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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

June Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

My son and I repaired a leak in the garden.

I signed up for a free online mini-class.

I used a $15 off coupon at Joann fabrics on top of purchasing items on sale.

I collected shower-warm-up water and used it to water potted plants in the garden.

We picked blackberries and apricots from the garden. I cut green onions from the garden.

I mended a hole in a pillowcase and a hole in a pair of shorts.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  • Marybeth June 26, 2018

    We love the library museum passes. We have several booked for the summer.

  • Holly June 25, 2018

    We started our weekly shopping at Dollar Tree, then got the loss leaders at Kroger and at our locally owned Spartan Nash-affiliated grocery store. Our nearest Kroger always seems to run out of sale items and this week was no exception. Because the traffic signal had turned into a blinker in the evening, I turned right instead of left out of that Kroger's parking lot. I decided it was a nice evening for a drive and went to the next closest Kroger which had full shelves. So we now have five boxes of Post cereal for $4.95 in our pantry. But both Krogers were out of this week's Friday freebie. We had postponed grocery shopping so by the time we went, our refrigerator and cupboard shelves were quite bare. Consequently, we spent more than we do most weeks. Mom fretted a bit about how much we were spending until I pointed out that the total was no more than what the USDA describes as a thrifty food budget.

    Mom got free bowls of ice cream at Culvers. At both of the Culvers near us, mom can turn free ice cream into raspberry sundaes by spending 25 cents for a fruit topping.

    I enjoyed reading a free book on what life was like north of Winnipeg in the middle decades of the 1800's. I also spent quite a bit of time researching free or low cost training that might help me get a job I can do from home while caring for my 95-year-old mom. I hurt my back several years ago and I am still not strong enough to do a job that requires standing for any length of time. Mom also frets when I am away for more than an hour or two.

    I tried finding cheap flights from Las Vegas to Detroit for my sister and her son. She might have to wait for the next big sale. I did find $259 or $269 round trip flights between DTW and Iceland on Ryanair. But my mom has no interest in visiting there even if she felt better and I don't dare to go even if I have arranged for respite care in case one of their volcanoes strands me on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic.

    I was looking for light-colored pants for gardening in but found half-priced black dress pants instead at our local Goodwill.

    I downloaded a guy's fishing vest pattern for free but also ordered a unisex hunting vest pattern. I love Scottevests but I don't like the prices. I want to make some clothing with lots of pockets that I can layer for traveling or, if we ever move, when I use public transit. I also want my mom to be able to leave her handbag at home now that one hand is occupied holding her cane.

    That is it for now.

  • Susan June 27, 2018

    Until you make the vest for your mom you could get her a small cross body purse. They are everywhere now. You can find them at Target, Walmart or most store that carry purses. It has a longer strap that allows you to wear it over your head and then put your left arm through the strap leaving the purse hanging on your left side near your hip. Now she would have both hands free. Start watching women when you go out. Many will be wearing cross body bags. That is the only way I carry a purse.

  • ellie's friend from Canada June 26, 2018

    I am just staying at home enjoying the plants as they flower. We now have 2 hummingbirds that are having territorial squabbles.

  • Darcy June 26, 2018

    Brandy, I hope you are feeling better soon!

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    We spent several hours working in the yard and garden after three days of rain. The rain saved us from having to water much this week.

    I planted more dollar store flower seeds, green bean seeds, and Swiss chard.

    I harvested lettuce and basil.

    I fixed a broken dish with super glue from the dollar store. Our oldest daughter and son-in-law brought it back from their trip to Mexico and I was relieved that I could fix it after dropping it.

    I ordered vitamins online and was able to receive free shipping. I went through Ebates which helped me to save and earn several dollars.

    We didn’t have to use the air conditioning much this week due to the cooler, although more humid, weather.

    We ate all our meals at home and took our lunches to work, except one day. My husband and I were both treated to lunch by our respective employers.

  • Jennifer O. June 26, 2018

    After several weeks of large random expenses and all of the redecorating/renovating expenses, I think we’ve turned the corner. Other than a few new picture hangers and one more animal feed bin, I think the redecorating expenses are over. Over the next two weeks however, we will be getting a new central AC for the second floor and the roof will finally get done.

    Painted the kitchen. Finished refinishing the bedroom furniture. Husband declared that it and the living room/dining room need crown molding - something I have advocated for for years. It will have to wait until winter, but yay! Crown molding. I might even get it in the guest room and bathroom if I play my cards right. Now only the master bath and laundry rooms will need gutting and remodeling.

    Mended 2 shirts, retrieved buttons from unsalvageable military shorts, hemmed 2 pair of shirts, re-beaded part of a dress. I need to do 2 baby boy quilts, but found 1 already complete and 1 quilt top that only needs borders in my cabinet.

