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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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  • Karen August 17, 2018

    Thanks for the tip, Rhonda - I wear a women's 13 and have bought men's shoes in the past too (oxfords as well as sneakers!). She wears boy's shorts (to get the length) so I bet she wouldn't balk at wearing men's shoes! :-)

  • pantrydiva August 13, 2018

    My garden is producing well now--at least what has survived to this point. I am getting lots of cherry tomatoes, kale, Swiss chard, some cauliflower, broccoli, yellow squash, and cucumbers. I will do some small batch canning of pickle relish and tomatoes. The table grapes are also starting to ripen and I will dehydrate some of them when they are ready. I need to make kale chips, blanch and freeze the chard, broccoli, and cauliflower and start harvesting herbs. Today I will make bread and also zucchini bread, and deliver bags of cherry tomatoes and squash to my neighbors.

    My sauerkraut is almost ready to can. My kombucha is producing enough to keep me happy.

    I am going to my neighbor's house tonight to pick pears, which I will dehydrate because I have enough bottled from previous years.

    I salvaged some blue tape from a renovation project to place around a shelf that needed painting so I didn't need to use any fresh tape for my paint job.

  • Elisabet77 August 13, 2018

    Hi Brandy,

    I have been following your blog for a long time now but never commented. This is my first time ever that I post a comment at a blog.
    Your frugal ways are presented in such an elegant frame with beautiful pictures which are both very appealing to me.
    Here my frugal achievements during the last week:
    1. Walking the dog in the surrounding woods of my city I foraged about 1 kg of blackberries.
    2. Again while walking the dog in rainy and very windy weather I found a dishtowel oh the highest quality which I took and washed and added to my stack of dishtowels. There was no way of telling from which house or balcony the dishtowelast dropped.
    3. I accepted the kind offer of two friends to pick up their weekly farmshare (all organic) because they were out of town.
    4. Foraged blackberries where turned into a blackberry crumble, 2 Zucchinis of the farmshare were turned into zucchini bread. 2 Zucchinis, all of the potatoes, all of the tomatoes where used for a moussaka with minced lamb - all three dishes baked in the oven at the same time (using the hot air program. This works well, the flavours do not mingle) to save time and electricity. Lettuce
    from the farmshare accompanied the moussaka, the blackberry crumble was served as dessert. The whole meal was served when I had friends come over for dinner.
    5. There was a free pile in my street. I collected a dish rack in the perfect size and of metal ( no plastic). My old wooden on had just fallen apart....
    I do not own a dishwasher so it was pretty cool to come across a new to me dishtowel and new to me dishtowel rack.
    That's all for now. I am looking forward to reading the comments.

  • ellie's friend August 13, 2018

    My tomatoes are finally ripening so I am picking one large one each day. Expensive tomatoes when cost of the plant is factored in but lovely to eat. The smoke is better today –– at least temporarily so that is a relief. I'm buying toilet paper which is on sale as each package has gone up to $12.99 while on sale it is 2 packages for $10.00. Cheese slices are on sale –– it's convenient for me as it's hard to slice cheese with the broken arm. I did not make it to the farmers' market last Saturday due to smoke. One of the grocery stores has local (B.C.) peaches for 10 pounds for $10 which for here is a great price.

  • Becky August 15, 2018

    The smoke has been so bad here, too! In fact, yesterday and today, I was really choking up from just driving home out in the air. And, it was around 10 degrees cooler than they said it would be from the huge amounts of smoke in the air. Hopefully, it will clear out soon!!! I'm glad your smoke is clearing:)

  • Ellie's friend from Canada August 19, 2018

    Hi Becky,

    Our smoke came back. The air currents (wind) are supposed to change direction which means the north west of the States may get more smoke. The problem with getting rain (desperately needed in B.C.) is that rainstorms have lightning strikes which start more fires during the storms. Snow really is beginning to sound good. I visited your blog –– very enjoyable reading and inspiring!

  • Shelley August 13, 2018

    I was able to stay under my weekly budget! Yes!
    Had to doctor appointments that I was able to use the HSA from my husband's work. My son is turning 9 this coming Saturday and having a pool party I found boogie boards for $2.99 at Aldi down from $6.99 these will be party favors. I was able to buy 3 tubes of toothpaste for $0.46! And liquid laundry soap 32 loads for $0.99. My husband traveled this week so I was able to stretch our food budget for the first time in a long time. Hoping to keep the trend of low spending for the rest of the month.

  • TJ @ TJ's Sweet Home blog August 13, 2018

    Wow! That cucumber looks huge! I have been wanting to try growing that type since I haven't had luck with other types, but I always hesitate purchasing yet another bunch of seeds when I'm not sure If it will grow well for me. Where do you buy the seeds from, if you don't mind me asking? I would love to be able to purchase just enough to try my hand at before committing to a boatload of them, lol! So, if they sell small quantities, even better!

