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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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  • Jo October 02, 2017

    This week was not the most frugal due to sickness but we still managed to save a bit.

      I went to to doctor several times but all appointments were bulk-billed and didn't cost me anything except for prescriptions. I used a lot of home remedies and my sore throat was a good excuse for ice cream. ;) My husband cooked dinners at home or ate a sandwich instead of ordering fast food.

      We turned the heater on almost every night but only for a short time to take the chill off the air before going to bed.

      I dried home-grown herbs and baked breakfast and dinner at the same time to utilise the whole oven. Another day, I cooked kidney beans in the slow cooker and froze them in meal-sized portions for future use.

      We keep plugging along with our garden renovations and removing a lot of plants. We will dispose of them in stages in our green bin to save fees for a second bin. We had to buy a few supplies and feel like we struck a good balance between quality and price.

      I did our monthly grocery and meat shop. It still amazes me how much money we save this way. This week I sent my husband a couple of times for a few items each due to my illness. He always managed to sneak something extra in. Cutting out the temptation works best for us.

      Our cats received their last vaccinations for the year at 50% off. I had made sure to book them in a day before the discount offer ended.

      My SIL's family and us treated my MIL to a birthday dinner. We split the cost and redeemed a 25% off voucher. Our only other meal out were two sausages at a sausage sizzle.

  • Jenny October 02, 2017

    Just read the headlines in Australia, also glad you are safe. And I wish everyone else had been safe as well.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 02, 2017

    Hello Brandy,

    My condolences to the people of your country for the horrible massacre of innocents in Las Vegas. It is shocking and evil.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 02, 2017

    This week, I bought 20 packages of pasta for $0.49 each and my friend has picked up 20 more for me.
    Usually, the packages would cost $2 each as opposed to 49 cents. It is a delicious pasta that cooks in 6 minutes. I am stocking a larder and just need to get an emergency supply of water, some candles, some protein sources (most likely packages of beans). I have extra flour, sugar. Walmart is having young turkeys for $10 each and I hope to get one still. My friend's son picked 2 huge buckets of pears, a gift for me, from their tree. I urged them to pick them as we were supposed to get snow today (it was, in fact, a mini blizzard) so they picked them yesterday. Lucky thing as we got 3 inches of snow, at least! I am not sure how I'm going to use them. They are delicious but are small and really crisp. I may make jam as I am running out of room in my small freezer above the fridge. I painted the back panels of my house, while the temperature was warm enough, to cover the bare wood that appeared when an old downspout was taken down. Another coat of paint can be put on next summer but this will protect the bare wood. I am not supposed to be on a ladder so there is a bit beyond my reach but it's hard to notice as the old and new paints match. My single mother who helps me occasionally transplanted and moved a decorative tree to anther spot and planted a prairie zone 3 hardy apricot tree where the first tree was. She did it yesterday before the storm. I picked the remaining tomatoes that will just have to ripen inside. I covered the petunias and fuschias so hopefully they will last longer. So almost everything that needed doing before winter really sets in has been done. The snow is supposed to melt, temperatures go up and
    then the leaves will be raked!

    Again, our hearts go out to all of the people of Las Vegas, visitors, victims and survivors alike.


  • Maxine October 03, 2017

    Ann, if by "crisp" you mean the pears are still green and hard, let them sit in a cool place for a couple of days to a week, and they will be ripe enough to eat or can. Just be careful not to let them turn all the way yellow, because then they will be too ripe to use for anything except fresh eating. Good for you for getting your tomatoes picked before it snowed!

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 03, 2017

    Hi Maxine,

    Thanks for the tips. The pears are actually ripe, delicious but crisp. There is a pear called Summercrisp and I suspect that's what these are. I think we will halve them or slice them on a mandolin, then coat them in sugar, then bake them as chips. Also, I think I'll spice them like Spiced crabapples. And pear butter seems like a possibility. I still have a lot of small apples to process too.

  • Evelyn Edgett October 02, 2017

    Yesterday at church, someone brought in four dozen bakery cupcakes left over from a birthday party on Saturday. My son's birthday is on the 4th, so I was given two dozen to use for his birthday cake. I put them into the laundry room fridge, and will set them out as a surprise on the actual day.

