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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

  • Rhonda A. September 27, 2017

    Unless you live in Canada where we no longer have pennies!:D

  • kim September 27, 2017

    I'm making pumpkin pie from scratch and using up old yogurt I had frozen. I grew the pumpkin.
    I bought 3 used workout DVDs for $10 free shipping online. Two are for strengthening your back and helping back pain. I'm hoping doing these over the next year will mitigate my lower back pain that I have postpartum. (Youngest is now 19 months so its time I do something more and not just hope it goes away.)
    I have lost 15 lbs since June and am hoping to lose 13 more to be 120 lbs. I'm only 5 ft so this is a healthy weight. Cutting calories has saved me a lot of groceries. I used to eat as much as my husband.
    I'm cooking from the pantry. I have everything that expires by 2017 on my kitchen counter. I'm not buying groceries until its gone.
    I found a girls bike for $10 on craigslist. We drove 13 miles to get it in our nearest town. Its so cute!!! I have a 3 year old and 18 month girls so they will both eventually ride it. Their dad spruced it up and oiled it.
    My plan is to have $4000 extra towards mortgage by end of year (I only make $10000 but am putting $300 each month towards MTG). My only other monthly bills are $58 gas, $300 grocery, life insurance, and taxes. This is a huge frugal goal for me! If I make it habit, I may continue paying $300 extra each month through 2018.

  • Athanasia September 27, 2017

    Kim, congratulations on the healthy weight loss.

  • kim September 27, 2017

    I forgot to add cell phone as expense $45, as well as other necessities like car oil and filter, soap, laundry detergent, tp, etc are included in my $300 monthly grocery budget. My hubby usually buys a year of cellphone coverage for my birthday, so I don't include this. So $658 monthly income (husband pays all other bills)-$58gas-$300food, etc-$300extra to mortgage.
    I'm really good at not wasting food. I'll eat anything if its not rotten. Right now I'm waiting for Thanksgiving and Christmas grocery sales.
    I have been really amazed at how things "come your way" when you need them. Like getting offered free apples, pumpkins, and blueberries.

  • Melissa V September 27, 2017

    I had pelvic and stomach physical therapy after my hysterectomy the end of April - I was hoping it would help with incontinence and putting things back where they belonged (I also had 2 prolapses repaired) but as a bonus, my back pain is gone! Strengthening the stomach muscles helps support the back - it was a much appreciated bonus as I have only had one incident of throwing my back out of whack this summer even while doing a lot of heavy physical yard work and demolition of 2 trailers. Last summer I was lucky to even be able to garden.

  • kim September 28, 2017

    That is great you got PT to restore muscles! I'm realizing my abs are completely gone which is why my back hurts and when I had a cold, when I coughed too hard, I was still experiencing incontinence 18 months postpartum. I can't really afford chiropractic or PT so I'm taking the route of using a DVD called "yoga for back pain" and "strengthening your back". I had a colonoscopy because my digestion wasn't the same postpartum, but eating less and losing weight has helped. I'm only 31!!! I hate to know what I'll feel like at 60!
    I'm glad to hear you were able to do so much gardening!

  • Jennifer O September 27, 2017

    I struggle balancing frugal with indulging in the treats and luxuries our income allows. Even so, I had a mostly frugal week (for us) here.
    Attended a free planetarium exhibit at the local library.
    Went to the VFW for Friday happy hour (always cheap), and used my calendar card for a cheap dinner at chickfila one night.
    Went to the base gym for Zumba 3 days. This is free to us.
    Due to several issues, my chiropractor appointment this week was free. She recommended a massage to loosen things up some more so we can make more progress on my back. Rather than use her in-house masseuse (pricey), I made an appointment at a spa school.
    Due to the chiropractor’s suggestion and (my own desires) I did a half day Spa day on Saturday (massage, facial, haircut/style, brows, and pedicure). It is in the city (45 minutes away), but since it is a school it is cheaper, and I found a groupon, so $400+ of pampering at any other spa cost me $50 (including the groupon and tips). I have not been in a few months, so it was a true treat.
    Since I was already in the city, I had lunch at the Saturday Arts Market. I walked around, but nothing even tempted me. I walked about the thrift store, but saw nothing I needed. I also stopped at the farmer’s market and picked up some apples, a basket of blackberries for $1, and some sad vegetables for the chickens (free). It was funny reading about your $2 pass since while I was at the farmer’s market I was less disciplined, and indulged in a $2 Italian ice. Aldi’s was another story. I was able to restock my staple cheeses, some things my pantry was low on, and a couple of bottles of rose that were highly rated. I always spend more there than I plan, but even with this trip, my September grocery bill was only $70 and I stocked things into my fridge, freezer, and pantry to use in future weeks/months.
    One of my backyard chickens died. This will reduce my egg production, but not cripple my budget as I usually trade the eggs for treats from other people.
    I gratefully received a bag of cat food from a colleague. Her cat didn’t like it and my new rescue cat doesn’t care. I also gratefully received some fancy homemade soap.
    Tonight, I will attend a wine tasting. For $5 I will get to taste, visit, and take home the glass. A friend will drive.
    My biggest blessing this week (and several previous ones) is the neighbor boy who comes and helps me do little things around the house, yard, and chicken coop while my husband is away.

