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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Pickles Relish and Jam The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested peaches, figs, grapes, garlic chives, Swiss chard, green onions, grapes, tomatoes, and an Armenian cucumber from the garden.

I canned fig jam, sweet pickle relish, and giardiniera.

I read 4 books (Hamish Macbeth!) that I borrowed from my mom. I then went to the library's website and borrowed and read 4 more Hamish Macbeth books in e-book form.

My parents filled a blow-up pool for the children to enjoy at their house for a few days. When they were done, they pumped it out with a pump and a hose into my garden beds. I moved the hose around to different areas, grateful to have over 1000 gallons of water at no charge to me, and happy that it was able to serve two different purposes.

I collected 3 to 5 gallons of water each day from the run-off humidity from the air conditioner and used it to water my potted plants in the garden. I keep a one-gallon ice cream bucket under the pipes where the water drips on the side of the house and check it periodically throughout the day, and when it's full, I transfer it to a three-gallon bucket and dump that out when it is full. 

I gladly accepted some succulents from my dad that had been slightly burned in the sun. I moved them to a shady spot and if they recover, I'll plant them in a shady place in my garden.

I went to the grocery store and picked up several items using rainchecks from last month, buying boneless pork roast for $0.89 a pound (usually the lowest sales price is $1.79 a pound) and ice cream for $3.99 a gallon. I also used digital coupons to pick up 5 pounds of sour cream for $0.89 a pound. In addition, I purchased more pork roast that was on sale last week for $1.19 a pound. 

What did you do to save money last week?


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  • Cindi August 08, 2018

    That's so sad about the drought. We are in drought as well (as is much of the western US.) I read that firefighters from Australia have come over to help our exhausted firefighters in California and Oregon. We have rancher friends who are having to make tough choices to sell off livestock because there is no pasture or hay for them.

  • Lorna August 08, 2018

    Hi Cindi and I am sorry to hear about your friends and the other farmers in the US struggling to survive also :( . All farmer and ranchers love their stock and will do anything to keep them if possible but sometimes this is not possible as it is a case of them starving or being sold.

    I shall be praying for those ranchers in the United States too. Are there food shortages or dramatic price rises over there in some areas ? due to the drought.

    It brings home the real need for us to all have extra food stocks in our homes to weather times of high prices and affects from drought and environmental conditions.

  • Lorna August 06, 2018

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    How wonderful you have been able to pick and preserve so much produce from your gardens as we have :). Most of our friends have lost their gardens through drought and many farmers in both Queensland and New South Wales are now in drought with many surviving on community services to provide food and feed for their livestock.

    We are now saving water from dish rinsing, blanching and freezing and shower warm up water to supplement water our vegetables and potted fruit trees as we are on water restrictions.

    I did have a request from our lovely bloggers here is to pray for our farmers and families here in Australia and also in United States who are struggling so much in the drought affected areas.

    Here is what we did to save money and accomplished -

    Finances and earnings -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 27.14% of the way there.
    - Made $21.80 by selling capsicum garden seeds saved from the gardens and 100 g of dried organically grown thyme from the gardens.
    - As both of our chainsaws gave up the ghost and I knew the owner of the repair shop wanted them for parts I organised a deal and he gave us $200 for both which recouped 55% of what we spent on our 2 new chainsaws :).

    Gifts and blessings -
    - A friend who owns a property nearby was being overrun with eggs from his chickens and gave us 3 dozen saving us $12 over buying them.

    In the gardens -
    - Harvested more French and English lavender and a lot of rosemary from the gardens as they needed pruning which we currently have drying.
    - Separated 497 g of organically grown dried thyme picked from the gardens saving $73.55 over buying the equivalent amount in the shops.
    - Picked 2.5 kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens which we washed and froze in meal sized portions for the freezer saving $30 over buying them in the supermarket.
    - Cut, collected and split 3/4's of a cubic metre of Ironbark firewood free from a friends property closeby saving $150 over purchasing it locally.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


  • Maxine August 06, 2018

    Brandy, you've been a busy girl! When I did a lot of canning--back in the day--I used to leave my jars on the counter so I could admire them. I only put them away when I ran out of room to cook, LOL.

    This was our week--
    The 3 of us went to a movie last weekend at the $3 cinema. With refreshments for all, we spent a total of $17.