    I got a visual image of you and hubby sharing your root beer float with two straws, ala 1950's soda shoppe style:D! I have indulged in a few of those myself lately, only in a diet version, yummy!

  • Terri W. August 13, 2018

    Brandy, I enjoy your wonderful posts so much! Also everyone's comments!
    Last night I hosted our church youth group and made homemade chocolate chip cookies and tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers from the garden for a vegetable tray. I did not go to the store for broccoli or cauliflower or snow peas or anything else to make the vegetable tray more exciting. And you know what? The kids ate what I had and loved it! I think a lot of the way I save money is in what I DON'T buy!
    I had planted blue lake green bean seeds in mid-July. That way when the beans are producing in September, the weather is cooler for picking and the bugs are almost non-existent. Also, they are not ready at the same time as everything else in the garden, so it's easier to process them! However, the deer went down the row of seedlings and ate almost every one of them! So I replanted them on August 1 and they are coming up beautifully now. We'll see if the deer will leave them alone this time!
    My new favorite food is riced cauliflower. I didn't think I would like it at first, but it is wonderful! A frozen bag only takes 4 or 5 minutes to cook and I use it like I would use rice in any dish. My favorite ways so far are rice and beans with salsa and also shrimp scampi.
    I got my propane gas tank filled at the summer fill price, which saved quite a bit over waiting until cold weather.
    Washed laundry in cold water, hung the clothes on the line, but dried my towels in the dryer. I do use wool dryer balls and I haven't bought fabric softener in years!
    I hope everyone is enjoying these last days of summer!

  • Tina S. August 13, 2018

    That is one interesting looking cucumber! I wonder if it will taste like a cucumber or more like a melon.

    Last week was extremely busy and I am very glad to have this week off. I will be continuing to paint the bedroom, and our new doors are scheduled for installation on Thursday and Friday. I want to get as much painting done before then.

    The party I put together for my departing co-worker was a success. She was very pleased, everyone loved the peanut butter chocolate pie, and I even got paid for the hours I put into planning the party (I wasn't sure that was going to happen, but I wanted to do something nice for my co-worker in any case).

    I belong to a CSA at a local farm, and they have a u-pick area for greens and herbs. Every week I pick some swiss chard to use or freeze. So, every couple of weeks, I make a big batch of "green soup", starting with sautéed onion and garlic, and adding in whatever greens I have, plus other random things in the fridge (turnips, zucchini, fennel, etc.). After that, I add homemade broth, and then puree it all once the veggies are cooked. I freeze the soup in one-serving containers, and use it for my work lunches. I can grab a container of soup and make a sandwich, which takes very little time in the morning. Thankfully I don't mind eating the same thing over and over. It just simplifies my life right now, and that's what I need.

    My sister came over last Thursday and we swam in our condo pool. It was a nice way to spend some time together, at no cost.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  • Jeannie August 18, 2018

    Tina, I also make the container of soup like you do but I do it a bit differently. I don't trust my 20+ year old freezer and hesitate to fill it too full. I make a big pot of soup full of summer vegetables but instead, I can it using the reusable Tattler canning lids. When my sons were in college, I sent boxes full of the soup jars to them for survival food. They would put it in their backpacks in the early morning and would open the jar later for lunch and then eat the remainder for dinner. Their classes were far from their apartment and the only food choices would be expensive vending machines or the even more expensive cafeteria. We used the pint jars but now I wish I had purchased more of the short half-pint jars. Here at home we can put the extra in the refrigerator.

    I have never had any luck canning greens because my husband said they tasted slimy; however, maybe he won't notice it if I blend everything. I like your suggestion and will give it a try.


  • Joanne from Birmingham UK August 13, 2018

    That’s an amazing cucumber Brandy!! I’ve been really thinking hard about living the frugal lifestyle when all around are spending money and doing the fun stuff we can’t afford to do. I was rather down about it last week but I’ve picked myself back up and I’m back on track now mentally as well as practically. Eldest son has just gone away with friends after completing his NCS (3 week volunteering/community scheme here in the U.K. which only cost £50 for food, board and activities, he eats so much the grocery bill went down considerably whilst he was away so I count that as a win

  • Rhonda A. August 15, 2018

    Joanne, I know that living costs are quite high in the UK. However, have you ever thought of traveling within your own country, just for some cheap fun? There are so many things to see and do, that are free. If you took a cooler of food and drinks, it would only cost the gas to go. Or, if you don't want to drive, buy a cheap bus or train ticket to somewhere and spend the day looking around. I know in Britain and European countries, many people don't travel far. In Canada, we don't think twice about traveling 2 hours to somewhere. Toronto is about 2 hours from where we live. It's not uncommon for people living here to have to go there for Dr's appointments. My brother lives in Ottawa and travels around 4 hours to visit us fairly frequently! Where could you go in 2 or 4 hours from where you live?

