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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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  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 26, 2017

    I haven't heard of this one. It sounds interesting! (And what a bummer that Home Fires was canceled and ended up with such a cliffhanger!)

  • Nina September 26, 2017

    Oh, I was so disappointed, too. It was such a quality program.

    Here is the link for Back In Time for Dinner. There are several time periods they cover but the one I started with was post WWII. What I liked about the series is that the family makes insightful comments about what they are experiencing and the clothing was an added treat. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2jujx8

  • Terri C September 30, 2017

    I saw several of these episodes after a reader recommended them to me. Excellent series and you really do have a better feel for how stringent rationing was in England at the time. In fact the post WWII years were more stringent than the war years were!

  • Athanasia September 27, 2017

    Is this a BBC show? Nice thing is often they come back years later and do a reunion show. They did this with 2 shows I watched, TO THE MANOR BORN and THE VICAR OF DIBLEY. I think they may have do in the THE GOOD NEIGHBORS also. I would highly recommend the 3rd show as regards the connection to here with frugality and self-sufficiency. These are all comedies and so so funny. Maybe HOME FIRES will be finished off eventually.

  • Marcia R. September 29, 2017

    I loved The Vicar of Dibley and did not know they did a reunion show. I will have to keep an eye out for it in the schedule, as they often repeat special shows. Thank you for the information.

  • Anne September 27, 2017

    ACH! Home Fires was canceled? I didn't know.

  • Andrea Q September 29, 2017

    Home Fires has continued in a series of four novellas available electronically on Amazon. I pre-ordered them, so they were about $1 each.

    The complete book will be out in October: https://www.amazon.com/Keep-Home-Fires-Burning-Complete-ebook/dp/B06XVXX6G1/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1506744113&sr=8-4&keywords=home+fires

  • Ellie September 29, 2017

    Back in Time for Dinner, is VERY interesting to watch. :D

  • Juls Owings September 26, 2017

    Brandy what board games do you play with your Hubby? We are looking at different games to do at home when he retires but clueless of board games for 2 players.

    First day of fall the temp was the hottest it had been all summer.Might get some relief when Hurricane Maria moves on out and allows the cold front to move in. Sure need rain. I told Hubby I would water the mums but not the rest of it as it's coming to the end of the season anyways.
    JOY: seeing some family I hadn't seen a while, not being in hospital after Crohn's flared up due to serious allergy attack, between the drainage and the allergy meds Crohny had a fit. Can't blame him but I really really didn't want to be in the hospital again. Hubby and I passed the crud ( like the allergies weren't enough) to each other but not to other family members... hum, that might be their joy. The sun is shining, my dog is by my side and I can use my right arm a little more today than yesterday. We have figured out why sometimes we have wasted food...usually when both of us are sick or one is getting well when the other one gets sick. I found joy each day as I read through this blog and all the comments. I find joy in the sharing of the wisdom, the mess ups and the how to get through it, the you are not alone ...we are here attitude. Blessing of each and everyone and especially you Brandy and your family sharing you with us.

    My shoulder surgery affected my CP and I can't put my hand behind my back... can't raise my hand to take an oath, can't scratch the back side on my other arm. They are thinking 6 mos to a year to get it back...I'm am glad I didn't lose it completely...that is a joy.

    I made tomato slurry to collect tomato seeds from some heirloom field tomatoes a friend gave us. He didn't know for sure what they were just field tomatoes picked by machines and that the company collects the seeds to replant.... they are a paste tomato, looks like a Roma due to the size. I haven't ever tried to grow tomatoes from other tomatoes so this is something new for me to try. Tomatoes is my biggest expense of the plants.

    I gave a friend some of my fabric as she is friends with a quilter that is quilting for hurricane children.

    I focused on what I can do in the kitchen to stretch the food dollars. I have found a place in the kitchen frig freezer to put a scrap bag and then decided it needed to be a hard container as it will fill up with odds and ends if I don't do that.

  • Marybeth September 26, 2017

    We love Racko, Mind Trap, Mancala, Yahtzee and various card games.

  • Jenny September 27, 2017

    I really hope your health issues resolve themselves sooner than 6 months to a year. I'm actually impressed with how much you accomplish given you don't have full operational use of your arm.

  • Athanasia September 29, 2017

    Six month to a year sound like too long! I pray for a much much speedier healing.