    Was treated to a wine dinner at Ruths Chris. Volunteered at the VFW and someone paid my after tab. Used a coupon to attend a wine dinner at Carabbas. Took 2 jars of homemade jam as a hostess gift for a get together. The rest of the week I saved money by staying home. Chickens are laying like mad, so I’ve been trading eggs for other people’s overabundance of garden produce. While I didn’t plant a garden this year, I am not lacking for fresh fruits or vegetables.

    Cancelled my Mighty Nest subscription, changed my husband’s Dollar Shave Club to every other month and did the same with our GROVE Collaborative orders. The stockpile was getting excessive. Our housekeeper cancelled due to illness, so I cleaned my house myself – ok for summertime, but a nonstarter for the school year. Yard guy also cancelled due to weather, so more savings, but yikes! Overgrown! I know these aren’t terribly frugal, but time is precious and these folks are community members who could use the income.

    Continued cleaning out drawers and cabinets. My husband will finish his doctorate in August and is beginning to bring his things back to the house so I am sorting, reorganizing, and putting things away. Between my stuff, his stuff and house stuff, I am making a substantial pile for the Salvation Army.

    Found the bottles of vanilla extract I started at Christmas. My mother “helped” me and moved them. Given the current prices of vanilla extract, finding the missing GALLON of vanilla extract was a grand frugal accomplishment.

  • Libby June 26, 2018

    I hope you have fun with the mini class!

    • Cooked dried chickpeas in slow cooker overnight. Froze half and make hummus with other half.
    • Paid two bills online.
    • Strategically used coupons and offers to earn 11,000 Walgreens reward points.
    • Hung laundry up to dry. Made risotto
    • Went to library book sale. Bought 12 books for $6.00.
    • Frugal fail – I had an overdue library book and paid $2.50 in fines. This is why I’m better off buying the books used and then donating them back to the library when I’m done.
    • Made a large batch of balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
    • Returned a blouse that didn’t go with items I had in my closet
    • Needed to bring a dish to a party. Looked through what I had in the house and made lemon squares for no money out-of-pocket
    • Made swag goal x 1

  • Gina June 26, 2018

    * Made homemade greek yogurt - finally figured out how to make it the way I LOVE it.
    *I eat plain yogurt with homemade strawberry jam (was gifted the strawberries from a friend) and that makes it perfectly sweet & fruity.
    *I also eat it with homemade crockpot granola. Works every time and doesn't heat up my house.
    *Made pancakes this morning before work incorporating 1 cup of sourdough starter which I needed to remove to feed my starter.
    *Ate a couple of those pancakes for breakfast with last year's homemade peach preserves folded over like a taco. Mmmm!
    *Working to make sourdough bread which doesn't require commercial yeast. Practice makes perfect and I always eat the flops LOL.
    *Watered a few plants with leftover whey from an earlier batch of yogurt - too tangy for me to cook with.
    *Salvaged a painful bra by cutting out the wire. Wa-la! I can't make this one last a little bit longer and it is even more comfy! LOL.
    *Always pack lunches and breakfasts for work instead of buying anything. Usually PB&J, frozen homemade bean burritos, leftovers)
    *Made sun tea when it was a hot sunny day.

  • SusanL June 30, 2018

    Hello Gina, I believe that I have been using the perfect white sourdough recipe. It never fails! Sometimes my starter is too wet so that I have to add extra flour but it always tastes fabulous. It's 4-3-2-1 easy to remember. 4 cups flour - 3 cups starter - 2 teaspoons salt and 1 cup warm water. Mix well and let rest in bowl (covered with towel) until double or more. Sometimes I just leave it overnight. Then create one big round loaf or two regular bread pans (I use 2breadpans which gives me 13-14 slices each). Let rise again - depends on how warm your kitchen is. I put it in a warm oven with a container of water on the shelf under it and it takes about 3 hours. Then pre-heat your oven while you egg wash the top and add sesame seeds if wanted and bake 350 degrees for 30 - 32 minutes (bread loaf pans) depending on the color you want. It's done when it sounds hollow when you tap the top. My daughters first loaf didn't have a round pretty top but still tasted delicious. This bread only slices well after it is completely cool. Tastes awesome warm but those slices will be very thick lol. Good luck with this :-)

  • April June 26, 2018

    I sold 6 DS games leftover from my yardsale for $20

    We received a $50 Visa gift card as a rebate from tires hubby had to replace last month. I used it towards dog food since everyone ran out at the same time. Using the gift card and a $10 off coupon I was only out $11 out of the pet budget(makes up for the unexpected vet bill)

    The 11yo helped me color my hair at home

    I used saved up Walmart Savings catcher refunds($38) on groceries (trying to speed up our vehicle replacement fund since my Yukon is declining fast)

