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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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  • Holly June 26, 2018

    $285 for a driving competency test? Those should be free for the safety of everybody else on the road!!! My mother had always promised that when her daughters decided she shouldn't drive any longer, she wouldn't. And she doesn't. She still has a driver's license, now good until she is 100, but her eye doctor was visibly relieved when I told him that she'll only get behind the wheel if we are fleeing a raging forest fire in the woods behind her house and I am sitting, blinded by the smoke, in the passenger seat. Occasionally, she still gets frustrated when her driver (me) isn't ready to drop everything and take her where she wants to go on a moment's notice. I remind her that our limited, very local, dial-a-ride requires 2-day advance notice. Lyft finally serves this area (Yeah! Carless non-senior people are no longer trapped in town!) but I don't think she ever will be using that service unaccompanied.

  • Athanasia June 26, 2018

    Marcia, why can't you just tell your husband he is not going to be driving anymore? Why spend the money? If he has a diagnosis of dementia I would think that would put an end to it right now. $285 is a lot of money just to have someone else tell him he can't drive anymore.

  • Jenifer June 26, 2018

    For me, being a caretaker, there are times $285 is money well spent for emotional respite. Sometimes, they just need to hear it from the “professionals”.

  • Athanasia June 27, 2018

    The doctor is a professional.

  • Jerri June 26, 2018

    Having dementia doesn't mean a person is reasonable about things that others view as reasonable. Sometimes it's best to have an agency, such as driver's license division, make that determination. My mother was convinced that she was an excellent driver when she was mid-80's and trust me, she was scary at best! It took many many conversations to convince her she was better off leaving her car parked. My family members were relieved when her driver's license expired and she didn't seek to renew it.

  • Lorna June 25, 2018

    Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    Weeks seem to be like that where you have time to catch up on a lot of the little jobs and repairs you need to do in the home and always good when we can Brandy. Good to hear you are picking more lovely produce from the gardens too.

    Here is how we organised our home and saved money -

    Earnings -
    - Earned $6.66 from the sale of 20g of dried sage picked from the gardens and saved sugar baby watermelon seeds saved from the gardens on the internet.

    Purchases -
    - Target in town was having a huge sale on a lot of their summer clothing and other items in town as they are moving to stocking a younger demographic on clothing. We purchased a PS4 game for DH for $19 reduced from $69, 2 flannel shirts for DH and finally found some in his size, 2 pairs of 3/4 pants for summer for $7 reduced from $29, 2 casual shift dresses for me $5 ea reduced from $25, 1 pair of summer sandals for me for $5 reduced from $15, 12 tall glass tumblers to replace ones that were broken for $10 reduced from $24 and 3 packets of glucose lollies saving 36.82% or $163 in total on usual prices.

    Listings -
    - Using a free listing promotion on eBay I listed 51 homemade items, saved seeds and dried herbs from the gardens saving $84.15 on usual listing fees.

    House organisation -
    - Organised our plastic storage container cupboard and stacked like shaped containers, threw out excess saved washed and saved plastic containers and wiped the cupboard out along with the front of kitchen cupboards. It looks so much tidier in there now and I can fit in the new high glass tumblers we purchased :). We live in a teeny 100 square metre workers cottage in the country.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Yesterday we finished our final batch of blanching and freezing of our sweet potatoes giving us a years supply for the 2 of us :). We picked just over 100 kg of them from a garden patch 1.5 x 9 m long. We also have some left over to take to church to give away, all free to us as we transplant all the little ones each year when we harvest them.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked 340g of cherry tomatoes, 4 large carrots, 2 turnips and 10.5 bunches of silver beet from the gardens saving us $44.76 over buying them in the shops. We used the carrots and turnips with a baked chicken dinner we had one night and blanched and froze the silver beet for 11 more double meals for the 2 of us.
    - Picked a huge amount of French & English lavender and hung it to dry, separated dried French & English lavender from the gardens saving $6 over purchasing it.
    - We also picked a huge amount of thyme from the gardens that we have on a drying rack on the front veranda behind shade cloth. Once dried we will keep some for us, trade some, and sell the rest on the internet.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  • Athanasia June 28, 2018

    Lorna, in 100 sq meters you must have to be very organized. Everything in it's place.

