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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

White Garden in Late September The Prudent Homemaker

I mended an item of clothing.

I harvested pears, a handful of tiny tomatoes, garlic chives, chocolate mint, and basil from the garden. I dried some basil for us to use throughout the year.

My mom and I went through her kitchen drawers for duplicates and unused items, and found several things that Winter can take with her to college, so we packed those away in the box I have started for her.

I used warm-up water from the shower to water potted fruit trees on the patio.

I try to make sure that all of my garden purchases are made at the lowest prices. Our local nursery has lower prices to start with on items than the big box stores (typically $1 to $2 lower per 1-gallon plants and $10-$15 lower on 5-gallon plants) and then they have sales on top of that. I watch their ads online (their sales run Fridays through Wednesdays) and I also know when things are generally on sale by month as well. I purchased some fruit trees on sale to replace those that have died in the garden. I purchased grass seed on sale to fill in the bare spots in the yard, which I can do when it cools down some more. I also purchased manure on sale to add to the garden and to use on the grass.  When I was there, the manager told me they would be having a Saturday in October where they will be giving a free viola plant to anyone who comes in! I typically don't shop there on Saturdays (I like to go during a weekday when it's quieter), but I will watch the ads online and make sure to stop by for my free plant (update: It's a buy any item get one free viola on October 7th).

I wear sandals here more than half of the year. I purchased two pairs of sandals on clearance; they should last me two years. I signed up for their app in the store to save an additional $10 off my purchase.

The aerator in our kitchen faucet completely disintegrated. My husband called the company to order a replacement. They said they would send him one for free!

My son changed out the air filters in the house so that the air conditioner run more efficiently.

Another son attended a free robotics class at the local library.

Fall gave us a beautiful preview by showing up on the first official day of fall! Temperatures will go back up starting on Monday, but for two days we were able to turn off the air conditioning completely and even turn off the fans those two days. On the other days, I opened the windows at 5 am and was able to keep them open until 10 a.m. each day before it reached above 79º in the house (we keep our air conditioner set at 79ºF).

I read the expected weather forecast for the next three months for the U.S. (you can read it here).  I'm planning my garden planting a little differently as it should be warmer here than usual (we normally don't even see a frost until December, so I'm not sure what this means for us this year). I'll plant more chard first and wait a bit longer for lettuce if I have to (I read the weather online each day and also check soil temperatures so that I can plant). I typically plant my fall garden the first two weeks of October, so I will watch and see what soil temperatures are to make sure it's not too hot to plant so that I don't waste seeds.

I resisted buying items I don't need that weren't part of my planned purchases. With one of the items that I was tempted to purchase (it was $2), I stopped to think about what I really wanted to buy that cost the same amount of money. This made it easier to walk away.

My husband and I enjoyed a date night at home, playing a card game together after the children were in bed.

I studied French online for free.

 

It's been a while since I've shared what I did to find joy during the week. This past week, my greatest joy was serving a refugee family in my city (I am SO glad that I have been studying French, as one member of the family speaks French--as a fourth language--and it has been invaluable to be able to communicate with this family.)  If you're looking for a way to serve others in your area, check out justserve.org.

 

What did you do to save money and find joy last week?

 

 

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Comments

  • Roberta in So. Cal. September 28, 2017

    So glad to hear about the eggs (would you mind sharing your source/s re: egg storage?). Our four girls produce more eggs than the three of us can quickly consume, and I've been hesitant to use eggs that are more than one month old. I've read that they can be frozen out of their shells, but right now I don't have the freezer space. :p

  • Rhonda A. September 28, 2017

    If you coat the outer shell with oil, lard, or even dip in a thin layer of wax, the eggs can last for a year or more. The shell has microscopic pours that allow oxygen in. If you seal up the pours, it will preserve the eggs for a very long time. We do this demo at our pioneer village, as this was how they kept their eggs for extended periods of time. The eggs need to be kept in a cool environment. Before the advent of central heating, most pantries were quite cool. Today a fridge might be best, as our homes are warmer. They actually talk about this in one of the episodes of either Victorian Farm or Edwardian Farm (can't remember which one), where they store the eggs in a pail of lye based liquid. You can find info on how to do this by googling how to store eggs long term.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. September 29, 2017

    Wow. That's amazing! I always love the things I learn on this blog.

