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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 18, 2017

    She doesn't knit, but she has several lightweight scarves, two heavy scarves, and a wool hat already. She has lined gloves but I have thought about getting her some cute vintage-styled wool ones that I saw that would go with her outfits.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 19, 2017

    I meant to mention that Land's End is a great place to buy snow boots from. I bought about 4 pairs at once several years ago (on sale for $30 each pair) and I am still making my way through them. The reason I bought so many is the wide part of my calf, although not bigger than its size measure, sits at a different point on my leg than most people's so I always had problems getting boots to fit in the calf. My boots were Chalet boots, (mid-height) pull ons (sort of a slouchy style that fit my calves!) and suede (maybe artificial suede) (should use a moisture repellent spray on them although I never had any problem. I love them. Land's end had a 30% sale on regular priced items. They often have such sales. Today Land's End has a dark brown all weather boot for $26 US from $69.00. There are limited sizes. They are not like my boots but might be even better. They also have some of their flannel sheets on sale but i haven't priced them. Land's End always has specials.

  • Katy in Africa September 18, 2017

    Beautiful cupcakes!
    My frugal accomplishments:
    We're changing how we give so we can get a tax receipt.
    We found out that we'll get a discount on our kids' school bill since we have 2 kids attending.
    I found another frugal blog to follow. Reading blogs is my frugal hobby, but yours is probably my very favorite!
    I'm resisting the urge to buy myself a new notebook as we have plenty of partially used ones I'm using up instead.
    I used cocoa powder as dry shampoo once this week. Helps my hair look less greasy if I haven't washed it, I know the ingredient in it, smells nice, and while I've never done a price comparison I'm pretty sure its cheaper.

  • Jenny September 21, 2017

    Cocoa powder as a dry shampoo. Tell me more! I have seen dry shampoos at the super market but I was wondering how effective they were. Can you use any kind of powder as a dry shampoo?

  • Gardenpat September 18, 2017

    This week we sold $305 worth of wood pumpkins and a wooden soap cutter that my husband designed for a soap maker friend! We also sold a dozen eggs since we are now getting 7 eggs/day!
    When our paycheck direct deposit came in on Thursday, we still had about $235 unallocated $$ so I used that to make an additional payment on my surgery bill with the other half going into our savings account! I used our HSA deposit for this payday to pay off another medical bill!
    I made more cookie mix, more lunch wraps, hard boiled another dozen eggs in my instant pot for snacks.
    A friend brought over 2 bushels of fresh apples that I am going to can in the morning! My supply on the shelf is getting low so this will be perfect!
    I bought a new steaming canner that has a gauge to accurately show when to start processing time! I'm excited because it only uses 2-1/2 quarts of water to process up to 7 quarts so the time to get it up to boiling is way less and I don't need to feel badly about canning small batches of just a couple of jars at a time when that's all I have coming from my garden on a particular day!!
    Donated 10 bags of clothes to SA after we had a clothing swap at church. I've lost 40 pounds since last fall so I donated winter clothes that are now too big and was able to find several sweaters and tops that will be great for this winter!
    We've been eating down our freezers in anticipation of getting 40 pounds of Zaycon chicken breasts in October. When we ordered it, there was a promotion where it cost us $1.26/pound!! The price has gone up in the couple months since then, but we paid for ours at that price and so it's locked in!!
    We have been abundantly blessed and are trying to be good stewards over what we've been given!
    Hope everyone else has felt blessings showered over them this week!

  • LSM September 18, 2017

    Great job on the weight loss!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    It's so nice to get new clothes in a smaller size! I am glad you were able to get them at a swap! I have been slowly building up a new wardrobe (hence the thrift store purchases this week) and I didn't have enough for winter. I'm not sure that I have enough for late fall/spring (i.e. 3/4 length blouses) but I have several sweaters and 3 pairs of jeans for winter now. I wouldn't mind a pair or two of pants and some winter dresses, but I can certainly make do with what I have until I find a great deal on those.

  • Teresa September 18, 2017

    Hi Gardenpat, do you have a website or FB page that shows the items your husband makes?

  • Gardenpat September 20, 2017

    Actually we do, Teresa! Our Facebook page is HandmadeinOldeTowne.

  • Melanie September 18, 2017

    Brandy, can you tell us how you budget, plan, and shop for household linens - kitchen linens, towels, sheets etc? I am sure that you have a well thought through plan which the rest of us could benefit from!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    I rarely buy them :)

    For the children, I buy 100% cotton white sheets. Everyone gets white, so that they can be interechanged without a problem. I don't have duplicates; I have one extra set in case a child is ill. If a bottom sheet wears out I will buy just a bottom sheet. I bought a few new sheets this year when several wore through.

    For my bed, a set of sheets has been a gift from my mom for several years. We usually only have one set at a time. I have a California King bed, which is harder to find sheets for. I did buy sheets earlier this year with a 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond on top of a sale.