    We are still bleeding money on the new house, but the end is in sight. Amazon has worn a path to my door. My husband says if I order one more thing that needs assembling, he's gonna leave!

    I was in Eugene and Portland, OR, last week for a college 50th reunion. I cashed in 12,500 frequent flyer miles to fly to Portland. My only cost was $11 taxes. I rented a car. The total cost was about the same as driving, but it was faster and I wasn't exhausted when I got there. I spent the first night with my cousin and her husband. I took them out to dinner at a neighborhood place and it only cost $40, including tip. I spent the next two nights with my BFF and her husband and spent $0.

    My friend and I resized a tablecloth. With the cut-off fabric, I made 4 napkins and fringed them. We also cut up a thrifted Hawaiian print shirt and made 5 napkins that I still have to hem. She gave me a bunch of fabric--enough to sew pillowcase dresses for charity well into next year. I'm trying to make one a month.

    I also got started planning my Operation Christmas Child shoebox. My wow gift this year will be a soccer ball (with the air let out) and a pump to put the air back in (over and over again). I've also been buying school supplies for cheap. Like you, Brandy, I'm packing for a boy age 10-14. Thanks for all of your tips in the past.

    Last week I ran drip lines to all of my plants. It was 100F here while I was gone and the plants were watered every day. Not only that, but I had 4-5 plants that were struggling. They have now all put out new leaves! We did not lose a single plant, even though they were planted on a 95F day in July.

  • Becky August 06, 2018

    I love seeing your jars all lined up. They are so pretty!

    I've been canning and freezing a lot, as well. The garden is keeping me very busy, especially with getting all the veggies harvested, and then processed. Today took me by surprise. I went out there to do a little work, and ended up out there for 3 hours. Then, the amount of produce I had harvested was more than I expected. There was just a little of this and a little of that, I thought, but it took me several hours to get it frozen and canned.

    I did get some old veggie bushes pulled up and my husband tilled the area that was freed. Then, I was able to plant lettuce, spinach, snow peas, beets, and a few herbs and boc choi for a fall garden. I do have some lettuce tucked in the garden here and there that is about 3-5 inches tall, so I will have that soon. It's so hot, I'm having to water a lot, so I'm very grateful for the irrigation well in the back yard, such a nice addition to our town lot. It would be so expensive to use the city water to irrigate as much as I have had to this year.

    I've started pruning away the raspberry canes that are done and I put a bunch in the compost bin this week. When I can, I like to fill it each week.

    I've picked some peaches from the tree in our yard. I did not spray the tree at all, in fact, have not done any care at all, so many are scabby, but there are many nice ones, too. This is only our second summer here, and the tree did very little last year, so I gave it a year before I cut it down. It listened to my threats, I guess:). I've frozen some, made jam, and I made a peach cobbler today. I will still hold out for Elbertas from my sister for canning, but I'm happy to have these as well.

    We kept my niece and nephew from Wednesday-Sunday and found several fun, frugal things to do with them. My husband took our daughter and niece to a free railroad museum one morning. We went swimming a couple of times at the Y. My nephew picked "his" flowers that he is growing here. At one point, I had 3 bouquets, each with about 3 flowers in a glass. I am very pleased at how much enjoyment he has gotten out of a 25c seed packet of zinnias along with his Burgerville prize from a child's meal last April--it was a packet of flowers to attract bees. Now, if I could get him to use scissors instead of pulling up the entire plant while getting a bloom that has a stem that is longer than 1/2 inch.....

    We got books from the library, and I read aloud a lot. I made "flapjacks" for my nephew like Almanzo ate in "The Long Winter" but made little pancakes, as I knew my nephew would not eat big ones.

    I put pictures on my blog, and also a couple from a wedding we attended that was held in a hazelnut orchard--it was amazing. https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-august-6-2018/

    I did not shop this week at all, except for a 50c wedding card at the Dollar Tree. My husband made a cutting board for the wedding gift.

