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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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  • Kerry September 18, 2017

    If Winter will be in "the 'burg" YES, it is bitterly cold. I bought my daughter a Lands' End down filled long coat. I was fortunate enough to work for them at the time, so I got a huge discount. We are from south TX and she told me that she was never cold while wearing that coat. If you sign up for their emails (so obnoxious!) they will notify you of a sale. They also have the "on the counter" sale where prices go down every couple of days...you have to be quick though!

    Again, assuming she's in the 'burg, that "other" grocery store is super expensive! I also found that it's a good idea to compare with the other roommates and see who is bringing what. No apartment needs 5 crockpots! Storage is fairly good, but again, it's 6 girls in an apartment!

    Good luck with school for your older ones! It's an exciting time and can also be stressful! Also, it's not a bad idea, if you can, to have your son take as many AP courses as he can or online BYU classes. My oldest headed off to his "freshman" year at BYU with 27 credits already! His best friends school only accepted 3 credits. We were really blessed.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Her cousins told her the grocery store in town is super expensive and that everyone shops at Walmart. They also said that because of that, someties they are out of things (I guess so!)

    We bought her a Land's End coat a few years back on clearance as part of our emergency prep. It's not down, but she will have it, and she will likely make a vintage-styled wool coat for herself too. She also plans to make some washable wool dresses.

    We homeschool, so AP courses aren't an option unless we were to stop homeschooling.

    If Winter has 24 creidts from BYU Independant Study, she can apply to BYU-I as a transfer student. We have spent a lot of time making sure everything transfers and applies to her major so that we don't waste money on classes that won't count. I love that this major has so many practical classes!

    I don't know how she would know who her roommates would be ahead of time. Mine changed almost every semester at BYU and I went year-round. Everyone used their own cooking stuff.

  • Libby September 19, 2017

    Wool coats are warm but the wind goes right through them.

    Is it windy at BYU-I? If Winter is going to sew her coat, could she sew in a "windproof" liner?

  • mable September 18, 2017

    I wonder if the memory of hair braking off is not a bit enhanced by time. I lived in villages in Alaska where the temperature in the winters went to 60 below zero, plus a wind chill bringing it to 90 or 100 below zero. I now live in North Pole, Alaska, right next to Fairbanks, and our temperatures regularly get to 35 and 40 below zero in the winter. I have never seen nor heard of anyone's hair breaking off and, teens being who they are, I know kids who have gone out without hats no matter how cold it gets. And when I lived in one of the villages the house was very poorly insulated and I often woke up to find my long hair frozen to the wall; it never broke off. She will certainly need warm clothing but need not panic if she goes out in the extreme cold without a hat, in terms of her hair, anyway. Her ears getting frostbitten are a different story.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    Mable, I don't know, but the story was too funny not to share! I know that I don't like wet hair in the winter here (most of the year I let it dry naturally, but in winter, if I don't dry it right away, I get a headache from my head being cold, and that's in the house!) Perhaps the girl had brittle hair from dying it often? I don't know! But I will make sure she has a blowdryer before she goes; going out in the cold with damp hair, even under a hat, is not pleasant.

  • Polly September 17, 2017

    I love this post! It's so smart to start *well in advance* with all the things she will need in college. And I just want to say: I love that you're sending her to college and that you value that. Also, based on what I've seen her make, I think her choice of major is quite appropriate. ;)

    You're an inspiration!!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    The major is perfect for her! They only started offering this major recently, and we are delighted that they have it! It is so practical!

  • Jenn in Indiana September 23, 2017

    Brandy, did you say what her major will be? Did i miss it?

  • Gen September 17, 2017

    I live in a city with two very large universities. One of the best tips I can give is to watch Craigslist and such at the end of each semester/quarter, when kids move/graduate. Many leave the city to return to their parent's homes while they look for work and/or resettle, and literally give away (or sell for very cheap), a lot of the items that Winter will probably need. In my old neighborhood, which was full of college kids in apartments, many even left items on the curb at the end of the month (move out day), which industrious resellers would drive around early to collect. Best wishes to Winter as she starts college and prepares for her new home.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 17, 2017

    I've heard a lot of people in college towns say this. I never did see it at BYU (in Provo) when I attended there, nor did my husband (he graduated 12 years before me). We did learn that BYU-Idaho apartments have a place for those who are planning to return to store their items for the semester when they are gone. My husband and I both went straight through school (no going home for the summer) and people always seemed to keep their stuff. Perhaps it depends on the school and income levels of those attending. I do know that 60% of the students attending her school receive scholarships.