  • Ellie September 29, 2017

    We play Scrabble quite often. It takes about to play with just the two of us.

  • Katy Wolk-Stanley September 26, 2017

    We just completed sending both our kids off to college in their apartments, so my frugal attention had been on setting up everything needed for the goal. However, now I can enjoy my empty nest again, so my frugal things have been enjoying time with my husband and ramping up paid work. Saving money is great, but making money is equally important.

    By the way, I'm very happy that I live in rain drenched Oregon where water falls freely from the sky and it's easy to survive without air conditioning!

    I wrote about my recent frugal choices here:


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

    I'll have to check out that weather site. I have always referenced the Farmer's Almanac for planting & weather insight. Are the two similar or how do they differ?

    Here's my little frugal list: http://tjssweethome.blogspot.com/2017/09/five-frugal-things-september-22-2017.html

    Our only vehicle is having unknown issues and has been parked for 2+ weeks (thank heavens for being able to use our daughters car in a pinch). Hubby only wants to use the dealership for repairs and they were flooded during Harvey so we are waiting for their service center to reopen. I only say this because, having this looming over us could make my little money saving efforts feel inconsequential but I refuse to get discouraged. I just have to keep reminding myself that it all adds up!~TJ

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 26, 2017

    I really don't know how they differ. You'll have to compare.

  • Maxine September 27, 2017

    I just checked the Old Farmers' Almanac site a few hours ago. They say that they base their forecasts on sunspot activity, acknowledging that most others do not. They said that they factor in other considerations. Their worldwide forecast is for a colder winter, but not necessarily colder than historical averages. The intermountain area, where I live, is predicted to have a cold and snowy winter. Our snowy winter last year was the first we had since around 2008. However, it was not particularly cold, but it was long (the groundhog was right!).

  • Becky September 26, 2017

    During this past week, I did nothing I consider extra or special to save money. It was just another week of forging ahead, using many habits I have to live within our means. I canned a little, made fig jam, picked veggies from my dwindling garden, used the library, cooked lots of meals, etc. Although nothing was exciting, it all adds up and gives me a feeling of contentment.

    I am almost done restocking the pantry with both home-canned items and purchased things. I had used up quite a few things, so replaced them since I was able to do that. Next month, our income will be quite low, so I will be drawing on the stockpile.

    We moved all our wood down to our house from my sister's house and realized we did not have enough for the winter, but we were close. When my husband started scouting around for a possible place to go cut some more, 2 of his friends confided that they have saved about a cord from our old house for us! And, they cut and split it already. AND, they brought it here yesterday--at lease 1 large trailer full. Wasn't that nice? What a blessing!! Once we get that stacked up, we will have enough for the winter. Then, we will need to cut more for next year--but WOW!

    I know how much of a blessing it is to become friends with others from a different country. I'm glad you are getting the opportunity. My friend from Africa puts me to shame when it comes to frugality!!! When I went up there to visit this past week, she dressed her little daughter up for me in native costume--the picture is so cute. https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/saving-money-and-weekly-update-sept-23-2017/
    I am learning a lot from her. One of the things I am learning is to find so much joy in such ordinary things. Her little girl was just beaming with pride, showing me her outfit! She makes us injera bread and lentils and is so gracious to us with her hospitality. Her bravery at moving here to a land where everything is different and strange and hard to understand humbles me.

    I know that whatever help you were able to offer was so gladly received. I can tell from reading this blog for so long that you, too, and your children, will learn and be blessed more than you ever thought by helping them. I hope you get more chances.
    I'm sure you will find, as I have, that most of the things needed are not monetary, but a listening ear, a little help understanding hard things and paperwork, and a little friendship in time, to combat being lonely and homesick.

  • Linda Higgy September 26, 2017

    Brandy, Kohls has small appliances on sale with a rebate, that brings the price down to $4.95 approx. It includes a 1 1/2 qt slow cooker. Just the size for a party of one! Just make sure the bowl comes out to wash.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 26, 2017

    Linda, is that this week? I though they ony had this deal at Christmas. Do you have more info (like someone's blog post on it) or should I just check out their website/go to the store?

    The crockpot actually sounds too small for her (she wants to make a large pot of beans at once to eat from all week, or cook a whole chicken while she's in class that she can eat all week) but I am interested in knowing what other appliances are part of this deal.

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