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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Helping Grandpa The Prudent Homemaker

We had the most beautiful weather all week: temperatures of 70-75ºF/21-24ºC. I opened the windows and we enjoyed fresh air in the house all week.

We enjoyed lemons, Swiss chard, oregano and parsley from the garden.

I enjoyed working in the garden in the record highs for this time of year. Usually, I'm still sporting long sleeves and a jacket while I do the busy work of January and February in the garden, but this year I'm in a short-sleeved t-shirt.

I used stakes and concrete mesh wire that I already had to add another vertical growing space to the garden. I planted Armenian cucumber seeds under it.

I planted seeds for alpine strawberries and poppies.

I opened the house up to air it out for several hours each day.

I stocked up on pasta (I bought 96 pounds) at the lowest price it gets here ($0.49 a pound). This price only comes around 2-3 times a year. When I was leaving the store, I picked up a dime I found in the parking lot.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a Target gift card. I'll use this to reduce my out-of-pocket expenses for February's shopping trip.

I read two e-books from the library.

My two eldest downloaded a combined 12 free songs from the library through the Freegal program.

We enjoyed watching the last bits of the lunar eclipse early in the morning.

I gladly accepted a hand-me-down infant car seat and matching stroller from a reader who lives very close by.

Nap The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Jennifer O February 06, 2018

    I decided to really look at my habits this month after it felt like an excessive January. I realized I do a lot of frugal things so routinely that I don’t even think of them anymore!
    I washed out regular ziplock bags, used my silicone Ziploc bags (reusable), reused some clean tin foil, used a silpat (rather than tin foil), and used my beeswax wrap rather than saran wrap. Used my wool dryer balls. Saved vegetable scraps and stale bread for the chickens. Took my breakfast and lunch to work every day (in glass reusable containers). Took my morning tea (in my travel mug) and a reusable water bottle to work, the gym, and on my errands every day. Saved my tea bags for the garden. Ate leftovers. Turned off the heat, as it wasn’t that cold 2 nights. Attended Zumba and yoga classes at the base (free). Refilled a glass spray bottle with homemade all-purpose cleaner. Used old towels and t-shirts as cleaning rags.

    While on some errands, went to the day old bread store. Scored 50 cent bread, donuts, and tortillas. Made bread pudding as my Sunday dinner contribution and have enjoyed the donuts as snacks/breakfast all week. Found fabric I wanted for a gift quilt and used a 50% off coupon on it.

    A friend loaned me a book to read. I gratefully received part of a bag of dog food and treats from colleague whose son’s dog died. Gratefully received free collard greens from the school’s garden and scrap vegetables for my chickens. I was gifted some vanilla beans. I will use them to make a large bottle of vanilla extract.

    I avoided buying a new cell phone for another month.
    Did the 1st of the month items (cleaned the dishwasher, washer, dryer and drains, turned all of the shut off valves, changed the ac filters, checked smoke detectors and lightbulbs, and bleached the AC drip line.

    Went out to breakfast with a friend. Breakfast is cheaper than dinner, but the fellowship was equally sweet.

    My husband’s computer got broken at work. He bought a new one, but they are reimbursing him since it was their fault.

    Bought a new couch at a local rent-to-own place (mine was atrocious). They give a nice military discount, free delivery, and it is 120 days same as cash (which we will take advantage of). I know a used one would be less expensive by far, but I wanted black leather (with recliners) and haven’t seen one on resale after many months of looking.

    Shopped loss leaders to restock pantry and planned meals off sale flyers. Received coupon for $10 off my grocery order if I buy $10 worth of produce – which isn’t hard for me to do.

    Ordered some stickers for my classroom. I haven’t ordered stickers in 10 years and I ordered enough (with free shipping and a coupon) that I probably will never have to order them again before I retire. It is amazing how high school students in a college class still go gaga over a sticker.

    I went home sick from work Friday (the flu caught me) and had to cancel a dinner date at a friend’s. An hour later, there was a knock at my door and on my doorstep was a basket with a quart of homemade chicken broth, some crackers, and flowers from my dear friend. Due to my illness, I skipped my usual movie night out($4 at the base plus gas to get there) in favor of a Netflix marathon snugged up in bed.

  • Debi February 06, 2018

    What a sweetie. He is so adorable.

    I have some older vellux blankets that are starting to shred apart. My elderly mother resides with me due to the start of dementia. Anyway, I have been looking for a good blanket. I went to Meijer for some groceries and decided to check what a new blanket costs. They had their $29.99 blankets on sale for $14.99, plus there happened to be another 40% off, so I paid $11.25 for a new blanket for mom. The vellux blankets are like foam and when they start shredding, you have all of these little foam pieces floating around. It wasn't frugal, but it was needed. I have items from 3 friends, my sister, my niece and a few from my mother that no one wants or needs, so I take all freebies. I've been selling these items and clothing on local FB sell/buy sites and ebay. I get to keep the profits as no one wants the money or takes the time to list them, so I guess I could say that money has actually more than paid for a new blanket.

