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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

 Yellow Rose Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

We celebrated a daughter's birthday at home with a simple party at home and a homemade cake. I have pictures that I hope to share soon in a birthday post.

I used the leftover icing to decorate cupcakes as a snack one afternoon. I had some rather old quarts of canned pears that, while still fine to eat, weren't as tasty had they been newer. I blended them and used those in the cupcakes in place of the liquid and oil. I think this is how I will be using the rest of those canned pears in the next little while (in baked goods, but not necessarily cupcakes with icing).

I harvested two Armenian cucumbers, some Swiss chard, a few cherry tomatoes, and basil from the garden.

September Arrrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I spent some time tidying the garden to get it ready for fall. I had a large dusty miller plant die. It was so large, that I have decided that in its place I can plant 2 artichoke plants, 2 Swiss chard plants, and a zucchini plant (all of which I have seeds for already). This is a plant in the front yard in my white garden. After removing the plant, I fertilized the apricot tree it was growing under with fertilizer I had received for free with a coupon earlier this year.

I took every opportunity to open the windows in the mornings to cool the house. It is still rather warm here (we had days above 100º) but in the mornings it was 79ºF and even a little lower a few days. We kept the windows open as many hours as possible each morning before closing up the house and turning the air conditioning units back on.

My eldest started her first online college class this week. Her first class is one that has the book available to download online for free, which made for a less expensive start to school. 

She will take 24 credits of BYU Independent Study online classes (which we researched to make sure that they all transfer to her school of choice for her major) before going off to school. We'll save money by having her stay at home for the next 16 months while she takes online classes.

I started a list of everything she'll need for her first apartment. The apartments are furnished (and generally have 6-8 women in each), but she'll need kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom supplies, laundry supplies, warmer clothing, and food. We started researching prices and I will look for some items at garage sales over the next 16 months (Garage sale season is beginning again in earnest now here). We'll also purchase many items new, looking for sales and coupons to keep costs low. I noted that Walmart and Bed, Bath and Beyond have the same costs for several of the basic supplies on our kitchen list, but Bed, Bath, and Beyond regularly has 20% off coupons (you can use their expired coupons and use one per item with as many per transaction as you have items). I have a stack of these coupons that have come in different things, including with the free magazines that I get; one even came this week with one of my free magazine subscriptions--and I will put them aside to purchase some items for my daughter's apartment. I also researched prices at Target and Ikea; at some point, we'll definitely be making the drive to Ikea in town when we're ready to purchase a large number of items. I'll also look at Sam's and Costco for their holiday sales for pots and pans. Basically, we'll compare prices to make our money go as far as possible while getting her some good quality items to fulfill her needs.

We learned that there are two grocery shopping options in the city where she hopes to attend school: a grocery store and a Walmart. She has cousins that attend the same school and they all said that the grocery store is pricey and that Walmart is where everyone shops. We found that there is even a free shuttle that goes to Walmart! So, I took her to Walmart near us, and we talked about shopping and prices. We talked about her favorite meals, and I also typed up a basic pantry list of items as well as fresh items she'll need to start cooking once she is on her own. 

We noted that there is a stop near the thrift store in town near one of the free shuttle stops, too!

Dishes and Napkins The Prudent Homemaker

After we made this list, I bought Winter's choice of 4 plates, 4 bowls, 2 mugs, and 4 glasses at Walmart. The plates, bowls, and mugs were all $0.88 each, and the glasses were on clearance for $0.75 each. Winter will take silverware from our old set. She sewed herself 6 matching napkins from an old pinafore that used to belong to her grandmother.

We went to the thrift store, where I dropped off our donations (and received a receipt for taxes). We compared prices there on kitchen items, and noted that the thrift store prices were high on most kitchen items (plates were $1 each), though I did pick up a tiny whisk for Winter for $0.50.

I found 2 pairs of jeans for myself there ($4 each) and a sweater ($5), plus $1 for a shirt for another child. 

My eldest son attended a free ACT prep class again, and practiced taking the English section of the test this past week.

I picked up two pamphlets on Federal Student Financial Aid that were free at the local library.

Thanks to a reader letting me know that the city of Henderson has free symphony performances, we were able to attend an outdoor symphony performance with our children for free about 40 minutes from home.


What did you do to save money last week?





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  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 17, 2017

    I was thinking that those extra-long sheets she needs to have should probably be flannel. Thanks for confirming that for me.

