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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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Comments

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 17, 2017

    Well she won't have a car at school (and has decided to forgo getting her license, at least for now, which is also nice as we don't have to pay for her insurance). I didn't have one at college either and I remember carrying home groceries. It is much colder where she is going so I am delighted that there is a shuttle for her to take to the store (and campus is surrounded by apartments, so whereever she ends up living will be close enough to walk to school). She's also going to sew 4 heavy-duty shopping bags (she's already started thinking about fabrics and will probably start these very soon) for her own resuable shopping bags.

    There is a Winco a 30 minute drive away (in Idaho Falls) but unless she gets a ride with someone, Walmart is going to be her choice for things. Once she's up at school, I don't think she'll be buying much besides foods and supplies for classes (she 'll need fabric for class). Any apartment type things she has will likely be only what she takes with her.

  • Stacey September 20, 2017

    Brandy, I read every week but don't think I've ever commented. Winter can order from Walmart online and have so many things come right to her door. Of course not perishables but many things can come to the door and the shipping is free over a certain amount.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 17, 2017

    I'm also hoping their prices are lower at that store. I know when I went to school in Utah, prices on eggs were 3 times cheaper than what we paid in California. My parents were shocked! We talked about that possibility.

  • Kathy L September 17, 2017

    That is so smart to have Winter stay at home in the beginning to cut costs - she can focus on her studies instead of learning to manage on her own all at once. I do have a question: You two seem really industrious in terms of making preparations for an event that is still 16 months away. I just went through this experience with my son and I probably got everything done in 10-15 hours. Am I correct in thinking that you are starting so very early for two reasons - 1) to get the best prices and 2) because it's really exciting and fun to start prepping for a new independent college life? (PS thank you again for all the info in BYU; my son decided to go to Ohio State, where he is rooming with a young man who has similiar conservative values.)

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 17, 2017

    Those are part of it, but also, by spreading it out over time, I don't have to come up with a bunch of money all at once. I also primarily hit garage sales only two weekends a year (one in October and once in April) when the big weekend neighborhood sales are (they are always the same weekends because of HOA rules here). In addition, when it is time for her to leave, we'll have lots of other expenses, including housing (which is paid by semester), transportation to get her to school, tuition (a big chunk at once rather than how we are doing it now), books, etc.

    Having an apartment and cooking for herself means she needs a lot more than she would if she was living in a dorm and eating cafeteria food (but at $6.50 a meal on the meal plan, she will definitely be cooking for herself!) I want to make sure that whatever we get, it's also something that she really likes. Living with 5-7 other people has its stresses, as does going to college in and of itself, and I always think it's nice that even though the objects you use every day are really utilitarian, it also gives you a bit of joy to have something both useful and pretty. So while your roommates are getting on your nerves, you can make yourself a nice meal in the same room and have a bit of peace because you like the small, everyday objects that you are using. It might take a bit more time to find what she likes and keep the budget down. I'm sure if I had lots of money to spend, I could do it much more quickly, but on a limited budget, it will be good for us to be able to watch the holiday sales and such. I'm really hoping we come across some great estate sales at the garage sales with rock-bottom prices (like one I went to before that was $0.25 for a handful of kitchen items).

    And yes, it's definitely fun!

  • Melody in OR September 18, 2017

    Such great thinking ahead. I love your thought of having something nice to cook with and eat from. I completely agree it does bring joy. I love how you find and live the simple pleasures and beauty of life and carry a positive attitude. I'm sure your daughter is a lot like you and will find these simple things comforting. I'm sure she will be an example as you are of a simple yet elegant life.

  • Kathy L September 19, 2017

    I can only imagine your reaction to the $6.50-a-meal meal plan! That sound ridiculously high, especially since I'll bet that young women are charged the same price as young men, but eat 1/2 as much at most. Winter will be able to keep her food budget quite low and still eat well; she has her mama for advice and inspiration

  • Juls Owings September 18, 2017

    Ohio State(Athens down by Bob Evans Farm) or Ohio State University Columbus? My son went to OSU my best friend's son went to OH St.

  • Kathy L September 18, 2017

    Ohio State in Columbus. When did your son graduate and what did he think of his education? My son is a freshman.

  • Juls Owings September 19, 2017

    Kathy L. He graduated in 2005 and said it was well worth it. My cousin graduated 2015 and said it was worth it, she started at a branch and then transferred to main campus and worked her way through school and thought it was worth also.