    Cook from scratch - had beef stew last evening and leftovers for today; bring my lunch to work daily (getting ready to retire at the end of June).

    I have always had a garden, but now I can expand it and take more time with the produce that I will be getting. I have a lemon balm plant that I have sold sprigs from or a piece for someone else to plant. It has helped keep away some of the invasive bugs and beetles from a lot of my garden.

  • momsav February 06, 2018

    What wonderful pictures of your little man! He’s growing so fast!
    This week, I listed a few things on eBay and sold an item.
    I’ve been working on embroidery and really enjoying it.
    I gratefully accepted some organic, frozen corn from a co-worker. (5 lbs.!!)
    I traded in CC points for a Target gift card.
    I had an aha moment. I got our yearly bill for insurance. As I was making plans to go and pay it, I called to see if I could put it on the CC to get the points. I had to call the main office to do that, so I did! Easy, peasy! We’ve only had this card for about a year so I have to remember to use it for the big bills, if possible. Those points add up.
    I paid a bill at the bank saving time and postage.
    Have a wonderful week!

  • Marybeth February 07, 2018

    Brandy, your son is beautiful! I miss having a little one around.
    We had a normal week around here. My son started back at college. It really is the day to day things that add up.
    -Everyone brought lunch/dinner to work/school.
    -Only washed full loads of laundry. Hung most of it up.
    -Cooked from scratch. Used items from my pantry.
    -Used sales, coupons, Ibotta to pay the lowest price for our groceries.
    -Batch errands to save gas
    -Froze leftovers so nothing goes to waste
    -Got a free calendar at work.
    -Found 73 cents at various locations
    -Wasn't feeling well Saturday(lack of sleep) so pulled food out of freezer that I had saved for that reason
    -Husband brought home items headed to the garbage from work
    -Son brought home food headed for the garbage from his job.
    -Kept the heat low. Wore extra layers.
    -Cleaned out closets and cabinets.
    -Listed more items on EBay. Sent sold items in boxes that were headed to the trash at work.
    -Washed Ziplocs, used reusable containers, poured extra water from cups into plants, used cloth products instead of paper.

  • Susan February 07, 2018

    Hello Frugal Family-

    What a wonderful weekly update, Brandy! And a big thank you to all of your followers for taking the time to comment on their successes and failures.

    Today completes a week of “no spend” for our family. Cooking is my therapy so all of our meals were prepared at home. Even made a pretty nice Super Bowl Sunday spread (I am not a football fan but my husband and brother are). It was fun to see what I could come up with from the freezer and pantry and the boys gobbled it up! Who doesn’t love meatballs?
    My dear in laws cleaned out some of their magazines and asked me to get rid of them. I was able to gift a year’s worth of two different mags to two different people. They also had a magazine I was interested in so I kept those for our family and made a recipe from it that EVERYONE ENJOYED. Unheard of!

  • Pat February 07, 2018

    Your son is adorable. They are so much fun at that age!
    I combined my errands and did them all on one day when I went out to breakfast with my youngest daughter. The only other times I left the house was work twice and to babysit one evening. I work part time and it is less than a mile. I'd walk but it's in a business park, it's freezing in Nebraska and it is dark.
    Ate all meals at home except said breakfast. Ate leftovers or packed them in my husbands lunch. I started baking bread and have tried a new recipe. It was pretty good. I decided to get all the lumpy bags out of my upright so I made broth out of beef scraps and processed my tomatoes from the garden into sauce. Only have 2 bags of chicken scraps to go. I emptied a shelf in my upright! The door is full of the jars tho. I made a double batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins--took some to my son's when babysitting and kept some for use and put the rest in the freezer. My grandkids look forward to the muffins!!
    I turned down the heat while the sun was shining in the windows. I shoveled snow twice for exercise.
    Only ran the dishwasher once this week at bedtime. Did full loads of laundry.
    That's all I can think of. I love reading all the comments and always seem to learn something.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. February 07, 2018

    Awww! Octavius is just too cute for words.

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Continued w/ the pantry challenge. Came in at about $134 for the month (which is less than half of our average monthly spending for 2017). The freezers are still packed, so I'm continuing on into February. Clearly, I've been overbuying.

    * Made hamburger buns, cranberry-pomegranate compote, and a big crock pot of black beans to freeze (there's just barely enough room for them).

    * I ordered a pair of shoes for my son and a T-shirt for myself (went through Ebates, used an additional coupon, and used a cash-back credit card which we only use for online purchases and pay off in full each month).

    * Accepted produce for our chickens.

    * Paid bills online, and paid a little extra on the mortgage principal.

    * Comparison shopped for the groceries I did buy.

    * It's been really warm, so the heater has been off most of the time.

    * Continue to save warm-up and rinse water.

    That's all I remembered to write down.

    Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

  • Jenifer February 07, 2018

    That nap looks like it was just happened as peacefully as he looks.
    This week has been good. I am feeling a little road worn, but I think it is mostly a case of the winter blahs.
    I have some small pieces of soap, collected a few and put them in a small mesh drawstring jewelry pouch - now I have a soapy loofah to bathe with.
    I made skinnytastes pinto beans (I made with a crock pot) for a new beans dinner. They were very delicious.
    I exchange valentines gifts with my mom. This year I "splurged" a little by using SYW dollars on a free starbucks bottled drinks for her and my dad (they like having them a few times a year as a treat) and I made her a quilted heart pot holder from fabric scraps. I can't wait to see what she made me.
    I used gray water to hand wash the salt off my car. I just filled the bucket with about 3" of water and dunked a rag, washed and repeated. It rained a few days later, so that took off any faint streaks left behind.
    I stopped at a discount grocery where I spied bird seed on sale for about 2.50 for a 5lb bag. Expires in 6 mos. I asked a clerk if they usually have bird seed year long for that price and was assured they did. I will go there closer to the holidays to fulfill that gift with the previously bought bird feeder. (I wouldn't care if the bird seed was expired, but the receiver would.)
    My boss told me my hours will stay decreased for the next few months. I am thankful for the heads up to plan appropriately.
    Finally, I finished sewing a set of 6 placemats for a Christmas gift. I have 2 brand new kitchen towels (plain white) that were given to me that I know I won't like - so I will add a little matching fabric trim to those and consider that gift done.
    Hoping everyone stays comfortably warm this week!

  • Athanasia February 09, 2018


  • Tina February 09, 2018

    Shop Your Way points through Kmart and Sears savings program. I got an email stating I had $20 worth of free credits, went to the site and actually had $30! I bought an Procter Silex waffle maker regular price $39.99 on sale for $36.39 free shipping, $30 credit, shipped for $5.36

  • Jo February 07, 2018

    We incurred a lot of unexpected expenses this week and will have more charges next week... Luckily, we were able to pay for everything but will have to tighten our belts for a little while now.

      The heat element in our oven broke. I had already mixed up muffin batter before finding out so I froze it instead of throwing it out. My husband ordered a new element online and was able to do the repairs himself.

      My friend invited me to her house for lunch one day. I took the frozen muffin batter, baked muffins at her house and provided dessert. ;) I also made some frosting using leftover cream cheese, provided some leftover wine and took the leftover muffins home.

      My friend asked me to be her bridesmaid! :) She gave me a beautiful fabric bag containing all sorts of office and craft supplies and a bottle of nail polish.

      My MIL finished sewing curtains for our house and my husband and his parents spent a day putting them up. We are so grateful for these as they would have cost a fortune otherwise and make a considerable difference in our utility bills. My husband bought cheap hot chips for lunch for everyone.

      My in-laws invited us for dinner one night and we contributed some of the aforementioned muffins.

      It finally occurred to me to dry chilli seeds rather than throwing them out when using fresh chillis.

      I picked up free plums, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes and a giant zucchini from the local produce carts.

      We avoided watering twice due to some unexpected rain.

      I kept working in the garden to clear some more spaces.

      I received a free pair of pants via a local FB group which will be perfect for my volunteering activties. I volunteered once this week and will be reimbursed.

      We made most meals at home (except when invited out) using free items and substituting ingredients to avoid going to the shops. Leftovers were frozen or taken as work lunches. One night it was too hot and too late to cook so we bought pizza with our recycling mone. I remembered to boil eggs in bulk to use for lunches throughout the week.

      I made yoghurt in the slow cooker. Topped with free fruit from the produce carts it makes an inexpensive and healthy dessert.

      I found a recycling bottle and added it to our bag.

      We had been nursing our hot water system along for a while but it finally broke for good. There were a few different options but we decided to have all elements replaced at once to avoid repeated call-out and labour charges.

      I ran a short dishwasher cycle while it was empty to disinfect it with vinegar.

      The air-conditioner ran for 12.5 hours last week and we turned on the ceiling fan in the bedroom for two nights.

    Plus all the usual frugal habits... Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  • Elizabeth February 08, 2018

    You continue to amaze!
    Every time I try to build up Swagbucks, I never get anywhere close to the quantity you have... surely there's a secret trick or something?

  • Kristy February 10, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    I thought this article might be useful to you or others who have a backyard orchard. This is a great nursery in our area. We are zone 9-11.

  • TJ @ TJ's Sweet Home Blog February 11, 2018

    Hey everyone!
    What a cutie!
    Brandy, I don't know if you've seen them or any of your readers have told you, and if so this will just be old news but, I found New Zealand spinach seeds at Walmart on Friday. 2g of seeds for .50. I grabbed a few to see if they grow well for me like they do for you, since we are both in zone 9. I was so excited to see them as I like to be able to buy small quantities of seeds until I know whether or not I have any success with them or not. I have NEVER had good luck with regular spinach. Thanks for the recommendation, wish me luck!~ TJ

  • TJ@ TJ's Sweet Home February 12, 2018

    Quick question Brandy, do you nick and then soak the NZ spinach seeds for any length of time before planting? The seed put instructions suggested doing so and I am curious as to how much of a difference that makes, or if it's a step that could easily left out. TIA!~ TJ

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