    My usual grocery shopping day is Friday. I didn't have time to go because I was taking care of the kids, and I didn't need much anyway. I used garden produce and items from the freezer and cupboards for meals, along with some milk and bread that were on sale the week before. I am working with a little lower grocery budget right now, so, I will roll that money over for next Friday and have more to spend then. If I don't have to spend it, I won't. If I am able to save a chunk over a few weeks, I will eventually do a Costco run and load up on things like t.p., vitamins, and other money-sucking items:). There is a list forming on the white board as we run out of things, and I had to rob the camper for baking powder, of all things, but we are making out just fine. It will be good to rotate the baking powder and soda from the camper anyway.

  • Jenny August 07, 2018

    I love hearing all the garden talk from everyone. One day I hope to be an avid gardener!

    Combined trips to town with my mom and during times of other appointments. This is especially nice because my car doesn't have AC and hers does so we use her car.

    Got a few school supplies for DD who is going into 7th grade. There isn't a supply list for this grade so we got the basics. I also picked up a large pack of regular wooden pencils, as I'm tired of throwing away the plastic pens and pencils once they're used up. I'll use these around the house whenever a pen isn't necessary to cut back on waste. I'm on the search now for a good old-fashioned pencil sharpener.

    I had found cherries on a very good sale and attempted to make cherry jam. It's more juice than jam so I'll make syrup out of it whenever we open a jar. But it's really pretty! lol

    I've been decluttering, organizing and deep cleaning. I've been letting all of that slide by being busy with my business, but I'm feeling a pull to simplify and return to homemaking. My big goal is to get my pantry completely reorganized so I can stock up soon. I've been making a year-long menu plan broken down into the 4 seasons, and I'm planning to stock the basic staples for each season. My goal is to have a stocked pantry and freezer so I could make any of the basic meals for that season.

    The rest of our month will be spendy with paying bills, getting the last of the start of school year clothing and getting our older daughter moved off to college. We did get our tithing and savings for the month done right away before all the spending began, which is a huge accomplishment for us!

    I hope everyone has a lovely week:)

  • You may like this pencil sharpener: https://amzn.to/2M8ipei

  • AndreaG August 07, 2018

    Brandy, I love the Hamish Macbeth series as well as the Agatha Raisin series by MC Beaton. Such fun! We had a quiet week here. The weather was hot and humid so we stayed in quite a bit. All meals were cooked here at home and I packed my husband’s lunch every day. My mom kindly sent us home with leftovers from dinner yesterday as well as some local peaches, some frozen chicken and a brick of cheese. We are so blessed that she helps us in this way. Our local No Frills was having a big dollar sale so I added more to our pantry shelves and freezer. I think the highlight for me was the packages of raspberries for $0.25 each with coupons. I have put lots in the freezer so we will be able to enjoy them this winter. I continue to do surveys for Amazon gift cards but sometimes it is slow going. I must be in a popular demographic as there are often no surveys for me to do.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 07, 2018

    AndreaG, I'm so impressed by your purchase of raspberries for 25 cents! Where did you find the coupons? I never come across coupons for produce (with the rare exception of a digital rebate using the Checkout51 app, for a max of 25 cents back).

  • Shelley August 07, 2018

    Hi Brandi,
    Well last week was better than the prior few but still needs improvement.
    Got some great deals at Kroger Classico pasta sauce $.49 a jar bought 10. Got cereal for $.99 a box plus $4 off coupon for next purchase.
    Have a happy frugal week!

  • Libby August 07, 2018

    The pool sounds like great fun for everyone! I’m so glad that you were able to buy the raincheck items.

    • Inventoried all the food in the house, created a spreadsheet of what I have and where I would like the quantities to be. Now that I’m back working, I am concentrating on replenishing my storage with sale-priced items.
    • Bought 6 jars of peanut butter on sale at Walgreens, used a $1.50 off coupon, and then $10 in Balance rewards. My out of pocket was less than $1. Restocking peanut butter is on my food storage list.
    • Rather than sitting in Friday night beach traffic on my commute home, I got off the highway, drove some backroads, and shopped at an Aldi. I didn’t have my list with me, but was able to remember about 85% of items.
    • Hung laundry up,
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Made cuke couscous salad, made risotto with arugula and gorgonzola, grilled a steak that I had in the freezer, ate asparagus with homemade hollandaise. I had made the hollandaise 6-7 weeks ago and experimented with freezing it. The sauce came out from the freezer perfectly!