  • Diana in Indiana September 27, 2017

    Frugal choices this week:
    - used a free carwash coupon
    - used the crockpot for 3 meals so they were quick and easy after work. The other 2 were quick pasta/sauce/veggie meals.
    - packed lunch daily
    - an overnight guest left her shampoo in my shower. I called to let her know and she said to keep it. It will last me several months.
    - Hubs and I have been working on a 1000 piece garage sale puzzle
    - loaned my son some money so he can get caught up on bills and not continue to pay late fees. More frugal for him than a payday loan. We talked about living within his means, etc.

  • Mary September 27, 2017

    Hi all! I really have enjoyed reading everyone’s post and I think I learn new things that I can do to save more!
    Last week frugal ways -
    Both my husband and I were not feeling well. Husband for one day and I for 3 days. Not eating sure saves $!
    Solar is finally running!!! We are so happy and looking forward to much lower electric bills.
    Albertsons had a good deal on steak - which we rarely buy. I think I paid $17 normally is $40. I split in half, freezing one half. My husband grilled them Sat. We ate with potatoes and broccoli we already had. I made fajitas with the leftover steak for another night.
    I had 2 follow up appts (not frugal but one I do not have to go back for 1 year the other 6 months).
    We finally had shutters put on the inside of our house - like blinds. Not very frugal up front but it will help cool our house but most important give us privacy! We have been here since late June so feel things are coming together.

    Joy - being able to communicate with my daughter who is in here 1st year of college.
    Being able to walk our dogs and enjoy the sunrise.
    Enjoyed our steak dinner and movie at home with my husband.
    Have a good frugal week all!

  • Annaliese September 27, 2017

    It was a stock up week here in my house. One of our local supermarkets is having their 25 cent refund promo if you buy their named products. You can buy 40 items and get $10 back to use on next purchase. So far I have only spent $50.00 out of pocket and parlayed $30.00 plus coupons of free items. My pantry closet is stacked full. I planned it out to where I got holiday supplies in the bunch too.
    Last Thursday after cooking lunch at Reality Center-that's where my adult autistic son goes for socialization and work study every week and I volunteer to cook lunch for about 50 -60 people- I brought home so much produce from the shares they have at a local farm. I put up 9 pints of green tomato chow-chow, cut-seeded and chopped up green peppers to put in freezer for future dishes, made 4 pints of green tomato and strawberry jam and more okra. I save a few of the green tomatoes for my enjoyment and obsession of fried green tomatoes. Will be handing in receipts and getting some more of that grocery money back.
    I am going to San Fran with my hubby next week while he works the Oracle convention. His work is paying for the hotel which is one of the 5 star ones. We went on Groupon and found some great pricing on things for me to do while he was at work and the days following when we can enjoy a vacation. We went thru Swagbucks and got will receive points that I am saving up to do Christmas shopping with.
    Cashed in some PTO hours at work.
    Not so good news on the car- found out the engine and clutch will have to be replaced and was quoted 7K for the job. We are thinking that is way too much so we will be looking to sale it for parts and buying another car towards the end of October. We still have the truck and hubby is borrowing a car from his mom that she doesn't use.
    Still picking cherry tomatoes and herbs from garden. Made some herb compound butter and placed in freezer for future use.
    Received coupons in the mail for future grocery shopping and several of them were for free items.
    I had been looking for a pocketbook with my Scottish clan colors and found one. It has to be made and the shipping was free. Used my Paypal money from selling stuff and am quite happy with the purchase. It has to be custom made but I can wait for it!!
    Still racking up points and rebates for holiday shopping thru phone apps and am up to $71-Plus the points from Swagbucks. My goal is to get almost all of my holiday shopping done with these great apps.
    Have a great week!