  • Jenny September 30, 2017

    HA this is helpful. I usually keep eggs in the fridge. But now I'm going to oil them as well.

  • ellie's friend from Canada September 26, 2017

    Am misty-eyed reading about your teacher, Mable. How wonderful that you wrote a letter to her, a letter that meant the world to her, I am sure and how wonderful she read it and was able to reply... Lovely!

  • Janet September 29, 2017

    I cried like a baby for the rest of the morning when I read that.

    Especially since I'm starting to wonder if I have made a difference.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher September 26, 2017

    Oh, this reminds me that I need to get some sandals as well! I've worn my cheapo pair down to where they've started leaving black crusties on my feet. Not good! I'm looking for a more high quality pair that's both comfy and cute (for a deal, of course).

    This week:

    1. I used leftover whey from my homemade yogurt to make soaked whole wheat bread.

    2. I dehydrated some bananas, blueberries, and grapes that were about to go bad.

    3. I turned some soon-to-be-expired milk into homemade ricotta, which I used to make lasagna.

    4. Our garden seedlings are thriving! Soon we'll plant them in our raised beds and hope that we get a ton of greens and squash in the coming months!

    5. I cleaned our car myself, washing the outside and detailing the inside with our Shop-Vac and Armor All.

  • Sarah September 26, 2017

    Hi Brandy! This is still my favorite post to read every week, and I follow a number of other posters as well! We found great joy in having a big turkey dinner with my parents this week. Joining in with my frugal accomplishments here: https://wordpress.com/post/frugalfive.com/638

  • Annie-Blake September 26, 2017

    -harvesting tomatoes, and eating lots of salads and spaghetti bolognese based dishes;
    -didn't purchase new clothes or shoes for myself - it has been over 2 years since I have purchased any;
    -received a large bag of summer and winter clothes for my daughter which was a huge blessing;
    -next week I am planning on taking my children to an aquatic centre that has water slides and interactive water toys in the pool for a total cost of $9.50. This is much better than taking them to the big water themepark where adult admission is around $80. Plus it is only a 7 minute drive away and I will make a day out of it. The aquatic centre is right on the beach so we will take our bikes and have a picnic afterwards;
    -my daughter and I haven't had a haircut for over 10 months and really starting to need one. Hoping to book in cuts closer to Christmas;
    -now that we finally have the internet at our house (after 2 years without it!) my mobile phone decides to break! I can only answer it intermittently as it just keeps freezing. I need to buy a new one but need to put this purchase off for as long as possible. With the internet, I have had to cut our budget by $40 a month to pay for the internet bill;
    -grocery shopping this week was $50;
    -line drying clothes as per usual, not buying anything besides essential items and keeping electricity usage to bare minimum;
    -received a $10 gift card for some market research that can be used at many big box department stores and grocery stores. I will redeem this at Christmas time as it will allow me to purchase some extra special food items for Christmas day lunch.

    I find joy in being. I find joy in my 2 children and husband. I am grateful for my blessings and this life of privilege. It is an honor to be a Mom.

  • Lorna September 26, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    I thought I would start off this week with the joys and blessings we had this week. We had a homeless 4 - 6 month old female kitten turn up on our back doorstep that someone had apparently dumped probably around 4 - 5 days previously. Not a frugal accomplishment at all but however she has given us great joy by leaping and bounding around for the last two days and insisting on pats and cuddles regularly. She has a beautiful nature but is very timid and was very hungry and thirsty when we found her, needless to say she has been fed and watered and appears more happy and healthy. Yet another reason for food storage :D may I add, as she has been fed on tinned chicken in spring water the last few days and today we will get her some tinned kitten food from the supermarket.

    Our frugal accomplishments last week included -

    Purchases -
    - Purchased new on winter clearance racks 4 long sleeved t-shirts, a pair of shorts, and a summer broiderie anglaise like cotton peasant top on special for $60 saving $83 on usual clothing prices here.