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba August 07, 2018

    Brandy, what fun your children must have had in that pool. It's nowhere as hot here as it is where you live, but half the time i wish we had a pool to jump in. :)

    Here is what I did to save money last week:
    * Combined several errands at a time to save time and money
    * Took a walk most days to exercise for free
    * Billed my clients online to save myself trips to the bank
    * Cooked and ate a chicken we purchased from a farmer
    * Kept the air conditioner off and used a fan instead when necessary
    * Drank lots and lots of water to stay hydrated
    * Took advantage of limited free parking at a networking event
    * Enjoyed delicious produce from a relative's garden
    * Used what I had on hand to make food for a potluck
    * Kept the blinds closed to keep the house cool
    * Took care of my health to avoid illness

  • Leigh Ann August 07, 2018

    Hope you ladies are having a good, frugal week!
    I stocked up on loss leaders and markdowns at the grocery store, as usual. I got several boxes of cereal at Kroger. I know it's not the cheapest breakfast option, but we especially like to have it on Sunday mornings, as the kids eat it without complaint, making our church routine/rush easier. It takes them much longer to eat oatmeal, even though I let them put sprinkles on it.
    We happened to be the 250,000 visitor at our children's museum. Very unexpected! We go with free passes from the library, but we also won a membership. The kids loved the balloons, which we got to bring home.
    We ate out with my brother, but chose a kids-eat-free restaurant. It was one free kids meal per adult, so I put two of my kids with their order so we could get 3 free kids meals.
    Our Chickfilas do a lot of promotions. Last night, kids wearing pajamas got a free meal. Last Wednesday morning, everyone during breakfast hours got a free chicken biscuit, and this Wednesday it's a free pack of chicken minis. I try to take the kids to a lot of these so they can eat and play on the playground. Otherwise, even fast food can be pricey for our family. Last night, they kids got their free food, I had a soda, but then ate leftovers at home. I really don't need to be eating that much fast food, anyway.
    We did the free Home Depot craft for the kids. They enjoy putting this together, and I enjoyed this one since it was pretty simple.
    I sold several items on facebook.
    I bought a flute at a garage sale. It's a beginner flute and was only $35, in great condition. I play the flute, but didn't want the kids using mine. I may teach my oldest how to play using this one.
    I bought a few garage sale items that I resold for profit: Ivivva sports bras, Little House on the Prairie book series, some children's Mini Melissa shoes, and a Vineyard Vines shirt. My kids and I really don't care about the name brands, but other people will certainly pay a premium for them. Plus, I bought a large water jug for my mom.
    I bought bread at the bakery outlet, but unfortunately didn't have enough freezer space to buy as much as I wanted. I prioritize marked down meat, as it's a better value and use of my freezer space.
    We went to a program at our library and swam at the neighborhood pool.

  • Marybeth August 08, 2018

    That is so great that you won a membership. We always use the library passes but sometimes can't get them. Enjoy.

  • Leigh Ann August 09, 2018

    Thank you! We were excited and very appreciative!

  • Elizabeth M. August 07, 2018

    After my computer fell into pieces, I ordered a new laptop. I used a $200 gift card from some about-to-expire airline points, and ordered an open-box item that gave me an extra $200 off. I was told it would arrive this Tuesday, after a long weekend, but the computer arrived on the Friday before the weekend, which let me get a little paid work in on Friday and Saturday. It was very easy to set up, even the wireless, which I've had trouble with in the past. I haven't received Microsoft Office yet. It was coming from another location, but there is no hurry for that.

    A board that I belong to either gives you an iPad to work on or a $50 a month stipend if you use your own device. With this lighter laptop for carrying back and forth to meetings, I will return the iPad I have been using and claim the stipend instead.

    I went to the local farmer's market to get vegetables, including fresh peas, which are one of my favorites. They totaled $11. I had two $5s in my hand and reached into my purse to get the dollar, but the vendor waved that away. I think she was happy to see $5 bills, since so many people have $20 bills from the cash machines. I also bought a loaf of focaccia with cheddar and jalapeno on it from a friend. I think this would be very easy to make using Brandy's French bread recipe and a little olive oil. One thing I am really enjoying about the farmer's market is that I know so many of the vendors from different things I've done in this village and the next town over, so it is a very nice visit as well as being able to get local produce at a very reasonable price.