  • Hilogene in Az September 27, 2017

    Hi Brandy and all,

    —made bread at home and continued meal planning based on what we have in the freezer and pantry. Still limiting eating out to one meal a week.
    —Bought five ladies business casual shirts for $13.25 at a thrift store
    —Bought a bread machine at a local goodwill for $3.99, needed exterior clean up but the inside showed very little wear and had the instruction booklet. I use a bread machine weekly and have found that these low end machines only last a year before the bearings either leak or seize. My husband has tried to find repair parts but it would cost more for him to buy parts and do the labor himself than to just buy a used machine at a thrift store. The high end bread machines (which say they are more reliable) are over $200 and that is beyond what bread is worth to me :).
    —continued to do very limited grocery shopping. For the first time every...our grocery spending will be less than $130 for the month. Yeah!!! Thank you Brandy and all those on this blog for the information and encouragement to learn how to eat well for so little!
    —bought an instant pot and am starting to learn where it excels. We eat five different bean soups so I think that will be the huge time saver...so far, the jury is out on whether it was worth buying but we are only about half way through our trials of all of its capabilities.

  • Marisa September 27, 2017

    Brandy,
    I hope you get a good laugh out of this:
    -Attended a Real Estate broker open house and was given two huge to-go containers of leftover food. I happily took them home and did not have to cook dinner=)
    -Shopped and cooked mostly from my pantry last week with the exception of some stock up black bean paste(for a Korean dish I make) and the to go food.
    -Found some vegetarian Worcestershire sauce at the Asian store for 1/2 the price of a regular store.
    -Found a costume for my youngest son for $7.
    -Drove the Electric car as much as possible because it saves us so much money.
    -Switching our internet/phone service will save us about $60/month(we do not have cable)
    -Switching our cell phone plans and saving $150/month.
    -Keeping the heat off except two times even though it has dropped about 30 degree in just 7 days.

  • Sarah Bradfield September 27, 2017
  • Lilli September 27, 2017

    I have been blessed with a lovely week. I have stretched my 300.00 allotment for groceries into at least double or triple in value. I honestly didn't add it up. I used it buying loss leaders, bogo's, coupons, double coupons, competitor coupons and store coupons. Whew ! It was a busy week. I added
    150 lbs meat to my stockpile.
    100 lbs sugar ( .25 Cents Lb)
    10 lbs butter ( 2.50 Lb )
    10 free cream cheesee
    10 free yogurts
    10 free Blueberry Pancake Mixes.
    I got 8 Cans of tomatoes for 8 cents a can. I will collecting about 48 more this week.
    2 )I switched my cellphone service over to Sprint for a year of unlimited free talk, text ,and data. I have encouraged college boy and girl to follow suit. It cost me 3.00 for the Sim card and I assume I will pay 2 or 3 dollars a month tax on the service.
    3 ) The Honest Co had their BOGO package sale. I bought 8 shampoos and 2 conditioners for 45.00 and got 35.00 in Swagbucks. I am unable to use most products so I was thrilled to get this . College boy and I will have enough for quite a while. The brand I normally buy is 8.50 a bottle.
    4 ) I bought college daughter two pairs of boots/shoes for Xmas. I paid 30.00 and got back 40.00 in swagbucks.
    5 ) I won a 25.00 Carvel ice cream cake on one of my favorite coupon blogs. We will use it in a few weeks for college boys birthday.
    6 ) I try to be kind and gentle each day. I was speaking to a lady in Aldi's about all the butter I bought. As we continued to talk in the parking lot about me couponing, I gave her some of the ham chunks and coffee creamer I had picked up at Publix. I donated a small amount to a go fund me for a special needs man in our town. I am so proud that our community was able to pay off the balloon payment due on his house. His mother passed last year and she had done her best to make him secure .We had other people donate parts and labor to make repairs to his home and truck.140 people raised 10 thousand dollars. It only takes a small amount to impact others lives.

  • Kim September 29, 2017

    love hearing about your community helping out the special needs man. I enjoy that type of giving the very best because you can see that 100 percent goes directly to the person in need immediately.