    Home hair cuts -
    - DH cut my hair at home saving $80 on usual prices of getting my hair cut in the hair salon.

    In the garden -
    - Picked 5kg of broad beans from the gardens saving $30.90 over purchasing them in the shops.

    Firewood -
    - Cut 1.5 cubic metres of free ironbark hardwood firewood from a friends property saving $225 over purchasing it and it is now cut, split and stacked on the front veranda ready for next winter.

    In the kitchen -
    - Blanched and froze the garden picked broad beans making 5 more meals of beans in the freezer for the two of us.

    Electricity savings -
    - Only turned on the hot water system for 7hrs this week and used our solar lanterns to light our home at night saving $10.54 in electricity costs.

    Have a wonderful week everyone :) .

  • Marybeth September 26, 2017

    The garden is going crazy with tomatoes. I'm going to be canning them again tomorrow.
    -Picked too many tomatoes to count, peppers, corn, cucumbers and string beans. Freezers are full and shelves are getting there.
    -Went to my husbands work picnic. We help at it every year. 140 people were signed up to come. 88 showed up. They had so much food leftover. Very few people stayed to help clean up and even fewer wanted to bring anything home. I don't say no to free food so we came home with tons. We got 40 cooked burgers, 2 packs of buns, a tray of lettuce, tomatoes and onions , a tray of German potato salad, 4 veggie burgers, 2 trays of pulled pork (they roasted a pig), a tray of corn on the cob and 4 cans of lemonade. We ate it all week and I froze most of the burgers, corn and half the pulled pork.
    -A friend at work is having some financial problems. I called and asked if he wanted some of the above food. He happily took some. I also made him up a box of food from my food storage to help him along. I also brought some of the above food to my manager so that she didn't have to cook for her kids after work since she was working till 8pm. She was so grateful that she got me a milkshake.
    -Made extra waffles and pancakes for easy breakfasts on school days.
    -Saved $18 with coupons on groceries and earned $2.75 with Ibotta
    -My son and his girlfriend went to visit my sister. They went to the arboretum for free because my sister has a membership. They all brought their own sandwiches for lunch. My sister treated them to Starbucks after. She then gave them some leftover snacks that she didn't want to keep in the house because she didn't want to eat them. They used them for snacks all week.
    -Brought lots of leftovers to work this week.
    -Hung laundry, washed Ziplocs, turned lights off, and opened the windows
    -Hubby brought home several rolls and bagels from work
    -Went to Goodwill and got 6 items off of my want list. 2 are Christmas gifts. I was so happy!
    -Bought 2 packs of peppers (1 red & 1 yellow) from the reduced produce rack. They were $3 total, 12 peppers. I used 2 to turn the leftover pilled pork into fajitas and I chopped the rest in put them in the freezer.
    -Was asked to work at the last minute literally. Someone didn't show up. So my manager treated me to lunch.

    What brought me joy this week was this blog. Brandy, you do an amazing job. Thank you. I loved all the comments this week and kept checking back all week to see what everyone was saying. There is an amazing community here. I feel like I have friends all over the world. Where we live is not known to be thrifty. Some people look at me like I'm crazy while I sit there thinking that they are the crazy ones. Here I feel like I can be open and honest with my week. Thank you all of you. Have a wonderful and thrifty week!

  • Lorna September 29, 2017

    Marybeth never feel alone as we have the same thing here with people around us looking at us like we are a bit crazy too :) and in a likewise area where most do not practice frugality. You are spreading your frugality and love to yourself and others by giving service sharing the food in your well stocked pantry and other food that would otherwise have been wasted.

    Bear in mind that because of our lifestyle that most come to us when they are in trouble and need assistance because we grow our own vegetable gardens and have enough stored for us and a few others who may need it. Thinking now that both you and I are definitely not the crazy ones as we know how to live within and under our budgets. A well stocked pantry and a productive garden will feed multitudes of people including our own families.

    With love from Australia.

  • Marybeth September 30, 2017

    Thank you for you sweet comment. I am not alone on my journey to being deft free and financially independent. My husband and family share the same vision. I just think that if I lived somewhere else I would have friends (in person) that would have the same values. You can only try to help someone so many times. I was always taught that you should teach someone to fish motto. Its Ok. My husband and I will be having to much fun when we retire to listen to their complaints.

