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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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  • Jade October 03, 2017

    What brand was your pool? Dimensions? We also bought one this year and putting it away, I noticed a bit of rust...

  • Gardenpat October 02, 2017

    This has been a great frugal week for us!! I had a lot of hot peppers that I turned into sweet chili sauce and hot pepper jelly. Then I wanted to make more hot pepper mustard but didn't have the hot banana peppers needed as one of the main ingredients! Until I remembered that last summer I had too many hit banana peppers and so I pickled 6 quarts! I used those in place of the fresh banana peppers and then was able to make the rest of the mustard and can it, using ingredients from my garden and pantry!!
    To get ready for all the canning I've done in the past two weeks, I rearranged and reorganized my basement pantry shelves! It was great to see what I needed to use up and rotate and several if our meals have reflected that!
    I was able to share my mix and DIY canned sauces and their recipes with a friend whose husband has been out of work for 18 months! They are living on their food storage and some of my mixes and canned sauces were things she hadn't tried before! I sent her home with recipes but also a jar of each of the finished products so they cold sample them to see if they liked them enough to make up batches of them. It was also a way to give them something without any awkwardness!
    Our side business continues to thrive and ideas and orders keep coming in! This week we brought in an extra $500 from sales! We feel extremely blessed!
    Our chickens continue to produce 6-7 eggs a day so as we rotate through them we are happy to know that we can safely store them in our basement fridge for 7 months without having them go bad so that will mean that as their laying slows down in he winter, we will still have fresh eggs!! I am pleased about this!
    We were given 4 baguettes the other day and I found and pinned some easy ideas for "stuffed" French baguettes!
    One was a chicken/ranch/cheese spread, the their a ground beef/cream of mushroom/cheese spread that you use on them and then toast in the oven until cheese is bubbly. We now have two different quick dinners plus several lunch servings! These used only pantry and freezer ingredients that I already had at home!!!
    I saw an ad on Craigslist for free bricks and so we picked those up (over 200 whole bricks and another hundred half bricks)!!
    A friend's sister has a beautiful round dining room table and chairs that are sturdy and well cared for that she is giving us today! I am so excited!!
    We were able to give out homemade chocolate chip cookies to families that we visited on Sunday, using homemade cookie mix and ingredients on my shelves! What a blessing my pantries are! How much time and money they save me!!!
    Autumn has finally started and we love the cooler temperatures!
    All in all, a very good week!!!

  • Julie October 02, 2017

    My frugal accomplishments this past week include going around and shutting storm windows and doing a temporary fix with foam tape, caulking, and plastic on a window that needs replacing. I had all items on hand. I also rolled newspaper logs from free leftover newspaper a friend gives me. Also, I salvaged wood from a construction trash receptacle, for my woodstove. I reviewed my September spending and did some organizing in the pantry. On the pears... what about pear crisp or crepes with pears?

  • Julie, I canned these pears in 2014. They are okay if you can't taste them :) So I have to hide them in something. I have fresh pears from our tree that would be okay in the other two ways but the canned ones need to be baked into something where you can't taste them as distinctly.

    Your storm preparation sounds like a good way to save money on heating this winter!

  • Rhonda A. October 02, 2017

    Brandy, what if you blended the pears into a sauce and used it in place of applesauce in some recipes? I've made muffins, sweet loaves, cakes and brownies with applesauce. There are plenty of recipes to try on Pinterest.

  • That's what I did, but the recipe was kind of bland. I think I need to have something with nuts or something else in it. I've tried them in a couple of different recipes that way so far and while they were okay, they weren't spectacular. I'm hoping for a home run to get them used up. I think the idea someone else mentioned of putting jam on the bread might be the easiest solution! I just don't want to waste them and by putting them in place of oil in something they can add nutrition as well as (hopefully) be fewer calories than the oil would have been.

  • Cindi October 02, 2017

    Maybe a spiced bread -- like gingerbread or carrot or zucchini bread, seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves?

  • SJ in Vancouver BC October 02, 2017

    Pear butter? Like apple butter only using pears. I make my pear butter with ginger as the main seasoning. With my apple butter, I use cinnamon. So, I end up with two different spreads.

    When I had kids at home, I'd make bran-applesauce-molasses-chocolate chip muffins and flavor it with banana flavoring. You could substitute pear sauce.

  • Marcia R. October 04, 2017

    That was going to be my suggestion--cinnamon or maybe allspice, which I think is delicious and grossly underused in recipes! One of the Betty Crocker cookbooks has a recipe for bananas baked in a sauce of brown sugar and allspice--can't remember what else is in it, but you cut the bananas once lengthwise and once crosswise. It's delicious over plain cake or pound cake and makes a simple, inexpensive dessert that is new to almost everyone I've ever served it to. You might want to cut the bananas crosswise into smaller chunks for your younger children.