  • K September 27, 2017

    Oh man! It's been a super long time since I posted here, but life's been just that busy :D Here's some things we've been doing to be more frugal:

    * We renewed our membership to Sam's Club and with it got several items for free or close to free- between introductory offers and instant savings, we spent $28 for the following: a rotisserie chicken, a 40 count pack of bottled water, a fresh veggie tray, 3 lbs of bananas, 15 cheese, bacon, and beef frozen hamburger patties, a 48 oz package of string cheese, a 200-count package of garbage bags, a package of those individual chip bags, hamburger buns, a pineapple, a package of fresh-baked croissants, and a package of chocolate chip cookies. We don't usually buy a lot of these items, but we'll use them in lunches and such, plus we'll freeze any perishables that we won't use right away. I broke down the chicken and put half of the meat in the freezer for enchiladas, and I also packaged up the carcass and put that in the freezer. I'll use the remaining chicken in a couple dishes this week- maybe fried rice and chicken and rice soup.

    * Aldi had zucchinis and mushrooms on sale last week, so I bought extras of both and put them through the dehydrator. I shredded the zucchini (great for adding to soups) and sliced the mushrooms (great for stroganoff and soups/chilis). Mushrooms are usually $1.29 or more per 8 oz container at Aldi (and more at other stores), so when they go for 69c per package, I try to stock up. The zucchini were 89c per 24 oz package.

    * We're eating down our freezer as usual. We're aiming for a $160 budget next month, so I've trying to write up a meal plan that doesn't require many items to purchase. We'll need fruits and veggies, but I think we're good on pantry staples and meat, so there shouldn't be any big purchases next month.

    * Instead of doing something money related to celebrate my birthday coming up, instead we decided to go walk around a nearby park in the morning and rearrange the living room. It's not glamorous but I've been wanting to redo the living room setup for a while! I also updated my wish list for those who feel they need to buy me a gift (like my mom) with some more practical items- I'm hoping for an immersion blender. In a perfect world (where I had way more counter space than I do currently), I'd ask for a second hand bread maker, but I have no good place to put it currently so it's staying off my wishlist.

    That's everything, I think! I hope everyone has a good rest of their week!

  • Melissa V September 27, 2017

    * I gave away my last 2 chickens. This will help with the feed bill as I won't have to buy three different types of feed (layer, game bird and duck). My ducks have started laying and the quail should be soon so I will no longer have to pay the extremely high prices for duck and quail eggs. Out of the 12 quail we have, I believe only 3 are males (YES) so it will be easy to break them up into breeding groups and not have to worry about the males killing each other.
    * It FINALLY cooled off and I shut the AC down - hopefully for the year. We probably won't need heat for at least a month yet - 6 weeks if we're lucky.
    * We managed to cram all our daughter's things from her apartment into 2 vehicles so we only had to make one trip which saved gas. I also told her that, no, she was NOT leaving her almost new pans there for the other girl - that she would at some point again have her own apartment and she will need pans (insert the eye rolling emoji). In her defense, she is sick with some upper respiratory virus and one of her friends just passed suddenly last weekend so she isn't thinking straight.
    * It's not really frugal, but we may need a filter system on our well of some sort. We found out that we may be in the contaminated area of an old dump site (chemicals from Wolverine World Wide - shoe manufacturer). We will call the health department tomorrow to find out how to get our well tested. We are probably fine since we are uphill but your never know as these dump sites are only just now coming to light. Hopefully, the testing will be free if we are in the risk area.
    * I pressure washed our entire patio and all the old railing I put around it + the wooden steps. What else do you do when it's 90+ degrees out?? LOL Now I need to find the gallon of wood sealer I know we have stored here somewhere and re-seal it all. Since the patio is on the North side of our house, it doesn't get any sun next to house so it turns green as does the siding in spots and the wood steps. It gets very slippery so before winter I try to get it all taken care of. It also will make it last longer.
    * I brought in 10 red peppers (heat really helped with getting them ripe before frost!) and another quart of cherry tomatoes. I also brought in all the dried green bean pods to save the seeds for next year. I have to grab all of the cannelloni and black beans as well before the mice get them all. My pumpkins are a very strange dull orange with netting that almost looks like a canelope so I am thinking I may have a cross breed with another winter squash (I saved seeds from a pumpkin I picked up free for poultry food last year)
    * Completed another small sewing job and had a customer drop off her fabric for some RV cushions which will be a larger payout when it's finished.
    * Cut a very old comforter in half and then sewed it closed to use as a dog blanket - they wash easier if they are twin size or smaller. I also line dried all of the dogs bedding again (they actually have more than we do!)
    * Our old beagle has started peeing her bed sometimes and is drinking a lot more water. I used some old vinyl to put down under her blankets so it won't go thru to the carpet. She also peed on a section of the big couch and it ran under the cushion so I took it outside and pressure washed it (surprised the 35+ year old fabric held up!) and scrubbed it with enzyme cleaner. It seems to have worked and the hot, dry weather dried it in no time. All of the foam from the cushions is wrapped in plastic trash bags so that any messes don't ruin the foam (we learned to do this years ago since it's rather expensive to replace) and the covers have been washed so many times, they are starting to disintegrate. Yes, it is rather noisy but we don't have people over much and we're the only ones who actually sit on that couch with the pups. I also took some odd colored vinyl and laid that down under the cushions so that won't happen again. And since I know how to sew maybe I ought to replace those covers......seems I never get to sewing projects for our house.
    * I returned zippers that my Mom had purchased and used the money to get the one I needed for her cousins winter coat that I am fixing for her.
    * Purchased the dog's food while it was still on sale saving us $10.
    * Wanted to buy a really nice Pier One rug I found at the thrift store but ultimately put it back as it wasn't anything I needed. That decision saved me $4.
    * We stayed out of the grocery store except for milk and made ALL meals at home (which is huge for us).
    I found joy this week in spending time with my pups outside in the cooler evening temps and watching the sun set. The moon is only a few hours behind it this time of year and was a lovely pinky orange color (probably due to the wildfires unfortunately). I had fun playing a computer game with my hubby and spending time talking over future plans.