    My oldest lives out of state with 2 other girls. She makes about half of what they make and they are the ones always saying how they have no money. She just shakes her head. Another generation of thrifty. Love my girl!

  • Lorna October 01, 2017

    Most welcome Marybeth :) .

    I do have a two close friends who do live our more frugal lifestyle and of course have my husband who lives and practices it too but on the whole most of our friends do not.

    That is what we do is pass on our gardening knowledge to others, teach them about homemade cleaning products and encourage them to learn more than us provide for them all the time as well. Yes a lot of the people we help have been on much higher incomes than us and suffered from job loss. I feel sad that it is an immediate crisis for them as they have not planned ahead at all with some savings or extra food too.

    Sounds like you have done a great job with your children and have taught them well. Keep up the great work that you are doing.

  • Mandy September 26, 2017

    Hello Brandy and fellow readers! The weather has me concerned. I don't know what to expect here (Northern Illinois).
    I started my new job yesterday :) My last day at my old job was last Wednesday. I spent Thursday through Sunday trying to prepare for this week to reduce my stress. Monday was also my birthday and my Aunt took myself, my daughter, and my mom out for brunch at a local diner. Monday night after work my husband, daughter and I enjoyed a favorite meal at home and ate cake :)

    I've harvested and dehydrated green onions several times, tomatoes, parsley, oregano. I am still freezing the tomatoes for when I have time to turn them all into sauce.

    *Made eggs/sausage/hash browns/toast, I made creamy chicken enchiladas using leftover chicken, leftover cream of chicken soup from a different recipe, free cheese and cheap tortillas. I used the rest of the leftover chicken in creamy chicken and rice soup, taco soup (using leftover corn and bulk purchased beans), peach pie popsicles, turkey burgers with carrots, chicken tenders from my husband's job. My new employer provided a pizza lunch for us on my first day (my training group was a group of 15).


    *I took my food and coffee to work with me. I packed my daughter's cold lunch from home every school day. I again prepped all week's worth of her lunches at once to make the week easier.

    *I washed and return both sets of scrubs. Not frugal for me but they will be reused by someone else who needs them and not wasted.

    *I harvested and dehydrated oregano and parsley. I harvested, sliced, and dehydrated green onions. I picked more ripe tomatoes.

    * I submitted the paperwork and application for a home improvement grant from the city I live in. I received a call requesting more paperwork which I promptly submitted. I am supposed to hear the decision "soon". I have been working with the city for this grant for 3 months now. I hope we qualify for something.

    *I line dried or used my drying racks for several loads of laundry.

    *I cancelled a streaming service I was trying out. I really like it but don't want to spend $30 a month right now on something not necessary.

    * I used free online videos to exercise to and went to the city park one morning to walk around the lake after I took my daughter to school. (it's right by our house).

  • Jo September 26, 2017

    Well done walking away from those items! It's especially hard when they "only" cost $2.

      This week I was paid to attend training for work. We have to be paid a minimum of one hour and the session only lasted thirty minutes so it was free money.

      I picked up a free 250g packet of high quality cheese and some grocery specials that were half price. We had the cheese on ham & cheese toasties for work lunches, it was an awesome treat.

      After a long day, my husband offered to buy pizza for dinner but we managed to cook at home instead. All meals were prepared at home and lunches taken to work except for one day when I forgot that I had an appointment after work. I used homegrown chives in one of our dinners.

      I picked my husband up from work one night as I was in the area anyway. It saved us a bus ticket.

      We sold an item online for $10 but the buyer ended up giving my husband $20! She said that she really loved the item and that he had been so pleasant to deal with.

      We finally started our garden renovations! Surprisingly, it only took us half a day to overhaul our patio area. We planted succulents I was given for free and herb bushes to hopefully eliminate the need to buy herbs. All plants were watered from our rainwater tank. I'm also trying to roots some plants to form a hedge in the front yard at no cost.

      I reduced the water temperature for my showers, hopefully it will reflect on the next gas bill.

      We only turned the heater on once last week and that was two hours after our self-imposed time!