    We bought her a warm coat in her current size a few years back on clearance from Lands' End at the end of the season, so she's good there. She still wants to be able to wear dresses, so we talked a lot about washable woolens this week and making over warm clothing to fit her from the thrift store. More wool socks are also on our list. I'll be looking for wool sweaters at garage sales (and at D.I., if we can't find her any at garage sales; most people move here and realize they don't need clothing that warm and let it go rather inexpensively).

    My husband went there for school in 1981 :D He told her how cold it is. I just told him what you said about the sheets and he agreed!

  • Angelique September 18, 2017

    I used to cut off sweat pants and larger sized leggings just above the knee, or skirt's length for an extra layer over wool or fleece lined tights. Tuck a tank top or camisole into the tights.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Thanks for the tip!

    She loves fleece-lined tights! She's also worn them over thermals.

  • Bethany September 18, 2017

    As a native of extremely cold weather, I can't reccomend CuddleDuds thermals enough. They are less bulky than regular thermals, and the womens are cute enough to wear under blouses without making you look like Paul Bunyans sister. You can often find these and walmart and target on clearance in Jan. and Feb. And a fleece hat/face mask combo, along with warm gloves and warm water proof boots ( cold wet feet are miserable).

    Meanwhile, I was yearning over this littel gadget from madam Sew: https://madamsew.com/products/universal-magnetic-seam-guide-press-feet-for-sewing-machines-diy-crafts-parts

    And then realized a fridge magnet with a straight edge would accomplish the same thing!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Haha! Paul Bunyon's sister! So funny!

    Our Target had one brand of thermals (I bought her a pair last year for cold mornings on her bike) and I have heard of that brand, but I haven't seen it here. I will look. Thank you for the recommendation!

  • Dara September 19, 2017

    Kohls carries CuddleDuds! And Walmart used to carry their knock off brand that is pretty much identical.

  • Athanasia September 19, 2017

    I don't remember the brand of my long underwear, tops and bottoms, but they are silky which makes putting clothes on over them easier. That box will be unpacked soon and put out on the line to air.

  • Marcia R. September 19, 2017

    I wear Cuddle Duds myself and highly recommend them. The pants are so thin that you can easily wear them under dress pants and no one is the wiser. The tops come in short and long sleeves, so you can be comfy and they are nice looking so if the edge peeks out under a sweater or something, you're still entirely decent. My 70-ish year old friends and I find ourselves rather chilly in some restaurants at all seasons of the year in the Buffalo NY area, what with some air conditioning temperatures. I buy mine in January or February as well at 50% off, sometimes with coupons as well. The Bon Ton is THE department store we have in my town, and they are online as well. We have Kohl's but it is a distance for me to drive.

  • Sheila September 21, 2017

    I am a Native Wisconsinite and wear cuddle duds in the winter. I've always found them on clearance at Walmart. They hold up and wash well!

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada September 18, 2017

    Lands End has great flannel sheets and they make them in TwinXL. They are made really well and last.
    Once you've purchased from them, they send 40% off one item e-coupons regularly.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    THANK YOU! I was wondering who made them, as the back to school sales just have poly/cotton blend ones in twin XL. Do you have a recommendation for a mattess pad in that size?

  • Mary September 18, 2017

    Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond has twin XL mattress pads.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 19, 2017

    Thank you!

  • Athanasia September 19, 2017

    Flannel sheets are great to have in the winter. Buy better quality though, as cheap ones can pill up. It sounds like it may be warm enough in the apartment if the heat is included and they'll probably be doing a lot of cooking and baking. I would think the place would be well insulated.

  • ellie's friend from Canada September 19, 2017

    Land's End has a one day sale today at 30% off regular prices. Some of their flannel sheets are on sale. Also a pair of brown winter all weather boots for $26.00 from $69.00. Limited sizes. Some are wide, some regular.
    This is my second post of this as I think the first might not have been received. If you order $50 or more, shipping is free!

  • Athanasia September 19, 2017

    My daughters and I all have the long down coats from Lands End. They wear well and are nice and warm. We also wear dresses all the time and use tights over long underwear in the winter, plus boots, of course. For me, I especially like the lightness of a down coat as it adds no extra weight to my shoulders as a cloth coat would.

  • Becky September 17, 2017

    We spent a lot of time getting ready for fall this week, as well. We have not had a good soaking rain for a long time now, and they were predicting one for tonight into tomorrow. It is here, as promised, so I'm glad we hustled around.

