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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Octavius Summer The Prudent Homemaker

I turned a pair of jeans into jean shorts and mended two dresses. 

I harvested Armenian cucumbers, red noodle beans, and cherry tomatoes from the garden.

I took seeds from one of my Armenian cucumbers and planted them in the garden.

I made Ranch, Italian, and Balsamic Orange Vinaigrette dressings to go on our salads. This time of year I have to buy lettuce as it won't grow in our heat, but including homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers on top is great!

I purchased some items using coupon codes at two different websites (30% off on one site and 20% off on the other), going through Ebates first to earn cash back. I had free shipping with both of these codes as well, saving me time going to the store as well as gas to get there and back.

I used a free shipping code to order two math books for homeschooling, one of which was on sale for 28% off.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

The early morning temperatures cooled down to 72 for a short while, enabling me to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows between 5 and 7 a.m. It's still over 100 here during the day, but the nights were 85 last week and I am grateful for some fresh air in the early mornings to open up the house. I always feel like a fresh burst of oxygen is helpful to get going in the morning (plus it makes the house smell nice!)

My 15-year-old son attended the free first workshop of a three-week ACT workshop taught by an ACT tutor.

I read three e-books from the library.

I redeemed 2200 points on Swagbucks for a $25 Lowe's gift card on the thirty-first. You can only get one $25 gift card a month for the discounted rate of 2200 points, so I redeemed for another one on the first of September for $25. 

My husband and I used a buy one get one free coupon to have a date out for $9.

What did you do to save money last week?




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  • Juls Owings September 06, 2018

    Shopping trips posts do help me. BUT if they go by the way side during this time, that is okay also.;)

  • Marybeth September 06, 2018

    I loved them. You always had items that I would forget to think about. I totally understand though if you can't do it at this point. Your family is more important.

  • Nancy in Eastern Washington September 06, 2018

    I loved your shopping posts. I used them as suggestions for what I might get. I also found them very informative. I read your one from last September, just to get some September ideas. Not the same - but the it works. On the other hand, I understand there are tremendous demands on your time, and I wouldn't want to burden you any more.

  • Angela in Kentucky September 06, 2018

    I Always loved your shopping post as I found them very interesting the differences in what you buy each month and your frugalness on getting what you need . However, it is understood how busy you are and how time-consuming this blog can be I am sure . Would love to still see the post but would understand if you go in a different direction that is easier on you at present . Thank you for everything you do on this blog . I referred people to it frequently and never miss reading every post .

  • Susan September 06, 2018

    I love those posts. They always trigger ideas for me. I always look for those posts. I completely understand though, if life no longer allows them.

  • Tejas September 07, 2018

    I love the shopping posts for inspiration and to see how the seasons affect what you buy. While it is fun to see how much you buy of what, I wonder if could just give a rundown periodically of what you actually use per month, such as how many pounds of flour and yeast do you use each month to make how many loves of bread? How many pounds of beans per month, or how many cans of tomatoes, etc.,? I am guessing those basics really stay much the same each month, so maybe just include 2 or 3 sentences within your regular frugal post at the beginning of the month that reflect any purchases. Also, what percentage of your monthly budget do you spend on your storage? I can imagine your new schedule is much more demanding of your time. Consolidating your separate shopping post with your weekly post could be easier. Thank you for making thrifty seem not only honorable, but often elegant.

  • Jeannie September 08, 2018

    I enjoy the shopping posts but do what is easiest for you. My favorite is the gardening posts, of course, you probably already knew that. Blogging is time-consuming and we all understand. Your family is what matters the most.


  • Athanasia September 08, 2018

    Brandy, I will admit that I don't always read the shopping list. Well, I read what you wrote, but unlike the frugal posts I don't usually read everyone else's list. I just don't have time. I prefer to read and re-read the frugal post. It sounds like you are getting all positives so it is useful to others. So take a break for now and pick up as time allows. Maybe it does not need to be a separate post, just part of the post for the first week in the month.

  • Laurie September 09, 2018

    I enjoy your shopping posts. I look for them every month. It's totally understandable though if you don't continue them. I have been looking through all of your links above and find something that catches my eye every time. Your website/blog is a tremendous resource. Thank you Brandi for continuing what you do.