    My kitchen washcloths and cleaning rags from from Sam's Club; they last a long time and I've only replaced them once.

    For kitchen towels I use flour sack towels from Sam's Club that I cut in half and hem to be two. I was given some new towels from our exchange student in France that I am also using, so I don't expect to need towels for quite some time.

    Bathroom towels; I think I replace them around every 5 or 6 years, when they're totally worn out. I will mend them before that time. Last year I replaced towels. For handtowels and washcloths in my bathroom, I bought them at a garage sale. The bath towels for everyone came from Sam's Club.

  • Andrea Q September 18, 2017

    DH and I were both given decent quality bath towels in college (from Macy's and JCPenney). Those lasted 18 years (and are still in use as rags). I bought the best ones that I could afford (on sale), hoping that they'll last 15+ years again.

  • http://Robbie September 18, 2017

    Terrific option to ease into college that way. It's such a different pace than what students are used to! Plus the savings from room and board!
    My strange savings is drinking water. I have a terrible diet coke addiction. I recently decided to drink 3 glasses of water - no matter how tired i am - before I drink soda in the am.
    My son worked on scout popcorn sale this weekend. He made considerable progress towards earning his way to camp. Very proud of his work ethic. He had earned his way to camp every year since 1st grade.
    Hit the farmers market for fresh veggies.
    Got a prescription for often used over counter med so I can use my health saving account.
    Waiting to find out if I am going to a conference next week given hurricane Maria. Please pray for everyone in its path.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Good for you for drinking water! Water will give you a HUGE boost in energy (better than soda).

    Also, make sure you are getting enough iron and vitamin b-12. If you are lacking in those you will be very tired. I had quit taking my vitamins the last couple of months and was finding I was too tired to make it through the day. The garden isn't producing many greens this time of year. I increased my vitamin intake and my energy came back within 2 days! I'll keep taking them even as I get more greens from the garden again. They make a huge difference!

  • Juls Owings September 19, 2017

    vitamins was the first thing I stocked up on when Hubby announced he was retiring this year. Figured we would need to make sure we stayed healthy.

  • momsav September 21, 2017

    I have to take vitamins,too. And iron. If I don't remember to take them for a few days, I drag.

  • Laurie in central NC September 18, 2017

    It must be an exciting time for Winter, preparing for her next adventure. How wise to figure out what is needed now, and have all this time to compare prices and gather it. You've really got the cake decorating down. Beautiful cupcakes! That must have been quite a dusty miller plant. I've tried growing them the past couple of years, but they always end up spindly. If it was in your white garden, I expect mine need more than the somewhat shady area they've been in. Though the garden is slowing down, I'm still picking lima beans, okra, tomatoes, eggplant, kale and an occasional cucumber and squash. Joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/09/creating-frugal-accomplishments.html

  • Rhonda A. September 18, 2017

    What an exciting time for Winter right now! Her choice of plate pattern is lovely and the napkins she made are a perfect match. I have a suggestion for Winter as well. Last Christmas, I used a binder to create a cookbook for a niece who would be leaving for college within the year. I printed off all my favourite family recipes, with personalized tips/suggestions. My idea was that she could then add to the cookbook with her own family favourites, as well as add new recipes she will discover as she goes out into the world. Perhaps this would be a great project for Winter to work on before she goes off to college, or maybe even a great gift you could make her for Christmas. It's a pretty inexpensive gift to compile, with special notes from mom on how to cook/shop frugally.

