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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Sunflower The Prudent Homemaker

My husband gave our two older boys' haircuts.

We gladly accepted a gift of a package of turkey bacon and a package of beef from our neighbor. She said she hadn't liked the turkey bacon (we don't mind it at all!) and had bought too many packages of the beef and didn't think she could eat them all. Later in the week, she brought me 4 very ripe bananas.

I picked red noodle beans, a few tomatoes, two Armenian cucumbers, and I cut Swiss chard, garlic chives, and basil from the garden.

Eagle Scout Cookies The Prudent Homemaker

My son had his Eagle Scout Court of Honor this week. I made cookies and cupcakes for refreshments. (I was able to cut out a shortening-based cookie instead of a butter-based cookie and had better luck. I still had to use a lot of flour not just while rolling, but also a floured stockinged rolling pin (even though I am using a marble one and cutting out on granite counters, which are cold), and flour the spatula between each cookie before lifting it off the counter to ensure it didn't stick and collapse while lifting it to move it to the cookie sheet. It was 113ºF (45ºC) the day I made the cookies. I also turned the air conditioner down a few more degrees while baking to try to keep the dough from completely melting/sticking.) My parents contributed some money to help me purchase some things I didn't have and needed to finish these, which was a great blessing.

Campfire Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

The water company sent me a bill; my water bills are highest in summer. Our water bill will be $100 less for August's water over July's water, thanks to the rain we had, my turning off the sprinklers and drip irrigation when we had rain, and the water I collected in buckets from the rains and used in the garden. 

It was humid this week again, so I was able to collect water from the air conditioning drip as well as from the shower to use to water pots in the garden.

My eldest applied for two scholarships. She also was able to download a free book for a class.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

