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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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  • Mable August 07, 2018

    There is a sequel to The War That Saved My Life, called The War That I Finally Won. It, too, is superb. I wish every young teen read those two books, not just for the history but because it portrays so well the struggle it is to accept love if you were raised with hate.

  • Lisa August 11, 2018

    Thank you for your comment about Sharp Shopper! We live in Virginia and I looked it up to see if it was by us and the closest one is 50 minutes away in a town where my husband sometimes has to work! The next time he's out there I'll have him check it out!

  • Cindi August 07, 2018

    A church member was giving away zucchini from her garden, so I gladly accepted one. I know many people joke about how prolific zucchini can be, but I haven’t had luck with growing it.
    This week we enjoyed tomatoes, carrots, mint, lettuce, chard, collard greens, and green beans from the garden.
    I canned four quarts of chicken soup for this winter.
    I was determined to put off shopping until Thursday, when I had a doctor’s appointment in town. It meant getting very creative with breakfasts and lunches, since we were out of a lot of staples, but we did it. I was able to purchase 20 lbs of sugar for 20 cents a pound. I also bought 13 ears of corn for $4 (corn prices are much higher this year due to local drought). I cut the corn off the cob and filled 3 quart freezer bags).
    We donated some items to the local Humane Society thrift store, and I got a receipt for our taxes.
    My husband volunteered at the local blood drive and received $25 in Amazon gift cards as a reward. He used the gift cards to download music – something he has been wanting to do since his birthday. (We didn’t exchange gifts this year, since we counted our Alaska vacation as our gift.)
    Friends came to visit for several days and we only ate out twice – they bought once and we bought once. We had a lovely time hanging out at home and touring local sights.

  • ellie's friend from Canada August 11, 2018

    Hi Cindi,

    Although everyone jokes about zucchini, shredded (grated) zucchini freezes well and is good for stir fries, muffins, chocolate zucchini cake. I never turn offers of zucchini down!

  • Jenn August 07, 2018

    I *love* Hamish Macbeth and have read the entire series, save for the latest one. Agatha Raisin, by the same author, is also very good!

  • Lulutoo August 08, 2018

    Jenn, I agree completely. I also love Barbara Pym.

  • Jo August 07, 2018

    I submitted a rebate for $3, and got a card saying that they were missing information and asking me to mail it in. I called them instead, and as I thought, they had the information after all, so the rebate check is on it's way, and no postage was needed.
    This is probably old news to a lot of people, but I'd never heard of the homemade stain remover that is Dawn + hydrogen peroxide until recently. I made some, and it is really working on stains. I was thrilled to see tomato and blood stains gone as if they'd never happened.
    I've been faithfully creating a weekly meal plan and shopping off my list only. The only exceptions are if I see a fantastic sale. My husband has a problem with low protein, so he drinks a protein shake nearly every day -- I found his favorite organic brand at 41% off, so I bought it even though he still has half a canister full.
    I am painting a new back entry door as well as our kitchen chairs. It's slow, because I work full-time, but I'm able to do this on weekends and save on the cost of a painter.
    I bought a $25 Amazon gift card for 2200 Swagbucks and am about ready to buy another one. This will help pay for the upholstery foam I need to order for our kitchen chairs.
    The high heat and heavy rains have basically wiped out our food production in our yard. It's been disappointing to say the least, but I have hopes that our grapes will still make it, and the lemon tree managed to hang on to a few lemons that are growing, so far. The next problem will be keeping raccoons and opossums out of the grapes.
    Brandy, thank you for the pictures of your canning jars! I used to can a lot, back when we could manage big gardens, and I find few things prettier than rows of jars full of brightly colored food. I still can a jar at a time here and there -- I think I always will, just for the satisfaction and beauty of it.

  • Annaliese August 07, 2018

    Thank goodness for the rain and cooler weather last week. Garden perked up and I am getting more out of it. All cars are finally running and all mechanic bills are paid=Knock on wood!! Here are my frugal ways for the past two weeks:
    -Went out to eat and a afternoon movie for our 30th wedding anniversary. Used gift card I bought thru Swagbucks and got double points and a $10.00 coupon. We ordered the meal for 2 where you get salad or appetizer, 2 entrees to eat there and 2 more to take home, and a dessert. We also got a plate of free lemon cookies since it was our anniversary.
    -Dehydrated some more tomatoes. Grind into powder. thinking ahead to fall and winter.
    -Made your recipe for giardiniera. Already gave a jar away to a teacher.
    -Bought two more gift cards thru Swagbucks for presents and got 200 extra points added to account. Spent 2200 points to get a free Wal-Mart gift card for holidays.
    -Sent off for a free box of cereal.
    -Free in snail mail=sample of laundry stain removal, samples of shampoo & conditioner, coupon for free dog food, and coupons for free food and drinks at a new gas station that has opened up near us.
    -Brought home a few free snack bags of chips, cookies, crackers and candy from work.
    -Made some roasted tomato and basil cream soup base and put in freezer.
    -Froze a bag of green beans and started one for okra.
    -The free magazines I ordered from Recycle.com with my points about a month ago has started coming in the mail.
    - Crop from garden was green beans, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, a few okra, cucumbers and plum tomatoes with a couple of handfuls of herbs.
    -Gifted some salad greens and spinach from inlaws.
    I hope everyone has a blessed week!!

