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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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Comments

  • Megan Z. August 14, 2018

    I am still on a no spend so aside from groceries and home repair items haven’t bought anything.

    I had a group come over to watch the new Guernsey movie on netflix. We’d all read the book so enjoyed critiquing the movie. I made taco salad for everyone. Most of the ingredients I had purchased on sale a few weeks ago or got from my garden. Aside from the beef it was a very economical meal. I asked two of the ladies to bring dessert and someone else brought a side so saved me from having to make them.

    Last night I made beef enchiladas using freezer ingredients. I was hungry and didn’t take the time to fill each tortilla. Instead I used them like lasagna noodles with filling on top. It worked perfectly.

    I read some books from the library and found an ebook for a series I’ve been wanting to read. I’m not as big a fan of ebooks (I love to flip a physical page) but if it’s the way I can read a certain book, it’s doable.

    This morning was 67 and felt like fall. Wonderful!

  • Kim August 14, 2018

    Brandy, What do you read your e-books on? I have a smart phone and a laptop, but have considered aquireing a Kindle to read from. I was wondering what works best?

  • I read them on my phone. Our local library uses the Overdrive app, which is free. You connect to your library with your library card and can search for books that way. You can download them to your phone and read them without using data. The app keeps your place (even in multiple books at a time) and automatically returns them when they are due. You can also return them individually before that if you want to.

  • Kim August 17, 2018

    Thank you Brandy for all the great information. I can't wait to try this on my phone too!

  • Leigh Ann August 14, 2018

    We had a good, frugal week!
    I took the kids to swim at my aunt's house, which everyone enjoyed.
    Neighbors were looking for a dog sitter, so I volunteered my oldest to do it. She still needed some help, but it was a great way for the kids to earn money. We don't have pets and got to enjoy someone else's for a couple of days.
    Continued to sell items on facebook. It can be slow going, but it's worth it, I think.
    Went through our uniform box to get uniforms in larger sizes for the kids. I buy ahead when we see them at the church thrift store, and my mom kindly replaced a patch for me. This saves so much over buying them new.
    Used giftcard from returning kids clothes given as gifts to buy socks and underwear, which was on sale. A relative periodically buys the kids new clothes, but they often don't fit or are styles/pictures/sayings we don't wear. I try to return them to Carter's or Gymboree and save those giftcards for things the kids really need.
    We ate simple meals and avoided most food waste.
    I took the kids to Half Price Books, where they redeemed the summer reading log for a $5 voucher. They each got a free Melissa and Doug reusable sticker book.
    We enjoyed a new park we'd never visited before, and I took our own snacks to enjoy.
    Bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    Received some baby formula coupons, which I sold on ebay. I nurse the baby and am lucky to not need to buy formula.
    Kids got a free cookie from the bakery and free banana from the produce section when we shopped at Kroger.
    Kids enjoyed some cereal my sister gave us, that her kids didn't like.
    I took the kids on a walk in the neighborhood when it was raining. They got to use umbrellas and splash in puddles, which was great, free entertainment.

  • Cindy in the South August 14, 2018

    I made fried rice (with frozen peas) and homemade shrimp sauce. I am taking that to work and that will be my lunch today. I wore a thrifted $1 black dress to yet another funeral on Saturday. I have tried to keep the air off as much as possible, even with days of a 108 heat index, I just turn the air on until the house feels cool. My electric bill was $52 for my all electric house, not too bad. I bought $1 reading glasses at the Dollar Tree. I am going to wear a thrifted dress to work today. I am totally trying to plan for retirement, which is looming on the horizon. There are a lot of variables involved, such as health issues. Retirement could be tomorrow, or as late as 43 months from now. A lot depends on health and finances, like everything in life.

  • It was 111 here all week. I don't know how you keep your bill so low. We have a programmable thermostat and we keep it at 79. My bill will be around $420 this month.

  • Andrea Q August 14, 2018

    Inadequate insulation is very common in Las Vegas tract homes. I’ve heard horror stories about entire exterior walls not being insulated at all. The shared walls/ceiling between the garage and house are another common spot where builders cut corners and don’t properly insulate. Oftentimes, adding attic insulation pays for itself in just a couple years.

    Have you ever used a kill-o-watt meter to see how much energy your major appliances use? It is very eye opening! Our library has them for patrons to borrow. Older refrigerators, upright freezers or window air conditioners use a lot of electricity.

  • We checked our insulation in the attic a few years ago as we were considering adding some but it is quite good. My house is not that old and we have double-paned windows. The main part of our house is facing south and west. My parents have the same house next-door but they are the next street over, so the main living area faces east, which makes for a lower bill. I have 11 ceiling fans in the house, and we have them running all night in 4 bedrooms. Our house has 2 a/c units plus a window unit in our panty in the garage (which is a room we built and insulated in our garage). We have two fridge/freezers plus a standing freezer, and we do 24 loads of laundry a week. Our rates go up every quarter, but when we moved to this house 12 years ago, our summer bill was $500. I got it down by $200 in summer by making changes. The rates have continued to rise, so we consume less energy now than before but the rising rates have increased our bill by over $250.

  • Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry August 14, 2018

    $420 OUCH! I cringed when I saw mine was $200!

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  • Cindy in the South August 14, 2018

    My house is 912 sq ft, and I live alone...lol. The roof is a white metal roof, and 2/3 of my house is shaded all summer because of the trees. I have thermal curtains. I am also at work 60 plus hours a week, and do not leave the air on while I am at work. I only have an electric window unit (that I purchased at Lowes for under $500 six and a half yrs ago) that both heats and cools. I shut the doors to my two bedrooms, and sleep in the living room, so really, I am only heating/cooling approximately 600 sq ft or less. I would probably be spending more than you on air if I lived in the desert without surrounding trees, and a large house full of kids ...lol. I admire how low your bill is, considering your circumstances in the middle of the summer.

  • Laura August 14, 2018

    I'm also on the count down to retirement, and for the same reasons, I don't know when it will be (health, etc). I have a "58" months written at the bottom of this month's calendar page...which is outrageously optimistic! But who knows? The finance thing is still dicey unless I can continue working quite a while longer...meanwhile, thrifted clothes, garden, drive a 23-yr old car that even passed inspection! Here in South Louisiana, we have humid heat. I'm in a one bedroom apt. on the second floor of an uninsulated building and have an electric bill this month of $44.95.

  • Samantha August 14, 2018

    -I've been doing a lot of canning lately, and made cinnamon nectarine compote (a little more versatile for us than jam), vanilla peach jam and sauce, and almond cherry jam. I found some fantastic sales on produce for these recipes, thankfully, as my fruit trees got badly hit by hail and knocked most fruit down. I will have a few peaches in the coming weeks, and my raspberry and strawberry plants continue to produce.
    -I reuse the canning water to water plants on our deck.
    -I harvested tomatillos, tomatoes, zucchini, raspberries, strawberries, lavender, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, raspberry leaves, mint, eggplant, and peppers.
    -We installed two rain barrels on our gutter downspouts that have greatly reduced our water consumption. We have had unusually heavy, torrential rain this year and last and figured we would capitalize on it!
    -I hand sewed an orthopedic large bed for our dog using an old (but nice looking) comforter, filling, and foam pad I saved from old pillows. It cost nothing to make, and he loves it! Similar versions were selling for over $100! I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know how to use a sewing machine, and sew everything by hand.
    -I harvested red and russet potatoes that I grew over the season from potatoes on hand that sprouted and had over 20lbs of potatoes. I made a very large batch of skillet breakfast potatoes with onions and red peppers for easy/quick breakfasts and sides.
    -I reorganized and overhauled our study so I have a much more organized and tidy workspace since I work from home Mondays through Thursdays.
    -The nonprofit I work at gave me a 25% increase, and we are so grateful for this blessing.
    -We were accepted into our city's Xeriscape program as we want to redesign our front yard for both edible plants and xeriscape plants. Our city offers a rebate after completing the program of up to $0.75/square feet. We anticipate a $750 rebate will be cut our costs in half! We will complete the work ourselves, and only need materials and time. I will try and gather free items and use plant cuttings as much as possible.

    Brandy- you mentioned you purchased new pots and pans at Target. Mine are nearly there. I wonder if you would share what type or brands you purchased? Thank you!

    I hope everyone has a great week ahead!

  • Laurie in AZ August 14, 2018

    Brandy, that is a great photo, as usual. I love your photography!

    My accomplishments last week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • DD brought me some more toiletries from her travels to stock up my supply. She is more particular about the brands she uses so she gives them to me. I’ll take them!
    • Ate dinner in 6 times. Had single serving containers of leftovers from the freezer one night; hot dogs and baked beans; a frozen pizza with salad; tostadas; pulled pork with coleslaw; and steak with baked potato and zucchini. The night we ate out was our Trivia league night and we used a gift certificate we won a previous week so it only cost us the tip.
    • When we had the pulled pork last week, I was able to freeze 2 meal size containers of leftovers plus send 2 meal size containers home with my DD.
    • Brought our lunches to work every day. Hubby took the rest of the pulled pork that I didn’t freeze a couple of days.
    • Worked 10 hours contract work.
    • Forgot to mention this last week. My husband’s birthday was Saturday. He loves monkeys, so I took a birthday card that I had received for free from a charity I support that had a picture of a kitten and puppy on it and found a couple of monkey faces on the internet, printed them and glued them to the faces of the kitten and puppy. He thought it was really funny and it saved me the money it would have cost to buy a card.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates.
    • Found a new daily devotional to use next year at Goodwill. It was senior discount day, so it only cost me $2.24.
    • My grandson’s is outgrowing the toys in his toy box at my house, so I have picked up a few items at the dollar store to replenish. Plus my friend gave me her toy ukulele that she used for her costume at last week’s mystery party.
    • We are throwing a mystery party with some other friends in a couple of weeks. All my husband needed was a hat for his costume, which I found at the dollar store for $1. I got what I needed for my costume at Goodwill for a total of $16.59. And one of the items is a skirt that I will wear again. Also found décor for it for a total of $8.46. While I was at Goodwill I also found a basket for one of my bathrooms that I have needed. It only cost me $2.99.
    • Continue to use up items from the freezer by being creative.
    • Had to skip going out to lunch with Dad this week due to other commitments, so saved the money I would normally spend on that.
    • Got cherries on sale again for 97c/lb. Pitted and froze about a gallons worth. Also got a meal replacement shake as a Friday Freebie.
    • Needed to buy some triple antibiotic ointment and found it at the dollar store instead of paying full price at the grocery store.
    • Checked out books from the library.
    • Bought a 25# bag of pinto beans at Winco for 59c/lb. Canned 24 pints. We love these for quick meals!