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Comments

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood September 04, 2017

    I love your eagle cookies and campfire cupcakes, Brandy! Super impressive! Your kids are lucky to have you as a mom.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I think I’ve perfected my recipe for white wine Alfredo sauce (reduced fat)! (http://approachingfood.com/white-wine-alfredo-sauce/) The DH loves it, and it’s quite easy to pull together after a busy day. I was inspired by Brandy, as well as a conversation with a friend about how to use up white wine. I used the can of evaporated milk that I got in a trade this week, as well as some onions (bought dirt cheap, chopped, and then frozen), pasta (I think I bought it on sale for 50 cents/lb or so), a bouillon cube that my sister gave me, plus some balcony-garden grown herbs, and some leftover white wine (the bottle of wine was opened way more months ago than I care to acknowledge. But hey, it’s great for cooking, and, no waste!) I served it with some broccoli I had purchased on sale, blanched, and frozen, as well as some iced tea. It was delicious! And have I mentioned that it’s reduced fat? Healthy, tasty, and frugal. My ideal dinner trifecta!
    - Using my local trading app, I traded some cupcakes (leftover from a cake I was making) for a jar of locally produced unpasteurized honey and some locally grown tomatoes. I also traded some make-up samples that I didn’t want, for a transit token, and some tea that was gifted to me, for a bag of vegetable chips and a book. I donated the book to my office. And, I traded a baking tray that I never use for a box of cereal and a can of evaporated milk. This is perfect, because I was low on cereal. Not my favourite kind, but healthy enough, and will last me for a month of breakfasts, interspersed with my homemade yoghurt.
    - Speaking of which, I made a batch of yoghurt. It turned out a bit runnier than I like, but that’s ok. I can’t be bothered to drain it to make Greek Yoghurt, and this way I can use it as a thick buttermilk replacement for baking or salad dressings. I’ll likely just eat it for breakfast (and the occasional dinner) with some homemade jam or preserves stirred in. I can’t wait to try it with my homemade cherry pie filling!
    - I noticed a wild pear tree on my walk home from work this week. It’s on public land, abutting a sidewalk. I plan to wait until they grow bigger, and then hope to harvest some. Hopefully there’s some pear butter in my future!
    - I ordered some items using my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks: a ruler, an ice cream container, a dough divider, a piping tip, and some maple syrup. All treats for myself that I wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Am v. excited about it!
    - Went out for tea with a friend, and was able to use my Starbucks gift card from Swagbucks.
    - Gifted the same friend some high end loose leaf tea (Cookie Dough flavour), that had been given to me by a client.
    - Made a batch of iced tea from flavoured tea packets leftover from a camping trip.
    - Made ranch dressing using my homemade yoghurt and homemade ranch dressing mix. I served it over some of the tomatoes that I had traded for. Yum!
    - I made a salad for myself and my husband using my balcony-grown produce! I used Swiss chard (since I STILL can’t seem to grow lettuce), baby tomatoes, mint, basil, green onion, and to make it pretty, topped it with a nasturtium blossom. Was very satisfying! While I’ve grown a bunch this year, it hasn’t been the prolific garden that I wanted, but that’s ok. I’ve learned a lot, and plant to implement what I’ve learned next year.
    - Inspired by Jeannie, I stir-fried some balcony-garden sweet potato leaves, Asian-style, with garlic, hot pepper, oil, and a few drops of sesame oil. Delicious!
    - I used the “pot likker” from the sautéed sweet potato leaves as part of the dressing for a glass noodle salad that I made. Then I sent my sister home with some of the leftover salad for work lunches.
    - I bought two containers of strawberries for $1.50 each, and froze them to make jam in the future.
    - I bought cherries at $1.99/lb and pitted and froze them. They weren’t the best quality cherries, but I’ll likely be turning them into jam or pie filling anyway, and they’re perfectly fine for that.
    - I made vegetarian sushi for Sunday dinner with my family! I was very pleased with how it all turned out. (My dad was surprised to find out that I had made it myself.) Much more affordable than buying sushi, that’s for sure, and because it was vegetarian, no expensive fish was needed! I used seaweed, wasabi, and pickled ginger that I had bought many months ago when I went to an Asian grocery store with a friend, and rice that I bought from a bulk store. The wasabi and the pickled ginger were the most expensive items, but still under $10 and will last for at least a years worth of sushi-making. I made some sushi with the nori on the outside, and some with the rice and toasted sesame seeds on the outside. I was able to make a whole large platter to feed 5 people, with leftovers, and still have enough ingredients leftover to make a batch for the DH and myself in the future. I can see myself making sushi now as a dish for a potluck, very inexpensively!
    - I made chocolate cherry almond ice cream for dessert when my family came over for Sunday dinner. I didn’t want to use my precious dark chocolate in the ice cream (I keep the high quality dark chocolate that my husband gives me for special occasions, for eating) so I replaced it with cocoa powder (which I bought in bulk at Costco). I used whipping cream that I bought on sale last week, and the egg yolks that were leftover when I made a batch of meringues. OMG so delicious!
    - I cat-sat in my neighbourhood for cash. Whoohoo!
    - I got a small bonus at work and applied it straight to the mortgage. Yay! Every bit helps.
    - I had made meringues something like a year ago using some speciality sugar sheets I had ordered online. They were expensive, and are made to be only used once. Due to how the meringues are spaced out on the sheets, there was still lots of useable design left, so when I was making meringues, I used the leftover meringue to make mini meringue kisses using the leftover sugar sheets. I definitely got my moneys worth from that purchase!
    - Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gift card to Starbucks

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  • Athanasia September 06, 2017

    Margaret, you chocolate cherry almond ice cream sounds delicious.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood September 08, 2017

    Thanks, Athanasia! :)

  • Janet September 04, 2017

    Brandy,

    Congrats to your son on his Eagle Scout and your youngest is so cute ! I have an Eagle Scout (My Hubby who is 70) and when I found his pin in a drawer about 10 years ago he said he was thinking of just getting rid of it. I put it with the tree ornaments and now every year he gets to look at his pin during the holidays and it makes him happy. I always put treasures that no one knows what to do with on the tree. When Grandma died there were four silver spoons all just beautiful I polish them every year and they hang on my tree.

  • Sheila in Alabama September 04, 2017

    I love that idea Janet!

  • Nancy in E. Washington September 05, 2017

    I do that when I travel. I get something from the place - either an ornament, or something I can turn into an ornament. then I have my memories whenever I decorate my tree, but they are not cluttering my house all year.