    For those extra/excess plastic containers we take them to church and put in cupboard in kitchen for that purpose. They are very handy when folks are packing up after potlucks and showers etc for folks to take leftovers home. It is good too to pack up the funeral food leftovers and send home with the family. They have everything from the small margarine type containers to the ice cream pails with handles.

  • Lorna June 28, 2018

    Hi Athanasia and that is a good idea on taking the plastic containers to church for their use too, thank you :). These were small plastic flip top vitamin bottles I had saved for our garden seed saving but had since got glass jars with plastic screw lids from the groceries that we used to use instead. The vitamin bottles would have been to small for them to use I think.

    Yes in such a small area we have to be tidy and organised to fit things in here and somewhat minimalists. Stacking food storage, craft materials in 10 l food storage containers and using gorilla and bookshelf shelving. Every bit of space has to be carefully considered. We also use our belt and chair rails for storing herbs, spices and saved garden seeds on.

    We also keep all of our ice cream containers for storing small amounts of flour, baking powder to top up from our large food storage containers in the kitchen which make them far easier to lift. They make great food containers for freezing pumpkin puree in too for the freezer among many other uses.


  • I'm curious about the mini course you took!

    Here are the ways we saved last week: https://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-this-week-124/

  • I think you achieved a lot, considering that you weren't feeling well, Brandy! And, that arrangement is soooo beautiful!

    My week was pretty good, despite not having the energy to work on developing a new frugal recipe that I had planned on. But I still got some things done!
    - I’ve been extra-tired lately, so am pulling out super-easy recipes from my blog to make dinner. One of my favourites this spring/summer has been my Greek Salad Recipe (http://approachingfood.com/only-greek-salad-recipe/) I eat it as a main dish, but it can be used as a side as well. And it uses fresh garden produce if you grow your own tomatoes and cukes! I alternate between super-easy meals and total comfort food (like my reduced-fat Alfredo sauce - http://approachingfood.com/white-wine-alfredo-sauce/, although sans wine for pregnant me). Also craving all the creamy things! Yoghurt is my new bestie. Thankfully, I make my own, which is good as I practically guzzle it these days!
    - I picked up my Sephora birthday freebie and gave it to my husband to send in a care package to his mum. If she can’t use it, she can give it to another relative or friend and they’ll appreciate it.
    - I picked strawberries from my balcony garden. I repotted the basil, parsley, and chive seedlings that sprouted from a little kitchen garden kit my mom gave me, into a larger pot in my balcony garden. I’m hoping they thrive so that I have more herb plants! I also replanted some nasturtiums that were growing in my rhubarb pot (I had planted nasturtiums and thought they weren’t going to come up, so reused the pot for rhubarb…and then the nasturtiums grew!). I’m hoping this will help my rhubarb grow larger. Any ideas for frugal organic fertilizer? I’ve already topped all my pots with rich black manure, but I can tell they still need more nutrients.
    - I met a friend for coffee (actually a caffeine-free frapp for me) and used my Starbucks gc from Swagbucks so I didn’t have to spend any money OOP.
    - My husband is clearing out his home office as we’re turning it into the nursery, and I’m trying to trade or sell some of the items. Using my local trading app, I traded two underbed storage units for a skein of wool in a complementary shade to the new paint in the room (not the best value trade, but I need the space and the new owner was willing to pick it up at my condo door so I didn’t have to lug it around). I plan to use the wool to knit a small pillow for my nursing chair (I’m still working on sewing a washable padded chair cover).
    - When I bought my condo, I repurposed some of my childhood bedroom furniture for my guest room. One of the items was an old Ikea-style shelf/drawer combo, and I left the matching one at home, as my mom turned my childhood bedroom into a guest room/home office. As we’re clearing out our guest room/DH’s home office to turn into a nursery, we asked my family if they wanted any of the furniture. My mum is going to take the best bits of my shelf/drawer unit and use them to fix the worn-out bits of her shelf/drawer unit to make one good piece of furniture out of two older pieces.
    - I was able to buy a crib and change table (the only furniture I’m buying for the nursery, aside from the nursing chair that I already purchased) from IKEA, and using a QR code in an email, saved nearly $70. My parents were kind enough to drive my husband and I there and back, so that saved us on delivery fees.
    - Someone at work overbought on produce, so I brought home a container of mushrooms, and 3 lemons. I turned the lemons into lemonade, and it was delish! I fried the mushrooms and wanted to make Brandy's mushroom crepes, but pregnancy exhaustion hit, so I just used it as a side dish.
    - I ordered a maternity swimsuit from Amazon for an upcoming family vacation. It was super-cheap, and I was able to use some of my Amazon gc from Swagbucks, so no money OOP!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