    Hubby returned some items he ended up not needing ($12 back)

    Father in law paid for everyone for hubby's birthday lunch

    We use Regal reward points on free admission and free birthday popcorn for me and hubby to see a movie with 2 drinks and a popcorn for less than $25

    My 11yo went home with mil for a couple weeks. One less to feed and less running around using gas with her there

    My mom sent over 2 jars of alfredo sauce and 2 boxes of velveeta shells and cheese she didn't want

  • Jo June 26, 2018

    I got a notice from ThredUp that they had accepted much of the bag of clothes I sent in, and bought two items outright, so I already have a credit of almost $15. The rest of my clothes are on consignment, so there is a potential for more credit there. Normally I just donate my clothes, which takes my own bags, time, and gas to drop them off. ThredUp sent me the bag and paid the shipping, so this is pure profit for clothes I normally would just donate.
    I completed my mission trip last week, borrowing some of the things I needed. I bought almost everything else I needed second hand or used what I already owned.
    I bought two small Christmas gifts while there. I love shopping ahead.
    I am trying to learn to drink iced Rooibos (redbush) tea without any kind of sweetener. It's cheaper and better for me. Rooibos has a naturally milder taste than black tea, and it's a healthy drink.
    I dried a lot of laundry in the hot sun this weekend. It's been in the mid-nineties and humid lately, so it's been an act of willpower to get out there and hang laundry.
    I finally got my half-pig portion and it's in my freezer. It's a lot of pork, let me tell you, but the chops we had last night were delicious. This is more economical than buying individual cuts, and it's pastured, non-GMO fed, humanely raised pork, which is what I prefer. My daughter was nice enough to store in her freezer the frozen broth I removed from my freezer, to make room for my pork.
    I continue to save food scraps (even dairy and some fat) and bury it in our backyard to enrich the soil. It's amazing how fast it composts that way.
    Our wildflowers are in full bloom. They look so pretty and take no care.

  • Samantha June 26, 2018

    Brandy, your arrangements are beautiful! You could start a side business as a florist and no doubt have folks lining up. It's nice to enjoy flowers in the home though.

    *I purchased a couple of pre-made meals at Trader Joe's (their orange chicken and mushroom chicken) for those nights when we're wiped out and take out seems too tempting. The last two we bought lasted us six months, so at least it's rare that we eat them.
    *We discussed possibly 'upgrading' our home as there are a few things we wish we had that this home lacks. We're still formulating a plan, but for the moment we plan to be grateful for what we have and perhaps start saving more aggressively if we do decide to either remodel or move. Before adopting a frugal mindset, we would have jumped into a new house without methodically planning.
    *I made a batch of whole milk greek yogurt which turned out great with some home canned strawberry rhubarb compote on top. I experimented with a batch of coconut milk yogurt using canned coconut milk and powdered coconut milk to thicken it and it never set. I was disappointed to waste the money and food so I will likely stick with regular whole milk even though I prefer the non dairy alternatives. If anyone has made any non dairy yogurts successfully, I would be so grateful for a recipe! I have tried several with no luck.
    *I harvested kale, garlic and leek scapes, snap peas, lemon balm, and chamomile from the garden.
    *I'm working on our menu plan system and recipes and excited to try a new system to stay organized when things get a little hectic.
    *A friend recently lost her job, and I'm looking forward to sharing some food storage and baby items with them as she transitions to a stay at home mom.

    I hope everyone has a great week ahead and enjoyed the official kick-off to summer! I'm always very grateful for your posts Brandy, and look forward to reading each week.

  • I June 26, 2018

    I just checked the garden-the only thing ready to eat so far is radishes-although the mini tomatoes are flowering and I think the Saskatoon berries will be ripening soon. This was not a frugal week as I splurged and booked a trip to Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park , Alaska-to watch the bears fish for salmon. If you have not seen the live cams go to

    https://explore.org/livecams/brown-bears/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls. The salmon run has just started and will peak by mid July-warning watching these cams is addictive.

  • DonnaMarie June 29, 2018

    Many thanks for sharing the link to the livecams. I took a look and saved to my favorites. Checking it each morning now to see the goings on with the bears. Very frugal entertainment.

  • I July 02, 2018

    You are welcome-it as so nice to see it live. I watched the live cams for about 5 summers while I saved up to go.

  • Jeannie June 26, 2018

    I have missed everyone on this blog for the past few months and while I was away, Brandy had another baby! That was a fantastic accomplishment. Congratulations! I will be reading the past posts and comments to see what else I missed. Feels good to be back.