  • Paula Kennedy October 02, 2017

    This pear bread recipe looks interesting:


  • Terri W. October 02, 2017

    Praying for all those involved in the horrible shooting today. So sad!

    I got my homeowner's and 2 vehicle's insurance changed to a different company. I actually got better coverage and saved $900 a year in premium costs! Since I had to go to the local insurance agent's office to sign papers, I batched other errands while in town.

    A pair of fuzzy socks had lost its elastic at the top, so I delegated it to the rag bag. Then I thought better about that, and pulled one over my Swiffer and dusted my wood floors. It did an amazing cleaning job and then I tossed it into the laundry basket! No more Swiffer refill purchases!

    I picked the last of the tomatoes and canned 7 quarts of green tomato slices to fry this winter and made 6 pints of salsa from the ripe ones.

    Cooked all meals but 1 from scratch this week. The one restaurant meal was from a favorite local Mexican place and my chicken fajita leftovers made 2 more meals!

  • Juls Owings October 03, 2017

    Terri W how do you can green tomato slices for frying? I am going to have green tomatoes I need salsa of any kind like I need another hole in my head LOL.

  • Terri W October 05, 2017

    Juls, I slice the tomatoes thickly and place them in a wide mouth quart jar. Cover them with boiling water, add 1 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. vinegar into each jar. Leave 1/2 inch headspace and process 40 minutes in a water bath canner. When you open a jar, just drain well, place on paper towels, then roll in seasoned flour and fry or however you like to make your fried green tomatoes!

  • Juls Owings October 06, 2017

    Thanks. Will be trying this recipe this year.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 02, 2017

    So sorry to hear about the tragedy in your city, but I was blessed to hear about the outpouring of help (civilians helping transport victims to hospitals and standing in lines for hours to donate blood, as well as the valiant efforts of the first responders and medical community). Praying for your community.

    I think I'll wait and post our frugal efforts later.

  • Becky October 02, 2017

    I ended up doing a bit more late-night canning. I want you, Brandy, to know how much I enjoyed making the plum sauce. I used purple Italian prunes to make it, so it's a nice, deep color. I was also encouraged by Athanesia to try it, and so, with that much encouragement, I made it. When my husband took a bite, he was surprised that it is much like a barbeque sauce, more than a jam. He plans to use it for that. He had me leave it a bit chunky, as he feels it will stay on the meat better. Even with putting 3 small Serrano peppers in it from my garden, it didn't have much zip. I added 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and you can still just barely feel the heat. I like the taste, though, and am eager to use some.

    I am also grateful for all the "fig advice" from a few weeks ago. The first batch of fig jam had so much lemon juice in it that it tastes like lemonade jam. I think I will try it as a sauce to cook chicken in. That was a low-sugar recipe, and it's not my favorite to eat straight, such as on bread, because I was expecting fig flavor, and I got lemon-fig flavor. It still tastes good, though.

    The second batch was much more fig flavored and also has a lot of sugar. So, it will probably be eaten as jam.

    The tree is now ripening lots and lots more figs, and more are ripening daily. How many of them I use is going to depend on how much time I find between working, homeschool, and other life chores. I'd love to try the rosemary fig sauce from this site, if I can. Since Rob loves to barbeque, he might use some of that in his bbq. He thought it sounded great.

    I also may dry some. Again, it's a time factor.

    I have been restocking the pantry, canning cupboards and freezers for the past few weeks. I'm now done, except for butter (I want to pay $2/pound and can't find it for that, but will keep looking), and coffee pods (I want to pay 25c/pod, and have not found that yet, either). I will keep looking for those. I shouldn't have to buy much this month. It was almost comical how everything ran out last month--one thing after another after another--sometimes you've just got to laugh....So, this month, I will try to target older items and keep that stockpile organized so things don't get lost.

    My husband had a paycheck from his job at the school for the first time since school let out last spring. Always love that! Since the little yellow bus is coming directly to our door to pick him up this year, we have noticed a difference in our gas bill. He used to drive to a nearby parking lot to be picked up to ride with a boy who needs a little extra help on the bus, but even that short distance clearly used more gas than we thought.

    I picked a few flowers from the yard/garden, and some more vegetables. I cooked a lot of meals from scratch. I mixed up some gluten-free flour from a recipe in a magazine and used it instead of my favorite (Bob's Red Mill One-to-One). I have some various flours on hand that need to be used, so this was a way to get some of those on the plate. I made some raspberry bars, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin custard.

