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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Fall Zinnia Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains affiliate links.

I cut and dried lots of basil from the garden.

I printed free school worksheets from Education.com (they have a limit of 10 free worksheets each month).

I planted seeds in the garden for artichokes, Swiss chard, and parsley.

I covered my artichoke seedlings from a previous week that had come up with small canning jars, to keep the bugs from eating them and to create a mini-greenhouse, allowing them to grow faster larger.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I experimented making a few loaves of pear bread, using quarts of home-canned pears that have been on the shelves for a few years. I ground whole wheat into flour in our grinder and used that in the recipes. The first two loaves were fine, but lacked excitement (we ate them anyway). I'll keep trying some variations until we find something we really enjoy, as we have a number of older jars of home-canned pears that need to be used up.

My brother-in-law was offered a number of free tickets to a show downtown on Tuesday. My husband and I were able to attend. We were even told to park in a certain lot downtown. We saw a parking garage on the way, but our vehicle was too tall to park there. We found the lot that we had been told to park in; it was a small lot and the entrance wasn't even clear. To our surprise, the lot stated that it was free to Nevada residents for 24 hours, provided the driver had a valid id! We did have to walk a distance, but the weather was pleasant and gave us a chance to talk. (For those who live in Las Vegas, this lot is east of Planet Hollywood, and you enter it from Harmon Ave. There is no noticeable entrance; just a fence with a small entrance and a drive behind it. As you drive to the lot, you will see Bally's employee parking lot is connected to this lot.) We ended our evening by going out to eat using a gift card that we had.

(I know some of you are wondering about the shooting in Las Vegas. We don't live close to downtown and are very rarely there, though as I mentioned we were earlier this past week. You can read about the shooting here--warning about the photos.) 

My husband used barge cement to repair two pairs of children's shoes.

I gave our youngest a haircut. He thinks the trimmers tickle, which makes it a bit tricky, but he was very good about having his hair cut!

My son brought home leftover cookies from a Scout Court of Honor that no one else wanted to take home.

My mom went to a garage sale and blessed us with several items she found: 3 pint jars, brand-new girls' hair elastics (I was just about to go buy some at the dollar store, where they sell them 100 for $1, but this saved me a dollar!), sidewalk chalk, and sewing machine oil.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  • Laurie in central NC October 02, 2017

    I'm OK around spiders in general, but a black widow surely scares me. I hope you've fully recovered from that. After the week we had, the snake barely phased me. After I felt the thwack on my back, I looked around and told Joseph, "that was a snake". He said "I see that", and we laughed about it for good long while. It was a rat snake, only around 18", though falling from a height, it packed a good wallop. I always say we live in interesting times!

  • PJGT October 04, 2017

    I'd be moving if a snake fell dropped on me!

  • Cindy S. October 02, 2017

    I am so horrified and sad today about the state of our world with all that has happened. Prayers said for all the victims and families.
    This past month has been very hard to get through financially. Thank God for family that helps. October will be better because of an extra payday (I get paid on Tuesdays).
    My husband trimmed a tree and several rose bushes in our backyard and cut the grass with a riding lawn mower that we received for free (all it needed was a new belt). We were short on food so my mother generously bought some groceries for us from Sam's Club and my sister gave me enough tomatoes that I will be able to can them. I also was given some apples from my aunt's trees. We will eat some and bake with some. We cooked and ate all meals from home. I take homemade iced tea and lunches to work with me. I mended two of my husbands shirts, paid all bills online, gave my oldest son a haircut, let my newspaper subscription expire, and decorated for Fall/Halloween with decorations that we already had. My boss gave me some clothes from her grandson for my youngest son. He received 8 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, a pair of sleep/lounge pants, and several hoodies and jackets. This was helpful as he was in need of some Fall/Winter clothing. His birthday is in two weeks and we will just be having a family party with homemade cake and potluck style food. I hope everyone has a blessed week.

