched and froze spinach, silver beet and capsicums from our gardens for advanced freezer stocks.
    - Made all bread and meals from scratch.

    Water Preservation -
    - Saved 1290lts of town water by missing 3 scheduled garden watering sessions due to rain.

  • Jlynn April 05, 2017

    Lorna I am always astounded at the money you bank for your buying a house with cash project. How do you do it?

    I am trying to save enough for a down payment and it is taking forever. Can you share some of your tips with me somehow?

  • Lorna April 05, 2017

    Hi Jlynn and thank you for your kind words :) .

    The first figure in the post above was for the month of March savings which I forgot to put in there :o .

    I will say it takes sacrifices to save that much money and we do it by -
    - Living in very cheap rental accommodation while we are saving.
    - Buying all of our groceries, clothing and everything else as cheaply as possible and on special and yes we haggle down prices when buying anything new too.
    - Working out what are needs and only purchasing those.
    - Rewarding ourselves with small treats when we reach certain savings milestones.
    - Growing all our own vegetables, herbs and berries without buying any.
    - Cooking from scratch and rarely eating out.
    - Making our own cleaning products from pantry and cleaning items in the home.
    - Combining errands to save on fuel costs.
    - Using solar lanterns instead of using mains powered lights at night and turning off power points to items we are not using to save on power costs.
    - Washing in cold water rather than hot.
    - Cutting our own firewood to warm us by fires in winter rather than using heaters etc.
    - Most importantly is to be happy with what you have :D .

    We live by the old depression era saying Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

    I hope this helps :) .

  • Jlynn April 08, 2017

    Thank you for your tips Lorna. I wish you nothing but the best on your home fir cash plan.

  • Lorna April 10, 2017

    Most welcome Jlynn :) .

  • Juls Owings April 04, 2017

    Brandy, I am glad things are going well for you and I understand that there is a need but making due. But you made a statement that made me realize I am more frugal than I thought.

    I do online bank statements for free compared to the $5 I would be charged. Have for years.

    Hubby doesn't pay a fee for his bank acct. I still do since I have retired and don't have a pay check going in it but my son covers that fee because he has internet banking without checking so I write what ever checks he needs...he pays for the checks also. It made it easier for him to get money to us when he was out of state and for me to get money to him when he was deployed or out of state. My goal this year is to get this acct to the point it doesn't pay a fee.

    We pay automatic to save $5 for home phone /internet.
    We paid automatic to save $5 for cable when we had we save more with the antennia that is here.
    We pay automatic to save $10 for cell phones
    We pay automatic to save 10% of our renters/car/bike/umbrella ins (umbrella came in handy a couple times so worth having for us)
    We save 10% on the garbage service by paying automatically.
    We don't have water or sewage as we are in the country.
    We pay cash for certain doctors that will give a 10% discount for it. Our hospital I frequent gives 10% off when we pay before the due date.
    I have one grocery store that pays 5¢ a bag if I bring my own.
    I have found if I ask before I use a debit card if I can have a discount for cash, about half the time I will get it.

  • Our mailed statements have always been free; they decided to start charging unless we changed to online statements. We have changed banks many times over the years as each "free" checking account became no longer free when the bank started charging for the account.

    I pay our utilities through automatic withdrawal but there is no discount here for doing so. That would be nice if there was!

  • TerriC April 07, 2017

    Isn't it funny how some things simply aren't a savings in other places. Like Brandy we do not see a savings for paying online. In fact, most places CHARGE an extra $5 for that convenience. So we put a 49c stamp on the envelope and mail them in.

    And like Brandy's bank, ours started charging a fee for a print statement a few years ago, so we switched to online ones. I'd prefer not to bank online even for just statement purposes but the fee was well over $7 a month back then if we chose to go print.

  • Mandy April 04, 2017

    I was blessed with lots of free produce: apples, clementines, oranges, bell peppers (green and multicolored mini), purple grapes.

    Made clementine jam, chopped and froze bell peppers, attempted to make grape jelly (THREE TIMES!) but despite following the recipe exactly it didn't gel. I still have some of the grape juice I made left but not sure if I want to try it again. I will be making applesauce today. I also juiced the oranges.

    As we run out of items we write it on a dry erase board on our fridge. I was able to erase half my list after finding perfectly good substitutes I already hand or finding the items I needed in my pantry (still working on reorganizing it). I remembered to take my list when I went to the store and only purchased the items on my list, which was a small list but all stuff I needed.

    I purged some more from my storage room.

    I applied for some jobs online, saving postage, envelopes, and time going to the post office.

    I took my daughter to the library to participate in the spring break "challenge' they had going on. She built with legos an had her picture taken for their facebook page and stacked 100 pennies ( not easy lol). She got a small prize for her completed "challenges".

    Exchanged library books and movies while there.

    I cooked our meals using food we already had except for one meal my husband bought us. I took my meals to work and drank water and free coffee. I also make my morning coffee at home instead of buying it somewhere.