  • Joanne from Birmingham UK August 16, 2018

    Hi Rhonda
    You are right we can vacation at home and we are going out next week to the National Memorial Arboretum (free entry and we’ll take snacks) but the price of petrol is very high at the moment £1:28 per litre (google says that’s $1:63

  • Tabbie August 13, 2018

    I prepared 4 meals for myself with free items from the freezer. 1 package of turkey kielbasa and a half bag of frozen seasoned curly fries. I will eat this with fresh uncut veggies crunches and dinners this week.
    My hubby and I eat different foods. He is very strict about what he puts in his body and we meal prep on Sundays for his meals for the week. One thing he eats is steamed beets. I found a can of beets in the pantry this week so I added that to his meals and did not have to buy beets this week.
    Avoiding going to the salon for a haircut. Still out of work so not seeing people much means no need to really style my hair that often. Most days my hair is pulled back anyways. I don't have the skills to cut my own hair and it is very curly so a straight across the back cut is out of the question. It has to be layered. I can go at least another month maybe 2 before needing a cut.

  • Athanasia August 15, 2018

    Tabbie, you said you live in a small town and jobs are scarce? I liked the idea someone else gave of sick child day care. Have you thought about a taxi service? They are popular here, one because we have many Amish who utilize it, and two we are also in a small town and many of the places folks need are in the larger towns. Like hospital, doctor offices, even grocery stores and other shopping. You just need a dependable vehicle easily accessible for the elderly...like not to high up to climb into and room for walker if needed. A minivan is useful if you are transporting families. Good luck in your search.

  • Stephanie August 13, 2018

    This week, I cleaned out my laundry room and basement. In doing so, I found a LOT of usable stuff that I didn't know we had. Laundry detergent samples, enough crayons that my daughter will never need crayons again, SO many pens and pencils (still in the package, even!), deodorant for my husband, batteries, eyedrops, a Walmart gift card... It was a HUGE project, but I'm extremely happy with the results, and pretty excited about all the stuff I unearthed. Cleaning these two rooms took up the bulk of my week, and I still have more organizing to do down there.

    I needed to buy a mop this week and found an inexpensive one at Family Dollar. I've been using the many tomatoes that came from our garden- I'll be using more with dinner tonight! I picked up a few Christmas gifts at yard sales this week, including a sewing pattern that I'm hoping to use to make my daughter a gift. We redeemed our coupons and gift card we got for joining Costco, so we came home with several items that didn't cost us anything out of pocket.

    Onward to a new week! :)

  • Elizabeth M. August 13, 2018

    I spent the week cutting grass and weeds on my double lot. The weather held in my favor, and both my body and lawnmower held up, so I was able to meet the deadline given by the village office. We have had rain over the weekend and sunshine this morning, so I will be out there mowing again tomorrow to keep up. I used the rain to get some rest, since I was very tired. I did some reading, and watched a couple of movies I rented.

    I needed to replace some facecloths. I normally buy good quality ones, but I end up using them to clean up when a pet is very sick or there is some bad spill, and then discarding them. I found a package of 6 lower quality ones for $5 at the discount store. Very nice colors, and actually softer fabric than I thought they would be, so this may be a better solution.

    Over the weekend, I had a rare craving for ginger cookies with candied ginger in them, an impossible thing in a small village like mine. Funnily enough, later that day I saw a really good brand of them in the same discount store as the facecloths, at a very reasonable price. I need to spend some time looking at what food they have there, since there are often items for people on a strict budget, with things like pasta and canned food. Some are national brands, and some are discount brands. They have 10% off for seniors once a month, so it would be a good chance to stock up there on anything I use regularly if I can find a decent quality product.

    I had phone calls from two older relatives, who called to tell me about seeing or talking to my sister on her birthday last week. She is doing well at the long-term care home she went into in February, which is a great relief. They wanted to tell me all about their conversations with her. I find hard to hear this on top of the conversations I have with her, because though happy, she is very confused, but understand why it is important to them to have someone to report to. I also received birthday cards this week from these same two relatives. I guess marking my sister's birthday reminded them both that they had missed my birthday two months ago!

  • Susan August 15, 2018

    How wonderful to have relatives that care enough about your sister to call or see her. A true blessing.

  • Athanasia August 16, 2018

    Elizabeth, if you can't find candied ginger again it is very easy to make from scratch. As long as you can find fresh ginger in the store to start with.

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