  • Cathi September 07, 2017

    Janet, that is such a wonderful idea, to use special things as ornaments! I'm going to do that with some of my grandmother's little spoons this year. A great remembrance.
    Thank you!

  • momsav September 07, 2017

    Janet, What a great idea! I may have to steal it!

  • Mandy September 04, 2017

    Hello everyone! I have not posted in the last couple of weeks so this will encompass that time period.
    We have had a drastic reduction in income (my husband and my hours have been cut at our jobs). Our property taxes were due the beginning of this month and I managed to pay it 3 weeks early but the monthly bills got behind. The taxes also increased this year although I have no idea why. I have been playing catch up the past few weeks and am almost caught up. I have only been spending money on necessities. I work in a plasma donation center ( in Reception) and when employees donate we get $50 per donation (adds up to $400 per month). I have been donating the past couple of weeks and putting that money towards bills and gas in the truck I drive (and the few grocery I did purchase). It's not glamorous but that is a lot of money.

    In the past few weeks I have purchased ground beef, ground turkey, milk, butter, white bread (only bread my husband will eat is store bought white bread), peanut butter, coffee, cat food and cat litter. I returned some cans of wet cat food my cat decided he didn't like. I used that money to purchase the meat. We have been eating what we have in our freezer, pantry, and fridge and trying to get creative.

    We have made oatmeal, overnight oats, plain yogurt with granola, pancakes, sausage and eggs with toast or bagels, tacos, taco bake, stir fry, baked potatoes, pork chops, bbq shredded pork, fried potatoes, potato soup with cheese, minestrone soup, chicken noodle soup (just the broth, no actual chicken because we have been out of chicken for a few weeks), power balls (100 days of real food recipe), chocolate chip banana bread, pumpkin bread, spaghetti, chocolate m and m cookies, brownies. That is all I remember :)

    I have a stash of laundry soap, shampoo/conditioner, dish soap in my pantry. I repurpose clean bottles or use mason jars and water down the product 50/50. It still cleans well and lasts twice as long.

    I am using a free 7 day trial of Sling tv. We watch it on our laptop, kindle, or through my husband's xbox one on our television. I like that we can pick our channels and there are 2 packages to choose from. Eventually I want to get this and cancel Netflix (we don't watch it much, just our daughter who watches cartoons). I realized how much I missed watching "live" tv and my favorite shows. I've watched all the episodes available to watch for free on youtube :).

    I have gone to the library several times and exchanged books and movies. My daughter is almost 7 and her and I have been watching the Harry Potter movies :) My other child is 23 years old and him and I enjoyed watching them together when he was younger and now I get to do it all over again! She really likes the movies. I have been borrowing them from the library. Our library also has ebooks, digital magazines, and music on freegal (we live in a small town so it took several years for this to happen lol). I have been able to enjoy a few magazines online for free. I combine going to the library and picking my daughter up from school as they are 2 blocks apart.

    The temps have cooled off here so we have been able to keep the air conditioners off. We want to take them out of the windows but are waiting a couple more weeks (the Midwest weather is unpredictable).

    I have also been doing the "usual" stuff: washing and reusing bags and jars, taking all my meals to work, making coffee at home, drinking water, saving warm up water/rinsing veggie water/etc and using it elsewhere (flushing the toilet, rinsing dishes, in the garden), making sure things are unplugged when not being used, turning off lights when not needed, staying home unless I have to go somewhere.