    Well I've had a very busy week. This was my first week off from work since last May. Got a lot done but still more to do! My busy week of frugal accomplishments at home this week included:
    *Meals made at home included tacos, homemade creamy chicken noodle soup (prepared with 1/2 a cooked chicken breast leftover in the fridge, frozen homemade poultry stock, frozen veggies and egg noodles from pantry), stuffed chicken breasts with choice of french fries or sweet potato fries and peas, "cracked out" chicken tatertot casserole (see below) with broccoli, BBQ steaks with baked potatoes and corn, meat balls in BBQ sauce with homemade macaroni & cheese and mixed veggies.
    *Tried a new recipe this week called "cracked out" chicken tatertot casserole (recipe link: http://www.plainchicken.com/2016/05/cracked-out-chicken-tater-tot-casserole.html). I substituted the chicken with cooked turkey from our freezer, cheddar cheese soup instead of cream of chicken as my family likes the taste better, and left out the bacon bits as we are currently out. DD loved this one! Added it to our list of meal ideas.
    *Made coconut banana crunch muffins for DD's school lunch treat this week (recipe link: http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/2016/04/coconut-banana-crunch-muffins/). I had 2 bananas that were extremely ripe and coconut in my pantry that I bought on sale for $0.77/bag this summer. FYI: This recipe does not call for any milk. Also, the amount of coconut could be decrease slightly without significantly effecting taste.
    *Made a double batch of peanut butter cookies for this coming weeks school lunch treat and for the family to enjoy at home since these are everyones favourite cookie!
    *Bought 20lb of carrots for $1.97/10lb bag, 20lb bag of potatoes for $3.33, and bag of red onions on 50% discount for $2.50 (about 3lbs), 5 large blocks of cheese for $5.99/700g plus received $1 off, 2 bags of sugar for $1.13/2kg bag after coupon, and got a package of DD's favourite chocolate pudding for free with coupon.
    *Bought 2 dozen corn cobs for $7/dozen and 2 big butternut squash for $2 each at the farmers market. Squash is typically priced per lb at the grocery store making it more expensive.
    *Canned 5 pints of strawberry jam, 5 pints of strawberry rhubarb jam, 6 pints plus 4 half pints of bumbleberry jam (strawberry, raspberry and blueberry mix - 1 half pint had a failed seal, so went directly into fridge), and 2 pints plus 1 half pint of strawberry/raspberry/rhubarb jam from fruit frozen earlier this summer.
    *Blanched and froze 4 heads of cauliflower that I bought last week on sale for $1/head. Normal price in winter is over $2/head! This will add some variety to our meals in the middle of winter.
    *Dried another $0.77 celery bunch, filling my jar in the pantry. Saved the scraps/celery base to veggie stock bag in freezer and put aside the leafy bits for our Guinea pig.
    *Dried most of the bag of red onions (minus 3 for fresh use), to add to pantry. Added scraps/skins to veggie stock bag in freezer. I placed the dehydrator outside to avoid stinking up the house.
    *I noticed a tree loaded with lovely red crabapples hanging over a very deep drainage ditch near DD's bus stop (nobody's property, so fair game!). I took a plasic bag down one day and collected a bunch of the crabapples. I'm going to try mixing the crabapple juice (which has lots of natural pectin) with the peach juice (made from pits and peelings) to make a low sugar syrup. I'm hoping the pectin will help the syrup thicken. Since I don't need it to set like jelly I can use less sugar, and it's safe for canning. This will be an experiment, but worth a try.
    *Ordered tattler lids on Amazon ($60 for 36 lids). They're expensive, but an investment since they are reusable. Every year my canning seems to increase, as I learn and experiment with new things to preserve. I'd like to slowly buy more of these, so I don't have to keep buying so many "one use only" lids.
    *I asked my husband to inquire about ordering a big bag of bread flour through the restaurant he works at. Someone here mentioned that the cost of flour may go up. Since I was running low on bread flour, I thought I should stock up. I cannot find large bags anywhere in our area and the small bags can be costly. He bought the 44lb bag of bread flour for $20 total, which will last us at least a year or more.
    *My husband came home from work this week and informed me he would be receiving a $1/hour raise. It was totally unexpected, but very appreciated!
    *Our bank allows us to have a set amount of money transferred over to a savings account with every interact transaction we make(you can also set a capped amount per day). Since we are trying to save for a vacation to Europe in 2019, my husband decided to increase the amount from $1 to $2. We don't use interact a lot (I prefer to use cash to control my spending), but it's a great way to put money aside without any particular effort on our part.
    *Not frugal: My husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on Monday. We went out for dinner. My chicken was undercooked, so they made me a new sandwich and an extra plate of sweet potato fries while I waited for the sandwich to cook. I made sure to bring home the abundance of leftovers which was eaten for lunch the next day. Afterwards, we watched the movie "the Glass Castle". I had previously read the book (an extremely compelling memoir) and was not disappointed by the film. Hubby sometimes has to be forced into drama type movies, but I think he really did enjoy this one. Might have even seen a lip quiver over a couple scenes, but it was dark in the theatre.

    Hope you all have a wonderful, inspirational, and frugal week!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Rhonda, all of the recipes she makes are on my website, except for one that she tried from Pinterest and has memorized. She's likely to add a recipe to Pinterest if she wants something new. There is a recipe I make that she likes that isn't on my site; she asked me to add it and I noted those ingredients on the basic pantry list that I started for her, because it meant that she would need a couple more ingredients in her pantry. I'm sure she'll learn new recipes from roommates as well. She loves Pinterest and that will most likely be her organization method.

    I did note that I haven't taught her how to roast a whole chicken, as I usually do that part of the meal, so I'll be remedying that. I'll also teach her how to cook beans in the crockpot so she can start them in the morning and have them ready for lunch or dinner.

  • Rhonda A. September 18, 2017

    I'm looking forward to seeing the new recipe when you add it! Would love the link to the Pinterest recipe if you have it handy too. Always looking for new recipe ideas to try. Family is picky, but sometimes these recipes spark an idea that I can then search other ideas on Pinterest.

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