  • Libby September 05, 2018

    What gorgeous baby blues! Awesome job with the Swag points :)

    • Made swag goal x 3
    • Ate free lunch at work x 3
    • Had a free tarot card reading at office landlord’s Labor Day picnic
    • Went to grocery store about an hour before they closed on the last day of the sale. Asparagus rung up incorrectly at an extra $1 per pound. I caught the error and the store manager corrected the price.
    • This was my last day at a job so I am back to being unemployed. I’m so grateful my frugality buys me peace of mind via having money in the bank.
    • Went to a yard sale and found several items for my son’s new apartment including: microwave oven, metal colander, metal mesh strainer, baking dishes, waste paper baskets, and a cookbook. Found items in the freebie box for a friend who is a dog lover.
    • Bought picked-that-morning corn at the farm stand for $5 for a dozen, which is $3 less than other area farm stands. I removed the kernels and froze most of it.
    • Hung load of laundry up to dry.
    • Updated net worth spreadsheet.
    • Went to a pig roast where everyone brings a dessert. I brought a Bakewell tart, inspired by The Great British Baking Show. I had all the ingredients in my freezer and pantry so no cost out of pocket. Recipe from Smitten Kitchen was DELICIOUS.

  • Rhonda A. September 05, 2018

    You've been a busy little beaver this week, Brandy! Do you have a home improvement plan for those Lowes gift cards? Might this be a future post in the making? Looking forward to it, if it is!!! By the way, your son is just adorable.:D

    I have 1 more week of full time work, before I take a bit of a break, until mid-November (with the exception of a couple special events). Most of my co-workers finished up this week. I'm looking forward to resting and getting some things done that have been put on the back burner over the summer. Our frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Meals made at home this week included homemade beef pie (see below) with coleslaw, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with flavoured rice and corn, beef dip sandwiches, tacos, and spaghetti with choice of sauce.
    *Spent one of my days off canning 50lbs of peaches. Canned 14 quarts, but 5 had seal failures. We ate 2 of the jars with seal failures and froze the rest in baggies, instead of reprocessing them. Lost 1 full jar of peach slices when it broke just after I filled it (of course). Mushy bits were put into a separate bowl and frozen in 2 x 2 cup baggies for later use (smoothies, fruit leather, peach pies, baked goods, etc). Pits and peels were put in compost this time, as I still have lots of peach pit syrup from last year.
    *My mom used up leftover beef stew in the fridge by putting it in a homemade pie crust to make a beef pie. Family won't eat leftover beef stew, but will if it is in a pie.
    *Free things I received from work this week: a staff appreciation luncheon that was catered by a local 5 star resort (so good!), several vine ripened tomatoes (for my mom, since the deer ate ours), a candy that had melted in the heat (couldn't sell it), popcorn, 3 pole beans that had gone to seed (to use next year in my garden), and 20 bags of nacho chips (they "expired" but still taste fine - I gave some to my visiting brother to take home).
    *DD's closet was reorganized, to ensure she had enough clothes for school. Several plaid shirts were pulled out, that she had not worn in a while. DD picked 2 that she still liked and I added the rest to my stash of clothing. I appreciate having a few "new to me" items to wear this fall and winter!
    *Took DD to get her hair cut before school starts on my other day off. She received a 20% discount for being a student. Then we went shopping a 2 different thrift stores. I bought DD a short sleeve t-shirt and a long-sleeve t-shirt, plus a pair of super comfortable jeans for myself (my mom received a seniors discount at one of the stores). Then we had another visit at DD's new school, where we met the CYW that will be working with her this year (he seemed nice). After we dropped off DD at home (she was done for the day), my mom and I did a bit more shopping, where I bought another long sleeved shirt for DD, a knit cardigan on clearance and some underwear for me (for my trip next April), a Christmas present for DD, a few needed grocery items and my free birthday bag of chocolate covered almonds using a coupon they send me. Not a cheap day, but this kind of shopping doesn't happen very often.
    *Hubby picked out a pair of shoes he wanted to buy for himself, but waited for them to go on sale before purchasing them. DD's school shoes also went on sale shortly after he bought them for full price. Hubby went back to the store with the shoes/receipt and was able to get back the difference. Both of these actions saved us quite a bit of money!

    Haven't had a chance to read all the comments yet, but I will before the week is through! Hope you all have a lovely week ahead.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 05, 2018

    We are having to repair and replace things that are breaking.

  • Samantha September 06, 2018

    Hi Rhonda,
    At our house, I find that reducing down our beef stew to thicken it a little (or adding some corn starch) then serving it over mashed potatoes is a great way to eat leftover beef stew as well!

  • Athanasia September 08, 2018

    I always find beef stew th be one other those foods that taste even better the second day. As a leftover , we serve it over buttered sliced bread.

  • Rhonda A. September 08, 2018

    It's a battle to get my husband and daughter to eat leftovers at the best of times. My mom also says beef stew is better the second day. They still turn their noses up at it. We tried making the beef stew into a meat pie earlier this year. Hubby said he liked it so much better as leftover this way and DD gobbles it up without complaint. If it works, than why not. We can also freeze the pie to use as a homemade convenience meal at a later time, which is really nice too.

