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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Roses in Enamel Buckets The Prudent Homemaker

It's been a very busy week here, and on top of everything we've had our foreign exchange student here. I wasn't sure ahead of time how much English he spoke, and so while we help him to learn new words in English, we've also needed to converse quite a bit in French. I've had a lot of French study this week! I especially used Word Reference to look up words for both of us, and I've pinned a good number of French language pins on my Pinterest board. My French comprehension skills have really increased this week; there were only a couple of times I didn't understand, and that was usually because something was said too fast or too quietly.

I enjoyed a couple of video chats with friends in France. It continues to amaze me every time that video calling exists, and I love that it is free!

I cut peonies and roses from the garden.

I harvested lettuce, spinach, snow peas and Swiss chard from the garden.

Several of my children (and our houseguest) enjoyed climbing and rappeling on my nephew's climbing wall. It's pretty amazing that he has a climbing wall in his backyard, and it was great fun for everyone.

I downloaded a free Photoshop app to my phone to use to edit pictures on my phone.

My husband cut his own hair and a son's hair this week.

I turned a pair of torn jeans into jean shorts by cutting them off and hemming them.

I had a number of teens over for dinner. I made a large pot of minestrone soup and some French bread for a frugal meal.


What did you do to save money last week?


Note: I misplaced my camera battery charger recently, which is why there was no post last week and no additional posts this past week. Now that I can use my camera again and we've worked out a "new normal" with an additional teen in the house, I should (hopefully!) be able to get back to projects and more posting this week! If you want to see more photos, check out my Instagram account, where I have been sharing photos from my phone during the week.



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  • They've played lots of board games together; it's been good!

  • Gardenpat April 24, 2017

    We were able to use salvaged wood- big wooden beams, leftover 2 foot long landscape columns, 4x4 posts to landscape some more of our yard! I learned how to use our paint sprayer and sealed and stained about 105 foot of our 5 foot high fence. I also stained and seal coated our pergola, giving it a much more finished look! I found (16) 20 oz canisters of SunMaid raisins for $1 each! We were starting to get low on raisins so the timing was terrific!

    I put a boneless pork roast in the crock pot, then shredded it in the Kitchenaid mixer and added homemade BBQ sauce to it and we used leftover dinner rolls from Easter to make pulled pork sandwiches for dinner as well as several lunches. I made up potato salad with about 5 pounds of potatoes in our basement storage to serve the 31 of us at Easter dinner. I also made 3 dozen deviled eggs using home canned pickle relish in both!
    I bought 6 giant pineapples for 99 cents each and canned those into 18 pints of pineapple chunks!
    I made 18 ham, egg and cheese croissants for breakfasts. We got our first two starter hens and will get 3 more in a few weeks! They are such fun to watch! We made their watering system as well as their nesting boxes and feeder, using materials we had here at home! The only cost was $5.99 for the two watering cups that makes the water available only as they nudge it! A system with those 2 watering cups that looks just like what we built was $29.99 in the store!!
    A friend called to tell us that she saw a chicken tractor on the side of the road with a "free, take me"! Sign on it! Since it was Sunday, we waited until this morning, very early, to see if it was still there and it was!! We loaded it into our minivan, after disassembling it and brought it home! There are a few pieces that need replacing, but we will use those as templates for the new ones! We have replacement wood already on hand for this project too!
    We got orders for two more of our pallet planter boxes!
    I am helping a friend by teaching her Activity girls (12 of them, all 8 and 9 year olds) to sew microwave bowl holders in three sizes to give their moms for Mother's Day. Each set of three uses 2/3 yard so I am donating about 8 yards of fabric as well as using my batting scraps so there will be no cost to make these! I do love having a fabric stash! Completed 2 more baby quilts and gifted 1 of them already!
    Made dinners at home using my pantries and combined trips out in car so our gas tanks don't have to be refilled more than every two weeks! Spring garden looks good, fruit trees and bushes are all leafing out and the weather is glorious-high 70's!!!

  • Athanasia April 28, 2017

    What a nice price you got on the raisins!

    Our store had a .99 pineapple before Easter but it was limit 1 per store card. It is always cheaper to buy canned here, but fresh is just so much tastier.

  • http://Jen @ Healthfulsaver April 24, 2017

    How wonderful that your family can experience an exchange student.
    I was pleased to score a free organic macaroni with a loadable grocery store coupon. I received free seeds for snap peas and zinnias. I planted herb seeds inside.
    I watched "The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching" on Netflix.