  • PJGT October 02, 2017

    I understand the thankfulness of family and their blessings. I just asked my MIL if she would buy us some items from the big box store she stops at and had to humbly admit to not having enough to pay her for them if she does. We need to keep our focus straight ahead! This too shall pass.

  • Jen G October 02, 2017

    Living Frugally from Urban Seattle:

    -picked herbs from our neighborhood u-pick herb garden since I've used up all of the herbs I planted this summer in my own small yard.
    - I used $6 of store coupons on my last grocery run - no junk food!
    - Weather continues to be nice here so no driving this week once again! One bus ride downtown plus lots of bike rides for errands and to go to events.
    - we achieved a big financial goal! To celebrate - we slept in on Saturday morning...haha! Very boring but frugal (and definitely a treat!)
    - rented DVDs from library for a fun Friday family movie night! I need to do that more - it just takes some advanced planning.
    - we went for a beautiful fall hike at neighborhood park that has some forested areas and looks over the Puget Sound. Completely free!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood October 02, 2017

    As is everyone else, I am horrified by the shooting. Such a senseless tragedy.
    I'm glad that you and your husband had a chance for an evening out, though, and that there was even free parking!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - I sold a dozen Succulent/Cactus Cupcakes for $30! Someone had advertised for a baker on my local trading blog, and I looked at the photo of the cupcakes that he wanted and thought to myself, I can do that. So I did! (http://approachingfood.com/easy-cacti-cupcakes/) I packaged them in cupcake boxes that I received free, and used icing bags that I had traded for previously.
    - I made one of my favourite frugal yet tasty meals – carrot ginger stew over quinoa. (http://approachingfood.com/carrot-ginger-stew-served-with-quinoa-and-arugula/) Except that I served it over some couscous that I had in my pantry and was trying to finish up. This meal freezes well and tastes delicious. I buy fresh ginger when it’s on sale and freeze it, and then zest it straight from the freezer whenever I need some. No waste, and the zesting makes the ginger almost melt away in the dish. You could serve this as a side dish or over rice, but I generally like to serve it as a main dish, over quinoa (for the protein). With carrots and onions going on sale around now, it’s a great way to add some fall flavour to the dinner table! (You could also just skip the quinoa/couscous, blend it, and serve it as a soup, with a squiggle of cream/evaporated milk or dollop of sour cream on top. So versatile!)
    - I traded a can of my homemade reduced-fat White Wine Alfredo Sauce, for a pair of brand-new earrings made by a local craftsperson, and I traded two jars of tea gifted to me (that I put in nice jars and labeled prettily) for a bag of dried rosemary, as well as some fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley. This is perfect, as I had just run out of rosemary (both fresh from my balcony garden and dried from my pantry) so now I’m stocked for many months. I also traded some hairdryer attachments (they came with my hairdryer years ago and I’ve never used them) for a brand-new stuffed teddy bear that I will gift to some little girls that I know.
    - My cherry pitter broke when I was using it to pit olives, but I managed to put it back together.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gift card to Old Navy.
    - I redeemed $10 from Pinecone Research to my Paypal account.
    - I used up the last of some bread chunks and buns in my freezer (from loaves that hadn’t risen due to old yeast a few months ago), some onions (purchased at the cheapest price of the year last week), some bouillon, some of my frozen celery (traded for previously). some of the herbs that I traded for, as well as some dried sage from my pantry, plus some butter and hot water, to make a pan of delicious stuffing as a side dish. Cost to me? Maybe 25 cents for the dish. Even cheaper than a mix, and obviously healthier too!
    - I made up some strawberry-peach jam using fruit from my freezer, to use as a mix-in with my homemade yoghurt for the next few weeks.
    - I made a large pot of Broccoli Cheddar Soup, but used 2% milk instead of the half and half the recipe called for. I also used half the whole broccoli called for (from my stash of frozen broccoli bought on sale and blanched), and used half dehydrated instead. Plus, I added in some fresh herbs that I had traded for. It was SO delicious! I ate it for lunch and packed away the rest for weekday lunches.
    - I went to Nuit Blanche with the DH (a city-wide all-night arts festival full of installation type pieces). Free entertainment! We came across a truck handing out samples during the event, so we got free snack packs of hummus & crackers, and quinoa salad.
    - Butter was on sale this week ($2.99/lb, which is the lowest yearly price), so we bought 12 lbs, which I froze. This should last be enough to last me until the next time butter goes on sale for this price. I’m very happy to have a freezer filled with butter!
    - I bought a medium-sized pumpkin for 98 cents. I plan to use it as a centerpiece for several weeks, and then process it for baking pumpkin pie, pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin bread, etc.
    - I used some used wax that had lost its scent, along with some dollar store cotton facial pads, to make firestarters to add to my camping supplies. Better than tossing the wax, and all it cost me was the super-cheap cotton pads.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  • Juls Owings October 02, 2017

