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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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  • Marney August 13, 2018

    I've had no problem using frozen homemade yogurt to start a new batch of yogurt. Hope it works for you too :)

  • gina August 14, 2018

    I love homemade yogurt and since discovering how to successfully make it the way I like it, I've only been making it and not buying it.

    I keep homemade yogurt in quart canning jars in my fridge (strained). When I have just about 1/2 cup left in the last jar, I cook milk to 180 degrees (farenheit), then cool to 110. I stir some of the 110 degree milk into the jar and stir well to incorporate all the yogurt I can. Then add that back to the remainder of the milk. Stir gently. I wash my jars, pour in the yogurt/milk, and place the jars of milk/yogurt in the ceramic insert of my crockpot. Sometimes I add a jar of hot water with the other jars of milk/yogurt in the crockpot if my house is fairly cool. I wrap that vessel in a big towel and place in my unheated oven overnight. the next morning, I then refrigerate all jars of the now thick yogurt and head to work.

    After work, I dump the jars of cold/thick/unstrained yogurt into a colander lined with a tea towel and strain the yogurt for three hours. The strained yogurt gets scraped back to the jars and the whey I use for baking bread or watering plants.

    I love it this way. I eat it with a scoop of homemade jam and some homemade granola. Mmmmm! Works great every time and I don't have to worry about freezing/thawing yogurt cultures. I even made the last batch with hardly any bits of remaining yogurt in my jar and it worked just fine! I think whole milk and straining is the key to yummy homemade, thick yogurt!

  • Kim in Florida August 16, 2018

    Hi K,
    I freeze about a quarter cup of my whey and use that for the next batch. If I stick it in the fridge its ok for a week, but longer than that it makes my yogurt runny.

  • One of God's August 18, 2018

    No freeze-dried suggestion from me. I purchase a pint of live culture yogurt, use maybe two tablespoons to a gallon of milk, then save some of that for the next batch. Not my original idea, but a dollar-stretching one is to freeze remainder of store-bought yogurt in an ice cube tray to save until the first batch no longer works satisfactorily. I think I've read that it can be dehydrated and reactivated for use.

  • Carol August 13, 2018

    Hi Brandy...I love your blog and get some great tips from you and your readers. I am trying to get into prepping good ahead. This week I am determined to do salads in jars.I am ,73 and my thought process is slowing so I need to make more lists particularly inventory of the fridge and freezer. I love ebooks too but have started using audiobooks. I put my kindle in my apron pocket and my dad buds in my ears. Your photos are so beautiful.

  • PJGT August 13, 2018

    I've always made lists...and lists...and lists. I find they free my mind to think! Welcome to the club

  • Lillianna pickles August 19, 2018

    Carol due to injuries I suffered in a car wreck, I find that I need to make notes constantly. Then I misplace them. I love my Kindle. It is my best friend. I went to apps and downloaded the yellow post it note app and now I can make multiple lists and keep up with everything.

  • Bethany August 13, 2018

    I have zucchinis coming out of my ears here! Our climate is more temperate, and zucchinis typically run amok. I have canned zucchini and yellow squash, zucchini pickles, and made several loaves of zucchini bread for the freezer. I finally got enough tomatoes at the same time to can a batch of tomato sauce. We've picked sweet corn several time for dinner, canned corn is very cheap to buy, so it doesn't pay to use my limited garden space growing enough to preserve, I put in a few plants so we can enjoy some corn on the cob fresh. I do the canning and baking after dark when it is cooler to avoid heating up the house. I attended a free outdoors art show. I worked an extra day and will put the pay into savings.

  • Laurie in central NC August 13, 2018

    That's an excellent snaky cucumber! Your challenge is zucchini; mine is swiss chard this year. The few that actually came up have stayed the same 3" size for months. Though I've grown them successfully lots of years, I may have to resort to buying seedlings this year. When I lived without a/c, sometimes a root beer or orange float was all I could handle for dinner. Not often, but on sweltering days, it and vegan jello sometimes got me through. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/08/summer-moments-frugal-accomplishments.html

  • http://Http://thejewishlady.com August 13, 2018

    From the side, I think the cucumber looks part of a tire! Never saw anything like it and very impressed.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping sales and using coupons/rebates when possible. Last week was busy for me because I spent 3 days in NYC to attend the BlogHer conference. The city is very expensive and I didn't buy anything extra. Once I returned home, I found some great deals at the drugstore like $0.99 laundry soap, $0.99 contact solution, free candy, free colgate and free Hello toothpaste that makes your teeth black (from charcoal) and more. All of deals with prices here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-8-11-18/

  • Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry August 13, 2018

    BLACK TOOTHPASTE TO MAKE BLACK TEETH???? Am I missing something here? Since I am always far behind the times, never up-to-date, or follow the latest styles - is black teeth a new thing? I have heard everything old is new again and if you wait long enough whatever you own will eventually be back in style. So do I need to drop my expensive dental plan and let my teeth turn black to be in style?
    Just wondering.
    Old fashioned Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry...where I am always unaware of the latest fads.

