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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Snake Melon The Prudent Homemaker

Armenian cucumber in the garden; you can see why these are also called "Snake melons." I have never had one grow like this before, but it sure looks interesting! 

I read eight more Hamish Macbeth books in e-book form from the library. I love that the e-books mean I don't even have to drive to the library and spend money on gas!

I sowed seeds for zucchini. I haven't had one plant grow yet this year, despite multiple plantings, but hopefully, I will have some success this time and be able to have a harvest in a couple of months. Our first frost is usually in December, so I have enough time for the plants to get large and then start flowering when it cools below 90 in mid-October.

I collected poppy seeds and larkspur seeds from the garden to plant next year.

I gave one son and two daughters a haircut.

My husband and I had a date night at home after the children were in bed with root beer floats (the ice cream previously purchased on sale for $3.99 a gallon and root beer for $0.69 a 2-liter bottle) while we played three games of Sequence.

I  picked an Armenian cucumber from the garden.

I went to the dollar store to purchase some needed items, including bobby pins and hair elastics. I noted that the store now carries name brands; the exact same size package of bobby pins is $3.99 at Walmart.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  • Rhonda A. August 13, 2018

    That is one cool looking cucumber! I hope your zucchini seeds srpout and flourish for you this time, Brandy! Glad you have found a new book series to enjoy, especially one which is so easily accessible for you. The rootbeer floats sound delicious!

    This week was filled with spending, but for necessary things like new shoes for DD (part of school clothes shopping) and lots of groceries that should last us a while. This week, our frugal accomplishments for our family included:
    *Meals made at home included hamburger helper, chicken pot pie (bought at Costco for a bit of a change in menu), cheddar sausages with corn on the cob and flavoured rice, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and corn, homemade chicken fried rice with spring rolls, and ham steaks with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies.
    *Went to Costco to pick up some needed items on my list, got an oil change on my vehicle and I filled the tank up for $1.18/litre (it was around $1.23/litre at other gas stations in town). We also had lunch there, which cost $7.25 for both my mom and I, plus I brought home my leftovers for DD to enjoy. I love Costco!
    *I did a big grocery shopping trip to several stores this weekend. These groceries should last for the better part of 2 weeks, with the exception of needing milk and a few produce. I may pick up some things in the mean time, if there are good sales on items I am trying to stock up on (like peanut butter!).
    *On Saturday morning, while waiting for my mom to get ready to go grocery shopping with me, I used the time to prepare a big pot of white rice (cooked up 5 cups of dry rice) and a pot of BBQ chickpeas (used a quart jar of home-canned chickpeas and BBQ sauce from the pantry). The chickpeas will be used to make BBQ chickpea wraps for my work lunches over the next week. The white rice was used later in the day to make a huge batch of chicken fried rice for dinner (I added 1 chicken breast, lots of veggies and bean sprouts to make it a very balanced meal) and leftovers were then available as another lunch option for whomever wanted it. We're trying to encourage DD to choose healthier lunch options, instead of the "quick fix" high carb/fat items she has been drawn to all summer.
    *Things I received free from work included a freezie on a very hot day, popcorn, 2 ripe tomatoes from the garden, treats made in the village, a cookie, a granola bar and a bag of beef & lamb gyro meat balls (left over after an event on Sunday...they were made by a local chef and given out as samples to visitors).
    *Took DD and her friend swimming at the wellness centre on one of my days off this week. It cost me $15 but worth the money. Swimming is so relaxing, yet a great way to get some exercise.
    *My co-worker that I have been mentoring is really starting to embrace being frugal. She's realizing how much it benefits her finances and is enjoying the challenge of finding ways to save. She can't wait to try some new recipes for things she loves to eat at restaurants (she wants to try making pho soup). She even planned a simple get together with other co-works at her house instead of going out to a bar for overpriced drinks. It makes me very happy to see her so enthusiastic about being a better stewart of her money!

    Hope you all had a wonderful, frugal filled week. I look forward to catching up with you all!

  • Lisa from Maine August 13, 2018

    I want to thank you for your craving earlier this summer for fried rice. You had wanted some for a bit but never had enough leftover rice. Your comments gave me an additional option for my leftover rice. I most often use the leftover rice in soups--but no one wants soup in the summer in my house. We tried fried rice and the kids love it and the husband tolerates it so it's a win at our house. Great way to get rid of little bits of leftovers too. We've added it to our menu plan.