  • Juls Owings October 02, 2017

    I make fall pie/cobbler/crisp using old canned fruit especially pears and apples with raisins or cranberries.

  • Jennifer O. October 03, 2017

    maybe toss with cranberries as a filling for a pie? One of our favorite uses for canned pears is a pear and cranberry pie. Use a nut crust or add a streusel topping for more interest.

  • Holly October 02, 2017

    Brandy, what about adding cranberries or extra cloves to the pear bread?

  • kim October 02, 2017

    This has not been a great frugal week. I was at Goodwill and spent $3.25 on birthday cards. I bought a few more groceries and didn't cook with my expiring food that sits on my counter. My husband wanted greasy bar food and Dairy Queen ice cream over the weekend, so the chili I made last week just sat in the fridge. We are eating it now though. I have completely blown my diet these last few days. We also ate at Subway after a suggestion from my sister but we used coupons so got 2 foot longs for $12 to feed 4 adults. This isn't bad but I'm over $30 on my budget.
    I also bought garlic chive seeds online to plant around my fruit trees. My husband won't have to trim around d them. I bought wild tomato seeds that originate in South America. I'm hoping they are easy to grow since they used to grow in the wild there.
    I'm just in a horrible mood today and am glad this article was posted to give me inspiration. I let our girls play in mud puddles this morning for fun. I'm doing laundry now with our he washer that is only supposed to cost 4¢ on average to run a load. We just got it when our last one broke. I'm hoping there will be a difference on our bills. We have a well so our water cost isn't extremely high. We are in Iowa.
    I got out chicken to help use up some sauces that are expiring. I think my husband is getting tired of the lack of meat in our meals which is why he ordered a double bacon cheeseburger at the restaurant this weekend.
    I keep trying to be frugal though! I will hang our laundry to dry.

  • Kim, I LOVE having an HE washer. Not only does it use less water (which is a huge deal here as our water is tiered and I do a lot of laundry) but it also spins my clothes really dry, so I can dry them in about the same time it takes to wash a load.

    WIth the diet--pick up and continue with where you are at now. I've had a few steps backward and then forward again myself, and I just have to be more diligent the next day. You can just do one day at a time. Keep going! You can do this!

  • kim October 02, 2017

    Wow, that's awesome it dries so fast! It takes over 24 hours to dry our clothes indoors on a rack, so I'm not really great at doing it. We live on a gravel road and with the lack of rain here it is sooo dusty when cars drive by. When walking on our grass, we kick up gravel dust and I've rinsed of our fruit trees because they were covered in dust and didn't want them to not get sunlight on their leaves. I just planted them so they need to store as much energy for winter as possible!

  • Andrea Q October 02, 2017

    We recently replaced our older HE washer with a regular top-loading model. Because the technology has changed and because the new machine is smaller, it uses about the same amount of water and much less electricity than the older HE one. The only thing I miss about the HE model is the spinning power. To compensate, I run it through a second spin cycle.

  • SJ from Vancouver October 03, 2017

    When my second HE front loader fritzed, I bought a top loader machine. Good idea to run the spin cycle twice. Thanks

  • Rhonda A. October 02, 2017

    Totally can relate with the family crashing the budget with fast food and take out. My husband really likes his meat, too. Plus I have a daughter on the Autism spectrum weight issues and issues with food textures. She has developed an aversion to a lot of meat dishes over the past couple years that she used to love because they are "chewy". Has decided she doesn't like my homemade soup, or pasta any more either. Trying to find an affordable meal that everyone will eat is almost impossible some days! Keep trying, Kim, and know you are not alone with this battle!!!!

  • Laurie in central NC October 02, 2017

    I thought of you, Brandy, as soon as I heard about the shooting, when my husband said it was a music concert, and I knew you'd been to the outdoor symphony some. I'm so thankful you are safe. The world feels downright crazy at times. Even here, on our peaceful homestead, a snake fell out of the sky and hit my back while I was talking to my husband yesterday! Well, it had to have fallen from a tree, but gosh. I'm hoping for a peaceful week, and sending thoughts of peace to all the places it's needed in the world.

    Eggplant is still coming in abundance. I tried something new this morning, and roasted it in cubes for pizzas. I may roast a round of slices for dishes like eggplant parmesan. I plan to freeze all of it, and am thinking it will be lovely to pull out and use on winter days. I hung laundry on the clothesline and harvested a basket of kale this morning. I'm deciding if I want to try a new dish tonight, or use it in a yummy salad like I usually do. Wishing everyone a good week. Joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-road-trip-frugal-accomplishments.html

  • I was bit by a black widow in the garden earlier this year. A snake would have really upset me. I hope you are doing okay!

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