  • Why do you think your plants need more fertilizer? Good dirt makes a big difference. Are the leaves yellow? If they are yellow all over they are being overwatered. Yellow with green veins means a lack of iron. Other leaf symptoms will tell you other signs of what they need.

  • Thanks, Brandy! The issue is that some leaves on various plants are yellow, but not all; and if I skip a day of watering, the plants visibly wilt. I've also constructed good drainage in all the pots (lots of drainage holes, plus some rocks at the bottom), so it's not retained water. The more pressing issue is that some plants are stagnant with growth. For example, my buttercrunch lettuce and carrots have stayed the same size for a month. I know I'm balcony gardening and not gardening in a backyard, but I have friends who also balcony garden and their balconies are producing a lot already. I've purchased good dirt (bags from places like Sheriden -- a higher-end gardening store in Toronto, as well as higher end grocery stores; I bought on sale, it just happened to be at higher end places) and mixed it with some well-rotted black manure and mixed up all the bags so that it's a good mixture. I've also blended kitchen scraps with water and used that to feed the plants (in addition to top-dressing with some really good black earth from my parents garden) and the plants seem to perk up after being watering with that homemade blend of kitchen scraps and water. My tomato plants are fine, but that might be because I'm using a tomato fertilizer; it's the other plants that aren't growing the way I think they should. I just feel like the plants are missing nutrients, but I don't know exactly what, or how to find out what the issue is. Last year I thought it was a lack of sun, so I carefully arranged plants this year so that the ones that needed more sun got the sunniest positions, and the ones that didn't need as much sun got the least sunny positions, but now I think the remaining issue is nutrients. Thanks for pointing out that leaves will hold clues -- I'm going to examine the leaves carefully and start googling to see if I can find an answer.

  • Mable June 26, 2018

    Here is an article that ran in our local paper, on free fertilizer. http://www.newsminer.com/features/sundays/gardening/why-you-should-be-using-urine-to-fertilize-your-garden/article_26aa089a-7975-11e7-916a-8f7083ce2f71.html I have used it on flowers with great success but not on edibles yet. Also use it to jump start my compost.

  • Margie from Toronto June 26, 2018

    This is the 4th time in a week that someone has mentioned this - the first time was in a novel I'm reading so it's not as though it's from one blog to another! How odd. :-)

  • That is absolutely fascinating, Mable! If I ever have a compost bin (no space on my balcony right now), I will totally use that information! And if I ever have a flower garden, I'll also use that info. I love learning new things, especially such esoteric things! In theory, it should be fine to use on fruits and veggies, but I have to admit, I'm a bit squeamish to do so. How novel, though!

  • Janet June 25, 2018

    I did not buy a new dress for our big event this month I just used what I had on hand. I have been working a lot more and bringing in some cash. I have been selling everything I can get my hands on. I am hoping to buy us a home. Nothing big mind you but would be really nice to have something of our own.
    So I have been pinching every penny I can get my hands on.
    I have been using up every left over in the house.
    Great leftovers are sweets make pies, meats make soft tacos . Veggies make soups.
    I mended two shirts last week.
    We have not been any where or done anything so saving money on that as well.
    Did combined gifts to save some cash Birthday / Father's day / Graduation .
    We did some homemade things too to save on cash as well.
    We are planning two very small vacations like 3 days away locally to be our summer vacation.
    Got a lot of points at a hotel to use for one of these.
    Got half price plants for the garden it has been raining so much I have not even had a chance to get them in the ground yet and I have had them for almost two weeks.
    Did some declutter and found a pair of shoes for hubby.
    Life is great just staying home and enjoying !!!