    Much less fun was getting a notice from the village telling me to get the weeds and grass cut or they would do it themselves and put a lien on my property until the charges were paid. I am spending this week doing that. Although we had bad weather for a couple of days, since then the weather has held, and the lawn mower and my body are cooperating, so I think I will be able to finish by the deadline.

    Today, I will stop long enough to buy any groceries I need for the month at one of the stores here that once a month has a 10% discount on everything. I don't have an awful lot to buy, but a few dollars less will still help.

  • Stephanie August 07, 2018

    Good morning! Your canning is beautiful! I don't can often, but when I do, I always have to take a moment to appreciate how lovely the end results always are. :)

    This week, we stretched our leftovers and ate them all. I love it when we don't have any food waste! Makes my frugal heart happy. We chaperoned some French exchange students for the day (their host family had to work, and my husband and I both speak French, so we were happy to help when they asked us). We took them to some free places in the area. It was a really lovely day and it felt pretty good to chat with them in French! :)

    I hit the jackpot at a yard sale when I asked how much a girl's winter jacket was and the woman told me I could just have it. She also told me to take whatever other children's clothing I could use, so I grabbed a few extras, and at the next yard sale, I found the next size winter jacket for a quarter. I was THRILLED!!! We harvested tomatoes from our garden and found that we're growing two baby pumpkins.

    Have a great week, everyone! :)

  • Marybeth August 07, 2018

    It was busy around here. I worked 3 extra days which is great for the college. I did get fed one day at work which was nice. The garden is doing great. I have so many peppers right now. Cooking at home which always saves us money. I have been shopping sales, using coupons and rainchecks and using Ibotta after. I just hit $100 with Ibotta. The pantry supplies are growing with my usual grocery budget. It does help that my garden is supplying us with lots of fresh veggies. The rest of my list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/08/my-frugal-list-week-of-july-30-2018.html

  • Karen August 07, 2018

    That was so nice of your parents to fill up a pool for your kids! And generous that they gave you the water when they were done. You are fortunate to have family so close by.

    We went camping for the week. It's our typical vacation. We don't go to a campground, so our expenses are gas and food, plus this year we used some of our tax return to buy a camping kitchen and a couple of really nice cots, which we'll use for years. We have a camping trailer but we're going to sell it. I spent more than I expected on food, but we have a bunch leftover so I'll just work them into future meals.

    I resubmitted (for the third time) a medical reimbursement request. I'm determined to get that $100 back! Hoping that this time I have the right combination of paperwork (it's an ER copay that was billed in two equal chunks and they reimbursed the first half but have refused to pay the second).

    Our garden survived our week away, which I'm so grateful about! We have been eating cherry tomatoes and radishes so far. The carrots and onions are coming along nicely and I'm hoping to start picking them in a few weeks.

  • Ms. Flathat August 07, 2018

    I was one of the folks suggesting the Hamish McBeth series here. I really enjoyed the series of posts of favorite books. Because of those posts I read two excellent books I did not know about - The Nightingale (Hannah) and All the Light We Cannot See(Doerr). I also read The War that Saved my Life (Bradley). I had read lots of McCall-Smith, but recently listened to The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs (hysterically funny) and the newer Italian series book, My Italian Bulldozer. I would like to recommend books by Barbara Pym (a writer from the 1930's to 60's compared to Jane Austen). Since I am in a new area for the summer, I have a new library collection to enjoy. I have been enjoying these video series (mostly British) which I had seen in the distant past, but don't have at my home library: The Darling Buds of May, Campion, Cadfael and Maigret. I had seen the English version of Maigret with Michael Gambon, but I am enjoying the French version, which is subtitled.

    There is an outlet grocery store in part of Virginia and Pennsylvania run by Mennonites (Sharp Shopper). I enjoy trying the different very discounted products which I would not buy at their undiscounted prices (because I might not care for them) such as Hershey's bake at home big cookies (.99), several types of dried (not refrigerated) tortellini(50 cents for 7 oz.), Kraft Cheese Stix (12 for .99), Turkey Hill Pumpkin pie ice cream (1.5 quarts for .99), Palermo blossom honey, Planters mixed nut mix (3.99 for 1 lb. tin) and other products.

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