    bobbie pin will work for a cherry pitter. Dad still does it this way at age 90.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood October 03, 2017

    I've previously used a paper clip, which has was effective but laborious, so I bought this one online using Swag bucks. If it repeatedly falls apart, I'll try to get a refund, but I think it's easy enough to reassemble if it happens again. I don't pit things enough to invest in a better quality one at this point. Thanks for the tip, though! Now I have a backup plan to my backup plan!

  • Jennifer October 02, 2017

    Glad to hear you are safe!! So very sad.

    I love reading but seldom comment. I stocked up at Aldi this week, after eating through some pantry items that had been around for a while. I experimented successfully with making gluten free bread using the book "Gluten Free Bread in Five Minutes a Day." My family can go through those expensive loaves so quickly, this has been a great find, even though it's still not as cheap as ordinary bread. Plus, we were able to have better pizza than we can buy, fresh at home, and also caramel pecan rolls, which I haven't had in years. Highly recommended! I also worked in the garden and ate many tomatoes, some chard, and some herbs from our vegetable garden. I also swapped kids clothes with a friend - she is having her fourth girl and has one boy, and I am having my fourth boy and have one girl.

    Hope you have a good week! I so appreciate the inspiration you provide here!

  • cathy October 02, 2017

    I received that cookbook as a gift but haven't used it yet. Which recipes do you recommend?

  • Juhli October 02, 2017

    What a tragedy in Las Vegas. My heart goes out to all those injured and the loved ones of those killed.

    We are nearing the end of our necessary spending related to moving across country and into an older home. Also getting to know our new area.
    1. I have been searching websites to find free/low cost entertainment that we would both enjoy and this week we went to a guitar orchestra concert (classical music) at the library and an aviation museum open house. Both were very enjoyable. We also utilized the free community gold course and took lots of walks.
    2. With our house we acquired a small patio that wasn't very useful due to 9 mature bougainvilleas planted around the perimeter. My newly retired Hubby cut them down and will put down gravel and add some large pots and plants. No labor cost.
    3. Very low level of food waste as usual as we eat leftovers or create meals to use up bits and pieces.
    4. I agreed to be a test subject for an online friend getting an aromatherapy certificate and for the "price" of providing feedback I received a lovely essential oil mix to use on aching neck and shoulders.

