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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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  • Tracy-Jayne Timberlake September 28, 2017

    I grow, chop and freeze my own celery all the time. I add it to whatever I'm cooking frozen - don't thaw first - and I don't use it raw (for salad). It's absolutely fine, you won't know the difference actually. It's easy to break apart the pieces when frozen too, just use a spoon or knife to scrape the right amount into your soup or stew or casserole from the frozen 'clump'.

  • Sandra October 01, 2017

    Frozen celery, like frozen onions or peppers will not be crunchy when it is defrosted, but it will be fine for cooking.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. September 27, 2017

    I, too, freeze celery all the time. Like others, I use it in soups and when I make homemade stock.

  • Jo September 26, 2017

    We saved a good bit of money by looking online to find out how to clean out a clogged a/c condensation line, and cleaned it ourselves.
    I juiced grapes from our vines and froze the juice.
    We go to church in a different town from where we live, and I packed egg salad sandwiches on homemade bread for our lunch, instead of us getting deli food at the grocery store when we shop after church.
    I loaned my carpet cleaner to my daughter -- sharing items is frugal for us all.
    I was tasked with providing rolls for a family gathering, so I made them instead of buying 2 or 3 dozen. One batch of dough produced 30 rolls.
    I bought my vitamins and supplements at Vitamin Shoppe through Swagbucks. I would have bought the vitamins and supplements anyway, and I made about 300 Swagbucks ($3.00) because they were giving multiple Swagbucks for every dollar I spent. The Vitamin Shoppe had a sale going plus I got free shipping.
    I found a sale on pastured meat and bought several pounds. I know the regular prices at several places, so I could confirm that this was a deal.
    I don't like to use bleach in my laundry because we are on a septic tank, I really hate the way it smells, and it is too easy to have a little spill that ruins something colored. I started soaking my whites in a four gallon free-to-me bucket, using my hottest tap water, oxygen bleach, borax, and a few tablespoons of dishwasher powder. I already keep all of those things on hand. I soak the whites for about an hour and wash them on hot, then hang them in the sun whenever possible. They are staying nice and white, so I'm replacing white items less often. I also wash my clothes in homemade laundry detergent, which doesn't work for some, but luckily works with my water and washer.
    I find my joy lately whenever we have a slightly cooler morning, in the many birthdays we've celebrated recently, and in the fact that our car is now paid off. We hope to not have to finance one again, even though the interest rate was quite low. It's just nicer having a paid for car.

  • Marybeth September 26, 2017

    Congrats on a paid for car. We don't have a car payment and I don't ever want one again.

  • Cara September 26, 2017

    Hydrogen peroxide from the beauty supply store is pretty expensive by the gallon. I find the white (thick) one works well on tile grout because it will stay on vertical surfaces, while the clear (thin) one works well for soaking whites.

  • Jennifer O September 27, 2017

    I never thought of getting peroxide from the beauty supply store. Thanks!

  • You had a very busy week. We are hot here right now (90's) so I hope we cool off in spite of their forecast. It's very dry to with no rain in the forecast so we have been watering our Fall garden of Mustard Greens. Most of the rest of the garden is in and the sun is helping the tomatoes to ripen.
    Here are the ways I've saved this past week http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2017/09/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-92417.html

  • Rhonda A. September 26, 2017

    Brandy, I found your comment about fall showing up on the first day of fall very interesting. Here in southern Ontario, we had one of the hottest days we've seen all summer...on the first day of fall! People headed to the beaches for relief this past weekend, which is unheard of at the end of September around here. Many schools don't have AC, and the children are suffering with this heat. Thankfully not the case for DD's school. Cooler temperatures are expected later this week, so it won't last long. Oh, and I'm glad you were able to help out a refugee family this week. I'm sure they appreciated meeting new people in a sea of strangers, especially one they could communicate with!

