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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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  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada September 18, 2017

    True story - I rented a room in a house where everyone actually took their own TP into the bathroom.

  • Anne September 18, 2017

    That's very interesting. I never had more than one roommate at a time and since it was centuries and centuries ago I can not remember who supplied pots or plates.

    But I am loving the story of your husband living with 12 other guys. :o I can't even imagine that.

  • Juls Owings September 19, 2017

    Hubby said that is why you both can handle sharing your home with so many kids LOL. I grew up with a brother 10 yrs older than me, sharing isn't something we learned growing us. LOL

  • Maxine September 21, 2017

    I am guessing she plans on attending BYU-Idaho, and yes, it does get cold there! Be on the lookout for long underwear!

    I pass through Rexburg a couple of times a year on my way to see my son in Wyoming. I was just there this past Monday. The Wal-Mart has closed down, but I am guessing that they have moved to a bigger facility somewhere else in town. There are two grocery stores: Broulim's, which is pricey but a wonderful store, and Albertsons, which is not quite as pricey but lacking the charm. There is a big Deseret Industries thrift store in Rexburg. I haven't been in it, but it gets high reviews. (Good place to look for those long johns).

    Before you buy new pots and pans, keep your eyes open at thrift stores and yard sales. Occasionally I see nearly new pots, though never in a set. Two or (at most) 3 pans, plus a frying pan, should be enough. Don't buy any new ones until she is ready to go to school, because you might find something else first.

    Also, make it a point to drive through UNLV housing complexes at the end of each semester. You will be amazed by what gets left beside the dumpsters.

  • Andrea Q September 18, 2017

    Having her own blow dryer will be great, but I just didn't want her to worry that the cold would destroy her hair! If she's running late and doesn't have time to dry it, a warm hat will do the trick. Fashion sometimes falls by the wayside when it's 10 F outside (or colder!).

    Based on your descriptions, the apartments must have a lot of cupboards in the kitchen to store all those cooking items?

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Some of the kitchens are really big! The school used to be a 2-year junior college until it became an accredited 4-year university several years back. They built some nice apartments since then and we noticed that several of the newer ones were larger and nicer than what we had when we were in college. The place with 8 girls has 2 fridges, which is so nice! A few had smaller kitchens but most had incredible cabinet space. Since you can see them all online, you can tell ahead of time what the cabinet space is like, which is so helpful. I want to keep her items to a minimum as I know once can cook without a lot of things, but still try to make sure everything is useful for her. Because she is used to cooking from scratch, there are some things she wants that I know I didn't have as a student, but that will serve her well in keeping her meal costs down (and eating even healthier and less expensive than I did). Having the right tools will help so much.
    She only spends about 5 minutes doing her hair in the morning, and she does all kinds of fancy wedding-style updos. NO ONE who sees her believes that she can do her hair so fast. She's even shown other girls and they still don't believe her! Pinterest has taught her well; she is teaching me styles to try on her sisters that she has learned. I was really surprised with one she taught me Sunday; it looked SO fancy and it was SO easy! And it really was fast!

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada September 18, 2017

    She might want an extra wool blanket to put under her sheet as well. It was surprising to me how much warmth was added by doing this. I put mine between the mattress and mattress cover.

  • Libby September 18, 2017

    Hi Brandy,

    I keep my house at 58 at night during the winter and it gets to -15 in New England for a few weeks during the overnight. Layers on the bed help keep it warm - a cotton blanket with a loose weave with the wool blanket on top will be much warmer than just the wool blanket, then maybe a comforter on top of that.

    I highly recommend flannel sheets also.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Libby, you answered a question I have asked myself any times. I see these photos of beds on blogs with a comforter, flannel sheets, a wool throw, and a quilt, and I haven't figured out how cold people must have it inside to want all of those layers! We keep our house at 65º in the winter and a thin cotton quilt plus regular cotton sheets is all my husband needs. I will sleep in flannels with a pair of wool socks and add a cotton quilt throw on top and that is plenty for me.

    She currently has a fleece blanket (twin-sized), a cotton quilt, and a wook blanket, all of which she will take with her. The apartment rent includes utilities, so I don't think anyone will keep it that cold (in fact, she's worrried she'll have roommates who want to set it to 78º like we know some people do here with their heat). Your description of the bed clothes and what will likely bie a bit higher than 58º temperature in the apartment makes me think she should be okay with what she had. We'll just need to get the extra-long sheets, and I think I'll buy flannel ones.

  • Libby September 19, 2017

    Having utilities included in the rent is awesome! I agree with you that the heat won't be turned down so low. Winter should be fine with flannel sheets, fleece blanket, wool blanket, and cotton quilt.