    My husband bought some slightly dented, unlabeled cans of food from a local cannery. They were around 10-20c/can, depending on the size. So: $2.50 for a case of 24 small cans of corn and $2.50/case for 12 large cans of pumpkin.

    I worked a few extra hours Saturday to bring my paycheck up a little for October.

  • Janet October 04, 2017

    Becky after Christmas Bed Bath and Beyond has coffee pods down to .05 per pod For butter I buy land of lakes they do $1.00 coupons and I wait until my store doubles and that was this week making one pound .42 per container if you buy the one pound container with seven people in the family I can do this 28 times.

    Watch after holidays for discounted coffee pods. All stores discount after the holidays even found some last year discounted at my grocery store after Halloween .02 per pod after coupons.

  • lillianna October 02, 2017

    I went to Aldi's and bought milk and eggs. 1.29 and 32 cents respectively. I signed up for Ibotta to add a little to my savings. I claimed a 25.00 gift card to Walmart from Swagbucks. I will use it to purchase cat food and cat litter. I will be claiming another one to get the puppy her food. Charlotte is an expensive puppy. Her vet bills for ear infections are about the same as a small childs. I have inherited her from my college daughter who couldn't take her to her new apartment. She is very well behaved and quite a joy in my life. After having two bad wrecks in 8 days, I find she calms my nerves. The trauma physically and emotionally has been difficult. She is probably a lot cheaper than a therapist. I will not be returning her. I am micro managing my house. I am purging anything and everything I don't need or want. I have stacks of items to recycle, regift, sell and donate. My great adventure for the week is diagnosing my beeping refrigerator. I hope to have the problem resolved without calling a repairman. Hopefully I can narrow it down to two issues and order the parts. The actual repairs are simple. One part or the other should fix it and any part not needed can be returned. Sweet Sugar Cookie should be home in two weeks. I have missed her and will be happy to have her home. Prayers for all the people in the Las Vegas incident. I am without words.

  • Genevieve October 03, 2017

    Hi Lillianna,

    We learned that allergies, often to food, can cause ear infections in dogs. After some trial and error, we eliminated grains from my dog's diet and her ear health improved tremendously.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC October 04, 2017

    My golden retriever also has food allergies. He used to get lots of ear infections before I found the food he's on now. It's a prescription diet from the vet's office made by Hill's Science Diet. It's called Z/D. I think you can also get it online in the US with a prescription from your vet.

  • Annie-Blake October 02, 2017

    This week we have had lots of rain which has been great for our garden. Thank you for sharing your accomplishments, ours this past week were:

    -I received a $15 gift card for completing a 10 minute online survey. It is redeemable at the big box grocery or department stores;
    -we had breakfast (home made crepes) & lunch (creamy spinach and ricotta ravioli with bacon) provided to us at a family members house;
    -I had pizza, garlic bread and drinks provided to me for dinner (hubby was at work and the children were in bed). No one wanted to take the leftover pizza so I got a full sized pizza;
    -we went for a swim at a family members house;
    -I made spaghetti and salads using tomatoes I harvested from our garden. I gave some tomatoes to some family members;
    -groceries for the week cost $77, higher than my average spend of $30-$50, but I got a large quantity of needed items;
    -I did not need to fill up the car. It is now on it's 3rd week;
    -trying to optimise our menu for our upcoming camping trip;
    -made muffins from scratch to take to a friends house; and
    -line dried all clothes and kept electricity usage to a minimum, as per usual.

  • Becky @ Becky's Place October 03, 2017

    Brandy, this recipe came from the Mennonite Girls Can Cook site. I made it and it turned out well. It's a sweet, quick bread.
    Pear Bread
    1/2c butter, softened
    3/4c sugar
    2 eggs
    2c flour
    1tsp baking soda
    1/2tsp salt
    1tsp ground cinnamon
    1tsp vanilla
    1c pear sauce (same as apple sauce, but use pears)

    Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In other bowl, mix dry ingredients, then stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in pear sauce. Pour into greased 8x4 loaf pan. Bake 1hr at 350, or until toothpick comes out clean when testing center. Cool for 10mns before removing from pan.

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