      Someone gave away free baskets which will come in handy for gift-giving.

      My coworker surprised me with delicious cake! My other coworker and I continue to carpool which turns out to be a really pleasant time to chat and get to know each other better.

      I was able to hang all our washing outside this week! It wasn't a savings as such because in bad weather they get hung inside due to the lack of a dryer. But I love the smell of sundried washing and it saves so much time because everything dries quicker in a nice breeze.

  • PJGT September 26, 2017

    We had a very hot week here. Usually the temperatures are starting to chill, but we have been experiencing extraordinary heat. I took a fan to work to see if I can relieve the heat stress in my classroom. I'll bring it back when I'm done.

    We were unexpectedly frugal as we had just donated the very old and expensive to run air-conditioner at the end of the season. So, I've been using fans and "suffering" through. Saving lots on electricity, but not very productive!

    My son cut his hair a bit shorter and I trimmed it up match his AFROTC regulations. We have all the hair cutting and trimming equipment, so it went well. He had to a buy black only gym bag and a black only backpack to carry when wearing his cadet uniform. He was able to use a 10$ off coupon he received from his birthday college clothing purchases for the backpack and he used a gifted he received for his birthday for the gym bag.

    My BIL and family had a picnic celebration that my son was able to attend with my inlaws. He came back with some bottles of water, cans of Seltzer, sandwiches (we took the bread off and have been eating the meat and cheese as he cannot have too much bread and he'd rather have the pizza), leftover pizza that we froze in baggies for later, and blueberry muffins. Tickled that he sees the value in leftovers!

    My MIL bought my son dog food for his pups, granola bars for his lunch and ketchup. Very thankful.

    My husband's aunts have thought of us recently. One aunt is remodeling her kitchen and gave us a full size fridge. We have been using my son's college one successfully if not too comfortably. So unexpected! I'm glad we just kept on keeping on! Now we have a free fridge in great condition and not too old :). The other aunt is moving and sent some items that were just perfect for a friend of ours. We were able to drop them off to her as well. She also sent us two boxes of food items and teas that she cannot take. The food is pretty processed, but are appreciated. We will use them either when we need to bring a dish to a gathering or sparingly. Grateful for all food!

    I have lost some weight and am able to wear enough of my wardrobe to work without purchasing anything. Thankful for being able to make that work. Still downsizing to get the final size and a half off. Definitely need to be more aware in the future. I'm not as young as I used to be!

    Had to buy some things at a chain store and found canning lids on clearance. The manager rang them in to get the sale and also have me an extra 5.00 off my order using a coupon at the register. We are so blessed!

    We still have amazon prime and it more than pays for itself with college texts and other purchases. We have become pretty good at comparing prices and getting our books for less. Only my daughter buys her books at the college bookstore because she is given a book scholarship that covers the cost. Now that her photography courses are over, our supply outlay should be much less. Photography supplies and lab fees are very costly.

    I watched some prime videos for free while doing paperwork.

    I am trying to work on training my son's pups to obey me better, so we go on walks together almost every day. It is working. I figure that my husband and I will have the dogs when our son starts his military career, so I'd better get the pups to listen to me.

    Am finding so much joy in teaching again. I continue to look for those students who need a little extra attention throughout the day.

    Glad that the weather is cooperating for your garden, Brandy. Have a blessed week everyone!

  • becky in central Iowa September 26, 2017

    this week i finished drying the three bushels of apples two friends let me pick they were small buggie ones took twice as long our peaches were ready before the apples got finished still having a lot of peach jam i only made one batch peach jam and i pulled two of the bags of raspberries from freezer and made two batches of rasp/peach jam variety is good. froze reat of peaches fifteen or so were not yet ripe we will just eat them when they ripen. we now have our first cooler day it has been wicked hot here in central iowa.