    For reasons unknown to me ALL the pears on my two pear trees, ALL the apples on my two apple trees, all 5 bunches of grapes ( my first grape crop!!) disappeared. They were there one day and two days later gone! Not sure if animals got them or neighbors stole the fruit right out of my yard. I am SO upset, though. I have worked so hard this year and now it's for nothing. We had three very bad storms that killed my pea plants, zucchini plants ( only got 3 and usually have WAY to many). Critters ate my yellow onions, cabbage babies, sunflowers. I have harvested tomatoes, green onions, strawberries, turnips, peas (before the storms), parsley, oregano, basil, dill seed, kale, lettuce, dandelion greens. We have begun collecting free wood pallets to make raised beds next spring to keep critters out better. Yes, our entire garden is fenced in with chicken wire and other fencing but they still get in (mice, rabbits, squirrels, deer on occasion). I have tried various homemade concoctions to keep them out to no avail. I am trying to focus on what I did get but am so disappointed. My strawberry plants have runners and I will be transplanting those into several hanging baskets I have saved over the years to get more strawberries. Next year I will do what Brandy does and cover my grapes with paper bags. I will also be doing some container gardening for my squash plants to see if that helps them grow better. It is to late here to plant new seeds and I can't buy the plants. I will be planting some seeds in small pots and growing them indoors though. Hopefully I can keep my cat from knocking them down!
    Have a great week everyone and I look forward to reading everyone's accomplishments! Brandy - Thank you so much for being such an inspiration! I have read and re-read your posts so many times and they help me get through the tough times. I hope your financial situation improves soon as well!

  • Andrea Q September 05, 2017

    Sorry to hear about all your fruit disappearing! Chipmunks ate all my peaches over the course of two days :(

    I haven't found raised beds to be a deterrent to pests...most animals that we deal with can climb/jump right up them or burrow underneath. Planting non-edible plants that most animals don't enjoy eating (iris, rudbeckia, spiderwort) and edible chives as borders around my garden seems to have helped deter some animals.

    Squashes are heavy feeders that require a lot of water. They do much better in the ground in my garden, as I don't have irrigation.

  • Athanasia September 07, 2017

    Mandy, that is terrible about your fruit loss! It must be people if it is completely gone. No half eaten pieces on the grounds etc? I ran into a cousin in law Tuesday and he said he had dug a 3ft x 6ft cart of potatoes and left them out overnight to dry. The next morning half of them were gone and he could tell that the best had been picked out. I know that if someone had just asked he would have given them as many as they wanted no need to steal.

  • ElisaB September 07, 2017

    Hi Mandy, I am seriously wondering if it wasn't humans who took your apples, pears and grapes. I lived in the country and had animals eat my stuff but, mostly, they would take bites out of them, not abscond with all the goods. I did have a young coyote who would pick up my fallen apples and one by one take them somewhere, for storage I guess. I also had a racoon that removed a bunch of my carrots once. And this was with a total fence surrounding the place ( coyote was previous to the fence). Maybe next year, if possible, you could put up a critter cam to see who the culprit is.
    I think it is so nice of you, about the plasma donation. A real win-win; you are helping others and making some money.

  • Vickie Morgan September 04, 2017

    You had a eventful week. I love the cookies too, congratulations to the Eagle scout, and I hope she receives her scholarships! My daughter applied for quite a few and got them when she went to college so I wish her well. Try to find some more to apply to.. maybe go to the counselor's office.

    My first week doing a menu plan went really well. I had stopped doing this for a year or so and it's actually helping to get start it again! Here is a list of the rest of my frugal accomplishments: http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2017/09/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-9317.html

  • Marivene September 04, 2017

    We are deep in the harvest here. I bottled about half of the peaches from our largest tree, as they continue to ripen in the boxes. Finished dehydrating the grapes into raisins, & finished up dehydrating our pears into slices. Started working on dehydrating the sliced apples. Began cutting the ripest of the prune plums in half, & dehydrating those, too. I also dried 4 bananas that were turning brown, as slices. My dehydrator sits on the round, ceramic topped table on our patio, next to the door into the garage, where the outlet is located. I use a block of wood to keep the door from slamming shut on the cord when it is windy.

    Bottled a few red raspberries & a bit of grape juice.

    Bought Some things at the case lot sale for my daughter. The sale prices on my side of the mountain are so much better than the sale prices on her side of the mountain. Tomato sauce here was 20 cents a can; at her store, it is 29 cents a can. That is fairly typical for the difference in price spread. Our daughter comes over to Salt Lake once a month for medical appointments anyway, so she is spending the gas money anyway. We just make it work harder. She will reimburse me when I meet her in Heber on her way back from the appointment.