  • Darcy April 24, 2017

    Now that we are getting some beautiful weather my husband and I have been spending some time in the yard. We no longer have the huge locust tree in our yard and now have brilliant sunshine throughout the day so we will be able to plant more food to feed us. We have a small yard but it has lots of potential. This year we are growing only tomatoes and herbs and possibly green beans but next year we will grow more. We found 4 tomato plants for half price ($1.67 each) at Home Depot. I am very excited about this! We are also working on filling in the bare spots in our yard with grass seed. I planted some lettuce and spinach seeds.

    We ate all our breakfasts and dinners at home and took all our lunches except one to work. On that day both my and my husband's workplace provided lunch for us.

    I cut my husband's hair.

    I made laundry soap.

    I made Greek yogurt in my crock pot.

    I made granola and banana bread for breakfasts and snacks.

    I made kitchen curtains from fabric I found at the thrift store for $2.00.

    I made vegetable soup using up little bits from the fridge and freezer.

  • B B April 24, 2017

    Hello everyone. I enjoyed your post and everyone's comments. Thanks for the inspiration!!!
    -Made syrup
    -premade food for trip
    -Free cabin for spring break
    -Free activities boat, pool and various ball games
    -Use free salad dressing to make a second lunch from what we had on the way home.
    -Used items from clearance for Easter baskets
    -reused baskets, grass, and eggs.
    -Wore clothes we already had for Easter and took photo of the children
    -Cured a raw ham roast from freezer with ginger ale and orange peels (yummy) and used pantry food for Easter meal= $5! We had two other dinners from it.
    -walked to two meetings
    - worked from home to save gas
    -turn off all lights for the day
    -made broth out of veggie peels and scraps.
    -saved $6 on gas with fuel saver
    -bought 52 pounds of ground beef at the lowest price I've ever seen!
    -bought 30# pork loin
    -started a price book in my phone
    -bought cereal for .67c -$1 a box
    -used a bike we found for free, for parts. Each of us needed a tire, saved $28. We have an extra rim now too. Will dispose of the rest of the bike for free at city clean up next month.
    -reseeded our own lawn before the rainy week ahead
    -made outdoor furniture cover out of an old rain fly from a ruined tent
    -sent extra to mortgage pay off account!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. April 24, 2017

    Your flower are gorgeous! And how wonderful to be able to host an exchange student--it sounds like everyone is having fun and learning a lot.

    I haven't posted in a while--just been to busy to spend much time on the computer--so this basically covers April to date. I'm sure there are things I never wrote down. Ah well.

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate home-prepped meals for the most part.

    * Hubs continued to shred old paperwork to use as nesting material in the chicken coops.

    * We bought and planted a new peach tree (and it already has peaches forming).

    * Purchased a fleece pullover and two pairs of shorts at a thrift store.

    * Harvested peas, Swiss chard, lettuce, green onions, chives, lemons, and broccoli.

    * Hubs has the "summer garden" in the ground now.

    * We took in our recycling and added $28 to our son's Eagle project fund.

    * Hubs bathed the dog.

    * Used old socks as cleaning rags.

    * Salvaged the button and zipper from a pair of worn out shorts.

    * Froze 6 quarts of pumpkin soup. (We still had a few pumpkins from last year's garden and needed to get them off the patio before the weather got too warm. Hubs made the soup while I did some proofreading for him.)

    * Accepted a free router.

    * Reduced our first quarter average grocery spending by nearly $200/mo.

    * Made my first loaf of rye bread and was very pleased with the results. (A bread machine is a blessing.)

    Joyful Activities:

    * Celebrating Easter.

    * Watching a fun lip-sync battle at our son's school.

    * Celebrating another good report from my oncologist.

    * Having my brother and sister-in-law stop by for an unexpected visit (they live in another state).

    * Spending time with family and friends.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone.

  • Elizabeth M. April 25, 2017

    Roberta, that's a really impressive change to your grocery spending. What is making the biggest difference, do you think?

  • Roberta in So. Cal. April 26, 2017

    Hi, Elizabeth.

    Thanks for your question. I think that the change is due mostly to the fact that I'm intentionally "shopping" the freezer, pantry, and garden before going to the store.

    In January I participated in a pantry challenge and spent just under $145 that month. That, in itself, really pulled the first quarter average down. Then, because I still had way too much food in the freezers and pantry, I continued the challenge--with the flexibility to restock anything that I was actually out of. I set an arbitrary grocery budget of $300 per month, just to see if it was possible for our family. So far this year, I've not gone over $325 in any given month, and our average for the year is still under $300 thus far thanks to the PC in January.

