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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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  • Mandy September 18, 2017

    I cook a whole chicken in the crockpot. I set the chicken, breast down, in the crockpot and put it on low. No need for liquid to be added, the drippings will fill the crock about 1/4 - 1/2. She could put potatoes and carrots in there too.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    That's how I cook mine in the solar oven. I will have her do the same in the crockpot. I like your potatoes and carrots idea; I should cook mine like that more often. If I use the oval pan in the solar oven at an angle, I can fit more produce in around the chicken.

  • Andrea Q September 19, 2017

    If everyone eats separately, one chicken will last her most of the week. That will save a lot of time. A crockpot full of beans or chili will last several days, too.

  • Tami September 19, 2017

    There is a recipe I follow on the " our best bites " blog. It is for fauxtisserie chicken cooked on 3 foil balls in crockpot, breast side up. I have made the bone in chicken breast several times and recently the whole chicken! ( my first whole chicken cooked ever) . Hubby likes it quite well. I have been a vegetarian since 15 ( and am now 49) so cooking meat is always an adventure, even though I grew up with it, but thanks to Pinterest and blogs I try new meat recipes most every week for hubby.

  • Mandy September 18, 2017

    I am so excited for Winter! She is so lucky to have a mother who has forethought :) I believe a college education is an experience everyone young adult should get.
    Last week:
    * I stayed home when it wasn't necessary to leave the house.
    * I made all meals from scratch using food we already had
    * I made more solution for my reusable cleaning wipes (water, vinegar, eo's)
    * I cleaned out, decluttered, and reorganized my pot and pan cupboard
    * Used grey water to water the garden, flush the toilet, or add to the washing machine
    * hung laundry out to dry on my clotheslines
    * I made homemade cheesy "hamburger helper" (picky eater hubby loved it), breaded chicken breasts (the chicken breasts were so big that I sliced them in half, stretching the meat even further), spaghetti, pizza. My husband made baked chicken leg quarters with potatoes and carrots one night. I saved the bones and skin in my broth bag in the freezer. I also saved the fatty trimmings from the chicken breasts to put into the broth bag.
    *I watched my 2 year old grandson (I have a 23 yr old son from my first marriage and my daughter with my now husband is almost 7 :) ). We all did lots of playing outside. My daughter loves helping watch him and playing with him. I am going to clean out my spare room, hopefully this week, and make room for his pack and play to go in there for him to sleep in when he's here to make it easier on me.
    * We took the ac units out of the windows a week ago because we hadn't used them in several weeks. Now we are predicted to get 90 degree weather again (which is hot for here) and will probably put them back in.
    Have a great week everyone!

  • Athanasia September 19, 2017

    Mandy, we had an 88 F day last weekend and they are predicting a 90 F day coming up. Those are hotter than we had all the rest of the summer! It will be perfect for last rushes of harvesting, getting a few more things to grow and the tourist industry up here.

  • Lorna September 18, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    How wonderful that Winter is doing some online classes to go towards credits to attending her chosen University she wants to attend. My husband and I are also doing a personal finance course which we will get a certificate from BYU on completion. That is wonderful that your son wanted to try cake decorating too.

    Our frugal accomplishments for last week included -

    Purchases -
    - Bought 3 new knitted cotton jumpers on winter clearance special for $15 saving $30 on original costs.
    - Purchased 9 tins of tinned meat and vegetables with a 5 year expiration date on 50% off sale saving $18 on usual prices.
    - Bought 2 x 1.5mt lengths of 25mm galvanised pipe to make 2 garden hoes out of from a metal manufacturer saving $25.50 over buying it in the local hardware store. The base plates will be made from a piece of galvanised steel a friend gave to us.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made a quadruple batch of Brandy's wonderful granola saving $21.36 over purchasing it in the local supermarkets.
    - Cooked a roast chicken which we purchased for $3kg had tea one night and separated off meat from the bone for 3 more meals for the 2 of us for the freezer.
    - Made all our meals and bread from scratch.

    In the garden -
    - Picked 2 large turnips, 2 lge carrots and 2 capsicums from the gardens saving $7.72 over purchasing them.

    Water preservation -
    - Hand watered the house lawns all week with saved grey water from our showers and washing machine.
    - Used rinsing water from the kitchen to water some vegetable plants in the gardens.

    Electricity savings -
    - Only turned on the electric hot water system for 13hrs this week and used our solar lanterns for lighting our home with all week instead of turning on mains powered lights saving $9.95 in electricity costs.

    Fuel savings -
    - Combined multiple errands each time we went out in the car to save on fuel costs.

  • tadpole September 18, 2017

    Like many others here, I am so excited for your family and for Winter. It sounds like you have planned this transition out very well.