    My husband repaired a tire on our car that had somehow gotten two small holes in it. He keeps a tire plug kit in his tool box :) He also cleaned both vehicles.

    I also did the usual stuff: kept the heat down on warmer days, washed and saved glass jars and baggies, used homemade cleaners.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Mable April 04, 2017

    Mandy, you probably already do this with jelly that doesn't jell, but in case you don't: When I had a fail on rhubarb jelly, I froze the jars that did not seal. We often have pancakes for a Sunday breakfast, so now I pull out a jar of frozen rhubarb non-jelly and let it thaw in the fridge. The morning of pancakes, I put it in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. It reduces considerably but turns into a perfect pancake syrup. Any leftovers are used to flavor tea, instead of sugar.

  • Rhonda A. April 04, 2017

    I may be too late with this suggestion, but thought I would put it out there. Since you are making applesauce, you can use the leftover cores and peelings to make apple jelly. Apples have a lot of natural pectin. You could try mixing some of the apple "juice" made from the cores and peelings with the grape juice to create an apple grape jelly! With more pectin present, you might have better luck with the set. Just a note too, I had to boil the apples juices longer than the recipe suggested to get it to jell. I had some jelly fail when I didn't add enough sugar (thanks to other commenters that helped me come to that conclusion!). I used my failed jelly for pancakes syrup as Mable suggested and it tastes great! Hope this helps, Mandy.

  • Elizabeth M. April 04, 2017

    I've cancelled Netflix, at least until the fall. Now that daylight is so much longer, there isn't the need for so much indoor entertainment. I also cancelled another paid subscription, this one permanently.

    Went to a meeting where lunch was provided.

    Bought most of the food and supplies I need for April. Good sales on toilet paper, frozen vegetables and frozen fruit. It is still two to three months before we have these fresh locally. Also got a raincheck on a great price on large cans of salmon. Large cans were much less than the small cans are, even on sale. Good for fish cakes and salads. (I am allergic to tuna.)

    Because I don't have any work in July and August, my income is much lower in August and September. I am setting aside $50 a month from April through July to give me a food budget in those leaner months. That, plus my CSA share, will mean I can enjoy two of the months where we have fresh food and do some freezing and storage for winter.

    Made homemade tortillas for the first time. Loved how easy the dough is to work with. No fighting sticky gluten like with bread dough. Not sure how frugal they are, but I'm really happy with the results. Good thing, because I had bought a couple of bags of masa harinha.

  • Pam April 04, 2017

    I fell of my frugal train second week of March, managed to get aboard again a few days ago. Reading all of your many ways to save and reduce costs inspires me.

  • Carol April 04, 2017

    It's lovely to see you mention your son's frugal accomplishment as well! I don't see your older sons mentioned as often as your daughters (since the posts mostly have to do with remaking dresses) so it's a delight to know that they are also finding creative ways to be frugal.

  • ElisaB April 04, 2017

    I, also, have cut off shell buttons from clothing that can't be used.
    We invested in an Instant Pot and have been using it almost constantly for soup, yogurt and beans. This week I soaked and cooked garbanzo beans to make my own hummas. Also made granola, soup from leftover bits and naan bread.
    Our insurance company raised it's rates. So we shopped around and will now save $500 per year by switching! My husband just got on Medicare so that will save $800 a month in health insurance.

  • Pat April 04, 2017

    Happy first full week of April everyone! I am struggling with all the cloudy and rainy days we have been having. I think the sun has been shining a total of only 4 hours in the last 10 days.
    My best frugal accomplishment of the week was for my daughter and son in law. They went on vacation and I transported them to the airport and back home and watched their two dogs while they were gone. They gave me $30 in gift cards and some of the perishables from the refrigerator.
    We ate all meals at home this week and I used leftovers in other meals. I took all the leftover veggies for the week and made a veggie fried rice in Friday. I chopped up the carrots, broccoli, cauliflower asparagus and green beans and added onions, peas and corn. It was very tasty . I added chopped up leftover lemon pepper chicken to alfredo sauce and spaghetti with broccoli on the side.
    I made more beef broth and cooked down the last of the frozen tomatoes (3 gallon bags) to made homemade spaghetti sauce I grated the last two carrots and threw in 2 cups of shredded zucchini along with onions and Italian spices.
    I turned the heat down during the day when I was the only one home. I did all my errands when I did school drop off.
    My pantry challenge is continuing and I am seeing alot of empty spaces in my pantry and freezers. The chest freezer and fridge freezer are both half empty. The upright freezer has an empty drawer at the bottom, one empty shelf and two empty door shelves. My grocery total for the first quarter is $411 versus the normal amount budgeted of $1350. We have used the saved money for a couple of needed car repairs and put the rest in savings.
    Have a great week everyone!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. April 06, 2017

    You're doing so well on your pantry challenge. Good for you!

  • Pat April 06, 2017

    Thank you! I am really happy with the results too!

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