    I'm continuing the "challenge," because our freezers are still packed, and as I write this I still have 6 jars of pasta sauce, multiple jars of apple butter, scads of pasta and dried beans, etc., in the pantry. Clearly, I stockpiled way too much food for our family of three (even if one of those three is a 12-year-old male swimmer). ;)

    I'm sure there's still room for improvement (Brandy is the real pro at this), but I'm learning.

  • Elizabeth M. April 27, 2017

    It will be a good way to find out how much you really want to stockpile for your family in the future.

    I arrived at Brandy's blog with the opposite problem -- I didn't keep enough food in the house. I have a much better supply now. Though I am still learning which items I could keep more of and get a better price.

  • Lorna April 25, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) . I adore your lovely flowers you picked Brandy.

    Being Australian it would be remiss of me not to mention it is Anzac day here. As a mark of respect to those who have fought and died for us, lest we forget. A special thought goes from our family to all those around the world who are currently serving in the defence forces and those whose service aftermath has left them with injuries both physical and emotional and their families. My husband is an ex military man with injuries.

    Our frugal accomplishments are as follows for the last few weeks -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Purchased tins of chicken and deodorant on special saving $11.18.
    - Purchased fuel on the low price cycle saving 10c or $4.45.
    - Saved so far this month 51.29% of our income for our saving for our home with cash bank account.
    - Watered the lawns with saved grey water from our showers and washing machine.
    - Watered newly sprouted seedlings in the gardens with vegetable steaming, washing and blanching water.
    - Blanched and froze sweet corn from the gardens.
    - Picked capsicum, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and corn from the gardens.
    - Made 2 jars of strawberry jam from strawberries picked from our gardens.
    - Organised multiple quotes from builders to build our home to compare prices and save, and more quotes yet to come in.
    - Been looking online at multiple options for blocks of land to purchase at reasonable prices.
    - Also got multiple quotes for building a garage to compare prices.

    My brain is fuzzy with information about carpets, tiles and everything else that goes into a home :o .

  • Hilogene in Az April 25, 2017

    Hi Lorna,
    I can't remember if you have told us all this, sorry to get you to repeat it then....are you going to buy land and build? Or buy an existing home? I know you are saving like you know when it might happen?

  • Lorna April 25, 2017

    Hi Hilogene we are going to be buying a block of land of around an acre and building our home to specifications to suit DH's disabilities and future deterioration in his condition. He will most likely be in a wheelchair later so we are setting the home up to cater for wheelchair access being wider doors, shower with no lip and wider hallways.

    We have looked at already existing homes and around here they are very old a dilapidated and would not without spending a fortune cater for wheelchair access. Shockingly the already built homes would work out more expensive than us building one :o .

    Tentative plans are to get the housing loan around August - October and buy the block of land around then and have the house foundations laid around December. We are still getting multiple quotes from builders on the price of the home, price of the garage and awnings so we will know more accurately the timeframe we are looking at after that happens.

  • mable April 26, 2017

    Lorna, I have an illness that comes and goes in terms of my mobility. I have had months of being wheelchair bound and we have gone through the expense of remodeling our house to compensate for my less ambulatory times. In addition to the wider door frames and no-lip showers, we made sure our bedroom was re-designed so that there was a place for a grab bar right next to my side of the bed, to help me get out of bed. We replaced towel racks with sturdy grab bars; they still function as towel holders but are now sturdy enough that I can keep myself upright by hanging on to them. We also had grab bars put in the shower, which is 5 feet by 5 feet and thus we don't need a door because it is so large that even when the shower head is on there is no water escaping into the rest of the bathroom. We also had a tall bench built into the wall of the shower because it was far more stable and easier to get up out of than those plastic shower chairs. I am quite tall, so we had pedestals built so that when we put our couch on them the seat was nice and high so easy for me to get out of. We also got leg extensions for our beds and for our recliners, so they are quite tall, too. On days when my strength is totally gone, I can still manage to get up out of those chairs and the couch. Finally, we redid my garden and put in three foot tall raised beds---some wood and some scavenged horse watering troughs. The beds are far enough apart that I can get around them in my wheelchair. If he get a wheelchair and you have insurance, hold out for a motorized chair with wide wheels---I was able to go to the fair and to other unpaved places (like my garden) with no trouble. I could not do that with a chair that I had to propel with my own arms. It took six months of fighting with insurance but they finally came through. We were lucky that our house was one level, so that at least didn't have to be redone. I hope some of what I've said helps you avoid some of the errors we made when we first started out on the wheelchair journey.