    ? what do you do with your garlic chives?

    the joy i had two weeks ago our ward went to Nauvoo for a temple trip for over fifty years i had been searching to find my real dad i last saw when i was six i have done family history on all lines but i could not get my father's info my mother bitter over divorce would not help so i did all i could our oldest loves doing genealogy as much as i do she had me tell a memory when i was three being in Wisconsin with his parents she found someone who matched with my three yr memory and had me talk to her she was very helpful helped me find a dna test on sale i took it and i showed up right after own daughters it was that close she helped with info my dad was the only child of six to marry and have kids this family had all their work done all the way back but these siblings either had to wait or have a direct descendant which was me i felt this whole batch wanted done at once an i was abt dead with fibro but got them done and sealed to their parents my grandparents this was hard had bad pain for a week but gave me more joy then i can say families truly are forever.

    i wish we could have an extra growing season but growing snowballs is all.

    i have been sewing on project bags from one of the free craftsy classes for Christmas gifts... and knitting socks for gifts too.

    went to library when in town got three free mysteries, some cooking magazines free and a twenty dollar knitting book free i try to stop in when close. tomorrow i make bread. also this last week i bought ten boxes of mushrooms from aldi .69 a box i wash and use an egg slicer to slice and dehydrate them slicing myself saved ten dollars. at another store frozen veggies ten bags .68 each i like to open and dump on dehydrator racks and dry that is all i could afford. but blessed to be able to do them. http://frugalmeasures.blogspot.com/2017/09/monday-message_25.html scroll a bit down to see how i do the mushrooms.

  • Maxine September 26, 2017

    Brandy, starting a box for Winter reminded me of when I did the same for DS. When my mother died, her better pots and pans, casserole dishes and a basic supply of her kitchen gadgets went into the box. DS took my MIL's circa 1948 Revereware pots when she passed, and I am using my mom's pots and pans at our vacation home. DS still uses the Revere and my mom's cast iron frying pans, every single day. (He married a woman who has a "thing" for cast iron, too).

    I start my week on a different day than you, so I hope I didn't report any of this last week:

    The biggie is that we sold our house!

    When we drove home from DS's wedding, we drove straight through instead of stopping along the way, as we sometimes do. Saved a night in a motel and some meals. The night before we left, I cooked dinner with what we had left...some strange combinations, but no one complained.

    I cashed in some frequent flyer miles to get 3 tickets to Portland in November to visit family and friends. I normally do not "waste" my miles on short trips, but this was a super deal...and it saves us two long days of driving. I also rented the cheapest car I could find online. The cost of the car is about what it would cost us to drive to Portland (where I lived for 40 years). Staying with family when we get there.

    We bought a used washer and dryer a few weeks ago for our vacation home, where we are living while our new, smaller home is being built. It has a super capacity tub and I was able to wash 3 normal loads in only two loads, saving water, electricity and detergent. I slung the wool blanket over the front porch railing to dry.

    I got my water bill and it was a LOT lower than last month's. We've turned off the sprinklers for the season and had quite a bit of rain last week. All good.

    I'm the one in the family that always goes around turning off lights. I was extra vigilant last week.

    Sold a stand mixer on craigslist for $100. It was worth $125, but it had been advertised for a long time and, hey, I'm moving!

    I mended a sheet and the patch is almost invisible.

    We are at our "old" house for 10 days. Besides turning off the heat, I also remembered to turn off the water heater at the vacation place.

    Hope you all have a good and frugal week!

  • Florrie September 26, 2017

    I really enjoyed reading your post and all of the comments last week. I'm sure that Winter will live up to her name and do very well in the cold at college. I can picture her inspiring others around her along the way, the same way you are inspiring all of us!

    Frugal doings:
    - I have a self-appointed job of supplying my very senior aunt with jigsaw puzzles. She can do 250 piece puzzles due to space constraints. I do 1,000 piece ones; so after completion, I have been breaking one into four parts along the picture's natural lines and bagging each section separately. She happily passes each day doing puzzles and is not bothered by the lack of two distinct borders. 500 piece puzzles are halved. I also use white strips to divide the box pictures accordingly so she can see which frame she is working on.
    -We have been using wet chamois-looking towels around our necks on very hot days. They have kept us from wilting.

    Frugal thought:
    - I once asked my brother if he picks up pennies when he sees them on the ground. His reply was a yes. Why? Because if something costs a dollar and if he had 99 cents, he wouldn't be able to buy it. True that!

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