    Another busy week of frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included hot turkey sandwiches with corn, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with salad, beef low main stir-fry (made with leftover steak) with veggie spring rolls, and chicken fingers with white rice and green/waxed beans.
    *Frugal fail: Made the mistake of asking hubby for dinner suggestions one night and ended up being coerced into getting take out pizza. He said that's what he wanted but didn't want to go get it. I said "guess we're not getting it then" (knowing he wouldn't go get it). My mother perked up and said "if you pay for it, I'll go get it". Ugh! The next night, when my mom and I went to the cooking class, hubby and DD had fast food. Hubby works as a cook in a restaurant so no excuse for not cooking! On Friday we had a late afternoon Dr appointment. Hubby refused to cook dinner again, so more takeout. *sign* This is how my family conspires against my frugal efforts.
    *Cooked the free crab-apples and strained off 4 cups of juice. I then mixed this juice with 8 cups of peach juice (made from peach pits and skins), along with 2 cups of honey, 2 cups of sugar and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, and cooked it into a lovely, thick peach syrup. I was able to can 4 pints and 1 half pint to add to my pantry.
    *Canned 10 pints plus 1 half pint of bumbleberry jam (strawberry, raspberry and blueberry) and 4 pints plus 1 half pint of peach jelly (from leftover peach juice).
    *Cut up and froze 2 butternut squash.
    *I decided to hold off on buying more meat for the freezer at the moment. We need to defrost the freezer, and have little room in the other freezer to move things. So we will try and eat it down a bit. Instead, I used some of my grocery money to stock up on non-food items, like laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap and freezer bags (medium and large size), all of which happened to be on sale at Costco this week.
    *Called about some feta cheese which developed yucky mold in it, despite being months away from the best before date (1st time that happened to me), and the container was barely used. I was credited $6 worth of points on my loyalty card, which made me happy. I almost just threw it out without inquiring!
    *Was able to get DD signed up for another ABA course (for Autistic children). This one is on Healthy Living. Topic will include making healthy food choices, learning to cook, hygiene, first aid/home safety, exercise and 2 bonus classes on healthy sexuality that are optional. Cannot stress how glad I am that she will be doing this ABA course! Knowing how to take care of herself is one of my biggest anxieties for when she becomes an adult. There is no cost for her to attend.
    *We delivered bundles of sticks from our yard to the pioneer village, for use as kindling. They were pretty much out of kindling, too! While there, my mom and I collected some tomatoes from the garden (3 red and 3 green) for my mom to enjoy, plus a sad little cucumber and a small handful of green beans to give to our Guinea pig. We also collected some rose-hips, so I can try making rose-hip jelly for the first time. Never tried it before, nor have my co-workers, so I plan to share some with them.
    *My mother and I attended a healthy cooking class, through the PHIT program DD is attending for her weight issues. We paid $10 each, but each received $10 gift cards for the grocery store chain that hosted the cooking class. We also had a free dinner, which was a sampling of what was made. Gleaned some ideas (she made a spinach and red cabbage salad that was really tasty and I learned how to properly cut a butternut squash after I cut up 2 for the freezer), but not too much I wasn't already doing or knew about (like cooking an extra chicken and using the meat to make lunches or other healthy dinners, or adding veggies to familiar dishes to encourage the veggie hating child to eat them).
    *Used the $20 in gift cards to stock up on food and non-food supplies while grocery shopping.
    *Picked up a free "mug cake" with coupon at one grocery store. DD happily ate the cake for dessert one night. Wouldn't normally buy this for $1, though! I'd rater buy a regular cake mix that feeds more than one person, for the same price!
    *Using 2 coupons, I was able to save $100 off a new 3-in-one coat for winter/spring/fall. Still expensive, but it's very good quality and hopefully will last me several years.
    *The microwave blew up (caught on fire inside while DD was trying to make popcorn). Thankfully we had a second microwave already, so it was pulled out, saving us from buying a new one!
    *Replaced broken hooks on 2 bras to extend their wear, avoiding having to buy new ones.
    *Worked the Canada 150/50th Anniversary event at my work on Sunday. My mom brought DD to the event for free. They also picked up 2 free reusable water bottles, perfect for DD to use for school. I brought home 2 big paper bags filled to the max with free cobs of corn (didn't count but more than 2 dozen) left over after the event! Now I need to process them all for the freezer.

    Looking forward to catching up with all my frugal friends! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  • Samantha September 26, 2017

    Hi Rhonda,
    My dad's family is Native American (Navajo mom and Apache dad) and we make a rosehip jam/jelly that's called 'champe'. We pick wild rosehips that grow along a river in mid October after a good hard freeze (makes the berries sweeter) and it's delightful! It has a wonderfully earthy and slightly tangy flavor. It's so unique and much better homemade than what the stores sell.

  • ellie's friend from Canada September 26, 2017


    Would you be able to please share the champe recipe with us? I'd really appreciate it! Ann

  • Cindi September 29, 2017

    I make rose hip syrup in the fall and use it to sweeten my morning tea all winter for an extra dose of Vitamin C. During World War II the government encouraged people to make rose hip syrup and give it to children as a vitamin tonic.

  • Juls Owings September 26, 2017

    I can understand your Hubby not wanting to cook. As a chef the last thing I want to do after working in the kitchen all day is cook. We solved the problem with doing semi homemade meals that Hubby saw on Food network. If you can premake pizza crusts for the freezer, or other things along that line. I can chili to put over fritos(Hubby eats them I don't) , baked potatoes, tortilla chips, even salad for a taco salad. Think a little out of the box of what he wants when you can't cook.