  • Cindy in the South September 18, 2017

    I never saw stuff to give away either at BYU Provo. I attended year around from 1977-1981. I think I left my pots and pans with my roommates, sold my car, packed up all my clothes, sheets etc. and brought them back on the plane with me when I left. That was back in the day when you could take more luggage on planes....lol.

  • Andrea Q September 18, 2017

    I think, in part, that times have changed. We now live in a throwaway, disposable society where over-consumption is the norm. It also depends on the socioeconomics of the school. Some students leave behind nearly everything and others leave nothing because they can't afford to do so.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    I wonder the same thing, Andrea. I would love to hear from any people who have graduated from BYU-I in the last 10 years and see if they found that to be the case there or not.

  • gabrielle September 20, 2017

    Hi Brandy...I wished you lived closer. My husband works for Lehigh University (in PA) which a rather affluent private school. Every year they have a giant sale with the proceeds going to the local area ministries and elementary for field trip funds. Everything is gathered from students by student volunteers and it is 2 city blocks. My husband is required to wear a Lehigh shirt most days and I buy them for $.25 to $.50 each (I work the sale so I get a good view of what is going up). You would not believe the things that are sold at very low prices; microwaves, bikes, winter coats, etc...I'd be glad to shop for Winter. I shop for other college age kids.

  • Mary September 20, 2017

    That is great idea! I think all schools should do that!

  • Gabrielle September 17, 2017

    That's so wonderful for Winter! It will be so exciting to have her own place.

    I love the cupcakes! Beautiful job! Which icing tip did you use?

    I am finally winding down from parties...I was in a wedding last weekend and then chaired our back to school brunch at church last Sunday. It included not only brunch but games, a moon bounce, etc... Saturday night, I chaired my high school reunion and so spent all last week shopping for the reunion and all yesterday decorating...I'm beat.

    This week, I will make honey cake for Rosh Hashanah for family ( my Dad is Jewish). Here's the recipe:http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2016/09/honey-cake-rosh-hashanah-tradition/

    My sewing group has been talking about period panties or flowz as an alternative to pads for women and girls, both here and in third world countries. They are a DIY version of the very pricy thinx underwear. We have been experimenting with different types of fabric options and finally have a winner. I wrote a blog post about them: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/09/diy-period-panties-or-self-sewn-menstruation-alternative/. Maybe some of your readers may wish to try them.

    Have a very good week!

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 17, 2017

    I used a big tip: Wilton 2D. For roses, just start in the middle and go out. That's it. My 12-year-old son decided he wanted to try and he iced several too!

  • Peggy September 17, 2017

    My friend and I are on a trip to Salt Lake City to go to the Family History Library with an organized group of our Facebook friends. We left California yesterday, deciding to drive instead of purchasing airline tickets from California. We are splitting the cost of the gas, which my parents gifted money to me for my half. We are also sharing & splitting the cost of the hotel room. To save money on meals out, we brought groceries with us to make breakfast to eat before we go & lunch to take with us to eat at the library.

  • Athanasia September 19, 2017

    We visited the genealogy library while on our honeymoon trip in the late 80's. It was very impressive. Salt Lake City is certainly in a beautiful area with all those mountains. Probably more snow than I would want to deal with in winter, though. Also, being a librarian, we pretty much stop at every library we see while traveling, as my husband learned quickly.

    I am not much of a genealogy researcher myself, but fortunately others in the family take care of that. We dutifully notify them of any additions and changes to our family logistics, or else. Our church historian keeps up to date our genealogy section. It's housed all in a cabinet in the Library and has every record and log book going back to the founding. Plus correspondence, newspaper clippings, photo albums. Several times a year someone or some group wants to go through it. They always seem to find something of interest.

  • Michelle M September 17, 2017

    When my husband attended there ( he graduated 3 years ago) he did most of his shopping at Walmart. Food prices on many things were cheaper than where we lived in Washington.
    There is an Ikea in Utah. I do see license plates from Idaho when I have gone :)
    I took instant oatmeal and put it in my licker for breakfast, I froze 3 zucchinis I was gives, and froze some tomatoes from my garden. My husband and I bought some windows on clearance ( they were returns), he and our sons installed them. This should significantly help our energy bill. The original windows were 40 years old, they were not framed in correctly.

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