    I continued to stock the freezer with meat from the markdown bin. Continued to harvest yellow pear tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, & green beans, & have incorporated those into our meals. I picked most of our Golden Delicious apples & the rest of the Snow Sweet apples.

    Mowed the lawn & used the grass clippings as mulch.

    Reclaimed the water I used to soak to dehydrator trays, & used that water on the garden & back perimeter beds.

    Took a break & brought the fall leaf wreaths & candle rings out of the cubby, so the house is "decorated" for fall.

  • Becky September 05, 2017

    We once, years ago, took a wrong turn and ended up in Heber City--It was so beautiful. I've never forgotten it. There was a little Viking Hotel, super cute and quaint, and we just stayed there for 1 night--then went on our way the next morning. Your post brought back that lovely memory--thank you.

  • Mrs T September 04, 2017

    Hello!

    Beautiful cupcakes. I have neither the skill (or patience) to do it! So I always admire those who do.

    My husband was able to fix the dishwasher himself, therefore avoiding a service call.

    Picked up a canner utensil kit on sale for $2.99.

    Purchased ground beef at $1.79/lb which is the lowest price point. I was only able to get 10 pounds because of the chickens we recently slaughtered and waiting on a half a pig at the moment. My chest freezer, thankfully, will be full soon.

    Milk is still $.99/ gallon and eggs $.37/dozen. Bought plenty of each.

    Collected more cherry tomatoes and potatoes from garden.

    Was gifted a large cucumber which was used in salads.

    Did not have to run AC at all last week due to unseasonably cooler weather and even turned off ceiling fans at night.

    Collected free apples, pears from our neighbor's yard who generously let us pick at will. Also was able to gather apples from a wild tree on an abandoned piece of property close to us. Thank goodness for 10 yr old boys who can climb! Have not been able to can due to sickness but hope to get at it soon.

    Usd only window light during day unless absolutely necessary.

  • Lisa September 05, 2017

    How wonderful to be able to glean the fresh fruit!

  • Lorna September 04, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    Brandy congratulations to your eldest son becoming an Eagle Scout , hope Winter gets one of her scholarships she has applied for and glad you got some turkey and beef from your neighbour to help with the budget :) .

    We had a very good money saving week last week as we had priced our garden machinery and services at a number of different service centres previously which saved us hugely on costs this year. I also compared prices on other items we needed on the internet and found them far cheaper there than we could buy locally as well.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made Brandy's lovely roast capsicum soup from capsicums and onions picked from the gardens and rehydrated dry garlic we had in the pantry.
    - Made a lovely tomato soup from tinned diced tomatoes, onions picked and frozen from the gardens and some rehydrated garlic from the pantry and dried basil.
    - Made a lovely banana custard for tea one night with custard powder and rehydrated banana chips from the pantry.
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Had one dinner with steamed turnips, shelling peas and spinach picked fresh from the gardens.

    In the garden -
    - Made $3 from the sale of a bunch of silverbeet from the gardens which will go back into buying needed items for the gardens.
    - Swapped a bunch of silverbeet and spinach with a friend for 13 lemons saving $8.32 over purchasing them. We juiced them putting them in ice cube trays in the freezer and will make lemon cordial out of them when the weather warms a bit. We also zested them and saved the zest for using in icings and in cakes and cupcakes.
    - Picked 1.819kg of red and gold capsicums, 454g of turnips, 177g of spinach and 243g of shelling peas saving $19.40 over purchasing the same amount in the supermarkets.

    Electricity savings -
    - Only turned on the electric hot water system for 20.25 hrs this week saving $7.38 in electricity, used our solar lanterns all week instead of using mains powered lights and boiled the kettle 3 mornings on the slow combustion fireplace saving another $4.12 in power.

    Machinery servicing -
    - Saved $39 on our ride on lawnmower base service cost by taking it to another service centre in town.
    - Saved $281 on our car service by taking it to another garage in town for servicing rather than the service centre where we purchased the car.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased 4 x 12g lip balms for $3.90 rather than buying them in the local stores saving $19.15 over purchasing them in the local supermarket.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone :) .