  • Laura August 14, 2018

    The charcoal in toothpaste helps remove stains. It leaves you with a brighter smile and is safe to use;)

  • Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry August 15, 2018

    I learn something new every day!

  • Cindi August 13, 2018

    I struggle with growing zucchini also. I have two big, beautiful plants but very poor pollination. This week I did pick my very first zucchini -- so I am hoping you will realize a harvest soon also!
    This week from the garden I also harvested tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, onion, mint, carrots, radishes, oregano, and collards and chard. I froze four packages of collards and one of chard to eat this winter. I planted lettuce seed and transplanted cabbage and broccoli seedlings.
    I saved the water from blanching the chard and collards and used it to water the flowers growing in pots on my front porch.
    My husband wears a lot of black T-shirts, which tend to fade after a while. I re-dyed half a dozen shirts and a pair of shorts with Rit dye.
    I cut flowers from the yard to decorate the house.
    I listened to audiobooks downloaded from the library.

  • Jo August 13, 2018

    I had a frugal/not frugal week this past week.
    K., I usually get my Swagbucks through surveys, but sometimes I have a hard time qualifying, other times I don't. I also earn bucks through purchases, such as Vitamin Shoppe and Alibris (used books). I can even earn Swagbucks when buying office supplies for my office, at Office Depot/Office Max, by going through Swagbuck's site. Those, and internet searches, are how I earn mine.
    So, speaking of Swagbucks, I bought another $25 Amazon card for $22, and added it to my Amazon balance. I have about $20 more of Swagbucks earned, and will add that soon. I need to get upholstery foam, which is expensive. After that, Swagbucks will start buying some of my Christmas gifts.
    I painted the final coat of paint on the exterior of our new door, and have started on the interior side. I finished painting one of our garage sale kitchen chairs and will start de-glossing a second one next, while this first one cures.
    We finally had days without rain or with only a late afternoon rain, so that I could hang a good bit of my laundry.
    I kept my grocery bill down again by sticking to my list and thinking of ways to use what we have.
    Gas prices just shot up by about 10 cents all over the city where I work and the town where I live, but a gas station in the middle of nowhere, which I pass on my daily commute through farm land and forested areas, is still at the old price, so I am filling up there.
    I trimmed by bangs.
    Our church is collecting school supplies for local children in need, and I shopped the tax-free weekend with all the school supply sales. I was able to get a sack full of supplies to donate for $7.00.
    Not so frugal -- my husband was down to a pair of rain shoes, some dress shoes that hurt his feet, and a pair of old loafers that the soles were falling off. We went shoe shopping and bought him two casual pairs and one dress pair, new. I have tried to find him used shoes -- I buy them for myself a lot -- but his mother had tiny feet, so he wears a 7.5 or 8 narrow, and finding a used man's shoe in that size, in good shape, has proved impossible. Kids' shoes are normally too wide for him and/or beat up. It's hard enough to find them new, so when we found all three pairs on sale, we jumped on it. I put them on my cash-back card and will send the payment for them to the CC this week.
    Cheers, everyone!

  • Lisa from Maine August 13, 2018

    Hi everyone,
    Brandy, glad you had a chance to get some reading done. It's so relaxing & yet energizing.
    Beyond my usual activities I had a busy week in the garden. This is the year of the string bean. I picked 3 times this week. Froze them since the kids are getting a little tired of eating them daily (unless they're snacking on the raw ones--ha ha). Also harvested beets and 3 cucumbers. I pulled out the pea plants and weeded. We never planted for a fall harvest but since a lot of plants ended early I have a lot of extra space. I will try to plant some more lettuce, some spinach, and swill chard. Maybe onions.
    Our family went across the river to Canada for a family get together that included a supper of roast pig and fresh potatoes plus all kinds of sides & desserts. Great to see the extended family.
    Had labwork done & had to increase Thyroid meds again.
    My sister & her husband came up from out of state for the week. She's like a mother hen & spoiled us all week. She bought the kids all kinds of snacks (things I never buy which makes it more special) and also gave them a couple of notebooks each with pens. She gave me laundry detergent, liquid soap, paper towels, tissues and magnetic memo pads Plus they helped me clean my string beans. Feeling very blessed.
    It was my birthday so I made a cake for my husband & kids to eat (I'm not a cake person). My Dad bought me an ice cream cake, my husband gave me some flowers, my oldest daughter gave me a set of Rachel Ray pots & pans and my in laws dropped off a zucchini bread. I also received phone calls from my son in the Marines, my other sister and one of my brothers. I also got a card from my godparents. All in all a very blessed week.