  • Rhonda A. August 13, 2018

    I love that it is super cheap (if I was living on a super tight buget, this would make the cut), so easy to make, I can fill it with lots of healthy veggies, it tastes great as leftovers (perfect lunch item) and it helps keep my cravings for Chinese food at bay!;) I'm glad your family enjoyed it, too.

  • PJGT August 16, 2018

    We also made the fried rice and my daughter asked for the recipe even. Excellent idea and amazingly frugal! Thanks

  • Lorna August 13, 2018

    Hi Brandy and that is an interesting looking cucumber indeed :) .

    I do the same when we go to new stores we write the prices down of things we see and compare with other stores we previously have shopped at. This week we found another discount variety store that has opened up in town that has really good prices on knee braces and medical supplies as well as gas lighter fluid we use to fill our BBQ and candle lighter with. It pays to investigate new options on a regular basis to save where we can.

    Our savings added up to $90.75 last week.

    Here is how we organised our home, what we got accomplished and saved last week -

    Home organisation -
    - Deep cleaned 5 rooms in our home as well as the front veranda and decluttered at the same time due to red dust storms here ready for our rental inspection on Monday. 2 more rooms to go yay !.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Pantry stock ups-
    - Purchased 10 more tins of smoked chicken and another 12 pk of toilet paper over and above our usual stocks.

    Gifts and blessings -
    - A friend gave us around 2 metres of wire mesh as a thank you for giving him a back brace that was now too large for DH saving us $32.50 over purchasing it.

    Finances and earnings -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit account bringing us to 27.22% of the way there.
    - Made $22.42 from the sale of 50 g of dried English lavender picked and dried from the gardens, 400 capsicum seeds saved from the gardens and 40 sugar baby watermelon seeds also saved from the gardens.
    - Listed 12 more items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $19.80 on usual listing fee prices.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked another 1.1 kg of cherry tomatoes and harvested our first of season broccoli head weighing 238 g saving $16.02 on usual prices in the supermarket.
    - Mulched and weeded 2 ornamental flower beds and mulched them with a mixture of Lucerne hay and dried grass clippings to save on hay usage.

    Water preservation -
    - Used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water the household lawns all week.
    - Used dish rinsing, damp dusting and shower warm up water to water the fruit trees on the back veranda and supplement water vegetable plants in the garden beds.

    Usual frugal things we do -
    - Washed out clip seal freezer bags to reuse, hung washing on the clothes line, washed all clothing in cold water to save power use, unplugged appliances from power points when not in use, only turned on the electric hot water system when our water needed heating and boiled water on top of our slow combustion fireplace for our morning cuppas.

    Hope everyone has a great week ahead :).


  • Cheryl J August 13, 2018

    Received wine from a co-worker who was moving. I may regift it to a friend for Christmas

    Ate leftovers at work from a going away party 2 days.

    Trying to pay more attention to my grocery spending.

    Received $5 for completing a Nielsen ratings survey.

    I got free earrings from Stella and Dot for my birthday month. Of course I had to make a purchase but had planned to buy jewelry for a gift for a friend anyway. The free earrings will be used as a Christmas present as well.

    Redeemed 4 free items using coupons from H-E-B and a $3 off $30 purchase! I am coming to love H-E-B over Walmart.

    Downloaded several ebooks from our local library.

  • Tabbie August 13, 2018

    I love HEB. When we moved to Texas a few years ago I was so excited about the store giving coupons away! Most the time I find that the free items are things I have on my list or use on a regular basis anyway. Be sure to check the digital coupons as well as the in-store coupons. On their digital coupons, they had a free box of cereal the other day and you didn't have to buy anything to get it. It really provides you with a lot of great savings.

  • Cheryl J August 15, 2018

    Thanks for the tip, Tabbie, on the free cereal I will look for that coupon. I was a little overwhelmed shopping there at first but once I figured the layout I've been good!

  • Laura August 14, 2018

    Cheryl, I definitely love Heb over Walmart. The location nearest us has the free curbside Tues-Fri!! This will save me time with school right around the corner. I also love their meal deals where you get at least 5-6 free items to go along w a specific "main dish".

  • Cheryl J August 15, 2018

    Laura, you're right on those meal deals they are awesome!

  • K August 13, 2018

    Hi Brandy! I love getting ebooks from the library too, since my nearest library, while in walking distance, is only open for regular hours during the school year! I also get audiobooks to listen to while on the train.

    We had an exciting Friday night- my SO found a cat outside that was obviously a house cat, so we bought some food and a litter box and such and got the cat set up for the night until we could take him to the vet to see if he was chipped. Luckily, he was, and we were able to reunite cat and owner on Saturday morning! :) Plus, the owner offered us cash as a thank you, though we only accepted enough to cover the cost of the items we had purchased.