  • Heather in L.A. September 04, 2017

    Our two boys had birthdays this past week, August 30 and 31. As we usually celebrate with family and friends with something combined, I have for the past few years pulled a page from Brandy's book and allowed the kids to chose their favorite meals for their specific birthdays. Thankfully I had ribs and ham already, along with baked beans and Cole slaw for one and sweet potatoes and homemade mac and cheese and canned greens my MIL had put up.One son could not chose between cheesecake brownies or red velvet cake, so I combined the two to make red velvet cheesecake brownies, the other son wanted a peanut butter double doozie cookie cake. I doubled our go to peanut butter cookie recipe and stired in Reese's pieces, rolled out the dough into two 6X10 rectangles and baked, iced and decorated them. Tasted just like the expensive mall cake for less than $3 in additional ingredients.

    I purchased leg quarters for .39 a pound, pork shoulder for .97 a pound, and tubes of polenta for .50. While I can make polenta from grits to have a few convenience type side helps when we have left overs that need stretching or we come home late.

    We are purchasing a 15 passenger van from a daycare for $300 and will sell our existing camper and refurbish this one into a mini camper that I can drive. I have my chauffeur license and I cannot pull our 32 ft camper with my vehicles and it is also a park model, which means no holding tanks or dual fuel fridge. It will be perfect for a hunting camp for someone.

    For our boys birthday we loaded up (16 of us in all) to our areas minor league ball park. The tickets were $6, hot dogs and drinks were marked down, they were gifting everyone free ball camps and you could enter into free prize drawings. My daughter won a set of six very nice coffee mugs and my mother won a set of sports water bottles and four season passes for next year at the club level. They are valued at $3,600, so we know what we are gonna be doing next summer. One of the perks is she will receive half off all other game tickets.

  • http://http:Melonie K. September 04, 2017

    Congratulations to your son on Eagle Scout! Fingers crossed for your daughter and the scholarships. I agree with the comments about the resources your family is using to find scholarships - my oldest was able to make it through her first two years of school with no debt and has just transferred to university from community college for junior year. One of the scholarships she received was from a local dentist's office! It is amazing the number of folks who want to help; we just have to help the kids find them. :)

    This week we saved by:

    *husband rode his bike to work instead of using his car, saving 4 days of fuel use (and then had a 4-day weekend for Labor Day, saving another two days of work trips)
    *commuted together with a new friend to turn in our homeschool affidavits with the school district. It is a 45 minute drive, plus we got stuck in construction traffic each way, but we had a great time together, as did the kids. Since I drove, she paid for parking. We had a nice time walking through part of the town and picked up some educational items at a bookstore. Not frugal overall, but we got free exercise (very hilly area!) and felt safer driving over than mailing our children's birth certificates in. This way they made copies and notarized everything at no cost to us (saving my family two notary fees as well).
    *used my meal plan for dinners to use food already in the freezer & cupboards
    *made a new meal plan for this week using what is on hand
    *we use passive solar methods (light/heat blocking curtains, etc) to help cut A/C use. I noticed a lot of heat was coming in the last two spaces with no curtains - they are a patio window and door that have built-in blinds, but get a lot of sun in the afternoon and evening. I finally realized I -might- have some curtains left from our last house since one set was two short for our living room windows. I went and looked through the bin with leftovers and YAY, they do fit! I reused two short rods from storage and hung the curtains. They aren't quite long enough to fully cover, but since the dog tries to see out into the yard anyway, they work quite nicely and block *almost* all of the sun and heat while still leaving that low spot for her to look out without ruining things.
    *Last month we took advantage of an intro pricing program for The Great Courses Plus - first month free, second and third months half off; my whole family has watched hours and hours of lectures through it without me having to buy the (much more expensive) DVD or CD sets that aren't owned by our local libraries. We do not buy cable, Netflix, or the like, so this is a small expense that more than pays for itself for both our homeschool time and our "edutainment" time (we love documentaries and lectures, so 90% of our entertainment is educational, even outside of school hours).
    *Got eye exams and doctor appointments scheduled which are covered by insurance. My daughter and I may need new glasses, and she has some insurance coverage for hers; my son's exam was first and he does not need glasses at this time.

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