  • Lorna April 26, 2017

    Hi Mable and thank you so much for all of your valuable information re disability aids and fixtures you are a real sweetie for taking the time to tell me about them :D .

    I want to plan ahead for his injuries so he has ease of movement and the most freedom that he can down the track.

    Currently DH is mobile but occasionally uses a wheelchair when his mobility is in a not so good. Your tips and experience are absolutely wonderful.

  • Lorna April 25, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    I forgot something I actually put on weight, for me that is a miracle in itself as I have always been underweight all my life, so I am happy about that, but not so happy I had to get new jeans. The good news is I managed to get 6 pairs of jeans on 40% off sale along with a lovely print skirt. Two pairs of the jeans had loose threads and they gave me a further 10% off the price of those. All up my savings were $90 compared to normal retail prices.

    Even better when I got home I found the 2 pairs of jeans I got on special didn't need any additional sewing anyway as they were simply threads they hadn't cut off but were around 2 metres long ?, hmm not really good finishing off I would say .

  • Kim April 25, 2017

    We ate Easter leftovers and from the pantry last week which kept our grocery spending down about 50%. I'm hoping that we can do the same this week as well. I'm putting more emphasis on keeping our grocery budget down this year as I am still trying to find a job.

    We took advantage of $10 Kohls cash and a 15% coupon to buy hubby a new work shirt for less than $3!

    We tried a new lawn service for three months hoping to get our grass to grow but all we have is weeds. We cancelled the service and over seeded ourselves. It may take us all year to get our lawn looking good but we're using that $30 a month for water INSTEAD of the lawn service. Meanwhile, I'm transplanting Liriope from one side of the yard to the other to create a border for our sidewalk.

    Hubby and I also rebuilt a small fence in the last few weeks. We borrowed a nail gun instead of buying one and reused hardware to save money. We have another fence to tackle over the summer. Painting/staining it is taking longer than usual due to the on again, off again rains. Doing the work ourselves is probably saving us $800-1500 by the time we're done.

    On the job front, I'm not having much luck. I've even applied for a couple of part time positions at the grocery store and the credit union. Keeping a positive attitude is a challenge some days.

  • Cindy in the South April 25, 2017

    I went to see a very close relative who has terminal cancer to attempt to help make end of life decisions so that the family will not make stupid financial decisions in the midst of sorrow. It did not quite go as expected, ok, he is not ready to deal with it, so I will attempt again later. If not, I will try to help family when the time comes, to not go in debt over a death. I walked in the neighborhood so no gym fee. I made a big pot of dried pinto bean soup, and put blackstrap molasses, garlic, tomatoes, leftover pumpkin, onion, hot peppers cayenne pepper, asian chili paste, and various other spices in it. I served it with dandelion greens roasted in cayenne pepper, sea salt and garlic, on top of homemade cuban bread. Simple food, but delicious. This pot should last me a week for supper. It has been a terrible month, financial and emotional wise, because of chronic illness of son and hospital bills, medical bills, insurance bills, time off from work, work related issues, having to eat out while at the hospital on watch, etc. The illness of my son will last the rest of his life and I just have to deal with it, like many of you have to deal with your children's illness. I am just grateful he is still alive. Life is full of peaks and valleys, and we just have to do the best we can.

  • Elizabeth M. April 26, 2017

    I'm sorry it has been such a difficult month. Sometimes, all we can do is tough our way through a time like that.

    Your soup and dandelion greens on toast sound wonderful. I may just borrow this as a meal plan. As soon as our last bit of snow goes, because I know there are dandelions lurking underneath all that moisture!

  • Jennifer April 25, 2017

    Mostly a quiet week/weekend at home.
    Groceries were $60 but that included $20 in wine and the groceries will last me at least 2 weeks.
    Used my chick fil a calendar card to get dinner for $3.
    Baked cookies to offer to my bible study group, my colleges at work, and for the painting class.
    Dinner and drinks out 1 night at the VFW (under $10).
    Not frugal - Attended a painting class for $35. Fun outing with friends.
    also not frugal - forgot my lunch in the fridge this morning, so I"ll eat in the cafeteria.
    Played with my baby chicks to help get them used to being handled.

    I have decided that I really don't like kale. I keep trying, but no...I love spinach, but kale... no. The kale pesto I made is ok but not good enough that I think I will do it again. Anyone have a surefire you will love this even if you hate kale recipe?

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