  • TJ ~ TJ'S Sweet Home September 26, 2017

    Rhonda, I feel your pain, lol! My husband has certain "requirements" that are non negotiable as far as he's concerned. That makes it harder for me to pinch those pennies, but not impossible. Stay strong my Frugal friend, stay strong!;)

  • Athanasia September 27, 2017

    Rhonda, what does the ABA and the PHIT stand for?

    I suppose your husband , the chef, would be like the saying my father always used... The shoemakers children go barefoot... He's busy/had enough of cooking after doing his job for others.

    We had that same 90 F weather for beginning of Fall. Our schools have no air conditioning either. The humidity did not help.

  • Rhonda A. September 28, 2017

    ABA stands for Applied Behaviour Analysis. It is a method used to teach behaviour modification that works particularly well for children on the Autism spectrum, but can also be used for anyone.

    I don't remember what PHIT stands for, but it is a program run through our local hospital for children who have weight issues. The program brings together a number of different health professionals (Pediatrician, Nurse Practitioner, Dietician, Social Worker, etc.) to support the child and family in developing a healthier lifestyle. Often when a child is overweight, there are many factors that contribute to the problem (stress, anxiety, emotional issues/trauma, food sensory issues, physical disabilities, medical issues, social/economic issue, etc.). The team evaluates each individual child, then develops an individual plan of action that will help for their specific needs.

    As for my husband, I understand that he cooks all day and doesn't want to cook at home. But, I didn't ask him to cook a gourmet meal. I would have been happy if he had popped chicken fingers and fries in the oven. Eating out so much does non of us any favours, not to mention the hits to our budget!

  • Athanasia September 29, 2017

    Rhonda, chicken fingers and fries sound good. With honey mustard. I think we avoid the carry out so easy as we are rural and to go in to get carry out is a good bit of time, the food would be cold and also, no one delivers out here.

    Thanks for the explanation of the classes. I trust your daughter benefits from them...PHIT sounds like a good program.

  • tadpole September 26, 2017

    Good morning everyone!

    This week my province raised its minimum wage meaning that I now make a little more every hour and as you know, every little bit helps.
    I used zucchini from my garden to make a loaf of double chocolate zucchini bread. I replaced the oil in the recipe with plum butter I made using plums from my neighbor's tree. It is so good.

    I gratefully received a box of frozen chicken breasts from my mom, a rose from her garden, and a second hand iron that I will keep on hand as a spare.

    Have a great week.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 26, 2017

    A friend dropped off the last bunch of free veggies – corn on the cob, chard, potatoes, carrots, zucchini. They were free because the subscribers to the veggie plan were on holiday so couldn't pick up their weekly allotment. Instead my friend did and then shared them. I bought "buy one, get one free" for cheese and frozen blueberries.

    I will be taking a course on financial planning for retirement.

    I found great joy in seeing some perennial fall-blooming chrysanthemums in bloom. There were planted many years ago by my mother. At first they bloomed, then for many years, they came back but didn't bloom. So it is with joy that I see that they have bloomed this year. I found joy in organizing a luncheon for an organization that raises money for scholarships, grant and loans for women. It is a joy to have most things organized.

    A little parcel arrived in the mail for me. What a surprise to receive a little necklace from a friend from South Korea. And with it a note (handmade according to a 150 year old tradition) that says "to celebrate our friendship". And greater joy that my friends have moved back to Canada now.

    And a little surprise parcel that I am told is on its way from a German friend who attended Andrea Bocelli's outdoor concert in Italy. I love waiting in expectation for its arrival, whatever it might be!

    I am hoping for a one day trip to the mountains to see the larches turning gold. It is a short period when they are at their prime. A friend has suggested we go next week. Another friend wants me to go to the farmers' market next week with her –– I always find great joy in going to the market but to see all of the fall produce, the colourful squashes, pumpkins etc. I hope there are still some Italian prune plums for me to put in the freezer and something for me to make jam or jelly.

    There is a good crop of Mayday berries in my yard. I am hoping that some of the Evening Grosbeaks that are now rare here
    will pass through and enjoy them. Almost every year a few arrive on October 23, almost like clockwork. And yesterday, I saw a new generation of butterfly in my yard. This species of butterfly hibernates so eauty in the fall and beauty for next spring.

    Joy every way you look.

  • Athanasia September 29, 2017

    Friend, we enjoy bird watching also. We will see the Sandhill Crane migration soon.

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Guest September 26, 2018

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