    Our household saved money this week by incorporating our garden produce into our meals and preserving the plums, apples, and peppers given to me by my neighbours as our fruit trees didn't really produce anything this year. I am so grateful from my neighbours.

    Have a great week everyone.


  • Paula Kennedy September 18, 2017

    What a great major for your daughter, Brandy! I am wondering - if she contacts her professors now, could she perhaps get a list of fabrics and supplies in advance, so that she and you can look for sales? It would also allow her to become acquainted with them before she gets there.

    I am curious if she could take some of her electives in history. Things like teaching history, textile conservation, museum work and historical reenactments would also fit her well.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    We won't know which professors she'll have for upper-level classes and there is a materials fee for those classes, so we don't know if they provide fabric options or if she'll end up ordering online or what yet.

    The school only started this major a year ago! It is perfect for her and we are delighted as tuition is $2009 a semester.

    The electives actually have some specific requirements that she has to choose from. I love your ideas and I don't remember seeing any of those as a choice, but they would be excellent. She and my husband sat down and figured out her classes all the way through but I will mention those to them and see if they are available and possible. She would like those.

    An internship is also required and study abroad is also recommended. What she would love is a study abroad in England (which would be a great place to take the classes you just mentioned) with an internship there in historical costuming. So if any of my readers in the U.K. have any suggestions for that, please share!

  • Rhonda A. September 18, 2017

    I have a former co-worker that I used to work with at the pioneer village. He now does costuming for movie and T.V. productions in Toronto. One of the ways he got his start was working at a local theatre. If Winter cannot find an internship for historic costuming, perhaps she could look at an internship in a theatre house in England. I'm betting they do a lot of Shakespeare productions, which would involve creating historic costumes for the actors!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    I like your idea, Rhonda.

  • Ros September 20, 2017

    Angels, the theatrical costumier in London offers internships.
    The V&A (Victoria and Albert) museum, which holds a lots of historical fabrics and fashions, also offers internships and work placements.
    It would probably be easiest to do an unpaid internship on a visitor's visa; a paid internship would probably require a work visa. During the Summer many of the London universities offer their student accommodation for rent, this is good value for central London, but is still quite expensive. Imperial College, which is next to the V&A, runs a Summer accommodation scheme. May be worth looking for a place as a part-time "mother's helper" or nanny in return for accommodation. The classified section of The Lady is the place to look for these arrangements.

  • Jeannie September 18, 2017

    Good morning Brandy, I would like to comment again and share my experiences with sending my three home-schooled boys to college. Maybe something will help you. Our rules were as follows:

    1. I required each to go to college or a trade school for one semester and see if they liked it. They could drop out after that but they would be required to get a full-time job and move out on their own. Each one chose to continue their education.

    2. They would pay for their education, not us. We helped them avoid school loans by “lending” them money ourselves. My husband told them it would be unfair to help the first one, then if he lost his job he could not help the younger ones. Car loans have been added to their debt loads. They would have to pay back sooner and the money would have gone to help the younger ones. Dustin is in his last semester now. When he finishes Bill will reevaluate the loans. My hope is that he will forgive some of the money for each one. That is his choice and I leave the decision to him.

    3. When Joshua decided to continue on in school and get a Master's degree, we congratulated him but said, no money from us. He got a student loan and YES I nagged him until he paid it off early. He is my one non-thrifty child who wants to make so much money he does not have to economize. He will do it I believe.

    3. I insisted each one attend a local 2 year college and live at home saving a fortune. The other, more important advantage, was how they were able to mature mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Two years makes a big difference when you are young. Each one thanked me for this after one semester in the four year college. They saw freshmen arriving and burning by boatload. The world is wicked and there are wolves waiting to devour the young. Yes, I am waxing eloquent, but my goal was for them to be able to see through scams. Did they make it through unharmed? No. But that is for another post someday.

    4. We would help them all we could with other things such as health insurance, apartment furnishings and food. I agreed to send food and fix their lunches. Which I shared the savings in this post.


    5. What ended up is that our house has become “Grand Central Station” with them moving in, moving out, moving back then moving back out. They have gone from dorm rooms, to apartments, to a group share apartment (8 in a two bedroom, I was horrified by the dirty bathroom), to renting a room from a family, and staying with Mom in Nashville. What has worked is the “community dishware” box in the attic and furniture stuffed in the basement. Boxes of pots, pans, silverware, lamps, a small refrigerator, mattresses, sheets, blankets, anything you can imagine. When they return, they would leave things and then the next one would take what they needed. Everything is swapped back and forth. If there was not enough, I would shop at thrift stores. I offered them anything in the house but Scooter or my favorite red pot that I use to cook everything in. I do have boundaries. Here I shared a post when we visited Dustin's new apartment and you can see some of the furniture.