    So glad I could answer your question about how low the temp goes to have all the layers on the bed :)

    I went to college in Maine for three semesters and remember how cold the walks were from dorm to classes to dining hall. Flannel lined blue jeans are heavenly.

  • Rhonda A. September 18, 2017

    The city I live in has both a college and university (Canada, obviously), plus I work with a number of college/university students every summer. I can attest that many student do not want to move everything they accumulate over their school stays, because it is too expensive to rent large moving trucks to load it all in. If you know for sure that Winter will be attending in that area, and you still need any larger items, have her cousins watch for them or ask around for her around exam time in April/May. Could score some free things!

    It sounds like Winter is looking at attending a college where there is snow. Considering that she is used to living in a desert, I would highly suggest she look at buying some really warm socks, like these: https://www.amazon.com/Heat-Holders-Thermal-Womens-Original/dp/B06XK4N2Z6/ref=sr_1_9_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1505737871&sr=8-9&keywords=thermal+socks+women. They are expensive, but well worth the cost...trust me I've lived my entire life in Canada! You might be able to find them cheaper. I can buy knock off versions up here around 2 for $10 i think (Giant Tiger has them if anyone in Canada is wondering). The socks are lined with a fuzzy wool type lining which keeps your feet warm and cozy, but breath well so your feet don't get too sweaty.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    She has some wool socks (including tall ones!) but we will be getting her more for certain. There's also a Cal Ranch store in the same town and they have very reasonably priced wool socks. Snow boots are going to need to be purchased ahead of time; the school has 3 semesters but different tracks and it is likely that she will start in January, so she'll need to be prepared with warm clothing immediately.

  • Mitzie September 18, 2017

    Another way to keep feet warm is to cut insoles for footwear, especially boots, from wool items. Felted wool sweaters work great. Felt breathes where acrylic does not and will make feet sweaty and wet. You also can not beat alpaca socks for warmth. Proud winter lover from Minnesota.

  • Laurie in central NC September 18, 2017

    I second the alpaca socks. When I know I'm going to be in a very cold environment for a length of time, I always wear alpaca socks. For every day winter warmth, I love cashmere/blend socks, as they're warm but much lighter weight than wool. Of course, the higher percentage of cashmere, the warmer the socks. I've found deals on ebay, and in Marshalls & TJ Maxx in years past, though not lately. I usually buy the alpaca socks from another vendor at a holiday show I do every year, so I really have not researched if there are good deals out there.

  • Mitzie September 18, 2017

    I buy my alpaca socks from alpaca farmers. The couple has full time jobs, but have this small side venture which is more than a hobby to them. He does the animal care and takes the animals to schools, nursing homes, petting zoos and fairs. She gathers the fiber, spins it into yarn and then has several women who knit for her. Each pair cost me about $12. But I've had pairs that with proper care have lasted for five years or more.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Mitzie, I think if alpaca are the warmest, then you are getting a fantastic deal at $12 a pair! They sound very worth it!

  • Mitzie September 18, 2017

    I meant to say that wool felt breaths where acrylic does not.

  • Karen in WI September 19, 2017

    Brandy, I've lived in the upper Midwest my whole life, except for 3 years in California. The first year back in Wisconsin, I was cold the whole winter. My body got acclimated to the warm CA weather. I assume your daughter will be colder since she has lived in Nevada, so definitely warm clothes!

  • Lilli September 18, 2017

    Brandy, I am so excited to hear about Winter 's new journey. My daughter finished 4 years at a major university. The first year she lived in a dorm room with one girl and it was like a teeny apartment. They shared everything. I found that as various girls moved off the campus, their parents assisted with the moveouts. Nothing seemed to get tossed out. She has shared apartments with several girls those next 3 years. I found it interesting that each month when people moved out that the trash/recycling center looked like a yard sale. Boxes of everything imaginable. Perhaps the wasteful indulgence is because parents are not supervising at this point. I do believe that when college boy moves out to go to his apartment in January, I know where to shop. I am at college girls apartment about 3 times a month. I am going to start checking the goods two days before the next rents are due. I picked up 4 new in boxes shoes 3 months ago. Nikes, 2 Keds, and a pair of Saucony running shoes. Someone was incredibly wasteful.

  • Cindy Brick September 18, 2017

    I wish this were the case at the University of Colorado in Boulder -- but students there, who often come from higher-income families, are notorious for tossing everything in the dumpster and walking out the door.
    On the other hand, people regularly 'shop' in the dumpsters at semester's end, for just this reason!

    P.S. I've had my hair freeze too, especially while running...never had any problem with it breaking. Sounds like the girl's hair was fragile, in the first place. Winter has such beautiful hair, I doubt she'd have a problem.

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