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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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  • Cindy in the South September 18, 2017

    I am so happy Winter has a major that seems perfect for her! I agree about setting her up with some food. I am from a warm weather place and I had difficulty walking on the ice at BYU Provo to get to the grocery store (or anywhere...I never got used to the ice...lol)....

  • Rhonda A. September 18, 2017

    Brandy, have you thought of having Winter grow and preserve some food herself to take with her to college? I'm sure some home canned goods will be a welcome reminder of home during the long winter season. Having her grow and preserve the food herself would be a great teachable moment and exciting for her since it will be for her own use.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    We talked about her taking some homemade strawberry jam but then about what brands to purchase when she runs out. Jam is one of those things where I don't think it's worth buying the least expensive choice, as you get more sugar and less fruit. We will send her with some though. Strawberry is her favorite but I don't have much success with growing them here. The plants always seem to burn in the sun.

  • Rhonda A. September 19, 2017

    I was thinking of home canned peaches, pears, apricots and applesauce, as they are perfect to take in bagged lunches. Dried herbs, home canned pickles and other veggies or fruit (dried or canned) from you garden would also be a blessing to start her out with as well. The selection of fruits and veggies in the winter is either not very good or very expensive. That's one of the reasons I started to preserve food in the summer/fall. It adds a healthy variety to our diet without the added expense. If Winter took the time to preserve some of your garden harvest for her to take, it will help her keep food costs down and provide healthier options until she gets the job to afford those foods. This also would not be an extra cost to you, as you already have it growing in your garden. But having her do the work to prepare it is just one more step in Winter taking on these new "adult" responsibilities.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 19, 2017

    She'll have basil and oregano from the garden to take with her for certain.

    I normally only can 12 quarts of peaches a year. The rest of our peaches we eat fresh. This year my peach tree (that gives us fruit to can) was sickly and didn't produce but a handful of sad peaches, and then it died.

    My apricot (that I normally get plenty of fruit from and can jam with the fruit) didn't even flower this year.

    We usually only get a small number of pears from the garden that are usually eaten fresh.

    In other words, I don't expect to count on the garden. Also, I don't think she will have room for a ton of canning jars, nor am I canning a ton from the garden recently.

    We'll start her out with as much as we can, including buying some things for her up at school (including frozen vegetables, fresh onions, squash, potatoes, and carrots, dried beans, and canned tomatoes). A thermos with a lid and a spoon in the lid will be one of the things she takes. We have one now (my husband took it today with him for jury duty so he doesn't have to buy a lunch there) but she'll need her own. She can use it to take soup and lefotvers with her to campus.

  • Rhonda A. September 19, 2017

    That's so sad you lost your peach tree. That is one fruit tree that I wish we had in our yard. I've always loved peaches.

    Hope your apricot tree produces next year. Sometimes fruit trees go in an every other year cycle. The apple trees at the pioneer village were loaded with apples last year, but barely have any this year. Same with the crabapple trees in our neighbourhood. Last year was a bumper crop, but most of them look sickly this year and no crabapples to be had!

  • Susan H September 19, 2017

    As our family was planning to send each of our children off to school, I purchased gift cards throughout our planning time to help get them started with some staples. By doing this, we did not have to come up with a larger start up fund all at once.

    Another helpful thing we did was set aside a period of time, say one week, and have the student write down everything they used at home. This helped us to narrow down the list and also reminded us of some of the smaller things such as stamps, bandaids, medicines, etc. The difference between boy and girl lists was also different!

  • Becky September 20, 2017

    I'm so sorry about the peach tree. My sister and brother-in-law lost many cherry and some peach trees last winter in their orchard. (They are farmers.) Their loss was due to too much standing water last winter--the trees in the swale drowned. Fruit trees are very picky and they like what they like. Peaches are pretty hard to grow. It's amazing that you have done as well as you have with yours for so long. If you try another one, I hope it grows like crazy for you. I know how nice it is to have all that fresh and canned fruit, and your area does not have an u-pick orchard on every corner the way it is up here.