    My life has been centered around taking care of my Mother as her vision deteriorated. It has been extremely frustrating. Sad to say, Mom was unable to continue living on her on as she wished. Adapting to her poor vision was more than she could handle. Two weeks ago I moved her to another state to live with my sister. The difficulties were made easier due to the helpful advice I received from the kind people on this site. I was able to pass along many of the suggestions to my sister: can’t tell the boxes of detergent apart (use rubber-bands to distinguish them), can’t turn the dryer knob to the off position (tape the knob so you can feel the position), can’t feel the flat buttons on the microwave (attach raised rubber stickers), etc. I humbly thank everyone who offered suggestions a few months ago. Now I am trying to get my life and house back in order. Oh, my, what a mess.

    Being frugal is automatic in my life but these last few months have presented different challenges. Closing down a home someone has occupied for 53 years is an enormous task! It is cleaned and ready if Mom decides to return for a weekend visit but that may never happen. Many things she could not depart with were given to me and I have dumped them in my basement. That mountain of black trash bags must be sorted. This week I will begin taking the food from her cabinets and adding them to my pantry rather than letting it all expire. For a while, the house will sit empty because Mom can’t let it go. It is fine because I need to focus on my home for a while.

    The biggest cost saving accomplishment we have done these past few months was to meet with a financial adviser. His services were free since he worked for the bank. It was eye-opening. My husband is close to retirement and the future has seemed uncertain. The adviser was able to help us identify short-term and long-term goals plus see how we are prepared for retirement. My husband and I discuss our finances together but a trained outsider (one who knew finances and tax laws) made a big difference. We will make $750 a year just from moving money from one account to another!!!!

    These past few months have taught me many things, the importance of family and the difficulties of families. Aging gracefully is a myth – there is nothing easy about it! Everyone gets old unless you die young, so there are only two choices. The time will come when the money saved from frugal choices made now will make all the difference in the world. Will you be comfortable or miserable when you are the most vulnerable in your life? Will you be able to choose where you want to live or where you must live? Can you afford the co-pays for the medicine which makes you feel better? Choosing to be frugal and saving money now, will give you more choices when you are helpless. Being frugal matters. It makes a difference. It makes life better when you need it the most.

    Thank you, Brandy, for creating this website.


    Scooter Was Surprised by Nana

  • Siri June 28, 2018


  • Jeannie June 28, 2018

    No, thank YOU! Everyone's advice helped me so much.


  • Marcia R. June 26, 2018

    Athansia---it's not only my husband's driving, but cars have been his hobby for the last 35 years also. I did have a chat with him today about MY opinion: it's not the driving, it's the ability he no longer has to THINK QUICKLY. Like when I drove a stick shift car for a while--I could drive stick shift, but I was always afraid in a crisis moment, I wouldn't be quick enough to do what I needed to do without thinking! Luckily, no crisis came up.

    Why spend the money? Because he needs to hear it from a neutral third person. It's his hobby, his social life (a great many car club friends), and basically it's what he has done with his free time for 35 years. It will leave a huge hole in his life and he's not very adaptable to new activities. He already is having trouble using the computer. I tried to tell him he might NOT pass. We have two vacations planned for the summer which are car events and we already cancelled one we had planned on. I tried to stress that it's a physical problem in his brain--it's not like a "mental disease" but I think he feels foolish at times when he can't find things that are right in front of him. I am sensitive to his feelings--but I might not NEED to be any more, because he seems less sensitive to his own feelings. It's a strange situation to be dealing with and the diagnosis was a complete surprise to him, despite knowing that he was "forgetful"--he honestly didn't know it was more pronounced than "normal aging forgetting." But it's almost like he forgets about it half the time and still isn't terribly "aware" of it.

  • Lilli June 28, 2018

    Dear Marcia. I am sorry that you are having to deal with this. As I get older, I find that I am not prepared to deal with so many issues that I never expected to encounter. As I have aged and my children have grown, so much of my life was focused on them and various typical issues. I mean there was a book on every table to guide you. How to tend a baby, manage your time, manage your home and let's not forget Dave Ramsey and how to manage your money. I had no clue what was in store for me when dealing with my inlaws. ( I have been widowed twice so I had double the blessings ) It never was about family relationships but the aging and illness that I was not prepared for. Now my own parents have caught up in age and it is an emotional nightmare. Thankfully my father has his cognitive abilities and realized he did not need to drive. My mother in the other hand is a tragedy waiting to happen. We had her tested recently and they renewed her license for ten more years. I can only shake my head. My brother and I have both banned all our children from riding with her. I wish there had been a book for all of this. So many things to deal with. Alzheimer's, dementia , wills, DNR's and no one wanting to discuss anything. Oh, and then there is the anger. I hope the third party decision will provide you with not being responsible for the decision and redirect any anger he feels elsewhere. My father showed cars, built engines etc.... I understand. I send calming thoughts to you.

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