  • Sheila September 17, 2017

    My college daughter has found a crock pot pretty useful, and she lives by herself. In fact she texted me a crock pot recipe she was making for dinner tonight. :). The crock pot I got free via a deal site offering I saw (months ago), so you have lots of time to look for that. After she had lived there a while, the one thing she decided she wanted that we hadn't initially bought was a cast iron skillet. We got a lot of her things at IKEA. I got skillets for her at Costco on sale. One item we bought too cheaply was her can opener. She eventually replaced it with one that was a bit nicer. This is my daughter's third year in college and second in an apartment- she actually loves living in a studio apartment by herself. She has several fairly close friends in the same complex, but loves having her own space. I've been so glad she actually cooks! It is much cheaper and healthier! I bought it was so exciting and fun to help her prepare for her own apartment. I hope you guys enjoy it also.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 17, 2017

    A programmable crockpot is on the list! Last year I saw them at Costco for $30. Right now at Target they are $99! She will most likely use it every day. She plans on cooking beans in it, as well as soups and "baked" potatoes so that she can have food ready when she comes home from classes.

  • Kim Mozdzen September 18, 2017

    Kohls and Kohls.com runs sales several times a year where you can get rebates on appliances. A few years back I picked up some crockpots and then was able to get rebates on them.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 18, 2017

    I have seen these deal! And I totally forgot about these, since I rarely need to buy small appliances. Thank you for the reminder! I will watch for the Kohl's sales!

  • cathy September 18, 2017

    You've probably thought of this, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales might yield some of what's on the list. While I'm sure most people use those sales to buy holiday gifts, we use them to get things that have been on our wishlist for a long time, but are just to expensive otherwise.

  • Judy September 18, 2017

    When our daughter was moving into an apartment, we got some things she needed on Black Friday at Kohl's that we ordered online. She's gluten-free, dairy-free, coconut-free. She wanted to take my KitchenAid which I kaboshed. I did end up getting a great one on Black Friday through Kohl's.

    Our son went to BYU-I. His Freshman housing situation would have been very miserable if his cousin hadn't been attending at the same time. He hung out with her and her roommates.

    The thing that I learned from that situation was this. He lived in an apartment (not the dorms for the same reason--the cost of the meal plan.) The apartment put him in a room with a 28 year old Brazillan who was known for being difficult. So they put him in with an 18-year old freshman. The other room in his apartment had two guys who were probably Juniors and they were best friends. It was a painful learning experience. His second semester he paid to move down the hall. It wasn't great because it was with a set of twins and their best friend. They went home every weekend. Because his cousin and roommates were there it made an otherwise painful experience bearable.

    Our daughter is in an apartment now where she and one roommate are both seniors and the other two roommates are both freshman. It's working okay. But I wonder if you can do some inquiries and try to get with other Freshman (or sophomore) girls.

  • Cindy in the South September 19, 2017

    I was very fortunate with my assigned roommate in the dorms at BYU Provo way back in 1977. I was coming from Alabama, and literally knew no one, members of my ward were not coming to BYU Provo for another year. I was barely 17 years old, and have remained friends with my Californian freshman roommate, and her whole family, including her younger sister, throughout the years. I agree roommates can help make a good or bad college experience. My roommate had several friends from her home stake and introduced me to them, as well as we had a good time with the other girls on our floor at Helaman Hall (Merrill). We, eventually, moved into an apartment along with her younger sister, and one of their brothers actually married one of our other roommates...lol. I am still friends with all of them! I hope and pray Winter has an equally awesome experience. College is a life changing experience.

  • Jennifer O September 19, 2017

    JC Penny will have crock puts on sale around Thanksgiving too. Especially as doorbusters the day after.

  • Maxine September 21, 2017

    Aren't the programmable Crock Pots all BIG? I'd get a smaller one...thrift stores are loaded with 3-1/2 quart pots, usually for about $4. It's not like she is going to be gone from the apartment 8-10 hours a day. I'm sure she can start and stop it without a timer.

    PS When she gets to Idaho Falls, there is a Sam's Club as well as a Winco. No Costco. Lots of thrift stores--Deseret Industries, St. Vincent de Paul, Idaho Youth Ranch, etc.

  • Terri Gajeski September 17, 2017

    We received some leftovers from my parents, so I will be using those up first, and with the one piece of chicken make chicken fajitas for my husband and myself. Picked more tomatoes to set in the window sill to ripen. The tomatoes that were ripe were diced and thrown in the freezer. We continue to do as much by days light and not turn on lights unless absolutely needed. We combined scrapbooks together today so that we have 3 new albums for the grandchildren's scrapbooks. I continue to help sort through clothing and household items for the community site which enables me to get free clothing for my husband, myself, and our 2 grandchildren. Continued to make all meals at home, especially casseroles for my husband to carry for his work lunch. We combine our trips to town whenever possible.

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