  • Laurie in AZ October 02, 2017

    Prayers for Las Vegas…

    • Made muffins for breakfast. Used zucchini I had in the freezer as well as some nuts and dried fruit I had gotten free from work and frozen. Used the liquid from the zucchini to make the milk with powdered milk. Before they went into the oven, I topped them with a couple of sugar packets I had gotten for free from a hotel stay. Hubby took them to work for breakfast.
    • Got some bubbles from the clearance rack. Spent some fun time with my grandson playing with those.
    • Cut open facial moisturizer bottle to get the remainder out. This was after I have had it turned upside down for 2 weeks and using it up that way. I’m amazed at how much there still is in there. I have been able to use it for 10 days now. I think I have 3 more days worth left in there.
    • Used free toiletries, coffee, tea and jellies.
    • Had hamburger steaks for dinner one night. Hubby wanted A-1 sauce. I had a small bottle that I had gotten on a room service tray but didn’t use when I was at a conference for work. Made us laugh that I had saved it but it was just what he wanted!
    • Items from freezer: 8, items to freezer: 1. Items from pantry: 5. Did really well not buying any clearance items and keeping the groceries to a minimum. Except for some more wine I got on clearance. The store had bottles of one of our favorite Cabernet Sauvignons. It is usually $20/bottle, but I got 5 bottles for only $7 each. We will save those for special occasions.
    • Hubby went out to lunch with our daughter to Olive Garden for her birthday. They were having a buy 1 entrée, take 1 home deal, so he brought home a spaghetti with meat sauce meal for me, which I ate for 2 lunches.
    • Your cake decorating inspired me! I got a cake decorating kit at Jo-Ann’s. They tried to charge me $41.99, but the display said $39.99 (good thing I paid attention!) I signed up for their app so I got 50% off of that. I also bought a cookie scoop that I had been wanting. After both purchases it came to $28.06. I then used the Ibotta app, which will give me 10% back, so a $2.59 rebate.
    • Combined errands to save gas.
    • Used as few disposable paper products as possible.
    • Hung out 2 loads of laundry.
    • Was able to put a good amount of money into savings this month.
    • Kept electric bill to under $220, which is what I had budgeted. This month’s came to $217.67. All the little things like keeping lights off, keep the AC set on a higher temperature and turning off the printer, etc. really do add up.
    • Had an $8.00 Staples rewards to use, so I bought 2 containers of dish detergent, which I was low on, and paid $2.78 OOP.
    • Got a free coffee drink and a free Hormel Complete meal from Krogers.
    • Had a Dr. appointment on the day I usually take Dad to lunch, so I missed this week. Saved on lunch money and on gas.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful frugal week!

  • Jo October 02, 2017

    I join everyone else in sadness over the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas. It is truly horrifying.

    Our week was on schedule to be frugal, but we took the car in to be serviced for a leak, and they replaced a transmission pan that has a deep mark in it where we ran over something (we remember doing it, but didn't know the pan was damaged). However, that wasn't the leak, as we found out when we got home and found a small puddle under our car again! The leak turned out to be a faulty oil plug. So we just paid $450 to replace a pan that wasn't leaking. We are going to contact them with our complaint, but I doubt we'll get our money back.
    In light of that, I basically skipped grocery shopping this week. We have enough to get by.
    I downloaded $100 from Swagbucks to Paypal, then to my bank. It helps the sting of the car repair a little.
    I'm making plans for an afternoon to cook a lot of beans and put them up. I'll use beans more often if they are ready to go, either in the freezer or home-canned. I bought several varieties at a bulk sale.
    I spent one afternoon making beef broth to put up.
    We are making a day-long trip tomorrow for a funeral this week. I plan to pack as much as I can for us to eat along the way, and we won't get a hotel, even though we'll get home fairly late.
    I'm glad I have soup and chili put by in the freezer for busy nights ahead. I need to keep up with freezer meals.
    If only we could get some cool weather and turn off the air conditioning for a while. Even though we keep the thermostat at 79, having a/c run 24/7 eats electricity. I know cool weather is finally here to stay for a while when my coconut oil finally stays solid. It's liquid about 8 months out of the year. I love finally turning off the a/c and opening some windows.

  • J October 02, 2017

    Brandy, I am glad to hear that your family is safe.

    We just returned late last night from 6 days in the Laurentians (a region in Québec). We used loyalty points to cover the cost of our hotel during the trip. Right now I am trying to get reorganized and am working on totaling up my grocery receipts from September and a few blog posts (about our grocery spend, the trip, and our house).

    The day before we left we had pictures done of our house to put away for future use if we are able to move ahead with a relocation in the new year. That was chaotic. Nonetheless, it worked out well. I did not want to pay someone to stage our house so I used a few tricks I have learned over the years, and the day before the photos I went to a grocery store and picked up loads of flowers which I used to make about 5 fresh arrangements used in various places around our house. This was far cheaper than purchasing from a florist.