    I am not sure if being boys made a difference, but none of them cared if their dishes, linens, furniture matching. Joshua and Reese want to travel as light as possible with just the bare minimum. Dustin wants to pack everything including the kitchen sink. Reese laughed this summer when he bought a watermelon and realized he did not have a knife long enough to cut it so he used his pocked knife (YUCK) which has been used to cut everything disgusting. Reese is in Agriculture and has cut some really horrible things. I didn't ask if he sanitized but for fear he might say he just wiped his knife on his jeans. Moms learn to not ask.

    As of today: Joshua is living with Mom but will probably move out with friends soon. Dustin is in college and will move back home at the end of the semester then move to a full-time job somewhere. Reese is at an apprenticeship for another month or two and then might move back home or move somewhere else. Grand Central Station continues to be open and operational. What does matter, is that each son has thanked us for the help we have given. I live to hear "thanks Mom."

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    The apartments all have cleaning checks. Some places are monthly and some are weekly! They have required items that have to be cleaned each time. I remember having to clean the seal on the fridge door at school. Even though my mom had a spotless house, I had never cleaned the seal on the fridge before! Winter will have to supply her own cleaning supplies; she already knows how to clean with rags, vinegar, and baking soda, so that's a frugal plus!

    We will help our children financially as we are able, but we won't be paying for expensive schools. Tuition at this school is $2009 per semester. The local university is over $5000. Schools that cost more than that we won't be able to support. We expect them to apply for scholarships, Pell grants, and to work. We don't want them to take out loans for their undergrad degrees. My husband and I both received our undergrad degrees without incurring debt and we want to same for our children (I actually have a planned post on this that I am finishing soon).

    My eldest will not have a car at school. I did fine without one and I feel it is an unnecessary expense. We are already a one-car family.

    Our house has neither an attic nor a basement, so I don't have room to store things we're not using. What we purchase for school will go in a single plastic box and will have to go in a closet somehow.

    It sounds like you have a great plan worked out for your family!

  • Jeannie September 18, 2017

    And you have a great plan worked out for your family! All three of mine went to state schools because we got a 25% discount due to my husband being a state worker. Since they were responsible for the tuition, each one has kept their grades high to qualify for scholarships. All three incurred no debt (to us) for the first two years at the junior college.

    I love the idea of the cleaning checks at the apartments. Right now Dustin is renting his own apartment from the money earned working during the summer and refuses to get a roommate even though he could save money. He is very clean and needs quiet for studying. Those are priorities for him. Each child is so different.

    I think you are doing a wonderful job sharing your life on this blog. You have helped so many especially me! I have learned so many new ideas.
    Thanks, Jeannie

  • Marcia R. September 19, 2017

    My granddaughter is an only child and her one experience with a roommate was over after a 6 month trial. The girl was not compatible. My granddaughter much prefers being alone as she has been used to having her own quiet time all her life. She worked the first two years but cut back during her upper level courses--she was doing a double major and needed the study time. She is something of a procrastinator and only gets moving when deadlines loom. Her sophomore year she was a resident advisor in the dorm--mostly because she did not go out drinking and partying every weekend--they asked her to take the job, she had not thought of it. The third year she had a small apartment of her own with three of her male friends, including another resident advisor she had worked with, in an apartment across the hall. Some protection of sorts in a neighborhood I would not have chosen myself. They looked out for her welfare, although they were a bit LOUD at times. She graduated cum laude so we were glad we gave her the no working option as she got nearer graduation. She did graduate at the end of four years also--another way to save money!! So many just keep changing majors and don't finish in 4 years. She also chose a school which is known for good financial aid packages--her final debt load was about half the "average"--no loans was not possible as both her parents are disabled and have limited income. She did have two scholarships. At 3 years past graduation, her loans are past halfway paid--if things continue to go well, I see them being fully repaid in 5 years total.

  • Cindi September 18, 2017

    This is so wise, Brandy. I think too many people have been brain=washed to believe that they must accept debt to get an education, yet I know two families -- middle-income, average Americans -- who are sending two children each to college without debt. It takes work and sometimes sacrifice on everyone's part, but doing so means the young people will graduate without that burden of debt.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    We're not middle-income (this year below poverty-level) but we still want them to get an education without debt. Hopefully, we can make it work on the timeline we would like, but it will depend on our income and what Pell grants and scholarships she gets. Interestingly enough, the university itself gives non-academic scholarships and wants students to show self-reliance in applying for them!

  • Athanasia September 20, 2017

    Jeannie, I'm glad you put your foot down when it came to the dog. Some things are just sacred.

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