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week:

    * I made a batch of yogurt from a gallon of milk and a cup of starter. I think my starter was a bit old, since the yogurt turned out runnier than usual. Does anyone have suggestions for freeze-dried starter that isn't super expensive? I know you can get more than one use out of good starters (i.e., not the store bought yogurt I'm buying), but since I make yogurt so infrequently, I'm curious if anyone's had success freezing their own yogurt from one of these starters to use for their next batch?

    * I got a free pizza lunch on campus for stopping by an activity hosted by my department. I rarely have pizza, so it was a nice treat!

    * I got another audiobook from the library this week, so that I could continue to listen to something during my commute.

    * I signed up to take an online course through Coursera to learn Python. This is a coding language that is a requirement/recommended skill for a job I would potentially like to have in industry, and since I am not sure that I want to stay in academia for my career, I am trying to keep my options open.

    * We spent some time getting our apartment put together more, to beautify our every day life. We rearranged items in baskets, put together our headboard for our bed, and did an almost-full deep clean of our apartment. The only thing we didn't do was steam mop the floors, since our floors didn't need it. it's so nice to come home to a clean and put together apartment!

    * I claimed nearly $90 in Amazon gift cards from various reward services (like Swagbucks), so that I could make a big purchase of a few wants/needs without impacting our budget. I tend to save up for a few big purchases per year, so after I make this purchase, I will save up for holiday shopping next. Speaking of Swagbucks, what is the best method for earning SB? I never seem to qualify for surveys, it seems, so I'm wondering what others do to earn SB at a faster pace than the occasional survey?

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  • Linda G August 13, 2018

    I would love to know the answer on Swagbucks too! I've pretty much given up since I never qualify.

  • Cathyharrell August 13, 2018

    I go through swagbucks to order a lot of my dog and cat and chicken feed etc. from Walmart. Before that I never had many points. They deliver it to my gate and I don't have to go to town. Be careful as some stuff is higher than in the store though.

  • Meredith August 13, 2018

    In my experience making yogurt, the higher the fat content of the milk the firmer the yogurt. I had good luck with store bought as a starter and I used the crockpot method. Stirring also breaks the bonds and makes it super runny. I made a big batch in the crockpot and then tried to disturb it as little as possible but the last serving or two were always a bit runnny. Smoothie time! Or you can add some plain gelatin after it is done fermenting if you really want it to set. Like a panna cotta.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada August 13, 2018

    I freeze store bought yogurt in ice cube trays. I use two 'cubes' of the starter to make a batch of yogurt. That's good for a 3 quart batch.
    I make yogurt by placing three one-quart jars on top of a heating pad set to low/medium. Then I invert my largest stock pot over those jars and cover everything with a large towel.

  • Terri W. August 13, 2018

    I watch swagbucks videos on a separate tab on my laptop, while reading blogs. Occasionally I qualify for a survey. And any time I shop online, I go through Swagbucks Shop feature first. Just DO NOT shop for anything you were not going to buy anyway!:) I also use it as my search engine, which generally adds a few points each day. It doesn't make a fortune, but I can usually get a $25 gift card each month. I save them up to use at Christmas time!

  • Lillianna pickles August 17, 2018

    Terri W, I just did the Gillette razor deal. I spent 10.00 and will be getting $40.00 back. That's a great profit maker for me. I am not much for using regular Gillette razors but my son is at basic training. Guess what he just requested ? I will ship these off to him and my profit margin will be applied towards a gift card to use on my travels to see him graduate from boot camp. I imagine I will Cantonese as I honestly don't expect them to be any better than the ones in the store.

  • Karen August 13, 2018

    I've almost given up on Swagbucks. They've made it so hard to accumulate points! If I can, I sometimes just let the videos run on my computer while I do other activities, but mostly now I just use the printed coupons to get points.

  • Jeannie August 13, 2018

    I take my yougurt and drain it by placing it in a cheese cloth inside a colander. This makes it thicker. Then I freeze the whey and use it as a starter the next time I make yougurt. My starter is from store brands and I seem to be able to do this for about one year before it becomes too weak.


  • Juls Owings August 13, 2018

    I always check swagbucks before ordering anything online. I also do crave and some of the videos usually when I am sitting and doing something else... like mending,ironing , I have done it during meal prep. I don't just do swag bucks. I have the swagbucks button extension so it can pop up if there is a code available. I noticed I qualify better on surveys early morning or late night. I don't get referrers like Brandy as no one I know uses computers and doesn't like it on their phones.

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