    I wanted to thank everyone (Mable, Cathy, perhaps a few others) who suggested using beets to make chocolate cake a few weeks ago. I never would have thought of this! I researched and found a great recipe:
    I liked this recipe because I had all ingredients on hand and it did not require anything special that I would not normally buy. Also - I used all purpose flour instead of cake flour. I had to add a bit to the cooking time, but it still turned out really well. The cake was very rich and delicious - I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not use the suggested icing, but used another cream cheese icing recipe I love.

    Another beet recipe I tried was Beet and Cranberry Chutney:
    This recipe is translated from the French version of this website - some of the ingredients are listed a bit differently in English. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries (I used frozen), and you can use your own roasted or boiled beets (I used roasted beets). Also - this recipe can be frozen. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, or you can freeze it. It pairs really well with cheese (goat, brie, cream) or white meat (poultry, pork).

    Before we left on vacation I also stocked up on carrots and potatoes.

    I did a few other things to save money - but right now I need to focus on getting unpacked and ready to start the new month. I missed reading all the comments last week, but I will try to get caught up.

  • Athanasia October 02, 2017

    Such sad news on the TV and radio today. Violence in Las Vegas and I heard of violence in Spain with elections and regional/cultural conflicts. The news from Puerto Rico does not sound good either with no speedy resolution of hurricane's damage.

    We did all the usual this past week of canning, freezing, drying, packing lunches, using up leftovers, hanging (portion of) laundry to dry, composting, recycling. We have been cleaning out the garden beds, areas one after another, putting up hoop houses and cold frames. We're looking for a new spot for the greenhouse. It's attached to one side of my husband's workshop but he and my nephew want to expand out and that is the only direction they can go. So right now they have disassembled it. It was made out of all scrap doors and windows gleaned from remodeling sites by my grandfather back in the 60's and it was nice as it received passive heat from the workshop even at the coldest.

    Received a 7.00 rebate. Every other week or so I receive a free pen in the mail from a company trying to get me to order pens for my business. There is always some gimmick it seems. This week it was a light up pen. I save them all and use as prizes for the summer reading program. This last one was a Santa themed one and the card that came with it had to small black buttons for the eyes. I saved the buttons to add to button jar. Picked up the free grocery item (gum). Read 3 library books...2 I would recommend...KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON: THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI and a children's book, THIMBLE SUMMER, which was a story of a 9 year old girl growing up during the Depression. Picked up one of those big popcorn tins off the take-it-or-leave-it table at church. They are good for storing bird seed in.

  • Mable October 02, 2017

    If you are looking for another book featuring a young girl, you might try The War That Saved My Life, by Kate Saunders. Set in WWII England, it is the story of a handicapped, abused girl who has spent her whole like inside until the children are evacuated to the country. There she is very suspicious of how lovingly she is treated, due to her mother's abuse of her, and it takes a long time for her to trust in love. Very impactful, beautifully written books. The abuse is not presented in a gory fashion. Also good for teaching kids a bit about WWII. I am always recommending this book to young adults, especially girls. I read it aloud to my husband, who found it very compelling, too.

  • Megan Z. October 03, 2017

    There is a sequel coming out soon for The War that Saved My Life. I can't recall the date but it should be in the next few months.

  • Athanasia October 03, 2017

    Megan, it is out. Depending on your library they may have it already. Our library system has 4 copies so far between 17 libraries, and most are still in process but if you can, get a reserve on it now so you don't have to wait as long. There are only 4 reserves ahead of me.

  • Athanasia October 03, 2017

    Thanks Mable. I recommended that one here awhile ago. I'm glad you liked it and are recommending it! I have the sequel on reserve at the public library. Another children's series I enjoyed recently was the MOUSENET books by Prudence Breitrose...there are 3 in the series.

  • LSM October 03, 2017

    I love that book! Great suggestion!


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