  • Gardenpat August 13, 2018

    Nice cucumber! I was given 2 bushels of yellow squash and 1 bushel of broccoli from my produce market on Saturday! I am grating up the broccoli for broccoli slaw since I have as much as I need in my freezer as broccoli flowerets already! I am grating someof the yellow squash to use like zucchini in bread, muffins, cake, cookies, etc! I will also slice some to dehydrate into chips and thicker slice some for soups/stews.
    I gave a friend my Meijer’s preferred customer coupon for free eggs since my chickens are keeping us in eggs ( usually have about 20 dozen in the basement fridge!). Sent one of my daughters ( a schoolteacher with 3 teenagers) home with 4 dozen of our eggs so she can bulk cook Breakfast Burritos for her family as an easy healthier morning alternative!
    I was given several baguettes and made Ranch Chicken stuffed baguettes using shredded chicken that I made and had in my freezer with homemade Ranch dressing mix . Was able to make about 10 long baguettes. Wrapped some in foil and sent 2 home with a friend whose wife is away for a couple weeks! https://pin.it/l6sijd2qcfc56p
    I made a baby quilt using scraps and some yardage a friend gave me for the backing and binding. Into the gift cupboard it goes! https://pin.it/cvbyotdschbakf
    I made a scrappy little bag that used up 80 of my 2” squares. https://pin.it/qprctczxh3pz5d And, no, that’s not a store- that photo shows a bit of my fabric stash on their shelves.
    I’ve been using up things in my freezer to rotate the oldest things and make room for new things!
    I just emptied washed and put back into totes the last of my 80 quarts of grape juice that I canned in 2001! I have already put several of those jars back into service canning diced tomatoes!
    I also canned 15 pints of beans - kidney, black and pinto to replenish my supply on the shelf and use up more of my dry beans that i have stored! Our diet is healthier and our food budget is bigger because of making use of these!
    A friend was interested in a book we love called Grow a Little Fruit Tree which teaches how to grow more fruit trees in a smaller space. She found a large quilt top at a yard sale that she decided to send me as a gift, so I gifted her an extra copy of the book! We were both delighted!!! Definitely a happy barter!!
    All in all, it’s been a great week!

  • Jess August 13, 2018

    We are still eating a lot from the garden. I canned 7 more quarts of green beans and 2 quarts of roasted garlic pasta sauce. I’ve canned close to 200 jars of food this year. And I haven’t even started on apples, yet. In the next couple weeks, I will start with applesauce, apple butter, apple pie filling, apple juice, and apple cider.

    I made a meal plan for the month and that requires minimal grocery shopping.

    I paid 2 bills online.

    We went out to eat one night and had plenty of leftover food. We brought it home and ate two more meals off of the leftovers.

    I worked an extra 45 minutes at work. I get paid hourly, so all those extra 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there add up.

    I did not go to the grand opening of a new clothing store in town.

    I read a couple books about our town’s history for fun. Now I’m working on writing up some of my family’s history.

    That’s about it, besides the same old same old stuff.

  • karen August 13, 2018

    Those cucumbers are so interesting! I'm going to try them one of these years.

    We had a fairly frugal week. I've been tracking our expenses closely and other than gas, we're doing well at staying within our budget (I definitely need to increase the gas budget next month!).

    I took my daughter shopping at Goodwill for a back-to-school outfit. She doesn't need new clothes but she does like to get something special for the first day, and I'm ok with that. She didn't find a full outfit but got a cute jacket and a hoodie. Then we went to Fred Meyer, which has almost all their clothes on clearance right now because of a remodel, and she found a top for about 70% off. I had to order a skirt for her on Amazon - she's 9 but wears juniors/women's clothes and we can never find appropriate-length skirts in the stores for her. Now...I have to get her shoes. That will be a little spendy! This will likely be the last year I can buy shoes at the stores (she already wears a women's 11) so I'm going to do my best to find good deals.

    No garden harvest this week - everything is growing SLOWLY - I assume because of our continual heat. We got veggies and fruit from the farmer's market, though. Our neighbor gave us three big zucchini's - he gave them to my daughter while she was out watering and told her to tell us we weren't allowed to give them back, LOL! I'll shred and freeze for fritters and bread.

    I made bread crumbs from old ends that I've frozen (nobody here will eat the ends, unless it's a hot loaf of fresh bread!). Fred Meyer had chicken thighs on sale for 88 cents a pound so I bought three packages. I froze them for now but when I have time I'll cook the meat and shred it for future meals and make stock out of the bones.

    My husband had the opportunity to work a little overtime. Probably more coming his way since they have a big project going on at work right now. I'm trying to build up our savings and up our mortgage paydown so it'll all go to that.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  • Rhonda A. August 16, 2018

    Karen, I have large feet as well (wide foot as well as I take a ladies size 10). Just recently I went shoe shopping for new runners. I compaired women's shoes to mens and found many of the styles so similar, you wouldn't tell it was a man's shoe versus a woman's shoe. I know your daughter might not like it, but perhaps looking for unisex looking men's runners (and sandals too) at the store might be a good frugal option in the future. Save the expensive "specialty sized" shoes for dress shoes only.

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