  • Karen September 05, 2018

    I love that picture of your son!

    We had a fairly frugal week. School started on Tuesday and I am so glad to have our schedule returning to normal!

    We've been buying non-homogenized milk from a local dairy (this is not the frugal part - it costs more but tastes so much better than store bought and I like supporting local agriculture). We skim the cream off the top and last week made butter from it. I made and froze more applesauce with apples from our tree. I tried to make apple cider vinegar from the peels and cores but it turned into a moldy mess. I also tried to pot some basil from some that had rooted in water but it doesn't look like it's going to make it. We harvested tomatoes (finally!), hot peppers, and carrots from the garden.

    I cleaned out the freezer in our fridge to get rid of the truly ancient stuff, make room for applesauce, and make it easier to find the good food. Incorporated much of what was still usable into future meal plans. I've started a running meal plan with the goal of only grocery shopping once every two weeks. I'm hoping this will cut down our grocery bill, which has become a little ridiculous.

    My daughter and I turned in our summer reading packets at the library and picked out our free books. I signed up for a free weight loss challenge online. My daughter decided she wanted to play the flute in band this year, so I posted an offhand comment on Facebook about needing to go rent one, and a friend sold us her daughter's (she's decided not to play it anymore) for a fraction of what it would cost us to rent one for the year.

    I read e-books from the library and watched television on YouTube (I think someone here mentioned the show Eat Well for Less a week or two ago - it's quickly become a favorite of mine!).

    Have a wonderful week!

  • Megan B September 05, 2018

    I need to start watching for good deals on jar lids & pectin! All of the fruit below will used to make jam & jelly for Christmas gifts.
    - Got 4 freezer ziplock bags of Plums for free from a neighbor, they had sat the fruit out on the roadside to share (I plan on taking them a jar or two of jelly as a thank you.)
    - Thanks to an ad on CraigsList I was able to pick up a box full of grapes (approx 24lbs) for free. Only cost a little bit of gas as it was about 5 minutes from our home.
    - Picked blackberries in the yard. So far this week we’ve picked approx 1 freezer ziplock full! Hopefully we can get another bag or so before the bear beats us to them.

    Used up left overs and mainly ate at home. (I know that’s the norm for most ladies here, but is so nice compared to our old norm of eating out 3-4 times a week and constant grocery store runs to get what sounds good rather than what we have.)

    Had a few Craigslist and eBay sales = $194 profit. Found a couple of new items to list.

    DH cut his own hair and our son’s.

    Luckily we live in a cooler climate (very tip of California, an hour south of OR/six hours north of SF). I have our windows open daily and the heater off still, but the cold is starting to creep in... hopefully I have until Nov before it gets too cold!

    Hope you’re getting some much needed rest Brandy!

  • Stephanie September 05, 2018

    Our 24 year old tv in our bedroom died a while ago and we were waiting to replace it. A friend decided to upgrade from their current tv and offered it to us. We put the (larger and perhaps 5 years old) tv in the family room and moved the smaller 10 year old one from the family room to our bedroom. The old tv has been recycled. We looked up our free tv and it currently retails for nearly $800.
    We have been doing some purging and passed on some kid clothing and books.

  • Debby in Kansas, USA September 06, 2018

    Stephanie, we've paid a total of $25 for TV's in the 25 yrs. we've been married!! I had my TV from my parents when we married. It actually fell in the Northridge earthquake and was squished on one side, but it still worked! About 5 yrs. later, my visiting friend says, "Are you aware that everyone is green?" I immediately went next door to ask to see their TV and sure enough, it was true. It must've happened so gradually that we hadn't noticed! We bought a $25 garage sale TV and used that for years. Then, we overheard someone at church asking for help to move a TV cuz they bought a flat screen and were taking the old one to recycle it. I scooched over and asked if it still worked. It did. So, I asked if we could buy it. The man told me that if my husband helped him move it to our car, it was ours for free. It's a 32" Sony and it weighs a TON, but we've had it for about 10 yrs. now. The one we had before is now in the basement rec room.

  • Amanda September 05, 2018

    It’s too hot for lettuce to grow here right now too. I’m missing it!

    I’m really curious about how you decide what to grow in your garden. Do you weigh seed costs, maintanence costs and water costs against how much an item costs in store? There are so many things I’d love to grow but would actually end up costing me more because im a backyard gardener too and can’t grow in such large amounts that would offset the cost. I love gardening so it’s a hobby as well, I’m just curious how others go about it in the most frugal way to get the most out of their garden. In my zone, berries have been the biggest producers for the least cost, especially since they aren’t exactly cheap in stores. Thanks!

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