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Lisa August 14, 2018

    We love having date nights at home! We are often so tired at night, it's hard to feel motivated to go out late. When we do, it's usually in the afternoon for lunch or a walk or errands while Grandma watches the children.

    I tried out a new method of paying down out debt (student loans). Normally, I'll make one payment at the beginning of the month and then towards the end of the month, I'll see what we have leftover in our different budgeting categories and then any extra is paid as an extra payment towards student loans. This month, after allocating our funds, I put all the "extra" in our debt repayment category. So now, if anything extra needs to get paid (our variable expenses) I have to move that amount out of the debt category. The math is exactly the same, but it's helping us to see that if we choose one thing over another, we choose that thing over paying down debt. It's a physiological game now, how close can we get zero variable expenses?! It helps me actually "see" what is going on and how extra purchases can affect our student loan repayment. It's been a fun game!

    My mom was going to call a taxi/uber to take her to the airport at 5am, but offered to pay me for the "job." Since my husband doesn't leave for work until 7:30, there was plenty of time for me to take her to the airport and back before any children woke up! She also gave us some garden produce from her garden. We'll go over everyday and water the garden and harvest whatever is ripe.

    I got an "educator's card" library card from our public library. It's available for homeschool families and the check out period is longer with no late fees. We'll check out all our school books and videos on it. I'll still use my regular card for personal books and date-night videos.

    Oh!! Speaking of the library! I was the grand prize winner for the summer reading program! I won a water bottle, t-shirt, gift cards to Amazon, local movie theater, and a local (very fancy!) restaurant!! I was so excited! Next week is my birthday, so we'll be able to do something really fun!

  • Marybeth August 15, 2018

    Congrats on winning such a great prize. Happy early Birthday. Great job on paying extra on you student loans. Every extra dollar saves you money in the long run. We paid off over 100K in debt in less then 4 years following Dave Ramsey. Good luck.

  • Kitty B (Calgary) August 14, 2018

    A fairly ordinary week, continued to live below our means and be mindful of any waste. This week also included:

    received a $20 cheque from a survey site
    continued to work on swagbucks to redeem for Amazon gift cards to use for Christmas
    mended a blouse
    stained a wine box to use as a decorative storage box
    sold $50 worth of items on local FB sell site

    Wishing everyone a great week; always enjoy reading all comments!

  • Jennifer August 14, 2018

    I stayed out of the stores last week, which is such a big help in saving money. I'm saving up for a back to school shopping trip for my teenage son, who has grown out of nearly everything purchased in the past year.
    I saved sweet pea seeds.
    I took home a bunch of cucumbers my boss grew. I'm making refrigerator pickles with them as I haven't yet found the courage to can.
    I said yes to working a couple of shifts at our country fair, which will give me a couple of passes as well as a bit of $$. Never worked at a fair before and I'm going to be helping set up and take down in the arts and crafts exhibit hall so I'm really looking forward to it.

  • Samantha August 17, 2018

    Hi Jennifer-
    I was very hesitant to can anything at all until I heard an episode of the Splendid Table and the host commented that the only way you can really get anyone sick with home canned vinegar based pickles and jams is if you crack someone over the head with it! It made me laugh and broke the ice around the task. Maybe try one well reviewed recipe and start small. I only do water bath canning of fruit and jams and pickled vegetables. I usually find enough good sales on canned meats and vegetables that I don’t bother pressure canning with them (we have a discount grocery with great prices). Good luck- you can do it and it’s so worth!

  • Rhonda A. August 18, 2018

    I learned to can with a water bath canner first. For an initial canning project, I would suggest trying to can something very easy, like homemade applesauce. If the jars don't seal properly, at least you can freeze it. Once you get the hang of what you need to do, it becomes easier to apply that knowledge to other canning projects. The only way to learn, is to just do it!

    Just last year, I bought myself a pressure canner. I'm still learning to use it, but it was much more intimidating than water bath canning. After all, if done wrong, they can explode! But, as I said, the only way to learn is to do it. I find pressure canning extremely useful for canning homemade broth and batches of dried beans so they are quick to use in meals. Both are a huge savings over buying in the store! It also saves precious room in the freezer for other items. I prefer frozen veggies, as I can choose how much or how little I want to use.

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