    PS Kim - thank you for the idea of pulling all of the expiring food out where it can be seen and used!!

  • kim September 28, 2017

    No problem! It has to be done! I'm one of those people that have to see things that aren't done in order to finish them. I have a closet full of clothes but rewear the same things because I'm too lazy to go find something else. I'm also bad at opening cupboard doors and looking through them!

  • Tracy-Jayne Timberlake September 28, 2017

    Heading into summer here in the Southern Hemisphere.
    I planted out tomato, basil, chard, pepper, eggplant and broccoli plants that I started from seed. I mulched the veggie gardens and fruit trees with stable manure I got for free from a riding friend. This feeds the plants while protecting moisture in the soil (we are in one of the worst droughts in South Africa's history).
    I used carrots, chard, green onions, lettuce and herbs from the garden.
    I mended a few items of clothing and went through the stash of items I carefully put away from my older son to find clothing for my younger son. I also asked friends for items they were might be getting rid of as their children, who are slightly older than mine, grow. I've been given lovely things!
    I've exclusively cloth-diapered the baby during the day. I used to run the diapers through a rinse cycle in the washer before washing them but now use bath water to rinse them, saving water and electricity.
    We continue to use water caught in buckets in the shower or from the bath to flush toilets.
    My daughter found a beautiful shirt at the charity store for the equivalent of $2. We also found two nice movies for about $1 each and packed these away for Christmas gifts. I gave her a $25 budget to buy some clothing for herself at the mall and she bought new jeans, a skirt and two beautiful shirts.
    I baked bread instead of buying several times. Homemade bread is not only cheaper, but healthier and more filling than store loaves.
    I sold a few books I didn't want anymore. I saved that money in our tax-free savings account as we haven't been able to save up to the annual limit this year.
    We sold a car! My daughter moved to upstate New York to attend college there (on full sponsorship) and since she was the only one who really used our second car, we sold it. This reduces our monthly expenses and we used the money to pay off debt we've been struggling to pay down.
    I've focussed on making low-cost afternoon snacks for our growing children, such as popcorn and muffins.
    I've been more mindful of fuel usage, and have grouped errands together, asked my husband to pick things up for me while he has been out and accepted lifts offered by others traveling to same destinations.

  • Laurie in AZ September 28, 2017

    What a nice thing to do for your teacher!

    Also, thank you for mentioning pumpkin gut bread! I never thought of doing that! I found a recipe on line that I will use this fall.

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