  • Jeananne Lybbert August 11, 2018

    Would you share how you get your free snail mail samples. Thank you.

  • Cindy in the South August 07, 2018

    One of my oldest son's friends committed suicide this week. He was so young, and I feel so badly for him and his family. He had struggled with mental illness for years.
    I attended a funeral of a colleague. I wore a black dress I had bought for $1 at a thrift store.
    I have managed to keep my electric bill in my all electric house down to under $50 a month all summer long in the deep hot and humid South. I have managed to do this every summer, and I really think I am able to do this primarily for three reasons: (1) complete shade over three-fourths of my house, a white metal roof, and thermal curtains.
    I have been eating lots of tomato sandwiches so I am not turning the oven on much, which means I do not turn the air on as much.
    I went to Dollar Tree to get some things I needed, dandruff shampoo, fingernail polish, and reading glasses.
    I have been reading all the free books from the lil free library at my local laundrymat.
    I have been happily wearing my thrift store clothes. However, I could not find a white shirt. I finally found one at Walmart for $3.00.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood August 07, 2018

    I'm so sorry for your loss, Cindy. Suicide is always sad, and even sadder in one so young. My thoughts are with you and your friend's family.

  • Cindy S. August 08, 2018

    I am so sorry to hear that about your son's friend. Suicide is especially sad.

  • Cindy in the South August 09, 2018

    Thank y'all. I am so sorry for his family. He is with Jesus now.

  • Juhli August 07, 2018

    So many successes and great ideas! My best frugal activities this past week were:
    - Using the city's Dial-a-Ride to get home from my swimming lesson when our car was needed to take my FIL to the Dr. $1.50 one way for seniors which is $9.50 less than using Lyftt. Having downsized to one car in retirement is proving to be very frugal and just require a bit of planning ahead.
    - Sharing a lunch order at a reasonable restaurant with my older adult son so we could have a nice long visit just the 2 of us.
    - Getting a substantial discount from the vet for our dog's teeth cleaning and extractions because we are regular customers (the non-frugal part is the dog has to see the vet every month for a shot for her Addison's disease).
    - Cooking dinners at home each night for the last week.

  • Jennifer O. August 08, 2018

    Ask the vet if you can get trained to administer the shot yourself. Also check if you can get the medication cheaper through a human pharmacy, as most animal meds are (or were) people medications.

  • Jonna August 07, 2018

    I love the Hamish Macbeth series! The downside for me is having to wait until February for the newest book in the series to be released, only to read it less than a day and start the wait again. Haha. Have a great week! :)

  • Juls Owings August 07, 2018

    The food looks wonderful Brandy. Our new home is in the final stages and we are looking about being able to move furniture in the 18th. On the flip side of that we have had to look at the cost of both of us driving back and forth at least once a day if not twice for the next 11 days to do the moving ourselves or hiring it done... By doing it ourselves we save $1000. That will pay for Hubby's deep sea fishing trip his buddy is going on with Hubby, last thing on Hubby's bucket list. Again today we were gifted with corn from our Amish neighbors after I just did another bushel of corn and bushel of green beans and 20 lbs of tomatoes. Their horse got loose and was "visiting" our grape vines ...sorry horsey , the birds already got the ripe ones. I'll be covering it next year. I found material that I hope is enough to make winter curtains for the bedroom. I want to add flannel to the back side, maybe some batting of an old towel or something. We are still under budget for this house thanks to being frugal and waiting for sales. It's going to be close but under. We found a carpenter that is willing to cut his normal hourly charge to finish the north and soft lofts for us. He is training his son so thought he should cut a deal. We are thankful as it's off our 304 things to get done now *including 12 to finish in next 18 mos.
    Blessings for everyone

  • Athanasia August 07, 2018

    We have been very busy, so my last update was probably a month ago. We had that late wet spring (20+ inches of snow in April) then a cool May then a hotter than normal June and July. The heat continues along with the humidity though the weatherman did say already a couple weeks ago there is a touch of Fall in the air. Our overnight temperatures are going down into the 50sF and I have seen a small amount of color change in the trees. We had a delay in some crops due to the snow delaying plowing and then when had a rush of production due to the heat and rain for other crops. So everything is coming due at once it seems.

    We have harvested over the last month parsley, summer savory, cilantro, rosemary, mint, basil, dill, shell peas, edible pod peas, beets, carrots, scallions, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, peaches, sweet corn, potatoes, green beans and wax beans, eggplants, cantaloupes, arugula and leaf lettuce. We are already on our 3rd (successively planted) field of sweet corn and it is very good. Our family farm stand has been very busy.