    We got the rest of our wood hauled down to our house from where it was stored at my sister's house. Rob had to cut and split the last of it, so it took him and 2 of the girls all morning yesterday to finish up that job. Then, we all stacked it in the shed, which involves getting it out of the van, putting it into various containers with wheels and wheeling it to the back of our lot where the shed is. (Lovana was ingenious. She got an old garbage can and put it on a handtruck and could take a lot that way.) We do not have any more wood than that, though, so Rob will start scouting around to see if he can find a place to cut some and start re-building our supply. This is enough to get a long ways through the winter. It remains to be seen if it is enough.

    While they were fetching the wood, I worked on the garden quite a bit with Patsy's help. We tied up the Marion (black) berries. We picked raspberries, dug potatoes, pulled carrots, picked tomatoes, cucumbers, and what ever else we could find.

    Earlier in the week, I picked the beets. The ones I had planted in the spring were WAY too big, but I wanted to use them anyway. So, I boiled them for a long, long time, and when they got soft, cut them into chunks, and made pickled beets. There were a couple that I needed to cut out the very center core because it was too woody/stringy, but there was a lot of good on those beets and I got about 14 jars (mostly pints, but a few 1/2 pints).

    My husband took our old, broken refrigerator to the dump yesterday afternoon. He had to pay $25 to get rid of it. That seemed reasonable to us. He took a lot of cardboard and an old metal shop light (broken) and recycled them during the same trip. He cleaned up the outside area where all of that was stacked and it looks great now.

    I am buying as many groceries as I can this month for 2 reasons. 1) We have a great paycheck coming in a couple of days from all of the hours Rob and I worked in August. We worked as much as we could, sometimes 8 hours per day, each--so 16 total between the 2 of us. Now, although he is back to work at his job at the school, he did not start until Sept. 6, so his check will be smaller than usual, we think. I will get a much, much smaller paycheck in October due to the fact that my nephew is back in school himself so I will take care of him a fraction of the time that I did in August. So, I anticipate needing to eat from storage a lot in October. I will spend part of this check for bills and extra groceries and save the rest for October. 2)I did such a good job of "using it up" in August that every single day something is empty, used up, all gone, etc. This includes shampoo, razors, gf flour, cheese, milk, you name it!! So, I'm filling in all the empty spaces in the pantry, both food and non-food items. I've worked pretty hard this week and found a lot of what I need on good sales and was able to use coupons, both uploaded and paper. Some of the things I enjoyed getting were medium eggs for $2.99/5-dozen, Tillamook cheese for $4.99 per 2-lb loaf (I got 2 cheddar and 2 pepper-jack), boxes of cereal for $1, and so on. We did a Costco run and got t.p., a huge bag of corn chips, shredded cheese (before I knew it was going to be on sale at Fred Meyers, but I bought that, too, since it was 99c per small bag of shredded), Vitamin D--stuff like that. I got a lot of bread off the day-old rack and froze it. Many loaves were 59c each, 99c for bagels, 59c for English muffins, etc.

    Thanks for all the advice about figs last week. I have decided that I need to wait until my figs turn a bit darker than I was doing, they taste better to me. So, I was probably picking them a bit on the green side. Still, they continue to ripen slowly--mostly the ones in the center of a cluster get ripe, one at a time. There are never very many ripe at once, and the squirrels and birds seem to be stealing/pecking them. So, I've taken advice from here and picked and frozen them as they ripen and hope to make fig sauce or jam soon. I took more advice, and have checked out Pinterest. WAY too many choices. I found recipes for plum sauce as well.

    Hopefully, I can decide which one to start with, soon, as my sister sent a small pail full of Italian prunes home yesterday. Last week's 1/4 box yielded 17 pints of canned prunes. I can't remember if I mentioned I got salsa made last week, too. So, things are filling the cupboard nicely.

  • Athanasia September 19, 2017

    Becky, I use the recipe for plum sauce that Brandy has here in the recipe section of the blog. I've used at least 3 years in a row, including this year. We use it for egg rolls, add to stirfrys as seasoning, add to fried rice etc. I make double batch as give out as presents also. My daughter likes it for her broiled tofu strips.

  • Jamie @ Medium Sized Family September 17, 2017

    What an exciting time for you! I'm sure it will be bittersweet as she makes her way through those online courses. It's such a good idea to take her to the store and teach her what to look for rather than supplying her with everything she needs.

    Here's how our family saved last week: https://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-week-92/

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 17, 2017

    My parents bought me a little bit of food (a bare minimum) when they first dropped me off at college, but after that I got a job and my food was up to me. I expect that she'll work and buy her own food, but I'll try to set her up with a bit more food to start with (a larger variety, at least).

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