  • Marybeth September 20, 2017

    Just got a new to me thermos at Goodwill today. $3.19. Have one already but figured if both kids want soup for lunch on the same day, now I'm set. Look at your Goodwill or thrift stores.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 20, 2017

    I'm hoping I can find one at a garage sale. The thrift store prices on household goods seem to have gone way up here, unfortunately. If not, I will look for a good sale.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC September 21, 2017

    Do any of the school buildings have microwaves the students can use for lunch? When I worked at a local college, they had a couple of microwaves in the common room the students used to study in.

  • Erika @ The Make Do Homemaker September 17, 2017

    I love the plates Winter picked out! They are so pretty (blue is my favorite color so I MIGHT be biased lol!). It was busy here. In between tons of stuff going on I also ended up making a birthday gift on the fly.

    My list for the week can be found here...


  • Laurie in AZ September 18, 2017

    The pillow looks great! What a wonderful idea!

  • Jo September 17, 2017

    Our week started with a very sick cat, a lot of worrying and a horrendous vet bill but she is on the mend now! While pets are not frugal, I couldn't go without them.

      My coworker and I carpooled to work once. Work also paid me for attending an extra shift, a meeting and a training session.

      We went four days without turning the heater on and turned it on late the other days!

      I cooked breakfast, snacks and dinner all at once utilising the whole oven. This provided us with work lunches and some freezer meals. We did not eat out all week.

    This week we were happy to just keep up with our day to day frugal practises on top of working a lot and looking after our cat.

  • LSM September 18, 2017

    Oh how I look forward to turning on the heater and not the air conditioner! I love that first blast of heat for the winter season!


  • Jo September 18, 2017

    It is nice until you receive your bill. ;-) We received ours today and I nearly fell off my chair! We live in South Australia which has some of the highest utility costs in the world...

  • LSM September 18, 2017

    I live in Texas where I gladly accept my heating bills to my air conditioning bills! My air is usually more than $100 more than any of my heat bills. Plus, air is on longer during the year. I do understand you though , that's for sure!

  • Athanasia September 19, 2017

    Jo, I am glad to hear that your cat is on the mend. We don't have indoor cats, just farm cats, but they are all friendly and get good health care. I do enjoy sitting every night on the sofa with our littler dog Lulu (the shepherd is too big for the sofa). We call it "sofa time" and I just rub and scratch her all around and she loves it and it is very relaxing for me.

  • Jo September 19, 2017

    Thanks, Athanasia! Pets sure are the best therapy. :)

  • ellie's friend from Canada September 17, 2017

    I went to the community harvest fair but I did not buy anything because everyone had given me so many veggies previously. A friend was selling some things at the fair and she tried to sell some of the framed photos of bluebirds and pelicans I had taken but no-one bought any of the photos so I am out the frame money. Interestingly, though, an architect took my card so maybe she will contact me. A gift store at an historic site has taken some on consignment so maybe it won't be a total lost. I got the frames on sale but it added up. A friend bought me 30 cans of tinned fruit on sale (I'm paying her back). This is for my emergency pantry. I am making applesauce for the freezer from some apple crabs I was given. I went to a rock garden club last-minute plant sale. Someone had grown red penstemons that I've been looking for forever but could never find. They grow in hot dry sunny places so will be perfect for my boulevard scree garden. I bought all he had (the prices at this sale are always less than at nurseries) and then he gave me some other plants. I have almost all of the gardens upgraded, expanded, mulched. There is only one major task left and then it is just maintenance in years to come. Then there are some things to do inside. I have found some new kitchen tiles for $1 per sq foot so that will be next.

    Brandy, it is great you are acquiring things for your daughter. It will make it much easier than at the last minute. Her courses sound great! Does she knit? A couple of scarves and gloves would come in handy! I am glad to see she has applied for some scholarships. I had a few suggestions, too.

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