    So far I have canned blueberry jam, frozen blueberries in quart bags for pies and pints for muffins etc, canned blackberries in quarts using directions given to me by someone on this site last year...these are ones I will use later for cobbler. I also canned blackberry jam and froze berries in pint bags. Made raspberry freezer jam and froze berries in pint bags. Gooseberries I sell, give away, let the birds eat. I did use them in one recipe, the trifle recipe I found last year from a British website. Tomatoes we have been keeping up with eating for the moment, selling, and I did make one large batch of spaghetti sauce (6 quart kettle) that we have used in several meals and to make 2 pans of lasagna for a church potluck. I made 2 half gallon jars of refrigerator kosher dill pickles. I canned bread and butter pickles in pints and quarts, sour hamburger slices in pints, and more kosher dill in quarts. I also did 15 quarts of sweet gherkins. These are my favorite. I always order these pickling cucumbers from a neighbor as I don't want to deal with picking all the approx 2 1/2-3 inch pickles needed for this. We canned pickled peppers in pints, made 2 pints of marinated cherry tomatoes for the refrigerator. Will make another 2 jars so have more. Tried those for the first time last year. They were nice served on antipasti trays. Done the majority of canning in smaller batches with younger daughter or alone and the large batches with sister in law, youngest daughter and my mother. Oldest girl is too busy with the farm all day and the twin babies at night so we are doing as much canning as we can for her. Canned quarts of green beans and mixed green beans with wax beans.

    I had June off until after July 4th. Now I work part time until Aug 20th when go back to full time. Youngest daughter is still watching Miriam and Daniel who will be 4 months old tomorrow and Dora is almost 2. We were supposed to have my husband's brother living with us until Labor Day weekend when he would move to another sibling. We had to change the move date up as youngest daughter Olivia did decide to take the year long teaching job at the school she worked 2nd semester at last year. She will be in the same area as her sister Johanna works as a nurse so they will be able to spend much more time together and this is the area where some of my husband's family live. In fact she will teach nieces and nephews in her classroom. She bought Eliana's Toyota Prius as Eliana and Theo bought a larger station wagon. We have time to make her several new dresses and the school has arranged her housing again. Come Fall, we will have an empty nest, again.

    Awhile back there was discussion about Corelle dishes. I love them. My stack of 20 dinner plates only takes up about 4 inches in height and we have little plates and medium plates and 4 sizes of bowls and a couple platters and then 2 sizes of serving bowls. I buy them whenever I see more. I have the white in my kitchen but I buy whatever pattern I see at rummage sales. The mismatched ones we use for large casual family gatherings. Eliana also likes the white so she has a pretty good set also and we can combine as needed for holiday dinners. In all my memory we have broken one bowl and I did it. It slipped and hit just the wrong angle. Otherwise they bounce on our linoleum floor.

    We did finish the summer project for the children's play area we built between our house and daughter's house. The men changed our plans somewhat as they said we could not put it under the tree due to roots. So it is out in the open, but covered with a 12x12 foot canopy for shade. They dug out the sod, put in a layer of sand, then laid down cushioned outdoor squares, like at a playground. They did not want to mow around and move things. So now we have the little covered turtle sandbox, a wading pool, the jungle gym and slide, mini picnic table, playhouse and lawn chairs. It is nice to sit out there with feet in pool. We have been gathering all summer on Thursday mornings with the grandchildren and youngest daughter and my mother, me, my sister in law and her little Henry. We play then eat lunch and everyone goes home for naps. So just a couple more weeks before every one goes different directions and back to work/school.

    To be continued.

  • Becky August 07, 2018

    I can never get enough teeny, tiny cucumbers at the same time to make whole sweet pickles. It's so great that you have a neighbor that you can buy some from. So, I end up canning chunks instead of gherkins. I'll bet yours look SO pretty in the jars. Mine are not as pretty, but luckily the family doesn't know any better and gobble them up quickly. Mine take 4 days of dumping various boiling things over them morning and night, according to the recipe. I've done that twice this year, 1/2 batch each time, because that's how many cucumbers were ripe at the same time. Now, I've moved on to jalepeno dill pickles.

    You have been super busy! I love hearing about all the things you've been growing and preserving. As fun as it is to hear of you canning for your daughter with the twins, I'm sure she must be so happy. It's hard to get that done with even one baby, but twins and a farm? Wow! I'm glad you can spend so much time with all the babies and their mothers.

  • Athanasia August 13, 2018

    Becky, did you like the jalapeno dills? I had one once and didn't. Not sure if I would make them as then jar would be in refrigerator taking up room if one one person wants them. My husband would probably eat them but we all eat regular dills. I figure I already can hot peppers as is. Did you grow your own dill? We sold so much dill and actually ran out. We found out the grocer (kroger affiliate) doesn't stock dill during canning season. You are supposed to buy it in the little mini fresh packs of baby dill which is pretty ridiculous.

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