  • Polly Wog June 26, 2018

    Good for you on your goal of a home. Every purchase is seen through the lens of you thinking of those four walls. Best wishes in your endeavour.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba June 25, 2018

    * We kept the A/C off and opened windows and used the fan when necessary.
    * My husband took his lunch with him to work every day.
    * I prepared a meal with what I had on hand for a potluck.
    * I stayed home and went nowhere a couple of days a week.
    * I started a plan to do freezer cooking for some friends who are expectant moms. This will save me time, money, and gas delivering meals to them after their babies are born.
    * I scheduled one business meeting right before another; the second one was on my way home from the first two. This saved me time and gas--along with stress.
    * I air dried my hair instead of using the blow dryer. It's healthier for my curly hair anyway.
    * It was a blessing to take a walk with a friend for exercise and fellowship.
    * I did most of the cooking and baking in the evening when the temperatures were cooler.

  • Lisa from Maine June 25, 2018

    My hubby took a "vacation" from work and worked around the house/yard. I postponed my cleaning & decluttering until this week. We brought in about 2 cords of wood for next winter. We did go out to eat on Father's Day since our schedule got changed last minute for visiting both of our Dads. Both were great visits.
    My garden plants are finally at about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in height. Won't see any produce for a bit. We had a frost for the first day of summer (and had a snowstorm the first day of Spring). It's supposed to finally warm up this week but it is real dry.
    Made another batch of detergent & fabric softener. Continue to wash all my clothes in cold water.
    Since I have decided to focus on my food budget I made a list of 12 goals specific to that area.
    I am creating a monthly meal menu. I am compiling recipes that fit my criteria.
    My crew goes through 4 gallons of milk per week. Maine has a minimum rate for milk so it never goes on sale yet I want to bring down the amount I spend in this area. I bought 1 gallon of full fat milk and made 2 gallons of milk with it by adding water. No one noticed so this will be a repeat.
    Brought my son to see his specialist. He lost weight 2 visits in a row which is not good since he has Crohns. We need to concentrate on him regaining the 10 lbs lost with extra food and protein drinks.
    After visiting the specialist (which is 1 hr away from home) we stopped in to Save a Lot to purchase items we were short on. Purchased just enough to get us to his next appointment in 3 months). Also stopped at Dollar Tree and spent under $4.
    cut hubby's hair.
    Hubby renewed passbook. He travels to Canada daily for his job. He has a passcard which he prefers to use but that expires this fall. Since it will take a month to receive his updated card he needs something to use for that month to cross the border. We had thought we could save money by not renewing the passbook but guess not. The post office took a duplicate picture so I am hoping I can use the 2nd picture for his passcard renewal saving the picture fee.
    My husband took our family for a drive through Canada from our town toward Edmundston NB because he wanted to show us a pink bush that someone had in their yard. We enjoyed the scenery, saw the pink bush (not sure what it was) and then when we got to Edmundston almost got stuck since all the major roads to the border crossing were being detoured. My husband was only familiar with the detoured roads since that's what he drives on with his 18 wheeler. My eldest daughter had her senior pictures done in Canada 6 years ago so I was more familiar with the smaller side streets and ta da--we were able to return to the US without having to retrace our steps.
    then yikes! out to dinner at the tastee freeze. ( we go out once every 3-6 months usually so twice in 1 week, while fun, was wow! what did we do?)
    I love the flowers and reading what everyone contributes weekly. You are my support group.

  • Holly June 26, 2018

    Michigan has driver's licenses that cost just a bit more than the basic ones that can be used to cross the "southern" border from Detroit into Windsor (and any other US/Canada, US/Mexico official land entry points in addition to some other water-based entry points). Does Maine offer that as an option?

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